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  • NZ slams Qatar as citizen revealed as victim of intimate airport examination

    Foreign ministry says pelvic examination of woman was ‘completely unacceptable’ and a full report is being sought New Zealand has revealed one of its citizens was among the women subjected to invasive pelvic examinations at Doha airport, labelling the action “completely unacceptable”. “We were extremely concerned to learn ... that a New Zealand national was involved in the appalling incident involving female passengers on several Qatar Airways flights,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement late Thursday. Related: 'I was absolutely terrified': Australian witness recounts Qatar strip-search ordeal Continue reading...

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  • Dead review – stoner serial-killer comedy runs out of puff

    A ghost cop pursues the man who murdered him in a well-meaning spoof that trips itself up in the final act The ghost of a cop refuses to pass to the other side until he catches the serial killer responsible for his murder in this cheerfully silly low-budget comedy horror from New Zealand. It doesn’t quite pull it off as a spoofy send-up – there are too few laughs and no scares. But director Hayden J Weal (he was Martin Freeman’s body double in all three Hobbit films) gives a well-tuned comic performance as the policeman, appearing at first glance to be standard-issue ramrod cop but actually more interesting and far sweeter. Weal plays officer Jason Tagg, who was stabbed to death in the line of duty while giving chase to a hoodie-wearing masked serial killer – he is victim No 7. While jump…

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  • New Zealand house prices soar despite Covid recession, worsening affordability crisis

    Property market posted an 11% rise in median values, masking rising homelessness and a widening social divide, critics say New Zealand house prices have defied the Covid-19 recession and soared to record levels, prompting warnings that the hot property market will damage the country’s long-term economic wellbeing and widen inequality. New Zealand, which already had some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, saw median prices rise 11.1 % in the year to September, while the median price in Auckland reached nearly $1m (US$660,000). Prices rose 2.5% across the country in September compared with August. Related: New Zealand must cast off its worries about government debt in its Covid recovery | Max Harris Related: New Zealand housing crisis: just 47 'affordable' homes built in six mon…

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  • New Zealand counts down to verdicts on cannabis and euthanasia votes

    Campaigners for legal changes could be stymied by voter desire for the status quo after a tumultuous year The results of New Zealand’s referendums on whether to legalise cannabis and euthanasia will be released this week, with campaigners nervous that the upheavals of 2020 could have tilted the vote to the status quo. Political experts say that in years of unrest and instability voters tend to veer towards keeping things as they are, which could affect the likelihood of both referendum questions passing. Related: New Zealand euthanasia vote: polls point to 'yes' amid campaign of fear and doubt Related: How wider political agenda risks skewing New Zealand's cannabis referendum | Claire Robinson Continue reading...

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  • Jacinda Ardern holds all the cards but should still keep the Greens sweet

    While Labour’s landslide makes a coalition in New Zealand extremely unlikely, the PM might set up a ‘consultation’ deal with the smaller party New Zealand’s Labour and Green parties have met for the third time to discuss what role the latter might play in the new government expected to be formed by Jacinda Ardern within days. With Labour holding all the cards after its landslide victory earlier this month, a formal coalition government is seen as extremely unlikely after the latest talks on Tuesday. Related: The Green party won in Auckland by reaching beyond its own bubble | Chlöe Swarbrick Related: 'We made history': New Zealand Greens on the rise after voters return to the fold Continue reading...

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  • Free meat, milk and firewood: New Zealand's dairy farms try to lure local workers

    Dairy industry contributes NZ$15bn to the economy, but farms are struggling to find workers amid Covid Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage New Zealand farmers are so desperate for workers that they are offering unlimited supplies of free meat, milk, honey and firewood to tempt employees onto remote properties. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, ordered the closure of her country’s borders in mid-March, sparing New Zealand the worst of Covid-19. Related: New Zealand's Covid-19 response the best in the world, say global business leaders Related: New Zealand's 4% unemployment rate masks a deeper Covid hit to the labour market | Brad Olsen Continue reading...

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  • The Green party won in Auckland by reaching beyond its own bubble | Chlöe Swarbrick

    A minor party hasn’t won a general electorate seat in well over 20 years. The result shows what is possible when convention is scrapped I was making toast in my tiny apartment kitchen four weeks ahead of election day. Not that I really had track of the days. They had melded into one ever-extending runway as Auckland went through its second Covid-19 lockdown and New Zealand’s election date was pushed back a month. We were a few months into an insurgent campaign for an electorate seat at the centre of the country’s largest city. We’d built a team of hundreds of people – particularly young people, some so young they couldn’t even vote yet – who, despite their claims to the contrary, were all doing a lot more than the least they could do. They were about to make history. Related: New Zealand…

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  • Queensland investigates Covid-19 strain on cargo ship after New Zealand alert

    MV Sofrana Surville barred from docking after officials in New Zealand said crew members on departing cargo ship might have new strain Queensland health officials are working to determine the strain of Covid-19 infecting the crew of a cargo ship anchored off the Australian state’s Sunshine Coast. The MV Sofrana Surville was blocked from docking in Brisbane after New Zealand warned it could be carrying a new strain of the virus. Related: Jacinda Ardern promotes coronavirus 'travel bubble' between Australia and New Zealand Related: Australia-New Zealand travel bubble to partially open within two weeks Continue reading...

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  • Tova O'Brien: my 'feral' interview with Covid-19 denier Jami-Lee Ross

    Good journalists know balanced reporting is not as simple as providing both sides of the story. You have to squash falsehoods Like the families of 1.14 million people worldwide, our family has lost people we love to Covid-19. They are people who would not have died were it not for this deadly, hyper-contagious virus. We are in a global pandemic that is at least 15 times more fatal than seasonal influenza. When people argue otherwise it puts more lives at risk; more families will mourn. Covid-19 conspiracies are dangerous. In New Zealand those conspiracies were driven by arguments against lockdowns and misinformation about the seriousness of the virus. Continue reading...

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  • Australian PM pushes for quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand by Christmas

    The prime minister outlined a three-stage plan to bring Australia to Covid-normal at the national cabinet meeting on Friday Scott Morrison wants quarantine-free international travel to New Zealand by Christmas, as part of a three-stage plan to get the nation to Covid-normal by the end of the year. The prime minister outlined the plan at the national cabinet meeting on Friday, with a travel bubble potentially including other approved low-risk nations, and a trial, operating from early December, to allow seasonal workers and international students to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine outside of a supervised hotel setting. Related: Victoria to conduct covert surveillance of businesses to ensure Covid compliance Related: Muslim community leaders fear hate attacks after student at Islami…

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