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

Covid, MIQ, border
Matthew Hooton (Herald):  Govt’s sanguine stance on Omicron should have NZ worried (paywalled)
Adam Pearse (Herald): Officials predict when Auckland Omicron outbreak will happen
Herald: Omicron likely to enter Auckland community in weeks, warns top doctor
ODT Editorial: Be as prepared as possible for Covid’s return
John Braddock (World Socialists): New Zealand scientists express alarm over Omicron threat
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Employers circumspect on preparations for ‘the big sick’ 
RNZ: Study observes severe Covid-19 infections in children
RNZ: Covid-19 update: 28 new community cases in NZ, 13 in MIQ
Vita Molyneux (Herald): Six new cases in lower North Island, people urged to check locations of interest 
Ripu Bhatia (Stuff): Māori health leaders concerned for their community as Omicron threat looms
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): ‘We outperformed the model’: Why the Covid-19 predictions for Māori haven’t come to pass
RNZ: Covid Tracer App technical issue delays exposure notification by a day for some
Melanie Earley (Stuff): Auckland festival-goers not notified they were at location of interest
Herald: New locations of interest – Auckland’s G.A.Y night club ‘high risk’
Ella Stewart (RNZ): Omicron part of everyday life, New Zealanders overseas say
Michael Burgess (Herald): Rugby league: Warriors hit hard as ‘about two thirds’ of squad test positive for Covid-19 in Queensland in recent weeks
Craig McCulloch (RNZ):  Cook Islands reopens border with vaccinated New Zealanders
Torika Tokalau (Stuff): First tourists fly to Rarotonga as travel bubble resumes after Delta outbreak
Georgia Forrester (Stuff): Can you catch two variants of Covid-19 at the same time?

Clarke Gayford testing controversy 
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Clarke Gayford and Jacinda Ardern close ranks on test controversy
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): PM tight-lipped on Clarke Gayford’s apology over rapid antigen tests
Anna Whyte (1 News): Ardern quiet on Gayford pharmacy claims, Seymour sees silver lining

Vaccine rollout, mandate, testing
Anneke Smith (RNZ): Not all health providers ready for paediatric Covid-19 vaccine rollout from 17 January
RNZ: Covid-19 vaccination for children: What you need to know
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Everything you need to know about vaccinations for under 12s
Joel MacManus (Stuff): Wellington’s councils taking inconsistent approaches to vaccine mandates
Megan Wilson (Herald): Why have Māori vaccination rates been slower? (paywalled)
Mike Houlihan (ODT): Good response to booster rollout in South
Matai O’Connor (RNZ): Capital and Coast DHB hits 90% double vaccinated for eligible Māori today
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Māori 90 per cent fully vaccinated in Wellington, first DHB to hit milestone
Michael Daly (Stuff): Repeated booster doses of the original vaccine unlikely to be appropriate, WHO says

Anti-vaccination doctor, protests, rule breaches
Tim Watkin (Pundit): The Consequences Of Covid & Why Anti-Vaxxers Aren’t Free To Cross A One-Lane Bridge Whenever They Like
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Coromandel shops say rumours Jacinda Ardern was ‘booed’ and told to get out are ‘baseless and incorrect’
Jessica Roden (1 News): Anti-vax protesters smear saliva through Tākaka Council building
Conor Whitten (Newshub): Police end investigation into deregistered anti-vax doctor Jonie Girouard, won’t file charges
Mark Quinlivan and Conor Whitten (Newshub): Anti-vaxx deregistered doctor Jonie Girouard slapped with $300 fine by Ministry of Health
RNZ: $300 fine for North Canterbury anti-vaccination doctor
1 News: Anti-vax doctor fined by Ministry of Health
Herald: Fake vax exemption doctor Jonie Girouard fined by Ministry of Health
Amber Allott (Stuff): Anti-vax doctors a noisy few, GP group says, after Canterbury doctor fined by ministry
Vera Alves (Herald):  Sorry, social media trolls, Lorde did not skip MIQ
Jo Lines-MacKenzie (Stuff): Bus driver’s anti-vax rant prompts complaint from Hamilton passenger

Housing
Riley Kennedy (ODT): Shopping trip affected mortgage approval
Rob Stock (Stuff): Shattered dreams as home loan approvals plunge after lending law changes
RNZ: National average house price went up nearly 30% in 2021
Steven Cowan (Against the current): New year, same old housing crisis
Interest: QV looks ahead from an “unusual 2021” to where sellers will need to temper their expectations
Ashley Church (OneRoof):  Are Kiwis hard-wired to hate property investors?
Anne Gibson (Herald): New housing consent data out: 48,522 houses approved smashes all records
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Another new home consents record but brakes set to go on boom
Mark Southcombe (Newsroom): As far from the NZ housing market you can get
Geraden Cann (Stuff): As Wellington bedsit asking $420 pw draws anger, we compare offerings around NZ
RNZ: Construction minister keen to see record housing consents continue
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): Housing consents rocket to another record – will build times blow out? (paywalled)

Employment
Daniel Smith (Stuff):  Wages rises are setting new records as employers compete for workers
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): Double bonuses and a free lunch – how the hort sector is keeping workers (paywalled)
Mitch McCann (Newshub): Kawerau paper mill closure made 160 people redundant – now, most have jobs
Joanne Naish (Stuff): ‘Massive’ labour shortage on the West Coast amid housing market boom
Glenn McLean (Stuff): Barbers blunted by vaccine mandate and staff shortage
Gerhard Uys (Stuff): More dairy industry workers needed ‘for farmers’ mental health’
Herald Editorial: Pay data transparency needs careful consideration

Economy & Business
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): We need knowledge to tackle unfairness in our tax system
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): 10% house price drop, weaker spending will see OCR cuts in 2023, forecaster tips
Jamie Gray (Herald): NZ housing downturn will mean rate cuts in 2023 – economist (paywalled)
Fergus McDonald (Herald):  Red flags for the economy in 2022 (paywalled)
John Nixon (1 News): Explore Auckland vouchers in big demand as 140K apply
Anne Gibson (Herald): 140,000 registrations for 100,000 Explore Auckland vouchers
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Auckland hoteliers adopt ‘survival mentality’ as 76pc of rooms lie empty
Katy Jones (Stuff): Tourist exodus leaves operators hoping for second wave
Denise Piper (Stuff): Busy summer for Northland at red light, but businesses hope for orange
RNZ: Summer Concert Tour cancelled after performers didn’t want to go into MIQ
1 News: Tour cancelled for first time in 12 years
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Stewart gig: It’s all over (for) now
RNZ: Rod Stewart promises ‘party to end all parties’ on next NZ tour
Philip Chandler (Mountain Scene): Covid puts kibosh on big-bash Gibbston concert
Herald: Rod Stewart cancels New Zealand concert dates for April
Stuff: MIQ struggle sees popular Summer Concert Tour cancelled

Environment, conservation
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): The Ships From The North: Why Autarky cannot be New Zealand’s answer to Climate Change
No Right Turn: Climate Change: Here we go again
RNZ: South Island kōkako: Recording raises hopes of spotting elusive bird
Mildred Armah-Ndlovu (Stuff): New Zealand bees may soon become endangered due to pest threat, expert warns
Karanama Ruru (Stuff): Something fishy going on in Auckland as factory odour plagues Ellerslie locals
Andy Brew (Stuff): Harlequin ladybird well-established in Marlborough thanks to Cyclone Gita
Moana Ellis (Stuff): Iwi set to put safety monitors on upper reaches of Whanganui River

Health
Ian Powell (Second Opinion): Chief executives and health system improvement: A Canterbury tale
RNZ: ‘Terrible time’ to be restructuring health sector says National’s Shane Reti
Jimmy Ellingham (RNZ): Lawyer calls for ACC review of work-related cancer claims policy
John Lewis (ODT): Call for nitrate levels on labels
Lucy Xia (Stuff): Dementia services for Asian Kiwi lacking, huge increase in cases expected
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Flawed theories behind eating disorders persist, researcher finds
Sophie Harris (Stuff): Stress and depression could heighten the risk of virus, study shows

Local government
Greg Sayers (Herald): Troubling trends emerging at debt-laden Auckland Council (paywalled)
Hamish MacLean (ODT): Judge to head council inquiry
Hamish MacLean (ODT): Straight to hearing for dump plan
Glenn McLean (Stuff): New Plymouth District Council loses infrastructure boss down the line

Transport
Susan Botting (RNZ): Roading leaders challenge potential new 80km/h state highway speed limit
Grant Miller (ODT): Slower speed limits vexing

Other
Jack Heinemann (The Conversation): What does ‘academic freedom’ mean in practice? Why the Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy employment case matters
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Big Brother is watching: The rise and rise of CCTV in New Zealand (paywalled)
Stephen Davis (Listener/Herald): NZ vulnerable to global information warfare (paywalled)
Pete McKenzie (Guardian): Anger at NZ government as Afghan ex-vice-president resettled while hundreds of others trapped
RNZ: ‘The purpose of the rāhui is for everybody’ – National Iwi Chairs Forum
Stephen Parker (Newsroom): The media industry – what to look for in 2022
Wyatt Ryder (ODT): Otago Corrections Facility work to start next month
RNZ: Original Ngā Tamatoa members to reunite 50 years after movement’s founding
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Union to govt: keep NZ oil tankers (paywalled)
Lindsay Mitchell (Bassett, Brash and Hide): Gangs: We get what we pay for
Jamie Gray (Herald): RBNZ’s Bascand left a week early due to protocol breach
John Anthony (Stuff): Former RBNZ deputy governor Geoff Bascand leaves early after breach of protocol
John Bishop (Stuff): NZ should say no to King Charles
Esther Ashby-Coventry (Stuff): Back to school initiative helps families with school expenses

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