Morning Briefing Oct 28: Labour and Greens tight-lipped on power-sharing deal

Formal negotiations between Labour and the Greens are expected to continue today as they look to shape a potential partnership in government.

The Green Party's James Shaw and Marama Davidson. Source: 1 NEWS

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson once again refused to disclose any details about the discussions except to say things were “progressing well” and that there’d been an “upgrade” in the biscuits on the negotiating table (from Krispies to Mallowpuffs, for those wondering).

The Greens plan to take any deal to the party's wider members by the end of the week. They would need 75 per cent support from their members to get it across the line.

It comes as another former Green MP advised their contemporaries to stay out of Cabinet. Keith Locke told RNZ any Cabinet positions offered to the Greens would likely see the minor party soften its criticism of Labour.  

1 NEWS columnist John Armstrong has also waded into the debate, saying Labour’s talks with the Green Party shouldn’t be seen as “familial loyalty”.

He believes it’s in Jacinda Ardern’s interests to “convey the impression she is sharing power” and that any potential deal with the Greens will serve to keep the party “firmly under her thumb”.

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Labour Weekend testing pleases

Health officials say they’re encouraged by the number of Kiwis tested for Covid-19 over the long weekend.

Testing numbers usually drop off over weekends, however, latest Ministry of Health figures show around 8500 swabs were taken on Saturday and Sunday. 

It comes as just the one new case of Covid-19 was recorded in managed isolation yesterday.

A child who returned a “weak positive” result after travelling from New Zealand to Japan will also be re-tested this week to help confirm whether it might be a historical case.

Meanwhile, the Ken Rei has finally docked at Napier Port after its crew completed 14 days in isolation. The 21 crew were close contacts of an engineer who tested positive for Covid-19 after spending time on the logging ship.

And a second group of foreign fishermen will have their trip to Christchurch delayed by at least one week while the first group is retested following an outbreak of the virus in managed isolation.

Setbacks in Covid fight

Researchers have found the levels of protective antibodies in people wane “quite rapidly” after contracting Covid-19.

The team at the Imperial College London say immunity appears to be fading with a risk of people catching the virus multiple times.

However, they say their findings don’t ruin hopes for a vaccine, which could yet prove more effective than a real infection.

Their research comes as US government officials put an early end to a study testing an antibody drug for people hospitalised with Covid-19. Independent monitors found there was a low chance of the drug proving helpful.

It’s a setback for a promising treatment approach after US President Donald Trump received a similar experimental, two-antibody drug when he became ill with Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is calling for a different kind of help in the fight against Covid-19, by asking world leaders to “stop the politicisation” of the virus.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yesterday praised countries who “followed the science” and called out nations where there was political division over the issue.

“Where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread and cases and deaths have mounted,” he said. 

Biden condemns Court appointment

The Democrats’ presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has blasted Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation as a US Supreme Court justice. She officially joined the Court just days before the US election after being confirmed by a deeply divided Senate.

Biden described the appointment as “rushed and unprecedented” and said it was a “stark reminder” to Americans that their votes matter.

Biden’s running-mate Kamala Harris labelled the confirmation “a disgrace”.

Experts probe paracetamol limits 

Over-the-counter sales of the country’s most popular painkiller could soon be restricted.

Medical experts yesterday evaluated a proposal to limit the amount of paracetamol that can be bought at supermarkets and chemists.

It follows a coroner’s call for change after 20-year-old student Alannah Spankie died from liver damage caused by too much paracetamol.

The Royal College of GPs are endorsing the change to ensure people stick to the prescribed dose of the painkiller.

Other news of note this morning:

- Police are still searching for two gunmen who shot at an officer in the Far North.

- New figures show job opportunities in the small business sector are slowly back on the rise.

- The head of Māori midwives has told the Waitangi Tribunal the taking of Māori babies just after birth is "cruel and inhumane" as it targets the mother when she is at her weakest.

- Poor ventilation at an Auckland indoor pool is being blamed for a strong chlorine smell that left three people hospitalised.  

- International music artists have decided two weeks in isolation is worth it for a chance to play to a crowd in New Zealand.  

- The country’s top sausage has been revealed.

- And an Australian reporter has shown courage under fire after a run-in with a magpie shortly before going on air.

And finally...

Annabel Langbein. Source: 1 NEWS

Annabel Langbein is one of New Zealand's most successful chefs with a back catalogue of best-selling cookbooks. Her recipes are fresh and clean and so is her image.

But as her new memoir details, there’s been plenty of spice in her life, too.

Seven Sharp sat down for a chat with the former “braless commune dweller” turned celebrity cook.