Election Live, September 27: Two new cases in managed isolation; Nats still under 30% in new poll

Welcome to The Spinoff’s Election Live for September 27, 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 catherine@thespinoff.co.nz

6.55pm: The day in sum

There were two new cases of Covid-19, both imported cases detected in managed isolation.

Labour pledged to phase out single use and hard to recycle plastics such as polystyrene packaging and to establish a $50m business innovation fund to develop new plastic alternatives.

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake shook the central North Island.

Labour are on 50.1%, National on 29.6% and Act on 6.3% in the latest Newshub Reid-Research poll.

6.15pm: Another disappointing poll for National

The latest Newshub Reid-Research poll is out, and it has another fairly grim number for National. The party is on 29.6% – a 4.5 point increase on its record low in July, but still far from the sort of result leader Judith Collins would have hoped for as we round the corner into election month.

Labour are on 50.1%, a big 10.8 point drop from its dizzying high in July, when Newshub last polled the electorate, but still a high enough number to allow it to govern alone. The big winner tonight is Act, which continues its surprise ascent past the MMP threshold to 6.3%, a 3 point increase since July.

The Greens are on 6.5%, New Conservative are on 2.1%, and NZ First are on a lowly 1.9%.

The results of the last Newshub-Reid Research poll on July 26 were:

Labour: 60.9%

National: 25.1%

Green: 5.7%

Act: 3.3%

NZ First: 2%

Here’s how the seats in parliament would be divided on the basis of tonight’s numbers:

5.45pm: Magnitude 5.2 earthquake rocks central North Island

An earthquake has shaken parts of the North Island this afternoon. According to GeoNet, the quake occurred at 4.47pm at a depth of 23km, and was centred about 45km southwest of Taumarunui in King Country. The shaking was categorised as moderate.

The quake was felt as far away as Nelson and Auckland, reports Stuff. While New Plymouth’s eight-storey Worley Parsons building – the town’s tallest office block – shook for about 45 seconds, there have been no initial reports of damage.

1.20pm: Two new cases in managed isolation

Today’s Covid-19 update from the Ministry of Health has just arrived via press release. This is what it says:

Today there are two cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation to report in New Zealand. Of today’s cases, both are imported cases detected in a managed isolation facility.

One person arrived on a flight from Germany on 21 September via the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. The other person who tested positive arrived in New Zealand on a flight from the Philippines via Taiwan on 23 September. Both individuals tested positive as a result of tests done around day three and have now both been transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

There are no new cases in the community.

In other updates, all passengers on the Christchurch to Auckland charter flight have been tested, except one.

Of those tested, all results are negative including the one pending test result from yesterday which returned negative today.

The remaining passenger is a young child. A risk assessment, including the child’s parent testing negative, has determined the child is considered low risk and no test currently required.

There are 22 people isolating in the Auckland quarantine facility from the community, which includes 10 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their household contacts.

One person is in hospital with COVID-19 at Middlemore hospital. The patient is in isolation on a general ward.

Since August 11, our contact tracing team has identified 4072 close contacts of cases, of which 4,069 have been contacted and are self-isolating or have completed self-isolation. We are in the process of contacting the rest.

Yesterday we reported 4177 close contacts which inaccurately included 105 casual contacts. These casual contacts have now been removed from today’s close contact numbers, including one casual contact already contacted.

Our total number of active cases is 59; of those, 32 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 27 are community cases.

Our total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 1,477.

Yesterday our laboratories processed 5,746 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 948,942.

An update on the three cases reported on 23 September

Public health services continue to contact trace, test and isolate close contacts of the three community cases reported this week.

As we have previously reported, these three people are part of the same family group – two had been in managed isolation in Christchurch and returned home on the charter flight, while the third is a household contact.

There are now a total of 44 close contacts associated with these cases. 36 have returned negative test results and the remaining have been or are in the process of being tested. All are now self-isolating.  The only close contacts still with results pending are in Auckland.

Public health services in relevant regions where individuals may have visited while infectious have been in contact with businesses and will issue information to the public as appropriate.

The National Contact Tracing team will continue issuing exposure notices through the COVID Tracer App where appropriate.

Anyone receiving an app notification as having visited a place of interest should be vigilant of their health and get tested if they develop symptoms.

12.55pm: 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, one an imported case detected in a managed isolation facility and the other a historical case detected during contact tracing

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

10.25am: Auckland tsunami sirens to be tested at midday

Don’t be alarmed, Aucklanders: the loud alarms you may hear at midday today are just the tsunami sirens being tested.

The tests will sound for two minutes each with one minute between each set. In an emergency, the tones would last for longer.

Orewa’s two recently installed tsunami sirens will also be tested for the first time today. Unlike the ones in Auckland, these sirens include both a tone and voice instruction to move to higher ground.

10.00am: Labour pledges ban on single use plastics

Labour has pledged to phase out single use and hard to recycle plastics such as polystyrene packaging, cotton buds and some cups by 2025, and to establish a $50m business innovation fund to develop new plastic alternatives in New Zealand.

The party will phase out single use and hard to recycle plastic items such as drink stirrers, cutlery, some cups and lids, produce bags, straws (with an exemption for those with disabilities), cotton buds and stickers on produce, such as those on individual fruit items.

“All of these items currently have non-plastic alternatives, and some we will be able to phase out before 2025. But we want to ensure that there is adequate lead in time and businesses are not put under any pressure to change out their products in the short term,” said prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

Labour will also launch a $50 million Plastics Innovation Fund to help New Zealand businesses develop and manufacture non-plastic alternatives, particularly for single use and hard to recycle products. Establishing the fund was among the recommendations included in the wide-ranging Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa report in December. At the time the government said it planned to introduce a single use plastic ban in response to the report. The reason for the nine month delay in announcing such a ban is unclear.

9.30am: Did you remember?

The weather might not look like it today, but summer is in fact on its way and the country is now in daylight saving time. That means clocks went forward early this morning – so if you were meeting someone for early brunch at 8.30, you’re already an hour late.

On the campaign trail

Here’s where our political leaders are today:

  • Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins are both in Auckland today (events TBC)
  • New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is also in Auckland, presumably battling with Auckland traffic in his big bus. He’ll be at the Avondale Market this morning and St Lukes Mall after lunch.
  • Act Party leader David Seymour is winging his way down south today along with some of his candidates. He’ll be in Christchurch for a walkabout and a campaign rally.
  • Greens co-leader Marama Davidson is speaking on a virtual Pacific climate panel this evening. James Shaw is in Otago for an event tonight.

Yesterday’s key stories

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”.

Read yesterday’s top stories here.



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