Morning Briefing Feb 22: Christchurch marks 10 years since catastrophic quake

Christchurch remembers the quake that devastated the city 10 years ago, a survey finds support for benefit increases, and there are calls to move MIQ out of our hotels.

The quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral. Source: Getty

As the country today marks 10 years since the deadly Christchurch earthquake, attention has focused both on the 185 people who lost their lives that fateful day in 2011 and the survivors who continue to feel the effects of the tragedy.

Hundreds are expected to gather at a memorial service in Ōtautahi this afternoon, where a steady stream of people have already placed flowers and mementoes. Flags on government buildings across the country will also be flying at half-mast today.

The quake anniversary has also been an opportunity to remember some of the miraculous survival stories from that day.

1 NEWS reporter Lisa Davies was with some survivors of the CTV building collapse as they met with the heroes who pulled them from the rubble.

Another quake survivor has also shared her journey back to health after she was crushed by a six-tonne concrete beam.

TVNZ’s Sunday has also looked back at the devastation wrought on February 22, 2011 and shares the stories of those who still live in the shadow of the quake - and who ask not to be forgotten.

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Calls to move MIQ 

With no further Covid cases in the community over the weekend and Australia reopening its one-way travel bubble with New Zealand (albeit with a new pre-departure test requirement for some travellers), the country will be looking forward to putting another community outbreak behind them.

But as the Government once again reviews Auckland’s Covid-19 alert levels today, calls are growing to move managed isolation out of major cities and their hotels.

National says there needs to be an urgent investigation into constructing a purpose-built quarantine facility on Auckland’s outskirts.

Party spokesperson Chris Bishop says the recent Pullman hotel cases show how much risk there is for community outbreaks of Covid-19. He says while a purpose-built facility may be expensive, “its cost will be dwarfed by the economic hit of putting Auckland into more lockdowns”.

Prominent scientist Sir Peter Gluckman told TVNZ’s Q+A he also supports such a proposal. He says due to the likelihood of future flare-ups or new viruses emerging, a specialised facility wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Government to consider.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has previously said purpose-built facilities are unlikely, due to construction time and the challenge of staffing them.

His comments come as employees describe the tough reality of working in MIQ.

Stuff has spoken to international pilots who currently spend 18 days each month in self-isolation, while workers who received some of New Zealand’s first Pfizer vaccines over the weekend have shared the stigma they’ve suffered.  

Vaccine campaigns push on

As New Zealand’s Covid vaccine campaign continues with Wellington’s border workers lining up for their jab today, Australia’s vaccinations have also begun. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among those receiving Pfizer’s vaccine yesterday, although his photo opportunity with the country’s very first jab recipient went off the rails somewhat when there was confusion about how to flash a “V for vaccine”

Meanwhile, there continues to be success with other vaccination campaigns overseas.

The UK is pledging to have all adults given their first dose by the end of July with approximately 17 million Britons already vaccinated.

And Israel is about to begin easing lockdown restrictions with nearly half its population vaccinated. Studies there have shown the Pfizer vaccine to be nearly 99% effective in preventing hospitalisations and death.

Most Kiwis support benefit increase

More than two thirds of New Zealanders agree the Government should increase support for those on low incomes, according to a new survey.

The poll was commissioned by a large group of non-government organisations who are calling for benefit increases in this year’s Budget.

The group says the Government is choosing to lock more people into poverty by keeping income support levels low.

The survey comes as Statistics NZ data reveals annual inflation for beneficiaries was almost three times higher than for all households in 2020. 

Luna Rossa canters to Cup

Team New Zealand now has a challenger for the America’s Cup after Luna Rossa claimed the Prada Cup.

The Italian team coasted past INEOS Team UK in both of yesterday’s races, ultimately winning the best of 13 series 7-1.

But while the campaign may be over for INEOS Team UK this time around, their skipper Sir Ben Ainslie says he’s determined to have another crack at yachting’s biggest prize.

Other news of note this morning:

- More than 200 people aboard a flight in the US state of Colorado have had a lucky escape after the aircraft's engine exploded and rained debris on houses below.

- US President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Texas, where more than a dozen people are believed to have frozen to death.

- A homicide investigation has been launched in Christchurch after a body was found at a property in the CBD last night.

- Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been accused of "playing to the crowd" during a trans-Tasman spat over a suspected Isis terrorist.

- The UK's Supreme Court ruling about the working status of Uber drivers could have major ramifications in New Zealand, according to an employment law expert.

- A group of Christchurch schoolchildren are being tasked with a project that could help boost numbers of a rare butterfly.

- And Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank have shared the name of their new baby boy. 

And finally...

Moses Mackay serenades Seven Sharp's Laura Daniel. Source: Seven Sharp

In the latest Bachelor NZ news, the show’s full cast has finally been revealed, with a former Block NZ contestant named amongst this year’s hopeful Bachelorettes.

Meanwhile, Seven Sharp’s resident romance correspondent Laura Daniel has done her best to find out if Bachelor Moses Mackay gets his happily ever after on the show.

She got a special serenade from the Sol3 Mio singer for those efforts – and instantly regretted getting engaged a few months ago.