Restarting Cullen Fund contributions

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, October 9th, 2013 - 56 comments
Categories: Economy, superannuation - Tags:

Stopping contributions to the Cullen Fund was always going to stand out as one of John Key and Bill English’s most economically inept decisions. They chose to stop the Fund buying assets just when they were at decades low prices, Crown borrowing was cheap, and markets were already recovering. The cost in just four years: $2.5 billion. And rising.

Even with Key’s record borrowing binge now coming to an end, the Nats still don’t want to resume salting away money for the superannuation cost explosion. They want to wait until 2020/21. That happens to also be the date they say they will start building the City Rail Link – a date chosen in both instances because they know they won’t be in government when it arrives.

My quick calculations from Cullen Fund returns data show that if National had kept contributing $2 billion a year to the Super Fund, then the Fund would now have $11.1 billion more in it – $3.1 billion of that from returns – against an added borrowing cost to the Crown of $0.6 billion. In other words, by cancelling the Cullen Fund payments, Key and English cost us a net $2.5 billion so far.

And, because the Fund’s so much smaller now than it should be, the cost will just grow exponentially over time, something made worse by the fact that contributions still won’t resume for another 8 years if National have their way. Oh, and because the Fund is smaller than it should be, when the contributions resume they will legally have to be bigger in a desperate attempt to fill it up to size.

Just assuming that the Cullen Fund makes its target return of 2.5% above the Crown’s cost of borrowing, delaying contributions until 2021 will cost a net $6.5 billion by 2021. On its track record to date of beating the Crown’s cost of borrowing by 4%, it’ll cost us $9.2 billion by 2021.

By the time we reach the point of starting to use the Fund to pay for superannuation in about 2030, there will be tens of billions of dollars less in it than there should be – and the gap will have to be made up by taxpayers.

Even the Herald is now realising what a huge mistake National has made. Even the fucken Herald says Key and English are financially incompetent and should be resuming Cullen Fund payments.

The fact is, we can’t afford not to.

56 comments on “Restarting Cullen Fund contributions”

  1. northshoredoc 1

    Apparently Bill English wants to reach surplus, and then quickly get government debt to 20% of GDP, which he considers prudent. The IMF say 60% is prudent. Countries like America and Greece are near 100%.

    I think hes being overly prudent, and should ensure a balance between debt repayment and expanded services or resumption of the Cullen fund. I think his surplus plan has been good, but the risk is he seriously starves basic services and becomes driven purely by his ideological leanings.

    • Molly 1.1

      Gandalf??

    • Puckish Rogue 1.2

      Better to be overly prudent then end up like well pick a country in Europe, Africa or the Americas

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        Germany

        • Puckish Rogue 1.2.1.1

          I’ll see you Germany and raise you a Greece or a Spain

          • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1.1.1

            pop quiz pucko:

            What party and or politician in NZ said, prior to the meltdowns of various euro nations, that we should be ‘more like Ireland’?

            • Tracey 1.2.1.1.1.1

              he was still saying it in 2008, 2009 2010, 2011… took him ages to realise Ireland’s experiment hadn’t worked.

              “The financial services hub proposal emerged after banker Craig Stobo told the Government’s 2009 Jobs Summit an economic boost would result if the Government created a zero tax rating for foreign investors who invested in international funds based here.

              In March 2010, Stobo was appointed chairman of an advisory group whose tasks specifically included determining what incentives were required by financial firms to implement the financial hub proposal by then Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee.

              Cabinet papers from the time note $500,000 was allocated to fund Stobo’s group. Brownlee awarded group members fees he characterised as “top of the range” of up to $655 a day. ”

              “Key’s frustration with officials who recommended the proposal be canned boiled over the following month when he reportedly told the audience at the International Business Forum that official advice criticising the hub was “absolute rubbish”. ”

              “CANCELLED: John Key was to meet Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in New York. ”

              oh dear…

              but cant buy shares for Cullen fund when the prices are low, oh no sirreeeeee

            • Puckish Rogue 1.2.1.1.1.2

              So why is NZ doing so well in comparison towards the rest of the world? Must be because of Labours stirling work in government…no wait its because of the policies (still not right enough for me but you can’t please everyone) of National

              • Colonial Viper

                Easy. Because we are more left wing and less financialised than most of those other countries, plus we have the massive advantage of currency sovereignty.

              • GregJ

                Must be because of Labours stirling work in government

                Actually you are right – the reason New Zealand initially weathered the worst of the Global Depression was because of the relatively sound economic footing left by Labour. However after nearly 5 years of the National Governments generally laissez-faire economic management (laissez-faire except of course when it actively intervenes to advantage its corporate cronies, farming interests or the wealthy) we have low & stagnating growth, increased government debt (to pay for unecessary tax cuts which actually sucked money out of the economy), and flat unemployment figures stuck around 6.5% (which only look that “good” because of the non-reporting of significant underemployment and those who have given up on finding any employment).

          • Tracey 1.2.1.1.2

            changing the goal pots Puck, re-read your comment to which I replied. perhaps you need to be less broadbrush with your comments.

            • miravox 1.2.1.1.2.1

              “perhaps you need to be less broadbrush with your comments.”

              True. Perhaps defining “doing so well” and “rest of the world” would be a start.

  2. Richard Christie 2

    Sorry, I don’t read NZ Herald editorials.
    Won’t start now.

  3. Saarbo 3

    Too right JH, I would be surprised if there was an investment expert’s around that would have advised the government to stop contributions to the Cullen Fund. Dollar Cost Averaging http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_cost_averaging was always going to mean that just after the GFC was the worst time to stop contributing to the Cullen Fund. So NZ is a net $2.5billion worse off…nice one John and Bill….useless!

  4. Tracey 4

    This decision was contrary to everything people in keys former career know.

    You buy regularly so you catch lows and highs to even out your returns.

    he stopped in part to give tax cuts to a non stimulating part of the econony

    • SpaceMonkey 4.1

      It’s worse than that. By denying the fund money, National have denied the Cullen Fund the opportunity to maximise returns in the sharemarket at a time when the market is humming, albeit artificially. It is where most of the central bank-printed money is going around the world. At some stage it will collapse but not until the quantitative easing ends… and the markers to date indicate that will continue indefinitely.

  5. And there we go with the “inept” again. No it wasn’t. They did not want the NZ Pensionfund to purchase assets. John Key and his masters want it bankrupt as is happening around the globe. We are in hock for at least $112 billion in derivatives which are on the verge of going belly up and the Cullen fund is riddled with the same shitty crap.

    • felix 5.1

      Exactly. Key and English want asset and wealth ownership transferred into private and corporate hands.

      There’s nothing inept about it.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.2

      That’s it in a nutshell. Nothing inept about it, it’s completely deliberate. Max Keiser and many of his guests have frequently highlighted how the traders ensure pension funds and like are ripped off over time. It’s a long play contributing towards collpase and another way in which the banks socialise their losses.

      Additionally, the estimated $11 billion in stopped contributions to the Cullen Fund has meant that is $11 billion less competing with the hedge funds for assets. It’s a win on both fronts for the bankers.

  6. infused 6

    And if it had lost $11b you’d be crying saying why did you put money in it when we were borring so much.

    gg.

    • felix 6.1

      And if my aunt had bollocks…

      • infused 6.1.1

        I find it pretty telling that you lot are pushing this. It pretty much says you will complain about everything.

        This could have easily gone the wrong way, yet you lot don’t seem to care.

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          More telling that you support selling assets at the bottom of the market but not buying them.

        • Tracey 6.1.1.2

          the evidence is it would have gone the right way. Warren Buffett bought at the bottom.

          • infused 6.1.1.2.1

            He wasn’t in debt.

            • felix 6.1.1.2.1.1

              lolz

              • Tracey

                I know felix… It’s like the 76 billion debt expected to have been run up by this government by 2015 has completely missed infused…

                It rather begs the question, infused with what?

            • Tracey 6.1.1.2.1.2

              we weren’t until the national government began borrowing to fund things like it’s tax cuts. I’m sorry you don’t understand the concept of the Cullen Fund and investment generally. I’m also sorry that you don’t understand that Key knew the prudent thing to do was to keep funding the Cullen Fund when the markets were low because he knew that history told us after every collapse came the rebound for those who stayed through the downtimes.

    • Tracey 6.2

      BUT it wouldn’t have lost $11bn… and the borrowing, glad you remember the borrowing, usually the Pm’s supporters erase the borrowing from their minds… and focus on the tiny surplus in 2015.

    • Lanthanide 6.3

      That’s my feeling too, infused.

      • Tracey 6.3.1

        it’s a strategy that has worked historically post crash for all those who had money to take advantage. This government has borrowed billions but not for the Cullen fund… speaks volumes.

    • risildowgtn 6.4

      Thing is idiot it didnt so your argument as usual is full of shit

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    The Longevity Sandals and Socks of NZ Super
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11137274

    (got that surplus 200-400K to maintain living in the style you’ve grown accustomed to in retirement?)-RNZ

  8. King Kong 8

    If any of you are worried about the super fund being light when it comes time for you to retire you could always personally borrow money to invest for your retirement. It is a genius move after all.

    • SpaceMonkey 8.1

      Except the near-0% loans from the central-banks are not available to the ordinary individual… otherwise I would be in there, along with everyone else. Can’t have that… it would create too much competition for the hedge funds and competition is bad for business.

      • King Kong 8.1.1

        Would be interested to hear about these 0% loans the Goverment can get its hands on.

        • Tracey 8.1.1.1

          Dirk van Dijk, writing for the investor website Zacks.com, explains what a good deal this is for the banks:

          “Keeping short-term rates low . . . is particularly helpful to the big banks like Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan (JPM). Their raw material is short-term money, which is effectively free right now. They can borrow at 0.25% or less, and then turn around and invest those funds in, say, a 5-year T-note at 2.50%, locking in an almost risk-free profit of 2.25%. On big enough sums of money, this can be very profitable, and will help to recapitalize the banking system (provided they don’t drain capital by paying it out in dividends or frittering it away in outrageous bonuses to their top executives).”

          • King Kong 8.1.1.1.1

            In this US example the Government borrowing side of things is the T-note which has an interest bill of 2.5%. Hardly 0% is it.

            • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Are you being an idiot on purpose? It’s a good deal for the Primary Dealers who get their money for near free from the privately owned Federal Reserve system under ZIRP, and who then proceed to rip the US gov off and the US tax payers off to the tune of 2.5% pa by buying T-bills and T-bonds.

        • Lightly 8.1.1.2

          The personal loan rate in NZ is what – 8-10%? The Govt has been borrowing at under 3%.

    • Tracey 8.2

      isn’t that what your government is really doing? $76bn by 2015.

  9. newsense 9

    We should introduce a tax on those who voted National in 2008/2011 to pay for the lost Super fund money..or simply not pay it out to those who did until the ledger is square.

  10. Treetop 10

    Just read on Stuff that Aussie has over 1 million millionaires. Population about 23 million. Aussie has the highest median wealth of adults in the world.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      So how many of these “millionaires” can buy a house in Sydney nowadays?

      Let’s be realistic, having a million bucks in the 80’s meant something. Nowadays it means having a small pad in Takapuna and a bit of a Kiwisaver fund. Meh, that’s “progress” I suppose.

      • Treetop 10.1.1

        Imagine what they could buy in NZ.

        I have not checked out the Sydney real estate market recently.

        Is it worse than Auckland central city when you compare it to the difference in wages?

      • MrSmith 10.1.2

        No that’s inflation Cv, how a large proportion of us make our money.

  11. Ad 11

    Completely agree with this post. Hopefully Parker will grow some nads and follow your advice.

  12. tricldrown 12

    Klueless klutz.
    T bills .51% is the current rate.
    Some longerterm bills have a negative rate.

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    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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