Bill English

National’s re-election strategy: economy, economy, and tax cuts

3News reports on National’s re-election strategy:

Predictions of an economic slowdown on the back of lower dairy prices have been on the minds of the National Party faithful.

But Finance Minister Bill English says New Zealand remains on track for moderate sustained growth.

Nearly 700 party members have descended on Auckland’s SkyCity convention centre for the party’s first annual conference since its election victory last year.

Mr English moved today to reassure the members that the Government has what it can under control.

“Over the last couple of months, we’ve had some negative news from the world, lower dairy prices, headlines about Greece, uncertainty in China,” he said.

“But we remain on track for sustainable moderate growth – that is the growth that can deliver to households the one to three percent pay increases, not just one year but year after year through to 2020, which will continue to generate new jobs and also lift incomes.”

Mr English said the Government was working to ensure the economy remained resilient, despite the challenges.    Read more »

Does a National Party Board Member need to be a Regional Chair?

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Thanks for all the comments and tips about the upcoming election for the National Party Board. As regular readers will know I think that National need to bring some mongrel onto the board and replace Tim McIndoe with Scott Simpson, the best dark arts practitioner in National. The party membership as a whole has to elect another two board members and it is important that this decision is correctly taken.

All the candidates for the board are worthy souls, but some are more worthy than others. One of the comments that has come through is from the dinosaurs who pine for the old days when the National Party had an executive committee that was large and unwieldy and managed to let Bill English and Michelle Boag take National to 20.93% in the 2002 election. In those days Regional Chairs automatically became board members, and there are some who say that this should be reinstated.   Read more »

Interview of the Year & Chinese Man of the Year

An interview with a Chinese investor in a newspaper, part of the collusion with Labour, reveals some interesting insights into the stupidity of media and the hard work ethic of Chinese.

Take this stupid question from Anne Gibson.

Do you know that New Zealanders are worried about Chinese buying our houses?

I heard about it, but why?

No we aren’t…only the left wing and NZ First are anti-Chinese, every house owner in Auckland hopes they get two Chinese families wanting to buy their house at auction.

That question though led to another stupid question and a brilliant answer.

Did you know Kiwis can’t afford to buy a first home?

I don’t understand. When I was here, I heard that they spent hundreds of dollars on food and drinks every week. I was so surprised. Things are cheaper here than in China. Why do you spend $100 on beer when you can save it and spend it on your house one day?

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A Good Question from Farrar

Arts, Lifestyle and Travel blogger David Farrar has a very late but quite interesting post about the pommy Labour Party and comparisons with what has happened in NZ.

He points out the following sobering point:

And that change has never been more crucial than it is today. The challenge Labour faces for 2020 is epic in scale. There are only 24 seats with a Tory majority of less than 3,000. The party must gain 94 seats to win a majority of one.

That’s less of a challenge than NZ Labour has of going from 25% to 40%.

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Good money after bad on Kiwirail

The government was thinking about shutting down major chunks of the rail network in a bid to stop bleeding cash on a failed rail system.

For some reason though government ministers Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay all showed they are closet socialists arguing for continued funding of Kiwirail despite a continuation of their sea of red ink.

Closure of the entire KiwiRail freight network was an option if the company didn’t get more public funding earlier this year.

Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay presented a paper to Cabinet earlier this year arguing for continued financial support of KiwiRail, but outlined big challenges KiwiRail faced.

The finance, transport and state-owned enterprises ministers said a nine-month KiwiRail review showed the rail business faced two main options.

One was to retain most of the network and cut back unprofitable services on the network fringes.

The second option was to “close most or all of the freight network” with the option of retaining the upper North Island section only.

The northern section, Auckland to Hamilton to Tauranga, carried the biggest freight volumes and covered most of the network’s costs.

Passenger rail services in Auckland and Wellington were never in doubt.

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Surplus looks a certainty now, wonder what Andrew Little is going to say about that

WILL ANDREW LITTLE HAVE TO EAT THESE WORDS: The budget was "one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime".

WILL ANDREW LITTLE HAVE TO EAT THESE WORDS: The budget was “one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime”.

A few months ago Andrew Little was claiming that the government had committed “one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime”. He was talking about the budget and the prediction that there wouldn’t be a surplus, rather a $684 million deficit.

Well tax receipts have rocketed and the government is now sitting on more than a billion dollar surplus with one month of figures left to go.

Finance Minister Bill English may yet get his maiden surplus after the latest monthly Crown accounts showed a larger than expected surplus for the past 11 months.

The Crown accounts for the 11 months to May recorded a $1.2 billion surplus, almost $1 billion more than was forecast in the Budget for the same point.

The figures indicate English could yet record the full year surplus he was targeting, despite May’s Budget forecasting a $684 million deficit.

The full year figures will be known in October and Mr English was not counting his chickens early.

“There is always some volatility in the monthly Crown accounts and we won’t know for some time if there will be a full-year surplus in 2014/15.”

He said the important factor in the accounts was it indicated the Government was on track to anchor Crown debt levels at low, sustainable levels.

He said the results were a reward for “careful stewardship” of the Government’s finances.

It was a turnaround from the same point last year when a $1.1 billion deficit was recorded.

He said the Government had committed to manage taxpayers’ money carefully and was not afraid to try new approaches to delivering the public services.

“That is why we set ambitious targets for departments to deliver real, measurable benefits to New Zealanders. That is why we monitor performance against targets and publish the results – steps that assist to promote accountability and encourage us to do better.”

Oh my…Andrew Little is in a bit of a pickle now.

 

– A reporter, A newspaper

Bill’s tax cuts are back. Roll on up for an election spending spree

Bill English is back to talking about tax cuts…just in time for a nice long roll up to the 2017 election.

First up he dismisses talk of a recession.

Falling dairy prices are not as disastrous for the economy as they seem and the country is not heading for a recession, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Mr English told TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that the dairy industry was “probably a smaller part of [the economy] than most people think”.

“I think we’ve got to keep the dairy industry in perspective,” he said.

“It’s about 5 to 6 per cent of the whole economy. It’s only 20 per cent of our exports. The other 80 per cent will be starting to enjoy the benefits of the lower exchange rate, and the lower exchange rate will help cushion the impact on dairy of their lower prices.”

When asked by TVNZ’s Simon Dallow whether he agreed with Steven Bayliss of BNZ that New Zealand had a “recipe” for recession on its hands, with low dairy prices coupled with a potential drought and falling Christchurch house prices, Mr English said he thought the prediction was overstated.   Read more »

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Explaining is losing, Paula

The Government’s social housing policy is lurching from one PR disaster to the next.

While I get what the aim of the policy is, it just seems to be sloppy.

Government says its proposal to lease some state houses instead of selling them does not mean one of its biggest policies has failed.

Social Housing Paula Bennett said today that leasing some of the state houses was always a part of Government’s plan, and it was not a response to a lack of interest from community housing providers.

“We’re looking at everything at the moment,” she told reporters. “This is part of a discovery process as we look at community housing providers – what works best for the tenants and how we can increase their involvement in social housing.  Read more »

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, like motorway tolls, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

Letter From Hon Simon Bridges and Hon Bill English to Len Brown

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Bill might get his surplus after all

The opposition might have to choke on their words…and so might I…it is starting to look like Bill might get his surplus after all.

The Budget track is continuing to hold out the prospect of a surplus this year despite the Government officially postponing the prospect until at least 2015/16.

The Crown accounts for the 10 months to the end of April showed a $1 billion turnaround on Budget night predictions, with a surplus before gains and losses (Obegal) of $448 million against an expected deficit of $555m.

Treasury said total Crown expenses were $77.7b for the 10 month period and total Crown revenues were $78.5b.

“Given the size of the Crown’s operations, the Obegal is subject to some fluctuation from month to month,” they said.

Core Crown tax revenue of $55b was 0.8 per cent, or $437m, ahead of forecast while higher than expected tax revenue largely related to corporate tax ($190m) and GST ($141m).   Read more »