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

Parliament, parties, polling
Richard Harman (Politik): Delta’s big victim; Jacinda Ardern and her Government (paywalled)
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Time running out for Govt’s big reforms
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Delay to proactive release review at two years and counting
Matthew Hooton: Christopher Luxon’s got the job — now what? (paywalled)
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): Luxon’s Tough Assignment
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): What is important in the latest poll for National (paywalled)
Liam Hehir (Patreon): No longer needed: a theory of the case
The Country (Herald): National Party leader Christopher Luxon on Three Waters and carbon farming
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Afternoon Briefing: Not A True Story
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Green leaders: More Te Tiriti-centric approaches needed
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Māori Party year in review – ‘Māori still at the bottom of the cliff’
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): Major Māori events cancelled -how will MPs kick off the 2022 political year?
Northland Age: Shane Jones, former coalition Government minister, to run for Parliament in 2023

Govt management of Covid-19
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Buying the vaccine: How NZ almost turned down Pfizer
Gordon Campbell: On fostering the culture of Covid complaint
Derek Cheng (Herald): How contact-tracing capacity has been nearly doubled for summer outbreaks (paywalled)
Ian Powell (Second Opinion): A Covid graph that reveals so much
Diane McCarthy (Stuff): Iwi gather for collective Covid effort in a time of ‘real threat’ to Māori
Herald: Ministry of Health to start new way of providing Covid updates
Herald: PM Jacinda Ardern ‘Tinder liaisons have reopened’ quote goes viral on Stephen Colbert’s show
1 News: Unknown community Covid-19 cases may be in Gisborne
RNZ: Covid-19 wrap for 16 December: Omicron in NZ, vaccine milestones and mandate protests
Herald Editorial: Auckland carried the weight and showed the way (paywalled)

Omicron, Border, MIQ
Keith Lynch (Stuff): Left unchecked Omicron could lead to tens of thousands of cases daily
RNZ: Bloomfield to speak to minister about changes to vaccine booster programme
Jordan Bond (RNZ): Experts advise speeding up vaccine booster doses after variant detected in MIQ
1 News: Time between second dose, booster may be cut – Bloomfield
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Ashley Bloomfield not ruling out recommending further lockdowns if Omicron gets into community
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Expert calls for border reopening to be postponed, fully vaccinated to be redefined
RNZ: Checkpoint; Omicron can be kept out of NZ – Professor Baker
1 News: Omicron: Baker urges caution around international border
George Clark (Herald): Government should consider delaying border reopening – Michael Baker
Herald: Experts react to New Zealand’s first Omicron case in MIQ
Hamish MacLean (ODT): Omicron next big challenge
RNZ: Omicron case found in Christchurch MIQ
1 News: NZ’s first Omicron case discovered in Christchurch MIQ – Bloomfield
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RNZ: Relax immigration rules, open new medical school to tackle health worker shortage – National MP Dr Shane Reti
Matt Burrows (Newshub): Woman in race against time to see mum before she dies as MIQ takes five days to ponder exemption

Health system, hospitals
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Healthline call logs reveal COVID-positive man who died at home wasn’t spoken to by clinician despite low oxygen levels
Margaret Crozier (Stuff): Aged care faces a registered nurse crisis, and we need new thinking to solve it 
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Middlemore Hospital prepares to cope with ED surge as restrictions lift
Newstalk ZB: Health Minister asks for patience when it comes to hospital funding
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Government funds to assist upgrades to health facilities
Megan Wilson (Herald): Tauranga Hospital upgrade: MP says $17.9m funding is ‘too little too late’ (paywalled)
RNZ: Go-ahead for $170m in funding will help people access their health data, Ministry says
Bridie Witton (Stuff): National’s Shane Reti says hospital upgrades don’t help chronic short-staffing

Vaccine rollout, mandate
Qiuyi Tan and Adam Pearse (Herald): The 90% Project – How did we get to 90% fully vaccinated
Liz McDonald (Stuff): New Zealand reaches 90 per cent vaccination milestone
Ireland Hendry Tennent (Newshub): New Zealand hits 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone
RNZ: Covid-19 milestone: 90pc of eligible New Zealanders are now fully vaccinated
New Zealand hits 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone
Denise Piper (Stuff): Northland only DHB that hasn’t reached 90 per cent first dose vaccine target
Dan Satherley and Lucy Warhurst (Newshub): Medsafe approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children, ball now in Cabinet’s court
RNZ: Medsafe gives provisional approval for Pfizer vaccine for children
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Pfizer vaccine approved for children aged 5-11
Sharnae Hope (Stuff): Wintec staff and students must be vaccinated from 2022
Katy Jones (Stuff): Outdoor education group urges vaccine pass exemptions for students
Luisa Girao (ODT):Invercargill City Council Front-line council staff guaranteed fully vaccinated
Daniel Smith (Stuff): Fletcher Building mandates vaccinations for all on-site staff
Carly Gooch (Stuff): Smartphone sales soar along with app help queries 
—————
Justin Duckworth (Stuff): When we talk about freedom of choice, let’s remember those who have no choice
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Lower turnout at anti-vaccine mandate protest at Parliament with no politicians
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): No arrests after crowd ‘generally well behaved’ at Wellington protest
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Anti-Covid protestors mistakenly converge on Parliament a day after the House rises
1 News: Anti-Government protesters gather outside Parliament
RNZ: Bus disruptions, road closures after Covid-19 protest in Wellington
Nick James (Herald): Claims Air NZ pilot wanted to kick unmasked pair off plane, but was told they couldn’t
Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): A black market in Covid vaccine passes is issuing fraudulent, but effective certificates

Auckland border, testing, summer travel
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Planes landing in Queenstown but self-isolation rooms not yet secure
George Block (Stuff): Auckland/Waikato checkpoints scrapped after nine-hour queues predicted
John Bishop (Stuff): Sorry Northland, I’m not welcome, so I’m not coming
RNZ: What to do if you catch Covid-19 on holiday

Govt finances, economy, govt subsidies
Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): An intergenerational wellbeing crime scene
Liam Dann (Herald): What today’s GDP data really tells us about the economy (paywalled)
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): GDP drop of 3.7% in face of Delta lockdowns evidence of economic ‘resilience’
Katie Bradford (1 News): GDP down 3.7%, second largest quarterly fall since 1986
RNZ: GDP falls 3.7 percent in third quarter amid Delta outbreak lockdown

Housing, Building and construction
John Minto (Daily Blog): Labour’s betrayal of low-income New Zealanders
ODT Editorial: Time for a housing-price correction?
Greg Ninness (Interest): Apart from a few soft spots the housing market has a long way to go before prices start falling
Anne Gibson (Herald): Immigrant’s first Auckland house rising $4000/week (paywalled)
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Hamilton real estate agents say sanity is returning to housing market
Te Aorewa Rolleston (RNZ): Māori trusts receive funding to provide ‘whare for whānau’
Andrea Fox (Herald): Sleepyhead set to go ahead as appellants resolve issues
Joanne Naish (Stuff): Council backs down on floor policy after legal threat from builders 
Anne Gibson (Herald): PlaceMakers warning: James Hardie products from Australia to cost 10% more next year (paywalled)

Local government
Janine Rankin (Stuff): Ombudsman criticises Palmerston North City Council secrecy
RNZ: Waimea Dam investigation finds no wrongdoing
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): ‘No red flags’ in information given to councillors over Waimea dam
RNZ: Lawyer engaged over West Coast stewardship land
Felix Desmarais (Local Democracy Reporting): Rotorua Lakes Council reports overall $11.6m deficit for 2020 / 2021 financial year
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Auckland Council to consult mana whenua, urban Māori on creating Māori seats
Emily Ireland (Local Democracy Reporting): Tensions rise in Masterton’s civic centre talks
Moana Ellis (Local Democracy Reporting): Ruapehu District Council tackles ‘huge’ level of gambling harm
Matthew Rosenberg (Local Democracy Reporting): Southland District Council’s aerial erosion monitoring does not include area in front of old dump site
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Hamilton City Council puts off Founders Theatre decision, again
Herald: Wellington water woes: Investigation under way after flooding in Lower Hutt
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Privacy breach: Wellington City Council sends rates bills and addresses to the wrong people
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): Tasman District Council ends financial year with $69.5m surplus
Cass Marriot (ODT): Queenstown Lakes District Council Freedom Camping Bylaw vote unanimous
Devon Bolger (Herald): Christchurch’s delayed $450m new convention centre Te Pae officially opens
Gianina Schwanecke (Stuff): Close to 60 people hospitalised from 2016 Havelock North gastro outbreak, study finds

Transport
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Auckland Council not in a ‘financial position’ to help pay for $14b light rail
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland Harbour Bridge will not have a lane for cyclists, says transport boss
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Aucklanders back on the bus following move to Covid-19 red light restrictions
Kate Green (Stuff): New airport bus for Wellington announced
Georgina Campbell (Herald): New fleet of electric buses to service Wellington airport route
David Haxton (Herald): Twenty-five passengers in first flight from Auckland to Kāpiti
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Transmission Gully interim agreement expires, builder now liable for $250,000 a day
Sam Sherwood and Joanne Naish (Stuff): West Coast driving instructor admits falsifying licences for gang members

Police, Justice, corrections
RNZ: ‘As a result, he is dead’: IPCA chair Judge Colin Doherty on action of officers in Allen Ball’s death
Robin Martin (RNZ): Police failed in duty of care to man who died in custody at Hāwera – IPCA
Tara Shaskey (Stuff): Taranaki police officers involved in custody death failed in duty of care – IPCA
1 News: Cops failed to seek medical care for man who died in custody
Robin Martin (RNZ): Partner of man who died in custody pleased someone is finally listening
Karl du Fresne: New Zealand: where being “anti-government” results in police surveillance
Blair Jackson (Stuff): Leading lawyer concerned about Invercargill Prison remand-only proposal
Karen Pasco (ODT): Lack of communication about prison changes ‘diabolical’, staff union says
Loren Portnow (Herald):  With Family Court decisions there’s a lot at stake. So how well does it do? (paywalled)

Awards for bravery during Christchurch terror attack
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): ‘Kind and loving’ man killed trying to take down Christchurch terrorist gets top NZ bravery award – full awards list
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand honours ‘extraordinary’ bravery of 10 during Christchurch attacks
RNZ: Bravery awards recognise 10 people for saving lives during Christchurch terror attack
Sam Sherwood (Stuff): Prime Minister offers ‘deepest respect and gratitude’ to March 15 heroes
1 News: Officers recount arrest of Chistchurch mosque terrorist
Sam Sherwood (Stuff): ‘Fear’s no good to you’: Officers describe the moment they arrested mosque terrorist
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Heroic police officers who took down Christchurch terrorist describe apprehending shooter
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Christchurch man who threatened to car bomb city mosques apologises and meets shooting survivor

Environment, conservation, Climate Change
Marjorie Cook (ODT): Mt Iron land sold to QLDC for safekeeping
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Sand dredging: What’s yours is mined
Grant Bradley (Herald): Air New Zealand boss Greg Foran – Covid pales into insignificance compared to climate change (paywalled)
Stuff Editorial: Whether we fight or adapt, climate change is here
Brian Fallow (Herald):  Grant Robertson makes a down payment on the climate (paywalled)
Piers Full (Stuff): Climate change making hayfever season worse

Employment
Don Franks (Redline): Low paid workers: between a rock and a soft place
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): Independent operators shouldn’t have to shoulder the biggest risks

Other
Thomas Mead (1 News): Sensitive info published online in Teaching Council privacy breach
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Reports detail Fire and Emergency’s struggle with ageing truck fleet
Karl du Fresne: Why I’m no longer compiling the Five-Minute Quiz
Rob Stock (Stuff): Commerce Commission scores victory in case against mobile trader
RNZ: New consumer credit rules may lead to friends, family asking for loans, financial consultant says
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Compromise ruling on UFB revenue caps looks set to leave pricing unchanged
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Reserve Bank chairman says high senior staff turnover ‘unfortunate but normal’ (paywalled)
RNZ: Reserve Bank appoints three new executives
Chris Tobin (Stuff): Foodbanks report massive increase in demand in lead up to Christmas
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Avalanche of need as Christchurch foodbank aims to feed 11,000 people in next two weeks
Naomi Arnold (RNZ): Bad then, worse now: How Covid-19 will hurt retired women
Camryn Brown (Patreon): A crisis delayed or a crisis averted? A case for retirement age indexation (paywalled)
RNZ: Green hydrogen production on the cards for Marsden Point refinery site

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