Morning Briefing Nov 30: Buyer beware – warnings ahead of Cyber Monday

With last week’s Black Friday sales rolling into today’s Cyber Monday deals, experts are warning consumers over the growth in online scams at this time of year.


Netsafe says fake sales and other scams are a popular avenue for criminals leading into Christmas, with a spike in complaints of ‘non-existent products’ following last year’s Cyber Monday deals.

This time last year also saw a large increase in identity fraud and credit or debit card fraud.

Netsafe says ‘drop shipping’ – where a website appears to be based in New Zealand, but the products are actually coming from overseas - is also a growing problem here.

The Commerce Commission last week also had warnings for retailers ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

The agency reminded businesses they need to make sure their advertised savings are genuine savings – and not bump up prices ahead of a sale

And as Kiwis rack up hundreds of millions of dollars of purchases during these sales – real or otherwise – an international protest against consumerism also took place over the weekend.

RNZ reports ‘Buy Nothing Day’ was observed by several businesses who closed their doors in “a rejection of overconsumption”. 

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Plimmerton mops up

Clean-up efforts are underway in Plimmerton after flash flooding swamped the coastal town north of Wellington over the weekend.

Sixty-five homes were flooded with at least 15 left uninhabitable. Several roads, including State Highway 1, were also closed during the deluge. 

Aerial footage showed the extent of the flooding yesterday, with backyards brimming with water along closed streets and people seen kayaking across a partially submerged playground.

Plimmerton's Chief Fire Officer Carl Mills says the flash flooding is the worst he’s seen during his 25 years in the area. 

"It really was above and beyond what people have experienced,” he said.

More rain is forecast for the area later today.

Scorching in Sydney

Speaking of extreme weather, it proved an uncomfortable weekend for Sydneysiders as the city sweated through its hottest November night on record on Saturday.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a minimum temperature of 25.4 degrees was recorded at Observatory Hill, while the hottest overnight temperature of 31.5 degrees was recorded in the New South Wales town of Bourke. 

And as the mercury rises, so too does the risk of bushfires across the state.

With dozens of wildfires already burning yesterday, New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott warned the local population not to become complacent.

"The community out there, unfortunately, thinks that after the last season we are not at risk of bushfire. The reality is 90 per cent of the state is still untouched by bushfire," he said.

Calls for MIQ changes

Leading epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker is calling for the country’s managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) process to be overhauled.

Baker yesterday told TVNZ’s Q+A that while the MIQ system, testing and contact tracing are “real triumphs for New Zealand”, system failures are still being seen.

And he says more pressure is going on that system as the facilities continue to accept arrivals from countries where the pandemic is “out of control and becoming more intense”. 

Baker believes officials should move to a risk-based quarantine system, with more effort being placed into managing arrivals from high-risk countries.

Rapid resurgence in tā moko

The stigma associated with facial tā moko continues to fade in Aotearoa and gatherings like the one in Christchurch over the weekend are helping with a resurgence in the traditional art form.

Twenty-one people, including Te Karere reporter Hania Douglas, had their stories imprinted on their skin in Ōtautahi.

Huata Arahanga, who organised the wānanga, said he’s witnessed “an amazing resurgence of the art form” in the last 10 years. 

Tā moko artists, who are struggling to keep up with demand, say this is partly due to the “normalising” of the art form.

They say this normalisation is helped by people like Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta proudly displaying it

Other news of note this morning: 

- Stuff has issued a public apology for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori and has introduced a new company charter with Te Tiriti o Waitangi at its core.

- Police have launched a homicide investigation after finding a body in East Auckland yesterday which they now believe to be missing woman Elizabeth Zhong.

- Epilepsy advocates are applauding today’s launch of a major coronial inquest into six sudden epilepsy deaths.

- A study on drowning cases has found most missing people weren't wearing a lifejacket when found, reinforcing the importance of safety equipment.

- The Milford Track has officially reopened following flood recovery work in the area.

- Stewart Island is enjoying a bumper tourism season despite international borders remaining closed.

- And neither a pandemic nor the weather could stand in the way of Santa holding his annual Christmas parade in Auckland yesterday.

And finally...

A team of officers paid a routine check on FBar last night when one of them took the microphone. Source: Supplied

An Auckland police officer made waves over the weekend after taking part in a spot of karaoke during a routine check at a Manurewa bar on Saturday night.

A Facebook video shows the officer picking up the microphone to perform Che Fu’s 2001 hit Fade Away at FBar, with a small group of patrons joining in the action.

A police spokesperson told 1 NEWS the incident was an example of the breadth of policing.

“It's about connecting and building relationships with our communities,” they said.