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

2021 in review, Parliament, parties
Matthew Hooton (Herald): My reflections of 2021 – and why John Tamihere is my New Zealander of the Year (paywalled)
Spinoff: Politics in 2021: How to describe the year in one sentence?
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Here comes the year of adaptation (paywalled)
Jo Moir (Newsroom): ‘I don’t have that lived experience’ – Luxon’s difficulty with new role
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): The annual Interesties Awards have landed
Matthew Rilkoff (Stuff): Covid dominated conversations but life went without too much fuss
Herald Editorial: Counting our blessings at Christmas in this difficult time (paywalled)

Omicron, NZ border, MIQ, Govt management of Covid-19
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand ends 2021 with one of world’s best Covid outcomes – but it wasn’t all good news
Bill Ralston (Listener/Herald):  Government needs to begin steady process of easing restrictions (paywalled)
1 News: Ardern rules out charging unvaxxed Kiwis for Covid treatment
RNZ: Māori health experts welcome protection plan, although ‘little bit late’
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Waitangi Tribunal utterly misses the vaccination politics of NZ
Dubby Henry (Herald): Christmas in quarantine – family’s plans dashed by Covid but grandma says they’re ‘lucky’
Gary Hamilton-Irvine (Herald): Hawke’s Bay student slams MIQ system as border closures extended
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): From A Smug Hermit Kingdom

Vaccine rollout, mandate, pass
Jake McKee (RNZ): Covid-19 boosters after four months already available
Denise Piper (Stuff): Four-month vaccine booster roll-out a shambles, vaccinators say
RNZ: Timeline for Covid-19 vaccine booster shot causing confusion – ‘I was verbally abused’
RNZ: Māori vaccination rates still dangerously low – health advocates
1 News: Bay of Plenty iwi accused of funding threat over Covid jabs
Kate Newton (Stuff): Vaccinating Aotearoa against Covid-19: How a stroll became a sprint
Dr Noelyn Hung (Herald): Data indicates Covid 100 times riskier than jab
Ripu Bhatia (Stuff): Disabled community ‘an afterthought’ in NZ’s vaccine roll-out, expert says
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Concerns lax hospitality venues not scanning vaccine passes 
Herald: Oliver MMA gym fined thousands after knowingly letting unvaccinated staff work
RNZ: Oliver MMA gym in Auckland fined $12,000 over unvaccinated staff
Herald: Thames-Coromandel mayor refuses to comment on whether she’ll abide by jab policy
Nicholas Boyack (Stuff): Upper Hutt does u-turn on Covid-19 vaccine passes 
Vita Molyneux (Herald): Upper Hutt City council will require vaccine passes for all council facilities after case found in Wellington region
Logan Savory (Stuff): ‘Agitated’ group air vaccine passport concerns with Invercargill council leaders
Bernadette Basagre (Stuff): Martial arts centre fined $12k for not meeting vaccine requirements
James Halpin (Stuff): Great Barrier Island vaccinates less than one person a day on average in past month
Cecile Meier and Lee Kenny (Stuff): Congratulations Canterbury – 98 per cent of you have had a Covid-19 vaccine jab
Newshub: A reminder of what the unvaccinated can and can’t do this Christmas

Auckland border checkpoints, summer travel, Delta outbreak
Nadine Porter (Stuff): Man told to pay $140 for Covid test despite colleagues testing positive
RNZ: Case numbers would be higher if people only stuck to traffic light rules – modeller
RNZ: Epidemiologist says more caution required in suburbs of low vaccination
Matai O’Connor (RNZ): Tairāwhiti locals say Covid-19 community cases inevitable after ‘lucky’ year
Scott Yeoman (Stuff): ‘Huge concern’: Covid-19 in Murupara, one of the least vaccinated areas in the country
Tumamao Harawira (Māori TV): Murupara sticks to local GP’s advice as Covid-19 numbers rise
Craig Ashworth (Herald): Iwi prepare for Covid spread in Taranaki
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Fears south Auckland could be hit hard in event of Omicron outbreak
Julia Gabel (Herald): ‘It is real’ – Man’s message after battling virus in hospital
Craig Kapitan (Herald): How William Willis and Hannah Rawnsley’s now infamous Wānaka trip unfolded (paywalled)
Laura James (1 News): NZ’s busiest travel day of the year has regions on edge

Economy, business, govt subsidies
Tina Morrison (Stuff): Landcorp should return focus to pastoral farming, report says 
Grant Bradley (Herald): Queenstown Airport boss Glen Sowry sees traffic move from bust to boom (paywalled)
Miriam Burrell (Herald): Pukekohe New World closing on Boxing Day in recognition of ‘challenging year’ for staff
Glenn McLean (Stuff): NZ Post hoping to clear the floor before Christmas
Gianina Schwanecke (Stuff): Ongoing Te Urewera closure due to Covid-19 risk frustrates Wairoa mayor
Newshub: Farmers tells family of Māori teen called ‘undesirable’ it doesn’t think the incident was racist
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Complexity of international banking a major deterrent for Kiwi businesses to go global – survey shows
Reweti Kohere (Spinoff): Auckland businesses struggle with ‘hoop-jumping’ Covid funding process

Health
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Doctor challenges seizure of ivermectin, the unapproved Covid-19 drug he imported for patients
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Ministry of Health apologises to midwives after ‘insulting’ email error over pay
Boyd Swinburn (Newsroom): The cost of excess weight in NZ
Nikki Preston (Herald): The outbreak that could hit New Zealand once our borders open
Katie Stevenson (1 News): Concern NZ could be at risk of whooping cough outbreak
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Expert warns whooping cough outbreak due, more likely once borders open
Nicole Bremner (1 News): Kiwis with postponed elective surgeries now face long wait
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Union wants controversial chemical banned immediately, ahead of kiwifruit harvest
Robin Martin (RNZ): Children suffering while waiting for dental treatment – parents
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Concerns about supply of carers
Māori TV: Record number of enrolled staying off the smokes for longer
ODT: First stage of hospital build granted consent

Environment, conservation, climate change
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Govt decision to delay Clean Vehicles Bill will cost $40 million
No Right Turn: Climate Change: Dragging their feet again
Māori TV: Two Māori on Climate Commission board
RNZ: Kaimaumau fire labelled an ecological ‘catastophic disaster’ for near-extinct species
George Heagney (Stuff): Recycling plants offer ‘solution’ to e-waste problem

Media
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Mediawatch: The Spin-off’s oil propaganda leaves sour taste
Herald: Kerre McIvor apologises for ‘poor choice of words’ in Newstalk ZB opinion piece
Qiuyi Tan (Herald): Media Council upholds complaints against Indian news site

Education, science
Andrew Owen (Stuff): Witt overseas student numbers unlikely to recover until 2023
Point of Order: Royal Society’s handling of complaints against two fellows could shape the future of NZ science – and of Kiwi reality
Meriana Johnsen (Spinoff): A different way of seeing: Decolonising science through mātauranga Māori

Police, Justice, corrections
Melanie Earley and Lucy Xia (Stuff): Police officers breached lockdown rules by going hunting in bush
Marty Sharpe (Stuff): Victims feel let down by Hawke’s Bay iwi justice process over demolition of old family home

Local government, Three Waters
Bay of Plenty Times: Tauranga City Council to pay nearly $30m in Pacific Apartments settlement 
RNZ: Tauranga City Council’s to pay $30m over historic defective building claim
Stuff:  Out-of-court settlement on ‘defective’ apartment building in Mt Maunganui
André Chumko (Stuff): Libraries try to increase diversity in workforce
RNZ: Boil water in Banks Peninsula, don’t swim in Lake Ellesmere say health officials
Marjorie Cook (ODT): Former harbourmaster turns down offer of role
Kate Green (Stuff): Four-metre sinkhole in garden growing after years of inaction over burst pipe
Steven Walton (Stuff): Stormwater basins cause ‘awful’ stink for Christchurch suburb

Housing
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Wellington leaps to number two in world house price rankings 
Andrew Marshall (ODT): House building booming

Transport
Rob Stock (Stuff): Call for independent review of $12 million City Rail Link hardship fund
Daniel Smith (Stuff): Bluebridge ferry services sold to US investment bank
Caroline Williams (Stuff): Auckland Transport spends $2.6 million to monitor transit lane with 99pc compliance
Andrea Fox (Herald): ‘Year of the surcharge’: More costs coming for New Zealand shippers next year? (paywalled)

Other
John Minto (Daily Blog): “Māori and Pasifika” the new bywords for “working class”
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Harmful sexual behaviour among children in care rising fast
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Exit interview: Rob Everett on cleaning up NZ’s already ‘clean’ act (paywalled)
Steve Cowan (Against the current): Neale Jones: Let them eat cake
Māori TV: Whakatōhea Deed of Settlement to be initialed – 23 years after first go
Robyn Walker (Stuff): Busting the five common myths about tax in NZ
Bill Hickman (Stuff):  ‘Violating’: Transgender passenger upset by pat-down or no-fly call at Wellington Airport

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