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
Michael Baker, Jennifer Summers, Amanda Kvalsvig, Matire Harwood, Nick Wilson (Public Health Expert): Preparing for Omicron: A proactive Government response is urgently needed to minimise harms
RNZ: Experts list steps New Zealand government needs to take to fight Omicron
RNZ: Traffic light system may need strengthening or adjusting in face of Omicron – Bloomfield
Jamie Morton (Herald): Jacinda Ardern on her booster jab, experts call for NZ’s return to ‘flattening the curve’
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Omicron ‘a case of when, not if’, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says
RNZ: Days before extent of Omicron spread known, ‘scan in everywhere’ urges Covid-19 modeller
RNZ: Omicron outbreak would push New Zealand back to red traffic light setting, says Jacinda Ardern
Herald: Traffic light system needs revision – experts
Rebecca Moore (1 News): Omicron in NZ a matter of ‘when, not if’ – Jacinda Ardern
Herald Editorial: Has New Zealand’s luck run out with border-linked Omicron case?
Siobhan Downes (Stuff): Vaccine pass or negative test no longer required to leave Auckland
Anne Gibson (Herald): Canterbury business owners stuck in Australia, can’t get into MIQ, selling home (paywalled)

Vaccine rollout, mandate, testing
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ‘open’ to booster shot requirement for COVID-19 vaccine certificates
Mchael Andrew (BusinessDesk): The omission that makes My Vaccine Pass ‘far less useful’ (paywalled)
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): PM Jacinda Ardern breaks silence over Clarke Gayford’s alleged attempt to get rapid antigen tests for mates
Māori TV: Tamariki Māori should be fast-tracked in vaccine rollout – Taonui
RNZ: Covid-19 vaccination for children: ‘You could think of it as an insurance policy’
Katie Todd (RNZ): Children’s vaccine rollout kicks off as government warns of Omicron threat
1 News: Surge in demand as 5 to 11-year-old vaccine rollout begins
Emma Russell (Herald): Only half of vaccination centres available for kids
Herald: Child vaccine rollout marred by massive traffic problems
Adam Pearse (Herald): Auckland health officials apologise for long vaccination queues
Bernadette Basagre (Stuff): Vaccination centres busy as children queue to receive their first jabs
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s dig at anti-vaccine rhetoric as rollout begins for 5-11 year olds
Dubby Henry (Herald): Parents taking Medsafe, Govt to court to stop vaccine rollout for 5-11s
Mike Yardley (Stuff): Time to get boosted, as Omicron skyrockets, then plummets, elsewhere
Spinoff: All your questions about kids and Covid vaccines, answered
Eric Trump (ODT): Fights about vaccine harm children: expert
RNZ: Covid-19 vaccine booster: Online bookings open as advice for at-risk people changes
RNZ: Not ‘two and done’: education to lift Māori booster uptake
Herald: Bizarre booster shot side effect explained
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): Fewer than 6000 AstraZeneca doses given in New Zealand
RNZ: Hundreds of unvaccinated firefighters stood down
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Hundreds of council workers unvaccinated despite looming deadline
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Challenges to legality of work vaccine mandates

Anti-vaccination, protests, rule breaches
1 News: Brian Tamaki denied bail, held in custody after court hearing
Herald: Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki to remain in custody for 10 days after bail application refused
RNZ: Brian Tamaki remanded in custody for alleged breach of bail conditions
Herald: The moment Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki was arrested
Herald: Jay Laga’aia calls out Brian Tamaki after arrest
Sam Olley (RNZ): Anti-vax GP speaks out against doctor who reported him
RNZ: Women accused of breaching Covid-19 restrictions to go on trial
Riley Kennedy (ODT): 37 possible traffic light breaches
Guy Williams (ODT): Conviction, $500 fine for lockdown breach
Guy Williams (Stuff): ‘Sense of entitlement’: Man who jet-boated during Covid 19 lockdown fined $500

Housing
RNZ: Would-be homeowners face banks pulling pre-approvals
1 News: Interactive map shows NZ suburbs median house value rises
RNZ: All New Zealand suburbs experienced house price growth in 2021
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Here’s where median house values are under $300,000
Anne Gibson (Herald): Four areas where house values shot up by $550,000+ last year
Catherine Masters (OneRoof): Will the average house price in Christchurch hit $1m in 2022?
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Government had three years of warnings new credit rules would shut out borrowers
Damien Venuto (Herald):  Credit changes – Govt’s good intentions fall short in lending law fiasco (paywalled)
Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand banks reject home loans over spending on Christmas gifts and pets as tighter rules hit

Economy, Business, Employment
Liz McDonald (Stuff): Employers ‘desperate’ as shortfall of 10,000 workers hits productivity and profits
Marine Lourens (Stuff): 10,000 new workers a year needed to fill labour gap in Canterbury, study finds
Gianina Schwanecke (Stuff): Growers weary as harvest ‘crunch time’ nears amidst ongoing labour shortage
Richard Wagstaff (Stuff): Lifting worker confidence is critical to New Zealand’s success
Rob Stock (Stuff): Tony Alexander surveys households for tips on how to fight inflation
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Inflation, Covid, interest rates – what economists got wrong in 2021
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Kiwis literally freezing credit cards to curb urge to splurge
Kirk Hope (Herald):  Five big things on business owners’ minds in 2022 (paywalled)
Mikaela Wilkes (Stuff): Bay of Islands music festival 2022 is cancelled
Megan Wilson (Herald): Tauranga businesses hope for move to green (paywalled)

Tonga volcanic eruption, tsunami
RNZ: Distress signal prompts UN concern after Tonga volcanic eruption
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Tonga’s undersea cable could take weeks to repair
RNZ: Significant damage on Tonga’s west coast – NZ High Commission
RNZ: Tonga eruption: Power restored in Nuku’alofa as New Zealand sends air support
RNZ: Tonga eruption: NZ Air Force plane leaves for reconnaissance flight to assess damage
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Air Force Hercules preparing to air drop supplies to Tonga, naval deployment likely
Zane Small (Newshub): Defence Minister Peeni Henare’s gym selfie tribute to Tonga sparks outrage
Kim Moodie (RNZ): ‘Crucial time for our community’: Tongans in NZ pray family and friends are safe
RNZ: Horticulture industry using fund to support growers impacted by Tonga eruption
Hamish Cardwell (RNZ): Northland boat owners angry no tsunami siren, texts before waves hit Tūtūkākā Marina

Immigration
Jon Stephenson (Stuff): Did Government ‘simply cave’? National demands answers over residency decision for former vice-president of Afghanistan Sarwar Danish
Jem Traylen (BusinessDesk): Faafoi tight-lipped about overdue immigration reset (paywalled)

Environment, conservation
Simon Wilson (Herald): The value of superglue climate-change protests (paywalled)
Todd Niall (Stuff): Omicron and the threat it poses to Auckland climate action
Jamie Morton (Herald): No, Hunga-Tonga eruption won’t slow global warming
RNZ: Toxic algae found at fourth Southland river
Karen McWilliams (Spinoff): Game-changer or greenwashing tool? The new climate law could go either way

Health
RNZ: Wairau Hospital’s HDU to return to full operations
1 News: ‘Missed opportunities’ as man dies of septic shock, cancer
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Southern DHB missed cancer diagnosis despite seven trips to ED
John Lewis (ODT): Gastroenteritis outbreak closes two wards
Susan Wardell (Spinoff): Meet Aotearoa’s cyborg kids

Transport
Todd Niall (Stuff): Temporary fare freeze on Auckland public transport due to Covid-19 
Kate MacNamara (Herald): The $85m spend to revive KiwiRail workshops that officials recommended against (paywalled)
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Fuel firms set to be required to store more petrol in NZ after refinery closes

Local government
Luisa Girao (ODT): City council proposes extra funding and a loan for CBD precinct project
Phil Goff (Herald):  Heartening trends at future-focused Auckland Council (paywalled)
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett considering a return to politics

Other
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): The Choice
Chris Trotter (Interest): Cancelling the cancellers
Andy Fyers (BusinessDesk): Who’s who in the Wellington beltway
Rukuwai Tipene-Allen (Māori TV): ‘Wipe the Māori out’ – racist messages and threats towards Māori need to stop
Michael Neilson (Herald): Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere on a year of wins for LGBTQI+
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Tova O’Brien goes to court in radio v TV employment tussle
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Ex Russell McVeagh partner suspended for two years over summer clerk groping
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Former Russell McVeagh partner suspended after sexually inappropriate behaviour
RNZ: Russell McVeagh ex-partner barred from law work, ordered to pay $100,000
Anna Leask (Herald): Government adviser in court on violence charge after alleged Christmas Eve bar assault in Christchurch
Niva Chittock (RNZ): Salvation Army Queenstown area community hub nears funding goal
Jessica Tyson (Māori TV): ‘White men can’t dance’: Why Sir Buck Shelford changed the All Blacks haka
Christine McCarthy (Newsroom): Calling home: Why phone access for prisoners matters
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): From Isis to Prince, should NZ overhaul the baby name rules?
ODT Editorial: No-one so high as to be above the law

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