‘Come on over’ Australian PM Scott Morrison announced Australia’s borders would reopen completely to vaccinated travellers from Feb 21, including that travellers only have to self isolate for a day or two until they have a negative rapid antigen test result. There is also none of the phasing in of various types of arrivals until October, as is the case in New Zealand. The NZ Tourism Export Council expressed “dismay” for tourism operators here. “We are extremely concerned New Zealand is going to be left behind and our global reputation will take another hit. The self-isolation requirement has baffled all of our offshore travel sellers,” said the council’s chief executive, Lynda Keene.
Rates highs US and German bond yields rose to two and three-year highs over the weekend on more signs of inflation in Europe, and ahead of key US inflation data due on Friday morning NZ Time. Stocks wobbled this morning, with good earnings news offsetting the bad rates news.
Gridlocked Ottawa declared a state of emergency in Canada’s capital overnight after anti-mandate truckers gridlocked the city for almost a week. (BBC)
‘No limits’ Russia and China agreed a ‘no limits’ partnership over the weekend, which includes trade and alliances in tech, energy, financial systems and control of the internet. They backed each others’ stances over Taiwan and Ukraine, and called for limits on NATO. (Reuters)
Labour up in poll A Newshub/Reid Research poll published on Monday night showed Labour up 1.6 points to 44.6%, ACT down eight points to 8% and National solidifying above 30%, up 4.4 points at 31.3%. The Greens rose 2.4% to 9.6%, meaning the centre-left lead over the centre-right blew out to 13 points from seven points. Also in contrast with last week’s 1News/Kantar poll, which saw Labour down and PM Jacinda Ardern down as preferred PM, the Reid Research poll showed Ardern up as preferred PM.
RATs requisitioned after all Thomas Coughlan reported on Monday for the NZ Herald the Ministry of Health actually did requisition RATs already in the country and ordered by private buyers, contrary to assurances from Ashley Bloomfield.
Dairy price check Andrea Fox reported in the NZ Herald this morning Damien O’Connor has suggested the government would look at retail dairy products as part of its review of Fonterra’s enabling legislation, which it needs to do because of Fonterra’s move to restructure its capital.
Fresh on BusinessDesk this morning
Pattrick Smellie reports this morning the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter looks set to operate for years beyond its previously signalled 2024 closure as a combination of its green energy source and booming global metal prices improve its future outlook dramatically.
Jenny Ruth writes in her weekly column about how the Reserve Bank’s funding for lending scheme of cheap loans to banks should be shut down.
Brent Melville reports the construction sector faces double-digit cost inflation for some time to come because of its reliance on foreign labour.
Dan Brunskill reports UBS New Zealand has warned investors a widespread omicron outbreak in late February may reduce company earnings as both demand and supply would be disrupted.