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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for October 21. All the latest New Zealand news, updated throughout the day. Reach me on

8.10am: Collins admits obesity comments should have been ‘shut down’ quicker

Judith Collins is continuing to reflect on her party’s devastating election loss on Saturday, ahead of a full review of National’s campaign.

Appearing on RNZ this morning, Collins didn’t want to pick over previous comments or issues from before the election. “I’m very happy to wait for the review,” she said.

Asked whether her controversial comments on obesity played a part in the loss, Collins said: “We should have shut that down, quite quickly”.

New Zealand hasn’t replaced a first term government in 45 years, Collins said, so beating Labour was always going to be a “big ask”.

“No first term opposition under MMP has got more than 30%. That’s what happens under that first term,” Collins said.

Collins did believe she could change that trend and beat Labour first time around, but said “it was going to be very, very difficult.”

For the 2023 election, Collins hoped to still be leader of National but acknowledged it’s a job chosen by the party caucus. In the past, Collins has set a benchmark polling position of 35% for where she would stand down – almost 10% higher than the weekend’s election result. Today, Collins said she wouldn’t “play that game” when asked to provide a poll result where she would quit.

7.45am: Labour-Green coalition off the table – report

A Newshub report last night suggests that the chances of a formal coalition deal between Labour and the Greens are slipping away.

After the landslide result on Saturday, Newshub’s reporting that Labour will choose to wield its new found power and govern alone – although will still enter a low level deal with the Green Party.

Labour’s massive new team of MPs gathered for the first time in Wellington yesterday, as did the Greens’ new caucus of 10.

Jacinda Ardern has already met with the Greens’ co-leaders, although that was reported to just be a more of a catch-up rather than a formal negotiation.

Over on the Herald, it’s suggested that Labour will likely invite a “slight tinge of Green” into the next government.

Read more from our political editor Justin Giovannetti on day one back at parliament here

7.40am: Top stories from The Bulletin

As promised, today’s Bulletin will cover the government’s new climate change report, called Our Atmosphere and Climate. It was released just before the election, so rather than giving it a once over lightly, it’s worth looking at in more depth – after all, it’s quite an important issue.

And it’s an issue that is playing out now, not at some hypothetical point in the future. As the NZ Herald’s Jamie Morton reports, places all over New Zealand are already seeing more hot days than normal, in both summer and winter. Drought frequency is increasing, and frost days are decreasing. At the same time, rainfall patterns are changing, which combines to change growing seasons for crops. We’re also seeing an increase in wildfires, with longer fire seasons and worse conditions for firefighters to work in. And to reiterate the central point of that article, this is all happening now – not next decade, not in a century, but right in front of our eyes.

The increased fire risk is worth unpacking further, because it’s one of the effects of climate change that can destroy lives and livelihoods in an instant. Newshub’s Rosie Gordon and Vita Molyneux headlined their report with this, in particular highlighting that regions that aren’t accustomed to fires will see a much higher risk over the coming years. By 2040, “Wellington would see its fire danger double, and coastal Otago would triple,” is one rather jarring line. Professional firefighters were talking about being stretched last year, let alone the rural volunteer brigades.

The decisions made on climate by the incoming government will have far-reaching implications for the country for decades. Newsroom’s Marc Daalder has analysed where those decisions will take place, primarily around emissions budgets and targets under both NZ law and international agreements. And of course achieving emissions reductions is imperative, both for New Zealand and the world. But there’s a point very well made in this Stuff op-ed about how the conversation must also include adaptation for the changes already taking place. That involves both planning and getting real about what’s on the way.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

7.30am: Yesterday’s headlines

The official Ministry of Health 1pm media release announced one new case of Covid-19 at the border.

A few hours later, media reported that at least 11 overseas fishermen at a Christchurch managed isolation facility had tested positive for Covid-19, with 14 other possible cases under investigation.

Whoever is deputy leader of Labour will become deputy prime minister, Jacinda Ardern revealed. The current deputy leader is Kelvin Davis.

National will hold an internal review of its dismal election performance, Judith Collins announced.

Several National MPs called for the leaker of an internal email to come forward. The email from MP Denise Lee, leaked in early October, was highly critical of Judith Collins’ leadership.

Police have called on sexual assault survivors to come forward following allegations of a sex assault ring operating in a Wellington music community.

Read yesterday’s live updates.

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