TODAY |

Morning Briefing Oct 15: Time praises NZ's 'civil' campaign - but gloves coming off

As Time magazine praises New Zealand’s election for its “civility” and “calmness” in the time of Covid-19, the final week of the campaign continues to bring a flurry of insults and political pot shots. 

Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins seen at the first Leaders' Debate. Source: Getty

National’s Judith Collins inferred Labour and its leader Jacinda Ardern were “miserable” yesterday, before she took aim at the Green Party and co-leader Marama Davidson’s “tax is love” comment.

Collins said most of the Green Party “never paid much tax” before going into politics, because “most of them are unemployable”.

The Greens and Labour both responded to the remarks by saying National were getting “desperate” ahead of polling day.

Political pundits told RNZ Collins is clearly being more provocative in the final week of the campaign to shore up her party’s voter base. Former United Future leader Peter Dunne said National is now “in a hold-the-line mode, rather than a win mode”.

Collins will no doubt come out swinging tonight, too, as the final leaders’ debate airs from 7pm on TVNZ 1 and at 1NEWS.co.nz.

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll will be released shortly before the debate, although Collins has already gone on record to say she doesn’t believe the recent polling for her party. 

Sign up to get the Morning Briefing delivered direct to your inbox – here.

What policies lie ahead?

But it wasn’t all personal attacks on the campaign yesterday, as the parties focused on their potential plans if elected to government. 

Jacinda Ardern said Labour would “look to progress” some of its halted plans if voted back into power without New Zealand First, while the Greens held their final campaign rally last night. As they made one last push for votes, the party said they needed to be part of the next government “to meet the scale of the challenges” climate change brings. 

Judith Collins also found some time to talk about policy.

National focused on New Zealand’s senior citizens yesterday and promised to keep the winter energy payment and SuperGold Card scheme if elected. They also pledged to create a Seniors Commissioner role.

Allegations levelled at Advance NZ

The Advance New Zealand Party is being accused of using a bank account to hide donations being sent from overseas.

1 NEWS has discovered the party led by Jami-Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika has a bank account that isn't covered by the electoral law.

The party is now facing an allegation of taking money from an American anti-vaccination movement to help discredit New Zealand’s Covid-19 response.

However, Ross says there have been no donations linked to American interests and claims everything is above board.

Meanwhile, the Herald reports the Advertising Standards Authority has ordered Advance NZ to pull advertising that falsely claims vaccines are mandatory under New Zealand law.

Pressure goes on in UK

Britain’s government is defending its new three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions, however critics say the move is too little, too late and will cost thousands more lives. Pressure is now mounting for a short, sharp lockdown for the whole of Britain.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland is going into a four-week partial lockdown to try and stem its explosion of Covid-19 infections. Schools, pubs and restaurants have been ordered to close, with new limits imposed on gatherings. 

And new outbreaks of the virus are causing some concern in Australia, too, with locally transmitted cases seeing the NSW government halt the further easing of restrictions there.

An outbreak in the city of Shepparton has also put the beleaguered state of Victoria on high alert, with officials saying, “This is just the sort of thing we dreaded.”

A horticulture heist

Green-fingered burglars have stolen several thousand dollars’ worth of plants from Wellington’s Botanic Gardens.

It comes just a few weeks after a similar incident in Christchurch and has gardeners concerned the exotic houseplant trend is turning the black-market green.

Social media, shrinking backyards and the Covid-19 lockdowns are believed to be fuelling the interest in such plants.

Other news of note this morning:

- A grieving family's appeal for Jacinda Ardern to let them sail to New Zealand after their son was killed in Tahiti appears to have been heard

- A man has been charged with the murder of a Kiwi helicopter pilot killed in a suspected hit and run in Australia two years ago.

- A former private secretary to the Māori King has avoided jail after committing fraud to fund gastric bypass surgery.

- New Zealand cricket legend John R Reid has died in Auckland, aged 92. 

- The Electoral Commission has referred a person to police after they claimed to have voted multiple times.

- And a reformed thief is giving security tips as a survey reveals many Kiwis still leave their doors unlocked.

And finally...

Laura Daniel's first attempt at a Jacinda Ardern cake. Source: Seven Sharp

It was the Jacinda Ardern cake that shook the world – and Seven Sharp’s Laura Daniel has been trying to redeem herself ever since she unleashed it on unsuspecting viewers during lockdown.

But her political baking journey finally came to an end last night as she presented Ardern with a new cake made in her likeness – and the reviews have been positive.