DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million

“Going for a song” was how the former Hokitika government building known as Seddon House was advertised in 2014.

According to an NBR report at that time, Barfoot & Thompson was listing Seddon House at $295,000, down from $1.2 million in 2008.  It had a rateable value of $340,000 and had last changed hands in 2002 for $90,000.

Its value today?  We can only guess, but Hokitika has been described as “the most affordable” suburb in the Westland district and has a median house price of $274,700.

We checked out those property figures after learning the government has earmarked Seddon House in Hokitika (“once a hub for government on the West Coast”) for government use once again.

A hub for government sounds impressive, although the press statement referred only to DOC staff  working from there.

A brick, timber and corrugated iron construction, Seddon House is a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List Rārangi Kōrero.  It will undergo seismic strengthening and be refitted for use as offices for the Department of Conservation (DOC), which will lease the building.

So how much does it cost to find new office space for around 85 DOC staff?

Brace for a nasty surprise, dear taxpayer. Continue reading “DOC staff in Hokitika could have been housed for a song a few years ago – now it will cost us $22 million”

The PM announces a strategic partnership with Vietnam while Sepuloni connects the needy with social services

Latest from the Beehive

Having severed her relations with a wayward member of her ministerial team, the PM turned to foreign affairs and trade and set about strengthening the country’s relations with Vietnam.

She met virtually with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the importance of the New Zealand-Vietnam relationship and to formally announce its elevation to a Strategic Partnership.

Trade between New Zealand and Vietnam reached more than $2 billion in the year to March 2020, making it our 15th largest two-way trading partner. Vietnam is projected to be one of the fastest growing economies in Asia in the next few years.

Details of the Strategic Partnership are contained in the Joint Statement released by the Prime Ministers following today’s meeting, available here:

Strategic Partnership status indicates the strong growth in the New Zealand and Vietnam relationship and our converging interests. It will enable for improved access and cooperation on matters of mutual interest and benefit.

Improved relationships – or “connections”, in this case – is the aim of an initiative announced by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, but there is a jobs element to the announcement, too. Continue reading “The PM announces a strategic partnership with Vietnam while Sepuloni connects the needy with social services”

Ministers press big business to pay bills promptly to help quicken the cash flows of smaller enterprises

One statement from the Beehive yesterday differed from the others, which highlighted government spending and investment initiatives – money for a Maori craft and tourism venture in Rotorua, an “investment” in New Zealand history and relief for drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers.

The exemption was intended to encourage a stronger flow of cash into small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from their big-business customers and clients.

The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 “significant enterprises” and banking industry representatives to ask them to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector.

“We want 95 per cent of invoices paid within 10 working days. Once the impact of COVID19 arrived on our shores we directed all government agencies to bring forward the prompt payment target with immediate effect,” said Grant Robertson.

“Improving payment terms is a priority. Paying suppliers faster is an important way to unlock cash-flow and productivity benefits, which supports ongoing business sustainability and growth.

Good-oh – but why not 100 per cent? Continue reading “Ministers press big business to pay bills promptly to help quicken the cash flows of smaller enterprises”