More than 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the world

More than 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the world

Source: Save The Children

Save the Children launches largest ever appeal to help prevent hundreds of thousands of children from dying of hunger

With an estimated 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the globe, the world is facing the biggest global hunger crisis of the 21st century, Save the Children warned. A further 13 million children under 18 are facing extreme food shortages, the organisation said.

For the first time in decades, child hunger and malnutrition is on the rise, Save the Children said, with many families and communities struggling to provide their children with enough nutritious food.

A deadly combination of COVID-19, conflicts, and the impacts of climate change have pushed hunger and malnutrition levels to a record global high. Without urgent action, we could see thousands of children starving to death, reversing decades of progress, Save the Children warned.

In Syria, hunger levels rose by 56 percent between 2019 and the end of 2020, with two in three people in the country needing food or livelihood support. In Burkina Faso and Yemen, hunger levels rose by almost 10 percent. In Afghanistan, almost one in two children under five (3.1 million children) are facing acute malnutrition and need life-saving treatment. 

Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said:
“Storms, floods, droughts, wars and the COVID-19 crisis have deeply impacted harvests, livestock, food prices and people’s livelihoods. But in today’s world, where there is enough food to feed every child and adult if we distribute it fairly, it is outrageous that millions face malnutrition and starvation. We have an opportunity to save many of these children, but we need to act now.” 

To stop a disaster from unfolding further, Save the Children is launching the largest ever appeal in its history, aiming to raise $130 million in the coming months.

Hasna*, 23, is a young Syrian mother who had to flee her home in northeast Syria. She and her 18-month-old son Majad* are both malnourished:
“Sometimes, when I breastfeed my son, my milk isn’t enough for him. I therefore give him some rice or bulgur. There is nothing else I can feed him [like] fruit or meat.”
“I started seeing his health getting bad. They measured his arm and they said he had malnutrition. They measured mine as well and said I had malnutrition also. There was nothing I could do. I came back to the tent and started crying.”

In crises, children are always the most vulnerable. Without adequate nutritious food, children cannot develop as they should and are at a high risk of acute malnutrition. This can lead to stunting or death, with irreversible damage to a child’s physical and cognitive development.  

Save the Children’s warning was triggered after analysing Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) data, looking at the number of children in the two highest levels of acute food insecurity. According to the analysis:

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest number of children under five who are facing emergency levels of food shortages: 1.1 million children.
  • In Yemen, almost 700,000 children under five face critical food shortages and in Afghanistan, almost half a million children are facing extreme hunger. 
  • This includes an estimated 41 million people experiencing IPC4, which means they are only one step away from famine.
  • A further 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of this year alone.
  • In 2020, 45 million children under the age of five were wasted. Without action, an additional 9.3 million more children could suffer wasting.

Save the Children said that even without famines being officially declared, many more children are dying from diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria as a direct impact of extreme food insecurity and malnutrition. These are largely preventable diseases if world leaders and humanitarian organisations act swiftly.

Ms Ashing continued: “Our teams on the ground are seeing the number of malnutrition cases rise by the day. No child should ever go hungry. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa, when up to 260,000 people died, many of them children.”

“There’s no vaccine for hunger, but there is a solution if we act now. Governments have to step up, honour their commitments, and do their part before it becomes a death sentence for so many children and adults.”

Save the Children is calling on governments to fully fund humanitarian response plans, and support social protection schemes and health and nutrition services for children, including the treatment of acute malnutrition. We’re urging donors to prioritise humanitarian cash and voucher assistance for families, and to prioritise the increased risks of violence—particularly gender-based violence—caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation also urges influential governments to push for humanitarian access in all contexts, so all children can receive the support they need.

To truly put an end to global hunger and the malnutrition crisis, however, the international community must address the root causes of food and nutrition insecurity. Mitigating the worst effects of COVID-19 is just part of the solution, Save the Children said. Only by putting an end to global conflict, tackling changing climate and food systems, and building more resilient systems and communities will we be able to ensure the same warnings do not ring out again in the coming years.

For Save the Children’s appeal, please see here.

Notes to editors: 

  • The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) is an internationally recognised famine early-warning system, based on a scale from one (minimal food stress) to five (catastrophe/famine). 
  • To calculate the number of children under five and under 18 years old on the brink of starvation, Save the Children used the number of people in IPC4 or higher in 36 countries or areas for which IPC data is available, and cross checked it with the UN’s population data. On average, 14.1 percent of the population in these countries or areas are children under five, and another 31.6 percent is between 5 and 18 years old. We applied these percentages to the number of 41 million people living in the highest food insecurity levels

For more information or spokespeople, feel free to reach out:

AFGHANISTAN: Thousands of children losing access to education as schools attacked in escalating conflict

AFGHANISTAN: Thousands of children losing access to education as schools attacked in escalating conflict

Source: Save The Children

After the burning of dozens of schools and with six children injured today in the eastern province of Nangarhar when an unexploded mortar shell went off, Save the Children is calling for all parties in the escalating conflict in Afghanistan to abide by international humanitarian law and ensure children and schools do not become collateral damage.

Save the Children last week in Kandahar, a province in southern Afghanistan, found about 25 schools damaged in one district alone, potentially preventing almost 28,000 students from returning to their classrooms when they reopen. While schools are currently closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the country, they must be protected as safe spaces for children, it warned.

A number of schools were burned to the ground in the northern province of Faryab, including a school supported by Save the Children which was destroyed by rockets and stray bullets on 22 June.

Mohammad Moradi, the headmaster of the school, said:

“Our school had 947 students and 18 teachers, and Save the Children helped us with textbooks and facilities for hand washing. Unfortunately, our school building is now gone.”

Athena Rayburn, Director of Advocacy and Media at Save the Children Afghanistan said:

“Children in Afghanistan have already endured the trauma of war for too long. The destruction of these schools is a violation of Afghan children’s rights and will prevent them from being able to return to school – the only chance they have for a better future. Children play no part in conflict and yet, as is too often the case, they are paying the price for this escalating violence. The hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children are being destroyed.

“All parties to the conflict must ensure the protection of children and schools. Children and the places that provide them with safe haven must never become collateral damage”

Notes to editors:
Save the Children has been working in Afghanistan since 1976 to deliver lasting change to the lives of children across the country. We have provincial offices in Kabul, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Kunduz, Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh and Faryab. We work closely with children, parents, teachers, village councils, religious leaders, government ministries, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders. Our programmes focus on education, health and nutrition, child protection, food security and livelihood, and humanitarian response.

For more info, feel free to reach out to:

Master’s graduate wins Grand Ideas competition

Master's graduate wins Grand Ideas competition

Source: Massey University


Grand Ideas 2021 winner Hayley Fung.


Master of Management graduate Hayley Fung has big dreams of revolutionising community engagement in the construction industry.

She recently graduated after studying by distance part-time while working full-time in the construction industry as a project manager. She’s currently contracting as a software project manager.

The inspiration for her winning entry, UpdateCove, was born after seven years working in the sector.

“Being passionate about digital transformation and driving innovation with technology, I noticed there were lots of ways we could improve processes. As I became more experienced as a project manager, I found that a lot of the communication was very ineffective. And as a resident, I’ve faced the common frustration in local communities of not knowing what was happening with road works or why there might be cones sitting outside my house. These inspired me to use digital tools to help make communication on construction projects more efficient,” she says.

Boredom during one of the lockdowns resulted in working on UpdateCove. Ms Fung says it was a long process from idea to action, with lots of feedback sought and many iterations.

“When we did the pilot with the custom-built prototype website, it was just to prove the concept.  At that time, it was still quite a fresh idea and we hadn’t thought about making it a bigger thing. But it gradually evolved and I eventually realised it had potential to benefit the whole construction industry. This led to me coming up with the idea that we could build a platform that provides construction companies and government agencies with tools such as project websites and sentiment analysis so they could improve engagement and make data-driven decisions. We now have our first user on board trialling our product and providing feedback.”

UpdateCove co-founders Hayley Fung and Nathanuel Mills.


The Grand Ideas competition is run by the ecentre for Massey University students, distance students, and staff who have a great idea for a commercial or social enterprise. Winners gain access to $5000 and bespoke support from the ecentre to progress their idea.

“When I found out about Grand Ideas, I was really excited that ecentre and Massey University were supporting student entrepreneurs. I entered because I knew that even if I didn’t win, pitching to a panel of judges and sharing experiences with other entrepreneurs would be a great learning opportunity. Everyone was extremely supportive and we learnt a lot from each other. I’m really glad we did it and getting some positive feedback from the judges and other contestants gave me more confidence to continue developing UpdateCove.”

As far as next steps are concerned, Ms Fung has been working with seasoned entrepreneur and former civil engineer Brad Booysen at the ecentre to work out the milestones UpdateCove would like to achieve with the grant.

“We would like to finish our MVP [minimal viable product] and get it out to more users for feedback.  We would love to be able to take it further. In the long-term, we want to grow our customer base and get further investment. That way, we can scale up and empower more construction leaders to redesign their engagement and really make a difference in reducing the impact construction projects have on local communities.”

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Investment – Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s Stakeholder update – June 2021

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Tēnā koe i runga i ngā āhuatanga o te wā,

The NZ Super Fund has staged a strong recovery after seeing off the immediate shock of the COVID-19 crisis last year that saw its value drop by $13.4 billion in a matter of weeks. From that low point, the Fund is now up 60.2% – its fastest ever period of growth and reflective of an extraordinary turnaround in global capital markets.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted some important points about the NZ Super Fund

The Fund is heavily weighted to growth assets such as shares – this is appropriate and normal practice for long-term investors.
 
The Fund is therefore highly sensitive to market movements which can have a significant, sometimes dramatic, impact on the Fund’s value.
 
With no substantial withdrawals from the Fund scheduled until the 2050s, we are able to remain focused on implementing our long-term investment strategies, while managing Fund liquidity (our ability to meet short-term funding requirements) appropriately.
 
Our experience shows the benefits of remaining invested in the share market and capturing returns as prices recover over time. In times of market stress we can take advantage of opportunities to buy at an attractive price.
 
Taking a short-term view of performance returns can be deceptive. A lot depends on your starting point – especially if it’s a low point. Longer time periods, such as the performance of the Fund over the eighteen years since investing began, are a more appropriate lens.

Staying the Course

We maintained our long-term risk profile throughout the market volatility, as well as adding to our equity and credit market exposures as markets fell. Our robust liquidity framework allowed us to maintain our portfolio currency hedging, which has been very valuable as the New Zealand dollar has rallied significantly from its lows last year.

Provisionally, at the end of May 2021 the Fund was worth $58 billion, off the back of net Government contributions since inception (after deducting the tax paid back to Government by the Fund) of $12 billion. The Fund has returned 10.5% p.a. since inception, beating its passive Reference Portfolio benchmark by 1.2% p.a. or $9.9 billion.

In the eighteen years that the Fund has been investing, we have generated over $37 billion more than the government would have saved by repaying debt, demonstrating our significant and ongoing contribution to New Zealand’s national wealth. Figures are unaudited and after costs, before New Zealand tax.

The Factors driving Fund performance

The turnaround in global equity markets that has driven Fund performance over the past year was underpinned by significant fiscal and monetary stimulus – government spending to support and promote economic growth through and after the COVID lockdowns, and very low interest rates. While the near-term outlook remains positive, a combination of strong demand and impaired global supply chains has already seen acute inflation pressures in some markets and projections are for inflation to increase to levels not seen for many years.

Markets are watching policy makers closely as their responses to higher inflation will shape the direction of interest rates, asset returns, and market volatility over the next few years. Beyond that, we believe the persistence of the current environment of low interest rates and high asset prices will deliver lower Fund returns than what we expect them to be over the long-term.

Comings-and-Goings

In March this year we said goodbye to our Chair Catherine Savage after eleven and a half years’ service on the Board, including more than five years as Chair. Her contribution has been immense and she will be missed.

Catherine Drayton took over as Chair in April. She has been on the Board since 2018 and previously chaired the Audit Committee. Catherine holds several other governance roles including chair of Christchurch International Airport and director of Genesis Energy.

We also welcomed global capital markets professional Kirsty Mactaggart to the Board in April for a five year term.

Our General Manager of Finance and Risk Stewart Brooks announced his intention to retire later this year. Stewart has been with the Guardians since 2003, making him our longest serving employee. He has made a huge impact on the Fund and will also be missed. Following this announcement, we have made a number of new appointments to the Leadership Team:

General Manager, Finance and Investment Operations – Paula Steed
General Manager, Risk – Mark Fennell
General Manager, Technology – David Sara
General Manager, Portfolio Completion – George Crosby

Other changes include:

Dr Charles Hyde has been appointed Head of Asset Allocation.
Alice Mew (Direct Investments Senior Investment Strategist) has been appointed to Chair the Investment Committee for a two-year period.
Joe Halapua has been appointed to lead the Guardians’ New Zealand Equities team.

Portfolio Activity Update

Tactical Credit Opportunity Mandate (TCO) We have implemented a new internally managed credit mandate. The TCO mandate replaces an internally managed mandate that had been in operation for over ten years, earning a return of around $1 billion over that time. The new mandate rests on the same investment drivers and has been expanded to be more scalable given the expected growth in the Fund over time.
 
Rural Land Strategy Review We have completed an internal review of our Rural Land Strategy. Our $600 million Rural Land portfolio includes 32,200 hectares of land in New Zealand and Australia. We are looking to increase our rural land holdings, with a focus on owning land with natural capital potential that we can actively support through sustainable farming practices. We will continue to diversify our rural land holdings into international horticulture investments.
 
Real Estate Strategy Review Following the arrival of Toby Selmanas the Real Estate Senior Adviser, we have reviewed our approach to real estate and established a global strategy for this asset class. This is broadly centred around living, logistics and technology-orientated real estate in sustainable cities with attractive market fundamentals. The investment team has started to execute on this strategy.
 
Pioneer IV We committed $100 million to a new investment fund managed by Auckland-based Pioneer Capital. The fund, Pioneer’s fourth, will invest in New Zealand companies that are seeking international growth in high margin sectors. We will be a cornerstone investor in the $300 million Pioneer Capital Partners IV, which is expected to be invested across six to eight individual companies.

Governance Documents Published

Our commitment to the Fund’s long-term investment strategy amid the uncertain global economic environment is underlined in our Statement of Intent 2021 – 26 (SOI) and Statement of Performance Expectations 2021 – 22 (SPE), published this week. Both documents set out our short-medium strategic undertakings with respect to both the NZ Super Fund and the Elevate NZ Venture Fund.

The SOI sets out the key elements of our strategic plan and provides a detailed explanation of the measures we use to assess our performance in the areas of investment, cost control, risk management, governance and organisational capability. The SPE sets out our high priority activities and forecast financial statements for the next financial year.

Investor Initiatives

As a member of HRH The Princes of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative,we have been involved in the task forces made up of the ‘coalition of the willing’ to drive action on accelerating, at a global scale, sustainable industry transition and rapid decarbonisation ahead of 2050.

We are also participating in a collective investor engagement on facial recognition, along with more than fifty other investors representing over US$4.5 trillion. This two-year collaborative engagement programme aims to prioritise human rights in relation to use of facial recognition technology and seeks constructive dialogue with global companies developing or using the technology. The initiative, which has been welcomed by the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), advocates for adequate risk management and improved corporate disclosure.

Treasury Working Paper Published on the NZ Super Fund

The New Zealand Treasury has today published a Working Paper, Golden Years – Understanding the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the Fund’s role in New Zealand’s public finances, including explanations of the mathematical relationships behind the Fund’s legislated contribution rate formula, future outcomes for the Fund’s size and role in helping to fund New Zealand Superannuation, and why projections related to the Fund have changed over time.

Reviewing our Responsible Investment Strategy

One of our key focus areas this year is a review and reset of our Responsible Investment Strategy. While we are proud of our strategy, and note it has been recognised internationally and by the High Court of New Zealand as in line with best practice, we want to ensure it is fit for the challenges of the next ten years and beyond. The review has three workstreams:

Emerging trends and stakeholder expectations,
Ways to improve Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance in global listed equity portfolios, and
How to increase the number and scale of positive investments (investments which provide social and environmental benefits in addition to the required financial return).

We look forward to updating you on progress on this work later in the year.

Hei konā mai,

Matt Whineray
Chief Executive Officer
Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation

How has COVID-19 made the hunger crisis worse?

How has COVID-19 made the hunger crisis worse?

Source: Save The Children

As the world’s richest countries vaccinate their populations and start to come out of lockdowns, billions of children around the world are experiencing the secondary impact of COVID-19: the likelihood of suffering from severe hunger. 

The effects of the pandemic have been apparent across Zimbabwe. Climate-related disasters, such as drought and cyclones, are being complicated by economic downturn and high unemployment being worsened by the COVID-19 outbreak. Children like 3-year-old Andrian* (below) are feeling the effects of these crises which have led her mother Vimbai to resort to begging for food from her neighbours. Thankfully, our Emergency Health Unit was able to assess Andrian for malnutrition in a survey which told us more about the levels of food insecurity in the country.  

 

Andrian* (3) is assessed during an Emergency Health Unit-supported nutrition survey in Zimbabwe 

Even before the pandemic, one child in three under the age of five was malnourished. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown huge unprecedented challenges and pressures onto already strained health systems, fragile economies, food systems and livelihoods. The pandemic has increased the risk of hunger for millions of children worldwide, in some ways you may not have expected. 

Disrupted economies  

We’ve all heard about the hundreds of millions of jobs that have been lost due to restrictions such as quarantines, travel restrictions, lack of tourism, and other lockdown measures that stop businesses from tradingBut it’s worse in developing countries, with losses of income due to COVID-19 expected to reach over $220 billion in poorer countriesThis meaning that a huge number of parents won’t be able to provide food for their children, for reasons fully beyond their control. With an estimated 55% of the global population having no access to social protection like state benefits, these losses will be devastating for the poorest and most vulnerable communities. 

COVID-19 has also had an effect on supply chains, which has a knock-on effect on food prices, making meals unaffordable for millions of people. The cost of a basic food basket increased by more than 10% in 20 countries in the months after the start of the pandemic in 2020. Supply chain disruption has also caused delays in the farming seasonand restrictions on movement for work have resulted in below-average harvests across many countries and regions. 

Education is no longer a safety net 

During the pandemic, we’ve seen billions of children lose out on their education due to the closure of schools. But it’s not just the lessons they’re missing out on – school closures have also had huge impact on children’s access to enough food. 370 million children worldwide – many of whom are reliant on school meals as a key source of their daily nutrition – had missed 40% of in-school meals, on average, since COVID-19 restrictions caused disruption to their schooling.1  

Finding solutions 

In Bolivia, families like Jessica*’s found themselves in hardship when the COVID-19 pandemic started. They had started a company making quilts to increase their income, but when the pandemic hit, the stores they sold to weren’t open. Their income dropped, meaning that Jessica’s mum was less able to provide for her family. Thankfully, they partnered up with our Save the Children Isolation Centre in La Paz to provide mattresses to patients – by diversifying their business, they started making money again. 

 

Even before the pandemic, many families and communities struggled to provide their children with the good nutrition necessary for their physical and mental development. Now, the most vulnerable children are set to fall even further behind. Unless we take immediate action, we will see many more children die from preventable causes, and children and adults in the most vulnerable communities will face a global food and nutrition emergency that is unprecedented in our times.  

*Names changed to protect identities. 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hunger

5 Things You Didn't Know About Hunger

Source: Save The Children

After decades of progress, the rate of child survival is in reverse for the first time in 20 years. COVID-19, shifts in climate and ongoing conflicts have contributed to a global hunger crisis that is  getting rapidly worse. In 2019the number of people worldwide who were estimated to be undernourished was 690 million, a rise of 60 million in five years. If this trend continues, by 2030 that figure will have risen to 840 million. 

We know that hunger is a threat to children around the world. But here are five facts you may not know about hunger. 

  1. Hunger is a complicated crisis.  

It’s not just skipping meals because there’s not enough food to go around – it’s often an inevitability of other crises. Climate change, conflict, and COVID-19 are just three issues that can increase the risk of children going hungry. Floods and droughts, made worse by climate change, can destroy crops and livestock. In Yemen, a country suffering through an intense conflict for the last six years, 70% of the population does not have enough to eat. And due to COVID-19, entire supply chains have been disrupted, causing food prices to spike and making meals unaffordable for millions of people. 

Feliza*, 5, wearing a washable mask included in our family hygiene kit, Razal, Philippines 

  1. Hunger has huge detrimental effects on a child’s mental, as well as physical development.  

Language and communications is an essential part of a child’s development. Without these skills, children struggle when they start school – both in terms of their learning and in their social abilities. It can be hard to play with others and to make friends, and unfortunately children without these skills continue to be at a disadvantage as they go through school. However, research shows that hunger impacts this development as nutrients provide the biological building blocks for our organs, including the structural and functional development of the brain. Preventing child malnutrition therefore improves children’s cognitive function, learning capacity and their future outcomes.  

  1. Schools are the place that children can be guaranteed at least one meal a day. 

Earlier this year, UNICEF reported that 370 million children worldwide – many of whom are reliant on school meals as a key source of their daily nutrition – had missed on average 40% of in-school meals since COVID-19 restrictions caused disruption to their schooling. School isn’t just a place for learning – what we call ‘wrap-around’ services like food and healthcare are just as important to a child’s growth and wellbeing. And of course, it’s a place to play with friends. That’s why it’s so important that children get back to school as soon as it’s safe. 

Laxmi during a class on good nutrition at her boarding school in Telangana, India 

  1. Malnutrition is a vicious cycle. 

Hunger is linked to almost half of all child deaths. It can weaken the immune system, making children more susceptible to illness, leading to higher rates of child mortality. Undernourished children are more likely to grow into undernourished adults, who in turn are more likely to have undernourished children. So it’s vital that children get treated early, for the sake of their health and their family. Even more important is ending this cycle of malnutrition with long-term political solutions. These solutions, and especially prevention, require dismantling unequal power structures, improving equitable access to health services and nutritious foods, improving water and sanitation, and planning for food shortages and emergencies.   

  1. It is possible to end hunger. 

In the short-term, children with severe acute malnutrition need urgent lifesaving treatment to survive. Until recently children were only treated in hospitals where they received therapeutic milks along with medical careand many more were never reached at all. But when ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) was created, the picture has changed dramatically.   

RUTF is a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste used to treat children under age five with severe acute malnutrition. It doesn’t need to be cooked or prepared before consumption, which makes it a practical solution where cooking facilities and fuel are limited. RUTF has a long shelf life and is safe for use even in the absence of clean drinking water. RUTF has transformed the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, as it enables children to be treated in their own homes and communities.  

The treatment of severe acute malnutrition is a last opportunity to save a child’s life when all else has failed. But its not a substitute for promoting equitable access to nutritious food, ending poverty and supporting other timely interventions that can prevent malnutrition before it starts. 

In the long-term, the international community needs to act and act fast to end the hunger crisis. We’re calling on governments to fully fund the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, as well as the numerous other underfunded humanitarian response plans, and support the scale up of social protection schemes and services for children. We’re also asking donors to prioritise humanitarian cash and voucher assistance in order to address hunger, food security, and the increased risks of violence, particularly gender-based violence, caused by the pandemic. 

To truly put an end to global hunger, the international community must address the root causes of acute food insecurity. Funding alone will not solve the global hunger crisis, and mitigating the worst effects of COVID-19 is just one part of the solution. Only by putting an end to global conflict, tackling changing climate, and building more resilient communities will we be able to ensure the same warnings are not ringing out again in the coming year 

In a world where there is more than enough food for every person, allowing famine to happen is absolutely unnecessary. At Save the Children, we’re working on the ground to support children and fight malnutrition around the world. 

Further advice on Wellington Airport and Te Papa locations of interest

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Two Tauranga contacts of the visitor from Sydney to Wellington last weekend, who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Australia, have this afternoon returned negative tests.

This means all four close contacts of the visitor identified last evening have now returned initial negative tests. This includes two contacts in Palmerston North, whose results were announced earlier.

Locations of interest

Further locations of interest, including Wellington Airport, have been published on the Ministry of Health website:

Public health officials have determined that only those seated in the foodcourt at Wellington Airport between 8.30am and 9.55am on Monday 21 June need to stay at home, get a test around Day 5 after last exposure and remain at home until negative test result is received.

All other people at Wellington Airport between 8.30am and 10.30am on Monday 21 June should self-monitor for COVID symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, get tested and stay at home until negative test result is received.

People at the other large exposure site, Te Papa, between 3:05pm and 5:45pm on Saturday 19 June are advised to stay at home, get a test around Day 5 after last exposure and remain at home until a negative test result is received.

All people who return a negative test should keep monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453, get a further test immediately and stay at home until negative result is received.

Contacts of people in locations of interest

If you have been in contact with a person who has been asked to isolate because they were in a location of interest, advice is on the website:

You do not need to stay home or get tested unless the contact becomes symptomatic at which point, you need to stay at home until they return a negative test result.

If you’ve been in contact with a person who has been asked to stay at home and get a test after five days, you do not need stay at home or get tested.

If you become symptomatic yourself, please get tested.

A Section 70 notice is in place.

Wellington testing locations

A pop-up testing station has been opened this afternoon at Hataitai Park.

Other dedicated testing stations in Wellington and their opening hours are as follows:

  • Wellington central, 196-200 Taranaki Street. Will remain open until 9pm tonight, subject to demand and will reopen tomorrow at 10am.
  • Porirua, 178 Bedford Street. Will be until 6pm tonight and reopen at 9am tomorrow.
  • Johnsonville Medical Centre, 24 Moorefield Road. Will be open tomorrow 9.30am-4pm.
  • Lower Hutt, 729 High St. Open 9am to 4pm.
  • Upper Hutt, Heretaunga Christian Centre, 51 Lane Street. Open 9am to 4.30pm.

People can also be tested at many GP or urgent care clinics.

Housing Market – Three months on CoreLogic review shows housing policy changes have had little effect on the market

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: CoreLogic

[AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, 23 June 2021] Three months on from the Government’s housing policy announcement on March 23, new analysis by CoreLogic has revealed the changes are yet to have much discernible impact on the market.

CoreLogic’s Head of Research Nick Goodall says “It’s still early days and hard to disentangle the Government’s Brightline extension and tapered removal of interest deductibility from other measures, such as higher deposit requirements. However, as more time passes, the tax changes in particular should more clearly curtail purchases of existing properties by mortgaged investors. This could be heightened by the incentive for investors to look at new-builds if the Government allows interest deductibility on these properties for an extended period.

“First home buyers (FHBs) have been keen to buy new properties of late, so this diversion of investors’ focus from existing property to new-builds could have an unintended negative consequence on FHBs, who have already been struggling under the weight of rapidly rising home values and growing affordability constraints.”

When conducting the analysis, CoreLogic drew on four primary market indicators:

Weekly flow of new listings

CoreLogic Chief Property Economist Kelvin Davidson says “Our listings data shows that new listings certainly haven’t spiked since the announcement, so there doesn’t seem to have been a rush to exit the market by existing landlords. Instead, they are taking their time and assessing their options. To us, the large Brightline tax bill that would await some landlords if they sold straightaway and also the lack of ‘trusted’ alternative investment options are key factors here.”

Source: CoreLogic

Annual % change in rents

“Although it’s inevitable that some landlords will have raised rent off the back of the changes, it’s not really showing through in aggregate. The stock measure is still just ticking along at normal rates, and although the flow measure has accelerated, it’s hard to extricate how much of that might be due to landlords wanting to recoup costs versus genuine supply/demand pressures versus perhaps, even some kind of ‘catch up’ after last year’s COVID-related rent freeze,” says Mr Davidson.

Source: Stats NZ

Valuation volumes

While there are signs that sales volumes have eased, Mr Goodall says it’s not obvious that this is really due to markedly softer demand.

“Our data on the trend for volume of valuations ordered by banks indicates that borrower/valuations activity, which is an early indicator of demand, is still pretty solid. At the same time, it’s the shortage of listings/choice that’s probably playing a role in limiting agreed sales, too.

“In terms of prices, there is some evidence of a slowdown, but not much. Using data from our very latest unconfirmed sales records, the premiums buyers are paying over and above CVs have eased back in the past month or two, but not dramatically so.”

Source: CoreLogic

Mortgaged investors’ share of purchases

CoreLogic’s analysis reveals the only key indicator that has shown obvious signs of change in recent months is the buyer mix.

Mr Davidson says “On our Buyer Classification series, mortgaged investors’ market share has dropped from 29% across January to March as a whole, to just 25% in May. But even then, it’s more likely that this is actually due to measures other than the March tax changes, such as the fact that investors have been required by lenders to stump up a 40% deposit for the past five to six months now.

“Compared to the last time investors were required to have 40% deposits (from October 2016 to January 2018), the evolution of mortgaged investors’ market share has so far been similar in both cycles, but with the extra attention investors are getting this time around, there surely has to be a chance that their share will ultimately fall below the previous trough.”

Source: CoreLogic

Mr Goodall adds “Overall, our data and analysis shows the tax changes on their own haven’t had any real impact so far. But it’s really important to reiterate that it’s hard to isolate the effects of one rule from another. It’s also early days, and we think the tax changes will in fact bite harder as time goes by.”

For more housing market insights from CoreLogic New Zealand, visit www.corelogic.co.nz/news.

Alert Level 2 in Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast

Alert Level 2 in Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast

Source: New Zealand Government

Alert Level 2 measures are now in place for Wellington, Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast to the north of Ōtaki, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

These measures are precautionary, following the potential exposure of New Zealanders to a COVID-19 case from Sydney. The person visited a range of locations in Wellington from 19-21 June while they may have been infectious.

Alert Level 2 came in at 6pm this evening, and will be in place for the next four days while testing and contact tracing is underway.

This decision will be reviewed by Cabinet on Sunday. 

The rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 1, however it is important that anybody who travels outside of Wellington takes the Alert Level 2 behaviours with them. This will help New Zealanders to keep each other safe.

Alert Level 2

Alert Level 2 means limits on the size of gatherings to 100 people. Gatherings pose the biggest risk of spread, so this includes weddings, birthdays, funerals, tangi and church services. 

It means social distancing: 2 metres in public places, and in retail stores like supermarkets and clothes shops, and at least 1 metre in most other places like workplaces, cafes, restaurants and gyms.

Face masks remain compulsory on all public transport.

“However I encourage people to also wear their masks while waiting for public transport, and in taxis and rideshare services,” Chris Hipkins said.

“I also ask that people wear a face covering in any situation where physical distancing is not possible.”

Businesses can open but must follow public health rules, including ensuring physical distancing, record keeping and the cap of 100 people. Schools and ECE services also remain open. Hospitality venues can open but must apply the three S’s – Seated, Separated, and Single Server.

If you are sick, please stay at home; don’t go to work or school and don’t socialise. If you have symptoms of a cold or flu, or aches and pains, call your doctor or Healthline and ask about getting tested.

Keep track of where you’ve been at all times. This case is a reminder of the need to use the COVID Tracer App and maintain an accurate record of your movements.

Managing potential risk

“This is the first time that we have moved up to Alert Level 2 to manage the potential risk of COVID-19 in the community,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“This is not a lockdown. If we all contribute and follow the health behaviours at Alert Level 2 we can break any potential transmission.

“I want to reiterate that these are precautionary measures which will remain in place while we contact trace and test everyone we need to.

“First and foremost we want to ensure New Zealanders are not unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19.”

Speeches

Source: New Zealand Treasury:

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