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 outbreak: Lockdown decisions
Michael Morrah (Newshub): New Zealand’s new COVID-19 outbreak ‘detected later than it could’ve been’ – expert
Audrey Young (Herald): Political focus turns to whether lockdown was caused by border failure (paywalled)
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): The critical factors that will determine if lockdown is lifted
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): New variants could push Level 3 to its limit
Steve Braunias (Guardian): Summer in Auckland felt like a fool’s paradise – we all knew it couldn’t last
Stuff: Editorial – Keeping the border secure is paramount
RNZ: Lockdown could last weeks if cluster is large – Dr Hendy
Michael Plank, Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles (The Conversation): Close contact test results will be crucial to whether Auckland’s level 3 lockdown is extended beyond three days
Siouxsie Wiles (Spinoff): Your questions on the latest NZ Covid cases, answered
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Covid-19 modelling expert urges Govt to increase alert levels after new cases revealed to be UK variant
1News: ‘Days ahead will be crucial’ as investigation continues into latest Covid-19 community outbreak – Bloomfield
1News: Possible transmission without ‘direct contact’ means NZ has to be aggressive with UK Covid variant — Ayesha Verrall
1News: Medical expert gives his ‘best guess’ to when NZ can return to Alert Level 1
Alex Braae (Spinoff): An afternoon at alert level three with the anti-lockdown protesters
Michael Neilson (Herald): Anti-lockdown protesters gather outside PM’s Auckland office
Rebecca Howard (Business Desk): Too soon to tell if 72-hour lockdown will be enough (paywalled)
1News: Auckland mayor comfortable Big Gay Out continued after community Covid-19 cases announced
Newstalk ZB: ‘Simply nuts’: Auckland University professor, politicians criticise alert level 3 move
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): New lockdown shows we’ve not progressed at all in 12 months
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): Let’s hope three days is all it is
Newstalk ZB: Police to move some of Auckland’s lockdown checkpoints after confusion
1News: One in four cars being turned back from Auckland checkpoint as city goes into lockdown — officer
Sarb Johal (Spinoff): How to cope with lockdown yo-yo
RNZ: New year, new lockdown – Covid-19 restrictions back after new case
Herald: Kiwis urged not to rush to supermarkets
Anne Gibson (Herald): Retirement village residents in Auckland, New Plymouth go into complete lockdown (paywalled)
Justin Latif (Spinoff): Papatoetoe community ‘devastated’ but stoic as queue for tests grows

Covid outbreak: Economy
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Economic support for business if lockdown lasts a week
Newstalk ZB: Finance Minister explains why financial help isn’t coming yet in latest lockdown
Liam Dann (Herald): We’re getting better at this – Why this lockdown should cost less (paywalled)
Jason Walls (Herald): Lockdown costs for Auckland businesses expected to be ‘heavy’ – can Government help?
Herald: How much the lockdown could cost New Zealand
David Hargreaves (Interest): Economists see ‘very limited’ economic implications if Covid scare is temporary
Newstalk ZB: Economist: Quicker return to normal important for economy
Amanda Cropp, Debbie Jamieson and Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): Hospitality and tourism businesses feel the brunt of sudden lockdown
Aimee Shaw (Herald): What the sudden lockdown means for retail spending (paywalled)
RNZ: Business resilience a buffer for economy amid latest lockdown
Jennifer Eder (Stuff): Wineries ‘well-prepared’ for harvest despite many RSE workers yet to clear MIQ

Covid outbreak: Parliament
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Political threats to Labour from latest Covid Lockdown
Jason Walls (Herald): Parliament’s MP numbers reduced, social distancing imposed
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): How Parliament will work in level 2: Fewer MPs, more proxies and a lot of Zoom
1News: MPs declines ACT’s request to re-convene special committee to scrutinise Govt Covid-19 response
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): ACT alone in call for Epidemic Response Committee to reconvene

Covid outbreak: Diagnosing the infection
Henry Cooke (Stuff): The questions the Government is trying to answer about the community cases right now
Jamie Morton (Herald): Why ‘infected laundry’ may be red herring (paywalled)
John Anthony and Thomas Manch (Stuff): LSG Sky Chefs worker was not required to undergo mandatory testing, company says
John Anthony (Stuff): Transit passengers and air crew are considered possible Covid-19 sources. How are they kept safe?
Amelia Wade (Herald): Government keeping ‘an open mind’ to source of Valentine’s Day outbreak says Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall
Guardian: New Zealand’s Auckland Covid outbreak is UK variant, says Ardern
Zac Fleming (Newshub): Ministry of Health had no idea Air NZ’s highest-risk crew were staying in Auckland CBD hotel
Michael Neilson (Herald): Concerns over lack of mask wearing at Auckland Airport

Covid outbreak: Regional levels and borders
RNZ: Taranaki residents worry level 2 not enough
Herald: Confusion reigns in Northland on alert levels and borders
Lucy Xia (Stuff): Lockdown confusion north of Auckland, Kaipara mayor calls for clarity from Govt
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): New Plymouth mayor tells Kiwis concerned with alert levels to ‘take it up with Ashley’

Covid outbreak: Testing
Richard Harman: Why the Health Ministry won’t do daily testing
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Covid-19: National and ACT back calls for saliva testing of border workers
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern defends Covid-19 response as David Seymour calls for bolstered testing orders, more scrutiny
Julia Gabel (Herald): LSG Sky Chefs workers tested after missing earlier swab

Covid outbreak: Vaccine
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Wellington’s border staff to be vaccinated from Monday
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): What if the Covid-19 vaccine isn’t the finish line for the pandemic?
Jackson Thomas (Stuff): First batch of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine arrives in New Zealand

Air NZ work for Saudi Arabia military
Chris Trotter (Interest): Money and morality: Oil and water
Mackenzie Smith (RNZ): MFAT approved exports for military equipment to Saudi Arabia’s forces
No Right Turn: MFAT’s blocked nose
Gordon Campbell: On the latest lockdown, and on Air NZ’s Saudi military sales

Local government
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): We’ll never get Wellington moving at this rate
Georgina Campbell (Herald): No money for botched Island Bay cycleway in Wellington Mayor’s budget
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington City Council considers delaying $179m central library upgrade by up to three years
David Greig (BusinessDesk): How to Get Wellington Moving (paywalled)
Grant Miller (ODT): ‘We’re sorry this community went through this’: Councillor apologises over lead
Janine Rankin (Stuff): Voter numbers low for Palmerston North by-election

Housing and inequality
Martin Gregory (ISO): The housing crisis: Build state homes!
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): New Zealand set for another recession, but housing market will remain hot, Westpac says
Bernard Hickey: Three lonely and large elephants

Media
David Farrar: $55 million for left leaning journalism
The BFD: The NZ Media’s Paymaster
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): The Fold: Substack’s Hamish McKenzie on a new era of publishing

Education
Emile Donovan (Newsroom): Education that doesn’t add up
Elizabeth Rata (Newsroom): What we’re teaching our children is ill-conceived
Ross Webb (Newsroom): The teachings of Paul Goldsmith
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Teacher shortage: Schools make do but ‘it’s not going to last’

Other
Esther Taunton (Stuff): From wool shed to Beehive: Research reveals MPs’ colourful career histories
David Farrar: Is there any actual conversion therapy occuring in NZ?
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Oranga Tamariki beyond repair, but care needed over replacement, Waitangi Tribunal told
David Fisher (Herald): The Dotcom decade – and what it has cost the taxpayer (paywalled)
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): The Words of the prophets
Michael Wright (Stuff): Collapse: Revisiting the odd case of Gerald Shirtcliff, the fake CTV engineer
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Plant-based vs meat: the new battleground for health, ethics and sustainability
Jack Marshall (Gisborne Herald/Newstalk ZB): Accusations denied after photos emerge of dead racehorses at Tolaga Bay
Graham and Lyn Pearson (Herald): Conservation Comment: Draft Climate Change Strategy is a good start (paywalled)
Shane Te Pou (Herald): We can’t be smug over US woes (paywalled)
Jacqui Southey (Herald): Youth justice demerit points system is a fail (paywalled)
Cas Carter (Stuff): We need to keep supporting local tourism
Herald: New Zealand woman identified as Isis terrorist captured at Syria border with two children

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