New Zealand

Regional News • Oceania
NSW records five locally transmitted Covid-19 cases; 17 New Zealand travellers entered Melbourne despite state's lockdown

New South Wales reports seven new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, five of which were locally transmitted.

Premier Daniel Andrews expressed frustration with the Australian Border Force and Kingsford Smith Airport during a press conference over a technicality that allowed 17 travellers from New Zealand to enter Victoria despite the state's lockdown. The identity of the travellers has yet to be determined.

Regional News • Oceania
Jacinda Ardern's party scores a landslide win in New Zealand's election
Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern Credit: Nevada Halbert (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has won a second term after a landslide victory in the country's general election. Preliminary results show that Ardern's centre-left Labour Party has won 49% of the vote.

Saturday's result means the Labour Party is projected to win 64 out of 120 parliamentary seats, and be the first party in 24 years with a clear majority.

Regional News • Oceania
Legalizing of marijuana and euthanasia to be voted on in New Zealand
Legalizing of marijuana and euthanasia to be voted on in New Zealand
Credit: unsplash.com / Arnaud Jaegers

The citizens of New Zealand are set to vote on two social issues during the national elections that are set to happen on Sunday.

They can decide if recreational marijuana and euthanasia should be legalized in the country. Recent polls indicate that the outcome of the marijuana referendum remains uncertain while the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass.

Health
Coronavirus: New Zealand records first death in 3 months
Coronavirus: New Zealand records first death in 3 months
Credit: Governor-General of New Zealand (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

New Zealand registered Friday its first Covid-19 death since May 24. Health officials said the man was part of the second wave of infections discovered in Auckland last month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended coronavirus-related restrictions until at least mid-September.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab launches Earth-observing satellite for Capella Space
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch Credit: RocketLab (Twitter Reproduction)

Rocket Lab successfully launched Monday, from their New Zealand launch facility, a satellite on behalf of client Capella Space. In just over a month, Rocket Lab was able to identify what went wrong with the previous Electron launch, that caused the loss of seven satellites.

"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" was the 14th orbital launch for the Electron booster, which debuted in May 2017. The rocket had strung together 11 consecutive successful missions until the July 4 failure.

Regional News • Oceania
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.

Regional News • Oceania
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.

Science • Space
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Credit: Rocket Lab

After losing a payload during a mission failure on July 4, Rocket Lab has set a launch window for its next commercial mission starting on August 27 at 3:05 PM local New Zealand time.

The new Electron mission is billed as a relatively commonplace small satellite delivery mission and will launch from Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump gives nod to Oracle takeover of TikTok
Trump gives nod to Oracle takeover of TikTok
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The United States President Donald Trump stated tech giant Oracle would be "a great company" to take over TikTok's US operations.

The President reaction comes days after media reported that Oracle would be a possible buyer of the TikTok in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Trump ordered TikTok's owner ByteDance to sell their US business within 90 days or face being shut down by the government.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Oracle is working with Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, investors that already have stakes in ByteDance.

Regional News • Oceania
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".

Regional News • Oceania
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.

Regional News • Oceania
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.

Technology • Internet & Web
Snapchat to test new TikTok-like music feature
Snapchat Logo Illustration
Snapchat Logo Illustration Credit: unsplash.com/Morning Brew

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat has announced a new feature that will let users add songs to their video posts, similar to TikTok. Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing Group and other music industry companies to offer a "robust and curated catalog of music."

"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends," so a Snapchat spokesperson.

The new feature will launch first for users in Australia and New Zealand, and later this fall in Canada and the United States.

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Credit: Aaron Weiss

The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

Regional News • Oceania
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.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell organizes free concert in New Zealand to thank for hospitality during Covid-19 lockdown
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell organizes free concert in New Zealand to thank for hospitality during Covid-19 lockdown
Credit: Dota 2 The International (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The co-founder and president of Vale, having developed Counter-Strike, Half-Life. Dota 2, Portal and the gaming client and platform Steam, decided to stay in New Zealand when Covid-19 started spreading. He now announced on the television channel TVNZ 1 that he is organizing a free event together with his partner Teagan Klein and the Aston Martin racecar driver Alex Riberas from Spain to thank the people from New Zealand for their generosity and kindness.

The event will host live music from multiple bands and have workshops, food trucks, art installations and other activities.

Health
WHO announces independent panel to review Covid-19 response, warns that pandemic is accelerating,
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the 74th UNGA
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the 74th UNGA Credit: Office of USAID Administrator (Public Domain)

World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced that the WHO has launched the "Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response" to review the agency's and governments' response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The panel will be headed by Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia.

"Through you, the world will understand the truth of what happened and also the solutions to build our future better as one humanity," so Ghebreyesus. He further warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is not under control but instead is "still accelerating" and that "total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks."

Science • Space
Rocket Lab 13th launch fails after second stage malfunction
Rocket Lab - Pics Or It Didn't Happen Launch
Rocket Lab - Pics Or It Didn't Happen Launch Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

The Rocket Lab's mission ‘Pics or It Didn’t Happen’ failed after the second stage of the Electron rocket carrying seven satellites malfunctioned after launch from New Zealand on Saturday, suddenly slowing down and losing altitude. Rocket Lab confirmed the vehicle and its payloads were lost, but no official indication of what went wrong was immediately available.

CEO Peter Beck tweeted after the failure: "We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today. Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon."

Science • Space
Rocket Lab to launch a seven-satellites rideshare mission Saturday
Electron Rocket
Electron Rocket Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab to launch a rideshare mission Saturday using its Electron rocket. The launch, which is named ‘Pics or It Didn’t Happen’, is scheduled to happen between 21:19 - 22:03 (UTC) from the company's New Zealand spaceport.

The mission is Rocket Lab’s third flight this year, and it includes seven small satellites from several different companies.

Regional News • Oceania
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.”