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National has blown it

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, April 23rd, 2009 - 37 comments
Categories: economy, national/act government - Tags:

National cannot be blamed for the current financial crisis and recession of course. But they can be blamed for their short sighted and inadequate response. Stuck in old ways of thinking (cut spending, cut jobs, sell stuff) they have done nothing to stimulate the economy. All their talk of extra spending turned out to be just rebranding existing spending (see here and here), or moving money from one project (public transport) to another (more highways). The talk-fest jobs summit resulted in nothing – a token cycleway (now axed) and a nine day fortnight plan (going nowhere). Where was the leadership? Where was the vision?

Well, the chickens are coming home to roost. Borrowing and hoping not an option, says English:

Finance Minister Bill English is setting the scene for a grim Budget next month with the likely cancellation of personal tax cuts in 2010 and 2011. … Government spending growth cannot continue at this rate, particularly with revenue falling so significantly in the current environment.

Govt looks to bite bullet and cut debt:

Next month’s Budget looks set to be a grim affair focused on reducing the country’s ballooning debt and eschewing any major prime-the-pump spending initiatives. … “The preliminary forecast has shown such a strong increase in debt that we don’t think there is room for any significant fiscal stimulus at the moment,” he [English] said.

National should have acted sooner and stronger. Instead of going on holiday after the election, or rushing through their own narrow agenda under anti-democratic urgency, they should have been addressing this crisis while there was still time. They had it wrong then, and they still (according to the IMF) have it wrong now:

It [the IMF] again spelt out the case for a strong fiscal policy response, with the Government acting as the “spender of last resort” to break the negative feedback between weaknesses in the financial sector and the real economy.

National had their chance, and they’ve blown it for all of us..

37 comments on “National has blown it”

  1. gingercrush 1

    What a stupid guest post.

  2. Pat 2

    I agree, Guest Poster! They should have done all the things you said, which were … um … sooner … stronger …

    By all means attack the colour blue, but maybe put forward some fresh ideas.

    • BLiP 2.1

      What? You want anti-National people to put up fresh ideas – why’s that? Are you another National Party policy wonk scratching around at The Standard for fresh ideas to take to the leader as he sits jabbering and twitching in the corner while the economic depression rolls in the front door.

    • Quoth the Raven 2.2

      Pat – Many ideas are thrown around, you just have to look. The idea of the post was not to put forward new ideas it’s just providing a criticism of what National has done or hasn’t done, however the case maybe. I don’t agree that a big spend up is what’s needed, but there are things National could have done differently. For instance, if they had targeted their tax cuts to those on low incomes instead of towards the rich, as many people have said here and as many economists can attest, it would’ve provided greater stimulus to the economy.

  3. Pat 3

    Trust me, BLiP. No-ones ever gonna steal YOUR ideas.

    • ripp0 3.1

      “steal” is it..!

      always wondered what happened to all those submissions folks made public…

      I suppose the point about.. right now.. is the pre-empted stuff is pretty useless.. when the call to responsibility strikes…

  4. bobo 4

    When will the media start using the words “broken promise” over using the current line of “modify their policy in the current economic climate” ?

  5. Bobo – not a good idea to bring up flip flops anymore. It seems to have been catching.

    One of the problems – ignoring of course the scale of the problem – is that while Labour did much good in paying off debt, the same can’t be said for Govt expenditure.

    The following quote comes from the Stuff linked referenced above:

    He said Government spending growth had to be reined in: Crown spending in the year to June 30 was expected to be $63.5 billion up $21.6b or 51 per cent from five years ago while the economy grew by only 23 per cent.

    Now based on the fact that another Standard post appeared to blame Key for the doubling in his PM salary, I can only assume that the increase in Crown spending can now be blamed at Key.

    • Maynard J 5.1

      I would probably blame the stats there – WfF and Kiwisaver are included in there. If that spending isn’t being cut (and it isn’t. well, KS is being cleaved asunder. but the Independent Earners’ Credit would make up for a good chunk of that) then any spending cuts will be disproportionally large. If they’re based upon flawed logic like the statement you mentioned from Bill.

      Pity the Government won’t consider borrowing to sitmulate the economy – debatable whether there’s a case for it, but the IMF and the rest of the world thinks so – and will only borrow to stimulate their ideology.

  6. gingercrush 6

    Pity the Government won’t consider borrowing to sitmulate the economy – debatable whether there’s a case for it, but the IMF and the rest of the world thinks so – and will only borrow to stimulate their ideology.

    Why can’t you grasp that New Zealand is already at its debt levels just maintaining current services how the hell are they expected to borrow and stimulate the economy. When there is no evidence that the countries that did stimulate their economies in terms of stimulus packages. The US, Great Britain, Australia are not working.Japan too is stimulating their economy by borrowing billions. It isn’t working and it didn’t work in the 80s either.

    To answer you Kevin. The post is stupid because it completely misses the point of this recession and further to actually believe one could spend billions and somehow the economy would be fixed is an absurd assumption.

  7. So ginger… the Herbert Hoover approach rather than the FDR approach?

    • gingercrush 7.1

      No one is doing a FDR approach. Anyone that seriously thinks any plans by any country mirrors what FDR did are smoking something. Likewise, no one is doing the Hoover approach either. Both of those approaches were problematic. No doubt about it. But this recession isn’t the same as that one hence why we shouldn’t be looking back to the 1920s/1930s.

      Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing itself against stimulus. Its rather healthy. I just don’t believe the plans as implemented by many countries are any good in the short or long term. And I worry that the american stimulus package will cause more problems than solve them in the long term.

      —-

      The OCED said we were already at our limits for stimulus and they recommended we did no more. Or do we just ignore that report because it doesn’t tell us what we want to hear? Yes its neo-liberal and some of the proposals in it were pathetic. But they had some truth to them. Health is and will be a problem long-term. I just don’t think privatising it is the solution (as the OCED report recommended). But it does tell us is that changes in health will be necessary in the future. National Radios Nine to Noon had an excellent story with Brian Rudman. Hardly right-wing. He too says there isn’t much New Zealand can do. I just wish people would realise that.

      We either ride the recession out and supply some stimulus while reducing or at the least maintaining debt or we take a far-left regime of dismantling capitalism. In my eyes, those are the only two solutions New Zealand can do. I know which one I would go for.

      • jarbury 7.1.1

        Good post ginger. As has been said before, you’re certainly a cut above most right-wingers in how you put forward your arguments.

        Certainly there is good stimulus and bad stimulus. Some of the efforts made in the USA are good – like the high-speed rail proposals that will put a lot of people to work (even in simply designing them) and will also assist the USA in the long-term future. However, there was certainly a lot of stupid ‘pet projects’ that made it into the stimulus package. The same with Australia really, some good moves but also some stupid stuff – like giving people a lump sum payment of money (which of course most used to pay down debt or they saved).

        I fail to really see what stimulus has happened in NZ so far. A few roading projects were brought forward, money was shifted from public transport to road construction…. a couple more schools were built, 60 odd state houses (whoop de doo, Labour has pumped out 1000 a year). Tax cuts, though they weren’t even really additional spending, just money shifted from Kiwisaver (and most of the extra money went to those rich enough to save it or pay off debt).

        Regarding what you say about the health system, I couldn’t agree more. In the long-term we’re screwed. Why do you think the Green Party is into banning unhealthy food from schools and other health promoting policies? They realise that in 20-30 years time we’re going to be up shit creek regarding the costs of our health system versus the tax dollars we’ll be able to afford.

  8. Nacts ( by association maori & the greens) -Three strikes, you’re out.
    You over-egged the bribe/promise pudding to buy this election you mutts.

    I’m sorry, we were about to have a cleansing ceremo…i mean Change the government just now But Due To A Technical Fault we will have to keep bringing you this sorry lot for the next year and a half.
    Over to you John. Keep going John. John?
    could you please push… oh good, here we go.

  9. outofbed 9

    Nacts ( by association maori & the greens)
    Why the Greens ? are you an idiot ?

  10. Greg 10

    When did we come to the conclusion that fiscal stimulus was a good response to the current crisis? The economists out there seem pretty divided on the issue. Therefore any stimulus seems like a very big lottery to me.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      I’m not quite following the logic there Greg. Surely if the economists are divided then either way is gamble. The bigger gamble would be going with the minority opinion I suppose. Most economists seem to be saying that stimulus is needed as part of the response.

      Many of those ‘most’ are nobel winners and/or people that have been saying the system was heading for trouble. Many of those opposed to stimulus are neo liberals that have lead us down a path of deregulation and so on. on the basis that the market can regulate itself, that the market can discipline actors, and the rest of the supply side axioms. TINA we was told. And here we are.

      TINA is back in town perhaps, and she’s wearing a new dress.

  11. mike 11

    What a pathetic post
    The obama method of throwing billions down the shitter is being critisised more each day as drowning the future generations under a mountain of dept.

    Come 2011 Key’s brilliant vision, pragmatism and restraint will be hailed and the dirty socialists banished for another term or two.

  12. r0b 12

    What a pathetic post

    What a compelling counter argument. Not.

    The obama method of throwing billions down the shitter is being critisised more each day as drowning the future generations under a mountain of dept.

    Yes, Obama has the wrong model and is wasting his billions propping up failed banks. He’s not being criticised for spending, he’s being criticised for spending in the wrong places (“wall street” not “main street”). We don’t have failed banks here, so the Nats can’t make that mistake. Their mistake is that they’re doing nothing at all. Nothing.

    The IMF and most major economies agree that increased government spending softens the impact of the crisis and speeds recovery. Yes it increases dept in the short term, but if it heads off the downward spiral and the economy recovers that debt gets paid back. If you do nothing the downward spiral gathers speed, which is where we seem to be in NZ.

    As for suggesting alternatives, how about this. Cancel the April tax cuts, or redirect completely to low income earners (who will spend it and actually stimulate the economy). Institute capital gains tax. Cancel the useless broadband spend up. Borrow some if necessary. Invest in real infrastructure: (1) proper public transport – not a piddling cycleway but light rail mass transit systems in and around as many major cities as possible, and (2) renewable energy sources, sun, wind, tide. This would bring the short term benefits of “fiscal stimulus” and the long term benefits of reduced carbon emissions, more liveable cities, and less dependence on declining world oil supplies.

    But no, the Nat response is to ignore the international consensus, do nothing, and hope for the best. They can and will be blamed for the disaster that follows.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      I bet Bill English is thinking about what happened to the tory vote after they let Richardson loose. MMP is not as forgiving. I’m not expecting anything great from him, but I think the more fervent righties are going to be far more disappointed in him than I.

      Which itself might have electoral implications.

      If 18 or so months from now, ACT polling starts going up at National’s expense, National could start losing voters from the centre as well, who will be worried about a stronger ACT presence. that’s the problem with Key’s borg style of government. You are making a coalition out of people with fundamental differences, and the centrists will be asked to choose…

      • gingercrush 12.1.1

        PB – The far right fanatics are already pissed off with the John Key government. They’re already expecting the worse. Nothing will please them until Roger Douglas is made Finance Minister. Though one of those fanatics think the solution is making Judith Collins leader of National.

        Such people are likely already voted Act and will keep voting Act or there is about 2% of the voting public out there for them. I honestly don’t believe the fervent right-wing blog readers represent much of New Zealand whatsoever. I would contrast that with some of the people here at The Standard that have far-left views that don’t exactly reflect the left-wing vote either. I do believe Act are capable of reclaiming 5% and I think that would be quite healthy.

        I don’t believe a stronger Act represents any danger for National and the centre. National is far more likely to lose the centre to Labour themselves as they eventually get some traction again. Something that they just have to wait for.

  13. BR 13

    “Stuck in old ways of thinking (cut spending, cut jobs, sell stuff) they have done nothing to stimulate the economy.”

    The best way to stimulate and economy in good times and bad, is to slash government spending and slash taxes. This will put more money back into the pockets of those who have earned it, and give them the options of spending their own money how they see fit instead of having someone else spend it for them.

    When you spend your own money on yourself, you care how much you spend, and how well you spend it.

    When you spend your own money on someone else, you care how much you spend, but don’t care how well you spend it.

    When you spend someone else’s money on yourself you don’t care how much you spend, but do care how well you spend it.

    When you spend someone else’s money on someone else you don’t care how much you spend, or how well you spend it, and this is the reason government spending is so inefficient, wasteful and obstructive.

    Who needs crap government services anyway. Apart from a few core functions, I sure as hell don’t.

    Bill.

    • DeeDub 13.1

      Bill: “Who needs crap government services anyway. Apart from a few core functions, I sure as hell don’t.”

      … and YOU’RE all that matters, eh Bill?

      Screw everyone else then?

  14. outofbed 14

    I think BR would be more at home in Somalia No Gov Services whatsoever
    I’ll contribute to his fare

  15. Greg 15

    “‘m not quite following the logic there Greg. Surely if the economists are divided then either way is gamble. The bigger gamble would be going with the minority opinion I suppose. Most economists seem to be saying that stimulus is needed as part of the response.

    Many of those ‘most’ are nobel winners and/or people that have been saying the system was heading for trouble. Many of those opposed to stimulus are neo liberals that have lead us down a path of deregulation and so on. on the basis that the market can regulate itself, that the market can discipline actors, and the rest of the supply side axioms. TINA we was told. And here we are.

    TINA is back in town perhaps, and she’s wearing a new dress.”

    But it ain’t a minority opinion, not in the economic world at least. Yes Paul Krugman is a vocal supporter of stimulus and did win a nobel prize, but others (like Greg Mankiew for example) have a similar background and similar experience and come to a completely different conclusion. If anything it would seem that the minority opinion in the economic world is against the stimulus.

    If you get it wrong you burden future generations with debt for no gain and essentially completely screw over the economy (kinda like what Muldoon did but on a much larger scale).

    And you cannot be convinced without a doubt (whatever your political beliefs) that stimulus is the best way to go, not once you’ve read the robust debate going on between economists at the moment.

    • Pascal's bookie 15.1

      Thanks for the reply Greg.

      I think we may be talking past each other a little, or I may have misinterpreted your comment that I replied to.

      In that comment you seemed to be saying that the idea of stimulus per se was controversial. This is sort of carried on in your latest comment, but when offering support by the way of Mankiw it becomes “the stimulus” (presumably Obama’s), before reverting back to general stimulus in your last paragraph.

      Mankiw has his opinions, and he certainly doesn’t like Obama’s package, but to claim that he is against govt stimulus at all would mean that he has apparently changed his mind since Nov:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/business/economy/30view.html?_r=1

      IF you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes. Although Keynes died more than a half-century ago, his diagnosis of recessions and depressions remains the foundation of modern macroeconomics. His insights go a long way toward explaining the challenges we now confront.

      You don’t point to any other supposed anti stimulus folk, and yet I guess you meant to say that they are actually the majority. I don’t follow the debate intently, but I do follow it. Most treasuries around the world are fiscally stimulating. The RB’s are using monetary policy to stimulate, the world bank and the IMF are urging stimulus. As well as Krugman there is Stiglitz and Galbraith who are all also critical of Obama’s package, for different reasons than Mankiw of course. And Mankiw at least in the above piece doesn’t offer an alternative to Keynes, but says he is the man ‘you would look to’.

      Mankiw was one of Bush’s chief economic advisors no? I think it would be fair to say that his record is mixed.

      I think Muldoon is a red herring to be frank.

      The last global depression was eventually fixed by massive government spending. Yes this generated a lot of debt. After wwII most countries had enormous debts. It took a long time to pay that debt off, and yet the period from 1950 to the mid 70’s (under Bretton woods) saw the fastest economic expansion probably in history. They were doing something right. take a look at the graph at the bottom of page 6: (warning pdf)

      Click to access chapter5.pdf

      I’m not saying that this or that stimulus package is foolproof, or that any given package is uncontroversial, but only that some sort of stimulus package is being recommended by a seeming majority. Which is what you questioned in your first post quite strongly.

      Everyone recognises that there is a price to pay for that in terms of debt, but what I’m not hearing is the counter risks involved in doing nothing.

      I don’t know why you think I should be ‘without a doubt’. That’s a remarkably high bar don’t you think? All I am saying is that it as least as much of a gamble to do nothing, a point which you haven’t here at least, addressed.

      • RedLogix 15.1.1

        Problem is PB, is that New Zealand’s total debt is already at the maximum can be sustained. Sure our public debt is low (and if that were not the case we would already crashed and burned big time)… but our total private and business debt is far too high (aprox $180b) and worse still 60% of that is ‘hot money’ being rolled over short-term by our banks overseas every 120 days or so. Anymore debt and our credit rating gets hammered, and cost across the board rise. Gets worse than that and no-one will lend to us at any price.

        Not too many commentators have realised the significance of the $50 billion dollar ‘hole in govt accounts over three years’ announcement this week. That is roughly $17b pa… or about 34% of core govt expenditure.

        Overseas lenders look at our total debt profile, our volatile currency risk, the huge global uncertainties…. and Bill English going around with cap in hand is not the first man on anyone’s dance card. The fatal mistake was that he has painted himself into a corner by politically committing his Party to PAYE tax cuts at a time when GST is falling (in line with dropping GDP and increased repayment of debt) and Company tax receipts falling into the toilet .

        There will be no ‘stimulus’ here in NZ . English has no choice but to cut expenditure… and massively.

        • r0b 15.1.1.1

          There will be no ‘stimulus’ here in NZ . English has no choice but to cut expenditure and massively.

          English had a choice though, and he blew it. Even now he could reverse / rearranges the tax cuts in the budget. But National lack the will to do what is required. Instead they will sit and watch it all fall apart.

  16. jarbury 16

    Seems like private debt is the huge problem here. Why is it so big and what can be done about it?

  17. RedLogix 17

    Why is it so big and what can be done about it?

    Finally someone asks the right questions.

    Why is it so big? Because a greedy, de-regulated banking industry realised that the best way to rack up huge profits was to lend out massive amounts of credit. They did this by reducing LVR ratios and relaxing income history requirements. (So called ‘lo-docs’.) If two people with say $100k of equity are bidding on the same house; one of them has a bank that does a traditional LVR of 80%, then he can bid to a maximum of $500k on the house. The woman next to him has a bank that will go to 90% LVR. She can bid up to $1m. Of course she does go that far, she only has to go to $501k and she wins the bidding.. and of course the vendor happily takes the cash.

    It was the banks that irresponsibly drove the property bubble, competing for ever bigger slices of a hugely profitable business. It is the banks that should take the pain of cleaning up the resulting crisis… not us.

    Ask the right question, the answer is obvious. The banks must be nationalised, their shareholders and bondholders told that they have lost their money; the senior layer of management sacked and the rest of the business (the daily main-street branches, ATM’s and regular, prudential mortgage and business lending) kept running with direct Reserve Bank oversight, backing and Govt bonds.

    Then every mortgage is reset by $200k, back to sane sustainable levels. That’s right, wipe the credit off the books. It was only printed out of nothing in the first place, it can be made to go away in the same fashion.

    Of course NZ probably would not, could not, pursue such a strategy on it’s own. But eventually the rest of the world will have to. They will try everything else first, there will be 20-30% unemployment, the global economy will be in ruins… but finally they will have no choice but to break the power of the banking oligarchy who have held a gun to our heads and demanded we fund their failure, their losses, and their fraudulent ponzi schemes.

  18. jarbury 18

    So most of our private debt is mortgages I guess…. balanced by house prices that are probably 25% over-valued (at least).

    Hmmm… and here I was hoping that we’d seen the worst of things.

  19. Greg 19

    Pascal.

    You raise some interesting points, rest assured a response will come, its just a little late right now for me to find the necessary evidence to back myself up! Check back tomorrow.

    Also, thanks for managing to disagree while remaining civil!

  20. Greg 20

    Pascal,

    Your right, I have inter-changed ‘stimulus’ terms a bit. To clarify: I am making the assumption that those who promote a stimulus plan in NZ promote one broadly along the same lines as the Obama plan. Ie massive increases in government debt to an unprecedented level in order to increase spending and theoretically ‘stimulate’ the economy. The is where Muldoon comes in ( and your right, I did not justify myself that well here) in the 1970’s he borrowed heavily from overseas to fund ‘Think Big’. A concept that was intended to curb unemployment and therefore stimulate the economy. Broadly along the same lines as Obama plans to. He just about bankrupted the country.

    On Mankiw,

    I take a different reading of the article you refer to. In my opinion he is applying Keynesian theory to the current crisis, not promoting it. Indeed in the conclusion he states:
    “The fly in the ointment — or perhaps it is more an elephant — is the long-term fiscal picture. Increased government spending may be a good short-run fix, but it would add to the budget deficit. The baby boomers are now starting to retire and claim Social Security and Medicare benefits. Any increase in the national debt will make fulfilling those unfunded promises harder in coming years.’

    This is Mankiw’s self professed own opinion on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/business/economy/11view.html?_r=1&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

    He seems to be claiming that this stimulus is a massive gamble.

    Yes Mankiw was one of Bush’s economic advisors. However it would not be fair to say that all economic policies come directly from the advisors. Indeed Bush’s economic policy was by no means the major criticism of the Bush administration.

    On other economists:

    Here are a few that disagree with the idea of stimulus: http://www.cato.org/special/stimulus09/alternate_version.html

    Krugman himself acknowledges that many of the worlds top economists disagree with him: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/economists-ideology-and-stimulus/

    “What’s been disturbing, however, is the parade of first-rate economists making totally non-serious arguments against fiscal expansion. You’ve got John Taylor arguing for permanent tax cuts as a response to temporary shocks, apparently oblivious to the logical problems. You’ve got John Cochrane going all Andrew-Mellon-liquidationist on us. You’ve got Eugene Fama reinventing the long-discredited Treasury View. You’ve got Gary Becker apparently unaware that monetary policy has hit the zero lower bound. And you’ve got Greg Mankiw — well, I don’t know what Greg actually believes, he just seems to be approvingly linking to anyone opposed to stimulus, regardless of the quality of their argument.’

    On other countries:

    I would be very weary of justifying stimulus with the argument that “everyone else is doing it’. Politicians often choose the wrong path the incentives are in the wrong place. Their number one goal is to stay in power and therefore will put in place what sounds good to the general public. Who was it who said “the worst thing a politician can do is to do nothing’. A stimulus plan sounds good and is easy to sell. Economists on the other hand a solely concerned with maximising utility (or welfare) thats why we should be worried if a large number agree that the stimulus plan is not going to achieve this (and will probably do the reverse).

    On looking to the past,

    I would contend that it was not the massive government spending that fixed the last global depression oil played a much bigger role. There will always be ups and downs, but there is a difference between falling down and falling flat on your face this is what Obama’s stimulus plan risks.

    To conclude,

    If we do nothing we will pay the price we have to pay and no more. Stimulus could well lead to us paying a much higher price. Personally I would advocate slashing government spending and cutting taxes (but that’s just me and a whole different kettle of fish).

    I set the high bar because the costs of getting it wrong are so high. If the stimulus plan doesn’t work you have massive government debt for no result this could ruin an economy.

    I guess what I’m saying is doing nothing may not be the best option but it is better than the gamble on the stimulus.

    I look forward to your reply.

  21. BR 21

    >>Bill: “Who needs crap government services anyway. Apart from a few core >>functions, I sure as hell don’t.’

    > and YOU’RE all that matters, eh Bill?

    >Screw everyone else then?

    That is a ridiculous comment. If you want to use any government service that not everyone has an equal stake in, it should be paid for separately.

    Bill.

    >I think BR would be more at home in Somalia No Gov Services whatsoever
    >I’ll contribute to his fare

    Where I have ever supported the view that there should be no government?

    Bill.

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    1 week ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson selected as candidate for Taieri
    New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson has been selected to represent the party in the newly formed Taieri electorate at the upcoming election. Mr Patterson, his wife Jude and two daughters farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna. He previously stood in the Clutha-Southland electorate however boundary changes ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
    Hon Shane Jones, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises A new ‘super depot’ to be built for NZ Post in Wellington will create around 350 jobs during construction, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises Shane Jones says. Shane Jones today attended a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony for the parcel-processing depot ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Putting our economic plan into action
    Our strong economic management prior to COVID-19 - with surpluses, low debt and near-record-low unemployment - put us in a good position to weather the impact of the virus and start to rebuild our economy much earlier than many other countries. Now we're putting our plan to recover and rebuild ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fleeing drivers hit new record-high yet again
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order Recently released Police fleeing driver statistics have shown yet another increase in incidents with another record-high in the latest quarter. “This new quarterly record-high is the latest in a string of record-high numbers since 2014.  The data shows incidents ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago