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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

Budget: Benefits increase
Bryce Edwards (The Guardian): A ‘righting of wrongs’ as Ardern finally tackles New Zealand’s inequality crisis
Tess McClure (The Guardian): Ardern makes good on child poverty promise, but a long road lies ahead
Audrey Young (Herald): If not now, then when for beneficiaries? (paywalled)
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): Labour’s years of caution are finally paying off
Stuff: Editorial – Revenge on the ‘mother of all Budgets’
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Ruth Richardson calls Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson’s budget attack a ‘cheap shot’
Te Rina Triponel (Herald): Budget 2021: Beneficiary advocacy group slams Govt, says benefit increase is ‘weak’
Claire Trevett (Herald): PM Jacinda Ardern unrepentant about Budget boost for beneficiaries over workers
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Blockbuster Beneficiary Booster Budget – bold but necessary
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): Budget 2021 benefit bump hailed as ‘wonderful’ but scepticism remains over ending child poverty
1News: Children’s Commissioner: Budget benefit rises a move towards ending child poverty, but more needed now
Lynley Ward (Herald): Solo parents react after Government $3.3billion welfare injection
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Labour to boost benefits by up to $55 a week in explicit push to reverse 1990s cuts
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Benefits boost in ‘quest to reduce inequality’
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Government delivering major benefit boost in line with recommendations
Sarah Robson (RNZ): Benefits to increase by up to $55 a week
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Budget prioritises ‘righting inequality wrongs’
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Surprise increase in benefits welcomed by those most in need

Budget: General
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Passing the torch
Audrey Young (Herald): This was the easy Budget for Grant Robertson (paywalled)
Bernard Hickey (Spinoff): The missed opportunity in Budget 2021
Tim Watkin (Pundit): Labour gets to be Labour, delivering a step-change budget 30 years in the making
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Lessons from the Budget and the one issue that may derail Jacinda Ardern (paywalled)
Simon Wilson (Herald): Grant Robertson and his Budget Day Holy Grail (paywalled)
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Look to the future, don’t dwell on rewriting the past (paywalled)
Michael Andrew (Spinoff): Government ‘could have done more to push the envelope’
Brad Olsen (Stuff): Budget 2021 shows higher spending, but with restraint
Bernard Hickey: Budget 2021 special: Righting some wrongs. A bit.
Danyl Mclauchlan (Spinoff): More ambitious and coherent than anything yet from Ardern and Robertson
Raf Manji (Stuff): Welcome focus on reducing inequality needs to continue
Thomas Manch (Stuff): The winners and losers in a welfare-focused Budget
Richard Harman: A Labour of love (paywalled)
The Spinoff: The great Spinoff hot-take roundtable
Liam Dann (Herald): Budget 2021 geared to keep ‘better-than-expected’ story rolling (paywalled)
Peter Dunne: Grant Robertson’s three factors in the Budget
Herald: Editorial: Budget 2021 – A very Labour Budget in the time of Covid 19 coronavirus (paywalled)
ODT: Editorial – Robertson’s shrewd Budget
Jessica Mutch McKay (1News): The year of the ‘Benefit Budget’ with welfare, Māori getting significant boost
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Grant Robertson’s deep red budget seeks to ‘right a wrong’ from 30 years ago
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Budget gets a ‘B’ for Boring
Brian Fallow (Herald): Grant Robertson plays it down the middle despite opportunity to invest (paywalled)
Jennifer Curtin, David Hall, Michael Fletcher, and Nina Ives (The Conversation): NZ Budget 2021: billions more for benefits, but one eye on the bottom line
Herald: The verdicts from Paula Bennett, Sue Bradford, Neale Jones and Jon Stokes
Herald: Experts and commentators rate Grant Robertson’s Budget
Ben Thomas (Stuff): Blockbuster Budget is Robertson’s answer to the ‘Mother of All Budgets’
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Labour rewards its faithful
No Right Turn: Labour actually does something
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Budget 2021 Winners and Losers: Exorcising the Ghost of National’s Mother of all Budgets
Rod Oram (Newsroom): Budget lip service to economic transformation
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): On balance, a Labour government (paywalled)
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): Benefits boosted by up to $55 a week, ‘righting a wrong’, says Robertson
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Labour spends big on benefits, health in its first unleashed Budget
Rosie Collins (Spinoff): A balanced budget. But ‘balance’ today is a political word, not an economic one
Felippe Rodrigues and Kate Newton (Stuff): Hey big spending: The Budget in five charts
Derek Cheng (Herald): The 10 things you need to know
Jo Moir (Newsroom): PM banking on middle NZ putting kids first
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): ACT leader David Seymour slams ‘la-la Budget’, compares it to an episode of That ’70s Show
Brigitte Morten (RNZ): Budget 21 is a ‘cheugy’, living in the past budget
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Business ‘overlooked’ as Government focus turns to benefits and health sector
Jason Walls (Herald): The ‘La La Budget’ vs ‘Broken Compass Budget’ – Opposition battles for unofficial Budget name
Bryce Edwards: Cartoons about Budget 2021

Budget: Housing
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Treasury sees housing market going from raging bull to Goldilocks zone (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): Budget 2021: From 19.1% to 0.9% – could house price growth collapse by that much? (paywalled)
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Sharp house price adjustment coming, says Finance Minister
John Minto (Daily Blog): State housing – it’s time to eyeball the government
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Not enough emphasis on housing (paywalled)
Priscilla Dickinson (Newshub): Slower house price growth could inhibit spending despite bigger benefits – economist

Budget: Māori
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Housing spend big win for Labour’s Māori caucus after crossfire
Katarina Williams (Stuff): Moving the dial on Māori housing
Jade Kake (Stuff): Budget 2021 gives welcome boost to Māori housing

Budget: Social insurance proposal
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Government announces plan to create ‘unemployment insurance’: but isn’t funding it yet
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): One of the biggest ideas is ‘social unemployment insurance’. What’s that then?
Anuja Nadkarni (Newsroom): ACC-style redundancy insurance scheme announced

Budget: Health
Emma Russell (Herald): Cystic fibrosis fighter livid at Pharmac’s budget
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Pharmac boost of $200m ‘nothing short of disgraceful’
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Anger, f-bomb thrown around as advocates react to Pharmac’s Budget 2021 boost
Mandy Te (Stuff): Hundreds more people to get publicly funded cochlear implants

Budget: Climate change
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Climate groups say Budget 2021 doesn’t go far enough to reach goals
Jamie Morton (Herald): Shaw responds to ‘loose change’ charges over climate spend
Mike Burrell (Stuff): Accounting for our climate future with the money spent today
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): The environmental investments
Olivia Wannan and Eloise Gibson (Stuff): EV-buying subsidies resurrected by $300m boost

Budget: Education
Lee Kenny (Stuff): More classrooms welcomed but not enough cash for staff, unions say
Dubby Henry (Herald): Schools welcome focus on child poverty, struggling students
Newstalk ZB: Education – small increases for schools, early childhood, more for school buildings

Economy and work
John Bishop (Stuff): ‘Exceptional circumstances’ proved anything but with 70s pay freeze
Herald: Editorial: Dare we dream of a higher-wage economy? (paywalled)
Rob Stock (Stuff): Your MPs’ KiwiSaver choices laid bare

Budget: Other
Thomas Coughlan (Stuff): Let’s Get Wellington Moving over-budget, may not get finished, Treasury warns
Adam Pearse (Herald): Where has the Covid fund gone – $5b left in $62b recovery fund (paywalled)
Jamie Gray (Herald): Credit rating agencies Moody’s, S&P Global’s take on New Zealand’s fiscal position (paywalled)

International relations
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): “Between the motion and the act, falls the shadow”
Robert Ayson (The Interpreter): Imprisoning narratives: Morrison, Ardern and China
John Minto: Time for NZ to speak up clearly for Palestinian rights and international law

Covid
Adam Pearse (Herald): University of Waikato study warns of inequitable vaccine rollout
Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): The scientist and the rabbit hole: How epidemiologist Simon Thornley became an outcast of his profession

Other
Chris Trotter: Getting our politics sorted

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