What they have been up to in the Beehive (for better or worse) – jobs stats bring cheer from Grant Robertson

The Point of Order Keep on Eye on ‘Em Monitor taps into the proclamations, edicts, announcements, boasts and what-have-you that flow daily from the Beehive.     


The latest batch of ministerial statements from the Beehive includes three items that triggered the Point of Order Trough Monitor (two Provincial Growth Fund announcements and the revelation of a new $25 million research fund in the science domain) and three announcements related to COVID-19.

One of the COVID-19 statements essentially was another brag from Grant Robertson about the splendid job he was doing as Minister of Finance before this pesky pandemic wreaked havoc socially and economically. It was triggered by the latest employment statistics.

Stats NZ reported yesterday that the number of employed people rose by 19,000 over the March quarter, while the number of unemployed was up by only 5,000. The employment rate rose to 67.5%, while the unemployment rate also rose slightly from 4% to 4.2%, remaining near its lowest levels in a decade.

Wages were also rising at an annual rate of 3.6%, with average ordinary time hourly earnings up to $33.14. This was well above inflation at 2.5%.

“The numbers show that this Government’s economic plan has been working, as businesses had the confidence to increase employment and invest in their workforces by raising wages,” Grant Robertson said.

But let’s face the brutal reality of what has happened – that job growth was recorded in the first quarter, ahead of the State of Emergency which was declared on March 25, and:

“Obviously much has changed in the last six weeks in New Zealand.”

Yep.  It sure has.

We may assume a serious revision of Budget 2020, to be announced next week, has been among the changes.

But the indefatigable Robertson is encouragingly optimistic:

“While these numbers reflect the position New Zealand was in before the worst of COVID-19, they show we were in a strong position. The amazing work all New Zealanders have done through Level 4 and Level 3 to stay home and break the chain of transmission now means we’re well-placed to get a head start on our economic recovery.”

We look forward to it.

Here’s what the Beehive has told us –

A memorial to the SS Ventnor and those who were lost when it sank off the Hokianga coast in 1902 has been granted $100,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for its construction at the new Manea Footprints of Kupe centre in Opononi, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.