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Morning Briefing Sept 18: Whole school prepares to test for Covid-19

A pop-up Covid-19 testing station is being set up at Chapel Downs Primary School in Auckland today and tomorrow as health authorities ask all its students and staff to get tested for the virus.

Source: istock.com

It follows confirmation a Covid-positive student briefly attended the school on Monday morning while waiting for their own test results. Some parents are angry it took two days to find out about the incident.

A "very small" number of people at the school have been deemed close contacts of the case. 

Meanwhile, there were no new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the community yesterday, however seven cases were detected at managed isolation facilities.

It comes as a man staying at one such facility in Rotorua briefly absconded this week.

The man was reported missing from his room at the Sudima Hotel at 11pm on Wednesday and was found 30 minutes later. Police say he doesn’t appear to have come into contact with anyone else. 

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Biggest GDP drop confirmed

New Zealand is officially in recession following a record drop in GDP.

Statistics NZ revealed the historic 12.2 per cent fall yesterday, with tourism, international education and construction all taking a significant hit due to Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the Government says it could have been worse, with the result better than the 16 per cent drop forecast in Treasury’s Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU).

RNZ has rounded up the other political parties’ reactions to the GDP figures, with National saying the figures show “a devastating time for many families”.

The Green Party says the recession will mean more hardship and is calling for a better social safety net going forward.

NZ First says the drop is “disappointing but predictable” and ACT says it means a relentless focus on growth is needed - not more tax or spending. 

Meanwhile, stress testing of the country’s banks has found they would be able to cope with severe economic shocks, such as a dramatic fall in house prices.

The Reserve Bank began the testing in March as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. 

Data leak’s chilling new details

1 NEWS has obtained the full list of people from across the Pacific islands whose personal information has been collected by Zhenhua Data and is now linked to China’s military and intelligence networks.

The list includes people who don’t even have a presence on the internet, which some are saying suggests the networks and intelligence on the ground are “very sophisticated”. 

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver joins TVNZ’s Breakfast just after 7.30am today to discuss the data and China’s growing influence in the region. 

MP’s political career up in smoke?

NZ First released its list yesterday and it features a significant demotion for a sitting MP.

Jenny Marcroft has been dropped from her ninth placing last election to number 17 this time, which makes her path back to Parliament virtually impossible. The full party list can be found here.

Party leader Winston Peters and his smoking habit were also in the headlines after NZ First revealed a policy to lower tobacco excise so the average pack of cigarettes is no more than $20.

Peters says the party intends to stop punishing smokers with the high excise tax and help them quit.

The election promise came just hours after a Taupō man pulled off the rare feat of rendering Peters speechless after questioning him about his own smoking habit. 

Weta Digital appoints QC

A months-long 1 NEWS investigation has sparked an independent review into Oscar-winning visual effects company Weta Digital.

The review, which will be carried out by a Queen's Counsel, has been ordered by the company’s owners, including filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson and Dame Fran Walsh.

1 NEWS revealed allegations of bullying, harassment and misconduct at Weta Digital last week and has been contacted by more than 40 current and former staff concerned about the company’s culture.

Other news of note this morning:

- The World Health Organisation is warning of "a very serious situation” unfolding in Europe as the region experiences a dramatic uptick in Covid-19 cases.

- The backlog of vehicles needing warrant of fitness checks following Covid-19 lockdowns is getting dangerously out of hand

- Facebook has removed a video from Advance NZ after Trevor Mallard wrote to the social media giant saying it wrongly framed the Government of legislating forced vaccination.

- A growing number of Kiwis think the Treaty of Waitangi should play a more significant role in the country’s legal system.

- Medsafe is warning consumers not to consume a coffee product marketed for weight loss.

- And “closed for deep cleaning” is a phrase we’ve heard a lot this year – so what does that actually entail?

And finally...

Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing in Friends. Source: Getty

Well, that’s just terrific. 

Just in case there weren’t enough things to worry about in 2020, a new study has found sarcasm can be a heart attack risk.

This is, of course, very bad news for just about every New Zealander, given sarcasm is the nation’s default setting.

So, Seven Sharp has some advice straight from a GP’s mouth about how to stay heart healthy while still deploying the so-called lowest form of wit.