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Morning Briefing August 11: Nats finally choose candidate following 'outrageous lies'

National’s extremely messy selection process for a new Auckland Central candidate finally concluded last night with Emma Mellow chosen to contest the seat at September’s election.

Emma Mellow. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Mellow’s appointment follows a bungled pre-selection process, threats of legal action, and even allegations of attempts to derail one contender’s campaign via a late-night call to talkback radio.

Party members were chastised at the beginning of last night’s meeting for spreading “outrageous lies”. Two rounds of voting then took place before Ms Mellow was revealed as the winning candidate.

She will now be taking on Labour’s Helen White, the Greens’ Chloe Swarbrick, NZ First’s Jenny Marcroft and TOP’s Tuariki Delamere.

The seat has been held by National’s Nikki Kaye for the past 12 years and has been the centre of intense campaigning by both Labour and the Greens since Ms Kaye announced her shock resignation from Parliament.

The two parties have ruled out an Epsom-style deal despite worries about splitting the vote on the left

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A tropical escape by Christmas?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a travel bubble with the Cook Islands should be in place before the end of the year.

Ms Ardern says Cabinet has considered a draft of the agreement, which is “near conclusion”. Officials on both sides will be travelling between the Cook Islands and New Zealand to do work on the ground in the next 10 days.

National Party leader Judith Collins has criticised the move, saying the bubble proposal is sending “mixed messages” over Covid-19

Cook Island businesses are keen for the travel bubble but are hoping it can start next month when the wage subsidy is due to finish.

Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce president Fletcher Melvin told RNZ it would be “catastrophic” for businesses if they must wait until December.

Managed isolation charges begin

The new charging system for New Zealand’s managed isolation began overnight with the regulations passing their final hurdle in Cabinet yesterday.

From today, anybody leaving New Zealand for holidays or business trips will be charged for their 14-day stay in a managed isolation facility when they return. 

Housing Minister Megan Woods says any Kiwi who needs to come home, but cannot afford the charges, will still be able to come home. NZ citizens and residents are not liable for charges if they’re returning to the country permanently. 

Meanwhile, government business advisor Rob Fyfe has floated the idea of allowing more people into the country but keeping the 14-day isolation restrictions in place.

He told TVNZ’s Breakfast “a non-New Zealander coming across the border is actually no more risk than a New Zealander”.

Did Ministry mislead public?

The Ministry of Health is under pressure over whether it misled the New Zealand public about this year's flu vaccine.

Officials repeatedly denied there was a shortage of the vaccine, but a six-month investigation by 1 NEWS has uncovered the Ministry knew about it - and even warned the Government - despite telling the public a different story.

The 1 NEWS investigation also discovered more than 1000 vaccines were sent to the wrong city at the height of the problem. 

Doctors say they’re worried about the distribution issues and what it means for New Zealand’s handling of a Covid-19 vaccine if and when that time comes. 

Art heist caught on camera

A thief who stole thousands of dollars’ worth of art has been caught on security camera slowly making off with his loot – and leaving a trail of evidence behind him.

Popular Kiwi artist Hayley King, who goes by the name Flox, says she’s devastated her art has been targeted.

Video footage shows the brazen burglar making off on foot with his arms full of paintings. Pieces of art are seen toppling off the pile behind him.

Flox says the burglar knew what they wanted, taking her big signature pieces. She’s raising awareness about the robbery in the hopes the artworks will be recognised if they come up for sale. 

Other news of note this morning: 

Firefighters have been battling to save St Paul’s Cathedral in Dunedin overnight.

Lebanon's entire government has resigned following the massive explosion that devastated parts of Beirut last week.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is slamming recent media commentary that the elderly should be sacrificed in the Covid-19 crisis. 

A report into former Minister Iain Lees-Galloway's affair has found no evidence of any inappropriate spending of taxpayer money. 

National plans to require drivers to display their insurance details on car registration labels if elected in September.

An Auckland mum tells Fair Go a $300 loan to get her son a Christmas gift has ballooned to a $1200 burden.

Fancy having kiwi roaming in your backyard? The Government says that’s the kind of aspiration set out in their new plan to save native species.

And a Tauranga man has turned his metal detector hobby into profit, making almost $50,000 with the sale of one of his precious metals.

And finally...

Source: Seven Sharp

Admit it. You’ve probably let your car’s accelerator get away on you once or twice.

But if you’re living in one particular area of New Zealand, chances are you’ve been guilty of a lead foot more than a couple of times.

Find out which region has been crowned – or rather shamed – as having the highest number of speeding tickets issued so far this year.