Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for November 20. Reach me on email@example.com
8.00am: Trump legal team continues to promote voter fraud theory
The legal team for president Donald Trump – led by Rudy Giuliani – has held another press conference in an effort to expose voter fraud in the recent US election.
Unlike the last conference hosted by Giuliani, today’s did not take place in the parking lot of a landscaping firm. Instead, Trump’s lawyer took on the “fake news” from Capitol Hill.
According to Fox News, Giuliani alleged that there was a “centralised” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country.
“Various acts of voter fraud specifically focused on big cities and specifically focused on big cities … controlled by Democrats,” he added.
“What I’m describing to you is a massive fraud.”
On RNZ this morning, correspondent Simon Marks described the press conference as “unhinged” and said that Giuliani’s hair dye started to sweat off under the spotlights.
7.40am: Top stories from The Bulletin
A massive wave of bank branch closures is coming, with BNZ shutting down 38 locations over the next year. They’re in both cities and towns, and cover the whole spread of the country. As Stuff reports, it breaks an earlier pledge from the bank to not make any closures until 2022. However, the bank says Covid-19 has accelerated trends that it was already seeing in banking, and plans had sped up as a result. People may lose jobs as a result, though the bank has assured staff that everyone will be offered a new position. As Interest reports, it follows news of ASB closing 23 branches as well. BNZ announced a $762 million profit this year, while ASB was closer to a billion.
To give a sense of the scale, consider the fate of the Waipukurau and Dannevirke branches. The two towns are a bit over half an hours drive away, with several towns in the middle. And both branches will go in 2021, meaning there will be basically nothing between Palmerston North and Hastings – a two hour drive. People live in all those places in between.
Stories have been written about the impact this will have on individual places. The Otago Daily News picked up on the four closing around the lower South Island. Radio NZ reports the disappointment from the Thames-Coromandel mayor about the Coromandel township branch going. And the mayor of Stratford told the Taranaki Daily News that it was symptomatic of a culture of profit over social responsibility. “While the BNZ justifies its decision by quoting all sorts of reasons supported by carefully crafted media releases, in reality it is simply a withdrawal of service from those communities.”
Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here
7.30am: Yesterday’s headlines
Two new cases of Covid-19 were reported in managed isolation. There are now just 37 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.
The prime minister was among those marking a decade to the day since the Pike River Mine Disaster.
BNZ announced it would close 38 branches across the country, beginning on Christmas Eve.
The government announced a $164 million investment in school upgrades nationwide.
Jacinda Ardern was awarded a $150,000 prize from Harvard University honouring her leadership throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
New mandatory mask rules for Auckland public transport came into effect.
The government unveiled new rules mandating more regular Covid testing for border workers.
Read yesterday’s updates here
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.