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blog oct 29

PoliticsOctober 31, 2021

Live updates, October 29-31: 143 Covid-19 cases; government sets new climate target

blog oct 29

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for October 29-30. Help support our Covid coverage – join Members today.

3.00pm: NZ pledges to halve net emissions by 2030; climate groups unimpressed

On the eve of Cop26, the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, the government has pledged to reduce New Zealand’s net greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country adopts an international target known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). In its report to the government in June, the independent Climate Change Commission revealed new data that showed New Zealand emitted far more emissions than expected in recent years. The report said New Zealand’s previous NDC (lodged in 2016) was incompatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, which was agreed to under the Paris Agreement, and recommended a new NDC should be much more than 36% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030.

The new target has been criticised by environmental and development organisations, with Oxfam calling it “a betrayal to Pacific Island countries and those on the frontlines of climate change”.

In a press release, Oxfam Aotearoa executive director Rachael Le Mesurier highlighted the fact that measured on an emissions budget basis, the new target equates to only 41%.

“Let’s be real here, this is not our fair share,” she said. “The government has changed the way they count our emissions reductions to make them look like they are doing more than they are. This is a government that has said time and again that climate change is our nuclear-free moment. Instead of leading the fight against climate breakdown, they are hiding their inaction by changing the goal posts.”

WWF-New Zealand, meanwhile, called the new target “a slap in the face”, accusing the government of “tinkering with the methodology” to make the NDC appear better than it is. “It may technically be an increase but it’s one that falls woefully short of achieving anything meaningful. New Zealanders aren’t fooled,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO. 

Juliette Hendry of Generation Zero said the group wasgutted with the unambitious announcement”, which “manipulates some numbers but falls woefully inadequate of NZ’s fair share of emissions reductions”.

1.45pm: The shape of the outbreak

1.05pm: 143 Covid-19 cases in the community

It’s another big day for Covid-19 case numbers today, with the Ministry of Health reporting 143 in the community, the second-highest tally to date following yesterday’s total of 160.

The majority of the cases are in Auckland, with six in Waikato and two in Northland. There are no new community cases to report in Christchurch.

“The reported number of cases in Auckland is not unexpected and is line with modelling to date,” says the ministry.

As at 10am, 70 of today’s cases are linked – including 44 household contacts –and 73 remain under investigation. There are now 384 unlinked cases from the past 14 days.

No new cases in Christchurch

There are no new cases to report in Christchurch today, and one previously reported case in Christchurch has been reclassified as a historical case following serology results.

The ministry’s statement didn’t make this clear, but it’s believed this case is the person who tested positive after leaving MIQ in Auckland and travelling to Christchurch, as reported yesterday. Yesterday, the ministry said further tests were being carried out “to determine whether the source of infection is acute or historical”.

The total Christchurch tally is now four, all connected to the woman who returned from Auckland and her partner.

“Because of the recently reported cases in Canterbury, it is important that anyone, especially those in Christchurch, with any symptoms, no matter how mild, to please get tested,” said the ministry, and get vaccinated today if they have not already.

Yesterday across Canterbury, more than 9,000 total vaccinations were delivered including 6,600 second doses administered – around a fifth of the total vaccinations delivered across the country yesterday. More than 90% of the region’s eligible population has now had their first dose.

Tonga case

The four household contacts of the person who was reported as testing positive for Covid-19 in Tonga yesterday have been traced, are in isolation and have returned an initial negative result.  Two close contacts are in isolation at home in Christchurch and two in Porirua.

Anyone with symptoms is asked to please get tested and reminded to get vaccinated today if they have not already. Testing locations in the Wellington region can be found at Capital and Coast DHB and Hutt Valley DHB.

Auckland care home and suburbs of interest

There are no new cases to report in the Edmonton Meadows care home in Henderson, after nine cases were confirmed in the past two days. Two residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been transferred to hospital for care.

At this stage, only one positive staff member has been required to stand down. The care home continues to operate under alert level three guidelines for visitors, meaning people have only been able to visit the facility on compassionate grounds.

No update was provided on whether the source of this cluster has been identified.

Public health staff are asking people in the suburbs of Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa with symptoms to get tested – no matter how mild their symptoms may be. The advice is the same even if people are vaccinated.

75% of eligible New Zealanders now fully vaccinated; hospitalisations rise

Yesterday, 42,617 vaccines were given out, 10,703 first doses and 31,914 second. This means 75% of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated, and 80% of those in Auckland.

There are 56 people in hospital with Covid-19 today, up from 47 yesterday: 17 in Waitematā, 17 in Middlemore 21 in Auckland and one in Waikato. The average age of current hospitalisations is 47 years. Just two people are in ICU.

Positive wastewater result in Huntly 

A wastewater detection was reported for Huntly today, where there are currently no known cases in the town. A pop-up testing site will be set up from tomorrow morning and public health staff are asking residents of Huntly with even mild symptoms to get tested, even if they’re fully vaccinated. Details for the testing site will be shared on the DHB’s website and Facebook page once confirmed.

Six new cases are being reported in Waikato today, two from Hamilton, two from Ōtorohanga, one from the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area, and one from Kāwhia.

“Public health investigations have so far determined links for five of the six reported cases. Investigations are continuing today to establish further links for the remaining one,” said the ministry. All cases are in isolation “with public health oversight”.

New locations of interest have been added for the Waikato region, including a location in Te Kuiti. A pop-up testing site has been set up at Te Kuiti Hospital today.

Northland update

There are 12 confirmed Covid-19 community cases in Northland and all of the cases are isolating at home. The two Northland cases being reported today were announced yesterday and are today being formally added to our official tally.

There are seven new locations of interest identified in Mangawhai, Kaiwaka and Whangārei – public health interviews with the cases are continuing and further locations may be added.  Please regularly check the list of locations of interest which are updated throughout the day.

Sunday, 12.30pm: Latest numbers on their way

Again there’s no media conference today; instead, the Covid numbers will be arriving by written statement shortly after 1pm. Yesterday we reached a pandemic high of 160 cases in the community. We’ll have all the news, plus updated graphs, as soon as the Ministry of Health’s media release arrives in our inbox.

2.00pm: Today’s Covid numbers, charted

Today marks a grim milestone: the highest number of daily community cases New Zealand has recorded across both years of the pandemic.

That surge is clearly visible on the chart below, with today’s 160 dwarfing the previous record of 129 recorded on October 22, eight days ago.

Check out more graphs like these on The Spinoff’s Covid Tracker.

1.15pm: 160 new cases in the community

There are 160 new community cases today, a new record for the pandemic in New Zealand. The previous record for community cases was 129 cases on October 22 this year.

There are 151 new cases in Auckland, 7 in Waikato, 1 in Northland and 1 in Christchurch, the Ministry of Health has announced.

As at 9am today, 95 of the new cases are yet to be linked to an existing case, with 65 linked and 38 of those household contacts. There are 358 unlinked cases from the past 14 days.

Of yesterday’s 125 cases, 46 were infectious in the community, with 76 in isolation during their infectious period.

There are a total of 47 people in hospital with Covid-19: 12 in Waitemata, 14 in Middlemore and 21 in Auckland hospital. Two people are currently in ICU or HDU. The average age of current hospitalisations is 45.

Vaccination update

Yesterday several vaccines milestones were reached with 91% of people over 30 having had, or booked, their first dose. Counties Manukau is now about 7000 doses short of reaching 90% coverage for first doses, meaning all three Auckland DHBs should cross this threshold in the next few days.

Christchurch update

There is one new case to report in Christchurch today.

The case recently travelled into New Zealand from overseas. They had multiple negative tests in MIQ in Auckland including a Day 12 test, before being released and travelling to Christchurch. They have reported as being full vaccinated. On Thursday, they had a further test, which returned a positive result last night.

The person is now self-isolating in Christchurch, pending further tests to determine the source of infection and whether it is acute or historical.

Yesterday across Canterbury, nearly 8000 vaccinations were administered. More than 90% of region’s eligible population has now had their first dose.

Tonga Update

Four household contacts have now been identified for the person who was reported as testing positive for Covid-19 in Tonga yesterday, after travelling to Tonga from Christchurch on Wednesday 27 October.

The case returned a negative pre-departure test before leaving New Zealand. They are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

The household contacts include two people who remain in Christchurch, and two people who travelled from Christchurch to Wellington on Tuesday 26 October. All contacts have been contacted by public health officials, been told to self-isolate and get tested.

The Ministry, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, continues to work with officials in Tonga to confirm the case.

Auckland retirement home

Following further testing at Edmonton Meadows retirement village in Henderson, an additional seven residents and one staff member have been confirmed as having Covid-19 – bringing the total number of cases at the home to nine.

There are high levels of vaccination among residents of the home, and all staff are fully vaccinated. All staff and residents have now been tested and will also receive day 5 and day 12 testing.

At this stage, only one positive staff member has been required to stand down.

The retirement village has been operating under alert level 3 guidelines for visitors, meaning people have only been able to visit the village on compassionate grounds.

More to come.

Saturday, 12.30pm: Latest numbers on their way

There’s no media conference today; instead, the Covid numbers will be arriving by written statement shortly after 1pm. We’ll have all the news, plus updated graphs, as soon as the Ministry of Health’s media release arrives in our inbox.

The Friday 1pm update, summarised

  • There are 125 new cases of delta in the community.
  • 118 are in Auckland, four are in Waikato, two are in Christchurch and one is in Northland.
  • The new Christchurch cases are linked to the pair announced yesterday.
  • A resident at a West Auckland retirement village has also tested positive, with no known outbreak links.

6.10pm: Two new cases in Northland

Two new community cases of Covid-19 have been identified in southern Kaipara, Northland, the Ministry of Health has advised. The two cases are in the same household and at this stage have no known links to the current Northland cluster. Investigations are underway to determine connections to the current outbreak.

The pair were tested on 27 October and have been isolating with public health oversight.

Investigations are continuing to determine further details around their movements and to identify any locations of interest.

Reports of a new case in Tonga originating in New Zealand

The Ministry of Health is investigating reports in Tongan media of a positive Covid-19 result from a person who boarded a commercial flight to Tonga from Christchurch on Wednesday.

The case retuned a negative pre-departure test before leaving New Zealand. They are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and had their second dose on 15 October.

They were tested in routine Day 0 testing yesterday and returned a positive result today.

The ministry, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is working with officials in Tonga to confirm the case.

There will be further updates on both this case and the Northland cases tomorrow.

3.25pm: All Blacks/Ineos deal denounced by climate group

An open letter written by over 100 New Zealanders has been released, condemning the All Blacks’ sponsorship deal with Ineos over climate change concerns.

Co-signed by prominent New Zealanders such as Sir Bob Harvey and Neil Finn, the letter said the deal “blindsides New Zealand’s clean, green image” and “misses an opportunity to show leadership on the global stage”.

Those behind the letter call themselves All Blacks fans and say they are writing as “Kiwis in Climate, a non-partisan group of 120+ international and domestic New Zealanders working in climate and related fields”.

2.55pm: Auckland – it’s the last chance to vote in the Entrust elections

Voting in the Entrust elections closes today, but there are concerns many may have missed the chance altogether.

Lobby group “More for You, Better for Climate” formally requested to extend the Entrust election date following numerous reports of eligible voters not having received their ballots.

“If the roll ElectionZ received does not reflect the latest and accurate details of the eligible voters, then there is clearly prejudice against the public who will miss out on their right to vote, and will have to wait another three years to do so,” said spokesperson Dewy Sacayan.

One concern raised by the group is that the voting period was just 16 days long, including the long Labour Day weekend. “Our campaign has woken Aucklanders to the key issues that Entrust can make to future-fit Tāmaki Makaurau’s electrified network,” said Sacayan. “The inaccessible election process is one of those issues. The outdated Trust Deed is partly to blame here, and it must be updated to truly make this process democratic.”

So, if the Entrust pamphlet is sitting on your kitchen bench untouched – you’ve got a few hours left to post it.

2.30pm: New ‘Ministry for Disabled People’ to launch next July

A Ministry for Disabled People will be established in July of next year, the government has announced.

It follows through on an election pledge to reform the disability sector. “The current disability system is broken and puts too many barriers in place for disabled people and whānau,” said disability issues minister Carmel Sepuloni.

“This is why we are establishing a new Ministry for Disabled People as the heart of this change.  It will join up all of the supports and services available to disabled people and replace a fragmented system where there is no single agency responsible for driving improved overall outcomes for disabled people.”

A new “accessibility framework”, backed by legislation and a governance board, will also be introduced. That will ensure New Zealand becomes more accessible for those with disabilities, said Sepuloni. The new governance board will be led by and represent disabled people and whānau.

“The disabled community’s voices will be embedded at all levels of decision-making, from the formation and running of the Ministry, to the development of accessibility legislation,” added Sepuloni.

The new ministry will be hosted by the existing Ministry of Social Development, ensuring shared services and knowledge upon launch.

2.05pm: Today’s key Covid numbers, charted

Today marked the second highest number of daily Covid-19 cases we’ve recorded from across both years of the pandemic.

As you can see from the graph below, we saw a significant surge in numbers compared with the rest of the week. However, as the Ministry of Health noted, it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

Check out more snazzy graphs like these on The Spinoff’s Covid Tracker.

1.55pm: Ten TV shows to help you recover from the 1pm update

This morning I published a list of 10 telly picks to help keep you positive after the crushing 1pm update. Now could be a good time to pretend you’re “working from home”, chuck on your PJs (if they ever came off) and switch on the TV. It’s basically the weekend anyway…

I present 10 of the easiest, most comforting TV watches available. Because sometimes you just need that.

View the list here

Wholesome af (Image / Tina Tiller : The Spinoff)

1.40pm: The latest vaccine and testing numbers

A small boost in vaccines administered yesterday: 44,779 nationwide. Of these, 12,780 were first doses and almost 32,000 were second. That’s pushed our total eligible population up to 73% fully vaccinated. In Auckland, 91% people have now received one dose and 79% are double dosed, nudging the city toward the critical 90% threshold.

Take a look at how your DHB area is tracking here:

And on testing: 31,093 were taken across the country yesterday. Of these, 11,942 were processed in Auckland alone. Yesterday across Canterbury, more than 3,000 tests were carried out and nearly 11,000 vaccinations were administered.

In Waikato: There were 3,230 swabs taken and 4,018 vaccinations given.

Love graphs? Check out The Spinoff Covid Tracker here

1.20pm: Resident at Auckland retirement home tests positive

A resident at Edmonton Meadows retirement village in Henderson has been confirmed as having Covid-19, said the Ministry of Health.

“Public health staff are confident the risk of infection is low but, as a precaution, testing is being arranged for all staff and residents,” read a statement. Both staff and residents at the village have very high vaccination rates.

At this stage, the source of the infection remains unknown but investigations are under way to identify close contacts. At this stage, no staff members are required to stand down.

1.10pm: Covid cases back into the triple digits with 125 confirmed; two in Christchurch


There are 125 new community cases of Covid-19, including an additional pair in Christchurch. Another 118 cases have been confirmed in Auckland, along with four in Waikato and one in Northland.

After a few days with daily case numbers hovering around the 80 mark, today’s number represents a significant though not totally unexpected surge. “The rise in case numbers is a reminder of the infectiousness of Covid-19, and particularly the Delta variant, and the importance of vaccination as the best protection,” said the Ministry of Health in a statement. “With over 30,000 tests processed nationwide yesterday, these results aren’t unexpected.”

Of today’s new cases, 51 remain unlinked to the outbreak. There are now 289 mystery cases from the past fortnight.

The two new Christchurch cases are “expected and linked”, said the ministry. Both are from a single household linked to the cases announced yesterday. A total of 13 other close contacts have now been identified, who are isolating and will undergo further testing.

“Anyone in Canterbury – especially those in Christchurch – with any symptoms, no matter how mild, are asked to please get tested,” said the ministry. “Those in Canterbury are also reminded to get vaccinated today and this weekend if they have not already.”

Covid-19 was detected in a Christchurch wastewater sample taken on Wednesday from a catchment which covers a population of more than 300,000. “Further samples are being collected today from a range of sites across Canterbury, in addition to testing in Christchurch, with laboratory results expected early next week.”

Of today’s four new Waikato cases, just one can be definitively linked to the outbreak. Interviews with the remaining cases are underway. Three of the new cases were in the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area and one in Ōtorohanga.

An additional two cases have been confirmed in the region today and will be officially included in tomorrow’s numbers. Both were in Kāwhia at the time they were tested but travelled to the Auckland region before receiving their positive results. They are now in isolation in the Auckland region.

There is also one new case in Northland. This case is not unexpected, said the ministry, as they are a household member of a case and were already isolating. There were 667 swabs taken and 1,163 vaccinations in Northland yesterday. Northland DHB is continuing to encourage regionwide testing to rule out any undetected community spread.

Meanwhile, the Covid-positive MIQ worker announced yesterday remains unlinked to the outbreak or the border. Further investigations are under way.

Auckland testing remains focused on several key suburbs: Redvale, Rosedale, New Lynn, Wiri, Drury, Henderson and Manurewa. Residents in these suburbs are asked to get a test as soon as possible if they have symptoms – no matter how mild and even if they are fully vaccinated.

Finally, no new cases have been announced in the Blenheim area following a positive result over the long weekend.

12.45pm: Nervous wait for Christchurch as latest Covid numbers due at 1pm

A PSA that there is no Covid-19 press conference today – possibly, although not definitively, a good sign for Christchurch.

The city is waiting nervously for an update on its delta scare after two confirmed cases were announced yesterday morning.

Today’s update, due around 1pm, will come in a written statement from the Ministry of Health. I’ll publish all the details once they arrive in my inbox. Keep this page open and refreshed for all the latest.

12.00pm: A word on Zuckerberg’s rebrand, from Meta Digital, Christchurch

Toby Manhire writes:

This morning the everything-in-chief of internet colossus Facebook announced the company would be renamed as “Meta”, illustrating the metaverse future by sending a Mark Zuckerberg avatar floating around an imaginary boardroom as if in some psychedelic scene from The Sims: Megalomania Edition.

But excuse me, Mr Zuckerberg. Meta Digital already exists, and has done for some time in the garden city of New Zealand, Christchurch.

“Yes, we notice it’s all over the news feeds this morning,” Norman McKenzie, CEO and founder of Meta Digital, told the Spinoff. Are they flattered, or furious? “I guess we’re flattered as it simply shows we chose a great business name! We have traded as Meta Digital (formerly Meta Solutions) for almost 20 years now and are relatively well known within New Zealand as a website design agency. I don’t feel this will affect us in any negative way.” Let’s hope he’s right and Meta Digital (who do very nice website design; have a look here) continue to thrive, in spite of the name grab by the artificial intelligence (but mostly a fancy version of the Yellow Pages) monster. “We are not looking to create a ‘Metaverse’,” said Norm, “so I think we’ll be OK!”

11.30am: The Spinoff’s Friday News Quiz

Got your head around the new vaccine mandates? What about Auckland’s light rail? Test your knowledge in today’s thrilling edition of The Friday News Quiz.

Trouble accessing the quiz on mobile? Click here

11.10am: Auckland libraries launch click and collect after e-books ran out

Aucklanders wanting their book fix during alert level three will soon be to access a new click and collect service from the city’s libraries.

The Spinoff’s Chris Schulz reported this week that, somehow, many of the 56 libraries in the locked down city had “run out” of e-books. Up until this point, physical books were not able to be accessed either.

Mayor Phil Goff said that from next week Aucklanders will be able to visit their local library to stock up on reading material. “Aucklanders have been doing it tough during the lockdowns over the past two months and our libraries team and librarians have been keen to help.”

9.55am: Nervous wait for Christchurch

Christchurch avoided a snap lockdown yesterday after a pair of delta cases were detected in the community. However, with at least one of the cases infectious for more than a week, the city isn’t out of the woods yet.

Covid modeller Michael Plank told TVNZ’s Breakfast testing in Christchurch will now be crucial. “The concern is that because these cases weren’t regularly using the app there could be other locations that they visited that haven’t been reported, perhaps they’ve forgotten about some of them, so we are in a risky period at the moment I think,” he said.

“The fact that they became unwell and then subsequently stayed at home is obviously a good thing because that means they haven’t been out-and-about in the community a lot during their infectious period. But on the other hand, of course, we know people can spread the virus before they actually get sick and so because of the time periods involved that could potentially be a couple of weeks ago and they only had to pass it on to one or two other people and then the virus has had, kind of, two weeks to spread.”

In a possible good sign for Christchurch, no Covid-related press conference has been scheduled for today. The next update is due via written statement at 1pm.

8.50am: Facebook rebrands as ‘Meta’

Facebook has rebranded as “Meta”, a reference to its plans to create a so-called “metaverse”.

The rebrand will not see the name of the social media website change its name, but instead represents the overarching company that encompasses other brands including Instagram and Whatsapp.

“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” said founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In a statement, the company said the metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences. “It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world.”

Meta’s Australia and New Zealand director Will Easton labelled the metaverse the next evolution in online social technology. “While nothing beats being together in person, recent months have highlighted how, when that’s not possible or practical, the digital world can still help us feel connected,” he said. “The metaverse will help us get closer to feeling that in-person presence through sharing a space rather than a screen.”

8.05am: $14b tunnelled light rail proposed as best option for Auckland

Plans to build a new light rail transit system in Auckland have taken a step forward – but so have the potential costs.

The working group tasked with developing different options for the public transport system has released three visions. The preferred option is for “tunnelled light rail” that would see a tram running through an underground tunnel from Wynyard Quarter to Mount Roskill, before coming up to road level and heading out toward the airport.

That option attracts a $14.6 billion price tag.

The other two proposals are for “Melbourne-style” modern trams that run along the road or for a “London-style” underground metro. These would rack up costs of $9 billion or $16.3 billion. All options are well above the previously mooted $6 billion tram network.

“We took a manifesto commitment to the election to get on with Auckland light rail and it’ll help Auckland’s economic recovery by supporting up to 16,000 jobs,” said transport minister Michael Wood.

“The business case draws a clear conclusion that Auckland light rail is a necessary investment to lessen congestion and further future proof our biggest city. It is a critical piece of infrastructure to support more housing, to give people real transport choices, and to build a linked up transport network for Auckland.”

The working group has engaged with more than 115 stakeholder groups, said Wood, and there was strong support from communities along the proposed route. “Aucklanders want more jobs and housing as well as reduced congestion and emissions – we know we have to get on with it,” he added.

But, the opposition isn’t happy. National’s transport spokesperson David Bennett said a wiser option would be to build a “multimodal harbour crossing” for Auckland. “The congestion of the Dominion Road/Mangere corridor does need addressing, but rapid bus transit could achieve this as has been the case on the North Shore. National would want to see these kinds of alternatives looked at before spending $10 billion on light rail,” he said. 

Light rail was the first policy announced by Labour leader Jacinda Ardern in 2017 but the lack of progress has since made it a touchy subject. All going well, the government will now decide which of the three options it wants to move forward with by the end of the year. Planning and design work will then commence in early 2022.

The proposed routes (Image / Supplied)

7.45am: From The Bulletin

The Covid numbers: There are 37 cases in hospital and 5 in ICU/HDU. There are now 1,365 active cases in New Zealand. 83 new community cases were reported in Auckland yesterday, 4 in Waikato and 2 in Canterbury. 39,220 people were vaccinated on Wednesday.

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

Government considering vaccine passports for domestic travel. Following the discovery of two unvaccinated Covid-19 cases in Christchurch, after one travelled from Auckland, new restrictions could be coming. According to RNZ, Covid-19 minister Chris Hipkins said cabinet is considering a vaccine requirement for domestic travel, especially by air. It would be a complicated system and the government doesn’t want to stop the unvaccinated from truly essential travel. Air NZ has said it’s considering proof of vaccination for domestic flights.

There have been arrests at the anti-lockdown hīkoi. Two people camped at Mercer were arrested yesterday trying to cross into Auckland on foot via train tracks, Stuff reports. After a large convoy of vehicles carrying people protesting Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates arrived at the city’s southern border, about 75 people remained camped out overnight. There have been significant traffic disruptions as a result of the situation.

In defence of a payment for vaccinations. Writing in The Spinoff, Duncan Greive argues that the government should consider giving $250 to every person who is double-jabbed. That includes those who already are and will be. Getting to 90% fully vaccinated across all DHBs will be very difficult and vaccination levels have plummeted over recent weeks. The only way we’ll get across the line is by trying everything: food, shows, long conversations and cash. The NZ Herald (paywalled) also reports that 40% of New Zealanders have less than $1,000 in the bank, so a big US-style stimulus cheque for getting vaccinated probably wouldn’t hurt.

This is part of The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s must-read daily news wrap. To sign up for free, simply enter your email address below

Yesterday’s headlines

  • Christchurch will remain in alert level two after two delta cases were confirmed.
  • Nine close contacts have been identified.
  • Nationwide, there are 89 new delta cases: 83 in Auckland, four in Waikato and the two in Christchurch.
  • MIQ stays will be halved for fully vaccinated travellers from November 14.
  • Travellers from low-risk Pacific countries will bypass MIQ entirely from November 8.
  • All arrivals will need to be fully vaccinated from November 1.
Keep going!