Buzz from the Beehive
It’s the no-frills budget (says Labour) or the blowout budget (says National).
But let’s bypass much of the slew of information released today and turn to the Treasury’s Budget and Economic Fiscal Update, which says the Government’s fiscal outlook is expected to improve over the forecast period (which covers the next four years).
The key numbers:
- Core Crown revenue in 2023/23 is projected to be $134.5bn in the next fiscal year (up from $126.7bn in 2022/23);
- Core Crown tax revenue will be $123.2bn (up from $115.3bn);
- Core Crown expenses will be $137.0bn (up from $128.2bn);
- Total Crown OBEGAL will be -$7.6bn (worsening from -$7.0bn);
- Total Crown operating balance will be -$1.4 bn (worsening from +$4.2bn);
- Core Crown residual cash will be -$26.9bn (worsening from -$22.4bn);
- Net debt will be $91.2bn (worsening from $71.0bn);
- Net worth will be $177.9bn (down from $179bn).
Continue reading “Budget 2023 – a slew of press statements and an improvement in the Treasury’s fiscal outlook” →
Buzz from the Beehive
hard-working big-spending ministers have added to the list of announcements which make demands on the public purse, since Point of Order last checked the government’s official website.
But a statement released in the names of Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Michael Wood is astonishingly bereft of hard data related to the costs of the initiative that enthuses them.
They announced a boost for rail travel in the Wairarapa and Lower North island in the form of a fleet of 18 “brand-new trains”.
But the only hint that developments like this cost money is in the very last paragraph:
“Since 2017, the Government has invested $8.6 billion to build a resilient and reliable network after decades of neglect and decline. This investment has gone into the bread and butter work of replacing tracks, installing new culverts and bridges, and upgrading turnouts, all of which are needed for a safe and effective network,” Michael Wood said
The other new statement, from Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, is more upfront about the cost of a new integrated health facility which she has officially opened for the Buller community. Continue reading “Finance Minister is coy about costs of trains for lower North Island while Health Minister may hope to bamboozle Buller people” →
Chris Hipkins has surprised even some of his closest friends and backers with the bounce he has secured for Labour in public polls since he became Prime Minister. He has been put to the test since he took over from Jacinda Ardern in the top job, and has shown a quality that was well hidden in his previous portfolios.
It’s not just the long hours he is putting into the job, but projecting the human touch to those hard hit by Cyclone Gabrielle, or the other disasters of recent weeks as well. Then this week he was steering the government in decisions which, as he said, will enable pensioners to start seeing a bit extra in their bank accounts from next month.
For couples over 65, their superannuation payments will now be higher by an extra $102.84 per fortnight between them, while single people living alone will receive an extra $66.86 each payment.
Hipkins said the package of “bread and butter support” would help people who were “really feeling the bite from the rise in the cost of living”. Continue reading “Hipkins shows his quality as PM in securing a bounce for Labour, but now comes the hard part” →
New Zealanders – particularly those in the North Island – may have been so preoccupied with other events they may not have noticed it is election year.
Still, this week it may well have come to their attention when Winston Peters fired a volley at the government.
Few politicians can hit the target so unerringly as Peters does. Almost certainly, a refreshed Peters, despite his age, will be a force to be reckoned with, once again, at the helm of NZ First.
National’s Christopher Luxon could take some lessons from the old master in how to deliver some powerful blows on the government. Continue reading “Winston Peters shows he is in good form as he belts Grant Robertson all over the paddock in his latest innings “ →
No, we haven’t fully analysed Budget 2022, but we did listen to Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s speech.
He took great pride in announcing his fifth Budget invests $5.9 billion a year in net new operating spending, while introducing multi-year funding packages that also draw from Budget 2023 and Budget 2024 operating allowances.
The government is investing $2.9 billion from the Climate Emergency Response Fund to meet its Emissions Reduction Plan and lay the foundations for the long-term transition to a low-emissions, high-wage economy.
And it is supporting New Zealanders “to meet the rising cost of living caused by global inflation pressures” through a targeted package of support focusing on low- and middle-income New Zealanders, including a short-term Cost of Living Payment for around 2.1 million people.
Interesting language. He talks of problems caused by “global” inflation pressures.
Perhaps we missed the money he is providing to help us meet the rising cost of living caused by domestic inflation pressures. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – it’s all about the Budget and billions being disbursed to buck us up in the wellbeing department” →
If it’s true that Labour’s great run is now ending, Opposition parties should be vibrating with new-found confidence.
This may be the case with ACT, but so far there has been little sign of it in National. In fact judging by the volume of speculation about National’s leadership among the political cognoscenti in the weekend media, the inner circle of the party is stressed out over its leadership.
A party on top of its game certainly would be scoring some big hits. On the other hand it may be argued that the preoccupation with Covid has stifled interest in other political issues.
Still, as economic uncertainty deepens, and managing the Covid Delta variant exposes the government’s vulnerability, the country is looking again for something different, if only to measure accurately how the government is performing.
Beyond the leadership issue, the problem for National is that it does not speak to all elements of its base. It appears singularly out of tune with the regions and particularly with farmers, who are facing vocal lobby groups campaigning against what they call “dirty dairying”— never mind it is dairy export earnings that are sustaining the country’s balance of payments. Continue reading “Labour is giving opposition politicians plenty of issues to exploit as it is stalled by ‘an end-of-year fug’” →
Latest from the Beehive
While Shane Jones, Minister of Munificence, was splashing more millions into his Northland home patch, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was preparing to release Budget documents which (he tells us) highlight the Government’s strong focus on keeping the balance between responding to COVID-19 and careful economic management.
The documents account for Budget 2020 and COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund decisions and COVID Fund decisions agreed at Cabinet on 6 July.
Most of the numbers in the Beehive press statement are in millions of dollars but a smaller one without any monetary value invited our curiosity.
“We have invested significant resources into supporting New Zealand businesses and workers, and cushioning the blow of this 1-in-100 year economic shock.”
Where (we wonder) does one in 100 come from?
Fair to say, one in 100 is far below the level of electoral support showing for Jones, according to the only polling we are aware of in Northland. Continue reading “Treasury throws light on the Govt’s balancing trick while Jones tries to tip the scales in his favour” →
Latest from the Beehive – We had just finished digesting an outpouring of announcements from the Beehive over the previous 24 hours or so when the Point of Order Trough Monitor shrieked an alert. A new trough had been established.
While we were inspecting the contents of this new trough, another warning was sounded and yes, another trough had been announced.
One of the new troughs is providing $28 million over four years to enable the installation of renewable technology, such as solar panels and batteries, on public and Māori housing.
This financial year $4 million of funding will be available, ramping up to $10 million in the 2023/2024 financial year.
But a question is raised about eligibility: does “public and Maori housing” mean that privately owned non-Maori housing won’t get a look-in?
If you miss out on one trough, of course, you can always try lining up at another. Continue reading “One new trough to hasten housing development and another to equip houses (but only some) with renewable energy” →
Latest from the Beehive –
The public debt is among the victims of the Covid-19 epidemic. According to the 2020 Budget Economic and Fiscal Update, in the current year and the next two fiscal years, operating deficits (operating balance before gains and losses) average around $28 billion while net core Crown debt is expected to increase on average by around $35 billion a year. Net core Crown debt is expected to reach 53.6% of GDP by the end of the forecast period, in June 2024.
The government – accordingly – is being very careful about its spending. Isn’t it?
Sure it is, and at first blush neither taxpayers nor lenders will have to pay for an initiative announced today by the PM and Tracey Martin, Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children.
At Point of Order, we were more than a tad surprised by this announcement, although – to be fair – it did involve employment opportunities.
One part-time job opportunity, to be more specific. A new job, New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people, is being established.
We must confess we had not been among those who had been pressing for this vital post to be established. Come to think of it, we weren’t aware anyone else had been pressing for it. Continue reading “The Govt’s books won’t be affected (at least, not directly) by a new ambassadorial job to promote reading” →
Take a note of this email address, dear reader. The right approach to Events <PGFEvents@mbie.govt.nz> could result in your being invited to an occasion where Winston Peters, Shane Jones, Fletcher Tabuteau or one of their esteemed and oh-so-generous colleagues announces another handout from the Provincial Growth Fund.
Who knew it? The PGF management bunch have their own Events Centre for organising this sort of thing.
Our attention- and that of the Point of Order Trough Monitor – was drawn to it by a reader who (presumably) had been invited to join the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters
“ … at an event where Investment announcements will be made for the [Bay of Plenty} region”.
The recipient was asked to please arrive at the Opotiki Golf Club at 11am for a prompt 11.20am start.
Peters did not disappoint. He came to town with a $26 million investment in Ōpōtiki to upgrade important public amenities and fund further progress on new aquaculture opportunities. Continue reading “The PGF trough managers (we learn) have their own events centre – and some lucky people were invited to watch Winston in action” →