Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Statistics New Zealand said today. This was due to a net migration loss (more departures than arrivals) of
10,600 people, partly offset by a natural increase (more births than deaths) of 1,700 people.
"This is the first official estimate of population change in Christchurch city, and across New Zealand's
subnational areas, since the Canterbury earthquakes," acting Population Statistics manager Deb Potter
The 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes, along with a 22 percent rise in international migrant departures
(people leaving New Zealand permanently or long-term), had a major impact on local population change
in the June 2011 year.
For some parts of the country, population growth accelerated as people relocated from the earthquakeaffected
areas. The five territorial authority areas with the fastest rate of population growth in the June
2011 year were the districts of Selwyn, Queenstown-Lakes, Ashburton, Waimakariri, and Hurunui. All of
these districts are located in the South Island, with most close to Christchurch city.
However, for many parts of the country, population growth slowed as an increase in international migrant
departures was only partly offset by an inflow of people from the earthquake-affected areas. Of New
Zealand's 67 territorial authority areas, 43 had a lower level of net migration in the June 2011 year than in
the previous June year. Of these 43 areas, 39 are located in the North Island.
The was the cup that is, just. The childlike headlines can be pasted in the kids' scrapbooks -- oops, cached on their iPads. Now we come back down to earth. We may find the earth is moving.
The last seven weeks have had an end-of-empire feel -- end of the Roman empire, that is: lavish spending by imperious officials on public spectacles and games to divert and entertain the plebs and narcotise anxiety and discontent.
And as at the end of the Roman empire, barbarians hover just beyond the horizon. They come these days in the form of northern hemisphere banks and debt rating agencies. The banks require German and other well-run European countries' taxpayers' money to rescue them from what were supposed to be safe bets on risky or feckless Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, Spaniards and Italians.
But the taxpayers are less and less fond of banks: the Occupy Wall Street movement may not have a detailed programme but it -- and the Tea Party -- reflect deeper, and international, currents of discontent and anger. Peter Dunne dropped in on the Wellington branch and bothered about "wealth and opportunity disparity", as he might have in his long-gone Labour days.
And if in the end governments and banks aren't rescued, financial pain will spread round the world and this time governments and central banks do not have the wherewithal to rescue economies on the post-2008 scale. That goes for China as well as for the old rich countries whose brilliant financiers got us into this.
If the 2008 crash finally really crashes, it will cut the capacity of the old middle classes in the old rich countries and the new middle classes in the rising countries to buy our food and to buy products made from Australia's exports.
If that happens and it then takes a while to come right, the next parliamentary term here could be downbeat or even bleak.
Now note that the world's population gets to 7 billion next Monday, give or take a few days.
That is twice the 1960s population and people are using resources about 20 per cent faster than the sun and earth produces or replenishes them. (Some say faster.) This cannot go on indefinitely: outbreaks of water and food shortages round the world tell us that. That is food for conflict.
So far there is little sign of strategic Beehive or official thinking about what this means for us. No party wants to seriously debate population.
Population puts the spotlight on India, set to be the most populous country on current trends and a growing economic power. Tim Groser is seeking a free trade agreement. A "NZ Inc" strategy for India issued last Thursday after months on the desk of the dynamic Murray McCully, reshaper of our global destiny, aims to align the actions of departmental and agency officials and the private sector in the hope we do more business there.
Six other NZ Inc country and regional strategies, some completed months ago, are to be issued next year.
Trade is the NZ Inc preoccupation. McCully's speech to a foreign issues conference on Thursday focused tightly on trade. The India strategy gives one paragraph to "people-to-people exchanges" plus some tips on differences. Just as with China, there is no plan to build an educated public knowledge of the history, heritage, culture or languages of these two emerging giants.
The strategy is tactical rather than strategic.
But neither, so far, has the government been strategic about the looming 2020s fiscal crunch in pensions and health services. John Key sticks to his 2008 commitment to a pension qualifying age of 65 and Tony Ryall's vigorous (and effective) focus has been on more efficient delivery of selected services.
This is the backdrop for the election campaign which can get serious now the cup's run is over: short-term uncertainties that could turn nasty and, in the background, longer-term global structural change.
The Labour party hopes to link the external financial turmoil and its effects here such as the country debt downgrade to cabinet action or inaction. It will use today's pre-election fiscal and economic update and forecasts, which is likely to display more red than the budget did back in May, to say the tax cuts were irresponsible and fiscal management skewed.
The National party's interest is in getting through the next five weeks looking calm and in-charge. It's poster set is accordingly more-of-the-same.
The risk for National is that voters buy its soothing line but that things go bad after the election and there is a whiplash. This is obviously not a 2011 election risk but it is a 2014 risk.
Of course, there is another scenario: that there is not a new and worse global financial crisis and slowdown because Europe fixes its immediate mess and China stays on its growth trajectory, that gradually over the next 10 years rich countries fix their badly red-inked balance sheets and that smart organisation and new technology solve the global resources challenges -- and that here we stay on cruise.
Place your bets.
Shapiro may be under-stating the gravity of the situation. If we are talking collapse, why not look at the big one: 1931?
There were many straws in the wind in 1931; the Wall Street collapse of 1929, plunging world trade, ongoing wrangles over war debts and reparations but the one that broke to camel’s back was the collapse of the largest Austrian bank, Creditanstalt. Creditanstalt was insolvent because its assets had depreciated. Investors bailed out and other banks cut its credit lines.
Creditanstalt was founded by the Rothschild’s and its failure came as a shock as it was regarded as impregnable. It had been the most important bank of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire and also had support from central banks. Its collapse in May 1931 soon took many other banks with it, especially in Germany.
Banks fell like dominoes because the collapse of one make all banks suspect. Inter-bank lending begins to dry up. This is serious as many banks depend on short-term funding. But there is also counter-party risk. A failed bank cannot meet its contractual obligations and this causes almost endless repercussions as happened when Lehman Bros fell in 2008.
The storm in Europe 2010-2011 has expanded beyond the periphery, and is beginning to make inroads into the core. First it was Greece, then the Mediterranean’s and Irish. Last week the crisis struck through the Dexia Bank (NBR 14/10) to the Benelux area, core of the EU. Last week Max Bank of Denmark failed and swag of British banks was downgraded. This week the Erste Bank of Austria admitted to huge losses.
I have good contacts in the Erste Bank and its difficulties brought to mind the Creditanstalt collapse of 1931. The eastern periphery of Europe is presently wracked with huge difficulties of which we hear little. I might cover these in another column as they have all the usual sovereign debt problems plus Hungary’s horrors of having to repay outstanding loans in appreciating Swiss Francs.
The 1931 crisis differed from 2008 because 2008 was largely a banking crisis. In 1931 a banking crisis brought down the credit of nations. When Austrian banking assets froze in 1931, the pressure moved to Germany where foreign investors tried to realise assets. A run began and massive loans were removed from Germany. The Banks of England, France and International Settlements, plus the Federal Reserve extended credit to Germany but not the long term loans which were necessary.
Meanwhile a general shortage of funds led to many realising their most liquid assets, often deposits in London. London funds drained, exacerbating fears about sterling and increased the drain. Reserves melted despite French and American loans. The British Government resigned on August 23. Although the UK’s difficulties were largely temporary, the drain of
funds led it abandon the gold standard on September 21. It also devalued. Others followed in order to remain competitive. This destroyed a pillar of the international system. .
While fiscal and monetary conditions have been very relaxed since 2008, the opposite occurred in 1931. In the UK, for example, the state cut wages, provoking a mutiny in the Royal Navy. Moreover, while the economy has almost recovered to 2008 levels, in 1931 the world economy nose-dived. There is much international cooperation now, but it virtually ceased in 1931: by 1932 Britain passed the Import Duties Act which ended 75 years of free-trade. Most countries hurriedly constructed protective economic devices like tariffs, quota, and currency controls etc. Blocs formed, like the British Empire’s preferential tariffs.
To sum up: The 2008 crisis was a severe shock to the financial system, which was contained by states supporting collapsing institutions (and adding to sovereign debt). While the economy received a severe shock in 2008, the following economic recession was moderate and most states have almost recovered to 2007 levels of GDP. There has been little deleveraging so far. Monetary and fiscal policies have been very liberal.
1931 was a severe crisis which not only damaged financial institutions but wrecked the credit of nations, destroyed the gold standard and international cooperation. Nations began to wage economic warfare. World trade withered with calamitous falls in prices, especially of commodities. The world slid into a grim depression with widespread poverty and massive unemployment.
Can a slide be halted?
A 2008 or 1931 episode is not inevitable. Policy makers are well aware of the horrors of the 1930’s and are determined to prevent a slide into systemic collapse. There is still a huge degree of international cooperation and goodwill. Both the EU and G20 will employ their best efforts in the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, there is some concern that markets may deteriorate before remedies can be put into place. The rating agencies and bond traders are concerned about the quality of many assets and the ability of sovereign states to service their debt or banks (and their counterparties) to maintain solvency.
The current secret EU plan, a very “planny” plan (NBR 14 Oct) will be hard to deliver if it involves, as anticipated, increasing bank capitalisation, the bailout fund, and haircuts on Greek debt. It may not be enough. The market wants Germany to underwrite all EU debt but the Germans are understandably averse to assuming an impossible burden
Global Challenges, the UN & NZ: A Green Perspective - Dr Kennedy Graham - NZIIA Major Economic & Foreign Policy Issues Seminar
Today's discussion is about the major economic and foreign policy issues facing New Zealand over the next five years, from 2012 to 2017. The theme throughout today has been mainly on the global dimension of that - the global commons and the global economy, with specific focus on trade and security. This final session is on the multilateral setting.
I mention this because clarity in recognizing the conceptual framework for any discussion is a precondition of any consensus in policy analysis and prescription. So let me offer some thought first on the relationship among these dimensions.
The idea of global unity is millennia old in a philosophical sense - from earliest days of human thought through to modern times. The ancient civilizations carried the innocent belief that their value system was divinely ordained, intrinsically valid and universally applicable.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Let me begin by commending the Minister of Justice, Mr Power, for his commitment to concluding the 10-year project that this is for reforming the framework governing criminal procedure in this country. It is nothing short of herculean and I salute him for his ability and his determination. His Government will be the poorer for his departure. I pay tribute, in particular, to the substantive changes he has made to the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill within the past week.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Today the Chch group of BizPro (at least a small number of us) had an informal meeting with Raf Manji.
Raf runs the online Sustento Institute and is a former market trader turned sustainable economics thinker – and a very good one (thinker, not trader).
Last night he held a public film evening (‘The Economics of Happiness’) which was attended by 115, and at the end of which I spoke and a discussion followed.
It was a good evening. He is prepared to do something similar in Wellington and I recommend that James discuss this with Raf.
We’re now planning to invite Raf to a lunch for the broader Chch BizPro group on Monday, October 3.
He will address the question: ‘How to survive the global financial and ecological crises (crisis): Tips for political parties’.
I’m inclined to think we should have this at the Green Office (finger food lunch), rather than at a café or restaurant – less expensive and noisy. That will be confirmed.
I encourage all Chch members of BizPro to come to this – he’s a thoughtful and articulate analyst, and it is an important topic.
He did state, at one point, that it was his personal view that the Provincial Buildings should be restored, but he is clearly unwilling to make a public statement to that effect, even though he is prepared to make strong statements about building owners and insurers whose wrangles are delaying progress on demolitions.
Although we were undable to cover the full range of issues we would have liked to discuss, we have left a list of those issues with the Minister and we hope that his officials will address at least some of these items in the coming days and weeks. I think it is fair to say that the meeting was as productive as we could have reasonable hoped for, and more useful than some of us anticipated.
The fact that we had the meeting at all was due to the persistence of our co-chair, Brendon Burns, and we certainly appreciate his efforts to achieve this milestone for IConIC. Brendon, however, took the occassion of this afternoon's meeting to indicate that the time has arrived for him to step down from his chairing role. I think everyone involved with IConIC will want me to thank Brendon for his efforts both on behalf of heritage in Chirstchurch but also to recognise his efforts to save as much of our built environment as possible over the last seven months. Irrespective of our individual political alliegences, I'm sure we all wish Brendon well as he seeks a further term as Christchurch Central MP. We hope he will continue to attend IConIC meetings as time allows.
Interests in Conserving the Identity of Christchurch
Thank you also to all those who attended the meeting today for their contributions towards putting our case to the minister.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Once inside you are in a hall of mirrors where, under the tutelage of Lewis Carroll, nothing is as it seems.
Yesterday I thought I was asking questions, not of the Minister of Energy but of the Acting Minister. The real minister is preoccupied, understandably, with seismic duty to the south. Being an inhabitant of that region, I understand.
Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM to the Acting Minister of Energy and Resources: Does she agree with the Prime Minister, who said "companies like Solid Energy are growth companies and we want them to expand in areas like lignite conversion"?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
This year's Budget is essentially more of the same: a traditional neoclassical Budget in a time of national austerity. Let me critique it from a Green perspective, and offer an alternative, ecological Budget in a time of global crisis.
The 49th Parliament has passed 224 Acts in 30 months. These Acts reflect the Government's world view to make New Zealand a better place as it sees it. What stands apart in importance for every Government and every Parliament is the annual Budget, which sets the course for a country's macroeconomic policy.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
1. Overall political positioning
Agrees that, until such time as we are in a position to lead a government, the Green Party will campaign on the basis of the following political position:
(i) The Green Party is an independent and distinct party, which in order to urgently advance Green Party policy goals, will attempt to work constructively with, and challenge, whichever party leads the government after an election;
(ii) To enable any party or parties to form a government, we would need significant progress on Green Party environmental, economic and social policies, and initiatives that give effect to the Green Party Charter.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM to the Minister of Energy and Resources: By how many tonnes would Solid Energy's proposed lignite projects in Southland increase New Zealand's gross greenhouse gas emissions in 2020?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister of Energy and Resources) : I understand that this morning Solid Energy informed the Commerce Committee that depending on the scale of technology used, gross emissions could be 10 million to 20 million tonnes per annum. I also understand that Solid Energy has said on many occasions that taking full responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions is a key consideration in its lignite developments and it expects its lignite-based plants to achieve full carbon compliance.
I sat in on Parliament's financial review of Solid Energy yesterday, and heard CEO Dr Don Elder tell the committee that his company — whoops, our company — meets New Zealand’s, and the world’s, sustainability expectations.
That’s sustainability as redefined by Solid Energy.
Southland has, said Elder, world-scale quantity and quality of lignite. On today’s prices, let alone projected future prices, it would earn trillions and squillions of dollars, with which might be bought: hip operations, teachers, rural broadband rollouts galore. A pony from Santa for every child for Christmas. That kind of thing.
I didn’t write the dollar-numbers down. I tried, but the CEO had the bit between his teeth, and he was galloping.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
2 Russel Norman
3 Kevin Hague
4 Catherine Delahunty
5 Kennedy Graham
The Greens last week celebrated the Treasury's venture into wider measures of wellbeing. Come November 26, will they be celebrating their own broader support?
"This is one of the best news stories in my living memory," Green MP Kennedy Graham enthused about the Treasury's "higher living standards" paper, which sets up a "framework" for a wider assessment of prosperity encompassing social and environmental factors in addition to economic measures.
"Our singular focus on growing gross domestic product (national production) has concealed the related decline in other measures of our prosperity, like the rapidly declining quality of water in our rivers and lakes or the record growth in inequality. If we change the measure, we're likely to change the outcome," Graham said. "It is a good start."
the Creech report is a shoddy piece of work and fails rudimentary tests of professional standards. First, the report lacks intellectual integrity. It criticises Environment Canterbury for being science-driven and not science-informed. The Creech report is politically-driven and not politically-informed. If it were politically informed, it would acknowledge that democracy is bigger than business; that the subsidiarity principle is bigger than government; and that one does not replace elected councillors with appointees of central government, just because they are making decisions one might not like. That is political arrogance of the highest order.
The Green Party strongly opposes this Bill – the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill.
This Bill may come to mark an historic occasion – which may live on in infamy in the annals of this Parliament.
Last week in General Debate I advanced a critique of the Creech Report and its recommendations. I do not wish to repeat myself here. Suffice to say that the report was politically-driven and not politically-informed, and failed basic standards of organisational and managerial professionalism.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Party MP Dr. Kennedy Graham, a former NZ and UN diplomat who recently
questioned the legitimacy of Operation Enduring Freedom in the New
Zealand Parliament. At lunch, Graham eloquently displayed his
extensive knowledge and understanding of global affairs, particularly
climate change and international law. An evident multilateralist,
Graham remained strong in his assertion that a government must, above
all, consider international law when embarking on national action to
advance global security and revealed he has sponsored legislation to
that end. Graham may be a moderating influence on his frequently
radical party. His contribution to party discussion could yield more
pragmatic policy positions which could, in turn, allow for closer
relations with NZ's two biggest parties, the more mainstream National
and Labour. The meeting with Graham was highly positive and
established the makings of a constructive relationship. End Summary.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I rise to address the situation in Christchurch and the plight of the people of my city as we head into winter.
Two and a half months after the devastation that rocked and racked New Zealand's second-largest city, Christchurch remains in a strange psychological state, essentially one of suspended animation. We have survived, most of us, the immediate crisis of the death and destruction, the liquefaction, and the deprivation of power, water, and sewerage. We have mourned our dead, apologised to other nations, straightened our backs, shut down the inner city, restored basic services, shared education facilities, and established a new Government agency for the rebuild, with extraordinary powers given to the Minister. Now is the time to plan for the rebuild.
The Green Party has a substantive policy base which we will support by networking and strengthening the links between the business sector and the Green Party. The Group will also inform and educate our Green members about the critical role business plays in our economy, ways to embed better business practice, and other opportunities for positive engagement. The Network will highlight the breadth of business models available and the ways they can address sustainability, including cooperatives, social enterprise, SMEs and larger corporates.
See : Sustainable Business Policy Summary
• Support and educate businesses to adopt sustainability as a core value
• Protect business from outright competition with products and services from countries with poor human and worker rights records and with poor environmental practices
• Encourage public and private investment in sustainable businesses
• Promote public recognition and pride in New Zealand companies
• Support New Zealand's manufacturing base
• Make it easier for businesses to invest in appropriate technology and research
• Make compliance easier, especially for small and medium enterprises
GB will establish an email list, a Facebook page and will meet on occasion (typically at scheduled party events) to plan activities and to network.
David Clendon is the MP responsible for Sustainable Business
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
As Parliament's third largest party, and the only minor party consistently polling above the 5% threshold, they are serious, long term political players.
Perhaps too serious for the media at times, to be honest.
The struggle for control of the Act party or the fight between the Maori and Mana parties has the drama and tension news editors understandably look for when putting together appealing newspapers and news bulletins.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
This is a rather historic moment. Apart from in wartime New Zealand I think we are passing into law arguably the most Draconian legislation ever passed by a New Zealand Parliament. I do not wish to be melodramatic, but we have experienced a dramatic event, and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill is a dramatic bill. It has generated much heat, yet only occasionally some light—but enough light—to shine a faint torch on what we are doing here today. This bill is a dusty mirror to who we are as a society. It raises issues of an underlying nature, I think, about our national identity, our national style, and our beliefs, and I shall say more about that later. In the meantime let me make three points.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
This meeting focuses principally on the rebuild of the inner city, and is the first of three meetings.
I have enlisted various recognized experts to assist including Di Lucas (ILFA), Suzanne Valance (LU), Jasper van der Lingen (NZIA), Prof Andy Buchanan (UC), Chris Kissling (LU) and Andrew Dakers (EcoEng).
Within the forum, we will address issues of land, urban design, architecture, water and transport.
Please join me and have your say on the future of our city.
When: Wednesday 20th April, 7pm
Where: Christchurch Netball Centre, South Hagley Park
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Of course none of us wanted this. We did not want the event of 22 February. We did not want the devastation. We did not want and never expected to have legislation of this kind before our House.
I speak with some emotion, having lived in the city through the past 7 months. I have experienced the sheer drama of death and destruction around us. I have organised volunteer groups into the suburbs to shovel and doorknock, and initiated fundraising for food delivery to those in need. I have attended the heart-wrenching memorial services for the dead. I have entered my office to retrieve equipment still cordoned inside a drop zone. I have visited civil defence headquarters on an almost daily basis. Just last week I toured the devastated red zone—a visually searing experience that simply breaks one's heart. Yet the emotion all of us in Christchurch feel over this event must be separated from our perception of the legislation before us and our responsibility to be true to the basic principles of democratic society as we know it in this country. Not only is the Christchurch disaster unprecedented but so is this legislation.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
This first of a series of three public forums invites the public to make that input into the future of Christchurch. We suggest that three principles be recognised:
- community resilience
- risk management
- ecological integrity
Friday, April 8, 2011
Under the custodianship of the National Controller and a USAR colleague, I entered the Red Zone today. Frustrated at the political machinations of inter-party politics, I requested a one-on-one visit and, to my surprise, was given it. Adorned with hard hat and jacket, and having signed away my life, in we went.
Today I peered directly into the abyss that is the broken heart of Christchurch.
Along with all others I have seen the photographs that have circumnavigated the world. And I have, since week 1, been in the yellow zone that includes my office and the Art Gallery, almost on a daily basis. I know how crumpled buildings look. I know what it is to sense death among the rubble.
Yet nothing prepares you for the inner city.