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Too much too far?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, April 23rd, 2021 - 97 comments
Categories: capital gains, climate change, covid-19, economy, health, housing, labour, local government, public transport, science, tax - Tags:

As we lead up to Budget 2021, there’s much more shape to the whole direction of this government. It’s now the most wide-ranging since the fourth Labour government’s 1984-87 term.

  • It’s merged and effectively nationalised all the polytechs.
  • It’s just announced the formation of the New Zealand Health Service, again through massive amalgamation.
  • It’s undertaking de facto local government reform by pushing 3 waters amalgamations and introducing new funding mechanisms.
  • It is undertaking the largest public housing and urban regeneration projects we’ve seen in 50 years.
  • It has effectively taken over Air New Zealand.
  • It’s rolling out a series of public health measures against COVID-19 that will affect every single person in the country.
  • It’s just embedded what is effectively a capital gains tax by extending the Bright Line test to 10 years. And the world did not fall in.
  • It has enabled international flights and hence the tourism economy to start up again.

And of course,

  • It intervened in the New Zealand economy with direct company and worker wage subsidies in the March-March calendar year on a greater scale than most others in the OECD.

Drumroll … coming up:

  • In June we have the utterly massive Climate Change Commission policies that will get rolled out following public input. Electricity will be but one massive consumer and market-shaking issue.
  • A comprehensive re-making of the Resource Management Act which has over 20 years of major precedent built up behind it.

So step back and look at this shape and ambition. Government, just through COVID, has taken a greater place in the direction of the society and the economy of New Zealand than we have seen since 1939. Everything else is an even further expansion (No, I don’t detect any single institutional theory. Or even a specific political theory to it all).

So it certainly is still the case that with each crisis, this state is expanding its role and ambition and power – and of course this power almost never gets given back: crisis and leviathan.

There will continue to be massive stumbles, such as light rail, that they will be rightly chastised for. It’s also possible to see the proposed RNZ-TVNZ merger fall apart as fast as the youth station launch did.

And it’s quite likely once the new set of measures come out that our wellbeing and our poverty levels have gotten worse since Prime Minister Ardern started in 2017.

So looking at the above list it’s hard to quibble with their scale or ambition within government. The left complain that they aren’t doing enough about poverty and housing, the right complain that government is sucking the oxygen out of the capitalist room and we can’t all live off printing money forever. But the great majority just love them.

This brings up a couple of not unreasonable questions when you see the scale of this government’s agenda:

  1. Does the Government and the current New Zealand public sector have the capability to devise good policymaking in so many areas of fundamental significance to the New Zealand economy and society at once?
  2. Does the Government have the political skills to execute these policies well? So far there’s been near-zero disagreements, and Cabient refresh has been mostly through natural attrition.

Perhaps we can sustain this feverish policy pitch from the crisis-gearing we find ourselves cycling within.

Perhaps we have just enough competent Ministers to carry enough of the load, and let the weak ones play with the plastic spoons.


97 comments on “Too much too far? ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Gotta love myself some disaster socialism!!!

    And now throw in what looks like the most comprehensive review of transport funding since WW2 as well.


    And of course, the technocrat class warriors will be outraged at the politicians taking back some control of the reserve bank.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      We have a system of taxing road users by how much they drive …. fuel taxes and road distance user charges.

      GPS based systems are likely to be 20 years away and unlikely to work at the detail level even then. The public wouldnt live with a 'cloud' centred system ( and yes a private operator) of tracking your car everywhere it goes.

      • woodart 1.1.1

        why not? the public live with private operators tracking where there mobile phones go, and where their eftpos cards get used. modern cars have bluetooth as standard, as soon as you jump in, your phone is talking directly to your car, so cant see technology being a problem .

      • Ed1 1.1.2

        We have road user charges for some vehicles now – distance travelled can be easily determined. It makes sense with electric vehicles increasing. Not charging road user charges is effectively an incentive for such vehicles at present; in future fuel taxes could relate only to emissions targets, and RUC's continue to fund a Transport Fund which could include both rail and roads.

    • millsy 1.2

      National tried to bring this in when it proposed to have our roads run as SOE's back in the 1990’s

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    NZ has fully integrated neo liberal legislation, structural hegemony and a Parliamentary consensus between main political parties that the Chicago Boys would be proud of.

    So while the Reserve Bank Act, State Sector Act, SOEs, some of the freest in and out flows of capital in the world, largely privatised power generation and supply and massive Govt. “outsourcing” persist, the core issues that have 50% of the population owning just 2% of the wealth will not be solved.

    New Zealand–A Tale of Two Cities–drumroll that.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      Reserve Bank Act was amended in 2018 and is not just inflation anymore

      The Bank, acting through the MPC, has the function of formulating a monetary policy directed to the economic objectives of—

      (a)achieving and maintaining stability in the general level of prices over the medium term; and

      (b)supporting maximum sustainable employment.

      And they are directly subject to Minister deciding how they go about Monetary policy from a formal policy remit.

      • Tiger Mountain 2.1.1

        You have been around long enough Ghost, to know that it is the cumulative effect of multiple legislations, and historic deregulations and public asset sales, that allows the monetarists to maintain their 36 year headlock on the economy of this country.

  3. Pat 3

    That extensive list of announcements is exactly that……and thats the easy part.


    "Henare says the next eight to 12 weeks will be spent engaging with Māori leaders and whānau about what shape the authority should take."

    "Roles for DHB chief executives and board members will cease to exist, but what the changes will mean for some of the country’s most vulnerable still remains unclear.

    Little said the “proof of the pudding will be in the eating – we’ve still got to get there’’.


    • Treetop 3.1

      Too many chiefs making decisions at the DHBs causes disunity.

      A health consumer needs the service, needs access to it within a reasonable time frame and a standard of treatment to give the best out come.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        Am inclined to agree with that however the point is that Ad's list of 'achievements' is in fact little more than a list of announcements….announcements oft repeated, without strategy and often discarded and reinvented…..think light rail, housing etc.

        With regard to the latest health announcement there is a real sense that it is a last minute brain explosion with little background investigation/planning that will be created as we go along…..another 'building the plane as we fly it', an absurd( not to mention impossible) notion.

        4 years, many announcements, little action.

        • Treetop

          4 years, many announcements, little action.

          I could not sum it up any better. Covid has been a distraction and costly and it will need to be managed long term. Action to fix what is absolutely essential can no longer be delayed.

          Labour needs to just do it. They have the numbers and when it comes to being re elected, they will or will not be re elected on the good they do for the worst situations.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Of the 8 bullet points in the very good summary from Advantage which ones havent been done ?

            Are you really keeping awake at night over Council 3 waters, which is clearly a work in progess

        • Incognito

          Having met with kaupapa service providers to brief them on the reforms, Little said “there’s a sense they see an opportunity, and it’s incumbent on all of us to turn that into something meaningful’’.


          Government through Andrew Little, with a little help from EY, is providing the playing field AKA framework and the details will have to be filled in still by, with, and for stakeholders. TINA [no pun].

          • Pat

            Well I guess we can say at least he didnt announce a(nother) review.

            One wonders why they want the job if they dont actually want to do anything (and yes there are obvious explanations)

            By the time they actually implement anything they will have been in power for nigh on 7 years….and we wonder why there's disengagement?

            • greywarshark

              Thanks Pat for link directions.

              Reading the above as to why EY's (Ernest Young?) TINA will be the way to go:

              'Upton Sinclair USA – back in the day but still sharp –

              "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.'

              • Incognito

                Ernst & Young

                What do you take TINA to mean in my comment? Hint: it does not necessarily refer to EY.

                • greywarshark

                  Well I am not up in the acronym language, but I thought EY meant Ernst and Young and I thought they were financial managers, and might be the chosen go-to advisors to a govt that probably doesn't now try to plan anything for itself with a department that takes responsibility.

                  So if that is the case then govt will tend to take whatever they have paid for from the management/economic advisors as gospel, And the firm will follow the line they have always followed which pays them well. And they align themselves with big business and the world financial system with a capitalistic bent. And citizens are just human units with certain financial implications, and to require a change in the outlook of the management firm would be in line with Sinclair's concept. So then there is likely to be no change in our policy direction which will continue as before, and no countervailing position can hold, so therefore TINA or There Is No Alternative, to be countenanced or expected.

                  That's what I had in mind, but perhaps jumping to conclusions. You could have meant that though the framework will be set using the normal advisors, or retaining past systems, TINA, there will be input into the methods used within the frameworks.

                  Long-winded, but I seem to be too far from your line of thinking so put down mine in full. If I am thinking like this probably others are too. Perhaps you can tell me where I am wrong in my approach and lack of understanding.

                  • Incognito

                    Yes, Ernst & Young, which you had almost correct @ 😉 In fact, you’ve used the acronym before here on TS 🙂

                    I’d call them business consultants, in this context, not financial managers (too much hassle). They’ve been all over Health in NZ, particularly with regard to CDHB. IMHO, these consultants should be removed as far as possible from influencing major policy making because otherwise we may well end up with BAU, literally. That begs the question who can and will drive this major restructuring? Andrew Little and Government? No, a recipe for disaster, IMO. MoH? No! You cannot perform major surgery on yourself. So, are we back at/with EY, or PwC?

                    My comment was clear enough, I thought, and was aimed to stimulate thinking and debate about who (“the stakeholders”) and how they fill in the details. As such, there’s no right or wrong approach or lack of understanding; there are starting points for thinking and debating – I would not be so arrogant as to presume having the only correct answer(s) and only correct approach and I’ll leave that to others here to make such foolish claims …

                    • greywarshark

                      You mentioned stakeholders and I tend to think in this context they aren't the ordinary citizens no matter what we are supposed to believe. I see those who use this word as part of their regular vocabulary as deserving the stakeholder treatment along with garlic and a cross. So am rather blighted and bent in my objectivity in this. So how would we get a broad cross-section of people who have some idea of objectivity and the need for rationing, or alternative treatments? Labour did a sweep around the country making an attempt to get opinion, people's priorities, get the mood – in the 90's? Maybe another one with some options starting off, If we had a limited budget, how would we divide the health needs priorities? And bring in – do we want to give young children a start in life with reasonably good health, or concentrate on smoothing the pillow for older people, and help them extend their lives to 100? Let's have people face up to things.

                    • Incognito []

                      Ordinary citizens are the primary and ultimate stakeholders in anything and everything Government does (or does not). Government is made up of our representatives, who govern on behalf of all of us, for us, and by us, not even for just the voters or the voters who voted for them or their blimmen parties.

                      This is why I get immensely irritated when the consultation process is merely lip service, or rushed, when citizens have to bend over backwards to get access to information and get fobbed off when they claim their rights to know about governance decisions that directly and indirectly affect them, when concealed lobby groups get priority access over and above ordinary citizens and steamroll the democratic process in their favour. Above all, it irks me when ordinary citizens are ignored and excluded because the opinions and feelings of people with higher social status are deemed more important, especially when they have deep pockets to donate and/or invest in pet projects.

                      Aotearoa-New Zealand is a long way away from being a truly egalitarian society and the New Zealand Labour Party should remember who they are and what they stand for, because they sometimes give the impression of having forgotten their roots and need a kind reminder:


                      I’ve said enough under this good OP and don’t wish to get on the wrong side of Ad again.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        Too many chiefs making decisions at the DHBs causes disunity.

        Yeah, nah.

        Systems and processes are decided by highly paid EY consultants.

    • greywarshark 3.2

      Will it be a plum pudding as in:

      Little Jack Horner
      Sat in the corner,
      Eating his Christmas pie;
      He put in his thumb,
      And pulled out a plum,
      And said, "What a good boy am I!"

      And how many people are going to have a go at that pudding – will there be enough plums left to bring us good health.

  4. Treetop 4

    Historical and current harm caused by government departments and organisations is a big issue for me. Whether it be ACC, a police matter, a MSD matter, a prison/court matter, a hospital/DHB matter, religion based or boarding at a school.

    The Royal Commission into State and Faith Based Care has spent the 56 million allocated and the process is ongoing. The cost involved to see what the impact is on those who were harmed and the failure of the government department or organisation to stop the harm and prevent further harm needs to have a budget to cover the process.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      I think much of the cost could be driven home to the humungous monetary payments to the various leaders, arbiters etc running these intensive delving projects into wrongs. Perhaps they have to be bribed to set aside much of their comfortable lives during the arduous period of the hearings. But some of the figures that get quoted for the good services of some Judge, QC, etc. are eye-watering.

      It is sad that the spending of a relatively small amount of money on assisting a lot of people at the right time, usually parents and children to get a good start in life, cannot be countenanced. But the devastation caused by lack of reasonable care for both good living conditions coupled with good guidance will eventually become blatantly obvious so that it can't be brushed aside longer. Then the millions can pour out, drawn from a fatter purse for the upper-class who are seen to be more deserving of it than the poor. Ever the rich get rich, and the poor get children theme.

      But now the 'ever' cannot be relied on, NZ's fertility rate is down, and I think I saw recently that the UKs is down to 0.6 rather than the 2.1 replacement rate. 0.6 is probably wrong, it may be 1.6 but I've looked up enough 'unfortunate' stats and news for today.

  5. Sabine 5

    you forgot to mention all these successes that are here for everyone to see on the street level that is NZ.

    • warehouses people by the thousands in slum motels
    • oversaw what probably was the biggest increase in housing values in one month Feb 2021 (my little property literally gained an extra 100.000 grand) lol.
    • babies on waiting lists for cleft palate surgery
    • women to be discharged into emergency housing a day after giving birth
    • small businesses not provided with any help – be that legal, or monetary to either keep a business or get out of a lease
    • large tracts of land in NZ still sold to overseas interests transforming pastoral farm land to 'pine tracts'
    • no increases in benefits other then the Covid increase that only happened cause Covid
    • whole towns still depending on what ever tourism there is cause Government has no ideas, no will and only is able to send ministers to people telling them that they are to small, of no real importance to dear Leader and please pivot to something else.
    • , the Wage subsidy was 80% of min wage taxed. And after the first full lock down you needed a 40 % drop to even just apply for it. So many businesses only got it once and then died.
    • no mentioning of the creeping high unemployment numbers for people who are Female and people of colour.
    • toddlers going to kindergarten without food and without shoes – cause that is so Kiwi!

    However here are some real snippets from the guys that are supposedly all doing these awesome things to people like them. Like 1.5 billion for Air NZ but

    'You're going to have to have some very hard conversations': Tourism Minister says 'bleeding' tourism businesses shouldn't expect more Government support


    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week flatly rejected a plea by 59 organizations, including trade unions, charities and poverty action groups, to lift the level of welfare payments before Christmas in order to address mass unemployment and impoverishment.


    New Zealanders react after Finance Minister Grant Robertson says tenants will 'go looking elsewhere' if landlords hike rents


    NZ has money for the richest man on the planet for some really dumb TV


    Our sick hospitals: Cramped, leaky, outdated buildings and equipment on the brink of breakdown


    • Treetop 5.1

      The actual number of people living in motels will show the extent of the housing failure for those in emergency housing. I heard yesterday morning on News Hub 23,000 living in motels in the last year.

      There needs to be a budget figure just for emergency housing and the actual number who require emergency housing would be more as the criteria at MSD to get emergency housing has barriers. Winter is not to far off and a winter being homeless is something no one in NZ should be subjected to.

      Thank you for raising the atmosphere of emergency motel housing, I was not brave enough to say it.

      • Sabine 5.1.1

        the number so far that we have is up to a Million Dollar every night, and for some beds the Government is happy to shell out 400 NZD per night. Never mind that for that money you could start looking at paying the rents for these people outright.

        Or hey, they could build a town somewhere and drop these 23.000 people there and pay them a wage for the next three years. Heck , that might even work, at least it would be a better plan then what these overpaid over fed doodas are coming up with now.

        Labour, can't won't will not.

        • Treetop

          You raise a good solution about bridging the short fall in rent.

          What is stopping the government from doing this?

          It is to simple for the government to introduce an emergency payment to top up the rent. This is not the accommodation supplement or temporary additional support. It is a payment so a person does not need to live in a motel. Put another way a person gets the AS, TAS and the emergency shortfall so as to not need a motel.

          I do not like market rent settings as landlords are often so greedy. Building state housing and calling it state housing is what needs to happen. Just like NZ Health.

          • Sabine

            Why an emergency payment?

            Scrap the emergency housing, transitional housing and accomodation benefit and start paying the rent that you think as government is fair.

            Say – single person, no child – 1 bedroom/bathroom/kitchen-ette/storage space, inclusive balcony for drying clothes. (aka a flat 🙂 ) 25 – 30 sqm and pay no more then say 800 per month for it.

            single person with child – same, but add an extra half room to it – say 5 – 6 sqm for the spud – say 30 – 35 sqm and pay no more then 1000 per month for it.

            Soon you will have landlords that would be very happy to receive rent directly from the government and would build for it too – heck they do that all over europe – so there must be money in it.

            At least some could think about this because what we are doing now is madness. Nothing more nothing less. And those caught in it, specially the kids, will pay for this madness forever in terms of phobias, abuse, Post traumatic Stress illness, etc etc etc, which again then will be a cost to society.

            IT appears that 'rule for the Greater common good' has been abandoned by the Labour Party of today.

            • Treetop

              Why an emergency payment?

              AS and TAS is available and when insufficient to pay the rent people are becoming homeless. An emergency payment on top of AS and TAS would then give a more accurate figure on how much the shortfall is for the rent in comparison to a night in a motel. I would also encourage people to have MSD pay their rent directly to the landlord or their agent. The old special benefit calculation prior to TAS could also be another way of ensuring the rent does not exceed the benefit and other costs (food, energy, clothing, transport) to have an allowable sum.

              • Sabine

                The whole benefit system needs to be overhauled, atm we have emergency payments galore, have no idea how many people actually depend on it really, and could build a town with our homeless population. Do away with it and start paying rent. And then add to that enough benefit that one can eat and pay electricity. I know, a novelty, but worth a try.

                • Treetop

                  As I recall it from last week 2b owed to MSD in loans.

                  Some people have exhausted being able to borrow from MSD to set up a rental, (bond and advance rent). Add that to the list. Immediate action to ensure rent can be paid is urgent to avoid requiring a motel.

    • Foreign Waka 5.2

      Thank you for keeping us informed. If only……I honestly feel that the labor party is disingenuous and has its own agenda. I have no clue what their vision is, but it looks like we are going backwards, pretending to care and a lot of social engineering.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    It's early days, but rediscovering the fact that people expect the government to govern is a very healthy trend. Who knew? The samfs who have made such a bollocks of so much of the public sector are being wound back a bit – and that's a gradual win for ordinary folk. And for the Labour party, who, if they can get back to something approaching good governance, will retain power to build on this constructive base for quite some time.

    Some tasks will not be easy however. Moving to a better carbon position equitably, and without y2k style charlatanry like hydrogen, will present significant challenges. Media reform, agricultural reform, and meaningful action on the housing and finance dynamic that imposes massive deadweight costs to our prosperity have been left in the too hard basket too long.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Air NZ has been 'effectively' controlled by the government since it was rescued nealy 20 years ago, it went down to the recent level of 52% of shares which is 'control' under every meaning of the term

    Recent news was about increased loans to the company, which arent control most big companys are 'geared' in this way and covid has increased that for travel related business.

    The Government is extending its loan facility to Air New Zealand by $600 million as the airline defers its planned capital raise to later in the year.

    The $900m Crown loan facility made available to Air New Zealand in March last year has been extended to a debt facility of up to $1.5 billion (an additional $600m) available to August 27, 2023 (an extra 16 months).

    • Treetop 7.1

      NZ needs a national airline.

      How big do you think the airline should be and do you think the government should own a bigger share?

      Air NZ could be next on the list for a major restructure as it would go broke without government money being pumped into it.

      Carbon fuels would be reduced. International air travel is the biggest casualty of Covid. The various mutations have me thinking long term about the viability of huge numbers travelling on international flights.

      • Sabine 7.1.1

        We don't 'need' a national airline, we need airplanes to land here. And for that we need an airport, which we have.

        So really the question is not need but want. Do we want an airline that most people of this country can't afford in the first place. Or do we want an international Airport that can be used by other Companies?

        Really how many in t his country can actually afford to fly Air NZ – and i am not talking of members of political parties that have their airplane use paid for by us the tax payers. These guys have long ago lost the notion of paying for their own pleasure.

        • Incognito

          The airline [Air New Zealand] is a strategic asset for the Government, given its key role in supporting international tourism and export industries, and the domestic travel network.


          • Sabine

            yeah, i know. Wants, needs, must haves….priorities. The government has its set of those and the people have another. 🙂

            oh, so tourism is ok then? well, also, we have an airport, so planes from all over the world can land those tourists, and take those NZ tourists with them. Still no need for an airplane that every few years despite a 52% majority government stake needs a billion dollar injection here or there, disguised as loans or not.
            Export Industries will use those planes that are the cheapest. Air NZ is not cheap.
            Domestic Travle network? would that be the one Air NZ is not happy to all the time cause no profit?


            • Incognito

              A strategic asset is a priority until a National Government flogs it off to the highest bidder for an instant and one-off ‘profit’. Then all prices and fares will go up even further and essential and non-essential services will go down further, over time. That’s what you’re advocating, isn’t it? Your ‘priority’ is a race to the bottom 🙁

              • Sabine

                Oh my gosh, you should ask Labour if they want National to sell it off again, now that they again fed 1.5 billions into it.

                Not me. I am not one of these overpriced dudes that can't decide if they want tourism or not, if they want a greener world or not, if they want equity or user pays.

                But personally i don't give a flying poo about what National does, cause at the end of the day they are as predictable in their educated idiocy as is Labour.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  But personally i don't give a flying poo about what National does, cause at the end of the day they are as predictable in their educated idiocy as is Labour.

                  Gawd Sabine, bit grim. Governed by idiots – no hope then, you reckon?

                  The Best and Worst Places to Be as Global Vaccinations Take Off
                  A lightning-fast vaccination drive has propelled Israel toward the top of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking, transforming everyday life to put the country alongside New Zealand [#1] and Taiwan as one of the best places to be in the coronavirus era.

                  Fwiw I believe civilisation is on course for a collapse which will make te pandemic, tragic though it is, look like a storm in in a teacup. But I genuinely hope that my belief prove to be unfounded.

                  • Sabine

                    yes, no hope.

                    time to radically change 'hope' into something else then hoping that the same idiots will finally change their ways and do better this time – they haven't last time, they will not this time, and it is the poorest that pay for the educated idiots in expensive suits.

                  • Sabine

                    Vietnam is really good too.

                    I see that people really don't like pointing out how well the 'emerging' country of Vietnam did.

                    Latest Updates

                    • As of April 22, 2021, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 2,812 cases of COVID-19. However, 2,490 of the affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. Vietnam has also recorded 35 deaths due to the pandemic. The latest cases were all imported and quarantined on arrival.

                    read on it, follow the threat all the way down. OR would that maybe confuse your worldview? btw, Vietnam landlocked for the most part, 90 odd milliom people etc etc etc.

                    and then compare that to us, 5 million, with a vast body of water to save us, only accesible by plane or boat, in permanent lockdown and we have achieved this

                    New Zealand 2,600 cases 2,494 recovered 26dead


                • Incognito

                  But personally i don't give a flying poo about what National does, cause at the end of the day they are as predictable in their educated idiocy as is Labour.

                  You had me fooled, as I thought you do care. Comment after comment here; that’s not the hallmark of someone who does not care. I know the feeling of shouting in the desert without anybody there to hear my screams; it used to eat away at me. My advice: stop it before it’s too late.

              • Kiwijoker

                The word you are looking for is “ aeroplane “ which begs the question. Wherefore art thou?

              • Kiwijoker

                Ingognito, get with the narrative, Air NZ will be flogged off to Mom? and Pop investors !

                • Sabine

                  at 52% currently, we already paid for it under Helen Clark,

                  2001 http://tvnz.co.nz/content/54694/2556418/article.html

                  Air NZ needs a massive injection of money and so the government must either allow a foreign airline to take a bigger stake or stump up itself.

                  Monday's Cabinet meeting has been briefed by Finance Minister Michael Cullen on options for the future structure of the airline and expects to make a final decision at its next meeting in a week.

                  The options are outlined in a report by the investment bank Cameron and Company, which looks at the competing proposals from Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

                  Clark is unhappy that the government has been forced into a difficult situation and says using taxpayers money to help the airline is out of the question.

                  "Air New Zealand's financial issues are not of the Government's making," she says.

                  Air New Zealand flew into trouble when it paid more for Ansett Australia than it was worth. Shortly afterwards structural cracks were found in Ansett planes and the airline was grounded.


                  Its shape and terms were yet to be determined, although Dr Cullen's preference was a pro-rata rights issue for all shareholders.

                  He said the extra money was approved after a recommendation from the Government's negotiators, Cameron and Co. It was not sought by the airline.

                  By setting a share price of 27c yesterday for the second instalment of its rescue package, the Government will end up owning 82 per cent of the national carrier.

                  Singapore Airlines will own 4.5 per cent (compared with 25 per cent before the rescue deal) and Brierley Investments will own 5.5 per cent (down from 30.3 per cent).

                  selling assets under national

                  bailout by Jacinda Ardern 1.5 billion and counting.

                  selling assets under national again?

                  This is like a stupid game of musical chairs where no one seems to learn a single thing.

            • Foreign Waka

              Most supplies to NZ are shipped and do not land via plane. In some cases, where medical emergencies exists yes, but mostly not. We need the money to be pumped into i.e. our Ambulance fleet and staff. They are – for goodness sake! – running on volunteers. We have enough with some 3 times a week flight routes between cities. Reduce the air pollution and fuel getting dumped into the sea before landing.

          • Treetop

            Is NZ domestic air travel making a profit?

            • Sabine

              from 2016


              “The taxpayer propped up Air NZ when it was going belly up; now’s the time for the airline and the government to do the decent thing,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.

              “Last year Air NZ cut a group of regional flights; the Hamilton-Auckland flights were chopped this year and now they’ve rescheduled Kerikeri’s first morning flight to Auckland for a later inconvenient time which is not acceptable.

              “The Minister of Transport has to show some moral fortitude and tell our national carrier, Air NZ, to step up to the mark.

              “Since April last year Air NZ stopped all its services to Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport.

              “As well as this, flights between Whangarei and Wellington, Taupo and Wellington and Palmerston North to Nelson were cut. Whangarei also had its early morning flight to Auckland rescheduled from 7am to 7.55am.

              “Places like Oamaru are crying out to have their air services revived and Invercargill people would love to have cheaper fares to make it more attractive for them to fly.

              “Air NZ has a major slice of the inbound international business which is booming, so now is a good time for them to revive domestic routes.

              sometimes i miss that old codger. Winston Peters that is.

              • Treetop

                I miss Peters on some issues as well. No doubt a position could be established for Peters at Air NZ to save the airline.

                Now what would that be?

                • Sabine

                  Why would he want to do that, so that Labour has a scape goat again?

                  Nah, i hope he comes back as a mentor to youth, they could do well learning from him.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Why are you concerned …you said you or others cant afford to fly

                ". Whangarei also had its early morning flight to Auckland rescheduled from 7am to 7.55am."

                Calamity Jane

                • woodart

                  when I read foolish comments like NZ doesnt need a national airline,I do wonder what planet these commentors come from, obviously one that either has a national spaceline, or a planet close to a transport hub. because ,living out at the edge(of the universe,the planet, the island ,etc). you need your own transport. to expect others to have your travel interests in mind is naive. to expect quantas or singapore air to NOT downgrade trips to NZ flies in the face of reality.

                  • Kiwijoker

                    Got it in one, Woodart, just as ANZ can cancel regional services on a whim, will other airlines view Nz altruistically?

                  • Treetop

                    Were NZ to lose the control of Air NZ, planes bringing in essential goods, the run way at Ohakea in the Manawatu would be gold. As well Woodbourne near Blenheim could be used.

                    A national airline fit for purpose must remain in the control of the government.

          • Patricia Bremner

            The airline brings in Medications.

        • greywarshark

          Sabine There is an old song that love and marriage go together. That no longer applies. But when it comes to airlines and airports, it would not be to our advantage to have airports and just rely on foreign airlines for our air travel which will continue for a while. Though we need to start using sea travel again, perhaps cruise ships as passenger transport between countries. We have done away with most of our own shipping lines, relying on foreign vessels to come here. That makes us vulnerable to their decisions about routes and profitability. It is all part of going for the cheapest instead of working to have a robust economy based on our own productivity, employment and investment with foreigners providing benchmarks for costs and effectiveness.

  8. Incognito 8

    Great post on a great topic, thanks.

    I have a few more questions:

    • Does Government have the mandate for all of those far-reaching policy decisions?
    • Has Government and/or will it consult with all of the stakeholders?
    • Is it advantageous for New Zealand-Aotearoa that the Opposition is a shambolic shambles?
    • Is the major stakeholder (i.e. the people of New Zealand-Aotearoa) ready for and ok with all of those proposed changes and all at more or less at the same time?
    • Is the Government cynically opportunist or just politically pragmatic?
    • Should tribalism trump constructive criticism and robust debate?
    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1
      • Is the Government cynically opportunist or just politically pragmatic?

      Or a visionary Government? Too hard for status quo beneficiaries, or just too risky?

      Mariana Mazzucato calls for a return to mission-oriented public-sector procurement and leadership in the common interest
      We need top-down direction to catalyse innovation and investment across the economy. And the Apollo era’s examples of government leadership, bold public-interest contracts, and public-sector dynamism offer a valuable template. Unless we use it, building back better will never be more than a slogan.

    • Stuart Munro 8.2
      • Is it advantageous for New Zealand-Aotearoa that the Opposition is a shambolic shambles?

      I think that, until they get to the point of developing coherent policy positions based in public interest, it is. Carping, ill-natured, inconsistent and hypocritical criticism contributes little of value – better they do it badly. Anything real is noted, but the rest doesn't get them anywhere.

    • Ad 8.3
      1. 1. See manifesto of 2017
      1. Yes. Ad infinitum.
      2. Yes
      3. Yes. Opinion polls say majority afore them.
      4. Neither. Visionary and exceedingly interventionist.
      5. No.


      • Incognito 8.3.1

        Thanks Ad. My questions were not directed to you necessarily – if they were, I would have made that clear – but to stimulate more general debate here, which will hopefully be a prelude and feed into a much wider and deeper public debate.

        1. See manifesto of 2017 – Nothing in there or in the 2020-Election Campaign about abolishment of DHBs, which will require major new legislation. So, no mandate 🙁
        2. Yes. Ad infinitum. – No consultation on the Simpson Report, which was over-ruled anyway. Will be interesting to see what level of public consultation and scrutiny the Health reforms will enjoy. My guess is that EY will be the main ‘consultant’ and the public will be taken for granted, as usual.
        3. Yes – 😀
        4. Yes. Opinion polls say majority afore them. – I haven’t seen any polls on the Health reforms but feedback appears to be predominantly positive. The feel-good factor is high with his one but, of course, there is little detail, as usual, just lovely rhetoric, so far. I’d suggest that at present Kiwis are suffering from change fatigue and simply can’t be bothered with all the stuff that is erupting from Government. Kiwis don’t have the emotional and intellectual ‘bandwidth’ to deal with so many big changes all at the same time while battling the fallout of Covid-19.
        5. Neither. Visionary and exceedingly interventionist. – Visionary sounds great and even better if you can take the people with you. If the sheople follow blindly, without informed consent, it becomes a Stalinist exercise. At this stage, I’d call it cynical pragmatism.
        6. No. – Please, somebody tell National 😀
  9. mosa 9

    Dear Jacinda Adern

    Work place relations is a front for those in this " let the market decide " model of economics and well intentioned but do nothing neo liberal governments like the current Social Democrat administration.

    Implementing some important changes highlighted in this link that would make a real difference and signal a move away from the repression of the ECA passed in May of 1991 and its subsequent amendments with the ERA in the year 2000.


    • RedBaronCV 9.1

      Yep – nothing on re-empowering the paid workforce too negotiate on it's own behalf.

  10. Pat 10

    “I have asked the review panel to consider what local government does, how it does it, and how it pays for it. From there, they will explore what local government’s future looks like, including:

    • roles, functions and partnerships
    • representation and governance
    • funding and financing.

    “I am expecting them to report back to me on their findings in April 2023,” Nanaia Mahuta says."


    • Sabine 10.1


      how long has she been part of government?


      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        Don't ridicule too soon Sabine. Ms Mahuta is making some thoughtful moves and give her some time, she may surprise you.

        • Sabine

          i have the higest respect for Ms. Mahuta, she is probably atm my favorite out of the lot. I would vote f or her.

          But three years to figure out how local government works for someone who spend all her times in politics is a bit of a cop out considering that we have elections in that time.

          So yeah, that gave me a giggle. But then consultants and the likes need to be paid. Ms. Mahuta knows full well how local and regional government works. Greasing all hands and charging it to the tax payer and rate payer.

          • Incognito

            i have the higest respect for Ms. Mahuta, she is probably atm my favorite out of the lot. I would vote f or her.

            Nah, you wouldn’t; they’re all the same, Labour & National and all of their MPs, peas in a pod, as you keep telling us, ad nauseam. Keep it simple, keep it negative, don’t waver. \sarc

            But three years to figure out how local government works for someone who spend all her times in politics is a bit of a cop out considering that we have elections in that time.

            Ms. Mahuta knows full well how local and regional government works.

            Do you overcharge your customers? April 2023 is two, not three years!?

            You obviously also have problems with reading comprehension. Did you overlook this part in the quoted text @ 10?

            From there, they will explore what local government’s future looks like, including: …

            You obviously didn’t do your homework either and didn’t read the link @ 10. From that link:

            Announcing the review today Nanaia Mahuta says it will focus on how our system of local democracy needs to evolve over the next 30 years.

            Oh dear, oh dear, this is not a laughing matter, but wilful ignorance and incompetence in full sight 🙁

      • Incognito 10.1.2

        Mahuta joined the Labour Party at the request of retiring Western Maori MP Koro Wētere and after hearing Helen Clark speak in Auckland.[6] She contested Te Tai Hauāuru (the replacement seat for Western Maori) in the 1996 elections but lost to New Zealand First's Tuku Morgan. However, with a list ranking of 8, Mahuta was elected as one of the first New Zealand list MPs. Mahuta was aged 26 years and 52 days when she was elected (twelve days younger than Deborah Morris) and was the youngest member of the New Zealand House of Representatives until the election of Darren Hughes in 2002.


        A formidable woman and a future PM, IMO, as I’ve suggested before here on TS. I hope this will not elicit more hysterical laughter from you 🙁

        • Sabine


          good grief, i know the women. that is why i laughed, please see my comment above and do grow some laughing bone somewhere.

    • Foreign Waka 10.2

      Yep, that says it all. We now have a review panel (how many and who are they – I want to know as my tax dollar pays for it) that will explain to us what the Local Governments act says. Great, did I mention snout in the trough?


      • Pat 10.2.1


        • Jim Palmer, recently retired as the Chief Executive of the Waimakariri District Council. Mr Palmer has leadership roles in the Greater Christchurch Partnership and the Canterbury Interim Regional Skills Leadership Group. Mr Palmer has had a wide range of prior governance experience on various groups including Co-chair of Canterbury Covid Recovery Oversight Group and Chair of the Canterbury Chief Executives Forum.

        Panel members

        • John Ombler, QSO, has been a senior public servant who has held a wide range of leadership roles, most recently as Deputy State Services Commissioner, Controller of the All-of-Government COVID-19 response and Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was also the Acting CEO of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (2014 to 2016), and held General Manager and Conservator roles at the Department of Conservation (1989-2007).

        • Antoine Coffin, a director/consultant at Te Onewa Consultants, which works with private and public sector clients in strategic planning, RMA decision-making, infrastructure and building relationships with tangata whenua. Mr Coffin has 25 years’ experience in Māori resource management, cultural heritage planning, community engagement and facilitation, and has worked across multiple sectors in regional and local government, corporate organisations and museums.

        • Gael Surgenor, General Manager of Community and Social Innovation at Auckland Council (including leading the Southern Initiative, a place-based approach to wellbeing) and a member of the South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board and Chair of the Auckland Co-Design Lab Governance Group Collaboration of Auckland Council and ten government agencies.

        • Penny Hulse, currently a board member of Kainga Ora, Auckland Museum and Aktive (regional sport body), as well as a trustee of the Community Waitakere Trust. Ms Hulse was the Deputy Mayor of Auckland Council (2010 to 2016) and retired as a Councillor in 2019 after a 27-year period in roles for Waitakere City Council and Auckland Council.

        • Foreign waka

          Thank you very much, it gives me a bit more confidence looking at the team.

          Still, why has this not been published and with it the cost to the taxpayer searching for answers to potentially redesign the Local Governments act?

          • woodart

            the list of people on committee has been published. took me two minutes to find it. you could have done the same ,instead of expecting others to do your work. less moaning about others lack of work and more of your own maybe?

            • Incognito


            • Foreign waka

              Really? You know how much I work? You have absolutely no idea. Making assumptions and being a bully does not qualify. Ah yes, deflection on how much this will cost the taxpayer. We still live in a democracy, I just asked another question. Dear or dear.

              • Incognito

                Before you start accusing others here of being a bully, you might want to re-read the comments @ 10 and, and before you jump to your incorrect conclusions; do you have a problem with reading plain English?

                In addition, if you had read the link in the comment @ 10, you would have seen the whole list of committee members and more. It could have saved others here doing the donkeywork for you because you’re either too lazy or too incompetent to do the work yourself.

                As to the cost to the Taxpayer, if you read things before you ask your lazy questions, you would realise that this is impossible to answer at this time because the findings of the committee will be reported back to the Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, in April 2023, as was quoted verbatim @ 10.

                Dear oh dear 🙁

                • Sabine

                  Not everyone speaks English perfectly, even those for whom it is the first language.

                  The list of people involved is nice and interesing and nothing more.

                  Yes, people should have a right to know what something costs that is involving a whole heep of people who chances are would like to get paid or will get paid nice sums for their involvement.

                  If i were to ask you to do something for me you would not only tell me when you expect that project to be finished – in this case 2023, you would not only tell me who will be involved in making in it happen – see comment at @10 but you would also have to tell me what you want me to pay you for that project and the people involved in it. If you were to tell me that this can only be divulged once you consider the project to be done, i would drop you as a project manager and find someone who seems to be a bit more on the transparent side – specifically when it involves the spending of money t hat is provided for by the working public to he treasury via their tax contributions. Or is that an inconvenient truth, that we – the people – pay for all these shenanigans.

                  But this 'can you speak English properly" crap should stop. Just saying, it comes across as a bit of elitists and frankly seems unbecoming of you.

                  Disclaimer: i voted for Nanaia Mahuta as the leader of the Labour Party many years ago (2014), and currently she is about the only member of the Party that i have some respect for.

                  Also. all errors, grammar, spelling, punctuation are mine as English is neither my first nor my second language.

                  • Incognito

                    I’m on record here that once upon a time, English was my third language. Now, it’s my second one. Nobody is expecting perfection; that’s a strawman. However, when you want to engage in debate here, it pays to read the comments properly, especially before you start attacking others here.

                    You should also click on the handy links provided in comments, because they’re part of what the commenter wishes to convey and provide support for their opinion/comment; sometimes they’re all the commenter conveys. Specifically, in addition to the list of members of the review committee, there’s also a handy link to The Terms of Reference. Demanding to know how much the review is going to cost, all up, is also open-ended, IMO, because the ToF include “initial scoping work”, and another strawman although there might be an initial budget allocated for it. Only the Taxpayers’ Onion would ‘do’ something with that info and label it “shenanigans”, which would enrich their limited vocabulary beyond their wildest imagination (which is rather limited, anyway).

                    Lazy and incompetent commenters who don’t read comments, don’t want to do any research themselves, and who have a go at others here do waste our collective time. They never self-correct and/or self-moderate, never apologise, but they dig in, double down, and whine a lot. That crap should stop!

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    Nothing on any immigration, temporary visa or tourist reset. Judging by the events of the last week that has all gone back to BAU.

    Temp work visas being issued to eligible parties if they happen to be in Aus, temp worker visa's of over a year(oxymoron if ever there was one) able to bring in family members (raising false hopes), no resets for tourism numbers or for the climate impacts.

    Both these couldn't make it clearer that Labour just doesn't care about local unemployed, or local homeless – just going to stick a few more stresses on the system. New ways of organising the labour market despite some communities working on this, the climate and social costs of tourism borne by communities – yeah nah they just don't care or won't take action.

    And I'd say that there is less than zero chance of sorting out the rip off markets of companies in the electricity and telecomms market.

    Further inroads into people’s privacy and no will to stop it. Police facial recognition not being stopped. Photo’s of kids taken without any reason.

    Honestly there are times when I feel like shouting "just do something " for the people who vote for you. I’m over being patient. Maybe voting for some pack of weirds might get more attention.

  12. Incognito 12

    While we’re buried under an avalanche of major policy changes imposed by Government and battling a pandemic, transparency and accountability have been put on the back burner.

    The promised review of the Official Information Act (OIA) is one of eight projects deferred by an overloaded Ministry of Justice policy team, documents show.


    The NZ Media are also fighting for survival and relevance, good reporting has been decimated over the years, and by recent lay-offs; the Fourth Estate is a shambolic bunch of nepotists and backslappers with their own ‘patches’ and paraphernalia.

    A perfect storm is brewing …

  13. Anne 13

    …the Fourth Estate is a shambolic bunch of nepotists and backslappers with their own ‘patches’ and paraphernalia.

    Spot on. And guess who is Mr Big? He even looks the part. devil

  14. UncookedSelachimorpha 14

    Wealth inequality ignored

    Poverty ignored

    I'm not so interested in the other stuff.

    • Patricia Bremner 14.1

      The emphasis on Education, Health, Public Policy pleases me.
      They are not “Leaving it to the Market”

      Those who are sour and anti remain so., no surprise there.
      Thanks for this thought provoking post Ad.

  15. RosieLee 15

    Go the bus drivers. And message – join your union. Needed now more than ever.

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