TL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s political economy that we wrote and spoke about via The Kākā for paying subscribers in the last week included:
National launched its Election 2023 plan for $14.6 billion of tax cuts paid for with government spending cuts, a raid on climate funds and a few new taxes on home-buying migrants and migrants paying for visas. I previewed the plan in Wednesday morning’s email.
National’s plan directs most of the $14.6 billion at the ‘squeezed middle’ of home-owning and car-driving families with children in childcare, but leaves behind the ‘squashed bottom’ of young renters without kids or cars, along with beneficiaries and the disabled in particular. I covered the details in a breaking news email late on Wednesday morning.
Childless and disabled beneficiaries who have to use buses and have to collect a lot of prescriptions would be the biggest losers from National’s plan, along with commercial property owners. The biggest winners would be ‘mum and dad’ rental property portfolio owners with a couple of double-cab utes and a boat that burns fuel. I wrote more about it Friday morning’s email.
The Labour Government unveiled $4 billion worth of cuts to spending plans on Monday, including more than $200 million of cuts to climate emissions reductions spending that it didn’t tell Climate Change Minister James Shaw about first. I wrote about it in a breaking news email on Monday afternoon.
The IMF said Aotearoa’s housing market was still 50% overvalued and warned the Government was on track to miss its Paris targets to cut emissions, which would lead to billions of dollars in emissions liabilities that should be included in the Crown Accounts. I wrote about it in Tuesday’s email, podcast and video.
What we talked about on ‘The Hoon’ on Friday night
In this week’s podcast above of the weekly ‘Hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers at 5pm on Friday night:
5.00 pm - 5.05 pm -and Peter Bale opened the show with a discussion about the ominous debates brewing around co-governance on the election trail.
5.05 pm - 5.20 pm - Bernard, Peter andtalked about National’s plan to raid the Climate Emergency Response Fund with a ‘climate dividend’ to pay for tax cuts.
5.20 pm - 5.40 pm - Bernard and Peter andtalked about Ukraine’s breakthrough in its war with Russia and China’s border disputes with both India and China.
5.40 - 6.00 pm - Bernard, Peter, Robert and columnist for The Post, Josie Pagani, talked about the paucity of debate about ideas and big policies in the election debate so far.
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.
Parliamentary exchange of the week
Nicola Willis vs Grant Robertson in Question Time on Wednesday
Nicola Willis: Why can he always find funding for his pet projects but he repeatedly denies meaningful tax relief for the squeezed middle of New Zealand, slogging their guts out, being crushed by his cost of living crisis?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Because on this side of the House, we make sure that what we put in front of New Zealand is properly costed, adds up, and that we can pay for it. We're not relying on our promises for an increasing number of foreign speculators to buy a dwindling number of houses in our housing market—that's the kind of voodoo economics the member is currently presenting to New Zealanders.
Nicola Willis: Hasn't he lost all credibility when his books are in such a mess that he's been left scrambling for savings that, just two weeks ago, he said would amount to cuts; and isn't the reality here that this finance Minister has lost control and it's time for new economic management?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: We could take that lyrical expression from the member or we could take the view of an independent ratings agency who last night said that the New Zealand economy was in good health, had robust goverance standards, and a robust policy framework, and who supported the Government's strong track record of prudent financial management. So we could listen to "Trickola Willis" or we could listen to Fitch.
Nicola Willis: Why should Kiwis have confidence in a name-calling Minister of Finance when his big plan, his audacious idea for beating the cost of living crisis, is a few cents off some carrots?
Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: This Government, over the course of the last couple of years, has stood by New Zealanders as they have faced increased cost of living pressures. We've lifted the family tax credit. We've lifted benefits. We've lifted the childcare assistance rates. We've lifted the minimum wage. We've helped people stay in their jobs. That's the kind of real action that actually supports New Zealanders during a cost of living crisis. And every single one of those initiatives—opposed by the National Party. Via Hansard
Chart of the week
The profit driver in NZ’s inflation in the 18 months to end of 2022
Map of the week
South America had heat waves in the winter month of August
Other places I’ve appeared this week
My podcast for The Spinoff this week: Buses beyond the big cities
This week in my weekly podcast via The Spinoff, When The Facts Change, I spoke with Whanganui-based public transport advocate and award-winning singer-songerwriter Anthonie Tonnon about the low-hanging fruit of public transport improvements in smaller towns and cities in Aotearoa.
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Some fun things
Cartoons of the week
Ka kite ano