https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news/172297/eight_col_nzdollar.jpg?1541469659 The pandemic has exposed the perils of playing the stock market, leaving some KiwiSavers the poorer. An ASB senior bank economist said it was important to stick to saving goals and timeframes during volatility. Photo: 123RF ASB’s latest report on its KiwiSaver funds indicates sharemarket volatility has got the better of some of its customers this year, with 6 percent switching to lower risk cash and conservative funds in March as Covid-19 saw sharemarkets plunge. Senior bank economist Chris Tennent-Brown said many of those investors missed out on the rapid recovery that occurred from April onwards. “The experience may have convinced some customers that higher risk funds are not for them, but many others have not made a decision about what to do, and are still on the sidelines in the cash or conservative funds.” He said customers were understandably unsettled by watching their fund balances drop significantly in ...

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https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-11/beehive-red-og_0.png Additional tool to support existing contact tracing processes Privacy is protected Does not replace the need to scan QR codes Contact tracing in New Zealand will get a substantial boost from 10 December with the addition of Bluetooth tracing to the NZ COVID Tracer app, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said today. “Kiwis deserve a summer break more than ever this year but we cannot take our eye off the ball. The prospect of another outbreak should serve as a rock under our beach towels. That’s no bad thing,” Chris Hipkins said.    “As summer approaches and Kiwis take holidays and travel more around the country, this new Bluetooth functionality adds to the tools we already have and improves our chances of getting on top of any potential outbreak quickly – as long as we use them. “It allows app users to receive an alert if they have been ...

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[og_img] UNOFFICIAL The Hon. Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts JOINT MEDIA RELEASE Thursday 10 December 2020 LITERARY EXCELLENCE RECEIVES TOP HONOURS Outstanding work by Australian authors has been recognised today, with the winners of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards announced. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the winners spoke to issues around society and family and the compelling well-researched works of non-fiction and Australian history spoke to our collective experience. In handing down the awards, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher, said the accolades highlighted the talents of Australia’s esteemed and emerging writers. “I congratulate this year’s winners, with the awards recognising our most talented authors, poets, illustrators and historians,” the Prime Minister said. “Literature plays a vital role in connecting us to Australian voices and our story ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news/251267/eight_col_SANTA-16×10.jpg?1607651884 By Craig Stephen* The pandemic might have grounded planes, trains and automobiles, but it won’t be derailing the world’s most famous sleigh. Santa Claus will be coming to town this year, with the permission of the government – to the relief of every child – and parent – in the country. While international travel has almost come to a stop during 2020, the Ministry of Health has come up with a one-off special plan for the globetrotting bearer of gifts and his reindeer. A spokesperson said the ministry had been in direct contact with Santa’s North Pole base to discuss arrangements for Christmas due to Covid-19 induced border restrictions. “Santa Claus will appoint a New Zealander to be the official Aotearoa Santa Claus so a traditional Kiwi Christmas can go ahead,” the spokesperson said. “This means the Kiwi Santa can get to all corners of New Zealand and no ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/108264/eight_col_200615_NZ-HOUSING_04a.jpg?1598563602 The housing market continues to run hot, with a record national median price of $749,000 hit in November. November was a stand-out month for the number of properties sold, says real estate agents. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon The new figure is an 18.5 percent increase compared with the median price in November 2019 and a $24,000 increase on last month’s median price. The Real Estate Institute’s (REINZ) House Price Index, which measures the changing value of property in the market also hit a new high, gaining 15.3 percent to 3,343. REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said November was a stand-out month for the number of properties sold. “With just shy of 10,000 properties sold over 30 days. The last time we saw a similar level of sales volumes was back in March 2007 before the national recession and Global Financial Crisis started impacting New Zealand’s property market.” She ...

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https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-11/beehive-red-og_0.png The Government has taken a decisive step towards ensuring safe drinking water and more efficient wastewater and stormwater networks with the first reading of the Water Services Bill, Local Government Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. The Water Services Bill provides the mechanics of the regulatory regime that Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator, will administer, and will detail the powers it will have. “Under current arrangements we cannot have confidence that all our communities have safe drinking water,’’ Nanaia Mahuta said.  “Those arrangements were subject to significant criticism by the Havelock North drinking water inquiry.” The Bill strikes a balance between incentivising drinking water suppliers to take responsibility for their supplies – a key principle promoted by the Havelock North inquiry – and giving Taumata Arowai a modern regulatory framework to promote good practice, compliance, and enforcement. The requirements imposed on drinking water suppliers need to be fit ...

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https://www.elanka.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/covid.jpg  Image Source:the Island Online 11 December 2020 Australia secures 20 million extra Astra Zeneca vaccines for onshore manufacturing to cover entire population and a further 11 million Novavax Update on University of Queensland On the basis of scientific advice, the Australian Government has secured an additional 20 million doses of the promising AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, strengthening Australia’s position for whole-of-population vaccination. This will mean a total delivery of 53.8 million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses in 2021, covering the whole of population requirements. The extra 20 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine will be produced within Australia by CSL. Our advice remains that Australia remains on track for first vaccinations in March, and completion of whole of population in 2021.In addition, a further 11 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be purchased, bringing the total for this vaccine to 51 million. This provides an additional whole-of-population vaccine for ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news/250786/eight_col_000_8WJ2QJ.jpg?1607278444 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it authorised the use of Pfizer Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine on Friday (local time), with the first inoculations expected within days, marking a turning point in the United States where the pandemic has killed more than 292,000 people. File photo. Photo: AFP The FDA granted an emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech, which was shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing the disease in a late-stage trial. The FDA said the vaccine can be given to people aged 16 and older. Healthcare workers and elderly people in long-term care facilities are expected to be the main recipients of a first round of 2.9 million doses. Another 2902 US deaths were reported on Thursday, a day after a record 3253 people died, a pace projected to continue for the next two to three months even with a ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/94088/eight_col_john-ryan-square.jpg?1577171148 The national polytechnic Te Pukenga is expecting to end its first year of existence with a deficit of $29 million. Auditor-General, John Ryan, in his report on tertiary institution finances this week reported the expected loss at $53 million. Photo: Controller and Auditor General The figure is nearly half the $53 million loss it was forecasting at the middle of the year, as reported by the Auditor-General, John Ryan, in his report on tertiary institution finances this week. The institute told RNZ the improved forecast was due to fewer international students than expected abandoning their studies and leaving the country due to the pandemic. It said it had forecast a deficit of $51 million next year, roughly half the figure expected at the middle of the year. Collectively, the 16 subsidiary polytechnics and institutes of technology that make up Te Pukenga made a deficit in each of the past ...

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