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
Richard Harman: Government has little to say about housing crisis
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Govt set to bring out big tools to manage housing pressure
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Housing affordability at worst point in ‘at least 17 years’
Adam Jacobson (RNZ): New Zealand housing affordability plummets to historically low levels
Zane Small (Newshub): National’s Nicola Willis in disbelief as Megan Woods reveals results of Progressive Homeownership Scheme
RNZ: Progressive Home Ownership Scheme houses just 12 families in seven months
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Govt’s Progressive Home Ownership Scheme houses only 12 families
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Housing crisis: Auckland housing affordability among fastest-deteriorating in the world – report
Stuff: My Wellington apartment is depressing, yet my rent just went up $100 a week
David Hargreaves (Interest): RBNZ sees house price inflation above 22% by middle of this year
Taroi Black (Māori TV): Change the Māori land laws: Marama Davidson
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Housing affordability heads into uncharted territory (paywalled)
Danyl Mclauchlan (Spinoff): Government launches $950 million fund to help Brent get haircut

Inequality and child poverty
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): More than 40pc of millionaires paying tax rates lower than the lowest earners, Government data reveals
Stuff: Editorial – Limited progress in child poverty, but it’s not on track yet
Max Rashbrooke (RNZ): Tackling child poverty a mountain that keeps getting steeper
Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s fudging on child poverty
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Are the child poverty figures really a win for the Govt?
Sarah Robson (RNZ): Children still living in poverty but number of whānau struggling to provide the basics drops – Stats NZ
Waatea News: Housing and benefits key to child poverty action
Brenda Harwood (Otago Daily Times): Good and bad news in Sallies report

Policing and Simon Bridges
Jarrod Gilbert (Stuff): Simon Bridges v Andrew Coster: The National MP went too far in his attack on ‘wokester’ police commissioner
Bethan Greener (The Conversation): Policing by consent is not ‘woke’ — it is fundamental to a democratic society
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Simon Bridges is right to call out Andrew Coster
1News: Simon Bridges told off by Judith Collins for attempt to insult NZ’s ‘wokester’ top cop
RNZ: Collins on Bridges’ wokester jibe: ‘I wouldn’t call someone that’
Jason Walls (Herald): Judith Collins attempts to pull Bridges into line over ‘wokester’ attack on Police Commissioner
Reuters: Judith Collins distances herself from Simon Bridges’ ‘wokester’ comment about Police Commissioner Andrew Coster
The Standard: Who’s the wokester?
Dan Satherley (Newshub): ‘Raid their premises:’ Judith Collins call for tougher action on gangs
Benn Bathgate (Stuff): Discharge without conviction for sports star ‘important for Māoridom’ – lawyer

Corrections
Daphna Whitmore (Redline): Government threatening free speech rights over prison protest leaflet
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Prison advocacy group calls for Kelvin Davis to resign
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Prison reform group hits back at Correction Minister over claims of violence
Waatea News: Waikeria riot advice sparks war of words

Parliament and Government
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): A new boost for our biscuit tin democracy
Laura Walters (Newsroom): What’s the rush? Lawmaking in a hurry
Jo Moir (Newsroom): National Party’s missed opportunity
Jason Walls (Herald): Parliament storm out: National MPs Paul Goldsmith, Simon Bridges exit after argument with Speaker Trevor Mallard
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Simon Bridges swears as he storms out of Parliament after stoush with Speaker Trevor Mallard
1News: National MPs stage Parliament walkout after argument with Speaker
Zane Small (Newshub): National’s Paul Goldsmith, Simon Bridges storm out of Parliament after tiff with Speaker Trevor Mallard
RNZ: Simon Bridges storms out of Parliament in spat with Speaker Trevor Mallard
Newstalk ZB: 
Goldsmith: National doing it’s best for Speaker’s system
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Why can Government only pass woke virtue signals on gay conversion, sexual violence & hate speech but can’t do anything on mental health, poverty & housing?
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): ACT calls for NZ Parliament to recognise Uighur atrocities in China after Canada declares ‘genocide’

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March’s MIQ application
Zane Small (Newshub): Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March defends applying twice for emergency MIQ spot as Judith Collins calls for answers
Tova O’Brien and Zane Small (Newshub): Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March tried not once, but twice, to get emergency spot in MIQ
David Farrar: Green MP tried to nab emergency MIQ spot on grounds of national security!!!

Thomas Manch (Stuff): Green MP Ricardo Menendez March sought emergency room in MIQ a second time for ‘national interest’ reasons
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March applied for emergency MIQ spot twice

Local government: Māori wards
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): Labour denying democratic rights of ratepayers with Māori ward move
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Labour’s push to protect Māori wards is political dishonesty
Amelia Wade (Herald): Bill to abolish local veto on Māori wards passes despite National’s marathon opposition
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Māori wards amendment bill passes final reading in Parliament
Phil Smith (RNZ): The hungry, hungry parliament: The bill that ate Wednesday
Denise Piper (Stuff): Changing Māori ward laws means Whangārei must list poll opposing
Tom Kitchin (RNZ): Hawke’s Bay Regional Council opens consultation on Māori wards

Local government: Wellington
Dominion Post: Editorial – Wellington City Council needs adult supervision. Now.
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Analysis: Wellington City Council the place where no one wants to be
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington Mayor Andy Foster announces independent review of city council’s governance
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington Mayor Andy Foster calls for independent review into city council, calls for end to infighting
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Independent review of Wellington City Council ‘surprising and disappointing’ – Councillor
RNZ: Wellington Mayor Andy Foster announces review into council governance
RNZ: Wellington councillors taken aback over independent review

Newstalk ZB: ‘Rancour and partisanship’: Independent review of Wellington City Council announced
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Wellington cycleway over budget by $70m before construction begins

Local government: Christchurch
Tina Law (Stuff): Report highlights big operating costs and lack of transparency at Christchurch Foundation
Conan Young (RNZ): Christchurch Foundation under fire over a lack of transparency

Lois Williams (Stuff): Poutini Ngāi Tahu reject mention of other iwi in new district plan
Tina Law (Stuff): Plan to charge Christchurch residents for water labelled ‘absurd’

Anan Zaki (RNZ): Environment Canterbury opens consultation for rates increase options
Steven Walton (Stuff): Christchurch council seeks clarity on cost of multi-million dollar climate change strategy
Ryan Boswell (1News): Up to 30,000 Christchurch households could be stung by proposed excess water charge
Amber Allott (Stuff): Canterbury’s proposed rates hike – a move in the right direction, or anti-farmer?

Local government: Auckland
Rob Stock (Stuff): Auckland Council to pay $10 million to homeowners after Commerce Commission investigation into insulation loans
RNZ: Council suspends home improvement scheme after uncovering billing errors

David Hargreaves (Interest): Auckland Council warned over ‘lending failures’ with ratepayers
Tom Dillane (Herald): ‘Hard to see the explanation’ – $2m wage spike for Auckland Museum staff riles council CEO (paywalled)

Local government: Other
Stuff: Editorial – What the hell have you done, Invercargill City Council?
Evan Harding (Stuff): Sir Tim Shadbolt says he refuses to be muzzled by city council, laments ‘sad day’ for freedom of speech
Jimmy Ellingham (Stuff): Local body voting malaise cannot continue; by-election turnouts an embarrassment
Kiri Gillespie (Herald): Tauranga City Council commissioner lays down law: ‘We’re not here to rubber-stamp stuff’
Amber Allott (Stuff): Otago Regional Council promises accountability if it caused fish deaths

Health
Zac Fleming (Newshub): 
PM Jacinda Ardern promises to deliver two key solutions to New Zealand’s dental health ‘epidemic’
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): New Zealand risks exodus of critical migrant healthcare workers due to immigration anomaly
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Private health patients costing public system $11.5 million a year
RNZ: Taxpayers paying millions of dollar for private healthcare – study
Cate Broughton (Stuff): 
Minister defends work of Canterbury health board Crown monitor – despite deficit growth
Kiki Van Newtown (Spinoff): Our maternity sector is at crisis point 
1News: Government promises to reduce cochlear implant waitlist with extra $6 million investment

Pharmac and drug buying
Guyon Espiner (RNZ): Pharmac knew of epilepsy drug change risks – inquest
Brooke van Velden (Herald): We need to make Pharmac relevant for the 21st century (paywalled)
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Epilepsy drug deaths: Medsafe told Pharmac it was ‘not desirable’ to switch brands
Sharon Brettkelly (Stuff): Urgent call for framework to treat rare disorders

Mental health
1News: Andrew Little says mental health reforms ‘largely on track’, following criticism
Matt Burrows (Newshub): Government pulling funding for Mental Health Foundation’s COVID-19 campaign ‘doesn’t make sense’ – CEO
1News: Ministry of Health ‘silences’ criticism about NZ’s mental health system — advocate

Covid
Josh Van Veen (Spiked Online): 
New Zealand is not back to normal
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Covid-19: Call for earlier vaccine rollout for South Auckland amid outbreak
Josephine Franks (Stuff): Casual plus contacts calling Healthline for advice face hours-long wait
Henry Cooke (Stuff): 
Health officials did not attempt house visit of student who later developed coronavirus, despite failure to reach them by phone
Herald: NSW shuts border to Auckland, Queensland and Victoria require Kiwis to quarantine
1News: Law expert warns Covid-19 vaccination passports might lead to discrimination for some
1News: Green Party calls for Government to help developing nations access Covid-19 vaccine
Hannah Martin (Stuff): No new community cases ‘good news’ but Auckland in a ‘holding pattern’
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Expert confident latest cluster of COVID-19 cases can be contained
Eric Crampton: Border Costs
Simon Thornley (The BFD): What Is the End Game for New Zealand with COVID-19?
Newstalk ZB: NZ’s ‘unacceptable’ risk higher than Australia’s – study
Newstalk ZB: ‘Return the favour’: NSW Premier calls on Jacinda Ardern to open borders
Anna Loren and Bernadette Basagre (Stuff): 
Covid-19 ‘tough’ to control in schools, expert says as student testing continues
Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris (Spinoff): How the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 works

Economy and work
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): 
Has Grant Robertson’s $50b bet paid off? (paywalled)
Graeme Buchanan (Stuff): This whistleblowers’ bill could make us fair game for the bullies
Peter Davis (Herald): Looking beyond growth for a Covid recovery (paywalled)
Gilbert Wong (The Big Q): What are the economics of happiness?
Robyn Walker (Stuff): Tax obligations for businesses claiming Covid-19 support
Gareth Vaughan (Interest): Bank funding costs fall as interest rates paid to savers tumble
Gyles Beckford (RNZ): Bank profits fall amid Covid-19 pandemic
Jamie Gray (Herald): Sweetened Tiwai contract, dry weather, to weigh on Meridian’s 2nd half (paywalled)
Gill Bonnett (RNZ): Skilled migrant residency programme in need of review – Faafoi

Reserve Bank OCR announcement
Katie Bradford (1News): Reserve Bank boss says no ‘free lunch’ for housing investment as return of LVRs looms
David Hargreaves (Interest): Reserve Bank stays the ‘dovish’ course
Liam Dann (Herald): RBNZ pushes back on celebrating recovery too soon (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): Reserve Bank leaves OCR unchanged – ‘prolonged stimulus necessary’
Brent Edwards (NBR): RBNZ not yet confident economic recovery is sustainable
Donal Curtin: An OCR cut isn’t dead after all
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): OCR on hold at 0.25 per cent as Reserve Bank signals it will stick to its guns

Tourist towns in trouble
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Coronavirus: New report reveals extent of Covid-19’s impact on West Coast jobs, businesses
Mike Hosking (Herald): Why Queenstown and tourism needs government help (paywalled)
Liz McDonald (Stuff): Glacier region pleads for Government help to overcome Covid crisis as tourism mecca fights for survival

Environment and water reforms
Daniel Dunkley (Stuff): Why water reforms need to go further
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Awe-inspiring waterfalls and vital rivers reduced to open sewers
Phillip Neal (Stuff): Federated Farmers: Charge for freshwater compliance risks damaging relationship with council
David Hall and Nina Ives (The Conversation): New Zealand’s COVID-19 stimulus is a ‘lost opportunity’ to move towards a low-emissions economy
Gianina Schwanecke (Herald): Hawke’s Bay wind farm will create 260 jobs in 3 years, but iwi’s long term concerns remain
Waatea News: Kaipara clean up body interim step to wider iwi governance
No Right Turn: Climate sea-lioning
Education
Herald: 
Editorial: Disabled access to schools should be a right (paywalled)
Jody O’Callaghan (Stuff): Teachers will soon be taught to unteach racism
Troels Sommerville (Stuff): Kaumātua call for resignation of Unitec board chairman in wake of racism row
John Gerritsen (RNZ): 
Ministry of Education to monitor modern classroom noise

Media
Mark Jennings and Tim Murphy (Newsroom): 
SKY and NZME: Life by a thousand cuts
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): NZME hopes for ‘Facebook’ millions after cost cuts return it to profit
Herald: NZME beats full year earnings guidance, signals return of dividends
RNZ: NZME reports $14m profit in turnaround from loss last year

Alex Casey (Spinoff): I listened to Magic Talk for 12 hours straight and I think my brain melted
Stuff: Danny Watson and Leah Panapa to replace Sean Plunket on Magic Talk

International relations
Newstalk ZB: Australian reports: Deepening friction between Australia-New Zealand officials
RNZ: More NZ women & children in Syrian camp: radicalisation expert
Jessie Chiang (Newsroom): Trouble in the Pacific

NZ First Foundation case
Sam Hurley (Herald): 
NZ First Foundation case: Accused pair slowly edge to trial, suppression appeal to be heard in June
Catrin Owen (Stuff): New Zealand First Foundation case: Fraud accused duo set for High Court trial
RNZ: NZ First Foundation donation case: Trial scheduled for mid-2022

Other
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): 
Fears grow data hacked from Reserve Bank may be leaked by ransomware group
Chris Keall (Herald): Data breach: Reserve Bank likely facing $250K ransom; files from other victims made public (paywalled)
Andre Chumko (Stuff): National Fale Malae looking for new site after consent uncertainty
No Right Turn: One way of fixing the OIA
Jordan Williams: The fight for free speech: how we can all help
Bob Jones: Conversation therapy
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Organisations hold onto pokie proceeds
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Bitcoin could give NZ charities global fundraising reach, says Heart Kids
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Gerrymandering the legal system to find more men guilty of sexual assault isn’t justice
Virginia Fallon (Stuff): Thirty years on and women are still being told we’re asking for it
Ursula Cochran, Kelvin Berryman, Hugh Cowan (Spinoff): A decade on, NZ is yet to properly reckon with our tolerance for risk
Mike Mather (Stuff): Funding still possible for HCC projects says Waka Kotahi, councillors sceptical
Delilah Whaitiri (Herald): Local Focus: From hui to zui, iwi sees added benefits from treaty negotiations
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): Moriori Treaty settlement passes first reading

Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): This is now the New Zealand dream? The promise of democracy never looked so broken
James Borrowdale (Metro): The ‘green fairy’ prepared to defy the law to give people what they need

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