Archive for August, 2011

NZers waking up to impact of Rugby World Cup

NZers are only just now waking up to the economic significance of the Rugby World Cup tournament, due to open in just 15 days’ time. It’s because the mainstream news media have run an almost relentlessly negative campaign against what some see as the greatest sporting event ever to be staged in NZ. The campaign […]

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Play of the week: Poll positions

Three months out from the election, what do we see? National has sort of driven a juggernaut to the top of a hill and John Key is now sitting back, taking the thing out of gear and sort of letting natural gravity let it roll downhill, at speed, to the election. Key could form a […]

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Second term govt: Welfare reform and SOE sales

Welfare policy, energy asset sales and sharpening the economy are high on the agenda. But what is clear is the theme will be incremental change rather than radical reform.

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UFB rollout under way

Ultra-fast broadband inititive finally kicks off in Auckland and has been hailed as the most “transformative infrastructure project NZ has seen since reticulated electricity”. We’ll see.

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Navy’s helicopters not up to task

The Navy’s five Kaman Seasprite helicopters are suffering from corrosion and vibration damage – while facing increasing demands for their time.

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Election: National won’t govern alone

Key determined to be inclusive and has gone out of his way to emphasise National will still seek the support of the Maori Party, United Future and ACT in a second-term coalition.

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Economic debate: Are interest rates too low?

National backbencher Peseta Sam Lotu-iiga had the job of tossing Finance Minister Bill English a patsy question about financial markets and the signals they are sending about NZ’s economic position. English told him the markets are signalling a growing aversion to continued lending to borrowers with too much debt. Indebted countries increasingly are being sorted […]

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Groser’s vision for Asia-Pacific trading bloc

Speaking in Beijing this week, Trade Minister Tim Groser outlined how a trading bloc in the Asia-Pacific region could rival and even overshadow the European Community. He noted there is an ever deepening integration of national economies, from which NZ does not stand apart. Increasingly, NZ companies are embracing the regional supply chain. In China, […]

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National builds strong re-election launchpad

John Key now bestrides the centre ground of NZ politics, broadening National’s appeal. The trick has been to kill off the myth there’s little difference between Labour and National.

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Welfare reform: Central plank of National’s campaign

As existing welfare programmes have demonstrated, job-search requirements are useless for young people who lack the basic skills, such as literacy and numeracy, to secure employment. It’s time to make the welfare state work.

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Party politics: Is Labour giving in to despondency?

Labour strategists have sought to soften party leader Phil Goff’s image with sympathetic interviews in the NZ Herald, but in essence it’s an admission of defeat in territory where Goff has lived all his life.

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Financial markets: Not yet the end of the world

Turmoil in global financial markets has moderated, but the consensus among analysts is volatility will persist, with NZ remaining susceptible to adverse swings.

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Economic debate: Where to now for recovery?

The European Commission this week advised it is premature to say the 27-country EU is entering a recession. The Commission’s economic forecasts (a spokesman said) are more positive than those “by actors in the financial markets.” Data published a day later, however, showed German exports declined in June, adding to evidence the EU economy is […]

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Play of the week: Was there a man dismayed?

National heads into its election year party conference this year looking like it is enjoying a kind of Charge of the Light Brigade in reverse. It is not really a matter of “cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them.” It is more a case of the odd grumpy peashooter to […]

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Onus on govt to prevent global events damaging recovery

This is not the time to batten down the hatches, destroy business confidence, enforce harsher fiscal disciplines, and in the process inflict NZ with a doubledip recession, even if it’s where the US and Europe are heading.

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Warning to Nats: Don’t try a sleepwalk to victory

Given the current slide in the international economy, the mood in the electorate could change almost overnight. This is the main risk for National.

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Signals on welfare reform manifesto

In what could be a dry run for National’s major programme of welfare reform, John Key this week was hailing the success of the Govt’s move to introduce a new rule for dole recipients to re-apply annually for the benefit.

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Unprecedented international interest in Pacific Forum

As host country, NZ is seeking to inject special significance into the Forum’s agenda. If NZ’s initiatives are accepted, big strides could be achieved in improving the economic performance of the Forum’s island states.

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The MMP leg rope

The criticism MMP means ‘the tail wagging the dog’ has never seemed quite right. In practice, smaller parties have not been able to wield much clout to push their policies through. They have instead acted more as restraints. The criticism also misses the point. In most of the MMP elections – 1999, 2002, and 2008 […]

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Mana v Maori Party: It’s utu time

Hone Harawira’s fledgling political party Mana is to hold its AGM on Sunday and amongst other things it will discuss whether to run for electorate seats against Harawira’s former colleagues in the Maori Party. It will be a remarkable change in political behaviour for this hui to be anything more than a political stunt to […]

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Economy: Key sits on hands over soaring dollar

There are several things Key could do. The fact is he won’t, preferring to let the market sort it out. The problem is, the market is not sorting it out.

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Election: Labour’s bleak chances just got worse

Labour simply can’t gain the momentum it needs under Goff, and it’s too late for a leadership change. A second term in opposition and a leadership change beckon. Will David Parker take the helm?

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Same old Winston, same old tricks

Peters is zeroing in on policies he knows voters don’t like and issues he knows they’re worried about and, as usual, he has plans to fix them, but he’ll have to deliver something very special to get a rise in the polls.

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Doubts loom over watered-down ETS

At some point in the future the ETS has to be ramped up to cause more pain if it is ever going to force the investment and behavioural changes it is intended to cause.

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