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

Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Prime Minister warns coming months the most challenging in a long time (paywalled)
Jane Patterson and Gyles Beckford (RNZ): What to expect from the 2020 Budget
Richard Harman (Politik): It’s budget day and the election campaign begin
Tim Watkins (Pundit): NZ’s Economy Has Been On Ice, But It’s About To Unfreeze And It Will Hurt
Herald: What does the Budget need to do? Five viewpoints
Charlotte Graham-McLay (Guardian): ‘A generation-defining moment’: delivering New Zealand’s pandemic budget
Alan Johnson (Spinoff): With the economy in crisis, those living in poverty are set to miss out. Again
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Government to deliver ‘rainy day’ Budget for the ages today
Chris Trotter: Go Hard, Jacinda. More Importantly, Go Early!
Eric Crampton (Spinoff): A crisis budget. A debt budget. And a budget on which our recovery depend
Simon Wilson (Herald): On National and Act’s Budget plans (paywalled)
Susan St John and Clare Dale (Newsroom): Why this Budget matters for intergenerational fairness
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Jobs should ‘definitely’ be focus for Budget – economist
Geoff Simmons (Interest): Five ways to nail the economic reboot
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Tackling economic devastation
David Hall (Spinoff): The wellbeing approach is more important than ever in a crisis like Covid-19
Simon Collins (Herald): Targeted fees-free retraining scheme tipped (paywalled)
David Williams (Newsroom): Govt must be judged by its climate actions
1News: Calls for environmental gains to keep moving forward as tomorrow’s Budget looms
Laura O’Connell Rapira (Spinoff): A truly fair budget is a budget that understands whakapapa
Dominic Godfrey (RNZ): NZ govt challenged to make economy more equitable for Pasifika
Kurt Bayer (Herald: Small business owners hope Government can stimulate economy post-coronavirus (paywalled)
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Helicopter money in the Budget would be fiscal suicide
Amanda Crop (Stuff): Make or break Budget for decimated tourism businesses
Stacey Shortall (Spinoff): While the powerful steer the recovery conversation, others deserve to be heard
Jason Walls (Herald): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warns of ‘very tough winter’ ahead of landmark Budget
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promises a ‘jobs budget’ as ‘rainy day’ Government spending arrives
1News: Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand has ‘tough winter ahead’ with unemployment set to rise
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern promises not to ignore economic anxieties in pre-Budget 2020 speech
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Jacinda Ardern hints Budget will prioritise supporting people to stay in their current jobs or move to new ones
Charlotte Graham-McLay (Guardian): New Zealand budget: ‘no playbook’ for Covid-19 economic recovery, says Ardern
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): ‘Jobs budget’ about investing, not cutting costs – PM (paywalled)

Level 2
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Funeral fix and law concerns make tough day for Govt
Claire Trevett (Herald): Funerals just the start of PM Jacinda Ardern’s difficulty at level 2 (paywalled)
Claire Trevett (Herald): Brace for the Covid 19 Budget of Doom and muddy waters of alert level 2
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Simon Bridges loses showdown over lockdown legal advice, question of lawfulness remains
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Level 2 law shows Government is losing perspective
Newstalk ZB: Controversial bill passed to enforce alert level 2 powers
Martyn Bradbury: Wow – how on earth did Government screw up the Level 2 Police powers law so badly?
No Right Turn: The police, privacy, and public trust
Collette Devlin (Stuff): New Covid-19 law gives police power to conduct warrantless searches amid civil liberty concerns
Amelia Wade (Herald): Controversial bill passed to enforce alert level 2 powers
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Covid-19 powers approved under urgency
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Public Health Response Bill passes in Parliament
Zane Small (Newshub): COVID-19 law sparks debate over concern it gives ‘too much power’ to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
1News: Covid-19 Level 2 enforcement bill passes without Opposition support
1News: ‘Treat NZers like adults, not kids’ – Simon Bridges says Govt needs to trust Kiwis in Level 2, not force restrictions
Steven Cowan: The Green Party votes for draconian legislation
Māori TV: The intention was to give marae the greatest protection that we could – Minister Kelvin Davis
Collette Devlin (Stuff): Government tweaks Covid-19 level 2 law after marae controversy
Te Rina Triponel (Māori TV): Let nga iwi Māori decide how we will operate on our marae – Iwi set to open their doors to whānau
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Harawira calls out Labour Māori MPs over Public Health Response Bill
Tema Hemi (Māori TV): Māori oppose the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill
Leigh-Marama McLachlan (RNZ): Concerns over police powers to search marae under new enforcement legislation
Herald: Bridges’ exchange with iwi leader who says marae rule ‘smacks of discrimination’
Waatea News: Marae raid threat sparks outrage
Waatea News: Missteps for Maori in COVID Response Bill
Zane Small (Newshub): Green Party’s youth wing anxious for Māori over police powers in COVID-19 law
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Human Rights Commission ‘deeply concerned’ about Public Health Response Bill
Anna Whyte (1News): Human Rights Commissioner has ‘serious concerns’ around Level 2 enforcement law
Jane Kelsey: Open Letter To Maori MPs Please Vote Against Covid-19 Public Response Bill
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): The clock is ticking: Parliament’s mad dash to pass a level two law, explained
Newstalk ZB: David Seymour: Covid-19 being used to give police extraordinary powers

Restricted gatherings backlash
Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (RNZ): Iwi reactions mixed as industry welcomes 50-person tangi and funerals limit
Kereama Wright (Māori TV): Te Whānau a Apanui determines what Level 2 tangihanga looks like for their iwi
Bronson Perich (Māori TV): “We know how to run our tangihanga right” – Francis Tipene
Te Rina Triponel (Māori TV): Iwi disappointed in Government’s decision to support tangihanga restrictions
Waatea News: Tangihanga tikanga can respond to crisis
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Government thanked for ‘listening’ as public outrage prompts funeral rule change
1News: Government’s Covid-19 funeral rule backtrack ‘incoherent, inconsistent’ – Simon Bridges
1News: Up to 50 people allowed at funerals as Government backtracks on 10-person limit for Level 2
RNZ: Up to 50 people to be allowed at funerals and tangihanga
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Government increases number allowed at funerals, tangihanga to 50 people
Herald: Govt backs down on funeral rules – up to 50 people allowed
Alice Wilkins (Newshub): Religious leaders, communities ‘distraught’ over alert level 2 rules banning congregations
Bronson Perich (Māori TV): Māori Archdeacon calls for consistent COVID-19 laws and restrictions
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Churches have mixed feelings over Level 2 restrictions
RNZ: Simon Bridges calls for increased limit on tangi, funerals and faith services

Employment, unemployment, welfare
Felippe de Souza, Oliveira Rodrigues Carmen Parahi, Steve Kilgallon, Andy Fyers (Stuff): There were two, quite different Covid-19 lockdowns in New Zealand
Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): Supermarket workers’ petition for 10 per cent bonus to cover level 3
Newstalk ZB: KFC workers told to stay at work even when stores have closed
RNZ: Clarity on WINZ redundancy issue a couple of weeks away
Susan St John (Daily Blog): The welfare system is dangerous to our COVID-19 future
Kate Macnamara (Stuff): Thee young, female face of Covid-19 unemployment may soon change
Sarah Robson (RNZ): ‘Huge increase’ expected in people seeking benefits for first time
Glen Scanlon (RNZ): Advocate reminds workers facing job loss ‘no shame in standing up for what’s right’
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Get set for ‘second wave’ in unemployment
NIta Blake-Persen (RNZ): ‘We’re hidden’ – unemployed man one of many denied benefit help
Eleisha Foon (RNZ): Food charities bracing for a second wave of need when wage subsidy ends
Hugh Collins (ODT): Social services meet big demand

Migrants worker crisis
RNZ: Winston Peters shuts down questions of extra support for migrant workers
Dileepa Fonseka (Newsroom): Stuck migrants working for lentils
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern distances herself from Winston Peters’ ‘go home’ comments to migrants
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Winston Peters tells migrants to ‘go home’, and ups ante with China
Mark Price (ODT): Migrant workers unable to leave

George Block (Stuff): Government spending $1400 per week each to house, support homeless
Eva Corlett (RNZ): Waitlist for social housing hits record high
Eva Corlett (RNZ): Housing groups call for dramatic investment to help in Covid-19 recovery

Monetary policy
Shamubeel Eaqub (BusinessDesk): On free money (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): Welcome to world where RBNZ’s $60 billion buy-up is no surprise (paywalled)
Bernard Hickey (Newsroom): RBNZ nearly doubles ‘QE for the rich’
Anna Whyte (1News): Reserve Bank predicts unemployment to hit 9% and house prices to fall, says low interest rates here to stay
Brent Edwards (NBR): Reserve Bank acts to bring down interest rates day before Budget (paywalled)
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): RBNZ nearly doubles QE programme to $60b; Keeps door open to a negative OCR
RNZ: Reserve Bank holds OCR steady at 0.25 percent

Foreign ownership rules
1News: Government moves to tighten foreign ownership rules amid Covid-19 pandemic
Greg Ninness (Interest):Government to fast track the introduction of a national interest test for foreign investment
Brent Edwards (NBR): New law to stop foreign raiders picking up cheap New Zealand assets

Jamie Morton (Herald): Virus’ circulation in NZ still an unknown
Farah Hanock (Newsroom): Quarantine measures catch 25 cases
Matt Burrows (Newshub): COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready in a year; 18-month wait ‘the best-case scenario’ – expert
Matt Burrows (Newshub): Coronavirus can be detected in wastewater, pioneering Kiwi scientists reveal
Bridie Witton (Stuff): $100k for Wellington biotech company to secure Covid-19 vaccine supply
Henry Cooke (Stuff): NZ talking to ‘early movers’ group of countries including Greece and Norway – but travel is not the focus
1News: Samoa dismisses ‘Pacific travel bubble’ as NZ won’t pre-test travellers
David O’Hare (ODT): New, emotive threats reveal our core values

Waitākere Hospital review
RNZ: Nurses infected with Covid-19: Union calls for external investigation after review’s findings
Matt Burrows and Michael Morrah (Newshub): Nurses criticise Waitematā DHB’s apology after report into COVID-19 outbreak finds lack of proper PPE
RNZ: Checkpoint: Waitematā DHB deputy boss apologises to nurses over Covid-19 outbreak
Bonnie Sumner (Newsroom): Waitakere Hospital sorry over Covid nurses
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Waitākere review finds PPE did not fit hospital staff
Kirsty Johnston (Herald): Waitakere Hospital investigation finds nurses infected after PPE issues

Asia Pacific Report: Media monopoly: Was NZME trying to pull a ‘fast one’ over Stuff?
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): NZME shareholders urge break-up and vote on Stuff takeover
Damien Venuto (Stuff): Commerce Commission seeking more info from NZME on Stuff takeover bid
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): RNZ’s boss and chairman should ‘explain themselves’ to committee, says National
Colin Peacock (RNZ): New documents shed light on RNZ music controversy 
Herald:RNZ’s attack advertising campaign on rival media cost more than $100,000

State of emergency lifted
RNZ: State of emergency lifted and replaced by transition period
1News: New Zealand’s national state of emergency now lifted, for first time since lockdown began
Zane Small (Newshub): State of emergency ends in New Zealand making way for ‘transition’ period

Community checkpoints, Māori reponse
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Remote communities in Far North want checkpoints to remain in level 2
RNZ: ‘We must all continue to be careful and vigilant’: Te Urewera to reopen
Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes (Māori TV): Iwi Collective urge Level 2 vigilance, oppose tangihanga restrictions

Rhys Jones (Spinoff): Covid-19 and Māori health: ‘The daily 1pm briefings have been an exercise in whiteness’
RNZ: Ministry of Health says influenza vaccine demand surpasses supply
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Gap between Māori and non-Māori vaccination rates closing
Emma Espiner (Newsroom): Becoming a doctor during a pandemic
Nicole Bremner (1News): Frontline health workers thank Kiwis for obeying lockdown, averting ‘medical apocalypse’
Dave Goosselink (Newshub): Cancer campaigner Melissa Vining’s new charity hospital helping first patients
1News: Blair Vining’s 40th birthday honoured with plans for charity hospital unveiled
Louise Thornley (RNZ): Living with fibromyalgia: When lockdown has no end date

RNZ: Nine to Noon: Our national airline – up in the air?
Paul Callister and Robert McLachlan (Stuff): Bringing back regional passenger trains
RNZ: Alert level 2 regional travel: Planes, ferries running but buses, trains stay shut down
Grant Bradley (Herald): An Air NZ boss outlines what travel will look like in level 2 (paywalled)
RNZ: Proposal to remove air traffic control services raises safety concerns – union
1News: Air NZ launches Dreamliner service to help transport cargo from the South Island to the rest of the world
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Government puts light rail ‘on hold’
Charlotte Cook (RNZ): Covid-19 creates complex conundrum for Transmission Gully billing
Mare Haimona-Riki (Māori TV): Indigenous businesses promoted through new AT initiative
Chloe Ranford: ‘Too early’ to pick fast-tracked projects, like ferry terminal upgrade

Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): No physical distancing on school buses at level 2
RNZ: NCEA end-of-year exams to be delayed 10 days
Anna Bracewell-Worrall (Newshub): NCEA students get more time for exam study, but credit requirements the same for now
Kate Nicol-Williams (1News): Government announces changes to NCEA qualification due to Covid-19
Nina Hood (The Big Q): How has COVID-19 shone a light on long-present educational inequalities?
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): Big brother is watching: Otago unveils new tech to watch for cheating students
RNZ: Cooks students in NZ want to complete studies at home
Lincoln Tan (Herald): Businessman seeks Government’s OK for charter flights to bring Chinese international students back

Local government
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington mayor refuses to disclose pay cut details
Tracy Neal (RNZ): Employment of family members at council-owned firm raises questions
Harry Lock (RNZ): Wellington lower speed limits: Council urged to expand popular proposals
Lois Williams: Council carpark made sea erosion worse at Cobden – NIWA scientist
Susan Botting: Strengthened climate change action call for Far North District Council

Primary and extractive industries
Jeremy Parkinson (RNZ): Checkpoint: Oil tanker with 40,000 barrels waiting months off Taranaki coast
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Greenpeace calls on Government to fund $1 billion shift to regenerative agriculture
Sally Rae (ODT): Workers not leaving quarters a problem

Mackenzie Smith (RNZ): Police trial of facial recognition technology ‘a matter of concern’ – Andrew Little
Audrey Young (Herald): Winston Peters’ macho diplomacy puts relationship at risk (paywalled)
Karl du Fresne (Stuff): Coronavirus crisis gives Winston Peters the chance to reassert himself
No Right Turn: Return on investment
Herald: Winston Peters reveals his style secrets to Jono and Ben on The Hits ZOOMathon
Rob Stock (Stuff): Lingering fear of infection means consumers will be slow to return to planes, bars and concerts, survey shows
Waatea News: Court case road to oblivion for Wall
1News: Jami-Lee Ross announces own political party for 2020 election
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Time to ‘loosen the rope’ in rest homes: Visiting rules in Covid-19 Alert Level 2 explained
Matt Burrows (Newshub): Auckland bar owner rages at Jacinda Ardern over alert level 2 rules, makes bizarre ‘gay dungeon’ claim
Breanna Barraclough (1News): ‘It’s not a party’ – Auckland bar owner lashes out at criticism over controversial ‘100-person party’
Emma Cropper (Newshub): Northland desperate for funding for five big infrastructure projects
Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (RNZ): Māori tourism operators aim to thrive with renewed focus on domestic market
Chloe Ranford: ‘Keep them closed’: Holiday park owner’s call to council over freedom camping
Anna Whyte (1News): As kerbside recycling returns to Wellington, officials warn that some could go straight to landfill
Damian George (Stuff): Courtenay Place could be closed to traffic as Wellington prepares for influx of visitors when bars reopen
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Lights, camera, action: NZ film industry tipped for post-Covid boom