web analytics

English should follow Bennett’s lead

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 am, April 13th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: benefits, bill english - Tags: , , ,

Well, I’m pleasantly surprised. For once, Paula Bennett has played it straight on the benefit numbers.

Usually, the monthly figures are an exercise in self-congratulation from our Social Development Minister with the over-inflated ego, even though the numbers have been uniformly bad since she took office. This month, the figures indicate the situation has at least stopped getting worse, and (quite rightly) Bennett hasn’t tried to shower herself in platitudes.

Bennett’s press release is titled “Benefit numbers decrease as expected“. And she’s right, the drop was bang on the norm for March.

The number on the dole fell by 4,000 to 60,211 (remember, it was 17,000 in 2008) and overall benefit numbers fell by 11,477 to 324,814. These 6.5% and 3.4% drops are in line with the average over the previous ten years.

The decrease is just the normal seasonal variation but at least things appear to have stopped getting worse. The challenge now is to get dole numbers really falling, and that will require action on jobs.

If only Bill English could have followed Bennett’s new-found modesty. Instead he is gloating over the Government’s Financial Statements released last week. These show the government spent $915 million less than expected in the 8 months to February. English claims it’s all thanks to him saying: “Government’s fiscal focus reflected in accounts“.

Not true. Treasury explains why spending was lower than expected, it’s mostly timing issues:

“Core Crown expenses were $915 million (2.2%) lower than forecast due to the timing of Treaty of Waitangi settlements being later than forecast ($337 million), and deferred funding to Transport agencies ($144 million). The remainder of the variances are individually small across a number of departments.”

Take out the delayed payments for Treaty settlements and NZTA and the difference is just $433 million – 1.1% – pocket change for the government and an entirely normal variance from forecast.

What is interesting, however, is that gross debt is way under forecast – $3.2 billion, or 2% of GDP lower than expected. And the deficit is about half the size that was predicted. Meanwhile, the Cullen Fund continues to beat expectations.

Despite the Government canceling contributions to the Fund, it is worth half a billion more than forecast.

So how about it Bill? Debt is under control and the Cullen Fund is bringing in the cash. Time to resume contributions and start investing in our country’s future?

26 comments on “English should follow Bennett’s lead”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    “Debt is under control and the Cullen Fund is bringing in the cash. Time to resume contributions and start investing in our country’s future?”

    Actually, if the managers of the Cullen Fund are doing their jobs properly, they’ll be reducing their exposure to the market at the moment. Investors generally are becoming very complacent about risk at the moment and sharemarkets generally have been on a run sponsored by state-funded liquidity sugar-high. That liquidity is starting to be withdrawn, so I expect there to be some fairly substantial pull-backs in the reasonably near future.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      I’m sure they are doing their job properly, watching for signs of peaking as the cue to move into bonds and cash. It’s why they’ve beaten the market so consistantly.

      • Rob 1.1.1

        This is hillarious, its ok now to back these money men becasue they are managing the Cullen Fund and bag every other fund manager as not contributing uesful value to society. I love the comment “It’s why they’ve beaten the market so consistantly”, really wise words from Bright Red.

        • Zorr 1.1.1.1

          It isn’t about bagging every money man/fund manager as not contributing. It is when all these people are doing is shifting money “between accounts” so to speak to generate wealth on paper that has no basis for existing in reality that there begins to be problems.

          The managers of the Cullen Fund are acting responsibly, hence why they get our praise. Simple stuff really. No wonder you don’t get it.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    “Deferred funding to transport agencies ??”

    Sounds like he cooking the books, so that there will be a big ‘rise’ in transport funding in the budget, when there isnt.
    I wondered why the completion of the Manuaku interchange is at a standstill. It could be ready for opening by now , but seems to be six months away.

  3. Peter Johns 3

    No Cullen fund injection required while we are borrowing $250M every week.
    Makes no sense at all.
    Labour would have spent like drunken sailors in 2009 if they were in power. Then we would have a soverign default later down the line.
    National deserve credit here I reckon, just like the apple debate where you reckon Labour deserve all the credit. Unemployment was always going to rise in 2009-10. Australia stimulated the economy and they are paying for it now with higher inflation.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      “Australia stimulated the economy and they are paying for it now with higher inflation.”

      Australian inflation is 2.1% http://www.rba.gov.au/inflation/measures-cpi.html ours is 2.0%

      Their unemployment rate is 5.3% and dropping while ours is 7.3% and climbing.

      Their growth rate is higher than ours and their wages are growing while ours are going backwards.

      Yup, Aussie really stuffed up bad, eh?

    • Bright Red 3.2

      oh, and you poor sucker for spin. We’ve never been borrowing ‘$250 million a week’. That’s just English’s exucse for cutting spending.

      Over the last half a year, net debt has risen at only $135 million a week. And from the end of December to end of feb (latest figures) net debt actually went down $236 million a week.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.3

      “No Cullen fund injection required while we are borrowing $250M every week.”

      Latest figures would seem to suggest that this talking point is inoperative, please login for the necessary patch ASAP.

  4. tc 4

    Comparing us with Oz will hurt your brain and make you envious……..it’s simply not a rational/equitable comparison but that never stops sideshow john claiming we can catch them…..dream on

  5. ianmac 5

    I wondered if Paula’s muted response was part of the plan leading up to the May budget. “We must cut spending further because we are still in trouble with unemployment. So lets cut more from the Public Service.”

  6. tsmithfield 6

    You think we have problems with our deficits.

    Here is a really frightening chart from the US:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/198348-another-month-another-huge-deficit

    Anyone wonder why the US is stuffed?

    • Bright Red 6.1

      Two trillion dollar wars?

      • Rob 6.1.1

        $750 billion worth of hand outs peed up against the wall, labelled as stimulous packages.

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          So that money has an effect but the two trillion dollars BR mentioned doesn’t?

          • Rob 6.1.1.1.1

            Of course it does, what do you think.

            • Bright Red 6.1.1.1.1.1

              that stimulus money clearly wasn’t wasted. it averted a depression.

              and, btw, the US govt is getting a lot of that money back from the banks now.

          • tsmithfield 6.1.1.1.2

            Part of the grand plan of the US printing money is that the yanks devalue the US dollar and thus inflate away their overseas debt. The US has been banging on at China for being a currency manipulator for pegging the yuan to the dollar. However, China as the biggest creditor of the US, stands to lose big time if the US is able to carry out its devaluation plan. So why wouldn’t they want to keep the yuan pegged to the dollar? If you have a look at a chart for the dollar over the recent years it becomes apparent who the real currency manipulator is:

            http://www.sharelynx.com/chartstemp/FCA/SAMFiatAbuse.php

  7. Luke.xensen 7

    “deferred funding to transport agencies” so thats what the Nats mean by bringing forward infrastructure. I think this may refer to public transport projects being delayed and canned, esp in Auckland.

  8. Kleefer 8

    Bright Red, you appear to be conflating inflation with price increases (one is a symptom of the other) but you may be right, Australia is likely to experience lower inflation than New Zealand in the near future thanks to putting its interest rate up earlier.

    In fact, about the only thing the Aussies have done right recently is putting the rate up. Everything else the Aussies have done for the past couple of years (first-home buyers bribes, borrowing billions to pay people to go to the mall in the delusional belief that consumer spending drives economic growth etc) has only pushed that country closer to the edge of the cliff on top of debt mountain. They should have listened to Steve Keen!

    The Aussie unemployment numbers are misleading as many of those jobs are in sectors propped up by cheap money and government stimulus (construction for instance) so those “jobs” are actually a drain on the Australian economy and need to be liquidated so that labour and capital can be diverted to more profitable activities. It’s a painful process as many New Zealanders are finding out.

    New Zealand has taken a (slightly) more honest route and I’m certain that when the proverbial hits the fan the highly regulated labour market New Zealand’s union leaders would love us to emulate will come back to bite Australia.

    My point is that with any government-sponsored statistics you have to look beyond the headline to find out what the numbers really mean. This is just as vital for GDP and unemployment numbers as it is for when Bill English tries to claim credit for public spending cuts his government hasn’t had the courage to make. The only thing governments are better at than destroying economies is fiddling with the numbers to escape blame.

  9. iliveinauck 9

    I was talking to someone that grew up in the same area as Paula Bennett last night. She had wealthy parents who looked after her children while she did her winz funded training. Also, I know of someone that works for her that builds houses & rents them to Housing Corp..the tenants pay $80 per week & the govt tops it up to $425. Thoso kind of people I call Beneficiary beneficiaries.

    • ianmac 9.1

      iliveinauck: It would make an interesting story if you could authenticate it. Sort of double dipping, or a counter to the election story “poor little DPB girl makes good.”

    • felix 9.2

      Fascinating. I look forward to hearing more about this little property business.

  10. Im not very good at the financial side of politics financial matters leave me cold.
    To be truthfull i’m just glad my ,wife manages our financial affairs. Having said that I must ask.To whome is this money that every country in the world owes, owed to .?. Is some body collecting it all in and stacking it in piles?

    • Bright Red 10.1

      is you’re talking about governments then they owe it to each other and private lenders (pension funds, investment banks etc). If you’re talking about the debt of countries as a whole, it balances out – the net debt of countries with net debt equals the net assets of those with net assets

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 mins ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Important step for new financial conduct regime
    Clear requirements for ensuring customers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial service providers are included in new financial conduct legislation that passed its first reading today. “The recent reviews, by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand, into the conduct of banks and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Applications invited for $7 million Regional Culture and Heritage Fund
    Applications are now open for the fifth round of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced today.   “I am delighted to open this year’s fund which has some $7 million available to support performing arts venues, galleries, museums and whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Law Commission appointment celebrates Māori and women
    The Minister of Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu on her appointment as the next President of the Law Commission.  “Amokura Kawharu will be a standout in her new role, leading in an innovative and forward looking approach to the law reform process. She will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu Appointed Law Commission President
    Auckland University legal academic Amokura Kawharu has been appointed as the next President of the Law Commission, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.    Associate Professor Kawharu will take up her new appointment on 11 May 2020.   “I would like to congratulate Associate Professor Kawharu on her appointment,” Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister of Employment launches Youth Ready Employer Programme
    A programme for employers to help them engage effectively with younger employees was launched today by Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson. The Youth Ready Employer Programme contains a range of on-line templates that employers can easily access to help with employing and retaining young people in their businesses. The programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2020 date announced
    Budget 2020 will be delivered on Thursday 14 May, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “This year’s Budget will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also preparing the economy for the future. “Those challenges and opportunities cannot be resolved in one budget, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s tribute to former Prime Minister Mike Moore
    I move, That this House place on record its appreciation and thanks for the devoted and distinguished service to New Zealand by the late Rt Hon Michael Kenneth Moore, member of the Order of New Zealand, a member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, an Honorary Member of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Northland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has today classified the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in Government support. “This is recognition that the extreme and prolonged nature of this dry spell is taking its toll on our farmers and growers and additional support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police disrupt methamphetamine trade
    The Minister of Police says an operation to smash a trans national drug smuggling ring today will make a significant impact on the methamphetamine trade fuelling harm in our communities. Police have announced 10 arrests and the seizure of up to five million dollars’ worth of illicit drugs after an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Crown accounts in good shape to counter global challenges
    The Government’s books are in a strong position to withstand global headwinds, with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the six months to December. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Racing Safety Development Fund open for applications
    Race courses can improve safety with this year’s second round of funding from the Racing Safety Development Fund. Minister for Racing Winston Peters has announced the second funding round of 2019/20 is open with $347,875 available for distribution. “The racing industry is integral to the economic and social fabric of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government to fund Aids research
    The Government is committing $300,000 to fund research to update behavioural information to make sure HIV and STI prevention services are targeted appropriately in New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson made the announcement at today’s Big Gay Out in Auckland. “There is much talk about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work to begin on a possible new public media entity
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has announced work will begin on a business case to assess the viability of forming a new public media entity.   “The Government must ensure New Zealanders have a strong independent public media service for decades to come, which means ensuring public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government support for communities impacted by flooding
      Minister of Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare announced today that the Government will contribute $100,000 to the Southland regional Mayoral Relief Fund, to support communities impacted by the recent flooding in Southland.  Mr Henare says this week’s flooding has caused significant disruption to communities in the lower South Island.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New grants for seismic strengthening of heritage buildings
    Heritage buildings throughout New Zealand will benefit from the $1.1 million in Heritage EQUIP funding grants announced today. “These grants for seismic strengthening projects help private building owners get the advice they need to start building work or to get the work completed,” Grant Robertson says. “Timaru’s Grosvenor Hotel has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next level results for game development industry
    A new survey has found New Zealand’s game development sector has grown beyond expectations and is on track to becoming a billion dollar industry in 2025, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says. “New Zealand’s interactive media sector grew by 42 per cent in last financial year to $203.4 million, according ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More than 70 marae online through PGF
    Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today. In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) allocated $21 million to connect rural towns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports West Coast connectivity
    The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika today.  The PGF projects announced are:  $800,000 to Development West Coast for a Grey District Regional Digital Hub ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Agriculture Minister declares adverse event in Southland
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has declared an adverse event for the Southland and Otago regions, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers. “Widespread flooding has resulted in severe disruption, with many people evacuated from their homes and many farms being affected by flood waters. It’s putting pressure on our farmers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM announces public funeral service for Mike Moore
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a funeral service for former Labour Prime Minister the Rt Hon Mike Moore, ONZ, AO. A public service will be held on Friday 14 February at 2pm at Dilworth School senior campus, 2 Erin Street, Epsom, Auckland. “The service will be a celebration of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Low unemployment shows economy in good shape
    Today’s news of low unemployment, rising wages and record numbers of Maori in work shows the economy is in good shape and that the Government is delivering better outcomes across New Zealand. “The Coalition Government has overseen a strong economy. Our investments in infrastructure, our focus on lifting wages of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha
    Opening of Waitangi Museum Te Rau Aroha 9.30am, 5 February 2020 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning, Let us start with important acknowledgements. First, this special day, in remembrance of the 28th Maori Battalion, is also to honour all those men and women who have risked their lives in the service ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for crayfish industry after disruptions
    The government has agreed to help crayfish exporters to minimise the impact of trade disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. Between 150 and 180 tonnes of live rock lobster are currently held in New Zealand in pots and tanks, at sea and on land, after export orders were ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rural Communities Minister visits Southland flooding response
    Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor is travelling to Southland today. The region is in a state of local emergency following widespread flooding. “I’m heading down there to support response and recovery efforts and meet with the locals”, he said. “A lot of people have been evacuated from their homes, have suffered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori armed forces honoured at new Waitangi museum
    Te Rau Aroha, a new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, acknowledges the duty and sacrifice of Māori who served in New Zealand’s armed forces, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The museum, whose construction was funded by the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), was officially opened today at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Recognising more of New Zealand’s Top Scholars
    More top-performing students can now be recognised with one of New Zealand’s most prestigious secondary school awards, in changes announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today. “Changes to New Zealand Scholarship awards will allow more young people to be acknowledged for their significant academic achievements,” Chris Hipkins said. “Up to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s 2020 Waitangi speech
    E nga iwi e pae nei ki runga o Waitangi Karanga mai, mihi mai. Nga aitua o te tau kua hipa, koutou e Ta Hek, e Pita, e Piri, e Mike, Koutou Katoa, Harae atu ra. Tenei te Whakarongo atu nei ki nga kupu korero. Kei aku rangatira e hui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Diplomatic Corps
    ***Check against delivery*** Tēnā koutou katoa. Acknowledgements to the many Heads of Mission gathered this evening. It is good to see so many nations represented here to share in this 180th commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Welcome, especially to those for whom this is your first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago