New Zealand Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand.
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Editor’s Note: Here below is a list of the main issues currently under discussion in New Zealand and links to media coverage.

New Zealand Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand.

Government infrastructure spending, fiscal policy
Chris Trotter: Grant Robertson Spends Up Large – On The Establishment
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Politics and economics are strange bedfellows, but they’ve made $12b of magic
Audrey Young (Herald): Robertson sets up Govt nicely for election year (paywalled)
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Why so conservative, Grant? (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): What a time to be a finance minister (paywalled)
Katie Bradford (1News): Opinion: Christmas hasn’t come early for infrastructure industry, despite Government’s extra $12 billion spending pledge
1News: Kiwis want $7.5 billion surplus spent on infrastructure, health or education – 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll
Richard Harman (Politik): Robertson will need more migrants
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Door open to pre-election welfare hikes beyond new $12b spend (paywalled)
Hamish Rutherford (Herald)): Grant Robertson promises a wall of transport demand into the future (paywalled)
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Grant Robertson says ‘now is the time’ to spend big on infrastructure (paywalled)
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): No wonder why now Grant Robertson wants to be big spender
Press Editorial: The Government can afford to spend
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Begrudging applause for Govt on infrastructure announcement
Donal Curtin: Give that man a DB
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Infrastructure boost cheers business groups but economists fear lag
Mike Hoskin (Newstalk ZB): Adding billions of debt is simply bad economics
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Economic growth slows, forcing Government to spend big
Jason Walls (Herald): The Government will borrow $19b to help fund $12b of new spending on infrastructure projects
Anna Whyte (1News): Government to invest $12 billion into infrastructure projects with debt set to rise
Zane Small (Newshub): Massive $12 billion infrastructure spend to boost economy as deficit looms
Brent Edwards (NBR): Coalition’s $12b infrastructure Xmas present (paywalled)
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Govt books still in check as growth seen slowing (paywalled)
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Government unveils $12b infrastructure boost, much of it focused on roads and rail
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Govt finances go into the red, with $12b to be borrowed for Infrastructure Fund
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Govt loosens purse-strings with $12b new infrastructure spending (paywalled)
Marc Daalder and Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Robertson reveals $12b infrastructure boost
Tova O’Brien (Newshub):‘Cynical’ to describe infrastructure spend as election year slush fund – Grant Robertson
1News: Government ‘not going to turn the dial for congestion’ without tackling roading issues – Simon Bridges
Jason Walls (Herald): National Leader Simon Bridges has accused the Government of ‘screwing up the economy’
David Hargreaves (Interest): The astonishing change in mood across the country and how that leaves us placed for election year
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Greens ditch Govt’s debt target & walk away from ‘arbitrary’ targets altogether 
No Right Turn: The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism

Whakaari/White Island eruption
Nikki Macdonald (Stuff): Anatomy of a deadly eruption and the quest to save survivors
Michael Lueck (The Conversation): Why were tourists allowed on Whakaari/White Island at all?
RNZ: Tourists visiting New Zealand need to be well-informed of risks, professor says
Kate Macnamara (Stuff): ‘Volcano tourism’ is on the rise; Whakaari/White Island is the latest example of the risk
Rob Stock (Stuff): Insurers and ACC ready with financial assistance for tourists
Rob Stock (Stuff): Fine of up to $1.5 million possible, if tour operators breached safety laws
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): White Island tour operators could face maximum fines of $1.5m if found liable (paywalled)
Anne Gibson and Andrea Fox (Herald): White Island eruption: Ngāti Awa was expanding tours before tragedy (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): White Island eruption: legal experts examine issues of culpability (paywalled)
Māni Dunlop (RNZ): Ngāti Awa to play a key role in the Whakaari / White Island recovery operation
1News: Hero helicopter pilot allowed to join Whakaari-White Island recovery mission, with crews on standby
1News: Stuart Nash admits communication issues from police around Whakaari-White Island tragedy
Emma Cropper (Newshub): Police Minister Stuart Nash calls for more ‘transparency and openness’ in operation
Zane Small (Newshub): ‘I am asking hourly’: Jacinda Ardern unsure when police will arrive on White Island / Whakaari
RNZ: Criminal inquiry a ‘slip of the tongue’ – Stuart Nash
David Farrar: I agree with Garner on Police
Jamie Morton (Herald): Scientists defend volcano warning system amid criticism
David Clemow (Herald): Time to investigate major tragedies such as White Island with commissions of inquiry (paywalled)
RNZ: Whakatāne Mayor Judy Turner adamant on Whakaari / White Island tourism, but locals unsure
RNZ: Media, onlookers worldwide question approach to health and safety for tourists
Tom McRae (Newshub): GNS says bodies could have been recovered from White Island on Tuesday
Aroha Mane (Māori TV): Whakaari: Govt launch action plan and upgrade monitoring systems
Karl du Fresne (Stuff): Why we never seem to see disasters coming
Gerald Piddock (Stuff): Government turns down family request to retrieve body

Parliament, election
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics
Boris Jancic (Herald): Bill to protect Māori seats fails in Parliament
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): The decade in politics: From Team Key to Jacindamania
Bryan Gould: Liking people matters
Greg Presland (The Standard): The freedom to lie during an election campaign
Thomas Manch and Henry Cooke (Stuff): Shane Jones taken to hospital for exhaustion

Auditor General resignation case
Dileepa Fonseka (Newsroom):‘Buyer’s remorse’ over auditor-general?
Gavin Evans (BusinessDesk): Bigger issues in Matthews petition can’t be ignored (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Speaker Trevor Mallard will receive petition from Martin Matthews

Ombudman launches OIA compliance review follow-up
RNZ: Ombudman launches OIA compliance review follow-up
No Right Turn: Reviewing the whitewash

Welfare, poverty, inequality
Jonathan Boston (Stuff): We need a step change to transform the welfare state
Max Rashbrooke: Inequality and poverty: A summary of the 2019 household incomes in New Zealand report
Liu Chen (RNZ): Food parcels’ distribution on four sites to avoid ‘humiliating’ queues
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): My Food Bag kits for beneficiaries ‘a way to avoid giving people money’
Mare Haimona-Riki (Māori TV): Christmas comes early for impoverished families
Regan Paranihi (Māori TV): A gesture of love for those in need

State care of children
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Hundreds of Kiwi children harmed while in the care of Oranga Tamariki
RNZ: Oranga Tamariki releases Safety of Children in Care annual report

Ports of Auckland move
Bernard Hickey (Newsroom): Why port move ‘debate’ is a pointless farce
Pattrick Smellie (Herald): Tauranga – already Auckland’s other port (paywalled)
David Fisher (Herald): History meets future – vexed question of land on which proposed Marsden Point port would sit (paywalled)
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Battle of the ports’ reports – it’s crunch time for Auckland move
Wayne Brown (Herald): This is why the port would be so good for the North (paywalled)
Doug Owens (Newsroom): An elegant solution to the port dilemma?

Local government
Melanie Earley (Stuff): Auckland’s Eden Park to seek resource consent to stage six concerts a year
1News: Investigation into massive Lake Taupō wastewater spill concludes; council declines to prosecute
Lois Williams (RNZ): Compulsory pay rise for regional councillors
Jacob McSweeny (ODT): ‘Intern’ directors keen to get under way
Tracey Rpxburgh (ODT): Mayor’s proxy role questioned

Environment and conservation
Jamie Tahana (RNZ): COP25: Climate change action going ‘backwards’ – Fiji’s PM
Jamie Tahana (RNZ): COP25: Calls for indigenous voices to be heard
Farah Hancock (Newsroom): Winds of change for RMA
Jayne M Godfrey and Jagdeep Singh-Ladhar (Newsroom): Follow Australia on water rules
1News: Central Otago carbon monoxide levels more than double normal level due to Australia bushfires
RNZ: Australia’s bushfires push pollution into Central Otago
Amanda Saxton (Stuff): Mt Albert tree protest: Occupation hits one month mark as fellers face judicial review
Denise Piper (Stuff): Northland shows signs of drought as water restrictions spread in Far North
Jamie Morton (Herald): How did White Island’s famous sea life fare in eruption?
Luisa Girao (ODT): Programme’s success gets 80 tuatara for release

1News: Doctors, researchers taking money or favours from drug sponsors called out as ‘unacceptable’
RNZ: Māori have highest rate of mental illness and addiction – new research
Mike Houlahan (OD): Medical staff cautioned about boundaries between their private and public work
Rachael Kelly (Southland Times): MP alleges decision to downgrade maternity centre was ‘predetermined’
ODT: Entonox may be made available at Lumsden hub
RNZ: Samoa measles death toll rises to 71
Tema Hemi (Māori TV): Samoan families weighed down after great loss

Migrant workers
Jenny Meyer (RNZ): Call for returning seasonal workers to be vaccinated against measles
Shannon Johnstone (Hawkes Bay Today): Samoa measles crisis: Dozens of Hawke’s Bay horticulture workers stranded on islands over x-ray delays (paywalled)

Georgina Campbell (Herald): Plea to stop politicising Wellington’s $6.4b transport project
Damian George (Stuff): ‘Please, we are trapped’ says city councillor wanting to advance capital’s tunnel project
Rebecca Moore (1News): Striking bus drivers get into street ‘scuffle’ with replacement driver on their route
RNZ: Dispute escalates: Tense scenes as striking drivers try to block bus
Elle Prendergast and Dan Satherley (Newshub): Hundreds sign petition to ban e-scooters from footpaths

RNZ: School support staff vote to accept Government’s collective agreement pay offer
Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): Crimson Education accused of using untrained tutors and operating ghost offices
Sam Sherwood (Stuff): Cause of student Mason Pendrous’ death will remain a mystery, coroner rules
RNZ: Cause of Mason Pendrous’ death unknown – coroner
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Canterbury uni student Mason Pendrous’ death will remain a mystery — coroner

Primary industries
Jamie Mackay (Herald): Winston Peters on why it has been a good year for farmers (paywalled)
Tim O’Connell (Nelson Mail): Nelson raw milk company among those shut after ministry raid

RNZ: The Detail: Where do editorial cartoonists draw the line?
Hamish McNeilly and Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Controverisal cartoonist hits back at ODT editor in new drawing

Spinoff: The Fold with Duncan Greive: A new podcast covering the chaos of NZ media
Māori TV: Māori Television signs MOU with Indigenous Taiwanese

Massey University’s Quote of the Year 2019
1News: ‘They are us’ – Ardern’s words after Christchurch terrorist attack recognised as New Zealand’s Quote of the Year
Newshub: Jacinda Ardern’s response to the Christchurch terror attack, ‘They are us’, named Quote of the Year

1News: Overhaul of criminal justice system on its way, Andrew Little announces
Bevan Rapson (North & South): Royal Flush: How long before NZ pulls the chain on the monarchy?
Carmen Parahi (Stuff): We should reinstate every Māori place name
Graeme Austin (Stuff): Cost barriers to copyright access need to go
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): A closer look at Phil Twyford’s much-anticipated Bill that will give central government the power to fast-track large urban development projects
Rodney Hide (NBR): Year of Delivery got lost in the post (paywalled)
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Labour almost as good as National at eroding our civil rights 
Tina Law (Press): Christchurch moteliers call for urgent regulation of Airbnb-style accommodation
Kate Nicol-Williams (1News): Bill before Parliament would allow bereavement leave for mothers after miscarriages, stillbirths
John Weekes (Stuff): Attacks on cops, firefighters, ambos and jail staff to be heavily penalised, MP says
Samesh Mohanlall (Timaru Herald): New fibre route planned for South Island, minister Kris Faafoi says
Eric Frykberg (RNZ): Negotiations to protect NZ’s $2b meat trade to the UK, EU set to continue
Stephen Franks: Why practical Police will not use a gun register
Robin Martin (RNZ): Mixed feelings over $10m spend on sealing Forgotten World Highway
Penny Mackay (North & South): Wellington’s pioneering trans community celebrated in exhibition
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Staff shortages slowing down Wellington building consents
Greg Ninness (Interest): The number of work visas being approved is rising strongly while residency visas are falling
Herald: Simon Bridges sings Feliz Navidad on ZM’s Fletch, Vaughan and Megan
AP: Finland officially crowns new PM today, overtaking Ardern’s title as youngest leader