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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

Govt Omicron strategy, NZ moves to red traffic light setting
Chris Trotter (Interest): Omicron has come
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Return to red light shows a lack of New Year resolve
Matthew Hooton (Patreon): Why Omicron is more likely to kill you than Delta (paywalled)
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): We’re starting this year with the same problem we’ve had for the past two
Liam Hehir (Patreon): The end of the Phoney War (paywalled)
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): To what end?
Verity Johnson (Stuff): Young, vaccinated and over the Covid-19 pandemic
Jamie Morton (Herald): Covid 19: How did this Omicron outbreak start? (paywalled)
RNZ: ‘No silver bullet against Omicron’, expect large numbers – Chris Hipkins
1 News: Daily Omicron cases could number tens of thousands – Hipkins
Herald: Melbourne epidemiologist says NZ will ‘easily’ see a hundred thousand cases
RNZ: New Zealand needs to keep Delta levels low to prevent double epidemic with Omicron – epidemiologist
William Hewett (Newshub): Professor Michael Baker warns Kiwis should expect to get Omicron or know someone who gets it
Emme McKay (Herald): New Zealand must learn from our Omicron mistakes, warns Aussie epidemiologist
Monika Barton (Newshub): Jay-Jay Feeney, Hollie Smith, Guy Williams and more react to move to red setting
Ben Kepes (Stuff): Time to cool it on criticism of ‘socialist’ Covid-19 response
Herald Editorial: Out of summer haze into stark reality (paywalled)
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Piers Morgan criticises Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over move to red traffic light setting
Ben Graham ( World reacts to New Zealand’s Covid crackdown over nine cases
Kate Schneider ( Bin fire’: TV presenter condemns Australia, praises NZ’s Omicron response
Spinoff: So you’ve come into contact with omicron
Lynn McBain (Newsroom): How to manage a Covid infection
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Runny nose, headache and fatigue tell-tale signs of Omicron infection

Masks, PPE, Antiviral medications
RNZ: Antiviral medications may not be available until after Omicron peak
RNZ: Call for widespread use of N95 masks to combat Omicron
Kristin Hall (1 News): Expert calls for free N95 masks as retailers sell out
Marine Lourens (Stuff): Approved respirators most effective against Omicron – but are they affordable?
Ella Stewart (RNZ): New Zealand scientists develop system to disinfect PPE

Health system braces
RNZ: NZ health system ‘not prepared’ for Omicron – Healthcare figures
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): Emergency services warn Omicron will make staff shortages worse
Nicole Bremner (1 News): Middlemore Hospital staff confident it will cope with Omicron
Emma Russell (Herald): Hospital workers need to be diverted to general practices, says GP leader
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Southern DHB staff call on patients to drive telehealth roll out

Vulnerable populations
Rawiri Taonui (Māori TV): The Omicron risk for Māori
Olivia Shivas (Stuff): Concern for NZ disabled community, support workers after modelling predicts wide spread of Omicron
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Covid-19 booster shots should be given to immunocompromised teens, vaccine expert says
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Older, vulnerable Kiwis urged to ‘hunker down’ when Omicron cases peak

Cases, locations of interest
Newshub: As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak – Monday, January 24
1 News: Eight new Omicron community cases in NZ today
1 News: Additional case, second household in Nelson Covid outbreak
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Isolating Motueka family says they are ‘all good’
Conor Whitten (Newshub): Motueka sees increased demand for testing, vaccinations as two more Omicron cases found locally
RNZ: Kitchen worker at Auckland rest home believed to have Omicron
Anne Gibson (Herald): Summerset Group’s Flat Bush village replaces all kitchen staff after finding link to wedding (paywalled)
RNZ: List of Auckland Omicron-related locations of interest grows
Herald: Auckland hotel, Rainbow’s End theme park and community hall named

Border, MIQ, Testing
Adam Pearse (Herald): Auckland testing demand low as vaccinations spike after outbreak
1 News: Unlinked Covid cases now priority in genome sequencing
John Weekes (Herald): New sequencing weapon to pinpoint cases shows promise, but has limits
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Why lab testing capacity during Omicron will be much lower than 40,000 tests a day
Amanda Cropp (Stuff): Covid-19 testing labs will soon be ‘overrun’ as Omicron spreads, workers warn
RNZ: Checkpoint: Lack of rapid antigen tests disappointing – Business NZ boss
Herald: Quarantine-free travel to Cook Islands to stay open

Economy, Business, Employment
Jordan Bond (RNZ): Industries warn of expected shortages due to close contact isolation rules
Aimee Shaw (Herald): Gloom looms over capabilities of NZ’s grocery supply chains (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): Businesses respond to red alert, many workers told to stay home
Andy Brew (Stuff): Wine grower highlights major concern for harvest in red
Jo Lines-MacKenzie and Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Workers split up to keep the water flowing and power on as Omicron nears
RNZ: Plea for more government support for businesses worst-hit by Omicron
John Weekes (Herald): ‘Shadow lockdown’ worries as Wellington leaders prepare for CBD slowdown
Giles Dexter (Newshub): Event production crews cry out for targeted support as they face weeks without work
1 News: Countdown staff preparing for ‘brutal’ Omicron period
RNZ: ‘Don’t go overboard, you don’t need a trolley of toilet paper’ – Countdown spokesperson
Herald: Would NZ run out of toilet paper? Supply chain expert responds
Andrea Fox (Herald): Panic buying will impact grocery stocks more than Omicron absenteeism: logistics bosses (paywalled)
Caitlan Johnston (Herald):Shoppers snap up stock of medicines including Panadol, ibuprofen
Esther Taunton (Stuff): What happens to supply chains if Kiwis ‘stock up a bit’?
Oscar Francis (ODT): People urged to shop normally, safely and with kindness
Emily Brookes (Stuff): Big city bars brace for Omicron losses, say Covid ‘fear factor’ will hurt business even after red
Grant Bradley (Herald): Financially wounded businesses now facing the ‘big sick’ (paywalled)
Jamie Mackay (Herald):  ‘Red’ light not a death knell for exploring New Zealand (paywalled)
RNZ: NZ sharemarket rallies but still finishes on eight-month low
Andrew Patterson (Newsroom): Omicron outbreak adds to woeful start for financial markets
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): Inflation expected to reach the highest level in 31 years, so what will cost more in 2022?
Mark Fowler (Herald):  Further rate rises could lead to unexpected outcomes (paywalled)
Uma Ahmed (Stuff): Hospitality industry shake-up in Southland
Rebecca Macfie (North & South): Bad Jobs
Mike Yardley (Stuff): NZ’s official jobless figures are ‘abject nonsense’

Tina Law, Piers Fuller and Mikaela Wilkes (Stuff): All the events cancelled or up in the air as Omicron hits NZ 
Kim Moodie (RNZ): Omicron in community: Shift to red traffic light setting disrupts plans for some major events
ODT: Red light stymies Warbirds, other events
RNZ: Blow for businesses as Warbirds over Wanaka called off again
Māori TV: Red light puts stop to Waitangi celebrations in Manukau
Jennifer Eder (Stuff): Waihopai Spy Base protest cancelled as NZ moves into red
Māori TV: National Māori basketball champs axed amid Omicron
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): Rātana celebrations to be livestreamed to members as Omicron threat grows

Vaccination, Vaccine Pass
Katie Todd (RNZ): More than 1m booster doses given, experts push for urgency amid Omicron
Logan Church (1 News): ‘Race’ is on to boost more Kiwis before they catch Omicron
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Millions missing out on booster protection (paywalled)
Te Rina Kowhai (Newshub): Slow start to vaccine drive and frontline staff fatigue impacting booster rollout for Māori – health experts
Justin Latif (Local Democracy Project): ‘We’re here if you need us’: Manurewa marae gets South Auckland boosted
Tamati Tiananga (Māori TV): Hāhī Rātana members get vaccinated as Omicron hits Tāmaki
Matthew Martin (Stuff): Lakes DHB hits 90 per cent vaccine milestone
University of Auckland: NZ hosts vaccine safety project
Dylan Reeve (Spinoff): No, five kids didn’t collapse at a vaccination site. So who said they did?
William Hewett (Newshub): Canterbury District Health Board denies anti-vaxxers’ claims child collapsed in Rangiora after COVID vaccine
John Anthony (Stuff): Jetstar passengers must show Covid-19 vaccine pass or negative test result before boarding
Herald: WorkSafe takes enforcement action against Lone Star New Lynn for allegedly breaching vaccine mandate

Parliament, parties
Ian Powell (Political Bytes): Should Greens ditch cooperative agreement with Labour?
Taylor Rice (Herald): How 2022 will define the next General Election (paywalled)
Michele Hewitson (Listener/Herald): National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis: Prime minister in waiting? (paywalled)

RNZ: Checkpoint: Schools prepare for new year in red restrictions
James Perry (Māori TV): Back to school but with a difference under Red Light rules
Northern Advocate (Herald):  Northland principal on education at red: ‘If parents and teachers use commonsense, then we’ll get through’ (paywalled)
Anna Bracewell-Worrall (Newshub): Return to classrooms could bring challenges for parents and schools as Omicron looms
Eric Trump (ODT): Tertiary teaching keyed into Red traffic light settings
Karanama Ruru (Stuff): University of Auckland to move exams online in 2022, regardless of Covid-19 rules

Greg Ninness (Interest): Rising interest rates mean lower house prices may not bring much relief to hopeful first home buyers
Herald: ‘Disgusting’: Auckland homeless mocked, taunted in viral video
Cate Broughton (Stuff): Man who feared for safety in emergency housing advised to carry a bat by MSD staff

Tonga volcanic eruption, tsunami
RNZ: Auckland Tonga collection looking to other parts of NZ
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Dunedin food drive chance to show support for Tonga
RNZ: Cleanup and rebuild in Tonga prompts call for basic supplies
Sela Jane Hopgood (Spinoff): From Auckland to Nuku’alofa: The families sending aid and aroha to Tonga
RNZ: Tongan RSE workers told to ‘sit tight’, many still awaiting news from home

Local government
ODT: Councils determine new restrictions
Nikki Preston (Herald): Unvaccinated Waikato regional councillors could be given special treatment to attend council meetings
Stephen Ward (Stuff): Thames Coromandel’s no-Pfizer leader hits reality of being a stay-at home mayor
Skara Bohny (Stuff): Red alert level changes Nelson City Council rules
Grant Miller (ODT): Heritage carriages seen as drawcard
Jean Edwards (RNZ): Checkpoint: Frustration as Goughs Bay still cut off after slips
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland’s water woes are flushed away – but not for long 
Aaron Leaman (Stuff): Auckland urged to act as ‘good citizens’ of the Waikato River as water take doubles
Skara Bohny (Stuff): A year on and still no Pride crossing for Nelson
Lane Nichols (Herald): Auckland Council wins bid to appeal against Waiheke Island vineyard ‘chirping crickets’ noise case (paywalled)

William Hewett (Newshub): Public transport users furious at overcrowding as Auckland Transport defends decision to run reduced timetable despite Omicron outbreak
Simon Wilson (Herald):  Will the Auckland Light Rail decision be silly or smart? (paywalled)

Daniel Dunkley (BusinessDesk): The war over Tova
Edward Gay (Stuff): Tova O’Brien: Broadcaster must wait two months before beginning her new job
Herald: Tova O’Brien loses restraint of trade ERA case against former workplace Discovery

Jonathon Harper (Listener/Herald): Supreme test: What the Peter Ellis case tells us about justice in New Zealand (paywalled)
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): A plea from a Facebook and Twitter refusenik (paywalled)
Isobel Prasad (1 News): Pasifika make up half of Auckland’s 2021 sudden infant deaths
Māori TV: ‘Tūtae in my letterbox’: The flak Sir Tipene O’Regan got for leading Waitangi settlement
Māori TV: ‘I don’t like boardroom politics’: Ex Ngāi Tahu chair Sir Mark Solomon
Noel Garcia (Northland Age): Grants prioritise vulnerable mātauranga Māori
John Boynton (Newshub): The Hui: Taranaki’s rugged coastline will be forever changed in years to come as erosion and rising sea levels take their toll



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