New Zealand is to create a travel bubble with Australia allowing quarantine-free visits from 19 April. Both countries have effectively eradicated COVID-19 after closing their borders to the rest of the world. While most Australian states had allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, the Wellington government had continued to enforce an isolation restriction for its neighbor, due to concerns about small COVID-19 outbreaks there.
New Zealand’s cabinet has agreed to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said. The Australian health minister Greg Hunt enthusiastically greeted the in-principle announcement, saying it was the “first step” in normalizing international travel and anticipated the Australian government was “absolutely” likely to grant the necessary approvals.
New Zealand’s security agencies were “almost exclusively” focused on the threat from Islamist terrorism at the time of the 2019 Christchurch shooting, in which a gunman shot dead 51 Muslim worshippers, an inquiry into the country’s worst peacetime massacre has found. The landmark Christchurch royal commission report, which was released on Tuesday after 20 months of consultation, also revealed police failed to enforce proper checks on firearm licenses.
New Zealanders voted to legalize euthanasia in a binding referendum, but preliminary results released Friday showed they would likely not legalize recreational marijuana use. The two referendums represented significant potential changes to New Zealand’s social fabric, although the campaigns for each ended up being overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic and a parallel political race, in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her liberal Labour Party won a second term in a landslide.
Incumbent Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern won a second term in office Saturday in a historic election landslide, viewed by many as an endorsement of her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Her popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to stamp out the coronavirus. There is currently no community spread of the virus in the nation of 5 million.
A New Zealand judge sentenced white supremacist Brenton Tarrant to life in prison without parole on Thursday for killing 51 Muslim worshippers in the country’s deadliest shooting, saying the sentence was not enough punishment for the “wicked” crimes. It was the first time a court in New Zealand had sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life.
A court in New Zealand has heard for the first time an official account of how a terrorist who murdered 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch planned and executed the attacks – and his intentions to burn down both places of worship and attack a third. The details of the attack were read at the beginning of a high-security hearing to decide whether the Australian man who has admitted committing the mass shootings will ever leave prison.
New Zealand’s prime minister postponed the country’s general election on Monday by a month to Oct. 17 as the city of Auckland remains in lockdown due to a growing coronavirus outbreak. Jacinda Ardern bowed to pressure to delay the polls after parties complained they could not campaign with nearly a third of New Zealand’s 5 million people under lockdown in Auckland.
New Zealand’s most populous city has gone back under lockdown after new locally transmitted coronavirus cases broke the 102-day streak the country had gone without recording a local infection. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Tuesday night, and announced that Auckland will temporarily see level three restrictions introduced for three days starting from midday on Wednesday.
The acting Prime Minister Winston Peters of New Zealand accused Australia of copying the country’s 116-year-old flag, demanding Australia create a new design. The demand comes after New Zealand spent $17 million on a failed referendum to choose a new flag. New Zealand’s flag was adopted five decades before the official recognition of Australia’s flag.