Jacindamania is again raging in NZ media as the PM, after extracting what she could from rubbing shoulders with Shinzo Abe and the All Blacks in Japan, is high-fiving it with President Donald Trump, the UK’s Boris Johnson, and UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres in New York.
But a fresh outbreak of Jacindamania may not overcome growth-sapping business pessimism about the way the government is steering the economy.
Surveys of business confidence in the government have show consistent pessimism about the economy since Labour took office in 2017.
The most recent ANZ Business Outlook found 52% of businesses surveyed expected economic conditions to deteriorate. And the news that the country’s all-important construction industry is contracting is hardly likely to reverse the trend. Continue reading “Jacindamania rages again but pessimistic businesses need stimulation from something else – like a tax cut”
The Cabinet will meet today without Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She has arrived in New York to join other world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly – and to meet with some of them.
A meeting with Donald Trump will be among the highlights. Trade is likely to be top of the agenda. She will meet with Britain’s Boris Johnson, too.
Back on the home front, Winston Peters will chair today’s Cabinet meeting.
We can only conjecture on how many other meetings will be conducted around the country during the day, but in the US – according to an item on the Freakonomics website – 55 million meetings a day are held.
Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict. Continue reading “The science of meetings: the experts find most of them tyrannise our offices and are woefully unproductive”
Although the governments in Canberra and Wellington declare they are both committed to advancing the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda, building on the success of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) Trade Agreement, the recent meeting of the respective trade ministers in Auckland didn’t produce much more than an array of platitudes, and certainly left business lobbies on both sides of the Tasman yawning.
Continue reading “The Single Economic Market: do the governments in Canberra and Wellington really want to advance the agenda?”
Port of Tauranga has cracked the $100M net profit mark for the first time, underlining how efficient it has become as NZ’s largest port. The NZX-listed Mount Maunganui-based company also reported this week its long-term credit rating had been elevated from ‘BBB+’ to ‘A-‘ by credit rating agency Standard & Poors. The short-term rating was affirmed at ‘A-2’.
PoT’s market capitalisation hit $4.3bn in the wake of its latest result, a huge leap from the $78m at the time of its IPO in 1992. The company has provided a river of gold for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which retains 56% of the shares.
So why have other local bodies, which own ports, been so slow to follow the example of the BOP Council in partially privatising their port businesses and reaping the rewards?
Continue reading “A Tale of Two Ports”
Dairy giant Fonterra has taken a hammering in the media in the wake of its disclosure it expects to report a full-year loss of as much as $675m and won’t pay a dividend as it slashes the value of global assets. It will be the second annual loss in a row.
Investment guru Brian Gaynor in the NZ Herald argued Fonterra’s farmers have drained the co-op almost dry in terms of milk prices and dividends and have left it in an extremely vulnerable position. Earlier another Herald columnist, Matthew Hooton, contended NZ has put all its milk in one pail – in a company with inadequate governance and capital to match its aspirations.
Continue reading “Testing times for NZ’s dairy industry: Can its leaders find the right formula?”
Is Westland Milk one of NZ’s “key strategic assets”?
NZ First is adamant it is and believes the government should be a applying a “national interest test” to the proposed sale of the company to the Chinese dairy giant Yili.
Those who see heavily indebted companies like Westland Milk struggling to make a profit and not even matching Fonterra’s payout to its suppliers might take a cooler view to the proposed sale.
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis said he had received “mixed” feedback from West Coast farmers on the deal, which will require 75% approval. Continue reading “NZ First is not alone in worrying at the implications of a Westland Milk sale to Yili”
The PM, Jacinda Ardern, received what her handlers would have perceived as unexpected criticism from the media after she gave a pre-budget speech to an Auckland business audience. One of those in the audience was said to have described it as an “ideological fairytale”; others apparently were disappointed it had “nothing for business”.
Given she did list as two of the five priorities in the budget as being “creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy; and supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities”, the criticism itself could be regarded as a bit “ideological”.
Surely business doesn’t expect government hand-outs, even if it is labeled a “well-being” budget?
But there seems little doubt that the mood of business is downhearted these days.
Or is it really? Continue reading “Businesses seem gloomy but health-sector companies are in good heart”