Pressure may be mounting for a broad inquiry into the banking industry following recent incidents involving the biggest trading bank in NZ.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said this week banks are “bullies” (according to a Radio NZ report). It’s a sentiment shared by many New Zealanders.
This sentiment has been rekindled by the departure of ANZ’s CEO David Hisco who, it had been found, passed off charges for chauffeur-driven cars and the cost of storing his wine collection as business rather than personal expenses.
ANZ suffered a couple of regulatory blows last month with the Reserve Bank forcing it to hold more capital against housing and farm lending from June 30 and to use the standardised model for calculating its operational risk capital (ORC) rather than its own internal model. That’s because it had been using a modified internal model for calculating ORC since December 2014 without first getting RBNZ approval. Continue reading “Fallout from the Hisco affair is bound to spread to RBNZ moves to regulate bank capital”
The arrival of the self-propelled, 34,500-tonne offshore drilling rig COSL Prospector in Taranaki heralds an important stage in the exploitation of NZ’s oil and gas resources.
The first task for the rig is to drill three side-track wells for Malaysian-based Tamarind at the Tui offshore field, in the expectation it can extend the life of the field beyond next year and lead to the extraction of 6-8m barrels of oil.
Then the rig is contracted by OMV, operator of the offshore Pohokura and Maui fields, to drill an exploratory well in the Great South Basin.
OMV, which also operates the offshore Maui and Pohokura gas fields, expects to begin drilling towards the end of the year – potentially using the COSL Prospector if consents are secured. OMV’s first well lies in about 1,200 metres of water 130 kilometres south-east of Balclutha. If successful, the programme potentially could involve drilling 10 wells, up to two further exploration wells and up to seven for appraisal. Continue reading “Drilling programme is vital in ensuring NZ does not become dependent on imported oil and gas”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson could not disguise the rapture that had seized him, when he was questioned this week in Parliament on reactions to the budget.
He was excited, apparently, because the government had received an “overwhelming” response from the people of NZ to the wellbeing budget. There had been a vast amount of correspondence.
He cited the Salvation Army as seeing the budget as “a step on the path towards lifting New Zealanders out of poverty” and the Children’s Commissioner likewise believing it “takes seriously the need for a step-change in the way we support the wellbeing of NZ children”.
Good stuff, then, even though it may sound a bit weird to Kiwis who had believed their country’s living standards rank reasonably well against those of other developed nations. Continue reading “Outside of Parliament, the cold water thrown over the Wellbeing Budget should dampen Robertson’s rapture”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor didn’t win too many new friends (and may have lost some) with his decision on the review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act, the 2001 legislation which set up Fonterra supposedly to become a “ national champion”.
We all know how that has turned out.
So what were the reactions to O’Connor’s latest move to improve the legislation which initially had the objective of “promoting the efficiency of NZ dairy markets”?.
Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said the company was disappointed it still has to supply milk to large, export-focused businesses. Continue reading “Fonterra and farm leaders gripe at O’Connor’s DIRA decision – Greenpeace is even more grouchy”
Defence Minister Ron Mark will unveil the latest Defence Capability Plan tomorrow. Our various contacts expect it to be a significant document affirming an on-going positive approach to NZ defence policy involving expenditure of $20bn out to 2030.
The plan is expected to reaffirm the Pacific Reset programme announced by Foreign Minister Winston Peters – and spelled out again in his recent Pacific foray.
There will be big-ticket items: a replacement for the 50-year-old RNZAF Hercules, a new dedicated southern ocean offshore patrol vessel and a downgrading of the inshore patrol fleet, new IED-proofed armoured vehicles for the Army and a shift into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both maritime surveillance and tactical use to complement the vast intelligence-gathering resources of the RNZAF’s new Boeing P-8A Poseidons, due in service from 2023. Continue reading “Defence allies are expected to welcome NZ’s $20bn Defence Capability Plan”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is promising a Cabinet reshuffle later this month.
Not before time, given the piles of deadwood revealed so far in the ministry’s make-up.
Or, more significantly, in the failure to deliver “transformation”, as with KiwiBuild.
With the high poll ratings of the government, largely as a result of her own performance, Ardern in theory should be able to deliver, without any political qualms, rejection slips to those who are a drag on the coalition
Yet she is severely constrained in any changes she contemplates. Continue reading “Cabinet reshuffle is promised but the PM is limited in which cards to play”
As the dust settles after last week’s budget (or should that be on last week’s budget), it has been hard to find any commentators who thought it was “transformational”. Those who might be identified as Left-leaning didn’t break into raptures; some who claim to be independent (Duncan Garner, for example) were critical (“what should have been a triumph became a nightmare”); and on the right a headline over a Matthew Hooton essay (“Well-being just Wellington BS”) was fairly typical.
Of course, there were some like Audrey Young in the NZ Herald who thought it was a “marketing triumph for Ardern and Robertson so far”, although she sensibly applied a caveat that slow growth “could nix feel-good factor of the well-being Budget”.
Across the Tasman, commentary on the NZ budget was highly laudatory, particularly from those pundits who were still red-faced from predicting a Labour shoo-in at the Federal election. Continue reading “Bhutan was into well-being long before NZ – and the bureaucrats could be an obstacle here”