New Zealand

New Zealand reports first case in the community in months

Health officials said a 56-year-old woman who had recently returned from Europe tested positive days after completing a compulsory two-week period of managed isolation.

Contact tracing efforts are under way, and authorities have published a list of locations the woman visited.

New Zealand has been widely praised for its response to the pandemic.

The country, with a population of five million, has recorded 1,927 confirmed cases and 25 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

New Zealand implements additional measures to keep Covid-19 out

Amendments to Air Border Order include:

NZ reports 19 new imported cases in past three days

In its first release of numbers in 2021, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the total number of active cases is 72.

The Ministry also confirmed that the new cases included six which matched the UK variant of Covid-19 known as 20B/501Y.V1 (Lineage B.1.1.7).

New Zealand sex worker given six-figure sum in sexual harassment case

The sum is part of a settlement to compensate the woman for "emotional harm and lost earnings", said the human rights body that represented her.

The case served as a reminder that all workers have the right to freedom from sexual harassment at work, it added.

New Zealand passed a law decriminalising sex work in 2003.

The details of the proceedings, including the identities of those involved, is confidential.

But the settlement announced on Monday was viewed as an important milestone for sex workers' rights.

New Zealand farmers prepare to export 'best cannabis in the world'

The first seedlings are now in the ground along the salt-laden and sunny slopes of Kēkerengū - just north of Kaikōura.

The ocean-side plantation run by research and development and cultivation company Puro will eventually cover the equivalent of 10 rugby fields.

Fresh out of quarantine, US-based cultivation technician Max Jablonski was last Friday focused on planting the prized seedlings into freshly furrowed, chocolate coloured soil.

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.