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
Bernard Hickey (Stuff): The ‘brutal’ catch-22 politics of trying to move to affordable housing
Bernard Hickey: Why work when you can just own houses?
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Consents are up, but will that help with NZ’s stubborn housing shortage?
Miriam Bell (Stuff): New house listings have surged so far this year – but it’s not enough
Miriam Bell (Stuff): House prices ended 2020 on a high – up 20 per cent, says REINZ
RNZ: Record low number of properties for sale – latest REINZ stats
Libby Wilson (Stuff): Rising house prices could push mortgage terms out to 40 years
Daria Kuprienko (One Roof): Demand is ‘next level’: More than 1100 people crowd Auckland open homes
Benn Bathgate (Stuff): Waikato house sales hit 16-year high in December
Jimmy Ellingham (Stuff): Palmerston North property prices continue their upward march
Matthew Mckew (ODT): Queenstown house prices: Overseas New Zealand buyers, Australians boost prices from afar
RNZ: Social service providers sound warning over toll of emergency housing conditions
Alexa Cook (Stuff): Cost of renting continues to climb
Anne Gibson (Herald) Know your rights: The rules tenants must read before February rental overhaul (paywalled)
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Harsher tenancy rules pushing owners into Airbnbs
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDeck): Buoyant housing markets to boost Fletcher earnings (paywalled)

Covid
Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: Public health expert calls for pre-flight hotel quarantine, shift MIQ out of Auckland
Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): No room at the MIQ inn, except for the rich and famous, says immigration lawyer
1News: Kiwi migrants hoping for wider border exemptions in NZ to see families again
1News: Expert calls for NZ to up prevention efforts with Covid-19 variants at the border
Brittany Keogh (Stuff): Covid-19: How NZ is preparing for the biggest vaccine roll-out in history
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Covid-19: Shutting the door on returning Kiwis not the answer to rising coronavirus risk, minister says
Katie Kenny (Stuff): Covid vaccination information could be added to app, Ministry of Health says
Audrey Young (Herald): Covid 19 coronavirus: Earlier vaccination for border workers, Hipkins says (paywalled)
Kendall Hutt (Stuff): Border workers could be vaccinated ahead of official roll-out in April
NZ Herald: Editorial: ‘Do not lose control’ – WHO’s reminder for winners in virus fight
Audrey Young (Herald): Pre-flight passenger tests set to expand as case numbers double (paywalled)
Siouxsie Wiles (Stuff): Tuberculosis has vaccine lessons for Covid
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Covid compliance: More than 63,000 lockdown breaches reported
Geraden Cann (Stuff): Covid-19: Cybersecurity experts say Covid Tracer app’s benefits outweigh risks
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Covid-19: Call to make scanning mandatory at ‘super-spreader’ venues, pubs, clubs, restaurants
Stuff: Editorial – Stop! Scanner time: On the push to get every Kiwi scanning, every time
Stuff: Editorial – We need to scan, scan, and scan again
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Five ideas to fix NZ’s completely pathetic Covid QR scanning record
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Coronavirus and returning Kiwis: We can’t shut the door but we can scan
Joel MacManus (Stuff): Covid-19: Why aren’t people scanning in on public transport?
George Block (Stuff): Managed isolation soldier spoke of rape, military rule to scared returnee
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Covid-19: Cost of pre-departure tests for international travellers leaving New Zealand differs around the country
RNZ: Cook Islanders welcome travel bubble as PMs eye two-way solution
Emma Russell (Herald): Covid 19 coronavirus: Six returning travellers allowed to skip managed isolation
Geraden Cann (Stuff): Refugee ‘at home’ in New Zealand as one of lucky few resettled during Covid-19 pandemic

Economy and work
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Trade union survey: Covid hits workers’ income and work life hard
Māori TV: Covid and bullying have hit workers hard – CTU survey
Jonathan Barrett (The Conversation): Government funds are not ‘taxpayer money’ — media and politicians should stop confusing the two
Martin Thrupp (Stuff): There will be a tomorrow, so stop spending like there won’t be
Juliet Speedy (Newshub): 64yo Christchurch man who lost job during lockdown still unemployed despite nearly 200 applications
Corzaon Miller (1News): Businesses struggling to cope amid dramatic freight cost increase in and out of NZ
Jamie Gray (NZ Herald): The duelling forces set to determine which way NZ mortgage rates will go (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell: On how women are suffering the most from the Covid economic recession
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Worker exploitation leads to calls for tougher penalties in the booming massage industry
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): How a ‘cash-free’ banking system harms vulnerable consumers
Dan Bidois (Newsroom): Productivity is the key to our economic recovery
Tim Newman (Stuff): More Government support may be needed for growers hit by hail storm

Tiwai smelter deal
Tom Pullar-Strecker (ODT): Broker believes Tiwai smelter beat down Meridian on power price by 36%
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Tiwai fallout: What the deal means for power prices, politicians and invest (paywalled)
Otago Daily Times: Editorial – Breathing space for Tiwai

Parliament and Government
Alex Braae (The Spinoff): Unpopular but true: New Zealand should have more MPs
Jason Walls (Herald): Meet the Minister: Greens co-leader Marama Davidson – why she’s keen to stay in touch with tough realities (paywalled)
1News: Full body scanners set to be installed at Parliament after security concerns
Andrew Bayly (BusinessDesk): My Net Worth

Extremism, populism, and democracy
Simon Wilson (Herald): US Capitol riot: Simon Wilson’s Why I’m Afraid series – after ‘Make America Ridiculous’, what now? (paywalled)
Liz Gordon (Daily Blog): Kristallnacht 2021
Brian Easton (Pundit): Opening Pandora’s American Box
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Billy TK Qanon virus virulent but is it as deadly as Plan B death cult capitalism?

US politics and NZ; International relations
Elle Hunt (The Guardian): What next for Trump’s trusty New Zealander?
Brian Gaynor (BusinessDesk): Who is Chris Liddell? (paywalled)
Brian Gaynor (BusinessDesk): Chris Liddell in the US (paywalled)
John Braddock (World socialist website): New Zealand PM silent on Trump’s culpability for Washington coup

Climate change
Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): The year New Zealand must convince the world its climate rhetoric is more than hot air
Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): Greedy, not green – New Zealand maxes out share of global carbon budget to avoid the worst of climate change
Marc Daalder (Newshub): NZ absent from major biodiversity pledge
Rodney Hide: Spare a thought for climate scientists
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Time to ban new gas connections in houses, says energy researcher
RNZ: School Strike 4 Climate NZ to reignite movement in 2021

Law and order
Steve Braunias (Newsroom): Corrections bans Jared Savage’s gang book
Deborah Morris (Stuff): Vision of a new district court where everyone’s words are heard
Herald: Armed and ready: Cops across Canterbury carrying guns as gang friction simmers
Soumya Bhamidipati (Herald): Demerit points bill oversimplifies youth justice system, expert says

Reserve Bank cyber attack
Reuters: New Zealand reserve bank governor apologises over ‘serious’ cyberattack
RNZ: RBNZ governor ‘apologises unreservedly’ for data breach
Grant Bradley (Herald): Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr on data breach: ‘I own this, am disappointed and sorry’

Health
Carly Gooch (Stuff): MP pushes for start date on $713m Nelson Hospital redevelopment
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Just 20 per cent of DHBs meeting vaccination targets, NZ ‘can’t afford’ to slip’ – expert
Dan Satherley, Emma Stanford, and Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Doctors want contraception to be as easy to access as abortion
Pete McKenzie (Stuff): CapTel decision ‘pulls the rug out’ for hearing-impaired Kiwis

Local government
Charlotte Jones (RNZ): Council apologises after ‘appropriating’ Māori campaign slogan
Chris Marshall (Stuff): Councillors back Taupō Māori wards decision as lobby group pushes petition
Cass Mason (Newsroom): Macrocarpa wrangle plants seed of call for more urban trees

Other
Tom O’Connor (Stuff): The war on drugs grinds on without any winners but plenty of losers
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Call to return the missing ‘wh’ to South Island Māori place names
Lachy Paterson (Spinoff): The history of the n-word in New Zealand
Don Brash: “Not enough Maori staff in Pharmac” it’s claimed
Mariné Lourens (Stuff): Mobs, violence and coups: The power of online harassment
Jehan Casinader (BusinessDesk): Do you really need to read this column? (paywalled)
Tina Law (Stuff): Christchurch’s recycling habits improve, but waste from hundreds of bins is still being dumped
Polly Gillespie (Stuff): We’ve tackled Covid, but domestic violence still plagues our country
Stuff: Ministry of Social Development ‘sorry’ for asking beneficiary to pay for its mistake
Lotta Dann (Newsroom): Glamorous alcohol ads hide ugly truth
Martin Van Beynen (Stuff): Reduce your speed, this is a no work zone
Alison Mau (Stuff): Social media has a lot to answer for, so why am I not done just yet?
Alwyn Poole (Kiwiblog): Guest Post: Will Charles Upham VC & Bar make the NZ History Curriculum?
Elle Hunt (The Guardian): The remarkable bounceback of New Zealand’s magazines
Grant Shimmin (Stuff): The magical power of selective profanity

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