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With a straight down the middle approach, Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive on Newstalk ZB delivers the very latest news and views to New Zealanders as they wrap up their day.

Heather du Plessis-Allan Driv‪e‬ Newstalk ZB

    • News

With a straight down the middle approach, Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive on Newstalk ZB delivers the very latest news and views to New Zealanders as they wrap up their day.

    The Huddle: The Tamakis flouting the rules and alert level decision

    The Huddle: The Tamakis flouting the rules and alert level decision

    If Covid-19 is detected in the community tomorrow, it won't necessarily prevent Auckland from moving out of level three.
    Health boss Dr Ashley Bloomfield says it would depend on where those cases are from.
    He says at the moment, all 15 community cases are within four families and contained.
    Bloomfield says wide testing rates will make up an important part of his advice to Cabinet tomorrow as that will show whether the virus has spread outside Auckland.
    He says the travel people could have done in and out of Auckland in the week Case M was in the community was the key reason for putting the rest of the country into level two.
    Yesterday more than 14,500 tests were processed - almost 8,000 of them across Auckland.
    A decision on alert levels is expected in the afternoon after a Cabinet meeting. 
    Meanwhile, Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki has been described by the Covid Response Minister as irresponsible.
    The self declared apostle and his wife, Hannah, left Auckland on Saturday night before Alert Level Three kicked in on Sunday morning and conducted a church service in Rotorua.
    They're now touring the country, and Chris Hipkins says they're putting others at risk.
    Hipkins says sneaking out of Auckland right at the beginning of a lockdown shows a lack of judgment.
    Listen above as Neil Miller and Shane Te Pou discuss the day's news with Heather du Plessis-Allan on The Huddle

    • 6 min
    Peter Lewis: China is sounding the alarm about a global market bubble

    Peter Lewis: China is sounding the alarm about a global market bubble

    One of China's most powerful financial officials is sounding the alarm over a bubble in global markets.
    Guo Shuqing, the Communist Party boss at the People's Bank of China, told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that confidence in Chinese markets could be hit by volatility around the world.
    "We are really afraid the bubble for foreign financial assets will burst someday," said Guo, who is also chairman of China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission
    Guo's warning follows concerns expressed elsewhere that bubble-like behavior is spreading through financial markets. Wall Street banks have been fielding questions from clients about whether the runaway equity boom will be followed by a crash resembling the bursting of the dot-com bubble burst 21 years ago.
    Investors, hedge fund managers and former central banking officials have all expressed concerns too, as Wall Street trades near record highs even as the United States continues to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Guo echoed such fears, adding that the rallies in US and European markets don't reflect the underlying economic challenges facing both regions as they try to recover from the brutal pandemic recession.
    "Such [a] bubble bust could trigger substantial foreign capital inflow to China," wrote analysts at Mizuho Bank in a research note, adding that the regulator said he would study "effective measures" to encourage the free flow of capital while avoiding shocks to financial markets. A huge rush of funds into China could destabilize the world's second biggest economy by rapidly inflating its currency, assets and prices.
    The Chinese banking leader also said he's worried about whether China's property sector is at risk of volatility too — an issue that analysts say implies that the country may be ready to tighten its purse strings. President Xi Jinping told an economic conference late last year that the country needs to stabilize the property market in 2021, and Beijing has already taken some measures to do that. In December, regulators issued rules intended to limit lending to the property sector.
    Local governments in China, meanwhile, have stepped up measures since the start of this year to cool the market down, including by restricting purchases and reining in developers.
    Markets shaken
    Guo's remarks shook markets in the region. The Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index were both trending upward before Guo's speech, building on Wall Street's rally Monday. But both indexes reversed course soon after. Shanghai's benchmark was down 1.2%, while the Hang Seng fell 1.3%.
    Other indexes in the region also fell: Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slumped 0.4%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.9%. South Korea's Kospi was the outlier, trading up 1% after markets there were closed Monday for a holiday.
    "This indicates how sensitive markets are to policy accommodation being taken away," wrote Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at Axi, in a Tuesday note. "It also highlights that central banks will run at different speeds in pulling away from last year's crisis."
    Guo's comments also reflect concerns from Beijing about the risk that rising debt poses to the economy. Property loans accounted for nearly 30% of total loans issued in yuan by the end of 2020, according to central bank data.
    And some in China have already been suggesting that it's time for the country to taper fiscal and monetary support — including former finance minister Lou Jinwei, who in December said that a "gradual exit" from loose policy will help stabilize and eventually reduce China's debt ratio.
    China spent hundreds of billions of dollars last year in a bid to shore up the country's economy after the pandemic hit. Its efforts to spur activity — including through major infrastructure projects and by offering cash handouts to stimulate spending among citizens — appeared t

    • 2 min
    Justin Lester: 127 percent increase in businesses closing in New Zealand last quarter

    Justin Lester: 127 percent increase in businesses closing in New Zealand last quarter

    New Zealand businesses are starting to feel the pinch of Covid-19, with closures increasing 127 per cent.
    Many businesses got through the first half of 2020 due to incentives like the wage subsidy, but the second half is painting a different story.
    In September through to November 2020, 16,234 businesses shut their doors permanently compared to the same period last year. 
    Dot Loves Data’s Justin Lester told Heather du Plessis-Allan says we are starting to see business resiliance teetering. 
    "People are struggling. They are fighting. They want to keep businesses solvent so liquidations are still relatively slow, but we are seeing the first signs of some wobbles." 
    He says that the end of wage subsidy has hurt businesses and a weaker summer means many are running out of cash reserves. 

    • 6 min
    Enda Brady: Bombshell Meghan bullying report and UK tax increases

    Enda Brady: Bombshell Meghan bullying report and UK tax increases

    Amid claims Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, bullied certain staff during her time as a senior royal, it's now been revealed how she responded when she was informed aides were upset with her behaviour.
    In a bombshell report by The Times of London this week, the Duchess of Sussex was accused of bullying several members of her staff prior to, and after, her 2018 royal wedding with Prince Harry.
    Buckingham Palace has since announced its HR team will investigate the claims.
    The Times claims the treatment spanned back to before the couple were engaged in late 2017.
    Shortly after they announced their impending nuptials in November that year, a senior aide reportedly gave both Meghan and Harry a dressing down about their treatment of staff.
    According to the publication, Meghan is said to have replied: "It's not my job to coddle people."
    The couple's communications assistant at the time, Jason Knauf, reported the behaviour in October 2018, the same month Meghan and Harry embarked on their tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
    Knauf alleged that Meghan's treatment of her staff had already driven two personal assistants out of the household, and that the Duchess was actively "undermining the confidence" of a third.
    He wrote an email to Prince William's private secretary, Simon Case, stressing that both he and the palace's head of HR Samantha Carruthers thought "the situation was very serious" and he was "concerned that nothing will be done".
    "I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year," Knauf wrote.
    "The treatment of X was totally unacceptable. The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y."
    Knauf stopped working for the Sussexes a short time later, and is now chief executive of William and Kate's Royal Foundation.
    The Sussexes have accused the palace of a "calculated smear campaign" against them ahead of their highly publicised tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is set to air on Monday.
    Their spokesperson told The Times: "Let's just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.
    "We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of the Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet.
    "It's no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining the Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and the Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years."
    The spokesperson added: "The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.
    "She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good."
    text by Lexie Cartwright, news.com.au

    • 2 min
    Barry Soper: Covid tests and Jacinda Ardern's latest interview

    Barry Soper: Covid tests and Jacinda Ardern's latest interview

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford have demanding careers but they try to make sure one of them is home to put 2-year-old daughter Neve to bed every night.
    In an interview published in this month's edition of the magazine Thrive, Ardern opens up about summer holidays, parenting, cooking and Covid.
    Being the Prime Minister may be a 24/7 job, but Ardern says any relaxation time she gets is spent with Neve.
    Neve's favourite thing is meeting new people, she tells Thrive editor Wendyl Nissen.
    "Sometimes we'll be at the airport or waiting to go somewhere and she'll say: 'I'm just going to go and talk to that lady'. I'll try to explain that the lady might be just enjoying some time to herself but she can't understand that. Why wouldn't she want to talk to Neve?"
    She shares other heart-melting Neve moments like the time she asked "Are your ouchies better, Mummy?" when Ardern resorted to using her plasters and laughs about the time Neve took off in the airport and left her running after her holding her briefcase and a massive stuffed penguin - much to the amusement of other passengers.
    She's also grilled about how she takes care of herself and admits her mum and sister worry more about if she's getting enough rest or eating well than she does.
    "I'm one of those people who can't relax if there's other things I should be doing... So part of me feeling good about myself and the work I'm doing is feeling that I'm on top of things as much as I can be."

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern credits her partner Clarke Gayford for taking care of her and their daughter Neve. Photo/Brett Phibbs
    Ardern admits to "living" on cups of tea and "blimmin' bliss balls" saying her mum made so many during the election campaign that she was being "powered by dates".
    She tells Thrive she has to make a conscious effort to eat well because she loses her appetite when she's stressed and credits those she works with for helping by regularly leaving food on her desk.
    "When you're going to give a speech to a few hundred people there is a bit of stress and I just don't want to eat. But I do a lot of speeches all the time, so I really have to push myself to make sure I eat throughout the course of the day."
    Gayford gets a lot of the credit for looking after Ardern and Neve.
    "I don't think I've talked about this before but he has consistently been the night and morning person for our daughter because sometimes I'll be working long hours or I'll be gone in the morning or he just wants me to get one more hour's sleep. And consistently he will always bring me a cup of tea every morning without fail," she says.
    He also makes breakfast when she's in a rush, checks she's eaten before she heads out the door and sends a "nice little text" when he knows she has to tackle something she finds hard.
    One thing she looks forward to every year is her little break over summer, which she often spends in the Coromandel.
    Ardern says she's not a huge swimmer, but she enjoys the "lightness of people's mood" at the beach and loves being warm.
    And although the job might not leave much time for cooking, she enjoys getting in the kitchen while on holiday.
    "[Clarke] describes it as some form of Ready Steady Cook. If there's a can of beans in the cupboard and there's some week-old vegetables I'll try to make a meal out of it. It's always edible but I think it comes from being a student and having to be so thrifty, and I hate waste."
    As for Covid-19, she said she was looking forward to seeing the first people vaccinated and admits that her maternal instinct shapes how she does her job.
    "I feel like it's my job to look after people," she says.

    • 6 min
    Brian Tamaki defends fleeing Auckland, refusing to take Covid-19 vaccine

    Brian Tamaki defends fleeing Auckland, refusing to take Covid-19 vaccine

    Destiny Church leaders are defending their decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
    Brian and Hannah Tamaki have lashed back at critics who have lambasted the couple's decision to leave their home with just hours to spare before the city's borders were closed to curb the spread of the latest community outbreak in South Auckland.
    Hannah, who is also the leader of Vision NZ, wrote on Facebook: "We are not the ones to say sorry. The media need to apologise to our people, calling them poor and less intelligent and need to have the Covid vaccine."
    She also revealed that she will not be getting vaccinated for Covid-19.
    Brian told Heather du Plessis-Allan that he also won't take the vaccine.
    He says that he trusts God to protect them  - however, he says that's their personal choice.
    "We said to them, you make your choice and you won't be condemned or put down for that. If you take the vaccine, that's fine, if you don't, that's fine."
    Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker earlier criticised the decision, telling the New Zealand Herald the Tamakis were leaders in their community and with leadership came real responsibility - and while vaccination was voluntary, advising others the fact that you weren't having it would clearly influence people.
    Tamaki says that they are not anti-vaxxers and they are not conspiracy theorists, it is just a personal choice. 
    However, he continuously urged that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other Cabinet ministers should take the vaccine first. 
    Tamaki also declined to specify why he intends to sue Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking and political editor Barry Soper for defamation - nor would he reveal who gave him the Tesla he drove to Rotorua in. 

    • 6 min

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