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Spinbusting: Nats’ borrowing not for tax cuts

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, August 2nd, 2008 - 74 comments
Categories: national, spin, tax - Tags:

Today, Bill English is outlining National’s plan to undo the work of the past fifteen years and take this country further into debt.

He will argue that National would not be borrowing for its programme of tax cuts for the wealthy, rather it would borrow for investment. That is a lie.

We already borrow for investment but only enough so that our debt stays at roughly the same level of GDP (18-20%). National will be looking at increasing those debt levels to 25% of GDP+. That will cost about a billion a year in interest payments.

English will say the borrowed money would go on health or education or roads, not tax cuts but think about it – they are planning tax cuts for the wealthy, because of these cuts, they won’t have enough money to fund the spending, so they would have to borrow. No big tax cuts, no need to borrow – the borrowing is to fund the tax cuts.

National won’t tell you that because, as John Armstong says: “Right now, getting back into power is all that matters to the party. To ensure victory it will do – to quote one of Key’s pet sayings – whatever it takes”

74 comments on “Spinbusting: Nats’ borrowing not for tax cuts”

  1. sean 1

    What the hell is the “tax cuts for the wealthy” line? Its tax cuts for those who actually are earning in the first place.

    You simply can’t resist putting your little spin on every blog you do can you?

    If you were more objective in your writing you might actually have a bit more credibility – sadly, you just end up looking crazed and turning people even further away from Labour.

  2. Steve 2

    Sean, Bill English made clear on Agenda (May 18) that National would like to focus on those in top income tax bracket that have suffered from bracket creep. Given that only 15% of the taxpaying population, earns more than $60,000 the line tax cuts for the wealthy is not spin, it is fact. 85% of the taxpaying population earn less than $60,000 are you saying that they are also not entitled to tax cuts? Cutting taxes at the lower end of the scale benefits far more people than cutting at the top, even if the top is not that high..

  3. gobsmacked 3

    From John Armstrong’s piece:

    It is not more of National’s “me-too” cuddling up to Labour’s policies. It is a case of being more Labour than Labour.

    The righties: “Debt is good!”

    The lefties: “Winston’s OK!”

    World, mad.

  4. Draco TB 4

    What a surprise – National lying through their teeth.

    In other spin news, this from 08wire is hilarious.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Its tax cuts for those who actually are earning in the first place.

    If it really is all your money, and all tax is theft… then why the hell are you still living here in New Zealand?

    Note that once again Key is announcing ‘a program of tax cuts’ with absolutely NO detail and NO attempt to outline the size and structure of them, and aboslutely NO attempt to state by how much they will reduce govt income by, and by what means he intends to continue to balance the govt books.

    He has only the following three options:

    1. Reduce, privatise or sell of State assets or entities.

    2. Increase direct or indirect Crown debet.

    3. Loot Cullen’s Superannuation Fund.

    He has verbally stated that he will NOT do option 1 or 2.

    Last night on RNZ Brent Edwards gave Key 25 uninterrupted minutes, in a pathetic soft-cock interview where he just fed Key one patsy question after another, and then let Key waffle on as long as he felt like. But at the end of it, Key has said NOTHING. Oh we had 25 minutes of CrosbyTextor feel-good lines, but at no point did Key actually say ANYTHING about what he thinks National will actually do in power.

    I’ve heard this kind of bullshit from senior corporate directors before. It has the same brain numbing effect after a while; the carefully crafted words are going into the ears… but the brain is screaming… “I cannot make sense of this, what does it mean?”.

    Only afterwards you find that it really means that you are being screwed. Even Rodney Hide knows that Key is lying. Everyone who understands the numbers knows that Key is lying.

    He cannot make significant tax cuts, maintain his spending commitments AND not increase govt borrowing.

    The man is a blatant lying swindler. (But he does have a nice smile.)

  6. ak 6

    That nice man has been promising us an extra bag of lollies a week for years.

    But now he’s had to admit that we’ll be in hock to foreign money-lenders to get them.

    Ooo err… sounds like the old message about accepting lollies from strangers is about to hit home…

    Never get in a polling booth with someone you don’t know.

  7. randal 7

    its just a game…the rich get it and the banks take it off them!!!

  8. Anita 8

    RL

    He has only the following three options:

    1. Reduce, privatise or sell of State assets or entities.

    2. Increase direct or indirect Crown debet.

    3. Loot Cullen’s Superannuation Fund.

    4. Cut government provided services.

    5. Cut the government subsidy used to provide access to services.

    6. Reduce welfare payments.

    I am expecting to see both 4 and 5. Plus 6 through holding back increases, cutting supplementary assistance and forcing people off welfare.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Anita,

    Duh.. guilty of sloppy thinking.

    The thing that gets me is that in all likelihood National really have no detailed plan.

    All they really intend to do is cut or freeze budgets and leave it to the public service to cope with the consequences.

    And if they resist, then a few strategic ‘restructurings’ will ensure compliance.

  10. monkey-boy 10

    But surely, with the burden of governing, there are always going to be winners and losers aren’t there? That is just an acceptable risk isn’t it?
    I say that because the Government cannot legislate to eliminate risk. And even if we could, we wouldn’t, because without it we would have no entrepreneurship, no investment, no innovation and no growth to ignite our transformational ambitions for New Zealand.
    Just testing….

  11. mike 11

    Great plan to gazump Labours long over due Tax cuts.

    As far as bribes go Steve, Labour have had the mortgage on these for the past elections and I can’t wait to see who they will target this year.

    My pick is the unemployed as its the only group that aren’t totally sick of Labour yet and it’s definitely a growing audience.

  12. monkey-boy 12

    A one-off payment of a thousand dollars for everyone has been suggested…

  13. RedLogix 13

    Mike,

    Where exactly do YOU think Key will be getting the money to pay for his tax cuts from?

    Or are you peddling Key’s lie as well?

  14. Kevyn 14

    “English will say the borrowed money would go on health or education or roads…”

    Roads? Governments don’t spend money on roads unless they are opening up Crown lands for settlement. IMHO privatising National Parks is guaranteed election losing strategy.

    Or is Steve simply proving that he doesn’t know the difference between a Government Department and a Crown Entity. One is funded from taxation the other from user fees. One is run by the Minister the other by an “independent” board appointed by Cabinet and subject to a performance agreement with the shareholding or “responsible” minister.

    If the Land Transport Agency wants to borrow money so it can replace the road toll with toll roads it should be able to so just like every other independent agency such as ARTA or Solid Energy.

  15. RedLogix 15

    Kevyn,

    So you think that we cannot tell the difference between direct Govt debt, and indirect debt or liabilities piled up by Crown entities?

    For instance a Public/Private Partnership in which the private party borrows the money, but passes the interest costs onto the public… and a liability in the form of residual debt or deferred maintenance in 20 years time?

  16. RedLogix 16

    The highlight of the day is expected to be an address from deputy leader and finance spokesman Bill English who is expected to announce a more relaxed approach by National to running deficits – even bigger deficits than Labour – during the current economic downturn in an attempt to boost the economy.

    It is also seen as an attempt to neutralise Labour’s expected claims that tax cuts will force cuts to public spending.

    Mr Key said the party’s tax cut programme would not require the Crown to borrow in order to fund them.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4641196a6160.html

    Unfunded Govt deficits = Reserve Bank printing money??

    I’m also baffled by the reference to – even bigger deficits than Labour – … this from a media for the last five years or so has lambasted Dr Cullen for running a surplus?

    And can anyone spot the exact similarity to the Bush regime’s economic plan… cut taxes for the wealthy and run massive deficts?

  17. Oh yes , the Bush and National link , sooooooooooooooooooo ho hum boring, play it again Miss Simpson !

  18. rave 18

    $1000 bucks each. Enough to get pissed for Xmas and wake up in the New Year with a sore head. I always thought that for rigthies their ntellect is located in their hip pocket which is always on a countdown to the next organism.

  19. fiona 19

    I hope this is not a dumb question, but what are the economic implications of increasing government debt in the way suggested by English?

    And how can this be communicated to voters?

  20. Quoth the Raven 20

    My pick is the unemployed as its the only group that aren’t totally sick of Labour yet and it’s definitely a growing audience

    You know very well that unemployment has decreased significantly under this labour government. When National were last in government in 1999 there were 161,128 people on unemployment benefit. In May this year there were 17,465 and this government hasn’t increased hte unemployment benefit since National’s slashing in the nineties, which many righties disingenuously criticise here. Mike do you really think they’re that bigger voting block? Please Mike use your brain before you spout your repetitive right wing lies here.

  21. randal 21

    the implications are this. interests rates are still high and his version will increase inflation (robbing the old) while they enrich themselves with their spreadheeteyes till the beast is gutted and they are in England with castles and lots of money. there. hows that?

  22. fiona 22

    Hmmmmm, could be interesting communicating that to the electorate.

  23. Felix 23

    Best way would be a televised debate between randal and d4j. That’ll get the messages out.

  24. pinetree 24

    Steve – do you have any numbers to hand (post budget 2008, or presumably covered in there) that project debt (as % against GDP, Net, Gross Sovereign, whichever is the best measure etc) for the period covering Labour’s stated tax cut plan?

    ….up, down or neutral?

  25. Matthew Pilott 25

    Fiona, the most simple way to phrase it is that borrowing is more expensive than saving for something or funding it through income. Sometimes you have to do it, other times it is irresponsible. If they’re doing it for a dumb reason, as mike breathlessly intones, then they’re going to impose a needless cost on New Zealand.

    If they give tax cuts, and then borrow for omething else, or arrange a PPP, we lose, be it by tolls, interest payments, or as RedLogix suggests, deferred maintenance by the privte entity so we get a whopping great bill in a few years time.

    Ostensibly, National think that an extra block of cheese now is worth the whole grocery bill later – it be interesting to see how they frame it. Why will we be more likely to afford higher taxes in the future? Are the current econimoc pressures likely to be lesser in 10 years time, in 20? I think not – impossible to say for sure, but it’s not worth the gamble.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Sir Roger Douglas must be turning in his grave.

  27. Draco TB 27

    what are the economic implications of increasing government debt in the way suggested by English?

    in simple terms: Short term will see a slight, probably negligible, increase in living standards that will be wiped out by in six months by inflation. Long term will see a decrease in living standards as the extra costs that we have to pay (interest payments, inflation, decreasing value of the dollar) bite in.

    Sir Roger Douglas must be turning in his grave.

    I just wish he’d stayed in his grave.

  28. fiona 28

    Is this worrying for Labour? NZers have a record of selling their kids’ futures down the tubes eg getting rid of the Kirk super fund, no universal student allowance and high tertiary fees, and the f**k the environment attitude of so many

  29. Rob 29

    Great idea by English and Key to do this and the more that Cullen whinges the worse it makes him look for taking so long to give tax cuts.

    Especially when he was advised in 2005 by treasury to give them he called this and ideological burp. His tax cut was given this year only because Labour is so far behind in the polls and it made much more sense to give it when he was running surpluses of 8 to 9 billion.

    I’m sure crosby textor will come up with some great ideas next week. Helen still has to contend with the on going Winston saga which isn’t going away.

  30. Draco TB 30

    Is this worrying for Labour?

    Can’t answer for Labour but it is certainly a worry for those of us that realise that National are promising to sell us short. National are thinking and planning short term and will only about a negligible, very short term, gain offset by generations of decreasing living standards. Hell, we’re still paying for the Nationals’ financial mismanagement from the 1970s and they’re not showing any indications that they’ve got any better.

    I do hope that Labour and the other left wing parties are worrying about it and are going to spell it out, in no uncertain terms, to the populace.

  31. Draco TB 31

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0808/S00012.htm

    “John Key would borrow for tax cuts if elected, and he would pass the bill to our children. That’s just crazy.’

  32. RedLogix 32

    The extraordinary thing is that Key has been telling every interviwer I heard this last few weeks “That National will NOT be borrowing to pay for tax cuts”.

    He could not have been more clear.

    And now at their conference Bill English is saying that they will.

    Someone is lying.

    (And I wonder if any of those bold media types who Key lied to will bother to pick him up on it.)

    This is not a little lie. It is a big one concerning billions of dollars of taxpayers money. It also calls into question Key’s credibility concerning all the other verbal commitments he has been making the last month or two.

    The man is a lying swindler. (But he does have a nice smile.)

  33. Kevyn 33

    RedLogix,

    No, I merely asked whether Steve knew the dirrerence between a “the Government” and a stautorily independent body.

    But since Labour’s reintroduction of borrowing powers for the highway agency also reinstated the limition of that borrowing power to borrowing from the government it is probably a moot point, in relation to Steve’s original post.

  34. Kevyn 34

    Matthew, Borrowing isn’t inherently more expensive than saving for something or funding it through income. Especially for infrastructure that requires a lot of urban land such as rail yards and sewerage ponds. Since the future is unpredictable any decision of whether to borrow, save, or pay-go is going to have to be judged by future generations with the benefit of hindsight. Was Vogel right to borrow astronomical sums to build the railways? Or should he have waited to find out what impact steam would have on coastal shipping?

    With public infrastructure there is also the question of intergenerational equity. Should today’s rates or taxes or road user charges pay to build the things that will only be enjoyed by tomorrow’s ratepayers, taxpayers or road users?

  35. Swampy 35

    “Bill English is outlining National’s plan to undo the work of the past fifteen years and take this country further into debt.”

    Which part of the last fifteen years do you acknowledge was worthwhile, then? All of it? Some of it? Or as well known Lefty politician Jim Anderton would have it, none?

  36. Swampy 36

    “Right now, getting back into power is all that matters to the party. To ensure victory it will do – to quote one of Key’s pet sayings – whatever it takes’.

    John Armstrong actually first heard this phrase, as we all did, when reading Matthew Hooton’s column earlier this year about the Labour Party’s campaign tactics. I think Armstrong has mixed up his parties.

  37. Swampy 37

    $60,000 is not wealthy, people in that bracket receive WFF under Labour’s current criteria.

    [lprent: you know that is incorrect swampy. Say after me – families with children… You’re starting to get as bad as Rob about accuracy. ]

  38. Swampy 38

    Whoops – Crosby/Textor Alert! Now the Exclusive Brethren have been displaced as chief bogeymen by Crosby/Textor!

    Now, in the real world today, the National Party held a conference…

    [lprent: Swampy – you are starting to look like a troll to me. Standard phrases randomly selected, not interacting with other commentators, and dumping large numbers of comments in a short period. In particular I’m noticing that other commentators (apart from other trolls) aren’t bothering to discuss your comments. Be warned that I’m starting to watch you – lift your standard. ]

  39. Swampy 39

    “All they really intend to do is cut or freeze budgets and leave it to the public service to cope with the consequences.”

    The public service is a bloated bureacracy that is tasked with significant political imperatives by the government intended first and foremost to make government bigger and the private sector smaller.

    There is no need for such bureacratic growth where the private sector already has the capacity to provide services, where the matter of the government wanting to dominate or monopolise provision is more about ideological than practical considerations.

    An obvious and recent example is the renationalisation of railways with the big-dollar spending announcements, all of which create the clear impression that the government is prepared to run the rail service at a loss in order to squeeze out private sector competition, such policy may buy the votes of the rail union members but is very expensive in public funding terms.

  40. Draco TB 40

    Borrowing isn’t inherently more expensive than saving for something or funding it through income.

    Wow, what planet are you living on?
    I want access to 0% interest loans as well.

  41. Swampy 41

    “Fiona, the most simple way to phrase it is that borrowing is more expensive than saving for something or funding it through income. Sometimes you have to do it, other times it is irresponsible. If they’re doing it for a dumb reason, as mike breathlessly intones, then they’re going to impose a needless cost on New Zealand.”

    That’s like when Labour takes a billion dollars out of Meridian Energy to fund election campaign promises, we all pay through higher electricity prices.

  42. ak 42

    Kevyn: Matthew, Borrowing isn’t inherently more expensive than saving for something or funding it through income

    Oh yeah…. Noooiiiiiccccce, Kevvy – Tory spin attempt of the century, I’d say. Try selling that to every kiwi parent (oh that’s right – your masters Flipper and Billy-Bob actually are!!)

    Ya gotta laff! – the prudent, responsible, big-money “party of business” now trying to convince us that loan sharks are our friends!

    Pathetic. And yet so inevitable – painted into a corner after proffering the most blatant and unprecedented electoral “tax cut” vote-bribe in history back in 2005.

    But what do I know? – hey, put your grandkids in hock, people – our $50mill Golden Flip-flipping Money Trader says it’s all good (golly – I wonder why his nicknames are “smiling assassin” and “smiling snake” and that his favourite saying is “whatever it takes”?)

  43. max 43

    I dont know why you bother swampy, this place is full of no hoping commies.

    [lprent: always intriguing to find people repeating myths of the past so religiously.]

  44. monkey boy 44

    I think it’s all academic. As far as i can see, the electorate does not give a flying one about ‘borrowing’ to finance tax-cuts. The reason for this is in part due to Michael Cullen’s fiscal management, which in part endorsed the idea that regardless of the amount of surplus he was sitting on, he wouldn’t do tax-cuts. He cited the dangers of inflation, asserted they were merely bribes, he told us ‘the advice’ was against it. Yes, and made a decent fist of appearing to at least, even if you disagreed with him, hold an ethical stance.
    But then he flip-flopped. Suddenly, it appeared he’d been giving tax cuts all the time, with WfF!, Magically, it appeard ‘the advice’ had been a mistake! In one fell swoop, all that stuff about ‘bribing’ the voters was ignored, and Cullen started to endorse National’s philosophy. It was like a latter chapter of Animal Farm, starring Michael Cullen as Napoleon’s chief apologist, Squealer!
    It achieved three things: first the voters saw through his earlier high-sounding pronouncements. Secondly, in the pre-election mexican stand-off, Labour blinked first, so admitting their policy was faulty. Thirdly, it impressed upon the electorate that when it comes to the dollar in their pocket, they’d rather have it now, thanks, and fuck all the high-sounding theory about economics.
    The net result is, to my mind, that people do not care about the arguments, they simply want to feel some certaintly that they can pay their bills. If it means ‘borrowing’ and ‘deficit’ they’ll accept that risk. After all, what did they get for the surplus? Settlements under Wiatangi, and a clapped out train set?
    Nice.

  45. Kevyn 45

    Draco, I’m living on the planet where inherently means “Permanently existing in something; inseparably attached or connected; naturally pertaining to; innate; inalienable”. (Dictionary.com)

    I want access to 0% inflation. But that ain’t gonna happen either.

    Ak wasn’t too wide of the mark. Capitalism was founded on the belief that new technology can produce more than enough profit to pay the interest on borrowed capital.

    Vogel seems to have had a similar belief: borrowing to build the railways would increase economic growth more than enough to pay the interest on the loans. Keynes made a similar argument but, in essence, Vogel was following property developer logic.

    The fact of the matter is that sometimes the cost of putting things off is bigger than the cost of borrowing to do it now. That’s something our forefathers understood and why we had almost a century of public works loans driving economic growth. Perhaps the post-WWII emphasis on home ownership and developing marginal farmlands was too big a deviation from that original borrowing philosophy and became the albatros around the neck of the economy in the 70s. Maybe redlogix has the right data at hand to check that out.

    It’s whats been built on top of capitalisms foundation stops me from being a righty. Nobody who understands the Theory of the Perfect Free Market could ever agree with the Business Rountable or the rogergnomes. Although I would opt for genuine anarchy over statism any day of the week that’s not the same as advocating laissez-faire capatalism.

  46. monkey boy 46

    ps i should have spelled that ‘Waitangi’
    Aroha mai.

  47. RedLogix 47

    MonkeyBoy,

    Your last post is based on a complete misunderstanding.

    Dr Cullen is a Keynesian. (I’ve heard his say so with my own ears.)

    Maynard Keynes basic idea was that govt should try and act to moderate the normal capitalist business cycle by acting countercyclically. In other words when the business cycle was booming, the govt should keep taxes high and reduce govt debt. In fact if you take the SuperFund and various other instruments into account, the NZ Govt is for the first time in living history a nett creditor.

    And when the business cycle inevitably turns the govt then moderates this by prudently cutting cutting taxes and running down govt reserves. Cullen’s recent tax cuts where just large enough to allow the govt to run a balanced book. Any more creates deficits.

    The problem is “how far”. In the modern political idiom tax cuts are very hard to reverse. If your tax cut is so large that it puts govt into a structural deficit, then you are committing that govt to an ever increasing debt.

    The problem with debt is two fold.

    1. Eventually you have to pay it back. And you have to pay interest on top of it. A 20 year loan of $1 billion at say 5% interest, eventually costs something in the order of $3.65 billion by the time it is fully cleared. At some point you HAVE to increase taxes again in order to repay the debt.

    2. NZ private sector debt is already FAR too high. We already pay a premium interest rate because of that. If the market perceives that the public sector is also increasing it’s debt position, then interest rates will increase even further.

    Paying extra interest on more public sector debt is bad enough, but the enormous multiplier effect on our existing private sector debt will be crippling.

  48. vto 48

    by your same reasoning labour borrows for tax cuts too so wtf are you on about?

  49. RedLogix 49

    vto,

    Cullen’s recent tax cuts where just large enough to allow the govt to run a balanced book. Any more creates deficits.

    I know you can read, because you seem to be able to write.

    Notice carefully that Key and English are telling you ‘tax cuts’, but NOTHING about the numbers or how they will work.

    Money is all about numbers. When you get a spam email telling you that you can free money ‘earning tens of thousands’ working from home, but they do not tell you any actual numbers or how those numbers are actually acheived, you know that it is a scam. Someone talking money, but not telling you hard numbers is trying to scam you.

    Key is scamming you. (But he has a nice smile.)

  50. Felix 50

    When does he show this “nice smile” everyone talks about? I’ve never seen it.

  51. Disengaged 51

    When did Michael Cullen announce that he was going to stop borrowing? I must have missed that. Otherwise isn’t he borrowing for his tax cuts?

    Prudent use of borrowed funds is a good strategy. Particularly if it means that you can leverage the benefits of having the assets sooner to greater effect that the cost of the borrowing.

  52. RedLogix 52

    Disengaged,

    Particularly if it means that you can leverage the benefits of having the assets sooner to greater effect that the cost of the borrowing.

    But most public sector infrastructure projects do not directly return cash flow to the Crown. At some point the borrowed money PLUS interest has to be recouped by increased taxes. The basic problem with debt fuelled growth is that much like any drug habit, debt is very easy to get into, much harder to get out of. New Zealand has just spent 15 years getting itself out of the debt hangover created in the 70’s and 80’s.

    This is why Cullen has kept taxes high and been reducing core Crown debt dramatically. It is obvious that no govt could reduce debt to zero overnight, but a programming of REDUCING debt was and has been achievable.

    From memory I think that at present the core debt sits around 18% of Crown income. Counterbalancing that are the various SuperFund investments. As I stated above, the govt is currently earning more from investments than it is paying in interest. This is a good thing. If we pursued this strategy long enough, and govt was earning sufficient funds from investments, and indeed in the long run it could genuinely reduce taxes (or improve services) in an entirely sustainable manner.

    Because the economic cycle has turned, the correct thing for any Keynesian Finance Minister to do, was to stop reducing debt, reduce taxes and/or increase infrastructure spending. Which is exactly what Cullen has done while still allowing the Crown to run a balanced book.

    On top of that Cullen has decided to allow a ONE off increase in core debt to about 20% in order to fund existing infrastructure.

    But Key and English have signalled substantial tax cuts that will mean the Crown is running substantial deficits every year, forcing the Crown to INCREASE debt every year.

    In a global environment where credit is already exceedingly expensive to obtain, this is an insanely reckless strategy. Of course John Key knows this perfectly well… and it begs the question who Key’s real masters are, and just for whom he is really so very ambitious.

  53. Felix 53

    RL, that’s all very well but you’re talking about stuff that won’t even affect us for a couple of years – try to stay in the moment dude!

    When Johnny Keys gets in we’ll all be richer than astronauts like him and none of that fancy schmancy number juggling will matter.

  54. rave 54

    Yeah monkey boy a few dollars now and who cares about the future. Its called a world view.
    As Redlogix points out debt has got to be paid back.
    Who pay’s it back?
    As usual the poor bastards pay it back, this is how the capitalists run the system. They privatise the profits, and socialise the losses.
    So we’ll get a few bucks for Xmas but slave away for the rest of our lives to pay for it 1000 fold in road tolls, rising prices, weaker unions that cannot recover real wages, eroded social services, ACC blah blah.
    The righties are happy because they will cream off part of the wealth in their small businesses kidding themselves they are the No 8 kiwi entreprenuers. They’ll wake up like most small businesses when they get trampled by giant Aussie or Chinese competitors, they won’t know what hit them. Even then, as they get scrambled by the bosses they be looking to blame the unions.

  55. gobsmacked 55

    In the lead-up to the election, the National Party leader makes clear his view on dicing with debt:

    “I think most people feel that reducing public sector debt was a good thing to have done. I think we’ve made, over the last 10 or 15 years, very substantial progress in that.”

    (interview, NZ Herald, July 2005)

    Don Brash RIP.

  56. Matthew Pilott 56

    Kevyn, there are plenty of arguments for borrowing, but you have missed the point entirely.

    If you don’t have to borrow in the first place, you will be better off. No ifs, buts or maybes.

    It is inherently more expensive to borrow and pay for something when the alternative is to fund it up front.

  57. Kevyn 57

    The home ownership debate is entirely about the ifs, buts and maybes. It is all about the costs and benefits for that specific decision. Your last sentnce pretty much say it all. If you can afford to pay cash it is inherently more expensive to borrow. But when you can’t afford to fund it from cash reserves then you have to do the cost/benefit analysis. I think that is the tone of the criticisms for Key’s announcement – that there is a promise with no numbers attached.

    I am not advocating that we launch another Vogel scheme. He had interest rates well below 5% and population and economic growth well above 5%. In fact they were originally called Immigration and Public Works Loans because the loans would pay for the infrastructure needed to attract immigrants, the growth in population would provide increased tax revenues and income from Crown Land sales and that would pay off the loans plus interest. But it was the low interest rates and high growth rates that made that a low risk strategy 150 years ago. Later public works loans for infrastructure were secured against revenue from user fees but guaranteed by general tax revenue. Crucially, they were not funding tax cuts except insofar as current taxes didn’t have to be increased to allow the infrastructure to be funded from cash flow.

    Maintenance and operations should always be funded from cash flow as there is generally a direct relationship between the two in term of usage. It can always be argued that construction should be funded substantially from borrowing if there the construction will result in either a saving in maintenance and operations costs or an increase in revenues greater than the costs of servicing the loans. The higher the interest rates the less likely it is that infrastructure investments will meet that last criterea.

  58. Kevyn 58

    RedLogix, I am intrigued by your comment “On top of that Cullen has decided to allow a ONE off increase in core debt to about 20% in order to fund existing infrastructure.”

    Which infrastructure is being funded this way? According to the ten-year NLTP forecasts it’s not roads or buses. Air New Zealand? Meridian? NZ Post?

    Or did Cullen borrow the money to buy Kiwirail?

    Or is it all of the above? 2% of GDP seems a lot of money, certainly more than the $700m paid to Toll.

  59. Disengaged 59

    RL: “But most public sector infrastructure projects do not directly return cash flow to the Crown. At some point the borrowed money PLUS interest has to be recouped by increased taxes.”

    The projects don’t have to directly return cash flow to the crown in order for them to be worthy of investment. IF they contribute to economic growth then the government will recoup the money through an increase in the tax base without a need to increase taxes (more profitable businesses pay more tax, more people on higher wages pay more tax etc).

  60. lprent 60

    Disengaged: Ok now prove it to me that that they provide a return to anyone, and don’t just rust.

    What you are describing is a risk. In this case the risk and costs are being passed forward into future generations. Why? If you want to take a risk, then pay for it now – don’t pass it to someone else to pay.

    The last time I heard that kind of rubbish being postulated was with “Think Big”. Looks like John Key admired Muldoon more than we realized? I wound up paying for those useless projects, now it looks like John Key wants to do the same for my kids.

    Bloody roads? What is the price of fuel likely to be in 15 years? Better putting investment into rail. The last time Think Big was justified on the basis of doing things that would have worked 20 years earlier. It looks like the Bat’s are now looking at doing the same with roads.

    Lets all advance boldly into the future, walking backwards with out eyes firmly on the past. Now I’m waiting for the SMP policy for sheep farmers? Perhaps the laying of fibre-optics to every home – now that is a stupid economic policy.

    Go and support National – help their debt accumulation for your kids.

  61. Disengaged 61

    For a start, Infrastructure is more than just roads. It also covers public transport, electricity, telecommunications and water. Investment in Telecommunications can make massive differences to an isolated economy like New Zealand.

    Secondly you can’t seriously be saying that infrastructure doesn’t do anything but rust? I credited you with more intelligence than that.

    What I am describing is spreading your risk, maximizing your return on investment and minimizing your opportunity costs. If the life of the asset you are investing in has a serviceable life of 20 years (how old are the current motorways, telecommunications networks or water and electricity networks?) or more what is wrong with borrowing against the future earnings (or economic benefits) to pay for it now? Sure the next generation will have to bear some of the cost, but they will also receive the majority of the benefit.

    Yes it involves some risk, foresight and bit of courage, but by amortising the costs over a greater number of years you are automatically reducing the risk. Also if it means that you can get the infrastructure in place 1,5,10 or whatever years earlier you also capture those additional benefits.

  62. lprent 62

    If the infrastructure you put in doesn’t get used, then that is exactly what happens. Look at things like Marsden B, most of the Think Big projects, etc.

    Additional benefits off roads over the long term? Don’t be stupid. The benefit from those will occur only over the next 10 years or so. After that we are likely to have rapidly rising fuel costs unless there is a significant theory breakthrough. All of the roads that I can see that need to be done are already, and the funds have been committed for those. They have almost entirely been funded from current road user charges – as they should be.

    The idea that putting fibre down the last last stretch to the household will produce economic benefits for the country is just stupid. If you don’t see where you can get benefits from it, then why do it. I can’t see anything worth doing it for, and I’ve been around IT and telecomms for a long time.

    Putting in additional cable to offshore would be more useful. We’re a bit over dependent on too few high-volume cables at present. But that is already being taken care of.

    “bit of courage” – now you do sound like Muldoon. A reckless foolhardiness worthy of Muldoon seems to characterise what I’ve seen the Nat’s committing themselves to this weekend.

    But of course it is all ok – pass the cost onto the children, along with the costs for national superannuation policy that some idiot put in, plus Think Big, plus SMP’s, etc.

    John Key – the new Muldoon

  63. Kevyn 63

    Iprent, Pause for a moment to ponder your advice to Vogel – “If you want to take a risk, then pay for it now – don’t pass it to someone else to pay.”

    If he’d respected your concerns and followed your advice the railways would never have been built. By the time New Zealand could actually afford to build them from cash-flow the motor and it motor-spirits had provided a simpler and better way of achieving the same objective. In fact you have summed up the main opposition to the Immigration and Public Works Bill quite nicely, although the word “evil” made an appearance in the Parliamentary debate, to describe the practice of lumbering future generations with the burden of paying for this biggest of all think big (grandiose) projects.

    You are either being shorted sighted or narrow minded about the future of roads. Sure fuel prices are going to rise inexorably, whether through peak oil or peak greed, but the main impact will be to change the ratio of ownership costs to the point that fuel use will become as expensive as deppreciation, or even more expensive. As we approach that point car makers aren’t going to be able to deflect attention with slick advertising and they won’t even want to once buyers show a willingness to pay for serious fuel economy.

    So, in addition to the fuel saving tactics that people have already adopted, such as redefining their weekend retreat as a holiday home, car pooling, down-sizing, trip-chaining, we will also see an almost imperceptable shift in home buying to favour shorter commutes either to work or school or both, dramatic increases in new-car fuel efficiency and, most importantly for New Zealand, the Japanese home market supplying us with a greater choice of JUC micro-cars without the supply/demand effect that is currently making those cars rather expensive.

    There are three demographic factors that further complicate future traffic predictions. Two decreasers and one increaser.

    1) The baby boomer retirement bubble should reduce average km travelled per vehicle according to the 1997 household travel survey result for travel by driver age.

    2) Reported injury crash stats reveal that female drivers accounted for more of the traffic growth in the 1990s than male drivers did. Possibly because of greater workplace participation or possibly for other reasons. That trend has not been evident since 2000. If the new trend continues (and the 1) above) we wont see a return to 90s traffic growth rates even if by some miracle we get a return to 90s fuel prices.

    3) Growth in rural median incomes, especially relative to Auckland and Wellington. That means the declines in traffic seen in those two cities this year have not been replicated in rural centres, at least when measured by state highway traffic counts. That could create mobility growth where public transport is the least viable or affordable option.

  64. lprent 64

    The Vogel statements are spurious. Infrastructure investments in a developing economy against developed have quite different payback returns. That was also one of Muldoons favorite lines as well. It was as stupid in the 1970’s as it is now.

    What projects do the Nat’s propose to spend the infrastructure items on. If they’re on current projects – then what is happening is that they are planning on raiding the road taxes to pay for tax cuts.

    But lets assume that they are new projects. Then what are they? Why do we need them?

    How about offering something more than rhetoric and blind faith and idiotic bullet point policies.

    What economic advantage will we get from these new road projects? Now show me the study showing relative costs and benefits of that against public transport/rail given say a 5 fold increase in fuel prices over the next 15 years. That would be a standard risk assessment technique.

    You can’t because it hasn’t been done. So we’re being asked to do this decision on faith. Why is that? Seems like the technique of a scam artist to me.

    Where are we going to get the additional road building resources to build the roads? Import them? As far as I’m aware most of the resources are already sucked up into building the current road projects for the foreseeable future.

    What I see at present is the National party doing these policy changes on pure FAITH. Rationality is replaced with “courage”. Has to be one of the most fuckwit reasons for a policy I’ve ever seen.

    Prove me wrong – point me to the study that looks at the NPV’s in building roads with increasing fuel prices. Hell I understand that the studies done in NZ for roads at the low fuel prices showed marginal returns on most roading projects for the whole economy.

  65. Kevyn 65

    Iprent, I should add that my last para also impacts your statement “All of the roads that I can see that need to be done are already, and the funds have been committed for those.”

    Funds may have been committed to roads that don’t need doing while roads that do need doing have nbeen ignored.

    Actually, not being a voter in Auckland or Wellington, I have held that view all along. IMHO the road toll and the earthquake risk on the West Coast are far more important needs than some people missing the start of the six o’clock news.

    I used to think that “you can’t build your way out of congestion” was Green nonsense. But there is ample research to support that claim, at least in relation to peak congestion. The problem for public transport is that the reason (triple-convergence) that you can’t build out of peak congestion applies to all transport systems – cycleways, busways, tramways, railsways, expressways motorways. They are all ways out of off-peak or inter-peak congestion. But for peak congestion they are just an alternative to triple-divergence. Put simply, there is a maximum amount of congestion that can occur on one road in one rush-hour. Try to go beyond that maximum and the result is spillover into the next hour or onto the next road or another mode. Build more capacity and the reduced congestion on that road in that hour will suck in the spillover untill you are back with the same congestion on that road in that hour. The other roads and hours end up with less congestion but only because they are less conventient or efficient ways over getting from A to B. The basic cause of peak congestion is the 9 to 5 workday. Get rid of that and you will get rid of peak congestion, cheaply and easily. Play with this idea: Reintroduce the 40 hour week law with the major improvement of changing it to a 72 hour fortnight. Each working fortnight must be either 6 hours 12 days, 12 hours 6 days, 8 hours 9 days, 9 hours 8 days, 7 hours 10 days + one 2hr lunch break.

    Tackles the root cause of peak congestion at no cost, gives workers and/or employers flexibility to match working hours to lifestyles or client lifestyles.

  66. Kevyn 66

    Iprent,

    Certainly as a country moves along the continuum from less developed to more devloped the economic justifications for infrastructure investment also change. But the Vogel statements are neither spurious nor stupid, even if they were favoured by Muldoon. The fact is those statements were made in Vogel’s day and many of those who made those objections felt they were vindicated during the next depression. Vogel’s visionary policies were described by opponents as “pure FAITH. Rationality is replaced with “courage’.” Pointing you in this direction isn’t an attempt to divert your attention from Key’s announcement but simply because it is one of the clearest examples of the problems with planning and investing for the future that only seem obvious with the benefit of hindsight. That applies as much to Labour’s land transport policies as it does to the Nats.

    “What projects do the Nat’s propose to spend the infrastructure items on? If they’re on current projects – then what is happening is that they are planning on raiding the road taxes to pay for tax cuts? But lets assume that they are new projects. Then what are they? Why do we need them?”

    I bet we’re not going to get a straight answer to those questions any time soon. I do know that when the first few ten year NLTPs were published they included a waiting list and a waiting list to go on the waiting list. IMHO the items on the waiting list were often more urgent than what was on the main list – safety improvements, seismic preparedness, and such like. I will be most surpised, pleasantly surprised, if the intention is to advance those measures rather than just speed up the Waterview Connection. What’s with the sudden fixation on building motorway tunnels? Freudian or what?

    “How about offering something more than rhetoric and blind faith and idiotic bullet point policies.” I can’t see anything in my comment that fits so I presume youre referring to Key and the Nats to which I can only concur. Till I followed Jafapete’s link to Key’s release on the Nat’s website I thought that was just the MSM doing there usual p-poor job. I read Keys release on infrastructure, and read it again…and again and still could only think wtf. Talk about wasting paper.

    “What economic advantage will we get from these new road projects? Now show me the study showing relative costs and benefits of that against public transport/rail given say a 5 fold increase in fuel prices over the next 15 years. That would be a standard risk assessment technique.”

    Exactly. Tell ya what, you try and find one for pt/rail and I’ll try find one for roads then we can try and work out the relative costs and benefits.

    “You can’t because it hasn’t been done. So we’re being asked to do this decision on faith. Why is that? Seems like the technique of a scam artist to me.”

    Exactly my thoughts when I hear Cullen talking about Kiwirail. I thought I made it clear that we can’t make any sort of reliable prediction of the impact of extraordinary fuel price increases on demand for road or pt becuase it is uncharted territory. If we use responses to doubling or tripling of prices as a start point then there isn’t much hope for pt because so far switching to pt has been one of the least popular fuel saving tactics. We can’t even use past examples of perpetually high fuel costs as a reliable predictor because those high fuel prices have been in countries with historicly high population densities especially in urban areas, even in villages. Soemhow we would have to seperate out the two effects.

    The question of resources, if correct and not just industry justification for price gouging, must surely apply similarly to road and rail, especially if anyone is actually serious about the tonne/km targets mentioned in the transport strategy discussion paper.

    “Prove me wrong – point me to the study that looks at the NPV’s in building roads with increasing fuel prices. Hell I understand that the studies done in NZ for roads at the low fuel prices showed marginal returns on most roading projects for the whole economy.”

    I can believe that last sentence for the work ongoing in Auckland, which actually is most roading projects. Which is why some were included in Transit and Transfund’s performance agreements to avoid the need for BCR prioritising and others were lumped together to ride on the coat-tails of the few that actually did have good BCRs.
    Outside of Auckland the BCRs are generally well over 2:1 although the threshold outside of Auckland was 6:1 the last time I saw it mentioned (in one of the reviews of the road safety strategy). I think the source of your understanding was heavily biased. Curiously roading advocates complain about Transit using an unrealisticly severe discount rate. I’ve never actually been involved with one these BCR studies but apart from seeing the size of completed one. Even though there are standard values that have to be used for assessing the benefits, $ per hour, $ per vkt, etc, and the traffic counts seem to be from reliable, verifiable source I’m sure there are ways to make the numbers to line up in the “correct” order depending on what preferred outcome is. I’ll hazzrd a guess that as a sysop you have requested funding for security upgrades, presented you estimates of the range of risks and costs and had a manager under pressure to stay within budget choose the least favourable numbers to decline the request. That’s the big problem with BCRs and economic assessments, re-assess an assumption here, redefine a number there and you can always skew the numbers in the “right” direction. Even when we do our best to put our personal preferences to one side the big problem with any tranport evaluations is that even with over a century of experience with roads and railways there are still huge gaps in the knowledge of the physical properties of the systems and that feeds into even bigger uncertainties in transport economics so even the current situation has a wide range of valid comparative advantages that can be argued for both road and rail, and for land use, cycling, walking all of which can interact with each. Add in the unpredictability of the future and whatever we decdie to do is going to be high risk. We could spend a fortune making the railways actually work as a freight rail system only to have some breakthrough in airships or sailing ships make the whole investment redundunt. Since there are no plans to electrify the SIMT or Midland lines I seriously wonder whether even the fuel economy advantage of rail is going to be enough protection against the effects of five times higher fuel costs on an economy reliant on long delivery lines.

  67. RedLogix 67

    Disengaged:

    IF they contribute to economic growth then the government will recoup the money through an increase in the tax base without a need to increase taxes (more profitable businesses pay more tax, more people on higher wages pay more tax etc).

    I made exactly that point myself higher up, yet under the current govt, when precisely that happened, the right all started moaning in unison that taxes were too high and Dr Cullen was raping us all.

    Increasing borrowing MUST equal a higher tax take in the future.

  68. Vanilla Eis 68

    From http://www.stuff.co.nz/4642045a11.html

    “On the other hand, we need to keep things in perspective. Small operating deficits, for a limited time, are not the end of the world,” English said.

    Oh, good to hear that they have a plan to raise taxes at some point and/or dramatically slash spending/sell assets during their term to repay the loan then.

    Cheers guys.

  69. Vanilla Eis 69

    There’s still something they’re not telling us here. I suspect because they know the public won’t like it.

    If the Nats were openly right-wing and got voted in, we’d deserve what we get however embarassing. If they get in via Trojan Horse, it’s just painful.

    I’m amazed that all of the Key supporters on here are happy that he’s having to buy into all of Labours biggest policies in order to get elected. Doesn’t this just go to show that Labour were doing a good job in the first place? Whats worse, you all seem OK with the idea that he’s lying to us and that we’re actually about to elect an unknown to the highest office in the country.

    Do everyone a favour guys and ditch National, vote ACT – at least you know what to expect.

  70. lprent 70

    K:

    I do know that when the first few ten year NLTPs were published they included a waiting list and a waiting list to go on the waiting list. IMHO the items on the waiting list were often more urgent than what was on the main list – safety improvements, seismic preparedness, and such like. I will be most surpised, pleasantly surprised, if the intention is to advance those measures rather than just speed up the Waterview Connection.

    As I understand it, the rationale to do these infrastructure changes including roading earlier is to increase economic growth. That specifically means external economic growth because that is what NZ runs off.

    None of the ones you mentioned do. That is also what I understand is the case with pretty much every proposed project that isn’t already being done. They have paybacks for the internal to NZ costs like safety and security. They do not offer to significantly increase our external income or reduce our external costs. If you looked at the ratios for just the external income and external costs of the roading projects – ie the growth factors, then you’d have quite a different story to the ratio’s you’re referring to.

    That this is what I have been asking you to talk about. You keep referring to internal projects that have little relevance to the rationale offered for speeding up roading infrastructure.

    It is pretty easy to make the case for SH20 and associated projects having a strong economic reason towards growth. It allows much better access access for transport to and from the airport from the north of Auckland. In particular the exporters of Albany to their main export channel. Basically it should have been done a decade ago, before the Albany export nexus grew to its current size. The traffic patterns mean that it will massively reduce fuel consumption and delays. It speeds up time to market for products from companies like the one I currently work for, and allows us to better service our overseas clients.

    I grew up in Mt Albert – so I’m always surprised at the dickheads who seem to think that the isthmus welcomes having a motorway project. There is NO enthusiasm there for the project, the enthusiasm is from the north and south.

    The only reason that there isn’t more voracious and effective opposition is because transit eventually came up with a plan that didn’t destroy the suburbs it goes through. If they hadn’t then I’d have been volunteering there rather than here.

    I’d also point out that the 1.5 billion (actually 3 billion after matching funds) for fibre optic to the home has the same problem. There is bugger all external growth associated with it. The only known use is to push movies and media. There sure as hell is no need for IT to use it. We’d want better external links before even looking at this daft policy.

  71. We Are The 801 71

    Why is Key not detailing any of National’s “policies”?

    Either (a) National hasn’t even really thought things through and they don’t really have a “plan” at all.

    or

    (b) National does have a plan but it is so outrageously messed up that they KNOW most kiwis would reject it.

    In either case, supporting National should be avoided altogether. Maybe they should re-name themselves the Mystery Party since they leave us with more questions than answers as to what they plan on doing if elected.

    Key doesn’t want kiwis to know what they have in mind and are banking on us to just go along with this We’re-Not-Labour meme. Sorry, that’s not enough– voters need to be informed about what your policies are in order to make an informed decision– that’s what democracy is all about.

  72. Kevyn 72

    Iprent,

    Ah, now that I can see what your focus is your arguments are starting to make sense. If the sole purpose is economic growth with no regard to economic efficiency then travel time reductions and fuel savings become the be all and end all of the funding decisions. In that context borrowing to build the Waterview Connection as a toll road makes sense. With the way GDP is calculated, reducing the road toll could actually reduce GDP, depending on what the money not spent on rehab or funerals gets spent on. That’s the problem with GDP not differentiating between good spending and bad spending. I’m an analyst not an economist so I would assume that removing unproductive spending from the health and welfare votes would allow that money to be spent productively in those areas. The likely effect of reducing ACC levies is more speculative since that puts money back into the road users pocket, they might spend it on healthier food for their kids or waste it on ciggies.

    This makes perfect sense in relation to Key’s announcement which specificly gives that rationale.

    Where it doesn’t make sense, and what had been running through all my thinking up to this point, was why Labour had been directing Crown funding for land transport in a similar manner without that stated economic objective. To avoid new confusion it is specificly the Crown contribution and earlier variations to Transfunds performance agreement that exempted some works from Transfund’s normal allocation procedures that I am referring to here. As far as I can see all other funding allocated by the Board of Transfund/LTNZ has been consistent with the various factors that they are legally required to have regard to. The shift in emphasis from road safety to urban congestion is probably the result of a combination of falling marginal returns as the worst blackspots have been treated and adjastments to the values used for lives saved and time saved.

    The official reasons for throwing huge amounts of money at Auckland sound good but fall over as soon as you delve below the surface. Yes, there was a billion dollar cost in 1997, and that can only have increased. But that economic cost includes the social cost of personal time wasted in traffic and the financial cost of business time wasted. Transport economists regard social cost as a cost born solely by those stuck in traffic whereas the financial cost is passed on to customers. The KPMG study isn’t publicly available but assuming they used standard Austroads or US methods then it is safe to conclude that between 20% and 30% is financial cost, the remainder is social cost. More importantly, comapartive figures weren’t available for other urban areas when KPMG did their study so the nett cost to the national economy wasn’t available. Transit’s travel time surveys have provided the data needed to work that out in relation to Wellington and Christchurch but not for other centres or for rural regions. The important conclusion is that, per capita or per vkt, there is no difference in congestion financial cost between Christchurch and Auckland. Transit needs to survey some other centres to determine whether Christchurch is representative of cities without motorways or an anomaly.

    The other valid claim is that Auckland has lost not recieved back all the money it payed into the road fund. Again this was implied to be unique. In fact three other regions have lost bigger percentages of their contributions – Canterbury (-33%), Waikato (-26%), Taranaki (-15%), Auckland (-14%) as at 2003. Auckland is the only where the percentage has improved since then. When those figures are broken down into maintenance and construction all but Auckland have lost out for both maintence and construction. There are good reasons, both technical and economic, why Auckland and Canterbury need less maintenance money than their traffic generates. Their are no similar reasons for why any of these regions needed less construction funding than their traffic generates. The good news for Auckland is that the overpayment for maintenance was so great that one-quarter of the overpayment was able to be kept within the region for construction funding. Consequently Auckland has received more construction funding per vehicle km travelled than any other region every year since 1994, and was never below the national avergae since 1959. Hence while it is true that Auckland hasn’t received anywhere near the amount of money it has paid into the fund that actually can’t be the cause of Auckland’s traffic problems unless they are caused by poor maintenance.

    In fact the Treasury briefing to cabinet on per capita allocation of the last 5 cent increase in the petrol tax revealed that Canterbury would be the biggest winner from have the additional tax allocated per capita rather than as a continuation of the existing Transfund allocations. That extra funding hasn’t shown up in Canterbury’s allocations nor in the forecast allocations for the next ten years. To add insult to injury the extra funding for Canterbury announced in the latest budget is equal to that missing money and is conditional on being matched by Ecan funds, a condition not imposed on the regional councils of Tauranga, Waikato, Wellington or Auckland.

    You can find the relevant financial data in spreadsheets on my website. The Traffic data and congestion studies are available from Transit’s website.

    As far as seismic hazards go the main concern is the West Coast section of the South Island tourist loop as it straddles the Great Alpine Fault. The current consensus of paleoseismologists is that there is an imminent risk of a M8 quake. Transit’s risk assessment concluded that, without seismic upgrades none of their bridges between Greymouth and Te Anau will be immediately unusable and all of the bridges between Te Anau and Franz Joseph have a high probability of catastrophic failure. At the lowest probable quake magnitude they expect to be able to reopen the Haast and Athurs Pass highways within 6 months. At the highest probable magnitude it will take two years to reopen the Haast highway. A seismic program can cut those closure times on the Haast highway by two-thirds. There’s nothing they can do about the scree slope above the Otira Viaduct so there’s no real point in major seismic upgrades on that route. If that slope collapses, and it probably will in a M7.8 quake, it will fill the gorge to a level higher than the viaduct.

    Needless to say, I’m an ex-Jafa now resident in Christchurch and dependent on tourists and sheep farmers for my livelyhood. I’d hate to have to go back to being an office bound systems analyst.

    ReCaptcha: Trippe surplus
    (nice one) 😉

  73. Kevyn 73

    Iprent, The editor thingee doesn’t like me. Why did we ever get rid of DR-DOS and 1200 baud modems, life was so much simple then. Please read my first sentence this way (to emphasise who I’m accusing of being slow witted.) 😯

    Ah, now that I can see what your focus is your arguments are starting to make sense to me.

    [lprent: It is the best late editor I’ve found so far. ]

  74. Kevyn 74

    Iprent, The just proves even the best can’t defeat Mr. Gates’ Messy windows 😉

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  • Grant Robertson Spends Up Large – On The Establishment!
    Grant Keeps On Trucking: Out of the $12 billion Robertson has announced for infrastructure investment, $8 billion will be allocated to specific projects, with the balance of $4 billion held in reserve. What does it say about this Government's "transformational" ambitions that 85 percent of that $8 billion is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Boris Johnson … Hides … In a Fridge
    I am not making this up.First few lines of the Dail Mail write up:Boris Johnson's exasperated media minder swore on live TV today as the PM refused to speak to Good Morning Britain before trotting into a fridge as he started an early milkround in Yorkshire. Piers Morgan was visibly ...
    2 days ago
  • Shy Labour Voters?
    In previous elections pollsters have bemoaned the 'shy Tory' - the respondent who is so fearful of being judged as a cruel and heartless bastard by an anonymous pollster, or their spouses, workmates and friends, that they lie about their intention of voting Conservative, skewing the poll figures in Labour's ...
    2 days ago
  • Seven reasons to be wary of waste-to-energy proposals
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz I was in Switzerland recently and discovered that they haven’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    3 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    4 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    4 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    4 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    4 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    7 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago

  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
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