Checkpoint is RNZ’s weekday drive-time news programme. Our multi-media show broadcasts on 101FM, and you can also watch it live on our website, Freeview Channel 50 and Face TV on Sky Channel 083 every weeknight from 5pm, where we tackle the stories of the day. Hosted by Lisa Owen. Send news tips a…
A Christchurch woman who has a medical exemption to not wear a mask, says the judgement and stigma she faces in stores makes her condition even worse. Jody Devine carries an exemption card to show she doesn't have to wear a mask, because of historic childhood trauma. She told our reporter Rachel Graham she wants people to realise some people not wearing masks have legitimate reasons.
A new preventation programme designed and led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to reduce the number of Māori tamariki and rangatahi entering state care has been given a funding injection from the government. It is hoped to help improve outcomes for whānau in the Ngāi Tahu tribal area. Here's Ōtautahi reporter Kim Moodie.
From confusion to support, people in provincial New Zealand are digesting the Government's new Covid-19 Protection Framework. It packs in plenty of detail and while some have their eyes on the 90 percent target, others are skeptical about what it will herald. Jimmy Ellingham reports.
Just two days after its level 3 lockdown lifted, Northland has recorded two new cases of Covid - with the possibility of a third. The Ministry of Health says the two cases are contacts of a recently diagnosed case in Auckland and aren't linked to the earlier reported cases who visited Northland. A Whangārei pub has reported a third case although this has yet to be confirmed. Ngāti Hine Health Trust chief executive Geoff Milner tells Nita Blake-Persen he understands that case is "working through the system". "We were updated by the DHB on that particular case. It's much earlier in the process than the two whānau in the mid-north, but we're bracing ourselves that that is the third case in Northland."
The government has announced a vaccination target for Aotearoa. All DHBs need to get 90 percent of their population double vaccinated so the country can move into the next stage of the Covid-19 response. It is a traffic light system, and vaccine certificates are the key. For locked down Auckland, reaching 90 percent will mean freedoms similar to level 2, at least inside the city border and only if you're double jabbed. And a Christmas outside the city boundary could be on the cards too. In the meantime, additional financial support has been announced for struggling businesses with the Covid resurgence payment set to double and offered more frequently. Newmarket Business Association Chief Executive Mark Knoff-Thomas talks to Nita Blake-Persen.
Construction for a $50 million film studio in Upper Hutt, near Wellington, is well-underway. Lane Street Studio is set to help the region meet its capacity issues in the creative sector, and already international clients are knocking on the door. Our reporter Kirsty Frame and cameraman Samuel Rillstone went to have a look.
The Prime Minister has dangled the carrot of lifting some restrictions in the south if they can get the island 90 percent fully vaccinated. Community and business leaders say this provides the step forward they need after more than a year since Covid-19 was in the community. Our reporters around the south have been out speaking to locals, and here's Timothy Brown with the story.
Australia is throwing open its doors to international travel with flights resuming in as soon as 10 days. It comes as Victoria and New South Wales hit 70 and 80 percent double dose levels, ease lockdowns and move towards freedom. Worldwatch's Perlina Lau has the details.
Being held hostage by the unvaccinated. That's how some Auckland businesses feel as a 90 percent vaccine target is set for opening up. Whilst they wait - more support has been announced, but many hospitality businesses say it'll only make a small dent in their bills. Jean Bell reports.
Māori health experts are worried about the lack of a specific vaccination target for Māori in the reopening plan announced today. Restrictions will ease once 90 percent of the population in each DHB area is fully vaccinated. But health advocates say that could be devastating. Jamie Tahana has more.
There's been more support announced for Auckland businesses today, some of which are feeling the full effects of the drawn out lockdown. The resurgence support payment has been doubled and the wage subsidy will continue as Auckland transitions to the traffic light system. Checkpoint's Nick Truebridge joins us now from Newmarket.
Auckland will transition into the new 'traffic light' Covid-19 framework as soon as the region's three district health boards hit 90 percent of their eligible populations being fully vaccinated. Currently just over 74 percent of eligible Aucklanders across all the DHB are fully vaccinated. And with no clear indication on when domestic travel could be back with Auckland's borders still in place - it is still very much a waiting game with the government saying it will review vaccination settings on November 29. Reporter Louise Ternouth and camera operator Marika Khabazi went to find out how today's news has gone down.
Nita Blake-Persen speaks to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to ask whether Auckland will be in the new protection system by Christmas. First she asks whether Northland should brace for another lockdown after two confirmed cases in the region.
Once the Auckland region reaches 90 percent double-dosed with the vaccine, the newly revealed Covid-19 protection system comes into play. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out a new traffic light system which involves DHBs reaching a 90 percent vaccine rate - and vaccine certificates. Here's our political reporter Katie Scotcher.
Covid put a dampener on much of the usual pomp and ceremony for the swearing in of the new Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro at Parliament today. Absent this time, the hundreds-strong greeting line, military salute and inspection of the guard. Hamish Cardwell reports. [embed] https://players.brightcove.net/6093072280001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6278122331001
A homeless advocate hopes health authorities listen to those on the frontline about the best way to reach at-risk communities for vaccination. In April, Te Tuinga Whānau Trust's Tommy Kapai Wilson travelled from Tauranga Moana to Wellington to pitch his idea for a 'jab cab' to Ministry of Health officials. Similar to the 'Shot Bro' buses that rolled out in Tāmaki Makaurau months later, the vans would have provided transport to and from a Covid vaccine clinics. While the wheels never got turning on the jab cab, Tommy Wilson hopes the government learns a thing or two. Jean Bell reports.
More than three months after severe flooding in Westport damaged hundreds of homes, many residents are left wondering when and if they will be able to return. It exposed a town grappling with poverty and housing issues. Samantha Gee has more.
Aucklanders may not be able to go anywhere at the moment, but sprinkers are back, and so is a long hot shower, with water restrictions being lifted this weekend. Tighter rules for water use were put in place in May last year, when the region's dams fell to low levels due to drought and continuing dry weather. Now with dams at 93 percent full, Auckland Council's governing body has loosened the tap. Chen Liu reports.
Beating misinformation could hold the key to lifting the lagging Māori vaccination rate in the greater Manawatū region. Regional councillor and Rangitāne iwi kaumātua Wiremu Te Awe Awe says some people have been sucked in by wrong information about the covid vaccine. Our Manawatū reporter Jimmy Ellingham has more.
A growing number of workplaces are considering bringing in covid vaccine mandates. The Warehouse Group has begun consulting with staff about a directive for staff to be vaccinated. Victoria University in Wellington has already mandated vaccines for students and staff working in residential halls, and is now looking at going further than that. Vice Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford tells Lisa Owen it would have to be a "high trust" model.
With the country recording triple figure cases for the first time since Covid arrived in New Zealand, the focus is going on how the health system will cope with Delta firmly entrenched in the community. There are 46 people in hospital with the virus at the moment, and seven are in ICU or a high dependency unit. But some say while the short-term surge will be tough, it's the future that needs some serious consideration. Kate Gregan reports.
People who have waited patiently - and often painfully - for weeks in lockdown are finally able to access face to face care from dentists, physios and other allied health professionals. The government's relaxed level 3 rules, affecting 2,000 practitioners in Auckland alone, across 43 professions. Sam Olley reports.
A group of lucky businesses have been chosen for a govenrment trial that will see them by pass MIQ and isolate at home when returning from overseas travel. 605 businesses applied for just 150 places. They had to meet strict criteria including having somewhere to stay alone. No shared ventilations systems, so no apartments. The property has to be within a 50km radius of Christchurch or Auckand international Airport. And travellers need to return to those cities on a direct international flight by December 8. Sucessful applicants were told last Friday. One of them is Mark Ulrich, director of UMC - an engineering company that sells wire fabrication machinery to the fencing industry, around the world. He talks to Lisa Owen. [embed] https://players.brightcove.net/6093072280001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6278102628001
New Zealand's secured an historic free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom that will eventually eliminate all tariffs on New Zealand exports. Industry leaders have welcomed the agreement, saying it'll give New Zealand products a competitive edge in the UK market. Our political reporter Anneke Smith has more.
Suspected anti-vaxxers have been making bogus vaccination bookings in one of the most unprotected areas of the country. They've been targeting Tairawhiti, where only 74 percent of people have had at least one dose - and just 63 percent of Māori. The College of GPs president Sam Murton told health correspondent Rowan Quinn one small clinic in Tairāwhiti had about 90 fake bookings in just a few days. The Ministry of Health says it is investigating a small number of fake bookings to its national system and says it is extremely disappointing and irresponsible behaviour.
Daily covid numbers have hit triple figures today, with 102 cases recorded in the community. 94 of them are in Auckland and eight in Waikato. 40 of today's cases are so far unlinked. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Roberton says while they've been clear about the likelihood of an increasing number cases, he acknowledges that's not always easy. [embed] https://players.brightcove.net/6093072280001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6278104840001
A Palmerston North woman is pleading for a one-way compassionate exemption to cross the Auckland border to see her terminally ill nephew in his final days. Andrew Spier, 36, is dying from bowel cancer which has spread through his body. He has been told he has just days to live. His aunt Moyra Spier, who lives on her own and is fully vaccinated, just wants to drive to Auckland to help Andrew and his elderly parents who are caring for him in his final days, including administering his pain relief. But despite a letter from Andrew's GP, and pleas from her local MP along with National's deputy leader Dr Shane Reti, her requests have continued to be declined by MBIE. The Ombudsman is now investigating.
From the end of November 300 health workers will be given spots in MIQ each month but the big question is who will get those spots. The Ministry of Health will work with DHBs and Primary Health Organisations to divvy up the rooms - but many are holding their breath to see who will be considered most in need. There are 60 new cases of Covid-19 in the community - 56 in Auckland and four in Waikato. Twenty-two of those cases are yet to be linked to an earlier case. Officials are warning the case numbers will rise - adding to the pressure on health services. Rachel Graham has more.
It's hello classroom, goodbye online learning for Auckland and Waikato's year 11, 12 and 13 students. Despite Auckland's high Delta case count, seniors can head back to school from next Tuesday. But uncertainty remains for students in years 1 to 10. And that spells disappointment for some, who desperately want catch up with mates, and get their feet back under the desk. Our reporter Nick Truebridge and cameraman Nick Monro spoke to parents and students enjoying the sun at Takapuna Beach this afternoon.
Walk in vaccinations paired with free coffee and kai are on offer for students at Ara institute of Canterbury this week. It's part of the the region's race to hit 90 percent for first doses by Labour Weekend. Our cameraman Nathan McKinnon and reporter Kim Moodie went along.
School is back on campus from Tuesday but only for a select few and under strict conditions. And there is no end in sight for parents of primary students learning at home - Cabinet will review their situation next week. Years 11 to 13 can head back to class, basically to get ready for exams, but there are a list of rules. School staff need a negative Covid test before they're allowed on site. Masks are mandatory, so is physical distancing. Schools must keep Covid tracing records and disinfect daily. Classes have to aired out during breaks, with students and teachers outside as much as possible. And no singing or exercising indoors. Principal of Kia Aroha College in South Auckland Haley Milne told Checkpoint a quick survey she did suggested students will not be coming back to school on Tuesday. "There's too many questions and not enough answers," Milne said.
A woman with Covid-19 has handed herself into police after fleeing quarantine in Auckland. She was one of three alleged escapees in quick succession by people quarantining from the community. Our MIQ reporter Katie Todd has the details.
The Chief Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the MIQ system following a flood of complaints. Judge Peter Boshier has received more than 800 complaints about the government-run system since July last year. He has previously raised concerns about the systems limited capacity with most people now vying for a voucher through a lottery system. Judge Boshier told Checkpoint he has the ability to recommend changes to the MIQ system, which may have more success than legal action against the government. "I can be very far reaching and much broader than a court is able to go. For instance, I can say this is the way your system is built, I find that unreasonable, I recommend you change it, and do the following. "And most of the time, most recommendations I make are taken up by agencies."
National says it would get rid of lockdowns once vaccination rates hit 85 percent, or on December 1 - whichever comes first. Its 'Back in Business' plan would also boost the wage subsidy and introduce temporary tax cuts for businesses and workers. There would be targeted support for the worst-hit industries, and possible compensation for lost earnings. National says it will get business moving again, while a Covid-19 modeller warns reopening under those conditions would come with hundreds of deaths and thousands of hospitalisations. Our political reporter Anneke Smith has more.
An Auckland man who travelled to Waiheke Island after testing positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to remain on the island, despite allegedly breaching multiple health orders. The case is the first on Waiheke, which is supposed to be cut off from the rest of Auckland due to the limited medical resources on the Island. It's worrying locals who want guarantees the Covid positive visitor won't spread the virus in the community. With more on this now we're joined by our reporter Nita Blake-Persen.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint it is “certainly a possibility” by Christmas that Aucklanders could have more freedoms while still being restricted within the regional Covid boundary. He also discusses the return to classrooms for senior high school students, and questions around younger students returning before the end of the year.
Thousands of teenagers in Auckland are going back to school next week for the first time in two months. The government has given the green light for schools in alert level three regions, currently Auckland and Waikato, to reopen classrooms to students in Years 11, 12 and 13 on Tuesday. It has also announced NCEA and Scholarship exams are going ahead in November, even in alert level 3 regions. Here's our education correspondent, John Gerritsen.
Ngāti Whātua is defending the management of the border between Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau. Northland will drop down to alert level 2 at midnight, following a Covid scare in which a woman who later tested positive crossed the border using fake documents. That's raised concerns that poor controls could see more cases sneak through. But those on the frontlines say the strict set up is running as it should. Sam Olley was there today.
Life in Australia is slowly getting back to normal, with more states releasing plans to open up and let people back in. With high vaccination rates, a national plan and clear targets, states are beginning to lift more restrictions and have announced plans to let vaccinated expats and visitors back in. Worldwatch's Perlina Lau reports.
Christmas is just around the corner, but with Tāmaki Makaurau still in level 3, many are wondering if they should be making any plans at all. The Prime Minister says Aucklanders should not be cancelling plans to leave town for the festive season and told media this morning she believes the city will be out of level 3 by Christmas. Despite that, some Aucklanders are preparing for a summer spent in their backyard. Anei te kai ripoata a Katie Doyle.
Health officials are thinking smaller and more nimble as they try to reach the half million people who have not had a first dose of the vaccine. First were the 'Shot Bro' buses, now vaccine campers are on the road. More than 40 'vaxi vans' will be travelling over the motu in the next few weeks, aiming to reach isolated. rural areas. One of the first stops was Onewhero in Waikato. Checkpoint reporter Louise Ternouth and camera operator Marika Khabazi went to check it out.
To Australia, where an urgent search for a missing four-year-old girl feared abducted is being hampered by extreme weather. Cleo Smith went missing from a campsite in a rural area on the coast of Western Australia four days ago. She was with her family in a tent in her sleeping bag and was last seen by them at about 1:30am. It has sparked memories of the Azaria Chamberlain case - the nine-week-old baby who disappeared near Uluru more than 40 years ago on a family camping trip - taken by a dingo. There's been a massive search - but that was temporarily called off today as heavy rains and winds battered the coast. ABC reporter James Carmody is near Blowholes Campsite in Macleod. He talks to Lisa Owen.
All Black hooker Codie Taylor choked back tears at an emotional All Blacks press conference today as he paid tribute to his teammate Sean Wainui. 25-year-old Wainui, who played for the Māori All Blacks, the Crusaders and more recently the Chiefs, was killed when the car he was driving hit a tree yesterday morning. The All Blacks, many of whom played alongside him, were shocked to learn of his death following their arrival in Washington after a 30-hour journey from the Gold Coast. Felicity Reid was on the emotional zoom conference call.
As Te Tai Tokerau prepares to move down alert levels, a Whangārei doctor is pleading with people to get vaccinated - saying the effects of not doing so, will be absolutely devastating. There are still around 45,000 people in Northland who have yet to have a single vaccine. Nationwide that figure is around 600,000. And with doctors already worried about the pressures they face, many are bracing for the devastation delta will cause our health systems if those vaccination rates don't rise. Anei te kai ripoata a Nita Blake-Persen.
An Auckland theatre has drawn the curtains on the 2021 season - saying even level two would be too hard to operate in. The Basement Theatre in the central city hosts performances from theatre makers, dancers, visual artists, musicians and comedians - but a lack of certainty around Delta alert levels has led to the constant re-scheduling of performances. Executive Director Cat Ruka says the decision to go dark for the rest of the year wasn't easy.