Morning Briefing June 26: New poll reveals the Muller effect

The latest 1 NEWS-Colmar Brunton poll had some better news for the National Party last night, following its hammering in last month’s poll.

National Party Leader Todd Muller speaks during question time at Parliament. Source: Getty

Support for the party under new leader Todd Muller has climbed nine points to 38 per cent, with Mr Muller sitting at 13 per cent in the preferred Prime Minister race.

Labour has dropped by nine points; however, it would still be able to govern alone on 50 per cent support. Jacinda Ardern is also still the preferred Prime Minister at 54 per cent. 

The Green Party is back above the five per cent threshold with six per cent support, however coalition partner NZ First has had a disastrous showing.

The party has fallen to just 1.8 per cent support, with the one-man-band ACT Party now polling higher than NZ First.

Leader Winston Peters was typically combative when asked about NZ First’s latest poll results.

“Your polls are crap,” he told 1 NEWS. “Your polls are rubbish... your problem is you don’t have the intellectual capacity to absorb the mistakes of your polling industry.”

Despite that assessment, 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay will have further analysis of what those poll numbers mean on Breakfast around 7.20am today.

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NZ wins World Cup rights

One of the world's biggest sporting events is coming to New Zealand with Australia and New Zealand confirmed as co-hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

The trans-Tasman AsOne bid beat Colombia's 23-12 in the FIFA Council vote this morning. 

Unease over latest Covid protocols

As New Zealand continues its quest to keep Covid-19 at bay, there are concerns over both the travel protocols within managed isolation and changes to the criteria for getting a test for the virus. 

Three new cases of Covid-19 were reported in managed isolation yesterday, with one of those in Rotorua and the other two in Christchurch.

With all three having been transferred within New Zealand, questions are being asked about travel protocols.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says he’s looking at enforcing mask use on transfers and will also investigate making isolation mandatory for crew members on flights with positive cases.

Meanwhile, there’s some concern that raising the bar to get a Covid-19 test has come too early.

The Ministry of Health no longer requires people with any cold or flu symptoms to get tested unless they’re high risk or connected to travel or the border.

Christchurch GP Dermot Coffey told RNZ mandatory testing should have been kept over winter. That sentiment is shared by National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse.

He says anyone showing symptoms should still be tested and that easing back on this “will just lead to more cases going unnoticed”.

The Herald reports Kiwis are also being told to expect around a dozen new Covid-19 cases at the border each week.

Scientists say this is off the back of more travel from countries hit hard by the virus, especially as the pandemic accelerates around the world.

The World Health Organisation says we’re now less than a week away from hitting 10 million global cases of Covid-19.

Bloomfield still backs Minister

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says he still has a "very good" relationship with Health Minister David Clark despite being blamed by him for the recent Covid-19-related border bungles.

Mr Clark raised eyebrows earlier this week when he awkwardly shifted responsibility for the issues to his Director-General of Health while Dr Bloomfield stood right behind him. 

To say Mr Clark’s comments have been less than well received by the general public would be an understatement.

National leader Todd Muller has also labelled Mr Clark "the very definition of a non-essential worker" in response to his pointing the blame at Dr Bloomfield.

Dr Bloomfield said yesterday that he continues “to work really closely with and support the Minister of Health and his work”. 

Police remember fallen officer

Police around New Zealand will observe a minute's silence at 10.37 this morning in honour of their slain colleague, Constable Matthew Hunt. The country’s police flags will all fly at half-mast.

Constable Hunt was shot dead a week ago in what police have described as a "routine traffic stop" gone wrong.

Other news of note this morning:

Plans to disestablish a long-running mental health facility have sparked fierce opposition and protest in Nelson.

Australian health workers are planning to go door to door, testing over 100,000 residents in a coronavirus hotspot in Melbourne that is threatening to undo their success in battling the pandemic.

The Supreme Court has heard that the appeal of now deceased convicted paedophile Peter Ellis should be reopened, because the mana of a person remains after their death.

And Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour could be busier than usual this morning as the Navy welcomes its newest and biggest ship, the half-billion-dollar HMNZS Aotearoa.

And finally...

Source: Breakfast

You may have seen earlier in the week that the Prime Minister attempted a piano-shaped cake for her daughter Neve’s second birthday.

Issues with the structural integrity of the cake meant a jar of lentils had to be deployed to prop it up.

Now, an engineering firm has released a forensic report into the birthday cake’s structural issues – and found it had nothing to do with the baking.