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TRANS TASMAN Australian Edition

The China FTA aside, Australia is still our biggest trading partner and closest ally.

The Trans Tasman Australian Edition provides you with a window on what’s happening in our closest neighbour.

Focusing each week on trade, economy, defence, environment, politics, legislation and other key issues.

The ideal watchdog for Government departments and businesses to make comparisons and informed decisions based on trends from across the Tasman.

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Every serious management decision-maker needs to know 'Changes in the Economy'.

The NZ Regional Economic Scoreboard is a quarterly economic indicator, prepared by The Main Report Group in association with ASB Bank Ltd.

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Ardern Takes Charge

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Trans Tasman Political Alert

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Politics, economic shifts, legislation, regulations and competition are the four major forces influencing your business opportunities. Each week, TRANS TASMAN brings you the real story behind the news and events shaping the political scene – and the insights and analysis you need to make your organisation even more successful. And its crisply-written, time-saving style allows you to stay up-to-date in the midst of your hectic day.

For more than four decades TRANS TASMAN has been putting its finger on the pulse of the Australian/NZ relationship and the events shaping it, the crucial political and economic trends affecting our lives and businesses heading into the future.

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.

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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.

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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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30 November 2017

  • This Week... PM Jacinda Ardern’s “relentless positivity” came under strain this week as she defended not releasing a document, part of the coalition negotiations with NZ First. Commentators say this may mean the coalition deal is incomplete – and could yet be added to.
  • Grant Robertson is expected to lay down key markers at the time of the half-year fiscal update and policy statement due to be presented in mid-December. The Finance Minister is stepping cautiously to lessen any risk of business and investors taking fright.
  • As the Govt prepares for the half-year fiscal update, it is dropping a trail of “shock, horror” stories of underfunding by the previous Govt. When in Opposition Labour was unaware of the pipeline of capital spending the National-led coalition had for new schools, hospitals and roads.
  • And the Govt is tightening up NZ’s overseas investment regime, in a new hands-on approach limiting foreign buyers of rural land. Associate Finance Minister David Parker says the existing directive is too loose.

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