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

Omicron, NZ border, MIQ, Govt management of Covid-19
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): The border will open despite Omicron (paywalled)
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Lightning-fast Omicron set to break traffic lights
Katie Todd (RNZ): Fresh warning about Omicron variant after cases skyrocket in NSW
Ian Powell (Second Opinion): Responding to omicron
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Govt had no backup plan if elimination failed
Herald Editorial: Border delays amount to careful caution at unpredictable time (paywalled)
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Covid armour beefed up before Omicron seeps in
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Omicron could force more changes to NZ’s contact tracing system
RNZ: Omicron ‘spreads faster than Delta’ but definitive data on severity is a waiting game – researcher
RNZ: Ex-pat Kiwis fund legal challenge against Govt over border delay
RNZ: Returnee who left hospital without completing isolation returns to MIQ
1 News: Covid-negative Auckland hospital escapee returns to MIQ
1 News: Quarantine-free Cook Islands-NZ bubble to open as planned
Nik Dirga (RNZ): Going home in the age of Omicron
Nikki Preston (Herald): Stranded Kiwis heartbroken, uncertain when they will ever get home
Herald: Cook Islands travel bubble still all go for January
1 New: 2021 in review: The year of travel that never was

Vaccine rollout, mandate, pass
Deena Coster (Stuff): Change in strategy finding success in thwarting anti-vax campaigns
1 News: How and when to get your 4-month Covid vaccine booster shot
Scott Palmer (Newshub): COVID-19 vaccine map: 55.8 pct of New Zealand’s areas break 90 pct target
RNZ: MidCentral District Health Board reaches 90 percent vaccination milestone
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Bureaucracy blamed for stalling vaccination efforts in deprived area
RNZ: Vaccine pass won’t be required of people required to physically attend court
Lee Kenny (Stuff): All Ara students and staff must be fully vaccinated from February 14
Jane Nixon (1 News): Cafe owner abused by man over vaccine pass pleads for help
Karina Cooper (Herald): Far North cafe owner’s plea to Government after death threats  (paywalled)
Tim Newman (Stuff): Vaccine mandate covers Nelson City Council staff
Florence Kerr (Stuff): The financial burden of supporting unvaccinated family members
ODT Editorial: Rare side-effects under spotlight
Juliet Speedy (Newshub): Woman whose fiancée likely died from COVID-19 vaccine calls for more clarity around risks and symptoms of myocarditis
Megan Wilson (Herald): Bay of Plenty DHB Covid-19 pamphlet: Businesses should hire Māori cultural advisors, Māori MP says (paywalled)

2021 in review, Parliament, parties
Herald: On the Tiles: As politicians take a break, what’s on the horizon for them in 2022? (podcast)
Jo Moir (RNZ): The political year everyone would rather forget
Ben Thomas (Stuff): Who knows what next year holds. Let’s seize on summer while we can
Shane Te Pou (Herald): A shout out to our Māori MPs (paywalled)
Rino Tirikatene (Stuff): A year of Delta, determination, and a darned good deal

Auckland border checkpoints, summer travel, Delta outbreak
Rawiri Taonui (Waatea): Cases decline as younger Māori deaths increase
Herald: 56 cases revealed as Covid confirmed in Wellington region
RNZ: Ministry posts locations of interest in Hutt Valley after positive case
Rachel Thomas and André Chumko (Stuff): Positive case confirmed in the Hutt Valley, five locations of interest 
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): Virus detected unexpectedly in wastewater in holiday hotspots, Ministry of Health says
Marty Sharpe (Stuff): Third positive wastewater test in Napier in six days
Hannah Martin and Kate Newton (Stuff): The Delta outbreak and hospitalisations in 12 graphs
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Expert urges vigilance as testing numbers across Auckland, NZ trend down
RNZ: Covid-19 pill for patients at home may be reviewed for approval early next year
Daisy Hudson (ODT): Changes catch out pharmacists
Craig Kapitan (Herald): William Willis, Hannah Rawnsley still potentially face consequences for lockdown Wānaka trip

Economy, business, govt subsidies
Gareth Vaughan (Interest): Five predictions for 2022: Covid-19, climate change, bank lending, the RBNZ & rising interest rates
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Business confidence down as supply constraints continue to bite
Keith Woodford (Interest): Inflation has become a wicked problem, with no painless solutions. Demarcation between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is increasing, with societal consequences
Virginia Fallon (Stuff): You know what’s really ‘undesirable’? Racial profiling
Kelly Makiha (Herald): Farmers Tauranga incident: Company says unlikely there is any basis for allegations of racism (paywalled)
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): Reviewing immigration policy
RNZ: Consumer confidence remains marginally pessimistic
RNZ: Sales figures show small businesses on the up
Herald: Christmas retail spending up but a warning some businesses are still suffering due to pandemic
Nona Pelletier (RNZ): Mixed year for KiwiSaver investments reflects flat NZ share market – analysts
Herald: Supreme Court dismisses Pizza Hut franchisees’ appeal in delivery drivers case
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Supreme Court sends Pizza Hut franchisees’ delivery driver case back to ERA
Stuff Editorial: Holidays Act: when the law is a morass
Andrea Fox (Herald): Chilled meat exports take a chop in favour of frozen product in shipping crunch (paywalled)
Liam Napier (Herald): New Zealand Rugby forced to completely remodel Super Rugby Pacific’s draw (paywalled)
Māori TV: No dividend for Sanford, higher dividend for Moana NZ

Foreign affairs
RNZ: China accuses New Zealand and Five Eyes of interference over criticism of Hong Kong legislative elections
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): China wags finger at Five Eyes (paywalled)
Bruce Munro (ODT): Global Insight: Right stance to looming problems?

Health
Anusha Bradley (RNZ): ACC apologise for failing to tell woman she was eligible for financial compensation
Robin Martin (RNZ): Children on general anaesthesia waiting list akin to abuse, says dentist
Brian Easton (Pundit):Promoting The Health Of The Nation
Tom Hunt and Nathan Morton (Stuff): Christmas without pay for midwives after warning email lands 34 minutes late
Evan Harding (Stuff): Healthcare company slammed for ‘not answering calls’
Herald: Drug checking could save lives this summer
George Block (Stuff): Auckland ambulance no-show after drunk passenger bashes bus driver during trip

Inequality
RNZ: Food parcel demand quadruples over lockdown: ‘People don’t have a safety net anymore’
Liu Chen (RNZ): Struggling Auckland families get seasonal lift with $2000 gift packs
Claire Dale (Herald):  How to take the interests of future generations into account (paywalled)

Education
Thomas Mead (1 News): Teaching Council hugely understated extent of privacy breach
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Excavation of school’s asbestos-laced soil to begin amid continued fallout from fire

Police, Justice, corrections
John Anthony (Stuff): Final Supreme Court ruling clears path for decision on Kim Dotcom extradition
Joanne Naish (Stuff): Lawyer ‘disappointed’ over dismissal of complaint about police officer who hunted for trial notes in bin 

Environment, conservation, climate change
Brianne West (Stuff): Why we can’t let big business hide behind distant tree planting goals
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): ‘Nonsensical’ – Greens smarting after Labour delays climate change fixes
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Climate change: Government delays council consents deadline, coal-fired boilers ban
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): Weather-related insurance claims hit record $300 million
Rotorua Daily Post: Ngāti Whare invokes rahui on Whirinaki Conservation Park

Local government, Three Waters
Gillian Blythe (Newsroom): Three Waters reforms: The secret shame of how we treat our wastewater
Matthew Ronsenberg (Local Democracy Reporting): Mixed messages: Mystery surrounds Tim Shadbolt’s work phone
RNZ: Vehicle access to popular Auckland beach to close over holidays

Housing
Felix Walton (Spinoff): Can they really ask me that? How invasions of privacy have become the norm for renters
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Home loan borrower told: You spend too much on your dog
Daniel Dunkley (Stuff): 2022: A buyer’s market? Only if you’re on the ladder

Media
Stuff Editorial: Ombudsman content with the sound of silence over PM’s Groundswell NZ advice
Newshub: Jenna Lynch named Newshub’s political editor
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): NZ has lost one of its best journalists, Jim Eagles (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): Environmentalist, publisher, author, journalist Jim Eagles dies
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): ComCom outlines issues for bid by media to collectively bargain with Facebook, Google

Transport
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Auckland City Rail Link: Covid-19 delays put 2024 completion date back months
Ashleigh Yates (Newshub): Auckland’s City Rail Link tunnel boring machine breaks through into Aotea station
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Auckland’s City Rail Link tunnel boring machine breaks through after 7-month underground journey
RNZ: City Rail Link: Tunnel boring machine breaks through to Aotea Station
Wilson Longhurst (1 News): Video shows milestone in Auckland City Rail Link construction
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Signs of few options for air freight to New Zealand next year – Govt officials
Adam Blackwell (Stuff): Councillor petitions NZTA to review planned roadworks restricting access to state highway

Immigration
Anneke Smith (RNZ): ICU nurse’s residency limbo forcing her to rethink staying in country
Josephine Franks (Stuff): No home, no job, no visa: Canadian caught in two-year immigration limbo in New Zealand

Other
Sally Murphy (RNZ): Union calls for ban on hydrogen cyanamide due to ‘possible carcinogen’ exposure
Diane McCarthy (Local Democracy Reporting): Whakatōhea to initial Deed of Settlement
Arena Williams & Stuart Smith (Stuff): A Government more interested in expanding public service rather than delivering services
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): NZ’s child abuse internet filter suffered outages
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Governments risk throwing good honey after bad

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