New Zealand

New Zealand moves to COVID-19 alert level 1 from midnight

Things will be just about back to normal for Kiwis after the move to level 1, with social distancing no longer required and no more limits on gatherings - but the border will remain closed to non-New Zealanders.

Hospitality providers will no longer have to ensure guests are seated and only served by one waiter, and night clubs will be able to fully open, with the Government hoping to control any potential future outbreaks with contact tracing.

Auckland shooting: Police launch homicide investigation

They are seeking sightings of a dark coloured Mazda carrying the dead man's body before it stopped on Parkfield Tce and the man contacted emergency services.

Police said in a statement they have been speaking with occupants of the Mazda and they are assisting detectives with their investigation.

A resident of an inner-city Auckland flat came to the aid of a man who arrived in his street minutes before a body was found.

No new cases in New Zealand for 10th day in a row

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said:

Our total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,154, which is the number we report to the World Health Organization.

Our combined total of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1,504.

The number of recovered cases is unchanged at 1,481. Only one case remains active.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

     

Crusaders preparing to welcome back fans for their first Super Rugby Aotearoa match in Christchurch

The New Zealand competition kicks off on June 13 following the country’s recent move to alert Level 2, with games initially set to go ahead without fans, however, due to crowd limitations and restrictions still in place.

Earlier this week, the Government said they will evaluate moving the country into alert Level 1 on June 22, giving franchises hope of welcoming fans back to live games.

With the Crusaders not playing at home until round three – on June 28 – Mansbridge told NZME things look promising to have his side run out in front of their home supporters.

Tower plans to cut 108 jobs despite HY profit rise

The insurance company's profit for the six months ended March was $14.9 million compared with $11.9m a year ago, as income rose 11 percent on the back of increased premiums, and the cost of claims stabilised. The result contains three months of business done by Youi, which Tower bought at the end of last year.

However, outgoing chief executive Richard Harding said the company was bracing for reduced investment income and slower growth because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was prompting the company to cut costs and make greater use of digital platforms for customers.

No new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand for sixth day in a row

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there are only eight active cases in the country and there is still nobody receiving hospital care for the coronavirus.

The eight active cases include five in Waitematā, two in Auckland, and one in Counties Manukau District Health Boards.

Dr Bloomfield said the death toll now included Eileen Hunter, a resident of St Margaret's rest home who died on Sunday and whose family believed had died of Covid-19, despite her having been considered recovered.

Strong 5.8 magnitude quake in NZ

The 5.8 quake was centred 30km north-west of Levin, GeoNet said, and was 37km deep. GeoNet had initially assessed the quake as 5.9.

More than 36,000 people, from the Far North to Dunedin, reported feeling the quake.

Trains in the Greater Wellington region are suspended while crews are doing the visual inspection of the full rail network. MetLink said this would cause significant delays this morning at least.

Buses and trains were being held at their nearest station.

There have been no immediate reports of damage.

$195m of NZ govt budget will go to help Pasifika

Pacific peoples minister Aupito William Sio said the money will help with the recovery and rebuild from Covid-19, with the Pacific community among the hardest hit.

$80 million has been set aside for yet-to-be-announced education iniatives, while more than $30 million will go expanding skills, employment and education programmes that already exist.

$40 million will be spent on improving housing for Pacific families, and money has also been budgeted for culture and heritage funds, community content and the construction of a Fale Malae in Wellington.

Pacific airlines holding out for NZ and Australia to reopen

George Faktaufon said Pacific airlines are not going to be able to count on national government support for handouts to keep them afloat, and the clock is already ticking for some airlines.

"It's very hard to plan for something that you are not quite sure when it's going to happen, because we have always planned for something that is certain, but the plan is depending on when Australia and New Zealand are opening up," he said.

     

New Zealand eases lockdown

The country says it has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus.

Lowering its alert level from four to three means that some non-essential business, healthcare and schools were able to resume this morning.

Around 400,000 people headed back to work, some schools and childcare facilities are open, and people are allowed to get takeout food again.

New Zealand, partly thanks to its isolation and easily-closed borders, managed to contain the virus early on.