Grant Robertson Lauds New Zealand’s Economy Over Australia
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Finance Minister Grant Robertson has begun the annual roadshow selling his budget, and using Australia as a benchmark he claims New Zealand is winning “on almost every level”. At the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank‘s lunch in Wellington on May 21, a high-spirited Robertson launched into a trans-Tasman comparison in front of hundreds of Kiwis. New Zealand’s unemployment, at 4.7 percent, is already lower than Australia’s, at 5.5 percent, and forecast to stay lower until 2025. New Zealand will also run lower deficits and compile less debt than Australia. On that front, Robertson invoked Australia again.thewestsidegazette.com
Public Servants Fume At New Zealand Government Freeze
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Despite New Zealand’s accounts revealing extra billions in the kitty compared to budget forecasts, Finance Minister Grant Robertson isn’t about to soften his public sector pay clampdown. Robertson announced a pay freeze for much of New Zealand’s 400,000-strong public workforce on May 5, setting the scene for months of industrial struggle. “We’ve seen very solid wage growth in the public sector in New Zealand in recent years,” he said. Net core Crown debt is at NZD 105.3 billion ($76.2 billion) — NZD 6.6 billion ($4.78 billion) less than forecast — or 33.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product. We’re doing significantly better than had been expected but we still are going to be having large-scale debt increases and deficits for years to come,” he said.thewestsidegazette.com
New Zealand Unemployment Rate Falls Again
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealand’s unexpectedly soft economic landing from the Covid-19 pandemic has continued with a further fall in the unemployment rate. Unemployment sat at a 12-year low of 4.0 percent prior to the arrival of Covid-19, which saw unemployment peak at just 5.2 percent in September last year. “An extra 32,000 people are in jobs since September 2020, when unemployment peaked at 5.2 percent.”Robertson said New Zealand bested the similar rate in Australia (5.9 percent), United States (6.2 percent), and Canada (8.4 percent). “However, annual changes indicate the labor market still hasn’t returned to pre-Covid-19 levels for men or women.”While unemployment was down, underutilization was up. The seasonally-adjusted underutilization rate rose 0.4 percent to 12.2 percent, meaning about 366,000 citizens of the nation want more work.thewestsidegazette.com
New Zealand Parliament In Line For Almost $200 Million Upgrade
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Wellington, New Zealand’s crowded, dysfunctional and earthquake-prone parliamentary precinct, is likely to see a multi-million-dollar renovation over the next five years. Trevor Mallard, the New Zealand parliament speaker, unveiled plans for three new buildings to pitch to Finance Minister Grant Robertson for next year’s budget. A new six-story building over the parliamentary car park would house MPs and parliamentary committees. The Central city framework report points out the benefits of the renovation of the Parliamentary precinct. As per the report, the parliament precinct will deliver better places for people to spend time ensuring building and making sure the social heritage is not lost.thewestsidegazette.com
New Zealand's virus success unleashes runaway housing prices
New Zealand's government on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 made the first of several promised moves to rein in skyrocketing house prices by ordering the nation's Reserve Bank to consider the impact on housing when making decisions. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)WELLINGTON – New Zealand's success in battling the coronavirus has unleashed an unanticipated problem: skyrocketing house prices. When the pandemic first hit, most experts predicted house prices would fall. Ad“It's very pleasing to see movement in the right direction,” said Shamubeel Eaqub, an economist with Sense Partners who has written extensively about New Zealand's housing problems. But, he added, he expects house prices to “keep going up at a great rate of knots” without further strong intervention.
Final votes confirm New Zealand won't legalize marijuana
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2020, file photo, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures as she gives her victory speech to Labour Party members at an event in Auckland, New Zealand. Ardern announced her new Cabinet lineup Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, after her liberal Labour Party won reelection in a landslide victory last month. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)
Asia Today: South Korea OKs single test for COVID-19 and flu
Women wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus get henna designs on their hands on the eve of Karva Chauth festival in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Even as India's overall coronavirus cases continue to fall, health officials say that New Delhi is in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Asia Today: South Korea OKs single test for COVID-19 and flu
Even as India's overall coronavirus cases continue to fall, health officials say that New Delhi is in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday reported 118 new cases of COVID-19, most of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— India’s capital reported a record high 6,725 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, hit by its worst wave of coronavirus infections since March. New Delhi has averaged more than 5,200 cases a day this past week, a spike the Health Ministry attributes to the festival season. Authorities have also closed schools and key public offices, banned public gatherings and restricted public transport.
New Zealand investigating stock market cyber attacks
WELLINGTON New Zealands government and its foreign spy agency are getting involved after cyber attacks disrupted trading on the nations stock market several times this week. The attacks have affected the private company NZX which hosts the market, halting trading for up to several hours at a time. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Friday that ministers had asked the Government Communications Security Bureau intelligence agency to help stop the attacks. Neither the NZX nor Robertson said if the attackers sought a ransom, as some have speculated. The security bureau declined to comment.
Fans savor return of stadium sport in virus-free New Zealand
Spectators react ahead of the Super Rugby Aotearoa rugby game between the Highlanders and Chiefs in Dunedin, New Zealand, Saturday, June 13, 2020. As countries try to reopen after lockdowns, the evening rugby match marked a milestone of sorts, and its importance wasnt lost on fans. Anyone whos a fan of live sport or even live music knows that if you're there, its totally different, he said. German exchange student Johanna Lindner said she'd never watched a rugby match before, and people back home were both curious and perhaps a little envious. As the final hooter sounded and the Highlanders kicked out the ball to win 28-27, the fans screamed and hugged.