The juggle that is New Zealand’s current border management just got another element thrown into the mix with a new dedicated isolation facility opening for Kiwis deported from Australia.
With deportation numbers returning to normal following Covid-19 travel restrictions, the facility will begin operating this week and remain in place for as long as necessary.
1 NEWS understands at least 19 people from various Australian detention centres are due back in New Zealand on a charter flight this week.
The Government won’t reveal the location of their new isolation facility but says extra security arrangements will be put in place to manage the deportees’ return where appropriate.
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Charging for quarantine?
Meanwhile, the issue of who should pay for returning Kiwis’ quarantine is back in the spotlight after another Australian state moves to bill its own returning citizens.
From next weekend, international travellers flying into New South Wales will be asked to pay $3000 towards their mandatory isolation. The state is currently on high alert with a new cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to a Sydney pub.
So far, New Zealand’s quarantine has cost Kiwi taxpayers more than $81 million.
Megan Woods, the Minister in charge of isolation facilities, said in late June Cabinet would be looking at co-payments for staying in hotel accommodation.
Ms Wood's office said there was no update on this yesterday.
Allegations of abuse
After suffering quietly for years, victims have spoken of the abuse they say they suffered at the hands of church figures in the Pacific.
1 NEWS has been investigating claims of historic sexual abuse against children in Fiji’s Catholic church for the past year.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care is now seeking information about New Zealand priests who were moved to the Pacific.
You can watch Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver’s exclusive report on the issue here.
Parties swing into election mode
The weekend saw several political parties launching campaigns and announcing new policies ahead of September’s election.
Solar power is at the centre of the Green Party’s energy policy launched yesterday. Their proposed $1.3 billion clean energy spend includes a push to get solar panels on as many state homes as possible and ending the use of coal by 2030.
Meanwhile, the Act Party launched its election campaign buoyed by polling showing it could get more than one MP in Parliament.
The party announced proposals for mental health and benefit reform, while leader David Seymour spoke about “smart borders” as his party’s answer to the country’s recovery from Covid-19. He had earlier told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Act’s future will be on the crossbenches, keeping all parties honest.
And NZ First held a campaign launch for its most important seat yesterday afternoon.
Party leader Winston Peters was absent following surgery last week, but MP Shane Jones officially began his battle to wrestle the Northland seat from National’s Matt King.
Disney opens amid case surge
Florida’s Disney World has reopened its doors amid a record-breaking day of Covid-19 cases in the region.
Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 15,300 new cases of the virus yesterday, which is the highest number of new cases reported in a single day by any US state since the pandemic began.
Some Florida hospitals are now completely overrun.
Other news of note this morning:
A search and rescue operation is underway to find a missing fisherman on Lake Wakatipu.
Gisborne has topped the ASB regional economic scoreboard for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Stuff reports newly released documents show mysterious goings-on in the hours before a fire ripped through a Wellington marae last year.
President Donald Trump has been seen in a mask for the first time after months of resisting wearing one in public.
And is the end nigh for coins? Experts predict they’ll fade away over the next 30 years.
Comedian Tom Sainsbury lost his greatest muse when the butt of many of his jokes, Paula Bennett, quit politics last month.
However, he’s taking on a new political satire this week with the launch of his new TVNZ show Sextortion, where he plays a conservative Christian politician dealing with an incriminating S&M video.
But given truth is usually stranger than fiction, Sainsbury says he’s still planning to parody real-life politicians in the lead-up to the 2020 election, too.
“I'm living for this election,” he says. “I feel very blessed and very lucky that it's happening and I'm in a position where I can make fun of it all.”