Morning Briefing June 9: How an app delivered a huge blow to organised crime

Hundreds are arrested in a global sting after being tricked by an FBI app, the Government reveals a million Pfizer vaccines are on their way, and nurses warn today's strike could be the first of many. 

A box containing a large amount of cash is discovered during a police raid as part of Operation Trojan Shield. Source: Supplied

New Zealand police are expected to make more arrests following a major global organised crime bust led by the FBI.

Operation Trojan Shield saw some 800 suspected criminals arrested around the world after thousands of people were tricked into using an FBI-developed messaging app.

The app allowed police to monitor alleged criminals’ conversations without their knowledge. Tech expert Paul Brislen told the NZ Herald it was “almost as if the FBI had set up a meeting for criminals to come and discuss things”.

Australian police say the person who unwittingly helped distribute the app is an alleged drugs kingpin currently on the country’s Most Wanted list. They’re now urging him to come forward for his own safety. 

As part of the operation, New Zealand police have arrested senior members of the Mongrel Mob, Head Hunters and Comancheros gangs.

More than $3 million worth of assets have also been seized, including methamphetamine, guns, vehicles, and piles of cash.

More than 100 people have been arrested in Australia, too, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison describing the operation as a “heavy blow” against crime gangs

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Nurses warn of further strikes

Nurses say today’s eight-hour strike could be the first of many as they call for better pay and a commitment to addressing staff shortages.

From 11am-7pm today, 30,000 nurses will trade their scrubs for protest signs after rejecting two district health board offers. 

The Government says they’re not able to meet nurses’ demands due to financial constraints, however nurses say improvements are urgently needed.

They say the strike is about making sure the profession can attract and retain nurses and stop the “mass exodus” to Australia or private care.

Some nurses warn there may not be enough people to take care of patients in the future if people continue to leave the job. 

'Reassuring' shipment revealed

An estimated one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine are set to arrive in New Zealand during July after questions were raised last month about potential dwindling supplies of the jab.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the “reassuring” delivery will enable a significant increase in the number of vaccines administered each day.

One of those due to receive their Pfizer vaccine soon is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will receive her first dose by the end of next week.

News of the vaccine stock boost comes as ‘green flights’ from Melbourne begin today, allowing stranded Kiwis to escape the city’s extended lockdown.

Australian authorities yesterday genomically linked Victoria’s outbreak of the Delta Covid variant to a returned traveller, however they’re still unsure as to how the virus was transmitted to infected families.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Covid outbreak continues to escalate with another 94 cases confirmed there yesterday, the country’s highest recorded daily number to date.

A statement released by the Fiji Government late last night showed medical systems are under stress and unable to cope with the spiking case numbers.

Little support for Goldsmith

National MP Paul Goldsmith has found little support in Parliament over his comments that Māori are largely better off as a result of colonisation.

Many MPs, including those from his own party, condemned his remarks as ignorant and naïve yesterday.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson invited Goldsmith to his marae so they could tell him about the effects of colonisation, while Kelvin Davis labelled him “a living, breathing example of why we need to teach history in New Zealand schools".

Meanwhile, RNZ reports mystery still surrounds National MP Nick Smith, with party leader Judith Collins refusing to discuss any conversation she may have had with him ahead of his surprise resignation last week.

Smith is due to return to Parliament tomorrow to deliver his valedictory speech after 31 years in politics.

Survey reveals damp homes

A survey of 1000 Kiwis has shown more than half of them have issues with their homes, including mould and dampness.

The new report commissioned by The Warehouse found renters are twice as likely to report mould than homeowners.

The survey found Kiwi homes are also awash with condensation, with 37 per cent of those surveyed saying they regularly find it on their windows through winter. 

Other news of note this morning: 

- Some of the world’s biggest websites are coming back online after a major outage overnight

- French President Emmanuel Macron has been slapped in the face during an official visit in the south-east of France.  

- Two of three mental health facilities inspected without warning by the Chief Ombudsman last year have been deemed not fit for purpose.

- A Government watchdog has raised alarm at the joint approach to eliminating family violence and sexual violence.

- Two men jailed over the Red Fox Tavern shooting and robbery more than 30 years ago are appealing their convictions and sentences.

- 1 NEWS understands members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron could be looking at legal action to block the next America’s Cup defence from being held overseas.

- New research shows Māori and other Polynesian voyagers may have been navigating Antarctica as far back as the seventh century.

- And “patience is a virtue” - New Zealand singer Lorde has confirmed she will be releasing new music this year

And finally...


Seven Sharp had more from the “news you can use” file last night, as they delved into the issue of washing fruit and vegetables.

During last year’s lockdown, Kiwis were told to wash fresh produce well – but do we really need to? The definitive answer can be found right here.