The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
A generation is leaving at a rate of one A320-load per day

A generation is leaving at a rate of one A320-load per day

One A320 load of NZers leaves permanently every weekday; Like the rest of the economy, the housing market is settling in for a deep freeze; Rising nitrates in Canterbury water alarms scientists
An average of 166 New Zealand citizens left the country every day during the March quarter, up 54% from a year ago.Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TL;DR: The economy and housing market is sinking into a longer recession through the winter after a slump in business and consumer confidence in the March quarter, driven partly by abrupt freezes in Government funding for housing, transport, school and hospital investment.

That happened as an average of 166 New Zealand citizens left the country every day during those 90 days, which was up 54% from a year ago. They were replaced by almost the same number of people with temporary work and student visas from India, the Philippines and China.

Here’s my top six ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ of links to news, analysis and opinion articles, announcements, official reports, reviews and research in the last 24 hours or so to 8:59 am on Wednesday, May 15:

  1. Stats NZ reported yesterday a record-high 52,496 New Zealand citizens left the country permanently in the year to the end of March. That equates to about one full A320 leaving each weekday, with just over half of those citizens going to live in Australia. They were replaced by people on temporary work and student visas (with work rights) from India, the Philippines and China, in that order.

  2. Meanwhile, Australia included a A$300 discount off each household’s power bills and A$325 discount off each small business’ bills in its Budget last night, along with a 10% increase in subsidies for nearly one million renters. It also confirmed tax cuts and a A$32 billion plan to build 1.2m houses over the next five years. Australia's Treasury said the Budget’s measures would take half a percentage point off inflation. Economists said the Budget would not force the Reserve Bank of Australia to hike in response.

  3. In another indication of Aotearoa Inc’s ‘housing market-with-bits-tacked-on-economy sinking into a deep freeze, REINZ reported yesterday the market was subdued in April, with rising inventories of unsold homes, falling prices in both Auckland and beyond, and rising numbers of days to sell.

  4. Consenter-in-waiting Shane Jones didn’t declare a dinner at which he suggested an executive from coal mining company Stevenson Group approach a Cabinet colleague to enter the Government’s fast-track consenting regime, David Williams reported for Newsroom yesterday. He reported this morning that Bathurst Resources CEO Richard Tacon and Federation Mining VP Simon Delander were also at the undeclared meeting. Jones said the lack of declaration was a mistake.

  5. There was no business case or reliable forecasts behind the Government's announcement last week of $1.9 billion of spending on a mega-prison, Laura Walters reported yesterday for Newsroom. (Link updated)

  6. Environment Canterbury has reported more than half of the wells monitored in its annual survey last year showed nitrate levels were likely to be increasing, with water from 35 of the 349 wells having nitrate levels above the maximum acceptable value for human health. South Canterbury has the highest incidence of bowel cancer in New Zealand. Bowel cancer causes the second-most deaths from cancer each year, as this Vic Uni paper shows. The news comes after Selwyn District Council started investigating spending over $400 million to move away from nitrate-contaminated drinking water. The Press-$$$ Keiller MacDuff

(Paying subscribers can see more detail and analysis below the paywall fold and in the podcast above. We’ll open it up for public reading, listening and sharing if we get over 100 likes)

News links elsewhere from Aotearoa’s political economy

The top six:

  1. Climate: Hazard-prone development likely under fast-track law, insurers and engineers warn RNZ Kate Newton

  2. Scoop: Fist bumps and a ‘stoked’ minister: Inside the fast-tracking of a DJ’s passport NZ Herald Azaria Howell

  3. Climate: East Coast mayors hold out hope for Budget as rebuild bills mount Newsroom Emma Hatton

  4. Scoop: New misc­ondu­ct alle­gati­ons at EY, inve­stig­atio­n launched. The ‘Big Four’ accounting firm plagued by workplace culture problems has another problem to deal with Stuff Paula Penfold

  5. Cost of living: Reserve Bank accused of harming bank competition. The central bank got a mauling at the Commerce Commission’s banking market study conference, accused of stifling competition to the big four Australian banks. The Post-$$$ Rob Stock

  6. Op-Ed by Consumer Advocacy Council chair Deborah Hart in The Waikato Times Electricity sector at another crucial crossroads. Should we continue with increasingly unaffordable and unreliable electricity, or reform the market settings?

Best of the rest:

Housing, Transport, Infrastructure & Population

Holiday park brought by Kāin­ga Or­a for $4.15 million still vacant four years later. A former lodge and holiday park was sold for $4.15million four years ago. After it was briefly used as a quarantine facility it has sat vacant. Stuff Hamish McNeilly

The Block NZ gets the chop, houses sit empty RNZ

Homeless camp at Dunedin’s Oval visited by govt officials ODT-$$$ Mary Williams

Deep-dive: Part 1 - Supercharging social housing BusinessDesk-$$$ Nikitin Sallee

Deep dive: Part 2 - Private profit could fuel social housing boom BusinessDesk-$$$ Nikitin Sallee

Auckland's new electric ferries to roll out next year 1News

Some residents welcoming an end to free parking in Auckland CBD. It's "not realistic" to have a free public car park outside apartments, says the chairperson of a city centre residents' group. 1News

Climate, Energy & Environment

Resi­dent­s return to floo­d-hit Auckland neig­hbou­rhoo­ds. Some streets in Māngere have been like ghost towns since last year’s floods, but are slowly coming back to life. Stuff Torika Tokalau

Inequality, Poverty, Cost of living & Migration

Auckland rang­atah­i create space for at-risk homeless youth. When The Front Door opened on K Rd this week, a dream became reality for a group of young people seeking to make life better for others. Stuff Karanama Ruru

Health, education and justice

Government rejects plea to reduce salt in food. Researchers recently measured almost 7000 products on our supermarket shelves and found two thirds exceeded safe limits for salt — increasing the risk of stroke 1News Thomas Mead

Global salt benchmarks could help save many Kiwi lives ODT

Access to life-changing MS drug ‘snatched away’ by staff shortages. Bruce Street is eligible for a treatment that could help slow the progress of his MS, but because he lives in Canterbury, he can’t get it. The Press-$$$ Kristie Boland

Politics, Government, Councils and Te Tiriti

Ministry already preparing to hire consultants to do work of axed staff RNZ

Up to 35 public schools to become charter schools, will be exempt from phone ban RNZ

Govt ends funding to Christchurch Call, which will continue as a charity. RNZ

Christchurch mayor wants council to restore Dux de Lux building. Phil Mauger said the Dux de Lux “is heritage all day long”, and the council should fund the quake-damaged building’s repair. The Post-$$$ Tina Law

Alternatives to Aurora sale raised ODT-$$$

Business, Economics and Geo-politics

‘Glacial’ pace towards open banking criticised. Current open banking progress a “roadmap to Botswana”, Commerce Commission told. The Post-$$$ Rob Stock

Every household to get $300 credit for energy bills as government vows move will reduce inflation ABC Australia

What's in the budget for businesses? A lot, for those who can engineer a 'Future Made in Australia' ABC Australia

Biden sharply hikes US tariffs on an array of Chinese imports Reuters

Georgian parliament passes 'foreign agent' bill amid protests Reuters

A US-China EV trade war threatens Biden's clean-car agenda Reuters

Opinion links

Interviews, Op-Eds, Editorials and Columns

Column by Tova O’Brien in Stuff: The cont­radi­ctor­y message on charter school. National has been steadfast in its view that all kids should gain the same “non-negotiable knowledge and skills”, but ACT's charter schools are carving out loopholes.

Column by Audrey Young for NZ Herald: State schools 'converted' to charter schools? Brace for controversy.

Op-Ed by renewable energy developer Jevon Carding in BusinessDesk-$$$: Big rewards for solar pioneers Lodestone Energy

Op-ed by Joseph Stiglitz in The Washington Post: Time is up for neoliberals. Democracy requires a new, progressive capitalism.

Op-ed by Auckland Uni’s Jodi Gardner in The Conversation: Why power should be subsidised for struggling households

Chart of the day

Tough times for retailers and hospitality

Musical Chairs via X

Cartoons of the day

‘Just triple the hourly rate’

Daron Parton via NZ Herald-$$$ and X

Digging a deeper hole

Sharon Murdoch via The Waikato Times and X

Stick of the day

Bernard Hickey for The Kākā

Mā te wa


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The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.