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. You can sign up to NZ Politics Daily as well as New Zealand Political Roundup columns for free here.

Today’s content

Auckland border, testing, summer travel
Jordan Bond (RNZ): Auckland border testing may only catch a quarter of cases – govt report
Katie Todd (RNZ): Demand for rapid antigen tests ramps up in Auckland as border reopens
Jane Nixon (1 News): Many pharmacies still waiting for rapid antigen tests
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Pharmacies waiting on rapid antigen tests afternoon before rollout
RNZ: Rapid antigen testing: What you need to know
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Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Hone Harawira says last-minute police decision to vet checkpoint members means half stood down
1 News: Handful turned away from Northland border checkpoints
RNZ: Checkpoint: Police explain how holiday Covid-19 checkpoints will work
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fires up at National’s Christopher Luxon for opposing COVID-19 checkpoints
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Hone Harawira calls for Northland’s Christmas to be moved to February 25
Denise Piper (Stuff): Northland checkpoint volunteers ‘stand for love of the community’ 
RNZ: Checkpoint: Nervous Northlanders prepare for influx of Auckland travellers
Northern Advocate:  Midnight exodus of Auckland holidaymakers pass through Northland checkpoints
James Halpin (Stuff): Business groups happy with Govt decision to abandon border exemptions
James Halpin (Stuff): Auckland opens and residents spread wings after four-month lockdown
Herald Editorial: Auckland unleashed after a job well done
Laura Smith (Herald): Auckland nurse one of many crossing the border this week as restrictions ease
1 News: Over 20K to travel through Auckland Airport on Wednesday
Gary Hamilton-Irvine (Herald): Napier flights set to double as Auckland border reopens (paywalled)
Herald: Police reveal how Northland checkpoints will operate
RNZ: Tairāwhiti community leaders call for Covid-19 checkpoints over summer
Scott Yeoman (Stuff): Checkpoints, please – Gisborne leaders want vaccine, test stops at Tairāwhiti borders
Alice Wilkins (Newshub): Whangamata locals ready for influx of Aucklanders, medical staff on edge
Sam Kelway (1 News): Rotorua ready to welcome Aucklanders back as border lifts
Courtney White (ODT): Consider contingency plans, travellers to South urged
RNZ: Christchurch Airport therapy dogs to assist with busiest week in domestic travel

Housing, Building and construction
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Sweeping townhouse bill passes into law with support of Labour and National, will force councils to allow more homes
1 News: Parliament passes townhouse bill aimed at new builds
RNZ: Resource Management Act amendment passes final reading
Margaret Stanley (Guardian): Mature trees are key to liveable cities – housing intensification plans must ensure they survive
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Brooking in her element in housing Bill process
Eye of the Fish: Three
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Dan Satherley (Newshub): Human Rights Commission says Govt not being held accountable for housing ‘human rights crisis caused by decades of neglect’ in new report
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Auditor-General slams emergency housing rentals, says they likely drove rents higher
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Ministry of Social Development didn’t monitor quality of private emergency housing or show it got value for money – report
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Government needs to be held accountable on housing plans: Human Rights Commission
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Government inaction on emergency housing ‘not good enough’
RNZ: Govt use of private rentals for emergency housing questioned by Auditor General
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Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): PM ties herself in a housing affordability knot
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Don’t be taken in by the growing fears about falling house prices
Hannah McQueen (Stuff): The banks’ new lending restrictions are tough on older borrowers
RNZ: Porirua housing project to provide 880 new homes, Ngāti Toa iwi prioritised
Ethan Te Ora (Stuff): Porirua’s newest housing development just got twice as big
RNZ: Kāinga Ora to build ’42 on King’ apartments in Whakatāne
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Kainga Ora buys park site
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RNZ: The Detail: Building blows – how much can the industry take?
Anne Gibson (Herald): Look out: Carters warns of building sector product price rises up to 27.5% early next year (paywalled)
RNZ: Structural engineers want stronger penalties for errors within industry

Curia-Taxpayers’ Union Poll
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Taxpayers’ Union Curia Poll December 2021
Claire Trevett (Herald): First poll since Chris Luxon took over National shows boost at Act’s expense
1 News: Christopher Luxon delivers National poll bump; ACT down
Henry Cooke (Stuff): New poll: National up under Christopher Luxon at expense of ACT
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Christopher Luxon reacts to new poll showing National flying as ACT falls
Heather du Plessis Allan (Newstalk ZB): The best Christmas present National could’ve hoped for
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): First Poll since Luxon as Leader – National soar – ACT crash!

Parliament, parties
John Minto (Daily Blog): Don’t let politicians bury political donations’ scandals – put voters in the front seat!
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Luxon’s ‘most worrying’ discovery as an MP
Phil Smith (RNZ): The House: Parliament: last orders please
Phil Smith (RNZ): The House: Gender self-ID: ‘You can change the law’
RNZ: Season 2 | Episode 6: 14th December 2021 – Party People
Herald: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s cheeky Christmas gift for Newstalk ZB reporter Barry Soper
1 News: National MP Chris Bishop expecting first child
Andrew Barnes (Herald):  New Zealand politicians should own up to their mistakes (paywalled)
Herald: National Party leader Chris Luxon apologises to former leaders after Christmas gift outs him

Parliamentary Services, Parliament’s workplace culture
Ben Strang (Stuff): Toxic culture remains concern at Parliament as MPs unwilling to implement enforcement mechanisms
Matt McCarten (Daily Blog): One Union Letter to Mallard

Voting age
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Voting age discrimination case: Court of Appeal declines application for declaration
1 News: Court dismisses case wanting NZ voting age lowered to 16
Newshub: Court of Appeal dismisses case to lower New Zealand’s voting age to 16
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Court of Appeal rejects attempt to lower NZ voting age 

Govt management of Covid-19, Traffic light decision
RNZ: Covid-19 pandemic response ‘clearly tailored to Pākehā’ – Māori Council
RNZ: Ongoing red light restrictions ‘devastating’ for Northland businesses
Peter de Graaf (Herald): Businesses call for split traffic light levels in Northland (paywalled)
David Seymour (Herald):  Families start to notice hidden costs of Covid (paywalled)
Brooke van Velden (Herald):  Government has ignored real New Zealanders in Covid response and costs are rising

Border, MIQ, Omicron
Russell Palmer (RNZ): Omicron uncertainty may put international travel plans at risk – government
John Weekes (Herald): Omicron muddies international travel outlook, MIQ ‘cruelty’ blasted
Miriam Burrell (Herald): Air crew in MIQ close contacts of Omicron case in Australia
Herald: What to know about Omicron and staying Covid safe over summer
Amelia Wade (Newshub): ACT leader David Seymour accuses Government of ‘torturing’ Kiwis with uncertainty over international border
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Border uncertainty over Omicron ‘verges on form of torture’, ACT leader David Seymour says 
Jo Moir (Newsroom): January border reopening is on thin ice – much to Air NZ’s surprise
1 News: Flight crew identified as contacts of Australia Omicron case
Jake McKee (RNZ): ‘Lottery of human misery’: Grounded Kiwis deliver MIQ petition to Parliament
Bridie Witton  (Stuff): Grounded Kiwis hand in 23,000 signature petition demanding changes to MIQ
Mikaela Wilkes (Stuff): How international DJs landed in New Zealand and secured spots in MIQ
RNZ: Covid-19 border restrictions exacerbating vet shortages in New Zealand

Vaccine pass, mandate, rollout
Mike Yardley (Newstalk ZB): Has the Government made a blunder over mandates for accommodation?
Luisa Girao (ODT): No staff vax pass mandate irks
Chloe Blommerde (Stuff): Bakery cops jabs from both sides of the vaccine divide
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Tool launched for workplaces grappling with Covid vaccination decisions
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): ‘Disappearing’ vaccine passes frustrate Android users 
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Taxi Federation takes concerns over carrying unvaccinated passengers to the government
RNZ: Covid-19 booster shot: Investigation after person injected with used needle
Samantha Mythen (Herald): Christchurch resident vaccinated with used needle
1 News: Canterbury DHB apologises after used needle mistake
RNZ: Hamilton mum who fought for life in ICU raises awareness after own disbelief
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Medically vulnerable weigh risk of Christmas with unvaccinated family
RNZ: Nelson, Blenheim vaccination clinics attracting young people with free barber cuts, spot prizes and giveaways

Fake vaccine exemptions, anti-vaxxers, misinformation
RNZ: Covid-19 misinformation probe: Three doctors suspended from practising
Benn Bathgate (Stuff): Medical Council cites ‘conduct related to Covid’ for interim suspension of three doctors 
Courtney Winter  (Herald): Fake vax exemption doctor Dr Jonie Girouard reopens North Canterbury clinic
Scott Palmer (Newshub): Medical Council imposes interim suspension on three doctors accused of promoting anti-vaccination views
Herald: Ministry of Health issues warning over fake vaccine information
ODT: Dunedin nurse ‘wholeheartedly sorry’, says fear prompted video
ODT: Public apology for anti-vax video

Economy, business, 
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): What to expect when the Government opens the books (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): Continuous Disclosure: What’s driving interest rates up … and why markets don’t like it 
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Biggest decline in economic confidence since the GFC – survey finds
RNZ: Report reveals performance gap between regions with Covid-19 restrictions and those with fewer
Susan Edmunds (Stuff):  Omicron, house price falls: Economists ponder 2022
Sally Rae (ODT): Otago economic activity forecast to rise
Saphron Moore (Stuff): The restaurant industry will never be the same – so adapt or fade away
Esther Ashby-Coventry (Stuff): Auckland border opening provides glimmer of hope for tourism operators
Katie Townshend (Stuff): Nelson hospitality hangs its hopes on Auckland border opening
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Creating climate-friendly tourism in a post-Covid-19 world

Local government, Three Waters
Richard Harman (Politik): Water wars; Three Waters and the Treaty (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denies misleading councils over predetermined decision to mandate Three Waters
Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporting): Northland leaders support Three Waters protest at Parliament
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland Council to appeal Mayor Phil Goff’s controversial bed tax in the Supreme Court
Grant Miller (ODT): Satisfaction with council plunges
Grant Miller (ODT): Poor appraisal of council seen as spur to improve
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): Security measures ‘beefed up’ as trespassed councillor misses meetings
Deena Coster (Stuff): Regional council’s representation model under fire from Māori
Felix Desmarais (Local Democracy Reporting): Reynold Macpherson running for Rotorua mayor in 2022 local election
RNZ: Gore District Council and iwi sign off on ‘future-focused’ Charter of Understanding
Gavin Ogden (Herald): Tauranga’s representation review – what’s changed and why
Emily Ireland (Local Government): Stalemate over LGNZ guidelines for good governance
RNZ: Council boss and councillor apologise for ‘derogatory’ emails
Rebecca Ryan (ODT): Council rejects rainbow paint for roundabout
Jared Morgan (ODT): Council refuses to pay $630,000 for underpass
Richard Davison 9(ODT): Mayor to undergo surgery to treat prostate cancer

Transport, Air NZ
David Hargreaves (Interest): What price a national airline?
David Hargreaves (Interest): Crown extends financial support for Air New Zealand up to $2 bln
Grant Bradley (Herald): Analysis: $500m more Government support gives Air New Zealand breathing space (paywalled)
RNZ: Air NZ restructures its support package with government
Joel MacManus and Thomas Manch (Stuff): Transmission Gully public-private partnership contract was wrong call, Transport Minister says
Georgina Campbell and Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Revealed: Flawed chipseal behind latest Transmission Gully delay (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Patreon): Brian Roche and Transmission Gully (paywalled)
Justin Latif (Local Democracy Reporting): ‘This is for us’: Māngere sends strong message on light rail
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison resigns

Police, Justice, corrections
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Government to review Search and Surveillance Act in 2022 
RNZ: The police don’t know how many times they steal people’s online identities
Anna Leask (Herald): Catholic cover up: Former Christchurch cop lifts lid on Marylands child sex abuse investigation

Foreign affairs, defence, trade
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says officials have ‘some awareness’ of NZ-linked Taliban figure
Audrey Young (Herald):  Peter Dutton and Peeni Henare quietly building defence relations (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell: On why we should oppose the persecution of Julian Assange

Employment
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Private v public CEOs: pay gaps widening (paywalled)
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Bullying inquiry: Netsafe is not safe, say employees

Health
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Pharmac still stalled on lung cancer drug
Emma Russell (Herald): Cancer delays – 45,000 fewer breast screens due to Covid, prostate backlog also ‘terrifying’
Michelle Cooke (RNZ): Teen shares experience of mental health system: ‘It feels like no one is listening’
RNZ: Healthcare workers reject DHB pay offer
Qiuyi Tan (Herald): Ex-Waikato health boss defends Medical Council language policy
Teuila Fuatai (Herald):  Why the Government’s disability funding policy for families is perverse (paywalled)
RNZ: Bill to address ACC cover eligibility passes first reading
ODT: US doctor and influencer settling into South Island life

Environment, conservation, Climate Change
RNZ: Government called to consider environment in budget process
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Sort out your budget – Environment watchdog warns Government
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Wellbeing budgets and the environment: change needed, says Upton (paywalled)
ODT Editorial: The finger of blame

Education
RNZ: Ministry of Education records spike in home-schooling applications
1 News: Fewer teens trying NCEA math test that opens science careers
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): ‘Concerning’ drop in high school students taking algebra, researcher says
Sapeer Mayron (Stuff): University of Auckland to host mātauranga Māori symposium in 2022
Dubby Henry (Herald): Students urged to apply for university, despite lower scores
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Changemaker: The 17-year-old fighting for greener, healthier schools

Immigration
Gill Bonnett (RNZ): Immigration court ruling ‘life-saving’, but NGO frustrated with slow processing of Afghans
Brijesh Sethi (Stuff): Resident visa scheme creates unfair anomalies for international students

Lake Alice
Aaron Smale (Stuff): Crown Law Office did not provide significant piece of evidence to police investigations into Lake Alice
Jimmy Ellingham (RNZ): Lake Alice hospital: 89-year-old charged with ill treatment of children pleads not guilty
Cushla Norman (1 News): Ex-Lake Alice staffer pleads not guilty to injecting children

Erebus memorial
1 News: Protests as work begins on Erebus memorial in Auckland
RNZ: Erebus Memorial: Contractors begin work after protest disruption

Primary industries
Sally Rae (ODT): Government ‘tone deaf’ to meat industry’s needs
Tina Morrison (Stuff): Food and Fibre exports forecast to exceed $50b to hit a new record, MPI says 

Other
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): There’s Something Happening Here – Again
Alexander Gillespie (The Conversation): NZ report card 2021: from COVID to housing and happiness, it was a tale of two countries
Steven Cowan (Against the Current): Annus Horribilis
Juliet Speedy (Newshub): Animal safety group calls for Government to ban greyhound racing over number of dogs killed or injured
RNZ: Majority of women report moderate to low financial wellbeing – FSC research
RNZ: Campaign urges Kiwis to dial down abuse and hostility
Stuff Editorial: Them’s fighting words – and they won’t get you far
Eva Corlett (Guardian): A strange time’: letters document Covid lockdown for New Zealand’s elderly
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): Mass exodus from RBNZ’s senior ranks (paywalled)
RNZ: RBNZ loses two more senior staff in restructure
Chris Keall (Herald): Freeview cans on-demand service after TVNZ powerplay

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