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News in brief, May 9, 2023

Cabinet shuffle

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty has been named as one of the ministers picking up Meka Whaitiri’s portfolios in the wake of her shock defection last week. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced the replacements in a post-cabinet meeting yesterday, following Whaitiri’s jump from Labour to Te Pati Maori. McAnulty will be the Hawke’s Bay lead minister for cyclone recovery, which he is currently doing in an acting role. After a debate over whether Whaitiri had triggered the waka-jumping legislation, which would have required her to vacate her seat, the Speaker ruled that she would sit in Parliament as an independent MP.

School strike

All high school students will have the day off tomorrow, with Wairarapa secondary schools shut down for strike action. Teachers Union [PPTA] members have been striking for better pay and working conditions, striking regionally on different days, and “rostering home” different year groups on different days as part of the industrial action. The Employment Relations Authority has been called in to moderate negotiations between the union and the Ministry of Education, which have been ongoing without progress for 11 months.

Roundabout progressing

Construction of the Ngaumutawa roundabout is in full swing. All the surfaces at the intersection have been milled out, and preparations are now underway to stabilize it, after which it will be sealed to hold the surface until the asphalt is laid. A temporary roundabout will be in place from this week until mid-May. Waka Kotahi has asked motorists to be patient when travelling through the construction site, especially during peak times, because delays are unavoidable.

Covid-19 update

There have been 118 cases of covid-19 reported in Wairarapa in the past week, some of the lowest numbers in New Zealand. The new cases bring the officially recorded infections in the region to 22,571 since the pandemic began, according to the Ministry of Health. There are 249 people in hospitals with covid-19 across the nation, 12 of whom are in intensive care units. The ministry reported 50 covid-19-related deaths in New Zealand in the past week, but none were in Wairarapa, where the official toll stands at 52.

1 COMMENT

  1. Signage from Cornwall road into Hughes line is wrong, 100k first 500m on Hughes line?

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