Summary A bottle of France’s famed beaujolais nouveau, a fruity red that’s as close to white as you can get, is hard to find if you are planning to celebrate the first release today. A select committee hearing continues today on fast-tracked housing intensification legislation that will have a significant impact on cities. 

Beaujolais nouveau It’s Beaujolais Day today, a global celebration of the first wine of the season made from the first harvest of grapes in the Beaujolais region of France. This year, however, the wine is in short supply with the likes of Maison Vauron in Auckland receiving only a small allocation. The store ran out three days ago and the phone is still running hot with customers trying to secure bottles. Public celebrations in Auckland are on hold due to pandemic restrictions, but events in Wellington such as a sold out Alliance Francais quiz night and a wine and cheese event on Saturday are still able to be held.

Rushed bill A select committee hearing on a rushed new law enabling people to build a row of three-storey homes on their properties continues today. The Enabling House Supply bill is attracting controversy, with Auckland council pulling on its NIMBY boots and calling out significant impacts on the city from the proposed widespread intensification, poor housing design and the inability to deliver infrastructure crucial for supporting new communities.

Tax avoidance A new report claims Uber avoided paying taxes of up to $12.8 million in NZ last year. The report by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR), First Union and E tū said Uber used a network of more than 50 Dutch shell companies and tax havens as part of a global tax avoidance scheme.

Sanford reports Fishing company Sanford reports its full-year results today, with analysts expected to focus on the company’s growing frozen stock that has jumped from $56 million to $85m in liability, its safety record after it was ordered to pay $500,000 following the death of a worker, and difficulties selling product due to supply-chain issues. Sanford has also just announced the departure of its COO, following the departure of its CFO earlier this year and a new CEO starting in April.

KiwiRail chair vacancy Despite knowledge of workplace issues at KiwiRail, ministers still haven’t appointed a new board chair more than six months after the death of the previous chair, Brian Corban. Unlikely allies the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and the National party have both slammed the lack of intervention, particularly considering the huge amounts of public money going into the state-owned rail operator.

Hydro scheme doubt It is not surprising major players in the electricity sector are casting doubts on the feasibility of a pumped hydro scheme as it may not match their commercial interests, says energy minister Megan Woods. The comments referred to a study commissioned by Meridian Energy and Contact Energy that said the Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme being considered by the government is the most expensive and risky option to deal with the issues facing the electricity system. Woods told Parliament: “I don't think anyone would be surprised that existing market players are promoting and investigating views to support their commercial and strategic objectives, given that the outcome of the project could be a major disruptor to the status quo.”

Police action Developers will be watching as Wellington council attempts to remove protestors who have been occupying the Shelly Bay site for a year. At Ihumatao in Auckland, police proved reluctant to intervene. The outcome of the latest situation in Wellington will show a likely pattern in police approach to protests that are only likely to become more common. 

Auckland exodus Auckland businesses are preparing for a quiet Christmas as residents get ready for a mass exodus North when borders reopen on Dec 15. Northland, which has been cut off from the rest of NZ except by expensive flights over Auckland, will see hundreds of thousands of people flooding back to holiday homes and accommodation. The Coromandel Peninsula is another hot spot for city escapes. 

Dark roof ban New South Wales developers and builders will face new restrictions, with dark roofs to be banned. Lighter coloured roofing could reduce the temperature inside a home by up to 10% in a heatwave, and light roofs across Sydney would reduce the city’s ambient temperature by more than 2%. 

Markets update In early afternoon trading, US markets were weighed down by concerns about rate rises as strong company earnings figures continue, with the Dow Jones down 0.47%, the S&P 500 down 0.11%, and the Nasdaq flat. The Stoxx 600 continued to rise for a sixth straight day, hitting a new record and up by 0.14%. In contrast, the FTSE 100 fell 0.49%, weighed down by a stronger pound and disappointing earnings. Germany’s Dax increased by 0.02% and France's Cac improved by 0.15%.