Posts by Russel Norman

  • Russel Norman

    National’s innovation policy in three charts - by Russel Norman



    If Steven Joyce is such a believer in innovation, why is he planning to cut his investment in innovation so dramatically? Here, in three charts, is what National’s long-term commitment to innovation looks like: 1. National will cut their investment in science and innovation by 21 percent, in real terms, out to 2023/24. 2. The […] read more
    July 17, 2014 1:12 pm - 4 Comments
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    Double win for Greens in economics this week - by Russel Norman



    National has finally relented to years of Green Party pressure to put the Government’s banking contract to competitive tender. This banking contract – the largest, most lucrative banking contract in the country – has been held by Australian-owned Westpac Bank since 1989 and has never been retendered since then. In 2010, we disclosed this cosy […] read more
    June 26, 2014 12:00 pm - 2 Comments
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    Peria School in Northland proving John Key wrong - by Russel Norman



    According to John Key, solar PV systems “never pay for themselves, let alone reduce energy bills, or make money”. That was his response when we launched our Solar Homes policy earlier this year. Well, Peria School in the far North is about to prove the PM wrong. I was up there on Monday cutting the […] read more
    June 25, 2014 8:25 am - 2 Comments
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    The climate week that was - by Russel Norman



    This was the week we put climate change back on the political agenda. It seems people were waiting for it. The strength of feeling that’s emerged – frustration at New Zealand’s slide backwards into inertia over the climate crisis, anger at National’s indifference, excitement that the Greens have tabled a win-win proposal, and a real […] read more
    June 6, 2014 9:38 am - 18 Comments
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    Green bonds set to help finance green economy - by Russel Norman



    Twenty-five of the world’s largest banks – including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Morgan Stanley – recently released the governance framework for a green bond market which is seeing billions of dollars flow into green economic opportunities around the world. While there are still some concerns with […] read more
    April 22, 2014 12:53 pm - 5 Comments
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    First day back at parliament - by Russel Norman



    Parliament’s back this week, and as is tradition for the first day of the year, party leaders had the chance to outline our priorities for the year and our greater vision for the country. I used my time to talk about this year’s election, which I see as a turning point in our history. The […] read more
    January 29, 2014 6:22 pm - 10 Comments
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    Keeping more of Meridian in public ownership - by Russel Norman



    Yesterday, I announced a new plan that will keep more of Meridian Energy in public ownership. Purchasers in the Meridian sale are paying for it in two instalments. They paid $1 in October and, in May 2015, they will be required to pay a second instalment of 50 cents, at which point their instalments receipts […] read more
    December 9, 2013 10:25 am - 6 Comments
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    A few thoughts on the police and the GCSB - by Russel Norman



    A few thoughts on the release of the Executive Summary of the police investigation into illegal spying at the GCSB. 1. GCSB say trust us, but won’t cooperate with investigation: A number of GCSB staff exercised their legal rights and refused to answer questions to assist police with their investigation into a very serious breach […] read more
    November 27, 2013 2:19 pm - 17 Comments
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    European trip thoughts - by Russel Norman



    I’ve just returned from a nearly three week long work trip to Europe. I started the trip with Tau Henare and Darien Fenton, as part of a NZ Parliamentary delegation, and then I headed off by myself to talk to various policy and political groups.Here are a few thoughts from the trip. We started in […] read more
    October 21, 2013 1:50 pm - 2 Comments
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    Two smart measures to make our Reserve Bank fit for purpose - by Russel Norman



    The Treasury released papers last week recommending that the Reserve Bank move towards a committee structure for making future decisions on the Official Cash Rate (OCR). New Zealand is now alone in relying on a single person – the Reserve Bank Governor – to set the OCR. No other country in the developed world leaves […] read more
    October 10, 2013 12:40 pm - 4 Comments
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    Why are we investing in coal? - by Russel Norman



    The World Wildlife Fund have today revealed that over $1 billion of New Zealanders’ pension and accident insurance money is invested in companies directly mining for coal, oil, and gas — companies who’s future profitability depends on burning fossil fuels that have to stay in the ground if we are to avoid runaway climate change. […] read more
    August 15, 2013 1:03 pm - 23 Comments
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    Next steps on a fair exchange rate - by Russel Norman



    The Greens are committed to pragmatic steps to get the dollar down and stabilise the exchange rate so that our exporters and local businesses have a level playing field against international competitors. That will mean more jobs and higher wages for New Zealanders. Last year, I released a proposal on monetary policy. Today, I’m launching a […] read more
    June 19, 2013 12:25 pm - 31 Comments
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    Muldoon and Key - by Russel Norman



    In my speech to our party conference last week, I compared John Key to Robert Muldoon. This has provoked a furious response from the Right who accuse me of being a migrant who has no right to speak about Muldoon. So lets have a look at it a bit more rationally. Obviously Key isn’t exactly […] read more
    June 8, 2013 11:48 am - 65 Comments
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    National Provident Fund divests from cluster munitions - by Russel Norman



    The Government guaranteed National Provident Fund has divested from companies producing cluster weapons, more than two years after the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act became law making such investment illegal. The decision to divest from Lockheed Martin came after a letter from me asking them to do so. The NPF Fund Manager, Simon Tyler, said in […] read more
    June 6, 2013 1:23 pm - 10 Comments
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    Private money ‘printing’ takes off again - by Russel Norman



    In the debate around monetary policy, it is often forgotten that the default position is that the private banks create most of the money and lead the increase in the monetary supply. They then charge interest to the users of the money that they have created. The public authorities create very little money. The notes […] read more
    May 27, 2013 11:22 am - 170 Comments
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    Power Struggles – by John Small - by Russel Norman



    Pasted below is an article by John Small from Covec that was published in the Dom Post a couple of days ago. In it he argues that NZ Power should reduce prices and significantly improve retail competition, and new generation will still be fundable. He further states that there are some important details that need […] read more
    May 15, 2013 10:52 am - 38 Comments
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    Will Auckland’s housing price bubble be different this time round? - by Russel Norman



    Maybe. Yesterday, the Reserve Bank signalled enough concern about rising house prices in Auckland that they spooked commentators with the possibility of early rises in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) and a more certain resolve to use complementary tools, like loan-to-value ratios. I have more hope following this statement that the Reserve Bank has learned […] read more
    April 10, 2013 10:25 am - 13 Comments
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    Open letter to the Speaker re: Question Time - by Russel Norman



    Rt Hon David Carter Speaker of the House of Representatives Parliament Buildings Wellington 20 March 2013 Dear David After sitting through another chaotic question time I feel compelled to write this open letter to you as Speaker. I strongly urge you to revert to the set of rules that Lockwood Smith had developed over the […] read more
    March 21, 2013 9:24 am - 12 Comments
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    Is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English a climate change denier? - by Russel Norman



    Is the Deputy Prime Minister of our country a climate change denier? It may well be the case. During question time in Parliament yesterday I wanted to get into the lack of focus and inaction from this Government on climate change which is starkly highlighted by the suffering our drought-stricken farmers are going through. I […] read more
    March 14, 2013 12:30 pm - 142 Comments
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    From 100% to 5% - by Russel Norman



    The Government has suggested that up to 90% of shares will be owned by New Zealanders, and Treasury’s figures show that around 5% of all New Zealanders will be able to afford to buy shares. Without even thinking of the Australian share float, which will dilute Kiwi ownership, the asset sales program is about a […] read more
    March 5, 2013 11:13 am - 385 Comments
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    Liam Dann on defending the status quo - by Russel Norman



    Liam Dann continued his series of defending the status quo on banking and monetary policy (here and here) this week with his column on Reserve Bank policy. While I appreciate Dann’s contribution to the discussion, his failure to offer a single positive solution effectively denies the huge difficulties our productive sector is facing or the […] read more
    February 7, 2013 10:18 am - 18 Comments
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    Latest overseas investment decision ABBAsolutely stink - by Russel Norman



    The Overseas Investment Office has just approved the sale of eight Waikato dairy farms comprising 3,205 hectares of land to a Swedish consortium. This decision follows last year’s contentious decision to allow Chinese Company Shanghai Pengxin to purchase the Crafar farms.  The 16 Crafar farms comprised nearly 8000 hectares of farmland. An overseas purchaser must […] read more
    February 1, 2013 1:21 pm - 3 Comments
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    The green economy: It’s the Green Party versus National, but where is Labour? - by Russel Norman



    (Op-ed published in the Herald on 3 December 2012) Green development and green jobs provide a clear vision and economic direction for our nation. We can have good jobs without destroying the environment, and we can take advantage of the huge green economic opportunities overseas to supply exports with a premium. That’s what smart green […] read more
    December 5, 2012 1:04 pm - 52 Comments
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    The US experience of QE - by Russel Norman



    The United States began their programme of quantitative easing (QE) late in 2008 as a response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Since that time, the US Federal Reserve has purchased $1.9 trillion of assets, keeping their financial markets afloat and lowering the US exchange rate. A lower exchange rate helps exporters. I asked the […] read more
    October 11, 2012 12:42 pm - 34 Comments
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    Minister for Billionaires - by Russel Norman



    Revenue Minister Peter Dunne on 60 Minutes on Sunday night endorsed “legitimate tax avoidance”. That’s an unusual position for the minister responsible for tax collection to take, and quite different from his views of the past: Tax tightening covers asset sales shortfall: Dunne NZ Herald Wednesday June 20, 2012 The Inland Revenue Department’s clampdown on […] read more
    October 9, 2012 3:36 pm - 20 Comments
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    Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Reports - by Russel Norman



    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Reports are hard to find and don’t seem to be available online, so we’ve uploaded them. Here they are: 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Will post 2012 once available. Russel UPDATE 29/08/13: Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Report […] read more
    September 28, 2012 5:00 pm - 28 Comments
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    A fairer society is a richer society - by Russel Norman



    A new United Nations Trade and Development Report has found that reducing taxes for those who earn the most has not delivered widespread economic prosperity, as promised. In fact, the UN has found that such policies have caused developed economies to stagnate and grow increasingly unequal. The UN report found that better income distribution within […] read more
    September 14, 2012 12:56 pm - 14 Comments
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    Australian Budget introduces new eco-taxes - by Russel Norman



    The Australian Budget yesterday was remarkable for a number of reasons, not only for the fact that they’re one of the first Western countries to return their Government’s books to surplus. The 2012 Australian Budget institutes a raft of new measures to raise revenues, especially revenues from activities that damage the environment. These new eco-taxes […] read more
    May 10, 2012 1:16 pm - 5 Comments
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    Our high exchange rate is killing exporters - by Russel Norman



    The high kiwi dollar is preventing the long overdue rebalancing of our economy according to Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Alan Bollard. Dr Bollard made those comments in June 2009 to his Board when the kiwi dollar was worth US$0.63 and the Trade Weighted Index (TWI) was at 60. Since this time, the kiwi dollar has […] read more
    April 24, 2012 10:27 am - 58 Comments
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    How to crash the budget - by Russel Norman



    The fiscal neutrality or otherwise of the 2010 tax changes is important because it goes to the heart of the economic competence of National.  They claimed the cut to income tax for upper income earners plus the cut to the company tax rate was balanced by the increase in GST and other tax changes. That […] read more
    April 5, 2012 12:07 pm - 6 Comments
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    Will privatising energy companies improve the Govt’s debt and deficit position? No. - by Russel Norman



    The National Government has used the government deficit and debt to justify the privatisation of assets. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, the deficit and debt problem has been made much worse as a result of this Government’s very poor revenue and spending decisions. But does privatising the assets really help the deficit […] read more
    March 29, 2012 1:39 pm - 80 Comments
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    Creating debt to justify privatisation - by Russel Norman



    The National Government has consistently used the argument of government debt and the budget deficit as the primary reason for partially privatising our state-owned energy companies: Genesis, Mighty River Power, Meridian, and Solid Energy. Yet the debt and deficit have been made much worse as a result of the decisions of this Government. Our debt […] read more
    March 22, 2012 7:23 pm - 49 Comments
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    Fukushima II - by Russel Norman



    As I posted earlier, I was able to spend a day in Fukushima on Wednesday. I was able to talk with a couple of the local Mayors as well as a number of locals known to the MP I was travelling with. It was illuminating and I’d like to record a few observations. The first is at […] read more
    March 16, 2012 9:31 pm - 12 Comments
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    Fukushima Diary - by Russel Norman



    Photos and tweets from my March 14th trip to the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, where they are still feeling the devastating effects of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident one year on. read more
    March 15, 2012 4:17 pm - 7 Comments
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    The Green Growth Advisory Group report - by Russel Norman



    Over the weekend, the Government released the report of the Green Growth Advisory Group (GGAG). The GGAG is appointed by the Government and headed by Phil O’Reilly from Business NZ. The report is a timid acknowledgement of the growing global and domestic green economy and the opportunities and risks that creates for New Zealand. As […] read more
    March 5, 2012 1:26 pm - 22 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Crafar saga will keep Govt busy for 2012 - by Russel Norman



    The Overseas Investment Office’s habit of rubber stamping applications to buy New Zealand land finally met a brick wall with the recent High Court decision regarding the Crafar farms. The Crafar Farms went bust a few years ago and are now being sold by receivers Korda Mentha on behalf of Australian banks and finance companies […] read more
    February 24, 2012 5:51 pm - 12 Comments
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    Horizons chairman hot under the collar on World Cup Tickets - by Russel Norman



    On Sunday we released information gained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act that several regional councillors had received gifts and hospitality from Fonterra in the form of Rugby World Cup tickets for quarterfinal and bronze medal matches. There is a clear conflict of interest when the regulator is accepting gifts from the […] read more
    December 14, 2011 12:28 pm - 2 Comments
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    Fonterra’s fencing rule a step in the right direction - by Russel Norman



    I want to congratulate Fonterra for announcing that all waterways on Fonterra farms must be fenced within 18 months as condition of supply. This is a positive step in addressing our declining water quality. Previously Fonterra farmers were encouraged to fence off their waterways as part of the voluntary Clean Streams Accord. But it’s great […] read more
    December 5, 2011 11:23 am - 18 Comments