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Ardern tests positive for Covid; new poll puts National and Act ahead for first time

Ardern tests positive for Covid; new poll puts National and Act ahead for first time

May 14 2022

Covid-19 latest: 18 deaths, 398 hospitalisations, 7,068 community cases

Image: Toby Morris

The Ministry of Health has today reported 7,068 community cases, 398 hospitalisations and 18 deaths with Covid-19.

Today’s seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 7,595, roughly the same as it was last Saturday.

COVID-19 deaths

The 18 deaths reported today include 10 people who have died over the past two days and eight people who has died since 28 April.

These deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 958. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 15.

Of the people who have died, two people were from Northland; four were from Auckland; three were from Waikato, one was was Lakes DHB, two were from MidCentral, two were from the Wellington region, one was form the West Coast, one was from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury and one from Southern.

One person was in their 40s, one in their 60s, five in their 70s; five in their 80s and six were aged over 90.

Nine were women and nine were men.

National and Act could form government, new poll finds

National leader Christopher Luxon and Act leader David Seymour (Photos: Getty Images)

A new poll released today suggests that, based on current voting intentions, Act and National would be able to form a government at the next election.

The poll, commissioned by the Taxpayers’ Union and conducted by Curia, is the first since the election that has the centre-right ahead of Labour and the Greens.

National is on 36,8%, Labour is 34.2% and the Greens are on 9.7%. The Act Party is on is on 10.9%, which would net it 14 MPs.

The Taxpayers’ Union Curia poll also asked voters about their most important issues and whether they believed New Zealand is headed in the wrong or right direction. The responses show that the cost of living has shot up into first place as the major voting issue as worries about Covid-19 fade. Meanwhile, 48% believe we are headed in the wrong direction versus 34% who believe we are headed in the right direction.

The poll was conducted from Wednesday 04 May to Wednesday 11 May 2022. The sample size was 1,000 eligible New Zealand voters who are contactable on a landline or mobile phone (700 respondents) or online panel (300 respondents), selected at random from 20,000 nationwide phone numbers.

PM Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

Jacinda Ardern wears her 2021 secret Santa gift: a Mike Hosking-printed mask (Photo: Instagram)

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for Covid-19. She has been in isolation since last Sunday, May 8, when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive.

Their daughter Neve tested positive on Wednesday and Ardern returned a weak positive last night, when she first became symptomatic. She returned a clear positive this morning on a RAT test.

At this stage her symptoms are moderate, according to a spokesperson.

As a result of testing positive, the PM will be required to isolate until the morning of next Saturday, May 21. She will not be in Parliament this week for the release of the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan this coming Monday nor for the budget on Thursday.

Travel arrangements for her trade mission to the United States are unaffected at this stage.


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A post shared by Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern)

The spokesperson said the PM will undertake what duties she can remotely this week, but deputy PM Grant Robertson will take the post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

“This is a milestone week for the government and I’m gutted I can’t be there for it,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Our emissions reduction plan set’s the path to achieve our carbon zero goal and the budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand’s health system.

“But as I said earlier in the week isolating with Covid-19 is a very Kiwi experience this year and my family is no different.”

New comedy prize celebrating originality to be named after the Topp Twins

Dames Jules and Lynda Topp at their investiture in 2018. (Photo: Dave Rowland/Getty Images.)

The New Zealand Comedy Trust today announced the Topp Prize, a new $15,000 award to be presented annually to a “wild card” of the comedy scene in Aotearoa. The award “pays homage to the irreverent spirit of the Topp Twins”, who celebrate their 40th anniversary as entertainers this year.

“We are so happy to be associated with this exciting new award. Comedy isn’t just about stand-up — it’s also for people who may like to sit down,” said Dame Jools Topp in a release announcing the prize. “The award acknowledges the diverse forms that comedy can take,” Dame Lynda Topp added. “We are thrilled to have this award named in our honour — if I was a younger comedian, I’d love to win this.”

Jules and Lynda Topp
Dames Jules and Lynda Topp at their investiture in 2018. (Photo: Dave Rowland/Getty Images.)

The award is non-competitive, and will be given annually to a practising individual, duo or group with a unique voice and generosity of spirit, “who makes Aotearoa laugh with an out-of-the-box approach”, whether onscreen, offscreen or in a completely unexpected comedy space altogether (memes?). It exists separately to the New Zealand Comedy Trust’s other two main prizes, the Billy T and the Fred, which are awarded to a live stage show performed at the annual NZ International Comedy Festival.

The inaugural recipient of the Topp Prize will be announced at an event this September.

Kendrick Lamar and his cousin Baby Keem are coming to Auckland

Kendrick Lamar in his new video ‘The Heart Part 5’

Chris Schulz writes:

This is it, the big one, the concert news hip-hop fans have been waiting for: Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar has released his brand new double album, Mr Morale & the Big Steppers, and with it comes tour plans to visit New Zealand at the end of the year.

Lamar will perform at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Friday, December 16, for the final date of his The Big Steppers world tour, which kicks off in Oklahoma in July. Lamar’s cousin Baby Keem, a break out rap star in 2021, will perform in support. If you can’t already tell, I’m incredibly excited for this one.

Kendrick Lamar in his new video ‘The Heart Part 5’

The Grammy winner’s tour plans follow the release of his first new album in five years, and a controversial music video for recent single ‘The Heart Part 5’ featuring deepfake video technology that saw the rapper morphing into Kanye West, Will Smith, Nipsey Hustle and Koby Bryant.

He’s one of many big names set to visit Aotearoa in 2022, with Billie Eilish, Tyler, the Creator, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, The Killers, London Grammar, Liam Gallagher, Alt-J, Tash Sultana, Tame Impala and Snoop Dogg all scheduled to perform by December.

If those dates all go ahead, Covid permitting, it will be a return to the glory days of international touring not seen since 2019. Tickets for Lamar’s show go on sale on May 20. A Live Nation pre-sale begins on May 19.