Finance Minister Grant Robertson was suitably chuffed by international credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Services’ reaffirming its Aaa rating on the NZ government’s financial position. He banged out a press statement to say this is another sign that the Labour-led coalition’s decision to run surpluses and pay down debt is the right way to go.
Robertson brandishes the Moody’s reaffirmation of NZ’s sovereign credit rating to rebuff critics who insist the government should jettison the budget responsibility rules and borrow more to overcome the country’s structural infrastructure and social deficits.
Moody’s says the government’s fiscal management has created the space needed for investment in areas like infrastructure, affordable housing, education and policies to support families.
“This is exactly what we planned for at Budget 2018 – while continuing to live within our means by running sustainable surpluses. Moody’s says they expect NZ’s growth to be stronger in the next few years than other Aaa-rated countries. They also say our debt reduction track will see government debt fall significantly lower than other Aaa countries. Continue reading “How an Aaa rating can be read as good news for the Ardern govt – or for the Key govt”
When Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa announced the Cabinet decision to have ethnicity data collected for candidates appointed to State sector boards and committees, she said the government every year makes appointments to 429 state sector boards and committees.
These appointments were made in the past week, according to Point of Order’s monitoring of Beehive press statements. Continue reading “Jobs for the boys (and yes, jobs for the girls, too)”
LONDON CORRESPONDENT: In the latest step in the Brexit negotiations, on Thursday EU leaders rejected, with a little mockery, the UK’s laboriously-crafted compromise proposal. If they mean what they say – there is already a little back-pedalling – this has greatly simplified the rest of the process. The EU in time may regret this.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, had staked her reputation on the Chequers plan – a free-trade area for goods and agricultural products under EU rules, designed to avoid imposing a border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a key EU demand). By rejecting this, even as a basis for negotiation, the EU in effect has reverted to its initial offer: stay in an existing EU arrangement (like the European Economic Area) or leave with a free trade agreement but Northern Ireland remains in the EU Customs Union (and imposes a border with the rest of the UK). Continue reading “EU may come to regret its mocking rejection of Britain’s Brexit compromise proposal”
Point of Order is keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money is being spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government.
Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios.
Last week we added up the figures they injected into their press statements over the previous seven days. Our tally was $290.6 million (much of this accounted for in one grand announcement for scientific research from Megan Woods).
Continue reading “Watching the troughs: how did the politicians dish out our money this week?”
The Labour-led Government wants a capital gains tax — why else would it have a Tax Working Group spending months studying how to frame it?
The problem for Finance Minister Grant Robertson is that it could be politically toxic, as David Cunliffe found when he campaigned on it. So he’s now seeking a final recommendation from the TWG which makes taxing capital gains politically acceptable — at least to a majority of voters.
It will take all the political cunning of the old master, Sir Michael Cullen, to come up with the answer Robertson needs. Continue reading “The taxing task of making a capital idea less toxic to voters”
Boom! There goes another minister…
PM Jacinda Ardern wasted little time in firing Meka Whaitiri as Minister of Customs after receiving a report into an “incident” in Gisborne on August 27 involving Whaitiri and one of her staff.
Ardern said she no longer had confidence Meka Whaitiri as a minister.
“That is why I have taken the action I have. I’ve made the decision solely on this incident. I’m confident in the decision I have made.” Continue reading “Mystery still shrouds ‘incident’ that sparked latest ministerial sacking”
It must have felt like salt being rubbed into their financial wounds for Fonterra’s farmer-shareholders, when Synlait Milk this week reported its net profit soared 89% to $74.6m. Fonterra’s mob saw their co-op notch up a loss of $196m, and with prices at GDT auctions trending down, they may also have to accept a trim to the forecast milk price.
Where Fonterra talks of slimming its portfolio, Synlait is still investing in expansion.
In the latest year Synlait has been working on new and expanded plants in Dunsandel, Auckland and Pokeno as well as a research and development centre in Palmerston North. Continue reading “The grass on the far side of the fence will look much greener for Fonterra farmers”
It may be almost with a sense of relief that the PM flies off to New York this weekend and leaves behind her all the internal discords within her government.
Jacinda Ardern is going to the UN to strut her stuff on the world stage, making the case for global co-operation on combating climate change and inequality, supporting the rights of women and children and promoting fair global trading rules.
She will be promoting multi-lateralism and New Zealand’s interests at a wide range of speaking engagements, bilateral meetings, and media appearances. Continue reading “The PM can take a breather by hob-nobbing with UN leaders on a global stage”
A fresh battle over genetic engineering may be looming. The GE-Free NZ lobby group is calling for the government to pull out of the trans-Tasman Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) because, it says, consumers and exporters on both sides of the Tasman are threatened with the introduction of untested, unlabelled genetically modified (GM) food – including animal products.
GE-Free NZ contends Federal agencies who should be protecting consumers have sided with the biotech industry and propose deregulation of a range of risky new gene editing (GE) techniques. Jon Carapiet, national spokesman for GE-Free NZ, describes this as
“ … the end game for food safety that threatens to sabotage NZ’s export reputation, close off our access to premium markets, and undermine public health.” Continue reading “GE-Free lobbyists press for NZ’s withdrawal from food standards agency”
Winston Peters has been flexing his political muscle so vigorously in recent weeks it has drawn attention away from his diplomatic activity.
He made it clear, when he took over the Foreign Affairs portfolio, that he was intent on rebuilding morale in the ministry and extending New Zealand’s diplomatic reach.
He underlines these objectives when he announced several new diplomatic appointments, notably with the posting of Brad Burgess as NZ’s first Ambassador to Ireland. He says Burgess is ideally suited to the role. As resident Ambassador, he will support NZ’s interests both in Ireland and, more broadly, in Europe as the negotiations toward the EU-New Zealand FTA are in progress. Continue reading “Diplomatic appointments attest to Peters’ progress in revitalising MFAT”