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US President Donald Trump has said that he will not take part in a virtual debate with his election rival Joe Biden.

Mr Trump, who represents the Republican party, is aiming to be re-elected as president in November.

He was scheduled to debate Democratic party candidate, Mr Biden on Thursday 15 October in Miami.

However, the format of the debate has been changed after Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Commission, which make decisions on how the presidential debates work, said the change to a virtual discussion was to “protect the health and safety of all involved”.

However, Mr Trump spoke to a TV station shortly after the announcement and said, “I’m not going to do a virtual debate.”

He followed that up by saying, “you sit behind a computer and do a debate? That’s ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want.”

The first debate was described as ‘chaotic’ when the two rivals argued and shouted over each other.

Last week we looked at what an election was, and we covered the first part of the election – the party vote. Now, we will look at the second vote, the electorate vote. 

New Zealand is divided into voting groups called electorates. Each electorate has roughly the same amount of people. While each electorate will have around the same number of people, the geographical, or amount of land in the electorate might not be the same. 

For example, an electorate in a rural area might take up a larger area of land than an electorate in a city where people live closer together. However, both electorates will still have about the same number of people. 

When you enrol to vote, you are enrolled in the electorate where you live. Every general election all the eligible people in New Zealand vote for a candidate to represent your electorate in parliament. 

If you are from Maori descent you can choose to vote in the Maori electorate instead of the general electorate, and both are based on about the same population and a set geographic area. This is the electorate vote. 

New is always better. Well usually. The new iPhone has cooler upgrades than the old one. A fresh piece of cake takes better than one made a week ago. So new is better right?

Well, today we will be looking back at something old, 2,000 years old to be exact. The origins of how our country works; the history of democracy.

The word ‘democracy’ comes from ancient Greece and means ‘rule by the people’. It combines two smaller words: ‘demos’ which means whole citizens living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ which means power.

The first democracy began more than 2,00 years ago in Athens. All the people (including the children and slaves) gathered in one place annually. People were then selected from the crowd to create a council. This council acted a bit like a government; it suggested possible laws and made decisions on behalf of the people.

Sadly, this idea of an elected council didn’t last long. Soon after that, in most places, a king or queen would hold all of the power and rule over the kingdom.

However, by the 1600s people began to think that they should have a say. It didn’t seem fair that a monarch had all the control just because they were born into a certain family. The concept of human rights was starting to gain traction and one of these rights was the ability to choose how your country was run.

Initially in New Zealand, a governor (who represented the Queen) ruled the country. But the settlers also thought this was unfair and wanted more influence. But there were too many people for each person to have a say on every issue. Instead, they elected representatives to speak for them and to make the decisions.

Sounds pretty similar to what used to happen in ancient Athens with their council, doesn’t it?

The first New Zealand election took place in 1853 and we have had elections every 3 years ever since. So perhaps there might be some wisdom in old things too.

Can you think of any other examples of old ideas that have withstood the test of time? Comment below!

The ancient Greeks of Athens (one of the first societies to have a democracy) had a much smaller population, so nearly every decision was voted on by everyone. We, however, are NOT ancient Greeks.  Our country runs on a representative democracy, we elect people to vote for us. But sometimes there are things that are considered so important or controversial that all the eligible adults of New Zealand get to vote directly on it. These are referendums. 

This year, New Zealand has two referendums: the end of life choice and the cannabis legalisation and control referendums. These are yes or no questions, you don’t have to vote on them, but it is your chance to have a say in some very important issues. Enrolled voters get brochures about the referendums so they can be fully informed before they vote.  

Now, what are 2020s referendums?  

  1. End of life choice referendum: 

This is where you can vote on whether you think people with terminal illness should have the choice to request assisted dying.  

  1. The cannabis legalisation and control referendum: 

This is where you can vote on whether you think the recreational use of cannabis should become legal. 

In New Zealand our government is a representative democracy. A representative democracy is when all the eligible people in New Zealand elect representatives to Parliament to speak for us on government issues. 

This means that the adults of New Zealand get to vote on the different parties’ and people in parliament. These people in parliament decide who the prime minister is. 

But to have a representative democracy, New Zealand must have elections. To elect someone means to choose them for a specific position by vote. In New Zealand, we use MMP (meaning mixed-member proportional) as our voting system. MMP is what we use to choose people and parties who will represent us in parliament.  

Under MMP, adults get two votes, we will focus on the first vote- the party vote. The party vote determines how many seats (members of parliament) each party with take up in parliament. Say a party gets 27% of the party votes in New Zealand, they take up around 27% of seats in parliament. 

A party must have at least 5% of New Zealand’s party votes to get seats in parliament unless somebody from their party wins an electorate seat- (which is determined by the second vote under the MMP system). 

The new party Sustainable New Zealand wants to highlight environmental issues facing New Zealand.

The party is launching on November 10 at Wellington’s urban ecosanctuary Zealandia. 

The newly formed party’s top three policies include healthy water, saving native species from extinction and creating “sustainable, economic growth”.

Leader Vernon Tava said Sustainable New Zealand would place the environment as a priority, “but don’t believe we need to radically overturn the economy and society to achieve that”.

“We believe we can have economic growth, and protect the environment. Free market and fostering innovation is the pathway forward for New Zealand’s economic success,” he says, pledging Sustainable NZ was not a party “just blaming farmers for everything”. 

MPs in the United Kingdom have rejected Prime Minister, Theresa May’s,
EU withdrawal agreement for the third time.

This happened on the day the UK was due to leave the EU – 29 March 2019.

The government lost by 344 votes to 286, a margin of 58.

It means the UK has missed an EU deadline to delay Brexit to 22 May and leave with a deal.

Thousands of Leave supporters gathered outside Parliament to protest against the delay to Brexit, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Mrs May now has until 12 April to seek a longer extension to the negotiation process to avoid a no-deal Brexit on that date.

What happens next?

BBC chart showing next steps from Brexit


The European Union, or ‘EU’ for short, is a political and economic partnership of 28 European countries. It first began following World War Two with a hope that countries that traded together would be less likely to go to war with each other.


It has since grown over the years with the formation of a ‘single market’ that allows goods and people to move around all of Europe as if they were one single country. They have their own currency (the Euro is used by 19 of the member countries) and their own parliament that can set laws.

Brexit is a clever term used to describe the exit of Britain from the European Union. This was sparked by a referendum – a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part – on the 23rd of June 2016. 51.9% of Brits voted to leave the EU and 48.1% voted to stay. Over 71.8% of voters turned out which is over 30 million people.

The UK is scheduled to leave at 11pm UK time on Friday, 29 March 2019. If Brexit goes ahead as planned, Britain’s relationship with New Zealand will become even more important as they look for trade partners outside of Europe.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been named the 29th most powerful women in the world.
A recent Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women, has Ardern has ranked just six places behind Queen Elizabeth II and 21 places above singer Beyoncé.
Forbes said she had used her platform to “create a path for other women” to follow in her footsteps and, at age 38, was the youngest female leader in the world and New Zealand’s youngest PM in 150 years.
Forbes also singled out the fact she “promises an ’empathetic’ government, with ambitious plans to tackle climate change and child poverty”.
Number one on the list was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who Forbes said was the ‘de facto’ leader of Europe.
The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, arrived in Papua New Guinea on Sunday afternoon for APEC leaders’ summit.
APEC stands for Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation. The APEC summit is the annual meeting of the 21 Asia and Pacific countries.
This year trade, security, and climate change are expected to dominate discussions among leaders at the APEC leaders’ summit.
Security is tight at Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, with foreign warships including the patrol vessel Otago, stationed in the harbour.
New Zealand has given $15 million to Papua New Guinea to help stage the summit, but it’s been earmarked for training and security.
Australia and China have also been big financial backers of the summit, and Australia is also deeply involved in providing security.
China’s leader Xi Jinping is attending, but neither Donald Trump nor Vladimir Putin will be there.
The New Zealand government has committed close to $30 million to foreign aid projects in Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand will join Australia, Japan, the United States, and South Korea in a $1.7 billion project to expand electricity coverage.
New Zealand’s contribution is about $20m.
Ms Ardern said the government will also give close to $10m for immunisation campaigns, particularly for polio which has re-emerged in the country.