Morning Briefing Oct 14: Election campaigning gets personal in final days

The election battle is getting personal in its final days with Judith Collins launching her most scathing attack yet on Jacinda Ardern.

Judith Collins. Source: 1 NEWS

The National party leader was speaking to a group at a Waikanae bowling club yesterday when she alleged Ardern had lied about the testing of border staff – and then challenged the Labour leader to “sue her” over the comments. Ardern brushed off the comments as politicking. 

The rest of Collins’ day on the election campaign was then dominated by comments she made about obesity being “generally” a weakness that people should take personal responsibility for.

One health expert told Stuff blaming people for their own obesity was “shallow, lazy and wrong”.

Ardern, meanwhile, drew the crowds once again on the campaign trail, packing out Victoria University. It was there that students roared for the Labour leader, despite her government’s broken promise over free tertiary education.

Ardern used the visit to defend walking away from the second and third years of her “Fees Free” policy, saying the economic effects of the pandemic meant filling a skills gap with free apprenticeships was needed instead. 

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Greens 'sweating it'

The Green Party is spending the final days of the election campaign encouraging people to vote strategically, saying a vote for them is the best way to ensure a Labour-led government.

Ardern saw it differently, saying two ticks for Labour was the best way to keep her on as Prime Minister following the election. 

Greens co-leader James Shaw admits the pressure is on, telling 1 NEWS: “We are sweating it slightly with that five per cent threshold at the moment, so we do need that support.”

His comments come as Kiwis continue to stream to the polling booths ahead of election day. The latest advance voting statistics show more than 1.28 million people have already voted.

But if anybody is still yet to make up their minds, 1 NEWS political reporter Anna Whyte has rounded up 10 policies in 40 seconds for eight of the parties vying for votes.

Housing market running hot

More houses were sold in New Zealand last month than in any month since March 2017, according to new property figures.

House prices for nine regions also hit new highs in September, bringing the national median house price to a record $685,000.

With the housing market still soaring despite the current recession, RNZ reports a mortgage rate war could also be on the cards as banks look to lend more money to potential homebuyers. 

And as housing continues to be a pressing issue in the lead-up to the election, 1 NEWS has looked at potential solutions to the current crisis, including the modular homes being touted by the minor parties.

Isolation incident probed

An investigation is underway after a woman was able to enter a managed isolation facility in Auckland after booking a room there.

She booked the room at the Novotel Airport Hotel through a third-party system, which was cancelled by the hotel. However, she was still able to enter the hotel despite it being used to isolate people returning from overseas.

The incident has been deemed a low public health risk.

Another of the country’s managed isolation facilities was also in the spotlight yesterday as the Chief Ombudsman found the Government “acted unreasonably” when it turned Auckland’s Stamford Plaza into an isolation hotel. 

Despite those issues, a World Health Organization spokesperson yesterday used New Zealand as an example of a country whose Covid-19 response has been effectively communicated to communities.

Dr Margaret Harris says “there was a lot of clarity about what was expected” in New Zealand and that the country is “in an advantageous position” in the battle against the virus.

Barrett quiet on key issues

US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has avoided questions about her views on abortion, healthcare and LGBTQ rights.

Judge Barrett repeatedly refused to be drawn on the issues on day two of her Senate confirmation hearing overnight. Instead, she said she has “no agenda” and pledged to stick to “the rule of law”.

Other news of note this morning:

- American drug maker Johnson & Johnson has paused clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

- European football is on high alert after Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for Covid-19.

- An Auckland DHB needing to get seriously ill patients from one hospital to another is turning to a new way of using paramedics to ease the workload on doctors and nurses.

- The Porirua City Council says it’s returning the $2.6 million it claimed under the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme.

- Dentists say around 2500 Auckland children have not had a dental check-up since 2016.

- Police are disappointed with the "alarmingly high" number of drink drivers caught in an eastern Bay of Plenty operation over the weekend.

- And Winston Peters had no time for a question from a Covid-19 denier at a campaign event yesterday, telling him, “Sorry sunshine, wrong place.”

And finally...

Source: 1 NEWS

Just as Australia is about to open parts of its border to New Zealand this week, Seven Sharp is threatening that trans-Tasman relationship with an investigation into the origins of the lamington.

Shocking evidence unearthed in New Zealand’s National Library suggests the not-so-humble lamington is, in fact, a Kiwi original.

Julian Lee has that exclusive and controversial report here.