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Category Archives: New Zealand

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Lord Ashcroft’s New Zealand poll ‘Living the Kiwi Dream?’ Q&A – New Zealand Herald

Posted: November 5, 2021 at 10:09 pm

The Kiwi Dream consists of homeownership which is fast disappearing for many people. Photo / Mark Mitchell

As Auckland endures lockdown week 10 and the Delta strain of Covid creeps further south, renowned British politician and master of polling, Lord Michael Ashcroft, asks are New Zealanders still Living the Kiwi Dream?

The philanthropist's poll of 5000 Kiwis comes in the same week Lonely Planet announces Tmaki Makaurau is the best city in the world and Sir Russell Coutts says we are living in a dictatorship.

How does the everyday New Zealander feel?

Culture and society

Is New Zealand a land of opportunity?

According to respondents (especially National party and ACT supporters), it is. Respondents agreed there were always opportunities in New Zealand for those willing to work hard. Green voters were the only political group who thought opportunities here were limited to a select few.

Most New Zealanders tended to agree that their success in life was down to them and their own efforts, rather than it being out of their hands.

However, nearly three in 10 of those aged 18-24 and nearly a quarter of 25-34s took the latter view.

Mori voters were more likely to lean towards feeling that whether or not they were successful was out of their hands (32 per cent) than Pacific (24 per cent), white (15 per cent) or Asian background voters (26 per cent).

Is the grass greener than 30 years ago?

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New Zealanders were almost evenly split as to whether life in the country was now better than it was decades ago.

This was also true of voters for the major parties, though Labour and Green voters leaned more to the view that things were better, while Act and NZ First voters tended more to the opposing view.

White voters were evenly split, Asian-background voters were more likely to think things had improved, while Mori voters leaned in the other direction.

The youngest and oldest people polled were the age groups most likely to say life in New Zealand was better than it was 30 years ago.

Best place in the world:

In a separate question, the great majority of respondents said New Zealand was one of the best places to live in the world.

More than 7 out of 10 18-24s took this view, rising to 90 per cent of those aged 65 or over.

White voters were slightly more likely to think this (83 per cent) than Mori (74 per cent) and Asian-background voters (72 per cent)

So what are we worried about?

Housing costs were the biggest concern across all groups.

Many worried they or their children may never be able to afford their own home.

People said they already felt demoralised and some were considering a move to Australia.

Growing inequality between homeowners and others was another worrying consequence.

"The population has grown so fast. They let all these skilled workers in because we needthem, but it's caused so many problems. I wish we could train our own people that areliving here first, and then if we're short, look overseas," said one.

"We'd like to believe we're an equal society, we're all the same, we've got equal opportunity, but in the last few years we've realised that's a fallacy. If you're in the housing market you'll probably be okay, but our kids are not going to be okay."

Even respondents with well-paying jobs felt they could be shut out of the housing market.

"It's 100 per cent beyond my control. We have reasonable jobs, but we're probably never going to get onto the housing market if it continues at this rate. The Kiwi dream that I grew up with, with kids, a quarter acre in the city, none of that is possible any more."

Housing - or more importantly the cost of - topped the list of the 18 options given to those polled.

It was the only issue named in the top three by more than half those polled.

This compared to 40 per cent who chose dealing with the Covid pandemic and 33 per cent who chose healthcare as the most important issue the country faced.

Friendly and tolerant

Despite the housing crisis, most polled felt fortunate to live here and valued what they described as an open and tolerant society.

"I find that younger people are more accepting of other people, other ways of living," said one.

Another said: "Things are getting tougher but there are still opportunities around. You just need to go looking for them. People still take care of each other and look out for each other here."

All groups however, felt that it was harder to get on and achieve the "Kiwi dream" than it had once been because of the rising cost of living, and of housing in particular.

Not all roses

Most people still feel lucky to be in what they believe is still one of the best places in the world to live but other pressures are crowding in.

The cost of living was spiralling, people said and healthcare was not what it should be.

A number of respondents said they were upset Starship Children's Hospital was having to screen TV ads to fundraise for new intensive care beds.

The lack of transport and infrastructure was also raised and many said crime was becoming a frightening feature of daily life in what people had always considered an unusually safe and peaceful country.

Crime and Punishment

New Zealanders were divided when faced with the complexities of law and order.

People were asked if they preferred rehabilitation or more jail time for criminals.

Those who voted for the National Party or Act in 2020 placed themselves well tothe "more jail time" end of the spectrum, while Green and Mori Party voters put themselves even further towards the "more about rehabilitation" end of the scale.

Labour voters were close to the centre and women were marginally closer to the first statement than men.

Crime was mentioned as an issue of growing concern by many focus groups, whatever their political background.

Many believed violent crime was rising, and many had local examples to illustrate thepoint. The groups believed that drugs, gangs and guns had become much more prevalent in New Zealand in recent months and years.

Several cited the Christchurch mosque shootings as a prompt to reconsider theidea that New Zealand was an unusually peaceful and orderly society.

"The sentences you get for crimes are quite ridiculous...There was a case recently where a 27-year-old bashed an 82-year-old and all he got was community service," said one.

"The Christchurch attack took another thing off the list, that New Zealand is no longerspecial. We're not immune to these problems...I'm hopeful about New Zealand, but we need to get more realistic about our society."

Mori rights

Many in the focus groups saw positivity in the effort to promote the rights and interestsof indigenous people, especially in recognising the place of the te reo Mori language.

Respondents believed there had been a broader understanding of the country's history and heritage, and addressing inequalities in terms of health, education and opportunity.

"We actively promote multiculturalism in New Zealand, we do a really good job of that.That's one reason it's a really nice place to come and be. I think we really do embrace themelting pot," said one.

Another said: "I'm Mori but I grew up in a very Pkeh world, and when I went to school learning Mori wasn't even an option. So I'm encouraged by the resurgence of te reo Mori and the true learning and understanding of our history."

Some detected an attempt to disown the European element of the country's history,or felt they were being blamed for historical injustices for which they were not themselves responsible.

Others disliked what they saw as an emphasis on points of difference between New Zealand's various people and cultures, which they thought would be more likely to stoke division than promote unity.

"I'm a big fan of inclusivity and equity, but I feel like the push for te reo has been quite intense. Working in a public sector agency, I don't know whether I'd have got my job if I'd applied today because it's so heavily focused on the need to know te reo."

Green, Mori and Pacific voters felt the most strongly that the government needed to do more to recognise indigenous and Mori rights, while National and (especially) ACT voters were equally far to the other end of the spectrum.

Women were more in favour of greater recognition of Mori rights than men.

On whether there should be a new Mori Health Authority, New Zealanders were nearly twice as likely to oppose the idea as to support it.

Those who supported the proposal said Mori and indigenous people are more predisposed to certain health conditions than other parts of the population and are less inclined to seek help through the system's existing structures.

"There's a lot of unspoken racism inside the system as it is. And they're just a bit shyto ask for help, or it's not in their cultural ways to ask, so they need better navigationthrough the system," one said.


Many of the New Zealanders polled said being "accepting" was an important part of the national character, and several cited the country's support for openly transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard as part of the New Zealand women's Olympic team as an example.

The groups tended to see the issue as a private or social matter rather than one of public policy or political debate.

"You have to be mindful. I think if you address someone and it's incorrect, then the common thing is to say 'okay, sure' and address them that way and move on. I would feel bad for people to have to hide who they really are for fear of being embarrassed or persecuted," one said.

Another said: "We had that weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard, and it wasn't a big issue... I mean, she was ridiculed by the world, but New Zealand has just accepted her."

Others were proud New Zealand society had undergone huge change and "taken it on the chin".

"In a lot of countries, like America, no-one can agree on anything, but here it's just sort of 'oh, okay'."

Ashcroft said the fact New Zealanders rated housing as the biggest issue - even ahead of the global pandemic - was significant in the question: Are we still Living the Kiwi Dream?

It pointed to a nagging doubt as to whether the kind of life New Zealanders aspire to was now only attainable for the most fortunate.

Despite this, most still feel lucky to be in what they believe is still one of the bestplaces in the world to live - but other pressures are crowding in.

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Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Lord Ashcroft's New Zealand poll 'Living the Kiwi Dream?' Q&A - New Zealand Herald

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Scott Base: Antarctica New Zealand base to be built in Timaru – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 10:09 pm


4 Nov, 2021 10:24 PM2 minutes to read

Scott Base on the Canterbury coast: The New Scott Base will be built in the port of Timaru. Photo / Supplied, Antarctica NZ, PrimePort

Antarctica New Zealand has announced the construction site of the new Scott Base, 3700km away from the Antarctic circle in Timaru.

The national Antarctic programme said it has decided to work with PrimePort as the site to assemble the $344 million research station.

The prefabricated base will later be shipped to the Ross Sea to replace the old station.

"Construction in New Zealand allows us to build year-round," said Antarctica NZ CEO Williamson. "Antarctica is in darkness for half of the year. It also means we can test and commission the buildings and make sure everything is working before they head south."

Part of a 10-year redevelopment project, the base will be assembled as eight separate modules on site in the port of Timaru.

The space-age structures will be visible from the shore front for Timaruvians to see before they are shipped south.

Leighs Construction the main contractor says they will be recruiting locally in Timaru, with jobs being created by the once-in-a-lifetime project.

"It's not every day you get to build an Antarctic research station on your back doorstep," says Leighs chief executive, Gary Walker.

The Antarctic redevelopment plan forecasts the creation of 170 jobs during the construction of the new Scott Base in New Zealand, between 2023-25. $273 million, or just under 80 per cent of the total budget, is to be spent with New Zealand.

With space for a team of 100 researchers and contractors, it will be a significant upgrade on the current facilities at Pram Point in the Ross Sea.

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The giant green-coloured pods were awarded a top rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects - who have recently produced base designs for the British Antarctic Survey and Australian Antarctic Programme - the modular design will include a wind farm and measures to cover 97 per cent of the base's requirements with renewable energy.

Once shipped to the continent, the base will be a home to cutting-edge science in the region for the next 50 years.

Due to New Zealand's international commitments to the Antarctic Treaty, no waste materials can remain on the continent. All parts of the decommissioned base must be returned to New Zealand.


Scott Base: Antarctica New Zealand base to be built in Timaru - New Zealand Herald

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These lives can’t wait; New Zealand needs to fund this drug now –

Posted: at 10:08 pm

OPINION: No parent ever imagines their new-born baby wont live to see adulthood.

That thought is every familys nightmare.

I know.

I have a medical condition where the median age of sufferers is 18 years old.

READ MORE:* The life-changing drug that could help Brett, 11, live long enough to fulfil his dream* 'It's huge': Life-changing cystic fibrosis drug a step closer to being funded by Pharmac* 'Life-changing' drug not accessible for New Zealanders living with cystic fibrosis

No parent ever gets used to watching their child struggle to breathe. Imagine witnessing your childs lifetime of suffering from chronic lung infections, liver failure, cirrhosis of the pancreas, risk of diabetesand a declining lung function, all of whichresultin frequent hospitalisations and a severely shortened life expectancy.

Now imagine asking what you can do to prevent thisand being told there is no treatment available in New Zealand.

This is the reality of Kiwis with cystic fibrosis (CF).

There is no sugar coating this condition. CF was a death sentence until now.

The new treatment, Trikafta, treats the underlying cause of CF.It is funded in more than 20 countries worldwide, including the USA, Ireland, Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Malta.

Pharmac, New Zealands drug buying agency, has confirmed that Trikafta supports patients with CF to lead a nearly normal life.

I am living proof that Pharmac is correct.

Ed Lee/Supplied

CF can mean a lifetime of suffering from chronic lung infections, liver failure, cirrhosis of the pancreas, risk of diabetes and a declining lung function.

I have had privately-funded access to Trikafta for 588 days and can confirm that it has saved my life. My wife and I were starting to plan for the worst, but I now live a normal life and we are planning for the future.

In the last 18 months, my lung function has increased significantly, my liver is functioning and Im no longer at risk of diabetes. My scheduled sinus surgery has been cancelled, the lung transplant conversation is off the table and I am no longer at risk of needing daily insulin.

My mental health has improved and Ive stopped worrying about leaving my wife a widow.

Physicians crowd around my results in disbelief, and my specialist recently informed me that we can reduce my check-ups, freeing up time to help others who desperately need it.

If you saw me in person, you would not know that I suffer from CF.

All of this requires just three pills a day. Trikafta is a miracle drug.

Pharmac has independently stated it wants to fund Trikafta. It gave the drug its highest level of recommendation, rating it a high priority.

Despite Pharmac completing a positive economic health assessment, and its expert clinical advisory panel strongly recommending the funding of Trikafta, it is still not funded in New Zealand.

Ed Lee/Supplied

In the last 18 months, my lung function has increased significantly, my liver is functioning and Im no longer at risk of diabetes.

There are some key financial metrics that support the funding of this drug, not least the significant reduction in hundreds of hospitalisations every year and an 80 per centreduction in lung transplants.

CF places an enormous burden on our health system. If the government funds this drug, it removes that burden.

Last week, in a shift away from its usual language, Pharmac described Trikafta as a paradigm shift in the treatment for patients with CF. It treats the cause of the disease, not the symptoms.

You might think thatgiven Pharmacs expert, clinical advisors have recommended the drug be funded, it might happen soon. But this is when reality kicks in.

Pharmac, even after it negotiates a discounted price with the pharmaceutical company, does not have the budget: It is a critically underfunded agency.

New Zealand ranks last of 20 OECD countries for per capita medicine funding.

Pharmac simply doesnt have enough funding, and hasnt for years, with its mandate being expanded to include not only pharmaceuticals, but also medical devices, vaccines, hospital mattresses and beds. Most budget increases were simply made to cover these additional items.

I shudder to think of the effect that Covidhas had on Pharmacs budget.

Ed Lee/Supplied

Ed Lee and wife Kalyn Ponti conquering the Routeburn Track

Medicines may cost more, shipping costs continue to rise, and, all the while, our population and its health needs continue to grow.

Pharmac is starting price negotiations with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and once a price has been agreed, Pharmac will need to make sure it has the budget capacity.

One thing we know for sure is that Pharmac will only receive its next budget increase in 2022, so Pharmac and Vertex need to get creative now.

One idea could be for Vertex to immediately strike a five-year deal with Pharmac, perhaps with Vertex providing Trikafta at minimal cost for the first 12 months, with annual payments scaling up over the five-year term.

Perhaps Vertex could provide the medicine for free, immediately, in good faith, on the assumption that it will be funded in May next year? Or perhaps there could be a balloon payment at the end of the initial term if the assumed cost savings were achieved?

Waiting until next year is not acceptable; these lives cant wait. Trikafta needs to be funded now and New Zealand needs to play catch-up with the rest of the developed world.

So, Grant Robertson, Andrew Littleand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Pharmac is coming knocking on your door to enable it to fund this miracle treatment to save lives.

Pharmac has done its job and independently stated it would like to fund Trikafta, so why not send out an early Christmas present to the cystic fibrosis community by announcing a new, significant boost to Pharmac thatwould allow it to fund not only Trikafta, but also other medicines flagged as a high priority?

There are 74 medicines on Pharmacs waiting list that it would like to fund.

Labour would be viewed as a hero if it gave the go-ahead to fund these. It would save lives, change lives and ultimately save money for the hospital system.

Dont let us wait until May Pharmac has spoken and made its decision.

Our lives count. Please, on behalf of every sufferer of cystic fibrosis, dont look the other way.

So many lives depend on it.

Ed Lee/Supplied

Ed Lee and wife Kalyn Ponti celebrating "Happy Trifakta Anniversary"!

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These lives can't wait; New Zealand needs to fund this drug now -

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Skill Shortage List Checker Immigration New Zealand

Posted: November 1, 2021 at 6:45 am

The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.

If you get a job in an occupation on the LTSSL and meet the list requirements, you may be granteda Work to Residence visa under theLong Term Skill Shortage List work visa. This means that you may be eligible to apply for residence in two years, provided you meet standard requirements and that job has a base salary of at least NZ$45,000.

Download full list 244kb

The Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL) includes occupations where skilled workers are required in particular regions of New Zealand and indicates that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available to take up the position. This enables faster processing of the application.

If you are offered a job on the RSSL and meet the list requirements you may be granted anEssential Skillswork visa. This means that you are permitted to work in New Zealand temporarily. You wont necessarily be able to apply for residence.

Download full list 750kb

The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL) contains occupations in critical shortage in the Construction industry across New Zealand.

If your skills appear on the CISSL and meet the list requirements, you may be granted anEssential Skillswork visa. If the occupation is also on the LTSSL, then you may also be able to apply for residence.

Download full list 349kb

We use the amount of pay andANZSCO Version 1.2 to determine if a job is skilled. Some selected occupations are treated as an exception.

To be classified as skilled for the Skilled Migrant Category you need to be either;ANZSCOlevel 1-3 AND paid at or above $25.50 per hour ($53,040 per year based on a 40 hour week)ORANZSCOlevel 4-5 AND paid at or above $38.25 per hour ($79,560 per year based on a 40 hour week)OROn the list of occupations treated as an exception to ANZSCO AND paid at or above $25.00 per hour ($53,040 per year based on a 40 hour week)

If your occupation is defined as skilled, you may be eligible to apply for a resident visa under theSkilled Migrant Category. This is a points-based visa that considers factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications and an offer of skilled employment.

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category you must be aged 55 or under, meet the skill level for your occupation, and meet English language, health, and character requirements.

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Skill Shortage List Checker Immigration New Zealand

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New Zealand Held a Contest for Bird of the Year. The Birds Lost. – The New York Times

Posted: at 6:45 am

AUCKLAND, New Zealand The candidates didnt know they were running. The winner received no prize. And, at least by appearance, the champion appeared to be ineligible to compete.

The race was for New Zealands Bird of the Year, an annual competition that gives New Zealanders an opportunity to rank their favorite birds from the countrys 200-odd native species and raises awareness of their ecological plight.

But this year, a long-tailed bat, one of New Zealands two native land mammals, flew away with the top prize, contest organizers said on Monday.

The audacity of the bat, known as pekapeka-tou-roa, led some on social media to call the competition a farce and rail about a stolen election. But other voters applauded the victory.

Real steal yo girl/take yo job energy, said one Aucklander in a post on Twitter.

Another user saw the upset as a potential source of inspiration, writing: If pekapeka tou roa can win Bird of the Year despite not being a bird then you can ask out your crush, anything is possible.

Bird of the Year, a two-week campaign run by the conservation charity Forest and Bird, is conducted like New Zealands electoral system through an instant-runoff system. The competition has a long history of ballot stuffing, rigged polls and even rumors of Russian interference. Last year, a hacker slipped more than 1,500 fake votes into an election database, sending one flightless bird to the top.

But this years result was the subject of no such skulduggery, organizers said. They had included New Zealands two native bat species among the avian contenders for the first time to help raise awareness.

Laura Keown, a spokeswoman for the contest, said: Because of New Zealands lack of mammals, Bat of the Year was going to be a very boring competition. It just felt like a nice opportunity to highlight this critically endangered native species and bring them from the darkness into the light.

The countrys two bat species face many of the same difficulties as more famous creatures such as the kiwi, which won the bird competition in 2009. The land mammals are at risk from pests like rats, cats and possums, as well as from the destruction of their forest habitats and climate change. The population is declining by about 5 percent a year.

For a long time, a bat led the bird contest by quite a lot, Ms. Keown told reporters last week. The lesser short-tailed bat was the only other contender giving the long-tailed bat a run for its money with voters. Behind them was a kakapo a large, flightless parrot which was last years champion.

Perhaps drawn by the lure of the cute, fuzzy faces of New Zealands native bats, nearly 57,000 voters around the world weighed in for this years online competition the most in the contests 16-year history.

I like to think that its because Kiwis just love their native bat so much, and they just really reveled in this chance to get to vote for the bat especially for New Zealands highest honor, the Bird of the Year, Ms. Keown said.

Most New Zealanders have never seen the shy, nocturnal mammal, which is roughly the length of a thumb and able to flit from tree to tree at top speeds of more than 35 miles an hour.

They dont really interact with people at all, said Kerry Borkin, a bat ecologist at New Zealands Department of Conservation. Because of that, theres so much that were still learning about bats, which actually makes them really exciting.

Once bats have been pushed out of an area, it is exceptionally difficult to bring them back, Dr. Borkin said. We need to keep those trees that we have already and plant more so that there are more in the future for the bats to use.

Ms. Keown could not confirm whether bats will make another appearance in next years competition.

Bird of the Year is no stranger to controversy, Ill say that, said Ms. Keown. We always ruffle some feathers.

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New Zealand Held a Contest for Bird of the Year. The Birds Lost. - The New York Times

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New Zealand keeps pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland – Reuters

Posted: at 6:45 am

A member of the public receives a Pfizer vaccine at a drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination clinic in Otara during a single-day vaccination drive, aimed at significantly increasing the percentage of vaccinated people in the country, in Auckland, New Zealand, October 16, 2021. REUTERS/Simon Watts

WELLINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - New Zealand will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland, but ease some after that, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, another day of record new infections.

As New Zealand battles the spread of the infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, it has agreed on a Nov. 10 re-opening date for retail stores and institutions such as libraries and museums, Ardern told a news conference.

"Because of the high vaccination rates in Auckland we can move with greater confidence," Ardern said.

"These decisions are carefully balanced and allows us to release some of the pressure and fatigue that we know exists in Auckland."

The city's limit on the size of outdoor gatherings was lifted to 25 people.

New Zealand won global praise last year for a response that stamped out the coronavirus, but has proved unable to quash the current outbreak, forcing it to adopt a strategy of living with the virus instead of the earlier aim of elimination.

Still, it has fared far better than many other countries, with tough curbs that have held COVID-19 infections to about 6,000 and a toll of just 28 deaths.

Daily cases have been rising to record highs in the last few days, with 162 on Monday. Of these, 53 sufferers were in hospital, with four in intensive care. Cases are expected to keep rising in a model of the outbreak released to the media.

But Ardern said high vaccination rates gave protection to keep down hospital admissions.

"Previously we worked hard to eliminate every case. While Delta has forced us to change our approach, vaccines ensure we have the same goal," she added.

More than 75% of New Zealand, or about 3.1 million people, have now been fully vaccinated, while 88% have got one dose.

However, the government said an increasing number of new cases are among the indigenous Maori community, where the vaccination rate is lower.

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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New Zealand keeps pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland - Reuters

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New Zealands South Island records first Covid cases in major city in over a year – The Guardian

Posted: at 6:45 am

New Zealands South Island has recorded its first Covid cases in a major city in over a year, with two cases detected in Christchurch, as the government announced it will begin relaxing its strict international border settings.

Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said at this stage there would be no snap lockdown for the city, the largest in the South Island, despite the fact one of the cases may have been infectious in the community for almost two weeks.

This is a good reminder to people around the country that cases can pop up and this highlights the importance to get vaccinated, Hipkins said.

Both of Thursdays new cases were members of the same household, and one had recently returned from Auckland.

New Zealand announced 89 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, including the two in Christchurch. According to the Ministry of Health, 89% of eligible adults in Canterbury, of which Christchurch is the main city, had had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 67% had had both doses. The region would require almost 111,000 people to get both doses before hitting the 90% target set by the government, where most restrictions can be lifted. Across the country, 85% of the eligible population (those aged 12 and over) have had at least one dose of the vaccine, or 72% of the full population; 70% of the eligible population have had both doses, or 60% of the full population.

Epidemiologist and public health prof Michael Baker said there needed to be stronger protections at the boundaries of the North and South Islands. We may be seeding the whole South Island with cases right at the moment, because weve got increasing transmission in Auckland, and still people flying from Auckland all around the country and weve got limited controls on that, he said. Baker called for pre-departure testing, and for vaccine requirements on domestic flights.

Dr Apisalome Talemaitoga, chair of the Pasifika GP network, said via the Science Media Centre, I just find it unbelievable that we are allowing unvaccinated people out of Auckland to travel for whatever reason. People should be doubly vaccinated before they can do this.

With the region still weeks away from 90% vaccination, Baker said there were huge health and economic reasons for delaying widespread transmission in the South Island as long as possible. Otherwise, he said, the region could end up facing restrictions or possible lockdowns until Christmas.

Hipkins said that the two infected people were co-operating with authorities but had not been scanning in using New Zealands location tracing app a detail which may make contact tracing more difficult. Both are unvaccinated.

Giving a later update, the minister said that quarantine requirements for international arrivals would be eased next month.

As vaccination rates have increased internationally, the number of Covid cases being picked up through our MIQ [managed isolation and quarantine] facilities has continued to decline. We now only get 2-3 cases per 1,000 arrivals and only around 1 in 2,000 is detected after seven days of isolation, Hipkins said.

From 14 November, MIQ stays will be reduced from 14 days to seven, with travellers being tested on days zero, three and six. They will then isolate at home for short periods of around three days, and be tested again on day nine.

This will likely free up about 1,500 rooms a month in MIQ, Hipkins said. Some of this will be taken up by community cases but some will go into the booking system for travellers from overseas.

On 8 November, travellers from low-risk countries, starting with some Pacific islands, will be allowed to bypass MIQ altogether. Travellers will need to be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens.

In the first quarter of 2022, increasing numbers of fully vaccinated international travellers will be able to skip quarantine and self-isolate. This step in the new MIQ regime will be dependent upon the country transitioning to its new traffic light system.

Hipkins said: My message to all New Zealanders, whether theyre here or abroad is a very, very simple one. Get vaccinated. Then we can all get back to doing the things that we love and to seeing the people that we love.

But New Zealanders stranded overseas and desperate to get home are feeling dissatisfied with the announcement.

Rikki Sands, a New Zealand citizen based in Brisbane, has entered the MIQ lottery 4 times without success. Sands, who is a specialised mechanical and hydraulic engineer, his wife and two daughters have been planning to come home since the beginning of the year.

Ive got more chance of winning lotto than an MIQ spot at the moment, Sands said.

He said the freeing up of 1,500 more MIQ spots was negligible, and did not give him any confidence he would get home sooner.

And he believes the justifications are unfair. They said that the reason they cant open the borders is because the local people arent getting vaccinated. But some of the ones that are coming in internationally are all going to be double vaccinated.

Our family is all double-vaxxed and coming from Brisbane, Australia, which is a very low risk area, and we will be getting whatever tests are required before we fly. We just want to get home to our whnau [family].

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New Zealands South Island records first Covid cases in major city in over a year - The Guardian

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Tectonus Limited From New Zealand Wins First Prize – Yahoo Finance

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Tech Startups from 13 Countries & Regions in Asia Compete for the AEA 2021 Innovation Award

CHIBA, Japan, November 01, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Asian Entrepreneurship Award 2021 event (AEA 2021) was held fully online from Wednesday, October 27th to Thursday, October 28th with the participation of 30 tech startups selected from Asian countries and regions. Tectonus Limited from New Zealand which develops seismic dampers with self-centering capabilities won first prize.

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1st Prize of AEA2021 (Photo: Business Wire)

AEA is a global innovation award for emerging Asian entrepreneurs and startups that are utilizing advanced technology to offer solutions to social issues. The AEA 2021 brought together 30 selected startups from across Asia providing solutions in the three areas of healthcare, work & lifestyle reform, and sustainability, all of which are global key issues going forward.

The startup entrants consistently received mentoring for 1.5 months from mentors specializing in Japanese VCs to brush up their business plans in preparation for the event, and the winner was chosen from six finalists selected on the basis of a wide range of criteria, including innovativeness, the social impact of their products and services, their commercial viability, the potential for collaboration with Japanese companies, and the opportunity for business expansion in Japan.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of AEA, this years event featured a special keynote speech by Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who shared a concept of Yunus social businesses and next-generation leadership.

Going forward, AEA will continue supporting the creation of new industries by bringing together Asian tech startups and supporters to build an ecosystem for innovation, and actively promoting trials and demonstrations in the Kashiwa-no-ha area to support the creation of new industries.

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AEA 2021 Summary by Shigeo Kagami, Chairman of AEA Steering CommitteeThis year, the 10th year of AEA, I feel that the level of the Startup Entrants has become very high. Among them, the number of entrepreneurs with a high awareness of social issues such as environmental problems and healthcare has increased. In Asia, businesses with scalability are being created because there is no legacy from the past. This is a point that we should be aware of in Japan as well. We also had a six-week mentoring period before the event. I feel that we are getting closer to what the platform should be. AEA will continue to work to create an ecosystem between Asia and Japan for the creation of new industries.

AEA2021 WinnersFirst PrizeTectonus Limited (New Zealand)OverviewThe company develops seismic dampers with a self-centering capability that re-center structures during earthquakes and aftershocks.Comments from the startup"I am very surprised. Thank you for acknowledging us. I have received good reviews and feel responsible, and I think I must do my best. I want to achieve my goal of making the world a safer place."Comments from the judges"Tectonus was evaluated for their practical technology and the fact that they have already commercialized their products with good customer reviews."

Second PrizeMore Foods Innotech Co., Ltd. (Thailand)OverviewMore Foods Innotech develops healthy vegetarian meat with lower sugar and salt level than existing products.Comments from the startup"I am honored to receive such an award. I was able to announce what we were doing and what our goals were. I think we have achieved great results."Comments from the judges"More Foods Innotech was evaluated for running a real business marked by environmental friendliness and sustainability. The company is challenging globally in an innovative way by bringing their unique technology."

Third PrizeBiomass Lab (Vietnam)OverviewThe company utilizes bacterial cellulose, which can be collected by hydrolyzing paper sludge and has properties such as biodegradability, high durability, and non-toxicity.Comments from the startup"We are very happy to participate in this event and also very surprised to receive this award. Moving forward, we are determined to continue contributing to the world"Comments from the judges"Biomass Lab was evaluated for their basic yet such an exciting technology. If commercialized, we believe that this would make a great impact."

AEA Yunus Social Business Award : Not applicable

Fujitsu Accelerator Award : Smart Tag Inc. (Taiwan)OverviewSmart Tag develops flexible wireless IoT sensors for manufacturing line monitoring which can be mounted on the surface of devices in production lines.Comments from judges for the special award"One of Fujitsu's key focus areas is Sustainable Manufacturing. Through the collaboration between Fujitsu and Smart Tag, we believe that the advanced IoT solution offered by Smart Tag can help us addressing the pains and challenges of our customers in manufacturing industry in more rapid and cost-effective manner."

IP Bridge AwardOnikle Inc (Japan)OverviewOnikle Inc. develops a preprint document-search platform with AI recommendations to help scientists discover the best research papers.Comments from judges for the special award"We believe that the preprint document search platform developed by Onikle Inc. helps many scientists and it has a potential to accelerate innovation."

The Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs(JASVE) AwardMore Foods Innotech Co., Ltd. (Thailand)Comments from judges for the special award:"We have evaluated the companys effort to target such a very competitive, yet growing global market. We believe that we need as many food alternatives as possible for our future. On behalf of the Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs, we highly evaluate the companys potential to make our lives better while collaborating with various stakeholders in our current value chain to seek social impact."

Life Science AwardKURA Care Inc. (Taiwan)OverviewThe company develops an AI tele-medicine solution specializing in the treatment of heart disease patients.Comments from the judges for the special award"By combining very advanced AI technologies and the services provided by the hands of human, the company provides a very innovative solutions in a quite important area of heart disease. Their solution has a potential to promote behavioral changes of the patients in the area of the disease prevention and prognosis. We have also evaluated their very attractive management teams in Taiwan and San Diego in the United States."

Microsoft AwardTectonus Limited (New Zealand)Comments from the judges from the special award"We felt the potential of the companys IoT business and the overall growth of the market. The company may have potential to collaborate with Microsoft for our smart building or smart city projects."

Audience PrizePeth Yoeung Healthtech (Cambodia)Overview:The company develops a cloud-based hospital management software platform providing secure storage of medical records and patient data.

For a list of startup entrants and their businesses, visit

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For general enquiriesAEA2021 Steering Committee / Secretariat email:

Press Contact:Kazuhiro MurakamiStory Design houseemail:

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Tectonus Limited From New Zealand Wins First Prize - Yahoo Finance

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Abbie Ward sets England Women on way to record win over New Zealand – The Guardian

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Another day, another giant leap for womens rugby and the blossoming Red Roses. The full impact of this record-breaking scoreline will not be fully measurable until the live BBC Two television audience figures are collated but outside a World Cup there have not been many feelgood occasions in the English womens game to beat it.

Even if New Zealand were slightly rusty, not having played an international for more than two years, this was still a rare indignity. Their hosts, in contrast, have now won 15 Tests in a row and cemented their world No 1 ranking before next years delayed World Cup. Only one of these two teams will be gleefully awaiting the second Test in Northampton next weekend.

It might sound greedy to suggest England should have scored more than seven tries but they had the chances to do so. By the end, though, they had inflicted the biggest defeat the Black Ferns have suffered the previous record margin was 21-7 against England a decade ago and showcased both the fitness of the home forwards and their increasing depth behind the scrum.

The eye-catching outcome was even achieved despite the pre-match loss of their vice-captain, Amber Reed, who tweaked a hamstring in training, and the injured Emily Scarratt, with virtually every area of the team contributing. Abbie Ward scored the first two tries and had a third disallowed while Abby Dow and Ellie Kildunne were a constant attacking handful.

Zoe Harrison also had a good game at fly-half to earn the player of the match award, assisted by the crisp passing of her half-back partner Claudia MacDonald and a strong all-round display from the inside centre Lagi Tuima.

It was not quite how New Zealand had planned to mark their 100th Test but a healthy crowd of almost 10,000 enjoyed it hugely on a bright, breezy afternoon. One could tell the locals were up for it by the length of the pre-match pasty queues but this was West Country rugby with a refreshing twist. A female DJ on the decks in the main stand, uninhibited dancing in the aisles, some stirring anthem-singing and, even more unusually, an English rugby team leading New Zealand 17-0 at half-time. At least some of that could just catch on permanently.

The England head coach, Eddie Jones, has named an updated 35-man squad for the autumn Tests against Tonga, Australia and South Africa.

The Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall has been withdrawn before the match against Tonga on Saturday because of a hip flexor injury. The Harlequins wing Louis Lynagh and Northampton's Alex Mitchell have both been added.

Forwards: Jamie Blamire (Newcastle), Callum Chick (Newcastle), Tom Curry (Sale), Trevor Davison (Newcastle), Nic Dolly (Leicester), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath)

Backs:Mark Atkinson (Gloucester) Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton), George Furbank (Northampton), Louis Lynagh (Harlequins), Max Malins (Saracens), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Alex Mitchell (Northampton), Raffi Quirke (Sale), Adam Radwan (Newcastle), Henry Slade (Exeter), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester), Manu Tuilagi (Sale), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

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It did no harm that England made a near-perfect start playing into the stiff, swirling breeze. Given the chance, they have impressive pace out wide and a lovely flick-on under pressure from Kildunne allowed Ward to release the surging Dow. The winger was finally halted 10 metres out but a pop pass off the floor set Ward galloping clear to the line.

The strong-running locks second try was finished from slightly closer range but again involved Dow making rapid index-linked gains down the left. On a tricky day for every kicker Harrisons conversion was a well-judged beauty and the pressure being applied to the Black Ferns malfunctioning line-out by the athletic Zoe Aldcroft was similarly helpful.

New Zealand simply could not win enough ball to unleash their dangerous winger Ayesha Leti-liga and, with half-time looming, there was a third English try to admire. The tackling was generous but there was no doubting the elusive spirit that helped the 22-year-old Harlequin Kildunne weave her way to the line.

England went off the boil slightly in a sometimes niggly third quarter but they were not finished. After Lark Davies had scored from a close-range maul, there was a lovely debut try for Holly Aitchison, and Dow then scooped up a loose ball to outpace the cover again. Despite a late score from Stacey Fluhler, adding to Alana Bremners earlier touchdown, it was Harrison who had the final word to seal Englands first win against New Zealand since a 29-21 victory in Rotorua in June 2017.

Small wonder the delighted Red Roses coach, Simon Middleton, described it as a massive statement both for his team and the profile of the womens game. Ive spoken to a few people who said: Wow, that was amazing. My phone was going into meltdown after the final whistle, he said.

His captain, Sarah Hunter, sounded similarly thrilled as she headed out to celebrate. Well enjoy this evening because they dont come along very often.

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Abbie Ward sets England Women on way to record win over New Zealand - The Guardian

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Forced retreat: one New Zealand towns fate highlights coming fight over climate adaptation – The Guardian

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Theres a moment on the road from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty, after hours of farmland, when the view of the sea rears up in front of you. The fields retreat, the horizon expands, the road is lined by Pohutukawa trees clinging to the cliffs. The change in view is as stark as an etch-a-sketch being wiped clean.

Follow that road and you come to a tiny settlement, slipped between the sea and a steep spine of hills running down New Zealands Toi-te-Huatahi coastline. Gradually, the once-orderly and plush beachfront homes are disappearing. Houses are replaced with grassed lots, weeds push up through the cul de sac pavements. Soon, the view will be transformed further still, the last remnants of the neighbourhood replaced with a reserve stretching from the road to the sea. On one of the few remaining fences is a sign: Leave our homes alone! Watch out the rest of New Zealand youre next!

This is Matat. Over the last decade, the settlement has been forced into managed retreat, the process where communities, buildings and infrastructure are gradually evacuated from areas designated uninhabitable or dangerous by changing geology, extreme weather or climate change. It has gone badly. After more than a decade of legal and political battles, the remaining residents have become squatters on what was once their own land, furious at what they say is an involuntary eviction. For experts and politicians watching the settlement closely, Matat provides a bleak preview of battles and challenges that could, in the coming decades, play out across New Zealand and around the world.

Pam Whalley was in her driveway when it happened. After hours of heavy rain, she and her husband, Bill, had decided to go and check on the creek. We got halfway down the driveway, she says, And there was a wave of water coming up the driveway to the house. They ran inside, and watched from the upstairs window as it swept through.

That unexpected wave, as thick as cement, roiling with logs, boulders and debris, would reshape the next 15 years of Whalleys life, the lives of her neighbours, and the small settlement on the Awatarakiki fanhead.

The struggle that has ensued is the product of a particular place and set of circumstances. But the questions it raises are a microcosm of what is to come, as governments like New Zealands reckon with landscapes reshaped by the forces of climate change: plains swept by wildfires, valley towns reshaped by floods, coastal cities eroded by the relentless creep of rising seas. The debris flow that obliterated Matat occurred because of a once-in-500-year level of rainfall. But as the planet heats, it also redistributes rainfall it may rain less frequently, but that rain is much heavier when it arrives. These kinds of scenarios will become increasingly common. In New Zealand, the government plans to bring in laws to guide the process of managed retreat sometime next year. While other communities face threats from different sources to Matat, the same questions remain: how do you persuade communities to leave their homes? When is it time to go? Who should pay, and how much? And what do you do if they refuse to go?

In the case of Matat, it is the hills, not the waves, that pose the most immediate threat. In 2005, a period of unusually heavy rain unleashed a wall of liquid sludge, that swept down the slope and deposited around 700,000 cubic metres of debris. It destroyed 27 homes and damaged 87.

The saga that followed has dragged out over more than a decade. Council initially proposed building a barrier to protect residents from future debris flows. But the plan failed: after further assessments, council concluded it wouldnt be sufficient to protect the homes. They switched to managed retreat. In 2016, more than a decade after the initial disaster, council and central government banded together to create a $15m fund to buy out residents. By that point, however, a number of residents say the entire process felt poisoned.

Greg Fahey calls himself the last man standing. With the Whalleys reluctantly agreeing to leave next year, he is the last remaining resident of Matat who has refused to leave or take a buyout for his property.

You know, there was a real peace about this place at one time, Fahey says. Ive walked through the fields coming back from the beach, in some of the sections where the grass is up above your knees now, and theres a real eerie feeling as you walk through it. Its like the grounds not even resting any more. Whatever was here has gone.

Fahey now lives in a converted container. The house he had planned and consented cannot be built. Over the years, this has become home: Fahey has hung collaged photos and paintings by his grandchildren, alongside a photograph of him with his wife, who lived here until she had to shift to a dementia care unit a few years ago. Sometimes, he says later, she asks if she can come home. I tell her you cant come home, because I dont have a home to bring you back to, he says. And that makes me really angry.

Sitting at the Formica table, he says he misses the small, tight-knit community that used to make up this place. We used to get together and have a barbecue and stuff, Fahey says. Really miss the atmosphere of knowing each other people just drift away.

After so many years, he feels that a grave injustice has been done. Staying has become more than just a continued attachment to lifestyle or place it is a cause in and of itself. If council had come to him in 2012, and made him a fair offer, Fahey now says, he would have accepted. Now, its not just the land he wants recompense for its the years of battles and stress. Over time, his reluctance to take what felt like a bad offer has hardened into stubborn resistance to what he sees as a much larger injustice.

Asked whether there is now any figure, or offer, or approach that would change his mind, Fahey pauses for a long time. This is a real challenging question, he says.

If it was about the money, here, just give us $1.5m and Im gone. You know what I mean? But how much is the injustice to be dealt with? What price is that?

Im not leaving without compensation, you dont treat people like this for 16 years and expect them to walk away on your terms.

For me, its essentially a socio-political issue, primarily, rather than a technocratic one, says Dr Rob Bell, one of New Zealands foremost coastal hazards experts.

Bell trained as an engineer. But in his years working for NIWA, New Zealands crown research institute on water and atmospherics, he came to see managed retreat less as a design question, and more as a much broader set of deeply human and psychological challenges: attachment to place, social and cultural connections, the structure of communities.

Some people want to defend their property rights to the nth degree, even to the point of futility, Bell says. Ive seen wool bales, railway lines, car bodies, anything and everything, dumped on the coastline to try to stop coastal erosion or coastal flooding. Often, its to no avail.

Humans are keenly attached to their homes. When given an option, homeowners almost always prefer to opt for defence strategies higher sea walls, levees, dams, planting dunes rather than upping sticks and leaving. Those incentives are strengthened because in many places, there is public funding for protections, but not to pay people out for retreat.

We immediately jump to a protection paradigm, says Dr Judy Lawrence, a researcher looking at managed retreat at Victoria University. We put up sea walls, and all of them eventually fail it creates really a huge problem and we get locked in to responding to peoples expectations that they will continue to be protected.

The problem is that in the long run, defence strategies may not work. When you put the defences up, people hunker down and feel safe, Bell says. Experts call it the levee effect a paradox where building defences to protect from flooding can increase the eventual damage, because it creates a false sense of security, owners invest more in their property, and by building the wall higher, an eventual breach is worse than it might have otherwise been.

Getting a sense of ownership in the community about what they can do about it over the long term is extremely important, and getting the buy-in of those people, she says. But it takes time.

The point is, communities need the opportunity to do that, she says. They need the leadership from the councils to do that. It is costly but its probably less costly than the damage and disruptions, from, you know, being wiped out in a flood.

The political challenges of providing that kind of leadership are formidable. The financial, emotional, psychological and social costs of uprooting a community are large, and keenly felt by those displaced. The benefits, while clear, are often much longer term. That makes prescribing large-scale managed retreat a deeply unattractive proposition for many politicians.

Often, non-decisions are made, Bell says, believing politicians fall into the approach of: Well just wait its not urgent. Well wait for more information, the people are attached to that place, we dont want to uproot them, because well get a lot of kickback.

The legislation planned for New Zealand, he says, needs to be very clear and prescriptive to a certain level, about how this process should happen and how you plan a strategy.

What are we going to do, how are we going to take people with us?

Rachel Whalley says its been the failures of that process that drove them to fight so hard.

I feel like were the guinea pigs Were a test case for the rest of the country, Whalley says. Everybodys sitting on the sidelines watching, but no ones actually helping. Theyre just seeing what will happen when the council and the government do that to us.

From the Whalleys window, you can see the smoke plume from Whakaari/White Islands volcano curling just above the horizon. Rachel Whalley, Pams daughter, remembers the day the volcano erupted in 2019, killing 22. The distant smoke is a living reminder of the consequences of what can happen when risk judgments fail, and nature takes its course. But the Whalleys believe they should be allowed to take on the risk of living at a place like Matat, without the prospect of their homes being stripped of value or services taken away.

Tell me where in New Zealand I can go, where Im not faced with a tsunami, earthquake, volcano, flood? Pam Whalley says. If I felt like I was in danger, I would leave.

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Forced retreat: one New Zealand towns fate highlights coming fight over climate adaptation - The Guardian

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