Pressure on budget spending, except for NZ First policies

Bad Labour, good cop NZ First? Or perhaps that should be tough accountant Labour, generous giver NZ First.

Labour has been highlighting unforeseen shocks putting pressure on budget spending in health and education, but NZ First seems to have no problems getting money to burn for it’s policies.

They had already scored $1 billion a year to hand out to regions, where many NZ First votes come from.

The Government has now announced a $1 billion increase (over four years) in foreign affairs funding, which feeds policies championed by Winston Peters.

Stuff – Budget 2018: ‘Pacific reset’ will increase foreign affairs funding to $1b over four years

New Zealand’s foreign service has been given a massive boost in funding – taking its total four-year vote to near $1 billion – to cater for the Government’s “Pacific reset” and the reopening of an embassy in Sweden.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has unveiled his department’s Budget allocation, at a special announcement ahead of next week’s Government Budget reveal.

The funding boost for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) will also see New Zealand’s diplomatic corps increased by another 50 positions.

Peters said the announcement reflected the “critical role” MFAT played in keeping New Zealand safe and prosperous.

MFAT would receive an operational expenditure increase of $150.4m across four years, and an additional $40.3 in capital expenditure, which would allow for the new embassy that was closed by former National Minister Murray McCully in 2012.

The Government would also be bracing for some big investment in the Dubai World Expo in 2020, and New Zealand’s hosting of the Apec forum in 2021.

Peters also announced a whopping $714.2m allocation to the Official Development Assistance fund – or foreign aid – that will be heavily prioritised towards the Pacific.

He said the funding was a “clear demonstration” to the international community that New Zealand was serious in addressing global and regional challenges and helping people in need”.

“Increased investment will enable New Zealand to deliver on our Pacific Reset. It will bolster our efforts to tackle priority issues like climate change in the region,” said Peters.

This is thought in part aimed at competing with China’s influence in the Pacific.

Peters on The AM Show:

“We don’t have an option, either we step up or someone else will”

“There are countries that have shown interest in the Pacific”

“We cannot just as some people advocate, walk away… that is a futile action to take”

“We’ve got things we’re standing up for and we’re doing it”

Barry Soper: Foreign Minister Winston Peters has the power and he’s using it

Peters has the power and he’s using it and if you agree with the idiom that you’ve got to spend money to make money, then he’s on the mark.

He impressed his audience of diplomats and NGOs last night, underscoring this country’s place in the world. Peters said on the world stage that people look over your shoulder looking at what you’ve spent and said to have to cope with a budget where this country was heading he’d rather give the job to somebody else, it was so embarrassing.

It’s true McCully significantly cut the foreign affairs spend, shaving a hundred diplomats by Peters’ count, and acting like deserters in our Pacific neighbourhood.

The new minister’s going on a diplomat recruitment drive, reopening our embassy in Sweden where he reckons we can do business in that region, and pouring the lion’s share of his new money, more than $700 million, into Pacific aid.

This re-energised Foreign Minister’s adamant the Pacific must remain peaceful, free from the shafts of strife and war that affect many other parts of the world and he reasons if we’re not there some other influence will be. Given the growing influence of China, maybe he’s too late.

He didn’t mention China, he didn’t need to. But this man, who in his last Foreign Affairs incarnation opposed the lucrative free trade agreement with the People’s Republic, has been converted on the road back to the Beehive, declaring “we are a country that trades or dies”.

Except he strongly opposed the TPPA, until he got into Government.

Peters only has the power because Ardern and Labour are allowing it. He doesn’t have many numbers in Caucus and Parliament, but he is being allowed to use them to his advantage.

31 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  May 9, 2018

    Those cheaper doctor visits and winter energy payments have been delayed & election promises broken whilst the govt does the more important stuff like…..reopening the embassy in Sweden, giving students of rich folk free money & Shane Jones a slush fund to throw at projects of his choosing.

    Good to see they have their priorities sorted.

  2. NZ Last, Everyone Else first.

    A cynic might say that Peters is making a pitch to PIs as potential voters to boost his 2%.

    It’s insanity when they prattle on about “homelessness” and lower demographic children’s health.

    Unbelievable arrogance and should be unacceptable to all of NZ.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 9, 2018

      Where is the billion coming from ? And why are we spending so much on these places ? If other countries are showing interest, why are we jumping in first with our money ?

  3. phantom snowflake

     /  May 9, 2018

    To PDB and traveller above. There will always be some horsetrading when it comes to forming a coalition. Are you honestly suggesting it would have been any different had New Zealand First gone into coalition with National??

    • Grimm

       /  May 9, 2018

      Whataboutism is not an argument.

      The point they are making is that they appear to have no money to fix crisis that they bleated on about for years, but plenty of money for the corrupt old clown’s pet projects.

      • Blazer

         /  May 9, 2018

        ‘whataboutism’ was a cornerstone go to’ for the last administration.
        Main exponent was Steven Joyce.

        • Grimm

           /  May 9, 2018

          Do you even read the crap you write.

          Classic whataboutism.

          • Blazer

             /  May 9, 2018

            I write it to irritate you.
            You have no substance to your posts and never present any coherent,convincing arguments.

            • Grimm

               /  May 9, 2018

              I think you’ve been hacked.

              You…posted…something…readable…

      • phantom snowflake

         /  May 9, 2018

        I can’t see how pointing out that enacting some of a coalition partner’s policies is inevitable under MMP is “whataboutism”. This is something we’re stuck with unless we return to FPP, which is just not going to happen, so there’s no point complaining about it. It’s now an integral part of our (so-called) democracy.

        • PDB

           /  May 9, 2018

          I think it points out a few things;

          *Labour sold their souls for office and had such a tight budget they didn’t factor in simple things like public service wage increases/general ongoing maintenance costs or the fact they would have to cater for the expensive policies of two other major parties they needed to govern. In fact NBR reported at the time that Labour had only allocated $878 million for coalition party promises in their first year – a ridiculous (bordering upon dishonest) amount considering the Greens had promised around $12 billion in new spending and NZL First $26 billion.
          *Yes, National/NZL First govt would have been more affordable as they also didn’t have the Greens to cater for and National promised far less spending than Labour during the election campaign.
          *That priority was given to the very expensive student loans scheme (one example)that does bugger all apart from making the rich richer (ironically) over other promises Labour had like cheaper doctors visits.

          The effect of spending promises was pretty clear during the election campaign here: https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/bribe_o_meter

          • PDB

             /  May 9, 2018

            To add your mention of returning to FPP is nonsense (and one of your many squirrels). All that was required was for Labour to put together an honest budget during the election campaign (likely one that reduced their own spending to account for their collation partners) & to be far better negotiators after the election instead of giving NZL First far more money than their pitiful single-figure vote in the election deserved.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  May 9, 2018

            I’m not interested in your National Party proxy ‘Taxpayers Union’, nor am I interested in being drawn into defending policies of a party or government which I don’t support. (You mentioned student loans.) Perhaps I should be more tolerant and try to remember that 6 months post-election is too soon for the ‘Acceptance’ phase of the Grief Process where partisan National Party hacks are concerned.

            • PDB

               /  May 9, 2018

              In this instance the taxpayer union has all the detail behind their data though that wouldn’t interest you as it doesn’t suit your (non) argument.

              Now that your squirrel has been taken away and I’ve taken time to show you Labour’s dishonesty with their pre-election budget and lack of negotiation skills post-election far easier for you to return to type and simply blame/attack the National party & those who support them.

              Look, you have already.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  May 9, 2018

              Pretending that it’s only Labour who are dishonest “with their pre-election budget” is simply…dishonest. There seems to be a systemic problem, and I don’t know what the remedy is. Perhaps I’ll revert to “burn it all to the f***ing ground!”

            • PDB

               /  May 9, 2018

              Overall National party spending was around a third of that promised by the Labour party itself, so plenty of room for negotiating any viable NZL First policies in any post-election negotiation. Also MSM reports at the time seemed to suggest that National wasn’t conceding that much to NZL First during post-election negotiations.

              Look forward to you presenting evidence that the National party were dishonest with their pre-election budget. I won’t hold my breath though.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  May 9, 2018

              You seem to have a comprehension problem. I didn’t refer specifically to the National Party 2017 pre-election budget, but to the practice of all parties being somewhat inaccurate regarding election promises and costings. I don’t have the time (or skills) for this pointless argument, I said what I needed to and now I’m out. Have as many ‘last words’ as you want.

        • Gerrit

           /  May 9, 2018

          With NZ First and the Greens currently polling below the 5% threshold, the next election result could quite possibly see New Zealand politics back to being represented by just two parties (am thinking that National will reclaim Epsom and dump ACT out of parliament as well)

          So 2013 could well be a FPP election, albeit under an MMP system but still FPP.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  May 9, 2018

            Sounds like the ‘Bargaining’ stage of the Grief Process!

            • PDB

               /  May 9, 2018

              Smells like yet another of your squirrels…

          • PartisanZ

             /  May 9, 2018

            If we do get FPP disguised as MMP it means those bastards who set the threshold at 5% will have got their way … (I wonder how that setting came about, when the electoral commission apparently recommended 4%?)

            The threshold MUST be lowered.

            What’s ultimately required, of course, is reform of so-called ‘democracy’ itself.

            Some, and perhaps many an aggrieved National supporter will still be in the ‘anger’ phase of grief when the next election rolls around …

            The electoral term MUST be increased …

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  May 9, 2018

            Why would National want to lose a seat by dumping ACT?

            • PartisanZ

               /  May 9, 2018

              National will win Epsom easy as pie by simply not endorsing ACT …

              Problem is, where do their Alt-Right voters go then?

    • alloytoo

       /  May 9, 2018

      Yes, apparently Bill drew a line in the sand somewhere.

  4. admiralvonspee

     /  May 9, 2018

    Given the growing influence of China, maybe he’s too late.

    A futile exercise by the self-indulgent Peters. The islanders will happily gobble up the proceeds of the NZ taxpayer with a broad smile on one hand and fingers crossed on the other.

    Peters speaks of a great inter-connectedness between the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, more than any other country. The reality could not be further from the truth and any truth in such a view would have sprouted an equivalent ANZCERTA agreement as we do with our Australian cousins. So why not? Quite simply, trust.

    The Chinese have an insatiable appetite and deep enough pockets to handle duplicitous regimes and they will see to it that Peters’ influence is lukewarm at best.

    Perhaps, when the island kids are learning and singing in Te Reo for Ardern, Peters & Co we will know the true appreciation of our tax dollars.

    • Blazer

       /  May 9, 2018

      ‘Peters speaks of a great inter-connectedness between the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, more than any other country. ‘
      Peters is correct.
      Go back 60 years ,and you will see island immigrants began arriving to complement the NZ labour force.’
      Decades have gone by and the connection is…real.

      • admiralvonspee

         /  May 9, 2018

        A romantic connection that seduces you Blaze, old bean. If the romance matched the reality, Peters would have the gumption to push for an ANZCERTA equivalent. The truth is that he understands full well what sort of errant types run these island fiefdoms.

        The most obvious point whizzing over everyone’s head is the well-known relationship with NZ fisheries. Unfettered access to Pacific waters is of paramount importance to both Peters and “Matua” Jones, so it should be of no surprise that this was in the back of their minds as they rallied for a coalition aid budget deal almost double that of the penultimate election ($70m of the $600m Pacific aid budget went to fisheries in 2014).

        Their pally fishing chums would have been grinning from ear-to-ear at the recent aid announcement and although one is not a betting man, I would bet my bottom dollar that the fisheries aid number will now double, if not triple under Peters’ watch.

        • Blazer

           /  May 9, 2018

          you make some salient points…there I must admit.

  5. unitedtribes2

     /  May 9, 2018

    What is Peter’s game here. A symbolic poke at China is understandable but otherwise it looks like he is having a go at Labours votes. The South Auckland Pacific Island vote.

    • PartisanZ

       /  May 9, 2018

      I think it must be one of his, Jones’ and their NZFirster’s ‘coalition affirming’ strategies … ?

    • admiralvonspee

       /  May 9, 2018

      It’s a “Fishing Reset”, not a Pacific one.