New Zealand bans export of live animals by sea

New Zealand bans export of live animals by sea

WELLINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - New Zealand on Wednesday banned the export of livestock by sea from April 2023, citing animal welfare concerns in a decision that will affect major trading partners including Australia and China. The ban had been well flagged and comes after a ship that left its shores with nearly 6,000 cows and 43 crew members capsized in 2020 off Japan. Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor said the legislation banning the export would protect New Zealand's reputation as a global leader in animal welfare standards. "This bill reinforces and builds on New Zealand's reputation as a safe…
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New Zealand economy rebounds in Q2 as tourists return

New Zealand economy rebounds in Q2 as tourists return

 (Reuters) - New Zealand's economy rebounded sharply last quarter as a lifting of coronavirus restrictions and the return of tourists helped it dodge recession, though it may be a last hurrah for strong growth as surging interest rates steamroll demand. Official data out on Thursday showed gross domestic product (GDP) rose 1.7% in the June quarter, beating forecasts of a 1.0% gain and a timely recovery from the first quarter's 0.2% drop. Annual growth slowed to just 0.4%, but that was biased down by the timing of various lockdowns and the main message was one of an economy running with…
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New Zealand may become a republic but not anytime soon, Ardern says

New Zealand may become a republic but not anytime soon, Ardern says

New Zealand will not actively take any measures to become a republic in the short-term after the death of Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, though she expects the Pacific nation will eventually become one. "I've never sensed the urgency. There's so many challenges we face. This is a large, significant debate. Don't think it's one that would or should occur quickly," Ardern told reporters on Monday when asked whether the change in the British monarch will spark talks of republicanism in the country. New Zealand is one of 15 realms to count the British Monarch as head of state including Australia and…
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King Charles proclaimed monarch of Australia, New Zealand

King Charles proclaimed monarch of Australia, New Zealand

SYDNEY, Sept 11 (Reuters) - King Charles was officially proclaimed head of state of both Australia and New Zealand at ceremonies on Sunday in the nations' capitals. In New Zealand, the proclamation of Charles as monarch, taking over from Queen Elizabeth who died on Thursday aged 96, took place in the parliament in Wellington. Speaking from parliament's steps, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the event acknowledged the queen's son, "His Majesty King Charles III as our sovereign". Ardern told a crowd that in the wake of the queen's death, New Zealand had entered a time of change. "King Charles ... has consistently…
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Relative of New Zealand children found dead in suitcases believed to be in South Korea

Relative of New Zealand children found dead in suitcases believed to be in South Korea

SEOUL, Aug 22 (Reuters) - A woman believed to be a family member of the two children whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand is in South Korea, Seoul police said on Monday. The woman, a Korean-born New Zealander, arrived in South Korea in 2018 and had no record of departure since then, a police officer told Reuters. Her whereabouts and whether she had other relatives with her when she arrived in South Korea were not immediately known. "New Zealand police had requested confirmation whether the person who might be related to a crime case was in South…
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New Zealand to temporarily boost worker intake amid shortfall

New Zealand to temporarily boost worker intake amid shortfall

Aug 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand will make temporary changes to immigration rules, a minister said on Sunday, aiming to lure 12,000 workers over the next year with a working holiday scheme designed to fill labour gaps as businesses scramble to find staff. The jostling for workers is part of a global trend that has helped push up wages in New Zealand, posing a challenge to the fight on inflation by the central bank, which raised interest rates last week to their highest since Sept. 2015. "These measures are about providing immediate relief to those businesses hardest hit by the…
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NZ to deploy 120 troops to Britain to train Ukrainian troops

NZ to deploy 120 troops to Britain to train Ukrainian troops

WELLINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - New Zealand is sending 120 military personnel to Britain to help train Ukrainians in front-line combat, the government said on Monday. The deployment will enable two infantry training teams to equip Ukrainian personnel with the core skills to be effective in combat, including weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law and other skills. The training of about 800 Ukrainian soldiers will be conducted exclusively at one of four locations in Britain, and New Zealand defence personnel will not travel to Ukraine, the government said in a statement. "We have been clear that a blatant attack…
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Jacinda Ardern under pressure as approval rating slumps to record low

Jacinda Ardern under pressure as approval rating slumps to record low

The approval rating for Jacinda Ardern’s government has plunged to its lowest level since her election victory, as New Zealand’s economy struggles to recover from her harsh pandemic restrictions. Amid rising inflation and a bleak economic outlook, Ms Ardern - who became the world’s youngest female head of government at the age of 37 - could lose power to a coalition of the centre-Right National party and the Right-wing ACT at the next election, the latest opinion polls have shown. ACT, which is an acronym of Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, is soaring in popularity - with support leaping from…
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New Zealand industries struggle to find workers

New Zealand industries struggle to find workers

WELLINGTON, (Reuters) - New Zealand video game developer PikPok found a solution to prolonged difficulty in finding experienced workers: Colombia. The company, which is behind such mobile game apps as Clusterduck and Into the Dead, bought a studio in Medellin, Colombia, in February, increasing its staff of 180 by 35. "It's incredibly difficult to get to people with experience," said Mario Wynands, managing director of PikPok. "By acquiring the studio in Colombia, that's given us the opportunity to recruit talent from Latin America and scale up that way." Other industries do not have that solution. Businesses from farms to retirement villages and…
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New Zealand COVID-19 death rate at record levels

New Zealand COVID-19 death rate at record levels

WELLINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - New Zealanders are dying from COVID-19 at record rates as the country battles a new wave of the Omicron strain that is particularly affecting the older population. Deaths from the virus reached 151 in the seven days to July 16, compared with 115 in the worst week of the previous wave, in March, according to Health Ministry data. In the latest 24 hours, 26 people died from COVID, all aged over 60, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant is driving the current wave in New Zealand, which has 5.1…
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New Zealand Navy deploys two ships to Pacific to aid region’s security

New Zealand Navy deploys two ships to Pacific to aid region’s security

WELLINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - Two New Zealand naval ships are headed to the Pacific Islands next week on a three-month deployment to provide maritime security and other support for Pacific Island partners, Minister of Defence Peeni Henare in a statement said on Friday. The HMNZS Wellington, an offshore patrol vessel, and the HMNZS Manawanui, a dive and hydrographic ship, will deploy to the region along with a P-3 Orion surveillance plane to patrol and deter illegal fishing and look for unexploded ordnance from earlier wars, among other duties, the statement said. "Now that most Pacific borders are open we are able…
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New Zealand launches new investor migrant visa

New Zealand launches new investor migrant visa

WELLINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - The New Zealand government said on Wednesday that it had created a new investor migrant visa to attract experienced, high-value investors to invest in domestic businesses. The new Active Investor Plus visa will replace the old investment visa categories and would require migrants to make investments in New Zealand businesses, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement. He said the old visas had often resulted in migrants investing in shares and bonds rather than directly into New Zealand companies. "We want to encourage active investment into New Zealand, which generates more high-skilled jobs…
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Air New Zealand ramping up capacity as travel demand recovers

Air New Zealand ramping up capacity as travel demand recovers

DOHA, June 20 (Reuters) - Air New Zealand Ltd expects to reach 75% of its pre-COVID-19 international capacity and more than 100% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity by the end of 2022, as travel demand recovers, its Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said on Monday. The New Zealand national carrier is operating at 50% of international and nearly 100% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity, Foran told Reuters on the sidelines of an airline industry gathering in Doha. "At this stage, there's some pent up demand that we've seen. People wanting to not just visit friends and relatives, but increasingly business people want to get out…
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New Zealand economy contracts as exports slump

New Zealand economy contracts as exports slump

WELLINGTON, June 16 (Reuters) - New Zealand's economy unexpectedly contracted in the first quarter as a slump in exports swamped strong domestic spending, though analysts said it will dodge a recession as activity rebounds from coronavirus lockdowns. Production-based output fell by 0.2% in the quarter, Statistics NZ said on Thursday, which was below economists' median expectations of a 0.6% rise and significantly fell short of the 3.0% rise in the December quarter. Annual gross domestic product rose 1.2%. Statistics New Zealand said primary industries such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries drove the decrease, while goods-producing industries also experienced a slight decline. Exports…
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New Zealand to price sheep and cow burps to cut greenhouse gases

New Zealand to price sheep and cow burps to cut greenhouse gases

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand this week released a draft plan to put a price on agricultural emissions in a bid to tackle one of the country's biggest sources of greenhouse gases, belching sheep and cattle. The proposal would make New Zealand, a large agricultural exporter, the first country to have farmers pay for emissions from livestock, the Ministry for Environment said. New Zealand, home to 5 million people, has about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Nearly half its total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane, but agricultural emissions have previously been exempted from the country's emissions trading…
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Microplastics found in fresh Antarctic snow

Microplastics found in fresh Antarctic snow

Scientists have for the first time found microplastics in freshly fallen Antarctic snow. Researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand collected samples from 19 sites in Antarctica and each contained tiny plastic fragments. Microplastics stem from the erosion of plastic materials and are smaller than a grain of rice - sometimes even invisible to the naked eye. The researchers found an average of 29 particles per litre of melted snow. They identified 13 different types of plastics and the most common was polyethylene terephthalate (PET), mostly used in soft-drink bottles and clothing. This was found in 79% of…
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Australia, NZ hail Queen Elizabeth as republican question returns

Australia, NZ hail Queen Elizabeth as republican question returns

SYDNEY, June 3 (Reuters) - Australia's new prime minister joined more than 50 Commonwealth leaders in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth amid celebrations of her 70 years on the throne but added that the relationship had matured, fuelling debate about becoming a republic. Anthony Albanese, whose centre-left Labor party ended nearly a decade of conservative government in a May 21 election, praised the queen as "an enduring, inspiring, growing presence of calm, decency and strength" in the capital, Canberra, where he lit a beacon to mark the Platinum Jubilee.  But he noted that although Australians felt affection for the queen, "the bond…
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

May 14 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tested positive for COVID-19 with moderate symptoms, her office said in a statement on Saturday. She will not be in parliament for the government's emissions reduction plan on Monday and the budget on Thursday, but "travel arrangements for her trade mission to the United States are unaffected at this stage," the statement said. Ardern had been symptomatic since Friday evening, returning a weak positive at night and a clear positive on Saturday morning on a rapid antigen test, it said. She has been in isolation since Sunday, when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive, it said. Due…
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New Zealand to open international borders fully to visitors from end-July

New Zealand to open international borders fully to visitors from end-July

WELLINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday the country will fully reopen its international borders from 11:59 p.m. on July 31, with cruise ships also welcome back to local ports on the same day. The end-July opening of the border is two months earlier than the government's previous time frame and will mean visitors who need visas will now be able to come to New Zealand. Ardern said in a speech to a Business NZ lunch in Auckland that opening the borders would help to relieve urgent skills shortages, open up tourism and put immigration…
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New Zealand welcomes Australian visitors as border restrictions ease

New Zealand welcomes Australian visitors as border restrictions ease

WELLINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - Australians started arriving in New Zealand on Wednesday after it opened its borders to travellers from its neighbouring nation for the first time since mid-2021. New Zealand had some of the toughest curbs in the world during the pandemic and its borders have been closed for most of the time since March 2020, except for a short-lived travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia last year that was suspended after a few months as COVID-19 spread.  But the government has started to ease these increasingly unpopular measures, hoping to boost tourism and ease labour shortages now that…
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New Zealand PM Ardern announces border reopening earlier than previously signalled

New Zealand PM Ardern announces border reopening earlier than previously signalled

WELLINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said New Zealand will reopen its borders much earlier than expected, with Australians allowed to travel there from April 12. Travellers from countries with visa waiver arrangements including the United States and the UK can enter from May 1. Arden says the move will spur economic recovery over the remainder of the year.
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New Zealand’s Ardern signals mandates will ease after Omicron peaks

New Zealand’s Ardern signals mandates will ease after Omicron peaks

WELLINGTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand will lift COVID-19 vaccine mandates and social distancing measures after the Omicron peak has passed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, as protesters occupying the parliament grounds again clashed with police. Inspired by truckers' demonstrations in Canada, thousands of protesters have blocked streets near the parliament in the capital Wellington for two weeks with trucks, cars and motorcycles, piling pressure on the government to scrap vaccine mandates. Ardern refused to set a hard date, but said there would be a narrowing of vaccine requirements after Omicron reaches a peak, which is expected in mid…
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New Zealand capital Wellington shaken by magnitude 5.6 quake

New Zealand capital Wellington shaken by magnitude 5.6 quake

WELLINGTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck New Zealand near the South Island town of Blenheim on Monday at a depth of 30 km (19 miles), government seismic monitor Geonet said. A Reuters witness felt strong shaking in capital Wellington. No immediate damages or injuries were reported. New Zealand lies on the seismically active "Ring of Fire", a 40,000-km arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches girdling much of the Pacific Ocean. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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New Zealand’s Ardern labels anti-vaccine mandate protests ‘imported’

New Zealand’s Ardern labels anti-vaccine mandate protests ‘imported’

WELLINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she felt demonstrations against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate now entering their second week were an "imported" phenomenon, and nothing like anything she had seen before in the country. Hundreds of protesters continue to occupy lawns in front of the distinctive 'Beehive' parliament for a seventh day, ignoring repeated calls by the police to leave and undaunted by drenching rain over the weekend. Claiming inspiration from truckers' anti-vaccine mandate demonstrations in Canada, the protesters have also blocked several streets around parliament with their trucks, vans and motorcycles.…
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WATCH: New Zealand protesters block streets outside parliament

WATCH: New Zealand protesters block streets outside parliament

Hundreds of people protesting vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions blocked streets outside New Zealand's parliament on Tuesday with trucks and campervans, inspired by similar demonstrations in Canada. The "convoy for freedom" protesters arrived from all corners of New Zealand and gathered outside the parliament building in the capital Wellington, called the Beehive, ahead of the first speech for the year by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. https://twitter.com/_techtalkng/status/1490987062320934912 The protesters were largely unmasked, held placards calling for "freedom" and vowed to camp outside parliament until the COVID-19 curbs are lifted. The protests, which may run for days, is inspired by the ongoing…
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New Zealand’s Maori Party calls for Queen to be removed as head of state

New Zealand’s Maori Party calls for Queen to be removed as head of state

New Zealand’s Māori Party has called for the Queen to be dropped as the country’s head of state, on the day she marked 70 years since her ascension to the throne. Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer called for a “divorce” from the British Monarchy on Sunday in a statement made as part of New Zealand’s Waitangi Day commemorations. The day marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, between Māori chiefs and the British Crown on 6 February 1840. Ms Ngarewa-Packer said New Zealand should undergo “constitutional transformation” that restores sovereignty to the “tangata whenua”, or First Nations. “The only…
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New Zealand PM Ardern urges unity on COVID on Waitangi Day

New Zealand PM Ardern urges unity on COVID on Waitangi Day

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged New Zealanders on Sunday to unite in their battle against COVID-19, as the pandemic forced the country to celebrate its national Waitangi Day online. A growing outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has pushed all commemorations online, prompting Ardern to urge vaccinations. "We all have a duty to do everything we can to protect our communities with all the tools that science and medicine have given us," Ardern said in a pre-recorded speech. "Togetherness is something we have shown throughout the last few years. I know it hasn't always been…
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Fortress New Zealand delays full reopening until October

Fortress New Zealand delays full reopening until October

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand on Thursday announced a phased reopening of its border that has been largely closed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but travel bodies said self-isolation rules need to be removed to revive the struggling tourism sector. Vaccinated New Zealanders in Australia can travel home from Feb. 27 without a requirement to stay at state-managed quarantine facilities, while New Zealand citizens in the rest of the world will be able to do so two weeks later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Foreign vaccinated backpackers and some skilled workers can come to the…
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New Zealand PM Ardern is self isolating after exposure to COVID positive case

New Zealand PM Ardern is self isolating after exposure to COVID positive case

WELLINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has gone into self-isolation until Tuesday after being deemed a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, the government said. The exposure took place on Jan 22 during a flight to Auckland from the town of Kerikeri, the government said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the result of whole genome sequencing was expected the following day. That would show if the infection was caused by the Omicron variant of coronavirus, it said. Ardern, who is asymptomatic, is feeling well, the statement added. She will…
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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern cancels her wedding amid new Omicron restrictions

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern cancels her wedding amid new Omicron restrictions

SYDNEY, Jan 23 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has cancelled her wedding as the nation imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, she told reporters on Sunday. New Zealand will impose mask rules and limit gathering from midnight on Sunday after a cluster of nine COVID-19 Omicron cases showed community spread from the North to South islands after a wedding. A family returned to Nelson in the South Island by plane after attending a wedding and other events in Auckland in the North Island. The family and a flight attendant tested…
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Casualty reports awaited from tsunami-hit Tonga with comms mostly down

Casualty reports awaited from tsunami-hit Tonga with comms mostly down

WELLINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Tsunami-hit Tonga remained largely uncontactable on Sunday with telephone and internet links severed, leaving relatives in faraway New Zealand praying for their families on the Pacific islands as casualty reports had yet to come through. An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering warnings of 1.2-metre tsunami waves and evacuation orders on the shores of Tonga as well as several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes. Internet and phone lines went down at about 6.40 p.m. local time on Saturday, leaving the 105,000 residents on the…
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Underwater volcanic eruption triggers tsunami warnings across Pacific

Underwater volcanic eruption triggers tsunami warnings across Pacific

Wellington (dpa) - Tsunami alerts were issued across large parts of the South Pacific after an underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on Saturday and sent large waves crashing ashore the island kingdom. The giant eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano triggered a tsunami in Tonga. Local media on the island chain reported a downpour of ash, the flooding of properties and disruptions to phone and power connections, but the extent of the devastation was unclear by late evening. The Bureau of Meteorology Australia said a 1.2 metre tsunami wave had been observed at Nuku'alofa, Tonga's capital.  Tonga's King Tupou VI had been evacuated from…
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Hobbit, Sauron and Gollum makeovers in New Zealand as Lord of the Rings turns 20

Hobbit, Sauron and Gollum makeovers in New Zealand as Lord of the Rings turns 20

Middle-earth came to life again this week as New Zealand celebrated 20 years since the premiere of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy with special screenings, costume exhibition and art displays. Friday marked the 20th anniversary of when the first feature film of the J.R.R Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies premiered at Odeon Leicester Square in London on Dec. 10, 2001, bringing instant fame to New Zealand's rolling hills, meadows and forests, which were the backdrop for the mythical Middle-Earth. Screenings were planned in cinemas in Auckland and Wellington, including an outdoor screening on Friday in…
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EXPLAINER-How will New Zealand’s lifetime ban on cigarette sales work?

EXPLAINER-How will New Zealand’s lifetime ban on cigarette sales work?

Dec 9 (Reuters) - New Zealand on Thursday said it will ban young people from buying cigarettes for life, one of the toughest approaches in the world to curbing smoking deaths as part of a wider plan that focuses on the disproportionate impact on its indigenous Maori population. New Zealand is already one of 17 countries where plain cigarette packaging is compulsory. It also bans sales to anyone under 18, but it says those measures are not enough to reach its goal of a national adult smoking rate of less than 5% by 2025. A LIFETIME BAN New Zealand plans…
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New Zealand to ban cigarette sales for future generations

New Zealand to ban cigarette sales for future generations

Dec 9 (Reuters) - New Zealand plans to ban young people from ever buying cigarettes in their lifetime in one of the world's toughest crackdowns on the tobacco industry, arguing that other efforts to extinguish smoking were taking too long. People aged 14 and under in 2027 will never be allowed to purchase cigarettes in the Pacific country of five million, part of proposals unveiled on Thursday that will also curb the number of retailers authorised to sell tobacco and cut nicotine levels in all products. "We want to make sure young people never start smoking so we will make…
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Nightclubs, cafes and casinos reopen in Auckland as marathon lockdown ends

Nightclubs, cafes and casinos reopen in Auckland as marathon lockdown ends

WELLINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Aucklanders returned to nightclubs, cinemas and cafes on Friday as New Zealand's biggest city exited pandemic lockdown after more than 100 days. Retailers threw open their doors to vaccinated customers as the country ended lockdowns and moved into a new 'traffic light system' that rates regions as red, orange or green depending on their level of exposure to COVID-19 and vaccination rates. Auckland, the epicentre of the country's Delta outbreak, will start at red, making face masks mandatory and putting limits on gatherings at public places. Bars, nightclubs and restaurants can open to guests with…
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New Zealand main opposition party ousts leader

New Zealand main opposition party ousts leader

SYDNEY, Nov 25 (Reuters) - New Zealand's National Party opposition leader Judith Collins has been dumped by the party as it grapples with instability that has helped strengthen Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's position even more after her historic election win last year. The conservative National Party will now have to elect its fifth leader in four years after the majority ousted Collins, hours after she relieved Simon Bridges, a former party leader, from her shadow cabinet following allegations of misconduct. "It's been a privilege to take over the leadership of (National Party) during the worst of times and to do…
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New Zealand to reopen to foreign travellers from April 30

New Zealand to reopen to foreign travellers from April 30

New Zealand will keep its borders closed to most international travellers for a further five months, the government said on Wednesday, outlining a cautious easing of coronavirus border curbs that have been in place for nearly two years. Along with its geographic isolation, the South Pacific country enforced some of the tightest pandemic restrictions among OECD nations, limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping its economy bounce back faster than many of its peers. But an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant earlier this year has forced a shift in strategy, with the main city of Auckland now only…
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New Zealand to end tough COVID curbs, adopt new virus-fighting system next week

New Zealand to end tough COVID curbs, adopt new virus-fighting system next week

WELLINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - New Zealand will adopt a new system of living with the virus from Dec. 3, which will end tough coronavirus measures and allow businesses to operate in its biggest city, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement on Monday. New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, forcing Ardern to abandon her acclaimed elimination strategy and switch to a system of treating the virus as endemic. Its biggest city Auckland has been in lockdown for over 90 days, although some measures were…
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New Zealand PM Ardern hails Merkel as ‘true leader’, ‘very good person’

New Zealand PM Ardern hails Merkel as ‘true leader’, ‘very good person’

Nov 12 (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday paid tribute to outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel, commending her 16-year leadership of Europe's largest economy and describing her as a "very good person". The leaders, held in high regard on the international stage as role models for women in policymaking, met virtually at a CEO forum on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit where Ardern fondly recalled an early meeting between the pair in Germany. "It's not often when you come from a small island nation that you'll find someone of such heft in…
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China’s Xi warns against return to Cold War tensions at APEC meeting

China’s Xi warns against return to Cold War tensions at APEC meeting

WELLINGTON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The Asia-Pacific region must not return to the tensions of the Cold War era, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday, ahead of a virtual meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden expected as soon as next week. Xi, in a recorded video message to a CEO forum on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by New Zealand, said attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds were bound to fail. "The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War…
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New Zealand mosque shooter considers appealing life sentence

New Zealand mosque shooter considers appealing life sentence

WELLINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The man who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at mosques in Christchurch is considering appealing against his life sentence, saying his guilty plea after the 2019 attack was obtained under duress, his lawyer told state radio on Monday. White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 31, was sentenced to jail for life without parole last year for the murder of 51 people and attempted murder of 40 others at two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March 2019, the worst mass shooting in the country's history. It was the first time a court in New Zealand had sentenced a person…
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New Zealand keeps pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland

New Zealand keeps pandemic curbs for another week in Auckland

WELLINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - New Zealand will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland, but ease some after that, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, another day of record new infections. As New Zealand battles the spread of the infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, it has agreed on a Nov. 10 re-opening date for retail stores and institutions such as libraries and museums, Ardern told a news conference. "Because of the high vaccination rates in Auckland we can move with greater confidence," Ardern said. "These decisions are carefully balanced and allows us to…
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New Zealand says it will cut greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030 as COP26 starts

New Zealand says it will cut greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030 as COP26 starts

Oct 31 (Reuters) - New Zealand pledged on Sunday to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, toughening at the start of the United Nations COP26 climate conference its previous ambitions to limit global warming. Leaders of the 20 richest countries are expected to acknowledge the existential threat of climate change and take steps to limit global warning at the COP26 summit starting on Sunday evening in Glasgow, Scotland. "While we are a small contributor to global emissions, as a country surrounded by oceans and an economy reliant on our land we are not immune to the…
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New Zealand to start easing COVID-19 border restrictions

New Zealand to start easing COVID-19 border restrictions

New Zealand said on Thursday it would ease coronavirus border restrictions that have been in place since March 2020, and move to a system of home isolation for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals from early next year. The country was the among the first to shut down its borders in response to the pandemic last year, and has retained these tough border restrictions - leaving many expatriate citizens and residents stranded for months. The government said fully vaccinated overseas travellers will spend only seven days in state quarantine facilities from Nov. 14, half of the current requirement. Home isolation will also…
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New Zealand reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases in pandemic

New Zealand reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases in pandemic

Oct 25 (Reuters) - New Zealand reported 109 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday, the bulk of them in its largest city, Auckland, as the country saw its second-worst day of daily infections since the pandemic began. Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, despite the city remaining under a strict lockdown for more than two months. The country over the weekend also reported the first community case of the virus in its South Island in nearly a year, a cause…
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New Zealand’s coronavirus outbreak spreads to South Island

New Zealand’s coronavirus outbreak spreads to South Island

New Zealand reported 104 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, including the first community case of the virus in the country's South Island in nearly a year, health officials said. Most of the new infections were reported in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city that has been under a strict lockdown for more than two months. Looser restrictions are in place in most of the rest of the country of 5 million. The risks of a further spread from the case reported in Blenheim, in the north east of the South Island, remained low, health officials said, with the person likely in…
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New Zealand sets 90% vaccine target for ending COVID-19 lockdown

New Zealand sets 90% vaccine target for ending COVID-19 lockdown

WELLINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - New Zealand will end its strict coronavirus lockdown measures and restore more freedoms only when 90% of its eligible population is fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday. Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand has been unable to beat an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 centred in Auckland, forcing Ardern to abandon her elimination strategy and switch to living with the virus. Ardern said reaching a 90% inoculation rate at every District Health Board in the country would make the South Pacific nation one of…
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New Zealand passes climate change disclosure laws for financial firms in world first

New Zealand passes climate change disclosure laws for financial firms in world first

SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - New Zealand has become the first country to pass laws requiring banks, insurers and investment managers to report the impacts of climate change on their business, officials said on Thursday. About 200 of the largest financial firms in New Zealand, including banks with total assets of more than NZ$1 billion ($718.90 million), large insurers and equity and debt issuers listed on the country's stock exchange will have to make disclosures. Several foreign firms that meet the NZ$1 billion threshold -- including Australia's four largest banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group…
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Britain and New Zealand strike free trade deal

Britain and New Zealand strike free trade deal

Britain and New Zealand have reached agreement in principle on a free trade deal designed to reduce tariffs, improve services trade, and take London one step closer to membership in a broader trans-Pacific trade agreement. Prime ministers Boris Johnson and Jacinda Ardern sealed the deal in a Zoom call on Wednesday after 16 months of negotiation. “This is a great trade deal for the United Kingdom, cementing our long friendship with New Zealand and furthering our ties with the Indo-Pacific," Johnson said in a statement. It comes only months after a similar British agreement with Australia as ministers in London…
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New Zealand’s daily COVID-19 cases fall, some classrooms to reopen

New Zealand’s daily COVID-19 cases fall, some classrooms to reopen

Daily COVID-19 cases in New Zealand fell on Wednesday after a record jump the day before, with most infections still in Auckland as the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to affect the country's biggest city. Authorities reported 60 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, of which 56 were in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 2,158. There have been 28 deaths in total since the pandemic began and 43 people are currently hospitalised because of the virus. New Zealand had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until the Delta outbreak in mid-August…
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New Zealand PM Ardern extends COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland

New Zealand PM Ardern extends COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland

WELLINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - New Zealand's biggest city of Auckland will retain its lockdown for two more weeks in the battle on the Delta variant of coronavirus, as the country pushes to step up vaccinations, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. Once the poster child for stamping out COVID-19, New Zealand is now fighting a Delta outbreak that has spread across Auckland and neighbouring regions despite tough lockdown and border closures. Ardern said there would be no changes to social curbs, the toughest in the OECD grouping of 34 leading economies, that have run for 62 days in…
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New Zealand reports biggest rise in COVID-19 cases in six weeks

New Zealand reports biggest rise in COVID-19 cases in six weeks

New Zealand reported on Thursday its biggest rise in COVID-19 infections in six weeks, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising prospects of a further extension of lockdown restrictions in the country's largest city beyond next week. Some 1.7 million people in Auckland are under strict stay-home orders until Monday as officials look to stamp out the highly infectious Delta outbreak, the first major spate of community cases in the country since early in the pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the surge in case numbers in Auckland was not unexpected "but they are rising more quickly," and blamed…
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New Zealand phases out elimination strategy as Delta persists

New Zealand phases out elimination strategy as Delta persists

New Zealand on Monday abandoned its strategy of eliminating coronavirus amid a persistent Delta outbreak, and will instead look to live with the virus and control its spread as vaccinations rise. The Pacific nation was among just a handful of countries to bring COVID-19 cases down to zero last year and largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infections Delta variant in mid-August frustrated efforts to stamp out transmission. "With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult," Ardern told a news conference. "This is a change in approach we were always going to make…
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New Zealand’s Delta outbreak spreads outside Auckland

New Zealand’s Delta outbreak spreads outside Auckland

New Zealand's Delta variant outbreak spread beyond the largest city of Auckland, prompting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday to put additional regions into a snap lockdown. There were 32 new coronavirus cases on Sunday in Auckland, which has been in lockdown since mid-August, and two cases in the Waikato region, some 147 kilometres (91 miles) south of Auckland. Ardern said parts of the region will go into a five-day lockdown. She added that the government will decide on Monday whether Auckland's 1.7 million residents will remain sealed off from the rest of New Zealand. Ardern enforced what was meant…
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Air New Zealand to require COVID-19 vaccination for international travelers

Air New Zealand to require COVID-19 vaccination for international travelers

Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of New Zealand, said on Sunday it will require passengers on its international flights to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in what is one of the world's strictest policies for travellers. "Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors," Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a statement. New Zealand plans to reopen its international borders, which have been closed since March 2020 to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen,…
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New Zealand’s Auckland logs more Delta cases ahead of key decision on restrictions

New Zealand’s Auckland logs more Delta cases ahead of key decision on restrictions

New Zealand logged 19 more cases of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant on Friday - all in Auckland, making it highly likely that the country's biggest city will continue to be sealed off even if some restrictions are eased next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern enforced what was meant to be a "short and sharp" nationwide lockdown nationwide in mid-August after the Delta outbreak. But while the rest of the country has largely returned to normal life, Auckland's population of 1.7 million has now been in lockdown for about seven weeks. Ardern will decide on Monday whether she will…
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