The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The Hoon around the week to March 29

The Hoon around the week to March 29

Featuring the podcast of our weekly Hoon live webinar, plus five things that mattered this week, including the latest big housing, climate and political news in Aotearoa, and in geopolitics

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Willis has pledged to go ahead with the debt-funded tax cuts, despite growing opposition from her own supporters worried about appearing fiscally irresponsible. 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:

  1. Finance Minister Nicola Willis unveiled a Budget Policy Statement that showed the new Government will have to borrow up to $15 billion to replace the same amount of tax revenue reduction from a slowing economy, unless it chooses not to go ahead with $14.9 billion of tax cuts. Willis pledged to go ahead with the debt-funded tax cuts, despite growing opposition from her own supporters worried about appearing fiscally irresponsible, including John Key, Oliver Hartwich and Richard Prebble. See Thursday’s email.

  2. Chris Bishop laid out his vision for infrastructure planning and financing, including using tolls, water charges, congestion charges, private debt and value-capture rates to pay to build and maintain infrastructure. But he didn’t specify how a bipartisan approach on planning, funding, population growth and climate emissions would create a credible platform that councils, investors, developers and builders could rely on for longer than a year or two. See Wednesday’s email.

  3. Judith Collins announced New Zealand had identified a Chinese state-sponsored group known as APT40 as the source of a hack into the IT systems of the Parliamentary Counsel Officeand the Parliamentary Service in 2021. This was the first time our Government has formally accused China of attacking Aotearoa’s democratic systems, although it was done in concert with accusations earlier yesterday against Beijing of worse attacks on systems in the UK and US. See Wednesday’s email and hear the discussion with Anne-Marie Brady and

    from 35 mins in the podcast above.

  4. Workers have been treading water in output per hour worked for 12 years, an analysis of GDP data for 2023 showed1, emphasising Aotearoa Inc’s lack of productivity progress since the Global Financial Crisis (See chart of the week below). Our low-to-no productivity growth is thanks to low investment in public infrastructure, skills and businesses so any spare household and business cash can be put into leveraged land for tax-free gains or repatriated in dividend form to overseas owners. See Monday’s email.

  5. Simeon Brown threatened councils with intervention yesterday if they don’t merge water assets to take them off balance sheet, just as the now-repealed Three Waters plan directed. He also repeated comments made previously about the Government not putting up any more of its capital and not providing a guarantee to these off-balance-sheet vehicles. See Monday’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 the politics of urban densification and the future of Newshub on TV3.

  • 5.10 pm - 5.20 pm - Peter, Bernard, and

    talked about this week’s report on the readiness of emergency management for Cyclone Gabrielle and the failings that need to be fixed in a warming climate with more extreme events that are more extreme.

  • 5.20 - 5.35 - Peter and Bernard talked with

    talked about the latest from the terror attack in Russia, Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the war in Ukraine.

  • 5.35 pm - 5.55 pm - Peter, Bernard and Robert spoke with University of Canterbury Professor Anne-Marie Brady about the historic identification this week of China as responsible for a cyber-attack on our Parliamentary IT systems. She wrote the seminal Magic Weapons paper in 2017 on China’s political influence campaigns in Aotearoa-NZ.

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.)


Other places I appeared this week

I appeared on an episode of 1News’ Breakfast to talk about migration’s role in our economy.

I produced an episode of When The Facts Change via The Spinoff.

This week’s interview with Rewiring Aotearoa CEO Mike Casey refers to the Electric Homes report the group published earlier this month. Here’s the interview in Youtube form too.

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.

It was a busy week.

We produced 10 podcasts totalling three and a half hours of coverage of our political economy and the global economy, plus 15 posts delivered via email to nearly 20,000 subscribers via

and The Spinoff across Substack, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, plus appearing on 1News. There were over 150,000 page views recorded on Substack and over 3,000 downloads of podcasts via Substack this week. And it was only a four-day week. Thank you in particular to Simon Josey, and .

Time for a rest. Hope you have a great long weekend.

Ka kite ano


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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.