Archive for August, 2008

Major FTA Talks Make Progress

Trade Minister Phil Goff hopes an ASEAN-Aust-NZ Free Trade Agreement may be signed by the end of the year. He is in Singapore this week for the annual ASEAN-CER Ministers meeting, which includes two days of negotiations towards the FTA. Officials have made good progress over the past 12 months and have resolved between 90-95% […]

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It’s Still The Economy For Voters

The tough times for NZ households hit home this week when latest official figures showed food prices had risen 7.6% over the year, with some staples rising faster: bread up 19.6%, cheddar cheese up nearly 60%, butter up 89.4%, and fresh milk up 10.2%. Households spend $38 out of every $100 of the food budget […]

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Economic Debate – For Whom The Road Tolls

Maurice Williamson told the recent National Party conference about the need to build more roads. But at what cost? He told TV One’s Agenda about $300-400m a year, to bring the road network up to scratch. Some funding will come from increased public borrowing and there’s a role for public-private partnerships. Tolls will be considered […]

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Economic Debate – Is Trans Tasman Economic Unity Possible?

In the 25 years since the CER signing, two-way trans-Tasman trade has grown at more than 8% a year on average (to be worth $A21.5bn last year) and NZ exports to Aust have grown at 7.7% a year. But how do the two countries forge even closer economic and investment ties? Addressing trans-Tasman CEOs in […]

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Cabinet To Tick New Rail Plans

Cabinet is next week expected to consider and approve a structure for its newly acquired Kiwi Rail business, as well as a significant new investment of around $80m in rolling stock, locomotives and infrastructure. The favoured structure is an over-arching entity (NZ Railway Corporation?), with two operating divisions, one of which will be Kiwi Rail, […]

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High Hopes For Latest Treaty Settlement

The latest Treaty settlement signed this week by Wellington Tenths Trust chairman Dr Ngatata Love ended a 21-year battle over the Port Nicholson Block claims. In 1839 the iwi signed the Port Nicholson Block deed of purchase, which was meant to include the protection of 10% of the block, which stretches from Wellington’s south coast […]

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Economic Debate – Is Public Debt Bad?

Finance Minister Michael Cullen and National’s Bill English welcomed Standard & Poor’s reaffirmation of NZ AA+/A-1+ foreign-currency and AAA/Stable/A-1 local-currency sovereign credit ratings. Both found endorsements of their policies in the ratings review. Cullen said it was vital our Govts maintain investors’ confidence in NZ as a place to invest in and to do business […]

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Parker Talks Up Future For Gas

Despite the Clark Govt’s 10-year restriction on new fossil fuel base-load thermal generation above 10MW, Energy Minister David Parker says it’s not “doom and gloom” for the petroleum sector. Fossil fuels, especially gas, he insists, will have a critical role for some time to come. Contact Energy is intending to build a 200MW peaking plant […]

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NZ Economy At A “Critical Crossroads”

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says NZ is at a “critical crossroads.” He’s warning NZers must accept the current economic slowdown is not a run-of-the-mill low point in the economic cycle. “While I have full confidence NZ will start growing again later this year, no-one should expect that once growth returns the world will keep ticking […]

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NZ’s Credit Rating Unchanged

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s has affirmed its AA+ foreign currency credit rating on NZ. The agency says the rating reflects NZ’s strong fiscal flexibility, political stability and flexible and resilient economy. It adds NZ’s current account deficits and high external debt leave the economy vulnerable to external shocks. “While NZ’s high net external indebtedness […]

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Annette King Sets Out Transport Goals

Launching the NZ Transport Strategy and Govt Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding at the Beehive, Transport Minister Annette King revealed Govt investment in land transport ($3.1bn this year) will be stepped up substantially. The NZ Transport Agency will decide on construction starts soon for the Newmarket Viaduct ($190m), Christchurch Southern Motorway ($140m) and Victoria […]

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Economic Debate – Borrow Or Not?

Bill English brandished a raft of quotes from Helen Clark’s time in opposition, after she denounced National’s plans to boost infrastructure investment with “a prudent programme” of debt management. In 1994 (when the public debt was above 50% of GDP) she criticised the Bolger Govt for “putting an undue emphasis on debt repayment at the […]

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