Brash, budgets and bollocks – a story about task force spending has downplayed the savings

July 16, 2010

At first blush, Alf was tempted to think it’s a bloody good thing we Nats dumped Don Brash and opted for John Key as our leader.

Alf has a lot of time for dear old Don, but it seemed the bugger hasn’t kept his 2025 task force costs under control, and the task force’s budget is miniscule compared with the Government’s budget, which Bill English is keeping under very strict control.

If Don happened to be our PM, in other words, who knows how deeply into the shit we would have sunk by now.

Alf’s musings on the prospects of a budgetary blowout in the billions of dollars were triggered by a headline in the Dom-Post:

Brash blows fees budget

Bugger me, Alf muttered (as he is apt to do on being astonished by disconcerting news about his colleagues and mates).

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Ngai Tahu puts out a tax net and – whee! Then it pulls in some of its eeling competitors’ profits

June 25, 2010

Just look on it as a down payment on environmental protection.

Alf sounds a warning today: bit by bit, New Zealand is in danger of having its economy shifted into the control of iwi.

He sounds this warning on reading of a perturbing precedent being set by an “iwi tax”, or a conservation levy.

It’s for environmental protection, according to
the Dom-Post report at Stuff. Ha!

This (Alf would contend) entitles us to view it as as a protection racket.

This snide thought is reinforced by the discovery that – first up – the levy is being slapped on Ngai Tahu business competitors, presumably to try to ensure they do not remain competitors for too long, and if they do, they will be struggling competitors.

This would ensure the protection of one bit of Ngai Tahu’s business empire as well as the environment.

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The ETS: it can’t be environmentally friendly to have those National votes go up in smoke

May 26, 2010

Grassroots National Party supporters in Alf’s neck of the woods are among those howling about the prospect of big price rises thanks to the wretched Emissions Trading Scheme.

The Dom-Post today records Prime Minister John Key’s confirmation that there was an ETS protest vote at a party conference last weekend.

“There certainly was a remit and they certainly did vote against wanting the ETS, they did vote to delay it.”

The newspaper goes on to say:

The ETS has been contested at a series of regional National Party conferences, particularly among its grassroots farming base.

Agriculture Minister David Carter has been trying to assuage caucus concerns, like those raised by Alf. He has been emailing MPs to assure us that claims by ACT about the ETS were just “misinformation”.

Here’s hoping he’s right.

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We won, Labour lost, the tax cuts will help us win again – and the Maori Party has been kaiboshed

May 21, 2010

Alf enjoyed the stuff John Armstrong has written in the Herald today.

Armstrong reminds us – in effect – that a Budget above all else is a political document.

Accordingly –

Yesterday’s Budget was the first salvo of the 2011 election. It was all about shutting Labour out of next year’s contest, long before the campaign starts.

Yep. And Alf enjoyed watching the Labour buggers wriggling uncomfortably yesterday as they sensed the political implications of the Budget speech.

Betcha they were contemplating another three years on the carping side of the chamber.

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There’s nothing wrong with making the rich even richer – but that won’t stop Labour bleating

May 18, 2010

Alf welcomes the PM’s political offensive on behalf of the wealthy.

He has urged the rest of the country not to be jealous if the rich get more from Thursday’s Budget tax package because the rich are crucial to the economy.

It’s bloody good advice.

Mind you, Alf happens to think the poor are crucial to the economy too. We need them to work for the wealthy, preferably for low wages to enable the wealthy who hire them to get even wealthier.

Even better is to have plenty of the poor buggers on the dole, so those with jobs become less inclined to push for higher wages, because they can be easily replaced.

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Wow – does a promise to lend money to the IMF mean our debt worries are over?

April 14, 2010

Alf is pleasantly surprised to learn that New Zealand has agreed to lend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) up to US$1 billion (NZ$1.34b) if the shit hits the financial fan again.

News to that effect was announced by Finance Minister Bill English.

Alf thought it more likely we would be having to go to the IMF for help in such a crisis, rather than the other way around.

But no.

New Zealand has agreed to lend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) up to US$1 billion (NZ$1.34b) if the world faces another economic crisis like the 2008/09 global meltdown, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“New Zealand’s commitment is a part of the US$550 billion expansion of the IMF’s financial resources to make the IMF better able to support the international financial system during times of significant crisis,” Mr English says.

It seems the commitment will only be called upon if needed and only if the IMF has exhausted all other options.

Coming to us – Alf suggests – would be real desperation stuff.

New Zealand is one of about 40 countries contributing to the IMF in this way.

The contribution is in line with our economic size and similar to New Zealand’s other contingent liabilities to the IMF, which total US$1.4 billion.

Included in those liabilities is US$265 million lent to the IMF as part of a range of measures to help it support countries facing balance of payments problems caused by the global economic crisis.

Having a balance of payments problem was something Alf thought New Zealand could claim.

The resultant debt problems explain why the Treasury last September was banging on about the mischief done by too much public debt (which accounts for just a small portion of the total overseas debt).

Using debt to finance increased government expenditure…means that future taxpayers will be paying for the government services enjoyed today.

With net debt projected to increase so sharply, debt financing costs increase over time, using a larger and larger share of future government income. In 2050, debt servicing would be around $110 billion (13% of GDP) annually.

The fact that New Zealand typically has higher interest rates than many other developed economies means that our financing costs are higher for a given level of debt. Furthermore, because net debt continues to increase indefinitely in the historic trends scenario, financing costs also increase exponentially.

In addition to the increased financing costs, funding the deficits through increased debt means future generations are burdened by greater debt than we currently have; it will impair New Zealand’s national debt position and our access to capital at a reasonable cost; and it leaves a smaller buffer against further economic and fiscal shocks – which are almost certain to occur over a 40-year period.

Does our agreement to help the IMF mean we have overcome those problems and concerns?

Give the OIC rubber stamp to a chimp but first let’s take a harder look at the buyup of the Crafar farms

March 26, 2010

Alf is bound to agree with the xenophobic Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa on this occasion.

Cafca regards Federated Farmers as “unbelievably naive” in its reaction to news of a mysterious Chinese company hoping to spend a few billion on dairy farms.

Fair enough.

The feds described the wheeling and dealing in dairy farms as an “unintended consequence” of the NZ/China Free Trade Agreement. ”


Pull the other one, says Cafca.

There’s nothing unintended about this consequence, this is how “free” trade agreements are supposed to work. They all come with embedded investment agreements which protect the rights of investors from the countries which are party to the Agreement, and those foreign investors’ rights are backed up by the force of legal sanction.

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Great stuff for Fox but what do Kiwi taxpayers get back for their investments in a blockbuster?

February 14, 2010

A bloke called Luke Malpass raises a bloody good question in the Sunday Star-Times today: it’s whether taxpayers should be pumping money into our film industry.

Malpass is a Policy Analyst at The Centre for Independent Studies.

His question is something that Alf tried to bring up with Gerry Brownlee, our Minister of Economic Development. He didn’t get far.

The question was triggered for Malpass by news that the film Avatar had overtaken Titanic to become the highest grossing movie in history by raking in about $US2 billion.
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More jobs, please – oh, and can we can get a bigger pay packet, too?

February 5, 2010

Talk about wanting a bob each way (preferably without having to work for it).

The trade unions that have been hollering for a hefty hike in the minimum wage are now demanding the Government create new jobs.

Labour similarly wants a higher minimum wage and more jobs.

The pressure for more jobs followed the disappointing news that the unemployment rate had risen to 7.3% in the December quarter.

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The undermining of confidence – or why Radio NZ should try poking around in chicken guts

January 25, 2010

The buggers who produce the business bulletin for Radio NZ’s “Morning Report” had good news for us about employment growth when they kicked off their new year.

Then they found some stuff published by the Institute of Economic Research last year and fed that to their listening audience as if to say the more cheery expectation should be ignored.

The outrage is that Radio NZ cherry-picked their data and by-passed the optimistic stuff tucked away in the tables in the NZIER report.

Alf, who believes pessimistic economic news undermines business confidence and exacerbates recessions and slowdowns, was dismayed.

Did the wankers at Radio NZ have a bad Christmas holiday or something?

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