Questions about opening New Zealand’s borders are back in the spotlight, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying any suggestions of doing so at this stage are “dangerous”.
Her comments followed National leader Todd Muller’s assertion that keeping the borders completely closed for the next 12-18 months is “simply untenable”.
However, Ms Ardern says it’s “untenable” to consider opening the borders just yet, with some parts of the world not expecting to reach their Covid-19 peak for some months.
"At this present point of time, our complete focus is ensuring the safety of New Zealanders while New Zealanders are returning home,” she says.
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Warning for Kiwi holiday-goers
The Prime Minister also indicated she’s in favour of a user-pays system for isolating any New Zealanders who choose to go on an overseas holiday.
While the Government is still “moving cautiously” on asking returning Kiwis to pay for part of the cost of their stay in managed isolation, Ms Ardern says it’s not fair to expect taxpayers to stump up for holidaymakers’ quarantine.
She’s warning anybody considering a non-essential trip overseas that the Government is looking at the legalities of making them pay for their managed isolation when they return.
Meanwhile, the Government’s announced another $150 million is being spent on personal protective equipment (PPE) at the border.
It means everyone flying into the country with Air New Zealand will have access to face masks, while those staying at isolation facilities will now have to wear them in common areas.
Skulduggery at Team NZ base
Team New Zealand say they’ve terminated contracts after claims confidential information was being leaked from their Auckland base.
They say months of suspicions were confirmed after the team received sensitive information from Europe. Team NZ says they don’t know what the alleged informants’ motive was.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is now investigating the claims.
Battle for pro-cannabis campaign
Most Kiwis are still against legalising cannabis, according to the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll.
The gap has narrowed slightly, but 49 per cent of those polled are still in favour of keeping cannabis illegal, compared to the 40 per cent of people who say they’ll vote to legalise it in the upcoming referendum.
According to the poll, those more likely to be against legalising cannabis are National Party supporters and those aged 70 and over, while those more likely to be for legalising it are Green and Labour Party supporters, people aged 18-29, Māori, and Wellingtonians.
Bennett bids farewell
One of National’s most high-profile MPs says she’s retiring from politics at this year’s election.
Former deputy prime minister Paula Bennett revealed her upcoming move “into the business world” yesterday, saying National leader Todd Muller was “gracious” when she told him of her plans.
1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay says that although the retirement news isn’t a huge surprise given Ms Bennett’s recent demotion within the National party, her loss would still be felt, both in terms of experience and the type of New Zealander she attracted to the party.
Auckland speed limits drop
Traffic is set to get slower in our biggest city with speed limits in much of Auckland’s CBD and some suburbs dropping to just 30km/h from this morning. Some rural roads will also see speed limits cut to 80km/h.
Police say they’ll be taking an “educational approach” as drivers adapt to the new speed limits.
Other news of note this morning:
Statistics New Zealand has confirmed the 2023 census will include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
A new study has found the South Pole has been warming at more than three times the global rate over the past 30 years.
Jacinda Ardern says “significant behaviour changes" need to be factored into the Green Party’s wealth tax pledge. Meanwhile, National’s Paul Goldsmith has admitted he got his facts wrong when criticising the policy (but he’s still against it).
A building inspector says he approved inspections for the botched Bella Vista development that should have failed.
A pest known for damaging tomato plants and other crops has been detected in New Zealand for the first time.
And Beyonce has told black voters to vote like their lives depend on it in the upcoming US Presidential election.
A great New Zealander emerged from the wreckage of the tornado that whipped through Papamoa over the weekend.
When 1 NEWS needed a bystander to describe the freak weather event, Maria Moore stepped up to the plate with descriptive sounds and gestures, as well as a brief story about her mother winning big at the Cossie Club in Tokoroa.
Seven Sharp caught up with Ms Moore last night to see how she’s handling her newfound local fame following the colourful interview – and to find out what her mother won at the Cossie Club.