Action urged over appalling living conditions and treatment of RSE workers

Action urged over appalling living conditions and treatment of RSE workers

Source: Council of Trade Unions – CTU

West Harbour crash – expect delays

West Harbour crash - expect delays

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police are advising motorists of delays following an earlier crash on Hobsonville Road, West Harbour, this afternoon.

Hobsonville Road, between Fitzherbert Avenue and Cyril Crescent, is currently closed.

The crash, involving two vehicles, was reported to Police around 3pm.

There are no reports of any serious injuries at this stage, however motorists are advised to expect lengthy delays and to avoid the area if possible.

ENDS.

Anna Thompson/NZ Police

Three strikes law gone but not forgotten for many

Source: Green Party

The repeal of the archaic three strikes law is welcome but it doesn’t go far enough, the Green Party says.

People who have been subject to a third strike should have their sentence reconsidered in full by a judge.

“The Greens have been pushing for the repeal of the grossly unfair three strikes law for a long time and we’re delighted it is finally happening. But anyone who has experienced the harmful effects of this law should have the chance to have their sentence reviewed,” says the Green Party’s justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.

The Green Party tabled a supplementary order paper (SOP) in Parliament last week, which would amend the law to introduce a sentencing review process for those who have been affected by the three strikes law. But Labour didn’t allow this to be voted on, on the basis it was outside the scope of the Bill. 

“The three strikes law is a hangover from National and ACT’s failed American-style approach to justice. Taking away the court’s ability to consider the circumstances of offending, public interest and even rehabilitation, was a shameful measure that past politicians used to look ‘tough’ regardless of the consequences for people’s lives.

“New Zealand needs a justice system that treats all people with humanity, dignity, and respect. Repealing three strikes is a step towards that but it is incredibly frustrating that the Government has not shown the courage to ensure that this law change addresses the harm already done.  

“We know that three strikes has disproportionately impacted Māori, Pasifika, and other communities of colour, as well as those with mental health and addiction issues, and brain injuries. 

“My proposed amendment would have ensured that anyone impacted by the three strikes law would not be forced to carry out an unjust sentence. Instead they would have been given the right to have their sentence properly considered by a judge.

“It is a simple step that could easily have been added to the legislation, ensuring that any new sentence is proportionate to the crime committed and offers the opportunity for rehabilitation. The amendment would also allow the court system to address discrimination or racial bias that may have contributed to in an inflated sentence under three strikes. I am disappointed that Labour is playing political games instead of engaging on this important issue.

“Fixing the justice system doesn’t stop at three strikes. Labour must now show courage in moving toward a system that addresses the causes of offending, including mental healthcare, addiction treatment, housing and liveable income support, while introducing a new pathway away from prisons,” says Golriz Ghahraman.

State Highway 6 Nelson to Blenheim reopens

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

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Road crews have managed to clear treefalls, slips, and debris that had forced the closure of this road overnight and today. This involved significant effort as not only did fallen trees have to be removed but so too did those at risk of falling onto the road.

The link between Nelson and Blenheim is open to traffic. However, the continuing bad weather means the risk of slips and treefalls remains. Road users should drive to the conditions and be prepared for delays. 

Clean-up work on state highways across the region continues. Waka Kotahi asks drivers to be alert to the presence of contractors and to follow temporary speed limits and traffic management at road work sites.

Tree falls and dangerous trees on SH 6 Blenheim to Nelson, 9 August 2022.

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Seatoun Tunnel to remain closed overnight

West Harbour crash - expect delays

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

The Seatoun Tunnel will remain closed overnight, due to the risk of a tree falling on to the road.
 
Contractors are expected to begin work tomorrow to remedy the issue. 
 
Motorists are asked to continue using alternative routes until further notice. 
 
ENDS
 
Issued by Police Media Centre. 
 

Better long-term planning needed for COVID

Source: Green Party

COVID-19 is here to stay and so the Government needs to put in place long-term protection measures, including mandatory ventilation standards, the Green Party says.

“The Government has made the right decision today to remain at Orange. But COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere and so we need more than the occasional review of protection settings to make sure we are protecting communities long-term,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for COVID-19, Teanau Tuiono. 

“Staying at the Orange traffic light setting was the least the Government can do considering current case numbers, the number of people in hospital, and the current pressures on the health system. 

“But the Government is making these traffic light decisions every once in a while as if one day we’re going to wake up and find that we have once again eliminated COVID. There doesn’t seem to be any chance of that happening, at least for a while, and so it is about time that we plan for the future. Not only to get our communities through the current outbreak, but to prepare for any new variants or another wave of Omicron cases.

“Reinfection is also becoming increasingly common and could become an ongoing feature of the pandemic. Experts have also pointed out that in July COVID became the equal leading cause of death in Aotearoa for the first time. If the current trajectory continues, annual COVID deaths could be about five times influenza deaths – but still the Government doesn’t seem to have a long-term plan.

“We need to do everything we possibly can to protect whānau and reduce the risk of people experiencing long COVID, particularly among Māori and Pacific people, and  immunocompromised people.

“The Green Party has been the only party to consistently call on the Government to follow the path of caution and to put in place measures that protect everyone equally. 

“Following months of political pressure from our Green MPs, the Government confirmed that medical masks will be available free for everyone. The Government should now go one step further and make N95 masks free. 

“The Green Party is also calling on the Government to adopt mandatory ventilation standards for workplaces and schools, to provide financial support for community organisations to install better monitoring and filtration, and to improve support for Māori and Pacific health providers to boost vaccinations,” says Teanau Tuiono. 

Parliament Hansard Report – Tuesday, 9 August 2022 – Volume 761 – 000958

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 5—Revenue

5. NICOLA WILLIS (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Revenue: Does he agree with the Minister of Finance’s statement from 17 July 2022 regarding the cost of living payment that “this payment will support an estimated 2.1 million people”, and is he satisfied with the delivery of this payment?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister of Revenue): Yes, and yes. This payment has already reached over 1.3 million New Zealanders promptly, supporting them through a time of elevated cost of living. An estimated 800,000 additional people will become entitled as they file their tax return for the year ended 31 March 2022 or provide their bank details.

Nicola Willis: Does he stand by his statement made to Tova O’Brien in an interview last week where he said that for an ineligible person to have received the payment, they “would have to be acting fraudulently”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: No, I don’t think I did say that.

Erica Stanford: Yes, you did.

Hon DAVID PARKER: If I said that, that’s been taken out of context. I always made it clear that the payment was being made on the basis of the details held by Inland Revenue.

Nicola Willis: Does the Minister stand by the statement he made to Tova O’Brien that “The French man as your example … He will know or should know from the information that he has received that because he is no longer resident in New Zealand he’s not qualified. Therefore for him to get the payment he would have to be acting fraudulently.”?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, I do, because I heard the radio station play a clip in respect of that person which indicated that the person knew that the entitlement was based on being resident in New Zealand and he knew that he wasn’t.

Nicola Willis: Did IRD conduct data matching with Immigration New Zealand or other agencies to check whether potential recipients had moved overseas, and, if not, why not?

Hon DAVID PARKER: No, they haven’t, in part because their information-sharing arrangements with Customs don’t cover the use of the data in that way.

Nicola Willis: Did it not occur to the Minister that not everyone in IRD’s database would have updated their address after having moved overseas, and why were no steps taken to prevent them receiving the payment?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Indeed, Inland Revenue advised Cabinet, and Cabinet agreed, that this would be paid on the basis of eligibility criteria that would not always be correct. Inland Revenue advised, and Cabinet agreed, that the payment in those situations would be non-recoverable, other than in the cases of fraudulent activity.

Nicola Willis: Can the Minister guarantee that no money has been paid to prisoners through the cost of living payment, who are just as ineligible for that payment as those living overseas?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I can guarantee that they’re ineligible to receive the payment, and I can also advise the member that I’ve received no reports of any such instance.

Parliament Hansard Report – Karakia/Prayers – 000957

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

TUESDAY, 9 AUGUST 2022

The Speaker took the Chair at 2 p.m.

KARAKIA/PRAYERS

DEPUTY SPEAKER: E te Atua kaha rawa, ka tuku whakamoemiti atu mātou, mō ngā karakia kua waihotia mai ki runga i a mātou. Ka waiho i ō mātou pānga whaiaro katoa ki te taha. Ka mihi ki te Kuīni, me te inoi atu mō te ārahitanga i roto i ō mātou whakaaroarohanga, kia mōhio ai, kia whakaiti ai tā mātou whakahaere i ngā take o te Whare nei, mō te oranga, te maungārongo, me te aroha o Aotearoa. Āmene.

[Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on us. Laying aside all personal interests, we acknowledge the Queen, and pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the welfare, peace, and compassion of New Zealand. Amen.]

Parliament Hansard Report – Motions — New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team 2022—Congratulations – 000956

Parliament Hansard Report - Tuesday, 9 August 2022 - Volume 761 - 000958

Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH (Green): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It’s a privilege to rise on behalf of the Greens to congratulate Aotearoa’s athletes who participated in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. I reiterate the very wholesome list of athletes presented by the previous speakers and just acknowledge their amazing work. As the previous speakers, I want to also acknowledge the athletes’ family members and the support staff who were there for them and who are a core part of the team. It’s been heartening to hear that athlete wellbeing was such a big focus for the New Zealand team in Birmingham, and I hope that this emphasis continues in future games and in other spaces.

It was also great to note the wide range of diversity represented in the games: 54 percent, or 125, of our athletes were women, which is the highest representation in New Zealand Commonwealth or Olympic history. The team members came from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, including athletes from Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Philippines, China, and Australia, and people from African heritage as well. There were 46 Māori athletes selected too. I also want to note that compared to the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games are the only multisport event of their kind with an integrated parasport programme. I do hope that the Olympics and other multisport events move towards this approach in the future.

I also want to reflect on the shared history of colonisation and dispossession of indigenous peoples that we have with so many other nations participating in the games. It was called the British Empire Games until the 1950s, after all. But as we move forward I also think we can find solidarity with each other and the work that is happening across so many nations who are fighting for justice and healing from the harms of this shared history. I want to shout out to the activists, the athletes, and the indigenous groups who have long demonstrated during the games and aptly called them the “Stolenwealth Games”. I want to recognise that today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Another aspect that I want to reflect on as part of this motion is how we can best ensure that the public has access to the broadcasts of the games in a way that is ethical and does not contribute to harm. I was somewhat disappointed to hear the Minister of Finance say on Morning Report this morning that he wanted to maintain the ability for broadcast sport—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will come back to the motion, please.

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH: Well, I do think that for the wellbeing of our athletes and the sporting—

SPEAKER: Order! The member will come back to the motion. There’s another matter which is before the House at some stage in the future—it’s not now.

RICARDO MENÉNDEZ MARCH: Ngā mihi. Well, I will end then, just putting a hearty congratulations to all the athletes, and that we can all work together towards a better, fairer Aotearoa. Thank you.

Update on COVID-19 cases — 9 August 2022

Source: Covid-19 New Zealand Government Announcements

Read today’s update on COVID-19 cases from the Ministry of Health.

Today’s COVID-19 numbers

  • 5,939 new community cases
  • 634 cases in hospital
  • 5,120 7-day rolling average of community cases
  • 35,823 active community cases
  • 12,729 total RATs reported in the last 24 hours
  • 4,454 total PCR tests in the last 24 hours

COVID-19 data and statistics

Update from the Ministry of Health

Today we are reporting 5,939 community cases and 634 current hospitalisations.

The 7-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 5,120. Last Monday it was 6,683.

There are now a total of 1,688 deaths confirmed as attributable to COVID-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor. The 7-day rolling average increase in total deaths attributable to COVID-19 is now 16.

Read the full update on today’s cases | Ministry of Health (external link)

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