The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The Hoon around the week to June 1

The Hoon around the week to June 1

Featuring the Hoon podcast, hosted by Bernard Hickey & Peter Bale, with Cathrine Dyer on climate news; Craig Renney & Max Rashbrooke on Budget 2024 & CHA's Chris Glaudel on Kāinga Ora & social housing
Poster on Cuba St, Wellington. Similar signs were prominent at the Budget Day protests around the country. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts

and talking with:

  • The Kākā’s climate correspondent

    about extreme heat in India and Mexico and the prospects climate migration to Aotearoa-NZ;

  • CTU Chief Economist

    and founder Max Rashbrooke about Budget 2024; and

  • Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Deputy CEO Chris Glaudel about Kāinga Ora and social housing.

The six things that mattered in Aotearoa’s political economy that we wrote and spoke about via The Kākā and elsewhere in the last week included:

  1. Housing, Climate, Poverty and Economy: The new National-ACT-NZ First Government unveiled its first Budget on Thursday, deciding to go ahead with long-promised tax cuts despite a weaker economy that is forcing $68.3 billion of net new borrowing by mid-2028. The income tax cuts cost $14.7 billion over four years and debt will rise by $12 billion more than Treasury forecast in December. Willis argued the tax cuts were ‘fully-funded’ by spending cuts and tax increases, and therefore it was not borrowing to pay for tax cuts. That would be true if the economic forecasts had not changed between the election and the Budget, but they have in a way that means there’s less money to spare. See and hear my full analysis in the podcast above, in Friday’s email and Friday’s podcast here featuring a discussion with


    There’s also this discussion with

    in a Budget Special ‘co-pro’ with Gone by Lunchtime for my weekly When The Facts Change podcast:

  2. Housing: Kāinga Ora’s board released the feedback it gave in April on Bill English’s review of the state-owned house-builder and landlord, criticising his comments about KO’s financial sustainability and performance as variously ill-informed, wrong and/or based on anecdotes, as also reported by Newsroom’s Tim Murphy. Newshub’s Jenna Lynch reported on Tuesday that Chris Bishop arranged for English to lead the ‘independent’ review in a series of text messages. See more analysis from me in Tuesday’s email and in comments I made on The Detail broadcast on RNZ and Newsroom on Thursday, and also listenable here directly.

  3. Housing and Economy: The Reserve Bank confirmed plans to limit mortgage lending for loans worth six and seven times the income of owner-occupiers and landlords respectively from July 1. These DTI limits won’t reduce lending much now because lending at those multiples is currently low, but will stop most high DTI lending growth in future as interest rates fall. It affects landlords more than first home buyers because loan to value limits are the main restraint on their borrowing. LVR limits were also loosened a bit from July 1 to offset any effects of the new DTI limits. See more analysis from me in Wednesday’s email.

  4. Housing and Economy: Key leaders in housing and infrastructure construction sent a joint letter to the Government pleading for more project certainty and warning its funding freezes for councils, water reform and transport projects had significantly damaged confidence and risked driving staff overseas,  Newsroom’s Fox Meyer reported on Tuesday. See more analysis in Tuesday’s email.

  5. Cost of living: The Commerce Commission announced its draft decisions on regulated electricity transmission costs for the next five years. It decided the nationwide transmission and local lines distribution costs will rise 48% in the next five years to a combined $17.8 billion. These costs make up 37.5% of power bills and mean that monthly bills will rise around $15 from July 1, 2025, followed by $5/month hikes in each of the following four years. See Thursday’s email.

  6. Poverty: The Fairer Futures advocacy group and the Disabled Persons Assembly published a report titled A Thousand Cuts that estimated a disabled person could already be up to $256 per fortnight or $5,742 a year worse off because of the Government’s changes to disability support, bus subsidies, benefit indexation, the minimum wage and prescription charges. See more detail in Thursday’s email.

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

In this week’s ‘Hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers at 5pm on Thursday night:

  • 5:00 pm - 5:10 pm:

    and opened the show with a discussion about the Budget and some international news. Peter referred to a Rest is Politics episode featuring Kwasi Kwarteng and this Haaretz article about Gaza

  • 5:10 - 5:25 pm: Peter and Bernard spoke with The Kaka’s climate correspondent

    about extreme temperatures in India (52.3 degrees celcius) and Mexico and the prospects for Aotearoa-NZ to become a climate refuge.

  • 5:25 - 5:35 pm: Peter and Bernard talked with

    about the Budget. He referred to the chart below in Chart of the week from the Budget (Page 52).

  • 5:35 - 5:45 pm: Peter and Robert talked with Max Rashbrooke about the Budget and his launch with others of a new thinktank, the Institute for Democratic and Economic Analysis, which has its own substack


  • 5.55 - 6:00 pm: Peter and Bernard spoke with Community Housing Aotearoa Deputy CEO Chris Glaudel about Kāinga Ora and social housing.

  • The ‘skateboarding dog’ story this week referred to this video of a man with a suspended driver’s license joining a court appearance about his unlicensed driving via a Zoom call. While driving in his car.

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

was off launching his new book New Zealand's Foreign Policy under the Jacinda Ardern Government: Facing the Challenge of a Disrupted World. It is available now via Amazon on Kindle and in hardback form from June 15.

(This is a sampler for all free subscribers. Thanks to the support of paying subscribers here, I’m able to spread my public interest journalism here about housing affordability, climate change and poverty reduction other public venues. Join the community supporting and contributing to this work with your ideas, feedback and comments, and by subscribing.)

Other things I did elsewhere

We produced an episode of When The Facts Change via The Spinoff, including this discussion with Toby Manhire. We also produce the 5 in 5 with ANZ daily podcast and Substack for ANZ Institutional in Australia, free to all via Spotify. Apple and YouTube

Chart of the week: National’s debt track above Labour’s

Ngā mihi nui.


PS: This week we produced 10 daily podcasts averaging about 10 minutes each1, three weekly podcasts of around 30 minutes each, ten daily emails averaging over 1,000 words per email, a weekly diary, and I appeared in The Detail podcast. That’s nearly four hours of podcasts, 10,000 words of news and analysis, all edited and sent to your inboxes. I also participated in a CPAG post-Budget analysis panel discussion in Auckland yesterday. We hope that’s value for money and we’d love you to subscribe.2


Two of those Dawn Chorus podcasts this week featured actual Kākā flying and screeching overhead. We did not pay them in any form.


And thanks for reading this far down.

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.