The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The Hoon
The week that was to Feb 4

The week that was to Feb 4

Including the weekly Hoon podcast, featuring co-hosts Bernard Hickey and Peter Bale with special guests Auckland Central MP Chloe Swarbrick and Auckland City Councillor Julie Fairey
Insurers face claims of over $500 million for cars, homes and property damaged in the floods. They are already putting up premiums and pulling insurance from properties deemed at high risk of flooding. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty Images

TLDR: This week in the podcast of our weekly hoon webinar for paying subscribers,

and myself talked with Auckland Central MP Chloe Swarbrick and Auckland City Councillor for the Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa ward, Julie Fairey, about Auckland’s floods, climate change and what might (and should) happen next.

This week’s five big things

The climate changed - Auckland’s heaviest ever downpour after Aotearoa’s hottest ever year unleashed floods that killed four people, made hundreds (more) homeless and will be our most expensive natural disaster ever, outside of the Christchurch earthquakes. Insurers face claims of over $500 million and are already putting up premiums and pulling insurance from some of the one in seven properties on flood plains, under (and over) cliffs and within expected reach of rising seas.

The politicians didn’t - The Labour Government announced an extra $719 million in spending to extend fuel tax cuts for another three months to the end of June, increasing the bill for encouraging more emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles to $2.1 billion and making it even more unlikely they will be unwound before the election on October 14.

Mortgage rates fell - ANZ cut its longer-term mortgage rates to match cuts by others as global markets are now dragging down longer-term wholesale rates in anticipation of cuts in official rates. That’s because inflation is rapidly coming off the boil in the big Northern Hemisphere economies, which just experienced mild winters that kept gas prices down and where wage growth is now slowing, avoiding wage-price spirals.

Goldilocks economies - The world’s largest economy reported much-stronger-than-expected jobs growth last night, but also wage growth fell, creating the tantalising potential for the United States to have a soft landing where the US Federal Reserve doesn’t have to raise interest rates too much. A recession that was seen as inevitable as recently as in January, could be avoided. The Eurozone also avoided a recession over its winter, partly due to a warmer winter and continued jobs growth. The one time climate change was a good thing.

From the dog house to the honeymoon suite - Two opinion poll results published this week showed support for Labour bounced strongly in new PM Chris Hipkins’ first week in charge. Labour’s support rose just above National’s in both the 1News/Kantar and Newshub/Reid Research polls. Interestingly, Hipkins net approval and net trust ratings were significantly above that of National leader Christopher Luxon. It’s game on again for the election on October 14, with the prospects growing that Te Pāti Māori, TOP and/or NZ First become the makers of King Chris or King Christopher.

Chart Pack of the week

Off-the-charts amount of rain in a day

Marc Daalder via Twitter

Fuel tax cuts extended despite prices at pre-war levels

MBIE data on fuel prices

Labour bounces back in the polls

Smoothed average of polls since Election 2020 - Wiki

US wage inflation rolling over too

WSJ chart

IMF points out NZ has the most punitive GST in the world

IMF data in report on Australia

Substack of the week

On Substack
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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.