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Category Archives: New Zealand

New Zealand vaccinates 2.5% of its people in a day in drive to live with COVID-19 – Reuters

Posted: October 21, 2021 at 11:04 pm

Oct 16 (Reuters) - New Zealand vaccinated at least 2.5% of its people on Saturday as the government tries to accelerate inoculations and live with COVID-19, preliminary health ministry data showed.

Through an array of strategies, gimmicks and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's encouragement through the day, 124,669 shots were administered by late in the day in a country of 4.9 million.

"We set a target for ourselves, Aotearoa, you've done it, but let's keep going," Ardern said, using a Maori name for New Zealand at a vaccination site, according to the Newshub news service. "Let's go for 150 [thousand]. Let's go big or go home."

New Zealand had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until an outbreak of the Delta variant in mid-August. The government now aims to have the country live with COVID-19 through higher inoculations.

Forty-one new cases were reported on Saturday, 40 of them in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. It has been in lockdown since mid-August to stamp out the Delta outbreak. Officials plan to end the strict restrictions when full vaccination rates reach 90%.

As of Friday, 62% of New Zealand's eligible population had been fully vaccinated and 83% had received one shot.

Vaccination spots were set up on Saturday throughout the country, including at fast-food restaurants and parks, with some spots offering sweets afterwards, local media reported.

"I cannot wait to come and play a concert, I want to be sweaty and dancing and maybe not even wearing masks. Hopefully we can get there," said pop singer Lorde, according to local media.

"Protect your community, get yourself a little tart, perhaps a little cream bun," she said. "But please, please get that jab."

Final results of the mass vaccination drive are expected to be released on Sunday.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Rditing by William Mallard

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Sweeping housing legislation could reshape New Zealand cities for decades to come – The Guardian

Posted: at 11:04 pm

New Zealands cities could be reshaped for decades to come, after the government joined forces with the opposition to announce sweeping bipartisan housing legislation that aims to counter urban sprawl and boost supply by up to 105,000 new homes in the next eight years.

In a rare display of cross-party collaboration, the housing minister Megan Woods and environment minister David Parker took the podium with the National Partys leader Judith Collins and its housing spokesperson Nicola Willis on Tuesday, to introduce a bill that will cut urban-planning red-tape and enable up to three houses, three storeys tall, to be built on most sites without requiring resource consent in the countrys major cities.

New Zealand has been in the midst of a housing crisis for over a decade. Its large cities of Wellington and Auckland have some of the least affordable property markets in the world; homeownership rates in New Zealand have been falling since the early 1990s across all age brackets, but the drop is especially pronounced for people in their 20s and 30s.

Last year, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, visited New Zealand and called the housing situation a human rights crisis and a dark shadow that hangs over the country.

Planning law has long been criticised for being restrictive, unwieldy and slow. It is blamed in part for slowing down housing development, while creating urban sprawl, which has implications for transport, infrastructure and climate change.

The parties worked together on the new resource management bill, which they hope to pass in December. The law will allow greater housing density, to combat current city planning law that often allows for only one home of up to two storeys to be built on a site.

There will be exemptions in areas where densification is inappropriate, such as where there is a high risk of natural hazards, or a site has heritage value.

The bill is paired with a speed-up of the governments national policy statement on urban development, which aims to further reduce constraints on urban planning and development. That will come into effect to August 2023, instead of August 2024.

Modelling by Price Waterhouse Cooper predicted the new rules could result in about 48,200 to 105,500 new homes being built in the next five to eight years across New Zealands major cities.

Woods said New Zealanders want central government to take leadership on housing and lay aside political differences and noted that the policy would create more compact, efficient and affordable cities.

Having broad political consensus on these changes gives homeowners, councils, investors and developers greater certainty. We are pleased to have Nationals support in enabling New Zealanders to have access to modernising our cities in this way, Woods said.

Collins thanked the minister for accepting an invitation to work with National on the problem. There is so much more to do, to see Kiwis all across New Zealand be truly given the right to build. But today, we take the first step, by sending a bipartisan signal that both major political parties are working together.

Housing and transport advocate Isla Stewart was thrilled with the announcement, saying that the increase in gentle density had given her a lot of hope and was a big win for New Zealand.

More people living in cities will boost businesses, lower emissions and enable better transport routes, Stewart said.

The thing thats really great about even slight density adjustments like this, is that there are these massive economies of scale people living closer to where they are means buses become more feasible, and theyre more frequent, which means people are more able to use them. Instead of the whole zero sum thinking of if I have more neighbours, therell be more traffic it will break it into a better world is possible type thinking.

Housing and environment advocacy groups like City for People which Stewart helped establish Generation Zero and Renters United have long pushed for densification.

This new cross-partisan reform is to be celebrated. It is a vital step to tackling our housing crisis by ensuring peoples right to a quality home is paramount. The real character of our cities are people and thriving communities, the groups said.

But they would like to see other levers pulled: generous rental subsidies, accessible housing, support for papakinga [Mori housing] developments, and investments in sustainable water, open space and transport infrastructure.

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Peter Thiel’s luxury New Zealand lodge opposed by environmental group – CNBC

Posted: at 11:04 pm

Billionaire Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder and chairman of Palantir Technologies, during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 18, 2019.

Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Peter Thiel's proposed luxury lodge on New Zealand's South Island has been criticized by a local environmental group who believe it is "inappropriate" for the natural landscape.

The PayPal and Palantir co-founder, who profited from an early investment in Facebook, wants to build the lodge and a private residential building on a 193-hectare (477-acre) estate that he owns on the shores of Lake Wanaka, near Queenstown.

Thiel bought the estate in 2015 for a reported $13.5 million through an Auckland-headquartered company he owns called Second Star Limited.

Details of the development, designed by Tokyo Olympic Stadium architect Kengo Kuma and Associates, emerged in a planning application in August.

They show several buildings that are designed to blend into the landscape. There's a private home built into a hillside as well as a larger luxury lodge with enough space for 24 people. There's also a separate meditation pod, several water features and a yet-to-be-designed back-of-house building.

But in a six-page letter to Queenstown Lakes District Council this month, the Upper Clutha Environmental Society said it opposed the application in its entirety.

"The Society believes the applicant has not meaningfully avoided, remedied or mitigated adverse effects," the letter reads, before going on to say that "the proposed development is inappropriate."

The environmental group argues that the buildings will be an eyesore on the natural landscape and that the development is "extremely unlikely" to meet the "reasonably difficult to see test" set by the local council.

A representative for Thiel did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Kengo Kuma and Associates said its objective was to "design an organic architecture that fuses into the landscape" and respects the indigenous nature. Elsewhere, Jo Fyfe, senior planner at John Edmonds and Associates, who carried out an assessment of the environmental effects of the complex, said the placement of the buildings into the landscape was "thoughtful."

The so-called "owner's cabin" has a spa, pool, theater lounge, office and three bedrooms, while the guest cabin has its own spa and pool, as well as a library, and 10 guest bedrooms with uninterrupted north-facing views toward Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.

To highlight the visual impact of the development, the campaign group opposed to the development noted that "the row of buildings proposed extend across a wide visual catchment of the subject site; the buildings stretch for 330m."

"The associated car parking, access roads and paths will further detract from views of outstanding natural landscape; no less than 7.4ha [hectares] of the site is proposed to be dug up in earthworks of 36,800 m3," it continues.

Aspects of the development will be visible from Lake Wanaka and a number of public tracks in the area, the group said. "People driving, riding, walking, paddling or boating in these highly frequented public locations will be assailed by a large number of buildings spread laterally across the subject site," it argued.

The lavish lodge would feature 10 bedrooms.

The society, however, said it was impressed by the "ecological and biodiversity enhancements" described in the planning application.

It also admitted that the development could result in potential economic gains for the area if the proposed tourist unit buildings are used in the manner described in the application.

But the positive effects "will not meaningfully mitigate" the adverse effects of the proposed development, it added.

Located in relative isolation from the largest population centers of the world, New Zealand has become a popular destination with high net worth individuals in recent years. Billionaire Google co-founder Larry Page was granted residency at the start of the year.

Home to around 5 million people, the country has become linked with "preppers" those who try to prepare for catastrophic events that may pose a threat to humanity.

Reports had suggested that Thiel was planning to build some sort of apocalypse-proof bunker on his estate. While some of the buildings appear to be built into hillsides, it's unclear if any of them are intended to serve as a bunker.

The prepper craze was first put under the spotlight in Jan. 2017, when an article in The New Yorker titled "Doomsday prep for the super-rich" revealed how New Zealand is essentially like a mecca for wealthy preppers. It's remote, geopolitically stable, and sparsely populated. Importantly, it could also become completely self-sufficient in terms of water, food, and energy if it ever needed to.

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America’s Cup: Team New Zealand refuse to entertain new $40m bid from Kiwi Home Defence to keep event in Auckland – New Zealand Herald

Posted: at 11:04 pm

A nasty stoush has unfolded around Team New Zealand in a bid to keep the America's Cup on home waters. NZ Herald Focus Sport's Cheree Kinnear explains why. Video / NZ Herald

The Kiwi Home Defence campaign has doubled its financial proposal to keep the next America's Cup in Auckland but Team New Zealand remain unmoved by the renewed bid.

In a media release, the Kiwi Home Defence confirmed it has sent a written proposal to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the trustees of the Team New Zealand Trust to increase its firm commitment to help fund a home defence in Auckland from $20 million to $40 million.

The campaign, led by Kiwi rich-lister Mark Dunphy, believes the additional commitment will be sufficient funding to stage a fully-funded and competitive defence of the America's Cup in Auckland.

"We have reviewed the publicly available financial information from the staging of our tremendous Cup defence earlier this year along with the summary information provided to us by Team New Zealand representatives," Dunphy said in a statement.

"It is our understanding from this review that the actual shortfall for a home defence is $40 million, not the $80 million which had been advised, and our proposal today fully bridges the shortfall.

"Kiwi Home Defence considers that the defence of the America's Cup in 2024 can, should and must be held here at home in Tmaki Makaurau. Our letter demonstrates that the required funding is available to support the Cup defence at home."

Dunphy, who is chairman of Greymouth Petroleum, said the increased proposal provides the funding required to keep the Cup in New Zealand, based on previous discussions with Team NZ.

"Team NZ advised at our first meeting that $120 Million is the funding required for the team ... Team NZ has said it is committed to funding $80 million from commercial sponsorships and private donors. This leaves a balance of $40 million to be committed to fully fund Team New Zealand. Today, we are making a firm commitment to provide the additional $40 million for the team.

"Our updated funding proposal assumes that the Crown and Auckland Council will be invited back to the table to support the staging of the event, and that their offer of cash (NZ$31 million) and in-kind support (NZ$68 million) stands.

"Time is of the essence for the smooth planning of, and preparation for, the AC37 defence in March 2024. Through the Trustees, and with the involvement of the RNZYS, Kiwi Home Defence now seeks a meeting as early as possible with TNZ for the parties to expedite matters and make arrangements for the defence to proceed in Auckland."

However, Team NZ have responded saying they will not entertain the bid, following their past dealings with the Kiwi Home Defence and Dunphy.

"Just to repeat our position from our statement of 22nd September: 'Emirates Team New Zealand and RNZYS have decided to cease all correspondence and any dealings with Mr Dunphy based on clear evidence of his and his associate Dr. Hamish Ross's conflicted actions that they have refused to come clean on'," a Team NZ spokesperson said in a statement to the Herald.

Last month, the RNZYS and Team NZ announced that the hosting decision for the next America's Cup, which was set to be made on September 17, would be delayed to allow more time to find the right venue, including a last-ditch bid to keep the Cup in Auckland.

Three international candidates Cork in Ireland, Barcelona in Spain and Jedda In Saudi Arabia are also reportedly being considered as hosts.

However, hopes of an Auckland defence took a hit after Team NZ boss Grant Dalton said he had ceased all correspondence with Dunphy in September.

Dalton claimed Dunphy refused to answer questions the syndicate put to him regarding his campaign for the 37th Cup to be hosted in New Zealand.

It followed a public back-and-forth between the two parties over a possible home defence, including claims from Team NZ that Swiss billionaire and Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli was involved with a possible New York Supreme Court action and the Kiwi Home Defence campaign, which Dunphy has denied.

Dalton said he was "disappointed" by Dunphy's "underhanded and deceitful attempts to undermine the RNZYS, ETNZ and the RYS with his despicable actions".

"We gave him every opportunity to tell us himself, but he chose not to and as far as we are concerned this puts an end to a regrettable chapter in AC37."

Dunphy said on Thursday that keeping the 2024 defence in New Zealand will "maximise the return on the significant investment" made by Kiwis.

"The 2024 America's Cup defence provides a magnificent opportunity to announce our country is back and open for business as the Covid 19 pandemic recedes. This superb event, with its huge global audience, would be very beneficial for re-establishing New Zealand's international linkages and visibility. It will also maximise the return on the significant investment New Zealand taxpayers and Auckland Council have made in the legacy infrastructure built for AC36.

"We have been working tirelessly to ensure a successful home defence can be staged since the Commodore of the RNZYS asked on 1 June that we seek to arrange funding. We have been successful in that mission and we now invite Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to consider our proposals in the positive and constructive way they are made. We are passionate supporters of Team New Zealand and its sailors, designers, boat builders and shore crew."

Dalton has yet to close the door on a possible Auckland defence but has said that Dunphy will play no part in it.

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Explosion of ideas: how Mori concepts are being incorporated into New Zealand law – The Guardian

Posted: at 11:04 pm

When English settlers first arrived in New Zealand, they brought with them pests, diseases and Englands common law. Indigenous Mori already had legal customs in the form of tikanga, a set of rules and principles which governed daily life. But the settlers dismissed Mori as savages and tikanga as primitive. As their power grew, so did the common laws. Eventually, though many Mori still followed tikanga, it was pushed to the legal margins.

That is starting to change. In 2020 New Zealands supreme court allowed a dead mans appeal to continue, apparently on the basis that his mana (the Mori concept of status) continues to fluctuate after death. This year the court quashed a mining companys appeal over a resource consent application partly on the basis that it was inconsistent with tikanga.

What were seeing now is a Cambrian explosion of activity where the superior courts are in several contexts affirming tikanga Mori, says high court judge Christian Whata. Its a shift which could profoundly alter the way New Zealand law is applied in areas as diverse as defamation and trust law. Ultimately, it represents the indigenisation of a legal system which has been dominated by English thinking since its inception.

Whata is uniquely placed to speak about tikangas role. One of the few Mori serving in New Zealands higher courts, he has recently been appointed to the Law Commission (a government thinktank charged with guiding legal reform) to define and chart the future relationship between tikanga and state law.

He characterises the embrace of tikanga in law as the culmination of a long process. In the late 1980s, he says, New Zealand had this little explosion of ideas regarding legal recognition of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealands founding document. That produced a momentum of its own [But] what we didnt see then was a recognition in a true sense of tikanga Mori.

It took four decades, but that recognition is now occurring in spectacular fashion. Importantly, its relative speed leaves a number of questions open for debate. Individual aspects of it could occupy a doctoral thesis, chuckles Whata. What is tikanga? Im not an expert on that. Its a massive topic in itself. How can tikanga be used in a state law context? Thats its own topic. Should [we even] use tikanga in a state law context? Despite the immensity of these questions and the courts usual preference for more incremental change, to some extent they have little choice but to keep up.

Natalie Coates is a prominent Mori lawyer who worked on both of the recent supreme court cases which engaged in this discussion of tikanga. According to her, it is tikangas resurgence in society outside courtrooms which is driving its recognition within them. Coates pointed to the respected use of rhui (prohibitions on access or use) following the 2019 eruption of Whakaari/White Island as an example. All the iwi (tribes) along the East Coast placed a rhui to respect the fact that a number of people had died and there were bodies in the water We were in the middle of summer. But nobody was in the water. It was overwhelmingly respected by the community. Whata agrees: Law is a reflection of society.

That doesnt mean New Zealand laws embrace of tikanga is uncontroversial. Some oppose tikangas use altogether, with one prominent lawyer recently describing it as a morass of unknown custom. Others are worried the state will selectively or incorrectly use tikanga. Some point to the example of the Native Land Court, which was created in partnership with some Mori in the mid-19th century to settle disputes over property ownership, but was ultimately instrumental in the widespread expropriation of Mori land.

Its an issue Whata is keenly aware of. We obviously need to be careful that we dont, via a process like this, engage in the assimilation of ideas, of tikanga values I will be looking and taking a very cautious approach to that issue.

Regardless of what he finds, it is noteworthy that these questions are being asked at all. Until relatively recently, it would have been difficult to imagine a sitting judge being tasked with planning whether and how tikanga and state law should interact.

Asked about the significance of his appointment, Whata laughs. Have you heard the phrase, the kumara doesnt talk about how sweet he is? Instead, he says: Its a recognition of the importance of tikanga We want to avoid the mistakes of the past and we want to put it on a much better footing We want to lay the foundations as best as we can for addressing how we might recognise tikanga Mori and the values and laws of tikanga Mori in the state justice system.

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Adapting to UAE conditions key as New Zealand eye second world title in 2021 – ESPNcricinfo

Posted: at 11:04 pm

Feature

Being in a group full of Asian oppositions could prove a test if the pitches are slow and low

Big picture

While Williamson has already indicated that conditions will decide New Zealand's XI, facing India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh - if they qualify for the tournament proper - will be a tricky proposition.

Recent form

Batting

Bowling

New Zealand don't have a specialist offspinner although Phillips is open to doing the job against left-handers. Santner was the only New Zealander who didn't get a game in this IPL, but head coach Gary Stead believes he will be able to shake off the rust during the warm-up games.

Kyle Jamieson had impressed with his change-ups in Chennai during the first leg of the IPL, but his T20 form has tapered off since. In his last seven T20s, he has managed just a solitary wicket at an economy rate of 10.09.

Player to watch

Key question(s)

Do New Zealand have enough depth in their squad? They've picked only one reserve player in Milne, and left out compelling T20 options in Colin Munro and Finn Allen. If the ball doesn't swing or seam around, how effective will Boult or Southee be in the UAE?

Likely XI

1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tim Seifert (wk), 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Devon Conway, 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Jimmy Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Kyle Jamieson/Daryl Mitchell, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Ish Sodhi, 11 Trent Boult/Tim Southee

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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South Island-Aust bubble open but Air NZ says operation ‘not viable’ – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 11:04 pm

Green channel flights from the South Island across the Tasman will be delayed for the foreseeable future because of the Australian Governments Covid-19 quarantine requirements affecting Air New Zealand crew.

Last week the Australian government announced quarantine-free travel from New Zealand's South Island would resume from October 20 for double vaccinated people who had not been in the North Island for two weeks.

However, Air New Zealand tells Newsroom most of its crew are based out of Auckland, which means the Australian government's crew quarantine requirement is not viable for the airline.

Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty says as a result, only red-zone flights which require passengers to quarantine for 14 days from Auckland are flying to Australia.

READ MORE:* Home still feels far away for some Australians stranded in South Island* Covid-19: Stranded Australians baffled by lack of flights from Covid-free South Island* Air New Zealand's Australian quarantine flights sell out in three minutes

While we would love to be able to operate quarantine-free flights out of Christchurch, there are a number of operational issues for our airline. The Australian government has stated that our crew need to have been in the South Island for the preceding 14 days before quarantine-free flying. As our main crew group is based out of Auckland, this is unfortunately not viable, Geraghty says.

For our Aussie neighbours who have been stuck in Aotearoa for the past few months, we are operating two flights per week from Auckland to Sydney from November 5, and from December 1 these services will ramp up to six flights per week. Customers in the South Island are able to transit in Auckland and connect with these services.

David White/Stuff

Air New Zealand has confirmed only red-zone flights which require passengers to quarantine for 14 days from Auckland are flying to Australia due to crew quarantine requirements.

The airline says it is seeking clarification from the Australian government.

While there is a great degree of uncertainty at the moment, we look forward to gaining clarity on when we can get customers back in the air and deliver our world-renowned customer service.

But stranded Australians like LaToya Hamiora have been refreshing Air New Zealands website every day since the announcement and have had radio silence from the airline.

I was on the Air New Zealand website til like 1am because they said they were going to release some flights from the South Island to Sydney and Victoria. And nothing there was no update on the website, Hamiora says.

Debbie Jamieson/Stuff

Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty (file photo).

The Melbourne-based Kiwi came to visit her family, whom she hadnt seen for three years, in Christchurch three months ago.

I'm very fortunate that my parents are here. And I just feel for all those other Australians trying to get back.

Shes paid thousands in rent and bills for her Melbourne apartment no one has lived in for the time she has been stranded in New Zealand.

Hamiora has had her flights cancelled three times and each time the price has increased, reaching about $1000 for a one-way ticket.

Kiwi Kara Hunt and her Australian husband, along with her 5-year-old and 11-year-old children, were hoping to have moved into their Brisbane apartment by now.

But the family, who sold their house in New Zealand, are living out of suitcases in Invercargill while paying rent in Brisbane for weeks due to the ongoing uncertainty of when they can migrate to Australia and get on with their lives.

I don't know the politics of it all but it's absolutely awful. You don't know where you stand. Should we put the kids into school? How long do we have to stay here?

I'm extremely anxious because the longer we wait, there's the possibility that it will be too late. We know how quickly Delta can move. It takes one case to move like wildfire. So if you don't take the opportunity to take even a few people over, I'm scared it'll be too late.

Hunt says she spends her days refreshing Air New Zealand's website every half an hour for an update.

She says others living in limbo have set up Facebook pages and are considering splurging thousands of dollars on chartered flights to Australia.

The New Zealand Government suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia in September for a further eight weeks due to the Delta outbreaks and will review this decision mid-to-late November.

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Clarification Needed On MIQ For New Zealand Crews | Scoop News – Scoop.co.nz

Posted: at 11:04 pm

Friday, 22 October 2021, 1:20 pmPress Release: Maritime Union of New Zealand

The union representing New Zealand seafarers is askingthe Government to provide more clarity around MIQ rules forcrews working in international waters.

Maritime UnionWellington Branch Secretary Jim King says MUNZ memberscant understand the logic of a decision to make them stayisolated on their ship.

18 New Zealand seafarersaboard the MMA Vision, managed by New Plymouth-basedKingston Offshore Services, have been on board the vessel ininternational waters.

The crew returned negativeCOVID-19 tests before spending 19 days working at sea, buthave been denied an MIQ exemption.

Mr King says thereis no obvious reason for the crew members to be isolated asthey had not been in contact with anyone else.

TheMaritime Union fully supports strong measures to protecteveryone from COVID-19, but in this case it seems the rulesneed reviewing.

He says there is some confusionabout the apparent different treatment of crew members onthe interisland ferry Aratere, which recentlyreturned from Sydney after maintenance at the drydock.

Mr King says consistency is essential.

TheMMA Vision had been undertaking survey work of thesea floor for the new Southern Cross Cable, a major projectto increase New Zealand's internet capacity.

TheMaritime Union was awaiting a response from maritimeauthorities on theissue.

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Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesnt rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>

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Old Glory DC’s Mike Dabulas Prepares to Compete Against the New Zealand All Blacks in the 1874 Cup – Washington City Paper

Posted: at 11:04 pm

Not many professional rugby teams captured the attention of Mike Dabulas while he was growing up in New Jersey. He mostly played the sport, having been introduced to it by his father around age 6. But when Dabulas did watch professional rugby, he really only cared for one team: the New Zealand All Blacks. He would devour their matches on YouTube and one of his fathers friends would bring over DVDs of matches for them to watch together.

To Dabulas, the All Blacks, winners of the mens Rugby World Cup in 1987, 2011, and 2015, represented the best of the sport. Kind of like the [New England] Patriots in their peak, like nobody can touch them, Dabulas says. They have the best skills, best players, just the best team.

On Saturday, Oct. 23, at FedExField, Dabulas will be one of 23 players suiting up for the U.S. mens national rugby union team, commonly known as the Eagles, in a test match against the All Blacks for the 1874 Cup. The 24-year-old Dabulas will be a reserve fly-half and is the only player from Old Glory DC, the local Major League Rugby franchise, to make the roster. Jamason Faanana-Schultz, who also plays for Old Glory, participated in the 28-man training camp this week but did not make the final roster. He still has a chance to make the final 23 up until Saturday morning pending any injuries on the team, an Old Glory spokesperson tells City Paper. All the players for the USA Eagles this weekend also compete for one of the 12 Major League Rugby teams.

Its surreal, Dabulas says of playing against the All Blacks. Like Im watching film on these players and Im like, Ive been watching you for years. Damian McKenzie, Beauden Barrett, all those guys, Im like, Ive literally been watching you play at that level. And now I have to play against them? Its pretty funny.

The 1874 Cup, named for the first year that rugby was played in the United States, is aiming to help raise the profile of the countrys bid to host the mens Rugby World Cup in 2027 or 2031 and the womens Rugby World Cup in 2029. The U.S. has never hosted either event. The All Blacks, currently ranked No. 2 in the world by World Rugby, will be playing in the U.S. for the first time since 2016, and organizers and players hope that having one of the most storied teams in the match will bring additional attention to the sport.

Not every country gets to play the All Blacks, let alone host the All Blacks, so its a very special, rare event for any country in the world, says Faanana-Schultz, a 25-year-old native of Australia whose father is American. Faanana-Schultz is confident that fans will show up for the All Blacks, not only for their play on the field, but for the haka, the traditional prematch Mori dance that the players perform on the field.

The haka is one of the most well known spectacles and not just in rugby but any sport in the world or any event in the world, he says. The haka is an amazing thing and amazing thing just to watch.

Both Dabulas and Faanana-Schultz have seen rugbys growth in the United States. MLR launched in 2018 with seven teams and grew to 13 teams before the Colorado Raptors disbanded in 2020. Eleven of the 12 current teams are based in the U.S. with one, the Toronto Arrows, based in Canada.

I think its changed drastically. I know, growing up, obviously rugby wasnt very popular yet, Dabulas says. Now that the MLR is here, were on TV every week. Like, its pretty unreal. Thats not something I had when I was younger.

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Old Glory DC's Mike Dabulas Prepares to Compete Against the New Zealand All Blacks in the 1874 Cup - Washington City Paper

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Covid-19 is part of life in Auckland, but it doesn’t have to be for New Zealand – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: at 11:04 pm

OPINION: Covid-19 has moved to New Zealand, but that doesnt mean you should have to live with it.

We need our local leaders mayors, iwi and hap leaders, and the district health boards (DHBs) to stand up.

The pandemic is now too complex to handle from Wellington alone, and clearly requires insider solutions to low vaccination rates in some communities. We need local voices discussing the restrictions vs Covid-elimination payoff.

Its time for the Government to give control back to iwi and local leaders.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Minister Peeni Henare is responsible for the Governments Mori Health portfolio.

READ MORE:* Covid-19: Auckland should keep regional boundary 'as long as possible' to protect country* Covid-19: Risk remains for Mori and Pasifika even if Auckland hits 90% first doses* Covid-19 outbreak situation report: What happened today, October 8

The decision about whether Covid-19 should be allowed into communities beyond Waikato should rest only with those in those communities. According to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, these are not decisions the prime minister should make.

However, on Friday, televisions and radios will be tuned to the Beehive when we hear the Governments latest plan for getting out of Covid restrictions.

Will that plan involve iwi?

Will that plan give back power to councils to manage emergencies related to Covid-19?

Will that plan require DHBs to step up and be publicly accountable for the vaccination efforts in their regions? Despite having democratically elected leaders, most DHBs have remained silent throughout the pandemic.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Murupara on Thursday and walked through the drive-through vaccination centre.

So far, the public discussion has been focused on Jacinda Arderns Christmas plans. But if youre able to see all your friends and family at Christmas, that wont be because we have miraculously eradicated Covid-19.

It will be because the Government has allowed Covid-19 to spread. In Auckland, there is a good understanding that Covid-19 has settled in. Level 3 here is viewed as a holding pattern, while our immunity builds.

Most Aucklanders have accepted this. The Government has, by not directing us onto a different path, also accepted it on Aucklands behalf.

But what about the rest of the country?

A one-size-fits-all approach to Covid-19 will not work weve seen that with the lower vaccination rate of Mori.

No doubt many towns and iwi will be looking to Auckland and thinking no way. Most of the country has avoided uncontrolled outbreaks of Covid-19 so far, and surely has every right to continue to do.

However, the Government continues to effectively micro-manage the pandemic from Wellington.

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff

Glenn McConnell is a journalist and columnist at Stuff, from Te tiawa.

It has alluded to albeit in a fairly coy manner reopening for summer. That must surely concern community leaders from Hawkes Bay up to Tairwhiti, who call the countrys summer hotspots home, and often live in communities with far lower vaccination rates.

The Government removed councils ability to declare local states of emergency in relation to Covid-19, in an amendment to the Civil Defence Emergency Act last year. Previously, the Act could have allowed councils to impose their own restrictions to control outbreaks.

So, if the Government chooses to open the country up, there will be little local leaders can do to stop it.

The solutions for Auckland and Wellington, both with very high vaccination rates, will not work in the suburbs of Christchurch or Rotorua.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a drive-through vaccination centre.

Look to towns such as Murupara and Rotorua. They have incredibly low vaccination rates. If Covid-19 was let loose in those communities, it would be truly horrendous. In Murupara, less than 40 per cent of the town has received a dose of Pfizer.

From the podium and in interviews, Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield have been the stars of the pandemic response. Last week, Ardern travelled to Murupara and other towns with low vaccination rates to try and help those vaccinators on the ground.

But the prime minister cannot be in every town, holding the hands of every vaccine-hesitant citizen.

Weve reached the stage of the pandemic where local solutions are needed.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have become the faces of the pandemic response.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi ensures tino rangatiratanga for hap. The term carries a lot of meaning, but it describes a persons right to access the resources to ensure they can live their best life. In Te Tiriti, it asserts that the leaders of hap have the authority to set their own course.

The next step of the pandemic, where we need to reach everyone and adjust to the virus on our shores, is far more complex. Te Tiriti can help.

Weve seen the effect of a Wellington-led vaccination effort, which has resulted in inequitable vaccination that risks derailing our journey out of Covid-19 restrictions.

The relationship between Mori leaders in Whnau Ora agencies and Wellington has got so bad that John Tamihere is taking the Ministry of Health to court.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF/Stuff

John Tamihere at a West Auckland vaccination centre.

He alleges the ministry refused to provide information that would have allowed his team to contact Mori yet to be vaccinated. Other Mori health providers have said they did not receive the resources to vaccinate everyone, and in Gisborne theyre literally fundraising on GiveALittle to get a mobile vaccination clinic.

These community leaders know their people better than the Ministry of Health does.

Its time we trusted them, and give them the power their tino rangatiratanga to keep their iwi, towns, hap and whnau safe.

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Covid-19 is part of life in Auckland, but it doesn't have to be for New Zealand - Stuff.co.nz

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