NZ envy of world – Joe Hockey


Australian treasurer Joe Hockey says New Zealand’s economy is the envy of the world:

Mr Hockey told TV ONE’s Breakfast today that Australia could learn some lessons from their Kiwi neighbours.

“New Zealand has done a splendid job, the Key government is a standout government around the world and as a result of that it is heading towards a surplus,” he said.

“New Zealand is starting to live within its means.”

Delivering his first budget this year, Mr Hockey said he was forced to slash spending by $10 billion because of the previous Labor government’s overspending.

“They took us to a position where if we don’t take immediate action we will face much bigger debts,” he said.

“If you make the difficult but important decisions up front then you get the benefits down the track. We’ve got a long way to go to catch up to the budget position of New Zealand.”

The government borrowed to take the roughest edges off the global financial crisis but at the same time took a very disciplined approach to public spending.

By doing so it turned round the forecast decade of deficits Labour left it with and is now back on track to surplus.

The growing economy is one of the reasons we’re getting a net migration gain:

. . . In the June 2014 year, permanent and long-term (PLT) migrant arrivals numbered 100,800 (up 14 percent from 2013), the first time more than 100,000 arrivals have been recorded in a year. Migrant departures numbered 62,400 (down 22 percent). This resulted in a net gain of 38,300 migrants, the highest annual gain since the October 2003 year (39,300). New Zealand recorded its highest-ever net gain of 42,500 migrants in the May 2003 year.

In the latest year, New Zealand had a net loss of 8,300 migrants to Australia, well down from 31,200 a year earlier. Net gains were recorded from most other countries, led by India (7,000), China (6,300), and the United Kingdom (5,500).

In June 2014, New Zealand had a seasonally adjusted net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 4,300 migrants, the second-highest monthly gain of migrants. The highest gain ever recorded was in February 2003 (4,700).

Net migration has been positive and mostly increasing since September 2012. The difference in the net gains recorded in September 2012 and June 2014 was mainly due to:

  • fewer New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia (down 2,400) 
  • more non-New Zealand citizens arriving (up 1,500)
  • more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia (up 500).

Seasonally adjusted PLT arrivals of 2,000 migrants from Australia in June 2014 matched the number of departures to that country, resulting in net migration of zero. The last time this series recorded net migration of zero was in August 1991. 

We’re on track for our first ever net gain of migrants from Australia.

No wonder their treasurer envies us and the benefits we’re reaping from the hard, but right, decisions taken to get the government back into surplus and the economy growing sustainably.

Spot the link


Could there be a link between this:

Biofuels regain momentum:

Global biofuel production increased by 17 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters.1 (See Figure 1.) The increase exceeded the 10 percent growth experienced in 2009, when production was at 90 billion liters.2 Biofuels provided 2.7 percent of all global fuel for road transportation—an increase from 2 percent in 2009.3

And this:

Price of breakfast soars:

The average cost of feeding a family breakfast is 11.7 per cent higher today   than it was one year ago, with the price of some staple items rising by over   40 per cent. Official figures last week put overall inflation in the UK at   4.4 per cent . . .  

The rising prices of basic commodities such as wheat, sugar, coffee and   vegetable oil – which form the basis of many breakfast foods – have been   blamed for the inflation-busting increases.

Tim Worstall thinks so. He says breakfast is getting more expensive and biofuels are to blame:

You’ll note that three of the four are items that are used to make biofuels. . .

The price of eggs is largely determined by the price of corn which is….yes,
another crop that is used to make biofuels. I think I’m right in saying that
some 40% of the entire American crop is currently turned into ethanol.

This is, quite sadly, simply evidence of the quite lunatic idea that we
should be putting food into cars rather than people. The idea itself is bad
enough but we then have the governmental insistence (on both sides of the
Atlantic, the US and the EU) that such fuels must be used. There is no choice in
the matter, we are not allowed to avoid starving people.

An increase in renewable fuels, particularly if they are cleaner burning, is a worthy aim but feeding people is more important than heating and moving them.

Crops for food should always take precedence over crops for fuel.

Can’t save them from own incompetence


Quote of the day:

As nice a guys as we are in National, we can’t save Labour from its own incompetence.”

Simon Bridges on Breakfast  in response to a comment on Labour’s website woes which were exposed by Whaleoil.

Apropos of this Whale has replied to a letter from Labour’s general secretary Chris Flatt  agreeing to his requests with nine conditions including:

5. Fred Dagg gets his right­ful posi­tion at the top of the Labour Party List. In perpetuity.

While Fred would add a much needed rural voice to the Labour list I suspect someone of his entrepreneurial and independent spirit would be out of place there.

No frills, no fluff, just news


TV3 has started broadcasting early morning news again, no frills, no fluff, just news.

I like that in theory but it doesn’t fit my with morning routine in practice.

Television has pictures which mean you need to look at them at least some of the time and that’s not easy to do when doing other things which need to be done at that hour of day.

And when the pictures are rarely more than the faces of the interviewer and interviewee there’s not a great deal of difference between that and radio.

TV1’s morning business half hour is similar to TV3’s new morning news and both are much better than the chit chat and advertisements which take up most of the time on TV1’s Breakfast programme.

But if I’m not looking at the pictures I might as well be listening to the radio.

Live sex on Breakfast


Sometimes television goes low for ratings, sometimes it happens by accident.

What would Paul Henry have said about that?

Hat Tip: NBR

$10,000 doodle


The flag doodle John Key did on Breakfast  sold for $10,150 on TradeMe.

The money will go to Cure Kids and the winning bidder will also get morning tea with the Prime Minister.

And what does a $10,000 doodle look like?


Key’s flag doodle on TradeMe for Cure Kids


The doodle John Key did on Breakfast yesterday morning has been listed on TradeMe and the money raised from the sale will go to Cure Kids.

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:

Question of the day


Why do gang members always walk as if they’ve wet they’re knickers?

A viewer asked in an email to Breakfast.

How low can they go?


What sort of idiot would think it was a good idea to put offensive slogans on baby clothes?

The Cotton On T-shirts and suits, which feature slogans including “I’m a tits man”, “the condom broke” and “they shake me”, went on sale in New Zealand last month.

Pressure from National Council of Women New Zealand and other lobby groups, including calls to boycot the company, perusauded the company to stop production ont he lines and withdraw items already on sale.

NCWNZ, which began a “Cotton Off Our Kids” campaign following the release of the line said the public outcry sent a clear message that the sexualisation of childhood would not be tolerated.

NCWNZ national president Elizabeth Bang said the current system of self-regulation meant retailers could push the boundaries of what was considered socially acceptable, only acting responsibly when cornered by public pressure.

Not just companies, but television presenters too. The issues was being discussed on Breakfast  and Paul Henry reckons it’s a “little bit funny”.

No Paul, brain damage which causes disability and may lead to death which is what happens when you shake a baby, is never even a little bit funny.

BOTW at the concert


Paul Henry and Peter Williams were luke warm on the Simon & Garfunkel concert when discussing it on Breakfast this morning.

I can understand why because while we enjoyed it, Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon are both 67. Their voices aren’t quite what they were 30 years ago and would be more suited to a smaller, more intimate venue. But that of course would mean fewer people and therefore either much more expensive tickets or much less money made.

Note to the organisers: playing Frank Sinartra as we came in wasn’t the best way to warm up an audience for Simon & Garfunkel. Given the programme talked about the influence the Everly Brothers had on S&G, music from them and their contemporaries would have been more appropriate – and enjoyable.

That said, Simon & Garfunkel sang all the old favourites we wanted to hear, the musicians were fantastic and even though they’re not the young men we remembered, they’ve still got a touch of magic.

The Stuff review is here.

The Dom Post review is here.

Lane Nichols blogs on the concert here.

The Herald review is here:

Bridge Over Troubled Water was always going to be A Moment. But as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel traded verses on pop’s greatest consoling anthem towards the end of this first show of their Auckland two-nighter, it became Really Quite Something Else. The sound system – possibly overcome by its own electronic lump in the throat – gave out, leaving just the stage-sound and a slighty confused looking Simon and Garfunkel.

The crowd took over. And just as it built to its final crescendo, the sound came back up. Big finish. Aaah. Sigh.

“That was the nicest thing an audience has ever done for us” remarked Garfunkel.

And Bits On The Side  took a video of  Bridge Over Troubled Water when the sound system went and the audience took over (pity that the bloke close to the recorder had more enthusiasm than tune).

Let them eat free range cake


One of the silliest statements in the story about the alleged ill treatment of pigs came from Mike King on Breakfst yesterday .

He said he didn’t think people would mind  paying more for free range pork (it’s towards the end of the clip at about 5:40).

You’ve got that wrong Mike. Those who can afford to, may choose to pay more for their food, but some who can won’t and many people can’t.

Expense is no excuse for not treating animals humanely. If current practices are cruel they must be changed but no-one should fool themselves that this won’t add costs to production which will increase the price and put pork products out of the range of many budgets.

The pig farm which was filmed has been identified  and will be inspected. If it complies with the law, we need to ask is the law adequate, does it need changing and should animal welfare requriements be improved?

The decision on whether changes ought to be made must be based on fact because so far we’ve had a pretty one-sided and emotional view of the issue. There is another and a Kiwiblog reader explains the difference between dry sow stalls and farrowing crates. S/he also says:

The other thing I would note is the TVNZ piece. Two points about Mike King’s “disgust”. Firstly – yes the pigs were screaming. Why? It was the middle of the night or early morning. The pigs had been left alone and were suddenly woken by human activity. What does this usually mean for them? Quite simply – feeding time. Free range pigs have EXACTLY the same reaction. If King and his companions ahd fed the pigs the screaming would have stopped. Guarantee it. Secondly – the chewing of bars and frothing of the mouth? Again, it is completely standard across all pigs. They chew things. Free range pigs it’ll be tree branches etc, for pigs in stalls or crates it’ll be bars. And yes, they froth. Christ, you should see them when they mate!

If pig farming in New Zealand breaches animal welfare standards it will have to change. But if higher – and more expensive – standards are imposed on the industry here nothing will be achieved if imported products from countries with lower, and cheaper, standards are permitted to compete with local produce.

Stopping imports or imposing higher standards on them is fraught with politics. Anything we require of imports must be based on facts or we’ll open ourselves up to charges of imposing non tariff barriers.

That won’t help the New Zealand pork industry and it will harm our efforts to free up world trade.

UPDATE: A media release from David Carter says MAF is inspecting the farm at the centre of the dispute.

Pots & Kettles


Phil Goff has just told Breakfast what a good job Trevor Mallard will do in his new post as Education Spokesman and how he’ll counter the razor gang attacks from the government.

Excuse me?

Maybe Phil was overseas when Mallard cut a swathe through the countryside and provincial towns and cities, shutting schools left, right and centre as he went.

If there was one single explanation for the bluewash in the provinces which started at the 2005 election and continued in 2008 it was the closures forced on schools by then Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

Besides, any cutting the government does will be in the bureaucracy Labour allowed to balloon not in the schools which it neglected.

Do unto others still applies


My class at a language school in Spain was asked what we would do if we found a wallet.

There were 12 students from eight countries. I was the only New Zealander and the only one who said I’d try to return it to the owner or hand it in to the police. The others asked if that was typical of  Kiwis.

I said I thought it was but the reaction to the woman who found $1,700 and handed it to police  made me wonder if I was wrong.

Breakfast called her the last Good Samaritan  and expressed surprise at the honesty.

But this shouldn’t be news, it should be normal behaviour and I was relieved to hear on Jim Mora’s Afternoon’s yesterday there are plenty of other Good Samaritans  and that honesty isn’t unusual.

Whether you abide by the eighth commandment, thou shalt not steal; the golden rule do unto others as you would have them do unto you,  variations of which are found in many religions; believe that what goes round, comes round, or that virtue has its own reward, honesty is the best policy.

It’s a sad reflection on other countries that this isn’t normal, but we can be grateful that at least in this little corner of the world taking what isn’t yours or making no attempt to return something you find to its rightful owner, intact and entire, is regarded as wrong.

It’s now the GFC


Do we have to worry or take it more seriously when something becomes an acronym?

Corin Dann said on Breakfast this morning that the global financial crisis is now the GFC.


Neil has pointed out in a comment below that I was wrong to use the term acronym. He’s right, an acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of other words and GFC isn’t a word.

SO question for word lovers: is there a word which I could have used for a collection of initial letters used instead of the words without forming a word?

%d bloggers like this: