The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The Hoon around the week to May 17

The Hoon around the week to May 17

Featuring the podcast of our weekly Hoon, hosted by Bernard Hickey & Peter Bale, with Robert Patman and Helen Clark on Aukus II; plus Ngāti Toa CEO Helmut Modlik on opposing Fast-track
Helen Clark joins the Hoon as a special guest talking whether Aotearoa should join Aukus II, and her views on the fast track legislation and how Luxon and the new Government are performing. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson

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

and , along with regular guest and special guest former PM Helen Clark on Aukus II and much more. We also spoke with Ngāti Toa CEO Helmut Modlik about why his iwi opposes the Fast-track Approval bill.

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 & climate - Opposition to the Government’s Fast-track approvals bill mounted in submissions to the Environment Committee this week. Helen Clark warned in the podcast above of the dangers of placing so much power in the hands of the executive. Helmut Modlik warned of a repeat of the top-down damaging of the long-term prospects of Ngāti Toa and the land around Porirua, just as happened with mass house-building in the 1950s and 1960s.

  2. Infrastructure - The pressure on Council finances from Government funding freezes and a fundamentally borked system of infrastructure financing for fast population growth is becoming so intense it is forcing them to sell assets sales and force unsustainable dividends, as evidenced by a shock resignation of Christchurch’s asset management company and intense debates in Auckland and Wellington about selling airport shares. See more in Thursday’s email.

  3. Economy - Aotearoa’s biggest and last-best-hope of being a global business, Fonterra, announced plans yesterday to sell its global consumer brands businesses and 17 of its remaining factories overseas, including brands such as Anchor, Anmum, Anlene, Fernleaf, Mainland and Kapiti. The assets up for sale employ capital of $3.4 billion and generating $190 million or 20% of its earnings in the first half of the year. I spoke in this week’s Hoon above about how this represented the final victory for the housing market in its quest to focus spare capital on investing in land appreciation for tax-free capital gains, rather than real businesses and assets that increase real wages and real business wealth.

  4. Population - Stats NZ reported this week a record-high 52,496 New Zealand citizens left the country permanently in the year to the end of March. That equates to about one full A320 leaving each weekday, with just over half of those citizens going to live in Australia. They were replaced by people on temporary work and student visas (with work rights) from India, the Philippines and China, in that order. See Wednesday’s email.

  5. Environment - ECan reported this week more than half of the wells monitored in its annual survey last year showed nitrate levels were likely to be increasing, with water from 35 of the 349 wells having nitrate levels above the maximum acceptable value for human health. South Canterbury has the highest incidence of bowel cancer in New Zealand. See Wednesday’s email.

  6. Economy - Surveys this week showed the economy is settling into a state of suspended animation as the Government’s funding freezes and job cuts chill confidence and combine with stubbornly high interest rates to extend the recession of late 2023 through the rest of the year. 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 opened the show with a discussion about Fonterra’s decision to sell its global brands and give up on its global value-added ambitions.

  • 5:10 - 5:40 - Peter and Bernard talked with

    and Helen Clark about whether Aotearoa should join Aukus II and how the new Government was performing.

  • 5:40 - 6:00 pm - Peter and Bernard talked with Ngāti Toa CEO Helmut Modlik about why his iwi opposes the Fast-track Approval bill, as he detailed in this Op-ed via The Spinoff.

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 Transpower’s GM of Grid Mark Ryall about the Redclyffe substation near Napier. It is Aotearoa’s climate canary. Where it goes, we go.

It was flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle and turning it off turned off the power for much of Hawkes Bay and Taitawhiti. Transpower fixed it, but has had to make a big call: should it rebuild it where it is now, next to a stream? Or move it up a hill? The choice tells us a lot about how to think about our climate future.

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.

Ka kite ano


Get more from Bernard Hickey in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

Get 60% off a group subscription


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.