LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Does New Zealand’s government understand the opportunity which Brexit presents? Are they and their advisers working tirelessly to realise it?
OK, difficult questions, not least because there are no binding decisions on the shape or timing of Brexit and these are likely to come in a final rush. But the underlying position is so positive that it would be a tremendous shame if New Zealand’s policy was not being shaped to take advantage of it.
Given the scorn critics are pouring on Britain’s post-Brexit trade prospects, the UK really needs an eye-catching trade deal to kick in on leaving. It would be a political coup, more than an economic one. The partner which Britain’s politicians think will deliver this reliably and quickly should get the most attention and the best terms.
Continue reading “Brexit opportunity: just don’t call it another free trade agreement”
Defence Minister Ron Mark has scored another success at Cabinet, winning approval to buy a new hydrographic and dive ship for the Royal New Zealand Navy. An 85-metre Norwegian-built multi-role offshore support vessel, the MV Edda Fonn, will replace HMNZS Resolution and HMNZS Manawanui.
The two vessels were decommissioned from the RNZN in 2012 and 2018 respectively, following several decades of service.
The $103m budget covers purchase, modifications and introduction into service. This has been funded through an existing appropriation. Continue reading “Norwegian-built ship to be bought for RNZN hydrographic and diving duties”
Revenue up 68%, profit up 116% , cash on hand up 280% …
Those annual results are the sort most companies’ bosses dream of. They are certainly are the kind of results Fonterra’s farmer-suppliers are not likely to hear from the co-op’s board in this lifetime.
But for A2 Milk’s shareholders they are real. Reporting to shareholders (who indeed have had a dream run this year), the company this week said revenue reached $922.7m, annual profit $195.7m, and the sales margin was 31%, up from 26%
Other key statistics included strong cash conversion with operating cash flow of $231.1m – up 131%, and basic earnings per share of 27c – up from 12.7c. Continue reading “A2 Milk reports an a1 result while scientists work on the health benefits”
We missed any follow-ups on the parturiency of Alice Snedden, described as a comedian, writer and improviser. But when news of Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy first broke, Snedden announced she was genuinely, inexplicably happy .
I’m not sure if that’s how everyone experiences cluckiness, but for me, there was a direct correlation between how much I all of a sudden wanted a kid and how hot I suddenly was for dads. It’s a truly bizarre phenomenon and I don’t think I’m the only one affected.
Ardern, of course, has returned to work after bringing daughter Neve into the world. Indeed, the baby may well become a prime ministerial accessory akin to Margaret Thatcher’s handbag (although the handbag didn’t require feeding).
Green Party MP and Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter has subsequently cycled to hospital (virtuously minimising the greenhouse impacts from her birthing experience) where her son was born and the New Zealand population got that much bigger. Continue reading “Motherhood goes with apple pie – but what are the implications for the planet?”
Foreign Minister Winston Peters is in Australia for the regular six-monthly consultations with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop – and to deliver a speech to the National Press Club.
Some see this as a critical moment in the Trans-Tasman relationship in the light of the recent spat over Australia’s action in deporting increasing numbers of Kiwis. More important, there is growing concern in both Canberra and Wellington about the role China is playing in the Pacific.
If anyone from the NZ coalition government can get some traction in Canberra, it is probably Winston Peters. He may, however, find the current climate there very edgy after PM Malcolm Turnbull survived a leadership ballot by a close 48 votes to 35. Continue reading “China will be on the agenda in talks between Winston Peters and Julie Bishop”
Jacinda Ardern’s move to freeze the salaries of MPs has been hailed as “astute”. She says it is about “values”:
“We are focussed on raising the income on lower to middle income earners… We do not believe, given that we are at the upper end of the scale, we should be receiving that sort of increase.”
The independent Remuneration Authority had ruled a 3% pay rise to apply this month backdated to July 1, but Ardern insists it is “not appropriate” for MPs to be subject to such an increase.
And the country brays an approving “hear, hear”. Continue reading “The public might approve but political pay freeze won’t shrink inequality”
Dairy farmers should be pleased with the advice liberally and freely tendered to Fonterra in the wake of the co-op’s board deciding to halt its international search for a new CEO and instead, with an interim CEO, Miles Hurrell, “pause and assess the way ahead”.
Fran O’Sullivan, Head of Business at NZME, which publishes the NZ Herald, says appointing an interim chief executive to run New Zealand’s largest company is an admission of failure that should force Fonterra’s board to look hard at its own performance. And she concludes:
“If this company is to succeed, it needs to be governed and led by grown-ups within a grown-up NZ commercial environment”.
Continue reading “Plenty of advice for Fonterra’s bosses – but are our expectations too high?”
Earlier this month Jenny Shipley announced she would step down as chair of Genesis Energy at the annual meeting in October after nine years in the role. Her decision followed a week after Transpower’s chair, Tony Ryall, said he had notified the company’s shareholding ministers he will retire from the board of Transpower effective December 31.
Only people prone to conspiracy theories would see anything other than a coincidence in the timing of these two announcements.
Yet those familiar with political events over the past two decades – or three – may recall both Shipley and Ryall share a bit of history with none other than Winston Peters, who happens to be something more than Deputy PM in the Labour-NZ First government and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also holds the State-owned Enterprises portfolio. Continue reading “The political power game: energy company resignations suggest the trough has been tipped”
It perhaps won’t be examined by students at the Treaty-led Massey University, where staff are cocooned from indelicate thinking about Maori representation by their protective vice-chancellor . But ACT leader David Seymour is crediting his Smaller Government Bill with prompting Winston Peters into action on the Māori seats.
A press statement he issued at the weekend alerted us to Peters telling Sky News he would propose an amendment to a Labour MP’s bill. This would have the effect of putting the future of the seats to a referendum.
An account of what he said has been reported by Television One:
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has reiterated his intent to push for a referendum on the future of the Māori seats in Parliament.
Continue reading “All this politicking about Māori seats – will Massey staff and students be able to discuss it?”
New Zealand First’s Shane Jones today has been rewarded with a positive mention in the Dominion-Post’s weekly “Below the Beltway” column, where a political scribe salutes some politicians in the “up” section and chide others in the “down” section.
Explaining why Jones merited a spot in the “up” section, the column says –
“He’s on track for his target of one billion trees after Cabinet approved an extra $250 million for the scheme…”
At Point of Order we would have taken into account his playing the race card in an ignoble attempt to constrain the Nats from holding the Government to account at Question Time. Continue reading “Plaudits for Shane Jones should be offset by his antics at Question Time”