Nash spends modestly on fishing industry awards – and (all going well) they might net a few positive headlines

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash didn’t mention what winners will receive, when he proudly called for entries for a new public award “to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector”.

Nor did he mention the cost to taxpayers of this initiative.

Point of Order’s checks with the website where more details have been posted suggest the cost won’t chew too heavily into the budget surplus.

Nor will award winners be greatly enriched.  But they can look forward to a “free” feed – which means taxpayers will pick up the tab – at Parliament.

This exercise in political grandstanding accordingly will incur only a modest cost, although we suspect no cost-benefit analysis has been undertaken to justify it. Continue reading “Nash spends modestly on fishing industry awards – and (all going well) they might net a few positive headlines”

Ministers enthuse at their economic prowess but polls suggest the public recognises a failure to tackle poverty

Government  ministers   are  exulting  over  how the  NZ  economy is performing—  and  their  own work  in  making it stronger.

David  Clark,  standing in  for  Grant  Robertson in Parliament on Tuesday, rejoiced at  how  solid the  “underlying  fundamentals of the  NZ economy are”.  He said the government  accounts for the June  year   showed how the coalition  had achieved  “strong financial results,  while also making significant  investments in well-being and infrastructure”.

Robertson,  singing from  the  same   songbook, celebrated NZ’s economic strength and resilience being recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook  shows   NZ’s  growth   forecasts   have held  steady  at  2.5%  in 2019, rising  to 2.7%   next year, against  the 1.7%  for the  rest of  the so-called  “Advanced Economies”. Continue reading “Ministers enthuse at their economic prowess but polls suggest the public recognises a failure to tackle poverty”

Voters (focussed on the govt’s performance at home) are not dazzled by Jacinda’s stardom on the global stage

The  latest  political  poll from  Newshub Reid  Research  appeared  to  show  a  huge  swing  from  its  previous  sampling in  June,  with a   9.2% fall in  support  for Labour  (from  50.8%  to  41.6%)   and a 6.5% surge in support for National  (from 37.4%  to  43.9%).

Back in  June, Labour  was enjoying a  post-Budget  surge. Subsequently in  July, Colmar Brunton polling rated  National  at  45%   and Labour  43%.

So this  swing in Reid Research’s work could be seen as a  correction—-except   the overall trend  is as  worrying for  the coalition as  the slump  in the  Prime Minister’s rating  from 49%  to  38%.

This  is  also reflected  in UMR’s polling for Labour which has shown her  popularity  declining for  five  consecutive  months. Continue reading “Voters (focussed on the govt’s performance at home) are not dazzled by Jacinda’s stardom on the global stage”

The govt’s $7.5bn surplus – how Sepuloni could have made it bigger, only for the DHBs to stick their hands out for more

Two press statements from the National Party side of Parliament help to illuminate the magnitude of a $7.5 billion budget surplus.

The surplus was announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson in a statement headed Government accounts show strong economy.

The Crown accounts for the year to June 2019 show a $7.5 billion surplus. This is due to the stronger economy, and also includes a number of one-off factors including revaluation of the country’s rail assets.

Net debt has fallen further to sit at 19.2% of GDP, down from 19.9% a year ago and below the 20% target in the Budget Responsibility Rules.

Robertson went on to say the accounts show he and his government have the balance right. Continue reading “The govt’s $7.5bn surplus – how Sepuloni could have made it bigger, only for the DHBs to stick their hands out for more”

The surplus looks plump, sure enough, but NZ’s living standards are a better measure of our wellbeing

Finance  Minister   Grant Robertson has  made a  rod for his  own back in  reporting a budget surplus of  $7.5bn  for the  June  year.  Immediately  there  were calls  for   tax  cuts  from  “hard-working  NZers” at  the  same time as powerful lobby groups  demanded  higher spending  on   health, education, infrastructure,  you name it.

The surplus  was the  biggest in  a  decade, more than double  the forecast.

The problem for Robertson  is that the  economy is slowing,  and the  government could  find  the tax take  this year under-shooting  this year’s  budget forecast.

So  the Finance Minister  is  left with the  old refrain:

The books are in good  shape”.

Which  won’t  win  any new votes. Continue reading “The surplus looks plump, sure enough, but NZ’s living standards are a better measure of our wellbeing”

Boris rides the storm

The inevitable hail of editorial outrage has descended on the head of PM Boris Johnson after yesterday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Queen’s prorogation of Britain’s Parliament.  He in turn has hastened back from the UN to resume the battle in a reconvened legislature.

The general line is gross-abuse-of-convention-thank-God-for-the-Supreme-Court.  For example, the Financial Times concluded in thunderous tones“The 11 judges unanimously concluded that Mr Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament was an unlawful attempt to silence MPs, at the very moment the UK, through Brexit, faces the biggest shake-up in its constitutional status for decades. “ Continue reading “Boris rides the storm”

PM’s triumph on the world stage takes the spotlight off shabby stuff at home (at least, for now)

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the meeting between the Prime Minister and the US President in New York this morning is a diplomatic coup.

“Securing a 25-minute long meeting with the US President during the UN Leaders Week is an achievement in its own right given the pressure on the President’s scheduleAll the more remarkable was the level of attendance on the American side. The President was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the newly appointed National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.What is clear is a very positive discussion was held on a range of international issues and areas of shared interest, including on advancing our bilateral trade interests.

“In the world of diplomacy, this level of engagement is gold. The President’s meeting also followed a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Prime Minister’s representation of NZ on climate change, and the Christchurch Call.The so called mega-Monday has been a very good day for delivery of NZ interests on the world stage”. Continue reading “PM’s triumph on the world stage takes the spotlight off shabby stuff at home (at least, for now)”