Every weekday, The Detail makes sense of the big news stories.

This week, we explored the gilded halls of the Reserve Bank and the flak facing governor Adrian Orr, how a sinking island in the Pacific is going about moving its people to safety, the group of disinformation-peddlers looking to take advantage of our apathy to local body elections, how Tova O’Brien landed her historic interview with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, and the legendary women’s basketball player holed up in a Russian jail being used as a bargaining chip in the Ukrainian invasion.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.

The Reserve Bank and the war on inflation

Every three months the Reserve Bank opens its doors on the ground floor of 2 The Terrace in Wellington to journalists to talk about its monetary policy.

It’s an event that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention – except from business media and economics nerds – but lately the Reserve Bank and its governor Adrian Orr have faced a lot more scrutiny for the bank’s part in tackling rampant inflation.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Last week the bank raised the Official Cash Rate by half a percentage point for the fourth consecutive time to three percent and, despite intense criticism, signaled two more hikes to come this year.

Sharon Brettkelly looks at the job of the Reserve Bank and why it has faced so much flak, including from Orr’s predecessors, for its handling of monetary policy during the pandemic.

Getting off a drowning island isn’t easy

For more than 13 years, Ursula Rakova has been battling to relocate her people from the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea, which are slowly being swamped by the sea.

Carteret Islanders receiving a supply boat. Photo: Supplied / Caritas

They don’t want to give up the way of life of generations before them, but they have no choice.

More than 3000 people are stuck on the shrinking, low-lying islands, waiting for the government to fund their resettlement on the mainland of Bougainville.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to Rakova from Bougainville where she now lives, as well as Martin de Jong and Sirino Rakabi from charity Caritas, which is helping fund resettlement efforts across the Pacific.

Local elections: What do we know about council candidates?

If you think councils pretty much run themselves and the group of community-minded individuals who put their names forward for local boards and council seats will have your interests at heart, this year might be the year to revise that idea.

This year’s local body elections will be open for voting from September 16 to October 8. Photo: The Detail/Sarah Robson

A couple of weeks ago Stuff Circuit released a documentary called Fire and Fury.

“What that revealed was that Voices For Freedom, or VFF, had plans to infiltrate decision making positions – to make, in their words, New Zealand ungovernable,” says Stuff senior journalist Andrea Vance.

She talks to The Detail about the job she and her colleagues are doing of checking the credentials of candidates standing for office. We also hear from Rotorua Daily Post local democracy reporter Felix Desmarais about the issues at stake in this year’s elections.

Landing an interview with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky

Earlier this month, Today FM host Tova O’Brien travelled more than 40 hours to Kyiv in Ukraine – via Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw, and an eight-hour van ride alongside a security detail – to interview one of the world’s most recognisable men.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Today FM host Tova O’Brien. Photo: Supplied / Today FM

The result: a 34-minute interview with President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as a complementary documentary showing what life in the war-torn country is like for Ukrainians and overseas volunteers alike.

But behind the scenes was six months of dogged work and preparation.

Emile Donovan speaks to O’Brien and her producer Tom Day about the historic interview.

Basketball star Brittney Griner: A pawn in Putin’s war games

Brittney Griner is an American basketball superstar. Back in February, about a week before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, the 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage.

Griner subsequently pleaded guilty to drug-related charges and earlier this month, she was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.

The basketballer’s case has sparked high level diplomatic talks between the United States and Russia, with a possible prisoner swap on the table.

The Detail talks to University of Otago professor of politics Robert Patman about the case, how it’s unfolded and what it has to do with the war in Ukraine.

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