Chart o’ the day: the Savings Budget

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, June 6th, 2011 - 19 comments
Categories: debt / deficit - Tags:

Net International Investment Position is the amount New Zealanders owe foreigners and foreigners own of New Zealand assets (eg Contact, Telecom, the banks) minus the reverse. Earthquake insurance made the NIIP better this year. National’s brighter future sees that gain rapidly disappear.

Who owes the money?

Yup. It’s all the mortgages on overpriced houses and farms. The government still has slightly more overseas assets than debt, despite National borrowing $35 billion in two and a half years.

Hey, what do you reckon flogging off the power cos will do for our overseas debt?

19 comments on “Chart o’ the day: the Savings Budget”

  1. Adrian 1

    Is it borrowing for houses and tvs and farms or is the majority overseas companies borrowing off NZ banks to buy businesses etc? The share reg of Fletchers is a case in point, the majority is shares held as quarantee in nominee entities against lending to own the company. How much of “our” debt is actually offshore entities “owning” NZ companies, buildings and farms? Of course, if it is NZ denominated debt it would be really easy to nationalise the lot. Now that would be a great day!

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      The majority is bank lending for mortgages.

      Overseas corporates don’t use NZ banks when they want financing or lines of credit. They use investment banks like Goldman Sachs.

  2. Very clear chart, unequivocal. I’m not feeling so good today, could you mess it up a bit, round off the edges and soften it a bit. It’s making me feel queasy like it is.

    Are Labour and the Greens allowed to use this chart in any informational material they put out? It’s the sort of punchy, no-nonsense stuff that has visual impact to the brain centre, doesn’t have to be filtered through the synapses and suffer individual interpretation like explanatory words.

    • David 2.1

      I agree: we should have billboards with these graphs on them. And a question: so, tell me again, how exactly will Bill and Don turn this around?

  3. Luxated 3

    Makes for a fairly obvious course of action to lower NZs overseas debt, doesn’t it?

    • Herodotus 3.1

      Why does it take so long for people to click as to the damage debt is causing NZ.
      And to Prism the reason I imagine that Lab does not utilise this is that the 99-08 year trend would be as damaging if not more as to the damage that NZ inc has sufferered over the so called good years. The boom that most of us experienced was based on living on cheap easily accessable debt, live beyond your means one day judgement day arrives !!! Pity those that were part of the probelm are well come when we require solutions. And no matter how enticingly clad sexy cheerleaders we have for the left that continue to attack Nat,there are still no solutions to THE problem that Lab was as much a cause as Nat.

      • prism 3.1.1

        Trouble is Herodotus, consumer-led growth seems a legitimate platform for a country’s economic health according to economists, especially bank ones. Who cares where the money comes from as long as they clip the ticket, also the government raking in GST on every payment. .

        • Herodotus

          Economists are just a very specialised form of Historians. They can tell you everything why it happened and the results, but have no idea as to what WILL happen, but their projections have a day-to-day impact on all our lives. Just as an example look at projections over the last 4 years as to the OCR and then what actually occurred. There is minimial correlation !!!!
          How many commentators stated that there was a bubble building within the property market (I had the idea that in 2004 the market had lost any understanding of what value was built on), not just here but internationally. The availability of cheep and seemingly unlimited credit, with poor govt and central (reserve & federal bank) controls.

          • lprent

            Sure, any thinking person was aware of it. Anyone aware of politics was also aware that there was no political mechanism to constrain that growth without changing the Reserve Bank Act which would require a considerable level of cross party support that simply wasn’t there. This would have been required to weather the political shit fight as the supply of credit got cut off.

            There was just enough support to loosen the inflation constraint and to slightly broaden the banks focus outside of just inflation – so that is what was done. Neither has any significiant effect on debt apart from raising the cost of borrowing as the RB tried to constrain inflation through their single instrument of interest rates.

            The government has very limited access into constraining the importation of debt. The responsibility for that lies with the voters that elect their representatives. So does the responsibility for the changes required to prevent it from happening again.

            Typically these types changes happen after the market and/or government policy screws up. Unfortunately I haven’t seen much happening since the GFC – can you? The only thing that has changed is a tighter constraint on the finance companies (legislation started by Labour).

            • Colonial Viper

              A few tools that a Labour (or any) Government could have used to tamp down property price inflation/speculation without tampering with the Reserve Bank Act:

              1) A progressively increasing stamp duty applied to every mortgage issued by a retail bank.
              2) A sharp CGT implemented on any house on-sold (flipped) within 12 months.
              3) Requirement that retail banks demand a minimum of a 15% deposit for any mortgage.
              4) Disallowing retail banks to lend more than 110% of the G.V. of a property.
              5) Reform of LAQC system.
              6) Gentle background persuasion on the Reserve Bank to get heavy with its Core Funding Ratio requirements.

              But everyone was having too good a time riding the gravy train – while it lasted.

              • prism

                CV – Trouble with gravy it can disguise inferior offerings and be so strongly flavoured that it takes a while to taste the bitterness of the hidden mash underneath.

                I like these to slow down the borrowing traffic and result in less damage.
                1) A progressively increasing stamp duty applied to every mortgage issued by a retail bank.
                2) A sharp CGT implemented on any house on-sold (flipped) within 12 months.
                3) Requirement that retail banks demand a minimum of a 15% deposit for any mortgage.

                And under credit legislation, a mandatory deposit and no payment holidays except for a limit of three months if requested because of unforeseen circumstances during the course of the repayment period.

            • Lanthanide

              Sure, there needs to be cross-party support for RBA changes. But that doesn’t mean that the reserve bank itself couldn’t have lead the charge by saying “The economy is seriously screwed up. Here’s what we need to be able to do to fix it”.

              • lprent

                I seem to remember Don Brash doing exactly that several times during the 90’s and early 00’s. I also remember those being essentially ignored by the politicians from all sides because they were unworkable in a political sense, and the exporting businesses in NZ regarded them as being a disaster recipe. About the only people that thought they were of any value were Act and the scavenging corporates that fund them, the latter looking for an easy meal.

                It was a great relief to everyone to get Bollard in. He concentrated on what needed to be done to run a reserve bank – and he does it well. But there is no real part of that job that is an advocacy role. There is a strong cross-party concencous on that.

                This particular role that you are thinking about is actually one for the treasury because it relates to the structure of the economy and the legislation governing it. They have quite strong roles in government in both. However they appear to have been locked in on a particular mindset for decades that has allowed this situation to arise. In fact they are some of it’s biggest advocates.

                So no, it is essentially a issue for the voters and their representatives.

              • lprent

                Yeah I saw that via Cunliffe on facebook. That was one of the more interesting pieces I have seen on the overall economic balances through the GFC.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Economists are just a very specialised form of Historians.

            No, really, they aren’t. If they were they’d have a better economic theory – one based on the facts. As it stands, economists have a pet theory and they twist the historical facts to fit that theory. This is why most of them failed to predict the GFC and the same reason why the economists of the day failed to predict the onset of the Grate Depression.

            How many commentators stated that there was a bubble building within the property market…


            (I had the idea that in 2004 the market had lost any understanding of what value was built on)

            Generally speaking, economists have lost any idea as to what the economy is about even though it’s written in their textbooks (The study of the allocation of limited resources). The “free-market” theory that they use describes how money acts as if that was the only resource available, interest is an immutable aspect of money, that it can be printed without limit or consequence and that value, once created, stays in existence permanently all of which gives rise to the delusion that the economy isn’t a zero sum game. All of this supports the economists call to grow* the economy so that people can have more.

            * Technically the economists actually mean develop and progress but this, of course, gets missed because the meaning of the word used is almost immediately misunderstood (strange that, eh?), the limits of GDP and profit which means that the economy is pushed to extract more of the limited resources (intensive farming and plans for more is a very visible and direct consequence of this incorrect mindset) to cover the needs of profit and interest.

          • Bored

            Not so sure Herodotus, maybe we should break economists down into those rare birds who judge empirical facts after the event (historic analysis), and the econometricians and ideolgues who project forward models based upon assumptions that may or may not be correct.

      • David 3.1.2

        Yes, lots of this happened under Labour’s watch: there was almost no-one telling them or anyone that assett bubbles driven by unlimited credit (and debt) creation by banks were really much of a problem. Now, though, things are different. see this!!

  4. Bored 4

    My take on a cure is very simple: lets just go to the wall, bankruptcy for the banks because they have loaned out cash in an ill advized manner. They must bear responsibility for their appallingly lax credit practices in over baked markets.

    Would there be suffering? Yes, but there will be either way and it is better to be free and starving than chained and starving for ever.

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