New Zealand PM says it’s too early to say whether election will be postponed
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, says it’s too early to say whether the country’s 19 September election date will need to be postponed.
Ardern deferred the dissolution of Parliament, due to happen on Wednesday NZT, to Monday instead, due to a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Dissolving Parliament means Cabinet can still make decisions but the full Parliament cannot be convened.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is in a strict lockdown for three days in an attempt to trace the source of the latest outbreak, at which point Ardern’s government will make its decision about whether the dissolution of Parliament should be deferred further.
But she won’t be drawn on any delay to the election. Ardern said Parliament had some flexibility to hold a vote as late as 21 November. An election delayed beyond that would be more complicated.
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New Zealand PM defers dissolution of parliament due to outbreak
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, has deferred the dissolution of the country’s Parliament until Monday due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with a reassessment due then.
Parliament was due to dissolve today at 11am ahead of an election scheduled for 19 September.
When Parliament is dissolved, Cabinet retains a mandate to make decisions, but it means the full Parliament cannot be convened.
Officials are hoping a strict lockdown of the largest city, Auckland, for the next three days will isolate the source of the new outbreak.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, has urged New Zealanders who are asked to take a Covid-19 swab to “please get tested”.
Ardern is giving a news conference following the news last night that New Zealand has recorded its first cases of Covid-19 within the community in more than 100 days.
She announced testing stations for the virus established around Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where the four new cases were uncovered.
Officials were “prepared to test tens of thousands of people in the coming days” the country’s top health official, Ashley Bloomfield said.
It is not known where the cases originated from, so officials are relying on increased testing to trace the source.
The news has prompted a strict lockdown of Auckland, and lighter restrictions imposed on the rest of the country.
New Zealand Covid-19 case travelled to another city over weekend
Health officials in New Zealand say one of the country’s new cases of Covid-19 – the first diagnosed in the community in 102 days – was diagnosed in a woman who had traveled to another New Zealand city while she had symptoms.
The woman, who lives in Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city – traveled to Rotorua, 228km away, at the weekend, said Ashley Bloomfield, the country’s top health official.
The four new cases have prompted a strict lockdown of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. They are all among the same household.
The family is still in isolation at home, and officials are deciding whether they will be transferred to a managed isolation facility in Auckland. The cases are a mystery because there had been no known community transmission in New Zealand, and they did not have apparent connections to the country’s border facilities, where travelers returning to New Zealand are in quarantine.
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One of New Zealand’s largest supermarket chains has urged calm after shoppers in Auckland flocked to stores on Monday night ahead of an impending lockdown of the country’s largest city.
Images and videos on social media showed huge queues outside stores and shoppers – many not wearing masks, as is now advised, and not physically distanced from each other – jostling to enter.
The chain Countdown said in a statement that it would impose item limits for shoppers, physical distancing measures, and extra cleaning.
“We’d echo the Prime Minister’s comments that there is no need at all for anyone to stock up – we have plenty of food and supplies for everyone and we want everyone to shop as they usually would and consider others,” said Kiri Hannafin, a spokesperson.