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.

Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Legalising weed, swapping prisons with rehab: The proposals to fix justice system
Collette Devlin (Stuff): Government urged to increase alcohol laws and legalise cannabis
Boris Jancic (Herald): Government makes drug court permanent in justice shake-up
RNZ: Changes to criminal justice system to come into effect today
RNZ: Rehab treatment for drug addicts in new Waikato court welcomed
Regan Paranihi (Māori TV): Justice system “change needs to happen now” – Advocate

Infrastructure spending, fiscal policy
Bryce Edwards (Herald): Political Roundup: The Government’s smart but conservative spending announcement (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Herald): National left on a road to nowhere (paywalled)
David Hargreaves (Interest): Good electioneering but not a great infrastructure package
Peter Dunne (Interest): Next year’s election may turn into an auction with the major parties seeking to outspend each other
Brian Fallow (Herald): Stand by for Budget goodies (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell: On why raising benefits is a better option than spending on infrastructure
Dileepa Fonseka (Newsroom): Transport boost: Industry still desperate for detail
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): The Government could be about to green-light National’s cancelled roads
RNZ: Scrapped National Party projects to be considered for $12 billion infrastructure package
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Canned roading projects among those NZTA wants Govt to invest in
1News: Roading projects a ‘priority’ but progress will take two-three years, Finance Minister says
Brent Edwards (NBR): National accuses Coalition of breaking two fiscal promises (paywalled)
Michael Reddell: HYEFU thoughts
Elizabeth Soal (Herald): Water, water, everywhere but not a drop of funding (paywalled)

Jason Walls (Herald): NZ First leader Winston Peters became the media’s unlikely Father Christmas this morning (paywalled)
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Minister won’t intervene with regulator over media merger, but deal could help
Herald Editorial: Winston Peters points to path for stronger fourth estate (paywalled)
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): NZME expects shareholder endorsement for latest media merger play
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Winston Peters throws support behind NZME’s bid to rival news agency Stuff
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Winston Peters throws in support behind Stuff/NZME buyout
Jane Patterson  (RNZ): Future of public broadcasting: Winston Peters supports new model for TVNZ and RNZ
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Peters backs StuffMe 2, lukewarm on RNZ-TVNZ merger
Zane Small (Newshub):Winston Peters pledges support for NZME’s proposed purchase of Stuff
Anna Whyte (1News): Winston Peters throws support behind NZME buying Stuff and RNZ-TVNZ model
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Peters backs StuffME merger bid (paywalled)
NBR: Peters backs ‘StuffMe’ merger bid (paywalled)
Newshub: As it happened: Winston Peters’ impromptu press conference
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Australia’s Seven said to be close to buying MediaWorks’ TV business
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Media vs media in defamation fight
Anna Murray (Stuff): TVNZ v Three: How did TV news fare in 2019?
Chris Trotter: Cartoonist David Low’s Radical Sympathy

Whakaari/White Island eruption
Martin van Beynen (Stuff): Whakaari/White Island boat tours generate $4.5m a year for iwi
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Three helicopter companies all unregistered for adventure activities
Jamie Morton (Herald): Was the tragedy a management failure?
Simon Connell (Pundit): What Does The Whakaari / White Island Eruption Mean For New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Scheme?
Press Editorial: The cost of being adventurous?
Māni Dunlop and Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (RNZ): What the rāhui in place after Whakaari erupted mean and why they are important
Gerald Piddock (Stuff): Ensuring rāhui is honoured a huge task for cultural advisor
Ruby Nyika (Stuff): Tour company needs front up to White Island disaster, PR expert says
RNZ: The Detail: The beauty and the menace of Whakaari

National Party
Simon Wilson (Herald): Simon Bridges: You might be surprised what he thinks about the Auckland port and a high-wage economy (paywalled)
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Bridges steadies the National ship heading into 2020
Alex Braae (Spinoff): ‘I’m not a single bit cynical’: The Spinoff meets Simon Bridges
Liam Hehir (Pundit): Why National Should Consider A Universal Child Tax Credit

National’s health sector policy proposals
Boris Jancic (Herald): National promises health targets, mulls future of DHBs
Zane Small (Newshub): National’s health plan: Crackdown on DHB ‘postcode lottery’, re-establish health targets
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): National Party is thinking about axing DHB elections
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): National launches health discusison document
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): National promises reintroduction of National Health Targets
1News: National wants all Kiwi kids running for 15 minutes a day

Samoa measles epidemic
RNZ: MFAT confirms New Zealand as likely source of Samoa’s measles epidemic
1News: Winston Peters to visit Samoa as nation continues to struggle with measles epidemic
Jamie Ensor (Newshub):Samoa measles crisis not ‘act of god’, preventable – National MP Agnes Loheni
1News: Child-sized coffins blessed by NZ’s Samoan community before being sent overseas amid measles crisis
RNZ: UNICEF hits out at anti-vaxxers over ‘dangerous’ message

Foreign affairs and trade, Pacific
Richard Harman (Politik): How Brexit could damage NZ
RNZ: Auditor-General unable to find how Tokelau’s government spent $10 million
RNZ: NZ partnership promises ‘exciting’ future for Vanuatu netballers
RNZ: More New Zealanders needing help while overseas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs says
RNZ: Human development progress fast but uneven in Pacific – UN

Ports of Auckland move
Simon Wilson (Herald): The Auckland port and the wretched truth about business case analysis (paywalled)
Brent Edwards (NBR): Coalition faces difficult debate on future of Auckland port (paywalled)
Heather du Plessis (Newstalk ZB): Why it’s a good we’re getting another Auckland Port report
Keith Rankin (Evening Report): Another Option for Auckland’s Port – Tāmaki Ship Canal
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): ‘Paralysis by analysis’: Winston Peters’ assessment of the delay over Northport
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Cabinet ministers want more homework done on port relocation
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland port move: Government to explore options more fully
Andrea Fox (Herald): Auckland port decision to be made in first half of next year
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Auckland port relocation decision by mid-2020, says Jones (paywalled)
Andrea Fox (Herald): Real cost of Auckland port to ratepayers would be unveiled if cars went: Tauranga port boss (paywalled)
Andrea Fox (Herald): Tauranga and Northport port leaders ready to talk about reform
Chris Carr (Herald): Port move will only make traffic congestion worse in Auckland (paywalled)

Local government
Murray Sherwin (Herald): Underfunded councils should be wary of asking for taxpayer handouts (paywalled)
RNZ: Councils given 44 recommendations for financial management
Nevil Gibson (NBR): Councils must do better with rates – Productivity Commission (paywalled)
David Hargreaves (Interest): Vacant land tax idea torpedoed by Productivity Commission
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Govt urged to bridge tourism infrastructure shortfall (paywalled)
Christina Persico (Taranaki Daily News): Don’t sell the Windy Point land, gift it to New Plymouth community, mayor tells Chorus
Marty Sharpe (Dominion Post): Re-elected Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst spent less on campaign than rival and received no donations
Tina Law (Press): Christchurch City councillors unhappy at being ‘forced’ to decide pay increase
Nicholas Pointon (RNZ): Christchurch council backs new $470m stadium 15 to 1
Press: Christchurch councillor picked as National candidate for Port Hills electorate seat
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Developer behind substandard, earthquake risk building asks council to cordon it off
Chris Morris (ODT): Sale of Dunedin City Council assets mooted

Terrorism Suppression Bill 
Collette Devlin (Stuff): Fast-tracked terror law to tackle ‘Kiwi jihadi’ Mark Taylor if he returns to New Zealand passes
RNZ: Terrorism Suppression Bill to become law after passing third reading
Zane Small (Newshub): Gerry Brownlee’s comments on refugees branded ‘incredibly dangerous’ by Golriz Ghahraman

1News: Large number of New Zealanders unclear on the health effects associated with cannabis use, new reports says
Mike Houlahan (ODT): SDHB survey of hours riles senior medical staff
Mike Houlahan (ODT): CEO defends DHB culture
Stephanie Ockhuysen (Stuff): Taranaki DHB confident with new laboratory company despite concerns from union
Stephanie Ockhuysen (Stuff): National Party’s claim Taranaki elective surgeries have dropped 10pc ‘flat out wrong’, Minister of Health says
Dave Macpherson (Daily Blog): It will take more than $s to fix our broken mental health system
Murphy (RNZ): LGBTQI left out of specifics in mental health, wellbeing commission bill
Eleanor Weman (Stuff): Kiwi doctors point to lack of training, lack of funding as barriers for long-term contraception
Janine Rankin (Manawatū Standard): MidCentral Health takes over management of Te Papaioea primary birthing unit
Kyle MacDonald (Herald): The danger of alcohol at Christmas (paywalled)

Poverty, inequality
Mike Treen (Daily Blog): Stop the war on the poor
Carmen Parahi (Stuff): Auckland City Mission Christmas service sees families queue all night for parcels

Climate change
RNZ: UN climate talks: ‘We’re all in the same canoe’
Jamie Tahana (RNZ): COP25: Hopes for a miracle as climate talks appear to falter

Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Wellington City councillor says politicians shut out of decisions on $6b transport plan
1News: Auckland bus woes: Services back to normal from tomorrow after unions withdraw industrial action
RNZ:All Auckland bus services to resume from tomorrow morning
Phil Pennington (RNZ): NZTA doubles road maintenance for this summer

Lee Kenny (Stuff): Financial sanctions possible after law change sparked by Mason Pendrous uni death
Anna Whyte (1News): Pastoral care bill passes spurred by student Mason Pendrous’ death
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Big secondary schools say they’re short-changed by staffing rules
John Cosgrove (ODT): Telford campus’ future confirmed at graduation

Primary industries
Angie Skerrett (Newshub): ‘Bold new vision’ for New Zealand agriculture sector unveiled
Stuff: Van Leeuwen suing over limits on M bovis compensation package
Maja Burry (RNZ): Farmer confidence lifts but still at negative level
Guy Trafford (Interest): Three laws which will impact and benefit the rural community
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Farmers angry at Te Papa over ‘disgraceful’ water quality display

Housing, homelessness
Sahiban Hyde (Hawkes Bay Today): Hastings to get 200 new houses in next two years, Government announce
Anusha Bradley (RNZ): Portacabins on way to ease housing pressure in Hawke’s Bay
Todd Niall (Stuff): Housing crisis: New benefactor fund backs Tauranga social housing project
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Fire in secret Wellington homeless spot reveals hacked electricity
Sahiban Hyde (Hawkes Bay Today): Locked in Hastings public toilets: Hidden challenges of the newly homeless (paywalled)

Madison Reidy (RNZ): Review finds complacency at ANZ’s most senior level after year of missteps
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Reserve Bank: Improvements needed to ANZ processes
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): RBNZ imposes tougher director attestation process on ANZ NZ
Gareth Vaughan (Interest): ‘Complacency’ in & ‘piecemeal’ operation of ANZ’s director attestation process

Herald: Our business heroes: Five leaders looking beyond the bottom line (paywalled)
Maria Slade (Spinoff): Decade in review: The highs, lows and hobbits of New Zealand business

David Farrar: The public sector rich list
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Tribunal finds Crown used relationship breakdown to rush Ngāti Maniapoto settlement
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Stop the tail from wagging the dog
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Defence Force clearance of Afghanistan to cost $10m and take two years
John Weekes (Stuff): Gun buyback amnesty ends soon, what happens next?
Gavin Evans (BusinessDesk): Fuel market study expected to cost $2.5m (paywalled)
Māori TV: Chief Ombudsman appoints rangatira to act as advisors
David Farrar: Some terrible and some good electoral proposals from the Justice Committee
Anna Whyte (1News): Quickfire: Dan Bidois and Marja Lubeck: Dental fees, beneficiaries given My Food Bag and odd requests (video)
RNZ: Māori place names for areas in Fiordland, Southern Alps
Amanda Saxton (Stuff): Mt Albert tree protest: Occupation hits one month mark as fellers face judicial review
Ayesha Scott and Aaron Gilbert (Conversation): How New Zealanders miss out on hundreds of thousands in retirement saving
Lincoln Tan (Herald): Online hate prevalent after Christchurch attacks, survey finds
RNZ: Child Labor Free certifier closes, major fashion labels say they weren’t told
Nicky Pellegrino (Listener): The legal grey area of drug testing at NZ’s upcoming festivals
Nicky Pellegrino (Listener): How can we stop the rise of new psychoactive substances like fentanyl?
Catherine Harris (Stuff): NZIER: NZ unlikely to go into recession next year, but well placed if it does
Kim Baker Wilson (1News): Holden to stop manufacturing its Commodore model – causing headaches for police
Catherine McGregor (Spinoff): Decade in review: 10 New Zealand scandals that rocked the nation
Victoria Young (BusinessDesk): SFO warns it’s struggling to cope with workload
Ian Harris (ODT): Religious evolution examined over 16 years and 331 newspaper column
Russell Brown: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Time to vote!
Verity Johnson (Stuff): Sanctimoniousness on the Left is killing us
Julie Deslippe and Justyna Giejsztowt (Newsroom): The fight for our native plants
Michelle Duff (Spinoff): Thanks, brave men of #TurnArdern, for proving the point of my Jacinda book
Neil Holdom (Taranaki Daily News): Senior bureaucrats in Wellington have no love or time or money for Taranaki
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): Tourists still coming but growth is slowing