Covid Watch

Covid Watch

Covid Watch is the home of the latest Covid-19 news from New Zealand and around the world, with the conversations Newstalk ZB is having with all the newsmakers and experts to keep you informed.

Episodes

September 25, 2022 5 min

Now that the borders are open again, the option to travel is back after a two year hiatus.

But BloggerAtLarge's Megan Singleton has recently observed that plenty of people still aren't ready to get back out there yet.

There's fear around travel that has built up over the last couple of years, not helped by earlier stories surrounding lost luggage.

Tours offer an easy alternative, as they come with less worry, and they&#...

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Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Patrick McKibbin and Tommy's Real Estate sales director Nicki Cruickshank join Nick Mills on the Business Panel.

Together they discuss gender pay gaps, Ed Sheeran's cancelled concert, local body elections, Let's Get Wellington Moving, ram-raids, home loan interest rates tipped to push higher and the Covid-19 Protection Framework being scrapped.

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The good news for me this week around the relinquishing of the Covid rules, was not so much the masks, lights, or mandates, but the case numbers.

We will no longer publish the case numbers daily. Like all the other changes we have been ruinously slow to move on with life.

But the numbers were possibly the most insidious of the factors at play without us perhaps even realising.

The Prime Minister's line by the way, that we are &...

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It is moderately encouraging we have two mutterings from the Government this week so far on the potential for a Covid inquiry.

Grant Robertson told us Monday on this show it was closer, and the Prime Minister is taking advice on what it should look like.

The reluctance to this point is fairly obvious. It's going to be ugly, and they know it.

Government's call inquiries for a couple of reasons. One, to get the subject off th...

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So the Government’s looking at potential scope for a Covid review, and “taking advice”.

That in and of itself should ring alarm bells given no government has ordered more reviews than this lot. They ordered reviews like a teenager ordering Uber Eats with their parents credit card. Reviews all round, bugger the expense. So now to pause, reflect, and take advice, seems out of character. It seems a stalling technique. 

That aside, the...

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Today marks the first day of the Covid-19 Protection Framework being over, and Parliament had their first mask-free session in recent memory.

Political editor Barry Soper was in attendance and observed that people were still cautious and feeling the need to enforce distancing rules. 

It was also observed that Jacinda Ardern was pleased that our nation's hard work had paid off, and that we could ease up on protection, for the mo...

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The traffic light system is gone, most of the mask requirements are gone and the vaccine mandates will be gone by September 26 - although employers will still be able to decide whether or not they want to stick with the mandates.

The only place the Government will require us to keep wearing masks is in places where health services are provided - so hospitals, GP practices etc.

I’m not going to lie - it doesn’t necessarily feel like...

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Well, it was as expected.

Yesterday we heard that 927 days since the Covid pandemic triggered extraordinary defensive measures here and around the world, the Government has decided, as the Prime Minister put it, to turn the page.

No more mandates, no more requirements for masks, except in health care facilities and aged care environments, no more traffic light settings. I think I'm happiest about the traffic light settings. The...

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Nurses' Society Director David Willis joined Mike Hosking to discuss the dropping of vaccine mandates for health workers and how it will affect the industry.

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What a relief and not before time that we’re waving goodbye to the traffic light system. Big raps to the Government for getting their heads around that.

We’ve moved on, and so should they. It was apparent yesterday when Grant Robertson said to Mike Hosking that they’ll ‘still take Covid seriously’ that they were laying the ground work for the naysayers, the panickers, those who’d freak out, that they were ‘still taking it seriously...

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The masks are gone for all but a few sectors, but where do they all go?

A new free recycling initiative is being launched by our biggest mask manufacturer to try and make sure our masks don't all end up in landfill.

It's being done by Meo and co-founder Kenneth Leong joined Mike Hosking.

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The Tourism Minister says any remaining restrictions won't keep people from visiting.

Vaccine requirements for international travellers and the need to wear a mask in most places are gone.

Despite the easing of restrictions, travellers still have to fill out a travel declaration form.

Stuart Nash told Mike Hosking it's not a big deal.

He says it's something which happens around the world and isn't too cumbersome.

LI...

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Praise for an easing of restrictions from our retail sector.

Covid-19 restrictions have been scrapped almost completely, with only aged care facilities and hospitals still requiring masks.

Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford says it takes away a lot of tension and confusion around exemptions that retail workers had to deal with.

He told Kate Hawkesby he doesn't expect many retailers to ask their customers to mask up.

Harford...

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So today is D-day on the traffic light system and whether it continues for us or not.

Let’s hope not. I’m optimistic – but the caveat is, this Government likes control.

This system was all about control, and to ditch it is to lose that.

Problem is, and part of the reason I think they’ll ditch it, is that we’ve all ditched it anyway.

Sick of masks and controls and traffic lights and restrictions, coupled with seeing

Covid in the com...

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The Deputy Prime Minister is promising transparency around Covid-19 protocol.

The decision about whether to do away with our traffic light system will be announced at 4pm after a cabinet meeting. 

Grant Robertson told Mike Hosking we will have complete clarity around the rules by the end of the day.

He says while the virus can be unpredictable, New Zealanders need to know what's expected of them.

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National says our Covid-19 traffic light system is no longer needed.

Jacinda Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision on whether to do away with it at 4pm.

National Party Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says compliance with mask wearing is waning.

He told Kate Hawkesby he reckons the timing is right.

Bishop says now that cases are falling and we're past the winter peak, it's time to move on.

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Epidemiologist Dr Michael Baker joined the Weekend Collective to discuss the potential changes to the traffic light framework, whether we should still be wearing masks and more. 

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I asked a simple question of Megan Woods yesterday on the programme. Does this Government apologise for anything?

She went on to not apologise. She referenced Carmel Sepuloni, who also hadn't apologised. And by days end, no one seems to have apologised for the Northland cock up.

Not the Prime Minister, who referred questions to Chris Hipkins in yet another sign that she has basically checked out and essentially just lives for t...

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The green light could be given to get rid of the traffic light framework.

Our newsroom understands Cabinet will be deciding on a recommendation to scrap the framework altogether, rather than tweaking the settings or moving to green.

If it goes ahead, it will come into effect as soon as next Wednesday.

Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford told Mike Hosking he supports axing it, including getting rid of mask mandates.

He says nobod...

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A call for an inquiry over mistakes made during our Covid-19 response.

Northland was plunged into level three after two women travelled to the region and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

Officials originally said they had provided false information to get travel permits, but it's been revealed they were issued in error instead.

Former New Zealand First Northland MP Shane Jones told Kate Hawkesby their refusal to hold ...

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