Morning Briefing Feb 12: A bad week gets worse for Air NZ

Anna Murray
Source: 1News

Air NZ denies it tried to hide information about military contracts, Wellington's rental market boils over, and chilling new video is released at Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Air NZ aircraft.

Air New Zealand’s CEO is adamant the airline didn’t try to conceal information when it became clear news of its work for the Saudi military was about to break.

1 NEWS last night revealed more details about its investigation into Air New Zealand’s activities, saying the airline pulled down its Gas Turbines website for “maintenance” as it was chased for answers. When the new website came back online, all the details about Gas Turbines’ work around the world had been erased. 

But CEO Greg Foran says there was “absolutely no cover-up”.

He did, however, admit yesterday that the airline can’t name all the foreign navies it works with and needs to investigate whether they’re linked to international humanitarian crimes via any remaining military contracts.

Former CEO Chris Luxon says he’s happy to assist with any inquiries into the matter and admits not establishing a process in which the airline’s boss is told about all military contracts was “clearly a mistake”

Meanwhile, another airline was making headlines yesterday, with RNZ’s Checkpoint digging into Mike Pero’s Pasifika Air.

The new company says it plans to take bookings for flights to the Cook Islands from March, although the airline is yet to acquire a plane .

Pero says Pasifika Air is aiming to begin flights in June and is offering a money back guarantee if Covid-related travel restrictions still haven’t been lifted by then.

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Calls to cool rental market

The Government is assuring renters it's working on improving housing supply as median rental prices leap across the country.

It comes as Trade Me figures show the average weekly rental prices in Wellington have reached a record-breaking high, surpassing Auckland prices . Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Government is working on housing supply and demand and will “be making announcements shortly” .

Meanwhile, Wellington residents could also be facing a rates increase of 17 per cent , as the council works out how to pay for badly needed infrastructure upgrades.

Mayor Andy Foster has revealed a sketch of the council’s 2021 Long Term Plan, saying the capital investment needed would be the largest the city has ever made. 

UK variant could 'sweep world'

The Covid-19 variant first detected in the UK last year could become the world’s most dominant strain of the virus, according to a leading scientist.

The head of the UK's genetic surveillance programme, Professor Sharon Peacock, says the variant could “sweep the world” .

The strain has already been detected in more than 50 countries and was cited as the reason for the UK’s most recent lockdown. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, Victoria’s hotel quarantine outbreak has reached double figures.

The cluster linked to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport now stands at 13 cases and has seen South Australia once again close its borders to travellers from the Greater Melbourne area. 

Tied up in knots over ties

Yes, after yesterday’s Morning Briefing tie bonanza , I’m still writing about ties – and now the rest of the world is, too.

The Parliamentary stoush over mandatory ties may have reached its conclusion, but it’s caught the attention of several high-profile media outlets overseas, including the BBC, Al Jazeera, and the Washington Post. 

MPs also weighed in on ties outside the Debating Chamber yesterday.

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi said his stand on the issue was never about ties or hei-tiki, but "cultural expression and identity in our democracy".

Labour’s Andrew Little says he still plans to wear a tie in Parliament, while his colleague Kris Faafoi says he’s also sticking with the tie because “that’s what my mum expects of me".

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay has delved into the issue, saying being able to wear a hei-tiki instead of a tie is a no-brainer , however with ties scrapped completely, she’s “sad at this loss of formality”.

But former Green Party leader Metiria Turei has also written about parliamentary ties over at The Spinoff and says she’s glad to see the requirement scrapped.

She says it’s time to abandon the concept of business attire , “which is simply code for Pākehā visual symbols of authority”.

Chilling video at trial

Democrats are set to wrap up their case against former US President Donald Trump on day three of his second impeachment trial.

Yesterday’s trial proceedings saw chilling new security video footage of January’s Capitol riot released. The series of videos showed just how close rioters came to finding top US senators in the building that day.

Meanwhile, Trump has had a new legal problem fall into his lap with a Georgia prosecutor's office confirming it’s opening a criminal investigation into “attempts to influence” the outcome of the presidential election.

Other news of note this morning:

- Aucklanders are being warned to stay out of the water around Manukau Harbour today after 5000 litres of a chemical spilled through a stormwater drain.

- More drugs are being found in New Zealand prisons, according to new figures released to 1 NEWS .

- A lack of international tourists continues to bite, with data showing New Zealanders spent less over the summer holidays , especially on hospitality.

- The Duchess of Sussex has won a privacy claim in her case against a tabloid that published a letter to her estranged father.

- The Government is launching its delayed election promise to extend the flexi-wage scheme, which the Prime Minister expects to "help thousands more New Zealanders into employment". 

- Food delivery service My Food Bag has finally confirmed plans to sell shares and list on exchanges on both sides of the Tasman.

- The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld more complaints about popular Kiwi social media influencer Simone Anderson after she failed to disclose ads in a series of Instagram stories.

- And the youngster who went viral for his praise of Sophie Devine has had a chance to meet with the White Ferns star

And finally...

Man struggling to change a car tyre

Changing a tyre, sewing a button or cooking a roast may seem like simple tasks but Seven Sharp has discovered they can be near-on impossible for the younger generation .

Parenting writer John Cowan says young people are struggling with basic life skills “because we love them too much” and don’t give them a chance to become independent and skilful. 

He says it’s more loving to let children do things for themselves – which is exactly what I’ll be telling my kids when I ask them to load up the dishwasher later.