One confirmed dead, others injured in Cyclone Gita as Jacinda Ardern says thoughts are with all affected

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has disclosed that there has now been one fatality and some people have been injured in Tropical Cyclone Gita in the Pacific.

Ms Ardern has made a ministerial statement to Parliament, saying the Government's thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the cyclone.

Cyclone Gita made landfall in Tonga in the early hours of Tuesday, causing significant damage to homes, livelihoods and infrastructure, Ms Ardern noted. 

It also impacted in the islands of the southern group of Fiji on Tuesday, with reporting from damage assessments expected over the course of the day, she said.

Pacific correspondent Ms Dreaver was sheltering on the floor during Cyclone Gita before it got flooded. Source: 1 NEWS

"Prior to this Gita caused widespread flooding in Samoa. Sadly there has now been one confirmed fatality and some people have been injured," she said.

"Whenever disaster strikes in the Pacific New Zealand is on hand to help. Our Pacific neighbours know they can turn to us in times of need and New Zealanders can feel that we have done all we can in our response to date," Ms Ardern said.

"We remain in close contact with the Samoan authorities and have made initial funding of $50,000 available which is being used to support damage assessments as well as relief for flood affected families including those that remain in evacuation centres."

Our High Commission in Apia is working with local authorities and NGO partners to distribute New Zealand's pre-positioned relief supplies, she said.

In Tonga, where destruction of more severe and widespread the NZ MInister of Foreign Affairs made initial funding of $750,000 available before the cyclone even reached landfall.

New Zealand has delivered over 10 tonnes of aid including 1000 tarpaulins, 200 shelter tool kits, 500 family hygiene kits and 2300 water containers to meet immediate needs, Ms Ardern said. 

The Government has also deployed a 10 person team of experts, including from the Ministry of Health and Fire Service, to assist with the coordination of New Zealand support and to continue needs assessments.

Jane Foster said Oxfam is still waiting for contact to be re-established with two of Fiji's southern Lau islands, after the edge of Gita brushed them yesterday. Source: Breakfast

The NZ Defence Force carried out aerial surveillance yesterday and collected imagery to assist the Tongan government with damage assessments, Ms Ardern said.

"I want to acknowledge the leadership of the governments of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji in responding to this natural disaster. We remain in close contact with Tonga, Samoa and Fiji authorities to determine how we can provide further support and work collaboratively into the the future," she said.

"In the mealtime our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected."

National's foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee said on behalf of the National Party he joined the Prime Minister in acknowledging the uncertainty many of our Pacific neighbours are facing in the wake of Cyclone Gita "and also to affirm our support for the Government's humanitarian responses". 

"Our thoughts and the thoughts of all New Zealanders are and with those people across Tonga, Samoa and Fiji who are injured or displaced and those who are now looking ahead to how they rebuild their homes and their lives," Mr Brownlee said.

Watch: The moment Amy Adams confirms she's running for National Party leader

Amy Adams has put her name forward to contest the National Party leadership.

Ms Adams is the MP for Selwyn and is the former Justice Minister. She made her leadership bid announcement in Wellington today.

Ms Adams says she has the backing needed to become the new leader.

"My support base has continued to grow and I have had so many messages today urging me to run," she says.

"It is my ambition and goal that if I am leader we will win in 2020."

Ms Adams says she will adopt her "own style" and "play with a straight bat" if she becomes National's leader and says her "integrity means a tremendous amount" to her.

Simon Bridges and Judith Collins are the other two MPs to put their names names forward for the party's leadership.

Follow 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of the National Party leadership race

Ms Adams says it's her "ambition and goal" to win the 2020 election. Source: 1 NEWS


Opinion: Put aside talk about Judith Collins' hair and Amy Adams' jacket - National's leadership race isn't a beauty contest

The truth about Judith Collins and Paula Bennett's hair?

Judith Collins and Amy Adams.
Source: 1 NEWS

The truth is the contest to be National's leader is not a beauty parade.

Judith Collins on why she wants National's top spot. Source: 1 NEWS

And the really ugly truth is the moment you start talking about a female politician's appearance, you diminish her power, her value and her contributions.

How much does Paula Bennett weigh now? Why have she and Judith Collins changed their hairstyle? Where did Amy Adams get her jacket?

Do the answers to these questions help you decide who is the best person to lead National? Of course not.

Ms Adams says it's her "ambition and goal" to win the 2020 election. Source: 1 NEWS

But, when you bring up a woman's hairstyle, her shoes or even whether she "looks a bit tired" you invite contrary or concordant opinions.

Before you know it, assessing her attractiveness becomes the lens through which she is viewed. It becomes the prevailing narrative.

It's 2018. We've had three female PMs and countless competent ministers. How is it that female politicians are still judged in stereotypes? As ball-busting dominatrices, too light-weight or too emotional?

The former deputy PM said she’s not an expert on the topic, but sympathises with those who cannot afford the surgery. Source: 1 NEWS

Last year a UK charity – Girlguiding – found sexist media coverage was putting young women off going into politics.

A 2013 US study found there was a 7-8 per cent drop in vote share when respondents were shown material (positive or negative) focusing on a candidate's appearance.

The incessant objectification of women is hurting female politicians and side-lining young women from the conversation.

Women now make up 38 per cent of Parliament. There are already enough barriers to women in politics – we need to stop demeaning female candidates by treating them differently from their male colleagues.