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Live UpdatesJul 15 2022

Covid hospitalisations keep climbing

It’s Friday again! Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 15, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Get in touch on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The latest

  • No decision on extending fuel tax cuts as expert warns of gas station chaos.
  • Amazon has released its biggest teaser yet for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series.
  • Consumer NZ has warned fast food buyers to be wary of hidden delivery fees.
  • Auckland mayoral hopeful Wayne Brown has called for his fellow candidate Leo Molloy to quit the race.
  • Covid-19 update: Hospitalisations climb, daily case average nears 10,000.
blog-july-15.jpg

Covid hospitalisations keep climbing

It’s Friday again! Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 15, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Get in touch on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The latest

  • No decision on extending fuel tax cuts as expert warns of gas station chaos.
  • Amazon has released its biggest teaser yet for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series.
  • Consumer NZ has warned fast food buyers to be wary of hidden delivery fees.
  • Auckland mayoral hopeful Wayne Brown has called for his fellow candidate Leo Molloy to quit the race.
  • Covid-19 update: Hospitalisations climb, daily case average nears 10,000.
Jul 15 2022

When the Facts Change: Time to pull the migration lever?

Businesses, hospitals and the opposition are pleading for a loosening of migrant worker restrictions to ease the intense labour shortages that are forcing cancellations and jury-rigged services up and down the motu. On this episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey sits down to interview Productivity Commission chair Ganesh Nana to find out if a migration surge would solve our productivity problem, and why any decision to pull the migration lever must also look to pull the infrastructure investment lever.

Listen to the new episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Do you have an idea that could change the world?


For more than 100 years 3M has used science to improve lives with iconic innovations like Post-it Notes, Scotch tape, and more. The 3M Inspire Challenge invites undergraduate tertiary students to tackle real-life business challenges with innovative, equitable and sustainable solutions.Prizes include up to US$7,000 and internships at 3M. To learn more about the competition and to enter, click here.

Covid-19 update: Hospitalisations climb, daily case average nears 10,000

The Ministry of Health has finally come back from its lunch break and published today’s Covid-19 numbers – revealing a slight bump in hospitalisations.

There are now 773 people being treated with Covid-19, including 14 in intensive care. “The increase in cases and hospitalisations emphasises the importance of everybody doing the basics well to help prevent infection and serious illness,” said the ministry. “In particular, people should stay home if they are unwell, take a rapid antigen test (RAT) and upload the result on My Covid Record, and isolate if positive or while still symptomatic.”

Another 10,470 community infections have been reported, with the rolling average of new cases edging closer to 10,000 as well – it’s sitting at 9,994 now.

A further 16 people with Covid-19 have died, bringing the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,776 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths to 16.

All of the latest deaths, which occurred over the past 11 days, were people over 60.

Once again, the ministry has reiterated its advice for dealing with the winter surge in Covid cases. “Wearing a mask remains one of the best measures to reduce transmission of infectious respiratory illnesses, including Covid-19,” the ministry said.

“The more layers of protection people put in place – such as mask wearing, vaccinations, and staying home when sick – the more they reduce the risk of spreading respiratory viruses.”

Abortion views damage Luxon’s personal rating – new poll

The aftermath of the US Roe v Wade ruling has damaged the personal brand of National’s leader, according to a new poll.

The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll, published by the Herald, has Christopher Luxon down 5.6% to around 22% in the preferred prime minister stakes. That’s roughly half the result of Jacinda Ardern who sits on 41.2%, up 1.5 points.

While Luxon was quick to rule out tampering with New Zealand’s abortion laws should he become prime minister, the National Party was slow to condemn the Roe v Wade ruling that overturned constitutional abortion rights. Luxon also had to censure one of his own MPs after Simon O’Connor welcomed the ruling on social media.

Commentary released alongside the poll linked Luxon’s result with the US court decision, saying his support “dropped off” in the wake of Roe v Wade’s overturning.

However, despite Luxon’s own polling, National remained the most popular party according to the poll. It dropped just 0.4% to 37 points, ahead of Labour on 34.7%, Act on 10% and the Greens on 8.5%.

Latest Covid numbers still not published

In case anyone is hovering here waiting for the Covid numbers – I am too! It’s a bit like the old days, when the Ministry of Health would frequently post the Covid stats well past 1pm.

I’ll have them as soon as they land.

Image: Toby Morris

The Friday Quiz

It’s quiz time – see how well you’ve been following the news this week.


‘Not fit for the job’: Auckland mayoral hopeful calls for Leo Molloy to quit race

Auckland mayoral hopeful Wayne Brown has called for his fellow candidate Leo Molloy to quit the race, citing “bizarre antics, short-temper and foul-mouthed rants” on the TV.

Molloy appeared on last night’s episode of New Zealand Today, a Three comedy programme hosted by Guy Williams.

During the episode, Molloy used offensive slurs, repeatedly labelled Williams a “soft cock” and eventually fought the comedian in a boxing ring.

Brown said Molloy’s appearance should disqualify him from running for mayor. “The Mayor of Auckland should be a serious, dignified role, that represents and leads our city on the national and global stage, and fixes difficult and complex problems – Mr Molloy is not fit for the job,” said Brown.

“Behaviour like this, and scrutiny of his past record, suggest he isn’t a suitable person to hold the office of Mayor of Auckland.”

He added: “While the show is light hearted, his abusive performance and now familiar recourse to wanting to ‘give a hiding’ when debate gets too much went well beyond an attempt at humour – to the point he needs to seek professional help.”

Molloy told the Herald that it was Brown who should actually be leaving the mayoral race. “Does he understand what comedy is?” Molloy questioned.

New Gone by Lunchtime: Relentlessly negative and around the world

The Rats are back: Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas have been released from isolation and there’s a lot to catch up on. With Toby Manhire, they discuss the surging winter Covid wave, the new measures and the health system; what Jacinda Ardern achieved at Nato, the EU and in Australia; and Christopher Luxon’s own trip abroad and his response on abortion and policy as MP Simon O’Connor cheers the Roe v Wade overturn.

And there’s more: Te Pāti Māori’s AGM and the petition on Te Matatini funding, plus Act’s conference and David Seymour’s demands for the first 100 days of a National-Act government.

Listen to the latest Gone by Lunchtime below, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Be wary of hidden delivery fees, says Consumer NZ

Consumer NZ has warned fast food buyers to be wary of hidden delivery fees.

The watchdog uses Pizza Hut as an example, saying that if you order a large meat lovers pizza in a Pizza Hut store it will cost you $15.39. But if you opt to get it delivered, the same pizza costs $18.49, plus a delivery charge of $7.99.

“The true cost of getting your pizza delivered is actually $11.09,” said Consumer NZ. “It’s not just the pizza that’s more expensive, either. The cost of every item in your cart increases if you opt for delivery. This means you could end up paying significantly more for your delivered order than if you opted to collect it.”

According to Consumer NZ, other outlets like KFC and Taco Bell also hike their price for delivered items – and it’s similar on third party apps like Uber Eats.

“We think businesses should be upfront about additional delivery fees so the customer can make an informed decision,” said Consumer NZ chief Jon Duffy. “The fact these companies aren’t being upfront about the true cost of delivery means they risk breaching the act.”

New trailer released for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings

Amazon has released its biggest teaser for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series.

Shot in New Zealand, and set to release at the start of September, the new trailer reveals the first look at many of the worlds, characters and creatures set to feature in the streaming series.

Check it out:

 

The Bulletin: 30 year strategy launched at Pacific Islands Forum

The 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific has been agreed to by the nations of the 51st Pacific Islands Forum. The 36-page document outlines 10 commitments across seven thematic areas most crucial for the long term development of the region. Forum chair and Fiji’s prime minister Frank Bainimarama said “climate crisis, socio-economic development challenges, slow economic growth and geopolitical competition” were the major issues faced by the region.

The forum leaders also declared a climate emergency. Speaking after the meeting about the conversations that were had, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said “Tuvalu is having a conversation around the future nationhood without the possibility of having a landmass” and that that was discussed.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.  

No decision on extending fuel tax cuts as expert warns of gas station chaos

I put petrol in my car yesterday at what was apparently – according to Gaspy – one of the cheapest stations in Auckland. It was still over $3 a litre for 91. (My advice is just to put $40 in each time and then bank your six cent discounts).

Of course, that price still, somehow, includes a 25 cent discount thanks to the government’s petrol tax cuts back in March. At the time, those cuts brought petrol prices down to around $2.75. Since then, they’ve gradually risen back up above where they were when the cuts were first confirmed.

The price cut is set to expire in a month’s time, and, according to RNZ, the government hasn’t decided whether it’ll be extended.

One expert has predicted chaos at petrol stations when the prices go up by 25 cents. “This has got to be a difficult one for the government,” said AA’s principal policy advisor Terry Collins. “If it goes on in one lump then we can expect to have queues at the service stations, and we expect that some of them may run dry.”

The government’s cost of living payment, targeted at middle income earners, is set to kick in from the start of next month.