Archive for February, 2010

Layoffs Yet Another Embarrassment On Defence Project

Air NZ forced the Govt into an embarrassing admission this week over the $234m project to update the RNZAF’s fleet of 45-year-old Hercules transport aircraft. The programme is stalled, forcing Air NZ to cut 100 jobs at Blenheim-based Safe Air. The disclosure is the latest chapter in a saga of botched defence projects running from […]

Read more ...

NZ Government: Steven Joyce’s Influence Keeps Getting Bigger

Steven Joyce might rank at 14th in the Cabinet room, but he’s rapidly assuming a critical role in trouble-shooting in the Beehive, rather in the manner of Michael Cullen in the last Cabinet. In Transport, he has got several contentious projects funded and under way. Trans-Tasman has noted how he has come to be regarded […]

Read more ...

NZ Politics: Buoyant John Key, And His Govt, Regain Political Momentum

The Key Govt believes it has regained the momentum its critics claim it was losing. The PM himself is remarkably buoyant, despite having to dance on a pinhead over earlier declarations he would not raise GST. And he also confessed to being “sloppy” in disposing of his shares in an Aust uranium exploration company. These […]

Read more ...

NZ Politics: Defining The Difference Between National And Labour

Opposition Leader Phil Goff saw the Key speech as a “step-back” and promised a stern fight against any increase in GST. Hyped up as Big Tuesday, he says it turned out to be “Tiptoe Tuesday.” In light of the relatively tepid welcome the Prime Ministerial statement received, Labour could feel it has regained the political […]

Read more ...

NZ Budget: Approach To Finding New Revenue Sources Limited

The PM’s statement to Parliament said only the Govt would “carefully consider” raising GST. It was a signal it has to get its coalition partners on side, particularly the Maori Party, which says it will fight an increase if it disadvantages low-income groups. But it’s clear Cabinet is set on lifting GST to 15% and […]

Read more ...

NZ Tax System: Tax Cuts Traded For GST Rise – Will It Stimulate Growth

A new tax structure, with tax cuts worth $4bn, an increase of GST to 15%, and compensatory adjustments to benefits, unlocking NZ’s mineral wealth, new priorities in science and innovation, changes to how property is taxed; welfare benefit reform with a focus on helping people back to work; Whanau Ora to be developed as a […]

Read more ...

NZ Foreign Policy: Ministers Shrug Off Afghan Exit Strategy Idea

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp flew off to Istanbul this week for an ISAF Defence Ministers’ conference. This follows Foreign Minister Murray McCully going to London last week for an ISAF Foreign Ministers’ conference. Some analysts see this intense activity as evidence the Govt’s intervention in Afghanistan worries the NZ public and the Govt is looking […]

Read more ...

NZ Education System: Standards – Essential Education Tool, Or “Tolley’s Folly”?

In the first political scrap of the year, Labour’s Phil Goff called on the PM to sack Education Minister Anne Tolley over what he called the “shambles” in introducing national standards for literacy and numeracy in schools. “Tolley’s folly” is how Labour (as well as the teachers’ union) sees the concept of national standards. National […]

Read more ...

NZ Economy: Big Challenges In Fixing A Damaged Economy

At Tuesday’s all-day session on working on this year’s political programme, National’s Caucus enthusiastically backed the overhaul of the tax structure the PM will outline in his opening statement to Parliament next week. John Key says his first major speech of the year will contain “a reasonably detailed shopping list of the economic agenda for […]

Read more ...

Economic Debate – Psychology Or Market Forces?

Better economic advice to the Govt will be one measure of the shake-up of Treasury’s leadership team. This wasn’t an exercise in staff-shedding. It was an exercise in reasserting the Treasury’s leadership role in the state sector. It also gives expression to the Govt’s yearning for public-sector advisers who will earn their keep not by […]

Read more ...

NZ Tax Reform: Dynamic Transformation Depends ON Tax Reform

How macho will the Govt be is the question intriguing political circles in Wellington, as John Key’s administration lays the foundation for structural changes it says are essential in closing the income gap with Aust. Some of those in Cabinet, (even those who concede this year’s budget will be a defining document for the Key-led […]

Read more ...