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, border
Pete McKenzie (Guardian): New Zealand not prepared for Omicron outbreak expected in ‘matter of weeks’, experts warn
Jean Bell (RNZ): Covid-19 experts fear Omicron could soon be in community as border cases increase
Hamish MacLean (ODT): Fears school year start could bring surge
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Epidemiologist calls for delay in school reopening due to Omicron, but paediatricians disagree
Emma Russell (Herald): Epidemiologist warns Government to delay school return
Dubby Henry (Herald): Chris Hipkins wants kids back in school fulltime – but expert warns Omicron could force rethink
Newshub: Siouxsie Wiles urges people to get booster jabs as Omicron puts us ‘back where we started’
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Omicron triggers new plans
ODT Editorial: Government needs to work with businesses
Bill Hickman (Stuff): Covid uncertainty grounds international musical’s New Zealand season
Greg Presland (The Standard): Human rights and MIQ

Greens
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): News From Nowhere If the Greens are to have a future they must listen to their past
Newstalk ZB: Catherine Delahunty: James Shaw is not living up to the Green vision
Herald Editorial: Green Party discontent breaks surface (paywalled)

Harete Hipango, anti-vaxxers, protests
David Farrier (Webworm): Has NZ found its Marjorie Taylor Greene?
William Hewett (Newshub): Māori Council leader Matthew Tukaki calls on National MP Harete Hipango to resign after attending anti-vaccine mandate and lockdown protest
David Fisher (Herald): National MP who took selfie with protesters claimed ‘sinister’ motive behind Government’s Covid powers (paywalled)
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): ‘Cut it out’: Māori advocate’s blunt message to Covid-19 vaccine misinformation peddlers
Mark Quinlivan and Conor Whitten (Newshub): Canterbury doctor Jonie Girouard deregistered for giving out medical certificates as COVID-19 vaccine exemptions
Anna Leask (Herald): Fake vax exemption doctor Jonie Girouard ‘no longer able to practise in New Zealand’
RNZ: Anti-vaccination doctor Jonie Girouard can no longer practise in New Zealand
Amber Allott (Stuff): Anti-vax ex-doctor in Canterbury looks set to continue new career as chocolatier
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Kaiapoi vax exemption doctor no longer able to practise
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Brian Tamaki insists attending Christchurch ‘family funday picnic’ to share ‘public message of hope’ didn’t breach bail
Anna Leask (Herald): Brian Tamaki defends Christchurch visit, denies bail breach
1 News: Cops ‘looking into’ Brian Tamaki attending anti-mandate event
Tina Law (Stuff): Council sends $14,000 traffic management bill to anti-Government protesters

Employment, business, wage subsidy
David Williams (Newsroom): Claims of wage subsidy abuse hit hospo
Simon Mercep (1 News): Many workers struggling with pay, conditions amid pandemic
Chris Keall (Herald): Workers say pay falling behind, expert says they can vote with their feet (paywalled)
Riley Kennedy (ODT): Ignorance no excuse: Former taxi company owners may have to pay up
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Facts trump employers’ beliefs, Court of Appeal says in Southern Taxis case
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): What Murihiku learned from past transformations
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): Shopper numbers drop as customers ‘reticent’ about venturing out, First Retail Group says

Covid
Caitlan Johnston (Herald): Union criticism after Auckland bus driver tests positive
James Halpin (Stuff): Ministry of Health admits misreporting ICU data
1 News: 27 new Covid-19 community cases today
RNZ: Jetboat passengers close contacts of Covid-19 case – Ministry of Health
1 News: Auckland music festival Covid-19 location of interest
Lee Kenny and Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): Mayor urges people ‘not to panic’ over Queenstown’s locations of interest
Herald: Golden Lights festivalgoers urged to watch for symptoms
1 News: Wellington Covid-19 case attended Auckland block party
Alexa Cook (Newshub): Positive Hawke’s Bay case linked to cricket summer camp
Denise Piper (Stuff): Northland information wrong, but testing and vaccines still urged 

Vaccine rollout, mandate, testing
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Ministry of Health tight-lipped on rapid antigen test strategy
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): ‘Bumpy start’: NZ vaccine booster roll-out meets issues with online bookings, long queues, distribution
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): Getting your booster this summer? Here’s what you need to know about booking it
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Third of eligible Wellingtonians boosted as third case confirmed on Monday
Hannah Martin (Stuff): More than half a million boosters given across NZ
ODT: Vaccine mandate implemented at university
Karen Coltman (Stuff): Foodstuffs recommends its supermarket owners require vaccination of staff

Housing
Maire Leadbeater (Herald): Why it’s getting harder to ignore the war next door (paywalled)
1 News: National average property asking price hits 14-year high
Jade Kake (Stuff): Could ‘build-to-rent’ be our solution to housing affordability?
Anne Gibson (Herald): ‘Don’t underestimate impact of higher interest rates’: expert on housing market changes (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): Police called after property manager failed to pass on $52,000 rent: guilty of misconduct (paywalled)

Environment, conservation
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): It’s time to curb adverts for new petrol cars
No Right Turn: Climate Change: A decision with no integrity
Anna Radford (Newsroom): The politically-loaded issue of saving Auckland’s trees
Ben Kepes (Stuff): Fast fashion sucks for the environment, and certification isn’t the answer
RNZ: Aucklanders urged to reduce water consumption despite sufficient supply
Leah Tebutt (RNZ): Tauranga water supply hits record low, hose ban possible
Jane Matthews (Stuff): Petition launched to see seabed mining banned in Aotearoa
Catherine Groenestein (Stuff): Fears Taranaki pāua beds are ‘being stripped bare’ by summer visitors
Chloe Blommerde (Stuff): Fault at Pukete wastewater plant, swimming ‘not recommended’
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): RealNZ heading for a zero-carbon future as it appoints a conservation officer

Health
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Children’s counselling service ChatBus forced to close
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): Staffing issues led to temporary maternity change at Dunedin Hospital
Holly Henry (Newshub): Dunedin’s Queen Mary Maternity Centre forced to close on weekend as burnout causes staffing shortage
Jimmy Ellingham (RNZ): Non-alcoholic beer ‘flying out the door’ as sales of low-alcohol beer up 1116 percent

Local government
Todd Niall (Stuff): Omicron aside, Auckland has some big decisions ahead
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland ferry services cancelled until March as staff shortages hit commutes
Called Callahan (Newshub): Proposed landfill near Dunedin Airport could be dumped because of serious risk of bird strike to passenger jets
Guy Williams (ODT): Freedom camping reduced
Kiri Gillespie (Herald): Tauranga council staff targeted as assaults, abuse soar amid Covid ‘stress’ (paywalled)

Other
Philip McKibbin (The Guardian): In today’s New Zealand, it’s not about being just Māori or Pākehā – everyone must belong
Soumya Bhamidipati (RNZ): Location and GPS equipment determining whether offenders go to prison
Damien Grant (Stuff): The life and crimes of Arthur Taylor are as complicated as the man himself
Miriam Burrell (Herald): ‘No man’s land’: Judicial workforce, victims cry out for post-Delta fix to crippling court backlog (paywalled)
Luke Kirkness (Herald): How often defence force staff tested positive for illegal drugs (paywalled)
RNZ: New Chinese ambassador Wang Xiaolong arrives in New Zealand
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): New Chinese ambassador arrives in Wellington
Chloe Blommerde (Stuff): Probe on Waikato school prompted by staff complaints of bullying, safety fears, ‘feeling spied on’
Mike Yardley (Stuff): Safety upgrades must happen urgently to improve car safety for all
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Bunnings customers among victims of FlexBooker data breach
Claire Trevett (Herald): Politicians’ gardens: Christopher Luxon, Trevor Mallard, Steven Joyce and Nicole McKee (paywalled)

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