web analytics

The Very, Very Lucky Country

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, February 17th, 2021 - 5 comments
Categories: australian politics, covid-19, Economy, exports, tourism, treasury - Tags:

While Australia is rightly branded The Lucky Country, it looks like we can reasonably be called the Very, Very Lucky Country.

Because of the way both the government and society have handled Covid-19, New Zealand is now one of the most successful countries on earth.

In the shorter-term performance metrics, the Lowy Institute has said so, following a fairly expansive set of criteria.

Obviously, each state responds to this global crisis with different kinds of instrument and forms of social persuasion, which the OECD has set out.

And for those who want a scan of everyone’s national policy responses, you can find quick summaries about how each country in the world has responded in primarily economic terms in this IMF summary sheet.

Covid-19’s impact is positively transforming the New Zealand economy.

It is currently a lower carbon economy, due to the falloff in international travel.

New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown triggered a massive 41% drop in Carbon Dioxide levels – a reduction bettered by only one country in the world.

As a short term drop that was great, with a 75% drop in air pollution.

As a longer term drop due to air travel being down for years, that’s very positive for air pollution and the carbon cost of our tourism industry generally.

There was real industry disquiet late in 2020 when the new Minister of Tourism pointedly used the Covid-19 crisis in tourism to start levering out the low end of tourism and levering up our tourism productivity. As the Head of the Youth Hostel association commented about masses of young people flocking here, after Nash’s statement: “This has been a successful strategy of our country and has supported strong industry growth and, with that, economic benefit over the past 20 years.” That end of the tourism market is dead, and it needed to die.

The real economic pain many towns such as Rotorua and Queenstown are feeling is the identical pain that would have occurred through a sudden transition away from fossil fuels – because that’s exactly what it is.

Ours is also already a higher-value economy because tens of thousands of international students have been stopped from attending poor-quality education courses. All tertiary institutions are suffering, but those at the bottom end delivering international literacy courses are faring worst. A little-noted set of Cabinet papers in August last year showed the government explicitly using Covid-19 to transform the $5 billion international student sector. Obviously, they all came here by plane so that’s another massive carbon saving to another major sector of our economy.

The Cabinet paper said the pandemic was expected to cost education providers about $600 million in lost fees just for 2020, but that we stood ready to leverage its handling of the crisis to attract students. “The halt on international travel provides an opportunity to redefine how some of the sector value is generated. For example, the government can encourage the sector to rebuild in a way that is less reliant on student mobility which causes environmental strain, and place more focus on maximising the uptake of online delivery for students offshore.”

It is an economy with much clearer leadership from the state. This is affecting the companies that are already doing well out of 2021.

Construction is also an industry now leading the transformation of New Zealand out of Covid-19’s effects. Integrated construction and infrastructure companies are positioned to gain from government’s $30+billion of funding. You can see most of the big Auckland projects on display here.

With the publication of the infrastructure pipeline, and the Construction Accord, the industry is more cohesive and united – under government leadership – than it has ever been.

Companies that know how to work well with state development agencies, primary among these being Kainga Ora, are also doing well for themselves and the country.

There are whole suburbs of Auckland and Wellington being completely rebuilt by the multiple designers, architects, builders, landscapers, operators, and owners associated with this key agency. Check out Northcote, Mt Roskill, Owairaka, Cannon’s Creek, Hobsonville, Penrose, and more.

In sector after sector of our economy, Covid-19 is transforming us in precisely the same way as a lower-carbon transition has to take us anyway.

Which is quite possibly why there was near-zero disquiet about the 6 weeks of consultation about the Climate Change Commission’s recommendations. Covid-19 is being used as a moment to do the job of carbon transformation already.

This year, there’s going to be a lot more focus on the New Zealand companies that are focusing on very high end, niche high value exports.

And that obviously includes the head-to-head multinational competition of marine componentry in which national pride and multinational capital and the Research & Development resulting from that cooperation of both are fully on the line live before a global audience.

It’s in this moment of sustained global crisis that our state has reasserted itself as the primary agent of national cohesion. It’s the biggest Keynesian moment since the Depression. This is the Treasury summary of those interventions, so far.

With great dollops of subsidy, all exporting sectors of New Zealand’s economy now have transition plans underway.

And we can see people are getting that subsidy direct and indirect, and have the confidence to get out there and spend it, according to Treasury’s latest update.

The very idea of leadership as being of primary importance to our economic wellbeing has just gone up and up in both New Zealand and Australia as both governments were found to be decisive and effective.

And in the broader regional context, our trading neighbourhood in China, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea are in full fast rebound. They want our stuff and we are selling it to them.

There’s no doubt too that New Zealand’s average poverty has not reduced, and wealth inequality has not decreased. And our homeless rate at around 1% is the highest in the OECD. That’s a focus I will return to once this year’s budget announcements arrive and fresh stats come in with them. But here’s a hint:

In the absence of tax reform, the stealth-reform against our super-rich who have locked up most of our private wealth in trusts is the slow-burn revolution to watch. New Zealand’s wealthiest 1% of adults – around 38,000 people – have $141 billion in trusts. Another 150,000 people, rounding out the rest of the wealthiest 5%, have trusts worth a further $122 billion.

So reform of trusts is underway. Trustees will no longer be able to (a) exercise power for their own profit, (b) not give a damn about conflicts of interest, (c) act for reward (other than legitimate expenses reimbursed). It’s a shudder going down the spine of trust law specialists and their clients – but they’re keeping mighty quiet.

We are, in short, a very, very lucky country.

5 comments on “The Very, Very Lucky Country ”

  1. dv 1

    The 38000 (141 billion ) have abt 3.5 mill each

    and

    The next 150000 have abt 800k each.

    That sort of feels a bit low to me?

    • TMS 1.1

      Good point! Earlier I had been baffled by the Green Party's proposed wealth tax – their figures simply didn't seem to add. More work needed!

  2. RedBaronCV 2

    Well it has certainly whittled out some low value industries – the trick may be in keeping them out.

    Now we need stage two-

    Identifying imports that we can usefully do here – grow table grapes? and also look at kick starting fully automated factories in areas where domestic demand is sufficient or we can add value to export production.

    empowering employees of large or overseas owned companies to negotiate on wages, health and safety and management – to replace the idiot employment laws we currently have.

    charging overseas owned companies for any wider welfare they receive from NZ – repayable on some sort of time frame.

    removing the monopoly and duopoly benefits from basic services such as power and telephone/ internet.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      to replace the idiot employment laws we currently have.

      Yes. Addressing the structural reasons why NZ has so long had such a chronically low Wages Share/GDP ratio would be the very first place I'd start.

      All the points you make are good solid issues an energised and focused left could promote and advocate for. And once upon a time we did – what happened?

      • Cricklewood 2.1.1

        To use rugby parlance the left stopped playing the ball and focused on the man… has the same net result as it does in rugby…

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Building back better
    It’s a three-week recess in Parliament – so, no bills are going through the House and no select committees are meeting. But the hard work of our ministers continues, and many of our MPs are back in their electorates, taking the opportunity to meet with local communities and businesses about ...
    22 hours ago
  • Greens call for a Warrant of Fitness for rental homes
    The Green Party is launching a petition today calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes. ...
    4 days ago
  • Securing our recovery: By the numbers
    Our plan to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 is working, with the past three months seeing the second-highest number of people moved off a main benefit into work since records began. ...
    1 week ago
  • More Kiwis in work through recovery plan
    The latest statistics show the Government’s focus on jobs is working. The net number of people on a main benefit dropped by around 11,190 people during the past three months, with around 31,240 people moving off a benefit into work. ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party appoints new Chief of Staff
    The Green Party has appointed a new Parliamentary Chief of Staff, Robin Campbell. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’re turning 105!
    It’s our birthday! Today, 105 years ago, the New Zealand Labour Party was founded. And we haven’t stopped moving since: fighting for workers’ rights, expanding protections to boost equality, and upholding democratic socialist ideals. We’re now the oldest political party in New Zealand and, as we celebrate our 105 years, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Principles for guiding the Emissions Reduction Plan Speech
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
    The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said. “It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for Pacific regional business
    Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Ardern call with President Biden
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with US President Biden this morning, ahead of the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat on COVID-19. “President Biden and I discussed the forthcoming APEC leaders meeting and the critical importance of working together as a region to navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Renewed partnership creates jobs for New Zealand youth
    The Government has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, strengthening the partnership to get more young people into work.  The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is a nationwide network of all Mayors in New Zealand, who are committed to making sure all young ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
    Five South Island areas are prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
    A new code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary and international students will be in place from January next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today The code, which makes clear that creating an environment that supports learning and wellbeing is a shared responsibility between tertiary providers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
    The members of the first TAB NZ Board come with experience in racing and sport administration, business and governance, the betting industry, broadcasting and gambling harm minimisation. “This Board will progress from the excellent work done by the interim board, put in place in August 2020,” Grant Robertson said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
    The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau. A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended Essential Skills visas being rolled out
    Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders The Government is increasing the duration of some Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders while ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand will be paused from 1.59am (NZT) Friday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. The decision follows updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest. The pause will run for at least ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen arrangement signed with Singapore
    The signing of an Arrangement of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore heralds the start of greater collaboration between it and New Zealand as both countries transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. The cooperation arrangement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hydrogen agreement signed with Singapore
    The signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on low-carbon hydrogen with Singapore signals the start of greater collaboration between the two countries as they transition towards low carbon economies, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods. The cooperation agreement between New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
    Kia ora koutou katoa and thank-you for the invitation to speak to you all today. I would like to acknowledge Local Government New Zealand President Stuart Crosby, and Chief Executive, Susan Freeman-Greene, Te Maruata Chair, Bonita Bigham, and our host, Mayor John Leggett. I also acknowledge all the elected members ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to provide support for water reforms, jobs and growth
    The Government today announced a $2.5 billion package to support local government transition through the reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. The package will also stimulate local economies while creating jobs and unlocking infrastructure for housing. “New Zealand’s water systems are facing a significant crisis and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government Initiatives Contribute to Fall in Benefit Numbers
    Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit. “This Government’s plan to increase work focused support for Jobseekers is paying off,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “All up Benefit numbers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism support package continues rollout
    Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities most affected by the absence of international tourists. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash today announced details of how tourism operators and communities can access the help announced in May as part of the government’s $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ-PNG Sign Statement of Partnership
    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape signed the first ever New Zealand - Papua New Guinea Statement of Partnership today. “This new Statement of Partnership reflects the importance we place on the close economic, cultural and people-to-people links our two countries have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further advice being sought on new cases in Victoria
    Further advice is being sought from public health officials following seven new positive cases of COVID-19 in Victoria today, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “There are also a growing number of locations of interest that are of concern, including a sports stadium on Saturday and several pubs,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Learning Community Hubs supporting ethnic families
    As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to working with the victims and those affected by the March 15 terror attacks, today Associate Minister of Education Hon Jan Tinetti released the report ‘Voices from the Ōtautahi’ on the Christchurch Learning Community Hubs. “It’s so important we continue to support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Hundreds more hands funded to work for nature
    Supporting biodiversity protection through community-led projects and on private property will create at least 500 more jobs under the Mahi mō te Taiao/Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The work we are funding includes everything from pest control and restoration planting to plant propagation, skill ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Saliva testing expansion for frontline border workers
    All frontline border workers who are required to be regularly tested for COVID-19 will soon be able to choose regular saliva testing as a full replacement for nasopharyngeal testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. Saliva testing will be expanded as an option for all those on a regular ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government consults on freshwater farm plan
    The Government is inviting farmers and growers to provide their practical ideas to help develop high-quality and workable freshwater farm plans, in line with its freshwater goals said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Environment Minister David Parker. The ministers today released the consultation documents for freshwater farm plans and stock exclusion low slope maps. Comment is being sought on a new, more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Increased support for midwives
    New measures to help bolster the midwifery workforce as they care for the next generation of New Zealanders, have been announced today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “New Zealand’s midwives are committed to the wellbeing of women and whānau, but they’re facing significant challenges. The DHB midwifery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New national cancer treatment service opens
    A new national cancer treatment service will see patients who used to travel to Australia treated in Auckland, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today.  Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy, or PRRT, can help manage symptoms of metastatic neuroendocrine cancer and increase and improve life for people who have it.  The treatment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago