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

New Government
Josiah Banbury (Democracy Project): Labour won the election battle, but National won the ideological war
Emile Donovan (RNZ): Why is Labour putting the brakes on its own political capital?
Chris Trotter (Interest): Spring of hope? Winter of despair?
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Tax changes legislated by Christmas, as Government plots path to surplus
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern no longer the youngest person in her Cabinet, as average age shifts down
Max Rashbrooke: What does the 2020 election mean for greater equality and democracy?
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Five priorities for the new government (paywalled)
1News: Government renews small business loan scheme, set to expire at year’s end, till 2023

Poverty and welfare
1News: Auckland City Mission bracing for toughest Christmas in 100 years
1News: Ardern says she’ll ‘keep going’ in bid to reduce child poverty, following plea for urgent action
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Jacinda’s NeoKindness smacks down beneficiaries and disappoints the Left again
Susan St John (Stuff): Some fairness for short-changed pensioners – but it was a farcical process to get there

National Party
Jack Vowles (Newsroom): Where did National’s votes go?
Claire Trevett: National Party leader Judith Collins’ reshuffle – finance twist expected (paywalled)
1News: National hoping for smooth transition as candidate firms for deputy leader role
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): Nick Smith reflects on why National was ‘hammered’ in the election

International relations, trade, and Biden presidency
Richard Harman: “It’s going to be a hard call”
Jane Kelsey (Herald): Let’s not play Lazarus to toxic TPPA trade deal (paywalled)
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern says she ‘worked well’ with Donald Trump but shares ‘common ground’ with Joe Biden
RNZ: Jacinda Ardern on a Biden presidency: ‘Trade issues will certainly be high on our agenda’
David Cohen (RNZ): What are New Zealand’s trade prospects under the new US presidency?
Stephen Jacobi (Spinoff): What a Biden presidency could mean for US-New Zealand relations
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Kiwis need to calm down about Joe Biden’s victory

Cannabis referendum and further reform
Fiona Hutton (Guardian): New Zealand’s rejection of legalising cannabis is a triumph for fear-mongering
Jihee Junn (Spinoff): The online ad campaigns fought over the weed and euthanasia referendums
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Cannabis supporters should be gracious in defeat
James Morgan (Workers’ Star): Hope for effective cannabis policy goes up in smoke

Economy and work
David Fisher (Herald): Act’s David Seymour meets angry Northland courgette grower about worker shortage
1News: NZ positioned well for business opportunities amid pandemic, says returning tech expert
Zebedee Schrader (Workers’ Star): The NZ Union Movement and Its Prospects Under the New Government: An Interview With Ben Peterson
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Russian fishing crews: the back-story (paywalled)
Eric Frykberg (RNZ): New government likely to allow more rural development
Gavin Evans (Interest): Power price probe asks: was there more to it? (paywalled)
David Hargreaves (Interest): How do you want your FLP, sir? Targeted? Or Untargeted?

Covid
Jason Walls (Herald): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defends isolation voucher system
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Man in MIQ ‘blown away’ seeing staff only wearing surgical masks
Eleanor Ainge Roy (Guardian): New Zealand to send team to investigate Cook Islands travel bubble
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Australia’s ‘hotspot’ system too risky for trans-Tasman bubble
Stuff: Australia needs clearer rules before quarantine-free travel, Jacinda Ardern says
Derek Cheng (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s immediate moves to minimise risk for MIQ workers

Housing
John Tookey (The Conversation): With house prices soaring again the government must get ahead of the market and become a ‘customer of first resort’
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Reserve Bank builds costly housing hopes
RNZ: Record number of home consents granted in Auckland
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Kāinga Ora push ahead with Hamilton development despite opposition

Education
Stuff: Editorial – Let’s not and say we did – a ministry tactic uncovered
Marty Sharpe (Stuff): Education Ministry officials determined to avoid public meeting about school bus
Laura Walters (Newsroom): Home visits to get absentee students back to school

Local government
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): Shelly Bay still faces roadblocks, however Wellington City Council votes
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington ‘losing its mojo’, says city councillor Rebecca Matthews
RNZ: Toilet tax: Gisborne school ‘gobsmacked’ by wastewater rate proposal

Health
Warwick Brunton (Spinoff): We need and deserve fit-for-purpose public health policy
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): New Zealand children becoming more obese, unhappy – report
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Frontline nurses march across New Zealand for equal pay

Other
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Thousands of cattle loaded on to live export ship in the dark
Jo Cribb (Stuff): The Cabinet table is set, but will everyone get enough to eat?
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): The week of breaking glass: Indigenous representation hot topic across the world this week
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): America’s Cup 2021: Serious Fraud Office making calls about America’s Cup funding (paywalled)
Sam Hurley (Herald): Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig seeks up to $700k from bankrupt blogger Cameron Slater
Nona Pelletier (RNZ): Energy expert says rail is a better bet than hydrogen fuel
Felix Desmarais (RNZ): ‘A touch of racism’: – Council, mana whenua take on transport agency over bilingual signs
Paul Mitchell (Stuff): Hapū tells of losing land to Crown deception
Andrew McRae (RNZ): Abuse in Care inquiry: Survivors disappointed no apology from Solicitor-General
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern portrait gifted to Gore art gallery
Dame Anne Salmond (Newsroom): Moving beyond an amoral world of winners and losers
Victoria Young (NBR): End of the road for Joyce v NBR (paywalled)

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