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How New Zealand’s much-admired COVID-19 response helped fuel the housing crisis | Instant News

Murray Edridge, head of the Wellington City Mission, which helps desperate families and individuals find food and shelter, is seen in Wellington, New Zealand, in this undated flyer photo. Wellington City Mission / Handout via REUTERS

For many, life in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, has largely returned to normal. Its windy streets are teeming with shoppers and office workers without masks, the bars are overcrowded and the economy continues.

In the signature “Honeycomb” parliament building, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government have garnered excessive global praise for bringing under control the COVID-19 pandemic where many other leaders have failed.

But across the city, staff at Wellington City Mission are struggling to cope with rising homelessness and inequality as the pandemic – and the government’s response – ignites what is already one of the world’s most affordable housing markets.

“This is a crisis,” said Murray Edridge, head of a charity trust affiliated with the Anglican Church. “Inequality is always increasing, but COVID-19 is a saying that breaks the camel’s back.”

The number of people seeking emergency housing in the city of 211,000 has tripled in the past 12 months as rents hit record highs and the pandemic is disproportionately impacting low-income jobs.

Across the country, motels and other temporary boarding facilities converted into makeshift housing are increasingly overcrowded by desperate families seeking refuge, with some 4,000 children now in state accommodation.

“Most of the cases that come to my table are situations that will break our hearts,” said Edridge of City Mission. “I met someone with two children this summer who was in emergency housing for 15 months.”

Karen Hocking, General Manager of Housing at the Ministry of Social Development, admits that motels are not ideal places to live, especially for children.

“Families facing homelessness are in a vulnerable position and we aim to find them accommodation quickly. Once the family’s urgent need for accommodation has been taken care of, we look for more suitable options as they become available,” said Hocking.

Others struggled too. Shaun lost his job as a farm worker four months ago and moved to Wellington to find a fresh start.

The 27-year-old woman is still unemployed and lives on the streets because of unaffordable rents and long waits for emergency housing.

“It’s all just about housing here. Nobody is going to hire me as long as I live on the streets, but I can’t find a house,” he said, asking Reuters not to use his last name.


New Zealand is experiencing what economists call a ‘K-shaped’ recovery, where those at the top benefit while those on the bottom see their prospects deteriorate.

It’s a global phenomenon, with the wealthy using cheap access to capital and government coronavirus stimulus spending to rake in assets from stocks to art and property.

New Zealand’s pandemic-inspired policies have translated into cheaper mortgages, allowing wealthy “kiwis” to enlarge their homes and build a portfolio of rental investment properties, sparking a further spike in house prices.

The 24% year-on-year increase, on top of the 90% increase in the previous decade, has locked in first home buyers and those on low incomes.

In contrast, flooded investors have become the biggest property buyers – about 40% of homes purchased in the last quarter of 2020 were owned by multiple property owners.

“The boom in wealth inequality in the New Zealand context is linked to the housing boom,” said ANZ Chief Economist Sharon Zollner. “The increasing wealth of people who are fortunate enough to own property, and those who are very fortunate to own more than one, is extreme.”

Rents are also rising across the country, driven by a legacy of years of underinvestment in new homes and strong immigration.

Even before the most recent spike, housing costs were 45% of household income in the fifth lowest for income distribution, according to the 2019 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report.

The South Pacific nation of 5 million people now tops the list for least affordable housing among OECD countries.


Rising inequality triggered by the housing crisis is arguably the biggest political challenge facing Ardern’s center-left government in his second term.

The 40-year-old’s popularity has surged with his response to a pandemic that took countrywide cases to nearly 2,500 and led to a resolute election victory for his Labor Party last year.

But opinion polls have since shown slumping support as housing shortages and high property prices undermine New Zealand’s egalitarian self-image.

“Ardern still has a clear advantage over his competitors, but he is losing moral authority and he is in danger of losing a lot of confidence on his own part,” said Bryce Edwards, a political analyst at the residence of Victoria University of Wellington. “Housing is one of those core left-wing problems and it is amazing to see the Labor Party getting it wrong on this point.”

Housing and inequality were already major issues when Ardern came to power in 2017, and he promised to tackle both.

But the government’s flagship KiwiBuild project ran aground, and a well-loved project like the ‘Welfare’ budget had little impact on the ground.

Māori natives, who largely supported Ardern’s leadership, were most affected because they tended to be propertyless and less likely to be accepted as tenants, said Ali Hamlin-Paenga, chief executive of Kahungunu Whānau Services, a provider of Māori social housing in Wellington.

“Māori are in a housing crisis. There is enormous inequality, and we are always forced to fight the system,” said Hamlin-Paenga.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said the government was catching up after the previous administration had reduced the amount of public housing available.

“Nobody in our Government thinks that people living in motels are the ideal situation, but it is better for people to have shelter and a bed to sleep in, than to sleep well or in crowded situations,” he said, explaining his public housing program. as the largest in a generation with more than 18,000 public housing places and a new transition targeted by 2024.


The government and central bank are supporting the economy through a combination of measures that will allow it to recover quickly once the virus is eradicated.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is pumping the economy with record low lending rates, a NZ $ 100 billion ($ 70 billion) quantitative easing program and holiday mortgage payments for homeowners.

The government’s NZ $ 50 billion pandemic response package saved jobs, but added fuel to house price fires.

Brendon Blue, a geographer at Victoria University of Wellington, said the government’s efforts to stimulate the economy mostly involved measures that pushed up house prices, rather than significantly increasing infrastructure and welfare spending.

“There is a kind of unfavorable consensus in New Zealand politics that it is better to raise house prices than to help the country’s poorest people,” he told Reuters.

Under pressure, Ardern launched a series of measures in March targeted at taxing property investors and discouraging speculators.

So far, the measures have had little impact on the housing market and the government has promised further steps.

“The need for further action is clear,” Ardern said at a press conference last month. “The last thing our economy needs right now is a dangerous housing bubble. But a number of indicators point to that risk.”

($ 1 = 1.3998 New Zealand dollars)

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Apple donates $1 to every Apple Pay transaction to celebrate Earth Day | Instant News

Apple announced plans on Wednesday to celebrate Earth Day. Apple Pay Long-term benefit from the donation plan of the International Conservation Organization, a partner of environmental protection initiatives.

Apple said in an email to Apple Pay users that it will donate $1 to Conservation International through its various stores, including Apple.com, Apple Store applications and physical Apple Stores. The promotion period is live broadcast and lasts until April 22.

The International Conservation Organization, established in 1987, is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment through field investigations and cooperation with companies. According to this email, the organization has helped protect more than 6 million square kilometers of land and sea in more than 70 countries.

Apple previously launched the “Earth Day” initiative in cooperation with the International Fund for Conservation of Nature In 2018, Pledged to donate to each device submitted through the Apple GiveBack program.The two also collaborated on a project to protect Colombians mangrove forest with Protect Kenyan grasslands In 2019.

Today’s email also includes links to sustainable businesses that sell products and services through the App Store, as well as links to “A year when the earth changed“This is an Apple TV+ exclusive report detailing the rise of nature during the coronavirus lockdown. This film is narrated by David Attenborough.

Apple regularly celebrates Earth Day through special events, donations to environmental organizations, and green business initiatives. The company’s retail stores usually change the logo to green to commemorate the occasion.


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Assuming that “iPhone 13 Pro” presents a smaller notch and a thicker case | Instant News

A report on Tuesday claimed to have the internal information of Apple’s flagship iPhone product that is expected to be launched in 2021, saying that the upcoming mobile phone series will have a larger “notch” and a slightly thicker chassis than TrueDepth. iPhone 12 Pro.

Citing unnamed sources, 91 mobile phones Report expected “iPhone 13 Professional Edition devices will carry over Follow iPhone 12 Last year’s series.

The rendering provided by the site shows a familiar device with flat sides, a “bump” rear camera, and a thin-bezel display. The only change seems to be the smaller TrueDepth notch when the headset is relocated. So-called”iPhone 13“Leak Earlier today.

Previous rumors indicate that Apple will move small speaker units to key imaging devices such as front-facing color and infrared cameras, thereby pushing audio components further to the top of the iPhone.

The phone is said to be 0.2mm thicker than the iPhone 12 Pro. This is a change from website speculation, which may be to accommodate a larger battery.Analyst’s previous report Ming-Chi Kuo note Apple plans to migrate to space-saving products LCP soft board battery By 2021, although it is not clear how the new technology will affect battery size.

91 mobile phones It is relatively new for Apple Rumor Games and lacks important records in predicting the details of future devices.In other words, the publication does provide Accurate information Around 2020 iPad Air.


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“Full load” expectations: no secrets or hidden messages in Apple event invitations | Instant News

Apple officially announced a new product event, which has caused some fanatical fans to release magnifying glasses and tin foil hats again, desperately looking for clues hidden in the event invitation. These clues simply do not exist and have never appeared.

For an example of the types of “hidden” messages you can find in Apple event invitations, let’s go back to October 2010, when Apple invited members of the press to attend Its “Back to Mac” campaign. At the time, Apple had not announced the name of its next major version. Mac OS X, But the invitation clearly spread it out, peeking at the lion behind the rotating Apple logo.

Calling it “secret” or “hidden” is absurd-the invitation is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Sure enough, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion was released on October 20, 2010, Sherlock Holmes does not need to completely get rid of the Victorian La-Z-Boy figure.

If you still keep drinking, you can take a look at the Macworld 2008 invitation letter, With the slogan “There is something in the air”. Apple will continue to announce the first MacBook Air At the exhibition, but the invitation letter only uses the thin font and the top of the Apple logo, unless you have a product with “Air” in the product name, there is nothing hidden or particularly insightful about the upcoming hardware. Your event bingo card.

Dating back to October 2001, the first iPod release invitation was accompanied by a slogan: “Reminder: It’s not a Mac.” Similarly, it is not completely hidden or secret when it is clearly reminded for you. That is just an ordinary trailer.

Apple likes to use funny word games to cause buzz to laugh at what it will display at the event, but Apple is smart enough not to go beyond this range. Inviting fans to detect with hidden information will make rumors, speculations and expectations out of control. Moreover, Apple is not interested in over-hype incidents, it just disappointed them in the end.

Lift the veil of the first generation IPad In January 2010. The invitation letter says: “Come and see our latest work”, With a white Apple logo on it, splashed with paint. There are rumors that it is clear that Apple will announce a tablet computer (the invitation letter basically confirms this), but speculation about the invitation letter is still crazy, and fans are trying to find something that doesn’t exist.

A popular theory is Picked up Los Angeles Times And other major news media: The splash of paint may hint at the product name of the upcoming tablet: “Apple Canvas”. Do not. That’s far away.

Or consider Apple’s September 2015 event, iPhone mobile phone Was announced.This Cheeky invitation: “Hey Siri, give us a hint” Lead people to speculate on Apple’s Siri voice assistant May be overhauled. Siri did play a role in the event-even on battery power, the iPhone 6s series allows the always-on “Hey Siri”, while the new Apple TV With Siri integration function. But this is not the fantasy makeover that some people get from the invitation, and Siri is certainly not the focus of the speech.

Last September, Apple issued an invitation to participate in the event The slogan “Time Flies” written on it, Obvious Apple WatchThe timing device will be the highlight of this event, as Covid-related delays delayed the launch of the new iPhone to October. The answer is right before our eyes, but there are still crazy guesses.

You will find that in this case, the “Time Flies” event invitation does have a Little secret -Click the logo on Apple’s website on the updated iPhone or iPad, allowing users to view the logo in augmented reality. That’s it. There is no big revelation, no deeper mystery.

That didn’t stop The internet From the suggestion The “hidden clues” in the invitation may suggest new clues ARKit Features announced at the event, or features that have long been rumored by the company Augmented reality headset The veil can be lifted. After all, the time-of-flight sensor on the new camera improves AR technology, and the slogan “time flies” may imply this. There is still no such announcement.

Apple event invitations are fun and smart, but they are not meant to be a mysterious box with deep and secret secrets about the meaning of life, let alone the next iPad. Most of what you see is what you get. Leave your detective expenses in the escape room.

For the event next week on April 20th, Called “spring loaded” The invitation contains colorful swashes in the shape of the Apple logo-you might use Apple pencil On the iPad. The waveform is also spring-like. get it? “Spring-loaded”? Very smart, that’s all.

In other words, don’t expect to have Apple headphones or Apple Pogo Stick.


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Pro Display XDR’s marketing drops the ‘far beyond HDR’ label in the UK | Instant News

Apple has changed the way files are marketed Pro Display XDR in the UK following a complaint to advertising regulators, no longer using the words “Far beyond HDR” to describe the screen.

Apple’s Pro Display XDR is impressive powerful monitor, capable of displaying HDR10 content as well as Dolby Vision and HLG playback. While Apple routinely proclaims display excellence, it should at least change its message in Great Britain.

Following a complaint filed with the Advertising Standards Authority, Apple has updated its website to remove the phrase “Far beyond HDR” from Pro Display XDR descriptions. The second paragraph on the page omits terminology from the final statement, which previously read “Far beyond HDR, it’s Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR).”

ASA website shows Apple is the subject of a complaint that was “resolved informally” on April 7. This refers to a situation where ASA and the companies involved agree to small changes that do not require a full investigation or a more formal, public decision.

Regulator confirmed to 9to5Mac that the complaint in question is about the marketing of the Pro Display XDR, and that ASA asked Apple not to use the three-word statement.

This is not the only change made to the Pro Display XDR page which includes the United Kingdom. A footnote has been added to his description of the P3 wide color gamut, making it clear that the display covers 99% of the color space.

Apple made changes only to the UK page for the Pro Display XDR, as ASA only regulates domestic marketing. The same page for other regions remains unchanged.


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