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National’s Uffindell easily wins Tauranga by-election

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National’s Sam Uffindell has easily won the Tauranga parliamentary by-election for Simon Bridges’ former seat.

With 100 percent of the preliminary vote results counted as of 9pm, National’s Sam Uffindell leads 10931 votes to Labour’s Jan Tinetti’s 4893, a margin of 6038 votes. ACT’s Cameron Luxton is in third with 1991 votes and all other candidates trail.

“What’s made this so fantastic are the people on the ground here in Tauranga,” Uffindell said at a celebration tonight. “The people here have done such an incredible job.”

“I just want to say to the people of Tauranga that voted for me, and those that didn’t vote for me, I’m here for you and I’m going to deliver for you.

“I’m going to get our roads improved. We’re going to tackle crime and gangs. We’re going to ease the cost of living crisis, and we’re going to work to restore local democracy in Tauranga.”

“We want Tauranga to be the greatest city to work, play and raise a family in New Zealand and that’s where we’re heading.”

“I have to say this is an exciting night,” National Party leader Christopher Luxon told attendees. “A very big congratulations to Sam. I know how hard you’ve worked. You’ve been door-knocking, you’ve been holding up signs in the rain … you’ve worn out probably several pairs of shoes.”

Uffindell said he was very happy with how his campaign went, and said he had a hard working, disciplined team.

Together, National and ACT captured approximately 66 percent of the vote in Tauranga.

Tinetti has called Uffindell to concede.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released a statement congratulating Uffindell.

“Congratulations to Sam Uffindell on his win tonight. I also want to acknowledge Jan Tinetti, who has returned one of Labour’s better results in Tauranga in recent elections.

“Jan is a huge advocate for the community she lives in, and has campaigned on the work we’ve been doing as a government to support families through the current global financial challenges, as well as our plan for economic recovery as our borders reopen and tourism resumes. Jan has proven why she’s such a valuable part of our team, and why in the recent reshuffle her responsibilities in education have grown.”

The official results including special declaration and overseas votes are expected to be available by 1 July.

The by-election is New Zealand’s first in four years and was triggered by the resignation of Simon Bridges after nearly 14 years in the role.

National was widely expected to retain the seat. Labour last won the seat in 1935.

Advance voting started on 4 June but early turnout has been low with a total of 14,168 votes cast, compared to 28,951 votes which were cast during the 2020 election advanced voting period.

Te Pāti Māori chose not to stand a candidate in Tauranga, while the Green Party backed Labour’s candidate.

The new MP

Uffindell was chosen as National’s candidate to contest the seat, which National has held since 2005.

That election saw National’s Bob Clarkson defeat New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who had previously held the seat from 1984 to 2005. Peters chose not to run again this time.

Uffindell, a graduate of the University of Otago, spent 10 years working in senior banking roles in Sydney.

Before settling in the Bay of Plenty with his family last year, he was vice president of Deutsche Bank in Singapore. In his campaign announcement, he said he wanted to focus on helping fix cost-of-living issues and infrastructure projects like the Tauranga Northern Link.

“I’m aspirational for Tauranga and want it to remain one of the best places in New Zealand to live, work and raise a family. I’m asking for your support because you deserve a strong local voice to make this happen.”

Possible issues for Tinetti campaign

Tauranga Labour candidate Jan Tinetti’s campaign could get in trouble with the Electoral Commission, after it made posts encouraging people to vote for her on by-election polling day.

Under electoral law, candidates and parties are forbidden from campaigning on polling day.

This includes social media posts.

But the Facebook page for the Labour candidate made a post saying “hashtag vote, hashtag Tinetti for Tauranga”, and reminding people today was their last chance to vote.

A spokesperson says they became aware of the post within an hour of it being up, and took it down immediately.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said in a statement, ” I can confirm we became aware of the posts earlier today and contacted the Labour Party. The posts were taken down.”

SOURCE: RNZ

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Gang-affiliate arrested in Invercargill after initially fleeing police

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Police in Invercargill have arrested and charged a man with Nomad gang links following an alleged fleeing driver incident last Friday.

The 21-year-old came to the police’s attention following the incident but further enquiries resulted in his arrest on Wednesday.

A firearm, stolen vehicles, ammunition and cannabis have been located and seized.

He has been charged with multiple offences including firearms and ammunition offences, possession of cannabis for supply, theft of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and failing to stop for police.

He has been remanded in custody following an initial court appearance.

Southland Operation Cobalt Acting Detective Sergeant Alun Griffiths said it was part of a push to target gangs under Operation Cobalt.

“Southern District Police continue to step-up enforcement and the disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country as part of Operation Cobalt,” Griffiths said.

“We need our local communities to help us address unlawful behaviour in our region.”

Anyone with information about unlawful behaviour or gang activity can contact the police on 111 if it is happening now, 105 after the fact or via Crimestoppers anonymously.

SOURCE: RNZ

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Wairarapa Hospital emergency department’s critically low staffing ‘more than a crisis’

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Health staff at Wairarapa Hospital say pressure on the system is no longer just a crisis but a catastrophe.

The emergency department and the general ward have been down to just two staff on shift several times in the past week.

Trudy Pearce has been a nurse in Wairarapa Hospital’s general ward for four years.

On Friday evening, it was just her and a junior nurse responsible for 23 patients.

Pearce said she was “hoping to God” there would be no emergencies “because we would have been screwed”.

On Sunday, the emergency department was also staffed by just two people.

Department head Dr Norman Gray said the situation was dire.

“I heard the minister say it’s not a crisis, well I think he’s right, it’s more than a crisis, really becoming a catastrophe now,” Gray said.

Having just one nurse staff the emergency department was almost unheard of, he said.

It was ironic the hospital had fewer staff than its industrial action levels, which was set to the safest minimum standards, he said.

The department has hit an all-time nursing staff low, with some working more than 10 days in a row.

There has been a combination of staff leaving the hospital for overseas or entirely, and remaining staff getting sick.

Gray said he felt they were not being believed by the government when they call for help.

“Even if you were heard, you never felt you were believed, and I think that’s still the case now when the minister feels that people are not quite telling the truth, even when they’re using the ministry statistics.”

Inequitable response from Health NZ

Gray said he was aware of other hospitals around the country, and within the Wellington Region, that had been incentivising nurses for the extra work, for example, offering up to triple overtime.

But there has been no sign of that available at Wairarapa Hospital.

Health NZ was not being equitable, Gray said.

“There’s a lack of tangible thank you from the system to our doctors, nurses and other staff here in the Wairarapa, I’m not quite sure why that is.

“When people elsewhere doing the same job are getting some sort of tangible reward or appreciation, it builds resentment.”

The hospital simply needed more staff, he said, but extra money would help alleviate some stress on the remaining nurses and make them feel valued for their tireless work.

Health NZ said it recognised the pressure staff and services were under.

Interim district manager Dale Oliff said it was working to find solutions, and it was already reducing or deferring some planned care to alleviate stress.

Te Whatu Ora Wairarapa was waiting for a national agreement on the incentive payments question, Oliff said.

Health NZ said it was considering all options to recruit staff and it acknowledged the consecutive days some of staff were working and issues around staff safety.

The organisation’s modelling shows that winter illness in Wairarapa will continue for a further six to eight weeks.

Nurse warns people away from career

Nurse Trudy Pearce is worried that burnout is looming for her and her colleagues.

She said there were times she felt disillusioned about her career choices – something she retrained passionately to do.

“If anybody, any teenager or school leaver came and said ‘I want to be a nurse’, I would just totally put them off becoming a nurse,” Pearce said.

“There’s just nothing nice about being a nurse at the moment, and as far as we can see it’s only going to get worse.”

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson said the state of the hospital was concerning, and the community needed to step up and help alleviate pressure.

She said like many places, there had been a decline in mask use in indoor spaces, and businesses should toughen their stance.

“I really ask that our businesses in the Wairarapa work together and collectively start pushing back at people who are not wearing masks,” Patterson said.

SOURCE: RNZ

 

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Additional police presence planned around Eid celebrations

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Muslim community leaders and police are in talks about security ahead of the biggest religious days of the year.

The Federation of Islamic Associations is worried about worshippers’ safety after a spate of attacks before the festival of Eid.

Traditional men’s clothing and electronic equipment were stolen from a mosque in Tauranga on Monday night and a car was torched outside the building some hours later.

The federation is worried the clothing could be used by someone to infiltrate Eid festival events this weekend.

Earlier, on Saturday, a hearse – or janaza van – parked outside a mosque in Upper Hutt had its windscreen smashed.

It remains unclear whether the events are linked.

The federation met last night to discuss security and safety and have spoken with police.

Its spokesperson, Dr Anwar Ghani, told Morning Report the feeling was that the incidents were isolated, however the meeting with police had helped offer the Muslim community assurance their concerns were being heeded.

“Our community is susceptible to hate-related crime, as we saw what happened a couple of years ago, so when something like this happens obviously it brings anxiety in the community.”

He said members of the Muslim community were concerned and there was a need to be “safe [rather] than sorry”, but the police were investigating the incidents and had reassured the federation they would be highly visible during the weekend’s Eid celebrations.

Ghani’s advice to others in the Muslim community was to “be alert, look out, make your own security arrangements, and police is there to assist us as well, as they have been in the past”.

Police say they will have a big presence at the large gatherings happening around the country at mosques, community centres and stadiums.

Source – RNZ

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