Monkeypox will become a “notifiable disease” in New Zealand, meaning any confirmed or suspected cases have to be reported.
Caused by an orthopoxvirus that is closely related to the virus that caused smallpox, monkeypox is an animal virus that occasionally infects humans after they are bitten or scratched by a monkey or other animal.
Speaking at a post-cabinet press conference, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the risk to New Zealand from monkeypox remained low, despite cases spreading around the world. “There have been no known cases of Monkeypox in New Zealand,” she said.
On the risk of the monkeypox outbreak growing into a global pandemic, associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said that it was a “very different” disease to Covid-19. “Previously we have seen monkeypox lead to quite short chains of transmission… whereas Covid was a totally novel pathogen,” she said.
Jacinda Ardern has lined up two face-to-face meetings with close Pacific counterparts.
The prime minister will travel later this week to Australia, where she will meet with Anthony Albanese for the very first time since he took office.
“The relationship between New Zealand and Australia is like family,” Ardern said. “It’s fitting that as New Zealand’s prime minister I will be the first foreign head of government to meet with prime minister Albanese in Australia since he took office a couple of weeks ago.”
Albanese took office late last month and managed to secure a slim majority government for his Labour Party. Issues likely to be discussed by the two leaders include climate change, the Indo Pacific Economic Framework, Aukus, and the upcoming Pacific Island Forum, said Ardern.
Australia’s deportation policy and the rights of New Zealanders will be raised with Albanese, said Ardern. “Regardless of who is in office, we want to make progress… that doesn’t mean them having no deportation policy because we have one.”
Sāmoan PM to visit New Zealand
Then, next week, New Zealand will host Sāmoa’s prime minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa for a series of meetings and engagements. Mataʻafa will arrived in the country on June 14 for a trip marking the 60th anniversary of Sāmoa’s independence. She will meet with Ardern and other ministers and visit Auckland, Wellington and Hawke’s Bay.
“This is a significant year for Sāmoa as it celebrates 60 years of independence on June 1, and 60 years since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand on August 1,” said Ardern.
“The Treaty underpins our relationship and pledges that both countries work together to promote the welfare of the people of Sāmoa.”
The meeting between Ardern and Mataʻafa comes at a crucial time for Pacific diplomacy, with tensions growing over China’s increased influence in the region. Foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta has been facing criticism from the opposition over a perceived lack of engagement with the issue, a view strongly rejected by Ardern.
Fewer than 70,000 people in the crucial 25-54 age bracket tuned into Shortland Street’s 30th anniversary week, according to new viewing figures.
Nielson reports that 69,100 people in the age group were watching the TVNZ2 soap across the week of May 22 to 28 – the week the show celebrated 30 years on New Zealand television. That represents a 3.5% audience share for the five episodes.
The most watched shows in the age group were 1News with 157,700 people and Country Calendar with 145,000.
Across all viewers aged 5+, Shortland Street doesn’t even make the top 20 (but both 1News and Country Calendar retain their top two positions).
The Spinoff helped share in the Shortland Street anniversary celebrations with a week of themed content. You can read our Street Week pieces here.
New Zealand’s pandemic death toll has risen by 14, taking the total number of publicly reported deaths up to 1,243.
This is the first Covid update since Sunday, with the Ministry of Health not releasing numbers yesterday because of the public holiday.
Of the people whose deaths are being reported today, one was from Northland, two were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, five were from Canterbury and four were from the Southern region. Eight were men and six were women, and all were over the age of 50.
There are now 371 people in hospital with Covid-19, with nine in intensive care.
Since Sunday’s Covid update, another 10,191 community cases have been recorded – so roughly 5,000 per day. Covid numbers are often lower across weekends, and long weekends in particular. In Auckland, which remains the Covid epicentre, there have been just under 3,000 recorded cases since Sunday.
The news output at The Spinoff is almost entirely possible because of the support from our members.
As the editor of our live updates, I truly value that. Without your support, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Wellington in February tocover the protests outside parliament. That will feasibly be the biggest local news story of the decade and it was critical that we had a reporter on the ground who could tell the stories that needed telling. As we approach local elections and then general elections, the need for news remains more important than ever – and you help make it happen.
MediaWorks, the radio and advertising business, could soon become a branch of Sky TV.
The broadcaster has confirmed, reports BusinessDesk, it is in talks to buy MediaWorks in a move that would see the network’s stable of radio stations become part of Sky. That includes new talk station Today FM along with big name music brands like The Edge and The Rock.
MediaWorks was the former owner of TV3 until it quit the television market to focus on radio. A deal with Sky could potentially see a return to MediaWorks talent, like Today FM’s Tova O’Brien, appearing on the small screen.
According to BusinessDesk, a sale to Sky would see MediaWorks’ boss Cam Wallace receive a mega pay rise. Wallace acquired 1.5% of MediaWorks’ holding company for $300,000.
However, any deal would still need approval from the Commerce Commission.
Listen to Cam Wallace speak with Duncan Greive in March last year:
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Over 50 flights out of Auckland Airport have been cancelled or delayed this morning as fog blanketed much of the city.
While the skies have started to clear, the Herald reported that approximately 21 domestic regional flights have been cancelled and 31 domestic regional flights delayed due to fog.
Auckland’s ferries have also had interference due to the weather. Delays were reported across the network after poor visibility caused by the fog.
Meanwhile, the fog caused traffic chaos on Auckland’s motorways earlier this morning. Crashes were reported on the southern motorway near Ellerslie, and north of the city near Warkworth.
Heavy fog remains in patches across the Auckland motorway network this morning. With reduced visibility please remember to keep your lights on, allow extra time and mind your following distance. ^TP pic.twitter.com/O7SibQZqFu
— Waka Kotahi NZTA Auckland & Northland (@WakaKotahiAkNth) June 6, 2022
The Herald is reporting that work is underway to review the datasets used to calculate the country’s vaccination rates. Rates will be lower than touted as a result. The Ministry of Health used health service utilisation (HSU) data which counts those who engaged with the health system during 2020. Back when we were obsessively checking vaccination rates you may have noticed that rates were often different depending on where you were getting your information. Up until October last year, Stuff used Statistics NZ population data as they believed it was more accurate which meant they reported lower vaccination rates than the ministry.
HSU data is regarded as flawed and known to undercount Māori. In December, the Waitangi Tribunal found that the Ministry of Health’s data collection “does not collect sufficient data to accurately and equitably inform the rollout of the vaccine for Māori”.
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The prime minister has defended her under-fire foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta as tensions ramp up in the Pacific.
Opposition parties have criticised Mahuta for being supposedly “missing in action” on the issue of China’s growing influence in the Pacific Islands. National’s Gerry Brownlee said that while the likes of Australia have been “engaging with the region”, Mahuta and the government have “gone radio silent”.
Speaking to Newshub’s AM, Jacinda Ardern disagreed. “When you’re a new government you get out quickly to see people,” she said of why Australia’s foreign minister has been touring the Pacific. “In the last 18 months, we have had 100 formal engagements with our counterparts. We’ve just increased our investment in the region by 45% over three years.”
Ardern said that the Pacific Islands are sovereign nations and can determine their own face-to-face engagement. “Some of the commentary I have seen does not appreciate, or give any acknowledgement, that the Pacific are sovereign nations,” she said.
Border controls had also been a factor, said Ardern, though Tongan officials had travelled here and the foreign minister has been to Fiji. Mahuta was now planning further travel, but Ardern added that stepping foot into a country was not a “measure of our relationship”.
The “partygate”-embattled British prime minister Boris Johnson has lived to fight another day after Conservative MPs voted by 211 to 148 to keep him as leader. According to party rules, by surviving the no-confidence vote, which was triggered after 15% of Tory members wrote letters calling for him to go, Johnson cannot face another such vote for at least a year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the result of the confidence vote is an 'opportunity to put behind us all the stuff that people in the media like going on about'.
Already, however, some are calling the victory “pyrrhic”, given more than 40% of his own MPs have said they want him out. Theresa May survived by a slightly smaller margin in 2018, but she left about four months later amid a Brexit deadlock. Could Johnson do the same and fall on his sword? His history suggests that’s highly unlikely. A snippet from a Sunday Times news feature across the weekend sums it up well enough:
If Johnson does badly but refuses to budge, a former cabinet minister said: “It is the job of the chief whip to decide what is in the best interests of the party and present him with a brandy and a revolver. The problem is that Boris would probably drink the brandy and shoot the chief.”
The results of a vote on the future of Boris Johnson’s premiership is expected imminently.
UK Conservatives have conducted a ballot this morning after the Sue Gray report detailing lockdown rule-breaking in Downing Street. It revealed Johnson had breached his own government’s Covid-19 restrictions, joining staff for alcohol-fuelled festivities within parliament buildings.
He was fined but faced no other penalty.
According to the BBC, Johnson is likely to win the vote at this stage and remain as prime minister. Over 150 Conservative MPs have publicly declared their support for Johnson, while about 40 have said they expressed no confidence.
Should Johnson lose the vote, he will be forced to stand down as PM.