RITA was counting on a 2019/20 net profit of $165.8 million – but did they expect being nobbled by a virus?

According to a Stuff report:  New Zealand might be in lockdown but at a time when problem gamblers are at their most vulnerable, the TAB and online gambling sites are open for business.

Might be in lockdown?

We wonder where sports writer Mat Kermand was when he wrote that sentence as a prelude to a somewhat huffy article about taking bets not being listed as an essential service.

Kermand noted that under level four of the Covid-19 scale – which says “only businesses absolutely essential to ensure the necessities of life”  can operate – the TAB can trade online because it can run its business with staff working remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

He went on:

Lotto is also available online only and overseas gambling and gaming websites are not restricted by New Zealand law despite it not being illegal for Kiwis to use them.

PGF Services entered the narrative with spokesperson Andree Froude calling on all online gambling services to step up their host responsibility, because (apparently) the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis off work, unable to leave home, with excess spare time on their hands, will be to blow whatever money they can struggle to find in these straitened times. Continue reading “RITA was counting on a 2019/20 net profit of $165.8 million – but did they expect being nobbled by a virus?”

Cops help iwi with roadblocks as a cultural response to Covid-19 – and perhaps to portend a policing “partnership”

The proposition that our Police are paving the way for a partnership in which former MP Hone Harawira and other iwi leaders police communities within the borders they define went unchallenged when put to press officers working for the Prime Minister and the Police.

The picture painted in the preceding paragraph was drawn from Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha’s statement on road blocks Harawira set up in Northland to check tourists’ health.  He declared:

” … we want to model what it looks like when iwi, police, councils and other agencies work in partnership”. 

But nether the Police nor the Prime Minister’s Office directly answered questions put to them by Point of Order about the legality of Harawira’s blocking public roads while policing the a border which he presumably established. Continue reading “Cops help iwi with roadblocks as a cultural response to Covid-19 – and perhaps to portend a policing “partnership””

After billions are committed to dealing with the ravages of Covid-19, money can still be found for PGF projects

The Point of Order Trough Monitor has been severely tested in recent days, alerting us to spending decisions in the billions rather than the millions.

Much of this mix of spending, lending and granting has been a policy response to Covid-19 but we were not surprised to find New Zealand First Ministers have been unimpeded from spreading Provincial Growth Fund goodies around the regions.

Nor were we surprised to find Andrew Little, who has been given the extraordinary Pike River Recovery portfolio, is pumping more money down an abandoned mine to keep an election promise to families of the Pike Mine disaster.

The $12 billion programme to cushion the impact of Covid-19 was described as the most significant peace-time economic plan in modern New Zealand history.

Here’s what has triggered the monitor – Continue reading “After billions are committed to dealing with the ravages of Covid-19, money can still be found for PGF projects”

It’s not too long ago that mention of QE was derided as “nuttynomics” and “wacky”

Quantitative easing has slipped comfortably into the vocabularies of commentators discussing the policy response to the Covid-19 crisis.

A post at Investopedia describes quantitative easing (QE) as a form of unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases longer-term government securities or other types of securities from the open market to increase the money supply and encourage lending and investment.

Buying these securities adds new money to the economy and serves to lower interest rates by bidding up fixed-income securities. At the same time, it greatly expands the central bank’s balance sheet.

When short-term interest rates are at or approaching zero, normal open market operations, which target interest rates, are no longer effective, so instead a central bank can target specified amounts of assets to purchase. Quantitative easing increases the money supply by purchasing assets with newly created bank reserves in order to provide banks with more liquidity. Continue reading “It’s not too long ago that mention of QE was derided as “nuttynomics” and “wacky””

If you are bothered by all that sharemarket bleeding, investing in health-related companies might lift your stocks

The   carnage,  as the  mainstream   media  delight in  calling  it,  has deepened  on   global  sharemarkets this week.  And while the bleeding on the NZ  market has  not been  quite  as sustained  as  on   Wall Street, it has left   investors  reaching for the  tourniquets.

Point of  Order  has  no pretensions  to  being able to  divine  if and when the  bleeding can be staunched and while there will be hopes the  government’s fiscal package will  do the trick, the  bigger   question mark  is over  the trend  in  those global  bourses.

But while the  doomsters portray the  carnage as  evidence of the  economic shock  the  Covid-19  pandemic  is  delivering,  there  are some slivers  of  light in the enveloping  gloom.

Some of them  are  coming from   companies   which are  manufacturing  products to be used  in  the  battle  against  Covid-19. Continue reading “If you are bothered by all that sharemarket bleeding, investing in health-related companies might lift your stocks”

Back from a $20,000 course, mayor displays his leadership skills in explaining plans for hefty rates rises

Wasn’t leadership among the attributes claimed by the Mayor of Wellington while campaigning for the job before the local body elections last year?

We thought so – until we heard he had been despatched (or despatched himself) to a leadership course near Queenstown.

The news was reported by Stuff:

Wellington ratepayers are forking out $20,000 for the mayor’s leadership programme at a luxury resort.

Multiple sources have confirmed to Stuff that Wellington Mayor Andy Foster was away on a six-day leadership retreat at Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown, north of Queenstown.

We can only wonder what they taught him, because the next thing we learn from the Wellington city council is that rates could be raised by 9.2%.

This is being contemplated at a time when coronavirus is taking a heavy toll on local households and businesses. Continue reading “Back from a $20,000 course, mayor displays his leadership skills in explaining plans for hefty rates rises”