New Zealand

NZ reports 19 new imported cases in past three days

In its first release of numbers in 2021, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the total number of active cases is 72.

The Ministry also confirmed that the new cases included six which matched the UK variant of Covid-19 known as 20B/501Y.V1 (Lineage B.1.1.7).

Rise in pyramid schemes targetting Māori and Pasifika sparks warning

Natalie Vincent, of Ngā Tāngata Microfinance, said many pyramid schemes use cryptocurrencies, and are promoted primarily to Māori and Pasifika families.

Vincent said a new pyramid scheme is being sold to vulnerable people in the form of 'gifting' or 'koha' with the promise of making quick money.

It suggests people can get up to $20,000 after making three payments of $150.

Vincent said some people might make money at the very early stages, but further on, as is the nature of such schemes, it will collapse, leaving no money for anyone.

New Zealand sex worker given six-figure sum in sexual harassment case

The sum is part of a settlement to compensate the woman for "emotional harm and lost earnings", said the human rights body that represented her.

The case served as a reminder that all workers have the right to freedom from sexual harassment at work, it added.

New Zealand passed a law decriminalising sex work in 2003.

The details of the proceedings, including the identities of those involved, is confidential.

But the settlement announced on Monday was viewed as an important milestone for sex workers' rights.

Queensland opens borders to New Zealand

New Zealanders will be able to travel into to the Australian state without having to quarantine from 1am local time on Saturday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a tweet that more New Zealand citizens call Queensland home than any other Australian state.

"With Kiwis able to travel to Queensland from tomorrow, families can finally be reunited in time for Christmas."

"I was advised late last night by Dr Jeannette Young, our Chief Health Officer, that New Zealanders are welcome to come," the Premier said.

Human Rights Commission Launches inquiry into Pacific pay disparity

Labour force data indicates Pacific workers are the lowest paid across the country and the pay gap between Pākehā men and Pacific women in the public sector is 27 percent, the commission says.

Its new report, Talanoa: Human rights issues for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand, heard from Pacific workers who said they were "often overlooked for upskilling opportunities and promotions. These workers also fear retaliation in raising concerns with their employers", the commission said.

New Zealand farmers prepare to export 'best cannabis in the world'

The first seedlings are now in the ground along the salt-laden and sunny slopes of Kēkerengū - just north of Kaikōura.

The ocean-side plantation run by research and development and cultivation company Puro will eventually cover the equivalent of 10 rugby fields.

Fresh out of quarantine, US-based cultivation technician Max Jablonski was last Friday focused on planting the prized seedlings into freshly furrowed, chocolate coloured soil.

NZ Govt to allow 2000 horticulture workers in from Pacific under strict conditions

Growers had complained that without these workers, some produce would rot unpicked.

The government has however imposed strict conditions.

The workers would have to be paid the living wage, of at least $22.10 an hour.

Their quarantine costs would have to be paid by their employer and workers would be paid for at least 30 hours a week while in quarantine.

Recruits would come from island nations in the Pacific, but the government has not specified which countries will be chosen.

Nearly 100 pilot whales die in mass stranding off New Zealand islands

Conservation officers said they were notified about the incident on Sunday but by the time they reached the location, Waitangi West Beach, few of the animals were still alive.

In total, 97 whales and three dolphins have died.

It is unclear what caused the stranding on the islands, which are 800km (500 miles) east of New Zealand.

Eight new isolation cases, Air NZ Covid-19 case confirmed

The ministry said the crew member had been retested and returned another positive result, so was now a confirmed case, but all of the tests for the person's 11 contacts had returned negative.

The person had seven close contacts and six casual contacts, the ministry said.

It said only 10 people were recorded as having signed in at Animates Manukau between 1.22pm and 2.11pm when the person had been there, after the ministry sent a push notification to them.

Australian police target online paedophile network with links in New Zealand

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the operation was one of Australia's most significant efforts targeting child exploitation.

Investigators identified links through the online forums to alleged child sex offenders residing in Europe, Asia, United States and Canada, and New Zealand, with 146 international referrals made as a result of this investigation, AFP said.