Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Bill English: Government Booms, Economy Busts

10 March 2006

Government Booms, Economy Busts

In a slowing economy, government spending will continue to boom. Wellington office blocks currently offer the best returns in commercial property, and the state wage bill is rising by $1 billion per year. So the Reserve Bank has to hold the line on interest rates, and they have, signalling it will be a while before rates come back.

Fortunately, the export sector can give a glimmer of hope with the exchange rate falling 10% in recent weeks, but the Reserve Bank is determined to knock back the rest of New Zealanders' appetite for debt.

Household expenditure has been rising faster than household income for several years and it can't keep going. Over the next 12 months, house prices should ease and business investment will slow. Farmers look for any excuse to pay more for land and the fall in the dollar will likely be enough to keep farm values robust.

Everyone's a Winner

The great thing about success in a small country is that everyone can be part of it. My mum is in the same Invercargill rest home as Sam Morgan's grandma.

Everyone's a Loser Often it's the small issues that tell the story. Timber processors in the south are fighting a battle with bureaucracy on behalf of everyone who will build a house or a shed in the next 10 years. Someone, somewhere has decided that all framing timber now has to be made by a machine rather than the traditional visual grading test, which could cost up to $40,000. It's all extra costs to the consumer on top of the new extravagantly stupid Building Act. However, the costs of the new stress test could force local sawmillers out of the framing timber market. Odd how the proposed regulation is supported by big operators like Carters.

So the local sawmill operators have tried to find out why the traditional visual grading is no longer acceptable. It turns out no one really knows. If houses were crumbling around us because of weak framing, that would be persuasive. A few calls around local government building inspectors reveals that it's never been a problem. So this new requirement is a solution looking for a problem. The Building Authority is digging in. When the requirement is irrational there is no sensible way to defend it. But there seems to be no way of stopping it.

Dawn Raids On Again

Wednesday morning in Te Anau saw the first and maybe only dawn raids ever in Southland - at Takaro Lodge. Guests, including the Vice-President of Disney Corporation, were disturbed by a large presence of police and immigration staff who rounded up 12 alleged overstayers.

The staff concerned had been refused work permits and are now overstayers. But why were they refused work permits? It's almost impossible to get staff for hospitality jobs in Queenstown, and all sorts of non-New Zealanders are getting work permits to fill the gap. Takaro is isolated and its requirements specialised, and they just can't get any suitable staff.

Takaro is setting out to establish itself as part of the "spa industry", where high net wealth individuals pay large amounts of money to spend time on health and wellness. We need this tourism business and more like it. So did these immigrants break all the rules, or is it a case of bureaucratic bumbling? I want some answers.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>


Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election