Bill English

He will be kicked out of the wet wing if he keeps this up

Bill English is getting praise from the Cato Institute:

Rising home prices and apartment rents have been in the news lately, but almost no one is looking at the real causes behind these problems. Instead, they are proposing band-aid solutions that will do little to help most people afford housing but will greatly benefit special interest groups.

According to the news, BostonLos AngelesMiamiNew YorkPortlandSan FranciscoOakland, San JoseSeattle, and Washington, DC, among other major urban areas, are all suffering from housing crises. Economists who have studied these regions know why their housing is becoming less affordable.

First, urban-growth boundaries and other land-use regulations in most of these regions have limited the amount of land available for new housing. Urban planners say these regulations are needed to control the externalities caused by urban sprawl. However, as New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister recently noted in a speech about a similar housing crisis in Auckland, urban planning itself “has become the externality” that is making housing the most expensive.  

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Trotter picks a tory for pollie of the year

Knock me down with a feather, Chris Trotter has picked Bill English as his politician of the year.

What makes me reluctant to award the accolade of Politician of the Year to John Key, however, is his apparent lack of interest in the lives of the 50 per cent of New Zealanders who don’t vote for the National Party, and for whom John Key is not the preferred Prime Minister. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that true political greatness is to be measured by what a politician (and government) does: not only for the lucky and the strong, but also for the weak and unfortunate.

Now, at this point you may be thinking that I’m about to bestow the accolade upon someone from the Opposition’s ranks. You would, however, be wrong. Because 2015 has not been a year in which anyone from the Opposition parties has offered the weak and the unfortunate very much at all – not even that most subversive of emotions — hope.

No, the politician I have in mind is the one who labours away in the engine-room of Key’s Government. The one who keeps the wheels of the economy turning, and international investors smiling.   Read more »

Rodney Hide on Collins and Cunliffe

Rodney Hide uses his Herald on Sunday column to discuss the differences between the resurrection of Judith Collins and the demotion of David Cunliffe.

We had proof again these past days that politics is never fair and seldom simple. David Cunliffe dumped – Judith Collins promoted.

Fairness first.

Collins resigned from Cabinet over a year ago amid allegations of improper behaviour. A subsequent inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing and she was cleared. Those making the allegations suffered no consequence but Collins did.

That’s politics. The allegations were damaging to National’s re-election chances and she had to go, irrespective of the validity of the attacks. In politics, there’s winning and losing and not much in between.

Last year, Labour was backing Cunliffe as the best person to lead New Zealand. He came second. Second is losing and Labour dropped Cunliffe and elected Andrew Little.

Little has now dumped Cunliffe to the party’s nether regions, signalling there’s no place for Cunliffe – well, not much of one – as long as he’s leader.

There is no allegation Cunliffe has done wrong and no suggestion his considerable talent is on the wane. There’s nothing fair about it.

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Question 7

There was only one question that was likely to turn into discomfort today.

People who breach suppressed matters receive a long or permanent ban. 

Bill, Len, thousands of new Auckland houses will be good, but it won’t solve the housing crisis

It seems Bill English and Len Brown are on the same page.

Len Brown thinks that housing prices have peaked in Auckland and it’s all because of his focus on ticky tacky little boxes.

Len Brown says signs that Auckland house prices have peaked as more apartments and affordable houses are built

However, he acknowledges the 8000 to 10,000 houses a year currently being built are short of the 13,000 to 15,000 a year needed in Auckland. Last month saw yet another net immigration record, with Auckland accounting for most arrivals.

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$1B surplus expected – Bill will be giddy [UPDATED]

The year ended on June 30, and the final accounts will be released around 1pm today.

Finance Minister Bill English said when he presented the Budget there could be a turnaround.

In Parliament yesterday he wasn’t giving anything away.

“A return to surplus was always a stretch target,” he said.

“Regardless of whether the annual accounts show a small surplus or a small deficit, the overall trend is in the right direction.”

Labour’s finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, expects the accounts will show a small surplus.

“It’s almost certain the Government will announce a surplus for the last financial year … that they only just managed to scrape it together is poor financial management,” he said.

Mr Robertson is forecasting deficits for the current financial year and the next, contrary to the May Budget’s projections for modest surpluses.

“National’s financial management will go down in history as one small surplus out of nine budget deficits,” he said.

Apart from the fact that having a surplus is better than a deficit, National are desperate for one to fund their 2017 election bribes policy initiatives.  Expect the purse strings to be finally released somewhat with announcements along the lines of “police will get an extra $500m over years starting in 2018”, and other inspiring stuff.

The budget squeeze has been on everyone, well, mostly everyone.  So teachers, nurses, police and the like are somewhat overdue for some relief, if not directly, than at least by the public sector getting a little more money to adjust for inflationary and demand pressures.

And crime, health and education on the back of a strong economy has 4th term written all over it.  Chuck in a few tax cuts, ACC reductions and some feel-good stuff, and the Left are going to need something Bigger than Dirty Politics and something even less probable than Kim Dotcom to upset National’s chances.



The reported budget surplus $414M.  

While the ACC account is in surplus by $1.6B.   It’s another smoke and mirror job.


Talks of bringing tax cuts forward are similarly a joke.  But you’ll have them.  It’s been part of the 2017 campaign strategy since the beginning.


– Peter Wilson, NZN via 3 News


Has Bill English woken up?

Looks like English has finally woken up to the fact that Councils cause significant harm to NZ, particularly where it concerns planning.

Yesterday he finally conceded.

English said the Auckland housing market had been the single biggest imbalance in New Zealand’s macro-economic system, with the housing market there taking around eight years to respond to a shock to demand.

“In part that is because changes to council plans can take years, in some cases over a decade. Resource consents on a housing development regularly take 18 months, including pre-application times excluded from the official statistics. When combined, those very real delays can exceed the length of the house price cycle,” he said.

“The point is that when the supply of housing is relatively fixed, shocks to demand – like migration flows increasing sharply as they have recently – are absorbed through higher prices rather than the supply of more houses. Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash.”

English said studies in the United States since the GFC had found that the most intensely regulated housing markets also had the highest house price volatility.

“That is, the steepest price increases and the sharpest falls are in areas where regulation is strongest,” he said.

Rules that prevented cities from growing and prevented workers from moving to the biggest cities also created an opportunity cost of lost GDP.   Read more »


Sledge of the Day


Regular readers may want to sit down, I’m about to praise Bill English.

Yes, that’s right, I don’t often praise Bill English, but this morning I feel forced to because of three short sentences from yesterday’s acrimonious flag debate.

“We’ve found the Greens to deal with, disruptful and ungrateful. It doesn’t matter what you do with them, successful or not, the effort is ultimately greeted with personal invective, grabbing all the credit and attacks on the National Party,” English said.    Read more »

Totally awesome

There are few people in politics who are truly awesome.

Most people involved are slimy weasels and very few wear their hearts on their sleeves.

One of Tony Abbott’s staff is one of those people.

One of the first words Malcolm Turnbull heard after being named Australia’s 29th Prime Minister on Monday night was a four-letter expletive, not fit for publication, hurled by one of Tony Abbott’s junior staffers.

The story of Richard Dowdy’s spill night insult has already become legend in Coalition staffer circles.

Mr Dowdy has been a staffer for Mr Abbott since late 2009, when the Member for Warringah knifed Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal Party leadership.    Read more »

G20 overestimates economic performance – the slide has started

The G20 is truly the planet’s economic power plant.  When their performance as a group starts to slide, we all suffer

The G20 group of top world economies says global economic expansion was slower than had been expected but expressed confidence that a recovery would gain momentum.

“Global growth falls short of our expectations. We have pledged to take decisive action to keep the economic recovery on track and we are confident the global economic recovery will gain speed,” finance ministers and central bank chiefs said on Saturday in a draft communique after their two-day meeting in Ankara.

The group vowed to “carefully calibrate and clearly communicate our actions… to minimise negative spillovers, mitigate uncertainty and promote transparency” as key global economies search for robust growth.

The economic supremos also vowed to “refrain from competitive devaluations and resist all forms of protectionism”, following controversy over China’s unexpected devaluation of the yuan last month.

In English, they have publicly stated they will not wage economic war on each other in an attempt to arrest the backward slide.  That is, of course, until it suits one of them to do so.   Read more »