So close, but not quite close enough in this week’s NZ Historyonline quiz.
The Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament leaves no doubt that the government is serious about the aspirational goals on which it campaigned.
John Key spoke of the need to maintain tight control of spending.
We are keeping a tight lid on new spending over the foreseeable future, which will enable us to get the budget back into surplus and keep public debt under control. Tight control of spending will also help to keep pressure off interest rates, which means lower mortgage costs for New Zealanders.
Overall, our economic policies are aimed at shifting the economy more towards exports and productive investment, and away from consumption and borrowing.
2010 will be about putting in place policies to grow the economy and create sustainable new employment, not just this year but over the longer term. This Government was elected to achieve a step change in our overall economic performance and that is what we intend to deliver.
The Government’s other priority this year is to make significant reforms in social sectors like the welfare system, education, the justice system, health and state housing. New Zealanders deserve a future with less unemployment, welfare dependence, crime and all the social problems that go along these. To secure this brighter future we have to get to grips with some of the big issues in these areas which have long been left unaddressed.
We owe that not just to the people who receive these important public services, but to all New Zealand taxpayers.
Government priorities include include a growth enhancing tax system:
We need a tax system that creates incentives for people to work hard, improve their skills and get ahead here in New Zealand.
And we need a tax system that encourages saving and boosts the productivity of investments.
In both these ways, the tax system helps to drive economic performance and create jobs.
Furthermore, we need a tax system which is not difficult to comply with or administer, which is regarded as fair, and which limits opportunities to divert income and reduce tax liabilities.
In other words, we want people to pay their fair share of tax. Fairness is a very important consideration to this Government. In working through reform options we are keeping the equity of tax changes squarely in mind.
He also spoke of promoting economic growth through science and innovation, trade, better regulation and unlocking resources:
New Zealand’s natural resources have the potential to significantly raise New Zealand’s economic performance.
It is a little-known fact that in 2008, New Zealand’s third-largest export earner was oil. Last year the Crown received nearly $1 billion from petroleum production with $543 million being from royalty payments alone. This is revenue that has benefited all New Zealanders.
During this year the Government will progress an action plan to unlock New Zealand’s petroleum potential. Estimates are that the petroleum sector could generate many billions more in export revenues by 2025.
There is also extraordinary economic potential in the mineral estate residing in Crown-owned land.
Mining in New Zealand uses just 40 square kilometres of land, less than 0.015 percent of our total land area. The export value of that land however is $175,000 per hectare, which makes mining an extremely valuable use of land.
The Government will shortly be releasing a discussion document for public consultation on potential changes to Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act. Schedule 4 is the part of the Crown Minerals Act which prohibits mining or prospecting on specified areas of Crown land.
The discussion document will recommend that some areas of Crown land be removed from Schedule 4 and in addition that some areas currently not in Schedule 4 be added to it.
Notwithstanding the public consultation process, it is my expectation that the Government will act on at least some of these recommendations and make significant changes to Schedule 4. This is because new mining on Crown land has the potential to increase economic growth and create jobs.
I know some people have expressed concern about increased mining but I can assure New Zealanders that any new mines on conservation land will have to meet strict environmental tests.
Moreover, the Government is also proposing to establish a new Conservation Fund, potentially drawing on royalty revenue from mining operations on Crown land. The Conservation Fund would resource special conservation projects around the country. That means that if there is an increase in mining activity, New Zealand’s natural environment would also be improved.
This will upset people who think every square centimetre of conservation land is pristine and beautiful. It’s not. If some which isn’t can yield minerals without damaging the environment it is in our interests to allow that to happen.
I was also pleased to see the emphasis on water:
The Government will also take action this year to remove particular regulatory roadblocks to water storage and irrigation in Canterbury. This will be in addition to the work already being carried out by the National Infrastructure Unit and the Land and Water Forum on progressing water storage infrastructure throughout the country.
Overall, the Government is committed to ensuring that water storage and irrigation projects which meet environmental standards, and which are good economic propositions, can happen in a decent time frame.
The Government will introduce legislation this year to change the regulations governing the aquaculture industry. This is an area where the current regulations are stifling all prospects of growth in the sector.
Reform of the benefit system is another priority:
I need to be able to look taxpayers in the eye and assure them that their hard-earned wages are not being used to support those who lack the will or desire to work as hard for their living as their fellow New Zealanders.
There are many people on a benefit who will realistically never be able to work, and the welfare net will continue to support them.
But for most people, a benefit should only provide temporary support until they can return to work. In fact there is little chance of a better future for beneficiaries and their children unless they do come off a benefit and work for an income. Long-term welfare dependency imprisons people in a life of limited income and limited choices.
Our benefit reforms will therefore be squarely focused on helping people get back to work as soon as possible, and ensuring that they do so.
He backs up the benefits of this with statistics:
These welfare reforms will have positive effects not just for beneficiaries themselves but for the sustainability of the welfare system.
If, for example, just 100 DPB recipients were to move off their benefit and into work, the welfare system would save close to $10 million over their lifetime. If we were to assist five percent of the sole parents whose youngest child is aged over six years into work, we would save almost $200 million over the next 10 years.
Concern over the increasing welfare bill has prompted the government to appoint a working group of experts to recommend ways to reduce long-term welfare dependency and thereby reduce the welfare bill future generations will face.
Kiwiblog gives a summary or the speech and says:
Overall pretty encouraging that the Government is going to pursue some economic reform that will increase the size of the national cake, rather than merely get obsessed with how to divide it up as the left do. If we grow the cake, then everyone benefits in time. . .
. . . Overall I give the package a solid B. If the GST was 100% confirmed (I judge it 90% confirmed) and they had gone for land tax also, I would have gone for a B+. And if they left out the nonsense about the number of liquor outlets being a problem I may have even gone for an A- after a few rum and cokes 🙂
Colin Espiner says:
Overall, I’d give Key an Achieved, plus a grading of “above the National standard”. There’s still a lot left unsaid, though, and the proof of just how radical National is prepared to be this year won’t be known until May.
On February 9:
1555 Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper was burned at the stake.
The Martyrdom of John Hooper as depicted in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
1770 Captain Cook completed his circumnavigation of the North Island.
1789 Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, German inventor of the stenography, was born.
1825 After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President of the United States.
1849 New Roman Republic was established.
1865 Mrs. Patrick Campbell, British actress (b0rn Beatrice Stella Tanner), was born.
1870 – The U.S. Weather Bureau was established.
1874 Amy Lowell, American poet, was born.
1885 The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived in Hawaii.
1889 The United States Department of Agriculture was established as a Cabinet-level agency.
1891 Ronald Colman, English actor (, was born.
1897 – Charles Kingsford Smith, Australian pilot, was born.
1900 Wanganui Opera House opened.
1900 The Davis Cup competition was established.
Monument to the Davis Cup at Stade Roland Garros in Paris
1934 The Balkan Entente is formed.
1936 Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian country singer, was born.
1942 – Year-round Daylight saving time was re-instated in the United States as a wartime measure to help conserve energy resources.
1942 Carole King, American singer, was born.
1943 World War II: Allied authorities declare Guadalcanal secure after Imperial Japan evacuates its remaining forces from the island, ending the Battle of Guadalcanal.
1944 Alice Walker, American writer, was born.
1945 Mia Farrow, American actress, was born.
1947 Carla Del Ponte, Swiss UN prosecutor, was born.
1962 Jamaica became independent.
1965 The first United States combat troops were sent to South Vietnam.
1969 First test flight of the Boeing 747.
1970 Glenn McGrath, Australian cricketer, was born.
1971 The 6.4 Richter Scale Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.
1971 Satchel Paige became the first Negro League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1971 Apollo 14 returned to Earth after the third manned moon landing.
1975 The Soyuz 17 Soviet spacecraft returned to Earth.
1991 Voters in Lithuania voted for independence.
1996 The Irish Republican Army declared the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by the explosion of a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.
Monday’s questions were:
1.What’s the difference between a raisin and a sultana?
2. What is moss stitch?
3. What does, “He aha te mea nui ot te ao?” He tangata! He Tangata! He tangata!” mean?
4. Who wrote, Cold Comfort Farm?
5. Who said: “I have an idea that the phrase ‘weaker sex’ was coined by some woman to disarm the man she was preparing to overwhelm.”?
Everyone who was on the right track with the raisin and sultana even if it wasn’t the full answer can have a point and then:
Paul got two correct, an on-the-right-rack point for the raisin, and can have a bonus for humour and a half for his answer to 4 which was nearly right.
Andrei got two and an on-the-right-rack point for the raisin with a bonus for making me smile with his oh fie.
David got two, a bonus for his extra information with sultana and a half for an educated attempt with the quote.
Samo got one right and an on-the-right-rack point for the raisin.
Gravedodger got the an on-the-right-rack point for the raisin plus three right (and Mrs GD can have a bonus for her contribution); and since he asked so nicely he can have the wee bit for trying with 5.
Deborah got the an on-the-right-track point for the raisin plus three with a double bonus for extra info on Cold Comfort Farm and “He aha te mea nui ot te ao?” He tangata! He Tangata! He tangata!”.
PDM gets a point for trying with the raisin and a bonus because I believe he’d have given the sultana answer if David hadn’t got there first and a half for raising a smile with his answer to 3.
Tuesday’s answers follow the break:
A police officer from Christchurch airport has just phoned to tell me they know who took my laptop – but they can’t find him.
To recap – I’d put the laptop and my suitcase on the ground while paying for the car park last Wednesday, picked up the case but not the laptop and when I realised just a few minutes later what I’d done I went back and the computer had gone.
The police officer went through video footage and saw it all happen. A bloke behind me in the queue picked up the laptop and walked off with it. The officer went through the video of the entrance and exit as well and saw the bloke arriving in a red Nissan station wagon.
He checked the registration and identified the driver as Daniel Morgan. His last address was that of an ex-girlfriend who wasn’t very complimentary about him. The officer then traced former employers and discovered he also goes under the names of Daniel Barr and Daniel Erickson but no-one knows where he is now.
I’m very impressed with the police officer and his detective work I’ll be even more impressed if he can tack him down.
And I’m very unimpressed with my own carelessness.
NZX is to launch its first dairy futures market in June.
Exchange derivatives manager Katherine Jaggard said interest had been high, both locally and internationally, which was an indication the dairy sector lacked such risk management tools compared to other traded commodities, like grain and coffee. . .
. . . Farmers were interested in hedging their income against price fluctuations, but initial activity was expected from others in the industry, such as processors, buyers and traders. . .
Eventually, she would like dairy farmers to view the NZX dairy futures market on a daily basis, as they did now with the exchange rate.
“We see the exchange rate every day. It would be great to see the whole milk powder price every day.
“The data would be helpful to farmers. It would give them an idea where demand levels are,” she said.
I can see how hedging might appeal and that this market might be of interest to investors but I’m not sure if knowing the day to day demand is going to be useful to farmers.
If you’re producing widgets you might alter the supply at the whim of the market but milk harvesting isn’t like producing widgets.
A consistent trend in the price might help with a decision on whether or not to feed supplements but you can’t turn milk supply on and off to take advantage of market fluctuations.
A media release from TVNZ said:
Prime Minister, John Key was asked to draw his version of an alternative NZ Flag by TVNZ’s Pippa Wetzell on Breakfast at 7:15am this morning.
By the time the programme went off-air at 9am, TVNZ had received many pledges of money for the A4 sized doodle, the highest being $1000. Mr Key gave his consent for the drawing to be auctioned for charity and it has been listed on Trade Me this afternoon with all proceeds going to the children’s charity, Cure Kids.
Mr Key described his drawing as a “silver fern”. Pippa Wetzell described it, perhaps more accurately, as a “lop-sided Christmas tree”.
In case there’s any doubt that this is the Prime Minister’s own work, here’s a screen shot of him drawing it:
And the video:
And how good is the doodle? Here (Hat Tip Kiwiblog) it is: