Reserve Bank told off for micromanaging mortgage market – and failing

The Reserve Bank copped a kicking from treasury for their failed meddling in the mortgage market.

Not only was it unnecessary it also failed.

The Reserve Bank has been told to stick to its knitting by the Treasury, with officials warning that rules on mortgage borrowing need to be within its mandate.

In documents released on Thursday evening, Treasury officials also warned that the original loan to value restrictions put in place by the Reserve Bank may have led to more activity by property investors. It follows numerous claims that the rules have hurt first time buyers.

In a briefing for Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf, officials said they agreed with the Reserve Bank that a pick-up on the Auckland housing market “could potentially pose a threat to financial stability” in the coming years.

“However, Treasury has been engaging with the RBNZ to suggest that although we accept that house price changes can have macroeconomic implications, the RBNZ’s mandate is focused on promoting financial stability, and therefore the policy proposals should be reframed to focus more clearly on reducing systemic risk rather than asset prices.”

The comments appear to suggest the Reserve Bank is being warned that it may be overstepping its role over financial stability, a claim made in recent months by Michael Reddell, a senior adviser to the bank who was made redundant earlier this year.   Read more »

Bill dicks John’s books

A surplus was promised, and by whatever underhanded means possible, a surplus will be delivered.

The Government has been accused of massaging its books to ensure it reaches its goal of a budget surplus this year.

Treasury papers obtained by ONE News show that delaying spending on the Canterbury rebuild and increasing alcohol taxes are ways of boosting the figures, with current forecasts indicating the Government is set to miss the surplus by half a billion dollars due to falling dairy prices.

“To delay expenditure simply for what amounts to a political target is just offensive,” Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg said.

Other Treasury suggestions include slowing down $33m in overseas aid spending by a year, increasing charges levelled at overseas visitors, and holding back on $100m in proposed cuts to ACC levies.

You can see why SkyCity and Team New Zealand are up against it.   They are looking at squeezing the last few million out of the books just to make sure the bad dairy results can be compensated for.   Read more »


Even Treasury boffins make typos

The Taxpayers’ Union’s drawn to the Government’s attention a typo in the appropriations in Vote Primary Industries which will no doubt leave some pimple faced treasury analyst with some explaining to do:

We’ve spent most of this week immersed in the budget documents and making notes of potentially questionable spending or unusually large increases.

To our great surprise yesterday we noticed that one of the primary growth partnerships (PGPs) that the Government is funding appeared to have undergone a massive growth in spending. We’ve expressed much concern in the past about PGPs and consider them inappropriate corporate welfare and the Government picking favourites.

According to the budget estimates distributed on Budget Day, the New Zealand Sheep Industry Transformation Project (NZSTX) is to receive 644 times more than in 2013/14. As you can see from the scan below, the budget documents show an increase in spending from  $3.3 million to just under $2.4 billion dollars.


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Question for our media: why don’t you ignore fabricated ‘race’ attacks?

It must be election time again, when the usual Maori political suspects need to cheaply raise their public profile.

How, what has worked in the past?

Oh, wait!

Let’s call people racists!

Iwi are to gain control of Maori Television and millions of taxpayer dollars in an election year lolly-scramble that is alarming officials.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says “racist” Treasury and State Services Commission officials are trying to stop his paper going to the Cabinet next week, because they fear iwi will misspend Crown money as they allegedly did with Whanau Ora and Kohanga Reo.

The only reason these “racist” attacks keep working is because the media are happy to buy into the staged bun fight.

No exposure, no need to stoop as low as to label Treasury and State Services Commission officials as racists.   Read more »

WhaleTech: The Budget for smartphone/tablet nerds



Last year, Treasury released iPhone and Android apps for those who like to see all the Budget data come alive (after the 2pm embargo, of course).  They’ve updated the app for the 2013 budget.  Sorry Windows Phone / Surface users, you miss out, but the rest of you can get your fix here:

Read more »

So about those asset sales

Labour are pushing their line about asset sales hard out. By John Armstrong has pointed out the obvious flaw in their plan:

Labour’s private member’s bill has about as much chance of becoming law as Namibia has of lifting the Rugby World Cup. Probably even less.

It will need something close to a miracle even to make it onto Parliament’s playing field this side of November’s election.

That is because Labour sees their number priority this election cycle as stopping students from having the same rights as everyone else does in choosing wheter or not they belong to a union, more to the point they wish to use up as much legislative time as possible opposing a private members bill from Heather Roy.

Priorities? Yeah it’s got me stuffed too.

It is here the problems start. First, the bill has to be lucky enough to be drawn in the irregular ballot of private member’s bills. At last count there were 24 other competing bills in the ballot.

As Labour’s opponents point out, the order paper is now clogged with 11 private member’s bills at various stages of debate because Labour has been filibustering an Act bill promoting voluntary membership of student unions.

The killer blow, however, is the provision in the 1995 rewrite of Parliament’s standing orders that any requirement for a 75 per cent majority for altering or removing something must itself get a 75 per cent majority to become entrenched.

To top things off, were the bill to hurdle that obstacle and become law, a future National-led Government could still repeal it with a simple 50 per cent-plus majority.

Labour are just sabre rattling but the problem is the blade fell off a long time ago. All they have is a scabbard, albeit a rusty one and a broken hilt.

But more to the point history shows that when it comes to asset sales and the record of the current Prime Minister vs. the man who would be Prime Minister, head to head only one Party Leader has a track record of selling assets.

His career average is a pretty solid 17 assets that sold for $9,490,000,000.

That party leader is the MP for Mt Roskill, and the most experienced asset seller in the New Zealand parliament, Phil Goff.

Treasury handily provides all the evidence.

State Asset Sales 1988 – 1999

List of assets sold by Labour government between 1984 and 1990 

List of state assets sold by National government from 1990-1999
Asset Year Value (millions of dollars) Asset Year Value (millions of dollars)
NZ Steel 1988 $327.2 Timberlands 1992 $366
Petrocorp 1988 $801 Export Guarantee Office 1993-1996 $19.7
Health Computing Service 1988 $4.25 Government Supply Brokerage 1992 $3.2
Development Finance Corporation 1988 $111.2 Housing Corp Mortgages 1991-1999 $2384
Post Office 1989 $665 Taranaki Petroleum Mining Licences 1992 $118.8
Shipping Corp 1989 $33.5 Bank of NZ 1992 $849
Air New Zealand 1989 $660 NZ Rail 1993 $328.1
LandCorp 1989 $76.9 Government Printing (II) 1993 $18.5
Rural Banking Finance 1989 $550 Wrightsons Rights 1993 $3.45
Government Printing 1990 $20 Fletcher Challenge shares 1993 $418
National Film Unit 1990 $2.5 GCS 1994 $46.9
Communicate NZ 1990 $.6 Airports, including Wgtn and Auckland 1996-1998 $559.8
State Insurance 


1990 $735 Maori Development Corp 1996 $20.9
Tourist Hotel Corporation 1990 $71.8 Radio Company 1996 $89
NZ Liquid Fuels, Maui Gas and Syngas 1990 $257 Forestry Corp 1996 $1,600
Telecom 1990 $4250 Works and Development Services 1996 $108
Forestry Cutting Rights 1990 $925 Capital Properties 1998 $59.7
Contact Energy (sale and float) 1999 $2331
Vehicle Testing NZ 1999 $19.2
Total value: $9,490 $9,343.5

These statistics do not show the sell off of Housing NZ state houses. Labour will say that they were surplus to requirement but the fact remains that they were an asset that they flogged off too. The value of those would probably add another billion onto Labour’s total.

Phil Goff was in Cabinet between 1984 and 1990 (Minister of, variously, Housing, Employment, Youth Affairs, Tourism, and Education). Annette King was elected to Cabinet in 1989 and had responsibility for Employment, Immigration, and Youth Affairs.

When Labour talks about asset sales and what National did, then know with certainty that Labour are hands down winners of the asset sales crown and any talk otherwise is more lies from the mouth of Phil Goff.

Save money by employing Crocodiles

The UK government recently launched a website to garner ideas for how the government could save money. It was touted as a first and a brilliant move for inclusive democracy…until

Employ Crocodiles in Benefits Offices — HMT - Spending Challenge

Employ Crocodiles in Benefits Offices — HMT - Spending Challenge

Oh dear, that isn’t so good….there are plenty more Lol suggestions. go have a look. One particularly fine example is the suggestion to set up a website to get suggestions.


Mad Rantings of ill-informed idiots

The Standard after attacking me and making it look like a cuddle then goes on through the mad rantings of Marty G to propose there is some conspiracy between Treasury and National.

National’s favourite public servant (who got himself a nice pay rise), John Whitehead, has been offering dire warnings of the future. $2 trillion in debt by 2050! Something must be done!

Naturally, the Treasury has an extreme right-wing solution – cut everything: cut health – yeah, a less healthy workforce that’ll be great for the economy. Cut education – yup, that’s the route to a high tech economy. Cut superannuation – you’re going to die anyway, why not die a pauper? Even cut taxes – yup Treasury reckons part of the solution to the government not taking in enough money to cover its costs to to cut its revenue.

Marty G must be about 12 years old because if he was any older or involved in labour then he would know that John Whitehead was once a treasury wonk seconded to Labour’s research unit and then liked it so much he stayed on eventually rising to Deputy Director of the Labour Research Unit before returning to Treasury.

Massive own goal there.

Further Marty G simply doesn’t understand that Treasury are really just scientists that look at evidence and plug details into complicated economic models and provide forecasts. There is no ideiologiy except when Michael Cullen thinks there is, the forecasts and results just are and they just tell what it is.

The plain simple fact of the matter is that New Zealand is living beyond its means, it can’t pay its bills and it won’t be able to pay its bills in the future unless we do something.

What's the point of even standing?

I’ve had an interesting contribution via the tip line. It is a copy of a letter from National Party Board nominee Wira Gardiner. It appears Mr Gardiner has sent this letter to the “rangatira” (otherwise known as the office holders and key influencers) of the Party.

The part that interests me the most is this;

Conflict for the Board?

It seems Wira has missed the point. The concerns around conflict of interest really don’t relate to his wife Hekia’s ascension through the ranks. The conflict issue is much simpler than that as I’ve highlighted before. It is a bit like Church and State… there should be a very real line between the Party organisational wing and the Party parliamentary wing. If one side is substantially stronger than the other then the Party simple can’t operate successfully. Like it or not, Wira and Hekia will talk shop. And, Hekia will probably suggest directions that might be more comfortable for the parliamentary wing and forget the organisational wing. Even if she doesn’t do that, any time that a decision appears to be made in favour of the parliamentary wing the perception will be that Wira was influenced via pillow talk. This issue is very real whether he is just a Board Member or the President.

The other concern is how does Wira propose to be a part of List Ranking when he has the substantial conflict of interest of being married to a current MP? We assume he’ll declare his conflict and sit it out. How crazy would it be for a President or indeed even a Board Member of the National Party to not even get a say in the ranking of the Party’s candidates? I wonder if this also means he’ll need to sit on the sidelines of the Candidates’ college as well? And, how would it work for selections within the greater Wellington area?

Wira’s major issue in the Party is whether he’ll continue to be a fair-weather friend. Perhaps Wira could answer the very simple question of whether he’s had continual membership of the National Party for the “over 30 years” that he professes to have. Or, are the news reports correct that he’s resigned at least twice when he’s disagreed with current policy positions?

In fact perhaps all board candidates might like to outline their longest period of contiguous membership. If I’m going to be vting for someone to sit on the board then I want to know they are loyal to the Party and not just a fair weather friend thinking it might be advantageous now the Party is in government.

personally I don’t even see the point of voting for a candidate that can’t even sit on the List Ranking Committee as either a board member or as the President if they are conflicted by being married to an MP. I mean why even bother to stand, that is a conflict that can never be resolved.


SFNS claims more victims

There is an article today in the Waikato Times about a family of three Benneydale siblings who were supposedly groomed for a life of crime and had a “horrendous and violent upbringing”.

I disagree. Two of the sibilings could have been saved if their parents hadn’t named their younger brother with his silly first name and thus doomed the others simply by their close proximity to him.

Three Benneydale siblings were groomed for a life of crime and had a “horrendous and violent upbringing”, a court has heard.

Judge Phillip Connell made the comments in the Te Kuiti District Court while sentencing Joshua Cloke, 25, sister Kelly Cloke, 24, and their younger brother, Chazas Cloke, 22, on burglary charges on Thursday.

The trio had earlier admitted the burglary of an industrial building in Te Kuiti last year, adding to an extensive list of convictions.

Kelly Cloke’s lawyer, Andrea Jones, said her client had a tumultuous background which, in turn, contributed to her impulsive behaviour.

If I was Kelly’s lawyer I’d be making the claim that her client was a normal person until the arrival of Chazas. From his arrival in the family ill-will has beset them and dogged them to the situation they now find themselves in.

Silly First Name Syndrome appears to have claimed this whole family.