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Live updates, September 1: Watch – Will new delta cases drop for the third day? Bloomfield to speak

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for September 1, with Stewart Sowman-Lund. Send any tips, thoughts or memes to Want to help support our Covid-19 coverage? Click here to learn how you can back The Spinoff today.Today’s agenda 1pm: Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomfield will give the latest Covid-19 numbers. We’re keeping our fingers crossed […]

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for September 1, with Stewart Sowman-Lund. Send any tips, thoughts or memes to Want to help support our Covid-19 coverage? Click here to learn how you can back The Spinoff today.

Today’s agenda

12.40pm: Will new delta cases drop for the third day in a row? Bloomfield to speak

Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomfield will hold today’s 1pm Covid-19 update after new delta cases have dropped for the past two days.

But, while Bloomfield believes the outbreak has hit its peak, the director general of health has warned case numbers may “jump up and down” over the coming days. In fact, speaking to Mike Hosking this morning, he gave a subtle indication that today’s case numbers be higher.

Today we’ll see not just the end of any processing lag reflecting the lower test rates over the weekend, but also results from many contacts who were instructed to get tested on day 12.

The Herald, who have proved freakily accurate with their pre-1pm reports since the start of this outbreak, have an unverified report that there are more than 75 new cases today.

As always, we’ll be writing up everything live or you can tune in below.

12.25pm: Stuart Nash wagers case of wine on vaccination rate hitting 90% by Christmas

Government minister Stuart Nash has bet his reputation (and a case of wine) on New Zealanders flooding to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Currently, the rollout has been running well ahead of schedule but due to a slow start just 45.13% of the population have so far received a first jab.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB during his weekly appearance alongside National’s Mark Mitchell, Nash said that 90% of New Zealanders will be fully jabbed by Christmas. And he was so confident about his claim he staked a case of Craggy Range wine on it (much to Mitchell’s amusement).

11.55am: What to watch this week

Need something to keep you entertained while you’re stuck indoors? Look no further! Here are a few top quality recommendations (or “recs”) from The Spinoff’s weekly Rec Room newsletter. 


When Sanjay Patel created his Twitter account in December 2008 the character limit was still 140 and retweets could only be done manually. His first tweet, if he recalls correctly, was something about the weather. “It wasn’t very exciting.” Not only did this make him one of the first New Zealanders on Twitter, he soon developed a reputation as one of the few whose tweets were actually funny. He’s funny IRL too, as this week’s episode of FIRST goes to show.

The Flight Attendant

Stewart (me!) says: “Last week my recommendation (The Great British Sewing Bee) was very much ‘comfort TV’, but this week we’re making an emergency landing in anxiety-ridden, cliffhanger-filled thriller territory. HBO Max original The Flight Attendant (Neon) is an eight episode rollercoaster featuring a deservedly Emmy nominated performance from Kaley Cuoco. After one booze-fuelled layover, she wakes up to find her one-night stand with his throat slashed. It’s part comedy, part thriller, and features a killer supporting cast including Michelle Gomez, who has somehow gone from starring in bizarre British sitcoms like Green Wing to taking on big roles on American cable TV. Simply put, it’s perfect lockdown viewing – entirely bingeable, fast-paced and totally ridiculous.”

Jamie Oliver’s big lockdown mood

Chris says: “If anyone wants some lockdown lols, I randomly stumbled upon the most amazing thing last night: Jamie Oliver’s Keep Cooking and Carry On (S2E1). He has nothing in his fridge, is cooking on a single gas burner, films himself on an iPhone and his kids keep interrupting him. He looks dishevelled af.”

READ:  That lockdown kind of magic: When Rainbow’s End meets level four

“He looks dishevelled af.”

Read more and subscribe to Rec Room here

11.25am: Aucklanders able to online shop from level three parts of the country


Aucklanders will be able to order and receive items from level three, non-essential, businesses outside of the city. From midnight, Auckland and Northland have remained in level four while the rest of the country drops down to the slightly less restrictive level three.

Despite the split alert levels, MBIE has confirmed to The Spinoff that Aucklanders will be able to receive any non-essential goods they order online (although NZ Post has warned of delays). “What it means is that small businesses already strained from multiple lockdowns face the prospect of ceding customers to competitors from outside the region, particularly national chains able to leverage their scale and locations to sell into the city from beyond its boundaries,” wrote Duncan Greive.

Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford told the Herald that the rules need adjustment.

“A business in the level four area can only sell ‘essential’ goods, while a business in a level three area can sell anything, including for delivery to Auckland and Northland. Retail NZ doesn’t think this makes sense and would like to see level four businesses be able to offer a broader range of goods online, so long as they can keep their teams safe.”

10.25am: Things running smoothly at the Auckland border

Leonie Hayden is at the southern checkpoint and filed this report:

Police checkpoints are now in place at five locations on the boundary of Auckland and Waikato as of 11.59pm last night, when areas south of Auckland moved into alert level three.

Vehicles are required to produce ID and a business travel exemption issued by MBIE.

While the NZ Herald was reporting long queues just after 7am, by 8.30am there was very little traffic heading north or south between Drury and Mercer. The checkpoint at the SH1 Mercer off ramp only processed 20 passenger vehicles and 10 trucks heading south over a 15 minute period.

(Photo / Leonie Hayden)

Non-freight vehicles are required to make the turn off and trucks are processed on SH1.
Four more checkpoints are at Oram Rd/SH1 for northbound traffic, Mangatawhiri Rd/SH2, East Coast Rd in Waharau Regional Park, and Pukekawa-Churchill Rd and Logan Rd/SH22.

More than 2,000 businesses have been added to the business travel register.

A police officer inspects precious cargo – a pure bred chowchow being delivered back to its home (Photo / Leonie Hayden)

Police commissioner Andrew Coster has discouraged volunteer involvement with checkpoints and reassured iwi that Police will have “little tolerance” for anyone attempting to enter or leave Auckland and Northland without a legitimate reason.

Northland continues to operate three checkpoints at the southern entry into the region at the SH1 intersection with SH12, Mountain Road in Kaiwaka and Cove Road, by Bream Tail Road.

(Photo / Leonie Hayden)

10.05am: Vaccine rollout now… third last in the OECD

Political editor Justin Giovannetti has the details:

National leader Judith Collins held up a chart during a press conference at parliament yesterday that showed New Zealand’s vaccine rollout is in last place among countries in the OECD. A similar chart was in The Bulletin last week and it’s reasonable to make the comparison to the 38 country group.

However, the data was out of date at the time Collins used it, according the the prime minister’s office. In question time yesterday, the prime minister said that Collins’ data was wrong but didn’t offer new figures in the house.

Her office provided The Spinoff with the government’s data. The updated figures show that New Zealand is now likely in third to last place in the group, with 45.13% of the population having received at least one dose as of August 29.

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Slovakia is now last at 43.48%, while Mexico a day earlier reported that 44.1% of its citizens had been vaccinated at least once. Portugal is likely still in first place at 85%.

9.45am: The delta outbreak – hospitalisations, graphed

The latest visualisation from The Spinoff’s head of data Harkanwal Singh.

9.30am: The Breakfast TV interview that got out of hand

National's Judith Collins has butted heads with TVNZ Breakfast host Indira Stewart in an interview that quickly descended into a shouting match from both participants.

On the show to discuss the resumption of parliament along with the vaccine rollout, Collins quickly took issue with questions about her decision to travel from Auckland to Wellington rather than conduct parliamentary business online. "We have had no Zoom meeting practice for 120 MPs in parliament," said Collins.

"So we think, 'well, if they're so keen on [Zoom meetings] then start putting the work into it rather than just springing it upon us over the last couple of weeks without any practice at all."

Pushed on the fact that large businesses and schools have had to adapt to the Zoom world "at the drop of a hat", Collins called the question a "political attack" and criticised the media for throwing softball questions to the PM.

"I'll ask the questions, I'll stand up for every New Zealander's right to get the facts because we're certainly not going to get when we get the media asking questions like, 'and how are you feeling today, prime minister?'" Collins said.

About this time, in the middle of the interview, I really had no idea what was going on with both Stewart and Collins talking over each other.

Asked if she had received a Covid test before travelling to Wellington, Collins said she was fully vaccinated and did not need to."I have not been in contact with Covid, not going out except for two bouts of exercise and in those cases... I have been a very, very good Covid tracer user," she said.

The interview concluded on another fiery note, with Collins asked what she had done during this lockdown in her capacity as National's Pacific Peoples spokesperson.

Indira: "Have you been in touch with [the Pacific community] since this community outbreak.

Judith: "You know fully well I am deeply involved in the Pacific community. What I'm hearing is they want to get vaccinated just like every New Zealand so every day I'm going to be asking about vaccinations –

Indira: Have you been directly in touch with them was the question –

Judith: My husband's Pasifika, I talk to him everyday. Indira, I have contacts in the Pacific community who I contact and I have been contacting.

Watch the full exchange here.

8.40am: Vaccine bookings now open to all

Everyone over the age of 12 can now book in for a Covid-19 vaccination after the final group of the rollout became eligible this morning.

READ:  Watch every episode of On the Rag here

The 12-30 age band means another 1.5 million people can now access the two-dose Pfizer jab.

But it comes amid concerns that vaccine stocks could force the rollout to slow, with more than 90,000 doses given out on some days last week. Both Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield have denied claims the country will run out of vaccines entirely but admitted we may have to slow the pace while we wait for deliveries from Pfizer throughout September.

8.05am: Bloomfield says delta outbreak has 'hit peak' as south of Auckland shifts to level three

Everywhere south of Auckland moved to alert level three overnight, with the top of the North Island remaining in total lockdown.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said that based on the decrease in cases, it appeared the outbreak had plateaued. "We did hit that peak a couple of days ago... Over the last three days the proportion of the cases that have been infectious in the community have gone down to 23%," he said.

However, Bloomfield warned that the case numbers may not continue to drop every single day. "[Last outbreak] the numbers bounced around on the way down," he said. "So it could be up a bit higher again today."

The numbers would be confirmed at 1pm and Bloomfield said cases had been confirmed throughout yesterday and overnight.

On the vaccination front, Bloomfield told RNZ that the preferred option was, of course, not to slow down our current pace at all. But due to stock issues it was possible that the rollout could drop back outside of Auckland. "We're looking at every opportunity there is to get some additional vaccines in to help keep that rate at the high level it is through September.

Announcements on vaccine stocks would be announced in the coming days, he said.

7.30am: From The Bulletin

The Covid numbers: There were 49 new community cases reported yesterday, all in Auckland. That's the lowest number in six days and a good sign that the lockdown is working. Over 75,000 vaccines were administered, not a record, but very high. Vaccinations are also now open to everyone in the country over the age of 12. If you’ve woken up in level three, here’s a reminder of the rules.

Auckland’s wild weather explained. Up to 260mm of rain was recorded on west Auckland yesterday in the second wettest day since NIWA began keeping records. According to the NZ Herald, the agency said a rare "low level jet" stalled over the city, dropping rain on Auckland in a ferocious downpour that lifted dam levels by 7% in a few hours. Which is impressive. These kinds of unusual weather patterns are expected to become more common as the climate warms.

A quick update on yesterday’s vaccine story. While New Zealand has yet to unveil its plan to acquire more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Australia has. Prime minister Scott Morrison announced that he has closed a deal to get 500,000 doses from Singapore that are going to expire soon. The vaccines will be in Australian arms next week, ABC reports. Singapore will get half a million doses from Australia in December. While it means those doses are off the market for New Zealand's aspirations, it’s a sign of the swaps that are possible and underway between countries.

This is part of The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s must-read daily news wrap. To sign up for free, simply enter your email address below

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