RBNZ governor must curb inflationary pressures while keeping an eye on employment trends

Reserve Bank governor  Adrian Orr   has  a lot on his  plate  at present. He  is  battling  to hose  down prices which have  been rising  faster  than they  have  done for  30  years,  while  at  the  same  time  “maximising” sustainable   employment.

It’s  a  task  none of his predecessors had  to undertake.  Finance  Minister Grant  Robertson  widened  his  remit  to include full employment, but probably  didn’t  expect the  job  being put  to the  test so soon.

And, of  course,  Robertson’s future  as  finance  minister  will  hang  in the  balance, particularly  if  inflation  is  still raging  when  electors  go the  polls  next  year.

Ironically, too,  it  was the   government’s decision for  the  printing   of  money  by  the  Reserve  Bank  as  the  country  returned  to  something  like  normal  after  the Covid  lockdowns, which  stoked  the fires  of inflation.

Some  might  see   elements  of  Greek  tragedy   taking  shape. Continue reading “RBNZ governor must curb inflationary pressures while keeping an eye on employment trends”

NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)

Buzz from the Beehive

Comings and goings were the common factor in the latest Beehive announcements.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood handled the “inward” movements by regurgitating migrant statistics he presumably wanted to crow about.

The “outward” movements are recorded in three statements – a further deployment of 120 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukraine soldiers, the naming of a new High Commissioner to Kiribati, and a visit by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to Niue and Tonga this week.

Mahuta says her travels are “to engage kanohi ki te kanohi with counterparts”.

We imagine this is a legal form of behaviour among consenting adults and look forward to the television coverage. Continue reading “NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)”

Yes, there is good news for a Covid-weary NZ – and it has started to flow from our energy companies

In the wake of  the  emotionally  draining sagas that  have   dominated  the  mainstream  media   for the past week or  so — -first  the  allegations of   bullying within  Parliament and  by parliamentarians, and then the  All Blacks’  triumph and turmoil  over the  coach’s future employment — can  any relief  be  found?

Is  any   good  news  looming  for  a  nation  battered  by the  Covid  pandemic  and  frustrated by a  government that  makes  grand  announcements   but  often  fails  to  deliver?

Well,  yes, there  is.

Point  of   Order   believes  we  don’t  have  to look  far. It  will  come  from  the  business  sector   which    has  been  beavering away, despite the pressures on staff from Covid  and  within  the  supply  chain  to  and  from overseas  markets.

Some  of  it   is  already  emerging as the  big electricity gentailer, Contact Energy, reported today.   Contact  did  its   bit  for the  country  by  limiting  price  increases in the  year to 1.2%, announcing   a  new renewable energy  project, and indicating  it will be negotiating with  Rio  Tinto  which  wants  to  keep the Tiwai Point aluminium  smelter open  beyond 2024.  (More  of  what Contact  CEO  Mike  Fuge had  to  say  below). Continue reading “Yes, there is good news for a Covid-weary NZ – and it has started to flow from our energy companies”

Southern polytech gears up for tutoring more students by translating automotive engineering material into te reo

The polytechnic sector has been getting a bad press in recent times.

Former Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker has demanded an apology from Education Minister Chris Hipkins for turning the country’s polytechnic education system into “a national disgrace”.

The Otago Daily Times has described the centralising of New Zealand’s 16 polytechnics into one grand organisation, Te Pukenga, as a “shambles”.

National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson and Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds says polytechnics in the South are being forced to cut millions from their budgets because the Government’s mega-merger polytechnic entity Te Pūkenga is in such a mess,

Among the more disturbing reports, new data shows one-third of first year polytechnic students quit their studies last year and some qualifications were unable to retain any learners at all.

Across the country, 12,642 equivalent full-time students began courses at polytechnics last year, but 4124 – or 32.6% – dropped out , according to the figures released under the Official Information Act.

The 15 polytechnics that make up Te Pūkenga offered a total of 227 qualifications last year, but on 51 courses, at least half of all students quit. Continue reading “Southern polytech gears up for tutoring more students by translating automotive engineering material into te reo”

Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)

Buzz from the Beehive

The big announcement from the Beehive so far today is that workers and public transport users are at the heart of a new approach to public transport branded the Sustainable Public Transport Framework.

This is great news, although when you  take workers and public transport users out of considerations it is hard to find too many other interested parties, besides politicians and administrators.

Oh, wait.  Taxpayers and ratepayers, which accounts for most people, have a stake, too.  Their money funds the system and a major change is to allow councils to own and operate services in-house.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said the current model is causing operators to wind back services and timetables, because they can’t get drivers. Continue reading “Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)”

Getting super growth into those tree seedlings is simple – it can be done for a song (or two) and some nurturing conversation

The Government’s esteem for science and science-based research findings can be gauged from a press statement released by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The statement gives a progress report on a New Zealand Forest Services’ partnership with a marae-based tree-growing project and its grant of nearly $500,000 over two years through the One Billion Trees (1BT) programme.

It suggests the money has been well spent because – it transpires – the trees being grown on the marae are out-performing trees grown elsewhere.

This is instructive, pointing to how the Government can pick up the pace in bringing the ambitious One Billion Trees programme to a triumphant conclusion.

No great investment in nutrients or silvicultural expertise is required .

The secret is disclosed in the headline on the press statement reveals the secret:  Waiata helping native seedlings to thrive. Continue reading “Getting super growth into those tree seedlings is simple – it can be done for a song (or two) and some nurturing conversation”

Fetters are slapped on “fast-track” law to ensure the country benefits from forestry conversions by foreigners

Buzz from the Beehive

Some readers might be surprised to learn from Associate Finance Minister David Parker that the law has been changed to ensure forestry conversions by overseas investors benefit New Zealand.

Did the law previously allow forestry conversions by overseas investors that would be to the country’s disadvantage?

Not necessarily.

Previously, overseas investors wishing to convert land, such as farm land, into forestry were required to meet the “special forestry test.”

Parker described this as a “streamlined” test, designed to encourage investment in production forestry.

The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill – which has just passed its third reading – requires overseas investors to show their conversions will benefit New Zealand by meeting the stricter “benefit to New Zealand test.” Continue reading “Fetters are slapped on “fast-track” law to ensure the country benefits from forestry conversions by foreigners”

Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings

Buzz from the Beehive 

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has been busy in the past 24 hours, joining the PM for the opening of a new aquatic centre, enthusing about data from the latest visitor statistics and announcing a new industry strategy.

The Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan was in the business of announcing strategies, too.  She welcomed the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ release of its first strategy, setting out the actions it will take over the next few years to achieve better wellbeing outcomes for ethnic communities.

In the Education domain, Associate Minister Jan Tinetti was chuffed about the success of the programme for providing “free” period products in schools, while fellow Associate Minister Aupito William Sio announced the recipients of the Tulī Takes Flight scholarships. These were a key part of last year’s Dawn Raids apology. Continue reading “Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings”

ACT goes on attack as Defence Force personnel are found to be sniping at pay, dwellings and leadership

When a  Royal New Zealand Air Force C130 Hercules broke down in Vanuatu  this  week   there  was  a certain  irony   in the  event.  It left  Defence Minister Peeni Henare stranded in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, where he had been leading  a delegation of 30 New Zealanders, including officials from the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were in the country for World War II commemorations.

Henare  took  over  the  Defence  portfolio  after  the   2020 election,  but  so  far   he  has  done  little  to  upgrade  the  rundown   state   of  the  country’s  defence   resources.

Whether  his   stranding might serve  as  a  wake-up  call  could  be  monitored   not  just  by   Defence officials   but  by a   wider  public  becoming  alarmed  at  how  defenceless  NZ  has  become,  even  as  threats  in  the  Asia-Pacific  region  become  all too obvious.

This   week  the  ACT  party drew  attention to  how numbers are dropping in the New Zealand Defence Force as personnel are faced with “poor pay, poor dwellings, and poor leadership from the Minister”. Continue reading “ACT goes on attack as Defence Force personnel are found to be sniping at pay, dwellings and leadership”

McAnulty mentions the important role played by indigenous people in emergency response and recovery – but USA seems unaware

Buzz from the Beehive

Some ministers commemorated historical events in the latest press statements from the Beehive  while others pointed to New Zealand’s role in the space age and to technological developments around the digital economy and data storage in the cloud.

Three statements were related to events in the past – a speech by the PM to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa,  an expression of condolence after the death of the last-surviving Battle for Crete veteran, and the commemoration of the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima 77 years ago.

Two statements were focused on technological developments with implications for the future – the welcoming of Google Cloud’s decision to make New Zealand a cloud region and the advising of an agreement signed between the New Zealand and United States governments which opens new opportunities for our space sector and closer collaboration with NASA.

Law and order, broadly, were covered by another three statements.  Two of these drew attention to bills that have been enacted, one to combat firearms violence, the other to repeal the ‘Three Strikes’ law. Continue reading “McAnulty mentions the important role played by indigenous people in emergency response and recovery – but USA seems unaware”