Morning Briefing July 16: Christchurch house destroyed in minutes by fire, killing two young children

Two young children have died in a tragic house fire in Christchurch. The Burwood house was completely destroyed in the blaze. 

An eight-year-old boy and his nine-month-old sister died after a fatal house fire in Burwood, Christchurch. Source: Givealittle / 1 NEWS

An eight-year-old boy died after he was rescued by firefighters. His baby sister, only nine months old, was found dead in what Fire and Emergency described as an "unsurvivable" bedroom.

Their two siblings and father were also in the house when the fire broke out but survived. CCTV footage shared with 1 NEWS shows it took only minutes for the house to be entirely engulfed in flames. An investigation into the fire is underway. 

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Nikki Kaye to resign

1 NEWS understands National MP Nikki Kaye will resign today. She was Todd Muller's deputy leader for 53 days before being replaced by Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee. 

Judith Collins gets cracking

Less than a day into the job, Judith Collins has already made her mark as National Party leader. Yesterday she stripped Michael Woodhouse of his health spokesperson portfolio after a Covid-19 patient privacy breach, saying he should've told the Ministry of Health right away when he was leaked private patient data. The portfolio was given to Dr Shane Reti instead. 

The rest of Ms Collins' shadow cabinet reshuffle is expected to be released today. 1 NEWS will have the latest information online and live stream any announcements.

Ms Collins is also teasing some "mildly radical" policies ahead of the election. So far it includes replacing the Resource Management Act, potential tax breaks for corporations and a halt to massive public spending in the wake of Covid-19. A policy vision will be presented in the next fortnight, Ms Collins says.

Wet and windy weather

Heavy rain and wind lashed the upper North Island overnight, prompting dozens of callouts to Fire and Emergency NZ. Most of the jobs between 6.30pm-11pm were related to trees and power lines getting knocked down. The bad weather is set to continue through today; a heavy rain warning remains in place for the Coromandel Peninsula and Auckland is under a heavy rain and strong wind watch..

Covid-19 tracing complacency

The Government's official Covid-19 tracing app is back in the spotlight, Health Minister Chris Hipkins admitting there's a degree of complacency in the country. Nearly 600,000 people have signed up to the app, but they're only scanning around two QR codes each on average. Judith Collins says she's had trouble using the app and suggests there are probably others in the same situation. The Ministry of Health's working on further updates and ways to encourage businesses to get on board with more posters, but Mr Hipkins couldn't provide any details. 

There were two new confirmed Covid-19 cases in managed isolation yesterday.

NZ not planning Huawei ban

The UK is getting rid of Huawei's gear from its 5G networks, but New Zealand's not planning to follow suit. The Chinese telco has denied US claims it poses a national security threat. Andrew Little, the Minister responsible for the GCSB, told RNZ they're not ruling out using Huawei's tech in the future here.

Other news of note this morning: 

A Southland entrepreneur reckons Tesla's Elon Musk might be the answer to saving jobs as the Tiwai Point smelter shuts down

There's been a "jaw-dropping" decline in fertility rates for nearly every country in the world.  

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has praised Jacinda Ardern's Covid-19 response in a virtual leadership summit for young women. 

Details of thousands of Kiwis could be caught up in the hacking of a New Zealand research company. 

Victorians have been caught flouting Covid-19 lockdown rules to play Pokémon and get some KFC. 

The family of US man George Floyd are suing the city of Minneapolis and the police officers charged in his death. 

Otago and Southland are getting a $50 million boost by the Government for a raft of new projects including flooding protection

And there are high hopes for a successful Covid-19 vaccine. Early results from the first experimental vaccine in the US are being hailed as a "good first step".

And finally...

Farmers get support from the Collective Hug. Source: 1 NEWS

Drought-stricken farmers in Hawke's Bay are getting a 'Collective Hug', thanks to one hardworking woman. Diana Greer organised the donation drive to help support the 1200 farms in the region as winter bites. She told 1 NEWS it started with a couple of fruit cakes then it "just went bigger and bigger and bigger". As well as practical goods, there's "a lot of love that goes in each parcel".