The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The Hoon around the week to Feb 16

The Hoon around the week to Feb 16

Featuring the podcast of our weekly Hoon live webinar, plus five things that mattered this week, including the latest big climate, transport, housing and political news in Aotearoa, and in geopolitics
Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s political economy that we wrote and spoke about via The Kākā and elsewhere for paying subscribers in the last week included:

  • Net emigration of New Zealanders overseas hit a record-high 47,000 in the 2023 year, which only partly offset net immigration of 173,000, which was dominated by arrivals from India, the Philippines and China with temporary work visas. Meanwhile, a report on students working found 15,000 were regularly working 20-50 hours a week to help their parents pay their rents. See Friday’s email.

  • The Government reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under Parliamentary urgency to save money for tax cuts, which it was advised by MSD could drive an extra 13,000 kids into poverty. 

    The savings are also $1.36 billion less than National estimated before the election, expanding its fiscal hole created by the rejection of its to $2.96 billion foreign buyers’ tax to a total of $4.33 billion over four years. See Thursday’s email.

  • Thousands of beneficiaries are set to be kicked off their benefits in coming months for not trying hard enough to get work after Social Development Minister Louise Upston signalled a new crackdown. That will happen despite Aotearoa-NZ having the third-highest workforce participation rate in the OECD behind Iceland and Sweden, the most income-stressed renters in the developed world, and having record high net migration of workers on temporary work visas. See Monday’s email.

  •  IRD data shows nearly 50,000 recipients of New Zealand Superannuation are being paid $1.1 billion per year in benefits while also earning more than $100,000 per year, or a total of over $5 billion in gross income from jobs, investments and private pensions. That $1.1 billion in taxpayer funds being paid to rich people compares with the extra $1 billion in benefits being paid to the extra 79,000 people on the main jobseeker, sole parent and supported living benefits in the last five years, given those benefits are lower per-person than NZ Super and growing at a slower rate again because the main benefit is indexed to prices, rather than faster-growing wages. See Wednesday’s email.

  • The National-ACT-NZ First coalition Government unveiled the first versions of its replacement for Labour’s Three Waters laws, but without the capital grants or guarantees that would make it viable for councils to opt in or attractive enough for bond investors to back, especially for Auckland Council’s Watercare.

    In essence, the Government doesn’t want to take the blame for new water charges or the risk of having to promise bailouts of any new entities. It also doesn’t want to stump up any of the $180 billion of capital needed in the coming years because it wants to keep Government debt low to keep mortgage rates as low as possible. See Tuesday’s email.

What we talked about on ‘The Hoon’ on Thursday night

In this week’s podcast above of the weekly ‘Hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers at 5pm on Thursday night:

  • 5.00 pm - 5.10 pm -

    and Peter Bale opened the show with a discussion about swimming and a lack of discussion about climate change’s role in Cyclone Gabrielle.

  • 5.10 pm - 5.25 pm - Bernard, Peter and The Kākā’s climate correspondent

    talked about the revived Mike Smith vs Fonterra climate damages case and the media’s role in not mentioning climate change when reporting climate catastrophes.

  • 5.25 pm - 5.45 pm - Peter, Bernard, and

    talked about the latest developments in Ukraine and the Middle East.

  • 5.45 pm -6 pm - Peter, and Bernard spoke with energy researcher Dr Sea Rotmann about the report on hidden energy hardship she coordinated with community groups, Genesis Energy and Mercury.

The Hoon’s podcast version above was produced by Simon Josey.

This is a sampler for all free subscribers. Thanks to the support of paying subscribers here, I’m able to spread the work from my public interest journalism here about housing affordability, climate change and poverty reduction around in other public venues. I’d love you to join the community supporting and contributing to this work with your ideas, feedback and comments. We have a couple of special offers on at the moment.

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Other places I appeared this week

I talked with Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson for When The Facts Change via The Spinoff about her office’s report into options for NZ Superannuation reform.

We also produce this 5 in 5 with ANZ daily podcast and Substack for ANZ Institutional in Australia, which you can sign up to via Spotify and Apple and Youtube for free.

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The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
Bernard Hickey's discussions with Peter Bale and guests about the political economy in Aotearoa-NZ and in geo-politics, including issues around housing affordability, climate change inaction and child poverty reduction.