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Live updates, August 17: Cross-bubble Covid transmission inside Jet Park; Hercules won’t land in Kabul

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for August 17, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day.12.20pm: Taika Waititi’s new TV show gets NZ air dateThe highly acclaimed US comedy Reservation Dogs will air on Disney+ streaming service Star from September 15, the channel has announced. The show about a group of hapless Native […]

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for August 17, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day.

12.20pm: Taika Waititi’s new TV show gets NZ air date

The highly acclaimed US comedy Reservation Dogs will air on Disney+ streaming service Star from September 15, the channel has announced. The show about a group of hapless Native American teen criminals was co-created by New Zealand’s Taika Waititi and Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo​, and was made with an entirely Indigenous cast and crew. It’s been called “a triumph” by Variety, “perfect” by Paste Magazine and “kooky, hilarious and just what you’d expect,” by Indiewire.

Congratulations to The Spinoff’s Chris Schulz, whose day just got a whole lot better.

11.15am: Covid transmission confirmed inside Jet Park MIQ

Cross-bubble transmission of the delta variant of Covid-19 has occurred inside Auckland’s Jet Park quarantine facility, the Ministry of Health has confirmed. The transmission arose from room doors opposite each other being opened for just 3-5 seconds at the same time.

Three people who were part of a bubble of five caught it from a solo traveler across the hall, the ministry said. While one person in the bubble of five was already infected, necessitating the group’s quarantine stay, genomic sequencing showed the three caught it from the solo traveler, and not from the person in their bubble.

Meal delivery and health check procedures will be changed to prevent doors in the same hallway opening at the same time, the ministry said.

10.50am: Simon Bridges on his Māori identity

The former National leader, whose memoir National Identity is out this week, has spoken to Danyl McLauchlan about the book in an interview for The Spinoff that focuses on his working class Māori background and his self-described introversion – all traits that made him a somewhat unusual right-wing politician.

He said he’s still aggravated by the way his historic role as the first Māori leader of a major party was all but ignored, agreeing with McLauchlan that it was because he didn’t fit the mould of what a Māori politician should look and sound like.

“Yeah. And that grates with me. Because people do want to typecast Māori. And many people doing the typecasting are Māori. We don’t say of Scottish people that if you’re not wearing a kilt and eating haggis every day they’re not the real deal. There are hundreds of thousands who have a similar story to me. And history is what it is: a grandmother, off a marae for reasons of racism or urbanisation – or other reasons that cleverer people can explain better than me – who isn’t too proud of being Māori. And so it’s suppressed. My father was useless and amnesiac about all this stuff. And that’s part of who I am. Now I’m proud of my whakapapa. But I don’t like the typecasting.”

Read the full interview here.

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10.10am: Nurses get go-ahead for negotiations on overdue pay equity claims

Negotiations between nurses and DHBs over a long-delayed pay equity claim have been given the green light by health minister Andrew Little, who says he has written to the nurses’ union, DHBs and the Ministry of Health urging them to make a start on a deal worth, he says, “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

The announcement comes ahead of planned strike action by nurses on August 19 and September 9-10. Little said he did not know if today’s pay equity announcement would change those plans, since the pay equity claim and the collective agreement rates, staffing and working conditions – the focus of the strikes – are separate negotiations.

9.40am: More Groundswell protests planned

Farmers are planning more protests against government regulations, Groundswell New Zealand co-organiser Laurie Paterson told Newstalk ZB this morning.

Thousands of farmers (and their tractors and utes) came to town last month for the Groundswell-organised Howl of a Protest, a nationwide demonstration against new rules around freshwater use, climate change mitigation and the so-called “ute tax”.

Farmers will be out honking horns for two minutes around lunchtime for the next three Fridays, she said, and another major protest is planned for November.

8.40am: No NZ Hercules to Afghanistan, says Henare

A NZDF Hercules will not be deployed to Kabul, defence minister Peeni Henare told RNZ this morning. “What we’ve been told is that there is a lot of airlift support in Kabul itself,” he said. “What we do know is that there will need to be a network of air uplift support in and around Afghanistan to get evacuees out.”

Since the Hercules will not be landing in Kabul, New Zealanders and the Afghans who are being given safe haven in New Zealand will need to be airlifted out by another country’s aircraft.

However Henare could not give a guarantee “at this stage” that there are places for everyone – New Zealanders and those who have worked closely with New Zealanders – who will need to be evacuated.

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“The list that we have at this stage has already been shared with our partners – Australia, America and the UK – but it is of course a difficult time, given the chaos we’re witnessing.”

New Zealand’s role in addressing the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan will be as part of a multinational effort based in a country outside of Afghanistan, Henare said. It is likely that the NZDF Hercules is heading for the UAE, but Henare said its ultimate destination should be confirmed later today.

The NZ Hercules is expected to leave for the Middle East on Wednesday morning, “at the earliest”.

8.00am: The Bulletin – Scenes of desperation as Afghanistan collapses

Today’s top story:

The west’s 20-year war in Afghanistan is over. After tens of thousands of casualties, a bill that is well over $1 trillion and two decades of effort, Afghanistan’s government evaporated Monday morning and the Taliban flag is flying over Kabul again. All that remains of the forever war is the capital’s international airport, now protected by hastily deployed American and British troops attempting to keep the runway open.

New Zealand has joined an international effort to mount a mass evacuation. Stuff reports that the government is deploying a military transport plane to the region to help evacuate hundreds from the fallen capital. At the top of the list are 53 New Zealanders in the country, as well as 37 local Afghans who helped the defence force during its years of fighting. More locals may be added in the coming days. The final list, including immediate family, could be in the hundreds.

This will be an incredibly difficult operation for the world’s governments. There was absolute chaos at the airport on Monday, according to live reporting from The Guardian. Thousands of people ran onto the runway, trying to board military cargo planes. As military transports landed, soldiers ran out of the planes to join troops on the ground, with civilians running in to take their seats. Airlines are no longer flying into the airport, which is now in the centre of a war zone.

New Zealand’s cabinet has approved one month of evacuation flights. However, air marshal Kevin Short conceded yesterday afternoon in a press conference that the “security situation” likely won’t last that long. The Taliban’s sweeping victory defied expectations that former president Ashraf Ghani’s government could hold on for months. Instead, Ghani fled the country the same day the Taliban surrounded the capital. Yesterday he was the country’s leader, now his Wikipedia entry says he was the president of a country that no longer exists.

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Afghanistan’s collapse has spread fear through the country. George Driver spoke to an interpreter who worked for the defence force in Afghanistan for a decade. It’s a deeply personal story of people on the run, whose lives have been upended in a country that has been more-or-less at war since the 1970s. Stuff has a similar story about a 26-year-old refugee worried about her parents who are still in Afghanistan. More stories are sure to appear in the coming days.

What the west calls the war in Afghanistan started less than a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack. An initial military alliance, including the US, UK, NZ, Canada and Germany, quickly toppled a Taliban regime that had harboured terrorists. Most of the fighting was done by locals, freeing themselves from a fundamentalist government.

Over the past two decades, Afghanistan fell off the front page of the news. The fighting was serious, but often less so than a military misadventure in Iraq and Syria’s civil war. The end game started in 2014, when western countries started pulling troops out, shifting from fighting the Taliban to training local replacements. New Zealand’s last soldiers left in May of this year. The US was expected to leave at the end of this month, letting a 16-year-old Afghan government take over. That government, both corrupt and inept, collapsed before the last American troops could leave.

The most important words belong to an Afghan woman. She’s anonymous, because she can’t tell the world who she is anymore, though only days ago she was a reporter. She’s 22-years-old and on the run because she’ll likely be killed if she’s found. Her words tell the story of what’s happened and what’s to come:

My whole life has been obliterated in just a few days.

I am so scared and I don’t know what will happen to me. Will I ever go home? Will I see my parents again? Where will I go? The highway is blocked in both directions. How will I survive?

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

Source: The Spinoff

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