Archive for June, 2009

Economic Debate – Can We Stem Unemployment?

The numbers of jobless in the dole queues has climbed to around 1100 a week in the past two months as unemployment surges. But the Job Summit has and will create thousands of jobs, or so the PM insisted when challenged this week about the employment generated by ideas such as the $2bn credit fund […]

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Key Backs Maori Party Initiatives

One of the surprises of John Key’s Govt has been the evolution of the relationship with the Maori Party as a strong and expanding element of the coalition. Traditionally, there has only been a tenuous empathy between National, and Maori voters. It came under the severest strain at the time of Don Brash’s “One-Nation” speech […]

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Economic Debate – How Long Will Interest Rates Stay Down?

Labour’s Charles Chauvel is making a fuss about loan sharks charging interest at “only” 9% per week. When compounded this burgeons to around 2000% a year. He wants a crackdown, saying NZ is about the only country in the world without laws to deal with the usurers, and has prepared a Member’s Bill to regulate […]

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Boy Racers Versus “The Crusher”

The Govt’s crackdown on illegal street racers, announced this week with a fanfare by an impressive line-up in the Beehive (the PM, Transport Minister Steven Joyce and Police Minister Judith “Crusher” Collins) embraces some draconian powers, including those to seize and destroy vehicles involved in the banned sport and imposing demerit points so as to […]

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Shrewd Politics Gets Govt On The Front Foot

The Govt played shrewd politics this week to get back on the front foot, after the hiccups of the Melissa Lee performance in the Mt Albert by-election and the Christine Rankin affair. It produced new laws to crack down on boy racers, thus underlining its determination to take ownership of law and order issues. John […]

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Govt Reckons Queen’s Wharf Deal A Financial Coup

The Govt reckons it scored a financial coup with its $20m contribution to the $40m purchase of Queen’s wharf in Auckland, which will serve as “party central” during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The wharf is valued at more than $100m but the Govt had some leverage to get it at a bargain price because […]

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Guy Strengthens Wellington’s Voice In The Ministry

Nathan Guy’s elevation to the Ministerial ranks to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Richard Worth, followed by the promotion of Chris Tremain and Jo Goodhew to be the whips, rewards solid performance by those MPs. Guy will be a strong advocate for the Wellington region within the Ministry (Wellington has been under-represented, […]

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Dairy Sector’s Debt Bubble About To Burst?

Labour and Green politicians have been calling for an inquiry into the Big Four banks’ profit and interest margins, arguing the banks have not passed on the full effects of cuts to the OCR. But John Key doubts whether an inquiry could achieve anything. The real concern for the Govt is the stability of the […]

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Dairy Sector’s Debt Bubble About To Burst?

Labour and Green politicians have been calling for an inquiry into the Big Four banks’ profit and interest margins, arguing the banks have not passed on the full effects of cuts to the OCR. But John Key doubts whether an inquiry could achieve anything. The real concern for the Govt is the stability of the […]

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Lessons From The Mt Albert By-Election

The Mt Albert by-election was a heavy defeat for National, and correspondingly a big victory for Labour. The advent of the highly credentialed David Shearer to the Labour Caucus was celebrated as a triumph both for the new MP, and his leader Phil Goff. Some within the Caucus say the huge margin Shearer secured provides […]

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Dairy Sector’s Debt Bubble About To Burst?

Labour and Green politicians have been calling for an inquiry into the Big Four banks’ profit and interest margins, arguing the banks have not passed on the full effects of cuts to the OCR. But John Key doubts whether an inquiry could achieve anything. The real concern for the Govt is the stability of the […]

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Economic Debate – Where To For Water?

The Govt at last is taking steps to better manage NZ’s fresh water, focusing on quality, quantity, allocation and infrastructure (including water storage). We have plenty of the stuff – it’s the key to our competitive advantage in agriculture and renewable energy and is essential to our environment and lifestyle. But in some parts of […]

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KiwiRail A Financial Headache

KiwiRail, bought last year for $690m and now valued at $388m by Treasury, is proving a headache for the Govt. Treasury papers show it would have run out of cash by November 30, with the result Finance Minister Bill English had to approve a cash injection for operational funding. All other funding has subsequently been […]

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Key – Ignore The Twitter, Get On With Governing

John Key has been getting a lot of advice from the twittering classes lately. They say he should sharpen up his political management, he should get an experienced political strategist into his back office, take a deep breath before shooting from the hip, take a firmer grip on his press conferences, and resist the well-baited […]

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Kupe To Boost NZ’s Oil And Gas Output

NZ’s oil production, with output building up from Maari (32,000 barrels a day) and Tui (19,000 barrels a day), will be boosted again when the $1.1bn Kupe gas/condensate project comes on stream in the next few months. With all its offshore construction completed, Kupe operator Origin Energy reports the onshore production station west of Hawera […]

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Growth Set To Return This Year

The NZ Institute of Economic Research predicts the recession will continue through to September, with renewed growth coming in December. The Institute expects December quarter growth to be led by migration-induced population increase and “considerable stimulus” from monetary and fiscal policy. But the institute estimates a 2% contraction in the March 2009 year, followed by […]

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Cabinet Calls For New Thinking To Project “NZ Inc” Abroad

Cabinet has issued a directive the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade should submit a paper to the Cabinet External Relations and Defence Committee in the second half of 2009 on “new arrangements” for the operation of “NZ Inc” onshore and offshore. The Govt is seeking greater co-ordination of the work of […]

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Dunne’s Pointers To Next Steps On Path To Recovery

National Ministers have given few clues on the next phase in re-shaping the direction they want to take the economy. Their broad objectives are plain enough: they aim to lift productivity and sharpen international competitiveness. Over the Govt’s term of office (and there’re only 29 months left) GDP per capita is expected to fall 4%, […]

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