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Covid cases continue to slip

It’s a wet and wild Thursday, August 18 and I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, bringing you everything you need to know today. Get in touch with me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • The governor of the Reserve Bank is optimistic that inflation really is on the way down.
  • It’s now been exactly one year since the 107-day delta lockdown began.
  • Arise Church refusing to comment on review revealing harassment, racism.
  • Covid-19 update: 473 in hospital, rolling case average dips below 4,000.
blog-aug-18.jpg

Covid cases continue to slip

It’s a wet and wild Thursday, August 18 and I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, bringing you everything you need to know today. Get in touch with me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • The governor of the Reserve Bank is optimistic that inflation really is on the way down.
  • It’s now been exactly one year since the 107-day delta lockdown began.
  • Arise Church refusing to comment on review revealing harassment, racism.
  • Covid-19 update: 473 in hospital, rolling case average dips below 4,000.
Aug 18 2022

‘Controversial’ Trevor Mallard’s rumoured next steps make global media

The Irish Times (Screenshot)

Earlier this year it was announced that speaker of the house Trevor Mallard would step down in “mid-August”. It’s now mid-August and that hasn’t eventuated, though we do know that Mallard will, at some stage, be heading to Europe on a diplomatic posting.

It’s been widely rumoured that Mallard will be heading to Ireland, speculation that has not been confirmed by the speaker or the government.

In an article for the Irish Times published earlier today, that rumour is doubled down on. The article labels Mallard “controversial” and lists a number of incidents that the speaker has been “embroiled” in.

The article also features comment from Act Party leader David Seymour, who said he was “flabbergasted” that Mallard was heading into a diplomatic role. “The best theory I can come up with is that [Jacinda Ardern] wanted to send [Mallard] somewhere and at least the Irish have a sense of humour,” said Seymour.

A spokesperson for the prime minister was also referenced in the article, reiterating that no announcement has been made about Mallard’s posting.

The Spinoff asked Mallard if he had any comment on the article, its speculation, or Seymour’s comments. He replied: “No”.

Trevor Mallard (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New support pathway for victims of conversion therapy

Image: Tina Tiller

Survivors of conversion therapy have been given access to a new service that can provide support and, in some circumstances, provide help seeking redress.

It’s been about six months since the government passed legislation to outlaw conversion practices in New Zealand.

Andre Afamasaga from the Human Rights Commission said the new service will provide a pathway for victims of conversion therapy to gain closure. “It will help many to begin healing and move forward from their experiences,” he said.

“If your complaint isn’t resolved during our disputes resolution process, you can go to the Human Rights Review Tribunal who can make findings and orders.”

Some people, said Afamasaga, won’t realise they have been subject to a conversion practice. The commission will help those people understand what has happened to them and what support could be available, including police involvement. “This is a significant milestone, and it will help victims of conversion practices gain access to justice,” said Afamasaga.

Covid-19 update: 473 in hospital, rolling case average dips below 4,000

Image: Toby Morris

Today there have been another 4,540 community cases of Covid-19 reported, with 473 currently in hospital. There are 10 people being treated in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 3,928 – last Thursday, it was 4,750. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalisations is 527 down from 617 one week ago.

Most of the current hospitalisations – 74 – are in Waikato, with 64 in Waitematā.

There are now a total of 1,807 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. The seven-day rolling average increase in total deaths attributable to Covid-19 is now 12.

Overnight, the death toll has risen by 16, with 13 of these linked to the virus as either a contributory or underlying cause of death. All the latest deaths were people over the age of 60.

More to come.

Emergency management minister visiting flood-hit Nelson

The emergency management minister has headed to flood-stricken Nelson to assess the damage and meet with impacted locals.

A state of emergency remains in place for much of the top of the South Island after days of continuous rain.

Kieran McAnulty will receive a briefing from the mayor this afternoon and then travel to areas around the Maitai River after its bank burst.

Metservice has warned that a further 150 to 200 millimetres of rain will fall throughout today, with heavy rain forecast again for tomorrow afternoon.

“The rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding,” said Metservice. “Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities.”

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Reserve Bank governor confident inflation is on the way down

Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr (Photos: Getty Images)

The governor of the Reserve Bank is optimistic that inflation really is on the way down.

The official cash rate was pushed up to a seven-year high of 3% yesterday in response to the growing cost of living and 7.3% inflation.

Speaking to Newshub’s AM, Adrian Orr said things were easing around the world. “People are still spending but we are seeing the initial signs of slowing,” he said.

“This has been a global economic shock, the first one internationally in 100 years around a pandemic.”

New Zealand was at the “lower end” for global inflation, Orr said, and he believed this was now improving too.

National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said yesterday’s cash rate hike would bring bad news for first home buyers, and the government should be doing more. “Instead of throwing up their hands and blaming international factors, the government needs to take action to bring inflation under control,” Willis said.

On the radio chatting lockdowns, Uffindell and the Greens

I was back on Today FM’s First Light this morning with Rachel Smalley. We chatted about the one-year anniversary of the delta lockdown, the unknowns in the National Party-Sam Uffindell drama, and the fact James Shaw has started campaigning to secure his role as Green co-leader.

I’m on every Thursday at about 6.18am if you ever happen to be awake at that time.

One year ago: The delta lockdown begins

A man doing a Covid test in Auckland (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s a time many of us would rather forget, but here we are. It’s now been exactly one year since the 107-day delta lockdown began, sparked by a single case of Covid-19 in the Auckland community.

At about this time one year ago, our Spinoff live updates had coverage of new cases that had been confirmed overnight, a reminder of the level four rules (I can barely remember them now), and an interview with Coromandel’s mayor Sandra Goudie who had started to hint at her anti-vaccination views by refusing to use the Covid Tracer app (remember that?).

My strongest memory from a year ago is heading into the city to visit a Covid testing centre where the queue snaked around a carpark, out onto the street and around the entire block. There was also the temporary pause to the vaccination drive, a move described by Act’s David Seymour as “nonsensical”.

What a time it was.

For a lighter look, read Mad Chapman’s definitive ranking of the Covid lockdowns.

The Bulletin: Another one-in-100-year weather event

state of local emergency has been declared for the Nelson Tasman and West Coast regions as heavy rain continues to fall causing flooding, slips that have closed roads and the evacuation of more than 200 homes. Nelson mayor Rachel Reese described the flood as a “one-in-100-year event”. It’s the result of another “atmospheric river” weather event that experts say is likely connected to climate change.

Insurance company IAG has called for building in flood-prone areas to stop. I probably need to add this to every report about these events but here’s why it’s called a one-in-100-year event even though they’re happening with increasing frequency.

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

Arise Church refusing to comment on review revealing harassment, racism

Arise Church (screenshot)

An unusual update on our top story from yesterday morning.

Arise, the church facing widespread allegations of harassment, racism and more, still won’t comment on the findings of an independent investigation despite it being released by the media.

The report included comment from over 500 people who came forward with allegations about the church and was leaked to journalist David Farrier, who released it via his Webworm blog yesterday. That broke a non-publication order from the Employment Relations Authority which has since been dropped.

The church, however, has released a statement saying it still cannot comment on the report for legal reasons. “While frustrated by the delay, Arise is legally prohibited from releasing or commenting on any of the content,” the statement on the church website reads.

“The most important thing we can do now as a church is to listen to those who had the courage to share. We are committed to ensuring that the issues that have caused hurt do not continue.”

In a new post to Webworm, Farrier has called for the church to comment – because there is now nothing stopping it from doing so. “No more excuses. No more gaslighting. No more obfuscation. No more running,” he wrote.