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.

National Party policy documents
Dominion Post Editorial: Fuel tax or road-user charges – either way, you still pay
Liam Hehir (Pundit): Infrastructure Won’t Win It For National (But This Other Thing Might)
David Farrar: Silly
Andrew Dickens (Newstalk ZB): National’s new transport policies are pure nanny state
Tim Dower (Newstalk ZB): National’s cycling policy hardly an election winner
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Cycling Action Network angered by National’s plan to fine cyclists who don’t use bike paths
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): National plots big transport and infrastructure shake-up
Jason Walls (Interest): National Leader Simon Bridges is promising his party will be the ‘party of infrastructure’
Charlie Dreaver (RNZ): National proposes to scrap Auckland’s regional fuel tax, start congestion charge
Georgina Campbell (Herald): National moots regional transport authorities for Wellington and Canterbury
Zane Small (Newshub): National’s answer to crowded roads: Axe fuel tax, adopt congestion charging
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): National proposes paying for more roads with charges better targeting road users
Anna Whyte (1News): National pledge drug driving tests, cancelling KiwiBuild and fuel tax alternatives
Newstalk ZB: National announces plans for infrastructure and transport
Laura Wiltshire (Hawkes Bay Today): National ‘not committing’ to four-lane Hawke’s Bay Expressway
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): National doesn’t propose doing anything radically different to address NZ’s housing shortage; RMA reform remains central 
RNZ: National proposes scrapping of KiwiBuild and RMA if elected in 2020
Henry Cooke (Stuff): National promises to repeal and replace RMA
Mitch McCann (Newshub): National reveals plan to crack down on anti-social state housing tenants

Local government
Torika Toklau (Stuff): John Tamihere brands journalist a ‘white supremacist’ for mayoral campaign donation story
Stephen Forbes (Stuff): Panuku board member resigns after collapse of development company
Christina Persico (Taranaki Daily News): New Plymouth councillors to decide their salary for the term
Christina Persico (Taranaki Daily News): Further freedom camping bans proposed for New Plymouth
Laurel Stowell (Whanganui Chronicle): Tupoho makes complaint against Whanganui mayor over street naming
Herald: Whanganui iwi calls for resignation of councillor who made ‘racially motivated’ comments over street name
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Revealed: Sir Peter Jackson’s Wellington election spend
Mandy Te (Stuff): Companies linked to Peter Jackson dish out $30,000 on Andy Foster’s mayoral campaign
Nicholas Boyack (Stuff): Hutt City Council election returns: big spending doesn’t pay off for some
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel to release further details on election returns
Newstalk ZB: Lianne Dalziel to disclose election donations after criticism
Joanne Carroll (Stuff): Payment for Hokitika Racecourse kept secret by district council
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Big spenders in Dunedin election revealed

Whakaari/White Island 
Mark Blackham (Dominion Post): After Whakaari/White Island, it’s up to us to save ourselves
Gordon Campbell: On what any White Island inquiry might look like
Jo Moir (Stuff): Cabinet seeks investigative gaps
Boris Jancic (Herald): Government still mulling White Island probe
1News: Police Commissioner hits out at critics as search continues for bodies remaining at White Island
Jo Moir (RNZ): Whakaari/White Island tourism: Who is responsible for what?
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Tourism industry body backs Whakaari/White Island chopper operators in registration row
Zac Fleming (Newshub): White Island eruption raises questions about legal liability in adventure tourism industry
1News: Australian Foreign Minister to meet with Jacinda Ardern to express ‘deep appreciation’ for White Island response
1News: PM and Cabinet observe minute’s silence for Whakaari/White Island victims
Anne Gibson (Herald): White Island eruption: ex-mayor says tours must continue, ‘major contributor’ to town, region, NZ’ (paywalled)
Cas Carter (Stuff): NZ still seen as a safe destination

Operation Burnham
Thomas Manch (Stuff): ‘Snot those guys’: Secret GCSB emails reveal Operation Burnham chatter
RNZ: Emails reveal Operation Burnham chatter about destruction of compounds

Government, Public Service
John Armstrong (Listener): A year of remarkable highs and awful lows for Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges
Jason Walls (Herald): PM Jacinda Ardern: Cabinet’s Ihumātao and public media merger decisions pushed to 2020
1News: Finance Minister defends Government’s spending on infrastructure, following $12b injection
Len Cook (Newsroom): ‘No surprises’: principle or unprincipled?

Guyon Espiner (RNZ): Pharmac knew of epilepsy deaths for weeks but stayed silent
Nicholas Jones (Herald): National backs earlier bowel cancer screening age for Māori and Pacific New Zealanders (paywalled)
RNZ: NZ has ‘no excuse’ for measles outbreaks – NZ public health expert
RNZ: Samoa’s measles death toll rises to 73
Damien Venuto (Herald): Medicinal cannabis: Former MP Peter Dunne calls on Govt to get ball rolling
Newstalk ZB: Medicinal cannabis companies eagerly awaiting regulation announcement (audio)
Louisa Steyl (Southland Times): Staff costs behind Southern District Health Board’s deficit growth
Greymouth Star: New DHB chairman voices expectation of transparency
Lois Williams (RNZ): New DHB chairperson promises to limit closed meetings
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Yea or nay on Dunedin hospital plan today
Janine Rankin (Manawatū Standard): Palmerston North Hospital welcomes families to care on the wards
RNZ: Nine to Noon: Alcohol and the teenage brain
Mare Haimona-Riki (Māori TV): Otara residents protest outside Mahitahi HQ
Samesh Mohanlall (Timaru Herald): Fluoridation of water ‘not even an issue’, Timaru dentist says

Parliament, election
Zane Small (Newshub): Tears, laughter and global headlines: 2019’s most memorable moments in Parliament
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Seymour hopes for new colleagues as ACT’s numbers grow
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges rule out working with Hannah Tamaki’s Vision NZ
David Cormack (Herald): Christmas presents for our political leaders (paywalled)

1News: John Campbell sits next to sleeping child at food bank, livid at state of poverty in NZ
1News: ‘This is a public health crisis’ – City Mission calls for food insecurity measure to understand issue of poverty

Foreign affairs and trade
Chris Trotter (Interest):  What our main parties can learn from the UK election in the run up to our own election next year
Audrey Young (Herald): The Kiwi digital whizzes who helped Boris Johnson win a landslide (paywalled)
RNZ: Ardern not concerned ‘gaffe man’ tweet would offend Boris Johnson
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern admits being ‘proven wrong’ about British PM Boris Johnson
Zane Small (Newshub): Tweet from 2012 shows Jacinda Ardern’s thoughts on Boris Johnson as UK PM candidate
George Heagney (Manawatū Standard): Kashmir talk to go ahead in Wellington despite venue change

Govt approves small business support fund
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces $5m package for Whakatāne and Westland
James Fyfe (Newshub): Government fund earmarks $5m to help small businesses
Anna Whyte (1News): Businesses impacted by White Island tragedy, Westland extreme weather get $5m Government boost

Climate change
Damian George (Stuff): Heatwaves, droughts and downpours: Niwa report paints gloomy climate change picture
Tom McKinlay (ODT): Time for action

Danielle Clent (Stuff: Death of dogs, cows, due to 1080 poisoning in Northland spark system changes
Herald Editorial: Right to protest 1080 use is no license to threaten or abuse (paywalled)
Newstalk ZB: Eugenie Sage: Harassment of DOC staff by 1080 protesters unacceptable
Newstalk ZB: Forest and Bird decries 1080 protesters in wake of increased abuse

Environment and conservation
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Department of Conservation launches summer tourism campaign
Luke Appleby (1News): Concern after Napier Christmas event fireworks show sends birds scrambling onto busy road
1News: Getting too close to dolphins in Bay of Islands could result in prosecution, DOC warns
Mia Sutherland (Stuff): Wasted opportunity: Why NZ needs to build its own recycling plants
Denise Piper (Stuff): Ninety Mile Beach: Protection set to increase
Lee Kenny (Stuff): Starving rats and mice prey on birds and reptiles after mega-mast food runs out

Migrant labour, exploitation
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Rotorua holiday park owner defends actions after exploiting workers
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Rotorua holiday park, owner to pay ‘record’ sum for ‘nightmare’ worker exploitation
RNZ: Holiday park ordered to pay more than $600k in fines and unpaid wages
Anuja Nadkarni (Stuff): Holiday park and owner to pay $680,350 for exploitation
Rebecca Black (Stuff): Migrants essential on orchards and vineyards
Amy Williams (RNZ): Concern NZ Bus hired migrant workers without fixing conditions – union

Primary Industries
Brent Melville (ODT): Phosphate vital, industry says
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): High dairy debt may curb ability to meet challenges ahead – MPI (paywalled)
RNZ: Primary exports to reach $48bn in 2020 – MPI
Angie Skerrett (Newshub): Dairy NZ says Te Papa ‘dirty water’ display ‘highly deceptive’
Danielle Clent (Stuff): Tonne of dead mackerel found in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf likely ‘lost from fishing vessel’

John Gerritsen (RNZ): Schools’ fraud controls lacking, auditing expert warns
Brianna McIlraith (Taranaki Daily News): Spotswood College student joins Ministerial Youth Advisory Group for 2020
Derek Cheng (Herald): Fees-free: Which decile students are taking it up and where are they going? (paywalled)
RNZ: Māori and Crown to work more closely on changes to tertiary education
RNZ: Donna Grant pleads guilty to Wānanga, TEC fraud charge

Adviser to Māori King admits fraud chargers
Matt Nippert (Herald): Guilty plea for ‘face’ of Māori King throws Tainui into turmoil (paywalled)
Aroha Mane (Māori TV): Tuku Morgan – “Rangi Whakaruru has betrayed the trust of our people”
Cathy Odgers: Out Of The Mouth Of Babes – Tuku Morgan Says What We All Think
Matt Nippert (Herald): Māori King’s adviser Rangi Whakaruru admits fraud charges
Yvonne Tahana (1News): Māori King’s advisor pleads guilty to fraud charges, including for gastric bypass surgery
Edward Gay (Stuff): Māori King’s chief adviser admits fraud charges over gastric band surgery
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Former private secretary to Māori King pleads guilty to fraud

Gun buyback scheme
Eleisha Foon (RNZ): Two-thirds of banned firearms still circulating – gun advocates
No Right Turn: Gun nuts say they’re criminals

Leigh-Marama McLachlan (RNZ): Telcos gearing up for 5G spectrum auction in 2020
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Maori Council backs short-term 5G spectrum allocation (paywalled)
Nathan Smith (NBR): Government opens some 5G spectrum early for telcos and Maori (paywalled)

Lewis Holden (Pundit):Rail In New Zealand: Getting Back On Track
Dave Armstrong (Dominion Post): Some hopeful signs of an end to bustastrophiness

Martin Gregory (International Socialists): Labour’s Housing Policy: What does it mean for Porirua?
Brittany Keogh (Stuff): Auckland landlord’s ‘non-stir fry cooking’ ad is racial discrimination – TradeMe

Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Tauranga courthouse to be replaced with new $100 million facility
Dan Satherley (Newshub): $100 million set aside to replace Tauranga’s leaky courthouse
Anan Zaki (RNZ): New Christchurch justice precinct needs too many repairs and too small, union says

Peter Snell
ODT: Farewell to the greatest
Michael Burgess (Herald): Miki Snell reflects on late husband Sir Peter Snell’s remarkable life and achievements
Kevin Norquay (Stuff): Peter Snell: so much more than a world-topping Kiwi middle distance legend

Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Winston Peters hasn’t saved media, he’s kicked the problem on
Gavin Evans (BusinessDesk): Meridian, Contact accused of $60m power market abuse
Rob Stock (Stuff): Non-bank lenders see record demand for loans as banks say ‘no’ more often
Glenn Shewan and Andrew Peterson (Newsroom): Tracking overseas investment in rural land
Leonie Hayden (Spinoff): 10 ways the world got (a little) better for Māori this decade
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Document release reveals further concerns about building products quality scheme, CodeMark
Joanne Carroll (Stuff): Pike River agency to breach 170m seal this week after WorkSafe exemption
Indira Stewart (RNZ): South Auckland kids write book to challenge negative stereotypes about their community
Jessica Tyson (Māori TV): Stories of Takitimu and whalers retold by Rongomaiwahine kaumatua
Anna Green (Newsroom): The problem with cutting access to our archives
Newstalk ZB: Mike and the PM swap Christmas presents
John Anthony (Stuff): Sir John Key sells mansion for $23.5m in what was NZ’s second biggest house sale of 2017
Jason Walls (Herald): A short lunch with National MP Andrew Falloon – famous for an unusual reason (paywalled)
Lee Kenny (Press): ‘Rock star’ scientist joins Antarctica New Zealand
RNZ: Women dominate New Zealander of the Year shortlist