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

Covid, vaccine, and border
Matthew Theunissen (RNZ): Government accused of being ‘too relaxed’ over new Covid strains
Herald: Judith Collins on urging Govt to accelerate rollout of vaccine
Jason Walls (Herald): Government being lobbied to accelerate the Covid vaccine rollout ‘before it’s too late’
Shannon Redstall (Newshub): Coronavirus: Judith Collins calls for vaccine roll-out ‘now’, or consider closing the borders
Newsroom: Lockdown expected if new Covid variant found in community, expert says
Scott Palmer and Shannon Redstall (Newshub): Block New Zealand’s borders to US, UK travellers to save us from new COVID-19 strains – Dr Michael Baker
RNZ: Covid-19: Ban on UK flights should be considered, expert says
Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: New UK, South Africa strains of virus spook experts
Kate Gregan (RNZ): Covid-19: MIQ nurses concerned about staffing, instability at border facilities
Kristin Hall (1News): Desperate Kiwis turning to computer programmes to book spots in NZ’s Covid-19 quarantine facilities
Brook Sabin (Stuff): The trans-Tasman bubble is dead for now: here is what needs to happen instead
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Covid-19 outbreak cost district health boards nearly $600 million
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): The case for closing our borders to the worst-affected Covid countries

Housing
Iain White (The Guardian): New Zealand’s ‘public secret’: house prices won’t come down until we really want them to
Ashley Church (One Roof): Is NZ doomed to a ‘painful correction’ in house prices?
Tina Morrison (Stuff): Mortgage rates heading lower, further stoking hot housing market
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): The lowdown on New Zealand’s biggest tenancy reform in 35 years
Anne Gibson (NZ Herald): Tenancy law overhaul: Kickback to landlord’s threat to leave homes empty
Mike Yardley (Stuff): Will we lose rentals just when we need them?

US politics and NZ
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Donald Trump’s Kiwi ‘right-hand’ man Chris Liddell apparently working to salvage reputation in New Zealand
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Trump adviser tries to avoid burning bridges with NZ
Geoffrey Palmer (Spinoff): The disgraceful end of a disgraceful president

Parliament and Government
Laura Walters (Newsroom): New minister driven by injustices witnessed in mental hospital as a child
Aaron Dahmen (Herald): Meet the Minister: Ayesha Verrall – diagnosing pandemic lessons and new challenges (paywalled)
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Green MP Golriz Ghahraman accused of anti-Semitism over Instagram post
Steven Cowan: Lots of aroha down at the food banks

Local government
Nikki Preston (Herald): In-house fighting costs ratepayers thousands of dollars in investigations
Nikki Preston (Herald): Mayors spending thousands of dollars on food, wine and flowers (paywalled)
Todd Niall (Stuff): 2021 is a new year but it brings the same challenges for Aucklanders
Damian George (Stuff): From running marathons to running city councils

Police, prisons, and law and order
Cheree Kinnear (NZ Herald): Police recruits left in the dark over training delay, calls for Government action
Nicholas Boyack (Stuff): A former probation officer’s view: Māori-led decision-making needed to fix the broken Corrections system
Kim Workman (The Spinoff): Rights or riots? Why real prison reform means turning the hierarchy upside down

Reserve Bank cyber breach
Nicholas Pointon (RNZ): Reserve Bank of New Zealand says it wasn’t directly targeted in cyber attack
Associated Press (The Guardian): New Zealand’s central bank says its systems have been hacked
Ben Kepes (Herald): The old cybersecurity lesson from the Reserve Bank breach (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): On the excessive secrecy surrounding cyber hacks, and some lost soul legends

Health
Emma Dangerfield (Stuff): Hospital staff unaware of free transport when discharging patients
Katarina Williams (Stuff): Pharmac’s lack of Māori staff ‘appalling’, ‘unacceptable on every level’
RNZ: Drug checking group says most users won’t take MDMA if it’s revealed to be eutylone

Other
Tom Hunt (Stuff): NZ stakes out independent position in criticism of Hong Kong arrests
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Fast food worker: ‘It was just overwhelming’
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Pandemic pain sees hotel room income fall 40 per cent
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): A look at the changing tide of the military’s workforce and the women creating waves
Dawn Freshwater (Newsroom): A strong recovery depends on investing in talent
Jamie Gray (Herald): Genesis, one of NZ’s biggest carbon emitters, on renewable energy challenge (paywalled)
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Te Ao Māori News): Let hapū write the history to be taught in schools, not the Ministry of Education

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