Live updates, June 18: Worksafe concerned over paramedic fatigue

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for June 18, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at thebulletin@thespinoff.co.nz

7.45am: Worksafe concerned over paramedic fatigue

Worksafe is concerned about worker fatigue among Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics, and has issued instructions to fix it, reports Eva Corlett for Radio NZ.

Part of those instructions is to sort out how shifts are rostered, with most paramedics currently on stretches of eight days of work, followed by three and a half days rest.

But the paramedics say roster structure isn’t necessarily a concern so much as being short-staffed generally, amid growing demand for services.

As one paramedic put it, “everyone’s amount of work has gone up and up and up, there is less time between cases to restock vehicles, or get paperwork done.

“It’s just draining when there’s no time to mentally process the awful stuff people have to go to.

“People aren’t getting their regulatory mandated breaks, people are worn out and it’s to the point of being dangerous.”

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin:

They’re probably not the sort of numbers you’d pop champagne over, but the NZ economy has avoided falling into a recession. The NZ Herald reports it was up 1.6% for the quarter, after a 1.0% fall in the previous quarter – technically the definition of a recession is when GDP falls two quarters in a row. Those are somewhat dry figures, and as always GDP is just one number to measure economic health, but in general terms it suggests economic activity is ticking along. This is particularly because the March quarter (which was just announced) is traditionally the time when international tourism has the most impact, though that hasn’t been possible this year. Annual GDP was still down 2.3%, dragged by the impact Covid had in 2020.

When that happened, the Reserve Bank slashed the Official Cash Rate to stimulate the economy. And now, economists are increasingly of the view that it’s time for the OCR to start coming up again. Interest reports the economists at ANZ, Kiwibank and ASB are now convinced that there will be a lift in the OCR early next year, which is ahead of what was previously forecast. This could have knock-on effects, particularly for the housing market, which is arguably being fuelled at the moment by very cheap credit.

And what about the border? This is something of a two-parter, including the vaccine rollout (more on that below.) Politik (paywalled) has reported on fears that within the good headline number, the actual picture might be “structurally ugly”, particularly because of the labour shortage. The government is currently tasking experts with figuring out how and when the border can be reopened safely, and what the vaccine rollout will mean for that.


Commercial fishing operators will no longer be able to discard fish overboard, in a major rule change for the industry, reports Newshub’s Michael Morrah. Discarding meant that skippers could return undersize fish to the sea, though most of those fish end up dying regardless. Cameras will monitor whether the new rules are followed. It is one of several major changes in the pipeline for the industry, with work currently underway over increasing the size of protected areas in the Hauraki Gulf, and a proposed inquiry into migrant worker conditions on vessels.

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