New Zealand

NZ to partner with Vanuatu to rebuild health facilities damaged by TC Harold

Both of the health facilities were badly damaged in Tropical Cyclone Harold and have been prioritized by the Vanuatu Government for urgent repair as they provide essential primary health services to local communities.

New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass and the Director-General of Health, Russell Tamata, signed a contract this week valued at 94 million vatu to fund the reconstruction and repair of these two facilities.

In his remarks, Director General Russell said “this signing demonstrates the good working relationship between Vanuatu and New Zealand.”

New Zealand donates $1m as India Covid-19 deaths top 200,000

India's second wave of Covid-19 infections has seen at least 300,000 people a day test positive for the past week, overwhelming healthcare facilities and crematoriums and driving an increasingly urgent international response.

In the past 24 hours, 360,960 new cases were recorded, the largest single-day total in the world, taking India's total to nearly 18 million. A further 3293 deaths, the deadliest day so far, took the death toll to 201,187.

Experts believe the official tally vastly underestimates the actual toll in the country of 1.3 billion.

Pacific Covid-19 response high on agenda for NZ and Australia during talks

Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio said outbreaks in some Pacific island countries, such as Papua New Guinea and Fiji, are overwhelming for the authorities there.

He made the comments following a meeting with Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja and New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford in Auckland today.

NZ, Aust govt ministers to discuss Pacific

Senator Seselja is from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and has a strong interest in labour mobility so he is expected to reveal how this can help the Pacific's economic recovery post-Covid 19.

Aupito and Senator Seselja's get-together follows their foreign ministers' Nanaia Mahuta and Marise Payne meeting today.

The discussions had centred around the issue of 501 deportees and the Five Eyes matters.

The meetings are the first face-to-face ministerial talks betwen the two countries since the Covid-19 pandemic shut the borders.

Worker at Auckland Airport tests positive, plus one historical case

In a statement, the ministry said the usual protocol of isolating the case, interviewing them and tracing their contacts and movements was under way.

There are no new cases of Covid-19 in the community today.

The ministry said more information would be provided later today and the case would be included in tomorrow's totals.

The historical case was a recent returnee from Somalia via UAE who was tested on day 12 of their stay, but was considered recovered, the ministry said.

Australia opens travel bubble with New Zealand

The long-awaited initiative removes the need for visitors to quarantine.

Both countries have contained Covid outbreaks and kept infection rates low, in large part due to hard borders.

Excited passengers crowded Australian airports ahead of reunions with family and friends.

Thousands of people are expected to travel on Monday with some rising before dawn to get ready to board.

"I didn't realise how emotional I was going to be today," passenger Dawn Tratt told the BBC at Sydney airport.

Man seriously injured after airborne car gets stuck in fruit bins in NZ

A police spokesperson said the car was seen speeding the wrong way down Karamu Road in Hastings and failed to stop for police just after 12.30am, fleeing down Kenilworth Road.

It hit gravel at the base of railway lines, become airborne and went over a fence, crashing into the fruit bins and ending about 10 metres above the ground.

Fire and Emergency spokesperson Mike Wanoa said rescuers used ladders to reach the man in the vehicle, then cut him free.

He was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

NZ's football World Cup venues to be unveiled

Australia and New Zealand will jointly host the 32 team tournament with 12 cities from both countries having bid to host games.

The 64 games will be split between the two countries with the tournament opener and a semi-final to be played here while Sydney has already been confirmed as the host city for the final.

Football's world govenring body FIFA has carried out an eight month survey of each of the 12 candidate host cities which include, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington.

Vanuatu captain hopes new NZ competition will open the way for more islanders

After missing out on finals altogether last year because of the pandemic, Kaltak was hoping for a winner's medal with Auckland City, but arch-rivals Team Wellington got the better of them with a 4-2 victory.

The match was historic for more reasons than one, as it was the last final under New Zealand's old system, with Auckland now part of a new and bigger domestic competition which has already kicked off.

Kaltak is hoping the new set-up will open the way for more players from the Pacific Islands to join him in New Zealand, and that his own example will inspire others.

Fiji's Bula Bubble suffers setback

Fiji's government said it has proven itself as a safe destination for travellers during the pandemic with no cases reported for more than 320 days.

Fiji said it was ready to open its border to Australia and New Zealand and urged both countries to join Fiji's so-called Bula Bubble scheme.

But its major regional partners say the Fijians are not on the priority list for a seat on the trans-Tasman travel bubble, just yet.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday several concerns needed to be resolved before a trans-Tasman bubble could go ahead.