Daily Archives: July 31, 2021

Bots and scalpers: desperate Kiwis try everything to get into Fortress New Zealand – The Guardian

Posted: July 31, 2021 at 9:39 am

In the age of coronavirus, New Zealand can seem like an idyll: a tightly sealed hermit kingdom, recently rated best place to survive global societal collapse, and one of the last countries in the world to evade incursions from the Delta variant. But the walls of fortress New Zealand arent only successful at keeping out Covid-19.

With demand for government-required quarantine greatly exceeding the supply of spaces, desperate New Zealanders are going to enormous lengths employing bots, coders, and $2000 booking assistants to try to secure entry to the country. For many, the emotional and psychological toll is enormous.

It is 1.15AM in Dubai, and Alan Rowlands is once again at his computer. The ritual of endlessly refreshing a booking screen in hope of securing a spot in managed isolation has consumed all of his waking moments for the past three weeks. Its so demoralizing, he says. Theres just nothing.

Rowlands and his wife are in Dubai. Several weeks ago, his employment contract ended unexpectedly and with it, his visa. Soon, he will become an illegal overstayer, and on top of having no income, he will face significant fines for his visa violation.

New Zealand has protected its Covid-free status with extremely strict border controls, requiring returnees to spend two weeks in a government-run Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facility [MIQ]. The stay is time-consuming and often expensive in itself but expats say the true barrier is securing a booking at all. At present, all available dates are booked. New spaces made available after cancellations disappear within seconds.

The system does not distinguish between people who have been trying to book a space for months, and those booking for the first time the spoils go to the fastest fingers. Im on there 24/7, Rowlands says. You have to just keep refreshing it and refreshing it and refreshing it, in the hope that something will come up.

Rowlands has tried a variety of methods: initially, he signed up for bots online services that scan for available dates, and send alerts when they arrive. Each time one came up, it disappeared before he could click through. He approached people branding themselves as MIQ assistants whom you pay to watch the site constantly, or run computer scripts to book on your behalf. Three turned him down. They were all overwhelmed with work, and had significant client waiting lists.

His problem is shared by thousands of overseas New Zealanders who, in recent months, have found passage home increasingly hard to secure. Online, a cottage industry has sprung up to meet the demand, with one site charging up to $2,415 for their services. The Guardian also viewed advertisements on Fiverr, where a range of sellers were charging between $150 and $300 to secure a space one of whom had a waitlist of 152 people.

One woman has elderly parents in Switzerland, but was now unable to leave the country to visit them. People are desperate to come home it is an absolute disgrace they cant return unless paying a ridiculous amount to absolute strangers who then also hold your passport number and information, she said.

The government is forcing so many into transactions with some shady operators who are making a very healthy profit out of peoples desperation.

Facebook support groups with thousands of members have sprung up, with people swapping tips and strategies for securing a spot. Over time, they have become a source of emotional and mental health support, as well as logistics even a brief scroll through the pages pulls up dozens of stories of people separated from terminally ill family members, laid-off workers with no financial support, parents separated from children. Many say the process has taken a significant toll on their mental health, and some report feeling anxious, depressed, and suicidal.

Its shattering. Rowlands says. Im literally tearing my hair out. Then I get people saying oh well, you know, maybe you need to go to another country. Where am I going to go?

We feel as though were being treated as pariahs, we feel like nobody wants us back.

The Guardian received numerous messages from New Zealanders struggling to make a booking.

I never could have imagined the broken system we have now, one woman said, My heart breaks for all the people who have been trying for months to return & often under very painful circumstances. At this point, I feel my anxiety growing, wondering when Ill see my ageing mother again.

My father has bowel cancer and he will need surgery next week, wrote another. Others relayed stories of being separated from their children, attempting to get parents home for surgeries, or forced into illegal visa status because they could not get home.

Cherie Brown, a lecturer based in Japan, is 66 and is trying to return home to retire. For now, she sits refreshing the site every 7 seconds faster than that and the system will identify you as a bot and block you, she says. She has been self-isolating at home for nearly 18 months.

None of those interviewed objected to the requirement to quarantine itself only to the current booking system.

Supply chains expert professor Tava Olsen said research showed queues caused psychological stress. That toll was exacerbated, she said, by uncertainty, length of time, and unfairness such as queue-jumping all of which were present in the current booking system.

Olsen suggested that the government create a high priority cohort for people who were moving home, or affected by illness and family separation, and recommended a waitlist, which while it may be long would give people certainty to plan ahead.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that MIQ has served New Zealand well, helping to bring more than 158,000 people here, while protecting the freedoms that we all now enjoy.

Demand for space in managed isolation facilities is always high, and there is finite capacity within the MIQ system, and thats for good reason Covid-19 is raging around the world and we need to keep New Zealand safe.

The spokesperson said they had implemented measures to prevent bots making bookings, and that if people chose to employ third parties to book, we advise they make sure it is a reputable person or company, and warned that sharing login details was a breach of rules.

They added that a waitlist was under consideration but would be complex and pushes the problem further up the pipeline it would not guarantee people vouchers, it would only save their place in a queue, where demand is still significantly greater than supply.

Claire Sisam, a lawyer in Barcelona, has been attempting to secure a spot for three months. I dont want to sound dramatic but I cry about it sometimes. I havent seen my parents since February 2020 and it frightens me because if something happens to them, I cant get to them, she says.

Those that do tell their stories say they are sometimes met with vitriol online, or a lack of understanding from the New Zealand public. I think theres a lack of empathy and it feels like its becoming them and us, Sisam says. I just feel like were rendered stateless we have no country.


Bots and scalpers: desperate Kiwis try everything to get into Fortress New Zealand - The Guardian

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UK ‘closing in’ on free trade agreement with New Zealand – Reuters

Posted: at 9:39 am

Britain's Trade Minister Liz Truss walks after the ceremony of State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in London, Britain, May 11, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley/Files

(Reuters) -Britain is nearing an agreement in principle on a free trade deal with New Zealand, its trade ministry said on Saturday, as London looks to bolster its post-Brexit trade ties with non-EU partners.

The European Union is Britains single largest trade partner and the two sides have signed a post-Brexit trade pact, but business groups say they still face extra red tape dealing with European customers and suppliers as a result of Brexit.

Trade minister Liz Truss said that great progress had been made in a sixth round of discussions which ran from July 19-30.

A trade agreement with New Zealand could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods making products available at lower prices, the ministry said.

A deal would also enable small and medium enterprises to export more goods and services to New Zealand, it added.

Were closing in on an agreement in principle, with 6 more chapters now complete, Truss said.

In June Britain received a green light to start the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc of 11 countries.

In June Britains trade ministry also signalled confidence in its trade talks with New Zealand and said it aimed to conclude a fantastic agreement in August.

Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Jason Neely

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REVIEW Olympics-Rowing-New Zealand soars in drama-drenched Tokyo Regatta – Reuters

Posted: at 9:39 am

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - New Zealand came out on top in an Olympic rowing regatta for the record books at Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway, as the United States suffered a historic medal shutout and Britain's dominant run dried up.

The competition concluded on Friday with a half dozen new world best times in place, according to World Rowing statistics, as many athletes thrived despite sweltering and windy conditions to set new benchmarks for excellence in the sport.

New Zealand topped the Olympic rowing medal table for the first time, with three golds and two silvers, seizing the perch that Britain had enjoyed over the previous three Games. read more

"Words can't really describe the feeling right now," said 27-year-old Sam Bosworth, after he and his team mates picked up New Zealand's first gold in the men's eight since 1972. "We kind of crossed the line, and I couldn't quite believe it that we'd done it."

Adding to the Kiwis' gold medal haul on Friday was Emma Twigg, as the 34-year-old clinched the single sculls after failing to reach the podium in Beijing, London and Rio.

"It has been a long and rocky journey. To cross the line with the gold medal was pretty mind-blowing and special," said Twigg.

The Tokyo regatta was the first Olympic rowing competition in which the United States has come up empty handed, a crushing blow for the Americans.

The U.S. won gold in the women's eight in the three previous Games but finished fourth in the race on Friday behind Canada, New Zealand and China, respectively.

The competition was forced to take a two-day hiatus due to adverse weather forecasts but otherwise carried on as planned despite prior concerns over heat and wind, a far cry from the 2016 Rio Games, when competitors had lambasted the conditions at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.

"I remember thinking back to Rio, a butterfly flapped its wings on one side of the lake and it was unrowable on the course," said Briton John Collins, as the competition kicked off. "This is a bit of a relief in that respect." read more

The sport was not immune to the challenges of carrying out a competition in the midst of a pandemic, however, as a Dutch rower, coach and staff member tested positive for COVID-19 and had to leave the event. read more

An Italian rower was also forced to withdraw on Wednesday due to a positive test hours before his team mates won bronze in the men's four. read more

Reporting by Amy Tennery in TokyoEditing by Shri Navaratnam

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: New Zealand team finish 12th in triathlon mixed relay – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 9:39 am


31 Jul, 2021 12:20 AM4 minutes to read

NZ Herald Focus Sport's Cheree Kinnear wraps all the action from a historic day for New Zealand sport and we check out three Olympic flatmate's Cambridge crib. Video / NZ Herald / Sky Sport

New Zealand's anticipated challenge in the triathlon mixed relay fizzled like a popped balloon as they fell behind on the first leg and were not seen in anger again until Hayden Wilde finished in 12th place, 3m 12s behind the winners.

It was a chastening experience for the squad of Ainsley Thorpe, Nicole van der Kaay, Tayler Reid and Wilde, the majority of who were picked with this event specifically in mind.

"At the end of the day we did our best out there," Wilde said, acknowledging the team struggled.

"It was good to see the fight there we all had a bit of a torrid battle."

"You can't have highs without the lows," Reid said. "We'll come back hard."

Full Kiwi schedule below. Click on a name to see athlete's bio, upcoming events, past Games performance and medal chance.

As it turned out, it developed into an enthralling three-way battle in an event being held at the Olympics for the first time.

Alex Yee anchored Great Britain to a dominating win, crossing the line before Wilde completed the first of his two laps on the run.

The USA finished second, 14s behind, while the top-ranked France took bronze, a further 9s behind.

The race, four legs of a 300m swim, 6.8km bike and 2km run, was a bit of a trip into the unknown but it quickly developed into a race of the have and have-nots depending on how the team was placed after the bike sector on leg one.

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Of the teams that were out of the lead group of four, only France managed to battle themselves back into contention; as making up time and places in cloying conditions and on a tight, technical bike leg was difficult.

Ainsley Thorpe was first away in the swim, a 300m dash across the Odaiba Marine Park, and came out of the water in eighth, 11s down on the leader, Great Britain's Jessica Learmonth.

USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany quickly established a lead group on the cycle and it was always going to be tough to make up the ground.

Thorpe handed over to Tayler Reid in 16th, 1m 28s behind the leaders.

Reid was being asked to make up a lot of ground, but we never saw his progress as the cameras focused on the front of the pack.

The bald facts were he handed over to his partner Nicole van der Kaay 2m 01s behind Great Britain, who were staked to a handy lead by a brilliant Jonny Brownlee 2km run, while improving New Zealand's place from 16th to 14th.

Speaking to the cameras as van der Kaay was on the course, Reid said the heat made it tough to make up ground but he gave it everything and risked blowing it up rather than trying to play safe.

Van der Kaay held her ground and Wilde, already establishing himself as a star of the sport, picked up a couple of places.

It was another strong performance but the truth is that 12th is nowhere near where New Zealand expected to finish.

It has been a curious Olympics for Triathlon NZ. If you'd offered them a medal before the Games they would have bitten your hand off to get it, but they would have expected it to be in this mixed relay.

There has been talk in triathlon circles for some time that they have an extraordinary talent on their hands in Whakatane's Wilde, 23, but the suggestion was he would be primed for a medal tilt in Paris in 2024.

Instead he was at the forefront of a youth movement that dominated the men's race as the senior statesmen like Jonny Brownlee and Mario Mola faded from view.

Wilde's bronze was a desperately needed shot in the arm for a sport that has endured a number of dry campaigns since Bevan Docherty's bronze in Beijing.

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: New Zealand team finish 12th in triathlon mixed relay - New Zealand Herald

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Tokyo Olympics 2020: New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard breaks silence on selection – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 9:39 am


30 Jul, 2021 09:34 PM2 minutes to read

PM Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins expressed opposing views on the selection of Laurel Hubbard, a trans woman, to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics.Video / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has broken her silence and made her first statement since the announcement of her selection to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Hubbard will make history when she competes on Monday in the women's +87kg weightlifting class, becoming the first openly transgender athlete to compete in an Olympic Games. Often the subject of controversy, Hubbard has kept quiet over the matter, and kept her first public statement brief.

"I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible," she said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical director Richard Budgett earlier praised Hubbard's bravery and stated that "transwomen are women".

"Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games."

Full Kiwi schedule below. Click on a name to see athlete's bio, upcoming events, past Games performance and medal chance.

Many predictions place Hubbard in the medal positions for Tokyo, which would be New Zealand's first ever Olympic weightlifting medal.

Hubbard competed in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 but had to withdraw from the competition with an elbow injury.

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Bathurst race switched as New Zealand and Perth cancelled – Reuters

Posted: at 9:39 am

July 30 (Reuters) - Races scheduled to be held in New Zealand and Perth in the Supercars Championship have been cancelled while the Bathurst 1000 has been shifted to November as pandemic restrictions forced the series to reconfigure their 2021 calendar.

Bathurst, the series' most high-profile race, had been scheduled to run from Oct. 7 to 10 but will now be held from Nov. 4 to 7 due to COVID-19 restrictions currently in place in New South Wales.

"With the ever-changing COVID landscape, our teams and broadcast partners have agreed it is in all our stakeholders' best interests commercially and competitively to move our premier event to a later date," Supercars Chief Executive Sean Seamer said in a statement.

The recent reintroduction of travel restrictions between New Zealand and Australia mean teams will not be able to move across the Tasman Sea to compete while similar border closures in Western Australia have led to the cancellation of the race in Perth.

"Unfortunately, our event planned for Perth presents significant risk with the ongoing restrictions, so we've made the difficult decision to move it to the 2022 calendar," Seamer said.

"Similarly, our Kiwi fans across the ditch will be undoubtedly disappointed to see New Zealand does not feature on the revised calendar due to the trans-Tasman bubble being suspended.

"These are challenging times for all sporting codes, which is why we have had to remain flexible with our calendar arrangements and make significant changes where required."

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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Tokyo Olympics: New Zealand eventers well-placed at completion of dressage phase – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 9:39 am

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Tim Price, and Vitali, produced an excellent showing in their dressage test to have New Zealand in good shape in Tokyo.

Top-ranked New Zealand equestrian, Tim Price, has come up trumps to ensure the New Zealand eventing team sit well-placed at the completion of the dressage phase at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 42-year-old world No 2 produced a superb showing aboard Vitali in Saturdays third and final dressage session, with his score of 25.60 penalty points seeing him in fifth place in the field of 62 (one fewer than the original start list after the withdrawal of an Austrian rider) and having New Zealand in third spot in the team standings.

Price is at his second Olympics, after being an 11th-hour callup from the reserve spot five years ago, and is again riding alongside wife Jonelle Price in an all-England-based Kiwi team which is out for revenge after a disappointing slip to fourth place in Rio.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Jonelle Price and the Kiwi eventers are out to atone for disappointment in Rio.

New Zealand has a rich eventing history, with all 10 of the countrys Olympic equestrian medals, dating back to 1984, coming in that discipline. However, a first-ever gold is still being hunted in the team event (one silver, three bronze), which is run concurrently with the individual competition.

READ MORE:* Live: Olympics day eight: Black Sticks women out to secure quarterfinal berth* 'Unfinished business': Kiwi equestrians desperate to atone at Tokyo Olympics * Tokyo 2020: Surfers legacy lives on in Kiwi Olympic show jumper Uma ONeill

This is the first time since 2004, and just the second since 1984, that the Kiwis are riding without the legendary Sir Mark Todd, and its the Prices who are now flying the flag, in conjunction with Olympic debutant Jesse Campbell.

With Jonelle Price the world No 7 and competing in her third Games, its 31-year-old newbie Campbell who looms as very much the key member, if New Zealand are to taste success as a unit in Tokyo.

They're amazing. I think everyone knows what a fantastic team they are. And it's a real honour to be here with them, sort of being taken under the wing by them, Campbell said following an encouraging first-up effort during the second dressage session on Friday night.

The world No 97, and horse Diachello, showed no signs of big-stage nerves, putting on a composed performance as the rain tumbled, in what is a new and shorter Olympic dressage test, of just under four minutes per rider.

Campbell cut a quite chuffed figure at the end of his test, though his face quickly turned to dismay when looking at the scoreboard. Turns out there were still scores coming in from the three judges.

In the end, his 30.10 was good enough to leave him in 15th place, which even slightly upstaged the 30.70 of Jonelle Price (on Grovine De Reve) in the first session, which has her in 17th.

I was on the whole really pleased, Campbell said. He's a horse who I think is going to just get better and better over the next few years.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Jesse Campbell, riding Diachello, produced an encouraging Olympic debut.

He's got a huge walk. And I know it's very difficult to get a medium walk out of him, and to keep them sort of really connected. So I think I dropped a mark there, and definitely on my last change, got a little rush of blood to the head. I thought, 'I'm nearly home.'

It's a very, very difficult test in terms of, if you make a little mistake, to then try and get those scores back. It just comes at you so fast, and you've got no time to rebuild your score if you make a mistake. And I made a few little boo-boos, but on the whole [Im pleased].

Great Britain lead the team standings, on 78.30, after world No 1 Oliver Townend, the second rider up, led almost the entire way, with his 23.60.

That was only knocked off by the penultimate rider in the field, with two-time reigning Olympic champion Michael Jung producing a sublime 21.10, which, with the help of fourth-placed team-mate Julia Krajewski (25.20), has Germany the Rio silver medallists in second place on 80.40.

New Zealand are exactly six points back, on 86.40, but still with a handy buffer over fourth-placed Japan (90.10).

The cross-country round follows on Sunday, before the jumping (team final and individual qualifier, then individual final) on Monday.


Tokyo Olympics: New Zealand eventers well-placed at completion of dressage phase - Stuff.co.nz

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New Zealand to make dawn raids apology, but the Polynesian Panthers want more than words – ABC News

Posted: at 9:39 am

You are lying asleep in your bedin the home you own. It should be the most comfortable placebut, before the sun is up, police are knocking on your door and you will have to convince them you deserve to stay.

They're shining a torch into your face, holding back a German shepherd "frothing at the mouth".

It's 1974 and this is a dawn raid.If you can't prove who you are, you will likely be locked up and eventually deported.

New Zealand has achieved cult status as a progressive haven at the bottom of the world, but talk to Pacific Islander people and many will tell you about the 1970s and the "state-sanctioned racism" that ripped them from their homes.

The immense shame of the dawn raids lingers on both sides of politics and on the Pacific families that woke to that knock at the door.

Tomorrow, the New Zealand government will apologisebut, for onegroup of social justice revolutionaries, saying sorry is just the beginning.

Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers came together in Auckland for the inaugural meeting of the Polynesian Panthers.

The date was June 16, 1971 and the first generation of New Zealand-born Pacific people had decided to organise.

Supplied: John Miller

They were reading Bobby Seale, listening to Bob Dylan's "songs of protest"andwatching asthe Black Panthers forced the United States to reckon with its racist history.

Melani Anae was at that first meeting of the Polynesian Panthers. To become a member, she had to read Seize the Time the story of the Black Panther Party.

"When I read that book, I couldn't get over how much it mirrored what we as Pacific communitieswere living through," she said.

"Problems with housing, problems with education and problems with adjusting to a new life. And we really resonated with that and so we were totally in solidarity with the Black Panthers."

Now an associate professor of pacific studies at the University of Auckland, Dr Anae said she didn't realise it at the timebut becoming a Panther as a teenager would define her life.

"The Panthers were the first of the first. The first New Zealand-born Pacific generation," she said.

"We had no role models. Our parents who came to New Zealand were very respectful of authority. They wanted to be good citizens, but us New Zealand-borns knew something was wrong.

"So, as 17-year-olds we took it upon ourselves to form the Panthers to fight that racial injustice."

Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand, while people from island nations such as Samoa, Tonga and Fiji immigrated to the country.

Both Maori and Pacific people facedisadvantages and discrimination, but the Polynesian Panthers stand for the Pacific community.

Supplied: Stuff Limited

After World War II, the New Zealand government called for people from the Pacific Islands to come and fill the labour shortages, to do "the jobs ordinary New Zealanders didn't want to do".

"They invited us, so we came in droves," Dr Anae said.

"My parents came because they wanted a better life, but when the economic recession hit in the early 1970s the immigration policy suddenly changed and they didn't want us anymore."

Archives New Zealand:Gregory Riethmaier Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence

Dr Anae said Pacific people then became the "scapegoats for successive governments, both Labor and National".

The political messagesfocussed"on the immigration of these brown people from the islands and that they were taking ordinary New Zealanders' jobs, and that they were criminalsand rapists and murderers", she said.

The government of the day was cracking down on "overstayers" people who were living in New Zealand illegally after their visas or work permits had expired.

Butimmigration officials were only targeting overstayers from Pacific island nations,when the bulk of people who were living in the country illegally were from Europe and North America. And the police enforcing the immigration warrants were terrorising Pacific communities.

Supplied: John Miller

The Panthers fought back. At a higher level, they fought against the narrative the government and media of the time had spunabout them. And at a grassroots level, they fought to genuinely improve the lives of those in their community.

"The crucible years, I believe, were 1971 to 1974,was when the Panthers were the strongest and fiercest, in terms of our membership, which had reached 500 people. That's when we put our community survival programs in place," Dr Anae said.

"We had homework centres, we had food co-ops, we had the PIG patrol the Police Investigation Group which stopped the police from harassing our communities just for being who we were."

Supplied: John Miller

The Panthers assigned portfolios to their members.

There were ministers for finance, cultural affairs and information. There was also a Tenants Aide Brigade.The Panthers' platform has always been "educate to liberate" and as Pacific people became targets for random police checks, the group made sure everyone knew their rights.

Supplied: John Miller

One of the lasting legacies of the 1970s-era Panthers is the group's contributionto legal aid in New Zealand.

A prominent lawyer helped produce the Polynesian Panthers' legal aid booklet, which was widely distributed among Auckland's Pacific community.

It was a revolution. For people who had been targeted by police to learn not just that they had legal rights, but specifically what they were, was powerful.

The lawyer who penned the legal advice wasDavid Lange. It would be another decade, but Lange became the 32nd prime minister of New Zealand.

People soon learned thatif a police officer didn't have his badge or hat on, he was not in full uniform and technically he could not make an arrest.

The "PIG Patrol" would be there to watch police, keeping an eye on their tactics and whether or not their uniform met standards as they tried to pull young Pacific Islander people off the street.

The Panthers were getting smarterand stronger. They were making a difference in their communities, but theywere agitating too.They came together to push back against racist policies and sometimes that got physical.

The Polynesian Panthers had a military wing. There were clashes with police and landlords, and a determination to be a force on the ground. Members of this faction were prepared to break the law and several of them did, serving time for rioting, illegal assembly and fighting police.

Founding memberWill Ilolahia has been quoted as saying: "Thething about the Panther it never attacks.

"But if it's attacked itself and it's caught in a situation that calls for self-defence, it will respond."

The most insidious of actions by the police, Dr Anae says, were the raids the New Zealand government will now apologise for.

"In 1974 to 1976 there was the horrendous state-sanctioned racism called the dawn raids," she said.

"The dawn raids targeted Pacific families. The theory was these families were likely to have overstayed visas and so police targeted them in the street, knocked on their doors in the early hours of the morning."

When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the apology, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Sio stood beside her at the press conference.

"We were dawn raided," he said.

"The memories are of my father being helpless.We bought the home about two years prior to that and to have somebody knocking at the door in the early hours of the morning, with a flashlight in your face, disrespecting the owner of the home, with an Alsatian dog frothing at the mouth wanting to come in.

"It's quite traumatising."

For some Pacific families, their loved ones were picked up off the street and sent away without notice. For others, they were raided in the night and never told another soul.

It's only now that the government has announced it will apologise for the practice that the community has really started to open up.

Supplied: John Miller

Christine Nurminen was born in 1975 to Tongan parents who had come to Auckland to work.

Her childhood memories are underwritten by the fear her family lived through every day.She remembers being confused about her parents' anxiety and why they were always worried about dogs.

"We would be like 'why are we driving the long way around? Or why are these people on the property? Or why is everyone so anxious about the dogs?'" Ms Nurminen said.

"There was this constant language around the dogs. 'Don't let the girls play outside with the dogs, we've got to be worried about the dogs' but I knew we didn't own dogs and I was petrified."

Ms Nurminen said it was only as an adult that she came to learn about the dawn raids and how police used dogs to find anyone who might be hiding in the property.

"Every Tongan person I know always talks about the dogs," she said.

Her family had a strategy.

"All the women lived in one part of the house and all the men lived in one part of the house and they'd just take turns watching the door and watching for police," Ms Nurminen said.

"The thinking was, if we're going to be raided, at least the women feel safe together and there's no random male [police officer] coming through where they're sleeping."

Supplied: John Miller

Polynesian Panther member and Samoan New Zealander Alec Toleafoaremembers being targeted on the street the "blanket random checking on all people who were brown".

"We were required to carry proof we were entitled to be here lawfully," he said.

"In my case, and my siblings', we're only 13, 14, 15 at that time. We're all New Zealand-born, we've never travelled anywhere, why would we have a passport? I would be hoping like hell Iwould not be stopped and questioned because I had no evidence I was here legally.

"So when we saw police we knew there was a high likelihood we would not be going home that day."

MrToleafoa said it was the "brutal arm" of the police that pulled him towards the Panthers.

"[We would be] just walking along the street and then a patrol car pulls up, asks us a certain set of questions," he said.

"As soon as we reply we find ourselves in restraints and thrown in the car, taken away from our neighbourhood and given the beat down and then dropped back as if nothing had happened.

"That happened to me."

Ms Nurminen will be at the apology with her parents and her daughter.

She wants the next generation to know about the dawn raids, but "also that the story goes on" that the next chapter can be one where thisdark detailof New Zealand's history is spoken about openly and with a commitment "it won't ever happen again".

"It's an evening when we will hear some really hard truths, but she will be fortunate to hear that truth in a setting where we have the Prime Minister," she said.

Minister Sio agreed, saying the apology was about acknowledging the past for the sake of the future.

"I do not want my nieces and nephews to be shackled by that pain and to be angry about it. I need them to move forward and look to the future as peoples of Aotearoa," he said.

Supplied: John Miller

There is hope that the"intergenerational secrets" many Pacific families have kept for 50 years can start to be told and that as those painful memories are prised open, they are released. That these families can reckon with their stories.

"Now they understand, and will understand as time goes on as the apology and its significance unfolds, that itwas not their fault," Mr Toleafoasaid.

"They were encouraged by the government, and employers and the churches to stay beyond their permits the government turned a blind eye until the recession, then that nerve, that racist thread that runs through New Zealand history emerged and then all the dreams we had turned into nightmares."

Supplied: John Miller

Polynesian Panther members often say "once a Panther, always a Panther" and after 50 years they still have the same message: "Educate to liberate."

The Panthers pushed for the national apology and they want it to come with lessons about racism in New Zealand schools, scholarships for Pacific students and a commitment to truth-telling about what happened on their streets and in their homes in the 1970s.

"The expectation for us is that every person who goes to school, learns these stories and perhaps in the learning even just the hearing of these stories they might understand diversity.They might understand how better to relate to difference to cultural difference," Mr Toleafoa said.

"And perhaps with that understanding [they'll] be able to form better opinions than the ones that have been responsible for things like the dawn raids.

"We're hoping that this is going to, not just enhance, but transform race relations in New Zealand."

Other groups are pushing for different things. Some want reparations or compensation, others want amnesty for those who are still living in New Zealand illegally.

The Polynesian Panthers have fought for the rights of Pacific people for 50 years and the apology helps cement their legacy. They have had young people ask to join, but this is now a closed group.

They came together in a time and place that needed brave people to take big risks and, as the story of the Panthers is told and retold, it will become a legend that inspires the next generation.

"In my family, I'm still seen as that 'radical person'," Dr Anae said.

"We took that risk on, though, because we knew we had to change the world."

Special thanks to photographer John Miller, who has documentedNew Zealand's social justice movements for 50 years and gave the ABC access to his archive for this story.

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Study: New Zealand is the best place to wait out the apocalypse – Axios

Posted: at 9:39 am

Kiwis have an edge when it comes to surviving total societal collapse, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Civilization is "in a perilous state," according to the researchers behind the study, and New Zealand's mix of geographical isolation and ability to grow its own food and maintain electricity and manufacturing makes it particularly well-suited to see it through the end times.

What's happening: In a recent study published in the journal Sustainability, researchers identified what factors would make a country most able to withstand civilizational collapse, whether because of a major financial crisis, out of control climate change, or worse.

The winners (or not losers) are: New Zealand, followed by Iceland, Tasmania, the U.K. and Ireland.

Thought bubble from Axios' Rebecca Falconer, a New Zealand resident: The study findings are unsurprising, when you look at how the NZ economy has rebounded since entering a recession last September following a hard lockdown early in the pandemic.

Yes, but: Relying on New Zealand as a "collapse lifeboat" features one large downside it has severe seismic activity and happens to be the site of the Earth's last supervolcano eruption, some 26,500 years ago.

The bottom line: So watch out for that.

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The cheapest and most expensive places to rent in New Zealand – Massey University report – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 9:39 am

The cheapest and most expensive regions to rent in the country at the moment have been revealed in a new report. Photo / 123RF

The cheapest and most expensive regions to rent in the country at the moment have been revealed in a new report.

Figures released by Massey University for the December to March quarter show the average weekly rent on the West Coast is $251, making it the cheapest spot in the country.

While rent in a number of regions is increasing, it has decreased on the West Coast by 6.7 per cent since the last quarter and 4.2 per cent since last year.

That compares to the most expensive region, Auckland, which has a weekly average rent of $564 - a 5 per cent increase from the same time last year.

Despite Southland being one of the most affordable places, the region has had the largest yearly increase in rent prices up 15.7 per cent to an average rent of $331 a week.

Rent has increased by 15.4 per cent in the Manawat-Whanganui region over the past year to $367.

The report also shows renters are paying more than the national average, which is set at 100 per cent, in six out of the 16 regions.

These include Marlborough (116.1 per cent), Bay of Plenty (109.6 per cent), Auckland (106.6 per cent), Hawke's Bay (105.2 per cent), Tasman (103.1 per cent), and Northland (102.8 per cent).

The remaining 10 regions are all relatively more rent affordable than the national average, but two regions stand out as being the most affordable for renters: Southland (77.1 per cent) and West Coast (58.7 per cent).

Report authors Dr Arshad Javed and Professor Graham Squires, from the Massey University Real Estate Analysis Unit, say there are several varied factors affecting rental prices across New Zealand.

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"These include interest deductibility on residential property income, the extension of the bright-line test, rent control and the end of the Covid-19 rent freeze," Squires said.

Nationally, rent increased by 4.8 per cent over the year (March 2020-March 2021).

Auckland - $564 (up 5 per cent).Wellington - $524 (down 1.3 per cent).Bay of Plenty - $473 (up 4.9 per cent).Hawke's Bay - $441 (up 10.5 per cent).Marlborough - $434 (11.3 per cent).Northland - $425 (up 9.3 per cent).Waikato - $421 (up 5.8 per cent).Nelson $416 (up 4.5 per cent).Tasman - $411 (down 2.1 per cent).Otago - $409 (5.1 per cent).Canterbury - $389 (up 0.3 per cent).Taranaki - $386 (up 8.1 per cent).Gisborne - $376 (down 2.6 per cent).Manawatu-Whanganui - $367 (up 15.4 per cent).Southland - $331 (up 15.7 per cent).West Coast - $251 (down 4.2 per cent).

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