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

Today’s content

Alert levels decision
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Experts warn of sticking points for alert level drops
Rachelle Binny, Michael Plank, Shaun Hendy, Siouxsie Wiles (The Conversation): Auckland is likely to remain in strict lockdown for several more weeks to stamp out NZ’s Delta outbreak
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Every case must be found before Level 3
Dan Satherly (Newshub): Auckland likely to stay at level 4 two extra weeks, rest of NZ probably just a few days – Michael Baker
1 News: Michael Baker hopeful South Island can move down Covid alert levels ‘soon’
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Lockdown likely to be for weeks, Prof David Skegg says
Herald: Auckland likely to remain in strict lockdown for several more weeks
Derek Cheng (Herald): Level 3 outside Auckland ripe for the choosing – but carries political risks (paywalled)
1 News: Expert lays out locked-down NZ’s roadmap back to Level 1
Michael Neilson (Herald): Lockdown and alert-level decision day – experts urge Jacinda Ardern, Government to be cautious
Zane Small (Newshub): National MP fears ‘massive psychological change’ for Kiwis after epidemiologist David Skegg admits COVID-19 elimination ‘may fail’
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand could be split into North and South Island bubbles, Covid modeller suggests
Herald: Majority vote for South Island alert level change
Jonathan Guildford (Stuff): Slim hope for level skipping in South Island all but dashed 
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Hopes alert level drop now possible
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Southern hopes for level drop
Stuff Editorial: We’ll leave lockdown changed, for changing times

Government management of outbreak, expert advice
Laura Walters (Spinoff): In defence of those who hold the government to account on Covid-19
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Govt needs a new story on Covid
Gordon Campbell: On how Delta has changed the endgame for the pandemic
Richard Harman (Politik): The elimination game (paywalled)
Jane Clifton (Herald/Listener): Delta joins a catalogue of issues the Govt is struggling with (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Lockdown now, then what? (paywalled)
Peter Dunne: Hospitalisation figure should be the key driver for the development of future policy, not an incidental extra
Claire Trevett (Herald): We don’t expect perfection, Prime Minister, but drop the defensiveness (paywalled)
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Delta Lockdown: Political Winners & Losers
Rawiri Taonui (Waatea News): How the Government ignored the warning signs of a Delta OutBreak
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Fox News host mocks Jacinda Ardern, slams NZ and Australia’s COVID-19 response
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Siouxsie Wiles (Spinoff): Ignore the uninformed windbags. Lockdowns really do work
Nick Wilson, Matthew Parry, Leah Grout, Michael Baker (Public Health Expert): More Wastewater Testing Could Guide Optimal Covid-19 Control on the Path Back to Elimination
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern says patterns behind new COVID-19 case numbers show lockdown is working and elimination is the right strategy
1 News: ‘Delta showing itself as Delta’ — Bloomfield hoping Covid cases will begin to level off
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand Covid update: Ardern rejects criticism of elimination strategy after 68 new cases
RNZ: Covid-19 lockdown day 9: How it unfolded

Vaccine rollout
Cushla Norman (1 News): Vaccinating 90% much safer than 70% – modelling results ‘stark’
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Prioritising Auckland for vaccines would have put us in ‘better situation’, experts say
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): “No Jab, No Job!” – Preventing The Injury Of All By One
Russell Palmer (RNZ): Minister rejects mandatory worker vaccines for wider New Zealand
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Employers can’t fire employees for refusing vaccination, but can refuse to hire them
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Employers cannot sack existing staff over jabs
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Waikato DHB plays ‘catch-up’ with staff vaccination records in an inappropriate way — union
Dr Graeme Jarvis (Herald):  Covid-19 vaccine procurement: Counting our blessings (paywalled)
Gianina Schwanecke (Herald): Napier MP Stuart Nash says Collins’ ‘anti-vaxxer’ claim doesn’t dignify response
1 News: Essential worker shocked at being part of vaccine botch-up
RNZ: ‘Unacceptable’ not all police officers vaccinated – National Party
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): National’s vaccination plan
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): The Ministry of Health is dishonest
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk ZB): The Saline Scandal shows a lack of transparency
Karen Pasco (ODT): Concern over closeness of vaccinations
Jody O’Callaghan and Cate Broughton (Stuff): Frustrated over vaccination booking delays? Keep shopping around
Moana Ellis (Local Democracy Reporting): Iwi collective urges Māori to take whānau to get vaccinated
Herald: Should New Zealand health officials consider booster shots?
Herald: What rights do children and parents have when giving consent to be vaccinated?
Stuff: Ministry of Health surveying vaccination side effects 
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Walk-in vaccination clinic at stadium for students
Justin Giovannetti (The Spinoff): Comparing NZ’s vaccine rollout to the world
Andy Fyers (BusinessDesk): Vaccine tracker: how NZ’s rollout is progressing (paywalled)
Florence Kerr (Stuff): Covid vaccines, health insurance and ACC: yes, you’re covered

MIQ, border, immigration
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Second Auckland hotel named for quarantining Covid-19 cases
Herald: Novotel Ellerslie Ibis Auckland’s newest facility to house positive cases
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Two more Auckland hotels to take Covid-19 patients as Jet Park nears capacity
Herald: Second quarantine facility for Auckland, options for Wgtn, Chch
Kiri Gillespie (Herald): Government eyes Rotorua for extra MIQ despite city’s plea for ‘no more’ (paywalled)
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Crowne Plaza works to be completed tonight, no new arrivals until mid-September
Ankur Sabharwal (Stuff):Is Covid really to blame for our immigration problems?
Heather Roy: Cave Too Small for All 6 Million Kiwis
RNZ: Pregnant NZ woman declined MIQ emergency spot six times
Gaynor Reid (Stuff): I spent $40,000 and five weeks in quarantine to not see my Australian family
Andy Leake (Stuff): Locked down in New Zealand whilst my home country enjoys freedom

Contact tracing, locations of interest, testing
Charlie Gates, Sam Sherwood and Hanna McCallum (Stuff):New wastewater tests in Christchurch could show if virus is in community
Sam Sherwood, Hanna McCallum and Charlie Gates (Stuff): Wastewater data shows virus in Christchurch, but it could be from MIQ
Devon Bolger (Herald): Virus detected in Christchurch wastewater
Danielle Clent (Stuff): Airborne transmission of Covid-19 more widespread than previously believed – study
Jamie Morton (Herald): Airborne virus spread ‘vastly underappreciated’
Geraden Cann (Stuff): Staff member at retirement home tests positive for Delta variant
Luke Kirkeby (Stuff): Anger follows news that council staff withheld place of interest alert 
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Nearly 12,500 close contacts yet to return a COVID-19 test as officials scramble to find outbreak’s edge
Brittany Keogh (Stuff): Why 800 new contact tracers were brought on since Monday
Hannah Martin (Stuff): 68 new cases in Delta outbreak, 277 in total, ‘completely justifies’ lockdown
Derek Cheng (Herald): Possible link between Crowne Plaza index case to church group
Vaimoana Tapaleao (Herald): Churchgoers told to ‘keep the faith’ as new testing clinic opens
Cate Broughton (Stuff): How our testing capacity stood up to the Delta variant
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Call for government to consider cheaper, quicker testing for Covid-19
Adam Pearse (Herald): Testing centre workers speak from the frontline
Herald: What exactly goes on during a supermarket deep clean

Wage subsidy, business
Bernard Hickey (The Spinoff): The rich got richer in last year’s lockdown – and now it’s set to happen again
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): ‘Four inquiries a day’ about potential price gouging during lockdown: MBIE
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Government finances strong, despite outbreak, say ratings agencies (paywalled)
1 News: Robertson answers FAQs about Covid financial support
Rob Stock (Stuff): Mixed evidence on whether Lockdown 2020 changed money habits
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Ministry’s error would have denied businesses wage subsidy
Anan Zaki (RNZ): Some small firms have ‘incredibly low’ cash reserves
Brian Fallow (Herald): Jobs market showing the signs of strain (paywalled)
Sarah Templeton (Newshub): Auckland gym requests ‘loyal’ members pay throughout lockdown, or cancel membership
Jacqui Dean (Stuff): With this Gov’t, the devil is in the lack of details
RNZ: Christchurch International Airport considering bond offer to help finance
RNZ: Kiwibank reports $126m net profit with strong lending growth
RNZ: Pāmu reports a $29 million after tax profit
RNZ: Māori authorities exports rose by 1.8% to $755m in 2020 – Stats NZ
Sally Murphy (RNZ: China’s ban on two Sealord plants having ‘significant impact’
Esther Taunton (Stuff): ‘Come on, bro’: Supermarkets urged to show compassion for elderly shoppers
Philip Chandler and Tracey Roxburgh (Mountain Scene): Next few months ‘horrific’ for Queenstown
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): Kiwibank boss Steve Jurkovich: How this lockdown is different (paywalled)
Catherine Groenestein (Stuff): How a Foursquare is helping a small rural town in lockdown
Nicholas Boyack (Stuff) :Frontline heroes: Funeral directors still have work to do in lockdown
Maia Hart (Stuff): Daffodil drop-off planned for essential workers if alert levels allow

Case demographics, Pacific communities
Emma Russell (Herald): Pasifika 13 of 15 hospital cases
Sela Jane Hopgood (RNZ): ‘We want Covid-19 eliminated’: Pasifika community in Auckland test in hundreds
Johnny Blades (RNZ): Pacific outreach seeks out people missed by health system

Parliament suspended
Brent Edwards (NBR): Is Jacinda Ardern really a dictator? (Spoiler alert – no she isn’t) (paywalled)
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Parliamentary staff wary of return to work amid Delta outbreak
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Politicians show off their lockdown outfits for virtual meetings

Level 4 rules
Newstalk ZB: ‘Divisive legislation’ only Maori can go fishing under level 4 health legislation
Te Aniwa Hurihanganui (RNZ): Families grapple with how to mourn loved ones during lockdown
Karen Coltman (Stuff): Pubs and clubs annoyed at ‘onerous’ Covid-19 rules

Lockdown compliance, enforcement, checkpoints
Molly Houseman (ODT): Lockdown movement analysed by Google
1 News: ‘Large number’ of cars turned around in Northland – Coster
Imran Ali (Northern Advocate): Northland police clarify checkpoint confusion
Peter de Graaf (Northern Advocate): Iwi ‘sidelined’ over police checkpoints (paywalled)
RNZ: No support from emergency management minister Kris Faafoi for Tairāwhiti checkpoints
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Security guard allegedly punched and had trolley hurled at him during incident at Wellington New World
George Block (Stuff): Labour lockdown ads: PM ‘disappointed’ after deliveries 
Zane Small (Newshub): National MPs want police to pursue Labour’s lockdown leaflet breach equally to anti-vaxx distributors
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Why are the Police not prosecuting Labour?
George Block (Stuff): Police slap Auckland MMA gym with lockdown breach warning notice
Karina Cooper (Northern Advocate):Far North freediver’s death sparks warning on lockdown rules
Jonathan Guildford and Sam Sherwood (Stuff): Police warnings for beachgoers flouting lockdown rules 
Claire Trevett (Herald): Policing lockdown – Commissioner, minister brief MPs
Jane Matthews (Stuff): Seven Taranaki people fined for not staying home during lockdown

Lockdown inequality
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): We put too much faith in big events to usher in real change 
1 News: South Auckland students going hungry in lockdown
Jamie Searle (Stuff):Lockdown driving up food bank need in Invercargill

Health
Tess Brunton (RNZ): Staff at DHBs anxious after being told they can’t work from home
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Auckland DHBs seek to curb lockdown impacts on elective surgery
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): Specialist medical colleges back postponing elective surgeries in surges
Andrew Young (Herald): The other long Covid impacts – on lifesaving cancer research (paywalled)
Emma Russell (Herald): Daffodil Day – fighting cancer during lockdown
Denise Piper (Stuff): Anti-Cancer Society leaflets disappoint after Covid-19 cancels Daffodil Day
1 News: Impacts of Covid-19 on Kiwis who had virus to be studied
Hamish Clark (Herald): The debilitating effects of long Covid
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Ongoing staffing concerns at ED despite new hires
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Recently opened Hutt birthing centre to be mothballed
Imogen Wells (1 News): Lower Hutt birthing centre to close next month
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Head of Suicide Prevention Office quits after just two years, the second recent health ministry departure

Education
RNZ: NCEA exams pushed back, ‘Covid credits’ on the cards
1 News: Targeted support ‘helped Auckland NCEA students in 2020 lockdown’
John Gerritsen (RNZ): NCEA exam delays: Relief and frustration for students

Afghanistan
Geoffrey Miller (RNZ): Afghanistan political crisis and implications for New Zealand
Bex Rillstone (Newsroom): Covid no reason to ignore Afghanistan
Tess McClure (Guardian): New Zealand stops taking visa applications from Afghans who assisted troops
Dan Satherley (Newshub): New Zealand cuts off applications for Afghans to resettle here
RNZ: Afghanistan evacuation delay not due to ‘processing’ – Ardern
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Two NZ visa-holders caught up in brutal Kabul attack
Thomas Manch (Stuff): New Zealanders told to stay away from Kabul airport due to terror threat
RNZ: Afghan interpreter says New Zealand has left his family to die at Taliban’s hands
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Afghanistan: Desperate pleas for Government to help Afghans under threat from Taliban
Lucy Craymer (Stuff): Can New Zealand do more for the world’s refugees?

Local government
Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporting): Three waters: Kaipara district councillors slam Government’s proposal
Skara Bohny (Stuff): Better communication called for to clear muddied Three Waters proposal
John Leggett (Stuff): Concern over Three Waters reforms will see Marlborough ratepayers consulted
Damian George (Stuff): Wellington City Council votes against establishing “at-large” councillor seats
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Let’s Get Wellington Moving loses director after less than four months
Molly Houseman (ODT): Dunedinites get to keep $2 bus rides — for now
Laurel Stowell (Whanganui Chronicle): Seven tāngata whenua appointed to Horizons Regional Council’s climate committee (paywalled)

Housing
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Rents rocket to all-time high, record biggest annual increase with warning for after lockdown
Rob Stock (Stuff): Housing affordability a ‘wicked problem’, Kiwibank chief executive says
Newstalk ZB: Is it time to see rent controls?
Miriam Bell (Stuff):Power imbalance in relationship with property managers
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Is affordable housing sexy enough for developers? (paywalled)
Mikaela Wilkes (Stuff): Gaping hole in the ceiling is last straw for longtime Wellington renter
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Exclusive Auckland Royal and Grange Golf Club stops development plans for housing

Energy 
Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): NZ Inc calls out gentailer’s $3.5b ‘super-profit’
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): ‘Big five’ power firms increase annual profit by 26% to $821 million
Carl Hansen and Matt Burgess: (Herald): Power blackout no case for electricity reform (paywalled)
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): August blackout ‘an early warning’ as Genesis warns Huntly will be needed for a long time (paywalled)
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Genesis Energy charts cleaner future, after coal use more than doubles to 1.5m tonnes
ODT Editorial: When the heaters don’t work
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Coal exports and jet fuel down, green energy up in pandemic NZ

Transport
RNZ: Transport Agency says safety a priority as it eyes lockdown exemptions
Andrea Fox (Herald): Auckland port’s new promise on full container terminal automation delivery (paywalled)
RNZ: Residents vow to fight after panel recommends Wellington Airport expansion plan go ahead
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): KiwiRail rejects cleaner fuel option for new ferries (paywalled)
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Bump in the road: What the Delta outbreak means for Transmission Gully opening

Air NZ
Katie Bradford (1 News): Air NZ CEO can’t rule out job cuts if lockdown extended
RNZ: Air NZ reports $289m loss amid closed borders
1 News: Air NZ reports $289 million loss amid Covid-19 disruption
RNZ: Air NZ soars to record July domestically
Grant Bradley (Herald): Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran on the future for the airline (paywalled)

Primary industries
RNZ: Government defers introducing tougher winter grazing rules – again
Laura Hooper (Stuff): Proposed winter grazing regulation changes a win for farmers
Sally Murphy (RNZ): Farmers consider what would happen should they get Covid-19

Whakaari White Island
Sarah Robson (RNZ): All Whakaari defendants plead not guilty to charges laid by WorkSafe after deadly eruption
Edward O’Driscoll (Newshub): All agencies charged in Whakaari/White Island explosion plead not guilty

Pacific
Kate Lyons (Guardian): Samoa’s former PM accuses Jacinda Ardern of plot to replace him with a woman
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Former Samoa Prime Minister who refused to concede election bizarrely blames Jacinda Ardern for defeat
RNZ: Kiribati restates decision to leave Pacific Forum

Other
Emily Brookes (Stuff):Patrick Gower: On Hate: Why his new doco is a mea culpa for a ‘terrible mistake’
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): Mission Impossible?
RNZ: Privacy Commissioner John Edwards announced as preference to be UK information commissioner
Chris Keall (Herald): ‘Facebook hating’ NZ Privacy Commissioner John Edwards lands top UK role after Boris Johnson sign-off (paywalled)
Phil Pennington (RNZ): New Zealand’s biggest fire trucks keep breaking down with no new ones on order
Mike Smith (The Standard): The rise and rise of David Seymour’s ACT
RNZ: The Detail: Questions over the new Scott Base
Andrew MacFarlane (1 News): Alarming wave of extremist content detected on Tiktok
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Just as media firms were seeing hope …
John Bishop (Stuff): Meet the Bewildered: They’re not ignorant or deplorable, just confused by change
Kate MacNamara (Herald): Suppliers on edge as Foodstuffs delays dreaded product cull (paywalled)

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