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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.  Click here to subscribe to Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup and New Zealand Politics Daily.

Today’s content

Public sector pay freeze
Claire Trevett (Herald): PM steps in, the melting of the pay freeze begins (paywalled)
Jordan Bond (RNZ): Public sector pay freeze: Nurses warming to strike action plan – union
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Thawing freeze: Jacinda Ardern says Government is open to introducing step-based pay for more public servants
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): Is there a noble method to the political madness of the pay freeze?
Chloe Swarbrick (Herald): Public sector wage crackdown a bitter pill for pandemic heroes
Jason Walls (Herald): The Government blinks first as unions claim a win in negotiations with Minister Chris Hipkins
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Govt eats humble pie with symbolic backdown on public sector pay (paywalled)
Laura Meriluoto (The Conversation): As the government is learning, a ‘wage freeze’ can come with unintended consequences
Alexander Gillespie (The Conversation): Why NZ’s public sector wage freeze ignores the lessons of history
RNZ: Public sector unions say pay freeze talks with ministers ‘frank and constructive’
Tina Morrison (Stuff): Public sector pay freeze probably won’t stick, Campbell says
Jason Walls (Herald): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her top ministers emerge from ‘constructive’ pay freeze union meetings
Don Franks (Redline): Labour’s divide and rule pay freeze
RNZ: Chris Hipkins on public sector pay: ‘It’s the opposite of austerity’
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Freeze unfrozen – Union bosses keep their invites to Jacinda’s wedding

He Puapua document and Māori self-determination
Graham Adams (Democracy Project): Will He Puapua propel Winston Peters back into politics?
Richard Prebble (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s odd response to Treaty report debate (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern fires up at Judith Collins for ‘politicising’ Treaty of Waitangi partnership debate
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): ACC acknowledges commitment to Māori health outcomes with proposed new strategy
Penny Simmonds (Stuff): Time to throw light into the Govt’s unreleased, influential He Puapua report
Don Brash: Foreshore and seabed issue re-ignites

Wage subsidy scheme
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Covid 19 coronavirus: Auditor-General says ‘audits’ of wage subsidy applicants simply sought verbal response
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): MSD under pressure to announce prosecutions under wage subsidy scheme amid criticism of ‘audits’ (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Auditor-General gives seal of approval to Covid-19 wage subsidy, with some suggestions
RNZ: MSD told to further investigate wage subsidy scheme payments
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Auditor-general: Covid wage scheme admin was lax (paywalled)

Stuff: Editorial – Govt right to target gangs with firearms bans, but is it overshooting?
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Judith Collins denies systemic racism within police, as she pushes Government to add ‘teeth’ to organised crime crackdown
Michael Neilson (Herald): Gangs, guns crackdown: Concern new police powers could perpetuate systemic racism towards Māori
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Gangs must prove they can legally afford flashy cars, assets and even shoes under new law
Anna Whyte (1News): Māori Party have ‘grave concerns’ over incoming laws targeting gangs
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Government to crackdown on organised crime with new laws on firearms, criminal assets

Budget 2021; Grant Robertson
Madeleine Chapman (North & South): The Man in charge of the money
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Public sector pay debacle makes Budget politics harder for Labour
Michael Neilson (Herald): Budget 2021: Act Party leader David Seymour reveals alternative budget
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): ACT’s David Seymour weilds the axe in his alternative budget
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): What do businesses want to see in this year’s Budget?
Daniela Maoate-Cox (RNZ): The last of Budget 2019, non-government bills, and a special immigration debate at Parliament

Economy and work
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): New Zealand’s new 39pc capital gains tax: ‘It’s pretty harsh’
David Hargreaves (Interest): Number of households in hardship surges
John Anthony (Stuff): Amazon Web Services opens new NZ office, but no word on data centre
Chris Keall (Herald): Amazon doubles NZ staff, moves into larger digs (paywalled)
John McDermott (NBR): Raising taxes, what is the trade-off? (paywalled)
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Why won’t business leaders speak their minds?

Fair pay agreements
Oliver Hartwich (Herald): NZ’s labour markets have worked well, why overthrow them? (paywalled)
Martyn Bradbury (Waatea News): Fair Pay Agreements will do more to lift Maori wages than any other policy

Housing crisis
Teuila Fuatai (Herald): Government must break emergency housing dependency on motels (paywalled)
Chris Ford (RNZ): Heartbreak motel? Emergency housing welcoming, but unacceptable
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Plans for Wellington’s $400m social housing shortfall delayed until after Budget Day
Laura James (1News): Housing crisis leaving people with disabilities to shower on the floor
Debrin Foxcroft (Stuff): Government housing policy appears to be slowing rent increases – Trade Me
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Housing: Rental prices flat-line after ‘red hot summer’
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): House prices: The little-known fourth tool in the Reserve Bank kit

Wellington City Council
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington City Council dysfunction goes from bad to worse after review
Tom Hunt and Damian George (Stuff): Personal tolls taken among the rancour of ‘Wellington Silly Council’
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington mayor Andy Foster apologises for code of conduct breach after critical report
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Wellington transport plan rethink pivots to tackle climate change

Local government
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): ‘Outdated, flawed’ local election laws need overhaul
Tina Law (Stuff): City councillor defends dismal attendance record at briefings – labelling them ‘a waste of time’
Justin Latif (Spinoff): Auckland mayor accused of running ‘boys’ club’ council
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Māori wards will enhance Hamilton City Council decision-making, says leader
Te Aorewa Rolleston (Stuff): Hundreds protest Māori ward delay in Manawatū
Sinead Gill (Stuff): Hundreds of people join historic march for Māori wards in Manawatū

Covid and border
Zane Small (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern blames ‘mismatch’ in data for delay in sharing info about border worker Covid-19 case
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): When do we start demanding better from our Covid response?
Parmjeet Parmar (Magic Talk): A narrow opportunity for Jacinda Ardern to lead by example\

New solar farm
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): $300m plan for five solar energy farms, providing 1pc of country’s supply
Ian Llewellyn (BusinessDesk): New company plans NZ’s first major solar farms (paywalled)
Andrea Fox (Herald): New North Island solar energy network an electricity market ‘game changer’ (paywalled)

International relations
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Xinjiang: New Zealand co-sponsoring United Nations event on Uighur human rights labelled by China ‘shameful travesty’
1News: Nanaia Mahuta calls on Israel to ‘cease demolitions and evictions’ as violence escalates with Palestinians

Derek Cheng (Herald): Is the Govt’s health approach to drug-related harm delivering? (paywalled)
Moana Ellis (Herald): Dame Tariana Turia wants Māori women to have leading health role

Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Opaque, inefficient, unfair: Govt’s $42b procurement regime report card
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Ministry of Health apologises for misleading minister and public on edited mental health report
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Mixed messages on greening the roads
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Thousands of taxpayer-funded school lunches left uneaten by students
Mike Treen (BusinessDesk): How can the broken immigration system be fixed? (paywalled)
Charlotte te Riet Scholten-Phillips (Herald): Time to return kindness to migrant children (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Simon Bridges says new book isn’t a covert pitch for National leadership



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