Archive for March, 2009

Brownlee Looks For Export Improvement

When it was in Opposition National was critical of the previous Govt’s failure to lift NZ’s export performance (export volumes have barely increased over the last 10 to 15 years). It promised to look hard at the $300m a year channelled into NZ Trade & Enterprise to see whether export promotion is achieving its aims. […]

Read more ...

Govt’s Popularity Carries Risk

Riding a wave of unprecedented popularity the Govt is succeeding in maintaining a level of confidence the country can navigate the current downturn safely and without too many bruises. This is the upside of the popularity. But there are risks which grow higher the more John Key and his team are regarded as political super-heroes. […]

Read more ...

NZ Gets Back On The Obama Administration’s Radar

Murray McCully, already acquiring a formidable reputation as a skilled operator in the foreign affair portfolio (he has succeeded with his recent visits to Samoa and the Cook Islands in rebuilding the close ties with those small but influential South Pacific states), has the task of getting NZ firmly on to the radar of the […]

Read more ...

Crown Entities Ordered To Measure Up

State Services Minister Tony Ryall called in the chairs of Crown entities this week to give them the Govt’s now standard message it expects higher performance from them with fewer resources. The meeting will be followed by another next month when SOE Minister Simon Power and Finance Minister Bill English are to tell the chairpersons […]

Read more ...

State Highway Funding Up 50%

In the programme Transport Minister Steven Joyce laid out this week, he was spelling out the size of the funding pipeline for land transport over the next 10 years, set at $6.6bn by Labour, but to be $10.7bn under National. This could be added to through public-private partnerships or tolling. Joyce says under National state […]

Read more ...

Joyce Proving Himself A Cabinet Heavyweight

Steven Joyce is proving one of John Key’s Cabinet heavyweights, though he went into Parliament and into Cabinet without any previous political experience. He’s navigating the often turbulent passages of managing a major portfolio smoothly, quickly winning the confidence of officials, and exerting an influence far beyond his ranking at 14 in Cabinet would suggest. […]

Read more ...

Big Cut In Kyoto Liability On The Cards

A looming update on NZ’s net greenhouse gas emissions may show a very big cut in NZ’s Kyoto liability. Senior Govt sources say the revised figures stem from recession-related lower industrial output, a drop in livestock numbers and improved measures of forestry carbon sinks. Last year the effect of petrol price rises on consumption shrank […]

Read more ...

Balance Of Payments Deficit Exposes NZ’s Vulnerability

“Port Hit by Import Slump” should be a headline to please Finance Minister Bill English. It should signal a rapid improvement in NZ’s balance of payments, currently showing a deficit of 9% of GDP. But English is worried the deficit is not falling fast enough to remove NZ from the watch lists of international credit […]

Read more ...

Key’s Pragmatism Leaves Opponents Struggling For Traction

John Key has started delivering on ideas out of the Jobs Summit. This week Cabinet approved the nine-day fortnight concept in return for a pledge employers will not make workers in the scheme redundant. The Govt will pay employers $12.50 an hour per worker for up to five hours a fortnight if they negotiate a […]

Read more ...

Hide Looks For Rates Gains

Rodney Hide has been telling people he’s the Minister for Ratepayers rather than the Minister of Local Govt. He wants to keep rates down, for Councils to focus on necessities, not luxuries, and get the consent of ratepayers before increasing rates faster than inflation. He is also calling on Councils to make their processes “less […]

Read more ...

Economic Debate – Tax… To Cut Or Not?

The fate of tax cuts promised by National will be a political decision. Even if economic considerations alone determined the outcome, however, there should be no stopping those scheduled from 1 April. They will be stimulatory, helping to lift people’s purchasing power; ditching them would adversely undermine confidence which needs uplifting. But tax cuts timetabled […]

Read more ...

Plugging Holes In Defence Capabilities

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp is expected to finalise terms of reference for the Defence White Paper when he meets military chiefs, with his Associate Minister Heather Roy, this week. Mapp has inherited a series of procurement decisions, such as the Navy’s multi-purpose ship Canterbury and the NH90 helicopter contract, which lack “proper definition” and reflect […]

Read more ...