Funding furore is enough to bug voters (while marring the PM’s image) – and then the covid-19 virus comes along

Is  it  the   kind of headline  that  will  win  votes at the general  election?  “Rock-star reception in   Fijian  village”    followed  by a   sub-head  “Rapturous   greeting for  Ardern  during visit to launch $3m  sanitation project”.

The  reporter  (veteran Barry  Soper, Newstalk ZB’s  political  editor) poses the  rhetorical  question:  “Is there any wonder that Ardern loves going overseas?”

As   well,   there  has  been  the effusive   welcome  from  Fiji  strongman  Frank  Bainimarama  who,  according  to  another  reporter,  is  expecting, even “demanding”,  Ardern to  pressure  Australia  on  its climate  change  inaction.

Point of  Order  suspects  Ardern  may be  less  forthcoming than  Bainimarama  would  like,  when  she  meets  Australia’s  Scott Morrison.  Almost certainly  climate change  won’t be on the agenda  in the  Morrison-Ardern  talks.

Still, that  won’t  diminish  Ardern’s  popularity  with   those  New Zealanders   who  delight    in her   being  billed   as  one of the world’s  leaders,    by global  media   like  the  US  Time  magazine   which  featured  her  in a cover story   recently. Continue reading “Funding furore is enough to bug voters (while marring the PM’s image) – and then the covid-19 virus comes along”

Pundits peddle opposing views on how PM should deal with Peters – but voters perhaps have other concerns

How voters react to the headlines generated by NZ First’s  latest financial  shenanigans may  (or  may not) determine  the outcome  on  September  19.

The most recent Colmar Brunton poll had NZ First down at  3%, so  some  commentators   are  already  writing  off   the party’s chances of  survival.

But the real question, as some authorities see it, is whether  Labour  will  suffer   collateral  damage  from  the fallout,  if the Serious Fraud Office probe into  the  operations of the  NZ  First  Foundation  ends  up  in court  action.  It could be  uncomfortable  all round for the coalition if  the  SFO’s  investigation  leads to charges which a court  ultimately  finds proven. Continue reading “Pundits peddle opposing views on how PM should deal with Peters – but voters perhaps have other concerns”

The future of broadcasting is in Faafoi’s hands (which might not be as fumble-free as CEOs decided last year)

Back  in  September,  when reporting  its annual assessment  of  what it calls  “Mood  of  the  Boardroom”,  the New Zealand Herald featured  an article on how  CEOs ranked  Cabinet  ministers on  performance.

Lo and behold,  17th-ranked  Kris  Faafoi  emerged   as  the minister  who  most  impressed  “top  chief  executives”.

The   report    quoted   a  “leading  banker”  (who  sensibly  remained anonymous)  as   saying the

“ … unsung performers of this  Cabinet   are  David Parker and  Kris Faafoi.  Both have  reached out to the business  community to  genuinely ask for  our  views and  listened. They also put  government policies  in their  areas  into perspective”.

 Point  of  Order   can only wonder   whether   those   top  CEOs   are still clinging to the  view  they  expressed  last  September  that   Faafoi  is  a  “safe  pair of hands”. Continue reading “The future of broadcasting is in Faafoi’s hands (which might not be as fumble-free as CEOs decided last year)”

The PM’s Waitangi challenge: delivering enough transformation to ensure the Maori Party is not re-energised

Even though the  general election is  seven  months distant, this  may be a    week   which  offers  a  pointer  to  the mood   in a  critical  element in Labour’s support base.

The cameras  will be   focused  on   PM  Jacinda Ardern   and daughter  Neve  at  Waitangi Day celebrations.  But  will  the message her government is  delivering – transformational  change   for Maori – ring true  with  her  audiences?

Two years  ago  she  said at  Waitangi  she wanted to  be held to  account   each  year for the performance of her  government.

A  year  ago  she talked of  how  her government   would reduce  unemployment, strengthen  education,  and eliminate   inequality between  Maori and  Pakeha.

And this  week  there  has been  a  series  of announcements  involving  millions of   dollars  for  projects  in  Northland.  Continue reading “The PM’s Waitangi challenge: delivering enough transformation to ensure the Maori Party is not re-energised”

Payout perplexity – more money for farmers would impede Fonterra’s financial recovery

Synlait  Milk’s  updated forecast  milk price— now  $7.25kg/MS,  up  from $7kg/MS —renews pressure  on   Fonterra  to  hit the  upper limit of  its own  forecast.

For the industry  as a  whole,  the  higher milk payouts  underline  the strong  global demand for  NZ  dairy products.  And  they  provide  some welcome sunshine   into   many of the  county’s  dairy sheds.

When  Fonterra  in  December   flagged   it  was  aiming  for  the midpoint of  its  $7  to $7.60 forecast range, it  said that  a  $7.30 milk price  would be  the  fourth  highest   in its  nearly  two  decades  of  operation.

That  $7.30kg/MS  is  comfortably ahead  of  Dairy  NZ’s  estimate  of break-even  for Fonterra’s suppliers  of  $5.95.

But  now  Synlait is  saying  is it has  raised  its  forecast  payout on the back of  higher than expected commodity prices at the end of 2019.  It believes those will hold in the medium term as supply and demand continue to be evenly matched.  Continue reading “Payout perplexity – more money for farmers would impede Fonterra’s financial recovery”

Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens

Prince  Charles  has called  for a   new  economic  model  in  order  to  save  the planet.  Speaking  at  the World Economic Forum in  Davos,  he pleaded with world leaders and businesses to revolutionise the interaction between nature and global financial markets,saving the planet from “approaching catastrophe”.

In an unprecedented royal intrusion on government policy,  he argues market-based solutions and tax reform are the best options to halt the damaging impacts of climate change.Outlining 10 ways to transform financial markets and reduce global emissions, Prince Charles said nothing short of a revolution was required.

“I’ve come to realise it is not a lack of capital holding us back but rather the way in which we deploy it. Therefore, to move forward we need nothing short of a paradigm shift – one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.”

He called for companies and countries to outline how they will move to net zero emissions – a signal he is not satisfied with the commitments made under the Paris climate accord. The United Kingdom has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050 but Australia and other countries have been reluctant to make similar promises. Continue reading “Climate change challenge for the Nats is to take scientists’ advice on GE and gazump the Greens”

Make-or-break year for Bridges – he must prove he is PM material without shouting down Ardern

Already  it is shaping  as  the  most challenging year  for  National  since it   lost   the Treasury benches  in  2017.  For  Simon Bridges,  it’s  make-or-break   for  his leadership.

Going  head-to-head  with the  Jacinda  phenomenon,  he has  little chance of  monstering  her   in  television  broadcasts,  and even if he did it could backfire  on  National.

Bridges’  task is  more  complex.    He has  to prove himself  as   the  Prime  Minister-in-waiting,  clearly   the underdog  in a contest   where he  cannot be  seen to be   shouting down  his  opponent.

Yet he  must win enough  support  to  overwhelm  Labour  and  its  coalition allies  combined – a   feat   which  far more popular  National leaders  (John Key or Bill English)   could not  achieve.

He  will  need  more than a  cunning plan,  or  the  social  media  wizardry of the  Topham Guerin  team  (who were  credited   with a  key role  first  in Scott Morrison’s  surprise  election success and  then  with  Boris  Johnson’s triumph  in the UK.

So  how   could  National  frame  an  election-winning  strategy? Continue reading “Make-or-break year for Bridges – he must prove he is PM material without shouting down Ardern”