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Today’s content

1News Kantar Public Poll, parliament
1 News: Jacinda Ardern, Christopher Luxon approval ratings revealed
Anna Whyte (1 News): Poll: Nearly half of Kiwis pessimistic about economy
Stuff:  Jacinda Ardern is no longer the leader with the highest approval rating in the country
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s personal approval rating plummets in new 1News poll, but Christopher Luxon won’t be getting too excited
Anneke Smith (RNZ): Jacinda Ardern’s approval ratings slip further – new poll
Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): Dawn Chorus: Is Luxon more ‘approved’ than Ardern? (paywalled)
Guy Williams (ODT): Poll shows hope for National, Key says
1 News: Political analysts weigh in on National’s jump in momentum
ODT Editorial: Are the cracks showing?
Tess McClure (Guardian): Jacinda Ardern’s poll rating at lowest since becoming New Zealand’s PM
Lyn Prentice (Standard): How far has National really fallen?
Peter Wilson (RNZ): Politics 2022: Good luck for the year ahead

National Party
Claire Trevett (Herald):  Have Omicron and inflation given National’s Christopher Luxon a winnable election? (paywalled)
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Harete Hipango undermines National’s rebuild
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Luxon looks to build early momentum at National assembly
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Chris Luxon on National caucus retreat, conversion therapy, tax, superannuation, and what to do with Harete Hipango (paywalled)
Bridie Witton (Stuff): National Party caucus meets for retreat in Queenstown
Georgina Campbell (Herald): National’s Chris Bishop on Omicron, building a house, and becoming a dad (paywalled)

PM close contact of Covid case
Stuff: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s PCR test result due on Monday
1 News: Ardern’s chief press secretary tests negative for Covid-19
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern had a week-long packed schedule before her COVID-19 ping
Herald: Nervous test results wait for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro
Thomas Coughlan (Herald):  Jacinda Ardern told to isolate on likely wedding day, we wish her well (paywalled)
RNZ: Jacinda Ardern isolating after becoming close contact of Covid case
Reuters (Guardian): New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern isolates after possible Covid exposure
Mike Dinsdale (Herald): PM and Governor General isolate after Northland exposure
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): PM Jacinda Ardern has Covid-19 test, self-isolating after being confirmed as close contact

Govt Omicron strategy, Covid 
Laura Walters (Stuff): ‘Vaxxed and done’ or ‘vaxxed and cautious’: NZ’s differing Omicron risk perceptions
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): Critical worker register could be two weeks away (paywalled)
Ben Strang (Stuff): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave staff 36 hours to organise Māori vaccination tour
Jamie Tahana (RNZ): Māori health leader calls for targeted strategy for Omicron
RNZ: What New Zealand can learn from Omicron outbreak in Australia
David Cohen (Spectator): In Fortress New Zealand, faith in Saint Jacinda is starting to fade
Luke Malpass (Stuff): The ‘You survived two lockdowns and all you got was this inflation T-shirt’ political strategy
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Focus on Politics: Red light and rapid antigen requisition
Ethan Te Ora (Stuff): Government would continue as normal even if Covid-19 swept through Parliament
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Mosques and churches seek judicial review of Covid rules
John Roughan (Herald): Beating a retreat from Omicron (paywalled)
Herald: UK presenter Phillip Schofield blasted for his take on NZ Covid strategy
Jack Tame (Newstalk ZB): How will we handle the surge?
Lana Hart (Stuff): We can’t let Covid-19 push everything else into the background
Andrew Gunn (Stuff): Bracing for a tsunami of unsubstantiated opinions
Paul Catmur (Herald):  Zinzan for PM (or maybe not) (paywalled)

Charlotte Bellis, MIQ, border
Ben Leahy (Herald): MIQ still needed despite Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis stuck in Afghanistan being refused entry to NZ – epidemiologist
RNZ: MIQ working but has tough trade-offs – epidemiologist
Charlotte Bellis (Herald): Pregnant TV reporter Charlotte Bellis’ full, open letter on MIQ – ‘NZ said you’re not welcome’
Kate Green (Stuff): Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis offered asylum by another country, but no help yet from New Zealand
Qiuyi Tan (Herald): Pregnant Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis offered help from Kiwis and around the world
Herald: Pregnant Kiwi journalist Charlotte Bellis offered asylum by second country
Michael Neilson (Herald): New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis pregnant and stuck in Afghanistan denied emergency MIQ spot
Cherie Howie (Herald): Stranded pregnant journalist Charlotte Bellis’ MIQ situation ‘unsurprising’ – MP
William Hewett (Newshub): Ex-Labour MP Darien Fenton slammed for tweet about pregnant Kiwi reporter denied MIQ spot
Virginia Fallon (Stuff): Pregnant Kiwi journalist promised safety by Taliban after being declined emergency MIQ spot
Jane Nixon (1 News): MIQ ruling leaves pregnant Kiwi journalist stuck in Afghanistan
Guardian: Pregnant New Zealand journalist stranded by quarantine rules says she turned to Taliban
Ben Leahy (Herald): Dan Wootton criticises Jacinda Ardern’s ‘unimaginable cruelty’ after pregnant Kiwi in Afghanistan fails MIQ bid
Scott Palmer (Newshub): Dan Wootton attacks Jacinda Ardern after pregnant journalist Charlotte Bellis denied reentry from Afghanistan
Troels Sommerville (Stuff): Boaties warn of rogue operators offering Kiwis passage without MIQ
Gill Bonnett (RNZ): Stranded Australians and New Zealanders anxious about when they can return home
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland man watches his mother die in Ireland by video call after failing to get MIQ spot
1 News: Fears harvests will rot as farmers denied skilled workers
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Family’s MIQ stay stretches
Mitchell Alexander (Newshub): Nurses leaving New Zealand amid Omicron outbreak to try get spousal visas

Testing, Contact Tracing
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Herald):  The reason for Government’s RATs testing debacle (paywalled)
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): On rapid antigen testing
Janet Wilson (Stuff): RAT controversy bears the stamp of Big Government 
RNZ: Warning labs can only cope with peak PCR test demand for up to a fortnight
Cate Broughton (Stuff): When to break out the rapid antigen tests? Not yet, scientists say
Ian Taylor (Herald): How to solve the rapid antigen tests crisis in three hours
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Asia Pacific Healthcare Group: The lab testing company that rules them all
ODT Editorial: Rats’ confusion

EJ Chua (Spinoff): How I became a mask geek – and how you can become one too
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Making the most of a new mask
1 News: How to decipher P2s, N95s and K95s when it comes to Covid masks
Ripu Bhatia (Stuff): Deaf community concerned over new mask rules restricting communication
Zane Small (Newshub): Officials clarify National and ACT’s warning of masked up weddings under COVID-19 Omicron rules
Samantha Worthington (1 News): Government forced to clarify new mask rules don’t apply to weddings

Health system braces for Omicron
Adam Pearse (Stuff): South Auckland GP – Omicron threatens to expose home isolation flaws
Sophie Harris (Stuff): Govt has fewer than 20,000 pulse oximeters available for Omicron surge
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Covid-positive Aucklanders isolating at home eligible for free medicine delivered
Louise Ternouth (RNZ): Checkpoint: As Omicron spreads, what do you need in your Covid care kit
Carly Gooch (Stuff): Top of south junior doctors posted to frontline of pandemic
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Omicron outbreak may leave rural hospitals precarious staffing levels
Sri Krishnamurthi (RNZ): Pacific health provider notices Covid-19 fatigue within community

Modelling, cases
Keith Lynch (Stuff): Covid-19 NZ: Is it really a good idea to call Omicron ‘mild’?
1 News: Omicron locations no longer classified separately in Covid
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Covid-19 modellers uncertain when to expect move to stage 2 of Omicron outbreak strategy
RNZ: Omicron cases could double in days – modeller
Jamie Morton (Herald): Omicron’s out – but don’t discount Delta (paywalled)
Siouxsie Wiles (Stuff): Covid-19 vaccines are probably creating a ‘nocebo effect’
Herald: People urged to act as though Omicron is in their community as cases increase
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): How prepared is NZ’s prison system for Omicron?
Jaime Lyth (Northern Advocate): Plan don’t panic: How Northlanders can prepare for the pandemic
1 News: 103 new community Covid-19 cases on Sunday; one death
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Ministry of Health resolves ‘technical issue’ involving dozens of cases, bus journeys locations of interest
Sophie Cornish (Stuff): Two new cases in Wellington could be Omicron variant, health officials say
Josephine Franks and Torika Tokalau (Stuff): South Auckland, already bearing brunt of virus, braces for Omicron
Chris Hobson (Herald): What to expect – a Kiwi doctor’s view from Omicron-ravaged Canada (paywalled)

Marine Lourens (Stuff): Reports of death at West Coast vaccination clinic ‘complete load of rubbish’, says mayor
Helen Harvey (Stuff): Māori health providers still pushing for 95 per cent vaccine target
Peter McIntyre & Nikki Turner (Herald): Booster roll-out needs to be prioritised in key areas
RNZ: People with mental illness and addictions could be missed

Auckland light rail, Transport
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): No silver bullet train for Auckland emissions
Simon Wilson (Herald): Auckland light rail – Finally a decision, so let’s get it done (paywalled)
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Light rail – it’s time to stop the talking and start digging (paywalled)
RNZ: Auckland light rail project ‘extremely expensive’, won’t deliver – lobby group
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Light rail the wrong project to promise Auckland
Lynne Mitchell (Herald): Light rail to Auckland Airport not worth the price tag (paywalled)
1 News: ACT, National hit out at light rail’s ‘wasted spending
RNZ: Government’s Auckland light rail plan ‘wasted spending’ and a ‘dream’ – National
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Labour finally give Auckland an actual vision with underground light rail & second Harbour crossing
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland light rail goes for tunnel option with harbour crossing
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland light rail: North Shore firmly on the radar for next-level transit
Glen McConnell and Todd Niall (Stuff): Properties around Auckland’s light rail likely to face ‘value capture’ tax
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland $15b light rail project will largely be paid for by Government and built by 2033, say ministers
Amelia Wade (Newshub): How the Government plans to pay for Auckland’s multibillion-dollar light rail
Zane Small (Newshub):$14 billion Auckland light rail bid gets green light, decision on second Waitematā Harbour crossing in 2023
Samantha Worthington (1 News): Auckland to get partially tunnelled CBD to airport light rail
RNZ: Auckland light rail tunnel to run to Mt Roskill before following SH20 to the airport
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Airport to Ōrewa: Aucklanders to be consulted on ambitious rail and tunnels
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Govt opts for $14.6b tunnelled light rail (paywalled)
Māori TV: Māngere scores a station in $14.6b light rail plan
Simon Wilson (Herald): Safer roads: 10 things we know (but keep arguing about anyway) (paywalled)
Josie Pagani (Stuff): Transmission Gully shows we need to rethink the public sector
Grant Bradley (Herald): Boeing’s $700m investment in Wisk Aero will boost New Zealand expansion

Economy, Business, Employment
1 News: Covid-19, Govt policies sees inequality increase – commentator
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Shareholders pocket $9.4 billion, avoid $400 million in tax, without breaking law (paywalled)
Brian Easton (Pundit): Should We Take Economists’ Predictions Seriously?
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Is our unemployment rate really only about 3 per cent?
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): On our local responses to the global problems of inflation
Kirsty Johnston (Stuff): ‘It’s going to hurt’: Kiwis warned to hunker down ahead of ‘year of the squeeze’
Stuff Editorial: Why so many can’t bear the cost of living, as inflation rises to 5.9pc
Cira Olivier (Herald): Cost of living too high in Tauranga, social services can’t keep up with growing demand (paywalled)
Cira Olivier (Herald): Rotorua food charity founders could end homeless and shut chairty as cost of living rises
Rebecca Howard (BusinessDesk): Inflation is largely imported, says Robertson
Herald:Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson plays down Government’s spending’s role in inflation
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): More than half of retailers expect to increase prices by 7.5 per cent over the next three months
Rod Oram (Newsroom): Inflated expectations: Moving spending and jobs out of high-emitting sectors
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): Inflation, monetary policy and all that
Matthew Scott (Newsroom): Waste company cleans up its Omicron contact mess
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): ‘It will be bedlam’: Supermarket workers fear the impact of Omicron
Cas Carter (Stuff): Supply chain problems hitting your cat’s food
Laura Hooper (Stuff): Expected processing delays due to Omicron ‘perfect storm’ for farmers
RNZ: ‘The shoe’s on the other foot’ – demand for workers spurs moves for more pay
Liz McDonald (Stuff): Worker shortage will take its toll on New Zealand, bosses say
Samantha Mythen (Herald): Students stuck in New Zealand flooding job market
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Surplus workers may allow businesses to avoid Omicron chaos
Charlie Gates and Nadine Porter (Stuff): Christchurch business and hospitality sectors brace for Omicron disruption
Liz McDonald (Stuff): Buyers ‘circling like sharks’ while tourism operators try to sell 
Kevin Norquay (Stuff): Waiting lists at retirement villages, as Covid anxiety drives desire for security
Simon Draper (Stuff): As NZ infrastructure languishes, countries from China to Norway are blazing ahead
Mike O’Donnell (Stuff): Companies acquired by overseas giants still need to nurture Kiwi customers
Tina Morrison (Stuff): The Monitor economy Q&A: Leaderbrand chief executive Richard Burke 
John Farrow (ODT): Case proves restraint of trade sometimes enforceable
1 News: Te Pāti Māori calls for arts industry relief
Māori TV: Government has to immediately compensate artists after cancelled summer festivals – Te Pāti Māori
André Chumko (Stuff): Groundhog day for the arts: Bracing for more cancellations, worker shortage
John Lewis (ODT): ‘Bludgeoned’ industry needs Govt support

Protests, Rule breaches
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Customers key to reporting Covid-19 rule breakers to Worksafe, says hospitality union
Herald: Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki on prison time in solitary confinement

Cancellations, restrictions
Hawkes Bay Today: Urewera reopens after six-month closure
Stuff: Board ‘intends’ to open Te Urewera next month, after ongoing frustrations
Felix Desmarais (Local Democracy Project): Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Whaka 100 cancellation ‘non-sensical’ but health experts say it’s necessary
Amberleigh Jack (Stuff): Musicians ‘gutted’ as red setting sinks lucrative summer gig circuit
Helen Harvey (Stuff): Covid-19 hits NZ wedding businesses as couples postpone their big day
Lorna Thornber (Stuff): Air New Zealand reintroduces credit option for domestic passengers
Laura Smith (Herald): Inaugural Mount Maunganui Waterbourne Beach Festival adapting under red light (paywalled)
Stuff: National softball championships postponed due to Omicron risk
RNZ: Christchurch department store closes due to Omicron risk

Local government
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Why Efeso Collins scares the establishment Auckland Left
Grant Miller (ODT): Dunedin Railways backtracks on asset sale
Kate Green (Stuff): Future of Wellington community pool uncertain, but extended summer season on the cards
Herald Editorial: Thinking about Auckland’s future on anniversary day (paywalled)
ODT: Vaccination policy in councils varies
Diane McCarthy (Local Democracy Project): New Whakatāne $29m boat harbour fast-tracked

Three Waters
1 News: Poll: More voters against Three Waters than support
Jane Clifton (Listener/Herald):  Three Waters portends flood of problems for Government in 2022 (paywalled)
Emily Ireland (RNZ): Water resilience on the way for Carterton

Riley Kennedy (ODT): Therapy seen as loan risk
RNZ: Ordinary New Zealanders bearing brunt of bright-line test – National
Anne Gibson (Herald): Rents v house prices: Are tenants or buyers getting the better deal? (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): Rental properties hit all-time high: Bonds lodged on 384,000 places, up 15% in last seven years (paywalled)
RNZ: Porirua named most expensive rental market in NZ
Ben Leahy (Herald): Homeless house buyer: man lived 10 months in car to save for house but still can’t buy
Sinead Gill (Stuff): Evicted while pregnant: Family terrified of returning to emergency housing
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Kāinga Ora plans to build more houses in Southland to help people in need
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Changes to housing criteria proposed
Mat Brown (Spinoff): We know what more housing density looks like. But what about better design?

Eric Trump (ODT): Students likely Omicron vector: experts
Tom Kitchin (RNZ): Coping with Omicron: Schools reopening to mask mandates, ventilation issues
Alexa Cook (Newshub): Principals’ Federation confident that schools are well-prepared for Omicron
Sharnae Hope (Stuff): ‘It’s not if but when’: Schools brace for new year with new covid threat
Dubby Henry (Herald): Special schools want air purifiers first to protect vulnerable children
RNZ: School to reinforce need for children to attend to Omicron-hesitant parents
Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Principals expect challenges as they prepare for masks in schools
Damien Grant (Stuff): Masks in schools is helicopter parenting in the ‘extreme’
Adam Pearse (Herald): Thousands apply for mask exemptions for schoolkids
Herald Editorial: School’s in so here’s a few lessons on variant (paywalled)
Wyatt Ryder (ODT): Unvaxxed Dunedin high school head working off site
Gary Hamilton-Irvine (Hawkes Bay Today/Herald): Record rise in people home schooling in Hawke’s Bay (paywalled)
Vandhna Bhan (1 News): Some principals and teachers funding school supplies for kids
Katy Jones (Stuff): Nelson school’s swimming programme faces the axe even after record drownings
RNZ: Victoria University apologises to former students for harm caused by composer

Ben Strang (Stuff): Declassified documents show how wrong officials were on climate change nearly 30 years ago
Ceri Warnock (ODT): Law turning its gaze on climate accused
Rob Rattenbury (Herald): Climate change is a sleeping giant that needs our attention
Will Harvie (Stuff): Blue cod lightly contaminated by imported salmon feed
Kate MacNamara (Herald): Barking up the wrong tree: The DOC survey with ‘irrelevant’ and ‘intrusive’ question (paywalled)
Tony Wall (Stuff): Pā Wars: Blasting at quarry blamed for partly destroying ancient village 
RNZ: Kaiapoi factory fire: Race under way to reduce impact of toxic oil on rivers

David Williams (Newsroom): As DHBs die, a chance to feed a starved health system
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Clear message to stop health reform for now
Mike Houlahan (ODT): ED a long way short of targets: clinicians
Nita Blake-Persen (RNZ): St John investigating deaths after ambulance delays due to staff shortage
Emma Russell (Herald): Wait times for heart surgery grow at Auckland DHB

Russell Palmer (RNZ): Disability Ministry’s ongoing costs and funding kept secret
Chris Ford (RNZ): How will disabled people cope with Omicron in the community?

Foreign affairs
Geoffrey Miller (Democracy Project): How should New Zealand respond to the Ukraine-Russia crisis?
Richard Harman (Politik): AUKUS; disturbing the peace (paywalled)
Eleisha Food (RNZ): Vaccine inequity in the Pacific: ‘We need to support our neighbours’
No Right Turn: The SIS has received intelligence from torturers

Frances Chin (Stuff): Workers on essential skills visas speak out against ‘exploitation’
Logan Church (1 News): Food banks bracing for a surge in demand due to Omicron
RNZ: More culturally-appropriate help needed for struggling families, charity says
Bridie Witton (Stuff): National Portrait: Children’s Commissioner Frances Eivers, the new voice for children 
Julian Wilcox (Stuff):  ‘I see Waitangi Day as an opportunity to stocktake our nationhood’
Danny Keenan (Stuff): It’s a surprisingly persistent view, but Māori have not forgotten the land wars
Mildred Armah (Stuff): ‘More support needed’ to keep Auckland refugee and migrant programmes running
Ethan Griffiths (Herald): From Parliament to prison: How an Aussie politico ended up in a Kiwi remand cell
Sarah Catherall (Stuff): Women can do anything…. if they’re paid properly
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Study finds subsidised heat pumps make homes warmer without hitting power bills
Ben Strang (Stuff): Frontline police set for significant pay boost after Police Association wins at arbitration
Eva Corlett (Guardian): ‘A national tragedy’: Māori drowning rate causes alarm in New Zealand
Te Aorewa Rolleston (Stuff): Māoridom pulls together aid supplies for Tonga recovery
Logan Church (1 News): ‘We don’t feel safe’ – 2021 a record year for gun violence
Lane Nichols (Herald): Guns on the street: 10,000 firearms encountered by police on duty (paywalled)



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