Jun 3 • 1HR 4M

The hoon about the week that was to June 3

In which co-hosts Bernard Hickey and Peter Bale bring in special guests Robert Patman and Josie Pagani to talk about China’s backlash against a strengthening of NZ’s security ties with US

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Bernard Hickey's discussions about the political economy in Aotearoa-NZ and in geo-politics, including issues around housing affordability, climate change inaction and child poverty reduction.
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TLDR: In the podcast above of this week’s ‘hoon’ webinar for paid subscribers, co-hosts Bernard Hickey and Peter Bale bring talk with special guests Robert Patman and Josie Pagani about China’s backlash against a strengthening of NZ’s security ties with the United States.

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This week, PM Jacinda Ardern met with US President Joe Biden in the White House. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Five things of note this week

Aotearoa-NZ strengthened ties with the United States

This week PM Jacinda Ardern met with US President Joe Biden in the White House. They talked about gun control, the Christchurch Call and trade, but most importantly they signed a detailed joint statement that was heavily critical of China in the Pacific and elsewhere, and which strengthened our security and defence ties with the United States.

China lashed back at the joint statement

Chinese officials attacked what they saw as a strengthening of our military ties with the United States and a ramping up of joint anti-China rhetoric in the strong joint statement. They suggested it might affect our trade ties.

Here’s what I wrote on Friday about the back and forth.

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Friday’s Chorus: China lashes back
Listen now (25 min) | TLDR: Here comes the backlash. The surprisingly aggressive joint statement Jacinda Ardern signed with Joe Biden in Washington this week is coming home to roost atop Aotearoa-NZ’s core strategic vulnerability: our reliance on trade with China. In the last 48 hours China’s officials have attacked what they saw as a strengthening of our military ties with the United States and a ramping up of joint anti-China rhetoric in the strong joint statement, which has received little coverage here. China’s Chief Foreign Ministry Spokesman…
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Cabinet threatened the grocery duopoly with a breakup

The Government threatened to break up the supermarkets duopoly if they don’t play nice with plans for mandatory wholesale access.

Here’s what I wrote on Tuesday.

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Tuesday's Chorus: Finally, a real carve-up threat
Listen now (21 min) | TLDR: The Government has finally gotten serious about threatening the supermarket duopoly with a break-up, going further in its response to the Commerce Commission than the watchdog itself did in its final report (but not its draft report). However, a potential change of Government next year gives the duopoly enough time and a perceived power vacuum to mount a successful rearguard action to deflect and fudge any real profit-threatening change. Also, the Government decided not to do the one significant thing that would disrupt the duopoly: a full structural separation of one or both the chains into separately-owned wholesale and retail arms…
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The grocery duopoly’s oppressive lease clauses revealed

There were revelations that supermarkets on Thursday that the supermarkets duopoly have been using special clauses in leases to stop competitors in all sorts of retail categories being allowed into shopping centres.

Here’s the deep dive I published today on that.

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The grocery duopoly's secret weapons
Listen now (26 min) | TLDR: It turns out our supermarket duopoly have been forcing shopping centre owners to sign leases with confidential clauses that allow Foodstuffs and Countdown to veto potential direct and indirect competitors from being in the shopping centres, including retrospectively for three years after they leave the centres…
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Yet again, a sugar tax is rejected

Here’s the chorus I wrote on Thursday, which led with the latest research showing sugar taxes work to reduce consumption, but the Government continues to oppose them.

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Thursday's Chorus: Sugar taxes work
Listen now (11 min) | TLDR: The Government has again rejected the case for a sugar tax to tackle Aotearoa-NZ’s obesity epidemic, despite a major new research review showing such taxes reduce consumption by 15%. Meanwhile, our hospitals are at breaking point due to staff shortages, Covid cases, quake-prone buildings and a surge in flu infections…
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Bernard

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