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The main risk to New Zealand according to John Key

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, October 6th, 2016 - 59 comments
Categories: Economy, housing, john key, national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

Over the weekend, some good friends of mine had their house go to auction, and it went for well over $2 million. Foreign Chinese buyer, and welcome to the neighbourhood. This in a suburb where that price hadn’t happened before.

A day earlier, the Chinese currency had been deemed to be a global reserve currency. This means analysts will be able to advise money traders the world over about how different economies should be valued.

The two points converge on the brittleness of New Zealand’s economy. And our Prime Minister gets that. Since he’s come back from New York, he’s got a sharper sense of how major external threats can throw our economy totally off track. Even with growth and activity as it is.

Quoted by Fran O’Sullivan in the NZHerald, he says:

Almost every recession we’ve had is driven by real interest rates going up. This is the big risk.”

You just heard our PM offer the word “recession” unbidden, in the middle of high growth. Risk: interest rates.

He clarified that was very unlikely at the moment.

We really are bucking the international trend. We are still at two per cent base rates. Inflation is running incredibly low. There is fundamentally no pressure on the Reserve Bank to raise rates.”

All good apparently. Then there’s the risk of something big internationally.

The risk is a really unforeseen increase in inflation because in all the discussions I’ve had it is not at all clear these central banks have an idea of how they will get on top of this carry trade. Because all of a sudden money will be pouring the other way in really quite a significant way.”

He’s talking Japan’s central bank.

And the reason we should listen there, is because he’s extremely experienced in this area.

Apparently he said, to a Westpac audience:

We are just in so much better shape. We can spend money if we want to. We are back in surplus we can cut interest rates if the Reserve Bank wanted to. And we are not printing money and we have no intentions of doing that.”

While he also said a bunch of stuff about the U.S. elections, let’s pass on that for a moment. He’s flagging a massive risk. China and Japan hold up the world’s economy, and Japan’s bank has run out of options, and no one knows the truth about China.

Times like this, looking out over the risk-bomb called Auckland from my house, make me think about the letters the IMF and Muldoon exchanged in the late 1970s. Or the housing markets and sharemarkets 1988. If by some miracle our housing market cools steadily, we will have avoided real social chaos.

If only we had a Prime Minister who could do more than point out the risks.

59 comments on “The main risk to New Zealand according to John Key ”

  1. Richard Rawshark 1

    nice post advantage, he did more than point out the risks though it says he said we were in a good position if shit hit the fan so to speak.

    He’d better be right,

    I cannot see many new home owners who just scraped a mortgage for their first home surviving much of a interest rates hike.

    again it will be those who suffer, not me, i’m old enough to have quite a low mortgage to pay.

    It’s a cycle I am perplexed by, in a rapidly rising housing market people panic they will never get into the market, but on analysis of any depth, the market rises due to available money, low interest etc, well these things change and markets do and can crash. You need to move, no ones buying, interest rates are to high, what happens you end up losing thousands.

    Buy low, sell high, why oh why are they all buying up over priced homes believing the rising market to be infallible?

    • Leftie 1.1

      “he said we were in a good position if shit hit the fan so to speak.”

      John key is a liar.

      • Michelle 1.1.1

        he has said a lot o f things many are not true we cant trust this man he is all about the 1%

        • Leftie

          Exactly, Michelle.

        • Naki man

          “he has said a lot o f things many are not true we cant trust this man he is all about the 1%”

          Can you not see how stupid that comment is??
          Someone who is all about the 1% and yet nearly half the voters vote for his party.
          Quite clearly rational thinking and logic are not your strong point.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            Doesn’t seem stupid to me. A reasonable explanation for your observation is that the 1% are successfully manipulating public opinion and the electoral process.

            Have you noticed who owns much of the media (rich people) and who makes the largest donations to political parties (rich people)?

      • Richard Rawshark 1.1.2

        He has to say it, to show concern or even alarm in the slightest can send currencies and markets into spins, these guys are super careful what they say around money…, kids in poverty easier to count rats, or similar he recently wisecracked, he would never off the cuff remark like that over currency.

      • Rae 1.1.3

        That is the royal “we” and the position he is in if the shit hits the fan is behind it.

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    @ Richard Rawshark

    “why are they all buying up over priced homes”

    They are laundering dirty money. Here’s why:

    A new international exchange of banking information law is going into effect very soon. It will enable tax authorities in one country, for example China, to ask all the NZ banks if Chinese Citizen named XYZ has an account here. If the answer is “yes, XYZ has $100 million in NZ bank ABC”, Chinese citizen XYZ is going to have to show how they got that money and why they haven’t declared it on their Chinese income returns.

    How can Chinese or Russian or Indonesian citizen XYZ avoid going to jail for tax evasion? They must get rid of all their cash immediately, before the exchange of tax information law goes into effect. That can only be done by converting their $100 million into something not covered by the new law such as real estate.

    Foreign buyers don’t care what the house price is. It’s better for them to lose some money buying overpriced real estate than to go to jail and lose everything.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Foreign buyers don’t care what the house price is Precisely.

      Nice post Ad. Doesn’t underestimate John Key.

    • Ad 2.2

      It may well be we are a tax efficient haven. That sits uneasy.

      But on the other hand there are very few multi-millionaires anywhere who are pure as the driven snow.

      I like the idea of requiring foreigners to buy new builds only. I worry that banning all foreign property ownership will decrease scarce local capital and require even heavier reliance on banks for our capital.

      There’s a whole Vancouver parallel story to be told, I’m sure.

      • AmaKiwi 2.2.1

        @ Ad

        I’m not sure what you mean by “a tax efficient haven.”

        What I do know is that the undeclared money is racing against a fast approaching deadline. Once these tax evading multi- millionaires have emptied their bank accounts, the party is over for anyone trying to sell real estate.

        Translation: Very soon there will be a global real estate crash.

      • dukeofurl 2.2.2

        It used to make me curious why the gift tax was removed completely a little wahile back.
        Now its clear, the foreign trusts have to have a means of moving money from a so called independent entity to the person who really controls each trust.
        Gifts are they way its done, and they can claim that ‘all taxes are paid’ in the place the trusts are set up (zero)- which is why they had to remove our tax on gifts.
        It helps locals too who gift money from family trusts as well. Win Win all round

        • AmaKiwi


          Absolutely correct.

          It was one of the first things Key did when he came to power. I’ll bet NZ rich listers sent hundreds of millions into overseas family trusts.

          • reason

            100+ Amakiwi & dukeofurl

            When you look at Keys actions through the Lens of knowledge brought into partial focus for the mainstream by the Panama papers…..then the systematic tax haven building and facilitation activities of John Key stands out like dogs balls ………….

            ” John Key gets a gleam in his eye when he starts talking about New Zealand becoming the “Jersey of the South Pacific”.

            The endless paper trail ( or internet trail ) showing step by step our path into being part of a international financial criminal ring is there to see ….. but until the Pananma papers had either been misreported, ignored or under-reported by our media….. leading people to be very misinformed and confused as to why tax haven building John was singled out for special mention by the mossack whistle blower who leaked their finacial crimes …

            Past examples of non or controlled reporting would be John Keys personal bail out ….. and how many millions in charity he received when the american pension funds and taxpayers saved Merrill lynch and keys investment from going bankrupt …. The story behind his bank of america shares and the GFC was never reported …

            Another past example is John Shewan and the aussie banks $2.2 billion tax vehicle getaway crash was never reported as front page or leading news …. most new zealanders are unaware it even happened …. $2.2 Billion non-event

            Recent reporting of mossack fonseca seems to be designed to non-inform with basic information like who are the three biggest firms ahead of mossack in the tax haven business not presented ………….

            Statements are made such as ‘no smoking gun’ ….. while all around Keys lawyer mate and other things are burning like aussie bush fires


            ” a contentious exemption of professional services firms – mostly lawyers, accountants and real estate agents – from being covered by anti-money laundering laws passed in 2009.”


            The biggest threat to Key is honest reporting and the truth becoming common knowledge ……

            The biggest threat to New Zealand is more of Key ….. not to mention the poor and children in other countries he is helping to hurt

            The mans more dangerous than a hawkes bay river ………… and twice as dirty 😉

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            This change got almost no analysis or coverage. Also helpful for rich people transferring money within NZ – e.g. John Key giving Max his first few million etc.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.3

        I worry that banning all foreign property ownership will decrease scarce local capital and require even heavier reliance on banks for our capital.

        The solution to that isn’t foreign fiat money but to take the creation of money out of the hands of the banks and put it squarely into the hands of the government with the rule that only money spent into the economy (UBI, government services, infrastructure) can be created and must be offset by an appropriate level of taxes.

        So, yes, we can ban all offshore ownership and not have a problem with capital. In fact, we actually have a problem with capital now in that there’s too much entering the economy most notably from those foreign sources.

        • ropata

          We need to follow Iceland’s example. It can be done

          The aristocrats don’t like the serfs getting too unruly and will do anything to keep their privilege. Only when their personal safety is at stake will they listen to any democratic demands.

    • Anno1701 2.3

      “They are laundering dirty money”

      dont forget the rampant mortgage frauds based on fabricated “overseas” earnings in China …

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    A day earlier, the Chinese currency had been deemed to be a global reserve currency.

    In a financial system with free-floating fiat currencies you can’t have a reserve currency. The fact that these morons think that you can shows that they’re still thinking in 19th century terms when the reserve was gold and other precious metals.

    The exchange rate between those free-floating currencies needs to be set via trade between them. Considering that our imports from China exceed our exports to them then our currency should be valued at less than the Yuan. That, of course, only applies to the Yuan. Other countries exchange rates would differ in relation to our trade with them.

    This would apply to all currencies.

    And we are not printing money and we have no intentions of doing that.

    Which, of course, is a lie. We print money through the private banks instead of the government but the money is printed.

    As you say, he’s highly experienced in this area – he knows how the money system actually works.

    If only we had a Prime Minister who could do more than point out the risks.

    He is doing more than point out the risks – it’s just a question of who he’s doing it for because it certainly isn’t for the best interests of NZ.

  4. mosa 4

    I want a Prime Minister that I can believe and trust.

    • Cinny 4.1

      YES PLEASE and someone we can be proud of.

      • One Two 4.1.1

        Be proud of yourself and in yourself (without delusion)

        No need to put that stake onto a 3rd party entity which is long past its use by date

        • Cinny

          Indeed, but it would be rather wonderful to have a sense of pride towards the leader of our country.

          Strongly agree with you that the out going entity is well expired

          Feeling rather proud of Marama today

    • AmaKiwi 4.2

      @ mosa

      Regrettably I don’t think popularity contest elections ever produce politicians you can trust. No NZ PM will seriously resolve our housing crisis. There are too many vested interests controlling the puppet MPs.

      I think there are many POLICIES the vast majority of American and NZ voters can agree on. (Stop foreign wars, fairer taxes, clean environment, free education, better hospitals, etc.) Instead we and the Americans choose between two personalities, both beholding to the special interest groups that put them in power. I favor binding referendums because referendums decide policies, NOT which puppet is marginally less repugnant than the other.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1


      • b waghorn 4.2.2

        ”I favor binding referendums because referendums decide policies, ”

        That could only work if people actually took the time to understand all the issues around what ever they were voting about, and that an honest campaign was run for and against that issue, both of which are unlikely

        • AmaKiwi

          @ b wagon

          I asked the young first-time voter why was voting for Legalize Cannabis Party because, he said, “It is the only party which can make a difference to my life.” Regrettably, I had to agree with him.

          There is NOTHING the Auckland Council can do that will have a significant impact on my life. Nothing!

          Those of us who vote are the fools. The non-voters are smart enough to not waste their time on something that doesn’t matter.

          People take binding referendums seriously, very seriously.

    • mosa 4.3

      Cause I don’t trust Mr Key and I have stopped listening.

    • Richard Rawshark 4.4

      Ok mosa in the history of PM’s planetary and any time, who would you have?

      I’m trying hard to think of one exceptional PM I would have liked to have lived under..thinking…

      hmmmmm back…back…

      Ok Kennedy, just because it was a time when we almost had hope, and things would change, yeah I would have like to have seen those days for real. Plus he actually rallied a planet in pursuit of something special, landing a man on the moon. Visionary stuff.

      but trust and believe…good luck on that.

  5. Infused 5

    The Risk is Syria, the US and Russia actually. China and Japan, NKorea and SKorea.

    This is what’s going to tip things. Not this bullshit around the edges. There’s a reason why oil has been forcefully held so low. There are proxy wars going on everywhere in the world right now.

    • AmaKiwi 5.1

      @ Infused

      In my opinion these proxy wars are in reality the beginning of World War Three.

  6. Wayne Mapp 6


    In fact there are hardly any proxy wars going on. At most Syria. The rest of the world is mostly at peace. That is why 2016 has one of the lowest ever death rates from war.

    • Anno1701 6.1

      cough cough *bullshit


      look like about half the map to me roughly ?

    • Paul 6.2

      Heard of Ukraine?

    • One Two 6.3

      Nobody appreciates a bullshitter, Wayne

      Every living being and this planet is having war waged on top of it, either by munitions, heavy industry or the financial industry..

      They’re all intertwined, but you know this


    • Richard Rawshark 6.4

      What Wayne?, apart from the comments of shock at what you wrote re: no wars except Syria 2016..

      It’s a bit off, like couple miles, what made you believe that?

    • Morrissey 6.5

      “The rest of the world is mostly at peace.”


      How complacent and deluded and plain ignorant must someone be in order to write such a blitheringly stupid statement? Oh, I see it’s a former National Party cabinet member; that explains it.

    • gnomic 6.6

      Wayne old boy, you need to retire as a pundit. Even the National Party regarded you as a joke. A failed comedian. Perhaps start your own blog and see how that goes …. Or perhaps try volunteering in an op shop, or maybe at a hospice?

      Can the pompous crap.

  7. Takere 7

    Another list;

    Rigged Money Markets – Carry Trades
    Off the Books Debt
    Corrupted (Flawed) Data Collect Methodology(s)
    Blinglish Accounting Software
    Four Foreign Banks Rule the Economy
    Governments Lie

    Did any of these things make his list of main risks? Nah … Oh well, dumpty doo …. I suppose he’ll just take that job at the BoA when the shit hits the fan?

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    According to Montesquieu, a despot rules through fear.

    Having done nothing constructive for three terms, Key needs to create fear to have any chance of being re-elected.

    World interest rates are low because neo-liberalism has proliferated to the point of failure. If there is a recovery, NZ interest rates will rise.

    Just as he has tried to harvest the credit for low interest rates, Key will try to associate the blame of rising interest rates on the opposition.

    A desperate stratagem from the worst PM in NZ history.

    • Paul 8.1

      I think you’re a bit harsh on Key.
      Massey was the worst.

      William Massey, Prime Minister from 1912 to 1925.
      He used special constables (“Massey’s Cossacks”) to break the 1913 waterfront strike, had practically the entire leadership of the Labour Party jailed for sedition during World War One (and then delayed the elections anyway, just in case he didn’t win), ensured the passage of the War Regulations Continuance Act 1920 which allowed him to continue wartime censorship and the persecution of communists (plus the odd Catholic Bishop), and (last but not least) gave us the flu because he was too important to wait in quarantine. Over 8000 people died as a result, leading to him being memorialised in a children’s song: “Big Bill Massey brought the ‘flu, parlez vous…”.


      • Richard Rawshark 8.1.1

        I wonder if his election slogan was ” A brighter Future” by any chance.

        the elite, pfft. seriously if they carry on like that, no wonder the French chopped all there heads off.

      • Richard Rawshark 8.1.2

        My take is on Key, he has the benefit of recorded history, Massey came from that time.

        Although morally abhorrent now, I doubt it was then. Re Massey, well as much then.

        Now Keynocio has the benefit of hindsight, he damn well knows where inflated housing markets and lots of low interest lending gets you, but he did it anyways to stamp his lifetime achievement list and bugger the consequences.

        I dare say massey was just a stuck up Tory thinking he was better than everyone else but he believed it. Key knows it’s fake, seriously I don’t think either Key or Bennet believe any of their parties crap, they were just the easiest lot to fool with bullshit to gain power.

      • Stuart Munro 8.1.3

        NZ’s burgeoning suicide statistics – somewhat hidden as coroners are reluctant to make the criminal finding without conclusive proof – will have the Key death toll close to Massey’s – and the work permit fiasco will have put more kiwis out of work than the waterfront strike. But inaction on housing will be Key’s legacy, and as it matures it wouldn’t surprise me if things got very ugly indeed.

        On one thing though you are right – Key is essentially a 19th century politician – lazy, backward-looking and entitled. A thorough forensic audit of his financial dealings in power, and those of Joyce and of the Lord of the Pies are long overdue.

  9. Neil 9

    Double trouble: Is Deutsche Bank the next Lehman Brothers?


  10. Doogs 10

    The main risk to New Zealand IS John Key!

  11. gnomic 11

    Yet again I have to explain that in my opinion the present regime leader is a smirking weasel who may well have sold his soul (if he ever had one) to the devil. This person may well have no concern for the people of Aotearoa, and besides is bereft of any knowledge or concern about the issues which affect the people and the land. As a fully vested rich prick why would he care?

  12. Takere 12

    The main risk to New Zealand according to John Key is …. I’m a fuckwit and I don’t give a fuck!

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  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
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  • Hydrogen agreement signed with Singapore
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  • Hydrogen arrangement signed with Singapore
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  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
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  • NZ-PNG Sign Statement of Partnership
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  • Further advice being sought on new cases in Victoria
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  • Christchurch Learning Community Hubs supporting ethnic families
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  • Hundreds more hands funded to work for nature
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  • Saliva testing expansion for frontline border workers
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  • Increased support for midwives
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  • Prime Minister's Speech to NZIIA Annual Conference
    Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, ata mārie, tēnā koutou katoa. It’s a great pleasure to attend an event on such an important topic as New Zealand’s future in the Indo-Pacific region. Thank you to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs for bringing this hui together. I am encouraged to ...
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