New Zealand

Doctors fear coronavirus will hit NZ at same time as winter flu season

Sarah Dalton, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, said the so-called "winter surge" was now "the new normal" in many hospitals.

"It's not unusual for our medical wards to be over 100 percent occupancy even outside the winter surge.

"So if we get flu at the same time as Covid-19, that seems like too many things."

Health workers had borne the brunt of the Covid-19 outbreak in China and their experience showed clear protocols and protective equipment were needed now, before the virus arrived, she said.

Surfing legend Kelly Slater to compete in NZ

Slater, 47, holds the record for being both the youngest and oldest World Championin the men's ranks.

He won his first world title in 1992 at the age of 20 and his last was in 2011.

The Piha Pro will be the first time Slater has competed in New Zealand since 1993.

The Piha Pro is one stop on the newly-announced WSL Challenger Series which will see more than 100 surfers chasing qualifying for the elite Championship Tour in 2021.

10 people accused over importing over a tonne of drugs into New Zealand

Up to five million dollars' worth of drugs was seized in a major operation targeting the importation of methamphetamine and other drugs into New Zealand.

A New Zealand man has allegedly been operating overseas since 2016, sending drugs to associates back here via multiple countries and using a variety of ways to conceal the drugs.

He was arrested at the border in Italy on February 2.

Police have also arrested six of his alleged associates living in New Zealand after search warrants were carried out throughout the wider Auckland region last week.

Wuhan coronavirus: 30 Pacific evacuees quarantined in NZ

They are among 193 evacuees who arrived in Auckland from the Chinese city at the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan, on Wednesday night.

The Pacific evacuees include 17 from Papua New Guinea, five Samoans, four Tongans, two Fijians, one from Kiribati and one from Federated States of Micronesia.

The group is expected to be held in isolation at Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland, for two weeks.

Otago University Professor Michael Baker said they would be contained and monitored and did not pose any threat to their home communities.

New Zealand to help Pacific neighbours evacuate

New Zealand imposed a two-week travel ban on arrivals from and through China on Monday and also warns its citizens to leave China fast.

Australia, the United States and seven other countries including Fiji, Russia, Japan and Indonesia, have also imposed entry restrictions on people from China, in an effort to limit contagion of the coronavirus from its source in Wuhan.

New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said preparations for the evacuation were well under way.

Vanuatu company to export Tahitian limes to NZ

The limes were harvested from a farm at Paonagisu Village in North Efate last weekend and were bought at 200 VT per kilogramme.

The export of Tahitian limes in the past was led by a private sector with limited support from the Government thus affecting market requirements.

This time the Government through the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Department of Industry and Department of Biosecurity worked closely with the Dynamic suppliers.

New Zealand pass through pool play unbeaten

For the Black Ferns, victory represented success at the first official world-series event form women in New Zealand.

They secured their semi-final spot with a 38-21 win over Fiji in their final pool game on Sunday morning, with Stacey Fluhler scoring a try hat-trick and Michaela Blyde a double.

Late in their semi, they trailled France, and needed tries from Fluhler and Kelly Brazier, both converted, to emerge 19-7 winners. 

New Zealand 'has responsibility to protect Pacific from coronavirus'

The death toll from the coronavirus sweeping through China has increased to 17 to six and more than 500 people are confirmed to have the illness, which began in Wuhan.

Health authorities say the current risk to New Zealand is low.

But Otago University's Michael Baker says the virus has already spread to several other countries, and monitoring and preparation has to be stepped up. 

He says the recent spread of the measles to the Pacific highlights the obligation New Zealand has to the region.

Hundreds more Pacific workers join NZ building industry

New figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education Commission show the building industry is becoming more diverse, with more than 2,700 women, 1,000 Maori and 2,800 Asian New Zealanders employed in the industry or being trained in the trades.

The Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says an extra 11,000 Kiwis are working in the construction sector, building houses, schools, hospitals, roads and rail.

She says the government has made it more attractive for Kiwis to learn a trade.

Australia claim series win

New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.

Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.

Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell's unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.