Finance cheer-leader is looking after us – keeping Govt pressure on Russia to bring down oil prices is among his assurances

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson is refusing  to relinquish his  role   as  the  country’s  number  one  cheer-leader,  even  as  economists  see  dark  clouds  gathering,  inflation  hits  levels  not  seen  for  30  years, and  consumer  confidence slumps.

As  Finance Minister, he  sees  his  role  as being  the  leader  of  the  band in  singing  the  praises  of  New Zealand’s “hard  workers”, thriving   businesses,  and  general  economic  well-being.  Not  for  him  the  dirges  of  some of  his  predecessors about  falling productivity,  the  need to  tighten our   belts, roll up  our  sleeves,  create  new  jobs and  raise living standards.

Here  he  was  yesterday  answering  another  patsy  from  who  else  but  Dr  Duncan Webb  (was  he  elected  expressly for  this  job?):

Hansard records the exchange: Continue reading “Finance cheer-leader is looking after us – keeping Govt pressure on Russia to bring down oil prices is among his assurances”

Dunedin’s modern-day gold rush – and business resurgence – has been triggered by a swathe of high-tech developments

For  New  Zealanders    whose  lives  have  been dominated   for  18  months  by  Covid-19, Dunedin’s  renaissance   may  not have registered  on  their  radar.  Yet  quietly  the southern  city has  sprouted  some  of  NZ’s  fastest-growing  hi-tech  businesses.

Once  a  city   that was home to some of  the  country’s biggest  companies, Dunedin had  several decades during which many of  its  brightest and   best  migrated  north and   its  life appeared to  revolve,  as  the  rest  of  NZ  saw  it,  about its  university (and the  Highlanders).

Whereas once it had been the  country’s financial capital, home to the  head  offices of  many  of  the  NZ’s leading  companies,  it  ceded  that title  first to  Wellington  and then  to  Auckland.

But  almost mysteriously,  it  has  found  a  new  life and suddenly   the  rest  of  NZ   has woken  to the  new  era  which  is  enveloping the  city.  It   is  somewhat like  the  gold  rush  which  promoted  it  to  be   at  the  front  edge of  NZ’s first  wave   of  prosperity  more  than 150  years ago.

Just  last week  global  investment firm  Kohlberg Kravis Roberts  announced  it  is acquiring a majority stake in Dunedin-based tech company Education Perfect,  in   a  deal that  values  the   enterprise  at  $435m.

A  month  previously  cloud software firm Timely  was  sold  for  a  sum  reported  to have topped  $100m.  Timely  offers cloud software services for appointment management, often used by those in the beauty or fitness industries. Continue reading “Dunedin’s modern-day gold rush – and business resurgence – has been triggered by a swathe of high-tech developments”

Covid-19 gets into most Beehive spin these days, including the Catalist Market, climate change and predator eradication

While small- and medium-sized enterprises (and many others) were grappling with the massive implications of the Climate Change Commission’s report, more agreeable news has emerged from the Beehive.

The government has granted a licence to a new share trading market, Catalist Markets Ltd, which has been described as a stock exchange for smaller companies.  It is expected to provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital.

Catalist​ chief executive Colin Magee told Stuff the NZX was only economic for larger companies, not the high-potential smaller companies Catalist would be trying to attract with an initial value of $6million to $60m.

In the first five years Catalist was aiming to get up to 200 companies, Magee said.

In time, he hoped, a portion of some KiwiSaver funds would be invested in shares in companies on the Catalist market. Continue reading “Covid-19 gets into most Beehive spin these days, including the Catalist Market, climate change and predator eradication”

Half-year reports will enable investors to work out for themselves if surge is about to become bust

Boom or  bubble?  There is a growing divide in the  investment  world between  those   who think the recovery from  the Covid-19 pandemic will add extra impetus to stock markets  and  those who think  bubbles are inflating to  bursting point.

At  the  beginning of the year global stock market indices hit  new  highs,  adding  another chapter, as one commentator  noted, to 12 months of  apparent defiance of  economic   gravity. The  surge  prompted  the London  “Economist”   to  ruminate on what it  called  the  “crazy  upward march in stock prices” and why it might just continue.

In assessing  why  markets  could persist in “melting up”  the Economist pointed to several factors  driving the gains:  an end  to the Covid-19 pandemic  is in sight; rich-world governments are  rediscovering  the joys of  fiscal pump-priming; and real interest rates  are  so  low  as to make  sky-high stocks look cheap. It noted,  too,  that markets had been looking beyond the damage from Covid-19 to the post-pandemic recovery. Continue reading “Half-year reports will enable investors to work out for themselves if surge is about to become bust”

Stronger business investment – by farmers, too – is essential for NZ’s post-Covid recovery

In  its Thursday editorial  the NZ  Herald  speaks an important truth:  “Investment important to  stay  on  track”.  This  won’t  have  startled  its  more literate  readers but  in  its text  it notes  the  strong result  in the latest  Global Dairy Trade auction, which  prompted Westpac  to raise  its  forecast  for  dairy giant Fonterra’s payout  to its farmers to $7.50kg/MS  this season.

“If  this turns  out to be correct,  it will represent the highest  payout in  seven years for  a  sector of  the economy that is arguably still  NZ’s  most  important, even before international  tourism was effectively suspended by Covid-19”.

The  Herald editorial  goes on to make the case that despite the buoyant mood,  the  only  realistic  way for  NZ to remain   in such  solid shape in the  post-Covid era  is  through stronger  business  investment.

This  is  the theme  which  Point  of  Order  set  out  earlier  this  week when it  contended  Fonterra  should go hard  with this  seasons’s payout  to  encourage  investment  by its farmer-shareholders  in expanding  production. Continue reading “Stronger business investment – by farmers, too – is essential for NZ’s post-Covid recovery”

Nats support govt’s establishment of a venture capital fund to fill financing gap for high-tech companies

Critics  have long  lambasted  successive  governments  for their failure to  reverse  NZ’s woefully poor long-term economic performance.

So  Point of  Order  found   something positive  to address this in  legislation – given a third  reading in Parliament last week – that will establish a $300m  Venture  Capital Fund.

It’s the  brainchild  of  Associate  Finance Minister   David Parker   who   in an earlier  life  in  Dunedin  had  something to  do with  the  establishment of  A2  Milk,  now  one of the  top  capitalised  firms on the  NZX.

Parker  reckons   the  fund  will play an important role in building a more productive, inclusive and sustainable economy.  As  he puts   it,  NZ needs fast-growing businesses operating in a healthy, well-capitalised venture capital market. Continue reading “Nats support govt’s establishment of a venture capital fund to fill financing gap for high-tech companies”