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Morning Briefing May 25: A Level 2 review and a new look for National

Cabinet is set to review the current 10-person limit on gatherings today.

Source: Getty

It comes after police issued guidelines on Friday allowing multiple groups of 10 at religious services and follows a weekend in which most licensed premises and their patrons largely complied with Alert Level 2 rules.

While two Auckland establishments did find themselves shut down on Saturday night, police say most were receptive to guidance on the restrictions. 

Cabinet’s review of the Level 2 guidelines also follows a weekend with no new cases of Covid-19 in the country.

New Zealand has now had just one case reported in the past seven days and a new survey shows Kiwis are “cautiously optimistic” about moving forward to Alert Level 1. 

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New leader mulls over priorities

New National leader Todd Muller has offered a glimpse into his priorities ahead of his first full week at the helm of the party.

1 NEWS visited Mr Muller and his family at their home in Tauranga yesterday, where he offered his thoughts on some of the Government’s decisions around Covid-19 and what he thinks the priorities should now be. 

After saying he would have fired Health Minister David Clark for his lockdown breaches, Mr Muller also had strong words for Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.

He says Mr Davis doesn’t seem to be present for the struggling tourism industry and can therefore “expect continued attack” this week.

Mr Muller is also keen for New Zealand’s border to be reopened, saying “it needs to be an absolute priority”.

His new deputy leader, Nikki Kaye, will be speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast just after 7am to elaborate further on what the leadership change will mean for the party and its priorities, while a caucus reshuffle is expected to be revealed later today.

Mr Muller has also had a quick introduction to the extra scrutiny that comes with being the Leader of the Opposition, with an online backlash over a Make America Great Again cap displayed in his office.

A spokesperson says the MAGA cap, which some academics argue has come to symbolise racism in the US, will still be displayed in the Opposition leader’s office.

Meanwhile, political pundit Matthew Hooton says he’s withdrawing from his regular commentary for both RNZ and the NZ Herald for the time being due to his links to Mr Muller’s leadership bid.

Mr Hooton provided commentary on the unfolding National leadership saga several times while also offering Mr Muller “personal support as a friend” through the process. 

Govt removes DIY red tape

Some household DIY is about to get cheaper with the Government scrapping the need for consents for low risk building work, such as carports, sleepouts and sheds.

The move is expected to save homeowners $18 million in consenting costs each year.

However, it does come with a warning – any building work must still meet the Building Code. 

Potato glut threatens jobs

The global knock-on effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has now reached New Zealand’s potato-growing industry.

A disruption in hospitality supply chains has led to a potato glut in Europe, meaning major price reductions in frozen fries from the region.

Local growers are worried the foreign fries could flood New Zealand’s market, thereby putting hundreds of Kiwi jobs at risk.

The potato industry is now calling for emergency intervention from the Government with a temporary ban on frozen chip imports. Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi says he’s currently monitoring the situation. 

Fijian soldiers take on UK govt

Eight Fijian soldiers who served in the British army are taking legal action against the UK government.

The eight Fijian nationals, who all served in Iraq and Afghanistan, allege the Ministry of Defence and Home Office failed to help them apply for permanent residency in the UK when they left the army.

Deemed illegal immigrants, one of the veterans has also been served a $55,000 hospital bill despite a decade serving in war zones for the country.

A UK government spokesperson wouldn’t comment on individual cases due to ongoing legal proceedings but did say “the service of all members of the armed forces, including Commonwealth nationals, is highly valued”.

Other news of note this morning:

Bad weather has hampered the search for two missing trampers in the Kahurangi National Park.

Chloe Swarbrick has had a big promotion within the Green Party, now sitting third on the party’s list.

Repairs to Auckland Airport's main runway got underway overnight, much to the relief of pilots. 

Hong Kong police have clashed with hundreds of protesters after China proposed tough national security legislation for the city.

NASA’s first manned mission to blast off from US soil in nearly a decade is ready for launch following a successful dress rehearsal

Wellington’s last “turd taxi” has left the city after a team of German specialists successfully installed a liner on a critical, failing sewer pipe. 

And the producer of the Avatar sci-fi movie sequels says he has no qualms coming back to New Zealand, saying “we feel we're coming back to the safest place in the world”.

And finally...

Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS’ Good Sorts has resumed normal transmission post-lockdown, so this week Hadyn Jones brings us the story of Christchurch cricketer, Dan Sharples.

When testicular cancer knocked him for six, Mr Sharples decided to turn to running to keep fit. It was a decision that would snowball into an emotional mission for him and his mates - and see tens of thousands of dollars raised for charity.