Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, January 8th, 2013 - 45 comments
David Shearer recently picked up National’s policy of not contributing to the Cullen Fund while the Government’s in deficit but there’s nothing about being in deficit that alters the case for investing the Cullen Fund. As long as the return exceeds the Crown’s cost of capital, it’s worthwhile. So, how much have the canned contributions cost us so far? $1.2b.
Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, December 18th, 2012 - 18 comments
Recent pieces by Bernard Hickey and John Armstrong both highlighted the problem of our aging population and the unsustainability of super – in Hickey’s memorable words we are “consuming our future”. Armstrong tries to balme MMP, but that won’t wash, it’s just the usual short-sighted Nat stupidity…
Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, October 19th, 2012 - 26 comments
Foss has effectively challenged the PM’s stance on ruling out changes to the age of eligibility for NZ Super. A minor rebellion? A faint flickering of independent and rational thought form within the National caucus?
Written By: - Date published: 9:51 pm, August 16th, 2012 - 31 comments
Fresh ideas to grow a stronger manufacturing sector, on top of the major changes Labour has already signalled featured in a speech given today by David Parker to a union audience in Wellington. David Cunliffe was there too, and I particularly liked the discussion afterwards. The key players are receptive to good ideas and it looks like Labour will have a real alternative to offer at the next election.
Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, June 12th, 2012 - 191 comments
On Superannuation Key is in a very strange position indeed, where keeping his word is doing him more harm than breaking it. It’s a disaster for the country.
Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, May 31st, 2012 - 60 comments
Budgets allocate money not just for 1 year, but for the next 4. When National says its putting $511m into education, that’s actually $128m a year over 4 years (less than inflation). So, it stands out like a sore thumb that National has promised to limit teacher loses at 2 per school for only 3 years. After that? Seems like Key doesn’t expect it’ll be his problem.
Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, November 16th, 2011 - 116 comments
Winston Peters is suggesting that in the transcript of the PM’s meeting with Banks, John Key made some derogatory remarks about the older New Zealanders that tend to support New Zealand First, along the lines of “not to worry [about Winston’s support] they’re dying off”. Slagging off older New Zealanders (ie. the ones that always vote) is a sure way to lose an election.
Could Key really be so clueless? Well yes, when you look at the excuses he’s trotting out – probably.
Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, October 30th, 2011 - 15 comments
Dear Mr Key: “We are the generation born between 2002, when you became an MP, and 2011, when you won your second of four terms as Prime Minister. We wonder why you insisted on spending our inheritance to ensure you were voted back in.”… Bernard Hickey presents a chilling vision of the future. The way to avoid it is make sure that Key only gets one term.
Written By: - Date published: 6:37 am, October 28th, 2011 - 99 comments
Well, they said they were going to run this campaign on policy and make the bold moves, and Labour proved that with their savings policy. National is been left floundering. Brand Key is unraveling while Labour starts to dictate the play for the first time since Orewa. But the substance of the savings policy wants a closer look, it has both good and bad aspects.
Written By: - Date published: 9:13 pm, October 27th, 2011 - 76 comments
Labour’s savings policy is taking care of future generations by making KiwiSaver universal and compulsory for all wage and salary earners, by re-starting contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund, and by gradually increasing the age of eligibility for New Zealand Super from 65 to 67 over a 22 year period. Labour is taking the decisions that are right for tomorrow, rather than the easy option today.
Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, September 20th, 2011 - 38 comments
Two news snippets yesterday seemed to me to capture the essence of John Key PM. First, his response to recommendations about super, and second his prognostications on the Christchurch insurance market.
Written By: - Date published: 12:17 pm, August 28th, 2011 - 21 comments
Like many countries worldwide, New Zealand has an aging problem. Digging around the available charts it isn’t hard to see why. But New Zealand has less of a problem than many developed countries because of the demographics of our Maori and Pacifica populations plus the continuing immigration. It is still pretty bad.
Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, August 4th, 2011 - 39 comments
Good to see the government considering a move that would significantly boost KiwiSaver uptake – even if it does highlight their ideological inconsistency!
Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, June 8th, 2011 - 29 comments
Do you remember back in the day when Bill English didn’t want to put any money into the Cullen Fund? Remember how we were smugly told that borrowing to save was foolish? Well, since then the Cullen Fund has made a fortune and, we know learn, the government has been borrowing to build up savings for the Christchurch rebuild.
Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, May 30th, 2011 - 37 comments
A Herald poll asked people their views on raising the retirement age. Surprisingly, support was strong – 52.3% think the issue needs addressing. National whines the country is broke so they have to cut public services and sell assets, but super for 65 year olds alone costs $625 million a year. Will any party have the courage to take on super?
Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, February 19th, 2011 - 24 comments
The limo issue reveals everything wrong with the Key government in microcosm: greedy, elitist, hypocritical, liars. Against the background of the failing economy, it’s one hell of a bad look. But in monetary terms, it pales in to comparison beside their decision to cancel Cullen Fund contributions, which has now cost $334 million.
Written By: - Date published: 12:16 pm, December 8th, 2010 - 54 comments
I’m in favour of lifting the retirement age. Life expectancy continues to rise and is now 80.4 years. A man aged 65 can expect to live on average another 18 years, a woman 20. That’s a hell of a long time to be getting the pension and an enormous cost. Rising the age to 67 would free up $1.5 billion a year to go into education and preventative health.
Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, December 8th, 2010 - 71 comments
Democracy can be very bad at dealing with hard problems. Case in point, the Nats’ appalling handling of the issue of our ageing population. The Nats are stuck, so the country is stuck, rabbit in the headlights, while the size of the problem continues to grow…
Written By: - Date published: 11:24 pm, October 19th, 2010 - 37 comments
This post isn’t about National cutting education at every level, which will damage our country for decades to come. Nor is it about how they’re cutting cost-efficient preventative medicine to fund ‘sexy’ elective surgery. It’s not even about how they’re pouring billions into holiday highways in the era of peak oil. This is about the Cullen Fund.
Written By: - Date published: 9:26 am, October 16th, 2010 - 42 comments
National is developing an agenda for privatisation. It’s crazy. State owned assets are generating some rare bright spots in an otherwise dismal sea of poor economic news. So why would any rational government sell ACC (or other state owned assets)? Why would any rational government be cutting back on the Cullen Fund? Why are the Nats determined to kill the golden geese?
Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, August 16th, 2010 - 17 comments
Odd to see in the Sunday-Star Times that the Government is looking at introducing compulsory superannuation savings. After all, this is the same government that gutted Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund just a year ago. Hmm, have they seen the light? Somehow I doubt it. The Nats see compulsory super savings as a replacement for the universal superannuation we have now.
Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, July 23rd, 2010 - 17 comments
Brash’s call for a “flexible pension” is the thin end of the wedge leading to a rise in the age of eligibility for super. At the moment National are rejecting his call, as Key would be obliged to resign if the age is raised. But the problem remains. National have weakened Labour’s Cullen fund and KiwiSaver, and they seem to have no ideas of their own…
Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, May 10th, 2010 - 23 comments
Michael Littlewood, the Government’s anti-Cullen Fund stalking horse, is back – arguing we should wind up the Cullen Fund. The numbers are clear. The decision to cancel contributions to the Fund has cost New Zealand $48 million so far. If the Fund was canned last June like Littlewood wanted, we would be more than $2.9 billion worse off. Tip: never let this guy help with your home finances.
Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, April 22nd, 2010 - 34 comments
The other week Vernon Small said that canceling the Cullen Fund contributions was “a dumb, short-sighted decision that has cost the fund heaps in the long run“. Hell, don’t worry about the long run just yet, Vernon, it’s been only 8 months. And the losses are accelerating. Last month the Nats cost us a further $18 million – that’s basically a million a work day.
Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, April 17th, 2010 - 10 comments
Vernon Small calculates that if the Cullen Fund had continued getting its monthly contributions, rather than just the one-off $250 million the government gave in July, we would be $30 million better off by now. Predictably, the financially illiterate Key apologists are having a cry about being shown to have stuffed this one up so badly.
Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, April 16th, 2010 - 23 comments
It’s time for the Nats to reverse what Vernon Small (with 20/20 hindsight) has labeled the “dumb, short-sighted decision” to can contributions to the Cullen Fund. We’ve already lost $25 million and Treasury says we’ll lose billions more. If we don’t make this investment now, superannuation will become unsustainable sometime after 2030. Perhaps that’s the Nats’ aim.
Written By: - Date published: 9:59 am, March 3rd, 2010 - 10 comments
The recession has forced tens of thousands of people out of work. There are now 276,000 jobless Kiwis. The lucky ones (only a third of the officially unemployed) can get the unemployment benefit. Now, the Government is letting inflation eat into their meager benefit payments. Benefit payments are meant to be adjusted for inflation. This […]
Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, November 30th, 2009 - 51 comments
Well the productivity task force is reporting back today and some of their ideas have been forward released. As we expected they are a grab-bag of unpalatable, short-sighted and frankly mad measures from the loony right including putting interest back on student loans, flat tax and means testing free childcare. As the official announcement comes […]
Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, November 4th, 2009 - 40 comments
Back in February, former currency speculator John Key and former Treasury adviser Bill English started talking about suspending contributions to the Cullen Fund, which was set up to help fund superannuation. ‘It’s losing so much money’, they wailed. Some people pointed out that the markets were already recovering, that investments could now be bought at […]