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
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Government’s slow crawl on housing continues
Jason Walls (Herald): ‘
Kiwis can’t outbid Kāinga Ora:’ Government grilled over $750 million house-buying bill
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Auditor-General investigates MSD scheme which paid landlords $3k per week for ‘uninhabitable’ houses
Stuff Editorial: A clue from the Aussies for Ardern
Joel Maxwell (Stuff): Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr warns against ‘the FOMO’ in housing market
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Housing crisis: Reserve Bank Governor says auctions create FOMO, stops short of saying they should be banned
Susan Edmunds and Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Reserve Bank ordered to consider housing in decision-making
Craig McCulloch and Gyles Beckford (RNZ): Reserve Bank must consider impact on housing of its policy decisions, Robertson says
Liam Dann (Herald): Grant Robertson’s RBNZ policy change ‘goes too far’ – economist
Liam Dann (Herald): Finance Minister says RBNZ ‘now required to consider housing’
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Housing crisis: Govt tells Reserve Bank to consider house prices when setting monetary policy
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): 
Financial conditions tighten further on monetary policy remit tweak
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Reserve Bank tasked with restraining house prices
Dan Satherley and Ella Prendergast (Newshub): Housing crisis: It’s harder to save for a house deposit than almost ever before – analysts
Mike Hosking: Govt remains clueless over housing
Melissa Chan-Green (Newshub): Casting blame for housing crisis on auctions ‘shooting the messenger’ – auctioneer
Cameron Bagrie (Business Desk): Auckland: Housing crisis or no housing crisis — that is the question (paywalled)
Mikaela Wilkes (Stuff): When is a lounge also a bedroom? Wellington’s rentals reignite calls for residential WOF
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Nearly 80 per cent of landlords own just one property, data shows
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): Prioritise papakāinga over state houses, iwi leaders tell housing conference
Waatea News: Iwi trust helps with homeless plan
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): MP says heritage-listed Gordon Wilson flats are a symbol of Wellington’s problems
Cameron Bagrie (BusinessDesk): 
Auckland: Housing crisis or no housing crisis — that is the question (paywalled)

Covid
Peter Dunne: This is likely to be an unpopular column
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Reasons to be (not too) cheerful
Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig and Nick Wilson (The Conversation): A year on from the arrival of COVID-19 in NZ: 5 lessons for 2021 and beyond
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): Covid-19: A year since New Zealand’s first reported case
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): 
If Govt wants people to isolate, they need to pay them more
Justin Giovannetti (The Spinoff): Covid hit NZ a year ago. Where will it – and we – be in February 2022?
Stuff: New Zealand still candidate for Covid-19 ‘best responder’ but slow vaccination a concern, Time magazine says
Newstalk ZB: Michael Baker: Too early to suggest opening up trans-Tasman bubble
Rawiri Taonui (Waatea News): Explaining the Numbers and Risks in the Papatoetoe Cluster
Newstalk ZB: Professor ‘disappointed’ Government won’t increase cost of isolation subsidy
Tova ‘O Brien (Newshub): Immigration Minister knew all along about border inconsistency splitting migrant workers from families
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Trans-Tasman officials ‘concluding’ bubble travel arrangements
Lucy Xia (Stuff): Big events still ‘massive’ spreading risk in wake of Auckland’s move to alert level 1, expert warns
Lynley Ward (Herald): Hopes to reopen school closed by outbreak, with surprise call from director-general of health
Zane Small (Newshub): Chris Hipkins apologises for making ‘unfair assumption’ about Pacific people not spending in Queenstown
Lucy Xia (Stuff): Covid-19: Govt needs better messaging for ethnic groups, Auckland councillor says
Alice Wilkins (Newshub): Growing calls for South Aucklanders to get COVID-19 vaccine priority following recent outbreaks
Bridie Witton (Stuff): People in MIQ are missing out on health checks because of chronic nurse shortage — nurses’ union
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): Why are lockdowns still our only option for keeping Covid out?
Keith Lynch (Stuff): We could do this, this and this to stop the virus. So why don’t we?
Verity Johnson (Stuff): Aucklanders really want a shift in the Covid-19 debate

Local government
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Suffer The Little Children: Neoliberalism’s Attack On Local Democracy Intensifies
Brittany Keogh (Stuff): Wellington regional mayors raised alarm about city council three weeks ago
Damian George (Stuff): Councillors reveal discomfort at being called to private meeting to hear mayor’s plans for independent review
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Wellington City Council review receives backing, but importance of communication highlighted
Katie Harris and Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington mayor appoints Peter Winder to review embattled council
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Auditor-general called in again over surprise announcement from Wellington Mayor
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington Mayor Andy Foster worried he would be beaten to the punch on review announcement
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Call for Local Government NZ to undertake Wellington City Council independent review
Melissa Nightingale (Herald): Auditor-General contacted about Wellington Mayor Andy Foster’s funding cut proposal for Chinese Garden
Stuff: Councillor Jill Day calls for Local Government New Zealand to conduct independent review into Wellington City Council
Harry Lock (RNZ): Credibility of proposed Wellington City Council review questioned
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Time’s almost up: Minister and officials to meet over Let’s Get Wellington Moving
Tina Law (Stuff): Christchurch Foundation boss describes critical report as ‘ridiculous’
RNZ: Christchurch Foundation criticises review of its finances
Stuff Editorial: Too much focus on image, ICC
Logan Savory (Stuff): Former mayor: Invercargill City Council is messing with democracy
Mike Mather (Stuff): 
City council ready to reveal its cunning (long term) plan to ratepayers
Grant Miller (ODT): Group to represent ratepayers

Māori wards law change
Steven Cowan: Willie Jackson Is Not Your Friend
RNZ: 
ACT rails against Māori ward legislation
Waatea News: Maori wards law change just start of fight
Zane Small (Newshub): National’s first election 2023 promise: Judith Collins vows to overturn ‘undemocratic’ Māori wards law change
1News: Fast-tracked Māori wards legislation labelled ‘shoddy lawmaking’ by National
Joel Maxwell (Stuff): Fast-tracked legislation covering council Māori wards passes in Parliament
Waatea News: Dragged out Maori wards debate a Hollywood tackle
Delilah Whaitiri (Herald): 
Taupō mayor says Māori wards law change a landmark decision

Police
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Bridges v Coster: Top cop in fiery spat with National MP over gang numbers and ‘policing by consent’
Jason Walls (Herald): National MP Simon Bridges continues attack on ‘wokester’ Police Commissioner Andy Coster
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Simon Bridges, Andrew Coster clash in dramatic face-to-face gang numbers showdown
Irra Lee (TVNZ): ‘Do police still arrest criminals in New Zealand?’ Simon Bridges and top cop Andrew Coster clash over increased gang activity
RNZ: ‘As much as double the reality’: Gang statistics are inaccurate says expert
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): ‘Simply not true’: Expert says claims of exploding gang numbers ‘heavily inflated’
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Newshub’s appalling gang story has no idea of what is happening
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Simon Bridges refuses to back down on ‘wokester’ scrap with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster
Emily Writes (Spinoff): A short list of the ‘wokesters’ Simon Bridges should target next
Bryan Bruce (The Daily Blog): Simon Bridges is wrong about policing and Commissioner Coster is right
Kirsty Lawrence (Stuff): ‘It’s just not right’: Frontline cops slam new police pursuit rules

Parliament and government
Chris Trotter: Correcting Corrections – and its Minister
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): It’s never been a better time to be the Opposition
Richard Harman: Luxon clashes with transport chief
Che Baker (Stuff): Disgraced former Clutha-Southland MP racks up $10k bill in days before departure
Jason Walls (Herald): Discredited former National MP Hamish Walker racked up $10k bill in final days in office
Jason Walls (Herald): Outspoken senior National MP Simon Bridges apologises to Mallard for calling him a ‘twat’
John Minto (The Daily Blog): Yes Minister!
1News: Simon Bridges mocked over ‘leadership issue’ in question time spat

Health
Ian Powell: 
Public health system subsidises private health system but!
Susan Strongman (RNZ): Free contraception criteria ‘punitive, stigmatising and restrictive’ – doctor
Oliver Lewis (Newsroom): A new problem to plague $525m new hospital
Newstalk ZB: 
Whangārei’s Mayor against DHBs making fluoride decisions
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Independence of Māori Health Authority paramount – Lady Tureiti Moxon

Business
Kate Gregan (RNZ): Millions paid out two days into new Covid-19 business support scheme
Aimee Shaw (Herald): Small business revenue declines for first time since May
Paul McBeth (Business Desk): Can Air NZ extract a better deal from the government?
John Anthony (Stuff): Air New Zealand posts half year loss of $72 million
RNZ: Air New Zealand could not survive without further help from Government – chief executive

Inequality
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): ‘Reckoning’ coming for unsustainable tax system, commentator says
No Right Turn: The rich should pay their fair share

Economy
Bernard Hickey: Dawn chorus: Monetary conditions tighten
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): 2021 won’t be an easy year for the NZ economy, says ANZ chief economist

Climate change, environment and conservation
Ian Spellerberg (Stuff): There is too much emphasis on climate change
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Greens’ Julie Anne Genter hits out NZTA for failing to commit to short-term carbon emission drops
Eric Crampton: For a bigger carbon dividend
Steven Walton (Stuff): ECan endorses 24.5 per cent rate rise and only four councillors voice concern
Edward O’Driscoll (Newshub): Government proposes marine sanctuary in Bay of Islands as bottlenose dolphins face extinction
Guy Trafford (Interest): Same ol’, or will the new greener version be even more popular?
ODT: Editorial – Tourism changes sought
Universities
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Foreign PhD students ‘lifeblood’ of universities’ research effort
Eleanor de Jong  (Guardian): New Zealand police reveal student binge drinking strategy: more pubs
Herald: 40% of MDMA tested at Christchurch and Dunedin O-weeks contains dangerous substitute

Foreign affairs
Thomas Manch (Stuff): New Zealand diplomats seeking visit to Xinjiang, ‘forced labour’ policy response being mooted
Zane Small (Newshub): New Zealand Foreign Secretary’s ‘great concern’ for Uighurs: ‘Ongoing discussion’ with China about diplomat visit
John Power (South China Morning Post): 
Australia and New Zealand’s ‘mateship’ tested over terror suspect, China ties
Rosemary McLeod (Stuff): We’re too nice to jeer at misguided Aussies

Ricardo Menendez March
Amelia Wade (Herald): 
Immigration to check Green MP Ricardo Menendez March’s partner’s visa
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March’s partner’s visa application in question

Other
Amelia Wade (Herald): 
‘Unfair’ immigration policy keeping 1100 families separated but Government doesn’t expect a quick fix
Waatea News: Law will lay Moriori myth to rest
Tumamao Harawira (Māori TV): Mana Wahine claim heard at Tūrangawaewae marae
Anna Whyte (1News): Kelvin Davis waiting to hear Corrections’ side over judge’s highly critical prison report
Belinda Feek (Herald): Changes in KiwiSaver rules for those with congenital conditions to kick in from next month
Lee Kenny (Stuff): Christchurch school rebuild to begin, five years behind schedule
Karl du Fresne: A letter to Cam Wallace
Sophie Trigger (NZ Herald): Auckland Harbour Bridge can no longer be strengthened, traffic could be restricted, says NZTA
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Freedom of speech: The slippery slope from silence to corruption
Anne Goulding (Stuff): The value a society places on knowledge is judged by how it treats public libraries
Matthew Hooton (Herald): America’s Cup – why Team NZ does not hold all cards over 2023 location (paywalled)

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