The Point of Order Trough Monitor has drawn attention to a fresh batch of handouts from the public purse, reminding us that the Provincial Growth Fund isn’t the only trough in the capital.
Fair to say, in the case of Education Minister Chris Hipkin, the press statement which triggered the trough monitor related to the government’s spending on tertiary fees in the past year.
The statement was deftly crafted to camouflage the cost to taxpayers. Rather, it brayed that first-year students have been spared the repayment burden that would have resulted from hundreds of millions of dollars in loan borrowing.
On the other hand, Winston Peters unabashedly has announced fresh handouts from a fund in his Racing ministerial bailiwick and encouraged racing clubs to apply for a place at the next serving from this trough. Continue reading “Yes, there’s lots of money in the PGF – but keep an eye on all the other troughs”
Rolls Royce has had to absorb a public caning — as well as a heavy blow to its reputation as a world leader in its field — over troubles with its Trent engines powering the Air NZ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. It took a further hit when Air NZ chose the GEnx for its new 787-10 fleet.
Point of Order understand a solution is near for the problem with the Trent. Air NZ’s flight operations and engineers are working to manage power levels used by pilots at various stages of the flight.
The problems affect the high pressure turbine sections of the engine and what engineers call “sulphidation” – corrosion of turbine blades caused by various combinations of airborne pollutants.
Rolls Royce is not alone. Air NZ has also experienced problems with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engines on its new A321NEO (new engine option). One has had to have an engine change after only 20 flights while another has had oil contamination issues.
All engines have received gearbox modifications including one on arrival after its delivery flight. Pratt & Whitney are working hard to resolve the issues, we are told, mindful of the public furore suffered by rival Rolls.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson exuded confidence in Parliament on Tuesday that his budget this week will tackle “NZ’s long-term challenges”.
He emphasised “long-term” in answering a patsy question from a Labour back-bencher. He mentioned “a big difference in this year’s Budget“, which is is that “we have integrated evidence and a range of indicators of well-being at every stage of the budget process”.
Hence the Well-being Budget will enable the government “to track New Zealanders’ success on all of the things that they value”. Continue reading “Robertson talks about the Well-being Budget – and hints we should brace for the long haul”
As NZ schoolchildren gear up for a ‘strike’ against the approaching apocalypse precipitated by global warming, there is (slightly) more comforting news (though not perhaps to the children) from an outfit familiar with NZ weather patterns.
Meridian Energy reports that it has seen no significant change to catchment inflows over the last 100 years. There has been some seasonal shift in inflows , with drier autumns and wetter summers. It notes snowpack and glaciers are getting smaller.
Meridian, NZ’s largest electricity generator, reports it is projected to get wetter in its catchments, including in winter, with bigger individual rainstorms. But it will be drier in irrigation areas.
And warmer everywhere.
But is this bad news for a company that sells electricity? Continue reading “Climate-change activists (when they go back to school) could study why there is good news for energy companies”
No sooner had the dust settled after the government decided against introducing a capital gains tax than a visiting big-wig from the United Nations was advising our government to introduce another form of tax.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the head of the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, has challenged the Government to slap a tax on pollution.
But he was not urging the total tax take be increased. Instead …
“Shift taxes from salaries, to carbon. We must tax pollution, not people,” he said.
This means reducing income tax as a tax on carbon is applied, Guterres explained.
“We need to make sure that when we adopt measures that increase costs, that we reduce costs in other aspects of the economy.”
Continue reading “A carbon tax – an issue on which top economists and James Shaw find common ground”
We haven’t spotted any expressions of outrage or dismay, in response to news that Don Brash is throwing his money and weight behind technology that could help to solve New Zealand’s methane headache.
According to Carbon News, the former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor is the sole outside investor in Zest Biotech, a family company commercialising technology developed by New Zealand horticultural scientist Nathan Balasingham
Balasingham last year was nominated for the prestigious World Technology Award in the Individual Biotechnology category for his products Biozest and Agrizest.
Anyone searching for a race angle to this story about Brash should note that Balasingham was born in Malaysia through Sri Lankan ancestry and graduated from Massey University with a Masters Degree in Horticultural Science with 1st class honours.
Armed with a PhD in economics as well as his RBNZ governorship experience, Brash stuck his head above the parapet again last week to express concerns after the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate to 1.5%. Continue reading “Methane and interest rates – the things Brash can publicly discuss without upsetting the thought police”
The Point of Order Trough Monitor, alas, is limited to keeping an eye on spending and investment announcements from the Beehive. All sorts of squandering of our taxes pass beneath the radar.
The same goes for the wasteful use of our rates by local authorities.
But the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is able to do what our monitor can’t do and regularly reports on the findings of its surveillance.
Headlines on the union’s press statements succinctly expose two examples in recent days.
- Waikato Regional Council spends $9,000 on electronic video Christmas cards
- Whangarei ratepayers charged $91,000 for art junket.
Continue reading “How ratepayers have been tapped for art junketing and electronic Christmas cards”