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.

Today’s content

Budget, economy
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): A budget with Labour’s future on the line
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Thursday’s Budget to be huge, but not revolutionary
Terry Baucher (Spinoff): Can we expect any radical tax proposals?
Sandy Lau (Stuff): What levers can the Government pull to increase its tax take?
Norman Gemmell (The Conversation): The pandemic budget: moving New Zealand from critical care to long-term recovery
Michael Belgrave (The Conversation): The ghosts of budgets past haunt New Zealand’s shot at economic recovery
Audrey Young (Herald): Michael Cullen and Steven Joyce on a Budget in a crisis (paywalled)
1News: National criticises pre-Budget handouts: ‘Will there be more money going to horse racing than Pharmac?’
Waatea News: Economists warn of COVID impact on Maori
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Roger Douglas releases report identifying New Zealand’s ‘unpalatable truth’
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): New Zealanders want payments from Government

Budget: health
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): DHB solution has to be about more than money
Newstalk ZB: Health Minister says DHBs need to be creative about care backlog
Brent Edwards (NBR): Private hospitals could benefit from a big government boost in public health funding (paywalled)
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Doctors welcome $4bn DHB funding boost but say more is needed
Delphine Herbert and Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Medical Association welcomes DHB funding, but wants recognition for GPs
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Billions for health ‘catching up’
Amelia Wade (Herald): $4 billion injection to health system: Clearing Covid-19 care backlog and boost for DHB
1News: Health boards to get billion-dollar funding boost
1News: Massive funding boost to help clear backlog of surgeries caused by Covid-19
Zane Small (Newshub): $3.92 billion going to DHBs to ‘help clear the COVID-19 backlog’
RNZ: District Health Boards to get $3.9b increase over four years in 2020 Budget

Budget: racing industry 
Zane Small (Newshub): Animal rights group ‘appalled’ at $72m support for racing industry
Michael Guerin (Herald): Government rescue blessing for racing industry but questions remain over who gets what
Stuff: Winston Peters announces $72.5 million emergency package as extent of racing’s financial crisis emerges
RNZ: Government reveals $72.5m racing industry Budget package
RNZ: Govt bets on Racing industry not going bankrupt
Anna Whyte (1News): Winston Peters wants to make ‘racing great again’, with help of $72.5 million funding boost
George Heagney (Manawatū Standard): Multi-million-dollar funding confirmed for Awapuni racecourse

Government’s coronavirus strategy
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): The month that changed New Zealand
Brian Easton (Pundit): If It Takes Too Long To Produce A Covid Vaccine
Jim Rose (Herald): Betting on a Covid 19 coronavirus vaccine is a big gamble
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Please, Jacinda Ardern don’t look back (paywalled)

Government
Stuff: Inside the spin-room: Who is who in the Government’s PR team
1News: John Campbell questions Jacinda Ardern’s confidence in her Ministers, following document dump gag order
Newstalk ZB: Jacinda Ardern says she only saw gag order email today
Geoff Bertram (Newsroom): The future of New Zealand’s state sector

Level 2 enforcement legislation
Hayden Wilson: The Covid-19 (Public Health Response) Bill – Legislate in Haste?
Collette Devlin (Stuff): Government battles to urgently pass new law for Alert Level 2
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): National votes against Government’s alert level 2 enforcement Bill
Jason Walls (Herald): National to vote against new law which sets out level 2 enforcement rules
Charlie Dreaver (RNZ): National threatens to fight enforcement law if rule of 10 remains
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern defends reduced scrutiny of COVID-19 legislation in stand-off with Paula Bennett

Level 2
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Lack of progress on mask advice a ‘poor situation’
1News: ‘We’ve got this’ – Covid-19 elimination possible, but Kiwis need to play by Level 2 rules
Reuters, Matt Burrows (Newshub): What is New Zealand’s virus reproduction rate – and why is it so important?
Michael Daly (Stuff):Jacinda Ardern wary of flare-ups as country moves to ease Covid-19 restrictions
RNZ: Jacinda Ardern says group restrictions will be reviewed, alert levels could change if needed
Rachel Thomas (RNZ): PPE guidelines leave businesses confused, out of pocket
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern defends alert level 2 rules amid ‘confusion’
AAP: ‘Cultures that don’t adapt, die’ – Winston Peters wonders if hongi will return after Covid-19
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Winston Peters suggests hongi may never return
Emma Cropper (Newshub): Winston Peters warns the hongi may never return post-pandemic
Eleanor Ainge Roy (Guardian): ‘A return of worry’: relief mixes with anxiety as New Zealand eases lockdown
Hannah Martin (Stuff): How to deal with anxiety about returning to pre-Covid-19 life
Anna Rawhiti-Connell (Newsroom): Leaving behind the carcasses of my life
Sam Brooks (Spinoff)): A few metres from normality: On anxiety and alert level two
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern’s ‘spaced out’ press conference comments go viral

Unemployment, inequality, welfare
Glen Scanlon (RNZ): Work and Income redundancy denials: ‘Come back when there’s nothing left’
John McDermott (MBR): The coming unemployment surge (paywalled)
Ellen O’Dwyer (Waikato Times): Covid gloom descends on Waikato
Sarah Robson (RNZ): Strained social services brace for even further demand
Susan Hornsby-Geluk (Stuff): Are you owed a redundancy payout?

Migrants stranded in NZ
Amelia Wade (Herald): Winston Peters tells struggling migrant workers ‘you should probably go home’
Dileepa Fonseka (Newsroom): ‘Will I be able to provide for my child?’
Dileepa Fonseka (Newsroom): ‘Can of beans’ given to stranded migrants

Employment
Michael Hayward (Stuff): KFC breaching Covid-19 restrictions by making staff stay – union
Dita de Boni (NBR): Do workers feel safe returning to coalface at level 2? (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell: On why we should legally protect the right to work from home

Election
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Electoral Commission planning for ‘safe’ September election
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Electoral Commission reveals how election will safely take place during COVID-19 pandemic
1News: New safety rules for Election 2020 confirmed
RNZ: New Zealand general election at level 2 or lower, PM Jacinda Ardern confirms

Foreign affairs, WHO
Keith Locke (Herald): Covid 19 coronavirus response a chance to reshape our foreign policy (paywalled)
Richard Harman (Politik): NZ getting squeezed over Taiwan
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Winston’s war with China just got real
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Winston Peters says he has no regrets despite China’s Taiwan warning
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Winston Peters defends support for Taiwan’s inclusion in World Health Organization
RNZ: Winston Peters not concerned about blowback from China after supporting Taiwan
1News: Winston Peters says no risk to NZ’s ties with China after his comments Taiwan should re-join WHO
Lana Andelane (Newshub): China condemns New Zealand for issuing ‘wrong statements on Taiwan’
Reuters: New Zealand backs Taiwan joining the WHO despite China rebuke

Media
Rex Ahdar (ODT): No proven new basis for merger
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): All Stuff’s options still on the table after NZME’s curious gambit
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): RNZ boss Paul Thompson told ministry it didn’t need extra FM slot in November
RNZ: RNZ pursued frequency for youth focussed station, documents show
Damien Venuto (Herald): Magazine industry pleads for support from Faafoi

Ministry of Health
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Ministry of Health denies it misled Kiwis after COVID-19 hospital case numbers higher than reported
Jason Walls (Herald): National Leader Simon Bridges sticks to his guns over clash with health boss Ashley Bloomfield
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Dr Ashley Bloomfield pushes back at Simon Bridges over ‘failure to answer simple questions’ claim
Anna Whyte (1News): Ashley Bloomfield rejects Simon Bridges’ claims he was trying to ‘control information flow’

Health workers, vaccine 
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Doctors’ union wants answers over seven nurses infected at Waitākere Hospital
Rob Stock (Stuff): Government should invest in Kiwi vaccine-manufacturers, and create medicines bubble with Australia
Jamie Morton (Herald): How vaccine could be manufactured in NZ
Marc Dalder (Newsroom): Govt looks set to join holistic health app trend
Laura Smith (ODT): Charity hospital system ready to take referrals
Logan Savory (Southland Times): Charity Hospital concept designs released to mark special day

Tracing apps
Dave Goosselink (Newshub): New Zealand businesses already using COVID-19 contact tracing apps
Alex Braae (Spinoff): Wellington picks contact tracing app – so what about the rest of the country?
Emma Perry (ODT): Contact-tracing app available
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Expert calls for guidance on how technology will support contact tracing

Education
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): Auckland Grammar’s zero tolerance of drugs shows just how out of touch it is
John Lewis (ODT): Distancing and extra vehicles ruled out for school bus service
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Schools prepare for level 2: Bullrush, assemblies, drinking fountains
RNZ: Government boosts relief teacher funding, considers NCEA changes
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Top New Zealand educators say COVID-19 response has been ‘frustrating’, ‘slow’
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Kristin Hall (1News): Call for investigation into students being made to pay for empty accommodation as many move back in
Georgia-May Gilbertson (Stuff): Stress levels among tertiary teaching staff increase since Covid-19

Restricted gatherings – weddings, funerals, marae, church
Leigh-Marama McLachlan (RNZ): Rolling tangihanga allowed under alert level 2
Derek Cheng (Herald): Parties clash over funerals – Jacinda Ardern is like ‘Muldoon with slogans’, say National Party
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Funeral directors reeling as services restricted to 10 under alert level 2
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Grieving families distraught over inconsistencies in Government’s COVID-19 alert level 2 rules
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Bereaved Cambridge widower pleads for cap on funerals to be lifted
RNZ: Level 2 gatherings: weddings, funerals, marae, church
Richard Davison (ODT): Bereaved families ask for compassion in new rules
Claire Trevett (Herald): National leader Simon Bridges – Funeral limits ‘inhumane’
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Hamilton reverend sees ‘logic’ in keeping churches closed during alert level 2
Ripu Bhatia (Stuff): Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says Sunday service will go ahead
Herald: Brian Tamaki will hold Sunday service, slams Government decision
Anna Whyte (1News): Jacinda Ardern acknowledges 10 person limit on funerals and tangi is ‘causing pain’

Tourism
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Budget help for ‘decimated’ tourism industry better be big
Tess Brunton (RNZ): Tourism minister under fire for not acting fast enough
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Government-signalled funding for tourism industry ‘too late’ for some
Julie Iles (NBR): Pleas to extend wage subsidies get promises of targeted relief (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis confirms ‘response and recovery package’ included in Budget 2020
RNZ: Epidemic Response Committee discusses tourism after move to level 2 announced
Zane Small (Newshub): Māori Tourism CEO Pania Tyson-Nathan ‘horrified’ at business compliance costs continuing during COVID-19 crisis
Anna Whyte (1News): Tourism operators call for wage subsidy extension – ‘The money has been chewed up’

Housing
Stuff: Ardern says homeless will still be housed after Covid-19 crisis
1News: Campervan fleet sent to Northland to help ease homelessness amid lockdown
Greg Ninness (Interest): BNZ’s economists are forecasting a 12% drop in house prices and an even bigger decline in the construction of new homes
Catherine Harris (Stuff): Housing shortage could be soon be over: BNZ

Transport
Calida Stuart-Menteath (NBR): Pilots’ union angry at plans to scrap air traffic services (paywalled)
Tracy Neal (RNZ): Petition to keep Air NZ base in Nelson attracts 16,000 signatures
Matthew Mckew (ODT): Q’town airport positions being cut
1News: Air Chathams will require passengers to wear face masks as it rebuilds following lockdown period
Joanne Carroll (Stuff): $250,000 spent on study to find out West Coast railway is ‘uneconomic’
RNZ: City Rail Link on double-time to get up to speed
Steve Forbes (RNZ): Mill Rd property purchases set to hit top gear

Environment
Ralph Cooney (The Big Q): From COVID-19 to a sustainable climate: What is the way forward?
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Coronavirus exposes flaws in recycling scheme
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Mountain of recycling heading straight to filling Wellington landfill
Lois Williams (RNZ): Climate change ‘a rort’ – West Coast Regional Council chair
Peter McKenzie (Spinoff): How do you strike for the climate when everyone’s stuck at home?
RNZ: DOC to reopen all facilities but Covid-19 rules still apply
Matthew Littlewood (Stuff): Once in a lifetime opportunity for Conservation spend, say Forest and Bird

Pacific
RNZ: New Zealand to increase support to Pacific health
RNZ: Cook Islands looking at revoking developed country status

Sport
Clay Wilson (RNZ): Council support crucial to community sport
Sarah Leberman, Nicole LaVoi  and Sally Shaw (ODT): Women’s sports need better than normal

Other
Mackenzie Smith (RNZ): Police trials facial recognition tech without clearance
Rob Stock (Stuff): Let people use KiwiSaver to repay debt, petitioner urges Parliament
Jo Moir (RNZ): Labour MP Louisa Wall pursuing legal action against her own party
Alex Braae (Spinoff): The minor parties on how they would have responded to the Covid-19 crisis
1News: SkyCity defends its use of membership scheme as a contact tracing tool
Eloise Gibson (Stuff): Z Energy puts biofuel plant to sleep, asks for Govt money
RNZ: Bunnings to close seven NZ stores, with 145 job cuts
1News: Seven Bunnings stores likely to close with 145 staff out of jobs amid Covid-19 woes
Edward Gay (Stuff): Auckland Council official who took bribe gets home detention
Sam Hurley (Herald): Corrupt official gets home detention after dodgy Auckland Council deal for Chinese USB devices
Holly Carran (Newshub): ChristChurch Cathedral receives blessing to begin physical restoration
Patrick Gower (Newshub): Auckland’s port is outdated, uninspired and needs to go
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Wellington Zoo to reopen for free after COVID-19 lockdown
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Call for more legal protection of Māori cultural property rights