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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

Govt finances, economy, govt subsidies
Thomas Coughlan (Herald):  Two political fault lines open for 2022 (paywalled)
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Robertson’s Budget Policy Statement sets up economic battle of 2022
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): The Treasury uncloaks super-hero scenario for the economy
Richard Harman (Politik): Sunshine superman (paywalled)
Zane Small (Newshub): Government spending is more than tax intake and inflation will continue outpacing wage growth
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Treasury upgrades outlook: lower unemployment, more tax, less debt
Zane Small (Newshub): Government spending is more than tax intake and inflation will continue outpacing wage growth
RNZ: Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown hits government coffers
RNZ: New Zealand’s balance of payment deficits reach record high
Anna Whyte (1 News): ‘One-off’ $6 billion spending boost for Budget 2022
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Budget 2022 to be a whopper, with Grant Robertson saying he’ll allocate a record sum to support the Government’s health reforms
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Far bigger debt buffer to become permanent (paywalled)
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Climate change and health funding priorities for 2022 budget (paywalled)
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Govt announces $4.5b climate response fund
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Grant Robertson’s $6b Christmas present
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Grant Robertson announces new climate emergency fund and $6 billion in new spend for 2022 Budget
Daniel Dunkley (Stuff): China slowdown casts a dark cloud over New Zealand
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland’s $9m recovery voucher package open for bookings to activities like the zoo and Kelly Tarlton’s
Matthew Theunissen (RNZ): Northland’s tourism industry raises concerns over traffic light red setting
Jo Cribb (Newsroom): Pay transparency is the best Christmas gift
Stuff:  Covid blamed as Cycling NZ confirms closure of four development hubs

Housing, Building and construction
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Sepuloni pleads ignorance over MSD spending on private rentals
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Ministry of Social Development’s largesse has landlords ‘printing money’ – social worker
Stuff Editorial: MSD emergency housing scandal shows why the high-trust model isn’t always trustworthy
RNZ: Christopher Luxon calls for accountability over $37m on inflated rentals for emergency accommodation
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The emergency housing debacle
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): Price/income ratios
Zane Small (Newshub): Treasury predicts house prices to increase more than 10 pct in 2022
Miriam Bell (Stuff): House prices have doubled over the last five years – Trade Me 
David Hargreaves (Interest): All five major banks now expect house prices to fall in 2022
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Auckland quickly intensifying as apartments, townhouses make up bulk of consents
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): River city’s pushback on new housing density rules
Eva Corlett and Caitlin Cassidy (Guardian): New Zealand has adopted a radical rezoning plan to cut house prices – could it work in Australia?
Anne Gibson (Herald): Survey of building suppliers reveals staggering inflation (paywalled)
Lloyd Burr (Magic): We need to embrace the new housing reforms
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Winton v Kāinga Ora, housing minister dragged into spat (paywalled)
Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporting): $400m proposed development on track for former Dargaville racecourse

Auckland border, testing, summer travel
Michael Neilson (Herald): More Kiwis support local border restrictions than oppose (paywalled)
Moana Ellis (Local Democracy Reporting): Border opening puts nearly half the Māori population at risk, children could be biggest spreaders
Emily Writes (Spinoff): Why should only the unvaxxed benefit from rapid tests?
Caley Callahan (Newshub): Rapid antigen testing off to bumpy start, pharmacies unable to report online test results
Heta Gardiner (Māori TV): Te Tai Tokerau MP backs iwi against police over vetting border volunteers
Helen Castles (1 News): Northland checkpoint coordinator ‘gutted’ at vetting denial
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Checkpoint: Northland checkpoints start smoothly as border reopens
Denise Piper (Stuff): Northland checkpoint volunteers concerned not every car is being stopped
Nikki Preston (Herald): Waikato mayor warns Aucklanders are coming, Covid cases could reach up to 640 a week by the end of January
Courtney White (ODT): Consider contingency plans, travellers to South urged
Courtney White (ODT): Early testing is key: health leader
Vaimoana Tapaleao and Lynley Ward (Herald): Tearful reunions as families and friends reunite after travel restrictions lift
Nick James and Sophie Trigger (Herald): Aucklanders touching down in Wellington describe ‘surreal’ feeling after months apart
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Auckland border lifts as wild weather hits the North Island
RNZ: Auckland borders reopen: Travellers rejoice as they resume work, reunite with family
1 News: ‘Buzz’ at Auckland Airport as 12,000 to fly in and out

Abuse in care
David Williams (Newsroom): Nowhere to hide for NZ, a place of abuse and torture
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Abuse in care victims appalled at way complaints of abuse, rape torture were handled
Andrew McRae (RNZ): Abuse survivors says devil will be in the detail when it comes to redress
David Cohen (RNZ): Will abuse in care inquiry’s interim report spur reformation of political culture?
Stephen Winter (Spinoff): A turning point for abuse in care survivors – but the work is just beginning
1 News: Advocate: Redresses ‘meaningful’ to abuse in care survivors
Marine Lourens (Stuff): Abuse in care: Disabled survivors put into care as ‘containment from society’, inquiry finds
Sophie Cornish and Edward Gay (Stuff): ‘National disgrace’: Abuse in care survivors failed by state, inquiry finds
John Weekes (Herald): Churches could be made to join inquiry, compensation scheme
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Abuse redress too late for some
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Royal Commission inquiry into abuse in care releases interim report on redress
Daisy Hudson (ODT): System ‘failing’ abuse survivors: Royal Commission report
Tumamao Harawira (Māori TV):Holistic redress for state abuse survivors urged

Three Waters
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Government seeks cross-party promise not to sell-off water assets, as Three Waters opponents organise for battle
Russell Palmer (RNZ): Three Waters consultation was in good faith – Mahuta
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Three Waters dissidents descend on Parliament in attempt to stop reforms
John Weekes (Herald): Three Waters: Mayors’ coalition hopes to unchain reforms, talk about alternatives
Grant Miller (ODT): Joining water campaign group would mean funding ‘futile’ legal action: mayor
Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporting): Northland joins 22-council national campaign to fight Three Waters
Karl du Fresne: That accountability thing that Susie Ferguson doesn’t seem to get
Lloyd Burr (Magic): ‘Three Waters’ means fewer poo-namis, and more swimming at the beaches we love
Tim Dower (Newstalk ZB): Three Waters reform is not the answer

Local government
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Auckland Council looks to create three Māori seats in time for 2025 local elections
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland Council pursuing three Māori seats, but not until 2025
Craig Ashworth (Local Democracy Reporting): Last-ditch push for two Māori regional councillors for Taranaki
Helen Harvey (Stuff): One regional councillor not enough to represent the eight iwi of Taranaki, commissioners told
Liz McDonald (Stuff): City council and hapū will co-govern Christchurch’s riverside red zone
Sandy Eggleston (ODT): Gore District Council-runanga co-operation agreed on
RNZ: Wellington council allowed to strengthen quake-prone Toomath’s Buildings – High Court
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington City Council wins landmark appeal to take possession of quake-prone buildings
Diane McCarthy (Local Democracy Reporting): Ōpōtoki councillor Barry Howe’s conduct to be investigated
RNZ: Petition signers fight to retain carparks in Wellington’s Thorndon Quay
RNZ: Nelson resource consents delayed by council staff shortage
Skara Bohny (Stuff): City council consent process delayed by worker shortage
Scott Yeoman (Stuff): Options revealed for future of historic reserve land in Tauranga, home to golf course and racecourse

Parliament, parties
ODT Editorial: Unparliamentary behaviour
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): An arduous year – end-of year interview with the PM
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): MPs describe 2021 in one word as Parliament wraps up with $6 billion spend-up tipped for 2022
1 News: Jokes exchanged as Parliament breaks for summer
Thomas Coughlan (Herald):  Tax cut pledge not exempt from Chris Luxon policy review
1 News: Luxon taking Bill English social investment welfare approach
Justin Giovannetti (Spinoff): Nicola Willis on National’s reset and its plan for next year
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): David Seymour rates Christopher Luxon 6/10
Mike Hosking (Herald): Why this year was worse than last – and my politician of 2021 (paywalled)
Roger Partridge (Herald):  Government starting new year with a litany of headaches (paywalled)
Jacqui Van Der Kaay (Democracy Project): The occupational backgrounds of politicians
1 News: Luxon chuckles at John Campbell’s Collins, Bridges-themed Xmas gift
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Ranked: the best political party merch for Christmas
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Doodle by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern up for grabs for $20 on Trade Me

Govt management of Covid-19
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): The 1pm Covid-19 updates are changing. Here is what you need to know
Henry Cook (Stuff): Christopher Luxon – NZ shouldn’t be afraid of reimposing restrictions if it means more freedom sooner
Arena Williams & Stuart Smith (Stuff): We needed to lock down the country to prevent Covid deaths … but
Torika Tokalau (Stuff): What now for south Auckland as the country changes pandemic approach?
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Large protest to be held at Parliament against vaccine mandates
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Wellington public servants advised to stay home or conceal their identity during freedom protest

Vaccine rollout, mandate
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Buying the vaccine: Was New Zealand too slow?
Zane Small (Newshub): Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine ‘prevented any New Zealander entering ICU’ – Chief Medical Officer
Matthew Rilkoff (Stuff): Protecting children the next stage of the pandemic
Herald Editorial: Promising signs for Covid vaccine doses for children (paywalled)
Audrey Young (Herald): PM declares NZ has reached 90 per cent double-dose vaccination
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern says country has hit 90 per cent fully vaccinated and ‘bloody deserves’ a holiday, in final speech of the year
William Hewett (Newshub): Vaccine map: New data shows over 93 pct of New Zealand’s areas close to or over target
RNZ: Counties Manukau DHB hits 90% fully vaccinated target
Herald: The 90% Project – Counties-Manukau DHB reaches 90% fully vaxxed, what next?
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Vaccination clinic yet to explain how woman was vaccinated with used needle
Samantha Mythen (Herald): Husband speaks out after Christchurch woman given vaccine with used needle
Cheree Kinnear (Herald): Police warn of ‘major repercussions’ as unvaxxed officers face being stood down
RNZ: Relief as anti-vax psychiatrist suspended
Herald: Teacher caught informing the unvaxxed how to bypass vaccine pasport rules
Courtney White (ODT): Anti-vax graffiti concerning
Katie Townshend (Stuff): Testing station closed after threats to staff ‘escalate’
Herald: Corporate staff Christmas parties in Covid era: From big blowouts to online catch-ups (paywalled)

Health, ACC
1 News: Twenty-four hospitals around NZ to get upgrades
Michael Neilson (Herald): 36 hospitals to be upgraded in $644 million health funding boost
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Hundreds of beds converted, dozens of new beds in nationwide hospital upgrade next year
Anusha Bradley (RNZ): Report reveals some sexual assault survivors ‘spent years unaware they were even eligible to make a claim’
RNZ: Drug and alcohol agency suggest vaping not fit-for-purpose
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Mammographers take stand on pay
Neil Reid (Herald): Auckland woman gets apology from Ministry of Health after ‘appalling’ home-isolation experience

Border, MIQ, Omicron
Conan Young (RNZ): Translator raises alarm about fraudulent vaccine exemption
RNZ: The Omicron Covid-19 variant: What you need to know
BBC: Omicron spreading at unprecedented rate – WHO
Herald: 16 flight crew, two pilots who are Omicron contacts await test results

Cases, demographics
Herald: Person in 30s youngest in NZ to die from virus
Robin Martin (RNZ): Taranaki’s Eltham Covid-19 cluster expected to grow
Ethan Griffiths (Herald): 15 new cases in South Taranaki, new cluster centred around primary school

Reserve Bank
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): The Reserve Bank appears underwhelming
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr defends senior staff departures, bank’s Covid-19 strategy
Michael Neilson (Herald): Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr grilled by MPs over senior staff departures
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): The Reserve Bank confirms 10 of its 26 most senior staff are leaving, but says three leadership appointments will be announced on Thursday
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): RBNZ denies 10 of 25 senior staff have left since June (paywalled)

Public Service
Oliver Lewis (BuinessDesk): Expectations of public service CEOs kept under wraps
Nikitin Sallee (BusinessDesk): For public service CEs, ‘the stakes are pretty high’

Peter Dunne: Pass the Parcel over Transmission Gully
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Attempts to fix Transmission Gully made it worse, reports show
Joel MacManus and Thomas Manch (Stuff): Transmission Gully public-private partnership contract was wrong call, Transport Minister says
Kate Green (Stuff): Government announces biofuel mandate for transport sector
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Mainfreight investigation reveals logbook, work time breaches

Police, Justice, corrections
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Police Minister Poto Williams schooled by Speaker Trevor Mallard as National criticises time taken to introduce new firearms Bill
John Weekes (Herald): New firearms bill a sluggish response to gun mayhem, Act and National say
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Laws not fit for modern blended families: Law Commission
Laura Walters (Stuff): New sexual violence law gives better protections to survivors in court

Environment, conservation, Climate Change
David Williams (Newsroom): Legal threat looms over ECan’s hidden river report
Andrea Vance (Stuff): International agreement to stop the killing of endangered Antipodean albatross
Rachael Kelly (Southland Times): Southland councils want a regional approach to climate change policies
Logan Tutty (Herald): Whanganui records second hottest December day since 1978
Herald: Wallabies found in Greater Wellington region prompt appeal for public to report sightings
Deena Coster (Stuff): Committee set up delayed as Waitara river remains unswimmable
Simon Moutter (Herald):  Five things that need to be done about waste (paywalled)

Graham Adams (Kiwiblog): The philosopher stoned for his defence of science
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): A good move from Auckland University
Stuff:  Victoria University appoints acting vice-chancellor
RNZ: High school NCEA exams attendance below half in Auckland

Rob Stocks (Stuff): KiwiSaver fee focus: Top fund manager says it was ‘never interested’ in being a default provider
RNZ: Lower KiwiSaver fees do not result in better performance – report
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): Research firm questions govt’s decision to choose KiwiSaver default providers based on low fees (paywalled)

Foreign affairs, defence, trade
Robert Ayson (Incline): Wanted: Scary Pacific Trends for New Zealand’s Defence Assessment
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Government’s new national security priorities reveals growing concerns about ‘strategic competition’ 
Reuben Steff (Newsroom): A wake-up call for Aotearoa as global instability grows
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Govt eyes ‘Pacific preference’ in immigration to boost region
Craig Tuck & Greg Barns (Stuff): Time for NZ Government to stand up against US over-reach on Assange
George Block (Stuff): Kiwi Defence Force personnel return from Solomons early after tensions ease
Logan Church (1 News): Killer robots ‘threat against humanity’ Government says
Barbara Dreaver (1 News): New Tongan Prime Minister elected after secret ballot vote
RNZ: Tonga elects new PM: Siaosi Sovaleni

Primary industries
Tom Kitchin (RNZ): Water take attempt in Central Hawke’s Bay about ‘personal gain and greed’
Niva Chittock (RNZ): Student Job Search helps fill vacancies in agriculture, fishing and forestry
RNZ: Seafood sector report recommends more formal industry training
Maja Burry (RNZ): Primary sector exports tipped to exceed $50bn in 2022 – report
Andrea Fox (Herald): OIO approves Waikato’s 15th dairy plant, clears Singapore’s Olam to build
Sally Murphy (RNZ): New Zealand producers’ effort to trademark words ‘Manuka honey’ rejected by UK
Mostafa Rachwani (Guardian): ‘Manuka honey’: UK rules term can be used by Australian producers in blow to NZ
RNZ: Meat Industry Association appeals for more halal butchers to be allowed into NZ

Sahiban Hyde (Hawkes Bay Today/Herald): Forestry fatality in Hawke’s Bay ‘sad, unnecessary’ reality of industry, says union
Heather du Plessis Allan (Newstalk ZB): Increasing the minimum wage again is the wrong move

Mike Grimshaw (The Conversation): Prior’s warning: what would NZ’s greatest 20th century philosopher have said about civil liberties in the COVID age?
Meg Foon (RNZ): ‘What unites us is stronger than what divides us’ – Race Relations Commissioner
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Progress, Or Restoration? Which Way For The Left?
Chris Keall (Herald): Do we need to panic over the ‘Jacinda Ardern’ deepfake clip? (paywalled)
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Coronavirus: Growing amount of content online that will make your ‘hair curl and fall out’ – NetSafe
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): ‘Kind and loving’ man killed trying to take down Christchurch terrorist gets top NZ bravery award
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): After 30 years of negotiations, Maniapoto settlement passes first reading
Cameron Bagrie (BusinessDesk): Screech! That’s the sound of the credit brake (paywalled)
Anuja Nadkarni (Newsroom): Youths waiting for residency granted study and work rights
RNZ: Meridian Energy to build solar farm next to Marsden Point refinery
RNZ: The Detail: Our second ‘year like no other’ – how we unravelled
Toby Morris (Spinoff): The Side Eye’s Two New Zealands: Ella remembers the Spanish flu
Newshub: House Speaker Trevor Mallard’s tribute to Tova O’Brien
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Thanks for reading – especially those of you who think I’m wrong



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