The Government goes ahead with their increase to the minimum wage, while Finance Minister Grant Robertson provides further warnings of the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on New Zealand as another 61 cases were confirmed today. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.
Key developments in NZ
• There are 61 new coronavirus cases in New Zealand, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to 708. Fourteen people are in hospital, with two of those in ICU in a stable condition. No further deaths have occurred. The growth rate in the number of new cases continued to decline, but while that was "encouraging", Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay has conceded that the testing regime so far does little to show the true extent of Covid-19 community transmission in New Zealand - and more cases will spring up as testing capacity increased to 5000 tests a day.
• Finance Minister Grant Robertson has provided his most overt hint yet of what businesses can expect in the Government's next round of Covid-19 subsidies, telling MPs this morning to expect moves around commercial rents. He also admitted that the economic impact of Covid-19 on New Zealand would be a "quantum greater" than that of the global financial crisis – noting that unemployment would exceed 6.7 per cent – the level it reached during the 2008/09 crisis.
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• Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says nearly 1000 people had sent in complaints about price-gouging at supermarkets after a dedicated email was set up. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister told New Zealanders to report unfair high prices to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Ardern said at her daily press conference today that about 990 emails had so far been sent. The most common complaint was about the high price of cauliflower, but hand sanitiser, bread, meat and garlic also featured.
Around the world
• United States President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a "rough two-week period" as the White House released projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US from the coronavirus pandemic, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people changed their behaviour. Trump called American efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus "a matter of life and death" and urged the public to heed his administration's guidelines in the pandemic that has killed more than 3500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.
• The United Kingdom and Spain have reported their deadliest days so far as the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of letting up in Europe. A total 367 deaths were reported in Britain, bringing its toll to 1651. Another 849 deaths pushed Spain's to 8189. More than 800,000 cases of Covid-19 have now been confirmed across 178 countries, and Europe and the United States are the new epicentres of the crisis. More than 38,000 people have died.
• A small Auckland high school is at the centre of the largest cluster of Covid-19 cases in the country. What happened at Marist College? Kirsty Johnston investigates.
• In the space of a week, the job of being Finance Minister changed. Since taking up the purse strings of Treasury, Grant Robertson has increased Government spending and wanted to do more, but he could not have imagined the task in front of him now, as Hamish Rutherford reports.
• The Government has gone ahead with an increase to the minimum wage. Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash said that he absolutely believed that raising the minimum wage from $17.70 to $18.90 was the right thing to do, but National Party MP Mark Mitchell said he believed the wage rise should be delayed by six months. The Government's decision has frustrated business leaders who say now is not the time, and Liam Dann argues that the Government's decision must come with a renewed commitment to keeping firms afloat.
• The boss of TV and radio broadcaster MediaWorks today asked staff to take a "voluntary" 15 per cent pay cut. While media consumption has significantly increased during the coronavirus pandemic with many New Zealanders at home, the advertising market that MediaWorks relies on has taken a massive hit. With many companies unable to generate revenue at the moment, there has been widespread reluctance to advertise while businesses struggle to make ends meet. Chief executive Michael Anderson said the company was in a "fight for survival".
• New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has revealed potential revenue losses in excess of $100 million, and has issued sweeping 40 per cent wage cuts across the organisation for the next three months. The news followed Rugby Australia's announcement that they were standing down 75 per cent of their staff, and Robinson opens up on New Zealand Rugby's survival battle in a frank interview with Liam Napier. New Zealand Rugby also announced a $1.25 million emergency grant for the country's five Super Rugby franchises.
Check our graphic for the latest case numbers in New Zealand and around the world.