blog-july-4.jpg

Live UpdatesJul 4 2022

Omicron resurgence brings jump in Covid hospitalisations

Welcome back to another week of news, it’s Monday July 4 and this is The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Send any news tips/anything else to me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has jumped by over 60 overnight, from 424 to 487.
  • Jacinda Ardern is heading to Australia where she will visit Melbourne and Sydney on a trade mission.
  • Andrew Little has become the latest minister to catch Covid-19.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers are returning to New Zealand for two summer stadium shows – and they’ll be joined by Post Malone.
blog-july-4.jpg

Omicron resurgence brings jump in Covid hospitalisations

Welcome back to another week of news, it’s Monday July 4 and this is The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Send any news tips/anything else to me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has jumped by over 60 overnight, from 424 to 487.
  • Jacinda Ardern is heading to Australia where she will visit Melbourne and Sydney on a trade mission.
  • Andrew Little has become the latest minister to catch Covid-19.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers are returning to New Zealand for two summer stadium shows – and they’ll be joined by Post Malone.
Jul 4 2022

Review into hiring of Kamahl Santamaria expected to be released this week

TVNZ is expected to release its internal review triggered by the departure of broadcaster Kamahl Santamaria later this week.

Announced on June 8, the network said the review would be completed within four weeks when the findings would be released to both staff and the public.

The Spinoff reported last week that TVNZ already knew it hadn’t followed proper protocol during the hiring process of Santamaria, but launched the review anyway. Correspondence released to The Spinoff under the Official Information Act showed TVNZ’s deputy chair Kevin Malloy acknowledging that the company’s “recruitment policy was not followed” because “thorough reference checks were not undertaken”.

Santamaria was hired by TVNZ to replace John Campbell on Breakfast after 16 years at Al Jazeera in Qatar, but abruptly disappeared from TV screens on May 1 – just a few weeks after he started on the high-profile morning news show. TVNZ first attributed his absence to a “family emergency”, but it soon emerged he was the subject of at least one complaint of inappropriate behaviour from a female colleague at the public broadcaster.

The Spinoff asked TVNZ for confirmation of a release date for the review, but has not yet received a response.

Read more: TVNZ admits it didn’t follow proper protocol when hiring Kamahl Santamaria

NZ Film Festival line-up released: Here are four picks

After two years of Covid-related disruption, this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival will *hopefully* go ahead as planned.

Set to kick-off in Auckland on July 28, the massive line-up has been officially unveiled today. And it’s pretty amazing.

Here are four films on the list that have got me hyped to be back at the fest.

Aftersun

Starring Normal People break out Paul Mescal, this Cannes favourite is poised to break onto the awards circuit later in the year. I’ve been waiting to find out if it would secure a local release and am thrilled it’ll be heading to the Film Festival.

Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg! Kristen Stewart! People with ears growing on their body! This freaky looking body horror led to many an article about audience members walking out of screenings, but it’s also gained a legion of devoted fans.

Triangle of Sadness

It won the Palme d’Or this year, which is already a sign that it’s worth checking out. I don’t know a lot about the film itself other than it’s a satire about rich people starring Woody Harrelson (who spent much of his time on the promo trail talking about his dodgy Covid views instead).

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Possibly the most wholesome film set to screen at the fest, this follows a talking shell called Marcel. It’s based on a series of acclaimed online shorts and the film has been met with equally positive reception. It just looks really, really cute and when you’re also planning to watch a body horror with Kristen Stewart, this could be the perfect accompanying piece.

Get all the Film Festival details here

Covid-19 update: Hospitalisations highest since April, eight new deaths

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has jumped by over 60 overnight, from 424 to 487. That’s the highest number of people being treated for the virus since April 28 when it was just over 500.

There are currently 11 people in intensive care.

Most of the hospitalisations are in the wider Auckland region, with 114 people being treated in Waitematā alone and 44 in Counties Manukau.

The surge of hospitalisations comes as experts warn of a new omicron wave triggered by the BA.5 subvariant. It’s anticipated to take over BA.2 as the dominant strain in the New Zealand community within weeks.

The number of new Covid-19 cases also remains high, with 6,498 new infections reported since yesterday. The seven-day rolling average of community cases sits at 7,046 up by almost 2,000 from a week ago.

Roughly 49,000 people are currently sick with Covid-19, though this is just the reported number and in reality is likely to be higher.

Another eight people with Covid-19 have died over the past two days, bringing the publicly reported total to 1,567 and the seven-day rolling average to 14.

The rise in Covid cases has prompted the Ministry of Health to remind people that eligibility for both the Covid and flu jabs has expanded. “A second Covid-19 booster is now available for those at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19 – a minimum of 6 months after a first booster,” said the ministry. “In addition, a second booster is available for all people aged 50 years and over and health, aged care and disability workers aged 30 years and over.”

Free flu shots are now available to all children aged between three and 12, as well as anyone with serious mental health and addiction needs.

…and another one: Nanaia Mahuta tests positive for Covid-19

Yet another government minister has tested positive for Covid-19, the second today.

Foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta has confirmed she’s caught the virus, just hours after health minister Andrew Little announced he had received a positive result. Grant Robertson, currently the acting prime minister, is still in isolation after testing positive before the weekend.

Mahuta’s infection means she will miss the foreign ministers meeting at the Pacific Island Forum this week. A replacement has not yet been confirmed.

Nanaia Mahuta (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Road to Zero: the bold plan to stop road deaths

(Image: Hope McConnell)

In 2021, 325 people were killed on New Zealand roads. Those numbers are not statistics; they’re sons and mums, aunties and cousins, and it’s a toll we shouldn’t have to pay. Road to Zero is the government’s plan to build a safer road system with a target of zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2050, with a 40% reduction by 2030.
Learn more about Road to Zero in a new comic on The Spinoff(Sponsored)

Andrew Little latest minister to catch Covid-19

Andrew Little is the latest government minister to come down with Covid-19.

The health minister shared on Twitter that he’ll be working from his bedroom for the next week. “Being double vaccinated and booster, and having planned in case of household lockdown, I’m feeling pretty good,” wrote the minister.

He encouraged people to get boosted against Covid-19 and to have a flu shot as well.

Grant Robertson, who is currently acting prime minister, caught Covid-19 last week. He’s expected to be well enough to travel to Australia later in the week alongside Jacinda Ardern.

Let’s just rename all the cheeses now

Under a new free-trade deal signed with the European Union before the weekend, local cheesemakers will no longer be able to sell cheese labelled “feta”. It’s not all bad news, though, thanks to some wily negotiations we have bought ourselves nine whole years to come up with a new name for the beloved saline snack. The Spinoff’s think tank did the following in less than nine minutes:

Feta

  • Challade (cheese for salad, sounds fancy)
  • Shrek Cheese (because of the famous sheep)
  • Shrek Cheese (because of local Shrek hero Andrew Adamson)
  • Beta (pronounced like “better”)
  • Fetter (the better feta)
  • Fitta (feta said in a New Zealand accent)

But wait, there’s more. New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association board member Daniel Shields said that other European cheese names could be soon on the chopping block. “This creates uncertainty and makes it hard for New Zealand operators to invest in their businesses with confidence when the threat of a loss of equity in the intellectual property of traditional cheese names looms.” Think tank, assemble

Camembert

  • Air NZ Cheese (brought to you by Air NZ)
  • Cammy B (why not)

Edam 

  • The cheese that’s made backwards

Brie

Gruyère

  • Nah Yeah
  • Despicable Cheese (after Gru from the Minion movies)

Gorgonzola 

  • Bromley (because very stinky)
  • Demogorgonzola (Stranger Things)

Haloumi 

  • Vegetarian bacon
  • Le Squeak

Chèvre

  • Araparawa (indigenous goat)
  • Steve from Bunnings (viral goat who went to Bunnings)

Mozzarella

Red Leicester

The Bulletin: Auckland mayoral candidate wants to scrap light rail

Mayoral candidate Viv Beck says she wants to scrap the government’s $14.6 billion light rail project for now. If elected mayor, Beck would push for a city-wide rapid transit network, including a fully separated busway alongside the Northwestern motorway. Beck said light rail is a bold project but it’s impossible to see how it could be feasible now, particularly given the impact of Covid on the economy.

Efeso Collins will announce details of his policy for free public transport at an event in West Auckland on Tuesday. A recent report commissioned by the country’s two largest unions, the PSA and First Union, included a poll of 722 Aucklanders that showed 73% of people supported making public transport permanently free.

Red Hot Chili Peppers announce two stadium shows, with Post Malone

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are returning to New Zealand for two massive summer stadium shows – and they’ll be joined by Post Malone.

The band will perform in Auckland at Mount Smart Stadium on January 21 next year before heading to Dunedin for a show at Forsyth Barr Stadium on January 26.

It’s the latest in a series of concert announcements set to make summer one of the biggest ever for live events, as touring resumes after Covid-19 lockdowns. And by all accounts, there are more still to be announced.

A presale for tickets begins on Wednesday before the general release next Monday.

Ardern heads to Australia for next leg of trade mission

Jacinda Ardern is headed to Australia after wrapping her whirlwind tour of Europe.

The prime minister is leading a trade mission of over 30 businesses, before holding a leaders’ meeting with her Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.

After the success of her European visit, which included a $1.8 billion trade deal with the European Union, all eyes will be on whether Ardern can secure any significant wins during her talks with Albanese. During their last meeting on Australian soil, the two prime ministers signalled further discussion was needed on the controversial 501 deportees issue.

“This trade mission is one of many steps this government is taking to reconnect New Zealand with the world while actively strengthening partnerships between government, business and industry,” Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

“Australia is our second largest trading partner, with two-way trade accounting for over $22 billion in the year to December 2021, and is the first export market many New Zealand companies look to.”

In Melbourne, Ardern will attend an ANZ business breakfast event and a dinner showcasing New Zealand food and beverage. She will also meet with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews. Then, in Sydney, she will attend a number of events linked to tourism and meet with meet with New South Wales premier Dominic Perrotte.

(Photo / PMO)

A number of New Zealand ministers will also travel to Sydney for the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum. Ardern will be joined by Grant Robertson, Damien O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Willie Jackson, Michael Wood, Ayesha Verrall and James Shaw.

“The forum is an important opportunity to engage with government and business leaders from both sides of the Tasman on our shared economic recovery in an increasingly uncertain world,” Ardern said.

Speaking to RNZ on behalf of Ardern, senior minister Megan Woods said the primary focus of the trip was on “trade” and therefore it’s not certain that the issue of the 501s will be on the agenda. “I can’t tell you whether it’s on the agenda for this particular meeting… [but] it continues to be a priority for the prime minister,” she said.

Read more on the PM’s European tour in today’s Bulletin