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Lockdowns, self-isolation pay and KiwiSaver investments — what you need to know about Parliament this week

The week was dominated by another Auckland lockdown, the Children's Commissioner called for more funding, while Kiwi Wealth's investment in a company that supplies munitions to Saudi Arabia — a nation criticised for fuelling a humanitarian crisis in Yemen — came under scrutiny. 

The Beehive, New Zealand's Parliament. Source: istock.com

Press Gallery reporters rushed to Parliament for a last-minute press conference on Saturday night, where the Prime Minister delivered the news Auckland would go back into Level 3, having reached Alert Level 1 not even a week earlier. 

After five days of no new community cases, Aucklanders were told on Friday they would go back down to Alert Level 2 on Sunday. It came after a tumultuous morning, after many New Zealanders were forced to evacuate inland or to higher ground after a series of earthquakes. 

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The Prime Minister says she was jolted awake by the powerful earthquakes near the Kermadec Islands. Source: 1 NEWS

The next group of New Zealanders in the Covid-19 vaccine queue were announced, being frontline health workers, such as Covid testers, ambulance staff and people working in GP clinics. 

National called for a boost to self-isolation payment, urging the Government to pay 100 per cent of a person's wage for the two weeks they are self-isolating to make it easier for them to stay at home. When asked about this, Covid-19 Response Minister said National had not outlined how they would pay for it

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The National Party leader says she would pay those forced to self-isolate in full, as well as penalties for those who don't. Source: Breakfast

Kiwi Wealth, the KiwiSaver scheme distributed by Kiwibank, is reconsidering its decision to continue its investment in Raytheon Technologies, which has supplied munitions to Saudi Arabia while it fuels a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It comes as ANZ pulled its investment in three companies with links to the Saudi military and the Yemen War, which included Raytheon Technologies. 

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James Shaw and Marama Davidson will be divesting from Kiwi Wealth, the fund distributed by Kiwibank, after it said it will keep investing in Raytheon Technologies. Source: Breakfast

Amnesty NZ said Raytheon was the manufacturer of a laser-guided bomb used in June 2019 in a Saudi and Emirati-led air strike on a home in Yemen, killing six civilians including three children. 

In a routine annual review of the Government’s agencies, Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft pleaded with Parliament’s Social Services and Community Select Committee for more money. He said his office had been underfunded for decades and, as a result, the commission’s monitoring of Oranga Tamariki fell by the wayside. 

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A lack of funding left the welfare of children in state care unchecked, Andrew Becroft said today. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government announced an independent review into the nation's drug purchasing agency, Pharmac. The review, announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today, will focus on how well Pharmac performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance could be improved.

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The Prime Minister says New Zealand has a good drug purchasing system, but the challenge was to make it better. Source: 1 NEWS