There goes the surplus

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 18th, 2016 - 58 comments
Categories: ACC, Economy, Financial markets, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national - Tags:

bill-english-tiny

With great fanfare last week the Government announced what it wanted to suggest was a stonking big operating revenue surplus in the country’s accounts. We are finally in the black to the tune of $1.8 billion dollars. This headline was obliterated by other news released that day that Housing Corp was running out of money but the government will still be hoping that it feeds into the “National is a good manager of the economy” narrative.

I have had a read of the treasury documents relating to the release of the news and there are a few reasons why this headline is overly optimistic. And undeserved.

The good news is indeed that there is an operating surplus of $1.8 billion. The causes seem to be primarily good growth and a greater than expected tax take caused by surging immigration. Keep those people coming as our economy depends on it.

There were some areas of not so good news.

ACC had actuarial losses of $5.1 billion and the Cullen Super Fund had actuarial losses of $2 billion. Sure they are book entries and relate to actuarial losses because of a change in the discount rate applied but a similar book loss of $4.8 billion back in 2009 again because of actuarial losses related on that occasion through a more conservative formula calculating future liabilities being applied was described by Nick Smith as a financial crisis. National is lucky that Labour will not stoop to the same lows.

There was another $1.5 billion liability because of the change of the price of carbon and its effect on the Emissions Trading Scheme. The price of carbon has increased considerably and will continue to do so. The Government sheltering business from the real cost of carbon results in a cost to us all.

And net Crown debt increased by $1.3 billion.  Borrowing is still not under control.

Funny how the headline figure was the one figure that captured the headline. With net debt increasing and forecasts for ACC, the Cullen fund and the Emissions Trading Scheme worsening even talking about a tax cut is crazy.

58 comments on “There goes the surplus ”

  1. Wensleydale 1

    Blinglish is playing a shell game. He’s frantically shuffling those paper cups around, desperately hoping we don’t realise none of the cups has a pea under it. He sold all the peas to his corporate friends years ago. We’re now a pea-free nation.

  2. Jenny Kirk 2

    Colin James has a column in today’s ODT (not yet online) in which he calls the “game” the govt is currently playing – dribble politics. Dribble out a bit of dosh whenever a situation gets dicey to placate all those who want to see the govt “doing something”. Its worth reading when it comes online.

  3. ” The Government sheltering business from the real cost of carbon results in a cost to us all. ”

    Hmmm…. welfare.

    Welfare for the boys.

    Now what’s that about Junior Doctors going on strike over safety issues like doing 16 hour shifts back to back, up to 12 shifts in a row I hear ya say again , Trev ?

    Oh yes, that’s right , … silly me , I forgot ,… the reason National are starving health , education , state housing and even our prisons are to degrade them to such a point that the public will accept the corporate’s taking over and setting up private concerns to replace our publicly funded social services.

    Combined with welfare for business and withholding of tax payer funds for our social services to make way for being able to milk the NZ public even further is sound economics 101 for the neo liberals, now , …. isn’t it.

  4. Siobhan 4

    Hey, it’s not all bad news, there $1 billion set aside for more prisons/places to store the mentally unwell and poor people with addiction issues..

    .”The Government has announced plans for a growing prisoner population including double-bunking for an extra 80 beds at Ngawha in Northland, a new building at Mt Eden to take 245 extra prisoners, and possibly a new 1500-bed prison on the current Waikeria Prison site in Waikato.

    Corrections Minister Judith Collins said prison population growth required a further 1800 places.”

  5. left for dead 5

    MS…Smoke and mirrors, theirs still money in it. 😉

  6. mosa 6

    Greed is king and New Zealanders will vote for the cash instead of funding public services.
    Bill English may have just won the 2017 General election.

    • NZJester 6.1

      Most of the local business owners are stupid to take his tax cut bribe though. The profits they get from their business will fall as their customers have little money to buy their goods. They would end up with higher after-tax and operating costs profits under a Labour government even if they have to pay higher wages and higher taxes.
      More customers will have the money to buy their goods when you have healthier and better-paid workers.

      • Ch_ch chiquita 6.1.1

        It’s funny how when you sit one on one with some of these business people and explain it to them (like they are a five year old) all of a sudden it clicks. I just hope those who my parner have had a chat with will remember it come the next elections, and that we wil be able to talk to as many people as we possibly can by then.

  7. Guerilla Surgeon 7

    That picture would go well on 7 Days. “Yes, that is the size of my penis.”

  8. feijoa 8

    It is just the one word they need to get out there
    SURPLUS

    That’s all people hear
    Nothing else matters, everything else is noise
    They think National are good economic managers
    Job done, election in the bag

  9. Greg 9

    A phantom surplus or was it fraud

  10. Keith 10

    Like almost any statistic or claim put out by our government nowadays, it cannot withstand much scrutiny at all and seemingly it appears, less and less scrutiny.

    I guess National are counting on the moment of the headline, backed by rapturous applause from Mike Hosking and Paul Henry and the unquestioning mind of Liam Dann of the Herald and cheer leading from other well connected “bank economists”.

    Having said that National have not put out a surplus yet in this governments life so does it really matter or hurt them? Or maybe there was there a suspiciously conditional one last year. In haze of all the bullshit they pump out, I can’t recall.

  11. Tamati Tautuhi 11

    Don’t worry we are a “Rockstar Economy” and we are about to turn the corner.

    More good news to follow.

  12. Groundhog 12

    Housing Corp is not ‘running out of money’, and you know it. You admit yourself that the ACC and Super Fund losses are actuarial only. So, in summary, your entire case is bs. Oh, and btw, the net core crown debt as a % of gdp has been steadily declining since 2013, and is forecast to continue to decline. The current % (24.6%) is only fractionally higher than the average of 23.85% between 1972 and 2016, despite borrowing for the GFC and Chch rebuild.

    I sometimes wonder whether the left would have simply left Chch to it’s own devices, and allowed the GFC to wipe hundreds of thousands of families out, such is the stupidity of this sort of click bait commentary.

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/government-debt-to-gdp

    • mickysavage 12.1

      Hmmm

      1. Housing Corp is running out of cash. They said so themselves.
      2. I did say the losses were actuarial, just like they were in 2009 when the nats went to town on it. But they do mean that we are all poorer or will be in the future. Are you suggesting we should completely ignore bad news?
      3. Net core Crown debt as a proportion of GDP is going down but in dollar terms is going up.
      4. No the left thinks that we pay off debt and store away cash so that in times of crisis the state is in a position to respond. This Government refuses to do this. And good to see you acknowledge the GFC and I thought the deficits were all Labour’s fault.

      I am pointing out that there are features of the Treasury release which are negative. Concentrating solely on the positive is something only a fool would do.

      • Groundhog 12.1.1

        1. No, they didn’t. They are actually in good financial shape, but they are about to embark on a building program that requires capital. Learn to read a balance sheet.
        2. No. I’m suggesting you are hypocritical to criticise National for doing something and then doing it yourself.
        3. The figure that matters is the % of GDP. The economy is growing at a healthy rate by global standards.
        4. Where did I say the deficits were all Labours fault? NZ enjoys ‘seasons’ of terms of trade. During the mid to late 2000’s we enjoyed excellent terms of trade. Then we had a GFC and rebuilding a major city. They are the main reasons we have had deficits. You have no evidence the government will choose tax cuts over debt repayment; that is pure speculation at this stage.

        Your piece is headed ‘There goes the surplus’. It follows a similar piece by another poster that argued there is ‘no surplus’. Balance is one thing, arguing against the prevailing facts is something entirely different.

        • mickysavage 12.1.1.1

          1. Yes they are. Treasury said so. Don’t confuse things by talking about the balance sheet. Concentrate on cash which is due to run out in February. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/85296759/housing-nz-running-out-of-cash-officials-warn-government
          2. Comparing my very gentle comment to Nick Smith’s hysteria is a joke.
          3. The figure that actually matters more is the per head of population GDP growth. It is anaemic. We are importing our growth.
          4. Just recycling typical troll comment. Glad you agree that National’s hysteria about a “decade of deficits” was just that.

          I see you did not mention the increase of liability for carbon credits which of itself pretty well wipes out the surplus. Why is that?

          • Groundhog 12.1.1.1.1

            1. Your own reference explains that a cash injection is needed to fund the governments building program. That is not ‘running out of money’.
            2. No, it isn’t. The principle is the same.
            3. Your diverting. And wrong. Growth is being driven by a range of sectors, and very much from the regions.
            4. The decade of deficits was a Treasury forecast. The 2009 deficit, left by Labour, was huge. Whether Labour were partly to blame is actually irrelevant. What matters is that this government have turned that around, successfully navigated the GFC, and rebuilt a major city.

            The liability for carbon credits is based on the price of carbon, which you acknowledge fluctuates. You predict it will rise. Perhaps. Perhaps not. The deficit is real.

            • Leftie 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Your comment is a load of crap and “the decade of deficits”came from John key.

              • Groundhog

                You have placed the comment in speech marks, indicating you are confusing the terminology with the reality. The reality is the Treasury forecast, which predicted deficits for the foreseeable future. The expression “decade of deficits” was used by a number of commentators, including Brian Fallow. It’s source is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is that that was the reality of what National inherited.

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10536181

                • Leftie

                  And that’s bullshit. The good financial standing NZ was left in, that National inherited, National have squandered.

            • mickysavage 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Has the English language lost its meaning?

              1. The post attacks the Nats spin about a surplus. Without an injection and with current policy settings HC will run out of cash in February. Crowing about a surplus is stupid because it is not a surplus. It is a bit of cash that should be applied to helping Housing Corp, not to tax cuts.
              2. Yes it is. The Nats went to town on it. I said “Sure they are book entries and relate to actuarial losses because of a change in the discount rate applied but a similar book loss of $4.8 billion back in 2009 again because of actuarial losses related on that occasion through a more conservative formula calculating future liabilities being applied was described by Nick Smith as a financial crisis. National is lucky that Labour will not stoop to the same lows.” I was criticising National, not the nature of the losses although you should get ready with any spare cash if you actuarial advice is that things are getting worse.
              3. Quote me some figures. Go ahead.
              4. What the … the Nats could do this because Cullen paid off all the debt and because of the Socialist EQC which the first Labour Government set up.

              The liability for carbon credits is real and will only get worse. Of course a responsible Government should do something about it, rather than offer tax cuts.

              • Groundhog

                1. The surplus is not ‘spin’. It is real. It is a surplus. Only an economic illiterate could argue otherwise.
                2. Thanks for doing again what you claimed you didn’t.
                3. “”Growth this quarter is being driven by strong domestic and export demand,” SNZ national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said. “Household spending was up 1.9 percent, with Kiwis spending more on going away, eating out, and furnishing their houses,” he said in a statement.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11710248

                4. Governments (Labour and National) have been paying off debt for decades, not just Cullen. It is the result of sound economic policy over the past 30 years, policy you generally condemn.

                No-one is offering tax cuts. They are on the table, along with a number of other options.

            • Matthew Whitehead 12.1.1.1.1.3

              LOL nobody is predicting the price of carbon credits will go down, it’s a matter of how much they will rise.

          • Groundhog 12.1.1.1.2

            1. Your own reference explains that a cash injection is needed to fund the governments building program. That is not ‘running out of money’.
            2. No, it isn’t. The principle is the same.
            3. Your diverting. And wrong. Growth is being driven by a range of sectors, and very much from the regions.
            4. The decade of deficits was a Treasury forecast. The 2009 deficit, left by Labour, was huge. Whether Labour were partly to blame is actually irrelevant. What matters is that this government have turned that around, successfully navigated the GFC, and rebuilt a major city.

            The liability for carbon credits is based on the price of carbon, which you acknowledge fluctuates. You predict it will rise. Perhaps. Perhaps not. The surplus, on the other hand, is real.

            • Leftie 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Your comment is a load of crap and “the decade of deficits”came from John key.

            • dv 12.1.1.1.2.2

              http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/9840884/New-Zealands-debt-legacy

              The government’s 2013 budget projected that net core Crown public debt in June 2015 will be $68 billion, up from a low point of $10b in June 2008.

              • Groundhog

                Meanwhile, in the real world, the country has successfully navigated a GFC and rebuild a major city.

                • Leftie

                  Bullshit.

                • dv

                  –Your comment Ground hoThe 2009 deficit, left by Labour, was huge

                  Was 10Billion, big but not NOT 68 billion which is closer to huge.

                  The current debt is 100 billion.

                  • Groundhog

                    You confuse annual deficits with accumulated debt. The current debt is less than Treasury forecast it would be in 2008.

                    • dv

                      Nope – no confusion by me., Thats why carefully I separated the last two sentences, as they ARE two different things.

                      My main point was the deficit WAS NOT huge back in 2008/ 9 as you stated compared to the deficit in 2015.

                    • Groundhog

                      “Nope – no confusion by me., Thats why carefully I separated the last two sentences, as they ARE two different things.”
                      Re-read your own post. You quoted my comment about the deficit, then talked about total debt.

                      “My main point was the deficit WAS NOT huge back in 2008/ 9 as you stated compared to the deficit in 2015.”
                      Again, you are confused. But I don’t want to embarrass you, so I’ll simply point you to this graph…http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/government-budget. You’ll see that in 2015 we were in surplus.

                    • Gorillagrip []

                      Sniff sniff hmmm I smell whale oil

                    • dv

                      “Nope – no confusion by me., Thats why carefully I separated the last two sentences, as they ARE two different things.”
                      Re-read your own post. You quoted my comment about the deficit, then talked about total debt.

                      Yes, two ideas!!

                      “My main point was the deficit WAS NOT huge back in 2008/ 9 as you stated compared to the deficit in 2015.”
                      Again, you are confused. But I don’t want to embarrass you, so I’ll simply point you to this graph…http://www.tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/government-budget. You’ll see that in 2015 we were in surplus

                      The stuff article was a prediction in 2013.
                      You are right it had changed by 2015.

                      But the deficit was really huge in 2011. (from you reference.

                      And I am still not confused.

                    • Groundhog

                      “Yes, two ideas!!”

                      Which you conflated.

                      “But the deficit was really huge in 2011. ”

                      But you said ‘2015’. You were wrong. And the deficit in 2011 was indeed ‘huge’. It was partly the result of the decade of deficits inherited, partly the Chch rebuild, partly the GFC. In 2016, NZ is held up as a model of how to steer through these challenges.

      • Nic the NZer 12.1.2

        2. The entire notion of being poorer or richer (as a nation) here is premised on the govt deficit/surplus being an issue for the country now or in the future. It matters not a jot as ACC and Super are entirely sustainable as an as you go payment anyway.
        3. This is the way govt debt is repaid in general. By out pacing it in growth terms. Thats why countries are still ‘paying off’ debts incurreds over WW2. Its extremely difficult to pay off debt in nominal terms as each doller of surplus equates to a doller less of non govt income/savings (and the reverse). In some countries (Greece) the nominal cuts resulted in such a fall in turnover and impacts on tax take that the govt debt to GDP ratio increased substantially (and unemployment also increased of course).

        The nations wealth is entirely encapsulated in the real side of the economy and what that provides to citizens (yes including what they can afford to purchase). Its irrelevant what in govt deficit/surplus balance is for the nations wealth.

  13. Cinny 13

    How’s that super fund? Bogus surplus.

    Wonder how things are going on the ground… massive housing costs and crime rates… trickle down? I don’t think so. Underpaid striking Jnr Dr’s, rotting schools, overworked low morale police, high crime rates, homelessness, poverty, record drug abuse, suicide etc etc.

    But hey lets boast about a fucken surplus, which appears to have been eaten up in the last 24 hrs with another prison to tackle those high crime rates. Cause that’s gonna work, SMH.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11731295

    Public are over it, the out going governments pie in the sky ideal of a ‘surplus headline’ is not as effective as they need it to be.

    Reality is effective, reality is the cruel outcomes of underpaid and overworked social services, a crippling housing situation and outright poverty. Judith claims it’s all because of bad parenting, maybe she should look at the results of her own parties parenting of our country.

  14. Infused 14

    Lol and everyone here’s like borrow for super fund!!!11

    This is moronic stuff. Groundhog is the only one with a clue

    • Cinny 14.1

      No, no, you are missing the point Infused… which is… we don’t pay taxes to pay down the debt of a badly managed outgoing government, we pay taxes for social services, such as the cullen fund.

  15. ropata 15

    RWNJ’s view everything through the lens of $$$$, in their tiny minds surplus = profit, therefore Key = good, he make NZ rich!

    Never mind the fact that Key & English have liquidated, asset stripped, and profit gouged every arm of the State in order to do their accounting tricks. The Government books may be (temporarily) in the black, but the people of NZ are much worse off.

    New Zealand was supposed to be a democratic nation, and the government was supposed to empower, protect and serve “The People”. I guess I can forget that shit as the FJK regime is turning NZ into a corporation whose only goal is Profit.

  16. ropata 16

    As stated on NRT:

    The only reason we have a “surplus” is because the government’s failure – or rather, refusal – to provide those services does not appear on their balance sheet. If they did, then the trick would be laid bare: all National has done is pump up the government’s books by giving us public squalor. And now they plan to leave us that mess, and the long-term costs it entails, while letting the rich run away with the profits as tax-cuts.

    This isn’t government. It’s pillage.

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    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    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 ...
    6 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
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