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Race tightens in Tauranga with a week to go

Race tightens in Tauranga with a week to go

Jun 12 2022

Covid-19 latest: Nine deaths, 354 hospitalisations and 4,402 cases

Image: Toby Morris

The Ministry of Health has reported 4,402 new community cases, 354 current hospitalisations and nine deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5,919. Last Sunday it was 6,779

Today’s reported deaths all occurred in the past seven days and take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,320. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13.

Of the people who have died, one was from Northland, three were from the Auckland region, two were from the Wellington region; two were from Canterbury; and one was from Southern.

One person was in their 60s; three were in their 70s; four were in their 80s; and one was aged over 90. Three were women and six were men.

Finn Batato, member of the ‘Megaupload four’, dies after long illness

Finn Batato pictured in 2013 ((Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Finn Batato, one of four New Zealand men who originally faced extradition to the US on charges connected to the file-sharing site Megaupload, has died of cancer. His friend and former boss Kim Dotcom shared the news in a post this morning on his Substack newsletter.

German-born and based Batato, the chief marketing officer for the site, became enmeshed in the decade-long extradition battle after flying to New Zealand for Dotcom’s birthday celebrations at his Coatesville mansion in January 2012. Batato, Dotcom and fellow Megaupload executives Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested on racketeering and money laundering charges following a raid by New Zealand police at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Finn Batato pictured in 2013 ((Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Batato was unable to leave New Zealand, and spent the next nine years in this country fighting the extradition request alongside his co-defendants. In 2021 the US dropped its request to extradite Batato due to his ill health, and in May 2022 the US also dropped extradition proceedings against Ortmann and van der Kolk after the pair agreed to instead face similar charges in a New Zealand court.

Dotcom, the founder and former owner of Megaupload, continues to face extradition proceedings.

In his tribute to his friend, Dotcom wrote of Batato’s final months in New Zealand.

“After he was diagnosed with terminal cancer… he was allowed to travel to Germany to spend time with his family and he was able to have dinner with his friends at our favorite restaurant one last time. He was happy when he rang me from Germany. Finn returned to New Zealand recently to try a third chemotherapy but it didn’t work,” Dotcom wrote.

“Finn started a new family in New Zealand. Fortunately he met his soulmate and true love Simone in his final years. They got married recently. He is leaving three young children and his loving wife behind. His youngest son was born just a few months ago. His family travelled from Germany to be with Finn and he passed away peacefully.”

Former NZ First MP Richard Prosser dies aged 55

Richard Prosser was a NZ First MP between 2007 and 2011 (Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs)

Controversial former NZ First MP Richard Prosser has died suddenly in London.

Prosser was a list MP based in Waimakariri between 2011 and 2017.

Party leader Winston Peters shared the news this morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this sad and challenging time,” he wrote in a tweet.

Prosser had a long history of sharing controversial opinions, and was thrust into the international spotlight in 2013 when he made racist comments about Muslim countries in his regular column for Investigate magazine.

In his column, he called for young Muslim men to be banned from flying on Western airlines and said the rights of New Zealanders were being “denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”. He later apologised for his comments.

Richard Prosser was a NZ First MP between 2011 and 2017 (Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs)

New poll has National ahead in Tauranga – but by much less than before

National’s Tauranga byelection candidate Sam Uffindell (Photo: Supplied)

National’s Sam Uffindell is still leading the pack in the Tauranga byelection, but with a much tighter margin than a week ago, according to a new Kantar Public poll for TVNZ’s Q+A.

Today’s poll, covering a survey period of May 31 – June 8, has Uffindell leading Labour’s Jan Tinetti by 10 percentage points, 45% to 35%.

Last Saturday’s Newshub Reid Research poll had Uffindell on 57% of the preferred candidate vote, far outstripping Tinetti on 22%.

Election day is next Saturday, June 18.