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LIVE UPDATES

Monkeypox treatment secured – but no vaccine

It’s Friday, August 26 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • First batch of monkeypox treatment to arrive in September – but a vaccine still hasn’t been secured.
  • Air New Zealand’s upcoming direct flight between Auckland and New York will face a challenge from Qantas.
  • The hosts of the online, far right media outlet Counterspin have reportedly been arrested.
  • Covid-19 update: 2,318 community cases and 357 hospitalisations.
blog-aug-26.jpg

Monkeypox treatment secured – but no vaccine

It’s Friday, August 26 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • First batch of monkeypox treatment to arrive in September – but a vaccine still hasn’t been secured.
  • Air New Zealand’s upcoming direct flight between Auckland and New York will face a challenge from Qantas.
  • The hosts of the online, far right media outlet Counterspin have reportedly been arrested.
  • Covid-19 update: 2,318 community cases and 357 hospitalisations.
Aug 26 2022

Survey finds older people least supportive of bilingual Whittaker’s label

Whittaker’s new te reo packaging (Image: Facebook)

A new survey has revealed younger people were most onboard with Whittaker’s new te Reo label.

Rolled out for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Whittaker’s creamy milk blocks have been temporarily renamed Miraka Kirīmi.

The Talbot Mills Research survey, reported by Stuff, showed that 76% of New Zealanders under 30 supported the packaging, along with 62% of women, 76% Māori, and 75% Pasifika. In contrast, just 30% of respondents aged over 60 were fans.

As The Spinoff exclusively reported, many supermarket staples are in languages other than English – which could prove difficult for anyone upset about a chocolate block.

Image: Tina Tiller

Police warned minister of ‘significant public concern’ over ram raids

Hipkins said the Auckland lockdown cost Labour votes. (Photo: Getty Images)

The police minister was warned about the “significant increase” in ram raids when he took on the portfolio earlier this year.

The government has proactively released the briefings for incoming ministers – documents provided to new ministers to help them acclimatise to the role.

Chris Hipkins, who replaced embattled police minister Poto Williams after a cabinet reshuffle in June, was told that ram raids had increased from 10 per month in 2018 to 40 per month over the first three months of 2022. “There is significant public concern in a recent spike in ram-raids in Tāmaki Makaurau, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, which has also driven an increase in unlawful taking of motor vehicles,” the briefing to Hipkins read.

“Many offenders are under 17-years-old, including children as young as seven. The recent offending is likely driven by a combination of young people exposed to a negative home environment, disengaged from school and their communities, the monetary gain from stealing certain goods, and the use of social media, particularly TikTok, to promote their criminal offending and gain notoriety.”

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Hipkins said he was concerned by the spike in crime. “This hasn’t sort of suddenly sprung from nowhere, these young people are disengaged from the rest of society. They’re not fearing the consequences of their actions and I think that is something to be concerned about,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police briefing to Hipkins also revealed concern about the government’s proposed hate speech legislation. “Proposed new… legislation and response models would increase public expectations of police, including in areas where the conduct does not meet the criminal threshold,” police said. “It is expected there will be considerable victim impacts, scrutiny, and media attention from this type of offending. We have seen overseas that Police’s role in investigating this type of issue can be a polarising issue.”

Covid-19 update: 2,318 community cases and 357 hospitalisations

Image: Toby Morris

The average number of new Covid infections and related hospitalisations has dropped once again.

There are 2,318 new community cases and 357 current hospitalisations – a rise on yesterday, but still one of the lowest totals in recent months. There are now seven people in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 2,855 – last Friday, it was 3,876. Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of hospitalisations is 400 down from 515 one week ago.

There are now a total of 1,865 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 seven.

Overnight, the death toll has risen by nine.

Test yourself with The Friday Quiz

The Friday News Quiz

It’s Friday and it’s time to test just how well you’ve been paying attention to the week in current affairs. How closely were you watching the parliamentary protest? What do you know about Costco?

Here is this week’s edition of The Friday Quiz.


Watch: What does your haircut say about you? 

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Going to the hairdressers is an act of trust, says Genevieve, who found that hairdressers often wanted to thin her hair and make her style more feminine. Instead, she started going to barbers to get the perfect, simple, shave on her undercut and trim her bowl hairstyle. As a builder who is often in male spaces, she’s leaned in to an androgynous style, but she still shaves her arms and plucks her eyebrows, because she likes to feel clean. Moving between countries has made her alert to different attitudes towards gender presentation; after living in Australia, New Zealand feels much more comfortable. Watch Genevieve talk about her hair in the latest episode of Hair Now

Vodafone extends partnership with Warriors – and offers free tickets

Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images; Additional design: The Spinoff

One of New Zealand’s most recognisable corporate partnerships will continue for at least another four years.

Vodafone has announced it will renew its sponsorship of the Warriors until 2026, with the potential for it to be extended again after that. By the time the deal next comes up for renewal, the two brands will have been associated for 28 years.

To celebrate, Warriors fans will be able to secure free tickets to the final game of the 2021.

In a statement, Vodafone Warriors chief executive Cameron George acknowledged it’s been a rough two-and-a-half years, with the team unable to play on home turf due to border closures.

“Vodafone really helped us through that and the atmosphere in the stands and within the team since we’ve been back has been unparalleled,” he said.

“We couldn’t ask for a better partner, one who helps us deliver an amazing experience for the fans and cares wholeheartedly about the team.”

Fans will be able to snap up all remaining tickets to the September 3 clash at Mount Smart Stadium for free via Ticketmaster from Monday.

Still no opening date for NZ’s first Costco

Costco NZ (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

We still don’t have an official opening date for New Zealand’s first Costco store – but it can’t be far away.

The prime minister and media, including The Spinoff, were given an exclusive preview look at the giant Westgate warehouse yesterday afternoon.

Most of the shelves were already packed, indicating we should just be a few weeks away from doors opening to the public.

Sadly, for any Costco heads out there, price tags hadn’t been put out so I can’t confirm how much it will cost for a giant bottle of olive oil or a tub of cookie dough. But, as I wrote for The Spinoff this morning, I did get a good look at the stock Costco will be offering when it opens.

Read the full story here

A sneak peek inside Costco Westgate (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

First batch of monkeypox treatment to arrive in September

Monkeypox treatment tecovirimat (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand will have access to 504 courses of the monkeypox medicine tecovirimat, the government has announced.

It’s expected to be available in about a month’s time. Work is also under way to secure a supply of the smallpox vaccine, which is effective against monkeypox as well.

Associate health minister Ayesha Verrall said the medicine will be free and used to treat people who become unwell with monkeypox.

“While New Zealand doesn’t currently have any active cases of monkeypox, and the risk of widespread transmission is low it is important we are prepared,” said Verrall. “Sometimes people with the virus experience painful lesions and some people may require hospital level care. This medicine will help those people.”

Monkeypox treatment tecovirimat (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Testing for monkeypox can be carried out at sexual health or family planning clinic as well as a general medical practice, said Verrall. The test itself involves a quick swab of any lesions on your skin and/or a throat swab.

“We are also working hard to secure access to a vaccine, but there is limited global supply and distribution is being prioritised to those countries experiencing outbreaks, which we currently aren’t,” said Verrall.

Read more: What to know about monkeypox

Air New Zealand’s New York challenge from Qantas

An Air Zealand plane after it landed at Sydney International Airport (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Air New Zealand’s upcoming direct flight between Auckland and New York will face a direct challenge from Qantas.

The Australian airline’s announced new flights between New Zealand and the US on its 787 aircrafts from June next year.

The announcement comes in the same week Air New Zealand posted a mammoth financial loss, owing largely to growing fuel and labour costs.

As the Herald reported, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he anticipated the new direct route would prove very popular with Australians wishing to spend time in New Zealand first – and New Zealanders wanting to head abroad with no layovers.

“We can’t wait to return to New York and it’s made possible by the delivery of new aircraft which have been caught up in delays that have impacted lots of airlines,” he said.

Air New Zealand’s New York route is due to launch next month.

Air New Zealand and Qantas planes together on runway
An Air Zealand plane after it landed at Sydney International Airport (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

When the Facts Change: The finger of blame for house prices is turning

The ‘official’ economists in Wellington went hunting for the true culprit behind Aotearoa’s house prices and rents being the most expensive in the world, but perhaps the biggest culprit is the Government itself. With Wellington gaslighting the councils, now the finger of blame may be turning back in its direction. In this week’s episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey talks to Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate about the funding infrastructure and challenges, as well as why not enough land was opened up, to then be sold.

Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts

The Bulletin: New bill takes aim at freedom campers

Introduced by tourism minister Stuart Nash, a new bill proposes that vehicle-based freedom campers need to have a certified self-contained vehicle to stay overnight on council-managed land. To be certified as self-contained a vehicle must have a toilet. The bill heeds the call of the Responsible Campers Association Inc (RCAI) who asked the government to address the issue ahead of visitors returning to New Zealand.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association says the RCAI’s view is “incredibly damaging” and that it undermines progress made to raise the standards of freedom campers, and their toilets.

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.  

Hosts of far right Counterspin Media reportedly arrested

Hannah Speirer and Kelvyn Alps.

The hosts of the online, far right media outlet Counterspin have reportedly been arrested.

While police would not confirm this specifically, a spokesperson revealed that two people were arrested in Christchurch last night and charged with distributing an “objectionable publication”.

According to the Counterspin Media Telegram page, the duo arrested were Kelvyn Alp​ and Hannah Spierer​.

The pair were also charged with failing to carry out obligations in relation to a computer search.

Counterspin was one of the main figureheads of the February-March occupation of parliament grounds. A conspiracy-driven news outlet, a bit like Alex Jones’ Infowars, both Alp and Spierer have pushed that Covid-19 was a hoax and argued for a violent, government overthrow.

An update to the Counterspin page this morning claimed the pair have been released by police. They’re due to appear in court at the end of the month.

Speirer and Alps at work.