Basics beat side shows

April 11, 2016

National’s three-point rise to 50% in the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll has come as a surprise to some commentators.

Labour’s four-point fall to 28% was probably not.

It is only one poll and anything could happen between now and the election but Kiwiblog shows where the two parties were at the same time in the last election cycle:

In April 2013 National was at 43% and Labour 36% – a 7% gap.

In April 2016 National is at 50% and Labour 28% – a 22% gap.

He points out that Labour leader Andrew Little is on only 7%, three points behind Winston Peters.

This isn’t a strong position from which to launch a winning election campaign.

In another post, Kiwiblog looks at party favourability:

. . . National is viewed favourably by 58% of NZers. That helps explain why 47% voted for them.

Labour is viewed favourably by just 35% of NZers. . . 

National has the least unfavourable – only 28% of NZers dislike National. This will come as a surprise to hard left activists who live in a bubble where 100% of their friends dislike National. . . 

Labour is on 41% for unfavourability.

National at +30% is the only party to have net favourability:

PartyNetFav

National’s continual popularity confounds its critics and many commentators.

There are several reasons for it and one of the biggest is that the government focuses on the basics while Labour gets distracted by sideshows.

That doesn’t mean everything the government does works well. I am tribal National and there are some things the government does I don’t like and some it doesn’t do I’d like it to, but those things don’t matter as much as the basics – the economy, education, health, welfare, and security.

And of course, one big reason National is doing so well is that Labour isn’t.

National can’t rely on that if it wants to win a fourth term, a viable government needs to be there for better reasons than a hopeless opponent but Labour’s continuing focus on side-shows and showing its incompetence in opposition keeps demonstrating it is not a viable government-in-waiting.

 

 

 

 


They’re from the Opposition & won’t help

March 18, 2016

If I’m from the government, I’m here to help,  is greeted with suspicion, the sudden enthusiasm Opposition MPs are showing for the regions in general and dairying in particular is being seen as nothing more than political opportunism.

The Chicken-Littleing from Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and some media isn’t helping.

The sky isn’t falling.

Dairy prices are lower in real terms than they have been for more than 20 years which is a challenge for farmers, sharemilkers, their staff and those who service and supply them.

There were a few forced farm sales and other business failures when the dairy price was over $8.

There will be some more in the coming months and that will be very difficult for everyone affected.

But most will hang on, with the support of their banks, and get through what is a temporary slump.

Labour leader Andrew Little’s attempt to demonise banks did nothing more than show he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.

His calls for stiff arming banks and legislation to force them to pass on interest rate cuts has been greeted with the derision they deserve.

His response to the Reserve Banks’ explanation about its stress-testing of banks provided further evidence he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The media release made it clear the banking system was robust to a severe dairy stress test.

. . .Five banks that are the largest dairy sector lenders participated in a stress test run by the Reserve Bank in late 2015. Two scenarios were tested, with scenario one assuming that the dairy payout recovers to $5.25 per kilogram of milksolids by the 2017/18 season and a fall in dairy land prices of 20 percent. Under the second scenario, the dairy payout was assumed to fall to $3 in 2015/16 and remain below $5 until the 2019/20 season with a fall in land prices of 40 percent.

Head of Macro Financial Bernard Hodgetts said both scenarios assume the dairy payout remains lower for longer than was assumed in the economic projections contained in the Reserve Bank’s March Monetary Policy Statement.

“On average, banks reported losses under the two scenarios ranging between 3 to 8 percent of their total dairy sector exposures,” said Mr Hodgetts.

“Bank lending to the dairy sector stands at around $38 billion, which is approximately 10 percent of the banking system’s total lending. We would expect losses of the order seen in the stress scenarios to be absorbed largely through lower bank earnings rather than through an erosion of bank capital.”

The test results suggested that in the shorter term, banks would increase their dairy lending in order to support existing borrowers facing negative cash flow, before facing a longer term rise in loan losses if there were a prolonged dairy sector downturn. . . 

Anyone who understood this would have been pleased that banks were prepared to support existing borrowers and could cope with losses in a worst-case scenario.

That Little didn’t understand it became evident at Question Time on Wednesday:

Andrew Little: Is he at all concerned about the Reserve Bank’s projection that dairy land values will crash by between 25 and 40 percent, which will undermine the livelihoods of thousands of Kiwis?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That is the problem with the Leader of the Opposition—it is that you cannot take him seriously, when he actually misrepresents the Reserve Bank Governor. The Reserve Bank Governor is not saying there is a projection that land prices will drop by 25 to 40 percent; he is doing a stress test to say what would happen if land prices went down. There is quite a—

Grant Robertson: And that’s the scenario we’re in now.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, banks—reserve bankers do that all the time, because their prudential requirements require them to make sure the banking system is strong. And what he is saying is, even under a worst scenario like this, the banking system is very strong.

Andrew Little: Has the Prime Minister actually read the Reserve Bank’s report released at 2 p.m. today; if so, has he read it?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, what I have read is the release—the press release—because it came out at 2 o’clock today, and I got this only 1 minute before I came here. But what the release says quite clearly is (a) the banking system is very strong, (b) under its worst-case scenarios—to quote—“The test results suggested that in the shorter term, banks would increase their dairy lending in order to support existing borrowers …”, and it is saying that even in the worst scenario, the losses could be between 3 percent and 8 percent of their total dairy exposure. Banks have considerably more exposure than just this, and, as the member was pointing out yesterday, banks have been making pretty good money. They can afford, if they have to—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Bring the answer to a conclusion

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: —to take some losses in that sector.

Andrew Little: Does he agree with Mind Your Own Business that “approximately 100,000 businesses employing upwards of one million New Zealanders are facing reducing revenue because of the dairy downturn.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have anything to back that up—I would need to see the analysis. But it could be as small as a business that is affected, from someone who sells sandwiches to someone who works in that area. There is a very large range of businesses in that sector.

Andrew Little: Is it fair that our dairy farmers go bankrupt and 100,000 small businesses face reduced revenue while overseas-owned banks continue to make $90 million a week and speculators circle over our farmland?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is, I think, terribly confused about what is happening. What you have got is a scenario where dairy prices are lower, and what we should be doing is supporting dairy farmers with the things that we can control. We cannot control the exchange rate and we cannot control commodity prices and we cannot control the weather. We can control free-trade agreements, planning laws, health and safety, Resource Management Act reform, and a variety of other things, and on this side of the House we support helping those farmers, actually, in good times and in bad.

With the exception of West Coast Tasman, Palmerston North and Winston Peter’s opportunistic enthusiasm for Northland, Opposition parties don’t even try to win regional seats.

Their MPs flit in for photo opportunities but their sudden faux support for dairy farmers merely shows how little they understand the people and the issues.

The dairying downturn is a passing car at which the Opposition is barking.

Farmers don’t want banks strong-armed, they don’t want bail-outs and they certainly don’t want a return to the any of the government-knows-best policies, the recovery from which necessitated the radical reforms of the 80s and 90s.

Those are mad ideas from the Opposition and they won’t help.


Winston leaves trail of destruction

February 21, 2016

The headline : Winston leaves trial of destruction refers to the devastation left in the wake of a topical cyclone.

That’s no joking matter when homes have been wrecked and at least one man has died.

But my first though on reading the headline was not of the cyclone in Fiji but the politician in New Zealand.


Quote of the day

September 22, 2015

“More chance of me holidaying on the lunar space station I would’ve thought,” he said at his post-Cabinet news conference today.

“There’s no chance. . . 

“It’d be totally unacceptable to the New Zealand public. Being Prime Minister is not something that is traded away with a bit coalition partner to get them over the line.”

Mr Key wasn’t sure how that would even work.

“He could take the weekends? Give me the time off, it’d be quite nice. Outside of that, I don’t see it working. It’s a joke.” –  John Key commenting on the suggestion that Winston Peters could be Prime Minister in a National-led government.,


Rural round-up

September 1, 2015

‘Water is the next gold’ where expectations and dreams become reality – Kate Taylor:

After starting his working life in a family motor business, Jerry Greer took up farming with a young family and a determination to make a success of his new vocation.

“I had always had a yearning for the land, loved working with animals and loved being outside,” he says.

Jerry and wife Diana love the life they have created in the Argyll East farming district, between Tikokino and Waipawa, and being close to their four children and four grandchildren.

All have an interest in farming, Diana says. . . 

Working on cost of irrigation scheme – Lynda van Kempen

Good things take time, say the promoters of the Manuherikia irrigation scheme.

Feedback will be sought from landowners on revised figures by Christmas, after the estimated costs of the scheme upgrade almost trebled from initial estimates, forcing a rethink of the design and costs.

”It’s taking a bit longer than we’d have liked, but we’ll keep working at it until we’ve got a scheme that’s economic,” Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group chairman Allan Kane said yesterday. . . 

Former Southland District mayor Frana Cardno’s final gift – Blake Foden:

Frana Cardno’s life was all about giving, and the former Southland District mayor has left her beloved province one final gift.

Three generations of Cardno’s family joined her close friends, members of the community and complete strangers to plant 329 trees on the shores of Lake Te Anau on Saturday afternoon.

A former kindergarten teacher who led the region for more than 20 years, Cardno organised her funeral during her battle with cancer. She asked that mourners dressed in colourful clothing and brought a donation of native trees and shrubs. . . 

Silver Fern Farms won’t rule out foreign investment:

The country’s largest meat co-operative, Silver Fern Farms, is not ruling out foreign investment as part of its capital raising process.

Silver Fern Farms is seeking about $100 million in new funding to help reduce debt and has appointed the stockbroking firm Goldman Sachs to help with that process.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he had been made aware Chinese investors want at least a $100 million stake in the company. . .

DairyNZ board candidates put forward

Ten candidates have put their names forward for the three positions up for grabs on the DairyNZ board.

Four farmer candidates have also put their name forward for the three seats on DairyNZ’s directors’ remuneration committee.

Results from the double election would be announced at the DairyNZ Annual General Meeting in Morrinsville on October 13. . .

 


Log in left eyes

August 19, 2015

Winston Peters started the criticism of Mike Hosking as a National Party stooge.

Labour leader Andrew Little and Green co-leader James Shaw joined in, followed by several left wing bloggers lamenting bias in the media, especially on state-owned TVNZ.

Hosking has an unlikely defender in Brian Edwards who says rather than being right-wing he’s a social conservative.

. . . While I’d be surprised to discover that Hosking is a closet member of the Parnell, Remuera or Epsom branches of the Labour Party  – total membership five! – I’d also risk my bottom dollar that he isn’t a member of any political party. This is, or should be the default position for any broadcaster working in the field of news or current affairs.

What Hosking betrays on Seven Sharp, on commercial radio and in his writing is not political bias but social conservatism. The two may overlap from time to time, but are inherently different. It’s entirely possible and even commonplace to be left wing and socially conservative. . . 

Whatever his views, isn’t it strange that many of the people who are so upset by Hosking thought it was absolutely marvelous that John Campbell who wears his left wing heart on his sleeve was appointed to state-owned RadioNZ  National.

Perhaps the log in their own eyes blinds them to their hypocrisy and to Hosking’s professionalism.

Both he and Campbell are very good interviewers who are more than capable of putting their own views aside to ask tough questions of people across the political spectrum.

 

 


Cool heads

August 10, 2015

Wise words from Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston (6:10) (transcript here):

. . . “I think the most important thing is to have cool heads at this time. . .

“I don’t see it at this point as a crisis. It’ll be a crisis if people start panicking and I don’t see that happening. I see the banks actually working very well with farmers. . . “

The Chicken Littles are saying it’s a crisis.

It’s not.

The low payout will mean most, if not all, dairy farms make a loss this season but banks will work with their clients to get them through the low payout providing their clients work with them.

People will leave the industry. Rolleston rightly said that happens in good times and bad.

But banks understand the cyclical nature of farming and will do everything they can to avoid forcing people out.

They know that’s not good for banks or the troubled clients and would also be bad for untroubled ones by depressing land values and therefore equity for everyone else in the industry.

The Chicken-Littleing by people like Winston Peters who was also interviewed is politics at its worst and Rolleston gets full marks for his response to the question of whether Peters gets any cut through with Feds (7:49):

“I would say we listen politely.”

That’s more than Peters and the others who are trying to engineer a crisis for political reasons deserve.

Labour leader Andrew Little is no better declaring a crisis and the bogey-man of a stepp increase in foreign ownership.

But as Adolf at No Minister points out that Labour’s declaration of a crisis is a good thing:

. . . This is the best news cow cockies have had for some time.  Now that Labour has delivered its midas touch, you can bet on milksold prices improving within six months.

Someone needs to sit down with Little and quietly explain that an outbreak of foot and mouth disease is a crisis for the industry while aa period of low prices is normal in a commodity market. 

Meanwhile, on the farm where the people who really know what’s going on are hard at work, sharemilkers told me this will be a tough season but sooner or later there will be better ones.

Like Rolleston, they’re keeping cool heads.

They’re also accepting that global prices are something they can’t control, concentrating on things they can control and are seriously unimpressed by those trying to precipitate a crisis through political posturing.


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