RBNZ and the trading banks: it’s all a matter of striking the right balance

Finance  Minister   Grant  Robertson   has sought  to  calm  the increasingly  fierce  battle   over the  Reserve Bank’s  proposal to  force trading banks  to hold twice  as  much  capital  on their balance  sheets as they do  under  the  current  regime.

Stuff  reports   Robertson on Wednesday issued a message to the sector that the issue required “mature debate”  about the settings for  banks.

“I want to remind all parties that we are still in a consultation process. I am calling on all interested participants to listen to and work with each other constructively as this work is carried out.”

He  didn’t identify the party   he thinks is  falling short of  “maturity”   in the process,   or   failing to  work  constructively  on it.

But  he   did    hint  where    the  process  might end  up  when  he  emphasised:

The aim is to strike a balance which ensures a safe and efficient banking system that NZers need and deserve”.    Continue reading “RBNZ and the trading banks: it’s all a matter of striking the right balance”

Oh goody – our GDP growth rate is solid (but are we envied by countries which enjoy a better standard of living?)

Here  is a  puzzle:   why  are   ordinary   New  Zealanders   not as excited  about the  state  of  their country’s  economy  as  Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson whenever he   talks  about it  in Parliament?.

Surveys have  shown    both  business   and consumer  confidence  sliding  in recent  months.

This  week  Robertson has been citing  reports  from   international  institutions to  contend  everything is  going  swimmingly   for the  NZ  economy despite some  risks, the greatest of  which is a sharp  economic   contraction in China.

But,  hey,  not to  worry, because  “I have huge confidence in the businesses and the workers of NZ that are supported by a government that’s investing in skills, in research and development, in infrastructure”.

Continue reading “Oh goody – our GDP growth rate is solid (but are we envied by countries which enjoy a better standard of living?)”

In the days before wellbeing our focus was on GDP – and hey, Robertson reckons we should be cheered by the latest data

Finance  Minister  Grant Robertson was   pretty  chipper about the state of the  NZ  economy  when  he took questions  in  Parliament  on the latest  GDP  data.  He reckons the  economy continues to  grow “solidly”, in the  face of  global  headwinds.

Noting the  economy had expanded 2.7%  in the March year, with   growth of  0.6% in the last quarter, he  was  particularly  pleased   with the construction sector’s  3.7% growth.

In  summary – plenty to be cheerful  about”.

He  was   especially  chuffed the latest GDP data shows NZ continues to outpace many of its international peers.  It grew faster than Australia, Canada, the UK, the euro area, and the OECD average. Continue reading “In the days before wellbeing our focus was on GDP – and hey, Robertson reckons we should be cheered by the latest data”

Yes, there’s lots of money in the PGF – but keep an eye on all the other troughs

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”

Outside of Parliament, the cold water thrown over the Wellbeing Budget should dampen Robertson’s rapture

Finance Minister  Grant  Robertson   could not disguise the rapture that had seized him, when   he was questioned this week in  Parliament  on reactions  to   the budget.

He  was  excited,  apparently,   because  the government  had received  an  “overwhelming”  response from the people of  NZ to the  wellbeing budget.  There had  been a   vast  amount of  correspondence.

He cited   the  Salvation Army as  seeing the budget as   “a step on the path towards lifting New Zealanders out of poverty”  and the Children’s Commissioner  likewise  believing  it “takes seriously the need for a step-change in the way we support the wellbeing of NZ children”.

Good stuff, then, even though it  may  sound a bit  weird  to Kiwis   who  had believed their  country’s living standards  rank  reasonably   well  against  those of  other  developed  nations.  Continue reading “Outside of Parliament, the cold water thrown over the Wellbeing Budget should dampen Robertson’s rapture”

Bhutan was into well-being long before NZ – and the bureaucrats could be an obstacle here

As  the  dust settles   after   last week’s  budget   (or should that be  on last week’s  budget),  it  has been  hard to  find   any  commentators  who  thought it   was  “transformational”.  Those  who  might be  identified as  Left-leaning didn’t  break into raptures;   some who claim to be  independent (Duncan  Garner,  for  example) were  critical  (“what should have been a  triumph  became a nightmare”);  and on the right  a   headline over a  Matthew Hooton  essay (“Well-being  just  Wellington BS”)   was  fairly  typical.              

Of  course, there  were  some  like  Audrey   Young   in the  NZ  Herald who  thought it  was  a  “marketing triumph  for  Ardern and  Robertson so far”,  although   she  sensibly applied  a  caveat   that  slow growth   “could  nix feel-good  factor of the  well-being  Budget”.

Across  the  Tasman,    commentary  on  the  NZ  budget   was  highly  laudatory,  particularly  from those pundits   who  were still red-faced from predicting  a Labour shoo-in   at  the  Federal  election. Continue reading “Bhutan was into well-being long before NZ – and the bureaucrats could be an obstacle here”

Robertson talks about the Well-being Budget – and hints we should brace for the long haul

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 “ 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”