The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been speaking with her Australian counterpart about options to evacuate New Zealanders stuck on a cruise ship, quarantined in Japan; and the Government is holding talks about overhauling its residency programme to prioritise highly skilled immigrants.
1.The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been speaking with her Australian counterpart about options to evacuate New Zealanders stuck on a cruise ship, quarantined in Japan. There are 11 New Zealanders on board the Diamond Princess while two who have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus have been treated in hospital.
2.China has tightened restrictions on movement in Hubei province as it continues to battle the coronavirus. Sixty-million people have been told to stay at home unless there is an emergency, and the use of private cars has been banned indefinitely. Hubei and the city of Wuhan have been hit hardest by the outbreak, which has now claimed 1665 lives in China.
3.Taiwan has confirmed its first death from the coronavirus, making five now outside China.
4.Universities have asked the Government to exempt thousands of Chinese students from its ban on foreign travellers from mainland China. The Government says the travel restriction aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus (officially named Covid-19) has prevented 11,280 or 41 percent of the Chinese students now due in New Zealand from travelling here.
5.The police have announced a five-week trial of an Eagle helicopter in Christchurch. The helicopter, taken from the fleet in Auckland, will be starting to fly around the city from today, until March 20. Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the benefits of the Eagle helicopter were evident in Auckland, where it attends thousands of incidents a year.
6.Councils across the country are worried they’re going to be shut out of having any say over major state housing developments in their cities. The issue has arisen because of a new bill, which would see housing agency Kāinga Ora being granted powers to authorise and coordinate large-scale development projects. But mayors, councils, and the body which represents councils around New Zealand have expressed concern over the bill, and particularly what it would mean for their involvement or lack of in major urban developments.
7.A Wellington Councillor says the city’s water infrastructure is in crisis and needs a fundamental overhaul. Hundreds of Island Bay residents have repeatedly gone without water for long periods in recent days after an old water main burst. It comes after two other major failures with the capital’s sewerage system in recent months.
8.The Government is holding talks about overhauling its residency programme to prioritise highly skilled immigrants. Cabinet has discussed limiting numbers in categories such as partnerships and business visas.
9.For the first time a woman will appear today in a New Zealand court accused of smuggling in Asiatic black bear bile from China. She is charged with illegally importing 12 vials of bear bile crystals. The bears are an endangered species that are protected under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species Treaty (CITES), meaning the international trade of the bears, or products derived from them, is prohibited.