PoliticsNovember 6, 2021

Live updates, November 5-7: 113 new community cases, 74 cases in hospital


Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for November 5-7. Test your knowledge in our weekly news quiz. And want to help support our Covid coverage? Join Members today. 

1.30pm: Counties Manukau just 192 first doses away from 90%

In a truly incredible effort, Counties Manukau had a huge vaccination day yesterday with 1,062 first doses administered, bring them a mere 192 first doses away from reaching the 90% target. The other two Auckland metro DHBs have already reached 90% for first doses meaning, in theory (though drop-offs must be accounted for), Auckland could move to the traffic light system with a 90% double-dosed eligible population in early December.

1.05pm: 113 new community cases today, 74 cases in hospital

There are 113 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today, a marked drop-off after yesterday’s record-breaking 206 cases. Of today’s cases, 109 are in Auckland, three are in Waikato and one in Northland.

Of yesterday’s cases, 52 were infectious in the community.

There have been positive wastewater results recently on Waiheke Island (November 2) from the main township of Oneroa and also in Waiuku (November 2).

The ministry recommends residents in these two areas to get tested if they have symptoms.

Testing is available at the following locations:

  • Waiheke Medical Centre until 4pm today
  • Pukekohe Netball Centre until 3.30pm (for Waiuku residents)

For testing centres in Auckland, visit http://www.arphs.health.nz/covid19test

Testing is also available at GP and Urgent Care clinics, the locations of these can be found on https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

There were unexpected detections in Taranaki, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay between November 1 and 3.  The latest test results for Hastings and Wairoa (returned yesterday), and Huntly are all negative.

The ministry is asking anyone with any symptoms in these places – no matter how mild – to get tested, especially anyone who has travelled outside of these regions recently.

Testing is available at the following locations this weekend:

  • Stratford: The War Memorial car park, 55 Miranda Street (10am to 2pm).  Testing is also available at Hawera hospital (10am – 2pm) and New Plymouth at Taranaki Base Hospital 9am-1pm (hours extended if required)
  • Gisborne: 110 Peel Street (9am to 5pm). Testing is also available at Te Puia Springs Hospital (10.30am-2pm)
  • Napier: 30 Munroe Street, entrance off Vautier St (9am-5pm)

If you live in Stratford, Gisborne or Napier and haven’t been vaccinated, today is a good opportunity to do so. For a full list of testing and vaccination centres, see the Healthpoint website

Porirua tangi
Wellington Regional Public Health is continuing to encourage those involved in a tangi in Porirua on Wednesday this week to get tested for Covid-19.

A public health assessment is that the risks to the wider public are low.

Waikato update
There were two new cases confirmed in Waikato overnight, one from Hamilton and one from Ōtorohanga. One was a known contact of previous cases and already in isolation. Public Health will today investigate links for the second case.

A third case, reported yesterday, is being added to our official case numbers today.

Today there are six pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Hamilton, Huntly, Ōtorohanga and Te Awamutu. We are encouraging anyone in these areas with COVID-19 symptoms to seek a test.

There was one location of interest identified in Hamilton yesterday.

Both COVID-19 patients in Waikato Hospital yesterday have now been discharged.

There were 2,251 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 2,298 vaccines delivered.

Northland update
There is one new case in Northland to report today – taking the total number of cases in the region to 18. This person is a contact of a case in Kaitaia and has been isolating at home.

We are continuing to encourage those who live in or around Taipa, Kaingaroa, Awanui and Kaitaia and have had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, to get tested as soon as possible. Testing centre locations can be found on the Northland DHB website.

There were 665 tests taken across Northland yesterday and 1,256 vaccinations were given, including 371 first doses.

Auckland update
There are 15 community testing centres available for testing across Auckland today.

We’re continuing to encourage everyone in Auckland to please get a test if they have any symptoms, no matter how mild. Even if people are fully vaccinated, and have been isolating at home, please seek out a test if you feel the need.

In metro Auckland, 1,886 individuals are now being supported to safely isolate at home; this includes 816 cases across  661 households.

Sunday, November 7

There’ll be no 1pm press conference today. The latest case, hospitalisation and vaccination numbers will arrive by written statement sometime between 1pm and 1.30pm. All the important details will be shared here shortly after.

Saturday, November 6, 1.55pm: 78% of eligible New Zealanders now fully vaccinated

There were 27,892 Covid-19 vaccine doses administered yesterday, made up of 6,442 first doses and 21,470 second doses. To date, 89% of eligible New Zealanders have had their first dose and 78% are fully vaccinated.

1.45pm: The shape of the outbreak

The number of new cases, unlinked cases and hospitalisations reached new highs today.

Like graphs? Check out The Spinoff Covid tracker for heaps more

1.25pm: 206 new Covid-19 cases in the community

There are 206 cases of Covid-19 in the community today, 200 of which are in Auckland, four in Waikato and two in Northland. Of the 206 cases, 159 are yet to be linked to the outbreak.

There are now 4,240 cases in the current community outbreak.

It’s the highest number of cases reported in a day since the beginning of the pandemic, and the first time case numbers have topped 200. Yesterday’s total of 163 was the previous record.

“The 206 community cases numbers reported today are a reminder of the infectiousness of Covid-19, and particularly the delta variant, and the importance of vaccination as the number one protection against the virus,” says the Ministry of Health.

Seventy-three people are now in hospital with Covid-19, up from 69 yesterday. Seven of those are in ICU.

Northland and Waikato cases

The two new community cases in Northland are both close contacts of cases in Kaitaia and have been isolating at home. The total number of cases in the region is now 17.

Today there are six community testing centres and nine vaccination clinics available across Te Tai Tokerau.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to encourage those who live in or around Taipa, Kaingaroa, Awanui and Kaitaia and have had symptoms of Covid-19 in the last couple of weeks to get tested as soon as possible. Testing centre locations can be found on the Northland DHB website.

There were 1,105 tests taken across Northland yesterday and 1,129 vaccinations were given, including 337 first doses.

There were four new cases confirmed in Waikato overnight, all from Hamilton. Two were known contacts already in isolation and links for the other two cases will be investigated today.

One Covid-19 patient who had been staying at Waikato Hospital was discharged yesterday. Two new patients were admitted overnight. This change will be reflected in tomorrow’s figures, says the Ministry of Health.

Today there are eight pop-up and dedicated testing sites operating across Hamilton, Huntly, Ōtorohanga, Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti,and Thames.

Three new locations of interest were identified yesterday in Te Awamutu and Hamilton. There were 1,923 tests processed in Waikato yesterday and 2,912 vaccinations delivered.

Wastewater detections

Following the positive wastewater detections in Stratford, Gisborne and Napier, further samples will be collected over the next few days with results expected next week, says the ministry.

“At this stage, the detections are not linked to any known cases of Covid-19 which could indicate that there are undetected cases in these communities.

“We are asking anyone with any symptoms in these places – no matter how mild – to get tested, especially anyone who has travelled outside of these regions recently.

Testing is available at the following locations this weekend:

·        Stratford: The War Memorial car park, 55 Miranda Street (10am to 2pm)
·        Gisborne: 110 Peel Street (9am to 5pm)
·        Napier: 30 Munroe Street (9am-5pm)

Porirua tangi

Wellington Regional Public Health are encouraging those involved in a tangi in Porirua on Wednesday this week to get tested for Covid-19.

Their assessment is that the risks to wider public are low following reports of a person who had tested positive in Auckland last month and who travelled from Auckland to Porirua. They are assessed as unlikely to have been infectious as they travelled at the very end of their 14-day quarantine period.

However, in the absence of fuller information, they are recommending those linked with the tangi to be tested, particularly if they have symptoms.

The Ministry of Health is seeking more information to provide further reassurance that the case was not an infection risk while visiting the area.


There were 27,892 first and second Covid-19 vaccine doses administered yesterday, made up of 6,442 first doses and 21,470 second doses. To date, 89% of New Zealanders have had their first dose and 78% are fully vaccinated.

“It’s three weeks today since Super Saturday so it’s time for people who were vaccinated then to get their second shot,” says the ministry. “There are some great events on around the motu this weekend, such as Auckland’s GotYaDot vaccine event at Eden Park and the Ethkick event targeting ethnic communities in the Bay of Plenty today.”

Saturday, November 6, 12.00pm

There’s no media conference today; instead, the Covid numbers will be arriving by written statement shortly after 1pm. We’ll be expecting an update on yesterday’s positive wastewater detections in Taranaki, Napier and Gisborne too. We’ll have all the news, plus updated graphs, as soon as the Ministry of Health’s media release arrives in our inbox.

Today’s 1pm update, in brief

  • A person with Covid-19 has died while self-isolating at home.
  • This is the second home isolation death within a week.
  • There was a new record for daily Covid infections: 163 cases.
  • 159 were in Auckland and four were in Waikato.
  • Covid-related hospitalisations also hit a new high of 69.

6.30pm: Covid detected in wastewater in Napier and Gisborne

Covid-19 has recently been detected in wastewater samples taken in Napier and Gisborne, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The wastewater sampling was carried out by ESR between 1 and 3 November, with results returned this afternoon. “They could be due to recently recovered cases returning to the region from MIQ who are shedding the virus, transient visitors to the region, or could signal undetected cases in the community,” said the ministry in a statement.

“There are no MIQ facilities, or known Covid-19 cases self-isolating, in Napier or Gisborne. As standard procedure, ESR will carry out further samples in coming days with results expected early next week.

“As a prudent measure, anyone in the Hawke’s Bay and East Cape with Covid-19 symptoms – no matter how mild – are asked to please get tested, even if they are vaccinated.

Testing is available by appointment at the following locations across Hawke’s Bay:
·        Napier: 06 650 4000 open 9am-5pm
·        Hastings: 06 281 2644 open 8am-8pm
·        Wairoa: 06 838 8333 open 8.30am-5pm
·        Central Hawke’s Bay resident should phone your GP or call Healthline: 0800 358 5453.

In Gisborne, testing is available this Saturday and Sunday at a drive-through set up at 110 Peel Street from 9am-5pm, no appointment required.

Additional testing capacity in the area will be stood up, if needed, and details will be available on the Healthpoint website.

The ministry is also urging anyone in those regions to get vaccinated if they are yet to do so. Locations are available on the Healthpoint website.

The positive detections on the east coast follow the ministry confirming that wastewater in Stratford, Taranaki, tested positive for Covid-19 earlier today.

4.45pm: Two Covid cases attempt to flee MIQ in two separate incidents

Two Covid-19 cases have attempted to abscond from quarantine facilities in Auckland and Hamilton in the past 24 hours, but both were caught within minutes.

One person removed a section of fencing from the Amohia community isolation quarantine facility in Hamilton at 11.45am this morning and jumped into a waiting car, but was stopped by police a few minutes later.

In Auckland, another Covid-positive person ran away from the entrance to the Holiday Inn facility at Auckland Airport as they arrived there by shuttle. at about 5pm last night. They were caught within minutes.

In a statement, joint head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said every event like this was “extremely disappointing”, but the facilities were not prisons and staff were not prison guards.

“People don’t come into our facilities because they’ve broken the law, they come in because unfortunately they are community cases that have tested positive.

“It is hard to keep people in a facility if they are determined to leave. MIQ staff work really hard to ensure the safety and comfort of all members of our community currently staying at our facilities. Most recent absconders were caught very quickly thanks to our staff and our security measures.”

There have now been 18 absconding attempts involving 24 people, with more than 186,000 people passing through managed isolation and quarantine.

3.35pm: End of Life Choice Act to enter into effect

From Sunday, more than a year after the public referendum, the End of Life Choice Act will come into effect.

The introduction of assisted dying means that a person with a terminal illness who meets the eligibility criteria can request medication to relieve their suffering and end their life.

The law change was fronted by Act Party leader David Seymour. His deputy, Brooke van Velden, told Newstalk ZB today that it’s expected up to 1000 people will request assisted dying over the first year but not all will be eligible.

“At any given time only a handful of New Zealanders will actually be eligible,” van Velden said. “The Ministry of Health have had a year to put in place the strict safeguards to make sure that it will work in practice.”

Listen to the full interview here

2.55pm: The key Covid numbers

Here’s how the delta outbreak is looking, according to The Spinoff’s Covid Tracker page. 

2.05pm: The race to 90%

More than 3.2 million New Zealanders are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, representing 77% of the eligible population.

Once that gets to 90% (bar Auckland), the entire country will shift to the new traffic light framework. Auckland’s on track to shift earlier: the three DHBs are now sitting at 82% double jabbed. However, Counties Manukau needs more than 1000 more doses to hit the 90% first dose milestone.

Across the country, 26,058 doses were administered yesterday: 6,646 first doses and 19,412 second doses.

Meanwhile, in Taranaki – where wastewater testing today revealed a positive trace of Covid-19 – just 69% of people are fully vaccinated.

Check out how your DHB’s doing with our interactive chart. And view The Spinoff’s Covid Tracker here.

1.30pm: Robertson refuses to rule out travel allocation times

The confusing saga of how Aucklanders will be able to leave the city for Christmas has continued to drag on.

Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson faced questions on the topic at today’s 1pm briefing – and refused to explicitly rule out the possibility of allocating Aucklanders travel times. However, he said: “I don’t see that as a practical way of doing it”.

Robertson said the first and best way for allowing interregional travel was everyone getting vaccinated so the new traffic light framework could kick in. “We’re doing exactly what you’d expect us to do, which is contingency planning if that doesn’t happen.”

Robertson emphasised no decisions had been made yet. “It’s a big job, we’re working through the options, as soon as decisions have been made, if they require to be implementing, we’ll announce them.” He said they were working through whether both vaccine certificates and testing would be required.

1.00pm: Second person dies at home with Covid-19; record 163 new cases


A second person isolating at home with Covid-19 has died, director of public health Caroline McElnay announced.

The man, in his 50s, was found this morning by emergency services in Mount Eden. The man was recently treated in hospital.

Both deaths reported this week will be investigated as part of a wider systemic review by the Ministry of Health and DHBs into home isolation of Covid-19 patients to see if any improvements are needed.

Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson said his understanding was that the person had been admitted to hospital on November 1 before self-discharging two days later, on Wednesday. Health officials contacted them via phone on both Wednesday and Thursday before they were found dead today. “I am confident in the system,” said Robertson.

Inquiries are ongoing about the causes of death of the two people who died at home this week, said Robertson. “There are always specific circumstances and I don’t want to immediately assume what cause of death is for a person.”

The death will be referred to the coroner.

Another daily record for Covid-19 cases

There are 163 new community cases of Covid-19, another new record from across both years of the pandemic. Of these, 159 are in Auckland and four are in Waikato. There are no new cases in Northland or the South Island.

There are 69 people in hospital, a new record for Covid-related hospitalisations. Six people are in intensive care.

As reported by The Spinoff yesterday, McElnay confirmed that the ministry’s approach to locations of interest in Auckland had changed on account of the growing number of cases. Low-risk exposure events such as drive throughs or supermarkets are no longer being reported as the risk is very low. However, high-risk close-contact exposure events will continue to be published, said McElnay.

There are now 767 Covid-positive individuals isolating at home currently. However, Robertson indicated routine home isolation would not begin for overseas returnees until next year.

Speaking to the newly confirmed wastewater results in Taranaki (see 9.20am update), McElnay said it cannot yet be linked to any known active or recovering cases in Taranaki. “This means there may be undetected cases of Covid-19 in the community,” said McElnay. Anyone with Covid symptoms in the area is urged to get tested.

Additional follow-up wastewater samples will be taken throughout the region in the coming days. It is possible, added McElnay, that the result could be linked to an historic (and therefore non-infectious) case.

The new Waikato cases are in Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Ngāruawāhia, and Te Kuiti. Just the case in Te Kuiti remains unlinked at this stage.

While there are no new Northland cases, the ministry is still encouraging people who live in or around Taipa, Kaingaroa, Awanui and Kaitaia to get tested if they have had symptoms of Covid-19 in the last couple of weeks.

12.45pm: Robertson to give Covid-19 update

Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson and the director of public health Caroline McElnay will front today’s Covid-19 presser. As usual, they’ll provide the latest Covid-19 numbers from overnight along with an update on vaccinations and hospitalisations. Expect questions to focus on the government’s mixed messaging around Aucklanders leaving the city over summer.

Watch below or follow along with our live coverage.

12.30pm: The rangatahi sharing the voice of their generation with Apec world leaders

Next week is Apec Leaders’ Week. As part of the Voices of the Future summit New Zealand’s youth are helping shape a declaration to Apec Leaders as the region sets a plan for the next 20 years. The Spinoff spoke to three delegates ahead of the event. Read the story here.

Created in partnership with Mfat.

11.40am: The Friday Quiz!

Know all about Apec? What about Celebrity Treasure Island? And who – or what – is Doug?! Test your knowledge in our acclaimed weekly news quiz.

This week’s quiz is created in partnership with Mfat.

Quiz not working on mobile? Click here.

11.10am: Fifth Covid-19 treatment on its way to NZ

New Zealanders with Covid-19 will soon have access to another treatment.

Baricitinib is the fifth drug Pharmac has secured, alongside remdesivir, tocilizumab, molnupiravir and ronapreve. Health minister Andrew Little said 500 doses of baricitinib are expected to arrive this month.

“Preventing people from getting Covid-19 in the first place, through vaccinations, social distancing and mask-wearing, is still the best protection for people and for keeping the health system free for those who need it. But we need medicines for those who do get sick,” he said.

“Like tocilizumab, baricitinib can be used to treat patients who are very sick, as it reduces the severity of symptoms and cuts time in hospital and reduces the likelihood of death.”

All five drugs will be purchased using the government’s Covid-19 fund.

10.55am: Third Labour MP weighs into travel time slot confusion

There’s been further confusion on whether or not the government plans to allocate time slots for Aucklanders leaving the city over summer.

The idea was first mooted by Covid response minister Chris Hipkins earlier this week, before being shot down by deputy PM Grant Robertson the following day. Hipkins then released a further statement that did not rule out the idea. So far, Jacinda Ardern has refused to face questions on the topic.

However, this morning, David Parker once again walked back the idea. “If we do still have a border around Auckland, then you have to decide what to do in respect of unvaccinated people,” he told The AM Show. “Now there’s some practicalities to that that we need to work through. I think most people understand that we can’t just let it rip. But we have to have a practical solution rather than large queues of traffic.”

National’s Simon Bridges, appearing alongside Parker, said the government should not attempt to “play Santa” and needed to make their plans clear.

10.00am: Massive potato puts NZ on the world stage

New Zealand is once again being talked about on the world stage – and not just by celebrated troll Joe Rogan. No, this time we’re being gossiped about not for our Covid response but for our engorged veg.

A potentially record-breaking 7.8kg potato grown by gardeners Colin and Donna Craig-Brown has gone international since first being reported on earlier this week.

Nicknamed Doug, the immense spud was unearthed on the couple’s farm near Hamilton back in August.

The current Guinness World Record for the heaviest potato is a 5kg beast from Britain, meaning Doug should be able to come out on top if its weight is verified.

Around the world, Doug’s been shared by media outlets such as CBS, NPR and even USA Today.

9.20am: Covid-19 detected in Taranaki town’s wastewater, reports local iwi

Update: The Ministry of Health told The Spinoff it would not confirm or deny the presence of Covid-19 in Stratford ahead of today’s 1pm briefing, unless there was a “pressing public health need” to do so.

Covid-19 has been detected in wastewater in the Taranaki town Stratford.

According to local iwi Ngāti Ruanui, the “strong positive” test result came through last night. “It’s hugely important that we connect the dots between the wastewater result and the source,” said the iwi kaiwhakahaere Rachel Rae. “Today, we will be standing up our mobile unit in Stratford where we will test and have the capacity to vaccinate.”

The wastewater sample was taken on November 1, said Rae. “The real concern here is that there is a high possibility that the wastewater result means that there is undetected community transmission. In such an isolated community, this could indicate wider spread throughout the region if the source made stops in New Plymouth for example,” said Rae.

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who is based in the area, said low vaccination rates were also of concern. Roughly 68% of locals are fully dosed although “this is worse for Māori with less than half fully vaccinated,” said Ngarewa-Packer.

No Covid cases have been announced in Taranaki. The next official update will come at 1pm.

9.05am: Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement team up for new film

Taika Waititi is teaming up with his What We Do in the Shadows collaborator Jemaine Clement on a new film project.

He’s announced plans to adapt Alejandro Jodorowsky’s graphic novel The Incal, a space opera first published in the late 1980s.

“The films and graphic novels of Alejandro Jodorowsky have influenced me and so many others for so long,” Waititi told Deadline. “I was stunned to be given the opportunity to bring his iconic characters to life.”

The Incal follows private investigator John Difool who happens upon a mystical artifact known as the Incal —an object of great power coveted by many factions across the galaxy.

Waititi will direct the project, with the script be co-written by him and Clement.


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8.20am: Rich lister wins right to self-isolate at home – and hopes to set a new precedent

A precedent-setting legal challenge could see more returnees from overseas allowed to self-isolate at home.

Auckland businessman Murray Bolton has won the right to self-isolate in his Herne Bay property following a round trip to the United States, following a judicial review. MBIE told Bolton today that it had reconsidered its initial rejection of his application to self-isolate at home, following a High Court decision last week that said officials had failed to take into account the Bill of Rights Act, among other factors.

Bolton is jetting overseas to attend a board meeting for the company he directs, Xplor – a trip the court noted has significant benefits for New Zealand. 

Now, Bolton hopes to help other New Zealanders skip the MIQ ballot, calling the current system “broken”.

“MBIE only changed its mind in my case because I had the time and the resources to fight for my rights in court,” Bolton said. “That’s great for me, but most Kiwis don’t have that level of privilege. Whether they are trying to get home to be reunited with their families or travelling for business opportunities that are critical to New Zealand’s post-pandemic economic recovery, they shouldn’t have to lawyer up to get a fair hearing from officials.”

Bolton pointed out that there are 723 Covid-positive Aucklanders self-isolating at home who caught the virus in the community. “Yet thousands of Kiwis who are double-vaccinated and Covid-free are told they can’t come home from overseas until they literally win a lottery, for one of a handful of rooms in an MIQ facility guarded by soldiers,” he said.

It’s a similar argument to that of the National Party who this week launched a petition calling for the abolition of the current MIQ system. “Clearly we need quarantine facilities for some community Covid cases, but we must move to a system where fully vaccinated travellers who return negative pre-departure tests can enter New Zealand without spending time in MIQ hotels,” said the party’s Covid spokesperson Chris Bishop.

Bolton said his legal action was costly and should have been unnecessary, but he now hoped that his “significant investment” would help others.

8.00am: Covid modeller warns 2022 could mainly be spent in ‘red’ setting

A top Covid modeller has warned that things won’t go back to normal as soon as vaccination levels hit 90%. In fact, Shaun Hendy believes we could spend three quarters of next year in the “red” setting of the new traffic light framework.

Hendy told RNZ the new normal is going to take some getting used to. “We’re not going back to that kind of level one life that we’ve enjoyed for most of 2020 and 2021,” he said. “The traffic light system is designed to be a long-term management strategy, so less about reacting by moving us into lockdown when we have an outbreak and more about managing case numbers.”

It’s possible we may only get three or so months of 2022 in the relative freedoms of levels green or orange, Hendy suggested. However, vaccinating children – those aged below 12 – could help. “That might shift us for example to spending 50% of our time in the red traffic light zone, with less impact on schooling,” he said.

Hendy has consistently warned that Covid case numbers will exceed government forecasts and could peak at 300 per day before the end of the year.

Professor Shaun Hendy (Photo: Supplied)

Yesterday’s Covid update, summarised

  • There were 139 new community cases of Covid-19.
  • Auckland had 136 new cases, while there were two in Waikato and one in Northland.
  • 72 cases could not be linked to the outbreak with 452 mystery cases from across the past fortnight.
  • A Covid-positive person who died on Wednesday was a man in his 40s. A link to the vaccine has been ruled out.
  • The number of Covid-related hospitalisations hit a new record of 64.

7.30am: From The Bulletin

An unknown plan for Auckland travel this summer. A few hours after yesterday’s newsletter was released, the deputy prime minister tried to walk back a proposal to create time slots for fully vaccinated Aucklanders to leave the city this summer. Then in an unusual move, Covid-19 minister Chris Hipkins released a statement trying to clarify his position. As The Spinoff’s live updates report, the minister said he wants vaccinated Aucklanders to be able to travel, but also wants a boundary to keep Covid-19 from spreading. It did little to clear up confusion.

A state of emergency in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne after rain hammers district. The NZ Herald reports that inflatable rescue boats have been used to evacuate residents from flooded homes in parts of the district. Over 200mm of rain fell in a day, with more heavy rain expected to keep falling through the night.

The Covid numbers: There are 64 cases in hospital and 5 in ICU/HDU. There are now 2,141 active cases in New Zealand. 136 new community cases were reported in Auckland yesterday, 2 in Waikato and 1 in Northland. 26,999 people were vaccinated on Wednesday.

The Spinoff’s Covid data tracker has the latest figures.

Night ’n Day would consider a big push into the grocery sector. The Dunedin-based firm is already the country’s third-largest grocery, after giants Foodstuffs and Woolworths. According to the Otago Daily Times, Night ’n Day is now focused on coffee and takeaway, but the company would pivot to groceries if it faced a level playing field buying products. That’s a challenge now because the wholesalers are owned by…Foodstuffs and Woolworths.

With debt levels high across NZ, the Reserve Bank holds ‘the biggest wand’ ever. Former prime minister John Key has warned that the Reserve Bank now can cause great changes in the economy, particularly in housing, with small changes to the interest rate because so many people are carrying so much debt. He pretty much compared it to a wizard’s wand. As Stuff reports, Key doesn’t expect house prices to collapse, something the current prime minister is unlikely to allow to happen, but he does think prices are unsustainable and will stop soaring.

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