Biden, Xi join APEC talks on pandemic response

Pacific Rim leaders including US President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping began virtual talks Friday to discuss urgent joint action against the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. The unprecedented online talks involving heads of state from the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group was called at short notice by New Zealand Prime … Read more

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern to host emergency APEC virus summit

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern will host an emergency meeting of APEC leaders Friday aimed at bolstering vaccine rollouts to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus variants now fuelling the pandemic. The virtual meeting, called with less than five days’ notice, would also examine the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group’s response to its biggest economic crisis since … Read more

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern calls emergency APEC pandemic meeting

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern on Monday announced a hastily convened virtual meeting of APEC leaders this week to discuss the Asia-Pacific region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. Ardern is scheduled to host the annual 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit online in November, but called an additional ‘informal’ meeting for this … Read more

New Zealander selected as first transgender Olympian

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was confirmed as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Olympic Games Monday when Kiwi officials named her in the squad for Tokyo next month. New Zealand Olympic Committee chief Kereyn Smith said Hubbard, 43 — who was born male but transitioned to female in her 30s — … Read more

New Zealand economy back to pre-pandemic levels

New Zealand’s economy posted better-than-expected growth of 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, official data showed Thursday, with analysts saying activity was back at pre-coronavirus levels. The expansion in January-March this year exceeded forecasts of a 0.5 percent rise and reversed a 1.0 percent contraction in the final quarter of 2020. Statistics New … Read more

New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern pans mosque attacks film amid backlash

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday criticised a planned movie about her response to the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks as poorly timed and focussed on the wrong subject. The US-backed film “They Are Us” has sparked an intense backlash among New Zealand Muslims, with community leaders slamming the project for pushing a “white … Read more

Ardern tours ‘devastating’ New Zealand floods

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern toured flood-hit areas of the country’s South Island on Tuesday, expressing shock at the destruction left when three months’ worth of rain fell in three days. Swollen rivers swept away bridges and landslides blocked highways in the deluge, which finally began to ease on Tuesday after a 72-hour barrage … Read more

New Zealand, Australia play down differences on China

New Zealand and Australia downplayed policy differences on China Monday, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denying Wellington was taking a soft stance on human rights to avoid offending its largest trading partner. Ardern’s government has taken flak over its meek criticisms of China’s rights record, while Australia’s more outspoken position has drawn punitive trade measures … Read more

New Zealand military called in as hundreds flee floods

New Zealand’s military was deployed to evacuate hundreds of residents from flood-hit areas of the South Island Monday as heavy rains washed away bridges and cut roads. Rivers burst their banks as a weather system dumped 400 millimetres (15.5 inches) of rain in two days, an amount meteorologists said exceeded the entire rainfall so far … Read more

Four stabbed in ‘random’ New Zealand knife attack

A knife-wielding attacker stabbed four people in a New Zealand supermarket Monday, critically injuring three, in a rampage authorities said was “random” and not terror related. Police said the attack — highly unusual in the normally peaceful South Pacific nation — occurred at a Countdown supermarket in central Dunedin at 2:30pm (0230 GMT) and a … Read more