New Zealand

More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand's largest city

At least four people have died and a state of emergency order continues in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

BBC reports about 350 people needed emergency accommodation, New Zealand's Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said.

He added there had been significant damage across Auckland and the North Island.

The newly-appointed PM also highlighted climate change's role in the extreme weather event.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins: 'Still a very challenging time' for Auckland

Further downpours overnight led to five more rescues of people trapped by floodwaters and landslips, and a significant landslip in Titirangi.

Chris Hipkins said Auckland has a big clean-up ahead from the torrential rain that began on Friday causing unprecedented flooding around the city.

"And then of course we've got the uncertainty of what the weather's going to do over the next few days still ahead of us ... so it's still a very challenging time for Auckland."

Auckland flooding: Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.

The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

New Zealand has13,880 new cases, 79 deaths and 242 in hospital

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 1979 - last Monday it was 2738. Of the new cases, 5357 are reinfections.

There were also 242 people in hospital at midnight Sunday including seven cases in ICU.

RNZ reports the ministry also reported 79 deaths with Covid-19.

Jacinda Ardern to resign as prime minister in February

She has also announced the 2023 election will be on October 14.

Ardern said she is entering her sixth year in office and it has been a challenging role. 

You cannot and should not do the role unless you have a full tank, she says. She said she hoped over summer she would be able to prepare for another term, but she has not been able to do that.

Newshub reports the Prime Minister said her term has seen a major biosecuity incursion, a terror attack, a natural disaster, a global pandemic and an economic crisis.

Four out of 10 Pacific people in New Zealand living in crowded homes

The report by Statistics New Zealand was based on data from the 2018 Census, which showed 39 percent lived in a home that required additional bedrooms for the number of people living in it, which shows no progress has been made since 2013.

Covid-19: XBB.1.5 variant detected in New Zealand

Whole genome sequencing results for two Covid-19 cases with XBB.1.5 were reported by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) late last week.

"The detection of XBB.1.5 is not unexpected, following its recent detection in Australia and globally, and our Covid-19 response accounts for the emergence of new variants," the ministry said on Monday.

Kraken was descended from the Omicron XBB subvariant, itself a cross between two earlier strains: BA.2.75 and BA.2.10.1.

The World Health Organization said it has been detected in at least 31 other countries.

Algae-ridden cruise ship ordered out of New Zealand waters

Viking Orion first docked in New Zealand in mid-December.

RNZ reports Biosecurity New Zealand environmental health manager Paul Hallett said approved ports can manage risk better than special marine environments, like Fiordland.

"Approved ports have regular surveillance, our teams are based there, and ships stick to regular vessel pathways," he said.

Despite the restricted status, Viking Orion still visited commercial ports in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland.

But Hallett said the ship was given a final departure date.

NZ Immigration Minister Michael Wood agrees to meet RSE workers after endemic 'slavery' allegations

Now New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood says he will try and meet some of the workers at the centre of it.

Wood said he was “very open” to meeting the RSE workers whose allegations formed the basis of a damning report by the Human Rights Commission into the scheme.

Sumeo said the Human Rights Commission had found too many stories akin to modern-day slavery and this indicated the problems were far greater than usually appreciated.

New Zealand's largest Pasifika festival facing budget cut

The proposal suggests stopping regional contestable grants and removing some of the community, social, innovation and economic development programmes, which would save a total of 28 million NZ dollars.

RNZ Pacific reports on Thursday, councillors agreed on the budget items that will go out for public consultation early next year - with just one councillor voting against, Josephine Bartley.

She questioned why assets like golf courses were not affected.

The "core services" were part of the fabric of the city, she said.