Summary A shellshocked National caucus is preparing for a weekend of frantic vote-counting and waka-jumping to find a new leader to present to the nation next Tuesday. Chris Luxon is seen as the frontrunner. Overseas, a worrying new covid variant was uncovered overnight and Germany increased its minimum wage 25%.

‘Hospital pass anyone?’ National’s 33 members are now lining up to support a new leadership candidate who they hope can be presented in a coronation next Tuesday, rather than a nasty contested contest. At this stage, Christopher Luxon, Mark Mitchell or Simon Bridges, and possibly Chris Bishop, are said to be in the running, although no one has formally declared yet. Meanwhile, here’s the analysis from BusinessDesk’s Pattrick Smellie of why Judith Collins’ launched her kamikaze mission to take down Simon Bridges.

Does the RBNZ know? BusinessDesk’s Jenny Ruth reports this morning the Reserve Bank has been demanding identifiable data on commercial banks' customers and at least one bank, ASB Bank, has been providing it without telling those customers.

‘Worrying mutations’ The WHO called an emergency meeting this morning to consider reports of a new covid variant from Botswana and South Africa that appears to be even more transmissible than the delta variant. The meeting will discuss the B. 1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant, which WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said had “a number of worrying mutations in the spike protein”.

‘Horrific spike profile’ Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, posted on a genome-sharing website last night that the “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern”. He tweeted that “it very very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile”. (Guardian)

Wage inflation sign Germany’s new centre-left govt announced it would increase the minimum wage by 25% to €12/hour (NZ$19.61), raising fears of a wage-price spiral in Europe’s largest economy. (CNN)

Covid confidence hit  However, German consumer confidence fell unexpectedly in November as a surge of covid infections forced the reimposition of restrictions. France is also considering fresh curbs on movement as it also sees a fresh winter wave of cases. Economists fear it will weigh on European economic growth in a stagflationary way. (Reuters)

Elsewhere overnight in global markets, corporate news and economic news: 

  • French fishermen used vans to block three French ports and block the Channel Tunnel this morning in protest over Britain’s refusal to grant them fishing licenses in a dispute with the EU. (Reuters)
  • US markets were closed overnight for Thanksgiving. 

From BusinessDesk’s correspondents today: 

  • Dan Brunskill analyses Fisher and Paykel Healthcare’s strong result; and,
  • Jenny Ruth reports on how retailers are grabbing the ‘Black Friday’ opportunity.

Just In Case You Missed It from yesterday:

  • National’s caucus removed Judith Collins as leader and installed Shane Reti as an interim leader ahead of leadership vote (BusinessDesk);
  • An official inquiry blamed Transpower for the Aug 9 power blackouts (BusinessDesk);
  • The govt capitulated to demands to introduce rapid antigen testing by businesses from Dec 1 and for sale off the shelf in pharmacies from Dec 15 (Beehive);
  • Mediaworks announced its Magic Talk radio network will rebrand to Today FM next year to attack the dominant market share of NZME’s NewstalkZB (BusinessDesk);
  • Centreport CEO Derek Hinds stepped down (BusinessDesk).