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

Housing
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Why Grant Robertson’s letter to Adrian Orr is a big deal and what happens next
Spinoff: Grant Robertson v Adrian Orr: those letters, decoded
Richard Harman: Robertson considering crackdown on property investors
Luke Malpass (Stuff): The reason for Grant Robertson’s RBNZ letter: House price inflation creates intergenerational unfairness
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Grant Robertson shares the problem of house prices, complicating the Reserve Bank’s job (paywalled)
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Labour’s latest move on housing market probably won’t help
Newstalk ZB: Robertson’s letter to Reserve Bank dismissed as ‘political theatre’
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): Grant Robertson today moved to ‘reset the clock’ on housing. Can it work?
Jo Moir (RNZ): Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr defends approach tackling inflation amid runaway house prices
Jason Walls (Herald): Government moves to mobilise Reserve Bank in fight to tame New Zealand’s wild housing market
Gyles Beckford (RNZ): Can Reserve Bank dampen an inflamed housing market?
Jo Moir (RNZ): Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr defends approach tackling inflation amid runaway house prices
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Green Party disappointed by Government’s housing measures, sick of ‘tired excuses’
Anna Whyte (TVNZ): Greens say more needed to ‘fix this runaway housing crisis’
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Julie Anne Genter defends Greens’ housing policies amid conflict of interest concerns
Zane Small (Newshub): National, ACT thank Finance Minister Grant Robertson for taking their advice by writing to Reserve Bank on house prices
Jason Walls (Herald): National and Act jostle for credit over Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s RBNZ letter
Laura Tupou (Newshub): Rising house prices prompt city-dwellers to move into the regions
Liam Dann (Herald) House prices in spotlight as Reserve Bank fronts on financial risks (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan and Luke Malpass (Stuff): Grant Robertson to RBNZ’s Adrian Orr: Work with us to fix house prices
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): Orr says RBNZ already considers house prices (paywalled)
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Housing in Reserve Bank remit would make negative interest rates less likely
Zane Small and Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Finance Minister Grant Robertson requests Reserve Bank to consider how it can help stabilise house prices
Aaron Dahmen (Newstalk ZB) and Jason Walls (Herald): Govt opens books, Robertson takes big step to cool NZ’s overheated housing market
RNZ: Minister Robertson calls for Reserve Bank to tackle housing
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Grant Robertson writes to Reserve Bank, saying it’s time to think about house prices
Anna Whyte (RNZ): Robertson writes to Reserve Bank over soaring house prices, wants to give first home buyers ‘a shot’
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Robertson asks Reserve Bank to act on house prices
Gyles Beckford (RNZ): Can Reserve Bank dampen an inflamed housing market?
RNZ: The Reserve Bank and the housing crisis
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Grant Robertson has been forced to lift a finger! He’s written a letter!
Liam Dann (Herald): Housing market: BNZ joins rush to put brakes on investors
Eric Crampton (Newsroom): Building pressure
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): The rising age of first home buyers and why more Kiwis are carrying home loan debt into retirement (paywalled)
Catherine Smith (One Roof): Why Auckland landlords have put up rents
One Roof: NZ house prices – how do they compare to the rest of the world?
Chloe Ranford (Stuff): Tiny home rules to be made clearer under new Government guidelines

Local government
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Bail out local councils or face decades of water, housing, infrastructure crises
Georgia Forrester and Michael Daly (Stuff): A look at the dysfunction and division within local government that’s made headlines over the years
Herald: Editorial – Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s challenges closer to home in local government (paywalled)
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Councillor calls for Royal Commission into local government
Nikki Preston (Herald): Council chairman accused of ‘dirty politics’ after surprise restructure
Felix Desmarais (RNZ): Councillors boycott ‘dysfunctional’ workshops alleging harassment
Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes (Māori TV): New councilor shows promise for relationships with iwi
Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes (Māori TV): ‘We’ve got to do this’ – Gisborne District councilor
Andrew Dickens (Newstalk ZB): Ports of Auckland can’t blame Covid for their failings

Invercargill City Council
Tess Brunton (RNZ): Invercargill City Council ‘needs to pull their socks up’ after review – expert
Stuff: Editorial – Mayors were right to have their say
ODT: Editorial – Shadbolt plays blame game
Evan Harding (Stuff): Southern mayoral dispute erupts as trio criticised for input
Logan Savory (Stuff): Invercargill City Council meeting lasts five minutes, no mayor’s report included
Stuff: Sir Tim’s turnaround detonates path for ICC progress
Evan Harding (Stuff): Chamber: Shadbolt’s refusal to accept responsibility concerning
Herald: Tim Shadbolt report: ‘Major intervention’ under way in Invercargill after claims mayor ‘struggling’
Newstalk ZB/Otago Daily Times: Tim Shadbolt not prepared to be ‘convenient scapegoat’
Dave Goosselink (Newshub): Invercargill councillor disappointed to hear mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt rubbish review of council

Wellington City Council
Tom Hunt and Damian George (Stuff): WCC set to meet for first time since Foster’s Shelly Bay protest visit
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington City Council to launch investigation into Mayor Andy Foster after complaint
1News: Wellington City Council investigating Mayor Andy Foster after Shelly Bay vote complaints
Eva Corlett (RNZ): Shelly Bay occupation: ‘We’re here for the next generation’
Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive (Newstalk ZB): Shelly Bay protesters vow to stage ‘peaceful resistance’ until at least March
Newstalk ZB: Maori Council’s Matthew Tukaki weighs in on Shelly Bay occupation
Herald: Another tunnel pitched for Wellington as population tipped to increase 30 per cent in a decade

Election and Parliament
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): The (potential) path ahead for NZ First
David Farrar: How the pollsters did in 2020
Phil Smith (RNZ): A run-up on Parliament’s kick-off
Māori TV: Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi ‘won’t acknowledge Queen alone’ at swearing-in
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): Naisi Chen feels ‘huge responsibility’ as only Chinese MP
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March defends using ‘OK, Boomer’
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Minister for seniors criticises Greens’ Ricardo Menendez-March for ‘boomer’ comment

Labour Government
Danyl Mclauchlan (Spinoff): Ardern pledges to care 9% more by 2030
1News: Jacinda Ardern wants to remain friends with Winston Peters despite end of work relationship
Newstalk ZB: Ardern has not met with Peters since the election
Steven Cowan: Are Jacinda Ardern Supporters Just Like Donald Trump Supporters?
1News: Jacinda Ardern says ‘sorry to the Uighurs’ in Spitting Image sketch calling out China’s human rights record
Herald: Why Chris Hipkins was late for the Labour caucus class photo

Oranga Tamariki
Newsroom: Oranga Tamariki chief expected to quit
Whatitiri Te Wake (Te Ao Māori News): Oranga Tamariki chief’s days are numbered
Charlotte Muru-Lanning (Spinoff): Children’s commissioner calls to disestablish Oranga Tamariki
Eleanor Ainge Roy (Guardian): New Zealand Human Rights Commission backs overhaul of care for at-risk Māori children
Joel Maxwell (Stuff): ‘Good working relationship’ sought by Oranga Tamariki Minister, just no confidence yet
RNZ: Māori, Crown must work in partnership for children – Kelvin Davis
1News: Newly appointed Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis is admitting issues in Oranga Tamariki and promising “there will be changes”.
Herald: Oranga Tamariki: Midwives and support workers detail heartbreak of whānau
Newstalk ZB: Children’s commissioner promises changes to how Oranga Tamariki deals with Māori babies

International relations and trade
Keith Locke (Daily Blog): Five Eyes not the right vehicle to challenge China on human rights
Thomas Manch (Stuff): ‘Don’t jump at shadows’: New Zealand yet to experience China’s aggressive diplomacy
Phil Taylor (Guardian): Joe Biden wants to ‘reinvigorate’ US-New Zealand ties, says Ardern after phone call
RNZ: Is RCEP a door-opener or just another acronym to learn?
Dita De Boni (NBR): NZ faces formidable challenges to turn Apec aspiration into action (paywalled)

Economy and work
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Push for inclusive Covid recovery through sharp increase to minimum wage
Matthew Rilkoff (Stuff): Incremental minimum wage increases a valuable tool in the battle against inequality
Yvette McCullough (RNZ): Minister Michael Wood not ruling out matching minimum wage with living wage
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Minimum wage increase makes sense despite ‘creative destructions’ that might happen – NZIER
Matt Burrows (Newshub): Labour’s proposed minimum wage increase an ‘act of economic vandalism’ – ACT leader David Seymour
John Anthony (Stuff): From real estate agents to pet groomers: These are the jobs that New Zealanders can’t or won’t do
Anuja Nadkarni (Stuff): Coronavirus: How Covid-19 has affected workers’ Christmas leave
Chloe Ann-King (E-Tangata): ‘Most times you let it go’
Susan Hornsby-Geluk (Stuff): Legislative reform to include gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination urgently needed
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): Will this spending boom last?
NZIER: Unprecedented stimulus supports a V-shaped recovery for the New Zealand economy – NZIER Quarterly Predictions, December 2020
Catherine Harris (Stuff): Freight congestion pushing up prices and costing companies

Tourism
Grant Bradley (Herald): Tourism New Zealand: $12.9 billion spending gap without international visitors
James Higham and Hazel Tucker (The Conversation): Five reasons why banishing backpackers and targeting rich tourists would be a mistake for New Zealand
TVNZ: Domestic tourism isn’t enough to sustain sector amid Covid-19 pandemic — report
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Stuart Nash is right on the need for better tourists

Covid
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Government starting to work through ramifications of a vaccine – but borders could be closed for another 18 months
Derek Cheng and Jason Walls (Herald): PM Jacinda Ardern: NZ needs certain level of herd immunity before border restrictions eased
Richard Prebble (Herald): The unbearable grief of not being able to say goodbye (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern has ‘long conversation’ with French President Emmanuel Macron on collaborating to COVID-vaccinate Pacific
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Coronavirus: Government starting to work through ramifications of a vaccine – but borders could be closed for another 18 months
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): Ardern: 2021 will be the year of the vaccine (paywalled)

Prisons and justice
Guyon Espiner (RNZ): New Zealand may face torture case over women’s treatment in prison – laywer
1News: Report of inmate gassed with pepper spray at Auckland Women’s prison ‘disturbing’ – Corrections Minister
Harry Lock (RNZ): Law Commission finds flaws in DNA use for criminal investigations, calls for overhaul

Education
Joel Maxwell (Stuff): Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis launches $42 million fight against school racism
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): How are so many kids leaving school with no qualifications?
Alwyn Poole (Kiwiblog): Aspiration in New Zealand
ODT: Early childhood education concerns

Health
Stephen Forbes (Stuff): Doctors’ union calls for ‘bold’ action from health minister on primary care services
Hannah Martin (Stuff): St John Ambulance officers call off strike in the 11th hour
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Health Minister Andrew Little concerned as St John ambulance staff to strike

Media
Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (RNZ): Tired of racism – of talking, writing, and living it
Teuila Fuatai (Herald): The one giant favour social media has done for all of us (paywalled)
Leonie Hayden (Spinoff): A hard day to be wahine Māori

Other
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Thank God for Spitting Image satire because NZ is incapable of being this funny
Mark Quinlivan and Mitch McCann (Newshub): Police who responded to concerns about toddler’s welfare ‘mishandled’ 111 call, child found dead the next day – IPCA
Herald: Police mishandled 111 call reporting concerns about Nevaeh Ager’s welfare in Maketu
Teuila Fuatai (Spinoff): Whaea Michelle, navigator of the Family Violence Court
Spinoff: Coming Home: Who’s returning to New Zealand, and what did they leave behind?
Tom Peters (World Socialist Web Site): New Zealand government, media downplay Australian war crimes in Afghanistan
1News: Almost 200 greyhounds were euthanised during the last racing season
Aimee Shaw (Herald): Fake-meat fatigue: Have we reached peak vegan meat? (paywalled)
Paul Hunt (Stuff): Report, and our response, will shape country’s future

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