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

Economic inequality
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): Some of NZ biggest businesses are making huge profits – thanks to the wage subsidy
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): New Zealand’s trillion-dollar wealth gap: Who are we leaving behind
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): The Government likes to say it follows expert advice – that’s not quite true
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): 185,000 workers expect to lose their jobs within next year, Stats NZ say
Liam Dann (Herald): Quarter of workers fear losing job in next year – StatsNZ survey
Mike Treen (Daily Blog): The battle over time under late capitalism – time for a four day week
Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): Winter energy payments ending: ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do’
Rob Stock (Stuff): Contact Energy to charge $10 ‘disconnection’ fee for struggling prepay customers
Bronson Perich (Māori TV): $64.2 million in WINZ food grants during lockdown quarter

Election
Brittney Keogh (Stuff): Can you answer these civics questions? Many voters can’t, study find
Isaac Davison (Herald): A third of voters don’t know who’s in Parliament, and half don’t understand MMP
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Many Kiwis unable to answer basic New Zealand civics questions, study finds
Anna Whyte (1News): Labour and National trade jabs on campaign trail over business and economy
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Judith Collins says prospect of Labour-Green government should ‘scare the bejesus’ out of NZ
Zane Small (Newshub): Collins hits back after Grant Robertson slams National’s ‘chaotic and inconsistent approach to policy’
Jason Walls (Herald): Labour Party slams National for not releasing its policy costings
RNZ: Green Party co-leader James Shaw focuses on campaigning after Green School saga
Newstalk ZB: Twitter bot launched to combat hate tweets towards female candidates
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Election 2020 battlegrounds: South Island electorates to watch – Banks Peninsula, Southland, Nelson, Taieri and Invercargill (paywalled)
Leighton Keith (Taranaki Daily News): Controversial political candidate claims vandalism has got personal
Michael Fallow (Stuff): Joshua Gunn: a candidate with skin in the game
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Unemployed first-time voter vies for Hamilton seat in Parliament
Jason Walls (Herald): Billy TK’s sets lawyers on ex-member claiming party boss is a ‘CIA Agent’

Cannabis referendum
Derek Cheng (Herald): Legalising weed could see $675m a year spent on health interventions – report
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Research shows legal cannabis could earn Government nearly $1 billion
Zac Fleming (Newshub): Annual tax-take of more than $1 billion if legalised – report
1News: Legalised cannabis would create thousands of jobs, earn around $1 billion per year in taxes – report
Andrew Bevin (NBR): Government income from cannabis could exceed $900m, reports show (paywalled)
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Anti-cannabis report provides ‘realism’ as well as ‘scaremongering’ – expert
Alice Wilkins (Newshub): NZ Drug Foundation slams new report into cannabis legalisation harm
Alexander Gillespie (The Conversation): If reducing harm to society is the goal, a cost-benefit analysis shows cannabis prohibition has failed
Zane Small (Newshub): Winston Peters hits out at ‘hypocrisy’ of having Smokefree 2025 goal alongside cannabis referendum

Euthanasia referendum
John Thwaites (Stuff): The right to die or a licence to kill?
Eva Corlett (RNZ): ‘I feel like a burden sometimes’: Dying woman urges public to say no to euthanasia

Election debates, candidate meetings
Geoff Simmons (Spinoff): The batshit rules that exclude us from TV debates are an insult to democracy
Amelia Wade (Herald): TVNZ caves to ‘racism’ pressure, includes Māori Party in debate
Thomas Manch (Stuff): John Tamihere claims victory after TVNZ includes Māori Party, Advance NZ in debate
1News: Māori Party to be included in TVNZ’s multi-party election debate
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Georgina Campbell (Herald): The perils of candidates meetings in level 2
Katarina Williams (Stuff): Election debate sees leaders, minister confess to smoking weed
Richard Harman: Debate audience turns to Shakespeare
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Water pistols, heckling, and social distancing: Aro Valley debate a more subdued affair under level 2

Labour Party
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): No windfall for shoppers from Labour’s plan to regulate retailers’ card fees
Jacob McSweeny (ODT): Small businesses like bank fees cut proposal
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): National supports Labour’s promise to regulate paywave costs, but calls it ‘a pretty small fig leaf’
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Labour promises to slash paywave, credit card fees and lend billions to small businesses
Jason Walls (Herald): Labour’s $1.5b extension of small business loan scheme and cap paywave fees
Anna Whyte (1News): Labour promises to extend interest-free period for small business loans, regulate card transaction fees
Zane Small (Newshub): Labour plans to extend small business loans by three years with two years interest-free
RNZ: Labour promises action on contactless payment charges
Brent Edwards (NBR): Labour’s pitch to small businesses (paywalled)
1News: ‘Girls can do anything’ – Jacinda Ardern offers message of inspiration on campaign trail
Kiri Gillespie (Bay of Plenty Times): On the campaign trail: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returns to Tauranga
Benn Bathgate (Stuff): ’90 per cent Covid, 10 per cent Ardern’
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern tries out wood carving with streamer Broxh
Herald: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes guest appearance on Twitch and tries her hand at Māori carving
Alan Kenyon (1News): ‘Yep, that happened, whānau’ – Humble Twitch streamer Broxh teaches Ardern art of Māori wood carving
Rachel Moore (Manawatū Standard): Labour minister visits Horowhenua’s Pasifika students

Labour’s Matariki holiday pledge
Scott Palmer (Newshub): Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says New Zealand on ‘lower end’ of holidays, backs having more
Deena Coster (Taranaki Daily Times): Matariki move welcomed but Māori Party co-leader questions timing of announcement
Leigh-Marama McLachlan (Guardian): Ardern’s promise to make Māori new year a public holiday is long overdue
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): A day off for Matariki: Does it make financial sense?
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): David Seymour says he was jesting when he said public holidays sign of ‘fascist state’
RNZ: Support, criticism, confusion around Matariki as public holiday
Newshub: Academic applauds making public holiday for ‘unique, distinctive’ Matariki
Stuff Editorial: Matariki should be a public holiday
Duncan Garner (Newshub): A Matariki public holiday is the last thing New Zealand businesses need right now

National Party
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): The Leaders: Low-energy Collins yet to fire
1News: National Party promises to build more state houses across New Zealand
Henry Cooke (Stuff): National would bring back no-cause evictions but keep ban on letting fees
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Brownlee backs southern restrictions
Zane Small (Newshub): Chinese Embassy urges National leader Judith Collins to remember ‘Taiwan is part of China’
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): National promises replacement Motueka bridge 
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule hoping to keep seat blue as National pledges half-a-billion to rebuild Hawke’s Bay Hospital
Geroge Heagney (Manawatū Standard): Collins plays National’s greatest hits at rural Tararua meeting
Sahiban Hyde and Shannon Johstone (Hawkes Bay Today): National would spend an estimated $500 million to rebuild Hawke’s Bay Hospital
RNZ: National promises Hawke’s Bay Hospital upgrade if elected
1News: NZ’s meth problem: Prevention approach needed instead of ‘crackdown’, frontline agency says

NZ First
Jo Moir (RNZ): NZ First leader Winston Peters to meet with Tiwai Point aluminium smelter workers
Luisa Girao (ODT): Peters to make announcement at Tiwai Point
1News: NZ First pledges funding for prisoner programmes to stop taxpayers from getting ‘mugged’ with prison costs
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): NZ First announces support for prisoners
Jo Moir (RNZ): NZ First makes promise to fund prisoner rehabilitation
RNZ: Prisoners to get employment with KiwiRail in Northland
Herald: Winston Peters shows off his ping-pong skills in viral video
NIkki Preston (Herald): Brexit Bad Boy Arron Banks on his love of NZ and regard for Winston Peters

Media
Chris Trotter: Government of the Media, by the Media, for The Media.
Eugene Bingham and Adam Dudding (Stuff): Tick.Tick podcast: ‘Hectoring’ the prime minister, and political fact-checking in a ‘post-truth’ era
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Partial business case for TVNZ/RNZ merger quiet on specifics of what they would do differently
Newstalk ZB: MediaWorks boss happy with confirmation of TV operations sale

Drug-driving laws, roadside alcohol testing
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Attorney-General’s report says proposed drug-driving laws will contravene Bill of Rights
Luke Appleby (1News): Attorney-General says proposed roadside drug testing regime would breach New Zealand’s Bill of Rights
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Damian George and Liz McDo (Stuff): Number of roadside breath tests plummet as road deaths continue to rise
Ben Strang (RNZ): AA calls for roadside alcohol testing to ramp up to previous levels

Live exports, missing ship, animal welfare
ODT Editorial: Clarity needed on live exports
Andrew McRae (RNZ): Farmers seek clarity on future of live exports
Evan Harding (Stuff): Livestock boat tragedy off Japan involving two Kiwis ‘hits deep’ for experienced operator
Simon Clarke (Stuff): Free-trade agreements should have animal welfare strings attached

Education
Katy Jones (Stuff): Advisor under fire as literacy group says reading programme failing children
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Auckland secondary school principals say NCEA changes ‘a sense of relief’
Josephine Franks (Stuff): Auckland NCEA students get extra bonus credits due to second lockdown
1News: NCEA tweaked for Auckland students after Covid-19 lockdown disruption
RNZ: NCEA changes for students’ credit earning system
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Government announces additional NCEA support for some students struggling due to COVID-19
Simon Collins (Herald): Schools told to let students choose their gender identities and names
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): New relationship and sexuality guidelines announced to make schools more inclusive
Kate Nicol-Williams (1News): Consent, gender inclusivity and porn to be included in revised sex education guidelines in NZ
Herald: Catholic school upsets parents over cannabis and End of Life Choice referendums
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): Half of all staff at Victoria University suffering fatigue and anxiety, report finds

NZ’s Covid-19 response
Lana Andelane (Newshub): New Zealand’s COVID-19 response praised by World Health Organisation
Herald: World Health Organisation praises New Zealand’s response
RNZ: Thousands of port workers won’t need Covid-19 tests
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Why only Ports of Auckland, Tauranga workers have to undergo mandatory coronavirus testing
Lincoln Tan (Stuff): Pleas to Immigration NZ for deportations amnesty during pandemic
Emma Russell (Herald): Hundreds of ICU-ventilators have arrived to ‘future-proof’ New Zealand

Travel
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Govt help travel agents to refund $690m in cancelled travel
Grant Bradley (Herald): Lifeline for Kiwi holidaymakers: $47m Government package to help agents recover $700m
Dan Lake (Newshub): New scheme launched to help Kiwis get $690 million worth of refunds for cancelled travel
1News: Scheme launched to help Kiwis retrieve refunds for trips cancelled by Covid-19
RNZ: Travel agent welcomes government support package

Health and disability
Justin Latif (Spinoff): South Auckland’s DHB and the $300m funding hole
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Warning Christchurch Hospital funding woes will put pressure on ICU and elective surgery
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Staff at Christchurch pain clinic told their jobs are safe for now
Stephen Forbes (RNZ): NZNO calls for audit of Middlemore Hospital’s voucher and app scheme
Sarah Robson (RNZ): Government urged to provide flat, fair disability allowance for all

Environment and conservation
Farah Hancock (Newsroom): Aussie billionaire’s mineral permits on DoC land
Jamie Morton (Herald):Why NZ’s native birds are closer to extinction than 40 years ago
Lois Williams (RNZ): Ngāi Tahu pull out of West Coast Conservation Board again
ODT: Freshwater advisory group assembles
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Auckland activists scale trees to save them from the axe
RNZ: Government agrees to tighten management of trading endangered, exploited species
1News: ‘A big step forward’ – Government announces plan to ban sale of elephant ivory in NZ
RNZ: Phil Goff tells Aucklanders: ‘Be a tidy Kiwi’ and dispose of single-use masks correctly

Housing
RNZ: Checkpoint: Research challenges warmth, efficiency of Homestar properties
Tina Law (Press): New Christchurch apartments criticised for having ‘poor’ urban design
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Waiting for mortgage approval? You’re not alone

Employment
George Block (Stuff): Auckland port: another serious incident revealed, night-shift culture criticised
Phil Parkes (BusinessDesk): Still far too much harm occurring at work: WorkSafe

Transport, roads
Brent Edwards (NBR): Transmission Gully’s long and winding road (paywalled)
John Anthony (Stuff): Brain drain: Loss of leadership experience at Air NZ raises culture concerns for union
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Truckers demand billion-dollar spend to fix ‘dilapidated’ road
John Minto (Daily Blog): Here we go again – trucking companies want more state subsidies for their road-destroying businesses

Police
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): ‘Poor practice’ by police who punched Auckland man after he was arrested – independent inquiry
RNZ: Officers wrong to punch man, IPCA says

Other
1News: Ocean conservation: How sustainable is New Zealand’s fishing industry? Breakfast investigates
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Team New Zealand created background for $3 million design fee a year later (paywalled)
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland Council staff give up part of pay rise in union agreement
RNZ: The Detail: Televised school sport – great exposure, or breeding elitism?
RNZ: NGO sector hit hard, ‘existential threat’ for some agencies – report
Andrea Fox (Herald): Callaghan out of pocket after tech startup RipeTime collapses owing investors millions (paywalled)
RNZ: Official Information Act request delays prompt more complaints
David Cunliffe (Herald): Even the most secure fortress has a drawbridge (paywalled)
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Kiwibank’s ethical stance is driving divisions
RNZ: Queenstown keen on becoming quarantine location for overseas sports teams
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Isolation proposal advances
RNZ: Samoan villages celebrate success of RSE scheme
Sharnae Hope (Waikato Times): Open Country’s fifth ‘nauseating’ smell fine, costs company $460,000
Pakilau Manase Lua (Stuff): Seeing and hearing ourselves is vitally important for Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa
Alan Granville (Stuff): An unusual sight in Christchurch as airport welcomes South African Airways
1News: South African Airways lands in Christchurch for first time, with 300 repatriated Kiwis aboard

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