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: General
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s boldest and most adept Covid move yet (paywalled)
ODT: Editorial – Trust and politicians in the Covid era
Richard Harman: Living with covid
Lisette Reymer (Newshub): New Zealand should stop living in fear of COVID-19 – expert
Henry Cooke (Stuff): National says move out of alert level 3 lockdown is ‘bold’ and ‘ambitious’
Keith Lynch (Stuff): The ‘edge’ cases and when transmission gets weird
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): What makes Covid-19 a ‘tricky’ virus?
Jason Walls (Herald): ‘No stone unturned’ in hunt for source of community outbreak
RNZ: Declining trend of UK, US cases shows ‘an end in sight’ – modeller Rodney Jones
Jamie Morton (Herald): Should these be NZ’s new alert levels? (paywalled)
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Alert level decision ‘wrong’ – Dr Rāwiri Taonui
Damien Venuto (Herald): The shameful wages being paid to MIQ cleaners
Waatea News: Collins keen on Harawira checkpoints
RNZ: QR code scanning too difficult for businesses to enforce if mandated – EMA
Michael Andrew (Spinoff): Who is eligible for the Covid-19 Resurgence Support Payment?

Covid: Vaccine
George Block (Stuff): Secrecy around NZ vaccine roll-out sparked by sabotage, theft fears
Newstalk ZB: Online Covid-19 vaccination register won’t be ready for Saturday start
RNZ: Vaccine rollout: Dry runs invaluable for sorting teething issues – Hipkins
David Farrar: Should Asian NZers be prioritised for Covid vaccinations?
Jordan Bond (RNZ): First jab of Pfizer vaccine to be administered to vaccinators today
Justin Latif (Spinoff): The vaccine rollout starts this weekend – but are we ready?
Herald: Why new vaccine is safe – your questions answered
Josephine Franks (Stuff): Special syringes secured for vaccine rollout, despite global shortage
Newstalk ZB: Māori and Pasifika lack confidence in Covid vaccines
Māori TV: ‘No privilege in dying early’ – Māori doctors address vaccine anxiety
Amelia Wade (Herald): Government social media moderators set to pounce on vaccine misinformation

Housing and inequality
Brian Fallow (Herald): Housing crisis only adds to inequality (paywalled)
Simon Wilson (Herald): Why do we care so little about poverty? (paywalled)
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Salvation Army Report highlights hidden Covid Poverty
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Housing crisis: More than 4,000 NZ children living in motels
James Solari (Stuff): Here is what is needed to improve housing
Ben Leahy (Herald): Investors buy record share of homes as first-home buyers squeezed
Miriam Bell (Stuff): House price records smashed nationwide
1News: Average asking price for homes reaches all-time high; lack of supply to blame — Trade Me
Rob Stock (Stuff): ASB backtracks on investor loan limits for new homes
Robin Martin (RNZ): First-home buyers snapping up KiwiBuild homes in New Plymouth
Ethan Te Ora (Stuff): A letting fee in disguise, or a reasonable cost? New rental fee stirs debate
RNZ: Fletcher Building benefits from strong housing market and improved margins

Local government
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Time to seriously think about our useless councils
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland 10 Year Budget: Record rates rise plan needs public support
RNZ: Auckland Council to consult residents on 5% rates hike
Joel MacManus (Stuff): Wellington City Council long-term plan meeting ‘a shambles’ and ‘almost incomprehensible’
Damian George (Stuff): Let’s Get Wellington Amending – confusion and chaos as Wellington mayor Andy Foster tables late changes to 10-year plan
RNZ: Plan to privatise part of Wellington Central Library moves forward
Damian George and Joel MacManus (Stuff): Wellington City Council looks at slashing library collection budget by 40 per cent
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Proposal to spend an extra $45m on cycleways in Wellington
Mike Mather (Stuff): Let us play: New council strategy reimagines entire city as an urban playground
Logan Savory (Stuff): Marcus Lush surprised by public’s dislike for Invercargill City Council
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Marcus Lush winning is so far the best thing of 2021
Waatea News: Four Maori seats needed for Auckland Council

Dunedin City Council water lead poisoning
Jonathan Guildford (Stuff): Tests show children among Otago residents with lead levels above internationally safe standards
RNZ: High levels of lead in children: More analysis of blood required to assess effects – expert
RNZ: East Otago water scare: Unsafe lead levels found in children’s blood tests
Newstalk ZB: Lack of resources to blame for low-quality tap water

Media and Facebook
Henry Oliver (Metro): Tova O’Brien is ready for anything
Chris Keall (Herald): Winners and losers in latest NZ streaming survey
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Hey Kris Faafoi, if you’ve finished being a useless Broadcasting Minister…
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Facebook’s devastating return of serve
Patrick Crewdson (Stuff): To spite media companies, Facebook has cut off its users’ facts
Stuff: Editorial – Facebook’s news blockade could do real harm
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): Media explosion in Australia: Facebook just blocked all news
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi weigh in on Facebook’s Australian news ban
John Anthony (Stuff): Facebook blackout could happen in New Zealand, experts say
Jesse Mulligan (RNZ): What does the Facebook news ban in Australia mean for NZ?
Damien Venuto (Herald): Facebook move shows the company has gulped its own Kool-Aid (paywalled)
Herald: Editorial: Nothing to like about Facebook news ban (paywalled)

Australia-NZ dispute over terrorist suspect in Turkey
Sharon Brettkelly (Newsroom): Why is Australia so mean to us?
Anthony Galloway (Stuff): Annette King says Australian citizenship cancellation has left NZ in ‘difficult position’
Claire Breen (The Conversation): With their mother’s Australian citizenship cancelled over alleged ISIS-links, how will NZ deal with her children?
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On another epic failure by Australia to act decently on the world stage
ODT: Global Insight: NZ needs to ‘up its game’ over jihadists
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Scott Morrison wins again
1News: Ardern-Morrison spat over Turkish detainee a sign of worsening trans-Tasman relations: NZ experts

NZ troops to leave Afghanistan by May
Dan Satherley and Perry Wilton (Newshub): ‘Abject failure’: New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan War questioned
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Afghanistan war was far from a success
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Taliban welcomes NZDF withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years
No Right Turn: Ending our unjust war

Economy and work
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Taxpayers to fork out $1 billion in film subsidies over the next five years
Ananish Chaudhuri (The Conversation): Latest NZ unemployment figure may not give a true picture of the number of people out of work
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Government debt breaches $100b for first time, books outperform pessimistic forecasts showing a $4b deficit
Liam Dann (Herald): Post lockdown spend-up drives $1.1 billion boost to Crown accounts
Liam Dann (Herald): What will this week’s lockdown mean for interest rates? (paywalled)
Eric Crampton: Covid loans?
Elle Hunt (Guardian): Could Covid give New Zealand’s struggling tourism sector a chance to go green?
Marta Steeman (Stuff): Government accused of letting West Coast tourism-dependent communities ‘fall over’ by hotel chain boss
Herald: No extra wage subsidy for tourism businesses in Queenstown Lakes District
Maria Slade (NBR): Covid grace period on overdue tax at an end (paywalled)

Birth rate plummeting
RNZ: Drop in birth rate may lead to smaller New Zealand population – analyst
Eleanor de Jong (Guardian): New Zealand birthrate sinks to its lowest ever
Bridie Witton (Stuff): New Zealand’s birthrate the lowest ever, but fewer deaths and migration nudge population growth – Stats NZ
Dan Satherley (Newshub): NZ’s fertility rate plummeted in 2020 – but so did deaths, thanks to COVID-19
1News: Fewer people died in 2020, and lockdown may have helped, Stats NZ reports
David Farrar: Birth rate plummeting

Period products to be free in schools
Eleanor de Jong  (Guardian): All New Zealand schools to offer free period products as part of poverty drive
Kristin Hall (1News): Campaigners hoping free period products roll-out in schools will be extended
Zane Smalln (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern says period products will be free in all New Zealand schools from June 2021
RNZ: Govt to fund free period products for all school, kura students

Climate change; Tourism report
Kirsty Wild (Spinoff): Why doesn’t New Zealand just make public transport free?
Mike White (Stuff): Enough talk – time for action on tourism’s environmental impact, says commissioner
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Tourism report: add $6-155 tax to long-haul flights to pay for climate fixes
Alex Braae (Spinoff): Simon Upton wants NZ to totally overhaul tourism
Tess Brunton (RNZ): Changes needed to ensure tourism less harmful to environment – Upton
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): NZ’s environmental iceberg: cruise ships (paywalled)
Newstalk ZB: James Shaw: Explaining the Climate Change Response bill
Harry Lock (RNZ): Greenhouse gas emissions sharply rose after going back to alert level 1 last year

Health
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Wellington hospitals ‘at tipping point’ and face delaying surgeries
Ruth Hill and Michael Cropp (RNZ): Call for Nurses Organisation to release review into board’s performance
Waatea News: Eye health data gap leaves planners blind
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): Study shows cannabis legalisation leads to increase youth use
Libby Wilson (Stuff): Free X-rays, fast diagnoses the aim of Māori health provider’s $15m plans

Law and order
Jared Savage (Herald): Gangs and guns: Police unveil operation targeting firearms and organised crime (paywalled)
Yvette McCullough (RNZ): ACT questions why more gang members getting firearms licence
Amelia Wade (Herald): Corrections boss grilled over Waikeria Prison riots as National pushes for probe into impact of gangs
Jo Lines-MacKenzie (Stuff): Waikeria prison rioters have international gang links, Corrections CEO confirms
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Worst I’ve seen in 20 years’: Hospitality workers grapple with crime in central city
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Is a Spinoff threshold of guilt to convict more men of sexual assault actual justice?

Other
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): National curriculum: This ‘refresh’ needs to go right
1News: ‘Morally cowardice’ — Pike River recovery effort hasn’t gone far enough, some victims’ families say
Rob Stock (Stuff): How to go weapons-free in KiwiSaver
Benedict Collins (1News): ‘Appalling’ – Chlöe Swarbrick devastated to learn of ANZ KiwiSaver link to Yemen war
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern writes article about Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall for Time Magazine
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): NeoKindness: Housing & Welfare risks Labour becoming a Government of empty gestures
Ankur Sabharwal (Stuff): What future for permanent migration to New Zealand?
Anna Leask (Herald): Unlawfully detained: NZDF conducting full inquiry into man’s military police kidnap allegation (paywalled)
Chris Lynch (Newstalk ZB): The Twitter mob and the dopamine hit of outrage
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Spies cast a wider net in search for domestic threats after Christchurch terrorist attacks
Mike Mather (Stuff): Christchurch mosque attack response ‘needs to be more inclusive’
RNZ: Christchurch East since 2011 earthquake ‘a place of hope and beauty’
David Williams (Newsroom): A decade on, a tale of two cities
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Sooooo let’s talk about banning ‘Conversion Therapy’
Edd Coomber (Stuff): Gay conversion therapy is harmful, hateful, and doesn’t work
Michael Neilson (Herald): Pride 2021: Auckland’s Karangahape Rd gets its first ‘Progress Pride’ rainbow crossing
Charlotte Jones (RNZ): Iwi tell council: ‘This development threatens our relationship to the land’
Leonie Hayden (Spinoff): Some thoughts about Pākehā learning and speaking te reo Māori
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Wait goes on, three years after law firm Russell McVeagh’s #Metoo moment
Andrea Fox (Herald): China’s suspension of some NZ seafood exports still in place (paywalled)
Chris Keall (Herald): Data breach: Reserve Bank likely facing $250K ransom; files from other victims made public (paywalled)

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