The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The Hoon around the week to May 10

The Hoon around the week to May 10

Featuring the podcast of our weekly Hoon, hosted by Bernard Hickey & Peter Bale, with regular guest Robert Patman on geo-politics; plus City for People's Jesse Richardson on a big YIMBY victory
Almost all of the Wellington City Council’s recommended zoning changes to allow many more apartments and townhouses in its inner-suburbs have been approved.Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

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

and , along with regular guest on geopolitics, and special guest Jesse Richardson from on a big victory for YIMBYs in Wellington this week.

The six 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. Housing: In a big win for YIMBYs over NIMBYs in the nation’s capital, Housing and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop approved almost all of the Wellington City Council’s recommended zoning changes to allow many more apartments and townhouses in its inner-suburbs. He went even further on densification than the council by allowing six-storey apartments in Kilbirnie, but decided not to strip the derelict Gordon Wilson flats of their heritage status. See Thursday’s email.

  2. Poverty: Associate Education Minister and ACT Leader David Seymour announced the continuation of the Healthy School Lunches Programme known as Ka Ora, Ka Ako for two years, but with cheaper packaged food for intermediate and secondary school kids at lower decile schools, rather than hot meals. He said it would save $107 million. See Thursday’s email.

  3. Tax: Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced in her first pre-Budget speech in Wellington an expansion and renaming of the Social Wellbeing Agency (back) into the Social Investment Agency. She also said the Budget would include “meaningful, but modest” tax cuts that would increase the take-home income of 83% of New Zealanders over the age of 15 and 94% of households.

  4. Climate: A cold snap increased power demand and forced Transpower to warn of potential shortages this morning. Wholesale prices leapt 50-fold. Meanwhile, Genesis Energy is resuming coal imports because of gas shortages and a lack of investment in the last decade by (mostly) state-owned gentailers who have prioritised high profits, high dividends and capital returns over investment in (already consented) wind farms. See Thursday’s email.

  5. Poverty: MSD cut funding for budgeting services, debt restructuring advisors and helping Christchurch attack survivors, surprising those working with poor families stuck with loan shark debt and survivors struggling to rehabilitate. Willis confirmed in her speech this week the Government had found $1.5 billion of savings to help pay for lower taxes for landlords. See Thursday’s email.

  6. Climate Minister Simon Watts announced this morning the Government had agreed that Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee would conduct an inquiry into climate adaptation. This followed the Environment Committee’s inquiry into climate adaptation last year, which reported back in February.

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 - 5:20 pm -

    and opened the show with a discussion about climate change, school lunches, woke sushi and Christopher Luxon’s very, very bad week.

  • 5:20 - 5:50 - Peter and Bernard talked with

    about the latest moves in Gaza and a growing lack of confidence in US leadership.

  • 5:40 - 6:00 pm - Peter and Bernard talked with Jesse Richardson from

    on a big victory for YIMBYs in Wellington this week .

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 things I did elsewhere

I produced an episode of When The Facts Change via The Spinoff, including this interview with Otago University public health Professor Nick Wilson on the true costs of tax cuts paid for with higher tobacco taxes.

The Government has repealed various smoke-free measures to ensure it keeps collecting $1.2 billion a year in tobacco taxes, in order to pay for tax cuts already being delivered to landlords. But an economic analysis done by Wilson and colleagues found keeping the smoke-free measures would have made consumers $51 billion better off by 2050 through earning more and spending less, which would more than offset the $19 billion net losses of the Government, given less tobacco tax and more pensions spending because more people will live longer and past the Super age of 65.

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.