While it now seems likely that Shaw will hold on to the co-leadership job after the next round of voting, if there's no real contest for the position his victory would only paper over these divisions. Pool photo: Robert Kitchin

This week, we looked at the Green Party’s philosophical tension, a new regime for treating head knocks in youth sports, the weird and wonderful existence of the Commonwealth Games, the role nurse practitioners play in our struggling healthcare system, and what centralisation does for our services and communities. 

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed. 

The Green Party’s philosophical tug-of-war 

To do what is right? Or to accept what is achievable? 

Green Party co-leader James Shaw’s ousting by a vote from the party faithful – and his almost certain reappointment, due to the fact he is now running for the position uncontested – left people asking what the Greens’ political purpose should be: a no-compromise activist group; or a compliant coalition partner, content with making small changes to the status quo. 

Emile Donovan sits down with NZ Herald senior political reporter Thomas Coughlan and former Green MP Kevin Hague to discuss the turbulence within the party; whether its priorities have shifted too far from their environmentalist roots, and navigating the difficult compromises of being a minor partner in Government.

Knocking out concussion in youth sport 

Over the past five years ACC has recorded more than 100,000 cases of concussion from various sports. Last year nearly half a billion dollars was spent on treating more than 26,000 people with sport-related concussion – the highest number of claims in a single year.  Among them were several thousand teenagers.  

Photo: Lynn Grieveson

When it comes to laws governing concussions, New Zealand lags behind other countries. We have no single protocol across all sports, despite the potentially devastating consequences of leaving a concussion untreated. 

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to New Zealand Rugby’s head of community rugby Steve Lancaster and researcher Dr Danielle Salmon about developing a unified approach to concussions. 

Are the Commonwealth Games still relevant? 

In the 92 years since the first Commonwealth Games – or, as they were then, the Empire Games – many countries have seized their own sovereignty, become republics, or moved away from the colonial power these games were created to celebrate. 

Team New Zealand entering the opening ceremony at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Photo: Getty Images

But they’re still going, we’re still going there, and with every medal our spirits lift – even if the sporting heavyweights of the world weren’t invited to our party.  

Emile Donovan talks to commentating and sports writing legend Phil Gifford, and Otago Daily Times sports editor Hayden Meikle, about the ‘friendly games’ and their modern-day relevance. 

Nurse practitioners ‘part of the solution’ 

Health Minister Andrew Little this week announced some relief for our overburdened health system, including an increase in the number of doctors, nurses – and nurse practitioners. 

Nurse practitioner Michal Noonan. Photo: Jean Bell

The role requires four years’ experience, a masters degree, and a rigorous test in front of a panel. But what is a nurse practitioner, and what can they do? 

Jean Bell visits a nurse practitioner clinic in Auckland to talk to one of these specialist nurses who can do nearly as much as GPs do.  

Why are we suspicious of centralisation? 

New Zealand is in the midst of major structural change when it comes to the bodies that rule our lives. Polytechnicswater, the health system, the public service, and the ongoing push to amalgamate local councils.

A billboard in Tauranga protesting proposed Three Waters reforms. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

The usual reasons given for such upheaval are economies of scale and the need to reorganise a system that isn’t working – the idea that a central body running regional services will be more efficient and will save money. 

Sharon Brettkelly talks to Simon Chapple, the director of the institute of governance and policy studies at Victoria University, about why governments choose to centralise, and why people on the ground are feeling shortchanged. 

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