09:05 Can hospitals cope with more Covid-19 patients? Surgeon and Chief Medical Officer Andrew Connolly

Medical equipment in an ICU ward.

Photo: 123rf

How will our hospitals cope with an increase in patients with Covid-19?  And how quickly could they become overwhelmed?  One hundred extra ICU or high dependency units have been added in the past year, and all health care workers will have to be fully vaccinated by the first of December. But a survey of Emergency Department specialists has revealed their concerns for hospitals' ability to cope with Delta patients. Health Minister Andrew Little says work is "underway" to prepare the primary care and hospital system, which he says needs to absorb "what the virus throws at us, once we relax restrictions."  Auckland surgeon, Associate Professor of Health and Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health Andrew Connolly speaks with Kathryn Ryan.

09:20 Pacific's undersea internet cables tangled up in geopolitical tensions

Pacific Islands without high-speed internet - or any internet at all - are eager to be connected to the rest of the world, but geopolitical tensions threaten to derail planned infrastructural work. Much of the Pacific is linked by undersea internet cables, connecting either to Sydney, Guam or Hawaii, and while connections have increased in recent years, many countries still rely on a single cable or have none at all. But as Chinese companies become more involved in laying undersea cables, geopolitical concerns about security/spying have caused some planned projects to be axed. Currently Nauru, Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia are looking at other options for high-speed internet, after concerns about a Chinese bid for the contract forced the World Bank to can the project. It's now looking at opportunities to connect to the United States, or to Australia, via the Solomon Islands. Kathryn speaks with Dr Amanda Watson, a research fellow in the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. 

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 International undersea internet cables for Pacific Island countries Photo: Dr Amanda H A Watson and CartoGIS ANU

09:45 USA correspondent Kelsey Snell

Pfizer has applied for approval for the Covid vaccine to be used in US children aged 5-11. And a federal court has temporarily reinstated a controversial abortion ban in Texas just days after a lower court suspended it. The fight is expected to continue on in the courts. 

A photo shows Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine bottles at the Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, on January 8, 2021.

Photo: AFP

Kelsey Snell is a congressional correspondent for NPR, based in Washington DC.

10:05 Sonny Bill Williams: the man on and off the field

Sonny Bill Williams, a star across three rugby codes, an NZPBA heavyweight boxing champion, and an Olympian. During his 17-year rugby career, Sonny Bill was part of the Rugby World Cup winning sides in 2011 and 2015, as well as a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs. In league, where he started out, he won NRL titles with the Canterbury Bulldogs and Sydney Roosters. But controversy has also tracked his professional career; alcohol and drug abuse, breaking his contract with the Bulldogs to go play rugby union in France and accusations of chasing money. His memoir, You Can't Stop the Sun from Shining, gives insight into the low self esteem of a young man who was really just a boy when first scouted by the Bulldogs. Kathryn speaks to Sonny Bill Williams about his career, and who he is - on and off the field. 

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Photo: Supplied

10:35 Book review: The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

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Photo: Text Publishing

Jessie Bray Sharpin reviews The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, published by Text Publishing   

10:45 The Reading

We continue with second part of 'All That Ends Starts Again' by Rochelle Elliot told by Vivienne Bell.

11:05 Business commentator Rebecca Stevenson

Is West Auckland going to get a vote on the future of its booze monopoly?. Rebecca says West Auckland's alcohol monopoly looks set to be put to the vote with a community group delivering a petition with over 37,500 signatures to the Waitākere Licensing Trust last week.

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Photo: RNZ / Nathan McKinnon

Rebecca Stevenson is BusinessDesk's head of news.

11:30     How the Ever Given sparked another Little Yellow Digger adventure

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Photo: Supplied, AFP

 It was a story that brought the world to a near standstill - well, in shipping anyway - and sparked many a meme. It was the unfortunate grounding of the massive container ship Ever Given in the Suez canal back in March, after it was buffeted by a sand storm and got stuck. For many New Zealanders, the sight of a yellow digger working away at the bow of the hulking giant drew comparisons to the rescues of The Little Yellow Digger in the popular children's stories by Betty and Alan Gilderdale. Peter Gilderdale thought so too - he is their son, and he quickly got to work on The Little Yellow Digger and The Big Ship.

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Photo: Supplied

11:45  What the OCR rise means for investors and borrowers  

Financial planner Liz Koh says we are at the start of a new economic cycle in which there will be winners and losers. The winners will be those who are prepared for the change.  

Mortgage rates fall as OCR is slashed

Mortgage rates fall as OCR is slashed Photo: RNZ / YouTube

Liz Koh is a financial planner and specialising in retirement planning. This discussion is of a general nature, and does not constitute financial advice.


Music played in this show

Track: Nobody's Fault
Artist: Benny Sings 
Broadcast time: 10:35am 

Track: That Life
Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Broadcast time: 11:25am

Track: Can't Let Go  
Artist: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Broadcast time: 11:35am