Kiwis brace for fallout from Trump’s trade war, but Americans already are paying the price

Jeffrey Frankel, Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at Harvard University, is one of several writers to have examined Donald Trump’s trade war with China in recent days and found American consumers are the major victims of the tariffs that are Trump’s major weapon.

In an article headed The Real Cost of Trump’s Tariffs Frankel writes: 

Whereas winners tend to outnumber losers when trade is liberalized, raising tariffs normally has the opposite result. US President Donald Trump appears to have engineered a spectacular example of this: his trade war with China has hurt almost every segment of the US economy, and created very few winners.

The relevance of Trump’s economic blundering for New Zealand is ominously contained in the OECD warning that a US trade war with China could put an anchor on the global economy (see article here). Continue reading “Kiwis brace for fallout from Trump’s trade war, but Americans already are paying the price”

At Kiwiblog you can find an article on free speech which Stuff and Newshub have not published

Stuff columnist Donna Miles-Mojab laid down a challenge to ACT leader David Seymour in a column headed: Why not rebut Ghahraman’s arguments, rather than label her a menace?

The column, prompted by Seymour’s saying “Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country”, asked:

Why not offer a rebuttal to her arguments instead of accusing her of being “a real menace to freedom in this country”?  

She might now ask of Stuff: when will they publish the 700 or so words which Seymour submitted on the controversy around his remarks?

An email from Seymour says: Continue reading “At Kiwiblog you can find an article on free speech which Stuff and Newshub have not published”

NZ First ministers announce more handouts from the PGF while Mahuta announces money for Maori

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones can’t be in two places at once and so had to share the headlines today, as more handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund were announced.

Jones took care of announcing a dip into the fund to boost economic growth in Otago.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis shared the limelight. He enthused about Clutha Gold being one of the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail “and we’re delighted to be encouraging more people to get on a bike and experience the beauty of Central Otago through this investment,” he said.

Investment?

The press statement says the PGF will provide a “grant” of $6.5m to the project and the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide an additional $1.5 million.

A press statement from the office of the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau,  meanwhile, drew attention to a more modest bucket of PGF goodies for the Wairarapa.

In this case New Zealand First’s Ron Mark had the pleasure of making the announcement in Carterton. He is a former mayor of Carterton.

A “strategic investment into the development of whenua” was another announcement today.

Budget 2019 allocates $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.  

We were alerted to these goings-on with taxpayers’ money by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which keeps tabs on Beehive announcements of government spending, investments, handouts, giveaways – and so on.

The monitor was  triggered by: Continue reading “NZ First ministers announce more handouts from the PGF while Mahuta announces money for Maori”

Robertson changes the debt target and extols the fiscal virtues of flexibility

Finance  Minister Grant Robertson  drew  diverse — and conflicting — responses to his announcement in a pre-budget speech  that he has moved  the Labour-led Coalition’s  debt  target  from 20%  of GDP  to  a  range  of  between 15%  and 25%,  in  the interests  (he  said) of greater   flexibility to  economic conditions.

From  the Left, the CTU  welcomed  the  move  but  said the government should  go  further and  faster in  relaxing  the  Budget  Responsibility Rules  because

“ … it is neither prudent nor responsible to privilege exceptionally low debt levels over major social, human, environmental and economic needs”.

From  the Right,  National’s  Amy  Adams  insisted Robertson had “thrown in the towel” on the rules  and is  loosening the purse strings by tens of billions of dollars. Continue reading “Robertson changes the debt target and extols the fiscal virtues of flexibility”

Climate-change activists (when they go back to school) could study why there is good news for energy companies

As NZ schoolchildren  gear   up  for a   ‘strike’   against  the  approaching  apocalypse  precipitated  by  global  warming,  there is  (slightly)  more comforting  news  (though  not  perhaps to the children) from an outfit   familiar with NZ weather  patterns.

Meridian  Energy  reports  that  it  has  seen  no significant  change to  catchment inflows over the last 100 years.  There has been some  seasonal  shift in inflows , with drier   autumns and wetter  summers.  It  notes snowpack  and glaciers  are getting smaller.

Meridian,  NZ’s  largest  electricity generator,  reports it is  projected  to get wetter in its   catchments, including in  winter, with bigger  individual  rainstorms.  But it  will be drier in  irrigation areas.

And  warmer  everywhere.

But is this bad  news  for  a  company  that sells  electricity? Continue reading “Climate-change activists (when they go back to school) could study why there is good news for energy companies”

Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code

In case you missed it, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Trevor Mallard, reckons Act  leader David Seymour is a bully.

The Speaker spoke on TV One’s Breakfast yesterday after publication of the review which found bullying is widespread in Parliament.

Interviewer John Campbell couldn’t resist dragging Seymour into considerations:  he asked if it had been bullying or robustness, when Seymour described Green MP Golriz Ghahraman as “a real menace to freedom in this country.”  

Mallard replied:

“In my opinion it did step over the line.  Its not a breach of privilege because it didn’t happen in the House. It’s not a criminal offence but I think it showed poor judgement….”

Campbell:  “Do you think it was bullying?”

Mallard:  “Ah, yes…” Continue reading “Seymour should consult some American judges to avoid being denounced as a bully who speaks in inflammatory code”

Why Winston Peters should be paying heed to the outcome of Australia’s climate change election

Winston Peters is too astute a  politician to be oblivious to the outcome  in what Opposition  parties  across  the  Tasman labelled  the  “climate change  election”.   Almost  certainly,  when he spoke   in the debate    of  the  Climate  Change Response  (Zero Carbon)  Amendment  Bill  on  Tuesday  afternoon,  he  was  thinking  of  how  the  Australian Federal  Labor  Party  lost the  “unloseable” election simply because  it  campaigned so hard  on   what  voters  assessed  as  too demanding,  and too costly, measures to  combat  global  warming.

How  else to explain   his  rambling  defence  of   NZ First’s  support  for  the  bill?    It  was,  almost   word  by word, as if   he  could feel  support  for  NZ   First in the rural  regions  evaporating.

He  started by   asking  why the House  was  having the  debate.  His  answer:  because the previous National  government had  signed up to the  Paris  Agreement.

He  went  on to  say  the  bill  fulfills NZ First’s agreement with Labour to establish a Climate Change Commission, “but one that does not resemble the statutory or arbitrary or final powers of the Reserve Bank”\, Continue reading “Why Winston Peters should be paying heed to the outcome of Australia’s climate change election”

The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry

The Ministry of Health website and the Minister of Health are out of synch, when it comes to elective surgery.

On a page last updated on August 10 last year, readers will find a section headed Health targets: Improved access to elective surgery.

This says the Government has directed the ministry to develop a new set of performance measures to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

While work is underway to develop these new measures DHBs will continue to report to the Ministry against the current set of health targets, as well as against a previously established suite of wider measures.

Readers are referred to the Health targets page for more information on the development of new measures.

On the specific matter of improved access to elective surgery, a sub-heading asks:  What is the target?

The answer (drum roll, please) is: 

The volume of elective surgery will be increased by an average of 4000 discharges per year.

Continue reading “The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry”

Open letter to associate professor sharpens the focus on Treaty of Waitangi and its influence on governance

A champion of the growing practice of appointing iwi representatives to sit with elected representatives on local authority decision-making bodies didn’t have a great deal to say, when questions were emailed to her.

Much of the little she did say – published on Point of Order last month – has been challenged by Bruce Moon in an open letter posted on Breaking Views.

The thrust and parry were triggered by governance changes on the Hastings District Council, which last month voted to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees.

The council press statement which announced the decision noted 25 per cent of the local population is Māori and five of the council’s 14 elected members (33 per cent of the total) have identified as being of Maori descent.

The council voted in favour of appointing more Maori to join the elected ones “to be more inclusive and hear the voice of our iwi partners”.  

Associate Professor Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington Te Kawa a Māui Head of School, welcomed this bypassing of the electoral system and the granting of speaking and voting rights to iwi appointees.

Her reasonscan be found in an article on the VUW website headed Academics commend Hastings District Council for inclusive, effective decision-making, .

Continue reading “Open letter to associate professor sharpens the focus on Treaty of Waitangi and its influence on governance”

Brexit: things may happen fast

Britain’s most unlucky Prime Minister since Ted Heath is still on her feet.  Just. Theresa May won a stay of execution by saying she would give a timetable for her departure in early June, after she has brought her Brexit deal back to Parliament for a fourth attempt.  Hardly anyone thinks it has a chance of passing. Some think it might not even get to the starting blocks, if the European elections this week go badly.

The talking, votes and deadlock have gone on for so long that it seems to have become the new normal. But in reality, the ground has been shifting very fast.  Look at the signs.

Continue reading “Brexit: things may happen fast”