New Zealand

Auckland border worker confirmed as Omicron case

The Auckland MIQ worker returned a positive test result as part of routine testing.

The Ministry of Health has now confirmed that the worker has caught the Omicron variant.

More than 50 close contacts have so far been identified.

All of the case's seven household contacts identified have already been contacted, isolated and tested, and returned a negative result.

The case and one household contact are now isolating in a MIQ facility. The remaining household contacts are isolating at locations in Auckland and Taupō.

New Zealand family who disappeared for 17 days missing again

He did not show up to a court appearance at the Te Kūiti District Court on Wednesday and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

His lawyer Garth O'Brien told the court he had not heard from Phillips since he informed him of his court date.

Judge Phillip Crayton issued a warrant for his arrest.

Waikato West Police area commander Inspector Will Loughrin said Phillips is believed to be with his three children.

He would not say what police are doing to find him.

But Inspector Loughrin said they are receiving useful information from members of the public.

Covid-19 experts fear Omicron could soon be in community as NZ border cases increase

The highly transmissible variant has rapidly spread around the globe and New Zealand has dodged a community outbreak so far.

But with the escalating number of overseas returnees testing positive, there are fears a new wave of the virus could be out in the community within weeks.

Epidemiologist and University of Otago professor Michael Baker called the variant a "huge threat" and said it was not a matter of if there was an outbreak, but when.

New report highlights plight of undocumented Tuvaluan migrants

The research, by Unitec's Dr Hoa Nguyen and Senior Lecturer David Kenkel, is based on the lived experiences of undocumented Tuvaluan migrants and their children, and forms a detailed picture of the desperate situation they face.

With assistance from the Tuvaluan Auckland Community Trust, the pair of academics conducted interviews with undocumented migrants and compiled the information they uncovered into this report.

Child is youngest person with Covid-19 to die in NZ - MoH data

In yesterday's update of the numbers on the Ministry's official website, one death has been recorded in the 0-9 age group.

That age group had no deaths listed 24 hours ago and was last updated yesterday. The data says the child is a Māori boy, registered to the Counties Manukau DHB.

The death was not reported in today's 1pm update from the Ministry.

There have now been 49 deaths of people with Covid-19.

The youngest age group has recorded 2201 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began - 16.5 percent of all cases.

Investors should understand Pacific culture first

New Zealand needs to attract $40 million for a fund that will enable projects targeting climate change, sustainability and covid-19 recovery in the Pacific.

But, Pacific Cooperation Foundation Project Manager David Vaeafe said it's important the Pacific way is acknowledged, and the fund has the potential to do a lot of long term good.

New NZ fund to help Pacific nations recover from Covid-19

"They're prioritising coordinating with the Pacific region - particularly Māori and Pasifika - as a key to maintaining an indigenous focus," she said.

Government officials plan to go to market early next year to speak with those interested in managing the fund.

New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford said if things remain on track, investments for projects will made by the end of next year.

80 new community cases in New Zealand today

There are also two new cases identified at the border.

In a statement, the ministry also reported that several members of a flight crew have been identified as close contacts of an Omicron variant case in Australia.

"These crew members arrived in New Zealand last night and are in a MIQ facility, as per standard international air crew arrival procedure."

Of the new community cases today, 51 are in Auckland, 21 in Waikato, seven in Bay of Plenty and one in the Taupō district.

New Zealand to ban cigarettes for future generations

Anyone born after 2008 will not be able to buy cigarettes or tobacco products in their lifetime, under a law expected to be enacted next year.

"We want to make sure young people never start smoking," Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verall said.

The move is part of a sweeping crackdown on smoking announced by New Zealand's health ministry on Thursday.

Doctors and other health experts in the country have welcomed the "world-leading" reforms, which will reduce access to tobacco and restrict nicotine levels in cigarettes.

New Zealand quietly deploys navy ship to Solomon Islands

The decision to deploy the HMNZS Wellington to the mission was not formally announced by the Government or the Defence Force.

The armed offshore patrol vessel left the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland just before 7:30pm on Monday with a crew of 80 and a Seasprite helicopter on board.

A Defence Force spokesman said it would arrive in the waters of the Solomons later in the week, where it would take over patrolling from an Australian ship.