Robertson is singing of robustness as GDP rebounds – but costs are surging and the balance of payments has worsened

Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson   is  still  singing merrily from  the  same  songbook  on  how  well  New Zealand   is  doing  under  his  economic  stewardship,  even  as   the  fires  of  inflation rage out  of  control.

In Parliament yesterday,  he  gamely  stood  on the  burning  deck repeating  his  mantra on  how  well  the  NZ  economy is  doing when he was questioned by  Labour’s Dr Duncan Webb  – or rather, was thrown patsies.

Manufacturing sales  had  jumped  12% in the December  quarter, the  labour  market remained strong, job ads  were near record  highs, reopening the  borders would assist the  tourist  and  hospitality industries…

Robertson’s buoyancy  ebbed,  but  only  slightly,   as  National’s new finance spokesperson,  Nicola Willis, sought  to  puncture  the  balloon.   She  wanted   to  know whether  he  agreed  with ANZ economist Miles Workman that “inflation is now running laps around wage growth”, and “households are going backwards at an alarming rate”. Continue reading “Robertson is singing of robustness as GDP rebounds – but costs are surging and the balance of payments has worsened”

More buzz from the Beehive – yes, there is a crisis, and so fuel taxes will be lopped and cost-of-living relief provided

This news is so hot off the press – or hot off a press secretary’s computer – that the PM and two senior ministers were still talking at a post-Cabinet press conference when we began preparing this item.

The government has acknowledged we have an energy crisis and – by the looks of the response – a cost-of-living crisis.  

And so it has announced it will cut 25 cents a litre off fuel for three months as part of a cost of living package aimed at giving Kiwi families immediate relief “through the current global energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine”.

 The main components: Continue reading “More buzz from the Beehive – yes, there is a crisis, and so fuel taxes will be lopped and cost-of-living relief provided”

Power, poverty and politics – let’s throw some light on the meaning of “levelling”

The headline on the press statement announcing changes to the charging of electricity was instructive.  It brayed:  Government levels electricity playing field for consumers

Levelling implies that some consumers will benefit at the expense of others.

The first sentence of the press statement suggested otherwise:

“Consumers will benefit from changes to the electricity market that will see a level playing field for smaller independent retailers, greater transparency over the big power companies, increased competition in the market and more support for consumers to shop around for better deals, Minister Megan Woods has announced.”

This should have said “some consumers will benefit… ”

The press statement then said big power companies will be required to sell electricity at affordable rates into the wholesale market to level the playing field for smaller and independent retailers.

This camouflaged the reality that some consumers should brace to pay more for their electricity. Continue reading “Power, poverty and politics – let’s throw some light on the meaning of “levelling””