New Zealand

Covid testing will not lead to penalties for invalid visa holders - NZ govt

Hundreds of seasonal workers have been stranded in New Zealand over recent months, some with expiring visas.

Pacific leaders had already raised concern about those with uncertain immigration status missing out on assistance or healthcare because of fear of being discovered.

However the minister, Chris Hipkins, encouraged them to get tested for Covid-19 if they needed to.

"We will not use the information collected through the Covid-19 testing process for other purposes, including for immigration purposes," Mr Hipkins said.

Six new cases of Covid-19 in NZ today - five in community, one imported case

Five are in the community and related to the Auckland cluster and one is an imported case.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says the imported case is a woman in her 50s who arrived on 14 August and has been in the Sudima Hotel.

He says there are five people in hospital, one in Auckland City and one in Middlemore.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are no additional cases related to the Rydges Hotel maintenance worker who tested positive for Covid-19.

That brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand to 1299.

Seven new cases of COVID-19 in the community in NZ today

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were no new cases to report from managed isolation.

The one new case that remains under investigation is in addition to the one case yesterday that is being investigated.

"But in both cases we feel quite confident that they will be linked to the outbreak."

He said 54 people linked to the cluster have been moved to a quarantine facility, including 24 of the people who have tested positive.

The seven new cases reported today bring the total number of confirmed cases to 1258.

Auckland War Memorial Museum donates to Tonga Royal Archives

In May 2016, Auckland Museum launched the Pacific Collection Access Project (PCAP) to improve knowledge and understanding of the Museum’s Pacific collection; and undertake cataloguing; conservation and storage improvements to the collection including ensuring all taonga are available online.

PCAF has collections from: Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai’i, Kiribati, Niue, Pitcairn, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna and Tonga.

New Zealand locks down Auckland after cases end 102-day run

A three-day lockdown was swiftly imposed in Auckland after the cases were confirmed.

The four new cases are all members of a single family. None had travelled recently.

The restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, as authorities scramble to trace contacts of the family.

Auckland residents will be asked to stay at home, large gatherings will be banned, non-essential businesses will be shut, and some social-distancing restrictions will be reintroduced in the rest of the country.

Tonga prepares for second NZ repatriation flight

The NEMC also discussed a few process concerns as members are now anticipated to bring the second repatriation flight from New Zealand later this month.

The Chairman of the NEMC, Poasi Tei acknowledged the NEMC members and staff for the hard work in bringing back the first 150 repatriated passengers from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank all of you for the work well done and your tireless support to bring back our first 150 passengers from NZ and also the safety of our people. Even though there were challenges but it all went well in the end.”

150 Tongan nationals return home on first NZ repatriation flight

The passengers were tested for COVID-19 in New Zealand last week and the results were all negative.

CEO for Health, Dr. Siale ‘Akau’ola said, the flight brought many passengers in comparison to the repatriation flight from Fiji and the passengers were required to present their COVID-19 test certificates to the Ministry of Health Boarder Control Team at the airport.

Microsoft to explore buying TikTok's New Zealand operations

US President Donald Trump says the US government should get a "substantial portion" of the sales price of the US operations of TikTok and warned he will ban the service in the United States on September 15 without a sale.

The turnaround came after Trump said he was planning to ban the Chinese-owned video app's US operations as soon as Saturday after dismissing a possible sale to Microsoft.

Reuters reported last week that some investors are valuing TikTok at about $US50 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.

Former All Blacks star Julian Savea reveals plans for future in New Zealand rugby

Savea has joined his Hurricanes teammates in camp, following his return to the franchise. The last time the man nicknamed ‘The Bus’ played for them was in the 2018 semi-final against the Crusaders.

He spent the last two European rugby seasons with Toulon in the French Top 14, before departing in March.

Savea says he initially reached out to the Canes when returning to New Zealand, who hold a special place in his heart having spent his entire provincial career in Wellington.

“I would love to [stay], but it’s out of my hands at the moment,” he said.

Gymnasts laid complaints about alleged abuse

Multiple gymnasts and coaches individually laid complaints with Gymnastics New Zealand (GNZ) about the actions of a coach brought in from the USA for an international training camp, RNZ understands.

Complaints ranged from verbal abuse - which resulted in the elite athletes hiding from the coach to avoid continuing training - through to dangerous training methods in which one gymnast fell on her head and gymnasts being told to train against medical advice.