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Covid death toll rises by two; 28 new community cases

Welcome to a brand new year of The Spinoff’s live updates. This week we’re still on summer hours and will be bringing you a curated selection of breaking news and other top stories. Normal service resumes next week. Need to get in touch? I’m on


Covid death toll rises by two; 28 new community cases

Welcome to a brand new year of The Spinoff’s live updates. This week we’re still on summer hours and will be bringing you a curated selection of breaking news and other top stories. Normal service resumes next week. Need to get in touch? I’m on

Jan 12 2022

‘F**ker of a year’: Northern Bass scraps rescheduled event due to omicron

Northland music festival Northern Bass has officially pulled the plug on its already rescheduled event.

Originally set to take place in December, the festival was bumped to the end of January over concerns regarding Northland’s vaccination rate. However, organisers have today decided to entirely scrap the event in the face of the omicron strain of Covid-19.

“It’s been a long few weeks of ups and downs and thanks to so many of you for sticking with us through it all, but at the end of the day, we had to make the decision that keeps the majority as safe as possible,” said a statement on the Northern Bass Instagram page.

“We had to consider the Northland vax rates just not being what they need to be, the growing threat of omicron, headliners who couldn’t travel due to being positive for Covid and all of the festivals that ended up as locations of interest. It’s just not a risk we can take, a risk we can put Northland at, or a risk we can expose you all to.”

2021 was a “f**ker of a year”, the post continued. “In a few weeks, we are going to be putting this all behind us and getting on with 2022 and launching tickets for [Northern Bass] 22/23.”

Organisers said they had hoped the January dates would be safe, but things have changed since the decision to postpone was made.


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A post shared by Northern Bass NZ (@northernbassnz)

28 new community Covid-19 cases; 65 new border cases

There are 28 new community cases of Covid-19, with 65 cases also confirmed at our border.

Of the new community cases, 17 were confirmed in Auckland, four in Bay of Plenty, four in the Lakes DHB, one in Waikato, one in Christchurch and one in South Canterbury.

The Ministry of Health has also confirmed that 196 omicron cases have been detected in managed isolation since the start of December, while 11 people tested positive for delta after arriving into the country. Another 217 Covid-19 border cases have not yet been genomically linked but the ministry expects “the vast majority” will have the omicron strain.

“During the same period, more than 18,000 people have arrived and been processed through MIQ facilities,” said the ministry. “New Zealand has taken steps to manage the risk of a community omicron outbreak linked to border cases, including increasing the period overseas arrivals must spend in MIQ, and shifting the focus of whole genome sequencing to areas of most risk, such as for any cases in border workers.”

On the vaccine front, 40% of the eligible population have now received a booster shot. 92% of the eligible population have received both primary doses of the vaccine.

Today’s case details

There are 17 cases to report in Auckland today. “Health and welfare providers are now supporting 888 people in the region to isolate at home, including 185 cases,” said the ministry.

There is one new case in the Waikato. The case is in Atiamuri. Pop-up testing sites are operating in Whangamatā, Te Kūiti, Taumarunui, Tokoroa, Ōtorohanga, Putāruru, Huntly and Hamilton today.

There are four cases to report in Tauranga today, all of which are close contacts of previously reported cases. All cases are isolating at home or in managed accommodation.

There are four new cases in Rotorua. One case is a close contact of a previously reported case, and three are still being investigated for links to previously reported cases. All cases are isolating at home or in managed accommodation.

There is a total of four community cases in Canterbury and one in South Canterbury. This includes a pair of cases announced yesterday, along with three new cases that will be formally added to the ministry’s tally tomorrow. Two are close contacts of previously reported case and one remains under investigation.

Covid-19 death toll increases by two

New Zealand’s Covid-19 death toll has risen by two.

The Ministry of Health has announced a man in his 30s died with Covid-19 at home on January 5. He tested for the virus post-death and returned a positive result.

In addition, a man is his 60s died with Covid-19 at Middlemore Hospital on Sunday.

“Our thoughts are with their whānau and friends at this deeply sad time,” said a Ministry of Health spokesperson. No further details will be released about the deaths out of respect for the families, added the ministry.

Rejected baby names of 2021 revealed

Sovereign Messiah, Tovia-Justyss and PrincessVaga were among some of the baby names declined in New Zealand in 2021.

The Department of Internal Affairs has released the full list of rejected names, showing royalty was a theme along with official titles such as Baron, Chief and Ms. Despite the events of last year, no one tried to name their baby “Covid”, according to the department. Two children were almost named III – as in the Roman numeral for three – while one was nearly IV.

“It’s fine to give your baby a creative name, as long as the name isn’t causing any offence, and it fits within the guidelines,” said registrar-general Jeff Montgomery.

In a 2018 article for The Spinoff, lawyer Bevan Marten wrote about how he helped overturn a rejection for a baby named Justus. This ruling did not, however, set a precedent for future families wanting to use the name.

The full list of rejected baby names from 2021

  • . [in name]
  • Baron
  • Chief
  • Commodore
  • Crown
  • Duke
  • Eva-Queen
  • General
  • III
  • Isis
  • IV
  • Kalyn-King
  • King
  • King-James
  • Kyro-King
  • Majesty
  • Major
  • Marquise
  • Mayger
  • Mesiah
  • Messiah
  • Ms
  • Prince
  • Princess
  • Princess-Reign
  • PrincessVaga
  • Prynce
  • Pryncess
  • Rogue
  • Royal
  • Royale
  • Royaleliza
  • Royal-Haze
  • Royalred
  • Royalt
  • Royal’Tee
  • Royalty
  • Saiint
  • Saint
  • Saint-Aura
  • Shaleina-King
  • Sheriff
  • Souljah
  • Sovereign
  • Sovereign Messiah
  • Tovia-Justyss

Wellington MIQ hotel half empty over New Year

More than half of the rooms at Wellington’s only managed isolation facility remained empty over the New Year break, despite pressure from overseas New Zealanders wanting to come home.

According to the Herald, the empty rooms were the result of the MIQ cohorting rules that prevent arrivals from outside a two day window staying at the same facility.

The Grand Mercure Hotel was home to 44 passengers across its 92 isolation rooms and 13 quarantine rooms. All of those arrivals were from a single flight that arrived on December 29.

New locations of interest spread across lower North Island, Christchurch

A number of new Covid-19 locations of interest were confirmed overnight, mainly in the lower North Island.

Several shops in the Queensgate Mall in Lower Hutt have now been linked to the virus, along with locations in Petone, Feilding and in the Wairarapa. New locations have also been confirmed in Christchurch, including Riccarton Kmart and the central city Kathmandu store.

It follows an Auckland music festival yesterday being named as a new location along with a high end hotel in Taupō.