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Live UpdatesAug 6 2022

Willis tears into Labour spending on day one of Nats’ conference

live-update-August-6-2022.jpg

Willis tears into Labour spending on day one of Nats’ conference

Aug 6 2022

Brian Tamaki claims four parties to join in new umbrella group to contest election

Speaking to a Freedom and Rights Coalition rally at the Auckland Domain today, Brian Tamaki said that his efforts to create a political “umbrella movement” for the next election had seen four parties make “firm verbal agreements” to unite under a single banner. He did not name the parties. The Destiny Church leader cited numerous political priorities, from the cost of living to health and gang crime, but said the parties’ shared ambition was to see “the political establishment cleaned out”. Tamaki restated his promise not to personally seek political office.

At the rally, which saw a handful of verbal skirmishes break out with a colourfully clothed “FARC Off Brian” counter-protest, a stall was in place collecting sign-ups for a new party, which signage suggested would be called “Freedoms NZ: Uniting Political Parties and Freedom Movements”. The website address FreedomsNZ.co.nz, though not active, is registered to the Freedom and Rights Coalition.

Previous examples of umbrella parties (or component parties), which are provided for under the Electoral Act, are the Alliance, Internet-Mana and Advance NZ. To formally register, a party needs to have 500 financial members who are eligible to enrol.

For more on Tamaki’s electoral and protest plans, including a “People’s Court on parliament steps for crimes against Kiwis”, go here.

A sign promoting the proposed Freedom NZ umbrella political party at today’s protest in Auckland (Image: Screengrab)

Covid-19 latest: 14 new Covid deaths, 648 hospitalisations, 4,790 new cases

There have been 14 new deaths attributable to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.

A total of 25 deaths occurred among people with Covid, with the actual cause of death for some still yet to be determined.

Of those people, four were in their 60s, six were in their 70s, nine were in their 80s and six were aged over 90. Of these people, 15 were women and nine were men.

There is now a total of 1,638 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. In the past seven days there have been an average of 14 deaths confirmed each day as being attributable to Covid-19.

There have been 4,790 newly reported community cases and 648 current hospitalisations. Nineteen people are in ICU.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5,608. Last Saturday it was 7,405.

Willis attacks government on cost of living in speech to National conference

The National Party conference in Christchurch has kicked off with a speech from finance spokesperson Nicola Willis lambasting the government for its tax and spend policies.

“More tax is in Labour’s DNA,” Willis said, “and they’re dreaming up new ways to take it,” pointing to Grant Robertson’s planned new social insurance scheme – labelled a “jobs tax” by National – and revenue minister David Parker’s work on tax policy including what Willis called a “Piketty Unit” at the IRD, “after his idol, the socialist economist and wealth-tax advocate Thomas Piketty”.

National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis delivers a post budget address on May 20, 2022. (Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Labour’s spending also came under attack, with Willis criticising the cost of living payment, which she joked should be called “KiwiSpray” – “It’s like KiwiBuild only instead of being 99,000 houses short, it’s 800,000 payments short.”

She continued: “Ask yourself this:  Are you spending 70% more today than you were five years ago? I doubt it. Well, the government is. Are they getting 70% better results? Of course they aren’t.

“They’re simply addicted to spending.”

She reiterated National’s plans to rein in spending while cutting a raft of recent new taxes including the brightline test for property re-sales, the so-called “ute tax”, and the 39% top tax rate, which she called an “envy tax”.

The conference continues through the weekend, with leader Chris Luxon scheduled to address party faithful tomorrow afternoon.

Police close motorway ramps as protest gets underway

Auckland police and the NZTA have closed the Southern Motorway’s on and off ramps at Khyber Pass in Newmarket in preparation for action from anti-government demonstrators.

The latest Freedom and Rights Coalition protest is underway at the Auckland Domain, with a small group of counter-protestors also present.

Today’s actions by police follow a march by the Brian Tamaki-led FRC onto the Southern Motorway two weeks ago. Hundreds of people defied police to walk en masse onto the motorway between Khyber Pass and Gillies Avenue, causing severe traffic disruptions.

The FRC has not yet made public its planned route for today, but has said it would not be the same as the previous protest and would be “impactive”.

Police say they will be closely monitoring the protest.