Oct 1 2023

Prime minister tests positive for Covid-19

Chris Hipkins at the Labour Party campaign launch, Aotea Centre, Auckland. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty

Prime minister Chris Hipkins has tested positive for Covid-19, and will be isolating for five days or until he returns a negative test.

A spokesperson confirmed he has cold and flu symptoms that began yesterday and will continue with engagements he can undertake via Zoom.

Hipkins missed an event on the campaign trail this morning but was said to still be attending Labour’s manifesto launch this afternoon. Carmel Sepuloni will now step in at the launch.

Hipkins himself confirmed the news on Instagram, posting a picture of a positive test and writing, “Bugger! After a rough night, I woke up this morning feeling pretty unwell and just got this test result. I’m in close contact with New Zealanders on the campaign trail and I don’t want to pass it on to anyone, so I’ll be following the guidance and isolating for a few days or until I get a negative test. I’ll try to keep up as many campaign engagements remotely as I can. Thanks to all of Labour’s great volunteers and supporters who I know will keep our campaign going in my absence. There’s a lot at stake this election, and I’ll be working doubly hard when I can get back out there to make sure Labour is re-elected.”


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Hipkins was due to go up against National party leader Christopher Luxon at The Press debate on Tuesday night at the Christchurch Town Hall. It’s likely to be one of many events that will be cancelled or rescheduled at this critical point of the campaign, with advance voting opening tomorrow.

‘I’ve got news for you and your masters’: Winston Peters takes aim at ‘corrupt’ TVNZ

Tfw someone says waka and means car (Photo: Getty Images)

In a bizarre interview with TVNZ’s Q&A programme this morning, NZ First leader Winston Peters said he would “make sure” he secured the broadcasting portfolio should his party make it into government.

“We’ll start with TVNZ after the campaign,” he told journalist Jack Tame in an interview that made yesterday’s with Newshub Nation look genial in comparison.

“You’re trying to get rid of New Zealand First because your masters told you to,” Peters alleged, after he was unable to answer a series of questions about various NZ First policies including establishing a prison solely for gang members and funding aged residential care.

At times speaking directly to camera, Peters said, “This is a waste of the viewers’ time, this is contempt of the democratic process.” He told Tame he was “being exposed for the dirt merchant you are”, a “waste of taxpayers’ money”, to “take a valium” and to “take your dirt and go somewhere else”, but at least he didn’t call him James.

Tame produced evidence that Peters knew about the He Puapua report that he has since rallied against while in government, and questioned him on large donations NZ First had received from figures in the racing industry. Peters did not provide a single coherent answer, dismissing Tame’s questioning as “bull dust”.

Winston Peters at parliament with reporters
Winston Peters in 2020 (Photo: Getty Images)

Hipkins missing morning campaign event but will launch Labour manifesto

PM Chris Hipkins in May 2023 (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Labour’s manifesto launch will go ahead this afternoon, despite leader Chris Hipkins missing an event on the campaign trail this morning due to being unwell.

Deputy prime minister Carmel Sepuloni is speaking at a Sāmoan church service in Auckland this morning in Hipkins’ place, but according to a Labour spokesperson, Hipkins will rally to launch the party’s manifesto this afternoon. A couple of campaign events due to follow the launch have been cancelled, however.

Hipkins’ illness is not great timing, as with advance voting starting tomorrow, today was set to be a particularly busy one for the campaign.

National sets out priorities in ‘100-day action plan’

Christopher Luxon speaks at the National Party election campaign launch (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

National has pledged to remove the Auckland fuel tax, repeal water reform and resource management legislation, ban gang patches and remove funding for cultural reports used in sentencing in its first 100 days in office.

The party has set out a range of priorities for its first 100 days in office should it win the election on October 14, which also include extending free breast screening to women aged up to 74, restoring 90-day employment trial periods and banning cell phones in schools.

“If National can form a government after the election, we won’t wait another day to get going on delivering our broad and deep policy agenda to get New Zealand back on track,” said party leader Christopher Luxon in a press release.

Christopher Luxon speaks at the National Party election campaign launch
Christopher Luxon speaks at the National Party election campaign launch (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Chris Hipkins unwell, to miss morning campaign event

Image: Tina Tiller

The prime minister is missing an event on the campaign trail this morning because he’s unwell. Chris Hipkins was due to speak at a Sāmoan church service in Auckland, but deputy prime minister Carmel Sepuloni is stepping in to take his place.

With advance voting starting tomorrow, today is a big day one for the campaign. Hipkins is scheduled to launch Labour’s manifesto at 1pm today in Auckland, and a decision is yet to be made about whether this will go ahead.

Chris Hipkins (Image: Tina Tiller)