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

Speaker Trevor Mallard’s rape allegations
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Herald): Trevor Mallard has made things worse
Barry Soper (Herald): Trevor Mallard raises more questions than he answers
Claire Trevett (Herald): National’s attacks water off a Mallard’s back (paywalled)
Newstalk ZB: Barry Soper reacts to Trevor Mallard’s select committee hearing
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Speaker Trevor Mallard says he almost immediately regretted ‘rape’ comment
Zane Small (Newshub): ‘Taxpayer invoice’ mascot booted from hearing as Speaker Trevor Mallard apologises ‘unreservedly’ for making false allegation
Amelia Wade (Herald): Speaker Trevor Mallard faces MPs’ questions over $330k payout
Alan Kenyon (1News): Speaker admits he knew ‘within 24 hours’ he was wrong about rape accusation
Anna Bracewell-Worrall (Newshub): Speaker Trevor Mallard reveals he knew he made mistake within 24 hours of making false accusation
RNZ: National calls for Trevor Mallard’s resignation
RNZ: Speaker Trevor Mallard under scrutiny at Select Committee for costly defamation case
1News: ‘He needs to go’ – Judith Collins says Trevor Mallard lost his authority as Speaker
Mike Yardley (Newstalk ZB): Trevor Mallard’s credibility as Speaker remains terminal
Newstalk ZB: Peter Dunne accuses Speaker of extreme bias, says he excessively protects PM

Housing
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Bank warns of ‘painful correction’ unless house prices stabilise or start to fall
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Government forecasts five years of house price growth, outstripping wage growth
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Government forecasts five years of big house price growth but there is some good news
Zane Small (Newshub): House prices to keep soaring but hopes of swift economic recovery on horizon with border tipped to ease mid-2021
Greg Ninness (Interest): ANZ says policymakers & the public need to be able to accept house price stabilisation or declines
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): More banks will increase investor deposit to 40pc, brokers predict
Pattrick Smellie (Business Desk): Treasury’s about-face on house price inflation (paywalled)

Wage subsidy scheme
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Calls grow for wage subsidy refunds after Reserve Bank news
John Anthony (Stuff): Retirement village operators Summerset and Ryman Healthcare to repay $22.8m in Covid- 19 wage subsidies
Anne Gibson (Herald): Ryman Healthcare to repay $14.2m Covid wage subsidy, move follows three others
RNZ: Summerset Group to pay back $8.6m in wage subsidies
ODT: Christchurch retirement village owner to repay $8.6m wage subsidy, chairman departs
Maria Slade (NBR): Calls for financiers to get government support (paywalled)

Economy and work
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Rosier outlook may trim $100b QE programme, says BNZ
Richard Harman: Robertson beats Treasury’s forecasts
RNZ: Government finances heading for faster surplus than expected – Treasury figures
Herald: Grant Robertson opens up early Christmas present from Treasury
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Government officials ‘don’t understand’ the importance of tourism to NZ
Mike Yardley (Newstalk ZB): Government has rewarded the lazy and idle with power price changes
Victoria Stace (The Conversation): NZ businesses are still including potentially unfair terms in their general contracts — consumers deserve better
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Ganesh Nana appointed to chair Productivity Commission
BusinessDesk: BERL’s Ganesh Nana to chair Productivity Commission

Minimum wage annual increase
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Minimum wage to rise to $20 an hour
Amelia Wade (Herald): Minimum wage rise: 175,000 Kiwis set to get a pay rise of $44 a week from April 1
Daniel Fraser (1News): Minimum wage will be raised to $20 in April, Government announces today
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Government confirms 2021 minimum wage hike

Covid and border
Stephen Mills (Spinoff): More than 70% of New Zealanders would take a Covid-19 vaccine
Nick Perry (Stuff): ‘Flattening curve was not enough’: Jacinda Ardern talks about New Zealand’s Covid response, US elections in AP interview
1News: ‘Was angry the word?’ — Ardern reflects on Trump’s criticism of NZ’s Covid-19 response
Lana Andelane (Newshub): COVID-19: Jacinda Ardern named as one of Nature’s top 10 people who shape science in 2020
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Covid 19 coronavirus: How New Zealand could roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (paywalled)
Anthony Gardiner (Guardian): An Australia-New Zealand travel bubble will be a tourism lifeline studied around the world
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Coronavirus: New Zealand faces potentially ‘several hundred’ COVID-19 cases at border over summer – Chris Hipkins
Newstalk ZB: Government warns public to be prepared for Covid outbreak over summer

Abuse in Care inquiry
David Cohen (RNZ): Abuse inquiry report: limited data paints illuminating, inexcusable picture
Stuff: Editorial – The high costs of historical abuse
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Chris Hipkins: ‘New Zealand at its absolute worse’
Eleanor Ainge Roy (Guardian): At least 250,000 suffered abuse in New Zealand’s state care system, inquiry finds
Andrew McRae (RNZ): Royal Commission into Abuse in Care releases interim report
Andrew McRae (RNZ): As many as 400,000 abused in state, faith care – survivors’ group

Climate change and environment
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Transport Ministry says ‘ambitious’ Clean Car Standard needed
Eric Crampton: For a carbon dividend
Blair Jackson (Stuff): Council not keen on climate change ‘virtue signals’, chairman says
Laura Smith (Otago Daily Times): No changes to stance on climate

Parliament, election, and end of year reviews
The Spinoff: NZ politics in 2020: we pick the champs and the flops
Sam Hurley (Herald): Why the Labour Party won’t release the full Maria Austen report on summer youth camp scandal (paywalled)
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Davidson and Shaw prepare for a second term in Govt
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Judith Collins reveals the ‘worst thing’ that happened to National during NZ election campaign
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Newspapers with election ad delivered on election day, breach reported to police
Herald: Electoral Commission: Community newspapers allegedly breached election-day rules

China; International relations and trade
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Leaked Chinese Communist Party list allegedly shows New Zealand-connected party members
Dita De Boni (NBR): Shirtfronting China a risky strategy for Aussies (paywalled)
Manqing Cheng (Newsroom): NZ and the world’s largest free trade zone

Education
Newstalk ZB: Victoria University to admit school leavers who haven’t met entrance requirements
Mandy Te (Stuff): NZ Chinese Association to lodge complaint over poem by white supremacist in history exam
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Staggered school holidays plan would disrupt students’ learning – education minister

Local government
Damian George (Stuff): ‘Pipes, politics and pandemics’: Wellington Mayor reflects on ‘tough’ year
Susan Botting (NZ Herald): Hundreds sign up for Inclusion Northland campaign in favour of Maori wards
RNZ: Suspicion raised over consultation period for Wellington Airport expansion
Herald: Audit NZ finds significant problems with Wellington Water’s performance measures
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland councillor accuses colleagues of abusing staff after tragic deaths
Blanton Smith (Stuff): Rainbow crossing a sign of ‘acceptance’ for LGBTQI+ community

Crime and policing
RNZ: Two men previously from ‘Roast Busters’ arrested and charged – police
RNZ: New Zealand’s longest-serving prisoner Alfred Thomas Vincent to be released
Melanie Earley (Stuff): One in four police staff bullied, IPCA report shows
RNZ: One in four police staff bullied, IPCA/police report shows

CTV building 
Jonny Edwards (Stuff): CTV victims’ families seek UN investigation into ‘breach of rights’
Anan Zaki (RNZ): Canterbury earthquake: CTV building collapse victims’ families seek UN investigation
Herald: CTV families ‘profoundly disappointed’ at lack of response from Prime Minister

Other
Chelsea Boyle (Herald): SFO investigation: Prominent Te Arawa leader appears in court over alleged $364k fraud
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Iwi trust chairman Roger Pikia appears in court facing serious fraud charges
Isaac Davison (NZ Herald): Former Agresearch CEO Tom Richardson, who was investigated for bullying, gets $300k payout
David Farrar: BIM highlights
Graham Lowe (Herald): Keep alcohol ads away from our kids (paywalled)
Hilary Souter (Newsroom): Food advertising code is working
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): KiwiRail agrees to new multi-use ferry terminal
Georgina Campbell (Herald): KiwiRail backs down over new Wellington ferry terminal location
Pat Baskett (Newsroom): Unsustainable energy a psychological failure
Taroi Black (Māori TV): Maori Wardens receive desperately needed funding
Daniel Dunkley (Stuff): Kiwi businesses show their colours in bad week for ignorance and racism
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Ministers receive recommendations from winter grazing advisory group

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