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Covid death toll now averaging 25 each day

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 21, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. You can get in touch with me on

Top stories

  • An annual report into NZ’s euthanasia law has confirmed just 66 people went through with an assisted death.
  • The Act Party says the report vindicates the law, showing it has sufficient safeguards in place.
  • Jacinda Ardern says commentary around the three waters reforms has “overshadowed” the need for change
  • Covid-19 update: 32 new deaths, 767 in hospital, another 9,953 cases.

Covid death toll now averaging 25 each day

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 21, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. You can get in touch with me on

Top stories

  • An annual report into NZ’s euthanasia law has confirmed just 66 people went through with an assisted death.
  • The Act Party says the report vindicates the law, showing it has sufficient safeguards in place.
  • Jacinda Ardern says commentary around the three waters reforms has “overshadowed” the need for change
  • Covid-19 update: 32 new deaths, 767 in hospital, another 9,953 cases.
Jul 21 2022

John Campbell reflects on the power of music

About seven years ago, John Campbell started crying on national TV.

It wasn’t because he was leaving the airwaves or because he’d done a particularly moving interview. Instead, it was after he heard live music from his favourite performer – Sharon Van Etten. “This is pathetic,” he said. “I’m 51 years old, but sometimes music just keeps you afloat.”

Van Etten’s headed back to our shores soon and, to coincide with that, Campbell’s released something of a mini-doco. It’s both a celebration of Van Etten and a reflection on the power of music and of emotion. You can check it out here.

He’s also got a new playlist of sad songs, because of course he does.

My Food Bag prices rise for the second time this year, inflation to blame

(Photo: My Food Bag)

Products across My Food Bag’s bargain box range will be going up in a price this week – the second price rise this year.

Customers were today emailed to inform them of the slight increase, with inflation held responsible for the changes. “The prices we pay are, unfortunately, increasing,” the email read. “So, to ensure we continue to deliver the highest quality product we can, we need to make an adjustment to some of our prices.”

My Food Bag’s range last increased in price exactly three months ago, with a surge in grocery costs blamed at the time.

Including this week’s increase, it means bargain box customers will be paying around 8% more than they were at the start of 2022.

Kevin Bowler, the CEO of My Food Bag, told The Spinoff live updates that bargain box remained New Zealand’s most affordable meal kit – and today’s price increase was less than 5%. “Across the board, we’ve incurred increases across ingredients, freight, and staff costs,” he said in an email. “To sustainably maintain the high-quality ingredient standards our customers expect, we have to pass on some of these increases.”

Kath and Kim are coming back, sort of

A Kath and Kim reunion special is reportedly being filmed as we speak.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the episode will comprise “new sketch material” alongside a selection of best-of and rare material. It doesn’t sound like it will be a proper episode of the iconic sitcom, but the promise of new content is still incredibly exciting.

The show first debuted in 2002 and ran for four season and a movie.

Rumours swirled earlier this year that the show was set to make a proper comeback, but those dreams were literally and metaphorically trashed when the real-life property that served as the show’s primary setting was demolished earlier this year.

Covid-19 update: 32 new deaths, 767 in hospital, another 9,953 cases

Image: Toby Morris

There have been 32 more deaths from Covid-19, all people over the age of 60.

It brings the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,927 and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths to 25. Eight deaths formally listed in the overall tally have today been removed after being assessed as not dying from Covid.

The latest deaths were all in the period from March 26.

The growing number of daily deaths makes this chart, taken from The Spinoff’s Covid Tracker page, especially grim.

There are now 767 people in hospital with Covid-19, including 20 in intensive care. The most hospitalisations is still in Auckland, where 105 people are treated with Covid-19.

The Ministry of Health said that of the 75 people in Auckland and Counties Manukau hospitals for with severe acute respiratory infection, Covid-19 was the cause the infection for 24%. Human Metapneumovirus was the cause for 15% and Influenza was the cause for 11%


Another 9,953 community cases have been recorded across the country. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 9,161.

That’s a drop from a week ago when the rolling average was 9,826.


Wild weather sees all Wellington flights cancelled

Image: Wellington Airport, which is part-owned by Infratil (Photo supplied)

All flights in and out of the capital have been cancelled “until further notice” due to wild weather currently slamming the city.

According to a tweet from Wellington Airport, the “adverse” weather conditions have made it unsafe for baggage handlers to operate. “Passengers are advised to check directly with their airlines for further information.”

The cancellations will add to what has already been a difficult school holiday period for travellers around New Zealand, with numerous cancellations due to a combination of Covid-19 and weather conditions.

Watch: FIRST’s best period stories


Everyone remembers their first period, be it at school camp, PE class, or on the set of McDonald’s Young Entertainers in front of a live studio audience. As a part of our ongoing interview series FIRST, we asked a bunch of our talented interviewees including Paige, Alice Snedden, Natalie Samy, Randa, Michelle Ang, Lucy Suttor, Courtney Dawson, Janaye Henry and Reb Fountain to take us back to the period that started it all.

Who got a pair of bright red Dickies in exchange for their first bleed? Who got to take two weeks off school in celebration? And who was watching a penguin show at Te Papa when Aunt Flow arrived? You’ll have to watch to find out.

All week we are examining our relationship with menstruation in Aotearoa. Read more Bleed Week content here.

Building consent process to be brought into the 21st century

Ten thousand new houses will be built in Māngere over the next 10-15 years as part of the government’s plans to tackle the housing crisis. (Photo: Kāinga Ora)

Plans to “modernise” the building consent process have started.

Housing minister Megan Woods said the current system was launched in 1991 and a lot has changed in the 30 years since. “A better building consent system will support our government’s wider goals to transform the housing market, unlock productivity growth, stimulate urban development where it is needed, and make homes more affordable for all,” Woods said.

“The review will focus on how to unlock productivity growth, stimulate urban development where it is needed, and make homes more affordable for all. We also want to provide assurance to building owners and users that building work will be done right the first time, and ensure that buildings are well-made, healthy, durable and safe.”

Megan Woods (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The review was announced at an event this morning where Woods confirmed additional infrastructure funding for a number of centres around the country. The funding will cover things like pipes and roads and is planned to enable over 8,000 new homes to be built across Rotorua, Ōmokoroa, Kaikōura, Ōtaki, Napier, Gisborne and New Plymouth.

You can submit on the building consent review until September.

Z puts $1 million into local charities and community groups

Z Energy’s community fundraising programme Good in the Hood is back and will give away $1 million to local charities and community groups across Aotearoa. Each of Z’s 193 service stations will choose four different local organisations to support, giving away $4,000 at every site. Customers vote for their favourite local group by putting an orange token in one of the four boxes and the money is split based on the votes.

If you’re helping people in need or the environment, apply now to be a part of Good in the Hood. Applications are open now until 31 July 2022. (Sponsored)

Don’t Look Up becomes reality

Whatever you made of Netflix’s star vehicle Don’t Look Up, the idea of scientists being blindly ignored by the media was both funny and uncomfortable.

Now, as the UK battles a deadly heat wave, that concept has come true on right-leaning GB News. It’s… quite grim.

New map says if you’re at risk from a tsunami

HANMER SPRINGS, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 14: Large cracks are seen on Highway 7 following a 7.5 magnitude earthquake on November 14, 2016 near Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck 20km south-east of Hanmer Springs at 12.02am and triggered tsunami warnings for many coastal areas. (Photo by Matias Delacroix/Getty Images)

The thought of being caught up in a tsunami is genuinely terrifying to me, especially given the rising risk from rising water levels. There hasn’t been a “big one” here yet but there’s definitely still time…

The government has today released a new evacuation map that allows you to put your address in and work out if you’ll need to evacuate during a tsunami. It’s put me at ease knowing my little flat will be safe.

Emergency management minister Kieran McAnulty said it’ll make it easy for people to find out where to get to safety. “In an emergency every second counts so it’s crucial people have a plan in place before something happens. This map makes it easier for people to know where their closest safe ground is, and to have a plan to get there,” he said.

“While individual areas of the country have tsunami maps, this is the first time we’ve had a single map for the whole country, and is the latest of a series of milestones to strengthen Aotearoa’s tsunami safety arrangements.”

Check it out here

New report reveals how many people have used euthanasia in NZ

Image: Tina Tiller

New figures reveal how the End of Life Choice Act – New Zealand’s euthanasia law – has been used since coming into force after the 2020 election.

New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly to pass the law after it was determined via a referendum alongside the failed cannabis legalisation bill.

According to a new annual report, 206 people formally applied for assisted dying between November 7, 2021 and March 31 this year. Over that period, 66 people had an assisted death, while 59 people were still in the process of assessment or preparation and 81 people did not continue the process (due to being ineligible, withdrawing or dying of their condition.

The law started life as a member’s bill by Act Party leader David Seymour. His deputy Brooke van Velden said the new report had “vindicated” the law. “It shows the law works as intended, and criticisms made before it passed were unfounded,” she said. “Of those applying, some have been declined and others have gone ahead, others appear to have changed their mind. All of this is consistent with a law that has rigorous safeguards and supports personal choice.”

There have been four complaints about the assisted dying service, said van Velden, with three resolved by the time of the report.

Silver Scrolls finalists + new music from Fazerdaze

It’s time for a music update!

The top 20 finalists for the 2022 APRA Silver Scroll Award have been announced today, comprising a who’s who of New Zealand indie royalty (including Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams and Reb Fountain).

A top five will soon be decided before an awards ceremony in Auckland later this year.

2022 APRA Silver Scroll Top 20

  • 35, by Ka Hao and Rob Ruha 
  • Aho/Beams, by Anna Coddington and Louis Baker
  • Andy, by Emily C. Browning
  • Ankle Deep, by Christabel
  • Best Behaviour, by Chelsea Jade
  • Beyond the Stars, by Tami Neilson and Willie Nelson
  • Bit Part, by TOOMS
  • Find Me, by Muroki
  •  Garden of Eden, by Ny Oh
  • Girl At Night, by Theres A Tuesday
  • He Ōrite, by Troy Kingi and The Nudge
  • I Got You, by Georgia Lines
  • Im A Bit Out Of Shape, by Luke Buda
  • Iris, by Reb Fountain
  • Lawn, by Aldous Harding
  • My Boy, by Marlon Williams
  • My Heart Never Sleeps, by Diggy Dupé and Troy Kingi
  • Not Today, by Lips
  • Peacetime Orders, by Anthonie Tonnon
  • Taku Raumiri, by Uru Whetu, Torere, Te Aroha

And this year’s 2022 APRA Maioha Award top five finalists:

  • Te Aroha Mauroa, by MOHI
  • Rangatira/Owner, by Ria Hall translated by Teraania Ormsby
  • E Hine Ē, by TE KAAHU
  • Te Iho, by AJA & Byllie-Jean
  • Taera, by Rob Ruha

Meanwhile, Fazerdaze is back – after a five year absence – and her new song is a banger. If you don’t know about Fazerdaze, read this excellent David Farrier profile from 2017 published on plucky website The Spinoff. And then listen to Come Apart, her new 90s-infused song that rocks.

Commentary around three waters has ‘overshadowed’ need for change – Ardern

Jacinda Ardern addresses media during a press conference in June, when Wellington was at alert level two. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The prime minister’s acknowledged the controversy surrounding her government’s three water proposal, but reiterated that the status quo cannot be allowed to continue.

Jacinda Ardern addressed council representatives yesterday at the Local Government NZ annual conference. Of course, being a conference dedicated to local government ensured that the issue of three waters was guaranteed to come up. Newshub has details of the protest outside the conference (along with a follow-up on the “maskless photo controversy” – an issue I think has been put to rest).

Speaking at the conference, Ardern acknowledged the concern about three waters and said that at, at points, the debate over the reforms had “overshadowed” the need for change. . “The sad reality for all of us is that without change the current system couldn’t afford to resolve what is a looming $185 billion problem,” she said.

“We know going forward we face growing populations alongside the rising threat of climate change, and the only viable option within the status quo represents an unaffordable burden on rate payers – for some, what could be as high as an additional $9000 a year.”

After the speech, Ardern addressed media where she said that “many” local governments backed the action being taken. “There is common ground, one area where we absolutely all agree except potentially bar the opposition, is that the status quo is untenable,” she said.

This will definitely not be the end of the debate – and I’m absolutely certain I’ll be writing more about it in the coming weeks/months.

The Bulletin: Heat waves here not a matter of if, but when

As the heat wave in Europe continues and The Sun runs “Hellfire” as its headline on the hottest day in recorded history in the UK, the Herald’s Georgina Campbell has a wake up call for us. Campbell has spoken to NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll, who says New Zealand will very likely see temperatures in the 40s in the future, although we won’t necessarily be hit by heatwaves this summer just because the United Kingdom is. Noll did say that if oceans continue to be warmer than average, then we could be in for intense heat this summer.

The first six months of 2022 have been New Zealand’s 2nd warmest on record, sitting 1.2˚C above the long-term average from January to June.

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