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: Govt messaging, blame, compliance
Branko Marcetic (Democracy Project): We’ve cut the Govt slack for its own Covid missteps, so let’s do the same for workers
Josie Pagani (Stuff): Let’s stop this lockdown blame game, finger-wagging won’t get you anywhere
Josh Van Veen (Democracy Project): Bloomfieldian Optimism – The Tragedy of Case M

Chris Trotter (Interest): Sunday services
Alex Braae (Spinoff): People are confused. So what are the rules on testing and self-isolation?
Jackie Clark (Spinoff): ‘You don’t know their lives’: A call for empathy from The Aunties’ Jackie Clark
Jason Walls (Herald): Govt under pressure for ‘confusing’ messaging – Ardern pushes back
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern, Ashley Bloomfield push back on COVID-19 KFC worker Case L’s miscommunication claims
TVNZ: Bloomfield details ‘multiple attempts’ to get in touch with KFC worker who says she was never told to isolate
Herald: Jacinda Ardern says 15 calls made to KFC worker’s family
Simon Collins (Herald): ‘Level 3 lite’ claim as Ministry of Education says parents can judge if their kids need to go to school or childcare in level 3 lockdown
Elle Hunt (Guardian): New Zealand urged ‘don’t let virus divide you’ as Covid frustration builds
Martyn Bradbury (Waatea News): Kindness towards South Auckland whanau more important than ever

Herald: Editorial: More starch and less soft soap for Covid rule breaches? (paywalled)
ODT: Editorial – Covid-19 compliance issues
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Auckland cluster families who failed to isolate are ‘remorseful’, no need for punitive approach – Bloomfield
Charlie Dreaver (RNZ): Unclear whether lockdown rule-breakers will face investigation
Lana Andelane (Newshub): How public health rule-breakers can be prosecuted
RNZ: Ashley Bloomfield says he won’t refer self-isolation breaches to police
Nikki Preston (Herald): Police 105 phone line overwhelmed as people seek clarity over rule and report breachers
Kendall Hutt (Stuff): Church group breached alert level 3 rules by meeting in south Auckland
RNZ: ‘We should be TikToking’ – Collins calls for better messaging
TVNZ: Bloomfield rules out appearing on TikTok or Tinder to communicate Covid-19 info — ‘It’s the PM who dances’
TVNZ: ‘I was told it was too casual’ – Ardern jokes about Instagram post to outline challenges of Covid messaging
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern used Tinder to advertise in 2014, now she’s endorsing TikTok for COVID-19 messaging
Amelia Wade (Herald): Jacinda Ardern on rulebreakers, reveals who’s next in queue for vaccine
Peter Williams (Magic): Team of five million – yeah right
Peter Williams (Magic): Jacinda Ardern admits it’s ‘propaganda’

Covid: Govt response
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Three tough choices that will define the Government’s Covid response
Richard Prebble (Herald): Covid-19 requires a Royal Commission (paywalled)
Michael Bassett: Jacinda’s Luck Running Out?
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): We need to keep asking questions about the Govt’s Covid response
Newstalk ZB: Government defends early exit from previous lockdown
Crystal Wu (Newshub): International media reacts to Auckland’s 7-day lockdown

Covid: Managed isolation fees, workers
Lucy Xia (Stuff): ‘Where is our compassion?’: managed isolation fee hike hits families
Miriam Burrell (Herald): MIQ fees for temporary visa holders set to skyrocket
Stuff: Government hikes managed isolation fees for temporary visa holders to $5520
TVNZ: More Covid-19 MIQ workers getting living wage, but half still struggling with inadequate pay, union says

Covid: Vaccines
Gordon Campbell: On Who Decides On The Priority List For Covid Vaccines
Teuila Fuatai (Herald): Errors in New Zealand’s first week of Covid vaccinations

Covid: Business
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Business leaders need to stop pulling punches on Govt criticism
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Asking businesses to bear brunt of lockdowns ‘not sustainable’
Hugh Collins (Herald): Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and region’s MP Damien O’Connor to meet struggling West Coast businesses

Covid: General
Meriana Johnsen (RNZ): Māori and Pasifika hospitalised more than other ethnic groups – new data
1News: National wants boost in Covid-19 self-isolation payment to match person’s full income
Giles Dexter (Newshub): Calls to adjust support payments based on income
Mark Jennings (Newsroom): Compliant Aucklanders let down by checkpoint chaos
Herald: Far less testing done during latest Covid outbreak
Kirsty Wynn (Herald): Survey: Kiwis say working from home one of toughest challenges
David Downs and Joe Davis (Guardian): New Zealand’s Covid baby boom: where familiarity didn’t breed contempt

Housing
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Tens of thousands more families could find themselves in dire housing position
David Hargreaves (Interest): It’s housing investor hunting season
Mandy Te (Stuff): Wellington city’s average house value exceeds $1 million and the rest of the region isn’t far behind
Greg Ninness (Interest): NZ’s average dwelling value increased by $21,275 in February
Greg Ninness (Interest): Sharp drop in new home completions in Auckland at the end of 2020
Rob Stock (Stuff): House asking prices up nearly $90K in ‘completely out-of-control frenzy’
Herald: Wellington first-home buyers drawing on ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ amid soaring deposits
Waatea News: Rent subsidy gift for speculators
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Time to change our housing mindset
Catherine Masters (One Roof): Housing affordability: ‘There is no short-term solution’
Emma Houpt (Stuff): Mum ‘beyond exhausted’ after being rejected from more than 130 Tauranga rentals
David Farrar: Another case of no homework from the media
Brent Melville (Business Desk): Tauranga looks to break housing ranks, Gisborne at ‘highest level’

Local government
Andy Asquith (Stuff): Is local government in New Zealand fit for purpose?
Janine Hayward (Newsroom): A ward by any other name just as democratic
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Why Wellington’s Mayor should have known better (paywalled)
Neil Holdom (Stuff): Mayors can’t be effective if councillors are not ready to work constructively

Hilary Beaton (Stuff): Now is the wrong time to cut back on library spending
Damian George (Stuff): Proposal to privatise parts of Wellington’s central library building set to be overturned
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington Water Committee chairman David Bassett to resign

ODT: Editorial – Media muddle
Matthew Tso (Stuff): Big repair bills for water pipes could soon be a reality for residents across the region
Stuff: Public submissions open to gauge support for Taranaki Regional Council Māori constituency
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): The man bringing council and iwi together with meaningful talk and careful listening
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland’s Watercare prosecuting alleged water theft, as incidents on the rise
Ben Leonard (Newsroom): Big spend-up on Auckland recycling
Devon Bolger (Herald): Impacts on major projects in Christchurch costing council $6.5m
Steven Walton (Stuff): Council proposes targeted rate for owners of vacant land in central Christchurch
Logan Savory (Stuff): Invercargill City Council’s 35 percent rent increase to be staggered

Economy and work
Ananish Chaudhuri (Stuff): Wide CGT, including on family home, best answer to inequality
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Here’s what you should be earning… at any age
Dennis Wesselbaum (Newsroom): Less ‘kind talk’, more rigour needed in post-Covid economy
Brent Edwards (NBR): Reserve Bank says Auckland lockdown confirmed monetary policy stance (paywalled)

Dan Satherley (Newshub): ASB’s huge interest rate hike for deposits still ‘unattractive’ – economist
Pharmac review
Stuff Editorial: Pharmac ripe for reassessment
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Pharmac inquiry promises to look at transparency, but not funding decisions
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern appoints consumer rights advocate Sue Chetwin to lead Pharmac review into funding, equity ‘concerns’
Herald: Pharmac review to focus on speed, transparency of decision

Health
Anna Matheson (British Medical Journal blog): Transformational change in New Zealand means putting communities at the heart of decision making
Robert Beaglehole (Spinoff): If we’re serious about public health, the government must keep a critical promise
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Set them up to win! Shane Reti on Māori health providers
Larissa Howie (TVNZ): Endometriosis sufferer says public health system dismissed her agony for 17 years

Lyndy Matthews (Herald): Stigma and shame do not help smokers quit (paywalled)

Police
John Weekes (Herald): Police bullying report: Dog-eat-dog workplace cultures and cronyism must go, IPCA finds

RNZ: IPCA report: Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says bullying behaviour ‘unacceptable’
Ben Strang (RNZ): IPCA finds significant elements of bullying within police workforce
No Right Turn: A toxic organisation

Climate change and environment
The Conversation: NZ’s Climate Change Commission needs to account for the huge potential health benefits of reducing emissions
Guy Trafford (Interest): Big carrot and small stick, or small carrot and big stick?
Nadine Anne Hura (Spinoff): On the waka to carbon zero: Where have we come from, and where are we going?
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Full removal of all stored Southland dross and ouvea premix likely four years away – council
David Williams (Newsroom): DoC dobs itself in for errant spraying
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Demand for natural fertilisers increasing as environmental reforms prompt change
David Farrar: Why the proposed policies for getting to net zero emissions are the worst option

Education
David Law (Herald): Does more money always buy better education? (paywalled)
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Increased spending won’t fix Kiwi students’ academic decline – report
Laura Wiltshire (Stuff): ‘We need a solution’: Principals push back on forced enrolments, saying it puts kids at risk

Media
Bernard Hickey: Reclaiming our information
Damien Venuto (Herald): Online ghosts: Facebook’s millennial ‘reach’ is thousands above NZ population (paywalled)

Other
Lisa Marriott (Social and legal studies): Privileging white-collar crime in New Zealand
David Bromell (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs): After Christchurch: Hard questions for policymakersMartyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Jan Logie strikes back & why she’s still wrong
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): MPs are failing to hold electricity giants to account
Anna Whyte (TVNZ): Greens leaders pull out of KiwiSaver scheme distributed by Kiwibank after Yemen war link
Victoria Young (BusinessDesk): Ombudsman’s emails see decision taken away from him (paywalled)
Todd Niall (Stuff): Public transport slump a ‘structural shift’, with work from home to stay
Waatea News: Revived interest in kaupapa-driven Maori Council
Waatea News: Marae invasion threat over water treatment
Lana Andelane (Newshub): Free app for learning Moriori released to help revive endangered native language
TVNZ: Siouxsie Wiles among New Zealander of the Year finalists
Herald: Farid Ahmed, mosque shooting victim, New Zealander of the Year finalist
Skara Bohny (Stuff): ‘We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re in Nelson’; LGBT+ community cautiously optimistic on crossing
Chris Marriner (Herald): ‘God will never forgive you’: Protesters confronted at Auckland Pride March
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Christchurch far-right activist Kyle Chapman selling Nazi toy figures in New Zealand

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