The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The hoon for the week that was to April 1

The hoon for the week that was to April 1

Peter Bale & Bernard Hickey hoon around the week's news with Robert Patman on NZ joining Aukus & Israel's turmoil; Andrew Ecclestone on lobbyists & the OIA; and Sam Stubbs on housing & banking
This week Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs joined us to talk about Simplicity Living’s big house building plans, starting in Auckland, and banks receiving billions of subsidies from the Government. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The Kākā

TLDR: This week’s news in geopolitics and Aotearoa’s political economy covered on The Kākā for paying subscribers included:

  • revelations that the Reserve Bank (Te Pūtea Matua) is paying billions per year in interest to the big four Australian-owned banks, as well as providing $19 billion of subsidised loans to them at a time when the Government more broadly is refusing requests for extra spending on health, education, transport and welfare (Monday’s email);

  • Reserve Bank analysis released this week showed 25% of Auckland homes with mortgages could be affected by rising sea levels and/or a 1-in-100 year type of storm, with some vulnerable to a complete wipeout of their values (Tuesday’s email);

  • the Government backtracked on various climate pledges as it battens down its ‘costs of living’ hatches before the election, including inviting oil and gas explorers to submit more bids for drilling onshore and quietly not introducing emissions standards to improve engine efficiency and vehicle safety for six years (Thursday’s email); and,

  • the Government announced five options for an earlier second crossing/s (either or both a tunnel or bridge) of the Waitematā harbour that prioritise cars, could cost $25 billion and would significantly increase climate emissions during their building and/or drilling (Friday’s email).

What we talked about on the ‘hoon’

In this week’s podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers at 5pm on Friday night, I talked with co-host

and special guests:

  • Robert Patmanfrom the University of Otago about New Zealand joining Aukus-lite and the dramas in Israel from 5.15 to 5.30pm;

  • University of Victoria Public Policy academic Andrew Ecclestone about the need to regulate lobbyists and revolving doors for bureaucrats, politicians and political operatives, along with the need for OIA reform in the wake of Stuart Nash’s departure from Cabinet from 5.30 to 5.45pm; and,

  • Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs talking about Simplicity Living’s big house building plans, starting in Auckland, and banks receiving billions of subsidies from the Government from 5.45 to 5.55pm.

Peter and I also talked about the demise of TodayFM and Donald Trump’s indictment early in the show, and Peter introduced his cousin’s dog Banjo to the audience at the end. Cute dog.

Other places I appeared this week

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.

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I produced my weekly When the Facts Change podcast for The Spinoff on: The climate landmine in your letter box.

Cyclone Gabrielle suddenly showed us the life savings invested in the land under a home can dissolve as soon as an insurer decides to reprice or pull their insurance. I talked to insurance and banking academic Dr Michael Naylor from Massey University about how insurers are rapidly repricing for flood risk in a warming climate, and how that’s creating a Wild West for home buyers hoping to know if their life savings will dissolve too.

This week’s scoops elsewhere

Guyon Espiner’s ‘Mate, comrade, brother’ series of articles and videos for RNZ last week and early this week on the activities of lobbyists with the Labour Government and the need for regulation was essential reading.

Kirsty Johnson reported for Stuff yesterday on how the Government had changed the law about compensation for wrongful convictions for those who had served home detention sentences, after her earlier reporting on the issue.

Luke Malpass reported for Stuff on Tuesday from an email that showed Stuart Nash leaked details of a Cabinet decision to a donor, Troy Bowker, prompting PM Chris Hipkins to immediately sack Nash and launch an inquiry.

Pete McKenzie reported for Newsroom on Thursday about how his 2021 requests for all emails between Nash and his donors led to the exclusion of the smoking gun email, potentially in breach of the law and with the knowledge of the office of PM Jacinda Ardern, but not necessarily the PM herself.

Jenee Tibshraeny reported for NZ Herald-$$$ from documents obtained under the OIA about how the Reserve Bank is paying billions in interest to banks and how Grant Robertson had asked to see whether the Reserve Bank could cut back on that.

Marc Daalder reported for Newsroom on Wednesday about how the Government quietly sat on proposals to improve engine efficiency and car efficiency standards for six years at a potential cost of billions to the country and thousands of tonnes of extra climate emissions.

Charts of the week

Quotes of the week

‘Hey mate…’

“Stuart Nash and discretion are not words that get used together much in the same sentence,” Troy Bowker said of Stuart Nash, via BusinessDesk-$$$ this morning, albeit after saying he still liked Nash as a friend.

‘I have some breaking news…’

“They have f*cked us. And we’re all going to lose our jobs.” Tova O’Brien revealing on-air on Thursday morning that MediaWorks was shutting TodayFM.

Profundities, spookies, curiousities and feel-goods

Cartoons of the week

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The Craic

Fun things

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.