Bill English

Finance Minister cautions Auckland first home buyers: Don’t

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It’s remarkable to have a Finance Minister give such an overt warning to the market.

Bill English is cautioning first-home buyers about committing themselves in the current Auckland market, saying if they are patient, prices might fall soon.

He also indicated that if the Auckland Council does not accept a Unitary Plan that allows supply to meet demand, the Government could force it to do so by law.

The Finance Minister said there were risks in taking out a mortgage right now that stretched a two-income household. Read more »

Bill English cold-shoulders commissioner about 1cm-a-year sea level threat

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Environment Commissioner Jan Wright’s long-running quest to get Finance Minister Bill English to set up a working group on rising sea levels appears to be getting nowhere.

So far he has apparently not even replied to any of her proposals for a meeting to discuss her request.

Last November he described her warnings on rising sea levels as “speculative” and said there were still many uncertainties about the potential impacts of rising oceans.

But Dr Wright is getting some support for her request that the Government take the issue seriously.

She told the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee yesterday that she had had supportive talks with the Bank of New Zealand the Insurance Council of New Zealand. Read more »

National does not involve itself in local body politics, except for Bill English and nepotism [UPDATED]

Bill English's sister in law

Bill English’s sister in law

Finance Minister Bill English has made a rare intervention in Wellington local body politics backing his sister in law for Mayor.

But he says he has done so because he believes she is the best candidate.

However in doing that he has ignored one other candidate with long National Party connections and another who is being backed by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking to a fundraiser last week for Jo Coughlan, who is married to the Minister’s brother, former Federated Farmers CEO, Connor English, the Minister said he wasn’t supporting her because  they were related.

“It’s because I think that she’s the best candidate for a city that needs this kind of candidate; someone who understands growth; someone who understands communities and someone who understands families.”

But even so, that such a senior member of the Cabinet has publicly endorsed a Mayoral candidate goes against National Party practice.

And against the express orders of John Key and party whips.

Read more »

Bill vetoed, out comes the nasty

There is something unbecoming about parliament’s biggest loser, Sue Moroney, moaning like a hooker who hasn’t been paid after her bill was vetoed.

The Labour MP whose bill extending paid parental leave has been vetoed by the government is disputing its claims about the costs.

Finance Minister Bill English said extending the leave from 18 to 26 weeks would cost taxpayers $278 million a year.

“In the context of the Budget, the government made some decisions about extending paid parental leave and this would be significant extra cost which doesn’t fit within the Budget,” said Mr English.

But Sue Moroney said official advice from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment puts the annual cost at $122m, and she was challenging Mr English’s use of the financial veto.

“It’s not the first time that Bill English has been caught out exaggerating the figures for extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks and either he has issued the financial vetoes with incorrect information or he’s deliberately misleading the New Zealand public on the issue.”   Read more »

Are Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages vote winners? Of course they’re not

Are Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages vote winners?

Of course they’re not, and what’s the bet Farrar has been polling and focus grouping this.

Debt-to-income restrictions on mortgages are a long way off, even if the Reserve Bank decides it wants to introduce them, Parliament has been told.

Finance Minister Bill English was questioned about the restrictions today, after confirming last week that the Government and the Reserve Bank were discussing them.

“The Reserve Bank has yet to investigate whether the tool is workable, then it’s got to decide whether it wants to include it in the memorandum of understanding [with the Government], then it has to go out and consult everybody and work out how to apply it,” Mr English said.

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, asked Mr English about the potential impact of debt-to-income restrictions on first home buyers, but the minister said he wasn’t going to speculate on an issue the bank had just started working on.   Read more »

The inevitable veto: Bill will not allow Labour to sabotage his budget

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Labour’s 26 weeks paid parental leave Bill looks destined to fail, with the Finance Minister confirming the Government will use its financial veto.

MP Sue Moroney’s Bill narrowly passed its second reading in the House last month 61-60, with the help of Peter Dunne, and will go to committee stage this week.

But it won’t go further than a third reading. Read more »

Harman on the budget

Richard Harman is one of the best political pundits out there. His Politik website is a must read.

He analyses the budget in a much more comprehensive manner than every other commentator.

Three things stand out from yesterday’s Budget:

  • Next year’s Budget will be very different
  • English is serious when he says smaller government is better government.
  • We are now getting the bill for the record immigration.

The big surpluses coming down the track, as Bill English says, means the Government has choices in how it can spend money in the years ahead.

And that means it can back Labour into a political corner during election year.

Read more »

Could Jacinda and Twyford save Labour

With less than 1500 members Labour is trouble. Unlike the equally parlous labour movement there aren’t a lot of parties with which they can merge and others on the left would really rather Labour died so they can get on with leading the socialist rebellion.

Duncan Garner wonders whether Phil Twyford and Jacinda Ardern can save Labour.

Would Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford be a better leadership team? Both are from Auckland. Both have performed well this year. Both know the issues. But sources tell me this won’t happen.

The caucus is resigned to heading into the election with Little at the helm. There is a growing acceptance within that Little won’t lead them to victory.

My sources also tell me Little has failed to raise any money and that’s crucial. Also, who can even tell what Labour really stands for any more.

Not just Andrew Little, but also Nigel Haworth, who told the recent regional conference in Whanganui that he hadn’t raised a single cent. Labour supporters should be asking both Little and Haworth about fundraising, especially after their promises of a year ago.   Read more »

Voters may not like National’s performance on housing, but will it lose them votes?

Personally I don’t think so.

The Media party are shilling ever increasingly stupid poverty and housing stories now. Like the case of the woman with eight children.

Most voters don’t think the government is doing enough to control the housing market, an opinion poll has shown.

A Newshub-Reid Research poll asked the question, and 76 per cent of respondents said not enough was being done.

Among National Party supporters, 61 per cent said not enough was being done.

Prime Minister John Key says the poll shows the government has more work to do to explain its full housing programme.

“It’s very comprehensive,” he said.

Mr Key has confirmed there will be “some initiatives” around housing in Thursday’s budget, although Finance Minister Bill English has said the shortage can’t be solved by extra budget funding.

Read more »

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Labour’s problem at Question Time is because they are playing the political equivalent of Kiwi Cricket

I was listening to Question Time yesterday while driving and was left with the distinct impression that Labour has no strategy when it comes to Question Time.

Have a look at this question from Stuart Nash to Judith Collins.

Why on earth is Labour targeting Judith Collins? She is just playing with Nash, like a cat plays with a mouse. He knows it, she knows it and the fools in Labour sit there and watch Nashy take one for the team.   Read more »