blog nov 2

PoliticsNovember 2, 2020

Live updates, November 2: New Covid-19 case in Christchurch community; full cabinet list revealed

blog nov 2

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for November 2. All the latest New Zealand news, updated throughout the day. Reach me on

8pm: New Covid-19 case in Christchurch community announced

The Ministry of Health has confirmed one new case of Covid-19 in the community. The case is a staff member working in a managed isolation facility in Christchurch where the international mariners are in managed isolation and quarantine.

The individual was tested as part of the routine testing for staff in the facility and returned a negative test on Thursday, October 29. On Saturday they developed symptoms and sought a further test on Sunday. A positive result was received today and the ministry was informed this afternoon.

The person is now in isolation at home and reports taking care to isolate themselves as soon as they developed symptoms.

The first of the international mariners, due to complete their managed isolation on Tuesday morning, will have their managed isolation extended for at least 24 hours as an additional precautionary measure.

Those precautionary measures have included additional tests – up to four tests for some individuals – and an already lengthened stay in managed isolation.

Full details of the case, and the actions taken in response, will be provided in the 1pm stand up on tomorrow.

7pm: The day in sum

Jacinda Ardern has unveiled her cabinet with the coveted role of deputy prime minister going to Grant Robertson after Labour Party deputy Kelvin Davis declined the role.

New cabinet roles were also given to Chris Hipkins (Covid-19), Andrew Little (health), Stuart Nash (economic and regional development) and Kris Faafoi (justice) among others. Nanaia Mahuta was named the new Minister of Foreign Affairs – the first woman to hold the role.

Newcomers to cabinet include Kiri Allan (conservation), Michael Wood (transport), Willie Jackson (Māori development) and first-term MP Ayesha Verrall.

Phil Twyford and Jenny Salesa have been demoted from cabinet. David Clark, who quit as health minister earlier this year, has reentered cabinet with a number of ministerial roles.

There were four new cases of Covid-19 announced, all from managed isolation facilities in Auckland and Christchurch.

On The Spinoff: The Covid election is over. Here comes the Covid cabinet

Jacinda Ardern unveiled a cabinet line-up with plenty of surprises and a fair bit of history-making today. Built around a health team to battle the coronavirus and an economic team to rebuild from it, the line-up represents a substantial change in the character of the country’s government after Labour’s resounding victory last month, writes political editor Justin Giovannetti who was at parliament for the announcement.

“It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, who also happen to be incredibly diverse,” said Ardern. “I think that’s an important point to make, these are individuals who have been promoted for what they bring to this cabinet. They also reflect the New Zealand that elected them.”

Read the full story here

On The Spinoff: A momentous day for Māori – at the cabinet table as never before

Labour’s new cabinet gives more power to more Māori ministers in more areas than ever before, writes Shane Te Pou on The Spinoff.

Here’s an extract:

This is the most diverse line up of ministers ever – with only half of them Pākehā. It’s a Labour line-up that looks like modern Aotearoa. That’s important. If you don’t have a voice at the table, you don’t get decisions that reflect your views and needs.

It’s a different story in the National Party: two Māori and one Korean in an otherwise totally Pakeha caucus. How are they going to represent New Zealand’s future when they look like a throwback to the 1950s?

Being at the table is only the first step. Delivering is what counts.

Read the full story here

5.20pm: Deputy PM Grant Robertson on new cabinet

Grant Robertson said he was happy to take on his new role of deputy prime minister on RNZ’s Checkpoint this afternoon. He also said his new role as infrastructure minister was “very important” to him, adding that he had a lot of optimism around the New Zealand economy getting better.

On Nanaia Mahuta’s new cabinet role, he said it was “about time” New Zealand had a female Minister of Foreign Affairs and said she’d do a “terrific job”.

However, Robertson was evasive as to whether others in cabinet and the executive team were disappointed with the roles they’d be given and said he didn’t believe anyone in particular had been shortchanged.

On The Spinoff: You don’t have to use the dark web to be exposed to its dangers

Right now on The Spinoff, contributing writer Russell Brown explores some of the dangers of the dark web.

Here’s an extract:

You probably have a mental image of who falls victim to cyber-crime. And it’s probably wrong.

In New Zealand – and, indeed, in most places – it’s not clueless boomers who are most likely to suffer internet crime. According to NortonLifelock’s annual global cyber-security survey, it’s millennials, with Gen Z also coming on strong.

“They come out quite strong whenever we do research,” says Mark Gorrie, NortonLifelock’s senior director for Asia Pacific. “We typically see the younger audience is suffering – they share a lot of data, they even share passwords. These are activities that compromise data.

Read the full story here 

2.00pm: How diverse is the new cabinet?

So, how does the lineup break down as far as diversity is concerned?

  • Women make up eight of the 20 in cabinet, and 13 of the 28-member executive.
  • There are five Māori in cabinet and eight in the executive.
  • Eleven of the 20 cabinet ministers are white and 14 of the 28-strong executive.
  • Eight of the 28 are women of colour.
  • There are four LGBTQI+ people within the executive, and three within cabinet.
  • There are two Davids, a Davis and one Davidson.

The full list – Here’s what the new government looks like

  1. Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Minister for Child Poverty Reduction

Minister for National Security and Minister Responsible for Ministerial

Intelligence Services

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

  1. Grant Robertson

Minister of Finance

Minister for Infrastructure

Minister for Racing

Minister for Sport and Recreation

  1. Kelvin Davis

Minister for Māori Crown Relations

Associate Minister of Education (Māori education)

Minister for Children

Minister of Corrections

  1. Megan Woods

Minister of Housing

Associate Minister of Finance

Minister of Energy and Resources

Minister of Research, Science and Innovation

  1. Chris Hipkins

Minister for Covid-19 Response

Leader of the House

Minister of Education

Minister for the Public Service

  1. Carmel Sepuloni

Minister for Social Development and Employment

Minister for ACC

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

Minister for Disability Issues

  1. Andrew Little

Minister of Health

Minister Responsible for the GCSB

Minister Responsible for the NZSIS

Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry

  1. David Parker


Associate Minister of Finance

Minister for the Environment       

Minister for Oceans and Fisheries

Minister of Revenue

  1. Nanaia Mahuta

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Associate Minister for Māori Development

Minister of Local Government

  1. Poto Williams

Minister for Building and Construction

Associate Minister for Children

Minister of Police

Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing)

  1. Damien O’Connor

Minister of Agriculture

Minister for Biosecurity

Minister for Land Information

Minister for Rural Communities

Minister for Trade and Export Growth

  1. Hon Stuart Nash

Minister for Economic and Regional Development

Minister of Forestry

Minister for Small Business

Minister of Tourism

  1. Kris Faafoi

Minister of Justice

Minister for Broadcasting and Media

Minister of Immigration

  1. Peeni Henare           

Minister of Defence

Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health)

Minister for Whānau Ora

Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing)

Associate Minister of Tourism

  1. Willie Jackson

Minister for Māori Development  Associate Minister for ACC

Associate Minister of Justice

  1. Jan Tinetti 

Minister of Internal Affairs 

Minister for Women

Associate Minister of Education

  1. Michael Wood

Minister of Transport     

Deputy Leader of the House

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety

  1. Kiri Allan

Minister of Conservation

Minister for Emergency Management

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

Associate Minister for the Environment

  1. David Clark

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications

Minister for State Owned Enterprises

Minister of Statistics

Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission

  1. Ayesha Verrall

Minister for Food Safety

Associate Minister of Health

Minister for Seniors

Associate Minister of Research, Science and Innovation

Ministers outside cabinet                             

  • Aupito William Sio

Minister for Courts         

Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs

Minister for Pacific Peoples          

Associate Minister of Education (Pacific Peoples)

Associate Minister of Justice

Associate Minister of Health (Pacific Peoples)

  • Meka Whaitiri

Minister of Customs

Minister for Veterans 

Associate Minister of Agriculture (Animal Welfare)

Associate Minister of Statistics

  • Phil Twyford

Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth

Associate Minister for the Environment

Associate Minister of Immigration

  • Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment

Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities       

Minister for Youth

Co-operation agreement ministers

  • Marama Davidson

Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence

Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness)

  • James Shaw

Minister of Climate Change

Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity)

Parliamentary under-secretaries

  • Rino Tirikatene

Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries

Minister for Trade and Export Growth (Māori Trade)

  • Deborah Russell

Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Revenue

1.00pm: Grant Robertson becomes deputy PM; Chris Hipkins new minister for Covid-19 recovery


Jacinda Ardern has revealed the new deputy prime minister and and the new minister in charge of the Covid-19 recovery. The prime minister has outlined the full shape of the incoming government at a press conference from parliament.

The new cabinet includes “an enhanced and coordinated health team” and a “senior and coordinated economic team”, Ardern said.

The reshuffle includes a few wildcards – a first term MP within cabinet, new portfolios, and promotions and demotions for returning MPs.

The new deputy prime minister will be Grant Robertson, Ardern announced, replacing the outgoing NZ First leader Winston Peters. Robertson will remain finance minister, and take on infrastructure.

The arts, culture and heritage portfolio is going to Carmel Sepuloni, who takes over the role from Ardern who will become an associate minister. Ardern will also be responsible for ministerial services.

Kelvin Davis will remain Labour Party deputy, but chose not to take on the role of deputy prime minister. He will be the minister for children, with responsibility for Oranga Tamariki.

Megan Woods will retain housing, Ardern announced. Woods will also retain energy and resources, and research science and innovation, and picks up associate minister of finance.

David Parker continues as associate minister of finance and remains attorney general and minister for the environment. He picks up revenue and a newly named portfolio of oceans and fisheries

Stuart Nash will become minister for economic and regional development, tourism minister, forestry minister and retain small business.

Chris Hipkins takes on the new role of minister for Covid-19 recovery, with Andrew Little taking the health portfolio.

Damian O’Connor will pick up trade and export growth, and retain agriculture. Carmel Sepuloni will continue in social development and the employment portfolio will be rolled back into this. She will keep ACC and disability issues.

In a big move, first term MP Ayesha Verrall has been moved directly into cabinet by Ardern. She will be an associate minister of health with delegations for public health, food safety and seniors.

“It is not without precedent to bring new members straight into cabinet, and in the middle of a global pandemic I believe we would be foolish not to use the considerable expertise Dr Verrall brings in infection diseases,” Ardern said.

The new minister for foreign affairs is Nanaia Mahuta, replacing Winston Peters. She becomes the first woman to hold the role.

Peeni Henare moves into cabinet as an associate minister for Māori health. He retains Whānau Ora and will become minister of defence.

Poto Williams moves into cabinet as minister of police and minister of building and construction, and will take on an associate childrens role.

Kris Faafoi retains immigration and broadcasting and media, and picks up the justice portfolio.

Willie Jackson moves into cabinet as the minister for Māori development. Jan Tinetti enters cabinet as minister of internal affairs and minister for women, as well as associate minister for education.

Former whip Michael Wood enters cabinet as minister of transport and for workplace relations and safety, with Kiri Allan entering cabinet as minister of conservation, associate environment, associate arts, culture and heritage, and minister for emergency management.

David Clark – the former health minister who quit as a result of his handling of Covid-19 – re-enters cabinet as minister of commerce and consumer affairs, a new consolidated portfolio of digital economy and communications, statistics and minister for SEOs.

Phil Twyford, the previous minister for housing and transport, has been demoted. He will no longer be in cabinet, instead becoming a minister for disarmament and arms control and minister of state for trade and export growth.

12.45pm: Four new cases of Covid-19, in managed isolation

There are four new cases of Covid-19 to report in managed isolation today, the Ministry of Health has revealed in a surprisingly early press release. There are no new community cases.

The four new cases are:

  • An international mariner staying at the Sudima in Christchurch, detected at day 15 testing as a close contact of a day six case.  The person is now in quarantine.
  • A person who arrived on October 19 from Milan via Singapore and tested positive to routine testing at around day 12. The person is now in the Auckland quarantine facility.
  • A person who arrived on October 28 from London via Singapore and tested positive to routine testing at around day three. The person is now in the Auckland quarantine facility.
  • A person who tested positive for Covid-19 in managed isolation in Auckland, after being given permission to join a family member recently arrived from overseas. The family member has previously been recorded in the positive case totals. Today’s case will be recorded as an import-related case, the ministry said.

The total number of active cases rises to 81, with 1607 confirmed cases overall.

Yesterday, 3,046 tests were completed, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,104,113.

International mariners in managed isolation in Christchurch

Day 15 testing has been carried out on all group members who are not already confirmed cases. This has resulted in one additional positive case, who was already being monitored as a known close contact.

There have now been 31 positive cases connected to this group, the ministry said.

All those who meet the ministry’s “low risk indicators”, which include those who have recovered or have returned consistently negative test results throughout their stay, will be eligible to leave managed isolation from tomorrow.

Some individuals in this group have now been tested as many as four times. We want to thank them for their commitment to New Zealand’s testing processes and for contributing to good health outcomes for them and their colleagues.

NZ Covid Tracer

There are now 2,336,200 users registered on the Covid Tracer App.

The app has recorded a total of 104,791,378 poster scans and users have created a total of 4,375,467 manual diary entries.

12.30pm: Ardern to announce new cabinet line-up at 1pm

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern will be revealing the shape of the new government at a 1pm press conference from parliament.

Earlier today, Labour’s deputy Kelvin Davis ruled himself out of running for deputy PM, leading to speculation Grant Robertson could be in line for the job.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has quelled suggestions she could take the role, tweeting that she “definitely” won’t be deputy prime minister come Friday.

We’ll have all the details as soon as they come to hand.

12.15pm: US election – 48 hours to go

We’re about two days out from the first polls closing in the US election, with results set to trickle in throughout Wednesday afternoon.

We’ll have live coverage throughout the day here on The Spinoff’s live updates, but in the meantime, you can read Alex Braae’s explainer on when we will know the outcome of the vote.

11.40am: Air NZ ordered to freeze international bookings due to MIQ space

Air New Zealand’s been ordered to put a freeze on international bookings to New Zealand, in order to make sure there’s enough room in our managed isolation facilities. Projections show our MIQ facilities could hit capacity over the silly season.

According to a Stuff report over the weekend, the airline was instructed by the government last Wednesday evening to put a hold on new bookings on international services until tomorrow, to ensure there was space available in quarantine accommodation for inbound passengers for the required 14-day period.

Read more here

10.20am: Kelvin Davis not in running for deputy PM


Kelvin Davis has revealed he won’t be putting himself forward for the role of deputy prime minister.

However, Davis said he wants to remain deputy leader of the Labour Party.

Jacinda Ardern offered him second-in-command, Davis said, but he decided to turn it down. He has told media he will focus on Māori issues within the next government.

It makes the obvious frontrunner for the deputy role Grant Robertson, however a final decision will be revealed alongside the full caucus announcement at about 1pm.

Kelvin Davis fronts media (Photo : Justin Giovannetti)

Davis told Ardern before the election that he didn’t want to be the deputy PM. However, she said he still has her full confidence.

She said there was no reason why he can’t be deputy Labour Party leader and not deputy prime minister.

“It’s a role he wants to stay on with,” Ardern said, while not revealing who she wants to take on the role of deputy prime minister.

8.20am: Cabinet rankings coming today

The ink on the new deal between Labour and the Greens has barely had a chance to dry, and we’re already expecting more information on the shape of the new government. Jacinda Ardern is set to unveil her cabinet today, including the coveted role of deputy prime minister along with the minister who will be in charge of the ongoing Covid-19 response.

The Spinoff’s editor Toby Manhire has written a detailed explainer on the big calls Ardern has to make and made some bold predictions on what the new government will look like. In particular, Manhire’s predicted Kelvin Davis will become deputy prime minister, Chris Hipkins will remain education minister (but loose health), and Peeni Henare and Willie Jackson will move within cabinet. I note these predictions because if I was a betting man, I’d probably place my life savings on a Manhire prediction.

Keep your eyes out for the announcement later today.

Read more: Today Jacinda Ardern names her new cabinet. These are the big calls to be made

7.45am: James Shaw defends Labour-Green deal

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has given the new Labour-Green cooperation deal a “seven-and-a-half” out of 10, acknowledging it gives his party the chance to criticise the government where needed.

The new deal, which you can read all about here, gives Shaw and his counterpart Marama Davidson ministerial positions (outside cabinet) and ensures the two parties cooperate on climate change, the environment and poverty

“The areas of cooperation speak to the Greens’ strength and where we have some common ground with Labour,” Shaw told Newstalk ZB today.

He said he’d be “delighted” if Labour decided to go even further on environmental issues.

Asked why former Green MPs, including ex-co-leader Russel Norman, have been voicing dissatisfaction with the deal, Shaw said they have “anxieties” about the party being “subsumed” by Labour. However, he thinks the Green Party will be able to “deliver an enormous amount” over the next term of government.

Shaw said he was disappointed that the results of the cannabis referendum didn’t go in favour of legalisation, but hopes that progress can be made on making the system safer. Justice minister Andrew Little has ruled out any significant changes to drug laws over the next term.

“There is a huge constituency of people who do want some form of reform,” Shaw said, admitting it’s unlikely the result will change based on the special votes. The result, however, will “tighten”, Shaw said.

The Labour-Green deal includes capacity to look at changes to electoral laws, including implementing a four year parliamentary term. Jacinda Ardern has stated any major changes would likely go to referendum.

Shaw said the changes he backs were already recommended by the Electoral Commission – and “should have come about”.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

Green party delegates have ratified a deal with Labour that will give them ministerial portfolios, but mostly outside of cabinet where the big decisions of government are made. Co-leader James Shaw will continue as climate change minister, along with picking up an associate environment role focusing on biodiversity. And co-leader Marama Davidson will be minister for the prevention of family and sexual violence – a new position – along with being associate housing minister with a focus on homelessness.

As Justin Giovannetti reports, it’s a cooperation agreement rather than either a coalition or confidence and supply agreement. This means that the Greens will remain a basically independent party outside of government, and the right to abstain on budgets and the sort of procedural motions that formally give the government the numbers to govern. While Shaw and Davidson will be outside of cabinet, they will be called in to cabinet committee discussions when their portfolios are directly affected. However, they’ll also be bound by the expectation of collective cabinet responsibility, meaning they’ll basically have to back cabinet decisions in their portfolio areas even if they disagree with them. As Giovannetti puts it, “it’ll be a difficult juggling act if the future government runs afoul of the Green base.”

Writing about the agreement, professor Andrew Geddis says it represents a longer term strategy for both parties, who realise that they might need each other again in three years time. But the nature of the agreement means power still firmly resides with Labour. To quote:

But make no mistake, this agreement is all about how the Greens will slot in alongside the Labour government, rather than how the Labour government will bend to accommodate the Greens. The agreed upon areas of common policy development “represent areas where the policy and experience of the Green Party provides a positive contribution to the Labour government”. As far as Labour is concerned, the Greens are there to add value to their governing mission for the next three years, and will be allowed to participate only insofar as they do so.

While the Green delegates voted for the deal by a margin of more than 75%, the acceptance could cause some disquiet. It is understood that the margin in favour was less than the almost unanimous support among delegates given to the deal offered in 2017. Among the criticisms voiced by some activists and even former MPs is the fact that the titles aren’t necessarily accompanied by the ability to spend real money addressing the problems, and therefore there’s a power imbalance to deal with. Newshub reports Russel Norman and Sue Bradford have been particularly scathing.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

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