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Morning Briefing Nov 24: NZ authorities track new mystery Covid case

NZ’s health authorities have a new Covid-19 mystery on their hands after an Air New Zealand crew member tested positive for the virus upon landing in Shanghai.

A flight attendant and passenger on board a plane. Source: istock.com

The worker tested negative shortly before flying to the Chinese city but tested positive during arrival screening checks.

The cabin crew member is without symptoms and has been moved into isolation, along with their colleagues. The case is currently being retested with contact tracing also underway in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the Covid vaccine ranks have swelled again overnight, with the University of Oxford’s candidate showing promising results following a large trial.

Early data found the vaccine provides 70 per cent protection, which is better than the seasonal flu jab, but researchers say this figure may reach 90 per cent by tweaking the dose. 

The BBC reports the Oxford vaccine is much cheaper than those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which have shown 95 per cent protection against the virus.

It’s also easier to store and distribute around the world, with three billion doses due to be manufactured next year.

And for those still wondering how a safe vaccine can be made so quickly, the BBC has also looked at that very topic right here.

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Allies urge Trump to accept defeat

As President Donald Trump continues with legal action to try and overturn the US election result, several prominent members of the Republican party have called on him to accept defeat and move on.

This includes former New Jersey Governor and Trump confidant Chris Christie, who called the president’s legal team a “national embarrassment”. 

"I have been a supporter of the president. I voted for him twice,” Christie told ABC’s This Week show.

“But elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen."

And as Trump continued to hold out on the transition of power yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to President-elect Joe Biden to congratulate him on his election victory.

Ardern says they discussed climate change, Covid-19, trade and the Pacific region. She also used the call to invite Biden to visit New Zealand. He last visited our shores in 2016 in his role as vice president. 

Calls for overhaul of state care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft is calling for a ‘by Māori for Māori’ approach to state childcare.

The recommendation has been made in the second part of the Te Kuku O Te Manawa report into the care and protection of Māori babies, which has a raft of recommendations for Government and state agencies. Becroft says Māori should be given the power to care for at-risk pēpi, not the state. 

Oranga Tamariki acknowledged the report, saying its recommendations will be assessed alongside the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal urgent inquiry, which reconvenes in Wellington this week. 

New Minister for Children Kelvin Davis will be joining TVNZ’s Breakfast around 7.45am today to discuss the recommended changes in policy. 

More local govt ructions

An independent review of the Invercargill City Council has been made public this week – and it says long-time mayor, Sir Tim Shadbolt, is struggling to do his job.

The review, triggered by the Department of Internal Affairs, found it was “increasingly obvious” that Shadbolt had “difficulty in discharging many of the normal duties of a mayor”.

Shadbolt has rubbished the report’s contents

Meanwhile, Jacinda Ardern has weighed in on the issues surrounding Tauranga City Council after Mayor Tenby Powell stood down from the role last week.

Ardern says she’s waiting on advice before making public comment but did say the Government would be looking at what was happening in Tauranga “with concern”.

A spokesperson for Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta told 1 NEWS Cabinet was briefed yesterday about the next steps for the beleaguered council, including Crown intervention.

Nats push on with review

National has begun a review into its 2020 election campaign and its performance as Opposition.

The party revealed the terms of reference for the review yesterday, which include looking at its candidate selection and caucus performance, as well as its election campaign strategy.

The review will also include recommendations for the next three years in Opposition. 

It follows National’s AGM at the weekend, during which Party President Peter Goodfellow said the pandemic had reduced the election to a “race of celebrity leadership”

Other news of note this morning: 

- RNZ reports there are still healthcare staff shortages at Auckland's managed isolation facilities.

- Ōtara residents say it’s just a matter of time before someone is killed after a spate of gang-related shootings in the area. 

- Jacinda Ardern has responded to an open letter from 70 organisations asking the Government to urgently lift benefit levels - but it’s not been well-received

- Ardern is also defending her old tweets about housing while in Opposition.

- The Government has revealed three new infrastructure projects to be fast-tracked past the Resource Management Act.

- Drone footage has shown the scale and expanse of Wellington's new Transmission Gully motorway.

- And Kiwi competitive eater Nela Zisser appears to have set a new world record for eating the most chicken nuggets within 60 seconds.

And finally...

Hilary Barry and Jeremy Wells test toys for Christmas. Source: Seven Sharp

With nearly a month to go until Christmas, no doubt your kids’ wish lists are at full capacity.

So, to help sort the duds from the winners on those lists, Seven Sharp employed the help of a few young experts to test drive Trade Me’s most popular toys of the year.

One trashed classroom later, the verdicts were delivered with the kind of brutal honesty only children can get away with. 

And if you decide to act on any of these recommendations, be mindful about where you’re buying the toys from. As Fair Go reports, there are some fraudulent online toy stores currently doing the rounds...