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Live UpdatesJun 26 2022

Abortion law safe under National, says Luxon

26-June-2022.jpg

Abortion law safe under National, says Luxon

Jun 26 2022

Hipkins says he regrets length of Auckland’s 2021 lockdown

Chris Hipkins, the former minister for the Covid-19 response, has told a television interviewer he wishes Aucklanders hadn’t been kept in lockdown for so long in spring of last year.

Asked this morning by Q+A’s Jack Tame what he would do differently if he had his time as Covid minister over again, he said he’d move more quickly to end the lockdown the city weathered from August 17 to December 2, a total of 107 days.

Chris Hipkins speaks to Q&A host Jack Tame in 2020

However Hipkins noted the government was only able to make decisions with the information it currently had to hand.

“There were probably some areas we could have moved more quickly to step down some restrictions,” he told Tame. “That lockdown in Auckland at the end of 2021 – I think nerves were pretty frayed by the end of that. And we should acknowledge that. Aucklanders played a big price for our ongoing suppression of delta while we got our vaccination rates up and so on.”

Hipkins left the Covid-19 response role in the recent cabinet reshuffle, taking over the police portfolio from Poto Williams.

Covid-19 latest: Six deaths, 332 in hospital and 4,429 new cases

The Ministry of Health is today reporting 4,429 new community cases, 332 current hospitalisations and six new deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 4,911. Last Sunday it was 4,991.

All of today’s reported deaths have been in the past two days. They take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1,461. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths remains at 12.

Three of the deaths were from the Auckland region, two were from Canterbury and one was from Waikato.

One person was in their 50s, one was in their 60s, two were in their 70s, and two were aged over 90. Five were male and one was female.

NZ abortion law won’t be revisited under National – Luxon

National leader Chris Luxon says New Zealand’s abortion laws will not be changed by a future National government.

Luxon first published a tweet to that effect last night, in the wake of the decision by the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. This morning he expanded on that tweet with a longer statement, again assuring voters that universal abortion access was settled law in New Zealand.

“I have been consistent since becoming leader that these laws will not be relitigated or revisited under a future National government, and these health services will remain fully funded,” Luxon said.

He also addressed a social media post by conservative National MP Simon O’Connor celebrating the US news. Luxon said O’Connor’s Facebook post stating “Today is a good day” had been taken down because it was “causing distress and does not represent the position of the National Party”.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon. (Photo: James Allan/Getty Images)

Majority support removing penalties for drug use, according to poll

A new poll suggests most New Zealanders support changing our laws to abandon the current punitive approach to drug use.

The poll, conducted by The Navigators for the NZ Drug Foundation, found 61% of respondents supported removing penalties for drug use and instead putting in place more support for education and treatment.

There was 68% support for rewriting the Misuse of Drugs Act and shifting focus to a health-based approach.

The online survey of nearly 1500 New Zealanders over the age of 18 was conducted earlier this month.

Courtesy of The Navigators / NZ Drug Foundation.

Drug Foundation executive director Sarah Helm called the results “really heartening”, saying they show New Zealanders “know locking people up isn’t the answer to reducing drug harm”.

“The public increasingly understands that criminal penalties get in the way of people seeking help, and that police time would be better spent on more serious crime,” she said.

The poll results have also been welcomed by the Green Party, which said the numbers in favour of law changes showed the “status quo is untenable”.

“Our draconian drug laws have been hacked at for 50 years now, yet the Frankenstein Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 continues to zombie along, causing more and more harm. It’s past time to follow the evidence, which most New Zealanders also support,” said Chlöe Swarbrick, the Greens’ drug reform spokesperson.

The polling was released to coincide with a global day of action for #SupportDontPunish, an international campaign calling for drug policies based on health and human rights.