National’s innovation policy in three charts

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 […]

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Improving productivity – one research paper at a time?

The latest report from the Productivity Commission, ‘Productivity by the Numbers : The New Zealand Experience”  offers a snapshot of the productivity performance of New Zealand’s economy.  Sadly, it confirms what is generally well known, that as a country we feature at the wrong end of the relevant statistics. We are told that “New Zealanders work about 15% […]

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If New Zealand was a banana, would we be getting sued?

There is a bit of a David and Goliath battle shaping up in the intellectual property domain, with NGO Fairtrade New Zealand and Australia taking on one of the world’s largest fruit suppliers, Dole bananas. Dole has been on notice that its so-called ‘ethical choice’  label is misleading.  A consumer might reasonably believe that it […]

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Fair hearing for Denniston in Environment Court

Forest and Bird deserves every success in its Environment Court case to protect the distinctive coal measures ecosystems and landscapes of the Denniston Plateau. This week the Court began hearing the Society’s appeal against West Coast councils granting resource consents under the RMA to Australian miner, Bathurst Resources’ destructive plans for an open cast coal […]

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The damaging dollar – how to ease exporters and save jobs

As you might be aware, Russel floated a proposal in the weekend to address our high dollar which is damaging our exporters and manufacturers and costing kiwi’s jobs. We pulled together a brief Q&A to help explain the proposal. Why does getting the dollar down matter? Our dollar is over-valued because all our trading partners […]

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Repeat after me: no environment, no economy…

The Government’s Minister in Charge of Many Things, Stephen Joyce, has become repetitive in his claim that those who oppose his economic agenda are simply anti-business, anti-jobs, anti-science,  anti-New Zealand making its way in the world.  This claim, most recently recounted in relation to the dirty deal being proposed to increase problem gambling in Auckland, is in equal […]

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Can’t or won’t?

On Tuesday, Steven Joyce, Minister of Economic Development and Science and Innovation, wrote about the ‘you cant’s’ of our country, in an opinion piece in the NZ Herald. Feeling that perhaps I am one of those people he criticises as ‘people who in the one breath chant “more jobs, more jobs” and then in the next breath say “but don’t do that, or that, or that”, I thought I would ask Mr Joyce a few questions about why he and the National Government are saying ‘we won’t’ to a prosperous and sustainable Aotearoa

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The Christmas story: Russel Norman’s Address in Reply speech

“These are the values that help to lay down the essential nature of what it means to be human and guide us to live a ‘good’ life – good to ourselves, good to one another, and good to the world in which we make our livelihoods.” – Russel Norman. Address in Reply speeches are long, […]

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Boom times for oil and gas?

This morning’s  Dominion article about ‘boom times’ for the gas and oil exploration industry is an intriguing, even slightly funny, mix of boosterism, drum beating and dissimulation. The Chair of PEPANZ appears almost breathless with excitement as he seeks to fulfil the primary objective of his organisation, “to publicise, promote and advance the interests of […]

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Invest in sustainability or uddermine our future?

Some straight talking from Michael Coote in an NBR (July 1st) article about the Indian economy. Noting the government’s enthusiasm for a free trade agreement with India,  Coote writes that : “The D-word – dairy – cited by Mr Key in in linking together the wonders of free trade with China and India should give […]

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‘Green Growth’ – making it real.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the Pure Advantage group come up with later today when they launch their campaign “to deliver world-leading improvements to our economy, our environmental performance and the living standards of all New Zealanders”.  I suspect it will be considerably more innovative and better informed than what we saw earlier this week from the government-appointed  […]

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Tertiary education cuts still not healing

The Tertiary Education Union is concerned that NorthTec is looking to cut positions in trades training at a time when there is already a serious skills shortage.   We can expect the demand for trades people will only increase when the rebuilding of Christchurch begins in earnest, and the development of infrastructure in Auckland proceeds apace, among other things.  I’m […]

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Green ravings = government policy, apparently.

My second favourite comic strip is Matthew Hooton’s weekly contribution to the National Business Review. The NBR is a useful read – its political perspective and analysis is generally different from mine, and they break some interesting stories. In the latest (December 3rd) issue, Mr Hooton reveals that, “…everyone from Mr [Trevor] Mallard to Mr […]

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Who’s slowing Auckland down?

The skirmish that has broken out between Mike Lee and Steven Joyce could well herald the opening of an all out war. Len Brown came into office on a platform (among other things) of advocating strongly for public transport investment, with a key project being the CDB rail loop to open up the ‘dead end’ that is Britomart, which will reduce the congestion in the inner city area that imposes significant cost on businesses as well as compromising the ability of people to get around quickly and easily.

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Key in denial about inevitable impact of carbon charges and oil shocks

John Key’s reaction to the distance-based UK departure tax shows just how out of touch he is about our economic future. This Government is deeply in denial. There is no question that climate change and rising fossil fuel prices will change travel patterns, and we should be taking this future into account in our tourism […]

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Will Labour really take action on child poverty?

Annette King’s speech to the Labour Party conference over the weekend was all about how Labour’s policy will focus on children and “put our children first”. It all sounds quite familiar, but, all cynicism aside, it is really good to hear Labour talking like this. The more political parties put children at the heart of […]

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Doing the business with businesses

July has been a busy month so far, especially for my small business portfolio.  On Monday 5th July I hosted a Smart Business breakfast in Christchurch. It was a  cosy meeting (despite the frosty morning!) at the ‘Under the Red Verandah’ cafe  with a diverse bunch of people including representatives from the renewable energy sector, coffee  roasting  industry […]

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The Volunteer Economy – Podcast

Check out the latest podcast from Parliament. It’s a goodie. Green Party MP and serial volunteer Catherine Delahunty recounts one of the most entertaining and impressive experiences of a coordinated volunteer programme.  It took a village of volunteers to support a community court case against a mine in the Coromandel, sustained over several months. It’s […]

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Fish industry uses net to catch hoki criticism

To the surprise of conservationists, in 2001 the New Zealand hoki fishery was recognised as a sustainably managed fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council. Yet conservationists have continually raised concerns over how the fishery could possibly be sustainable when bycatch rates of NZ fur seals and seabirds are so high and the bottom trawling equipment […]

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