New Zealand Sat, 30 May 2020 08:43:27 +0300 <![CDATA[New Zealand beaches turn red as lobsters dig in to the death]]> Swaths of coastline covered with squat lobster, which cling to the sand at high tide and then perish

The sandy beaches of Otago in the deep south of New Zealand have turned blood red after millions of squat lobster died in a series of mass strandings.

Locals in the small coastal communities of Broad Bay and Edwards Bay, who have seen whole swaths of coastline saturated in colour, reported the phenomenon to the national broadcaster this week.

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<![CDATA[Teenager rescued trying to take tiny boat between New Zealand's South and North Islands]]> Eighteen-year-old travelled for more than 100km in a motorised vessel before it broke down

A teenage boy has been rescued by New Zealand police after sailing more than 100km between the South and North Islands in the middle of the night in a metal dingy.

The 18-year-old set off from Kenepuru Sound at the northern tip of the South Island around 10pm on Wednesday night, police said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[New Zealand hikers rescued after 18 days got lost in fog]]> Jessica O’Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, ran out of food in Kahurangi national park

Two hikers rescued after being missing for 18 days in the New Zealand wilderness got lost in fog and ran out of food but survived with only minor injuries, police have said.

Jessica O’Connor and Dion Reynolds, both 23, hiked into the sprawling Kahurangi national park on 9 May, intending to be gone for about five days, but they became lost in fog within the first few days and ran out of food, police said on Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[New Zealanders – like Jacinda Ardern – might not be shocked by earthquakes, but we do get scared | Charlotte Graham-McClay]]> Many of us recognised ourselves in the PM’s cool response to an earthquake on live TV, but we do fear the ‘big one’

As I awoke to the bedroom shuddering and rattling around me on Monday morning, my first thought was a frantic household census, followed by the realisation that I was alone at home and not responsible for anyone’s safety but my own. My second, before my eyes had even properly unstuck themselves from sleep, was: “Ugh, not this again.”

Moments later, the earthquake – a magnitude 5.9 shake that hit about an hour’s drive north of Wellington, New Zealand, where I live – was subsiding. It rattled the lower part of the North Island for just 15 seconds or so, long enough for a little tendril of fear to uncurl – would it build, or die away? Was this “the big one”?

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<![CDATA['We're having a bit of an earthquake – we're fine.' Is Jacinda Ardern unshakeable?]]> The New Zealand prime minister has calmly steered her country in the face of a massacre, an eruption, and a pandemic. Now she is laughing in the face of seismic shakes

Name: Jacinda Ardern v the earthquake.

Age: New Zealand prime minister Ardern is 39; the earthquake was on Monday morning.

Appearance: Wobbly.

Jacinda? No, she was cool, calm and smiling throughout. It was everything around her that was shaking as the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck during a live interview she was giving to a breakfast TV station from a room in the New Zealand parliament building in Wellington. “We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here … we’re fine,” she told interviewer Ryan Bridge.

What a hero! I wonder how Boris Johnson would have reacted. He would probably have dived under the lectern or maybe hidden behind deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries.

Ardern is having quite a time in office. You can say that again. As journalist Michael Field put it: “What’s an earthquake when, as prime minister, you’ve dealt with a massacre, an eruption and a pandemic.”

She survived them all. More than that, she brought the nation together at a time of fear and adversity. She responded quickly to the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, embraced the Muslim community, and immediately banned semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. She showed the same empathy after the White Island eruption in December 2019 and her policy of locking down early in response to the coronavirus pandemic made New Zealand a model for best practice.

Amazing. Indeed. She also became the second world leader ever to give birth while in office when she welcomed daughter Neve Te Aroha in June 2018.

She seems too good to be true. Maybe our expectations have been lowered by the quality of leaders elsewhere in the world.

There must be something bad about her we can dig up. The Financial Times doesn’t think so, headlining an article that praised her attention to detail in the handling of the coronavirus crisis “Arise Saint Jacinda, a leader for our troubled times”. But there are some who say the lockdown has been over the top and devastated the New Zealand economy unnecessarily. “We don’t want to squash a flea with a sledgehammer and bring the house down,” said one Auckland-based epidemiologist.

How has she responded to the criticism? She took a 20% pay cut to show solidarity with her country’s suffering workers, and is now floating the controversial idea of a four-day working week in a bid to boost domestic tourism.

How are her poll ratings? Stratospheric. Off the political Richter scale. Her personal approval rating is 65% while the opposition leader is on 7%.

Continue reading...]]> Mon, 25 May 2020 17:30:53 +0300
<![CDATA[New Zealand Earthquake Interrupts Jacinda Ardern’s TV Interview]]> Mon, 25 May 2020 10:57:21 +0300 <![CDATA[New Zealand earthquake: PM Jacinda Ardern live on TV in Wellington as North Island hit]]> Leader says she can feel ‘quite a decent shake here’ as the 5.8 quake strikes during a live interview

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has developed a reputation for keeping her cool in the face of a crisis. But an earthquake first thing on Monday morning as she was interviewed live on television seemed like an unusually trying way to start a week.

“We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here,” Ardern told Ryan Bridge, a host for Newshub’s AM Show, live on air. Casting her eyes to the ceiling of the room she was standing in at New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington, she remained in place as the television camera jolted.

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<![CDATA[Coronavirus in New Zealand: How Jacinda Ardern Sold a Drastic Lockdown]]> Sat, 23 May 2020 07:36:38 +0300 <![CDATA[New Zealand's opposition leader Simon Bridges dumped after crash in popularity]]> Todd Muller takes top job in National party ahead of September’s election against popular Jacinda Ardern

The leader of New Zealand’s opposition has been removed by his party in a desperate bid to install a figurehead who can match Jacinda Ardern’s star power in the upcoming September general election.

National party MP Todd Muller won a secret party room vote against Simon Bridges, a former criminal prosecutor who recent polls have found to be deeply unpopular with the general public. The vote took less than an hour. Nikki Kaye was chosen as his deputy.

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<![CDATA['Could be a bit strange': New Zealand bars to reopen but fun is kept at arm's length]]> No live music, no bar, table service only, and a ‘visible’ police presence but excitement bubbles at the chance for a night out

Dancing, hook-ups and bar banter will be off the menu as New Zealand’s pubs and bars reopen on Thursday night, with some saying the social distancing requirements will make for a “sad and strange” atmosphere in the nation’s party hotspots.

Last week, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, moved the country from coronavirus lockdown level 3 to level 2, meaning most shops and restaurants could reopen, as well as schools, workplaces and public amenities.

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<![CDATA['Snap back'? Jacinda Ardern snaps forward with a four day week: no wonder she's popular | Van Badham]]> Ardern’s idea upends four decades of neoliberal insistence that workplace ‘flexibility’ is the purview only of employers

The popularity of New Zealand’s Labour prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is, presently, stratospheric. With the confidence of popularity, her government is positioned to promote political ideas that were almost beyond imagination only a few months ago. One of them, mooted on Wednesday, is encouraging the country into a four-day working week.

Ardern’s leadership of New Zealand through the coronavirus crisis has compounded credentials well established by her government’s deft and empathetic handling of the horrific massacre in Christchurch last year. When corona hit, the lockdown of the country was swift, draconian and effective; there have only been 21 deaths from the disease to date in New Zealand, and while the rest of the world grapples with a rising number of daily cases, no new cases have been reported in New Zealand in three days.

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<![CDATA['Bring our boys back home': rugby team from Tonga trapped in New Zealand due to Covid-19]]> The 29-strong squad have been sleeping on the floor of an Auckland church and surviving off donated food after Tonga closed its borders

For the past six weeks, the days have followed a particular pattern for the players and coaching staff of the Tu’uakitau rugby team from Tonga.

They get up from their beds – mattresses on the floor of a church in Auckland where they are locked down – pray, sing hymns, eat a breakfast made of donated food, and then train.

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<![CDATA[Jacinda Ardern flags four-day working week as way to rebuild New Zealand after Covid-19]]> Prime minister says flexible working options can boost productivity and domestic tourism and improve work/life balance

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has suggested employers consider a four-day working week and other flexible working options as a way to boost tourism and help employees address persistent work/life balance issues.

In a Facebook live video Ardern said people had suggested everything from the shorter work week to more public holidays as a means to stimulate the economy and encourage domestic tourism, while the borders remain closed to foreign nationals.

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<![CDATA[Neil Gaiman apologises to people of Skye for breaking lockdown rules]]> American Gods author says he needed space so travelled ‘masked and gloved’ from New Zealand to his home on the island

Neil Gaiman has apologised to “everyone on the island” of Skye after he was spoken to by local police for travelling more than 11,000 miles from New Zealand to his home there, in breach of Scotland’s lockdown rules.

Gaiman, the author of the Sandman comics, Coraline and American Gods, left New Zealand at the start of May, writing on his blog that he and his wife Amanda Palmer had “found ourselves in a rough place” and “needed to give each other some space, which had been in very short supply in lockdown in New Zealand”. He departed when the country moved into “level three” of its lockdown, and flew “masked and gloved” to London before driving to Skye.

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<![CDATA[Jacinda Ardern hits poll high as National urged to get over Bridges]]> New Zealand opposition slumps to 30.6 with calls growing to replace its beleaguered leader amid government’s successful handling of Covid-19

New Zealand’s Labour party led by Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, has skyrocketed in popularity, climbing 14 percentage points to 56.5%, meaning it would be in a position to govern without coalition partners if it won the next election.

Ardern herself has become the most popular New Zealand prime minister in a century, climbing up 20.8 points to 59.5%. She told Newshub it was a “privileged opportunity to be leading at this time”.

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<![CDATA[New Zealand braces for spike in child abuse reports as Covid-19 lockdown eases]]> Head of children’s welfare agency says toll could start to emerge after lockdown created ‘perfect storm’ of stress for struggling families

As hundreds of thousands of children return to classrooms around New Zealand, welfare services are bracing themselves for a spike in reports of abuse and neglect after weeks of “invisible” lockdown.

The country entered lockdown on 25 March and emerged late last week. During lockdown reports of family violence to police dropped, and reports of concern to Oranga Tamariki, the country’s welfare agency for children, fell by around 40%.

Continue reading...]]> Mon, 18 May 2020 05:27:21 +0300
<![CDATA[Global report: Shanghai schools to partly reopen, New Orleans restaurants restart]]> Lockdowns around the world continue to loosen as China reports highest level of internal travel since February

China’s commercial hub of Shanghai announced the restart of classes for younger students amid falling virus cases, while New Orleans’ famed restaurants have been allowed to reopen with a limited number of diners.

China’s airline regulator also reported numbers of flights had returned to 60% of pre-outbreak levels, exceeding 10,000 per day for the first time since 1 February. No new deaths have been reported in a month in the world’s second-largest economy, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year.

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<![CDATA[Jacinda Ardern rejected from cafe at coronavirus capacity]]> New Zealand prime minister unable to be accommodated under distancing rules

It’s rare for a country’s leader to just casually drop into a cafe for a snack. Rarer still for them to be turned away.

But that is exactly what happened on Saturday when the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was turned away from a popular cafe in Wellington which was full due to coronavirus distancing measures.

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<![CDATA[Bathing bears and bungee-jumping mayors: the week's most uplifting clips – video]]> As countries around the world adjust to life with Covid-19, people are finding new ways to enjoy themselves responsibly. From the restaurant using plush pandas to help with social distancing, to a drive-in rave in Germany, these are the week’s most cheering clips

Continue reading...]]> Fri, 15 May 2020 20:35:12 +0300
<![CDATA[Why Are Women-Led Nations Doing Better With Covid-19?]]> Fri, 15 May 2020 20:20:44 +0300 <![CDATA[Reunions, eating out and a lot of haircuts: New Zealand embraces relaxation of lockdown]]> Children can return to playgrounds, families can meet and restaurants can seat groups of 10 under new rules

Joshua Young was raring to get to the Tahunanui Beach playground on Friday morning.

For almost two months, the seven-year-old Nelson resident has had to see one of his favourite play spots wrapped up in caution tape, while New Zealand undertook the strictest lockdown in its history.

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