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
Chris Trotter: Atavistic urges
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Lockdown 4 sparks Jacinda Ardern’s wrath (paywalled)
Peter Dunne: The government urgently needs to upgrade its Covid19 strategy
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Information contradicting Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on KFC worker came from Ministry of Health
Emile Donovan (Stuff): The Detail: NZ’s Covid-19 communications response has been hailed the world over, but is that shine beginning to fade?
Stuff Editorial: Cracks in Covid-19 communication
Damien Venuto (Herald): Has Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lost the room? (paywalled)
TVNZ: Dr Bloomfield says Auckland lockdown decision pinned on remaining gym contact tests
Jamie Morton (Herald): No new cases means ‘reasonable chance’ lockdown worked
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Our ‘bad luck’ lockdown
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Government made a mistake putting Auckland into level 3

Rowan Quinn (RNZ): NZ should stay at level 2 for longer if Auckland restrictions ease – Covid-19 data modelling expert Shaun Hendy
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Ministry of Health to hire private firm to roll out saliva testing of border workers
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): These TikTok videos suggest young people do listen to Ashley Bloomfield
Brent Edwards (NBR): Is government suffering Covid-19 fatigue? (paywalled)
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): Lack of new cases could mean a move down alert levels, but ‘risk doesn’t go to zero’
Herald: Auckland’s freedom could hang on 85 Covid test results
Herald: Dr Bloomfield on vaccines, lockdown & his alternative career choice
Cathy Odgers: The Cult Of Ashley Bloomfield – Cabinet Ministers Now Interviewing Him!
Crystal Wu (Newshub): Dr Bloomfield unsure why Papatoetoe High school students refused to take a test
George Block (Stuff): Auckland cluster family’s undisclosed lodger was door-to-door salesman
Simon Plumb and Edward Gay (Stuff): Government facing questions over Malaysian MP’s trip to NZ to visit family
TVNZ: Under fire after leaving Auckland on eve of lockdown, Hannah Tamaki reveals she won’t be taking Covid-19 vaccine
Mina Kerr-Lazenby (Stuff): Hannah Tamaki says she will refuse vaccine despite assurances it will help curb spread of virus
Elle Hunt (Guardian): New Zealand has third day with no new Covid cases as church leader says she will refuse vaccine

RNZ: Brian Tamaki responds to criticism after leaving Auckland on eve of lockdown
TVNZ: Mayor Shadbolt says Tamakis not welcome in Invercargill after couple’s lockdown flee
Herald Editorial: Icy response to minister in Glacier Country sign of times (paywalled)

Covid: Vaccines
Stuff: Ministry of Health to hire private firm to roll out saliva testing of border workers
RNZ: South Auckland vaccination should start soon after border workers – academic
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Getting the vaccine to the most vulnerable communities
TVNZ: Peeni Henare confident Māori, Pasifika will be targeted in Covid vaccine rollout
Torika Tokalau (Stuff): Pfizer vaccine proving the most effective but Pacific ‘could miss out’

Housing
Anna Rawhiti-Connell (Newroom): Angry nausea over broken housing promises
Richard Harman: Robertson is asking for it
Financial Times: Editorial – Central banks cannot solve a housing crisis (paywalled)
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Adrian Orr frets over soaring asset prices as ASB warns more people low on cash
RNZ: Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr: ‘Absolutely a question mark over house prices’
Liam Dann (Herald): Adrian Orr warns of housing bubble risks but says Reserve Bank stimulus settings must stay (paywalled)
Brent Edwards (NBR): Reserve Bank ponders its impact on housing market (paywalled)
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): ‘Gale force’ economic warning: what 1% rise in mortgage rates would mean
Rebecca Howard (Business Desk): RBNZ must consider housing but it’s more about financial stability (paywalled)
Herald: Financial Times opinion: Central banks cannot solve a housing crisis (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Housing crisis: Financial Times swipes at Government for using Reserve Bank as ‘convenient scapegoat’

Geraden Cann (Stuff): Pensioner reliant on temporary support to make rent as housing market shuts out retirees
Ethan Te Ora and Mandy Te (Stuff): Is Wellington a lost city for first home buyers? Economist says city ‘unattainable’ for those on modest incomes
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Sales records in more than 300 suburbs smashed
Treadwell Gordon (Whanganui Chronicle): Let’s Talk Law with Treadwell Gordon: Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986

Local government
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): The stagnating little Capital
Bernard Hickey (Stuff): Hit by unfair debt rules, councils are cracking under financial pressure
Harry Lock (RNZ): Wellington City Council proposes one-off rates increase of 13.5%
Phil Quin (Stuff): We should welcome dissension and debate within local councils
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington Mayor Andy Foster in U-turn over partial library building privatisation and reducing collections budget
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington Mayor Andy Foster backtracks after Central Library controversy
Harry Lock (RNZ): Wellington librarians upset and angry over council decisions
Newstalk ZB: ‘Let’s Get Wellington’ transport plan under scrutiny
Mandy Te (Stuff): Wellington City Councillor to propose removal of $76 million ‘loan’ for airport’s seawalls at Long Term Plan committee meeting
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington City Council pulls the plug on $76 million loan for airport
Bernard Hickey: Dawn chorus: An invidious and unfair debt lid
Katy Jones (Stuff): Library decision commits city to millions in flood defences, lobbyists say
Newstalk ZB: Chris Lynch: Council owned company’s rebranding is financially reckless
Herald: Christchurch council employees report lack of transparency, bullying in survey
Otago Daily Times Editorial: Role for ratepayers associations
Logan Savory (Stuff): Invercargill city councillor Ian Pottinger says new media protocol isn’t needed
Waatea News: Maori on councils doesn’t mean Maori perspective
Waatea News: Kaipara to consider Maori ward

Auckland
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland Council plan rate rises of up to 23 per cent for thousands of homes (paywalled)
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Project Auckland: A Swan emerges from the cones
Michael Barnett (NZ Herald): Project Auckland: Time to turn Auckland on its head
Bill Bennett (Herald): Project Auckland: After the pandemic we need a smarter city
Graham Skellern (Herald): Project Auckland: A new agenda for Tāmaki Makaurau

Foreign affairs and trade
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Long-sought USA trade deal derailed by elections, says former ambassador
Selwyn Manning (Evening Report): PODCAST: Buchanan + Manning on private enterprise and the conflict market

Environment, climate change
Brian Fallow (Herald): Cutting farm emissions – without cutting farm output (paywalled)
Adam Currie (Spinoff): Enough with the focus on ‘targets’. We need real climate action – right now
Gareth Shute (Spinoff): New Zealand’s EV revolution may not come easy
Amber Allott (Stuff): Lawless’ high seas undoing New Zealand’s seabird conservation efforts

Māori Party
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): The revolution all around us
Joel Maxwell (Stuff): Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi apologises after deleting tweet on ‘archaic Caucasians’
Zane Small (Newshub): Māori Party MP Rawiri Waititi’s tweet about Pākehā being ‘archaic species’ was ‘made by someone else’
David Farrar: The MP’s tweet the media won’t report

Planned Erebus memorial
Jean Bell (RNZ): Erebus memorial protest ‘hugely distressing’, says family member of victim
Waatea News: MP wants hui to calm Erebus memorial row
Waatea News: Orakei back Erebus memorial in rohe

Economy and work
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Government’s move to limit immigration a mistake
Brent Edwards (NBR): Fair pay legislation likely to be introduced this year (paywalled)
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Apple growers pulling out trees because there are not enough pickers for harvest
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): WFH or WFO? How Kiwi businesses are handling the shift change (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Government accounts continue to outperform forecasts, up $3.1 billion from December forecast
RNZ: Government’s deficit of $4.4b, $3b less than forecast
Michael Reddell: No idea apparently, probably not much interest
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): ASB boss Vittoria Shortt warns: ‘We are not out of the woods yet’ (paywalled)

Health
Ian Powell: Taking the threat to New Zealand’s health system out of Simpson
Corazon Miller (TVNZ): Pharmac swapping epilepsy drugs ‘cannot be discounted’ as a cause of deaths — neurologist
Guyon Espiner (RNZ): Epilepsy medication switch may have contributed to deaths – neurologist
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Tobacco tax revenue plunges as Kiwis kick the habit
Seni Iasona & Rosie Gordon (Newshub): Generous philanthropist funds brand new children’s hospital in Wellington

Online threat to Christchurch mosques
Elle Hunt (The Guardian): New Zealand police charge man over online threat to Christchurch mosques
RNZ: Man charged with threatening to kill after arrest over threat to Christchurch mosques
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Two arrested after car bomb threat

Other
Henry Cooke (Stuff): ‘Dead rat’ regurgitated? Repeal of Waka Jumping law looks possible as Labour mulls position
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Afghan interpreter who volunteered with Kiwi troops: ‘NZ is leaving me to face death’ (paywalled)
Karl du Fresne: An assumed right of veto?
Maja Burry (RNZ): Live animal exports decision coming soon – Agriculture Minister
No Right Turn: Labour’s organic secrecy
Colin Peacock (RNZ): NZME pulls racist article and bans Bassett
Kelly Jensen (Northland Age): Response to Michael Bassett’s `Racism on a grand scale’
Sarah Trotman (Herald): Courage needed to challenge bias and harassment of women (paywalled)
ODT: Editorial – Menstrual products in schools
Kym Hamilton (Stuff): Overcoming inequities in cricket
Zane Small (Newshub): New Zealand’s first transgender MP Georgina Beyer says Government ‘dithering’ on changing sex on birth certificates
Vita Molyneux (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern opens up on self-care, motherhood in new magazine interview
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Cancel culture’s arrogance is out of control
Sam Stubbs (Stuff): Is Rocket Lab our Sputnik moment?
Peter Sara (Otago Daily Times): Use our Treaty to create the best for all its signatories
Rosemary McLeod (Stuff): The old boys in blue, policing by consent

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