Amy Adams to take Finance role

Simon Bridges has appointed Amy Adams as National’s Finance Spokesperson. This isn’t a surprise. Adams has been very accomplished in previous roles as a Minister, which included Associate Minister of Finance.

Bridges appoints Adams Finance Spokesperson

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Amy Adams as Opposition Finance Spokesperson, saying she is the best person to ensure the Government builds on the National Party’s world-class economic record and does not squander New Zealand’s hard-won success.

“I am today announcing Amy Adams as our Finance Spokesperson and the third-ranked MP in our Caucus, ahead of the caucus reshuffle to show the economy remains the National Party’s number one priority.

“Having a strong economy allows us to invest in public services and create opportunities for New Zealanders – something the National Party has demonstrated over the past decade.

“And, as a result of our strong economic plan this Government has inherited one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world, one which is seeing 10,000 jobs created a month on average, rising household incomes, budget surpluses, and falling government debt. All this is helping ensure New Zealanders get ahead.

“However, the Labour-NZ First-Green coalition Government seems intent on squandering that through plans to impose more taxes on hard-working New Zealanders and through rolling out negative and backward looking policies which will slow down our growth and see New Zealanders miss out.

“The National Party will fight these changes and Amy is the best person to lead that effort.

“Amy is an incredibly experienced former Minister, serving as Associate Minister of Finance as well as holding a range of important and challenging portfolios, from Social Housing to Justice and Environment, which she handled with real diligence and focus.

“She has chaired Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, has a background in commercial law and is a talented and hard-working member of the National Party caucus.

“Amy follows in the footsteps of the National Party’s hugely successful finance ministers, Bill English and Steven Joyce, and I have no doubt she’ll do a great job on behalf of all New Zealanders. I look forward having her on my team.”

That makes National’s #2 (Paula Bennett) and #3 female (Adams), which strengthens an appearance of diversity. The full shadow line-up may not be known for another week, but Judith Collins is also likely to be prominent.

Adams to take fight to the Government

New National Party Finance Spokesperson Amy Adams has signalled a strong focus on ensuring the continued success of the New Zealand economy and says she will fight hard against Government policies that will slow New Zealand down.

“New Zealand currently has one of the strongest economies in the western world. That’s not an accident. That’s a result of the hard work of New Zealanders backed by the strong economic plan of the previous National-led Government,” Ms Adams says.

“New Zealand succeeds best when we are open and connected with the world. I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting with and listening to successful exporters and employers in the weeks ahead.

“National will be advancing new economic and social policies ahead of the next election, but first we have to stop the threat posed by Labour’s economic mismanagement.

“Many of the Labour-led Government’s planned policy changes will sacrifice our economic success and make it harder for New Zealand businesses to compete and succeed.

“These changes are bad for all of us. Slower business growth means less investment, fewer job opportunities, and lower wages generally than would otherwise be the case.

“Already businesses are less confident now than they were six months ago, despite the world economy steadily strengthening over this time.

Ms Adams singled out Labour’s overseas investment changes, employment law changes, and proposed new taxes as things that would ankle-tap the country’s medium-term economic performance.

“In Select Committee National MPs are constantly hearing how the Overseas Investment Bill will chill foreign investment. That’s bad for housing construction, bad for the regions, and bad for our economy overall.

“And now the Government’s Tax Working Group is clearly looking to design a more redistributive tax system that removes any incentives for New Zealanders to work hard and get ahead.

“The Government needs to focus on the quality and quantity of their new spending. They are continuously ramping up expectations. I’ll be keeping a close eye on their approach to spending taxpayers’ money.

“This Government needs to heed the lessons of success and stop trying to introduce policies that will only take us backwards and damage the economic security of all New Zealanders.”

Adams may be limited in what she can do until the Government’s and Grant Robertson’s first budget in May.

Robertson pre-empts budget

Labour’s finance spokesperson has pre-empted the deliver to the budget today with criticisms in advance and a promise of much better things if Labour forms the next government (if that happens shouldn’t he have pre-empted jointly with Greens and NZ First?).

Grant Robertson: Labour ready to deliver a fresh approach

These are the key questions New Zealanders need answered in today’s Budget:

  •  After nine years of denial, have they done something that will finally fix the housing crisis and get New Zealanders affordable homes?
  •  Have they done enough to turn around their legacy of neglect in mental health and their $1.7 billion of health service cuts?
  •  Have they given schools the operational funding they need to they can keep the lights on, pay their bills and make up for last year’s funding freeze?
  •  Have they given the Police the resources they need to keep our communities safe?
  •  After nine years of failing to contribute a single cent to the Super Fund, will they finally do the right thing by future generations?
  •  Have they finally recognised New Zealanders birth right – to swim in clean rivers and streams and properly resourced making all waterways swimmable?

When Labour has the opportunity to lead the next Government, the budget that I deliver will set out a plan to give New Zealanders some hope for them and their families and to begin to address the shortfalls and shortcomings of National’s approach.

Our Kiwibuild programme will deliver homes to first-home buyers. They will be sold at cost, and the proceeds used to build more homes. 100,000 over 10 years – all affordable, all within reach of young New Zealanders.

Labour will close the tax loophole that effectively amounts to a taxpayer subsidy to speculators of $150m a year and helps them outbid home buyers, and then pump those savings into grants for home heating and insulation.

Labour’s next budget will invest in health, including funding primary healthcare, homecare, breakthrough life-saving cancer medicines and mental health services.

It will end the freeze on operational funding, which is a huge strain on already stressed school budgets. Parents are forking out more and more in “donations”.

Labour will invest in education, so schools can get on with teaching, not begging for money. We will introduce three years of free post-school education to help prepare our young people for the changing world.

Our budget will also be the first where a government is held accountable by an independent body to a set of Budget Responsibility Rules. We understand that the public needs to know that we will be responsible and prudent, with our spending phased and focused to achieve results.

New Zealand is a relatively wealthy country. We are blessed with wonderful natural resources and talented people. Now is the time to harness the potential of every single one of us, and give everyone a fair shot at success and a share in prosperity. We can do better than what will be put on offer by National today. It’s time for a fresh approach.

It’s not time yet – that will be next May at the earliest, if Labour forms the next Government with either or both the Greens and NZ First, and if Robertson is the new Minister of Finance.

Opposition finance spokesperson on inflation

It’s interesting to see that the ODT in 0.4% inflation in line with Reserve Bank forecasts  quotes criticism from an opposition finance spokesperson – Green MP Julie Anne Genter.

Green finance spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said low oil prices meant the consumer price index was hiding the cost of housing, especially rental housing in Auckland, which was rising much faster than wages and other prices.

Ms Genter said low inflation made it more likely the Reserve Bank would cut the official cash rate again soon, which could just pour more fuel on the housing crisis fire.

‘‘If your rent is going up 5% but you’re one of the almost 50% of New Zealanders who did not get a pay rise last year, overall low inflation isn’t going to help you.”

National’s failure to fix the housing crisis meant New Zealanders were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Lower interest rates could help boost the productive economy but could also cause even more housing cost problems, she said.

High housing costs in Auckland and in an increasing number of regions is a major ongoing issue that doesn’t seem to have any significant solutions. Freeing up of land for subdivision is still slow and land prices keep rising rampantly.

That was likely sourced from a Genter press release: Low inflation hides cost of housing crisis

Low inflation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) hides the way the housing crisis is hitting peoples’ pockets and distorting our economy, the Green Party said today.

The CPI showed that inflation was 0.2 percent in the March 2016 quarter and 0.4 percent for the year to March 2016, but housing costs rose 3 percent in the year. MBIE data shows rents across the Auckland region rose on average 5.2 percent in the last 12 months.

“Low oil prices mean the CPI is hiding the fact the cost of housing, especially rental housing in Auckland, is rising much faster than wages and other prices,” Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“If your rent is going up five percent but you’re one of the almost 50 percent of New Zealanders who didn’t get a pay rise last year, overall low inflation isn’t going to help you.

“Last week new data showed that median Auckland house prices are now almost ten times the median household income, so it’s clear that housing costs are skyrocketing for people looking to buy their first home.

“Low inflation makes it more likely that the Reserve Bank will cut the OCR again soon, which could just pour more fuel on the housing crisis fire.

“National’s failure to fix the housing crisis means we’re now stuck between a rock and a hard place: lower interest rates could help boost our productive economy, but could also cause even more housing cost problems.

“We urgently need stronger action to fix the housing crisis including a Government-led home-building programme, quality mid-rise apartments around major transport routes, and measures to stop speculation like a comprehensive capital gains tax (excluding the family home) and restrictions on overseas buyers,” Ms Genter said.

In contrast there doesn’t appear to be anything from the finance spokesperson from another opposition party – the Latest from Grant Robertson is dated  05 April 2016.

Robertson’s last  Facebook activity was updating his profile picture  nearly a week ago.

Funnily (or tragically) Robertson posted #outoftouch on Twitter yesterday in response to:

He could get a lesson from Genter on how to be on the ball in his spokesperson role. Genter also got coverage from Newstalk ZB:

Low inflation hiding true scale of housing crisis: Greens

I can’t find Robertson featuring in the news this week apart from references regarding the upcoming Labour caucus reshuffle – leader Andrew Little says that he is totally satisfied by Robertson’s performance:

Little said nobody had suggested he change the finance spokesperson, and when he set up his Shadow Cabinet in 2014 he made it clear Robertson would be in the finance role until at least next year’s election. “I’m totally satisfied with Grant’s performance and have no intention of changing him out of the finance role.”

From NZ Herald Labour to ‘rejig’ caucus