New Zealand

NZ opens up pathway for trial shipments of Tongan watermelon

 The issuance came yesterday afternoon, provisionally lifting the suspension of such produce which came after the discovery of live fruit fly at the New Zealand border in a shipment of Tongan watermelons nearly two months ago.

In a statement, Peter Thomson from Biosecurity New Zealand, said approval had been given to Tonga to implement corrective actions and improved processes for exporting watermelons.

"It is critical that MPI [Ministry of Primary Industries] has confidence that these processes are fully implemented before we fully reinstate the pathway.

NZ Govt to allow 2000 horticulture workers in from Pacific under strict conditions

Growers had complained that without these workers, some produce would rot unpicked.

The government has however imposed strict conditions.

The workers would have to be paid the living wage, of at least $22.10 an hour.

Their quarantine costs would have to be paid by their employer and workers would be paid for at least 30 hours a week while in quarantine.

Recruits would come from island nations in the Pacific, but the government has not specified which countries will be chosen.

Nearly 100 pilot whales die in mass stranding off New Zealand islands

Conservation officers said they were notified about the incident on Sunday but by the time they reached the location, Waitangi West Beach, few of the animals were still alive.

In total, 97 whales and three dolphins have died.

It is unclear what caused the stranding on the islands, which are 800km (500 miles) east of New Zealand.

Eight new isolation cases, Air NZ Covid-19 case confirmed

The ministry said the crew member had been retested and returned another positive result, so was now a confirmed case, but all of the tests for the person's 11 contacts had returned negative.

The person had seven close contacts and six casual contacts, the ministry said.

It said only 10 people were recorded as having signed in at Animates Manukau between 1.22pm and 2.11pm when the person had been there, after the ministry sent a push notification to them.

Australian police target online paedophile network with links in New Zealand

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the operation was one of Australia's most significant efforts targeting child exploitation.

Investigators identified links through the online forums to alleged child sex offenders residing in Europe, Asia, United States and Canada, and New Zealand, with 146 international referrals made as a result of this investigation, AFP said.

Tonga RSE workers demand more flight seats to get home for Christmas

Sefita Hao’uli who is a spokesperson for RSE workers says the next flight is on the 19th of this month with a confirmed limit of only 40 seats.

“This would be our fourth repatriation flight. Just over 300 workers out of 1300 workers that are in New Zealand ​have been able to return home​.

“It’s quite clear that we’re unable to meet the demands."​

Hao'uli say many workers have decided to stay and work throughout the holiday season due to the tight border restrictions.

Tonga prepares for repatriation flights from New Zealand and Australia

The flight from New Zealand is scheduled for 19 November and the one from Australia is due to arrive on 24 November.

According to a travel advisory only Tongan citizens and permanent residents can enter Tonga at this time.

Most international flights have been cancelled, and options to leave are extremely limited.

A state of emergency is in force and activities are restricted to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile 251 repatriated passengers that arrived from Australia and New Zealand last week have tested negative for Covid-19.

Worker at Auckland quarantine facility tests positive for Covid-19

In a statement, the Ministry said the person works at the facility and is not a returnee, so are considered a community case.

The case was reported to the Ministry this afternoon.

It said the person had been tested regularly. They were most recently swabbed on 3 November and returned a negative test the next day.

But the staff member then developed symptoms on 5 November and was tested again that day. That test has returned a positive result.

Contacts of the worker are being traced, isolated and tested.

Family at forefront for Kiwi-Pasifika boxers in 'Fight of the Century'

The Samoan and Tongan New Zealanders are all square at two wins a piece from their previous four meetings as amateurs, and they have plenty to fight for.

Junior Fa is all set for what's been billed as the 'Fight of the Century', but there's one person who will be missing from his corner - his dad and secondary trainer, Uaine Fa - who passed away due to cancer last year.

A Tongan-born amateur boxer in his youth and the biggest influence in Junior's career, Uaine Fa was the man resposible for his son's boxing career.

New Zealand's Ardern unveils 'incredibly diverse' cabinet

Mahuta, who has an indigenous Maori facial tattoo, replaces populist Winston Peters, whose New Zealand First party flunked in the 5-million nation's October 17 election.

Ardern appointed Grant Robertson as her new deputy premier, making him the first openly gay person to hold the position. Robertson, a chief strategist in Ardern's election campaign, will also remain New Zealand's finance minister.

Ardern's new 20-member cabinet is comprised of five Maori, three LGBT+ members and two with Pacific island links.