New Zealand’s current Covid-free status hangs in the balance, according to several Kiwis concerned about lax attitudes at one of the country’s managed isolation facilities.
1 NEWS can reveal recent arrivals at different stages in their isolation have been mingling at Auckland’s Crowne Plaza Hotel and have come into close proximity with the public during their daily walks.
There are also allegations of some guests receiving visitors during their isolation and concerns about a lack of regular sanitation.
Public health expert and epidemiologist Michael Baker says guests from different flights shouldn’t be mingling with each other or the public.
The Ministry of Health has told 1 NEWS managed exercise will now happen on the hotel grounds.
The allegations over processes at the Crowne Plaza come a day after confirmation a single Avatar worker managed to get past 18 Government officials and come close to other guests while in isolation at Wellington’s QT Hotel.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation is urging New Zealand to further develop contact tracing systems in case there’s a second outbreak of Covid-19 here.
WHO head of planning for the Western Pacific region, Dr Matthew Griffin, told RNZ they wouldn’t advise further lockdowns, so contact tracing and the public maintaining individual responsibility are vital.
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NZ First wades into gun debate
Days after police announced they’re scrapping their controversial armed response teams (ARTs) trial, New Zealand First MP and Minister of Defence Ron Mark is calling for an independent review into why frontline police officers are being armed with military-grade assault rifles.
He says he’s troubled by “the creeping militarization” of the police force and also raised concerns about frontline officers being “poorly trained” in weapon handling skills.
Meanwhile, criticism of the ARTs trial continues, with revelations the teams attended callouts to deal with children as young as 12.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster also had to address the issue of sponge bullets yesterday after earlier floating the possibility of their expanded use within the police.
The weapons are designed to be non-lethal but have sparked outrage in the US where police have fired them at protesters.
Mr Coster says any plans to extend the use of sponge bullets to frontline officers “would be consulted on early and widely”.
Māori Party slams Muller
The Māori Party has ruled out working with National post-election, saying their new leader Todd Muller is “racist”.
Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says Mr Muller “has no respect for tāngata whenua needs”.
She’s critical of both a lack of diversity on National’s front bench and a petition by Mr Muller challenging a local hapū on Mōtītī Island, near Tauranga.
With Mr Muller still recovering post-surgery after having pre-cancerous moles removed, his deputy came to his defence yesterday.
Nikki Kaye says the National leader isn’t racist and “is a person who has a deep commitment to Māori”.
Rest homes in the spotlight
Christchurch’s Rosewood Rest Home, which lost 12 of its residents to Covid-19, breached its obligations, resulting in the Canterbury District Health Board temporarily taking over its management.
That’s according to an Official Information Act document revealing failures in Rosewood’s food services, cleaning and emergency personal supplies.
The revelation came as an independent review into virus clusters at several aged residential care facilities was released.
The review commissioned by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed the affected rest homes were all first infected by staff or visitors.
In some cases, recognition of an outbreak was delayed, accelerating transmission of the virus.
The report also found the outbreak took a major psychological toll on staff who worked at the facilities, with some threatened with evictions from their homes when it became known where they worked.
Aged care nurses have also expressed concerns about staffing shortages. They’ve told RNZ those shortages could become critical if their pay isn’t boosted to bring them in line with their District Health Board colleagues.
Shows ditched in light of protests
With the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the globe, attention is now turning to the TV shows and movies we watch.
Many content providers are recognising the shift in mood during the civil rights movement and are pulling several shows off air.
HBO Max has also temporarily removed Gone With The Wind from its streaming library in order to add historical context to the film that’s long been criticised for romanticising slavery.
TVNZ has addressed the issue locally, saying they’re “open to having an ongoing dialogue with our viewers about what they want to see and what needs to be rethought”.
Other news of note this morning:
Canterbury Museum’s 30-year-old exhibition depicting early Māori life is set to go, with experts criticising the display as historically inaccurate and offensive.
Police searching for a Northland woman missing for more than a year are focusing on an area of interest after new information received yesterday.
The United States’ top military officer says he was wrong to accompany President Donald Trump on a walk through Lafayette Square that ended in a photo op at a church.
Complaints have rolled in over a pro-cannabis advertising campaign launched by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, with some saying their claims are “misleading”.
There are concerns the America’s Cup could be moved or postponed over visa exemption delays.
A cold weekend is in store as Canterbury's Mt Hutt ski field becomes the first to open for the winter in the southern hemisphere.
Yes, that is a picture of Jeremy Wells offering underwear modelling tips to the crème de la crème of New Zealand’s art world.
Why, you ask?
The group of artists are there to help raise money for the country’s fight against bowel cancer, with each of them creating a unique design for a range of underwear known as Bum Huggers.
And Jeremy? Well, Jeremy is there to show the undies off the only way he knows how.
The Bum Huggers are on sale from next week with funds going towards the bowel cancer cause.