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National will be gutted – Moodys gives New Zealand an Aaa credit rating

Written By: - Date published: 12:47 pm, September 23rd, 2018 - 59 comments
Categories: Amy Adams, business, capitalism, Economy, grant robertson, labour, national, Politics, same old national - Tags:

Remember all the doom and gloom about the country’s economic future and how the economy was going to hell in a hand basket and how business confidence was crashing?

Moodys must have missed the memo because they have recently confirmed New Zealand’s Aaa AAA credit rating.

In response Grant Robertson has said this:

The Coalition Government is welcoming another sign that our economic plan and decisions to run surpluses and pay down debt are paying off for New Zealand, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

International credit rating agency Moody’s last night reaffirmed its Aaa rating with a stable outlook on the New Zealand Government’s financial position – the highest score it is able to give.

“In its latest update on New Zealand, Moody’s says the Government’s fiscal management has created the space needed for investment in areas like infrastructure, affordable housing, education and policies to support families. This is exactly what we planned for at Budget 2018 – while continuing to live within our means by running sustainable surpluses,” Grant Robertson said.

“Moody’s says they expect New Zealand’s growth to be stronger in the next few years than other Aaa-rated countries. They also say our debt reduction track will see government debt fall significantly lower than other Aaa countries.

“As Moody’s notes, this is important because New Zealand is more susceptible to the classic rainy day – natural disasters and changes in the international economy – than some of our peers.

“That’s exactly why we are staying within the Budget Responsibility Rules. These include running sustainable surpluses, getting net debt down to 20% of GDP within five years, and making sure government expenses remain under control and in line with what Governments over the past 20 years managed.

The National Party has predictably not taken this well.  Amy Adams has come out with this jumble of words.  The headline “Moody’s praises National legacy now being eroded” makes no sense.  Moody’s has maintained New Zealand’s current rating, not decreased it.  And just to pick two examples Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax allows for investment in much needed infrastructure and cancelling the last planned tax cuts allowed for investment in affordable housing, education and policies to support families and both results are important for continued economic stability.

Of course there is a very valid debate to be had on the Budget Responsibility Rules and if they are too tight.  As noted by Robertson compared to other AAA rated economies our debt levels are very low even though National spent up large on the country’s credit card in its last term.

59 comments on “National will be gutted – Moodys gives New Zealand an Aaa credit rating”

  1. Rae 1

    Gutted? They will be trying to take the credit for it.

  2. Morrissey 2

    Excellent news! However, our friends over at another blog are not too impressed…

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2018/09/general_debate_23_september_2018.html/comment-page-1#comment-2316326

  3. Kat 3

    “It is good news for the New Zealand economy that Moody’s Investors’ Service has affirmed our Aaa rating but we shouldn’t let the Government now waste it, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

    Curiously the “sharp as a tack” Amy ‘I know what GDP is’ Adams missed reading this part: “Moody’s says they expect New Zealand’s growth to be stronger in the next few years than other Aaa-rated countries.”

    Definitely a weak, leaking, in chaos and pitifully led National opposition.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      the “sharp as a tack” Amy ‘I know what GDP is’ Adams…

      I presume from the quotation marks that you’re being sarcastic.

      Because “sharp as a tack” is the LAST thing I would think of to describe Amy Adams.

      • Kat 3.1.1

        And coming from “Mother of all Budgets” country I should have mentioned “fierce” as well: New Opposition finance spokeswoman Amy Adams will be a “fierce” marksman against a Government in danger of “squandering” New Zealand’s economic gains, says National Party leader Simon Bridges.

      • Ross 3.1.2

        “sharp as a tack” is the LAST thing I would think of to describe Amy Adams.

        Cold as ice springs to mind. Come to think of it, I can’t recall her ever smiling.

  4. Dukeofurl 4

    Flaws in other parts of Adams piece
    “Moody’s also praised National’s debt reduction, pointing out that ‘the central government’s gross debt fell to 26.5 per cent of GDP in 2017 from a recent peak at 31.3 per cent in 2012.’

    Gross debt ? What that means is that national borrowed to the hilt but our sovereign wealth funds in the Cullen Fund and ACC grew even faster. They used to count EQC as well but thats empty.
    I wonder how we got the Cullen Fund of something like $8 bill of taxpayers money into $37 bill last year.

    And we can clearly see why nationals debt ratio was declining while borrowing was increasing ( despite an nominal accrual ‘surplus’)
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/97337661/nz-super-fund-reveals-a-20-per-cent-return-in-12-months

  5. Vaughn 5

    Good post, Micky.
    In my life, I’ve learned four things about the Tory politician and their perception of themselves:
    1. They have a strong sense of entitlement
    2. They are born to rule
    3. They are masters of managing the economy
    4. They are never wrong.
    While I’m sure others will have their own items for this list, I could add a fifth observation:
    5. They will be hating this latest piece of news, especially having occurred as it has under Jacinda’s watch. Ouch.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      In my life, I’ve learned four things about the Tory politician:

      To clarify, that would be what the Tory politicians believe about themselves which are manifestly untrue.

      Except the last one.

    • joe90 5.2

      Arsehole values are universal.

      Asshole Culture has carved out a very clear, unsavory role in American film, literature and life. Entitled, wealthy, bros who take what they want, treat everyone around them like shit and then rise to positions of power is practically a cliche it's so common.— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) September 22, 2018

      (thread)

      https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1043496223259418625.html

    • OnceWasTim 5.3

      Unfortunately @ Vaughn, over the past decade, probably gradually over the past 30 years, the same can be said of our senior public servants in both central and local government.

      Good news however if your subscribe to the idea that the ratings agencies are the world’s economic sages. I wonder who rates the rating agencies. I seem to remember we had a bit of a problem 10 years ago

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Of course there is a very valid debate to be had on the Budget Responsibility Rules and if they are too tight.

    Actually, the question is if a country that has its own currency even needs a credit rating. It’s not as if the government needs to borrow or ever should. Under those conditions that country’s deficit should be the same as the growth rate.

    It’s only the delusion that the government needs to borrow at all that the idea that it needs a credit rating and budget responsibility rules even applies.

  7. Incognito 7

    So, this Government is equal or better at managing the economy than National. I’m so glad that this issues has been cleared up once and for all. It is BAU for NZ (code word: economic stability) as we fully comply with international ‘guidance’ on how to run an economy within the neoliberal framework that benefits the few disproportionally more than the many.

    Unlike Amy Adams’ press release, Moody made no direct reference to the previous (National-led) government).

    Interestingly, Moody also didn’t mention immigration or population growth as far as I can tell.

    https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-affirms-New-Zealands-Aaa-ratings-maintains-stable-outlook–PR_387946

    • Stunned Mullet 7.1

      I would recommend everyone read the full report – it’s surprisingly balanced.

      “The very high strength of New Zealand’s institutions is a key factor underpinning New Zealand’s Aaa rating. It manifests in very high government and policy effectiveness to respond to both gradual changes in the economic or social environment and sudden shocks.

      New Zealand’s fiscal institutions have a strong record of managing shocks through effective fiscal policy, while demonstrating fiscal discipline over the long term. Fiscal metrics improved swiftly in the aftermath of the 2008 recession and the 2011 Canterbury earthquake; they continued to improve through the downturn in commodity prices from 2014-2016 and the Kaikoura earthquake in late 2016. The central government’s gross debt fell to 26.5% of GDP in 2017 from a recent peak at 31.3% in 2012.

      Moody’s expects the coalition government comprising Labour Party, New Zealand First and the Green Party, elected in September 2017, to remain committed to fiscal discipline, as shown in the budget’s projections for continued fiscal surpluses and government debt reduction. In line with the government’s projections, Moody’s forecasts that the budget will remain in surplus and that gross central government debt will edge down to 26% of GDP in 2019 and likely fall further thereafter, significantly lower than many other Aaa-rated sovereigns.”

      • Incognito 7.1.1

        Well, thank you! That’s why I provided the link …

        • Stunned Mullet 7.1.1.1

          You provided little more than a thinly disguised smear of the last governments.

          • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1.1

            Didn’t the last govt get downgraded? Standard & Poors, 2011.

            You could of course hark back to 2009 and blame the GFC, but real rockstars wouldn’t want or need to make such pitiful excuses.

          • Incognito 7.1.1.1.2

            Your obvious bias is blinding you and affecting your reading comprehension as well.

            Please point out the smear of the last governemnts [sic l] in my comment.

            You obviously completely missed my thinly disguised criticism of the current Government. Never mind.

            At least I provided the link. You, on the other hand, only quoted verbatim what was in the link without proper reference. You can obviously type so I have to put it down to sheer laziness on your behalf.

      • Dukeofurl 7.1.2

        Still repeats the false mantra of gross debt. The reason for that fall was because the Super fund and ACC funds greater increase which meant the NETT debt ratio was lower. Gross debt ratio is more like 45% of GDP( 205 bill GDP. $85 bill + ddebt)

      • WILD KATIPO 7.1.3

        Home Brew – Listen To Us (feat. Tourettes) – YouTube

  8. Bill 8

    The Coalition Government is welcoming another sign that our economic plan and decisions to run surpluses and pay down debt are paying off for New Zealand, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

    Is it unfair to suggest that this really isn’t much more than Brownie Points getting handed out for demonstrating an acceptable level of adherence to (bankrupt) liberal economic theory?

    And it also unfair to suggest that we, Jo Public, are now expected to gasp in a state of dumb wonderment at the adroitness of an economic disciple offering up exactly what economic High Priests ordered?

    living within our means“running sustainable surpluses”“rainy days” etc is all nauseating bullshit that Robertson’s spouting off the back of (or so it seems) viewing a national economy as a scaled up household.

    But yay. Triple A. Well done. (fcks sake)

    • Molly 8.1

      Agree. The so-called independence of rating agencies was reasonably brought into question when the 2008 financial crisis was reviewed.

      Their income is inextricably linked to financial services, and ratings are influenced accordingly.

      Primarily, the measure of ratings, as you mention, are aligned with a certain perspective, and not one that includes the general wellbeing of the populace of NZ.

  9. Point taken Bill, but many wanting reliable growth in their super, low cost mortgages and a steady supply of work will be saying “Yay” IMO.

    Expecting a Coalition Government to bring about sharp change won’t happen.
    They are doing their best to balance differing views and expectations within a frame.

    They are trying to go towards a distribution of wealth and dealing with anomalies in laws which have disadvantaged many, ( too slowly according to many).

    However they have managed to begin this process without “scaring the horses”, Moody’s being one of the “nags” in question.
    Had they caused Moody’s any concern our costs of borrowing would have risen as our rating sank.

    • Bill 9.1

      This government won’t bring about change (sharp or otherwise) because it’s ideologically comfortable with the status quo and simply having their shot at “playing manager”.

      WInston Peters didn’t sign NZF up to the austerity framework that the government’s hanging everything from. James Shaw’s merely a fucking idiot who got duped by Robertson ( at least I hope he’s a duped idiot and not an enthusiastic idiot like Robertson).

      So the opportunity was there. Everyone’s struggling to hold steady or going backwards. Generally speaking, people have had enough.

      Retirement savings and low cost mortgages versus quality and free healthcare, quality free education? Higher wages versus starvation wage job vacancies? It would be nice to be given a choice.

      There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that any politician or political party promising to rip up the liberal play book gets rewarded at the voting booth – Trump, Corbyn, Cortez and the other Progressives taking on the Democratic Party, Sturgeon, Five Star, Podemos, Syriza….

      • Kat 9.1.1

        You are not going to get the “change” (economic revolution) you are looking for Bill anytime soon, but there will be incremental change. With Jacinda and Winston at the helm we are likely to experience a more sunny side of capitalism, should the coalitions tenure in power prevail.

        The only alternative is more of Nationals brighter future for the top 10% and their cronies.

        • adam 9.1.1.1

          WOW a TINA, it’s not the 80’s Kat.

          “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”

        • Bill 9.1.1.2

          Social democratic priorities and the change in economic settings that’s required to pursue them are a million distant miles from anything that might be sensibly regarded as an economic revolution 🙄

  10. alwyn 10

    MickySavage states in his comment that New Zealand has a AAA rating.
    It doesn’t. It has an Aaa rating from Moodys who use that form for ratings.

    AAA is used by the other 2 major rating agencies S&P and Fitch but not by Moodys.
    They actually rate New Zealand as AA. (They rate Australia as AAA).
    It may seem a minor point but the banking system do actually care which Rating Agency issued the grade and it would be nice if commenters actually understood the things they are talking about and the difference between the Agencies.

    Moodys are the only Agency to lift their rating for New Zealand since 2011. They raised the New Zealand rating to Aaa in March 2017.

    It is still nice that Moodys have continued their high grade for New Zealand of course. It would probably be different if the Labour-led Government was to abandon their Budget Responsibility Rules.

    [And I thought it was a type. Now corrected – MS]

    • Dukeofurl 10.1

      Auckland council Moody’s rating Aa2, which causes right wingers heads to explode

      • alwyn 10.1.1

        You should read the rating agency raison d’etre.
        They don’t actually care in the slightest what you spend the money on.
        All they care about is whether you are likely to be able to pay the interest and return the capital on the due dates.
        Spend it on a tram system or a sewerage system, it’s all the same to them.
        Just as long as they think you’ll cough up to the people you borrow from when the debt comes due.

        • Patricia Bremner 10.1.1.1

          So right Alwyn. Must admit I’m rather shocked to be agreeing with you.

        • Dukeofurl 10.1.1.2

          Yet the right wingers still claim Aucklands credit rating is stuffed or the Council is ‘bust’

          And if it was just based on councils power to compel rates to be paid, then all NZs councils would be near the Aa region . They arent.

  11. Brian Tregaskin 11

    I said it before and il say it again big business in New Zealand will keep the winter of discontent going right up to the next election.
    Call their bluff and put company tax back up to 39%.

    • alwyn 11.1

      “put company tax back up to 39%” you say.

      God, you must be both very old and have an excellent memory.
      It is more than 30 years since the Corporate tax rate was that high.
      It hasn’t been over 33% since about 1987.
      Do you really want to go back to the way things were when Muldoon was King?

      • In Vino 11.1.1

        Sorry, alwyn, but I remember very well how well-off people in general were BEFORE Muldoon, and I do not think our society is healthier now than it was then.
        We are on the threshold of a hell-hole of a society, mainly because of unwise policies since Muldoon himself started the downward trend with his autocratic bullshit.

    • greywarshark 11.2

      Good idea Brian T, with a proviso. That 39% tax on profits will be diminished on the basis of the number of NZ residents that they employ under reasonable working conditions. Or that number, plus extra off for the number they put through a planned work introduction and training system. That would apply to all NZ businesses over a certain size, and even perhaps to individual tradesmen who if they would take on one extra guy or woman would be helped with their job organisation and costs would be offset by a generous tax advantage to make up for the effort of responsibility for the offsider.

      Because it would apply to all companies, there would be a level playing field, and a huge boost to NZ workers and spending power with a great ripple effect on money in people’s hands and a boost to the mindset of young men to a hopeful one where they can feel part of society and respected for themselves and their skills. (I think it is young men who are the biggest suicide numbers.)

  12. jcuknz 12

    It is good to have both sides , or two versions, of this available thanks to the internet…. and also that The Standard lets opposing view stand on this thread…. it is good there has been no change as any reduction would cost the country.
    Really BT if they did that the rating would go down for sure in view of other and competing countries reductions since it would really stuff the country’s efforts to survive in the world competition.
    Without business earning foreign exchange we all would be worse off by a long way.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      jcuknz
      Without business earning foreign exchange we all would be worse off by a long way.

      You are quite right. Since the decision in the 1980s to go gangbusters on exporting there has been little interest in NZ for NZs and a growing reliance on imported products. A very chancy situation that has left us with little resilience and has undermined our economy and our respect for our own citizens standard of living. This mania has to be adjusted, from its present skewed position that will lean further until we topple.

      Think of NZ as the leaning tower of Pisa, without the particular foundations and type of ground that seems to support it despite its lean, along with the strength of the building and quality of its materials. NZ fails in these qualities; poor quality buildings, poor materials, shaky ground etc. A parallel for our economy and society. We need to make changes to our present path that will take a concerted actions of thoughtful people who care about people living here, and bring wisdom, experience, commitment to the country and people’s welfare, and pragmatism.
      Not simple-minded tub-thumpers or conservatives. Difficult, i don’t think we can make it but hope keeps trying to grow, like a weed.

      • jcuknz 12.1.1

        Part of my feelings on that subject come from memory of TV’s costing four or five times in NZ than what folk on holiday in Fiji could get them for…. TV that were made in Japan or somewhere, disassembled so that Kiwis could re assemble them in some small town in NZ.
        I agree that NZ industry should be encouraged but not if they cannot compete with imports.

        • greywarshark 12.1.1.1

          Cheapness isn’t everything jcuknz. The decision of how an economy is going to be balanced, how life opportunities are going to be balanced so that the whole country can prosper, goes beyond slooking at differing price levels for objects of desire. People say now that NZ is an expensive country to live in. That’s after the concerns of people with your perspective have been met!

  13. One Two 13

    Where do the ratings agencies get their funding…

    CDO – AAA+
    CDS – AAA+

  14. NZJester 14

    The Aaa rating was only kept during the last National government’s term due to the Labour government before them having paid off our international debt. It is amazing that with all the reckless borrowing and spending of National that NZ was not heavily downgraded. Borrowing for a crisis like Christchurch is one thing, but they wasted a lot of it on tax cuts and vanity projects that did nothing for the NZ economy.

  15. Says it all…

    Home Brew – Listen To Us (feat. Tourettes) – YouTube

    • Takes a while to load and comments on the original you tube make the same observations…

      Critical of John Key and the National party,- seems someone got to some right wingers in the GSCB to jerry rig the play time… c’mon , boys,… you can do better than that… are you afraid of democracy so much so you have to impede, stonewall and try all sorts of delaying tactics to ‘censor’ your ideologues wishes ?

      Get a life.

      Just get a life, why don’t you…

      Pathetic.

  16. Ross 16

    Let’s not forget that our beloved former PM, John Key, claimed that Standard and Poor’s would’ve downgraded our credit rating, or were more likely to do so, under a Labour government. He lied.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/87882/standard-and-poor%27s-rejects-pm%27s-claim

  17. cleangreen 17

    100% to Micky, Wild Katipo and Ross.

    National get a spine and admit that Labour are being very frugal with spending as better adminstrators of finance tha National was when spending millions on flag refendums, smelters, Warner brothers movie companies, and “roads to no-where”.

  18. soddenleaf 18

    Stupid argument. Ratings are not a reflection of our economy, if we were a slave nation and had good govt balances…

    …despite our noted risk premium, due to our endemic poor productivity, due to our conservative elite who think it’s cost effective to hugger the poor. Productivity is a measure not of things but of we the people, since half the people are poor by dfn, to have the rulers talkjng down, enacting laws that are rigged against the poor yet supposedily are call efficient… …like how is paying too much for energy, whenthey work to jobs and can’t hire a energy broke….

    Sorry, but it ludicrous the Nats are seen as competent, these people are insanely mad and angry about everyone and everything, esp. the present govt.

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    3 weeks ago
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    3 weeks ago

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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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  • New Zealand privacy law modernised
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