New Zealand

Auckland, rest of New Zealand warned Omicron cases could still rise

Health authorities said the outbreak had peaked in Auckland but was still growing nearly everywhere else.

Pinnacle Midlands Health Network has 85 practices across the middle of the North Island and medical director Jo Scott-Jones said some were seeing huge numbers of patients with the virus.

There were surges in Taranaki, Tairāwhiti, Lakes and Waikato DHB areas, he said.

"What we're seeing is being described as a Mexican wave, sort of travelling down the country," he said.

New Zealand’s Mt Ruapehu volcanic alert level raised after strong tremors

The volcanic alert level at Mt Ruapehu has been raised to two. It was previously at one.

In a statement, duty volcanologist Craig Miller said another heating phase had started at Mt Ruapehu and Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe), with the temperature now reaching 31C.

It was currently overflowing into Whangaehu river.

"Typically, over periods of months, Ruapehu's crater lake undergoes heating and cooling cycles. A new heating cycle has started and has been accompanied by strong levels of volcanic tremor (volcanic earthquakes)," he said.

New Zealand claim to world's largest potato is actually a tuber

Guinness World Records have told Colin and Donna Craig-Brown that what they believed to be a potato is in fact a gourd tuber.

Guinness wrote to the pair to confirm scientific testing found their find was not a potato.

The discovery of the tuber happened last year when Mr Craig-Brown hit it with a hoe while gardening on their small farm near Hamilton.

He said it looks and tasted like a potato while admitting he did not know what gourd tuber tasted like.

"What can you say?" Mr Craig-Brown told the Associated Press.

Video gaming leading to problem gambling for Pasifika

The New Zealand research has been carried out by three organisations - Pasifika Youth Online Gaming and Gambling Research, Mapu Maia Pasifika Service and Moana Research.

They have found children across New Zealand as young as five are showing symptoms of 'gaming harm'.

Lead researcher Dr Seini Taufa said the research is the first of its kind and 75 young people were interviewed.

Taufa said more investment is required to support efforts to overcome problem gambling.

Two more deaths, 15,540 new cases and 952 in hospital

Two Covid-related deaths have also been reported and there are 952 people in hospital, including 19 in intensive care.

The average age of people in hospital is currently 58.

Of the two Covid-related deaths, one was in Waikato and one was in Canterbury. Both people were women aged over 70.

The total number of publicly reported Covid-19 related deaths to date is now 115, the ministry said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the whānau and friends of all those who have died."

18,833 new community cases, 597 people in hospital, five deaths

The ministry has reported 18,833 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with 597 people in hospitals, including 10 people who need intensive care.

It said 9789 cases reported today were in Auckland, which recorded more than 13,000 cases yesterday, with health authorities in New Zealand's largest city hoping the Omicron wave had peaked.

New Zealand reports 23,183 new community cases, 503 in hospital

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said a new death of a New Zealander with Covid-19 haas been recorded with a person passing away in a Bay of Plenty rest home. The person died of an unrelated medical condition while receiving palliative care and had tested positive for the coronavirus.

There are 146,527 known active community cases in New Zealand.

'Largest ever' meth bust in NZ: Police, Customs seize 613kg of the drug

A shipment of 613 kilograms of the drug - with what police say is a retail value of more than $245 million - was stopped at Auckland Airport last Thursday.

Six people aged between 27 and 36 have been arrested and some have links to the Comancheros motorcycle gang.

Investigators made further enquiries into the intercepted shipment over recent days and search warrants were executed across South Auckland yesterday.

Ni-Vanuatu workers copping abuse over Covid 19 outbreak

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks told the Ōpōtiki News last week that any workers from overseas who were out in public would have had no contact with the group who had been infected.

"We have had an instance where Ni-Vanuatu people who are not even contacts with Covid-19 have suffered some abuse in town for walking around in public. They've been called out by some locals. They're not even part of the RSE group that is affected."

Nearly 20,000 new community cases in New Zealand

It said there were also 373 cases in hospital and nine in ICU.

The new community cases today were in Northland (329), Auckland (12,530), Waikato (1,812), Bay of Plenty (1,185), Lakes (376), Hawke's Bay (168), MidCentral (260), Whanganui (45), Taranaki (165), Tairāwhiti (88), Wairarapa (42), Capital and Coast (691), Hutt Valley (355), Nelson Marlborough (196), Canterbury (740), South Canterbury (37), Southern (529), West Coast (17) and one case is unknown.

There were 22 cases identified at the border.