Oceanian

Politics • Oceanian
Māori party wants to change New Zealand name to Aotearoa
New Zealand Maori rowing ceremonial coreography
New Zealand Maori rowing ceremonial coreography Credit: Jorge Royan (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

New Zealand's Māori Party stated Monday the country should be renamed "Aotearoa" by 2026, to better reflect the country's indigenous culture. Rawiri Waititi, a candidate Waiariki on next months' election was "a bold move towards making Te Reo Māori a language for all of Aotearoa".

Aotearoa means 'the land of white cloud' in the nation's indigenous language, also known as te reo.

Both English and Māori are official languages in New Zealand. The Maoris are the largest ethnic minatory, representing 16.5 per cent of the population.

Politics • Oceanian
Rio Tinto CEO resigns after the destruction of ancient aboriginal caves
Jean-Sébastien Jacques
Jean-Sébastien Jacques Credit: Rio Tinto

Jean-Sébastien Jacques has resigned as the CEO of Rio Tinto after the company destroyed a 46,000-year-old sacred aboriginal site in Australia. Jacques will leave once his successor is chosen or at the end of March 2021, whichever comes first.

The company also announced the departure of the head of the iron ore business, Chris Salisbury, and the group expand for corporate relations, Simone Niven.

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson released a statement saying: "We are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation."

Politics • Oceanian
Melbourne lockdown extended by two weeks
Empty Swanston Street during Friday morning, Melbourne
Empty Swanston Street during Friday morning, Melbourne Credit: Philip Mallis from Melbourne / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Despite dropping daily numbers of COVID-19 infections, Melbourne will remain in a "Stage 4" lockdown until at least September 28.

“I apologise for the circumstances we find ourselves in; I apologise for the reality we find ourselves in,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Sunday. “Pretending it’s over because we want it to be, that is not something I will do.”

Politics • Oceanian
Not wearing a mask on public transport to be a finable offense in New Zealand
Not wearing a mask on public transport to be a finable offense in New Zealand
Credit: unsplash.com/Marco Testi

Starting Monday, face coverings will become compulsory on public transport in New Zealand. Offenders can be fined either NZ$300 infringement notice or up to NZ$1,000 imposed by a court.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said there will be an exemption for people with a disability or physical or mental condition and children under the age of 12.

Politics • Oceanian
Christchurch mosque terrorist sentenced to life without parole
Vigil after the Christchurch mosque shooting, March 2019
Vigil after the Christchurch mosque shooting, March 2019 Credit: Charles Edward Miller from Chicago, United States / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Christchurch mosque gunman and far-right terrorist Brenton Tarrant has been sentenced to life without parole in a Christchurch court on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism. Tarrant is the first person in New Zealand's history to be convicted of terrorism and to receive life with parole.

"As far as I am able to gauge you are empty of any empathy to your victims," said Justice Cameron Mander. "Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment."

On March 15, 2019, Tarrant opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 Muslim worshipers and injuring 40.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand moves elections over new Covid-19 cases
New Zealand moves elections over new Covid-19 cases
Credit: Paasikivi (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The general elections in New Zealand have been postponed from the 19 September to the 17 October. Reason are the new Covid-19 cases and the extended lockdown for Auckland and the higehr alert in the remaining country.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that "this decision gives all parties enough time for their election campaign over the next nine weeks and the Election Commission enough time to ensure that the election can take place".

Politics • Oceanian
Queensland bans gay conversion therapy
Queensland bans gay conversion therapy
Credit: unsplash.com / Yoav Hornung

State politicians in Queensland, Australia have voted to criminalize gay conversion therapy. People that attempt "to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity" can under the new legislation face up to 18 months in prison.

Queensland's health minister has stated that "Being LGBTIQ is not an affliction or disease that requires medical treatment".

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New Zealand investigates into packaging of frozen food for possible Covid-19 transmission
New Zealand investigates into packaging of frozen food for possible Covid-19 transmission
Credit: unsplash.com / Bodie Pyndus

New Zealand's director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has announced that the country is currently investigating the transmission of Covid-19 by freight. He stated that "we know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time" and that one member of the family of four that recently got infected works in a cool store in Auckland.

Surface testing for the store is currently underway to determine if it could be the possible source for the infections. Over the past weeks China has already reported that they found Covid-19 on the packaging of imported frozen seafood.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand reports first Covid-19 community transmission in 102 days, Auckland goes into lockdown
New Zealand reports first Covid-19 community transmission in 102 days, Auckland goes into lockdown
Credit: unsplash.com / Kirsten Drew

New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern has stated that four locally transmitted Covid-19 cases have been detected in Auckland. As the source of the transmission is currently unknown, Auckland has moved into alert level three. All residents have been asked to stay home from Wednesday on, bars, restaurants and other businesses will be closed.

The remaining country will move back to alert level two, meaning that social gatherings inside and outside will be limited and services such as bars and restaurants can only serve seated and with separation between the costumers.

Politics • Oceanian
Australia: Victoria reports 466 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths
Dan Andrews
Dan Andrews Credit: Video Reproduction

Victorian premier Andrews reported 466 new COVID cases in the state. The state's COVID death toll has risen to 278, among the 12 people who have died in the past 24 hours is also a man his 30s. According to Andrews, there are now an additional 130 cases with no known source and a total of 998 Victorian healthcare workers who have contracted the virus.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton reported that the state is experiencing "some stabilisation", averaging around 400-500 daily cases for a week. "If we hadn't stabilised these numbers, we would have seen thousands of cases per day, and there are estimates that we've averted 20,000 or more cases by virtue of the stage 3 restrictions [in July] - but that hasn't been enough," he added.

Politics • Oceanian
State of disaster declared in Victoria, Australia over new Covid-19 infections
State of disaster declared in Victoria, Australia over new Covid-19 infections
Credit: unsplash.com / Shi Min Teh

After 671 new infections had been reported on Sunday, the Australian state Victoria has declared a state of emergency. The capital city Melbourne has imposed a nightly curfew and stay at home order which will last at least six weeks. The curfew will be active from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day and enable people to only leave the house for work or to receive care from others and provide care for others.

Restaurants will be able to continue with takeaway and delivery services and supermarkets will stay open.

Politics • Oceanian
Poll: New Zealand Labour Party at record 60,9% approval rating before November election
PM Jacinda Ardern in 2017
PM Jacinda Ardern in 2017 Credit: Governor-General of New Zealand / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

The governing Labour Party lead by prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been polled at a record number of 60,9% approval according to the Newshub-Reid Research Poll. Jacinda Ardern herself stands currently at an approval rating of 62% to the question of the preferred prime minister with her contender Judith Collins from the National Party standing at only 14,6%.

During the past months, the approval ratings of the Labour party and Ardern herself have significantly improved which Ardern attributed to the governments' reaction to the pandemic: "I would like to think the message we can take from this is the general support for the government’s COVID-19 recovery and response plan".

New Zealand is set to hold the next election in November.

Politics • Oceanian
100+ schools & early childhood services close in Victoria, Australia reports highest daily COVID case count
100+ schools & early childhood services close in Victoria, Australia reports highest daily COVID case count
Credit: unsplash.com/Kate Trifo

As Victoria sees a record daily COVID number of 484 cases, the state has closed over 100 schools and early childhood services. New South Wales reported 16 cases, while Queensland and South Australia only saw one case each, bringing the total cases in Australia to 502 – making it the country's highest daily COVID case count since March 28.

Politics • Oceanian
Australia suspends Hong Kong extradition treaty
Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison Credit: G20 Argentina (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In response to the new security law imposed by China Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will halt its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and visas will be extended by five years for Hong Kongers already in Australia.

This announcement comes right after Canada's suspension of their treaty with Hong Kong and Britain considering a similar move.

Politics • Oceanian
Melbourne supermarkets impose buying limits as people return to panic-buying
Empty shelves in a supermarket
Empty shelves in a supermarket Credit: unsplash.com/John Cameron

As Melbourne goes into its second lockdown of the year, panic-buyers are returning to the supermarkets to empty shelves. In response, Australian supermarkets chains Coles and Woolworths have imposed a buying limit on essential products such as milk, hand sanitisers and pasta.

Politics • Oceanian
Melbourne orders new 6-week-lockdown
Dan Andrews
Dan Andrews Credit: Video Reproduction

Melbourne is re-entering a 6-week-lockdown. The lockdown has been imposed on the Victorian capital and other Victorian towns as the Australian state sees a rising number of Covid-19 infections. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews ordered people to stay at home except for work, medical treatment or school purposes. Essential businesses will remain open but are subjected to a density limit. Bars, cafés and restaurants have to return to delivery and takeaway. Private home visits are forbidden and public outings are limited to two people.

Politics • Oceanian
Australia closes border for indefinite period to contain spread of Covid-19
Australia closes border for indefinite period to contain spread of Covid-19
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicolas Weldingh

In order to contain the further spread of Covid-19, Australian officials have closed the state border between Victoria and New South Wales – the first time since the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic. Melbourne has seen a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, putting 30 suburbs on strict social-distancing orders. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that the decision was "a smart call [...] given the significant challenges."

Politics • Oceanian
Resignation of NZ's Health Minister David Clark
Resignation of NZ's Health Minister David Clark
(Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

New Zealand Health Minister David Clark has resigned, saying it has become “increasingly clear to me that my continuation in the role is distracting from the government’s overall response to Covid-19.” Clark had been previously seen breaching lockdown measures.

“David has come to the conclusion his presence in the role is creating an unhelpful distraction from the Government’s ongoing response to Covid-19 and wider health reforms,” Jacinda Ardern responded to his resignation. “It’s essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public. As David has said to me the needs of the team must come before him as an individual.”

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand reports two new Covid-19 cases after being 24 days without new case
Visualisation of the Covid-19 virus
Visualisation of the Covid-19 virus Credit: Fusion Medical Animation

The ministry of health has released a statement that two new Covid-19 cases have been imported from the United Kingdom. Dr Siouxsie Wiles from the University of Auckland who specializes in infectious diseases has stated that "That's why we all still need to be really conscious that if you have a sniffle or anything that we still go and get tested, just in case there has been some transmission from someone who's come into the country". The transmission follows after New Zealand had been 28 days without a new community transmission and 24 days since a new recorded case.

Politics • Oceanian
Black Lives Matter protests held in cities across Australia
Black Lives Matter protests held in cities across Australia
Credit: Twitter Miss_vee_bee (Reproduction) (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

Thousands of people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests across Australia. Health officials and leaders in Australia have warned that mass gatherings in support of racial equality risk inadvertently re-sparking the virus. A protester who attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Melbourne last weekend tested positive for the coronavirus, according to state authorities.

A separate series of protests were held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne against the treatment of refugees being held in detention centres. The Sydney event -- organized by the Refugee Action Coalition -- took place despite a court ban.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand is Covid-19-Free, moving to Alert Level 1
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City, September 23, 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City, September 23, 2019 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

New Zealand reports its last active Covid-19 case has recovered, marking the country's 17th day in a row without infections. In Monday's cabinet meeting, the move to Alert Level 1 was discussed and later announced publicly by PM Jacinda Ardern. She urges to stay vigilant and that "with over 100,000 new cases being reported each day, the challenge of COVID remains around the globe and so it remains here."

Politics • Oceanian
PM Scott Morrison calls for reopening interstate borders by July

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison is urging Western Australia and Queensland to allow travellers to cross interstate borders by July as he's “very keen to see Australia’s economy continue to reopen on the timetable for interstate travel”. Australia has seen a decline in Covid-19 cases but premiers of Queensland, South and Western Australia are not yet willing to reopen their borders for interstate travel. Morrison warns of the economic impact, especially on the tourism industry. “If I get planes flying between Australia and New Zealand, I want them flying between New South Wales and Queensland and Western Australia and South Australia”, said Morrison.

Politics • Oceanian
Zero Covid-19 Cases in New Zealand for 14 Consecutive Days
Mount Victoria, New Zealand
Mount Victoria, New Zealand Credit: unsplash.com/Kirsten Drew

There have been no new reported cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand for two weeks in a row, with the last known infected person leaving quarantine on 15 June. Scientists are optimistic to declare the elimination of the virus by next week, if no new cases occur.

Politics • Oceanian
George Floyd Solidarity Marches across New Zealand
George Floyd Solidarity Marches across New Zealand
Credit: unsplash.com/Logan Weaver

Thousands of people across New Zealand have joined Americans to protest the killing of George Floyd. In Auckland and Christchurch, protestors have gathered for the Black Lives Matter March for Solidarity while a vigil is being held in Wellington. Among the organisers is 20-year old student Joanna Li, who told the NZ Herald: "It's needed, if you think it's not needed, you're not paying attention."

Politics • Oceanian
Found: Missing New Zealand walkers rescued after 19 days
Kahurangi National Park on the South Island of New Zealand
Kahurangi National Park on the South Island of New Zealand Credit: W. Bulach / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Jessica O-Connor and Dion Reynolds were found in the New Zealand wilderness after 19 days. The two 23-year-olds got lost in Kahurangi National Park and sustained injuries in a fall. They found a water source and were able to make a fire, which was then seen by a search helicopter.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand reports zero Covid-19 hospitalisations
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Credit: gg.govt.nz

New Zealand's newest Covid-19 update reports zero Covid-19 hospitalisations and no new positive cases in the past five days. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, reported the release of the last hospitalised patient today. The number of people infected with the novel Coronavirus is down to 21.

Politics • Oceanian
Poll reveals: Jacinda Ardern most popular PM in a century

A public poll conducted between May 8 and May 16 by Newshub-Reid Research shows the Labour Party, led by Jacinda Ardern, climbing 14 points to 56.5%. Arden's popularity rose to 59.5%, with 92% respondents stating the party's Covid-19 response was "the right call". Arden said it was a “privileged opportunity to be leading at this time”.

Politics • Oceanian
Controversial New Zealand Level 2 Enforcement Law Under Review

As New Zealand sees easing of movement restrictions, a controversial law that allows police to enter homes without a search warrant to enforce restriction rules is being heavily criticised. Parliament has voted to send the law to a selected committee for a post-enactment review. Both Act and The National Party called the bill "an overreach of powers".

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand starts Alert Level 2 Restrictions

New Zealand has eased its alert restrictions from level 3 to level 2, entering a phase of loosening movement restrictions. Shops, restaurants, malls, gyms, museums, movie theatres and other public spaces reopend on Thursday under strict physical distancing and hygiene measures on May 13. Schools will follow on May 18.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Credit: gg.govt.nz

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the virus was "currently" eliminated., but officials have warned against complacency, saying it does not mean a total end to new coronavirus cases.

With only one case reported last Sunday, and new cases in single figures for several days, New Zealand is moving out of its toughest level of social restrictions.