Summary Outgoing Auckland International Airport CEO Adrian Littlewood has called for the government to ditch MIQ for fully vaccinated NZers. Newly-listed NZ-founded space company Rocket Lab will today livestream its new investors’ first launch.

Up and away Rocket Lab attempts its first launch as a listed company today. Since listing on the US Nasdaq, the NZ-founded space company has been unable to launch due to covid restrictions. The launch, scheduled for 5.25pm, was to be livestreamed to enable its new investors to watch.

Parting shot The government should hurry up and ditch managed isolation and quarantine for fully vaccinated New Zealanders returning home as the science no longer supports the policy, says outgoing Auckland International Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood. Emboldened by the fact that he finishes the job this week, Littlewood issued a parting-shot statement, saying there was “no longer any logic in forcing fully vaccinated New Zealanders with pre-departure testing into quarantine facilities”. With the US opening its borders to Americans stranded in Europe and other parts of the world this week, Littlewood also said “the time has also come for the government to announce when the border will open up in the new year”.

BNZ, ASB support With Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr's message ringing in their ears that the four major banks need to be using their balance sheets to support the recovery from the covid pandemic, their latest results point to who he was talking to. The central bank's own data shows bank lending to businesses shrank by $5 billion to $113b between March 2020 when the covid crisis began and Sept 30 this year. Only the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and ASB Bank can demonstrate they have been doing their best to lend to wary businesses. BNZ was the only big-four bank to access its full allocation of $1.5b under the government's business finance guarantee scheme – $3.39b of the $6.25b available was left on the table when the scheme ended on June 30.

Doubled residency requirements The bill that doubles the length of residency requirement to qualify for superannuation has been passed into law, and will be phased in over ten years. The new law means immigrants and NZers must have spent at least 20 years in NZ, with at least five of those after the age of 50, in order to be eligible for payments. The new law will start in two years to give older migrants time to adjust.

ASB investor update Aucklanders lead in investor optimism despite the three-month lockdown, the latest ASB Investor Confidence Survey shows. Net confidence is at its highest in five years, lifting from a net 14% to 25% for the three months to October. In Auckland, that figure is at its highest in seven years, up from a net 18% to 31%. Confidence in term deposits, housing and KiwiSaver lifted but confidence in rental property dipped.

Covid legislation campaign Anti-vaxxers have mounted a campaign to prevent the covid-19 public health response amendment bill from going ahead, with many submitters’ arguments repeating false information. The bill, which closes for submissions today, would increase fines for rule breakers, extend the original legislation’s timeframe and introduce tailored legislation for MIQ facilities. Newshub reports increasingly radicalised protestors have increased the likelihood of a terror attack. 

Matariki holiday Legislation enshrining dates for the new Matariki public holiday is progressing through parliament, with submissions closing today. ACT has argued the extra holiday would cost businesses $450 million. Matariki marks the rising of the Matariki star cluster (also known as the Pleiades), signalling the start of the Māori New Year, with the exact date varying each year to align with the Māori lunar calendar (maramataka). The first Te Kāhui o Matariki public holiday would be on Friday, 24 June 2022.

Tough year Steelsands, the credit union for steel, refinery and meat workers, holds its annual general meeting today following one of its toughest years that has seen lockdowns and closures affect members’ jobs. Steelsands will provide a financial update to members, with chair Bhikhu Bhana foreshadowing a "severely impacted" bottom line in a Newsroom article. "The board have had to make difficult decisions, to improve the income stream we have had to increase fees," Newsroom reports. "It was a decision not taken lightly, we do hope that members will understand that this current environment is unprecedented." The credit union’s website has not been updated for some time.

Back to school Teachers begin planning today for 200,000 Auckland primary, intermediate and junior high school students to return to school next Wednesday. Some schools are likely to introduce half days or staggered attendance for children. Masks will be compulsory for children above year four, and groups will be created that do not mingle.

Markets update European stocks closed at a record high on Wednesday, with the Stoxx 600 ending 0.2% higher following strong earnings from the media and energy sectors. The FTSE 100 also closed up 0.91%, helped by British retailer Marks and Spencer’s jump of nearly 17%, along with rising prices for miners as gold rises towards new records due to inflation risks, and positive results from ITV. Germany's DAX rose 0.17% and France's CAC 40 rose 0.03%. Across the Atlantic, equites decreased following higher than expected inflation. The Dow Jones was pulled down 0.42% by the likes of Nike and Apple, the S&P500 fell 0.3% and the Nasdaq was down 0.7%.