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Morning Briefing Sept 25: Ministry reveals new Covid-19 locations of interest

The Ministry of Health has released new details around the close contacts of a family group who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week and the places they visited while infectious.

Source: Getty

The locations of interest now include several fast food outlets and shopping malls.

One of the cases visited an Auckland hair salon before the family travelled to Taupō last weekend and met up with 18 people from other locations around New Zealand, including Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty. All their close contacts are now in isolation and being tested.

Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says it was “not ideal” that the family had met with a group bigger than 10, given they did so at a time when Aucklanders were urged to take their alert level restrictions with them while travelling.

However, he says they were diligent in using the contact tracing app which helped identify the locations of interest quickly. 

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Helping the health system

1 NEWS has continued its series looking at the top five issues Kiwis care about ahead of the election with the health system the latest under the microscope.

Covid-19 has obviously brought the system’s issues to the fore, however health workers say it shouldn’t take a global pandemic to highlight the lack of funding for public health.

They’re calling for consistent health system funding – and not just a quick fix in Covid’s wake.

A summary of the political parties’ health policies can be found here.

Taking aim at hate speech

Jacinda Ardern has promised tougher hate speech laws if elected back into government.

The Labour leader visited Christchurch yesterday to unveil a plaque at the Al Noor mosque commemorating the victims of the March 15 terror attack.

She was joined by imam Gamal Fouda who called on New Zealand to "lead the world in enacting clear legislation that draws a clear line between the freedom of speech and hate speech". 

A review on hate speech was sparked after the attack last year, but the Government couldn’t find consensus on making changes.

Ardern now says Labour would plan to include religion under legislation that deals with hate speech and discrimination.

ACT leader David Seymour swiftly condemned Labour’s plan, saying it was "a deeply concerning development that will undermine our fundamental right to freedom of expression". 

Collins hits the farm

Meanwhile, National’s election campaign moved to Gisborne yesterday, where leader Judith Collins unveiled the party’s agriculture policy.

It includes repealing the Resource Management Act, making changes to the Zero Carbon Act and reviewing new water regulations. The party plans to create a fast-tracked primary sector visa if elected, too. 

Collins also had time to squeeze in another visit while in the area, meeting with young children at a day care centre.

During the stop at BestStart Lytton, Collins fist-bumped a child, spoke about the importance of milk and told 1 NEWS she wouldn’t be climbing on the play equipment. 

Rent freeze ends

A six-month freeze on residential rent increases comes to an end today.

The measure was introduced by the Government in March as the country went into Level 4 lockdown.

As reported last week, tenants are now bracing themselves for a hike in living costs, with some tenants already served early notices.

Other news of note this morning:  

- In the US, Republican leader Mitch McConnell has insisted there will be an "orderly" post-election transition. His comments come after President Donald Trump again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election.

- Labour says National has made yet another error in its economic plan.

- Auckland Council has decided to keep the city’s household water restrictions in place for now.

- A woman has given harrowing testimony about her treatment at the now defunct Lake Alice psychiatric hospital and the “gruelling” nine years it took to get compensation from the Crown.

- Rugby Australia says it will do “everything in its power” to help the All Blacks with their Christmas quarantine issue.

- And it's baaad news for ‘Gizzy Shrek’ – the wild and woolly sheep has finally been caught after five years of giving a Gisborne farmer the slip.  

And finally...

Tommy O'Brien. Source: 1 NEWS

A Waikato teenager fighting testicular cancer is speaking out to “remove the stigma” over the illness.

Cambridge High School head boy Tommy O'Brien is currently staring down a few challenges with his cancer but says he’s overwhelmed by support, including from his fellow classmates. Many have given up their locks for Shave for a Cure, helping to raise more than $16,000 for cancer research. 

Eighteen-year-old O’Brien says he didn’t expect to be the guy with testicular cancer in his final year of high school, but told Seven Sharp: "If my journey can help anyone, I would be really proud of that.”