Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for August 28, bringing you the latest on New Zealand news and the return of Covid-19. Auckland is in alert level three until 11.59pm on Sunday. The rest of NZ remains in level two. More details here. Official information here. Contact me at [email protected]
11.00am: Jami-Lee Ross party censored over ‘misleading’ anti-vax video
The party co-led by former National MP Jami-Lee Ross is in a stoush with parliament’s speaker over a “misleading” video about Covid-19 vaccinations.
Advance NZ, which last month joined forces with the conspiracy theory pushing Public Party, had posted a video to Facebook titled: “Say no to Labour’s Forced Vaccinations Agenda”. The video included edited footage from parliament which, according to a fact check, “cut key parts of [politicians’] sentences to doctor the meaning of the exchange”.
In a video posted to the Advance NZ/NZPP Facebook page today, Ross confirmed he had been contacted by parliament’s speaker Trevor Mallard, who told him to remove the video.
“He was claiming that, as the speaker, he has the authority to tell us that we must take down videos from our Facebook page if he thinks it is using footage from parliament in a way that he doesn’t agree with.”
Ross claimed that the issue was going to be referred to parliament’s privileges committee by Mallard.
“We care deeply about the bill of rights being upheld and that parliament should never override peoples’ fundamental rights,” Ross said. He labelled the government’s Covid-19 public health response act “dangerous”.
10.25am: NZX crashes for fourth day in a row
Following a cyber attack earlier in the week, the NZX website has crashed yet again. It’s the fourth day in a row where problems have occurred.
In a statement issued to market participants, NZX said: “Given the current issue we have extended the Pre-Open for the NZX Main Board and Fonterra Shareholders Market.
“The NZX Debt Market was placed into a halt at 9.58am. The NZX Derivatives Market remains open.”
The exchange said an update will be provided at 10.30am or earlier “if information is available”.
9.25am: US ambassador to NZ skips managed isolation
The US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown has managed to bypass our country’s official quarantine facilities, despite returning to the country after a trip to the US.
The Herald reports Brown and his wife Gail chose to self-isolate at their home in Lower Hutt. The government cannot force diplomats into managed quarantine facilities due to immunity rules.
Brown had been on a trip to Washington where he met with a number of high profile figures, including: secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the deputy secretary Stephen Biegun, the US trade representative ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and New Zealand’s ambassador Rosemary Banks.
However, Brown has defended his actions this morning. He told Newshub his role as ambassador forbids him from accepting money from the government. “We should do everything at our own expense which is what we’ve done with other representatives of my team,” he said.
“I don’t mind you know, people questioning it cause I think that’s legit, but to lie about the headline and say I’ve refused to do X, Y and Z when actually we have been more than accommodating and respectful.”
8.30am: Māori Party co-leader number seven on list
John Tamihere, co-leader of the Māori Party, claims he opted for a lower position on the party’s newly released list to show support for his fellow candidates.
He’s sitting at number seven, despite it being customary for a co-leader to sit in one of the two top spots. His counterpart, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, is number one on the list.
In a statement, Tamihere justified his risky decision: “My six fellow candidates have put themselves and their whānau up for this challenge and this is my way of showing my support for their sacrifice.”
Top ten on the new Māori Party list:
1. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer Te Tai Hauāuru
2. Rawiri Waititi Waiariki
3. Heather Te Au-Skipworth Ikaroa-Rāwhiti
4. Tākuta Ferris Te Tai Tonga
5. Donna Pokere-Phillips Hauraki-Waikato
6. Mariameno Kapa-Kingi Te Tai Tokerau
7. John Tamihere Tāmaki Makaurau
8. Hana Tapiata Waiariki
9. Merepeka Raukawa-Tait Waiariki
10. Eru Kapa-Kingi Te Tai Tokerau
8.10am: Peters the only parliamentary voice calling for gunman’s deportation
New Zealand First is the only major political party in our current parliament calling for the deportation of the Christchurch terrorist. The 29-year-old Australian national was yesterday given our country’s harshest penalty: he will remain in prison, without parole, for the rest of his life.
Winston Peters said he welcomed the sentence: “The judgement is the only one that matched the depravity of the terrorist’s crimes against the Islamic community, and it’s devastating effect on all people living in this country,” he said.
“New Zealand First also believes this terrorist should be returned to the country that raised him.
“Now is the time for Australia’s minister of home affairs, Peter Dutton, to receive and carry out the terrorist’s sentence in Australia,” Peters said.
Peters said New Zealand and the Islamic community have already “suffered enough” without having to pay astronomical prison costs for years to come.
Yesterday, justice minister Andrew Little said a new law would need to be passed in order to deport the shooter.
He told the Herald the only way an Australian could be deported was after the completion of their sentence.
“It’s automatic if you’re a non-citizen or non-resident. Any other way would have to be by agreement of treaty with the country of origin, and we don’t have that with Australia.
“Our Corrections system is now obliged to detain him for life,” he said.
So far, there has been no other party come forward to back Peters’ view. National’s leader Judith Collins said the life sentence was “entirely appropriate” and that since he did the crime in New Zealand, he should do the time here too.
Act’s leader David Seymour told RNZ it was impractical to send the gunman back to Australia, saying Peters was simply politicising the matter.
7.50am: Mt Eden prisoner organised bar tab for guards
An imprisoned member of the Comancheros gang organised a bar tab for Corrections guards drinking at a pub after hours in an attempt to corrupt them, according to an RNZ investigation this morning.
Documents released to RNZ confirm the incident occurred on May 23, however, the Corrections staff did not use the tab.
“When Corrections staff were socialising at a bar outside work hours, a bar tab was anonymously left by a member or members of the public for Corrections’ staff use,” national commissioner Rachel Leota said.
“Corrections staff did not use the bar tab and departed from the location.”
Corrections then called in its intelligence unit, which tapped prison phone calls and discovered the tab had been left anonymously for the guards.
7.35am: Top stories from The Bulletin
The Christchurch mosque shooter will never leave prison for the rest of his natural life. Yesterday afternoon, a sentence of life without possibility of parole was handed down, amid unequivocal comments from the presiding judge, Justice Mander: “Even if you are detained until you die it will not contain enough punishment and denunciation.” It is the first time such a sentence has been imposed in New Zealand.
Full notes on the sentencing can be read here. I warn you – the first section describes in detail the murders and attempted murders that were committed, and are very disturbing and difficult to read. Justice Mander discussed the clear motivation for the attacks, in that they were an expression of racist and white supremacist beliefs. There was also a discussion of what factors went into the sentence of life without parole, with a notable set of paragraphs discussing that there was little prospect of rehabilitation in any meaningful sense. He will serve that sentence in New Zealand – there is no legal basis for deportation back to Australia, as some have suggested.
In the aftermath of the sentence being handed down, many of those close to the victims reacted with relief. Radio NZ carried their views, with Gamal Fouda, the imam of the targeted Al Noor mosque, saying that while no sentence could bring their loved ones back, a stand had been taken against terrorism. “They [terrorists] represent hate but we are here today – we represent love, compassion, Muslim and non-Muslim; people of faith and non-faith. That is us – New Zealanders – and we are very proud we are Muslims in New Zealand.” Stuff reports crowds gathered outside the High Court, and cheered when they heard the punishment.
7.30am: Yesterday’s key stories
The Christchurch mosque shooter was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the murder of 51 people.
There were seven new cases of Covid-19, one of which was linked to the border.
Trading on the NZX was halted again after its website went down for a third day in a row as a result of a sustained cyber attack.
The mother who escaped a Hamilton MIQ facility along with her four children was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars” is being put aside to ensure New Zealand can access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available, the government said.
A poll found that 62% of Chinese New Zealanders would vote for the National Party, and just 21% would vote for Labour.
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