Nicholas Sheppard

Nicholas Sheppard is a freelance journalist and fiction author. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Did Maori MPs mean to insult King Charles?

The co-leaders of New Zealand’s Māori party, Te Pāti Māori, have defended their actions at the swearing-in ceremony at parliament in Wellington on Tuesday. The party’s MPs all broke with protocol by standing and giving a whaikorero (formal address) when it was their turn to be sworn in. In their remarks, members of the party swore allegiance to

How the National party toppled Labour in New Zealand

Just three years on from Jacinda Ardern’s phenomenal outright victory, New Zealand’s Labour government has collapsed, slumping to half its vote from 2020. It is on the verge of losing some of its safest seats and languishing behind in most of the Māori electorates. The centre-right National party has won, with Labour prime minister Chris

New Zealand mourns after Auckland gun rampage

Two people are dead after a gunman armed with a pump-action shotgun stormed a building in Auckland’s central business district this morning. The gunman has also died. At least six people are injured, including one police officer who was transported to hospital in a critical condition. The police officer is now stable. The incident occurred

Is New Zealand changing its tune on China?

Is New Zealand’s prime minister changing his tune on China? Chris Hipkins said this morning that China’s greater assertiveness has led to the Pacific region becoming ‘more contested, less predictable, and less secure.’ New Zealand is reliant upon China, a country that makes up about a third of its export market. So, when Hipkins, visited

Will New Zealand regret kowtowing to China?

New Zealand is reliant upon China, a country that makes up about a third of its export market. So, when the country’s prime minister, Chris Hipkins, visited Beijing this week, it is hardly a surprise that he avoided saying anything to offend his hosts. The Global Times, China’s state-run tabloid, said New Zealand’s ‘proactive’ diplomacy and

Kiwis are tiring of New Zealand’s blundering prime minister

It’s all going wrong for New Zealand’s prime minister Chris Hipkins. Hipkins’s laidback, convivial persona and managerial skills were seen as a welcome contrast after the loftier ambition but patchy results of his predecessor, Jacinda Ardern. But a series of political scandals and blunders means Kiwis are rapidly tiring of their leader. The latest trouble

New Zealand’s opposition embroiled in AI-attack ad storm

New Zealand’s opposition National party has admitted using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate fake images for its political attack ads. The ads featured AI-generated images of a group of robbers storming a simulated jewellery store, two nurses of Pacific Island descent in a Wes Anderson cinematic aesthetic, and a crime victim gazing solemnly out of

Is New Zealand that bothered about becoming a republic?

The prime minister of New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, has said he wants his country to end constitutional ties with Britain and become a republic. Speaking just days before he attends the coronation of King Charles, Hipkins said: ‘Ideally, in time, New Zealand will become a fully independent country, will stand on our own two feet

Jacinda Ardern’s disappearing act

Former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern bade farewell to parliament a few weeks ago. Ardern had resigned as PM in January, saying she no longer had ‘enough in the tank’ to lead the country. After half-a-decade in charge, and regularly feted on the world stage, Ardern has all but vanished as a ubiquitous figure of the

The Posie Parker mob has embarassed New Zealand

New Zealand has, until recently, dwelt in splendid isolation during the culture wars. Kiwis have typically been reluctant to discuss social issues, the raising of which usually causes a kind of social static and brings down the mood. The antipathy, tribalism and performative outrage of identity politics hasn’t been much of a problem Down Under.

Do we still need the Women’s Prize for Fiction?

Nine debut books were among the 16 novels to make the cut in this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction long list, announced this week. But what relevance does a gender-exclusive award retain when women dominate the contemporary world of publishing?  When the Women’s Prize for Fiction was launched in 1996 it was badly needed. Back

Will Christopher Luxon be New Zealand’s prime minister?

Following the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Labour government will select its new leader, and the country’s next prime minister, in the coming days. There will then be a general election on the 14 October. And with Ardern’s departure the spotlight is already beginning to shine on Christopher Luxon, the head of National, New

Why Jacinda Ardern is stepping down

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will stand down on February 7. In an announcement in Wellington, choking back tears, Ardern said she had hoped to find the energy and heart to continue in the role over summer, ‘but I have not been able to do that’. ‘I am leaving because with such a privileged

Is this the beginning of the end for Jacinda Ardern?

Many people envisage Jacinda Ardern’s 2017 electoral victory as a romp, a 1997 Tony Blair-esque sea change of optimism. In reality, in the months leading up to that election Ardern’s Labour party was by no means a sure bet. In a similarly blurred retrospect, Ardern’s first term as PM is thought of as unified and