Archive for October, 2011

What NZ doesn’t need: A hung Parliament

The last thing NZ needs, as it battles a harsh global environment is an indecisive outcome on November 26. Despite polls which give National a clear lead over Labour, few informed commentators believe it can get above the 50% needed to govern alone.

Read more ...

NZ in a fiscal straitjacket for next 5 years

This is why for National partial asset sales are important, to get access to capital which would otherwise have to be borrowed for essential new infrastructure. Sustained Govt spending restraint will be vital, and leaves no room for so-called election bribes.

Read more ...

Economy: Maui gas leak another blow

Shutdown of the Maui gas pipeline because of a leak is the latest blow to the economy, with farmers forced to spill $20m of milk a day. It underlines how dependent NZ has become on Taranaki’s gas fields, and is a wake-up call to those oppose any oil exploration.

Read more ...

Play of the week: Game on

Don’t rule out the other parties doing to National what the French did to us last Sunday night. They made us all sweat. With John Key showing signs of a Piri Weepu-like political equivalent of groin-strain, this is going to be closer than it looks.

Read more ...

Govt absorbs media drumming over Rena

Both John Key and his henchman Steven Joyce took hits. Lucky for them the rest of NZ was more focused on what was happening with Richie McCaw’s foot than with Papamoa Beach residents who couldn’t walk their dogs on the oil-covered sands.

Read more ...

Treasury trims forecasts; reinforces urgency on Govt

It’s not all bad news for National as it makes promises of more spending by its political opponents look ludicrous, reinforces the case for cutting the public sector’s gargantuan spending appetite, and adds to public pressure for the Govt “to do more” in reforming high-cost Govt programmes such as Working-for-Families.

Read more ...

Which way will the Commonwealth go?

A crucial meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Govt, beginning in Perth next week, has two major items on the agenda which could shape the future of the Commonwealth grouping.

Read more ...

Play of the week: Back to the future

Labour has spotted a political niche. With Jim Anderton departing, and with Winston Peters polling only marginally in front of the Quade Cooper Support Collective, there is room for an unabashed appeal to nostalgia.

Read more ...

The Main Report Group’s “Sacred Cows” Survey Reveals The Retirement Age Must Rise, No Support For MMP And Too Many Parliamentary Seats

After 12 years on the front line in politics Simon Power concluded Parliament is too often afraid to tackle the “tough issues” for fear of losing votes. He’s right. In his valedictory Power said MPs waste their time attacking each other, trying to out-maneuvre each other, “and just plain loathing each other. It’s an incredible […]

Read more ...

Capital talk: Buzz from the beehive

The master of the container ship Rena celebrated his birthday on Wednesday last week, the day the ship ran aground on the Astrolabe reef. Will he, we wonder, be celebrating his next birthday at sea? And on the subject of the stricken container ship, why were Ministers so slow in showing up at Tauranga? Too […]

Read more ...

Time to turn swing voters into loyalists

National is so far ahead in the polls, conventional political wisdom says it will win the general election, if not by a country mile, at least by a solid margin. The economy is not reviving as quickly as the Govt had expected, but National will play to its traditional strengths in the election campaign, talking […]

Read more ...

Rena is new calamity for government

The stricken container ship is another nightmare reality show for the Govt – on top of the Pike River disaster and the Canterbury earthquakes. With the election just weeks away it could be excused for being nervous about a political backlash.

Read more ...

Higher EQC levies to help claw back record deficit

Govt’s plan to halve the deficit and return to surplus in 2014/15 now appears heroic. The question is whether it will now revise its growth forecasts, or stick to the plan.

Read more ...

MFAT stares into face of budget cut

How will the agency, which says it’s already ‘spread too thin’, cope with a challenge to become more ‘cost effective and nimble’.

Read more ...

Econony: Please, no more natural disasters

The Govt is still cohesive in the face of the harsh economic environment and is tipped to perform better than Australia. Just spare us more natural disasters.

Read more ...

Who’s to blame for the finance sector debacle?

A row has broken out over the finance company debacle, with Auditor-General Lynn Provost criticising Treasury for failing to intervene early enough to lower the cost of the Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme. Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf dismissed the criticism because he says more intervention ould not have reduced the fiscal risks inherent in the […]

Read more ...

Play of the Week: Don’t insult our intelligence

Oh, come on now. Anyone who believes John Key’s appearance on RadioLive was not political needs a brain cell check, and perhaps a reality transplant. No, the PM didn’t talk politics on his appearance on RadioLive. The whole point is he didn’t need to. Ever heard of something called branding? It’s a fairly basic marketing […]

Read more ...

Election: Bad news strips Govt complacency

The Govt has absorbed punishing blows this week yet it still comes up smiling in the polls. However, the shock of the credit rating downgrade stripped away complacency within party ranks.

Read more ...

Economy: Treasury to rub crystal ball

The international environment is brittle and the credit rating downgrade poses a real challenge for Treasury as it prepares the pre-election fiscal and economic update.

Read more ...

Sir Paul whacks ‘clean tech’ for six

The Green Party’s policy of focusing Govt investment in “clean technology” has come under fire from scientist Sir Paul Callaghan, who says it’s merely a case of politicians latching on to fashions.

Read more ...

Dairy: Has it reached its limit?

Dairying is currently NZ’s star performer, but critics say it’s become too intensive, and the potential for expansion is limited to genetic improvement.

Read more ...