Live updates, November 3: Covid-19 returns to Christchurch; Ardern says MIQ system ‘working’

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for November 3. All the latest New Zealand news, updated throughout the day. Reach me on

8.00am: Nanaia Mahuta ‘honoured’ to become new foreign minister

The new foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta said she’s “hugely honoured” to take on a role that only “some ministers can dream of” getting.

Mahuta replaced outgoing deputy prime minister Winston Peters in the role, and has become the first woman to hold the portfolio.

Mahuta told RNZ that in a Covid-era, where we cannot travel, the role of foreign affairs has changed.

“As we develop our relationships globally, it’s very much focused on how we can do things differently,” she said.

Ministers within the new caucus will need to “work collectively” to drive the Covid-19 recovery, she said.

Mahuta wouldn’t say if she asked for the role, but said Jacinda Ardern had a large caucus to look through and had to analyse everyone’s skillset.

7.45am: Christchurch Countdown closed for deep clean; Ardern says system ‘working’

A Countdown supermarket in the Christchurch suburb of Sydenham has closed for deep cleaning, after the latest confirmed Covid-19 case visited the store over the weekend.

The new case is a staff member working at the Sudima Hotel managed isolation facility – the same place where a large group of Russian fishermen has been staying.

The positive worker had developed symptoms for Covid-19 on Saturday and sought a further test on Sunday, the Ministry of Health confirmed.

Jacinda Ardern says new case shows MIQ system working

The prime minister said the discovery of this new Covid-19 case showed our managed isolation facility is “utterly built for managing a situation where people who may be attached to our MIQ systems themselves find themselves positive with Covid”.

The Ministry of Health will host a 1pm press conference today, where the latest information on the new case will be provided.

“Our whole system is built for that, that’s why we have an ongoing testing regime. It’s why, particularly our people who work in our MIQ keep very, very good records of where they’ve been and who they’ve been in contact with,” Ardern said.

“They are very aware of their health status, so if they feel unwell they’re very cautious about getting tested straight away and being isolated straight away.”

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

Throw out all those articles you read predicting who would get what ministerial jobs – they were pretty much all wrong on some big calls. PM Jacinda Ardern has unveiled who will be taking what roles for the next government, and there are some major surprises, shuffles, promotions and demotions. You can read a full list of who’s inside the new cabinet (and holding ministerial warrants outside cabinet) on our live updates, but a few highlights:

There has been a big change in how health is managed. As Justin Giovannetti reports, the new cabinet has been built with tackling the multi-faceted fallout of Covid-19 in mind. The new minister will be Andrew Little (who saw that coming?) while incumbent Chris Hipkins will take over a new portfolio covering Covid-19. Stuff reports one of Little’s major jobs will be overseeing the review and potential restructure of the DHB system, a massive long term project. Public health expert Dr Ayesha Verrall will also slot into cabinet as associate health minister, the only first term MP to be put in. Peeni Henare will retain the associate portfolio, with responsibility for Māori health.

That segues into one of the more notable aspects of the new look cabinet – an increase in the latitude of roles for Māori ministers. As commentator Shane Te Pou writes on The Spinoff, “no longer are Māori only given Māori-specific roles. Māori are at the table, in numbers, in every major policy area including education, health, and housing.” Nanaia Mahuta will become the country’s first ever female foreign minister, while Peeni Henare, Willie Jackson and Kiri Allan have all been promoted to cabinet. Henare will take on defence, while Allan gets conservation and emergency management. Kelvin Davis will not be the deputy PM, but will remain deputy leader, while holding onto corrections and picking up minister for children.

There are a few telling selections in the mix. Finance minister Grant Robertson (who will be deputy PM too) picks up the infrastructure portfolio, suggesting some projects are about to get a lot more focused attention. The Auckland Chamber of Commerce absolutely loves the change, putting out a release describing it as “a new improved, coordinated senior economic team”. Every portfolio that relates to the justice sector is held by a non-Pākehā minister, with Poto Williams taking police, Kris Faafoi taking justice itself, Aupito William Sio becoming minister for courts, and Willie Jackson picking up associate justice. David Parker adds oceans and fisheries to his environment portfolio, suggesting a bigger focus on that aspect.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here 

Yesterday’s headlines

One new community case of Covid-19 was announced late last night. The case is a staff member at a managed isolation facility in Christchurch.

Earlier in the day, four new cases of Covid-19 were reported, all from managed isolation facilities in Auckland and Christchurch.

Jacinda Ardern unveiled her new cabinet with the coveted role of deputy prime minister going to Grant Robertson after Labour Party deputy Kelvin Davis declined the role.

New cabinet roles were also given to Chris Hipkins (Covid-19), Andrew Little (health), Stuart Nash (economic and regional development) and Kris Faafoi (justice) among others. Nanaia Mahuta was named the new Minister of Foreign Affairs – the first woman to hold the role.

Newcomers to cabinet include Kiri Allan (conservation), Michael Wood (transport), Willie Jackson (Māori development) and first-term MP Ayesha Verrall.

Phil Twyford and Jenny Salesa were demoted from cabinet, while David Clark, who quit as health minister earlier this year, has reentered cabinet with a number of ministerial roles.

Read yesterday’s updates

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