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Wellington today, September 9: Motorists warned to take care as severe weather forecast, Arts sector calls for urgent lifelines from Government

Kia ora whānau. Here’s the latest news, updates and events from the pages of The Dominion Post and about the capital today.

7pm: Arts, events sectors call for urgent lifelines from Government

As crippled arts organisations and venues continue to experience significant losses, a stark warning has been delivered to the Government by its industry heads: provide us with lifelines, or we may close forever.

On Thursday amid mounting concern for the arts and events sectors, which have been devastated by a 50-person cap for indoor events at level 2 – affecting performing arts, large-scale events including World of WearableArt, and cultural institutions including galleries and museums – many arts organisations independently wrote to officials asking for improved support.

“Without immediate targeted support our industry faces mass closures and large-scale redundancies,” said Sally-Anne Coates, general manager of Entertainment Venues NZ in an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and various ministers.

“The impact of the August lockdown has been immediate and devastating. The new alert level 2 restrictions mean that live events in New Zealand are currently impossible,” she said.

Venues have been frustrated they cannot host more than 50 people at a time despite their size.

Hagen Hopkins

Venues have been frustrated they cannot host more than 50 people at a time despite their size.

4.23pm Risk of road closures due to severe weather in Wellington, Wairarapa

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to take extra care on the roads in Wellington and Wairarapa as MetService is forecasting severe weather for the regions over the next couple of days .

High winds are expected to affect State Highway 2 across the Remutaka Hill at times between now and tomorrow night. The road may need to be closed during this period.

Heavy swells and high tides are expected around Mana, which could affect SH1. Heavy swells and onshore gales forecast between 8pm tonight and 6pm on Friday could cause flooding on SH1, and SH58 at Paremata Harbour.

Motorists are advised to check for these updates and the MetService forecast before heading out. Even if the roads are open, the weather is expected to make driving challenging between now and Friday night so people are urged to take extra care.

4:15pm: World of WearableArt show cancelled due to Covid-19

The World of WearableArt (WOW) show, which is underwritten by Wellington ratepayers for an undisclosed amount, has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

The annual WOW show was earlier postponed, but it was announced on Thursday that the show will now not be running at all in 2021.

A statement from WOW chief executive David Tingey and founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff said they had worked with the Wellington City Council and WellingtonNZ to find a new date.

“This has been a very tough decision, but we’ve had to accept that we have no other choice,” Tingey said.

The annual show was worth $28 million to the Wellington economy in 2019.

The WOW - World of WearableArt - show in Wellington has been cancelled.

Maarten Holl/Stuff

The WOW – World of WearableArt – show in Wellington has been cancelled.

4pm: Crash on urban motorway

One northbound lane is blocked due to a crash on the State Highway 1 urban motorway after Aotea Quay.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is warning motorists to pass with care and prepare to slow down on request

1.15pm: Prefab Eatery in Wellington staying closed at level 2, will reopen when safe to do so

Prefab Eatery in central Wellington is closed for the time being, citing health and safety reasons for their reluctance to open under level 2 restrictions.

Owner Jeff Kennedy said they would look to reopen when they were satisfied they could do so safely.

“The new Delta rules are impossible for us to open responsibly,” he said. “A cafe is a space where people eat, drink, talk, have meetings, cook, serve, clean, wash, prepare food. It is a perfect storm for spreading aerosols causing infection.

Read the full report by Kate Green here.

Prefab Eatery in central Wellington is closed for the time being, citing health and safety reasons. (File photo)

Monique Ford/Stuff

Prefab Eatery in central Wellington is closed for the time being, citing health and safety reasons. (File photo)

12.30pm: Temporary 30kmh speed limits reinstated on sections of road on Wellington’s south coast.

The Wellington City Council is calling on motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to slow down and take care on the south coast roads after reports of ‘’near misses’’ involving motor vehicles and the large number of pedestrians and cyclists using the roads for exercise since the latest Covid-19 lockdown began.

Transport and Infrastructure Manager Brad Singh said the 30kmh speed reductions were likely to apply until the capital returns to alert level 1.

Singh said there were a lot more people using the south coast, particularly in fine weather, and narrow footpaths were contributing to the problem as people tried to maintain 2-metre distancing.

“We’ve had reports that people are stepping onto the road – sometimes without looking – which is clearly risky behaviour. That’s one of the main reasons we’re bringing down the speed limit,” Singh said.

11.15am: Forty-one days without school, but Hutt Valley High School students ineligible for extra credits

Students at Hutt Valley High School could be ineligible for extra NCEA credits, despite being unable to access their school for more than 40 days this year.

Students have been told they will get extra credits if their schools are closed for 20 or more school days due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Hutt Valley High School students were unable to attend school during lockdown for 16 teaching days. But that comes on top of the 24 to 25 days at school Year 12 and 13 students missed due to toxic mould in the school’s Block C.

“Forty-one days trumps any school in the country at the moment, and at present, we might get nothing for our students,” deputy principal Nick Larkin said. “Whether it’s Covid or mould shouldn’t matter, it’s just not fair and the students are stuck in the middle and get penalised.”

Read the full story by Joel MacManus here.

Hutt Valley High School is scheduled to have prefabricated classrooms delivered to replace the spaces closed due to toxic mould earlier this year. (File photo)

ROSA WOODS

Hutt Valley High School is scheduled to have prefabricated classrooms delivered to replace the spaces closed due to toxic mould earlier this year. (File photo)

9am: Community groups lead way in vaccinating homeless people

Rochelle Nuku-Rio​ wanted to lead by example when she got vaccinated against Covid-19 at a special clinic for Wellington’s rough sleepers and people in emergency housing.

She was homeless herself for a period of eight months, but now works as a support worker at the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM), which has organised the clinics.

“I wanted to encourage the taumai (homeless) to do it,” Nuku-Rio (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Ruahine) said. “I did it for the love of the people at work. My heart is always with them.”

Read the full report by Ethan Te Ora here.

Downtown Community Ministry support worker Rochelle Nuku-Rio (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Ruahine) is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

KEVIN STENT

Downtown Community Ministry support worker Rochelle Nuku-Rio (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Ruahine) is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

8.20am: City councillors back call for Wellington on a Plate funding to be made public

Six city councillors have called for ratepayer contributions towards this year’s Wellington on a Plate festival to be made public, saying people have a right to know how much they are paying to support the event.

The month-long festival was postponed mid-course on August 18 as the country entered a Covid-19 lockdown, but resumed from Wednesday under alert level 2 restrictions.

The festival is run by private organisation the Wellington Culinary Events Trust, and is supported by ratepayers via contributions from the city council and economic development agency WellingtonNZ.

Councillor Diane Calvert said before the lockdown she planned to ask council staff for details on all ratepayer contributions to events in the city during the past year, including Wellington on a Plate.

“Unless it’s commercially sensitive, I don’t see any reason why contributions by ratepayers should not be disclosed.”

Calvert said this week she stood by her comments.

Read the full report by Damian George here.

City councillor Diane Calvert is calling for details of ratepayer contributions towards this year's Wellington on a Plate festival to be publicly recorded in council documents. (File photo)

Monique Ford/Stuff

City councillor Diane Calvert is calling for details of ratepayer contributions towards this year’s Wellington on a Plate festival to be publicly recorded in council documents. (File photo)

7.50am: One person dead after Shelly Bay Road crash

A person has died after a crash on the Wellington coast on Wednesday night.

Police said the person died at the scene on Shelly Bay Road after a car left the road and rolled on to rocks about 9.50pm.

Two people were also taken to hospital with critical and serious injuries.

Read the full report here.

The scene of a fatal crash in Shelly Bay, Wellington.

Monique Ford/Stuff

The scene of a fatal crash in Shelly Bay, Wellington.

6.30am: Wellington Weather

Wellingtonians have a mild morning and afternoon to look forward to today. Fine with some cloud in the afternoon. Strong northwesterlies will develop during the morning, rising to gale by the evening with gusts of up to 110 kmh. A strong wind watch is in place overnight with possible severe gales forecast until Friday evening and a high of 15 degrees Celsius.

MetService issued a strong wind warning for the Wairarapa and Tararua district, forecasting gusts of up to 130 kmh overnight until 9pm Friday.

From the pages of The Dominion Post:

Surgeries and scans delayed for 37,000 patients due to lockdown

A man with advanced bowel cancer is among 37,000 patients facing delays to treatment due to the nationwide lockdown, as a clinician warns people could die.

Health reporter Rachel Thomas reports on the heartbreaking situation of Auckland man Stephen, who has stage 4 bowel cancer, and had his CT scan cancelled at the last minute.

Dr Frank Frizelle​, medical adviser for Bowel Cancer NZ, warns people will die if hospitals do not ramp up screening and diagnostic tests like colonoscopies.

Read the full story here.

Thousands of surgeries and scans have been delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

Thousands of surgeries and scans have been delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown.

‘Really disastrous’ first day under Delta level 2 for Wellington cafe chain

The owner of 24 cafes in Wellington is hoping for more foot traffic and the return of office workers soon after a “really disastrous” first day under alert level 2.

With schools reopening today parents may return to the office, which Mojo Coffee chief executive Pierre van Heerden said could be the boost central city hospitality venues need.

All Mojo cafes closed early, and some staff members were sent home before closing.

Most locations traded between 10 and 25 per cent of what they were trading before lockdown, van Heerden said.

“We were ready for people coming back to the office today. We expected it to be a bit slow, based on previous lockdowns, but it was really disastrous from a trading perspective,” van Heerden said on Wednesday.

Read the full story by Sophie Cornish here.

Pierre van Heerden, who owns Wellington’s Mojo cafes, said the first day under alert level 2 was "horrendous" for trading.

Jericho Rock-Archer/Stuff

Pierre van Heerden, who owns Wellington’s Mojo cafes, said the first day under alert level 2 was “horrendous” for trading.

The challenges of planning a major arts festival in a pandemic

Meg Williams, the Executive Director of Tāwhiri: Festivals and Experiences, writes about the reception from audience and artists as she announced the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts:

The positive response we received from audiences and artists was a reminder of what arts events like the Festival mean in these times.

For audiences, it’s the hope of gathering with friends, family and community, something to look forward to.

For artists, it’s a commitment to future work in a time of frequent cancellations and rescheduling.

For us, and many arts companies, events and venues, it’s simply what we do. We keep going, adapt, hustle. The show, as they say, must go on – an ecosystem of artists, practitioners, staff and crew, venues and hospitality depend on it.

Follow the link to the full piece by Meg Williams.

Meg Williams writes about the challenges facing the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

SUPPLIED

Meg Williams writes about the challenges facing the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

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