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
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Public housing waitlist grows by 1000 in two months to new record high as high rents hit the poor
Jason Walls (Herald): The Crown spent $16.5 million in four years on motels for emergency accommodation
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Affordable Wellington flats offered through council initiative
Melissa Nightingale (Herald): Shipping container for rent at $390/wk: Council to inspect
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Do property values really double every 10 years?
Madison Reidy (Newshub): House prices predicted to soar in 2021 as Auckland ‘property boom’ starts again
David Hargreaves (Interest): Taking the temperature of the first home buyers
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Property expert predicts even tougher year for first home buyers with loan-to-value ratios set to return
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): Wellington students call for better support for student living with capital in midst of housing crisis
RNZ: House prices double over past decade in some parts of the country
Anne Gibson (Herald): Pending sale could set new record for most expensive New Zealand residential property

Covid
Audrey Young (Herald): Is Chris Hipkins’ halo slipping? (paywalled)
Richard Prebble (Herald): New Zealand dangerously exposed to Covid outbreak (paywalled)
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Coronavirus: Epidemiologists call for removing smoking, exercise areas in managed isolation facilities
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Why a trans-Tasman bubble by April is still on the cards
Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus: Australia hopes for ‘more reciprocal’ travel bubble with NZ
Eleanor de Jong (Guardian): International arrivals to New Zealand must return negative Covid test before flight
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Covid-19: Chris Hipkins explains why Australia is exempt from pre-departure test rules
RNZ: Expanded pre-departure Covid-19 testing starts next week
Stuff: Covid-19: Pre-departure test extended to all passengers from next week
RNZ: The race to immunise a nation: Preparing to vaccinate NZ against Covid-19
Zane Small (Newshub): Was Labour wrong to dismiss National’s pre-departure COVID-19 test policy? Chris Hipkins argues otherwise
Zane Small (Newshub): Medsafe defends COVID-19 vaccine hold-up as National’s Judith Collins, ACT’s David Seymour demand answers to ‘big questions’
Zane Small (Newshub): National, ACT take credit for COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins’ confirmation of early vaccine request
Anna Whyte (1News): Government attempting to obtain small batch of Covid-19 vaccines early for border staff
Eric Crampton: Vaccines are cheap
Michael Daly (Stuff): Covid-19: Helen Clark-chaired panel criticises China and WHO over pandemic
RNZ: Helen Clark-led Covid-19 independent review panel criticises China, WHO
Jake Kenny (Stuff): Covid-19: What do you do if you can’t scan a QR code or sign a sheet?
Andre Chumko (Stuff): Stop! Scanner time: Arts sector pleads for people to keep scanning

Economy, inequality and work
RNZ: Labour shortages a drag on economy – survey
1News: ‘The problem’s escalated’ – Food poverty in Aotearoa only getting worse says those on the frontline
Liam Dann (Herald): World Economic Forum’s grim post-Covid warning: Social, economic and geo-political instability (paywalled)
David Hargreaves (Interest): RBNZ ‘to be first in the world to raise interest rates’
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Rise in confidence sees businesses take out more loans via govt-backed scheme
Eleisha Foon (RNZ): New Zealand women taking leap into entrepreneurship during Covid-19 era
Stuff: Banks should continue to offer cheques as an option until we can be sure that disadvantaged groups will not be left behind
John McDermott (NBR): Who leads when government plays strategic games with RBNZ? (paywalled)
Andrew Bascand (NBR): Why there is room for growth and employment optimism (paywalled)

Tiwai smelter deal
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Power prices ‘already up’ as a result of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter deal
Bryan Leyland (Herald): Why we need the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter
Jamie Gray (Herald): Broker goes back to the drawing board after Rio Tinto keeps Tiwai open (paywalled)
Reweti Kohere (NBR): Meridian boss says new smelter deal an ‘exit agreement’ (paywalled)

Parliament, government, and extremism
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): The 10 political stories that will dominate NZ headlines this year
1News: When will quarantine end? PM’s first Facebook live of 2021 answers tricky questions
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Why Rātana uninvited the PM and MPs
Ian Powell: Neoliberalism – a misunderstood ideology

US politics and NZ; International relations
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): No, Chris Liddell is not going to head the OECD
Robert G. Patman (The Conversation): Trumpism doesn’t end with Trump — NZ needs to take a firmer stand against a global threat to democracy
Henry Cooke (Stuff): New Zealand calls for release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
1News: NZ’s Foreign Affairs Minister calls for release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

Prisons, police, law and order
Sam Sherwood (Stuff): Police slash annual cannabis operation, blind siding frontline staff and officials
Māni Dunlop (RNZ): Police launch internal review into policy of taking photos of young people
Carwyn Jones and Jamie-Lee Tuuta (Stuff): Waikeria prison protest result of government failing to act on its own advice
John Tamihere (Daily Blog): Lots of Māori crimes are crimes of poverty
1News: Former Waikeria Prison inmate credits Te Ao Marama unit for turning his life around
RNZ: Tāneatua’s new police station: No cells, no barriers
Anna Leask and Jamie Morton (Herald): Mentally distressed people more likely to be killed by police in armed events, new study on shootings has revealed

Local government
Kirsty Lawrence (Stuff): Calls for Government to step in as Māori wards issue heats up
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): MP and councillor combine on social media to get more people engaged with politics
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Waikato council boss says no more water for Auckland
Stephen Forbes (Stuff): Auckland mayor says Government’s water reforms must stack up for city
RNZ: Auckland to keep assets despite Watercare’s financial woes – Goff
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Returning to Wellington worse than the holiday blues (paywalled)
Logan Savory (Stuff): Aaron Hawkins, from political intrigue in Invercargill to Dunedin’s mayor

Health
David Williams (Newsroom): Trouble in the bowels of the South Island
Cecile Meier (Stuff): Canterbury DHB not ready to go without a Crown monitor, health minister says
RNZ: Drug testing groups want to expand beyond music festivals

Climate and environment
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Why we can’t plant our way out of climate change
Chloe Ranford (Stuff): Forestry practices questioned after three quarters fail first inspection
Stephen Knight-Lenihan (Newsroom): Make things better, not ‘less worse’

Education
Jamie Beaton (Stuff): Education must act on advances made during lockdowns
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): Māori-medium education thrived during lockdown, leading the education sector by example

Other
Donna Chisholm (Spinoff): Doubts cast over claims of culture change at Work and Income NZ
Ella Stewart and Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): Auckland gallery Māori arts curator calls out colonial institutions after resigning
RNZ: Lower speed limits on some state highways frustrate locals
Andrew Owen (Stuff): Protestors continue fight against live animal exports from Port Taranaki
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): Queens are doing it for themselves: Wellington’s drag queens are coming out for a cause
Simon Day (Spinoff): The man with a mandate to change the way Kiwibank thinks about Māori
Sam Brooks (Spinoff): Someone is making terrible Jacinda Ardern deepfake videos and they must be stopped
Stuff: Deepfake video stars Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford in The Princess Bride
Monika Barton (Newshub): Clarke Gayford tweets Princess Bride deepfake parody clip starring him and Jacinda Ardern
Nile Bijoux (Stuff): ‘Better than anticipated’ – new vehicle market drops 23 per cent in 2020

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