Morning Briefing March 4: Abortion, Coronavirus, Super Tuesday

Abortion law reform passed its second reading in Parliament last night, amid impassioned speeches by MPs and obscenities shouted from the public gallery.

Source: 1 NEWS

The vote saw 81 in favour of the Abortion Legislation Bill and 39 against. It came after a day in which both sides of the issue expressed their views on the subject.

An open letter in support of law reform was written to MPs by 35 signatories, including Amnesty International Aotearoa and the Mental Health Foundation.

Meanwhile, pro-life protesters stood outside parliament last night, holding graphic images – a move that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was personally opposed to. Justice Minister Andrew Little went further than that, saying he thought people who included such graphic images in their demonstrations “are pretty sick actually”.

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Economy feels the pinch 

While two Kiwis suspected of having coronavirus (and the Pope) got good news yesterday when their test results came back negative, the same can’t be said for the wider economy, which is now expected to feel the virus’ impact for the rest of the year.

Economists predict a cut to the OCR later this month as businesses continue to struggle in the wake of Covid-19.

The Warehouse Group has warned that some of its stock may be delayed by up to eight weeks, while electricians are experiencing a shortage in products from China. 

Meanwhile, those seeking to profit from the coronavirus outbreak via price gouging of certain products online continue to do so, with Trade Me saying yesterday it won’t step in to regulate pricing or remove listings.  

Virus concern for elderly

As the coronavirus spreads around the world, it’s become clear the elderly have borne the brunt of the disease.

An aged care home in Washington state has become the focal point of the outbreak in the US, with four deaths from Covid-19 so far and more than 50 other residents and staff experiencing symptoms.

Closer to home, there’s concern New Zealand isn’t equipped to deal with a coronavirus outbreak amongst our own rest home facilities.

Aged Care approached government officials about the issue a week ago, but say their requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Super Tuesday gets underway

It might be regular old Wednesday in New Zealand, but it’s Super Tuesday over in the US.

Democrats are currently voting in 14 states for the candidate they want to take on Donald Trump in November’s presidential election.

With several candidates dropping out this week, former vice president Joe Biden has been boosted with former rivals declaring their support for him.

CNN has outlined the five most likely scenarios to play out today – and if you’re still none the wiser as to what Super Tuesday is and why it’s important, the Washington Post has put together this handy guide.

Other news of note this morning:

Japan’s Olympics Minister admits the Tokyo Games could be delayed until later in the year due to coronavirus.

Organisations helping the country’s most vulnerable communities are on the brink of shutting their doors, as they struggle to recruit social workers.

A man pleads guilty to stabbing a miniature horse 41 times in an attack near Dunedin.

And look out, pedestrians: E-scooter company Lime is applying to make a comeback to the streets of Auckland.

And finally...

Source: 1 NEWS

How long do you think a kitchen appliance should last? Have you had a new gadget give up the ghost after 12 months and thought “Oh well, I guess they don’t make things like they used to?” Seven Sharp has the story of one retiree who wouldn’t accept that scenario when a beloved home appliance stopped working after just one year – and reminds us all that it doesn’t pay to mess with an 80-year-old.