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

Unemployment insurance scheme
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Income insurance will prove one of the Government’s toughest sells
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Grant Robertson proposes decent scheme at a bad time (paywalled)
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Grant Robertson’s huge expansion of ACC will be his political legacy, if he can pull it off
No Right Turn: Labour throws the poor under the bus
CPAG: Social Insurance proposal would likely bake-in existing inequities and drive inequality, says anti-poverty organisation
Herald Editorial: Income insurance will cost those who benefit the most (paywalled)
Richard Harman (Politik): Robertson breaks Labour’s “no new taxes” pledge while Luxon breaks with business (paywalled)
RNZ: Checkpoint: Income insurance scheme not a job tax – Business NZ boss
Rob Stock (Stuff): Businesses want a cheaper, redundancy-only unemployment insurance scheme
Duncan Bridgeman (Herald): Don’t be shy: Businesses urged to consult on income insurance scheme (paywalled)
Don Franks (Redline): Unemployment insurance scheme: deepening the class divide
Henry Cooke and Glenn McConnell (Stuff): National attacks unemployment insurance proposal as ‘job tax,’ Greens say it creates ‘two-tier’ welfare system
Zane Small (Newshub): Greens fear income insurance scheme will ’embed two-tier system’ of rich and poor
RNZ: Income insurance scheme proposal should be scrapped – National
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Labour keep breaking their ‘no new taxes’ promise
Grant Duncan: Labour’s income insurance proposal
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Unemployment insurance the price CTU has to pay PSA to get Helen Kelly’s Fair Pay Agreement
Amelia Wade (Newshub): How much Kiwis could end up paying towards income insurance scheme
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Income insurance: Grant Robertson responds to criticisms over cost, fairness and incentives
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Govt proposes giant income insurance scheme; National would abolish it
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Government unveils plan to offer billions in coverage for workers who lose job
Anna Whyte (1 News): 80% pay for 7 months under proposed unemployment insurance scheme
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Government proposes unemployment insurance scheme funded by 1.39% tax
Zane Small (Newshub): Government proposes ACC-style income insurance scheme for New Zealand
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): $3.5B a year income insurance proposal unveiled (paywalled)

MIQ, border Charlotte Bellis
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Border reopening to begin from late February, to proceed in five stages, Stuff understands
Herald: MIQ requirement dropped from transtasman flights from February 28
Michael Plank, Audrey Lustig, Georgia Vattiato and Shaun Hendy (The Conversation): New Zealand’s border quarantine has intercepted thousands of COVID cases, but is it time to retire the flawed system?
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Letter from MIQ: It’s imperfect, but it’s still needed
Eric Crampton (Newsroom): Too little method, too much borderline madness
Audrey Young: NZ’s international reputation suffers over MIQ distress (paywalled)
Luke Kirkness (Herald):  Why today is make or break for the Government (paywalled)
Stuff Editorial: When justified frustrations lead to nastiness, it’s time for self-reflection
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Government expected to allow returning Kiwis stuck in Australia to self-isolate from March
Claire Trevett and John Weekes (Herald): February 27 reopening start mooted, expert says long game crucial
Jane Nixon (1 News): PM hints at changes to MIQ amid public plight of Charlotte Bellis
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Border opening and future of MIQ to be revealed
Katie Todd (RNZ): Frustrations mount over MIQ stays lasting over a month
Jane Nixon (1 News): Lawyer for Charlotte Bellis issues open letter to Chris Hipkins
Herald: Charlotte Bellis’ lawyer disputes claim emergency MIQ path exists for pregnant Kiwis
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Kiwi hero living in limbo with family of five awaiting MIQ spot to see dying mother
Anne Gibson (Herald): Ministry of Social Development wants $16k back from Kiwi couple
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Doesn’t the Government see the damage it’s doing?
Johann Go (Stuff): It is time to remove the border restrictions and abolish MIQ 

Migrant workers
Corazon Miller (1 News): 20K workers excluded from fast track residency scheme
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Which migrants earn the most in New Zealand?
RNZ: Research reveals stark differences in salaries for migrant workers

Vaccination rollout
Zane Small (Newshub): ‘Likely’ that ‘people will need a booster’ for vaccine passes – COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins
Jamie Morton (Herald): Booster change gives NZ a bigger head-start against Omicron
RNZ: Shortened interval for Covid-19 vaccine booster key to limiting Omicron outbreak, experts say
Kate Green (Stuff): Be kind and expect to wait: Surge in boosters expected after interval reduced to three months
Te Rina Kowhai (Newshub): Additional 100,000 Māori eligible for booster, but major inequality concerns remain for rural regions
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): Extra 100,000 Māori become eligible for booster shots on Friday, PM announces
Zane Small (Newshub): A million more eligible for COVID-19 booster in New Zealand as interval reduced to three months
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Booster dose interval cut to three months to lessen hospital strain
Claire Trevett (Herald): Booster vaccines gap shrinks from four months to three months
Anna Whyte (1 News): Covid booster gap lowered to three months from Friday
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Health Ministry working on fix after people turned away for boosters
—————
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): ‘A lot of catching up to do’: Vaccine rates for Māori kids are already lagging
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Kids only partly vaccinated as school resumes, how protected are they?
Hazel Osborne (Open Justice Journalism): Judge rejects bid to halt tamariki vaccine rollout
Adam Pearse (Herald): Cost of Covid vaccines revealed – report
Herald: Chris Hipkins says he regrets accidental release of vaccine payment data
Adam Pearse (Herald): Manurewa Marae false vaccination allegations shot down

Housing
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Kitset Solutions: Imagine Housing The Homeless For $15,000 Per Unit
Michael Rehm (Newsroom): A greedy actor behind our housing market
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): Couple stunned as bank takes half of home sale profit without consultation
Greg Ninness (Interest): Housing is now a buyer’s market – Tony Alexander
Miriam Bell (Stuff): First home buyers’ exodus from the market hits new record – Tony Alexander survey
Rob Stock (Stuff): IR reports sharp drop in first home withdrawals from KiwiSaver
Jonathan Killick (Stuff): Borrowers concealing their spending from banks to get a mortgage, brokers say
Ethan Te Ora (Stuff): Man lived on white bread to qualify for home loan, then had his pre-approval yanked anyway
Anneke Smith (RNZ): Minister steps in to change Kāinga Ora complaints process for unruly tenants

Omicron outbreak, cases, public health measures
Matthew Hobbs, Anna Howe and Lukas Marek (The Conversation): The most challenging phase of the Omicron outbreak is yet to come, but New Zealand may be better prepared than other countries
Kate Newton (Stuff):Omicron is coming, get boosted
Peter Davis (Stuff): NZ deserves more respect for keeping Covid deaths so low
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): Isolation rules for household contacts for phase two under review
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): Community Covid-19 case lives off leftover bread, hummus for two days as she waits for test results, and MIQ
Herald: PM returns to the Beehive, millions of Rapid Antigen Tests on their way
John Weekes (Herald): New rapid tests ordered, Govt says nine million a week might be needed
Samantha Worthington (1 News): NZ has outbreaks of new Omicron sub-variant – Bloomfield
1 News: 142 new Covid-19 community cases in NZ on Wednesday
1 News: Advice from doctor who treated world’s first Omicron patient
Māori TV: 10 days for Māori to prepare – Taonui
1 News: Person admitted to Wellington Hospital positive for Covid-19
Julie Bennett (Newsroom): Opening the window against Omicron
Chris Schulz (Spinoff): With omicron here, are office sneezes OK?

Protests, anti vaccination, rule breaches
Philip Chandler (ODT): Resort market welcomes unvaccinated, unmasked
RNZ: Napier venue pulled up by WorkSafe over gathering in red light setting
Adam Burns (Local Democracy Reporting): Claim protesters ‘frightened’ cafe employees, customers
Stuff: Amnesty for handing in fake Covid-19 vaccine passes extended
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Canterbury Police extend amnesty for public to hand in fake vaccine passes

Economy, Business, Employment
Liam Dann (Herald): Good times for jobseekers but inflation risk looms (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): Unemployment lowest since 1986 – falls to 3.2 per cent
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Unemployment falls to 3.2%, wage rises lag inflation
1 News: Unemployment in NZ drops to 3.2%, lowest it has ever been
RNZ: Unemployment hits record low as wage inflation peaks
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): Inflation to keep pressure on interest rates, lifting cost of borrowing: Centrix 
Aimee Shaw (Herald): Mood of the Sales: Survey reveals optimism among corporate sales leaders despite ongoing Covid disruption (paywalled)
Jo Cribb (Stuff): Is this Victorian England? How we continue to devalue our workers with old-fashioned values 
RNZ: Tiwai Point closure: Transition plan for Southland revealed
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): ‘There is going to be carnage soon’: Cafes and restaurants struggling to survive in red traffic light setting 
Frances Chin (Stuff): Motueka businesses worry for future following quiet weeks 
Vicki Anderson (Stuff): Who pays? Concern major event insurance scheme is too ambiguous
Herald: Survey shows business frustration with red-light rules
Jonathan Killick (Stuff): Eden Park spent more on sports events in 2021 than it made, records $4.3m loss
Grant Bradley (Herald): Tourism sector’s $16b question – when will borders reopen?
Melanie Earley (Stuff): Auckland Pride 2022: Festival goes virtual to celebrate 50 years of Pride
RNZ: Wildfoods Festival cancelled for first time in 34-year history due to Covid-19
Duncan Allan (Spinoff): Your employer’s legal duty to keep you safe from omicron at work, explained
Kurt Bayer (Herald): Hokitika Wildfoods Festival cancelled for the first time in 34 years

Inequality
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Former Green MP Nándor Tánczos takes aim at Jacinda Ardern over Government commitment to addressing ‘growing inequality’
Steven Cowan (Against the current): New ways of seeing
Daniel Dunkley (Stuff): OECD report highlights New Zealand’s inequality. Who wants to fix it?
Whatitiri Te Wake (Māori TV): Māramataka master on a mission to feed the masses

Parliament, parties, polling
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): On Luxon’s second-hand clothes / Bellis, Fortissimo
Peter Dunne: So far, so good
Ben Thomas (Stuff): Luxon finds familiar ground ahead of 2023 election
Thomas Coughlan (Herald):  Christopher Luxon turns leaf for National, but old problems linger (paywalled)
Roy Morgan: New Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon boosts support for National by 5% points – highest since March 2020 (pre-pandemic)
RNZ: Only half of MPs to be allowed in Parliament chamber under Omicron rules
1 News: Luxon: National to use education, economy to alleviate poverty
RNZ: National Party to allow conscience vote on conversion therapy ban bill
Thomas Manch (Stuff): National Party will allow conscience vote on conversion therapy ban, after block voting against it under Judith Collins
Michael Neilson (Herald): Conversion therapy: National Party to conscience vote on bill after initially opposing
The Standard: And what have they done anyway?

Health
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Wakari ward 10A slammed
Maddy Lloyd (1 News): Chief Ombudsman scathing of environment at Wakari Hospital ward
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): ‘That mixture should not happen’: Ombudsman issues scathing report on psychiatric ward
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Construction-focused mental health service sees a busy first year, minister promises support
Kushlan Sugathapala (Herald):  Youth suicide is not going to fix itself (paywalled)
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Two-thirds of doctors at burnout point, before Omicron ‘tsunami’ hits
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): ‘Our manager said we don’t have to’: Claims of incorrect mask use at hospital
Mike Houlahan (ODT): SDHB’s million-dollar error missed by everyone
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Students may be called in to help Southern DHB
RNZ: Overloaded health system remains biggest threat to Southern DHB – chief executive
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Ophthalmologist: ‘We’re facing a tsunami of follow-up patients
1 News: Covid ‘icing on pretty horrible cake’ for health worker shortages
Jane Matthews (Stuff): GP shortage ‘the worst’ long-term Taranaki mayor can recall
Jane Patterosn (RNZ): New Zealand competing with other countries to recruit ICU nurses – National
Adam Blackwell (Stuff): Man says concerns about healthcare worker who stole from him ignored
Cecile Meier (Stuff): How do masks affect babies’ development?
Peter Griffin (Listener/Herald): Could cheap, everyday drugs be used to treat some of the deadliest cancers? (paywalled)
Kendall Hutt (1 News): Fullers360 to provide free tampons, pads for passengers, staff

Education
John Gerritsen (RNZ): New home-schooling surge after mask mandate surprises principals
Nikki Preston (Herald):Six-year-olds in some composite classes told to wear masks
Eric Trump (ODT): Uni awaits Govt advice before Omicron plans finalised

Local government
Shane Te Pou (Herald): Mayoralty bun fight could be an own goal for Labour (paywalled)
Luisa Girao (ODT): Frustration over Sir Tim help group
RNZ: Invercargill council holds mayoral support group in public
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Three Waters reforms: Aucklanders back council opposition to plans, survey shows
Yashas Srinivasa (Stuff): High levels of manganese confirmed as main culprit of Timaru’s water discolouration
Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporting): Vaccination status of Northland’s elected representatives
Grant Miller (ODT): Spat over stadium’s rates
Conor Knell (Stuff): Tararua council notifies property owners of potential earthquake proofing
Grant Miller (ODT): Landfill fees to jump due to cover levy
Grant Miller (ODT): Grey Power launches one-way petition
Adam Burns (Local Democracy Reporting): Hurunui Council confident in systems should Omicron outbreak occur
Sela Jane Hopgood (Spinoff): Yeah yeah! The true story of Efeso Collins’ council campaign song

Environment, Climate Change
Matthew Littlewood (Stuff): CSI Fish and Game urge ECan to test water in Lake Opuha and Ōpihi River
Stephen Ward (Stuff): Fish farm applicants aim to protect their pātaka
Ngarimu Blair (Stuff): Rāhui not a tool to be used for political agenda
Matthew Scott (Newsroom): Climate change pulls strings on coastal property values
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Gas stoves bad news for household health and the climate, researchers say
Naomi Arnold (RNZ): Nelson’s Blue Lake dubbed clearest in the world facing lake snow threat

Māori spectrum agreement
RNZ: Māori interests in the radio spectrum: ‘Start of a new era
Chris Keall (Herald): Māori to be allocated 20pc of airwaves, at no cost – but Treaty claim persists (paywalled)
Henry Burrell (BusinessDesk): Māori spectrum agreement ‘a meaningful milestone’ (paywalled)

SIS, Foreign Affairs
Thomas Manch (Stuff): SIS twice received intelligence from suspected case of torture or severe mistreatment
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Kiwi spies receive intelligence linked to torture
Natalie Akoorie (Herald): Extended family of Afghan defence force assets out in cold
Jamie Ensor (Newshub) Ukraine crisis: New Zealand’s top diplomat in Moscow directly raised concerns with Russia, more talks anticipated
RNZ: The Detail: Ukraine is NZ’s ‘us too’ moment
John Minto (Daily Blog): Government must pull out of Agritech seminar with apartheid state

Transport
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Auckland property owners to be levied up to $3 billion to build light rail
Todd Niall (Stuff): Developer of south Auckland ‘city’ heads to court over train station site
Matt Lowrie (Greater Auckland): Sooo…Tunnelled Light Rail

Tonga
Barbara Dreaver (1 News): Tonga to enter 5-day lockdown as more Covid cases recorded
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Concerns Tonga’s lockdown could disrupt distribution of much-needed supplies to tsunami-hit nation

West Coast flooding 
1 News: State of emergency declared in Buller as heavy rain hits
RNZ: State of emergency declared as heavy rain moves up West Coast
RNZ: Engineers rule out West Coast flood prevention tactic
Tess Brunton (RNZ): Otago Regional Council trying to ensure flood protection scheme viable in long-term

Waitangi
Will Trafford (Māori TV): Whakaata Māori commemorating Waitangi with all-day, virtual coverage
Annabel Cooper (Newsroom): Waitangi week: The Pākehā wars

Other
Ian Llewellyn and Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Private ownership for pumped hydro? (paywalled)
Jo Moir (Newsroom): ‘By Māori for Māori’ ideas hit funding brick wall
Daniel Dunkley (BusinessDesk): NZ news publishers sign up for Facebook funding (paywalled)
Marena Mane (Māori TV): Mana whenua collaborate on new Archives New Zealand building
Herald: The great separation: Rising divorce rates set to outnumber marriages in New Zealand
Dylan Reeve (Spinoff): What’s the privacy cost of your ride across town?
Suzanne McFadden (Newsroom): Taking the daunting leap from stadium to desk

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