Finance Minister Grant Robertson couldn’t resist playing a fresh variation on his good news signature tune ahead of the predicted dismal figures on April-June GDP figures due out this week.
He says economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under alert level 1 following Auckland’s move out of alert level 3.
He cites analysis in the Treasury’s latest weekly economic update which shows:
Auckland card spending under level 2.5 bounced back to levels similar to spending under alert level 1
Auckland heavy traffic volumes rebounded to be higher than the same time a year ago
Rest-of-NZ card spending recovered to levels seen during alert level 1
Rest-of-NZ heavy and light traffic volumes both rose above 2019 levels.
So he believes the rest of the country should sing-along because the data shows the economic benefits of sticking to the government’s “clear elimination plan and investments in extra contact tracing and health resources. It follows from the strong bounce we saw after the initial moves after levels 4 and 3,”.
In essence he is saying we should shrug off the large drop in activity in the June quarter, due to the impact of level 4 to eliminate Covid-19.
RNZ’s Morning Report yesterday led us to hope we would hear something about the attractions of a flat tax, an idea once promoted by Roger Douglas when he was Minister of Finance in the Lange government.
A flat tax – adopted in some American states and European countries – is among the tax reforms favoured by the Act party as it tries to refresh its image.
We were led to believe the Morning Report team would kick this around with Act leader David Seymour just before 8am yesterday because they mentioned it in their introduction to an interview with him.
Presenter Corin Dann said Act is targeting free speech “and radical tax reform” as it works to lift voter support heading into next year’s election.
The most recent National Party press statement to land in our email intray arrived last Friday, giving Opposition leader Simon Bridges a platform to say plummeting business confidence“should be sending shivers down the spines of Government ministers”.
Almost half of Auckland businesses surveyed by the Auckland Business Chamber believed the economy would deteriorate over the next six months, Bridges observed.
He blamed government policy (what else?):
“This ‘free fall’ in business confidence is a direct result of the poor decisions and uncertainty created by the Ardern-Peters Government which has done nothing to give businesses a boost.”