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Ringside on Politics – After protracted coalition talks with National and Labour, NZ First leader Winston Peters declared “capitalism must regain its human face” and chose Labour to lead the next NZ Govt. The new PM, Jacinda Ardern, the country’s second youngest. Speaking after Peters’ announcement, she said it was “an honour and a privilege to have the chance to form a Govt.” NZ First will have four Ministers and an Undersecretary. The Green Party will have three Ministers outside Cabinet and an Undersecretary. The coalition deals between Labour and NZ First is to be released soon.Despite being the biggest party with 44.4% of the vote, National is now in Opposition after nine years. The record number of special votes cost National and helped Labour and the Greens, with each of the latter parties gaining one seat. Now sharing sharing 43.2% of the votes they closed the gap on National, making a Labour-Greens-NZ First Govt much more viable. NZ First’s total of nine seats was unchanged.
Most Minor Parties Shut Out - The battle between the National and Labour leaders led voters to shun the minor parties and only five parties remain in Parliament. Only one of National’s support partners for the last three terms remains. Peter Dunne’s resignation spelled the end of United Future. The Maori Party is out, with Labour now holding all seven Maori seats. ACT returned, but only thanks to its special deal in Epsom, where National voters are encouraged to give their electorate vote to David Seymour and their party vote to National. ACT won only 0.5% of the party vote.
Winston’s Choice - With only 7.2% of the vote and nine seats, NZ First has gained a lot from the negotiations. It will have four Ministers in Cabinet and an Undersecretary. The Greens, only slightly behind with 6.3% of the vote and eight seats, were left out of the coalition, but will be pleased to for the first time have three Ministers, albeit outside Cabinet. There appear to be inherent tensions between NZ First and the Greens, with the former appealing to a nostalgic, older, and more rural demographic, while Green supporters tend to be young and urban.
The Economy – Much of the country’s short to medium term economic future will still be decided beyond our borders as evidenced by global market volatility to which NZ is still particularly vulnerable. Dairy farm debt is shaping as a major problem. Auckland's housing crisis is finally beginning to recede as restrictions on investors in particular start to bite.
Business & Economic Trends – Growth is spectacular but predicted to slip slightly by year’s end although the Trump factor could cause more dramatic changes. Inflation appears to have been tamed for now - in fact it is being seen as too low. The dollar however is on an upward trend again as markets digest the Trump presidency and Brexit. The big problem for NZ outside global market volatility and a potential crash in China.
Is there an alternative for NZ if the China trade goes bad? The TPP agreement is now effectively dead. PM English is negotiating for a quick UK trade deal post Brexit and talks on other deals with India and the EU are ongoing, but a Trump presidency is likely to bring in a new era of protectionism and the era of globalisation could in fact be dead - a big task ahead for the Government and Trade Minister McClay.
Sector Reports - How are specific sectors of the economy performing? Where are the best opportunities for investment – and what areas are best left alone?
New Legislation & Tax Laws – Market Regulation • Commercial & Corporate Law • Taxation • Health and Safety • Paid Parental Leave • Treaty Settlements.
Our special weekly “In the Lobby” column goes right to the heart of what’s happening in the Select Committees and looks at the driving forces in them, the work they’re doing, and their impact on Govt.
Trade – Businesses are benefiting from new Free Trade deals, especially the one signed with China. Asian markets are growing while European economies are still finding the going tough. But the Trans Pacific Partnership is dead. Climate change, and the environment, are moving to be high not just on the political, but also the business, agenda. Water management has become one of the battle grounds for political advantage.
The Sharemarket & Companies in the News - How will you fare as global markets go through a period of volatility? The swings – and roundabouts. What are the forces at work? Running the rule over the blue chips. Keeping an eye on the “sleepers” who may be tomorrow’s high-fliers. Spotting the movers and the shakers.
Select Committees - See what the Committees are doing and what they are thinking in our Select Committees column.
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Trans Tasman Political Alert has a team of 6 highly-qualified specialist contributors, analysing discussions & decisions, looking at potential repercussions, identifying trends, listening to Select Committee debate & reporting on opinions, submissions & personalities. We draw upon a wide range of sources close to the Beehive inner circle who wish to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.
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IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
30 November 2017
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