Friday, January 26, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive 25/1/24

Nicola Willis agrees more needs doing when welcoming CPI data but Mark Mitchell lacks words to trumpet handout news

Most of our readers by now will be aware that the PM joined other politicians in what has become the annual trek to the Ratana Pa to try to curry favour with the Maori who celebrate the birth of the founder of the Ratana Church.

His speech can be found on the government’s official website, enabling you to learn what he said rather than what critics of the government were urging him to say.

Most readers will be aware, too, of the latest consumer price data and analysts’ musings about the implications – but her welcoming of the data was curiously expressed by Finance Minister Nicola Willis.

Prices rose 4.7 per cent in the year to December, the smallest annual increase in more than two years and an improvement on the 5.6 per cent increase for the year to September 2023.

She welcomed this:

“It’s good to see inflation coming down, but there is more work to do. Rampant inflation in recent years has created a cost-of-living crisis for Kiwi households who have been pummelled by steep price increases.”

No, inflation is not coming down. The cost of living was 4.7 per cent higher in the December quarter than it had been a year earlier.

The best that can be said of this is that the rate of increase was not as great as it had been three months earlier.

But true, there is more work to do if the government wants to welcome the annual increase in the CPI falling within the official target zone set for the making of monetary policy.

Willis said:

“The coalition Government is working hard to strengthen the economy so we can reduce the cost of living and get inflation back under 3 per cent.”

The remit for the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (which was changed in December) retains an inflation target of 1% to 3% over the medium-term, with a focus on the 2% mid-point.

The change removed the objective to support maximum sustainable employment.

But the most puzzling press statement came from the Minister of Emergency Management and Recovery, Mark Mitchell.

The essence of his announcement was plain enough:

Flood resilience across the Wairarapa will be increased thanks to the Government’s commitment of more than $8 million across five projects.

His predecessor, Kieran McAnulty, made several announcements like this in press statements such as –

6 OCTOBER 2023

The Government has approved new funding to boost resilience and greatly reduce the risk of major flood damage across Waikato, Thames-Coromandel, Manawatu-Whanganui, and Wairarapa.


The Government has today confirmed $2.5 million to fund a replace and upgrade a stopbank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant.


The Government is helping businesses recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and attract more people back into their regions.

The headline on the statement from the current Minister – in glaring contrast- did no more than proclaim his portfolio title:

24 JANUARY 2024

The headline on a statement from Agriculture Minister Todd McClay today much more helpfully tells us what he has done:

Latest from the Beehive

25 JANUARY 2024

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) for Veterinarians continues to deliver more vets to work across rural New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.

24 JANUARY 2024

Flood resilience across the Wairarapa will be increased thanks to the Government’s commitment of more than $8 million across five projects.


Speech for the 151st anniversary of the birth of Tahupotiki Wiremu Rātana.

Finance Minister Nicola Willis has welcomed the decline in the inflation rate but says there is still more to do.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

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