Archive for June, 2012

Challenge to repeat first quarter performance

NZ’s economic performance in the first quarter was a shaft of light in the otherwise encircling gloom. The 1.1% increase in GDP in the March quarter was the strongest quarterly movement in 5 years, with expansion coming from the primary, goods, and services sectors. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, speaking for the Govt in Parliament, […]

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Growing faith in Christchurch rebuild

Evidence the rebuild of Christchurch will be gathering pace came this week with the report 30 new building projects worth more than $80m have been approved for the city in the past three months. Mayor Bob Parker reckons there is a “growing sense of faith in the rebuild.”

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Public sector: Govt sets “challenging” goals

The Govt’s crusade to achieve higher performance in the public sector took a giant stride forward this week when John Key laid down a tough “to-do” list. “We want to get further traction on difficult issues like reducing crime, reducing long-term welfare dependency, and reducing educational under-achievement.

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Politics: asset sales test of Nat’s authority

The National-led Govt secured one of its flagship policy programmes this week when Parliament passed its asset sale legislation. Some authorities say getting the first share float under way has become a litmus test of National’s authority as the governing party.

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Play of the week: plot loss over asset sales

Back in the day when your columnist was involved in university debating, there was one firm rule: anyone who compared the opponent’s argument with Nazi Germany immediately lost 50 points.

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Defence: NZ enters new era in US co-operation

It’s not the rebirth of ANZUS, but the Washington Declaration signed this week by NZ Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is a giant step forward in the NZ-US defence relationship which went sour nearly 25 years ago when the then Labour Govt declared NZ nuclear-free and would no longer admit […]

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Politics: Green party takes a couple of knocks

The Green Party has taken a couple of knocks, as it seeks to build its constituency. The disclosure it is spending $75,000 from its Leader Office fund to pay signature-collectors for a so-called citizens-initiated referendum opposing asset sales is seen as a shabby use of taxpayer money, as well as undermining the value of such […]

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Asset sales: Govt battles negative mood

The Govt is now eyeing “loyalty” bonus shares to sweeten its asset sale programme. It is battling hard to reverse the negative mood about its mixed ownership model. John Key say more NZers are “warming” to the share offer in state-owned energy companies.

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Politics: coalition gets a grip on agenda

The National-led coalition took hold of the political agenda this week, though there were still some gaps in the narrative. In education, where teacher unions were looking to turn the Govt’s embarrassing defeat into a total rout.

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History repeats, like a dodgy curry

A week with no policy U-turns and no more damaging stuff seeping out under the doors of the ACC has to be a good week for the Govt. Comparatively.

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Treaty document moved to new home

NZ’s founding document, the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, is to be relocated from its current home in the Archives NZ building to the newly refurbished National Library building in Wellington. The nine Tiriti o Waitangi sheets have been on permanent display in the constitution suite at the Archives NZ building on Mulgrave Street since 1991, […]

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Audit office launches inquiry into sky city deal

The Govt’s proposal to have a national convention centre built in Auckland basically for free is in a spot of bother. As if the Govt didn’t have enough on its plate, the Audit Office this week launched an inquiry into the proposed Sky City deal to build a national convention centre in Auckland in exchange […]

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Department rebuild: ACC hostages to (mis)fortune

ACC Minister Judith Collins has called on the highly regarded Paula Rebstock to take over, at least in an acting capacity, the task of re-shaping ACC’s “culture.” It could be a full-time job, but with her experience in the welfare sector, she may be able to marry up the sometimes conflicting objectives within ACC.

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Coalition in trouble, needs more checks-and-balances

John Key hardly had time to shake off the euphoria of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations before having to get his hands dirty at the coalface of NZ politics. The mini-disasters in different portfolios don’t compare with the crises earlier in his leadership like the Canterbury earthquakes or the Pike River mine catastrophe.

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Play of the week: butter fingers

Well, the Accident Compensation Corporation can do its next batch of public safety advertisements on the cheap. The corporation’s board members can do it all themselves. Ex board members, that is, not to mention one ex-CEO, all of whom may be looking for work.

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Defence : Burgeoning Warmth In US-NZ Military Ties

Confirming the burgeoning warmth of military ties between NZ and the US, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last weekend welcomed US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement the US would re-balance its naval forces so 60% are in the Asia-Pacific region compared with 50% at present (with the other 50% in […]

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NZ seeks to pull up socks in workplace safety

Recognising NZ’s poor record in workplace safety, the Govt is launching a major review which it believes can find answers, and achieve a 25% reduction in workplace death and serious injuries by 2020. Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson says NZ’s workplace death and injury rates are not improving and are poor in comparison to countries like […]

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Forecasts: not all bad news on economic front

NZers haven’t had much to celebrate in the way of economic news lately, but this week there was some cheer on hand. The deficit in the Crown accounts for the 10 months to April was $1.4bn lower than forecast, largely as a result of higher-than-expected tax, and lower-than-expected core Crown expenses.

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Politics: poll a blip or start of long-term slide?

Political polling in May gave the Opposition parties a small fillip. On the Govt side, the question is whether it represents a temporary blip, or is the beginning of a longer-term slide. The uncertainty stems from what some see as the lack of plausibility in the Colmar Brunton sample which put NZ First down at […]

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Play of the week: roll of honours

The latest swag of Queens Birthday honours attracted a bit more controversy than usual. To be sure, chucking Prince Philip a gong seems a bit coals-to-Newcastle-ish. When it’s the country’s highest honour it has a whiff of toadying about it.

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