Auckland in the grips of mumps outbreak with sixteen years' worth of cases in nine months

Auckland is in the midst of a full blown outbreak of the mumps, with more than 450 cases confirmed so far this year and the number rising daily.

The huge amount of cases means Auckland's had more than 16-years-worth of cases in just nine months.

"This is definitely a massive increase and can really only be described as a full blown outbreak that shows no sign of abating at the moment," Dr Julie Peters Clinical Director of Auckland Regional Public Health Service said.

The statistics are troubling, showing of the confirmed cases, 80 per cent aren't fully immunised, 60 per cent are aged 10 to 24 and 50 per cent are Pasifika.

"The outbreak started in west Auckland probably as a result of someone coming in to NZ who had been infected overseas.

"Now its spread across the region 40 per cent of the cases are in west and 40% are in south Auckland," Dr Peters told 1 NEWS.

With half the cases affecting Auckland's Pacific community, Dr Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre says many in the community won't have been vaccinated.

"Many people who were born in Pacific countries may have missed out on mumps vaccines. Some of the traditional ones didn't actually have mumps combined with measles," Dr Turner said.

Schools with confirmed cases of mumps are asking students who aren't fully vaccinated to stay home for almost four weeks

Health officials say everyone under 36 needs to make sure they're immunised which you can do for free with your GP.

More than 450 cases of the highly infectious disease have been confirmed so far this year. Source: 1 NEWS

Simon Bridges and Judith Collins were 'defamatory' with 'meth crooks' claim, says Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has accused Simon Bridges and Judith Collins of making defamatory claims over their ‘meth crooks’ claim about the 800 evicted Housing NZ tenants who will receive compensation.

The opposition leader and National’s housing spokesperson have repeatedly said they were against compensation for the Housing NZ tenants who were evicted as a result of adverse meth tests on their properties.

The National leader says it sends a poor message that those found to have cooked or used meth in Housing NZ homes get compensation. Source: Breakfast

READ MORE: Simon Bridges against compensation for tenants proven to have smoked or cooked meth in Housing NZ home

“I’m appalled that Judith Collins and Simon Bridges, who have pretence to be experienced and practiced lawyers, would think that people who are utterly innocent and in their hundreds and hundreds should be turfed out of a place and have all their assets and materials destroyed because of a hoax scientific investigation, which wasn’t scientific at all, and that they shouldn’t deserve some compensation,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

READ MORE: Judith Collins savages decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants evicted over meth contamination

National’s housing spokesperson savaged the decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using P or allowing its use in their homes. Source: 1 NEWS

“I know ordinary people might do it but how could a lawyer possibly believe somebody is guilty before proven to be that and that’s what I find for narrow venal populism in which they’re not going to be successful they have appeared to use such language.”

Housing New Zealand released a report last week admitting it shouldn't have turfed out tenants based on methamphetamine contamination guidelines which have since been found to be misused.

The period was dubbed 'meth hysteria' - during which hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent unnecessarily on stripping out homes, and hundreds of state tenants kicked out.

The deputy prime minister was appalled that the opposition leader and housing spokesperson could make the meth crook claim about mostly innocent Housing NZ tenants. Source: Breakfast


NZTA contractors caught dumping rubble in Whangārei stream

New Zealand Transport Agency contractors have been caught dumping rubble from road works into a stream that feeds into Whangārei Harbour.

The agency has been forced to clean up its act after a local MP raised the matter with Northland Regional Council.

National MP for Whangarei Shane Reti was contacted by a constituent worried about a number of problems to do with roading near his house, which backs onto State Highway 1, about 15 minutes from the city.

The resident showed the MP the Oakleigh River Bridge, which had two metre wide expansion strips cut out across it.

About 30 pieces of road had been cut off the highway and pushed straight into the stream underneath, Dr Reti said.

"They still had fluorescent markings on them. They were on both sides of the dropline so they'd clearly been pushed off the bridge directly into the stream below," he said.

Dr Reti and the local who raised the problem were angry with the situation.

"At best it's lazy, at worst it's environmental vandalism.

"It wasn't hard to put a drop sheet or a gatherer on either side of the bridge, but no, it seemed the most convenient thing is just to brush it off and brush it into the stream below."

Roading was a pollutant in the stream that feeds directly into the harbour, he said.

Rubble from road works pictured beside a stream.
Rubble from road works pictured beside a stream. Source: MP Shane Reti

Dr Reti immediately contacted Northland Regional Council which got on to the transport agency.

The council told him the rubble was promptly removed, and the agency made it clear to its staff and contractors that the situation was unacceptable.

Ngātiwai Trust Board chairperson Haydn Edmonds said the dumping by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) contractors was not good enough.

"It shouldn't have happened, a sub-contractor should have been monitored by at least a sign-off from NZTA," Mr Edmonds said.

Staff at the transport agency refused to be interviewed, but said in a statement the contractors did not follow process.

The situation had since been rectified and it would work with its contractors to ensure it did not happen again, the agency said.

Dr Reti said monitoring needed to be done across the country to make sure care was taken with the environment after roading projects.

By Kate Gudsell


Road slabs thrown by a stream that feeds into Whangārei Harbour
Road slabs thrown by a stream that feeds into Whangārei Harbour Source: MP Shane Reti


Court of Appeal blocks media merger proposal between NZME and Fairfax

NZME Ltd, the owner of New Zealand's top-selling newspaper, says the Court Of Appeals had blocked its bid to merge with Fairfax Media Ltd's New Zealand unit.

The company said its appeal against the High Court's decision to block the merger was unsuccessful. NZME had decided to contest the High Court decision last February.

The Court Of Appeals is the second highest appeals court In the country, behind the Supreme Court. NZME said it would consider the judgment and "review its options."

NZME Chief Executive Michael Boggs said he was disappointed by the decision.

The deal, first announced in 2016, would have seen NZME purchasing Fairfax's New Zealand subsidiary, Stuff Ltd.

It was initially blocked by New Zealand's competition regulator on concerns it would have led to unprecedented local media influence, a decision upheld by the country's High Court.

All eyes are now on the next moves from NZME and Fairfax after a merger was rejected.
Source: 1 NEWS

‘He led the struggle’ – Jacinda Ardern pays tribute to Nelson Mandela at UN speech

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern helped honor the memory of Nelson Mandela at a peace summit for the late South African leader.

Mandela, who led South Africa's transition from the apartheid system of white minority rule over the majority black population was a "living embodiment of the United Nation's values," Ardern said.

In the year since she took office, Ardern, 38, has enjoyed unprecedented global attention for a leader from this nation of fewer than 5 million people.

Yet at home, she's faced political pressure as she tries to keep control of a coalition government that sometimes threatens to come apart.

Internationally, Ardern in many ways offers a counterpoint to President Donald Trump: She is young, liberal and espouses an empathetic approach to leadership.

She's also pushed the boundaries for women by becoming just the second world leader in modern times to give birth while in office.

Mandela, who led South Africa's transition from the apartheid was a "living embodiment of the United Nation's values," Ardern said Source: Associated Press