The economics of the Christchurch earthquake

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 7th, 2010 - 30 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

There’s been some frankly bizarre talk about the earthquake being an economic boon for the country. I guess the Right is just desperate for anything to improve the economy under National. So, I thought it would be worthwhile going through the economic ramifications of the earthquake from the immediate effects to long term:

Initial effects: The economic heart of Christchurch is shut down. About $2 billion worth of damage has been done, much of this damage will impede economic activity. Infrastructure is damaged as are buildings and factories. People are dislocated, injured, or busy trying to get their personal lives together. People needing elective surgery are unable to get it. In economic terms, the large parts of both the capital and labour needed for production are out of action.

Westpac, using a model derived from the Los Angeles and Napier earthquakes, estimates that $300 million of economic activity will be lost (0.2% of GDP). ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley puts the hit at 0.6% of GDP. NZIER was already forecasting that growth in this December quarter would be -0.2%. That’s likely to be much worse now.

The damage will include businesses that are already on the brink thanks to the recession going to the wall and hundreds if not thousands of job losses. Those workers who lose their jobs will flood an already bad jobs market. The government will lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and face big increases in costs from emergency benefits, ACC claims, and its share of the cost of rebuilding local infrastructure before we even get to the EQC payouts. The added borrowing needed to fill the gap will probably mean the government has to pay more interest on its debt.

The Earthquake Commission, logically, has most of its assets offshore, and so do the insurance companies. To make the payouts, they’re going to have to buy a lot of New Zealand dollars – higher demand equals higher exchange rate. Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar. Overall, the effect is that we haven’t seen a sharp fall in the currency, which would have been a boon for exporters, that you might expect from a disaster like this.

Medium term: EQC and insurance companies will begin making payouts within weeks but it will be months before the big rebuilding starts. The rebuilding will increase GDP by about 1% of a year’s output when it is spent because GDP simply reflects economic activity in a given time period not accumulated wealth. But that will only be returning the country’s physical wealth to where it was before, it will not be real economic gain.

If I break my cellphone and have to dip into my savings to replace it, I am not better off, I am worse off – even if the new phone is better because obviously I had preferred to have my old phone and my savings rather than the new phone. The same is true of the need to spend our savings on rebuilding. People who say it’s good for the economy are forgetting that the rebuilding is funded by giving up our savings and the option to spend them elsewhere. That’s the broken windows fallacy – it mistake of seeing what is gained but not what is lost, or mistaking temporary economic activity for economic wealth.

It is good timing, however, in one sense. The slow-down in commercial construction was about to put 20,000 jobs at risk. At least they’ll have something to do for a while now, and the construction industry has the spare plant and equipment for the rebuilding task. Of course, that’s just jobs that would otherwise be lost saved, not new jobs created.

Longer term: once the rebuilding is over, there will be little to show for it. The boost of the rebuilding itself will not be permanent and will contribute little to long-term production capacity. Once the rebuilding is over, the GDP boost will disappear. That’s true of a stimulus package too, of course. But the idea is that a stimulus package gets the economy revved up again and builds up its production capacity. The rebuilding of Christchurch will not be like that it’s not going to create sustainable economic momentum or add greatly to the productive capacity of Christchurch.

As Westpac noted “This will boost national GDP by far more than the initial income loss, with a corresponding letdown once the reconstruction boom ends.” Just as with the Rugby World Cup, the one-off up-tick in GDP will be matched by a corresponding downwards movement when the spending stops. This is not a permanent increase in economic output.

This boom and bust might further damage business confidence and, with it, longer-term growth.

Ultimately, about $2 billion of capital from the government and private insurers will be converted into expenditure to rebuild the capital that was lost. In the end, we replace the physical assets by running down our financial assets via a temporary increase in economic activity but our national wealth is decreased – that can’t be forgotten.

Of course, I and others have been arguing for some time that the government should decrease its net assets to more economic activity. Of course, we meant by borrowing, rather than selling assets like the EQC will but essentially it’s the same thing from the perspective of the government books. The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.

We’re going to be left with higher net debt, which we will either pay interest on or pay down – either option means less consumption/lower economic standard of living in the long term

30 comments on “The economics of the Christchurch earthquake ”

  1. Richard 1

    I agree with all that.

    However, there will be a boom for individual businesses, particularly those in construction. It is for the economy as a whole that there is a net loss.

    As you note, there will be in some cases some marginal benefit, in that when something is rebuilt it could be “better” than what existed previously. For example, when considering energy efficiency, it is often uneconomic to retro-fit energy efficiency measures to a built structure, whereas it is quite economically viable to incorporate energy efficiency into a new build. Likewise, replacement buildings are likely to have better earthquake strengthening incorporated (or you’d like to think so).

    • ZB 1.1

      I disagree. A sustainable economy requires a working ChCh. The argument basically seems to
      be that its a cost, but actually its more like a reinvestment. Companies, Households, Nations,
      all have crisis that hit them, if they are governed well they have stores of money to cover the
      re-investment. Government runs a EQC for this, has insurace for this, has a low govt debt for
      this reason. We’ve already saved to pay for disasters. We’ve already had some of the pain.

      The economy needs a kick in the teeth, if the ChCh Quake makes manufacturing exporters
      jobs harder, if it puts money into tradespeople in ChCh, if we build new quake resistent
      buildings, and stop new subsections on sand (like on that beach subsection in the Coromandal,
      because its now a huge insurance risk to build so close to the sea, on sand.

      Sorry, we live in interesting times and we should beware because simple analysis doesn’t work.
      We are rebuilding! Rebuilding with savings! We saved for the purpose! At the bottom of the
      market, not the top! Not when every developer shister is selling crap – like that subsection in
      ChCh built on SAND! Nobody knows if this is a good thing, I think sometimes you get lucky
      with a early morning quake removing a lot of previously buildings needing expensive
      quake resistent upgrades without any loss of life.

      And the Quake just keeps giving, dispelling the impression of the loose financal era,
      that we can trust big business, that markets will save us not good regulation.

      It could have be so much worse. Imagine the quake with Key in charge in 2006-7,
      and the whole developer speculator class lining up for handouts to rebuild ChCh,
      the debt Key would have run up with tax cuts to the few would have made NZ
      a Greece, Ireland, Spain.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    I was under the impression that for economic stimulus to be effective it had to be spent quickly so that the money recycled through the economy immediately for short periods of economic downturn. Given how long it takes it get building permits, import building materials (which adds to the current account deficit) and get a builder, I would have thought the stimulus effect would be extremely diluted by the anticipitated time this money will be spent over.

    • Blighty 2.1

      to make a measurable difference, you would have to spend it quickly but it would just be quicker up, quicker down.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1.1

        But whats the point of stringing it out? In 12 months time the recession may be a distant memory and all you will end up doing is stoking inflation, higher interest rates and government debt. Economic cycles move a lot quicker than decision makers apparently which renders a lot of these decisions irrelevant.

    • Loota 2.2

      The stimulus effect is a lost cause – yes firms and contractors are going to get big injections of Govt and insurance money – but they are probably going to direct it to paying off debt (household and company) and saving reserves for (the next) rainy/shaky day.

      They are not going to spend up large.

      Trickle down is dead.

      • nzfp 2.2.1

        “They are not going to spend up large” maybe, maybe not – but it doesn’t matter because the Government could spend up large and should – we need soo much infrastructure built and repaired in our nation and that doesn’t include the lack of investment in human infrastructure such as health and education. You’ve seen my other posts so you know where the money can come from tax free – without interest or debt.

  3. nzfp 3

    But why stop at Christchurch Marty, and why stop at rebuilding what exists. Economic activity can be stimulated by something as simple as a bridge in the right place which reduces the cost of transport for products from A to B.

    Why not use this stimulus to build a high speed rail network with Christchurch as the nexus throughout the entire South Island, couple this with building Fiber to the home and improved telecommunications. Both of these suggetions would reduce the cost of transport of goods and improve the Online economy – both would boost sustainable economic productivity.

    The only problem we have is creating the necessary funds and putting the money to use fueling the labour necessary to produce the necessary infrastructure. Make the infrastructure green while you’re at it and you reduce the environmental impact.

    The Earth Quake represents the single best opportunity for real economic progress for our country. Yes what I’m saying is Pie in the Sky but as you well know this was the policy of Sir Michael Joseph Savage so it’s happened before.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      What a sad reflection upon our government.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.2

      I find myself nodding in agreement with what seems like the common sense of much that you say above nzfp (with the exception of handing out a knighthood to Savage, whom I’m pretty sure never got, nor probably wanted, one – a recolelction his official biography seems to confirm).

      However, how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging?

      • nzfp 3.2.1

        Hey Rex,
        “how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging”

        Great question as it is the question that is always raised when public credit is proposed in opposition to private bank credit.

        In short public credit is no more inflationary then credit created as a result of foreign borrowing (debt). In fact it is less inflationary as it doesn’t include the requirement to service interest on debts denominated in foreign currency.

        When the Government borrows 200 Million dollars as a result of the sale of NZ Bonds, the Governments receives 200 Million dollars in foreign currency. The 200Million in Foreign Currency was created out of nothing at all by foreign banks – an exercise the Government could do itself.

        However, the foreign currency cannot be spent into the NZ economy so the Government converts the 200 Million into NZ Dollars. To do this they park the foreign currency in a foreign currency account and create an equivalent 200 Million NZD out of nothing.

        Already you can see the injustice and fraud of this system:

        NZ Govt sells 200 Million in NZ bonds -> Foreign Bank creates 200 Million from nothing to Buy Bonds -> NZ Govt creates an equivalent 200 Million against the 200 Million in Foreign currency created by foreign banks out of nothing -> NZ Govt spends or lends the new money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the foreign debt (GST increases).

        To counter this the Government has two options:

        1. Keynesian – the Government issues 200 Million in NZ Bonds -> The RBNZ creates 200 Million out of nothing to Buy the NZ Bonds -> The Govt spends or lends the money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the debt to ourselves. This is also part of the State Theory of Money. The Tax ensures the velocity of money – that it circulates. However the level of tax could be set a lot lower then the neo-liberal monetarist model and in many cases most taxes could be eradicated.

        2. Public credit – the Govt issues 200 Million in money and spends or lends it directly into the economy. Essentially it is the same as pure Keynesian theory with the exeption that we don’t borrow from our own bank but have the Treasury create the money directly – otherwise the rules apply.

        In both cases there is no need to service foreign interest debts and no need to pay money back to foreign banks in a currency we have no control over. If interest rates increase our interest and repayment burdens increase – it only takes a little war in Iran to cause interest rates to sky rocket.

        Remember that either of these methods are required to pay for infrastructure that cannot be paid for out of current taxes – and shouldn’t be.

        Remember that inflation of the money supply is only inflationary if there isn’t an equivalent increase in products and services including human services such as health and education. Infrastructure improvements by definition are an increase in products and services and have the benefit of improving commerce which stimulates productivity increasing products and services.

        It is better explained by Professor Michael Hudson in an earlier post of mine here and on his website here.

        Radio NZ reported this morning that the Govt was selling 200 Million in NZ Bods today (this afternoon). Rather then sell 200 Million – since they obviously need the money – they could create 20 Million via the RBNZ or Treasury. The net effect would be a reduction in inflation due to the fact that we don’t need to service foreign interest debts. Any foreign capital that comes into our nation for investment of purchases of NZ products could be used to service current debts – while the Govt creates credit to fuel infrastructure instead of borrowing.

        The overall effect would be hugely beneficial to our economy and would result in a net lowering of all taxes.

      • nzfp 3.2.2

        Thanks for the correction and the Savage BIO Rex. I never knew Savage was a Georgist although in hindsight it seems obvious. George was one of the “Renegade Economists” – a term coined by SMH and TheAge columist and economist “Ross Gittins”.

        By the way:
        “200 Million in NZ Bods” should be “200 Million in NZ Bonds
        And
        “they could create 20 Million” should be “they could create 200 Million”

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.
    I thought the EQC funds were set aside specifically for post-disaster rebuilding. On this basis, how could the money have been spent re-igniting the economy etc.? It’s set aside for a specific purpose, not for politicians to spend on whatever whim takes their fancy, even if their fancy happens to be a good idea.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Essentially the EQC money has been saved previously. So instead of spending $50 back in 1990, the government spent $40 and banked $10. Now we’re getting access to that $10 again, but it isn’t new money magicked out of nowhere, but deferred spending from 1990.

      • Armchair Critic 4.1.1

        Yeah, I got that bit. And I agree with most of the post. The bit I don’t get is where Marty G says:
        …we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy…
        I understood that the money (especially from EQC) to be spent rebuilding is dedicated to rebuilding. As it was deliberately set aside for a specific purpose, it can’t be used for another purpose.
        anti-spam: following. Not at the moment; I’ve tried following the logic and I’m missing out somewhere.

    • Bright Red 4.2

      yeah but one pot of government money is the same as another in reality. And borrowing is pretty much the same as selling an asset

  5. Grant M. McKenna 5

    I’ve missed the bit where “the Right” said that the earthquake would be good for the economy. Where and when was that averred?

  6. aj 6

    No matter what way you look at this, in human terms it is far less than a zero sum game. A small number may have short term gain through the economic boom as a consequence of repairs. The cost in human terms will be long lasting and greatly outweigh simple $$ calculations. Stress over the long term, that is within families and individuals will result in many problems further down the track for health authorities, social services, etc.

  7. Kleefer 7

    Once again you are labouring under the misapprehension that, while an earthquake destroying buildings is bad for the economy, the government spending money to “stimulate” the economy is good. Both are bad for the economy but due to the visual impact of buildings literally being destroyed it is easier for the layman to identify the economic damage from an earthquake than from government “stimulus”.

    Advocates of government spending fall prey to the same broken window fallacy that afflicts those touting the supposedly stimulatory effects of the earthquake. In both cases they think only of one side of the transaction, those who financially benefit from the broken window/government spending, while forgetting those who are worse off, the person with the broken window/less money because the government has taken it to give to someone else.

    What the broken window fallacy is really about is opportunity cost. While we can see the benefit to the glazier from repairing the window (or in this case the contractors for repairing the buildings) we can’t see what the person with the broken window would have done with the money if he hadn’t had to pay for the repair.

    We can see the results of government stimulus such as school buildings, roads and poorly-fitted insulation but we can’t see what wasn’t made as a result of resources being diverted by the government to these uses. So while the government isn’t necessarily knocking things down (although wars do plenty of that), it is still fallacious to tout the results of stimulus without thinking about the other side of the ledger.

    Henry Hazlitt, the former New York Times economics editor, wrote in his book Economics in One Lesson that when assessing the economic impact of a policy we must look not just at its immediate effect on one group but on its long-term effect on everybody in society. I applaud the writers of The Standard for taking on the idiots saying the earthquake will be good for the economy. Now you just need to apply economic principles consistently.

    • nzfp 7.1

      Henry Hazlitt is credited with bringing Austrian economics to an English-speaking audience, he secured a position at New York University for the economist Ludwig von Mises, and he introduced the novelist Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinolev’yevna Rosenbaum) to Mises. His influences included: Frédéric Bastiat, Philip Wicksteed and Ludwig von Mises. He opposed Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Major Douglas (Major Clifford H. Douglas), John Maynard Keynes and Alvin Hansen. He influenced Milton Friedman.

      Milton Friedman gave us the Washington Consensus and the Chicago School of Economics which in turn gave us Rogernomics and Ruthenasia in the 80’s and 90’s. Friedman also gave Chile Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean deathsquads and disappeared.

      Von Mises gave us Ayn Rand and Libertarianism. However, the Austrian School of Economics defines money as a commodity with intrinsic value, which is contradictory to historical and empirical evidence. Aristotle best defines money in Ethics 1133 where he states “Money exists not by nature but by law”.

      Hazlitt opposed Major Douglas – Major Clifford H. Douglas the founder of the Social Credit school of economic democracy.

      Considering these points it makes it difficult to take seriously the economic theory of somebody who is unable to correctly define money and who’s economic theories influenced the architect of Washington Consus neo-liberal monetarist policy – the fruits of which are evident in the current Global Financial Crises.

  8. Bright Red 8

    Patrick Smellie agrees with you, Marty http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4107029/Shaky-times-for-the-economy

    good work on forcing this argument. the msm would just have blindly followed the stupid ‘silver lining’ angle otherwise.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    So, breaking news is that the estimate for rebuilding Christchurch has increased to $4b. At the same time there’s some question about availability of resources. This is where the government really needs to step in an ban all exports of building and construction materials. We’re going to need those ourselves for the foreseeable future (It’s going to take years to get Christchurch back to the same level that it was).

  10. Too much coffee man 10

    Well said. I remember when that visionary leader George Dubbyerbush decided to dump billions of dollars of bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan the right crowed with delight about the benefits to the US economy that would entail. Dropping a million dollar bomb doesn’t result in a million dollars worth of production, it results in a million dollars with of destruction, and that million dollars has gone for good.

    When a building gets replaced at a cost of a million dollars, that million dollars is also lost forever.

  11. Anthony 11

    Dear Marty

    I must say that this is a very critical analysis.

    But one thing I would like to ask how does an increase in interest rate will dampen the demand for kiwi dollar?

    As you pointed out in the last paragraph, “Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar.”

    Because an increase in interest rate will lift up the return for every dollar overseas investors invest in New Zealand relative to other countries’ interest rates, therefore the demand for kiwi dollar should have increased rather than decreased.

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    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    4 days ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Luxon is one of three prime ministers pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza – but the two-state solutio...
    Buzz from the Beehive Two days after hundreds of people rallied outside the New Zealand parliament and the US embassy in Wellington to protest against what they maintain is genocide in Gaza,  Prime Minister Chris Luxon joined with the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada to express their  concerns that ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • All jellied up with possum grease
    1. Shane Jones, addressing the energy industry, called climate concern what?a. The only sane responseb. Undeniably valid c. Our last best hope d. A "religion" 2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. Gleeful ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Equality comes to Greece
    The Greek Parliament has voted for marriage equality: Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples will now also be legally allowed to adopt children after Thursday's 176-76 vote in parliament. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law would "boldly abolish a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Iron in her soul.
      “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche   Chris Trotter writes – TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to Feb 16
    Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Stop Whispering.
    There's nothing to sayAnd there's nothing to doStop whispering, start shoutingStop whispering, start shoutingYesterday our government surprised a few of us by standing up for something. It wasn’t for the benefit of people who own holiday homes and multiple investment properties. Neither were there any tobacco companies or fishing cartels ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • “I'm Not Keen on Whataboutism, But What About…”
    Hi,Not sure how your week is going, but I’ve had a pretty frustrating one. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and I think it’s perhaps distilled in this message I got on Twitter:What got me a bit riled up is that it was a response to the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National passing bad policies under urgency
    If National really had faith in its welfare policies, it wouldn’t be ramming them through Parliament under urgency – a step that means the policies can’t be exposed to select committee debate, public submissions, expert commentary, media scrutiny and all the normal democratic processes that this coalition appears to hold ...
    5 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 16-February-2024
    It’s Friday so once again here”s our roundup of some of the articles that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt looked at the Government’s war on Auckland. On Tuesday Matt covered the ongoing issues with the rail network. On Thursday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • The Dawn Chorus for Friday, February 16
    The six things to note in my view at 6.30 am on Friday, February 16 in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Iron In Her Soul.
    “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich NietzscheTELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on ...
    5 days ago
  • Dig this
    Resources Minister Shane Jones yesterday told a breakfast hosted by Energy Resources Aotearoa precisely what they wanted to hear. “We campaigned to rehabilitate relegitimise and stand up for working families who derive their income,  derive their hope and derive purpose in regional New Zealand through a flourishing, growing, forward-leaning energy ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #7 2024
    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    5 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    5 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    7 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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