Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for June 9, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
2.50pm: Melbourne three lied to officials, broke Australian and NZ laws, will pay for MIQ
Three recent arrivals from Sydney will be spending the next two weeks in an Auckland managed-isolation facility after violating New Zealand’s travel pause with Melbourne.
According to Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins, the three who are “normally resident of Australia” drove from Melbourne to Sydney and hopped on a quarantine-free flight to Auckland. On arrival, they misled border officers but were detained when something in their story caught the attention of officials.
They were identified as having travelled from Victoria, violating Australia’s stay-at-home order, and were moved to nearby managed-isolation. They’ll face a $3,100 bill each for their stays.
Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield described what the three had done as “disappointing actions” but wouldn’t say whether he’d direct police to prosecute the group. Australian police could still prosecute them for violating that country’s laws.
The first green-flight from Melbourne, open to New Zealand citizens and residents, landed in New Zealand today.
Melbourne’s tough lockdown will lift tomorrow, the Victorian government also announced today. Some restrictions will remain in place and high-risk venues like gyms and dance studios will remain closed indefinitely.
All new Gone By Lunchtime
On a new episode of our politics podcast Gone By Lunchtime, Toby Manhire, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas discuss another week of National MPs making headlines for the wrong reasons, the Climate Commission’s just-landed final report, bridges, bike lanes and roads, and the ScoMo-Jacinda Queenstown summit. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast provider.
1.20pm: Vaccine roll-out 10% ahead of schedule; ‘unevenness’ with group three warned
The vaccine roll-out is now tracking about 10% ahead of schedule, but the Covid-19 response minister has warned there will be some “unevenness” for those in group three.
As of midnight last night, more than 750,000 doses of the vaccine given – an increase of 107,000 from this time last week last week. Almost 500,000 have received their first dose with the remainder fully vaccinated, Hipkins said.
The minister reaffirmed that there is already enough vaccine in the country to finish groups one and two. “If you have not heard from us… we do want to hear from you now,” he said. “We do want to work our way through the groups.”
However, Hipkins confirmed that the group three roll-out will be a little trickier due to the size of the group. “There will be a little bit of unevenness around the country… but I can reassure you we are working our way through,” he said. People should not be concerned if their friend in a different part of the country has already been given the jab as part of the third wave, Hipkins added.
There are no new community cases in New Zealand today, with two reported in managed isolation.
1.15pm: Hipkins, Bloomfield, front weekly vaccine update
Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins and the director general of health Ashley Bloomfield will front today’s vaccine update.
The pair will likely also face questions about a Covid patient who was today transferred from managed isolation at the Jet Park facility to Middlemore Hospital along with reports a group from Melbourne managed to make it into New Zealand by deceiving officials.
1.00pm: FIRST, with Chris Parker
Comedian, actor and felt artist Chris Parker tells us about his intermediate era celeb crush, first nemesis, being a Mall Santa and more in this week’s episode of FIRST.
12.40pm: Covid-positive patient transferred to hospital
A person in quarantine with Covid-19 has been transferred to Middlemore Hospital in a “moderate but stable” condition.
According to the Herald, the patient was admitted overnight with both Covid-19 and pneumonia after a stay at the Jet Park facility.
“The patient is being treated at Middlemore as we are the nearest DHB to Jet Park and we accept all patients from Jet Park if their home domicile is outside of Auckland,” a spokesperson from the Counties Manukau DHB said.
“We are well equipped to deal with Covid patients and have robust processes in place to manage their admission.”
The next Covid-19 update is expected at 1pm when the minister in charge of our pandemic response, Chris Hipkins, will front a press conference. As of yesterday, there were 22 active cases in the country – all in managed isolation.
12.00pm: Climate Change Commission advice released to the public – here’s what you need to know
The Climate Change Commission’s final advice on how to curb emissions has been released to the public, around a week after the government got a sneak preview.
The draft advice was released for public consultation earlier this year, receiving 15,000 public submissions that have impacted the final version.
Our political editor Justin Giovannetti has been scrutinising the advice and written a full report. But in the meantime: here’s his TLDR:
The big news is the same, the government has 400 pages of recommendations to cut emissions and meet the country’s international carbon targets. It’s affordable, at around 1.2% of GDP and technically achievable without any magic or future technology. However, many of the smaller details have changed since the commissions draft was released in January. It’ll be harder and more expensive, because New Zealand has burned more emissions than expected in recent years. Some of the technologies and improvements that the commission had expected won’t happen as quickly. In 2035 we’ll be creating more emissions than projected only a few months ago, despite working harder to get there.
And here are some of the headlines:
- Emissions are higher than initially thought. The draft report had expected emissions of 72.1 megatons annually in 2019, a number revised up to 74.9 megatons. The result is that a cut to expected annual emissions of 44.6 megatons in 2035 will now be 47.9 megatons instead.
- Further integration of Te Tiriti. The commission has made three specific recommendations focused on upholding Te Tiriti partnership.
- Changes to the level of ‘ambition’. The commission increased ambition on waste, and decreased initial ambition on the number of used electric vehicles that would be available in the early budget periods. The supply of used EVs will probably be smaller than projected, meaning that there will be more fossil-fuel vehicles on the country’s roads for longer.
- Cow and sheep herds need to fall. A decline of 13% by 2030 is now recommended, up from an 8% decline expected without intervention from the government.
- BBQs are safe. Responding to concerns from the draft report that the government was about to ban backyard cooking, the commission wrote that a bottle of biogas will be an easy change in the coming years.
11.45am: NZ universities slump in global ranking
Most of the country’s universities have slumped in the annual global ranking, with Auckland University the only to crack the top 100. Even then, it dropped from 81st to 85th place in the 2022 QS survey rankings.
Also falling: Otago down to 194, Victoria University to 236, Massey to 284 and AUT to 451. Three universities improved their standing, with the University of Canterbury moving to 258, Waikato to 373 and Lincoln jumping 15 places up to 372.
QS director of research Ben Sowter said that our universities are experiencing “systemic teaching provision challenges” – but that’s not a unique challenge.
“Across the QS world rankings, we are seeing higher education systems struggle to increase teaching capacity at rates commensurate with rising student demand and the desire to attract international students,” Sowter said.
11.20am: Nurses walk off the job, protesting work conditions and pay
30,000 nurses have walked off the job in protest over working conditions and an insufficient pay offer from district health boards.
The eight hour protest kicked off at 11am, with disruptions expected across the country. Emergency services and 111 call-outs will continue as normal, but some Covid-19 vaccination clinics will not be able to operate as planned.
The photo below shows the long crowd of protestors outside Auckland Hospital in the city centre. Reports from the ground are of hospital staff waving from the floors above, with drivers tooting and bystanders cheering.
10.50am: ‘Pretty degrading’ – Mental health facilities may be failing patients, says ombudsman
The chief ombudsman said work needs to be done to improve acute mental health facilities in New Zealand – and is concerned we might not be meeting our obligations to protect patients under international law.
Peter Boshier told RNZ that two of the three facilities visited last year during unannounced inspections were not fit for purpose.
“Te Whare Ahuru, which is the acute adult mental health at Lower Hutt built in 1995, [had] soiled carpets, [and was] old tired [and] unwelcoming,” Boshier said.
“The staff genuinely try their hardest … but you are the subject of your environment, and so we found it was unacceptable in a number of physical respects.”
Boshier cited a lack of toilets as one of the major concerns and said it could lead to “pretty degrading” situations.
Seclusion rooms were intended for use only when patients needed to be kept apart to protect themselves or others, but Boshier said they were often used as bedrooms.
“This should not be used as rooms for people who don’t want to be there, have to be there, and are trying to get better,” he said, referencing New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
“The reason we are keen to highlight these in our inspections is because the public generally does not get to see and generally does not therefore know [about these problems],” said Boshier.
10.05am: Sky and Disney team up for new subscribers
Sky is teaming up with Disney in a bid to lure more customers to its new broadband service.
As the Herald reports, all customers who sign up for a 12-month contract with Sky broadband will get a year of Disney+ for free. Disney’s streaming service is becoming an incredibly in-demand product thanks to its exclusive streaming of the Disney back catalogue along with original programmes from within the Marvel and Star Wars stables.
Unlike Netflix, which has teamed up with several other companies to offer free subscriptions, Disney’s deal with Sky will be exclusive.
9.15am: Retirement commissioner calls for overhaul of village legislation
The retirement commissioner has recommended the government urgently review the laws around retirement villages to better protect the elderly. Donna Chisholm looks at the sector, and the “systemic problems” that triggered the demand for reform.
8.00am: Judith Collins distances herself from Goldsmith over ‘colonisation’ comments
National MP Paul Goldsmith has found little support from within his own party after labelling colonisation “on balance” good for Māori.
Goldsmith, the party’s education spokesperson, made the comments on Newshub Nation over the weekend. He’s so far stood by his claim despite the tidal wave of backlash from MPs across the political divide. A gaggle of National MPs yesterday distanced themselves from Goldsmith’s comments, including former leaders Todd Muller and Simon Bridges, and prospective leaders Christopher Luxon and Chris Bishop.
Speaking today on RNZ, leader Judith Collins also said she has a different view to Goldsmith. “That is not my view, it is not the view of the National Party,” she said. “I think Paul was trying to make the statement that things like democracy and the rule of law were good things… but I can’t think of any colonised people who feel that colonisation was good for them.”
Collins would not say whether she was surprised by the comments. “[He was saying] we can be very proud of the work that’s have gone on over the years and particularly looking at the standard of living compared to other countries,” she said.
The National leader said she has spoken to Goldsmith about his comments and made clear that the National Party’s view does not align with his. “I don’t think that the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi were a good thing,” she said.
The comments by Goldsmith mean that, yet again, Collins is forced to front up to media about matters involving her own party. Over the past week, Collins has spent more time talking about outgoing MP Nick Smith and ex-National candidate Jake Bezzant than on holding the government to account. “That’s relatively normal for any party when they’re in opposition,” said Collins. “Media are asking us the questions, we’re gonna answer them.”
7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin
A company you’ve probably never heard of caused half the internet to go dark late last night. As The Guardian explains, thousands of major websites went offline for around an hour or so about 10pm NZT. That included: major online retailers like Amazon and Ebay, websites linked to the UK government, streaming services like Spotify, Reddit and news media such as the New York Times. Here in New Zealand, sites like TradeMe, TVNZ and RNZ were impacted.
The outage, which quickly dominated online discussion on surviving forums like Twitter, appears to have been caused by US-based cloud company Fastly Inc crashing. Never heard of Fastly? Neither, I doubt many people will have. Fastly is a CDN – or content delivery network. I don’t really know what that means either but CNBC has a handy explainer on the subject. Basically, Fastly provides a service that allows popular websites to keep copies of their pages closer to their customers, speeding up load times. It’s how you can visit a website based in the UK and it loads at the same speed as The Spinoff does.
Was it caused by a cyberattack like what brought down the Waikato DHB systems recently? Apparently not. At first, it was thought that Fastly may have succumbed to some sort of attack causing half the internet to collapse. The actual problem appears to be far more technical/boring: the company said in a tweet that it had “identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions” globally. As of this morning, it appears the websites impacted have been brought back online.