Take a bite of… February 5th to 12th, 2018

From February 5th to 12th, take a moment and bite into your favourite current affairs sandwich.

New Zealand

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics kicked off this week with a mix of speed skating, snowboard slope-style, and curling. The games give global athletes a chance to compete in various winter sports on the world stage, attempting to win gold.

The New Zealand team have just scraped the medal table so far, with Kiwi snowboarder Carlos Garcia-Knight placing 5th in the men’s snowboard Slopestyle. A day later, speed skater Peter Michael was in the gold medal position after his 5000m speed skating time. The whole world watched as his mullet flew. He was on the edge of his seat while watching other skaters compete, before eventually placing 4th.

As predicted last week, Waitangi Day seems to be incomplete without scandal. To call what happened controversial would be an understatement. Sir Bob Jones wrote in an article that Māori people should serve Europeans for a day as “gratitude for existing.” A petition on change.org requesting his knighthood be removed has almost 50,000 signatures, and is growing daily. Jones said he would take legal action against the woman behind the petition, threatening to sue her. Journalist Mike Hosking says Jones’s article was satirical and humorous, and doesn’t support his knighthood being removed.

International

Tesla founder Elon Musk launched a car into space because “it’s silly and fun.” A clearly eccentric move, Musk’s publicity stunt comes along with news he sold flamethrowers online. He is praised by some as a keen environmentalist, and ridiculed by others for acting snobby and impulsive.

A cyclone is causing chaos in Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and other islands. Cyclone Gita has felled thousands of trees, damaged cars and houses – leaving people in need of help. The cyclone is expected to reach New Zealand with a more miniscule effect later this week. Civil Defence New Zealand have sent aid workers to combat damage caused by the storm.

What’s next?

The Winter Olympic games are underway, and will have New Zealand anxiously working hard in hopes of a medal. The games end on the 25th of February after what will undoubtedly be an entertaining, nail-biting few weeks. New Zealand have 21 athletes at the games, and will carry the hopes of a nation on their backs… and skis.

The debate around charter schools has been heating up and will likely continue to do so after Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced Labour’s plan to stop the controversial schooling methods at charter schools. ACT leader David Seymour protested in Auckland among 500 others about the announcement. Could this end up changing the Minister’s mind? Likely not. Hipkins says he will meet with schools and come to a final decision, but he isn’t backpedaling yet.

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