New Zealand’s Perverse Economy

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, May 29th, 2021 - 37 comments
Categories: China, Economy, Environment, farming, Free Trade, trade - Tags:

At a forecast farm gate milk price of between NZ$7.25 and NZ$8.75 per kilo of milk solid, Fonterra is going to fill up its milk tankers, drive back to their suppliers with cash and pump it straight back into the farmhouse like we haven’t seen in a decade.

Around 10,000 farmer suppliers would receive about $12 billion. That is a pumping economy right there.

Every policy setting we have says do the opposite: diversify away from high mass bulk exports and towards higher-end value-added exports.

With tourism not ever again likely to regain its dominant place in our economy, New Zealand’s big exporting sectors are dairy, horticulture including wine, and health tech and software.

For dairy, far and away our dominant export industry and largely reliant on China, there are real environmental limits to be faced which are only going to get harder. Future growth must be encouraged from a shift to products with higher value added. With so many of our non-Fonterra dairy companies in serious trouble, it’s not yet evident that the state has many direct instruments to encourage Fonterra to do this, and with demand for their existing product lines in China so strong there’s not huge incentive either.

Dairy is the most perverse part of the New Zealand economy.

It’s not the same with horticulture, since Zespri is an anchor firm that generates and protects intangible assets and actively seeks to be at the global frontier of value moreso than volume. The longstanding relationship between CRI Plant & Food (and predecessor entities) have been instrumental in developing innovative and high value new fruit varieties. It’s really set the benchmark for government-industry export relationships as an entire innovation ecosystem.

Even timber  – together with its government partner CRI Scion – is not to be outdone, hitting record price levels as you will find if you have to do house repairs, extensions, or whole builds.

It’s very hard to predict whether slowing growth in China will be offset by further Biden-fulled growth booms in the United States, or the malign reverse where the fiscal stimulus in the United States fades later this year just as China hits the bottom of its deleveraging cycle. But foods generally, even in their bulk form, aren’t as vulnerable to such cycles as construction materials like steel and coal. So we are sitting pretty, even if we remain vulnerable to China.

And frankly who the hell knows which way the Senate’s anti-China legislation will fall in the next month. Productivity increases be damned, because in the meantime we are generating the stuff our customers want. Period.

Trade tectonic plates may well be pulling apart with force between China and the United States, but it’s appearing, perversely, to make New Zealand’s economy all the hotter.

37 comments on “New Zealand’s Perverse Economy ”

  1. dv 1

    12 billion /10000 = 1.25 million each

    Is that right?

    • Peter chch 1.1

      Gross income, before expenses and tax though.

      Also not correct as you just averaged it. Some farmers will get many times that, others much less.

      • dv 1.1.1

        I just used the figs in the OP.

        • Peter chch 1.1.1.1

          Yep, Advantage did a great article, but the 12 billion is a little misleading. But he is correct that it will be 12 billion injection to NZ economy.

          Surprisingly, Fonterra dairy farmers do not earn a lot. More a capital appreciation game than an income one. A few years of mismanagement did not help. They got badly scalped in China.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.1.1

            " do not earn a lot."

            Thats because any excess income after expenses is often used to borrow more money and buy another farm.

            The really really weird part is because Fonterra 'Group' is a cooperative it doesnt pay any tax – supposedly the tax is paid by the farmers ( yeah right). The non coop part of Fonterra actually gets a $200 mill refund of GST. ( from exports)

            So we effectively have a $20 bill per year revenue business which is 'tax free' and we worry about the tech giants ?
            And dont let me start on the government/taxpayer funding the dairy industrys ‘carbon costs’

            • Peter chch 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The shell (the co-op) is tax free. The suppliers would be very hard pressed to not pay tax on that income. Unless they are prepared to go to prison for tax evasion. It is not under the table earnings. Hard to hide!

              If Fonterra were a company and paid tax, the tax credits would be passed to the suppliers via imputation credits. Same difference.

              The GST rfund on the exports is because exports are zero rated. Really cannot see what the problem there is. GST is ultimately only paid on supplies made within NZ.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Any company has suppliers and still pays tax on its 'surplus' income or profit under IRD rules. A coop at this size should be treated as a normal company without the coop twist that would have applied with little cheese factorys we once had and close connection to local suppliers

                Just the sheer scale in this case with no tax paid at all, not even nominal $ billion or so.

                The GST arrangements are also perverse, its surely not how it was all intended. We already know the banks have twisted the GST system for their advantage as they have gotten the rules changed so that Mortgage brokers 'service' is zero rated so the banks dont have a GST bill to pay ( the vast bulk of their operations dont accumulate much GST as they are financial transactions).

                • Peter chch

                  With the greatest of respect, your understanding of taxation is a little off.

                  scenario 1: the tax is paid at a company level (by say Fonterra Ltd) and then that tax paid is passed down to suppliers as an imputation credit which the individual offsets against their individual earnings.

                  Scenario 2: Fonterra co-op pays no tax. It passes its earning down to individual suppliers (with no imputation credit but less withholding tax). These individual suppliers pay tax at their company or individual rate.

                  SAME RESULT!

                  And yes, this is EXACTLY how GST was intended to work. Logically and legally it would make no sense to pay GST on supplies made outside NZ. Would also lead to a bizarre double taxation in many jurisdictions. Zero rating exports also provides a powerful incentive to export, which our economy depends on.

                  The size of Fonterra is completely irrelevant.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    What withholding tax ? If you supply the right IR certificate, you are exempt. However they arent 'labour contractors' but businesses of their own supply or product – milk in this case

                    Your claim doesnt align with what IRD says

                    They get paid monthly 60% of that months milk payments and a make up later in year. For a product not labour.

                    When my business was operating, for a different industry, we never paid withholding tax for any suppliers. They werent labour contractors either.

                    • Peter chch

                      These are not 'suppliers' in the usual sense. They are 'shareholder suppliers'. They pay very large amounts to buy into the co-op based upon their milk production levels.

                      To get an exemption certificate would be unusual, but would make zero difference to the end result anyway. Tax still be assessed at the individual level at year end, so no change.

                      I really cannot make it any simpler. Whether a co-op or a company, the end result is identical. Just a different mechanism at play.

                      No such thing as a free lunch in the tax world. The IRD are not a charity.

                      Take a look at the payments advice from Fonterra to supplier-shareholders. They have tax withheld.

                      And my claim to knowledge? Chartered accountant for 30 years, 5 of those in a farm accounting practice.

                      End of discussion. I really cannot be bothered trying to further explain to you something that clearly you lack the knowledge or training to understand.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      So now the withholding tax thing was a diversion of yours

                      'Tax still be assessed at the individual level at year end, so no change.'

                      You alluded to the 'not profitable' thing earlier and the land banking thing ,and as I said its because they increase their expenses by borrowing for another farm. The end result again is no or little tax paid by the dairy farmers.

                      Real estate agents and mortgage brokers work the same way, in the years they are 'creaming it', they buy property so the interest expense fills their excess income, so no tax paid…. the brightline tests moved the goalposts but they could still reduce taxable income and increase untaxable capital gain. Just like dairy farmers, both know that buying houses or farms supports and grows the price of their 'asset'

                      We have a ‘thin capitalisation’ tax rule for overseas owned companies who deliberately suck profits out of NZ by over gearing.
                      Same should apply to dairy farmers, with over gearing for the size of the income not allowed

                    • Peter chch []

                      You really have a total and complete lack of understanding of the tax system.

                      As well, you clearly have little or no direct knowledge of the industry. Ideology seems to be the sole factor underpining your posts. Very sad, I suggest you do a little reading and learn a little before spouting ignorant ideas about taxation.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      So you got 'owned' peddling the withholding payments nonsense, so throw your gumboots in the air.

                      All those things are how the tax system is gamed.

                    • Peter chch []

                      No. Payments from fonterra to suppliers have tax deducted.

                      As a ca for 30 years, I have seen precious little 'gaming'.

                      When you have spent 4 years in uni, 3 years as a provisional accountant under supervision, attended professional accounting school, passed professional competency exams 1 and 2, spent 30 years in public practice and company accounting, come back and speak from a position of knowledge. Until then, bye bye.

                      Ps. Not replying to a hostile ignorant person is not 'throwing my gum boots in the air'.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Another form of tax dodge is when a good sized dairy farm is owned by a partnership of high income earners who dont participate in the running the farm. Any profits are are of course passed tax free to the individuals who can usually have other property investments with taxable income reduction benefits . Forestry used to be one of those.

              • Foreign waka

                Then there should be no issue with charging those milk powder exporters for carbon like everybody else, is there?

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  primary production is from existing atmospheric carbon and photosynthesis, by definition. thats what primary means when it refers to farms, forests, horticulture etc. Unless I missed something

  2. Peter chch 2

    Fonterra is a dinosaur in its dying gasps.

    It is a cooperative, and the relatively few shares publicly listed are likely to be compulsory acquired by the co-op in November. That will increasingly leave Fonterra starved of capital and inward looking. The old protected species of farmers just don't get it. Its not the 1980s anymore. Closed shops don’t work now.

    The likes of Synlait and Westland Milk Products are fast moving away from bulk milk and towards value added products, which is where the future lies. Fonterra much less so.

    From a supplier point of view, they are more attractive as no need to buy co-op shares, as is required with Fonterra.

    Also, Fonterra was badly burned in China, and its big push now is India, and unfortunately India economy will have been badly damaged by Covid this year.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      "Synlait and Westland Milk Products are fast moving away from bulk milk and towards value added products,"

      With small volumes, it can 'look fast' but NZ without a large captive home market for its higher margin products like they have in Europe , US , China even they have to stick with their base product for the volumes they produce. Try getting cheese and other dairy products into those markets ?

      After raw milk has a shelf life of a few days ,and every day the tankers do the rounds again with more milk. Milk powder can be quickly produced from raw milk with basic processing and be stored for a long time.

  3. gsays 3

    The $12 B comes at what cost?

    The impact on roads, pollution from tyres and the air quality from the truck fleet.

    The damage to our fresh water ways with run-off, and the degradation of the underground aquifers with the 'taking' of water, in this water intense industry.

    Without going into the plethora of single-use plastic this industry generates.

    Cows standing in bare unsheltered paddocks in the extremes of summer and winter.

    But, hey, they are just externalities, someone and something else pays for that impact.

    • Peter chch 3.1

      True, but dairy makes up almost 30% of our exports, with meat farming being the next biggest at 14%.

      Many of the things you describe can be and slowly are being mitigated.

      Scrap dairy and do what? The money for our welfare, health, education and so on has to come from somewhere.

      https://www.worldstopexports.com/new-zealands-top-10-exports/

      • Pat 3.1.1

        More importantly 'money' for manufactured goods, pharmaceuticals and the like that our lifestyles depend upon has to come from a currency supported by exports.

        • greywarshark 3.1.1.1

          We are killing ourselves and our country with our desires for things that can only be afforded by amoral methods in other words.

          And Peter chch what a wet answer – things are being mitigated. That they happen at all, ie cows standing in mud in winter etc. is shocking. It isn't something that someone should get round to doing a little about just to say they are making improvements. If nz GOVT had any standards and heft they would have stepped in and put on hefty fines and banned the farmers from participating in our dairy industry. /sarc

          • Pat 3.1.1.1.1

            "We are killing ourselves and our country with our desires for things that can only be afforded by amoral methods in other words."

            Currently, however it need not be so (or at least not to the same degree)…..unless we perform a miracle of autarky.

            The real question should be what do we agree we need and what is disposable….there are likely 5 million different opinions.

          • Peter chch 3.1.1.1.2

            Grey. Re cows standing in the open in mud with no shelter belt. 100% agree. No excuse for that whatsoever. Should be prosecuted under animal welfare laws. Now.

            • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.2.1

              I had thought that would be how you feel Peter chch. It's good to know who the thinkers around here directing towards the morally doable important things.

        • gsays 3.1.1.2

          "..pharmaceuticals and the like that our lifestyles depend upon.."

          I've often thought the dependence on medicines from off shore is a weakness and a great opportunity.

      • gsays 3.1.2

        Like a lot of things, the mechanism for righting these wrongs exists, it is the will that us lacking. ie ECAN making favourable decisions since it's 'reforms' or local and regional councils having majority of similar interests around the decision making table

  4. Incognito 4

    About adding value to milk: turning animals into producers of highly expensive anti-cancer drugs.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/how-genetically-modified-new-zealand-goats-could-help-fight-cancer/3A2XCXXQBNOI2J245QLYYZCBE4/

    • Drowsy M. Kram 4.1

      PPL Therapeutics (based in Scotland) and AgResearch started animal (sheep, cows) 'biopharming' research here in 1999, and NZ has some advantages in this field. From a lengthy 2008 report:

      Animal biopharming in New Zealand
      Animal biopharming research is occurring in New Zealand. Between 1999 and 2003, in Whakamaru, PPL Therapeutics developed a flock of transgenic sheep modified to produce recombinant human alpha-1-antitrypsin (hAAT). Since 1999, AgResearch has been producing transgenic cows modified to produce various human pharmaceutical proteins at their Hamilton-based research site, Ruakura.

      The move to therapeutic mAb production in goats is an interesting development – thanks for the link. If nothing else these applied research programmes help to keep NZ scientists up with the state of play in animal/plant transgenics and biochemistry.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    All Hail the Milk Powder Republic!

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    No news to those of us at the coalface. We've been hearing about the need to diversify away from primary production since highschool – but as government retreated from its responsibilities with the onset of neoliberalism, our futures were left to the insensate 'market forces' which of course chose the shortest path to immediate return, not the one with long term prospects.

    So, no building on the aquacultural work of the DSIR that gave us world leading mussel farms in the 1970s. Diversification discouraged in favour of a monoculture simple enough for even the laughably inept self-styled 'Business Round Table' to understand.

    No groundwork here, on photovoltaics or smart design to drive installations down to levels that made solar investment positive. No pharma, or sustainable fibre, or smart composites growing out of the yachting circuses, little or no robotics, limited support of local creative industries like screen and gaming. No finished wood products – raw logs or chips or framing if we're super lucky. Guess MPI thought they were being paid to sleep on the job. Not even an apposite solution to the perennial sheep shortage at Jeddah – well within NZ's extant skillsets. They market will provide – well the market hasn't and won't.

    Time to embrace the ascetic virtues guys, our leaders have us on the fast track to massive and sustained poverty.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    We would never have competitive advantage on photo-voltaics. It would be a repeat of the time when we had multiple television factories- I use to pass by one on the way to school.

    As for primary production ( yes it includes marine farming and horticulture) in 2012 the Government set a target to double the exports -to $64 bill- by 2025

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-goal-doubling-primary-sector-exports-64b-2025-remains-stretch-target-mpi-says-b-190432

    In ecology, primary production is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide. It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis, which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through chemosynthesis,….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_production

    Did someone say FROM CO2 in the atmosphere

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      We would never have competitive advantage on photo-voltaics.

      One never knows unless one makes the attempt. The precursor materials are widespread, it is the particular combinations that are more or less efficient. Of course, if you take the view that NZ should stick to dairy farming and not try to develop in any technical field, you have the privilege of making no mistakes – and no progress.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.1

        They still would be cheaper , far far cheaper from China. Like I said when we had expensive TV sets 'made locally' ( even harder now as these a highly automated production, TV sets or PV panels)

        Anyway our competitive advantage for electric generation is in wind , hydro and geothermal not small scale solar panels for home rooftops .

        Those batteries dont even supply 1 days power in winter (13.5kWh) , even for my ultra low usage, so grid supply is still essential , worse its needed most in winter when otherwise demand elsewhere is highest.

        • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1

          They still would be cheaper , far far cheaper from China.

          Of course – and that would be because China put in the research, and we did not. So we are price takers in the market. I saw a bit of the industry in China btw – doing insurance claims on silicon furnaces and the like.

          Half or more of the problem though, is that they are needlessly expensive. The raw inputs are far from ruinous, the step for value creation is to create a format that is more flexible and economical than panel batches – such as incorporating them in long term roofing like coloursteel, which is the logic of the Tesla tiles.

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    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    5 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    6 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    7 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan

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