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Morning Briefing Feb 2: Māori disproportionately affected by cancer in Aotearoa

The state of cancer in New Zealand is revealed in a new report, a Covid-19 vaccine could be approved as soon as tomorrow, and Parliament's tied to the ties.

Source: istock.com

The state of cancer in Aotearoa

Māori are disproportionately affected by cancer in New Zealand, a groundbreaking new report has found

Nearly 3000 of the 25,000 Kiwis diagnosed with cancer every year are Māori, and Māori are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-Māori, the report by Te Aho o Te Kahu/Cancer Control Agency found.

While cancer survival rates have improved dramatically over the past 20 years in Aotearoa, it's still not improving as quickly as other high-income countries, according to the report. It also highlights how cancer prevention and screening is crucial to helping cancer outcomes in the country.

It's the first time comprehensive data on cancer in New Zealand has been gathered and reviewed in one place.

Cancer drug advocates are welcoming the report, but say there are some glaring omissions. Patient Voice Aotearoa's Malcolm Mulholland will respond to the report's release on TVNZ's Breakfast just after 7am.

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Vaccine approval under discussion

The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine could be approved as soon as tomorrow. Medsafe is meeting today to seek advice and recommendations about the vaccine before potentially granting approval. 

However the Government's refused to say whether the vaccine will arrive on time, as the EU warns it's tightening vaccine exports due to production issues.

It comes as some experts call for New Zealand to explore whether it can manufacture vaccines here amid the soaring global demand. Biotech company South Pacific Sera founder Dr William Rolleston told 1 NEWS we're "world leaders" in manufacturing vaccines for farm animals, something he says could be easily applied to making human vaccines like those for Covid-19.

Māori ward veto dumped

Changes are coming to the process of establishing Māori council wards. At the moment, councils can vote to establish Māori wards but it can be overturned by public poll. Only 5 per cent of support is needed to trigger the poll. 

It means there's currently a "different set of rules for establishing Māori and general wards", Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. The change would mean those binding vetoes are scrapped and instead develop a permanent way for councils to consider Māori wards.

Just two councils have successfully created Māori wards since 2002; 22 others have had their attempts overturned.

National back in Māori electorates

In other political news, National leader Judith Collins has officially confirmed the party'll stand candidates in Māori electorates again. She says the party "needs to have more diversity" and wants to show voters it's a party for all New Zealanders - even if they don't win the seats.

"What we’re after is those party votes, making sure we represent the whole of New Zealand. People know we want to represent them as well."

Parliament all tied up

It's still tie time at Parliament. House Speaker Trevor Mallard has decided against recommending a change in attire in the Debating Chamber. Last year Green co-leader James Shaw suggested it was time to ditch the current dress code requiring ties in the chamber. 

There was "very little support for a change", Mallard told Stuff's Henry Cooke.

Other news of note this morning:

Influential Kiwi artist Bill Hammond has died, aged 73.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins admits dying man Trevor Ponting should've been given an emergency spot in managed isolation on compassionate grounds.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is shrugging off Google's threats to withdraw from the country and reckons competitor Microsoft is "pretty confident" its search engine Bing could fill the void.

Forget GameStop shares. The price of silver is now soaring, up to an eight-year high, but the online movement driving the GameStop spike is calling it a "false flag".

Thr National Party is indulging in the age-old Kiwi tradition of backyard cricket at its annual caucus retreat in an attempt to rebuild team spirit.

"We want payback," champion sailor Jimmy Spithill tells RNZ ahead of Luna Rossa's next clash with Team UK in the America's Cup.

Myanmar's military has seized control of the country for a year amid allegations of voter fraud as senior politicians, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi, are detained.

A Kiwi sports star's family served their managed isolation period at their $3 million home after complaining about the conditions at their MIQ facility.

And finally...

Laura Daniel and the latest Bachelors. Source: Seven Sharp

Get your roses ready because The Bachelorette NZ is back, complete with some handy social distancing candles.

Ahead of the reality show's premiere, Laura Daniel sat down with Lexie Brown to talk about everything from New Zealand's man drought to whether the new Bachelorette would consider dating a fish.

Naturally Laura also took some of the fellas out for a test drive herself.