Budget – big numbers but little vision?

The 2020 budget has unusually big spending numbers due to trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis. Current New Zealand debt is about 20% of GDP, the budget would over double that to 50% with a reduction back to 40% forecast over the next ten years, so the target is double the relative debt.

But the budget has been slammed as lacking in vision, with a big chunk of money earmarked but not yet committed to anything in particular.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Robertson’s huge numbers fit the Covid-19 moment

The $50 billion figure tacked to the centrepiece Covid Response and Recovery Fund is in some respects a case of magic with numbers.

Nearly $14b of that had already been spent, with a further $16b laid out in the day’s Budget.

Importantly, that leaves nearly $20b of fiscal headroom for further announcements in the months leading up to the election.

Government staffers were quick to state the $50b number was a cap rather than a target, but Robertson undermined that somewhat by saying it would almost certainly be spent within the next few years.

There were still some striking omissions, however. It was little surprise the Green Party came under pressure from supporters for a lack of policy and funding wins.

…Indeed, Bridges’ canned line that the Government was “turning a $50b problem into a $140b problem” seemed underpinned by the roughly $50b of extra borrowing the last National government took out to cover the costs of the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Bridges is gambling that voters’ historic concerns about debt levels will outweigh their desire for sweeping support – Kiwis faced a “tsunami of debt”, as he put it.

But Robertson’s statement that the country faced a 1-in-100 year global shock, forcing drastic measures, seemed more closely aligned to the national (and global) mood.

Ananish Chaudhuri (Newsroom): Budget’s worrying debt-to-GDP red flags

First, the prediction that nominal GDP is poised to fall by 4.6 percent this year and more the following year before starting to grow again. Unemployment is tipped to grow to nearly 10 percent. These are pretty dramatic. This is worse than the recession that followed the global financial crisis, when real GDP declined by 2.2 percent and the unemployment rate peaked at 6.9 percent.

What is even more striking is the prediction that by 2023, debt will be more than 50 percent of GDP. I am assuming this is public debt and does not account for private debt. I am by no means a deficit hawk, but this level of debt-to-GDP ratio poses risks for most nations, let alone a small island nation very much dependent on global economic trends.

This level of borrowing will certainly put upward pressure on real interest and exchange rates and counter-act to an extent RBNZ’s quantitative easing efforts. The net effect is anyone’s guess since a lot of it will also depend on what is happening to rates in other countries.

Overall, the budget much as expected but with some significant red flags in terms of the steeply increasing debt-to-GDP ratio.

Bryce Edwards (RNZ): A Budget with big numbers, but little vision

It’s a politically-astute Budget, but anyone looking for big transformative change will be underwhelmed by Grant Robertson’s Budget 2020, according to Bryce Edwards of Victoria University of Wellington.

Politically astute as in good for this year’s election campaign? Big handouts claimed by each of Labour, NZ First and Greens, with a lot more available to be announced before September.

Elements of the Budget that will be praised include the free trades training scheme, expansions to welfare programmes such as Food in Schools, and the significant increase in social housing.

Expectations of welfare and tax reforms were not met. The Wage Subsidy Scheme is rolled over, albeit with much more targeting. This continues the trickle-down approach of hoping that the provision of money to the private sector will flow through to workers who will keep their jobs. Noticeably, there has been no increase in income support.

Generally, even though the government is now spending much more money, the size of the state isn’t actually getting much bigger. For example, there’s a big focus on job creation, but not through a heavy state role.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the Budget is the $20bn of unallocated spending as part of the Response and Recovery Fund, which the government is keeping aside to make spending decisions on in the weeks and months to follow. Some will call this a slush fund, which is probably unfair in a crisis with no end in sight, where not all spending can yet be determined.

It will depend to an extent to how extra spending is announced and what it is used for heading towards the election. Greens have already been promoting the campaign benefits of what spending they say they have initiated.

Max Rashbrooke: Robertson goes for repair, not rebuild

Crises can be an opportunity for sweeping change. Many people, especially but not only on the left, have decided that the coronavirus’s economic shock, alongside pre-existing problems of environmental degradation and widespread poverty, is the perfect platform for transforming their society and their economy.

The Budget does spend extraordinary sums: $50 billion for the Covid-19 rescue fund, against the normal Budget allocation of a few billion dollars extra. But that spending goes largely into propping up existing businesses – $3.2b for extending the wage subsidy – or into existing structures, as with the extra $3.9b for health.

There are some small green (or indeed Green) shoots of transformational change. Free trades training, in construction and related areas, for two years. An extra $1.2b for rail, which could be part of a transition to a low-carbon way to live. A $1.1b for a green jobs fund designed to employ 11,000 people restoring wetlands and planting trees beside rivers. A further $20b of the rescue fund still to be allocated, of which $3b is for infrastructure.

Mostly, though, this is a measured budget.

This relative caution has several explanations. New Zealand First is understood to oppose many of the sweeping changes the Greens and Labour would like to see. Scaling up programmes is also not as easy as people think.

Stuff: Budget 2020 winners and losers

Winners:

  • Workers
  • The film industry
  • Education
  • Health
  • Transport
  • Public Housing
  • Māori
  • Corrections

Losers:

  • Debt
  • .Hospitality and Tourism (somewhat)
  • Beneficiaries
  • Media
  • Climate change
  • Police

The lack of much for beneficiaries and climate change have been particularly disappointing for the left (which is more Green territory).

Stuff (editorial): Government’s Budget a plan to navigate Covid-19

The Government has laid out its plan for getting the economy back on its feet, coupled with an assurance the country will get through the tough months ahead.

Whether it’s done enough to reassure the public will not be fully known until September’s general election.

Stuff: Parties look to nab wins from $20b ahead of election

A $50 billion Covid-19 rescue package poured out of the Crown coffers yesterday when the government revealed its rebuild plan – but it is the $20b blank cheque that has got the Opposition crying foul.

With just four months and four days until the election, the National Party has labelled it a slush fund for election bribes.

The campaign has unofficially kicked off and even New Zealand First and the Greens started singing from their own songsheets within hours of the Minister of Finance delivering his election-year Budget.

Greens seem to have used the budget to kick off their election campaign (via email):

We have now officially kicked off our Green Reset from the COVID-19 crisis with the release of Budget 2020. We’ve secured massive investment in Green initiatives which will create thousands of jobs while improving life for people and protecting the natural environment.

Voters will decide for themselves whether the Covid-19 pandemic gets sufficient priority over policy opportunism and cynical campaign boosting. It hasn’t helped that Green leaners seem to have been underwhelmed by the budget.

Perhaps there has been some big vision 0 as far as the election and means of Government and political survival.

A lot of spending but little reform (and little joy)

Those who wanted a lot of spending to be announced in the budget got that, but people wanting significant reform of tax and benefits and other social spending have been disappointed.

But there is a wild card lurking – some big announcements to come before the election?

The Covid recovery fund is a huge $50 billion which includes $36.1 billion in additional funding.

$15.9 billion is to be spend on the immediate response to try to get the economy going, with $20.2 billion put aside for future investment.

As usual Green leaders are trying to talk up their influence and achievements. James Shaw said the Budget shows what it means to have Green support in the government.

But an ex-Green MP is disappointed:

As is a Green candidate:

But I think those expecting radical reform in the budget were always going to be disappointed for several reasons:

  • There wasn’t time to work out how to do radical reform
  • There wasn’t time to consult before doing radical reform
  • The Government does not have a mandate to do major reform
  • The Labour Party aren’t very radical and don’t want to be seen as radical
  • NZ First

Budget website: https://budget.govt.nz/


James Shaw on Twitter:

Like the voice of @MaramaDavidson , who has led the @NZGreens campaign to end child poverty. Today’s Budget scales up the Food in Schools programme – which, when we were in Opposition, we fought for – from 8,000 to 200,000 students, with $218 million of new investment.

And @golrizghahraman, who has championed the rights of migrants and the refugees who will find it easier to rebuild their families after Budget 2020’s injection of $33 million into the family reunification system.

And @GarethMP, who for a decade, has pushed to get people into work insulating homes, making them warmer and more affordable. Budget 2020 puts an additional $56 million into the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.

And @janlogie, who’s all of Government response to family and sexual violence has picked up an additional $202 million in today’s Budget.

And @_chloeswarbrick, whose work on behalf of students has helped secure a $20 million hardship fund to help students weather the pandemic crisis.

And @JulieAnneGenter
, who has helped to deliver $1.6 billion in the Budget’s infrastructure upgrade for metropolitan rail in Ack and Wellington, buses and cycling in Queenstown, Ackd’s new Skypath, as well as funding to help councils expand footpaths and roll out temp cycleways.

And, of course, @EugenieSage. It is because of her groundwork over the past two and a half years that today our government is able to scale up our investment in nature as the most essential infrastructure and the best job creator in Aotearoa.

The rebuilding and jobs and other stuff 50 billion budget

Budget 2020, describe by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a jobs budget and officially called ‘Rebuilding Together’ will be covered all over the media but I’ll post things I think are of interest or will promote some discussion here through the afternoon.

A $50 billion rescue fund is at the centre of 2020’s “once in a generation Budget” as the country braces for the economic carnage promised by Covid-19.

Net debt to increase by $140 billion (around $70,000 per household) from 19% of GDP to 54%

RNZ: 

$15.9 billion is to be spend on the immediate response to kickstart the economy and $20.2 billion put aside for future investment. Here’s where the money is going.

  • $4bn business support package: includes a wage subsidy extension for eight weeks after the initial 12 week scheme.
  • 8000 new public and transitional homes
  • An extra $3bn set aside to fund infrastructure projects on top of the $12bn already announced
  • $1.77bn boost for Defence
  • $1.6bn trades and apprenticeship training package
  • $1.1bn environmental jobs package – it is predicted to create 11,000 new jobs
  • $1bn to improve transport, including $667m on rail infrastructure
  • $900m support package for Māori, including $200m employment package and $400m increase to education
  • $833m to go towards disability support services
  • $400m to replace Interislander ferries
  • $400m tourism relief package
  • $195m Pacific communities support package
  • $130 to maintain New Zealand Post service levels
  • $56m boost to Warmer Kiwi Homes programme – will help an additional 9000 houses
  • $55.6m of aid spending for Pacific Island nations

Read the full wrap on where the money is going here.

Committed to 8,000 houses over the next 4-5 years (6000 public houses and 2000 transitional homes), that’s nothing like Kiwibuild but a bit of a boost.

An addition $3bn to fund “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, on top of the $12bn spend-up announced earlier this year.

No ‘helicopter’ cash handout.

More than $200 million to provide free lunches for one in four school children expanding the current lunch scheme from 8000 children to about 200,000 by the middle of next year. This is not really Covid related boost. Ok, it sort of is, it will help families who have been hard hit by the pandemic and create 2000 jobs.

Treasury is forecasting growth will shrink by a quarter in the three months ended June, dragging the annual growth rate to minus 4.6 percent.

For the following year growth is expected to shrink by 1 percent, after which it surges to more than 8 percent in 2022, halving over the next two years.

Unemployment is expected to come close to 10 percent in the middle of this year, before gradually reducing to just under 5 percent in three years.

Treasury says trade, business investment, and household consumption will all slide over the next year but will improve from 2021 onwards.

Except that it’s impossible to know what will happen with the world economy, with trade, and how that will affect New Zealand. So this is more guessing than usual from Treasury.

State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters says Budget 2020 is another milestone in securing the future of our rail system, and another step towards economic recovery.

Budget 2020 provides over $1.2 billion for rail, including:

  • $246 million to support investment in the track and supporting infrastructure.
  • $400 million to help replace the Interislander ferries and associated portside infrastructure.
  • $421 million for new wagons and locomotives.

Changes proposed through the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill will also provide long-term certainty for rail by allowing network investment to be channelled through the National Land Transport Fund. Budget 2020 provides $148 million to support the fund to make these investments once the Bill has been passed.

Postal services maintained for Kiwis

Funding of $130 million from Budget 2020 will allow New Zealand Post to maintain service levels as it positions itself for the future of mail, while an equity injection of $150 million will also be provided from the Government’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund.

Aid spending boost in Budget 2020

Budget 2020 will deliver $55.6 million in additional funding for Vote Official Development Assistance, bolstering the New Zealand Aid Programme’s ability to help those most in need and bringing New Zealand’s overall ODA spend to almost .33 percent of forecasted Gross National Income in 2021.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the Government is backing Pacific Peoples with a $195 million Pacific package to support the recovery and rebuild of Pacific communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major investment in infrastructure projects

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has set aside $3 billion to fund infrastructure projects across the country. This is in addition to the Government’s $12b New Zealand Upgrade Programme and Provincial Growth Fund infrastructure investments.

Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) will inject fresh capital, confidence and jobs into our economic recovery as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Ministers will soon decide which projects to progress and consider advice from the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group (IRG) which has received a total of 1924 submissions across approximately 40 sectors with a combined value of $136b.

Rebuilding tourism together

A $400 million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund, alongside the extension of the Wage Subsidy Scheme and a domestic tourism campaign, assist the industry to recover and restart, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

More Warmer Kiwi Homes

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ensures an estimated 9,000 additional New Zealand houses will be Warmer Kiwi Homes with a $56 million boost to the Government’s insulation and heating programme.

8000 more public houses to be delivered

The Government will deliver an extra 8,000 new public and transitional homes through Budget 2020, in a move that will stimulate the residential construction sector, create jobs and reduce the housing shortage.

The additional housing places will be delivered by Kāinga Ora, Community Housing Providers and transitional housing providers. Kāinga Ora will finance its proportion of the additional 8000 places by increasing its borrowing over the next 4-5 years, anticipated to be approximately $5 billion. Budget 2020 delivers $570m of Income Related Rent Subsidy funding to support this build programme.

This investment is in addition to the 6,400 public housing homes currently being built, in the pipeline or otherwise delivered, and the 1,000 transitional homes announced in February as part of the Homelessness Action Plan. We are also providing $100m of income related rent subsidy funding to deliver 1,650 extra places ahead of schedule over the last two and a half years.

The extra 8,000 homes announced today will be split between approximately 6,000 public housing homes and 2,000 transitional homes.

Free trades training to support New Zealanders into work

Budget 2020 makes major investments jobs and training as we get New Zealand working again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package
  • $400 million in MSD Employment Support
  • $121 million for He Poutama Rangatahi
  • $19.3 million to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs

Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package

  • $334m funding for additional tertiary education enrolments
  • $320m targeted investment support for free trades training in critical industries
  • $412m support for employers to retain and keep training their apprentices
  • $276m funding for Workforce Development Councils and Regional Skills Leadership groups, to be established to give industry and regions a greater voice and help them respond to COVID-19
  • $141m to support high quality tertiary and trades education
  • $32m increased funding to meet demand in Trades Academies
  • $50m for a Māori Apprenticeships Fund
  • $19m for group training schemes to retain apprentices
  • $26m operating and capital for a new online careers advice system.

Today’s budget to deal with Covid inflicted economic challenges

The 2020 budget will be announced by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson at 2 pm today. It is one of the most unpredictable budgets in a long time, having to be re-written to address the unprecedented challenges in dealing with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some signals have already been made, with jobs and welfare priorities. Some budget decisions have already been announced, such as a big boost to hospital spending and a long overdue boost to spending on dealing with family violence, as wel as a rescue package for the racing industry. See:

  • Record investment in hospitals and health services
    Budget 2020 delivers the biggest ever increase in funding for District Health Boards, as well as additional funding to deliver approximately 153,000 more surgeries and procedures, radiology scans and specialist appointments to help clear the COVID-19 backlog.
  • Next steps to end family and sexual violence: Budget 2020
    The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
    $183.0 million over the next four years for the Ministry of Social Development to ensure continued access to specialist family violence services
  • Emergency support for Racing’s recovery
    Minister for Racing Winston Peters has announced a $72.5 million dollar COVID-19 emergency support package for the racing industry.

RNZ: What to expect from the 2020 Budget

It’s the “jobs” Budget and one that will come with a hefty price tag.

The driving priority of the 2020 Budget will be to make direct cash injections into industries such as tourism, to staunch the flow of job losses, reinvent the way the sector operates with the prospect of few customers from offshore, and to ensure viable businesses make it through the medium term.

The Budget will also give a much clearer picture of the impact on economic growth, unemployment and government debt.

Last week, Treasury figures for the nine months ended March showed the initial hit to the government’s finances from the pandemic.

The forecast surplus of $1.3 bn had turned into a deficit of $2.7 bn, as government expenses blew out by more than $4 bn as the first few weeks of the wage subsidy took effect.

Expectations are that government borrowing will mushroom by another $100 – $120 bn over the next four years, which would take the net debt ratio to something approaching 60 percent of GDP.

With such big numbers being thrown around and restrictive spending targets and prudence flying out the window opened by Covid around it is possible a number of ‘nice to have’ progressive type policies will be funded.

We will find out more this afternoon.

The Government pissed off journalists at a bad time

Journalists and media have largely been supportive of Government efforts to deal with Covid-19, but as the general population gets restless under Level 3 restrictions and want to get back closer to normal living, journalists seem to have also changed their approach to coverage.

This shift was given a big boost with the Friday dump of Covid information, along with a leaked email telling Ministers to not give interviews or answer questions apart from using dished out patsy phrases.

The Government has two big challenges this coming week, trying to keep the population on-side with lockdown restrictions, and delivering a budget in extraordinary times. And they head into this period  with a suddenly more sceptical media openly questioning Government arrogance.

Derek Cheng (NZH): The gagging order from Jacinda Ardern’s office – cynical, arrogant and unnecessary

Controlling the message is critical, especially at a time of crisis, and the PM’s office has clearly tried to continue its tight control over the Government messaging.

It is a common communications strategy to release bad news late on a Friday, when newsrooms are emptier and people are more focused on weekend plans rather than the news.

With the gagging order, there is virtually no chance to ask a minister about anything in the documents for three days, and by the time Jacinda Ardern fronts on Monday afternoon, the nation will be firmly focused on whether we are moving to alert level 2.

And it’s not just the cynical timing. The “no real need to defend … we can dismiss” reeks of arrogance – the subtext is “we are above scrutiny” – and blatantly flouts Ardern’s cultivated reputation for openness and transparency.

It also undermines the access provided in the almost-daily press conferences that have taken place during alert levels 3 and 4.

Even if the information drop could not have happened before yesterday afternoon, ministers should be able to front.

The shackles should be discarded and ministers should be open to scrutiny. If they can’t be trusted to answer questions about their portfolios, they shouldn’t be ministers.

Tracy Watkins (Stuff):  Are these the first signs of third term arrogance from a first term government?

Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s budget this week will loom over generations to come; it’s no exaggeration to say its the most important budget in decades.

There will be intense debate about whether he has got it right; so it’s unfortunate that as we head into budget week the government is exhibiting premature signs of the affliction known as third-termitis.

That was most evident in the emergence of a leaked memo this week in which ministers’ offices were advised not to waste any time defending themselves to the media – not because they had anything much to hide but because (to paraphrase) people love us anyway, so why bother?

It’s the assumption behind that advice that is so alarming; it speaks of supreme confidence at the moment that this government can do no wrong in the eyes of the public.

So will this confidence and arrogance come out in the budget with opportunistic major changes in direction? There has been a lot of lobbying from idealists wanting to change the economic and political systems, and there has even been suggestions that Jacinda Ardern can change the world.

And Friday’s dump and email were not isolated reasons for media discord.

Given the scale of this crisis, and the extent to which it has touched every life, that is more important now than ever. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, for instance, says 20,000 operations were cancelled and 60,000 specialist appointments parked. It will take more than a year to catch up, they say. Yet questions about how the Government will deal with this have largely been fobbed off.

There was another disturbing sight this week when Attorney General David Parker refused media interviews on the legality of the Covid lockdown, preferring instead to interview himself in a 42 minute long livestream on Facebook.

Did Parker take a leaf out of Trump’s playbook?

Facebook has become this government’s best friend; its shoulder shrug in response to questions about transparency and accessibility. But of course it’s also about controlling not just the message, but image, and the news agenda.

But as we come out of lock-down, and face up to the huge recovery mission ahead, fronting up to hard questions should not be optional.

If the Government tries to use the huge current economic and social disruption plus their current popularity after initially being widely seen to handle Covid-19 well here to lurch towards some sort of revolution they could find themselves quickly off-side with a public seemingly intent on getting back to normal ahead of the lowering of lockdown restrictions.

An obvious risk of a sudden rise to popularity on the back of unprecedented social and economic disruption is that that can become a fall just as quickly if the Government gets out of step with public sentiment.

One might think that Winston Peters would act as a check on starting a revolution via the budget (unless superannuants benefit). But it may be too late. He seems to have been sidelined by the big decision making clique now calling the shots in Government, and may have been already pressured into supporting changes due to popular support for the Government.

The confidence and arrogance of the Prime Minister and Ministers seems to be actively shutting themselves off from public contact via the media, and they already look to be rapidly getting out of touch.

The public supported them because the wanted the disruptions due to Covid to stop, and saw drastic action as necessary.

But now the public wants disruptions and changes to their normal ways of life to dissipate.

If the Government have decided to take some revolutionary steps in the budget next week they may find that the media are not so supportive as they have been over the past couple of months, and the public could easily rebel (there’s a mini-rebellion already happening against the restrictive level 3 lockdown).

Emergency measures in a crisis are generally supported. But using an emergency to undemocratically impose major changes may turn the tide against support for the current Government, and even Ardern.

Census 2018 – national highlights

Census 2018 data has been released. The process has been a problem, with a quality assessment finding the majority of key data was either very high, high, or moderate quality, but some data is poor or very poor


Key facts

New Zealand’s 34th Census of Population and Dwellings was held on 6 March 2018. We combined data from the census forms with administrative data to create the 2018 Census dataset, which meets Stats NZ’s quality criteria for population structure information.

The census night population count of New Zealand is a count of all people present in New Zealand on a given census night. The census usually resident population count of New Zealand is a count of all people who usually live in and were present in New Zealand on census night. It excludes overseas visitors and New Zealand residents who are temporarily overseas. The following population information is based on the census usually resident population.

Results of the 2018 Census showed:

  • The Māori ethnic group comprised 16.5 percent of the census usually resident population.
  • New Zealand was the most common birthplace, at 72.6 percent. This was followed by England (4.5 percent), the People’s Republic of China (2.9 percent), and India (2.5 percent).
  • The most common languages spoken were English (95.4 percent), te reo Māori (4.0 percent), and Samoan (2.2 percent).
  • More than 9 in 10 households (91.9 percent) in occupied private dwellings had access to a cell or mobile phone, a higher proportion than those with access to the internet at 86.1 percent.

Ethnicity

The percentage of the population who identified themselves as belonging to the Māori ethnic group was 16.5 percent.

There was no change in the top five ethnicities between the 2013 and 2018 Censuses: New Zealand European (64.1 percent), Māori (16.5 percent), Chinese not further defined (nfd) (4.9 percent), Indian nfd (4.7 percent), and Samoan (3.9 percent).

The 2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights tables have national counts of ethnicities at the most detailed level of the ethnicity classification. However, 2018 Census population and dwelling counts has broad groupings of ethnicities (that is, European, Māori, Pacific, Asian, MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African), and Other ethnic groups) at various levels of geography.

Birthplace

Of the census usually resident population, 72.6 percent were born in New Zealand. This compares with 74.8 percent in the 2013 Census.

The next most common birthplace was England at 4.5 percent, down from 5.4 percent in 2013.

This was followed by the People’s Republic of China (2.9 percent or 132,906 people) and India (2.5 percent or 117,348 people), both up from 2.2 and 1.7 percent respectively (or 89,121 and 67,176 people) in the 2013 Census.

Languages spoken

Of the top five languages, both te reo Māori and Northern Chinese (including Mandarin) speakers increased slightly since the 2013 Census, from 3.7 to 4.0 percent, and from 1.3 to 2.0 percent respectively.

English was the most common language with which people could hold a conversation about everyday things, with 4,482,135 speakers (95.4 percent of the population).

The next most common languages were:

  • te reo Māori (185,955 people or 4.0 percent)
  • Samoan (101,937 people or 2.2 percent)
  • Northern Chinese (including Mandarin) (95,253 people or 2.0 percent)
  • Hindi (69,471 people or 1.5 percent).

New Zealand Sign Language was used by 22,986 people (or 0.5 percent). In 2013, this was 20,235 people (or 0.5 percent).

Education and training

One in four New Zealanders (24.5 percent) participated in full- or part-time study. Of these, 87.0 percent participated in full-time study.

Of the population, 18.2 percent of adults reported no qualification for their highest qualification, down from 20.9 percent in 2013.

The proportion of adults who had a bachelor’s degree or level 7 qualification for their highest qualification was 14.6 percent, while 5.9 percent had an overseas secondary school qualification.

Housing

The proportion of households in occupied private dwellings who owned or partly owned their homes, and made mortgage payments, was 27.8 percent. An additional 18.8 percent owned or partly owned their homes and did not make mortgage payments.

Of households whose dwelling was not owned or held in a family trust, 31.9 percent made rent payments, while a further 3.4 percent lived in a dwelling rent-free.

Of the households who paid rent, 83.5 percent rented from a private person, trust, or business, and 0.3 percent of households who paid rent rented from an iwi, hapū, or Māori land trust.

Heat pumps were the most common form of heating used in New Zealand homes (47.3 percent), followed by electric heaters (44.1 percent), and wood burners (32.3 percent).

Most households in occupied private dwellings had access to a cell or mobile phone (91.9 percent), and 86.1 percent had access to the internet.

2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights

Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet, 621 KB

Stats NZ: https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/2018-census-totals-by-topic-national-highlights

Media hacks criticised for obsession with Treasury non-hack story

Is there no other political stuff worth reporting on? Or is the prospects of a high level resignation or sacking too attractive to let go of?

This all happened a week and half ago but the story is still prominent. However criticism of the story obsession  is starting to emerge. “It’s ridiculous that pundits are calling for heads to roll. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a big deal. ”

These sorts of stories continue:

Derek Cheng (NZH) – Jacinda Ardern: Finance Minister’s job is safe

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is not saying when she found out about an urgent attempt from the Government Communications Security Bureau to stop Treasury boss Gabriel Makhlouf from saying his department had been hacked.

But Ardern said this morning that Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s job was safe.

The National Party is calling for senior ministers to come clean over when they knew about the GCSB’s concerns, and why Makhlouf’s “hacking” description – and Robertson’s subsequent “hacking” description – wasn’t corrected earlier, or stopped in the first place.

Derek Cheng (NZH) – Budget Bungle: the Govt was told there was no hacking but kept tight-lipped

The Government did not correct or clarify the description that the Treasury’s computer system had been “hacked” for an entire day despite being told by its cybersecurity experts that no hacking had taken place.

On the same day – Wednesday last week, the day before Budget day – the National Party also refused to reveal how it had obtained confidential Budget information, instead accusing the Treasury and Finance Minister Grant Robertson of unfairly smearing National.

Robertson said yesterday that the Government was being tight-lipped because the Treasury had called in the police, but he was also unlikely to want any further distractions on the eve of the Government’s much-hyped Wellbeing Budget.

Instead Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Robertson spent that Wednesday answering questions about hacking from National MPs in the House, while changing the language to say that the Treasury had been “attacked”.

National is demanding answers after the Herald revealed that Andrew Hampton, head of the Government Communications Security Bureau, made an urgent call to GCSB Minister Andrew Little in an attempt to stop Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf from publicly saying that his department had been hacked.

National deputy leader Paula Bennett said it was inconceivable that Little didn’t pass that information on to Robertson and Ardern straight away, and they should have immediately revealed the advice that there had been no hacking.

“If Mr Robertson received the information from Andrew Little after he released his statement, he should have immediately corrected it,” Bennett said.

Zane Small (Newshub) – Budget 2019 scandal: Beehive allegedly warned Treasury wasn’t hacked

But others are seeing things differently.

Alexander Stronach (The Spinoff) – Where you’re getting the Treasury budget data breach story all wrong

The Treasury data breach has been a shitshow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger disconnect between the experts and the pundits, and I don’t say that lightly. I’m not a security guy, for what it’s worth: I’m a writer at a tech firm, but I’m fascinated by security and over the last few days I’ve been talking to people who actually know their stuff. Almost unanimously they’re calling this a breach. Almost unanimously, the pundits are off shouting that it’s “not a hack!”.

Right from the start, I’m setting a rule: we’re not going to talk about “hacking”. It means totally different things to the IT sector (anything from coding at all to randomly kludged spaghetti code that really shouldn’t work) and the public (a man in a trenchcoat saying “I’m in!”), and most InfoSec types shy away from it anyway. I’m not going to bore you with the whole hacking vs cracking debate, but we’re going to call this thing what it is: a data breach.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s bad. Somebody dropped the ball, and somebody else put a knife into it.

Still, I don’t believe Simon Bridges has committed a crime, nor has he committed breach of confidence. He has violated his CERT obligations, which at worst means he’ll get a strongly-worded nonbinding letter from MBIE telling him not to do it again. He did a bad thing, but not all bad things result in him being removed from parliament in a paddy wagon. To quote one of my anonymous sources: “he’s an asshole, not a criminal.”

It’s ridiculous that pundits are calling for heads to roll. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a big deal. Grant Robertson shrugged and moved on. The Treasury were right: what harm could somebody actually do by using that exploit? Release a half-complete version of the document a day early?

By the by, it’s not dodgy or extreme that anybody called it a ‘hack’. If there’s a problem with the word, it’s not that it doesn’t mean this, it’s that it does mean this because it’s a vague word that means wildly different things to different people.

What’s really happening is that the pundits smell blood in the water, and they don’t care what actually happened—they just want an excuse to sink their teeth in.

Same old #NZPol, I guess.

Richard Griffi (Stuff) – Blown Budget secrets shine light on overblown reactions

It is not difficult to understand the ministerial angst and aggravation generated by the political theatre that disrupted last week’s Budget announcement.

Understandably, the authors and interpreters of the ‘Budget Secret’ production still revel in the drama despite the overall predictability of the political imperatives.

A nightmare for the Treasury benches is an invasion of the stage by the clowns from the back row of the auditorium waving the script and stealing the lines, leaving the man in the top hat puce with anger. But, so it was for Grant Robertson.

Enter, stage-right, an over-excited Simon Bridges supported by loyal side-kick Paula Bennett. They proceeded to blow whistles, point fingers and range through a range of emotions from triumphant to outraged and back again.

From a distance it did all seem a tad over the top but maybe you had to be there.

The usually pragmatic Robertson rose to the bait. He over-reacted while bit players ran in circles claiming the sky was falling.

It may be naive suggestion but surely a flexible, relatively young nation can do better than blindly follow the tenets of political behaviour originally constructed by a different Parliament on the other side of the world by politicians representing a very different constituency in very different circumstances.

Does the Opposition always have to find everything the Government puts in place the work of the Devil, and does the Government leadership always have to dismiss everything the Opposition does as trivial and without consequence?

And am I really asking myself this question?

He shouldn’t have to ask it. The Government and the Opposition should be asking themselves whether they are acting like representatives and leaders.

 

 

Bridges claims ‘deceit and dirty politics’ – but who did the dirty?

Simon Bridges and National continue to go hard out on the leak of budget information two days before Budget day.

But who is playing dirty here?

RNZ Week in politics: National set the trap and Robertson walked into it

National used the information it found on Treasury’s website to set a trap – and it worked far more effectively than Simon Bridges could have imagined after Gabriel Makhlouf made his “we have been hacked” announcement.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson walked into a trap set by National when he linked the Budget “leak” to illegal hacking.

It was no such thing, and National had known it all along. A simple website search had given the Opposition details of some of the spending in yesterday’s Budget.

At the same time, Mr Bridges was giving a hand-on-heart assurance that National had acted “entirely appropriately” while refusing to say how it had obtained the information.

At that point, National had probably expected the usual response to a leak – condemnation of such behaviour and the announcement of an inquiry.

What it could not have expected was Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf dramatically announcing that his department’s website had been systematically hacked, and that he had called in the police on the advice of the GCSB.

That was a game-changer, and Mr Robertson seized it. “We have contacted the National Party tonight to request that they do not release any further material, given that the Treasury said they have sufficient evidence that indicates the material is a result of a systematic hack and is now subject to a police investigation,” he said.

The implication was obvious – National had either hacked the website or received the information from someone who had. Whoever did it, their actions were illegal.

It turns out what National did wasn’t illegal – but I still think it was highly questionable. They were trying to do a dirty on the Government to grandstand prior to the budget going public.

Mr Bridges raged about unjust smears on his party and accused Mr Makhlouf and Mr Robertson of lying. The Treasury secretary’s position was untenable and Mr Robertson should resign.

He claimed Treasury had quickly discovered the huge chink in its security and had “sat on a lie” while his party was being accused of criminal behaviour.

This leaves some very big questions which have not yet been answered. If Treasury’s IT people knew what had happened, why did Mr Makhlouf go public with his hacking announcement?

Was he misled by his own department, by someone who didn’t want it known that a blunder had been made with the uploading? That’s hard to believe, because it must have been realised that National was going to blow the whistle on the website search.

Did Mr Makhlouf make the decision to call in the police on his own? Mr Robertson says he didn’t know until after the fact, but Mr Bridges rejects that. It’s unthinkable, he says, that a department head would make a call like that without first informing his minister.

The way Mr Bridges sees it, the hacking was a cooked up story to smear National and take the heat off the government and the Treasury.

But the whole thing was cooked up by National in the first place.

Bridges acted offended when accused of hacking, but he hasn’t hesitated accusing Robertson, without any evidence. And he is also accusing Treasury.

RNZ:  Treasury knew there had been no hack on Budget information – National Party leader

The National Party is confident the investigation into Treasury’s claim Budget information had been hacked will prove that Treasury “sat on a lie”.

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett, who asked the SSC to investigate, said her party would let the inquiry play out but stands by its assertion that Mr Makhlouf mislead New Zealanders.

It has previously said Mr Makhlouf should resign.

Mr Makhlouf says he acted in good faith.

National Party leader Simon Bridges told Morning Report today there were two possible scenarios, and the situation was likely a bit of both.

“You’ve either got bungling incompetence, and I think we can all believe that could well be the situation, or you have some broad form of deceit and … dirty politics.

“And we need to see what’s going on here.”

He said the GCSB told Treasury and the Minister of Finance that there had been no systematic hack, but Treasury came out after this and said there had been.

“The reality of this situation is it’s pretty black and white isn’t it.

So as a result of a deliberate and concerted effort by National to exploit a data vulnerability at Treasury in an attempt to embarrass the Government we now have two inquiries, and National have called on the Minister of Finance and the head of Treasury to resign. It has also jeopardised Makhlouf’s new job in Ireland.

MSN:  Gabriel Makhlouf’s next job at Ireland’s top bank under threat

Irish politicians say they’re concerned New Zealand Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf will become the country’s next Central Bank governor amid the Budget “hack” scandal.

Pearse Doherty, finance spokesperson for left-wing Irish republican party Sinn Féin, told The Irish Times Maklouf should not start his role with the Central Bank until the investigation has concluded.

Doherty said it “wasn’t a small issue”.

“We need to make sure that someone in the highest position in the Central Bank has proper judgement,” he told The Irish Times.

Ireland’s Fianna Fáil party member Michael McGrath has also reportedly sent a letter to the Irish Finance Minister.

“The governor of the Central Bank is one of the most sensitive and important roles in our States,” the letter says.

“It is vital we have full confidence in the holder of the office.”

So National may succeed in ruining Makhlouf’s career. Robertson is unlikely to resign – and I think it would be a disturbing result if he is forced to.

Sure Makhlouf and the Government may not have handled the budget leak well. But this was a dirty politics style hit job by National, serving no positive purpose, and highly questionable as ‘holding the Government to account’.

They would have hoped to cause some embarrassment, and got lucky when it precipitated a shemozzle, leading to two inquiries and careers in jeopardy – not because of the initial problem, but because of how it was mishandled. This is classic negative politics.

For what? Some budget information was publicised two days before it was going to be made public anyway. National well know that budgets are kept secret until announced in Parliament, and there’s good reasons for this.

This sort of thing really puts me off politics – especially off politicians who try to engineer scandals that really has nothing to do with holding to account.

If there wasn’t other things keeping me going here I think I could happily pack up and go and do something else as far from politics as I can get.

This political debacle sets a very poor example. It is a form of bullying – political bullying, where dirty means are employed to cause problems that needn’t happen. Shouldn’t happen.

Another thing that may keep me involved is looking at ways of getting our politicians to set positive examples, and save the hard ball holding to account to when it really matters.

Is there any chance of that? I’m probably wasting my time here.

Second inquiry by State Services over budget leak

The State Services Commission has announced they investigate statements made and actions taken by the Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf following the leak of budget data two days before budget day last week.

This is in addition to an inquiry into the leak itself, announced last week.

Makhlouf seems to have handled things poorly, and the Government was messy with their handling as well.

But two inquiries as a result of the National Opposition ferreting for something so they could grandstand and embarrass the Government.

What has been achieved overall? More self inflicted discrediting of Parliament and politics in general. I don’t see anything positive from all of this.

There is no benefit to the public.

Last week:  Inquiry into unauthorised access to Budget material

The State Services Commission will undertake an inquiry into how Budget material was accessed at the Treasury.

The Secretary to the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, asked the Commissioner to inquire into the adequacy of Treasury policies, systems and processes for managing Budget security.

“Unauthorised access to confidential budget material is a very serious matter,” said State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes.

“Mr Makhlouf has asked me to investigate and I am considering my options. This is a matter of considerable public interest and I will have more to say as soon as I am in a position do so.”

While there is no evidence of a system-wide issue, Mr Hughes has asked Andrew Hampton, the Government Chief Information Security Officer, to work with the Government Chief Digital Officer, Paul James, to provide assurance that information security across the Public Service is sound.

“This is an important issue because it goes to trust and confidence in the Public Service and in the security of government information,” said Mr Hughes.

“The inquiry will seek to understand exactly what has happened so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Today:  Investigation into statements made and actions taken by the Secretary to the Treasury

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today announced an investigation into recent questions raised concerning the Chief Executive and Secretary to the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, and his actions and public statements about the causes of the unauthorised access to Budget material. 

The investigation will establish the facts in relation to Mr Makhlouf’s public statements about the causes of the unauthorised access; the advice he provided to his Minister at the time; his basis for making those statements and providing that advice; and the decision to refer the matter to the Police.

Mr Hughes said the questions that have been raised are a matter of considerable public interest and should be addressed.

“It’s my job to get to the bottom of this and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Mr Hughes.

Mr Hughes has asked Deputy State Services Commissioner, Mr John Ombler QSO, to lead the investigation. It will be done as quickly as practicable and the findings, and the Commissioner’s view of them, will be made public.

“Mr Makhlouf believes that at all times he acted in good faith,” said Mr Hughes. “Nonetheless, he and I agree that it is in everyone’s interests that the facts are established before he leaves his role on 27 June if possible. Mr Makhlouf is happy to cooperate fully to achieve that. I ask people to step back and let this process be completed.”

Neither Mr Hughes or Mr Makhlouf will be making any public comment until the investigation is finished. Mr Makhlouf will be working as usual during this period.

The investigation announced today is separate to the inquiry announced last week into the unauthorised access of Budget information. The Terms of Reference and who will lead this inquiry, which is expected to take some months, will be announced shortly.

What about an inquiry into why politicians waste so much time (and public service time) doing negative crap that has no real benefit to the country?

Grant Robertson on Newshub Nation

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson was interviewed on Newshub Nation yesterday.

First, the sideshow.

imon Shepherd: It’s the highlight of the political year, for the government and one man in particular, the Finance Minister. I asked Finance Minister Grant Roberson if he was disappointed that the unauthorised early release of budget details overshadowed his first wellbeing budget. 
Robertson: I don’t think that it did. The reaction that we’re getting from New Zealanders to the budget is that they’re really pleased that we’re focused on a big, long-term issue like mental health. I don’t think New Zealanders are focused on the political games in Wellington.
But there were so many of them. There was the leak of the documentation, the allegations of a hack — you sort of seemingly linking the National Party to that, and then it wasn’t a hack. It was shambolic.
Look, I’ve expressed my disappointment in the fact that the Treasury system could be infiltrated this way and also that the Treasury didn’t do more to find out what had happened before they referred it to the police. The reality is that that’s now in the hands of the State Services Commissioner, who is doing an inquiry, and we’ll await the outcomes of that.
Well, how do you think you handled it all?
Look, I invite you to put yourself in my shoes. On Tuesday night the Chief Executive of the Treasury arrived in my office and said about an hour ago I have referred to the police 2000, of what he called, hacks into the system. I said to him, ‘Do you know how that’s happened?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I said, ‘Do you know if any other areas of the Treasury system have been compromised?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t.’ So at that point, I’m going to take that matter pretty seriously. That’s what we did. Obviously more information has now come to light. That’s what the inquiry will cover.
Do you think you acted too quickly? Do you think you should’ve waited and got some more information before you put out that press release just then, which seemed to indicate that National was linked to the allegations of a hack?
Like I say, I think most people in my shoes, having received the information I did, would react and say, ‘Well, we need to make sure, regardless of how the National Party might’ve got the information, that they were aware of what the Treasury had advised me. We all now know that the situation is somewhat different. The inquiry will look into how that happened.

Then the meat of the topic.

You named it the Wellbeing Budget, but mental health aside, what is actually transformational about it?
I think the work that we’re doing in domestic and sexual violence is absolutely transformational. We’re talking there about breaking a cycle that has bedeviled New Zealand for many years. $320 million going into that. We’re going to transform the lives of people who are on benefits by indexing that to the average wage. That’s going to lift their incomes consistently.
Okay. Well, let’s talk about that. Obviously the Welfare Expert Advisory Group said 12-47 per cent boost to benefits is needed, something like $5 billion. You didn’t go near that. You’ve done $300 million. Why not?
Well, because we’re doing this in phases. And we’ve actually done three things —we’ve done, not only the indexation of benefits, but we’ve also lifted the abatement rate — the rate at which your income drops if you’re working while you’re on a benefit. And we’ve got rid of the sanction that was on mothers who didn’t identify the fathers of their children. That’s stage one. We absolutely acknowledge that there’s further work to do in this area.
Do you think that you missed a chance to be transformational by not implementing a capital gains tax?
Well, as you well know, I would’ve like to have implemented a capital gains tax. That, of course, would not have come into force until after the election. That was always the plan, but the realities of coalition government are we didn’t have the numbers for that.
What about a greater focus on business? If you lift them and provide incentives for business, that changes the whole economy, doesn’t it? So why didn’t you do that?
Well, we are. There’s a great deal of focus on supporting business. One of the things I’m really excited about in this budget is the $300 million fund for venture investment in those businesses that have got past the start-up phase and are looking to grow to be international companies, and Peter Beck from Rocket Lab has raised this issue with us and said, ‘Too many of these companies head offshore because there isn’t investment here.’ The government’s now got $300 million of skin in the game.
But I would say to you, that this country is made up — the backbone — is small to medium enterprises, and the businesses you’re talking about there are start-ups that want to go internationally. You’re not addressing the small to medium enterprises.
Well, I’d argue we are. The biggest issue raised with me by business is skilled staff, infrastructure, making sure we get those trade agreements going so people can export. They are the issues we are working on.
Could you have been more transformational if you’d relaxed your debt rules earlier? Is there a chance you could look back at this and say, ‘I wish I hadn’t played it so safe’?
It’s always about a balance. We have to make sure that we do keep our debt under control. We’re a small country. We’re susceptible to significant economic shocks and natural disasters. We are actually borrowing more money in this Budget. The economy is growing as well. That means the percentage of GDP stays steady, but we are borrowing to invest in those areas like infrastructure, building up KiwiRail, building more schools and hospitals. But it is all about a balance, and I think we’ve got it right.
Well, what about the balance — you’ve just mentioned shocks like natural disasters or international shocks. You are actually borrowing more. You are running down the projected surpluses. Are you leaving us vulnerable to something like that?
No, I don’t believe so. I mean, we still have a surplus of $1.3 billion here. We still have debt at a relatively low level. We are creating that balance, but we made a decision in this Budget to spend more than we had originally allocated, and that’s because the need was there. The need was there in infrastructure, but the need was also there in services like mental health. We always said, Simon, is that a sustainable surplus would be one where we’d met the needs that were there, so therefore this Budget that surplus is a bit lower, but it still exists.
Are you meeting the health needs though? Because National’s Amy Adams points out that policies for midwives, no free health checks for seniors, reduced GP fees — those kinds of things are not addressed in this particular budget. And in fact, figures from the Child Poverty Action Group show that spending on public health is forecast to be the lowest in a decade by 2023.
Well, what we’ve done is prioritise mental health, and we’ve been completely upfront about that from day one. We have a mental health crisis in New Zealand. It’s been ignored, but there’s still significant resources going into the rest of our health system, around $2.9 billion into supporting DHBs, more money for ambulances. There are other areas, within our coalition agreement, within our confidence-and-supply agreement that we’ll look to address in next year’s Budget, but we made mental health a priority.
Such as?
Well, you’ll have to wait till next year.
What about teachers, though? They’re crying out for some more love from the government, and they’ve just announced more disruptive action. So why couldn’t you address that in this Budget?
We believe we’ve got a fair offer on the table, the $1.2 billion offer. The Budget also addresses some of the non-pay-related issues that teachers have been raising. Six hundred learning support coordinators for what we used to call special ed. 2480 more teachers—
And yet they’re still unhappy?
Well, that’s the reality of the world. What I hope is happening, and I’m pretty sure it is happening right now, is that the Ministry of Education and the unions are sitting down together to say, ‘Look, how can we resolve this?’ We want it resolved. We understand the frustration of teachers after 10 years of not getting supported. Let’s take these first steps together now.
What is there in this Budget for middle New Zealanders? Sort of, those low to middle income families. There doesn’t seem to be anything.
Well, I’d give you one example. We’re removing school donations for decile one to seven schools.
But in the hip pocket there’s nothing like tax bracket creep or anything like that.
Well, look, we’ve made a commitment not to change tax rates in this term of government because we believe that we need the resources that are there to meet the needs that are there.
Well, let’s talk about housing. There is nothing actually, really, apart from the Housing First — the transitional housing — there’s nothing else for housing in this Budget. You’ve got KiwiBuild, which has stalled at the moment because it’s not delivering.
We put $2 billion in last year’s Budget for KiwiBuild for the life of the programme—
And it’s not delivering.
And as you know, there is a housing reset coming forward, and actually in the Budget documents we state that we’ve put some money aside to help manage that housing reset.
How much?
You’ll see the details of that when the reset’s released.
What about the policies that you agreed with the Greens, like a shared equity scheme to get more people to be able to afford to buy into our houses. What happened to that?
As I say, you’ll have to wait for the housing reset that Minister Twyford’s going to announce, but clearly we’ve got a large-scale building programme for housing that’s not just about KiwiBuild. It’s about state housing, transitional housing. Mr Twyford’s now going to come back with that reset, and you’ll be able to see—
But there’s 11,000 people on the state housing list, and there’s nothing extra in this Budget for them.
Well, we made a significant investment in the building of 6000 state houses in the last Budget. We’ve got an integrated programme with transitional housing and affordable housing. Phil Twyford’s going to announce a housing reset. We’ve set some money aside to support that.
What would you say to business-owners, teachers and say, middle income, low-income earners — some of those feel left out by Budget 2019. What would you say to them? What hope will you offer them for next year?
Look, I’ve always said that the three budgets of this term are a trilogy. Last year we did the foundation-building of making sure we got spending back into those core areas. This year we’ve targeted areas like mental health that all of those people will benefit from. We’ve got a third Budget to come as well.
So is that going to be the blockbuster for these people?
No, I see them all as part of an attempt to start turning around a decade of neglect in a lot of important areas in New Zealand. Two-thirds of the way through, I think we’re making good progress.