How Ukraine could do Govt a favour by beating the Russians and (all going well) taking the pressure off food prices

Deputy PM Grant Robertson only  last  week was  telling Parliament his economic policy has led to “strong outcomes”, including  inflation below that of many of the countries we compare ourselves against.

This  week  StatisticsNZ  reported food prices had their biggest annual jump in 13 years last month.

Food prices shot  up 8.3% in August compared with the same time a year earlier, Stats NZ says.

It is the largest year-on-year increase since July 2009, when prices were up 8.4%. Year-on-year, fruit  and  vegetable prices  have  increased  15%. Continue reading “How Ukraine could do Govt a favour by beating the Russians and (all going well) taking the pressure off food prices”

Buzz from the Beehive: nine NZ personnel head for Europe while peace-keeping deployment in Solomons is extended

The PM has been focussed on the horrors of the war in Ukraine and on offering Kiwi help while her Foreign Affairs Minister – doubtless with a wary eye on China – has been fixed on helping maintain peace and stability in the Solomon Islands.

Two of their colleagues, meanwhile, were fascinated by the glitz of Hollywood and the pizzaz of the Academy Awards presentation (although this was not without a moment of violence).

On the home front, other members of the Ardern team variously were announcing –

  • The introduction of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill to Parliament.  These agreements are intended to improve wages and conditions for employees, encourage businesses to invest in training, “and level the playing field so that employers who are trying hard to offer fair terms don’t get undercut and disadvantaged”. This means the government aims to reduce a company’s ability to compete.
  • Awards of funding (described as a $3.6 million investment) to 16 national and regional organisations to increase opportunities for young people with disabilities in sport and recreation. Moreover, Sport and Recreation minister Grant Robertson has dipped into “my Ministerial Discretionary Fund” to support Special Olympics with a $44,000 grant.
  • The closure of depleted scallop fisheries in Northland and most of the Coromandel to allow them to recover.

What might have sounded like a bold decision to provide further military support to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian invaders actually entails the dispatch of nine Defence Force staff to other countries in Europe. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: nine NZ personnel head for Europe while peace-keeping deployment in Solomons is extended”

Govt is cheered by job-growth data but only low-paid public servants (and bus drivers, maybe) can expect wage growth

The good news is that employment rose by 15,000 in the March quarter and the unemployment rate fell from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent.

More sobering news came from the Beehive in the form of a Workforce Policy Statement.  The nub of it is that public servants’ pay is being firmly controlled – frozen for the next few years, in the case of higher-paid public servants.

But this was camouflaged by the headline on the press statement (Government sets pay and workforce expectations for the Public Sector) and was buried in the press statement.

Another statement dealing with wages has been issued by the Beehive today.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said he is seeking feedback on options for the next phase of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) review “to better protect bus drivers’ pay conditions” while achieving the Government’s target of fully decarbonising the public transport bus fleet by 2035. Continue reading “Govt is cheered by job-growth data but only low-paid public servants (and bus drivers, maybe) can expect wage growth”

Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis

Housing Minister Megan Woods perhaps hopes to take the political heat off herself and the government on the matter of the shortage of houses, rampant real estate prices and soaring rents.

She acknowledges there is a crisis.   And – in a speech to the Palmerston North Housing Forum 2021 -she said it’s up to all of us to fix it.

The speech was among several items posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order last monitored what Ministers of the Crown are doing and how they are spending our money.

Further north, Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was demonstrating that the housing crisis has been resolved for six families in Pāpāmoa, in the Bay of Plenty.

And his press statement reminds us that, if we are paying taxes, we already are doing our bit.

We are funding a raft of government programmes, several of them tailored to help people based on their ethnicity. Continue reading “Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis”

Robertson signals govt will boldly go where action is needed to tackle the housing crisis

Latest from the Beehive   –

The need for bold action to deal with the country’s housing crisis was acknowledged when Finance Minister Grant Roberson this morning addressed a BNZ Breakfast in Wellington and released the 2021 Budget Policy Statement.

But he spoke only in general terms about the initiatives that will be taken on both the demand and supply side of the housing market.

The speech was posted on the Beehive  website along with news of a new trough being established.

This is yet another “no Pakeha” initiative, a $5.7 million contestable fund “to support Māori with projects that safeguard their mātauranga and taonga on marae, from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.”

We live and learn, eh, because here at Point of Order we did not previously appreciate that the pandemic posed a threat to matauranga and taonga as well as to people.

Among other Beehive announcements:

  • Health Minister Andrew Little congratulated the inaugural Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and its board, as the Commission marks its first day as an independent Crown entity.
  • From today employers can receive a $350 payment if their employees cannot work from home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

Continue reading “Robertson signals govt will boldly go where action is needed to tackle the housing crisis”

Spending power is shrinking while govt rearranges the microeconomic deckchairs

Notice  the  pay  packet  doesn’t  go  quite as far as  it  did, say, six months  months ago?

And if this be the case, is it  just because the  price of petrol  has  surged  skywards?

Back in  March the national price  of petrol was around $2.08 a litre for  91 octane. Now  it’s  about  $2.40 a litre,  probably  more in Auckland  where the regional  fuel  tax  of  11.5c  litre  was applied in  July.

It’s  not surprising  the  cost of petrol  has  moved up  sharply. Statistics  NZ  reported  that in the June 2018 quarter, higher prices for imported crude oil increased the costs paid by the petroleum and coal product manufacturing industry (up 11.3 %). Continue reading “Spending power is shrinking while govt rearranges the microeconomic deckchairs”