Morning Briefing Dec 11: Northern motorists brace for truck traffic woes

Anna Murray
Source: 1News

Motorists are being urged to take extra care on State Highway 1 between Auckland and Whangārei from this morning as a significant number of trucks take to the road to clear a crippling backlog of imports.

Truck on state highway

The cargo ship Constantinos P docked at Northport near Whangārei earlier this week due to delays in unloading its Christmas cargo in Auckland.

Around 12 trucks are now expected to leave Northport every hour between 6am and midnight for the next seven days in order to deliver the 1200 containers to Auckland . There will also be empty trucks making the return journey to Northport for another load. 

The NZTA is asking motorists in the area to plan ahead, be patient and “give trucks space on the road for the safety of all road users”.

But patience might be hard to come by, with Wellsford locals telling RNZ’s Checkpoint the extra traffic is a nightmare in their area .

Meanwhile, another overseas cargo ship is making headlines this morning, with reports a bungle by Taranaki health officials saw the crew of one vessel allowed shore leave in New Plymouth before they completed Covid-19 isolation protocols.

Craig Harrison of the Maritime Union says the incident is a worry and that “a lot more homework needs to be done by our border control”.

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Calls for calm over vaccine

Health authorities are calling for calm after two British NHS workers suffered allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine yesterday.

Other countries about to begin their own rollout of the Covid vaccine are noting warnings about who should take it, with those with a history of significant allergic reactions advised to steer clear of it for now.

But as the US edges closer to beginning its Covid vaccination programme, a new poll has found only about half of Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves to receive the jab. 

Kiwi vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris says there’s no need to be concerned about yesterday’s developments. As she explains in this video report , the early detection of such issues is good news for New Zealand’s own vaccination programme.

Petousis-Harris also took part in a briefing yesterday about how the new mRNA vaccines like Pfizer’s one actually work, which you can read here .

Voters support term change

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll shows the majority of people are in favour of extending the parliamentary term from three to four years.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed support the move, an increase of five per cent since 1 NEWS asked the same poll question seven years ago. Thirty-six percent of people say the term shouldn’t be extended. 

Many of the country’s politicians are in favour of the move, including Jacinda Ardern, Judith Collins, David Seymour and Marama Davidson.

Minister Kris Faafoi is now aiming to include a referendum question about the issue at the 2023 election. 

New Zealand is one of just a handful of countries with a three-year term. 

Facebook’s dominance under threat

The US Government has filed multiple antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, accusing the tech giant of abusing its market power to squash smaller competitors.

It’s the most significant legal action Facebook has ever faced and could see them forced to sell off their prized Instagram and WhatsApp services.

If the lawsuits are successful, experts believe they could pave the way for legal action against other companies like Apple, Google and Amazon.

The legal action in the US comes hot on the heels of the latest step in Australia’s plans to charge Google and Facebook to host news on their platforms, with the tabling this week of their ‘News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code’ .

The Spinoff has looked at how this move could see Australia eventually without access to Google search or any news on Facebook – and how this could also potentially impact New Zealand .

Govt takes aim at card fees

The Government is moving to reduce the fees banks charge retailers for payWave.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark and the Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash announced the release of a discussion document around the issue yesterday.

Clark says it’s not fair that New Zealand retailers pay nearly twice as much as their Australian counterparts.

Consultation on proposed regulations closes in February, however the Government says there’s nothing stopping banks changing their fee structures now. ASB has acted already, promising to repay businesses for some fees. 

Other news of note this morning:

- Work on a replacement to the Manawatū Gorge begins today , three years after multiple slips forced the state highway to close.

- Police investigating an attack on a female police officer and a nearby kidnapping in the Far North have released images related to the case .

- A campaign encouraging businesses to let people with bowel disease use their toilets in an emergency has kicked off .

- Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper has apologised for an “embarrassing mistake” in the naming of one of her dresses. 

- TV host Ellen DeGeneres has announced she has Covid-19 .

- All Black Aaron Smith has put a social media user in his place after the person claimed male rugby players wouldn’t pay to watch women play the game.

- And Taylor Swift has announced her second surprise album of 2020 .

And finally...  

With the border shut, many are asking what the protocols will be about Santa's whirlwind visit. Seven Sharp’s junior reporters interrogated the PM at a secret bunker.

If you’ve got young children in your household, chances are you’ve faced some curly questions around the logistics of Santa’s deliveries while the borders are closed.

So, Seven Sharp has taken those hard questions straight to the top – and if you’d like to see Jacinda Ardern explain the special travel exemptions in place for Santa and his reindeer, you can do so here .