Morning Briefing May 19: Major cyber attack causing mayhem in hospitals

Several hospitals are still grappling with a major cyber attack, there are doubts over NZ's vaccine rollout, and the Kiwi nurse who cared for Boris Johnson through his Covid battle quits the NHS.


Police and the National Cyber Security Centre are investigating a major cyber attack on Waikato DHB that’s still causing a full network shutdown in several hospitals and other clinical services.

Surgeries and other appointments have had to be cancelled, although neighbouring DHBs are taking some of Waikato’s patient load.

DHB boss Kevin Snee told Stuff yesterday they are trying to verify information that those behind the attack want a ransom – but he says no ransom will be paid.

It’s not believed any patient information is at risk and DHB officials are hoping the system will be back up and running in the next two to three days.

The attack comes after the Irish health system suffered a similar ransomware attack last week. RNZ has explained what ransomware is and what can be done about it here

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'Nurse Jenny' resigns from NHS

Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee, who cared for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in intensive care as he battled Covid-19 last year, has resigned from the National Health Service (NHS).

A statement released on her behalf says she’s taking a step back after “the toughest year” of her nursing career.

Her resignation comes ahead of her appearance in a documentary airing in the UK next week, where she says nurses are “not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve” and that she’s “sick of it”

McGee declined to comment on the documentary when approached by 1 NEWS.

Major doubts over vaccine rollout

A Government watchdog is warning there's a real risk not all Kiwis will receive their Covid vaccine by the end of this year as planned.

Auditor-General John Ryan is concerned there may not be enough trained vaccinators and is worried that distribution and inventory systems aren't up to scratch. His full review of the Government’s vaccine rollout plans can be found here

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield are both still optimistic Kiwis will be vaccinated by 2022.

The Ministry of Health is proposing a change in legislation to bolster the number of people who can administer the jabs, however there are some concerns people are being rushed through the requisite training

Meanwhile the Government is passing legislation under urgency today to amend the Medicines Act after a High Court decision found New Zealand’s Pfizer vaccine approval process arguably lacked proper legal authority.

Hipkins says the ruling highlighted a "technical anomaly" with the law but raised no safety issues with the vaccine itself. The rollout won’t be paused or affected as a result.

Staffer loses Covid battle

Commercial flights are being considered to repatriate New Zealand Government staff in India after a long-serving High Commission staff member died from Covid-19 this week.

The local man joined the commission in 1986 when Sir Edmund Hillary was the High Commissioner to India. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has confirmed he was the person central to a plea for oxygen on Twitter that drew some controversy.

Meanwhile, Black Caps batsman Tim Seifert is on his way home from India after recovering from his Covid-19 infection.

The rest of New Zealand’s IPL contingent made a swift exit from the country earlier this month on two charter flights organised and funded by the BCCI and some IPL franchises.

Brewer quits amid racism outcry

The Canterbury businessman who ignited a nationwide furore last week after publishing a racist rant about Māori online is walking away from his company.

An email to shareholders of Eagle Brewing says David Gaughan is resigning and "leaving the business altogether".

Eagle Brewing products were pulled from major retailers last week after Gaughan described Māori as the “scurge [sic] of New Zealand”, adding “the quicker we put them in prison the better”.

He has since apologised for the remarks, but the Eagle brand will now be renamed with control of the company passing to his partner. An independent director will also be appointed.

A snapshot of the bird world

A major bird count has found there's as many as 2.3 million tūī in New Zealand and about six birds per person globally.

The Australian study has discovered a total of around 50 billion birds across the globe and around 9,700 different species. Of those, the kiwi belongs to one of the rarest groups.

The study represents one of the largest-scale bird counts ever taken. 

Other news of note this morning:

- The conflict in Gaza is showing no signs of slowing despite international calls for a ceasefire.

- Kiwi UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is calling for more serious consequences for “coward punches” after his teammate was left fighting for his life following an alleged assault.

- The Northern Advocate reports there are fears Ahipara is home to an arsonist following another deliberately lit fire in the area. 

- Aucklanders are facing a larger than average rates rise as the council looks for billions to help pay for the Covid-19 recovery.  

- Countdown says it's offering two weeks extra paid leave for any employee "affirming their gender".

- A Stratford couple is warning about the pitfalls of mortgagee sales after spending more than a year and $40,000 on lawyers to get possession of the house they owned.

- Kiwis are being urged to check receipts after a recent survey found almost half of us have been overcharged at least once.

- And Seven Sharp has a special treat for infrastructure enthusiasts with an underground tour of the massive machines burrowing Auckland’s City Rail Link.

And finally...

Labour's Stuart Nash, Jacinda Ardern, and Grant Robertson. Source: Getty

It was a busy day for anyone who enjoys nosing through politicians’ financial interests yesterday.

First, US President Joe Biden released his tax filings (something his predecessor Donald Trump always refused to do), showing how much he earned last year and the amount of tax paid on it.

Then, the interests and investments of New Zealand’s MPs were also released, showing how many properties they own and what goods they’ve been gifted over the past year. You can find that full list – including Elton John tickets, racetrack laps, and a used car – here.