So how did the politicians dish out our money this week? Let’s check it out…

Point of Order has been keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money has been spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government over the past week.

Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios.

Here’s what our check of their press statements shows they announced in the past week…

Continue reading “So how did the politicians dish out our money this week? Let’s check it out…”

A bullish sharemarket contrasts with flagging business confidence

The New Zealand sharemarket’s top index hit a new record this week.

So given the slump in business confidence, is this just another outburst of irrational exuberance? Or do investors have a different take on the state of the economy than the business leaders who respond to confidence surveys?

The sharemarket has had a long bull run and some authorities think it is now overpriced. Yet those who have been predicting a downward correction are lonely prophets. Continue reading “A bullish sharemarket contrasts with flagging business confidence”

But without shouting, what will become of robust political debate?

We were minded at Point of Order to bring Oscar Wilde into considerations, on learning of the latest upheaval in the Ardern Cabinet:  “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Then we set about trying to ascertain who had done what to whom in circumstances that warranted Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri standing aside from her portfolio while an investigation into “staffing matters” in her ministerial office is carried out.

The PM’s announcement of Whaitiri’s demotion came just six days after she removed Minister Clare Curran from Cabinet for failing to disclose a meeting she had in relation to the Government’s Chief Technology Officer role.

The PM won’t reveal more information for privacy reasons. Continue reading “But without shouting, what will become of robust political debate?”

Peters and partnership in the Pacific: an issue which gelled with Aust policy-makers

Foreign Minister Winston Peters  didn’t have much  luck when he  visited  Canberra  for  his  six-monthly  talks with his  Australian counterpart,  Julie Bishop.  Peters  was  no  sooner winging  his way homewards  when Bishop was  gone from  her ministry and finding a seat somewhere  in the distant back benches  of the Liberal Party, a victim of  the Turnbull massacre.

And  Peters’  message   on the Australian government’s  treatment of Kiwis being deported, although not yet found guilty of crimes in an Australian court of law,   also echoed  hollowly  in the  hallways  of  the Federal Parliament.

But there  was  one line from  NZ’s  Foreign  Minister  which did  resonate   among key policy-makers  in  Canberra.  It  was this: Continue reading “Peters and partnership in the Pacific: an issue which gelled with Aust policy-makers”

Great Scott – could this be the source of fresh thinking from Fonterra?

Fonterra’s new chairman, John Monaghan, the man chosen to resuscitate the co-op’s flagging fortunes, got a big serve from the NZ Herald’s  Andrea  Fox this week.  Under the headline “New chairman – same old Fonterra song”, she wondered  if  anyone else  had a sinking  feeling  when Monaghan presented his idea of the biggest  challenge facing the embattled  dairy  company:  the need  to change  the law  that forces Fonterra  to accept milk  from  any  farmer and sell it to  rivals at a subsidised  price.

Fox  went  on:

Meanwhile back in real life land, Fonterra had a crisis of confidence among its 10,000 farmer-owners due to its financial and investment decisions, its balance sheet wasn’t pretty reading, and our so-called ‘national champion’ was being scorned by the public and the Beehive.

“With the chief executive as well as the former chairman gone, Monaghan, rather than jump into the leadership void and address these inconvenient truths head-on, pitched a tired old complaint that’s worked for Fonterra’s spin machine before, firing up righteous indignation among farmers when it’s needed a distraction tactic.

“It’s also been a handy one for implying if only Fonterra didn’t have this pesky bit of the legislation holding it back it’d perform better.But challenged by the Herald to produce evidence of the hardship created by its statutory milk obligations, New Zealand’s biggest company cried commercial confidentiality”.

Continue reading “Great Scott – could this be the source of fresh thinking from Fonterra?”

Govt decision on replacing Air Force’s Hercules fleet is in the offing

Foreign  Minister  Winston Peters   gave a  clear signal  during  his recent visit to  Canberra that  the  government  will soon be making a decision  to  buy replacements   for  the RNZAF’s  50-year-old  Hercules.

In a  speech to the  National Press Club,  he  said:

The New Zealand Strategic Defence Policy Statement informs the military equipment choices we make over the next few months as we update our Defence Capability Plan.Already, we have made one major acquisition decision.

“We will replace our six P3 Orions, with four state-of-the-art P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. New Zealand also has a range of defence platforms approaching the end of their life, not least the airlift capability embodied in our 1960s-era C-130 Hercules”.

Continue reading “Govt decision on replacing Air Force’s Hercules fleet is in the offing”

Business confidence might not rise – but the number of advisory groups has been lifted

How does a PM restore business confidence?

Jacinda Ardern gave us her answer today:  she has set up an advisory council.

This may well be the result of her taking advice from some other advisory council, board or commitee – or the idea might have dawned on her without any advice.

Whatever, Ardern announced the new council while addressing the issue of flagging business confidence in a speech to a business audience

She mused on what business confidence survey results are actually telling the government and referred to “a business confidence paradox” which she proceeded to describe: Continue reading “Business confidence might not rise – but the number of advisory groups has been lifted”