NZ Politics Daily – 21st January 2022

Today’s content

Covid
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): ‘Too little, too late’: Allegations Covid-19 testing regime unprepared for Omicron, still weak on much-needed saliva tests
Hanna McCallum (Stuff): ‘Tens of millions’ of rapid antigen tests on order, PM says
1 News: Rapid Covid tests will be widely available in NZ – Ardern
Claire Trevett (Herald): After a summer, PM Jacinda Ardern’s job was to prepare for a long Omicron winter (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s Omicron choice horrific but necessary (paywalled)
Ian Powell (Second Opinion): Responding to Omicron
Tess McClure (Guardian): As Omicron rages around the world, Ardern deploys an old tactic – delay
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): NZers urged to prepare for potentially thousands of daily Omicron infections
Herald: Experts react to Government announcement, Omicron concerns
1 News: ‘Omicron is going to be really messy,’ epidemiologist says
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Auckland hospitals plan for more Covid-19 patients when Omicron arrives
Jean Bell (RNZ): Gisborne Hospital expects up to third of staff may be off work in Omicron outbreak
Jamie Morton (Herald): Explained: Just how protected is New Zealand from Omicron?
Damien Venuto (Herald):  ‘Team of 5m’ and ‘be kind’ – the Government catchphrases have gone stale (paywalled)
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Labour sets scene for Omicron, but what happens next?
Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): Dawn Chorus: The unanswered omicron questions (paywalled)
RNZ: Government ‘scrambling’ over Omicron – National Party leader Christopher Luxon
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Christopher Luxon, David Seymour grill Jacinda Ardern for doing ‘nothing to prepare for Omicron’
Herald: National MP Chris Bishop criticises Government over Wordle tweet
Anna Whyte (1 News): Omicron outbreak would see NZ go to Red in 24-48 hours – PM
Luke Malpass and Thomas Manch (Stuff): Whole country will move to red in event of Omicron community outbreak
Michael Neilson (Herald): 1800 daily cases in just six weeks – grim projection for Auckland outbreak
Stuff:  Omicron ‘knocking on our door’ as Kiwis prepare to enter ‘red’ setting
John Weekes (Herald): Lockdowns ruled out, hopes hinge on locking strain out as long as possible
Mike Houlahan (ODT): Be prepared for Red light
Herald: What would life in red look like as an Omicron outbreak looms?
Stuff:  What life will look like under red traffic light setting after Omicron gets in
RNZ: PM Jacinda Ardern announces changes to traffic light system, provides Omicron update
1 News: Ardern: Modelling for Omicron outbreak ‘highly variable’
Anna Whyte (1 News): Ardern optimistic NZ won’t ‘have to use widespread lockdowns
Zane Small (Newshub): Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rules out COVID-19 lockdown in event of Omicron outbreak
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Omicron: no national lockdowns, elimination ‘nigh on impossible’ – Ardern
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Omicron will be a ‘different’ foe, PM Jacinda Ardern warn
Zane Small (Newshub): South Australia: The Omicron-infected state Ardern is taking COVID-19 tips from
Mildred Armah (Stuff): ‘Unprecedented’ demand for masks as NZ prepares for Omicron
Steven Cowan (Against the current): Survival of the wealthiest

MIQ, border
Ian Taylor (ODT): Got to try better way to deal with this
Hannah Martin (Stuff): More border cases than in the community for first time since August
Hazel Osborne (Herald): Double blow: Grounded Kiwis’ court hearing delayed on same day room release suspended
John Weekes (Herald): Govt defends 249 Dubai Expo places but may trim future MIQ group slots
Chris Keall (Herald): Father explains how his voucher-less family gatecrashed way into NZ (paywalled)
Sophie Trigger (Herald): Family of five faces 25 days in MIQ, enthusiasm for New Zealand ‘tempered’

Northland moves from Red to Orange
Anneke Smith (RNZ): Mixed reactions over Northland moving to ‘orange’ traffic light
Imran Ali (Herald): Northland’s move into orange welcomed – for consistency sake
RNZ: Te Tai Tokerau Border Control critical of government decision to move Northland to orange
Heta Gardiner (Māori TV): Political commentator says Māori experts won’t be on board with Northland traffic light setting change
1 News: Northland to join rest of NZ at Orange tonight

Cases
1 News: 15 locations of interest for ‘possible’ Manawatū Omicron case
Sinead Gill (Stuff): Everything we know about the suspected Omicron case in Palmerston North 
Kate Green and André Chumko (Stuff): Five negative tests, and then a positive: Suspected new Omicron case sparks questions about origin of infection
1 News: 39 new Covid-19 community cases in NZ today
RNZ: Two new Covid-19 cases found in Hawke’s Bay
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Number of unvaccinated hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in New Zealand revealed
Kelly Makiha (Herald): Three Rotorua transitional housing motels in lockdown following Covid outbreak (paywalled)
Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Queenstown ‘dodged bullets’ after visit from Covid-positive travellers

Vaccine rollout, mandate, testing
Geraden Cann (Stuff): Far fewer workers fired for not complying with vaccine mandate than feared
Sandra Conchie (Herald): Unvaccinated Bay police and firefighters stood down from frontline duties (paywalled)
Hannah Martin and Sophie Harris (Stuff): Only about half of all NZ vax sites currently vaccinating kids
Stephen Forbes (RNZ): Govt cites privacy concerns over call to release Māori child vax data
Māori TV: Back to court; Whānau Ora boss wants Tamariki Māori vaccine data
Moana Ellis (Local Democracy Reporting): Covid-19 analyst calls for Māori and Pasifika priority in under-12s vaccinations
RNZ: First West Coast vaccine clinic for tamariki Māori

Anti-vaccination, protests, rule breaches
Tony Wall (Stuff): GP who gave Covid vaccine exemption letter to an undercover reporter under investigation, nurse has practising certificate suspended
Herald: Destiny Church protest: Brian Tamaki supporters barricade Mt Eden Prison entrance
Jake Kenny (Stuff): Kaikōura cafe owner who showed fake QR code linking to anti-mandate page prosecuted by WorkSafe
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint against Hamilton car dealership’s ‘misleading’ COVID-19 post
David Clarkson (Herald): Judge slams unvaccinated unemployed man in court

Economy, Business, Employment
Brian Fallow (Herald):  Why worry about the economy? Let me count the reasons (paywalled)
Rob Stock (Stuff): Scandal of the least competitive insurance and loan market
RNZ: Job ads ‘well above’ pre-pandemic levels but workers uncertain about future earnings
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Employees a bit more confident but wage rise hopes on backburner: Westpac
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): NZ jobseekers’ ‘remarkable’ run set to continue with borders shut; Trade Me
RNZ: Heavy freight activity points to economic bounce back – ANZ
1 News: Annual rise in food prices biggest since 2011 – Stats NZ
RNZ: Tomatoes twice as expensive as a year ago, grocery items up 4.5 percent
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Annual food prices leap 4.5% – highest rise in a decade
Stuff Editorial: What’s red and squishy and twice as pricey?
—————
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Businesses say they want more financial support should NZ move to Red
Tina Morrison and Debbie Jamieson (Stuff): Business concerned about potential rapid spread of Omicron
Tina Morrison (Stuff): Supermarkets ask customers not to panic buy in preparation for an Omicron outbreak 
Vicki Anderson and Steven Walton (Stuff): Major events in jeopardy – a move to red would be ‘devastating’ for industry
Chloe Blommerde (Stuff): Hamilton’s nightclubs to close if Omicron puts the country in red
RNZ: Auckland’s Rainbow Parade cancelled due to Omicron risk
Melanie Earley (Stuff): Auckland Rainbow Pride Parade cancelled due to Omicron fears
1 News: Bluff Oyster Festival cancelled for 2022 over Covid concerns
Luisa Girao (ODT): Oyster and Food Festival loss big blow to tourism
ODT: Maniototo A&P show just stadium events

Parliament, parties
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern urges Labour caucus to stay humble ahead of Omicron update
Richard Harman (Politik): Robertson brings the state back (paywalled)
Jane Matthews (Stuff): First Labour Party caucus of the year takes PM back to her roots 
Cherie Sivignon (Stuff): We’ll find a great Nelson candidate: National leader Christopher Luxon
Michael Neilson (Herald): First-term Labour MP Barbara Edmonds on summer plans and swatting away National Party recruit attempts (paywalled)
Herald: Which wedding dress will Jacinda Ardern say yes to for her big day?

Housing
ODT Editorial: Credit law change backfires
Herald Editorial: Lending an ear to warnings could have spared red faces (paywalled)
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Jumping the loan shark (paywalled)
Riley Kennedy (ODT): Pregnancy hidden for mortgage
Geraden Cann (Stuff): Homes.co.nz criticised for allowing estate agents to influence price estimates
Miriam Bell (Stuff): Rents still rising as supply pressures remain
Bernt Melville (BusinessDesk): NZ’s largest mortgage lender predicts 7% house-price drop (paywalled)
Marena Mane (Māori TV): Ten new homes for Ngāti Whātua’s most treasured taonga

Tonga volcanic eruption, tsunami
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Chinese debt a concern in Tonga’s post-eruption rebuild 
1 News: NZ aid arrives in Tonga after ‘mammoth’ effort to clear runway
RNZ: Defence Force Commander of Joint Forces Jim Gilmour speaks on Tonga relief operation
RNZ: Safety at Tonga port being checked for arrival of more humanitarian supplies
RNZ: Third navy ship to depart for Tonga, first relief supplies to arrive today
1 News: NZ Hercules aircraft sets off for Tonga with aid supplies
RNZ: First international relief flight enroute to Tonga
RNZ: Collection for Tonga underway today in Auckland
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): On responding to the need in Tonga

Health
RNZ: New research fund to focus on inequity in lung cancer treatment, diagnosis
RNZ: National calls for better mental health services for Asians
Matthew Hampson (Stuff): NZ needs to invest in small hospitals – Luxon
1 News: Medicinal cannabis costs in NZ could drop after new deal
Male Hart (Local Democracy Reporting): Woman waiting months for cataract surgery in constant pain

Local government
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): She’s running, he’s running
Steven Walton (Stuff): Councils spending thousands on extra security since vaccine passes introduced
RNZ: Mayor sidesteps ‘what if’ scenario during Zoom meeting on ferry terminal loan
Rachael Kelly (Stuff):Hicks to stand for Gore district mayor for a seventh term

Environment, conservation
Gary Taylor (Herald):  Five big environmental reforms this year (paywalled)
Tom Kitchin (RNZ): NIWA predicts drought for top and bottom of the country
Rebecca Ryan (ODT): Algae’s presence prompts river warning
Eric Roy (Stuff): Audit solutions won’t work against climate change – look to the practical

Transport
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland and Wellington just middling in global public transport affordability
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Transmission Gully: New year, but still no opening date
Joel MacManus (Stuff): Transmission Gully: Stormwater system behind ongoing delays in motorway opening 
Olivia Wannan (Stuff): Government ‘spare’ cash from scrapped Auckland harbour cycleway could fund councils’ wishlists
Erin Gourley (Stuff): $570,000 Wellington roundabout already damaged, two months after opening
Dave Cliff (ODT): Lives worth more than trip times
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Interislander ferry ‘catastrophically’ damaged, briefings reveal
Oscar Francis (ODT): No risk of 5G affecting NZ aircraft
RNZ: Calls for better communication after near-miss incident on rail line in Hamilton
Nile Bijoux (Stuff): Suzuki NZ to stay but warns of big Clean Car price hikes

Education
RNZ: NCEA 2021 results have been released, significantly lower attendance at exams
Dubby Henry (Stuff): Chris Hipkins says NCEA results ‘encouraging’, in line with previous years
Emma Clark-Dow (Stuff): Almost half of students in Covid-hit areas didn’t do end-of-year exams
Lee Kenny (Stuff): Former Christchurch head boy says students outside Auckland should have had more help during NCEA exams
Wyatt Ryder (ODT): Home-schooling surges 40% since pandemic
Tamati Tiananga (Māori TV): All Māori students can achieve if Maōri-focused methods used
Jessica Tyson (Māori TV): Sir Toby Curtis: ‘Pākeha schools are hopeless and cannot educate our kids’
Eric Trump (ODT): Uni accepts 103 redundancies
Māori TV: Mātauranga Māori to feature in architecture studies in Wellington
Eda Tang (Stuff): Changes promised after questions asked about ‘frustrating’ StudyLink disability allowance application process

Foreign affairs
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Too Much Intellectual Curiosity – Not Enough Fox News.
RNZ: Samoa Cabinet approves medical transfer of former PM to New Zealand

Media
Stuff:  Carol Hirschfeld to be executive producer of Mediaworks’ new Tova O’Brien radio show
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Tova O’Brien: A reluctant public face to restraint-of-trade debate
Malcolm Evans (Daily Blog): Free Speech

Other
Irra Lee (1 News): New data shows drop in benefit numbers
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): The Political Logic of Martyrdom
Zane Small (Newshub): Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s ‘huge disappointment’ after police confirm revival of aerial cannabis blitzes
Chris Fowlie (Daily Blog): How to tip off Green Fairies against cop choppers
Cira Olivier (Herald): Bay of Plenty family harm reports rise, fears domestic violence becoming ‘more blatent’ (paywalled)
Kristin Hall (1 News): Rescuers shocked ‘severely neglected’ dog given back to owners by SPCA
Rosemary McLeod (Stuff): From Boris Johnson to Russell McVeagh, it’s all just privilege in action
James Perry (Māori TV): Whānau Power aims to help power poverty and whānau wellbeing
Jessica Tyson (Māori TV): ‘We were called the Nazis of te reo Māori’ –  Sir Pou Temara pays a price for excellence

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