There were 24,068 new community cases of Covid-19 reported over the past week – up 3,473 on the previous week, and the highest case total for some time. On average, about 3,434 new infections were registered each day. That’s a jump from 3,079 the week prior.
On Saturday, more than 4300 Covid-19 cases were reported, the highest daily reported total since August.
Hospitalisations now sit at 344, up from 325 at the same time last week. Three people are in an intensive care or high dependency care unit.The seven-day average number of deaths is now five, with 40 new deaths added to the official death toll in the past week. Of the deaths, one was under 10-years-old, one was in their 50s, five were in their 60s, eight were in their 70s, 15 were in their 80s and 10 were aged over 90. Of these, 28 were attributed to Covid-19 (either as the underlying cause or a contributory cause).The overall number of Covid-attributed deaths from across the pandemic is now 2,182.
Fresh from their World Cup victory, the Black Ferns made a strong showing at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco today, winning three of the biggest awards on offer.
Co-Captain Ruahei Demant won Player of the Year after taking home Player of the Match in the final against England and leading the Black Ferns to the championship.
Ruby Tui, who jokingly labelled herself as the oldest “breakthrough” player nominated, won the 15s Breakthrough Player award as being relatively new to the 15s game but a veteran of the sevens format.
Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith took home the coveted Coach of the Year award, though did not receive it in person, and dedicated the win to his players. Smith took on the role eight months ago and has now stepped down, making for a short and incredibly successful tenure.
Four Black Ferns, all backs, were named in the women’s “Dream Team”: Demant, Tui, Theresa Fitzpatrick and Portia Woodman. Two All Blacks were named in the men’s side: Sam Whitelock and Will Jordan.
Former Black Fern and longtime NZ Rugby board member Dr Farah Palmer capped off the dominant night as the recipient of the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service.
A ruling in the Supreme Court this morning has declared that it is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990 to prevent 16 and 17-year-olds from voting. The case, brought by advocacy group Make It 16, had failed in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and centred on the inconsistency between the Bill of Rights Act, which protects against age discrimination for those over the age of 16, and the Electoral Act 1993 and Local Electoral Act 2001 which set the voting age at 18.
In the judgement, Justice Ellen France said it was wrong of the Court of Appeal not to make a declaration of the inconsistency. “In New Zealand the protection against age discrimination expressly begins at age 16,” reads the judgement.
“Preventing me and other 16 and 17 year-olds from voting is an unjustified breach of our right to be free from age discrimination. The government and Parliament cannot ignore such a clear legal and moral message. They must let us vote,” said Make It 16 co-director Caeden Tipler in a statement.
While the court can declare the inconsistency, the government must pass it into law. In August, parliament passed an amendment which means it has a legal obligation to review the Supreme Court’s declaration of an inconsistency between the Bill of Rights and other pieces of legislation. A declaration that the law against prisoners voting breached the Bill of Rights and Te Tiriti o Waitangi resulted in legislation that allowed some prisoners to vote in 2020.
“This is only the second time the Supreme Court has ever issued a declaration of inconsistency. The first one was about the right of prisoners to vote, and that triggered parliament to change the law. The same must happen for 16 and 17-year-olds,” said Tipler. “If the government does not make the voting age 16 now then they are consciously breaching our human rights.”
The declaration by the court also applies to local elections and referendums, and is in keeping with the draft report released by the Future for Local Government Review last month, which recommended a voting age of 16 for local elections.
The full judgement can be read here, and a documentary from last year featuring some of the Make It 16 team is available here.