Dawn Chorus: Longer lockdowns loom

Cabinet set to decide to keep Auckland in level 4 and rest of NZ in level 2.5 for at least another week with 34 cases still 'unlinked' and three sub-clusters still not contained


TLDR & TLDL: This afternoon, Cabinet is expected to decide to keep Auckland in level four lockdown for at least another week after the discovery of eight new mystery cases yesterday. That takes the unlinked total to 34, including cases in three sub-clusters deemed not to be fully tracked and contained.

I’ll be at the 4pm presser so questions in the comments below please.

Elsewhere, the political heat over MIQ spaces and internal border restrictions is growing. NZ Expo has taken 380 slots for artists and diplomats, while just 5% of applications for exemptions to leave Auckland are being granted, although one couple got out and flew to Wanaka for a holiday…

Watch out this week for local business confidence, US inflation and NZ GDP figures.

In Covid news here:

Epidemiologists expect Cabinet to extend Auckland’s level 4 shutdown for at least another week when it meets early this afternoon. The rest of the country is not expected to be able to drop to level 1 until Auckland drops a level. (RNZ, Stuff, NZHerald)

Ministry of Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield revealed just 5% of applications for exemptions to travel outside of Auckland are being approved (Newshub)

However, One Auckland couple got an exemption for ‘essential work’ and then flew from Hamilton to their holiday home in Wanaka. They now face prosecution. (Stuff)

New Zealand's Dubai Expo has been allocated 380 MIQ slots for New Zealand artists, diplomats and business leaders to return home to through the October-March event. Up to 100 singers and other artists will attend, including six60, Kimbra, Sol3 Mio and Otis Frizzell (NZ Herald-$$$)

In Covid news overseas:

China shut down the city of Putian (2.9m) in the Fujian province south of Shanghai last night after 19 new Covid cases were reported (AP)

Britain is set to drop a plan to mandate vaccine passports for entry into bars and mass events. It will also remove requirements for Covid tests for returning travelers. (Reuters)

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian cancelled her daily Covid news conferences on Sunday after the state reported 1,262 and seven deaths in the previous 24 hours. (SMH)

In the political economy, business and investing here:

New Zealand’s average house value hit $1m for the first time in September, up 4.9% in the last three months and 27% from a year ago, NZ Herald reported from Valocity data.

ASB’s latest Housing Confidence survey found a net 59% believed house prices would keep rising, while only 20% throught now as a bad time to buy. (RNZ)

National’s Local Government Spokesman Chris Luxon called on the Government to abandon its Three Waters reforms because most councils oppose it. Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the opposition was ‘curious’. She and Cabinet must soon decide whether to legislate to force it through. (TVNZ Q+A)

Migrant workers in South Island’s dairy industry have launched a petition calling for a reinstatement of a special visa allowing them residency after five years. They report many Filipino families had already left for Australia and Canada, who were offering residency to agricultural workers. (The Press)

In the political economy, business and investing overseas

Sydney Airport’s board finally agreed overnight to a A$32b takeover bid at A$8.75/share from IFM Investors’ Sydney Aviation Alliance. It was the third bid. (AFR-$$$)

Private equity firm TPG Capital has put Australian pet care and vets business Greencross up for sale for a potential A$4b. (AFR-$$$)

Watch out this week for:

This morning - Stats NZ is scheduled to report rent and food prices for August.

This afternoon - ANZ releases its first cut of its September business confidence survey at 1pm. Cabinet will make a decision on the motu’s Covid alert levels. The PM is scheduled to hold a televised news conference at 4pm. I’ll be there and welcome any questions you have.

Tuesday afternoon - Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe is scheduled to give a big speech ‘Delta, the Economy and Monetary Policy’ at 2.45 pm NZ Time. It will be closely watched for hints about Australian interest rates. The RBA is still printing A$4b/week and is not expected to start hiking Australia’s cash rate until late 2023 or early 2024. Our Reserve Bank stopped printing in July after buying NZ$55.1b of local and central Government bonds. It is still expected to hike our official cash rate from 0.25% to 0.75% by the end of the year, with 25 basis point hikes on each of the October 6 and November 24 decisions.

Wednesday morning - US Consumer Price Inflation figures for August are due on Tuesday night out time. They’ll be closely watched by global interest rate watchers for signs inflation is getting out of control in a way that would force the US Federal Reserve to stop money printing earlier than November, which is the current timetable. Economists expect annual inflation of 5.3%, down from 5.4% in July. Core inflation is seen at 4.3%.

Wednesday morning - Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone 13 range, including lidar and new cameras.

Wednesday afternoon - California Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election that could see a Trump-like Republican elected, although recent polls show Newsom in front.

Thursday morning - New Zealand reports June quarter GDP figures. Economists expect quarterly growth of around 1.2% and annual growth of around 4.2%. But it’s a bit redundant, given the latest outbreaks from mid-August are expected to reduce GDP in the September quarter by 6% or so.

Friday morning - US retail sales figures due overnight on Thursday will be closely watched for signs of growth or any delta slowdown in the world’s largest economy.

My weekend reading

Thread of the day

Some fun things

Ka kite ano