New Zealand

Nearly 100 pilot whales die in mass stranding off New Zealand islands

Conservation officers said they were notified about the incident on Sunday but by the time they reached the location, Waitangi West Beach, few of the animals were still alive.

In total, 97 whales and three dolphins have died.

It is unclear what caused the stranding on the islands, which are 800km (500 miles) east of New Zealand.

Eight new isolation cases, Air NZ Covid-19 case confirmed

The ministry said the crew member had been retested and returned another positive result, so was now a confirmed case, but all of the tests for the person's 11 contacts had returned negative.

The person had seven close contacts and six casual contacts, the ministry said.

It said only 10 people were recorded as having signed in at Animates Manukau between 1.22pm and 2.11pm when the person had been there, after the ministry sent a push notification to them.

Australian police target online paedophile network with links in New Zealand

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the operation was one of Australia's most significant efforts targeting child exploitation.

Investigators identified links through the online forums to alleged child sex offenders residing in Europe, Asia, United States and Canada, and New Zealand, with 146 international referrals made as a result of this investigation, AFP said.

Worker at Auckland quarantine facility tests positive for Covid-19

In a statement, the Ministry said the person works at the facility and is not a returnee, so are considered a community case.

The case was reported to the Ministry this afternoon.

It said the person had been tested regularly. They were most recently swabbed on 3 November and returned a negative test the next day.

But the staff member then developed symptoms on 5 November and was tested again that day. That test has returned a positive result.

Contacts of the worker are being traced, isolated and tested.

New Zealand's Ardern unveils 'incredibly diverse' cabinet

Mahuta, who has an indigenous Maori facial tattoo, replaces populist Winston Peters, whose New Zealand First party flunked in the 5-million nation's October 17 election.

Ardern appointed Grant Robertson as her new deputy premier, making him the first openly gay person to hold the position. Robertson, a chief strategist in Ardern's election campaign, will also remain New Zealand's finance minister.

Ardern's new 20-member cabinet is comprised of five Maori, three LGBT+ members and two with Pacific island links.

New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia

Friday's results showed 65.2% of voters supported the End of Life Choice Act 2019 coming into force as a new law.

It will allow terminally ill people, with less than six months to live, the opportunity to choose assisted dying if approved by two doctors.

The referendum is binding and the law will come into effect in November 2021.

The results do not include an estimated 480,000 special votes, including postal and overseas ballots, so the final outcome will not be confirmed until next Friday. But with such strong support, the decision is not expected to change.

New Zealand PM says Auckland will move to level 1 this week

Ardern says Cabinet met via Zoom to review the Auckland's alert level and that all signs point to the city's cluster being under control.

She says there were 179 cases attached to the cluster but that there has been no new cases within that cluster for 10 days now.

"There has only been one case in the past two weeks and only five people from the cluster are yet to recover."

She says there is now a 95 percent probability of the cluster being eliminated, according to research.

"I know for many, this one has felt harder, especially for Aucklanders."

Covid-19 alert level restrictions extended across New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland will remain at level 2.5 and the rest of the country at level 2.

Cabinet will review Auckland's alert level settings on Monday 21st September.

"With a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position of containing the cluster, if the change is agreed on, it will come into effect on the 23rd of September," says Ardern.

Giant wasp nest in NZ took two years to reach final size

The nest, originally the size of a two-person tent, was discovered in the Karekare beach area of the regional park.

Hanging high in a tree, the nest is built from a collection of sticks, bark and leaves.

Auckland Council said it would have been home to tens of thousands of wasps.

The nest is believed to have been expanding for up to two years to its final size of about 1m x 2m x 2.5m.

Two new Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand today

There was no media conference today.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said both of today's new cases had an epidemiological link to an existing case and they were both associated with the bereavement events sub-cluster that was linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.

The ministry said one of the new cases is a student at Sunnyvale School in Henderson.