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PoliticsSeptember 26, 2020

Election Live, September 26: Two cases of Covid-19, one imported and one historical


Welcome to The Spinoff’s Election Live for September 26, bringing you the latest on election 2020 and other NZ news. The essential campaign dates are here. For all you need to know about the cannabis referendum click here. For the assisted dying referendum click here. Explore the parties’ pledges at Policy. I’m on

The day in sum

Two cases of Covid-19 were announced: an imported case detected in a managed isolation facility and a historical case detected during contact tracing.

Winston Peters revealed he “staved off any action” on Ihumātao before the election and threatened to pull out of the coalition.

New Zealand-born Sergeant Matiu Ratana, known as Matt, has been named as the police officer shot dead in London yesterday.

A review into Waikato University found claims of structural racism to be “incorrect”, but noted there was a case for “structural, systemic, and casual discrimination”.

On The Spinoff: Labour, National and the Greens debate 2020 arts policy

On Thursday night, arts trust Te Taumata Toi-A-Iwi, in association with The Spinoff, hosted a pre-election forum on arts policy. Featuring Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni (Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister), Jonathan Young (Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesperson, National Party) and Chlöe Swarbrick (Arts, Culture and Heritage Spokesperson, Green Party).

If you missed it, not to worry: Sam Brooks has picked out some of the best moments from the event.

1.40pm: Waikato University racism claims ‘inaccurate’ – review

Waikato University, which was accused of structural racism by a number of senior Māori staff, has released the results of its independent review and found that specific claims against the university were “incorrect, inaccurate and reflective of differing perspectives”.

However, it concluded there was a case for structural, systemic, and casual discrimination at the university because public institutions in New Zealand were founded on settlement history and “embody and adhere to western university tradition and culture”.

It concluded that “urgent and necessary work” must be done to give authentic voice and practice to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

In response, academics have welcomed the outcome along with Waikato University commitment to setting up a task force to “open up the dialogues” and tackle the issues.

“I think this will be a positive step forward,” said Joanna Kidman, professor of Māori Education at Victoria University and a public supporter of the six academics who wrote the letter. “We will look towards the university to lead what could be a model for other universities in times to come.”

1.10pm: Two cases of Covid-19, one imported and one historical

Today there are two cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand. Of today’s cases, one is an imported case detected in a managed isolation facility and the other is a historical case detected during contact tracing. There are no new cases in the community.

The imported case is a man in his 30s who arrived in New Zealand on September 21 from Russia via the United Arab Emirates. He returned a positive result on day three testing and is now at the quarantine facility in Auckland.

The historical case was tested because they were a passenger on the recent charter flight from Christchurch to Auckland. They had returned negative day three and day 12 results in managed isolation.

From additional testing and serology analysis, the Ministry of Health has determined there is no link to the Christchurch returnee group. Any infection would have occurred overseas prior to the person returning to New Zealand earlier this month and they are no longer infectious.

Historical cases can return a positive PCR test long after they have recovered from the illness and but the Ministry of Health notes they are no longer infectious.

As a further update on this flight, all passengers have now been tested, except one – a young child.

Aside from the previously reported three cases and today’s historical case, all results have been negative, with one pending. There are now a total of 42 close contacts associated with the three cases announced earlier this week, with 34 returning negative test results and the remaining currently in the process of being tested. All are now self-isolating.

There are currently 32 people isolating in the Auckland quarantine facility from the community, which includes 15 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.

Two people are in hospital with Covid-19 – one each at Auckland City and Middlemore hospitals. Both patients are in isolation on a general ward.

The total number of active cases is 61. Of those, 30 are imported cases in MIQ facilities and 31 are community cases.

12.50pm: Do we have new Covid-19 cases? Ministry to update

The Ministry of Health will be providing an update on new Covid-19 cases around 1pm today, via press release.

Yesterday, two new cases of Covid-19 were announced, with one linked to the original Auckland cluster (the “bereavement sub-group”) and the other imported from overseas.

We’ll have all the details for you as soon as they arrive.

On The Spinoff: A life centred around death

If you only read one thing today, it better be this tremendously good profile by Michelle Langstone on palliative care physician Dr James Jap. Having been a doctor for 21 years and a palliative care specialist for 12, Jap works at South Auckland’s Totara Hospice where he regularly treats patients who are living their final moments. Here’s a short excerpt of what he had to say about his role:

“When a person is feeling unwell, if they’re being suppressed by their symptoms – like pain or nausea or a combination of things – they’re not feeling like themselves. So my job is to try and calm those symptoms down. Those symptoms are like a cloud that’s covering up the true light of the person within. My job is to get rid of some of those clouds so that person can shine through again.”

11.45am: Policy reaches more than 1.5 million page views

Policy reached some pretty big milestones overnight. The tool, which allows you to easily compare parties and candidates on all the important issues, has now recorded more than 1.5 million page views and 300,000 sessions. It’s also had more than 200,000 unique users which means almost one in every 12 voters have used the online tool.

Policy is amazing so if you haven’t tried it yet, best have a go now before advance voting starts in a week’s time (October 3!).

9.20am: Winston Peters threatened to pull out of coalition over Ihumātao

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters claimed he “staved off any action” on Ihumātao before the election during a speech in Ōrewa late yesterday afternoon. He called protesters objecting to a housing development at Ihumātao “malcontents who got so much unjustified publicity, sticking mainly in the throat of traditional Māori”.

RNZ reports his party said no to Labour “three times” during the search for a solution to the situation at Ihumātao, and refused a request from its coalition partner to invoke the “agree to disagree” clause.

“For us, it was a matter of deep principle. For us, it was fundamental to whether we maintained confidence in Labour. So we told Labour that. And staved off any action before the election,” said Peters.

“If you don’t want a new wave of claims on previously settled Treaty [of Waitangi] claims, it’s in your hands … If the Crown weakens its resolve after the election you just watch the flood of action on previously settled Treaty claims.

“All of a sudden new ‘sacred ground’ will be discovered all around the country. And if that happens the whole Treaty framework will unravel and the cost will be unbearable.”

8.50am: Police officer killed in London from New Zealand

New Zealand-born Sergeant Matiu Ratana, known as Matt, has been named as the police officer shot dead in London yesterday, according to the BBC.

Ratana was shot at the Croydon Custody Centre, a police facility in the south of the London, when a man who was being detained produced a gun during a search. According to UK police, the suspect then turned the gun on himself and is now in a critical condition after being treated for gunshot wounds.

Originally from the Hawke’s Bay, Ratana moved to the UK in 1989 and served with the Met for almost 30 years. He was just two months away from being eligible for retirement.

On the campaign trail

Here’s where our political leaders are today:

  • Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has no public engagements today (that we know of).
  • National Party leader Judith Collins is in Auckland today.
  • New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is driving his campaign bus right into Auckland, visiting the Otara Markets and Sylvia Park shopping centre.
  • Act Party leader David Seymour is also in Auckland, holding street corner meetings around the Epsom electorate.
  • Greens co-leader Marama Davidson is visiting the Newtown Markets this morning. James Shaw is in the Hutt, with engagements in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt and Petone.

Yesterday’s key stories

Two new cases of Covid-19 were announced, with one linked to the original Auckland cluster (the “bereavement sub-group”) and the other imported from overseas.

The movements of a family who later tested positive for Covid-19 “not ideal”, according to director general of health Ashley Bloomfield.

National’s finance minister Paul Goldsmith defended his party’s economic plan after repeated attacks from Labour over a “fiscal hole”.

Parliament announced it would be installing solar panels on the roof of the house to help parliament cut carbon.

Read yesterday’s top stories here.

Keep going!