Word of the day


Virtuecrat –  political figure who preaches his or her own morals as a cultural imperative; a person who is convinced of his or her moral superiority; (also) a politician or other public figure who seeks to promote morality.

Rural round-up


One in the eye for dairying’s critics – Jon Morgan:

Dairying is the popular whipping boy of the age. Dissembling politicians, rabid environmentalists, lazy news media, ignorant online commenters – they all have a go.

They peddle the usual half-truths and blatant lies: Dairying is responsible for all water pollution, dairy farmers are saddled with too much debt, they are running too many cows, using too much nitrogen fertiliser and poisoning the soils and plants, they mistreat their workers, they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, they’re responsible for global warming, the moral decay of today’s youth, war in Ukraine, the Pope turning Communist and, don’t forget, they also shot JFK.

However, one or two of their assumptions will have to be revised after the release of the latest DairyNZ economic survey.

It was a surprise even for those who support dairying to learn from the survey – which has been running for 50 years – that the costs of dairy farming have stayed the same for the past 25 years and that farms are as affordable as 40 years ago. . .

Angus cleans up at Steak of Origin Grand Final:

Colin Brown from Cambridge has been named Grand Champion in the 2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition with his Angus processed at AgResearch Ruakura.

After being a finalist in previous years and his Lake Farm Beef brand winning Supreme Brand in 2009, Colin has taken out the competition, sponsored by Zoetis, to find the country’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak in the Grand Final at AgInnovation in Feilding this evening.

Colin is humbled with the announcement.  “I am absolutely thrilled with the result after being named as a finalist four times in the last six years, and finally taking the title”, he says. . . .

Victory for man with big stake in beef:

It’s taken a few years, but an artisan beef producer has finally cracked the big one.

Colin Brown of Lake Farm on the shore of lake Karapiro in Waikato won the grand champion title in the Steak of Origin competition this week with a pure Angus sirloin steak.

He’s been a finalist for four of the past six years and in 2009 he won the supreme brand award with his Lake Farm Beef brand.

He’s a small scale operator, producing his beef from 100 cattle, and selling directly to customers through the internet. . .

Rockstar awards showcase our rockstar dairy industry:

The only shame about last Friday’s 2014 New Zealand Dairy Awards, at Auckland’s SkyCity, was the absence of the dairying’s most ardent critics.  Instead it was the perfect showcase for the capability and dynamism of New Zealand’s leading export industry. 

“I can forgive the print media as the Canon Awards were on the same night and the media at our industry’s event got to see dairying in its dynamic reality.  Special thanks must go to the brilliant MC Mike McRoberts but especially the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“I honestly thought there would have been more than one Member of Parliament present but as MP’s go, the Minister for Primary Industries is a very big fish indeed.

“After the awards I saw one political party leader in a debate label-dairy low value.  There is no way you could hold those views if he’d attended these awards.  That’s the problem we have.  There are some who won’t risk shaking their beliefs by opening their eyes. . .

Firenze sires 40,000 cows, retires:

With more than 40,000 daughters in New Zealand alone there’s no denying Firenze has been one very busy bull.

The herd improvement company CRV Ambreed retired the 12-year-old holstein-friesian bull this week at a ceremony in Hamilton.

Firenze has generated about $8 million in revenue and produced about 650,000 doses of semen that have been sold around the world.

Now he’s heading back to the farm where he came from near Dunedin.

His original owner, Philip Wilson, says he’s going to ensure Firenze sees out his days in style.

“Well, we’re just bringing him home because we are proud of him and we reckon he deserves a bloody good retirement. . . .

UN look to Marlborough grape vine pruning crews – Chloe Winter:

Marlborough’s autumn colours are slowly disappearing as vine-pruning contractors move in to prepare the vineyards for next season’s growth.

Alapa Viticultural Services owner Alan Wilkinson has a team of 230 workers for the pruning season.

The workers were from Thailand, Japan, Samoa, China, Malaysia and the Czech Republic and would stay until the end of the season in September.

By that time, more than four million plants would have been pruned, stripped and wrapped, Wilkinson said. . .

 Bee’s conference breaking ground for the industry:

This year, for the first time, Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group will be joining with the National Beekeepers Association to host a New Zealand Apiculture Industry Conference in Wanganui.

“The theme of this conference is “Working Together” with a critical focus on advancing our fast growing and vital industry that is pivotal to New Zealand’s economy, with an estimated annual contribution of $5 billion a year,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bee Chairperson. . . .

Editorial approval for Budget


From south to north:

The Southland Times writes of felines and finances:

As the budget debate was winding down in Parliament yesterday the most popular story on the Stuff website was still “Cat saves boy from dog”.

Bill English will hardly be distraught. He knows this is not an election-losing Budget.

It’s the first since 2008 to project a surplus. Technically, it is perfectly possible for a Government to be rolled in an election year while economic figures are doing OK. Jenny Shipley managed it while running budget surpluses and with economic growth knocking around 3.5 to 4 per cent.

But the public had emphatically soured on the politics of her administration whereas the Key Government, for all that it has had a wretched couple of weeks, would still need to subside spectacularly to find itself in such straits.

English has found himself in the fairly happy situation of not needing a budget that would quicken any pulses . . . merely keep them steady. This one will surely manage that.  . .

Australia has done English the very considerate favour of delivering a gasper of a hard-times Budget just days before his. So if it was a test, we’d be the winners, right? And who doesn’t like beating the Aussies? Big tick for the Nats, then?

Truth to tell those contrasting fortunes are indeed likely to accelerate the net immigration inflow of more than 38,000 this year. That’s assuming people have been paying attention, what with that fabulous cat footage.


The ODT calls it a clever document:

This was the Budget that National – right from the time of its re-election in 2011 – would have hoped it could produce leading into this year’s election.

Mr English has not swayed from his path of fiscal restraint. Sure, he has had to borrow heavily during the past six years, but not to the extent the country plunged into recession.

Now, the return to surplus gives options such as paying down debt.

The careful management of the country’s finances by Mr English, and his team of ministers, has helped ensure New Zealand has been mainly immune from the worst of the global decline affecting Europe, parts of Asia, the United States and, latterly, Australia.

Economic growth has been one of the highest in the OECD and, for once, all Treasury indicators are pointing in a positive direction.

This was a Budget of few surprises, but with enough good news to count for something. . .

It will enable Prime Minister John Key to go into the election campaign confident his 2008 promises of fiscal restraint, providing the best care for families, and delivering a better public service have not been compromised.

Opposition parties will have to promise big to counter National, and if they do, the onus will be on them to say exactly how they will fund those promises. . .

If he is looking for a document to define his legacy as Finance Minister, Budget 2014 is a good place to start.

There is some criticism the Budget is too conservative, but that personifies Mr English, who learnt the trade from former finance minister Sir William Birch. And would most New Zealanders rather have a gambler as a finance minister, or a safe pair of hands?

The ”Boy from Dipton” has lived up to his reputation as a ”conservative” politician in every way.

The Timaru Herald opines on the Budget highlight:

The contrast was telling, helped by the fact Australia’s Budget and ours came just two days apart.

Theirs: there will be pain for everyone.

Ours: we’re operating with a surplus and tax cuts may even be on the way.

But hey, we’re heading into an election, so there’s bound to be some gloss. They aren’t.

The National Government has worked long and hard on being able to say it is spending less than it is collecting, and right on cue it has achieved that.

Selling off a few state assets and spending most of the proceeds has helped, of course, and as Labour’s David Cunliffe rightly points out, National has borrowed a massive $56 billion in its tenure, which costs $10 million a day in interest.

He says that’s a lot of money that could be spent on lifting kids out of poverty, which indeed it is.

But because National is the Government it sets the agenda, and the agenda yesterday was for enough lollies to keep sugar levels up without creating a free-for-all. . .

It’s a steady Budget without attempting to buy votes.

The best thing about it?

It’s not Australia’s.



The Press writes of seeking the recipe for growth:

When he delivered his first Budget six years ago, Finance Minister Bill English faced a grim prospect. Even though the global financial crisis had not yet hit, the economy had gone into recession some time beforehand.

Government debt was at a reasonable level, but spending in Labour’s last years in office had ballooned and, according to Treasury projections, the Government faced deficits for a decade or more ahead.

National had been elected promising responsible Government finances and a stronger economy, but without changes those looked unlikely.

English smiled yesterday as he took delivery of the bound Budget document and well he might. By delivering a surplus, albeit a tiny one, several years ahead of what he had forecast several years ago, today’s Budget will be brighter than even he expected it to be by now.

Since it came to office six years ago, the Government’s core promises have been that it would deliver a stronger economy, responsible public finances and a better public service.

In 2011, after the earthquakes, it added a promise to rebuild Christchurch. Those pledges have become a mantra and can be expected to be repeated today.

Without engaging in a wholesale slash and burn, it has kept public spending under control while maintaining services.

So far as it is possible for a government to claim credit for the performance of the economy generally, National can be pleased with the prospect of growth possibly hitting more than 4 per cent this year. The trick will be to make that growth enduring. . .

In spite of the benign aggregate position it should not be forgotten that, as an Otago University survey reiterated last week, New Zealand still has significant pockets of deprivation.

There are likely to be numberless reasons for them but a growing economy delivering opportunity and jobs offers part of the solution for sustainably dealing with them.

The Marlborough Express writes the jobs challenge continues:

. . . Finance Minister Bill English told Parliament the realisation of job growth forecasts depends on the confidence of businesses to invest more capital and employ more people.

“That is where new jobs come from. They do not come from the Easter bunny.”

The Easter bunny didn’t get a mention when English unveiled his sixth Budget yesterday.

The test will be how much his programme can lift confidence and stimulate growth to create the environment that will put priority on employment growth.

The Dominion Post notes the crowd goes mild:

This is a deliberately bland and even boring Budget. The Government has clearly decided that grey and safe is its best hope in election year. The only surprise was free doctors’ visits for under-13-year-olds. Middle New Zealand will welcome it, as it will many of the other, carefully telegraphed, handouts. More paid parental leave: who could object? A bit more help with childcare costs: why not?

National has made a virtue of small gifts: it shows that the party is “responsible” and not spending money it doesn’t have. And that is why the $372m surplus is intended to have such political heft. The amount is piffling within a $70b budget, and would make no economic difference if it was an equally mouse-sized deficit.

But the surplus is the signal that a caring government has brought us home safely after a nasty trip through recession. And if we carry on being careful and good, the Government says, life will carry on improving. Finance Minister Bill English gave a hint of tax cuts to come, but waffled when pressed. So that means National is keeping its tax promises till closer to the election.

The real question is: is this all the voters want – thrift, mild rewards, steady-as-she-goes? The dissenters have pointed to National’s noticeable lack of flair and imagination. No big new policies, no bold new directions, no surprises.

But that is what the John Key Government is, and so far it has won elections. In tough times, the Government has spent freely to keep the ship afloat, and then it has slowly brought it to the fiscal shore. Now it welcomes us to dry land. . .

Much bolder moves will be needed, including a capital gains tax. But National’s caution here is a drawback, not an advantage. Sometimes problems are serious and need action. National seems to believe it will be enough to cut red tape and remove some of the planning obstacles in the way of housing. It won’t.

At present there is little rage about poverty, inequality and the housing crisis. These problems are raw and real but voters are patient and only a minority of voters now seem to actually hate National. It will probably take another term before a majority is truly fed up with Key and his band. In the meantime, this bland document may be a document for the times.

The Manawatu Standards call it a Budget comfortable fit for many Kiwis

There may be little bling to Finance Minister Bill English’s sixth Budget but, like a pair of sensible shoes, it will make for a comfortable fit for many New Zealanders.

It was a budget light on ambition, heavy on prudence, in its commitment towards a modest $372 million surplus, but with a few policies bearing a distinctive Labour hue to them.

Its “steady as she goes” tenor does shrewdly mine the Kiwi ethos. Yes, a tax cut would have been nice, but they’ve balanced the books and haven’t forgotten the children. So she’ll be right.

It is a budget good enough to serve its purpose, whether that is pragmatic progress towards further surpluses and the lure of an eventual tax cut or simply placating middle New Zealand until after the general election in September is a matter of perspective. . .

The NZ Herald says the Budget steers safe course in rough waters:

The Treasury gave the show away in the Budget’s supporting documents, mentioning that while tax revenue is running at a lower level than expected, some of the Government’s intended spending has been “rephased” to produce the surplus it has promised.

Opponents can call it a trick of “smoke and mirrors” but the verdict that matters comes from credit agencies. They are unlikely to be concerned. Spending rephased is spending we might never see unless surpluses can be maintained. . . .

The Budget’s best feature is the value Bill English seems to be getting for little extra spending on public services. Departments know the results he wants and seem to be delivering them without complaint from providers or the public.

They have stopped demanding endless increases in funds and he shared the credit with them yesterday for his surplus.

Doctored it may be, but it will get better.

The Herald’s last point is a pertinent one and one of the National governments successes – getting better pubic services for less money.


Friday’s answers


Andrei and J Bloggs provided Thursday’s questions.

For that they get my thanks and for stumping us all they win an electronic batch of shortbread which can be collected by leaving the answers in a comment below.


Darien Fenton not seeking re-election


List MP Darien Fenton won’t be seeking re-election:

. . . Ms Fenton has been a Labour list MP since 2005. . . 

She is only the fourth member of Labour’s caucus to announce she won’t be seeking re-election.

That she and two of the others are list MPs enables the party to refresh its list without upsetting sitting MPs, providing of course the party at least maintains the vote it got at the last election.

Who pays how much


The left often complain that wealthy people don’t pay enough tax.

The figures show that’s not the case:

That excludes Working For Families which means households with two children don’t pay any net tax until their income reaches more than $50,000.

Contrary to the line the left spin, the wealthiest few pay the most.

Countering another of the left’s complaints that tax cheats aren’t targeted as hard as beneficiaries who cheat, the Budget included a $132 million allocation to crack down on tax evasion.


Photo: We’re committed to making sure everyone is paying their fair share of tax. http://ntnl.org.nz/1okJfNJ

Voting with their feet


The contrast between the Australian Budget delivered by Treasurer Joe Hockey earlier in the week and New Zealand’s Budget delivered by Finance Minister Bill English yesterday was stark.

Trans-Tasman migration is a reliable indicator of the state of the two countries’ economies and even before the Budgets were delivered, the tide had turned in New Zealand’s favour.

. . . A net immigration inflow of some 38,100 this year is very high by historic standards, mainly reflecting more New Zealanders deciding to stay here instead heading to Australia or further afield in search of greener pastures.

It’s hard to argue with the way that people vote with their feet. Pattrick Smellie

The message from both Budgets is likely to reinforce this trend.


PM’s Budget speech


Or if you prefer reading to listening:


15:04:24~Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Well, that was a bit of a woeful speech from David Cunliffe, was it not. The only half-decent line was one written by John Armstrong; it is a shame he did not write the rest of the speech, because it might have been vaguely interesting. As for the label that he put on the Budget, I hate to tell David Cunliffe the bad news, but that was actually the label that Rodney Hide put on the 2002 Budget, so if he had stolen a few of the decent ideas from the ACT Party, he might have been able to give a half-decent speech, but he could not. Let us be honest—it is David Cunliffe. He is doing about as well for the Labour Party as Benji Marshall did for the Blues . He is the man who has about as many supporters in his caucus as Brendan Horan has in his—one. That is it. And here is the winner, because he is shaking his head over there: Grant Robertson. Good news, Grant! Good news, son, you are 127 days, 3 hours, and 55 minutes away from being the leader of the Labour Party. Fantastic—fantastic! It is no doubt that Grant assisted David in the writing of that speech. You see, this is what is vaguely interesting at the moment. The Labour Party—and I kid you not; this is an absolutely true story—is out there polling. It is not polling on its policies; it does not have any, and you could see that from the speech. It is truthfully out there asking this question: is Shane Jones going to be missed from the Labour Party? Well, here is a tip: yes, actually! He is the only guy who believes in economic development, and to quote Shane, why would he want to “hang around” and be economic development Minister in a Government that does not believe in economic development? This was a very, very good Budget by Bill English—a very good Budget. It reflects 6 years of hard work by the Government but by businesses and New Zealanders from one end of the country to the other. It was a confident Budget for a confident nation. It is a nation where, overwhelmingly across New Zealand, the majority of New Zealanders believe this country is heading in the right direction. It is a Budget that sees the books back in surplus, growth at 4 percent, wages rising faster than inflation, and more money in this Budget for families, for businesses, and for the most vulnerable.

It is a Budget focused on growth, jobs, and prosperity. It is a Budget that looks to restore the core finances of New Zealand. It is a Budget, like this Government, focused on the issues that matter. It is a Budget that New Zealanders will recognise—that this is a great country, a great place to raise a family, and a Government that is committed to doing everything it can to make that situation even better. This was Bill English’s sixth Budget. As he pointed out yesterday, he has had as many Budgets as he has had children, which is living proof, I think—and I am sure you will agree with me, Mr Speaker—of why you should have a Catholic Minister of Finance . What should we contrast this Budget with? I know: let us contrast it with Labour’s alternative, because David Cunliffe read out Labour’s alternative on Monday. In fairness, it was not really a Budget; it was a wish list . It was mercifully brief, but it went a little bit like this—

Hon Annette King: Cameron Slater’s line, eh?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Nope. “Dear Santa, please, please, Santa, could you bring me 4 percent unemployment and whopping big future surpluses. I have been a good boy, Santa, even if I won’t tell Mummy and Daddy who the two secret donors to my trust were. Santa, I’ve tried really hard. Even if I did muck up the baby bonus and Shane Jones’ departure and a few other things, I’ve been a really, really good boy. Love, David. P.S. Don’t worry, I will let the reindeer sleighs go in the fast lane even though I’ve banned the trucks.” That was a summary of Labour’s alternative budget. Actually—let us be honest—that was actually slightly longer than Labour’s alternative budget, and more thoughtful. And I wrote it myself, unlike the Leader of the Opposition—always a positive. But, you see, this is the difference between a wish list and a Budget, because here are some interesting questions we might all like to answer. You see, did Labour support any of the savings that this Government has made to ensure that this country came back to surplus in any of the previous five Budgets? The answer to that is no, it did not. Did Labour support welfare reform that has seen so many New Zealanders get back to work? No, it did not. Did Labour support tax changes to reduce tax rates paid by every single New Zealander across the country? No, it did not. Did Labour support a 90-day probationary period so that small businesses could have the confidence to take on a worker? No, it did not. Did Labour support Resource Management Act reform so that people can build houses faster and support the growth of businesses? No, it did not. Did Labour support housing accords so that we could have special housing areas? No, it did not. Of course—my favourite—did Labour support the making of The Hobbit movies in New Zealand so that 5,000 jobs could be created here? No, it did not. Did Labour support saving 3,000 jobs in Southland when it came to Tīwai Point? No, it did not. Did Labour support, and does it support, irrigation for our farms so that we can see a significant increase in GDP? Does it support oil and gas exploration? Does it support foreign investment or skilled migrants? Will it even support a free-trade agreement with the largest economy in the world, the United States? No, it will not. Just before Labour members get a bit starry eyed about how it all was under Labour, let us just run through a bit of a checklist, because here are the facts of when it left office and what we inherited. In 2008 this country was in recession; now it is going to grow this year at 4 percent. In the last 5 years of the Labour Government there was a 50 percent increase in Government expenditure; we have got it under control. Mortgage rates for those homeowners that David Cunliffe was talking about—10.9 percent under Labour; under National, about 6 percent. Food prices—the thing that New Zealanders worry about—up 10.9 percent in the last year under Labour; 1.5 percent under this Government. House prices up 96 percent over the 9 years of Labour and up 28 percent under this Government. Electricity prices up 72 percent under Labour and 20 percent under this Government. The current account deficit was 7.9 percent; it is 3.4 percent under this Government. And maybe the most telling sign of all—under the Labour Government 3,000 New Zealanders a month got up and packed their bags for Australia. Under this Government it is 350—the lowest since records began in 1986. On Tuesday Australia delivered a Budget. If you ever want to see what an experiment of a Labour – Greens Government looks like, it is called Australia. It is called Australia, and Tony Abbott is having to pick up the pieces. Here is what the pieces look like. It means less support for families. It means billions and billions less for education and health. It means a pension age of 70. It means higher tuition fees, higher fuel costs, increased doctors’ charges, and thousands less employed in the State sector. Despite all of that, Australia over the next forecast period will rack up $100 billion of debt at the same time that this National Government will bank for New Zealanders $7.5 billion of surpluses. If we want to talk about the facts, I look forward to the debate about the facts, because this is a very, very good Budget. Its first focus is families—its $500 million, its free doctors visits for under-13s, and its free prescriptions for under-13s. We are talking about 400,000 New Zealand children and their families having complete confidence to take their young ones to the doctor any time for free. National delivered that for New Zealand families.

[Continuation line: There is $117 million]

There is $171 million dollars for paid parental leave—an affordable scheme extended from 14 weeks to 18 weeks, and far more flexible than the stuff Sue Moroney was talking about. For the many—and there are many—who miss out, there is an extension of the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, lasting 10 weeks, not 8 weeks. It is an affordable package, recognising that mothers want to stay home in those formative times with their youngsters, and they will be supported by this Government. There is $155 million extra for early childhood education, $33 million for vulnerable children, and eight new children’s teams around the country. The No. 1 issue that New Zealanders worry about is health. Well, in this Budget, on the back of the very fine work that Tony Ryall has done as Minister of Health—and will he not be missed as one of the great Ministers of Health of this country—there is $15.6 billion. There is $112 million for disability support services, and $110 million for elective surgery. The difference between National and Labour—and we heard it from David Cunliffe—is that Labour knows how to borrow, and it knows how to spend, but it does not know how to run things very well. Under this Government, there will be 40,000 extra elective surgical operations, $20 million for rheumatic fever, and $6.3 million for cochlear implants. Twenty thousand New Zealanders a year are diagnosed with cancer. Under Labour, they go to Australia, where the other 3,000 a month are leaving. Under National, they get the gold standard of 4 weeks or less. There is more money in this Budget for cancer care. Education—what is more important than education? There is $10 billion in this Budget and $359 million to improve the professional standards of our principals and teachers. This is a Government that is not afraid to measure, monitor, and report on the progress of a child. This is a Government that is not afraid to put $359 million into making sure that every teacher that stands in front of every student in a class is of excellence. That is something to be celebrated and proud of. In welfare reform, what a tremendous job Paula Bennett has done. What a tremendous job she has done. There are 1,500 people a week leaving from welfare to work in the last 12 months. There are 30,000 fewer children living in benefit-dependent homes. It was pretty predictable that David Cunliffe would get up and talk about income inequality. It suits his argument, but like the truth, it is not real. You see—

Hon Annette King: Doesn’t suit yours.

Hon David Parker: It is—it is.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, you do not like it. You liked Bryan Perry from the Ministry of Social Development, who runs the most comprehensive study, when you were in Government, but when you are in Opposition you do not like it. What Bryan Perry’s study shows is that income has not become more unequal in the last decade. In fact, what it also shows is that when we compare ourselves to our peers—Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United Sates—all of those countries are more unequal. Let us also have a look at this situation. This Budget also continues to support the most vulnerable in New Zealand, with Working for Families, accommodation supplements, and income-related rents. But this is also what it shows—and this is an interesting point for New Zealanders. It shows this—that the top 2 percent of taxpayers in New Zealand pay 22 percent of all personal tax in this country. The top 12 percent of households in this country pay 76 percent of all net income tax before you even account for New Zealand superannuation. Well, here is a question for Labour: if that 12 percent of households paying 76 percent of tax is not enough, how much is enough? How much is enough? The Budget does more for Christchurch, more for science and innovation, more for apprenticeships, more for transport, and more for housing. It does a lot more in those very important areas. Let me make this final point: this is a Government—

Hon Trevor Mallard: Tell us about Judith Collins. Tell us about Judith.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That is right—that is exactly what you would say. You are an Opposition that is worried about muckraking and trivia, and you have not got a decent thing to say about the economy. Well, guess what? I am proud to lead a Government that is focused on the issues that matter to New Zealanders—the economy, law and order, health, and education. That is what we do on this side of the House. We get the job done. On that side of the House, they are worried about all sorts of things, but they are not the things that New Zealanders at home are worried about, and how do we know that? Because the poll that was taken over the last 10 weeks saw Labour fall under 30 percent. Why? Because people are sick of hearing about trivia and muckraking, and you know what? David Cunliffe might have promoted Trevor Mallard back in the shop, and that will lead them all the way to where it took Phil Goff—to 27 percent or less, and he knows it. David Shearer knows it too. He knows that it is the wrong way to go. This Government is going to keep talking about the issues that matter. This Government is going to say to New Zealanders that there is a way forward that is progressive and positive. It is about a future where we back New Zealanders to succeed. We back this country to go well. We back this country to be able to sell more to the world than we buy from the world. We are not threatened by being a multicultural society. We welcome foreign investment. There was a time when Labour used to welcome migrants. Now they stand on a farm with a New Zealand flag. This is a Government that is focused on a New Zealand that is winning on the world stage. That is why we are becoming wealthier. That is why so many people want to come and live here. If David Cunliffe wants to keep talking, as the Opposition does, about trivia and muckraking, we will keep talking about the economy, law and order, health, and education. We are a very lucky Government to have Bill English delivering six magnificent Budgets. It does not say it all today. We are in surplus; Australia is $50 billion in debt. More people want to live here than ever want to go and live in Australia. This is a Government that is getting it right on behalf of New Zealanders.


Let's keep it that way. #3moreyears

Economy means not end


National has earned a reputation for sound economic management.

Unfortunately too many people don’t join the dots between that and the sustainable social policy which that enables.

They fail to understand that a good head and a soft heart aren’t mutually exclusive and in fact the better the former the more the latter is able to deliver.

The focus on careful management of the economy is the way not the destination.

A growing economy is the foundation on which services depend.

It’s motivated by and required for  the sustainable provision of social policies.

A growing economy isn’t just desirable, it’s necessary for a government determined to look after the vulnerable, help those who can help themselves to do so and provide education, health, welfare and other public services which most New Zealanders regard as necessities not luxuries.

This is why National has been determined to return to surplus, not as an end but a means to provide better opportunities and more choices.

You don’t build a brighter future on deficits and no government can sustain spending unless it’s also running surpluses.


Photo: Follow us on Twitter from 2pm today or visit www.national.org.nz/news/features/budget-2014 to keep track of our announcements for #NZBudget.




May 16 in history


218 – Julia Maesa, aunt of the assassinated Caracalla, was banished to her home in Syria by the self-proclaimed emperor Macrinus and declared her 14-year old grandson Elagabalus, emperor of Rome.

1204  Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders was crowned as the first Emperor of the Latin Empire.

1527 The Florentines drove out the Medici for a second time and Florence re-established itself as a republic.

1532  Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor of England.

1568 Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England.

1770 14-year old Marie Antoinette married 15-year-old Louis-Auguste.

1771  The Battle of Alamance between local militia and a group of rebels called “The Regulators.

1777 Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett shot each other during a duel.

1811  Peninsular War – The allies Spain, Portugal and Britain, defeated the French at the Battle of Albuera.

1815  The Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, officially named the town of Blackheath in the upper Blue Mountains.

1822 Greek War of Independence: The Turks captured the Greek town of Souli.

1836  Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia.

1843  The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest set out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.

1846 – Six soldiers were killed and two more Europeans were mortally wounded when Ngāti Haua-te-rangi leader Te Mamaku attacked the British post at Boulcott’s Farm in the Hutt Valley.

1866 The U.S. Congress eliminated the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece, or nickel.

1866  Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer.

1868  President Andrew Johnson was acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the United States Senate.

1874  A flood on the Mill River in Massachusetts destroyed much of four villages and kills 139 people.

1877  May 16, 187  political crisis in France.

1905 Henry Fonda, American actor, was born (d. 1982).

1910 The United States Congress authorised the creation of the United States Bureau of Mines.

1914  The first ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final wass played. Brooklyn Field Club defeated Brooklyn Celtic 2-1.

1916 Ephraim Katzir, 4th President of Israel, was born (d. 2009.

1918 The Sedition Act of 1918 was passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government an imprisonable offense.

1919 Liberace, American pianist,was born (d. 1987).

1919 A naval Curtiss aircraft NC-4 commanded by Albert Cushing Read left Trepassey, Newfoundland, for Lisbon via the Azores on the first transatlantic flight.

1920   Pope Benedict XV canonised Joan of Arc.

1929 The first Academy Awards were handed out.

1943  Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ended.

1948  Chaim Weizmann was elected the first President of Israel.

1951 Christian Lacroix, French fashion designer, was born.

1951  The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights began between John F Kennedy International Airport  and Heathrow operated by El Al Israel Airlines.

1953 Pierce Brosnan, Irish actor, was born.

1960 Nikita Khrushchev demanded an apology from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower for U-2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union, ending a Big Four summit in Paris.

1960 Theodore Maiman operated the first optical laser, at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu.

1965 The Campbell Soup Company introduced SpaghettiOs under its Franco-American brand.

1966 Janet Jackson, American singer, was born.

1966 The Communist Party of China issued the ‘May 16 Notice‘, marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1969 Venera program: Venera 5, a Soviet spaceprobe, landed on Venus.

1970 Gabriela Sabatini, Argentine tennis player, was born.

1970 Danielle Spencer, Australian singer and actress, was born.

1974 Josip Broz Tito was re-elected president of Yugoslavia.

1975  India annexed Sikkim after the mountain state holds a referendum in which the popular vote was in favour of merging with India.

1975  Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
1982 The All Whites won 2-0 against Australia  on the way to the World Cup in Spain.

All Whites beat Australia on road to Spain

1983 Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement rebelled against the Sudanese government.

1986  The Seville Statement on Violence was adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO.

1988 A report by United States’ Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated that the addictive properties of nicotine were similar to those of heroin and cocaine.

1992  STS-49: Space Shuttle Endeavour lands safely after a successful maiden voyage.

2003  Casablanca terrorist attacks: 33 civilians killed and more than 100 people injured.

2004 The Day of Mourning at Bykivnia forest, just outside of Kiev to commemorate that here during 1930s and early 1940s communist Bolsheviks executed over 100,000 Ukrainian civilians.

2005 Kuwait permitted women’s suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote.

2007 – Nicolas Sarkozy took office as President of France.

2011 – STS-134 (ISS assembly flight ULF6), launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on the 25th and final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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