TODAY |

Morning Briefing June 8: Hospitals brace for disruption as 30,000 nurses strike

A nationwide nurses strike is set to affect all public hospitals, Kiwis stranded in Melbourne prepare to fly home, and is house price growth finally slowing? 

Medical staff walk along a hospital corridor - file photo. Source: istock.com

Nurses have overwhelmingly rejected the district health board’s latest offer in their current round of pay negotiations. It means tomorrow’s eight-hour nationwide strike will go ahead, affecting all public hospitals and DHB facilities.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says pay rates “do not attract people into the profession or retain the people we have”, adding none of its concerns around "serious nursing workforce issues" have been addressed in the new offer. 

Negotiations will continue following tomorrow’s strike. With 30,000 nurses walking off the job, district health boards spokesperson Dale Oliff says their main priority now is to ensure patient safety and maintain essential services. 

Meanwhile, radiation therapy has finally resumed for cancer patients at Waikato DHB following last month’s crippling cyber attack.

The service is still not at full capacity, with some patients still being treated in Tauranga and Wellington, however Waikato expects its facilities to be fully up and running in two weeks. 

Sign up to get the Morning Briefing delivered direct to your inbox – here.

Stranded Kiwis to fly home

Tickets are on sale for a special flight schedule that will see New Zealanders stuck in Melbourne able to return home from tomorrow.

Despite the current pause in the trans-Tasman bubble, passengers who meet certain criteria and pre-departure testing requirements won’t need to enter managed isolation when they arrive back in the country.

Victoria reported nine new local cases of Covid-19 yesterday, with local authorities confident there’s no large unknown outbreak of the Delta variant.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said last week the risk of Kiwis returning from Melbourne and bringing Covid-19 with them is “very low”. 

Epidemiologist Michael Baker agrees, saying he’s more concerned with what’s going on in New Zealand, with regards to vaccinations and remaining vigilant against the virus.

With new variants and pandemic complacency seeing recent spikes of Covid-19 in countries that were once hailed as virus success stories, New Zealanders are being warned to avoid letting the same thing happen here. 

Has the property worm turned?

House price growth may finally be slowing, according to the latest QV Housing Index.

The average house value increased 8.8 per cent nationally over the last three months, down slightly from the 8.9 percent growth seen in April.

QV says further reductions can be expected as the impacts of tax changes for investors take effect. 

However, despite that slight cooling of the market, the average house price in Auckland is still more than $1.3 million. 

New honours revealed

New Zealand has eight new dames and knights among this year’s Queen’s Birthday honourees.

These include Dame Hinewehi Mohi, whose music career includes the ground-breaking decision to sing the national anthem in te reo Māori at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Māori tennis trailblazer Ruia Morrison has also been awarded a damehood for her services to her sport, while Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford has been knighted for services to rugby and the community. 

Others to receive honours yesterday included former Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, Esther Jessop, and members of the New Zealand Defence Force who were involved in the recovery of victims from the Whakaari/White Island disaster.

The full list of honours can be found here.

Prison staff under investigation

Prison staff are being accused of corruption, bringing in contraband, and having inappropriate relationships with inmates.

1 NEWS has obtained figures showing nearly 400 Corrections staff have been under investigation in a year.

A Corrections spokesperson says the allegations are taken seriously, adding the department has pre-employment checks, a new integrity committee, and a staff teaching programme to prevent harm.

Other news of note this morning: 

- Fiji is facing a fast-growing crisis after a jump in confirmed Covid cases over the weekend.

- The new Delta variant of Covid-19 is making the decision on whether to ease all restrictions in England more difficult.

- Dozens have been killed after two express trains collided in southern Pakistan yesterday.

- The US has approved the first new treatment for Alzheimer's disease in nearly 20 years, despite an advisory committee concluding there’s not enough evidence to support its effectiveness.  

- A tax expert is warning the G7 proposal to establish a digital services tax could have implications for some of New Zealand's biggest companies.

- Sport New Zealand says there is more consultation to come on a policy regarding the participation of transgender athletes in sport.

- And Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he plans to fly to space next month on the first human flight launched by his company, Blue Origin.

And finally...

Source: istock.com

The pandemic has opened our eyes to several things that probably aren’t necessary going forward, like heading into the office every day or wearing non-elasticated pants.

And for many people around the world, being forced to go without their regular trip to the salon has unearthed another silver lining – giving up the hair dye and embracing the grey.

These photos published by the New Yorker celebrate some of those people reckoning with a Covid-inspired hair transformation.