Kiwis trapped at the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus will be evacuated from Wuhan early Wednesday morning; and making “Aotearoa” an official name for New Zealand does not find favour with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, nor National Party leader Simon Bridges
* The New Zealand Herald
In the New Zealand Herald, Kiwis trapped at the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus will be evacuated from Wuhan early Wednesday morning. The Air NZ charter plane bringing them home on the 13-hour flight to Auckland will carry a doctor and two paramedics among its crew. The aircraft, due to reach Hong Kong today, can carry up to 300 passengers, including from Australia and other Pacific nations.
In other news, making “Aotearoa” an official name for New Zealand does not find favour with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, nor National Party leader Simon Bridges. Ardern said there were increasing references to Aotearoa and she expected that to continue. When asked if she wanted Aotearoa made official she avoided answering and instead noted its growing use, including at Parliament.
In business news, the former chief executive of collapsed CBL Insurance Group says he will plead not guilty to fraud charges ahead of a court appearance tomorrow. Peter Harris issued a statement saying he was not seeking name suppression and intends to defend charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office following the demise of the insurance firm.
* The Dominion Post
In the Dominion Post, even though he found a park nearby, a young dad would not let it go that someone without a baby had used a parents’ ‘‘pram’’ parking space at the supermarket. The other driver was 55, and he had his elderly mother and her wheelchair in the car. He’d taken the day off work to help her get to several appointments. Stopped in a Lower Hutt supermarket car park, he was just minutes away from a death blow, a headbutt that knocked him out cold so that his fall backwards was unchecked, shattering his skull on the ground.
In other news, Nathaniel Turner has spent the last 24 hours trying to get his kids home from China, after Air New Zealand cancelled their flights in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Turner told Stuff that at one point he was considering defying travel warnings and flying to China himself to pick up his two sons and bring them home. ‘‘They were quite upset. They were in reasonable spirits but now they want to come home.’’
In business news, Auckland woman Tabatha says she’s being hounded by debt collectors. Early last year, she was on a temporary work contract in which she was promised 40 hours but that did not eventuate. That left her struggling to pay the bills, and soon there was debt on her credit card that she could not pay.
* The Press
In The Press, a notorious international bikie gang involved in a recent North Island shooting appears to have expanded into the South Island. Mongols MC members, including national president Jim Thacker, rode to Christchurch about 10 days ago when it is believed the gang patched former members of the Hells Angels and established a chapter in the city.
In other news, nearly 200 tourists spent last night trapped in Milford Sound after torrential rain yesterday caused slips and flooding, closing the only route in and out. The deluge, which prompted Emergency Management Southland and the mayor to declare a state of emergency, closed Milford Rd between Cascade Creek and West Gate (the Chasm). MetService also issued its most serious weather warning red for the first time.
In business news, spending at Christchurch City Council is about to go under the microscope as it looks to curb ongoing rates increases. Rates have grown at what many describe as unsustainable levels for years and council’s new chief executive Dawn Baxendale, who started in October, is embarking on a wide-spread budget review to ensure the organisation is running as efficiently as possible.