The once-proud NZ Labour Party was in a sorry shape this week. Its president Nigel Haworth handed in his resignation, the PM Jacinda Ardern was looking rather bedraggled, and several of her senior staff stood accused of a cover-up, in the wake of the scandal involving allegations of sexual assault against a Labour staffer said to be working in the Beehive.
Stuff reported earlier this week that a 19-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted on two occasions by a staffer with “strong influence” in the party. It took a year after the second alleged assault before the party eventually launched an investigation into multiple complaints. But in spite of the young woman meeting with Labour Party officials including Haworth to seek help, the party contended the allegations did not include sexual violence.
Continue reading “Labour Party in disarray – and the flow-on to the PM”
“I didn’t come down in the last shower,” Opposition leader Simon Bridges huffed on RNZ’s Morning Report when quizzed about his objection to the establishment of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office.
We are left to conjecture on what he did come down in and when it might bring him to earth. A thunder cloud of paranoid suspicion, perhaps.
On this issue his instincts have seriously failed him. When the Taxpayers Union is welcoming a Green Party initiative now that it has been modified, Bridges and the Nats should take a bit more time before declaring their position.
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
Continue reading “Bridges is offside with supporters in bridling against an independent budget office”
So what, on reflection, are we to make of the Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr last week slashing the official cash rate by half a percentage point to a record low of 1%?
After all, just the day before Orr made his historic move, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was delivering assurances to anyone who might be listening of the NZ economy’s “solid fundamentals” as he celebrated the unemployment rate falling to 3.9%.
Why then would investment guru Brian Gaynor label the OCR cut as a “bizarre decision”?
In his widely read column in the Saturday edition of the NZ Herald, Gaynor wrote:
“Populist politicians and central bank governors are obsessed with taking measures to avoid any form of economic slowdown. This approach, which has been strongly influenced by Trump’s pressure on the US Federal Reserve Board, is unorthodox, because expansions and slowdowns are an integral part of the business cycle. The weird 0.5% rate cut…means our Reserve Bank has more limited options if NZ is confronted by a serious recession”. Continue reading “Lopping the OCR might be a stroke of genius – or an Orr-ful monetary policy blunder”
Michael Reddell, on his Croaking Cassandra blog, has scolded the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee about its prowess – or lack of it – in the communications department.
His concerns were raised by the committee’s decision – announced yesterday along with the latest Monetary Policy Statement – to lop the Official Cash Rate by 50 basis points to 1 per cent.
As Westpac commentators noted:
“This was a stunning decision – in the history of the OCR, the only times the OCR has been cut by 50bps or more have been after the 9/11 terrorist attack, during the GFC, and after the Christchurch earthquake. We are very surprised that the RBNZ decided to cut 50bps in today’s environment.”
Reddell was surprised, too, and is urging the RBNZ’s board to ask hard questions about just what went on before the announcement. Continue reading “RBNZ board is pressed to put many hard questions about surprise slashing of the OCR”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson insists the NZ economy has “solid fundamentals”, as Point of Order noted last week. He concedes there is uncertainty because of slowing global growth, Brexit, and trade wars but argues NZ’s economy is doing better than what he calls its international peers.
He reckons there are “many, many signs that things are getting better under this government”.
So what to make of the report this week from ANZ Bank economists titled “That Sinking Feeling”?
Bracing for this week’s release of Q2 labour market statistics and the RBNZ’s August Monetary Policy Statement, they look at some of the key developments the RBNZ will have to consider, “and it’s not looking pretty”. Continue reading “ANZ economic comment draws clouds over Robertson’s sunny outlook – but Stats NZ brings good job market news”
PM Jacinda Ardern has been flying her government’s flag in the Tokelaus, as well as featuring on the cover of Vogue, achievements few of her predecessors have managed.
Such events have almost certainly strengthened the conviction of those who believe she has focussed the eyes of the world as never before on this country.
In any case, when Opposition Leader Simon Bridges attacked Ardern for being a “part-time prime minister” it was almost as if he had committed some kind of sacrilege. The NZ Herald’s cartoonist reacted with what he no doubt thought was a clever drawing showing Bridges scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Ardern’s mate Grant Robertson was hot under the collar, too. He raged that Bridges had been “disrespectful to the office of prime minister” and was engaging in “dirty politics”. Not only that, but there were “sexist overtones” in what Bridges was saying. Continue reading “Sure, the PM made the Vogue cover – but polls suggest some of the lustre has been lost”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson is convinced NZ’s economy is doing better than what he calls its international peers, despite the “uncertain economic backdrop and slowing global growth”. He reckons there are “many, many signs that things are getting better under this government”.
He was particularly gung-ho in Parliament answering a patsy question from Kiritapu Allan.
First he cited last week’s BNZ-Business NZ Performance of Services Index showing the NZ services sector continuing to grow and expand in June. He said it is encouraging to see that NZ’s expansionary services index of 52.7 for June was higher than in Australia, the UK, China, Japan, and the US—demonstrating the continued strong performance of the NZ economy compared with our peers. Continue reading “Economic curiosities include record low unemployment while DOLE numbers and hardship grants increase”