Hell of a day to be sworn in as prime minister
Chris Hipkins will be sworn in as prime minister this morning after Jacinda Ardern formally tenders her resignation. Around the same time, Stats NZ will drop the latest inflation figures.
In today’s edition: Titewhai Harawira dies; Luxon outlines position on co-governance; UK looking to attract more Māori and Pasifika people on work visas; but first, it’s still big Wednesday as a new prime minister is sworn in and the inflation figures land
Inflation figures will be announced today as Chris Hipkins is sworn in as prime minister (Image: Tina Tiller)
Today’s agenda - no time for contemplation
Today was always going to be big. We were already calling it Big Wednesday, then last Thursday happened. Even before Jacinda Ardern resigned, we knew we’d get the inflation figures and the first cabinet meeting of the year today. The economy and the cost of living are set to be the key issues this election year, and today’s figures are the starting horn. New prime minister Chris Hipkins will be sworn in this morning. He won’t get a lot of time to contemplate his big moment. He will lead his first cabinet meeting straight after and then head into his first post-cabinet press conference. An outline of how today will proceed here. Stats NZ will release the consumer price index (CPI) figures for the last quarter of last year around 10.45am.
The Reserve Bank will be right either way
The consensus seems to be that inflation may have peaked. As RNZ’s Giles Beckford reports, economists are picking a CPI of 7.1%, down from the September quarter’s 7.2% and short of the Reserve Bank's (RBNZ) November forecast of 7.5%. The concern right now is that non-tradable inflation (domestic inflation) is expected to hit a new record high. Good analysis from Stuff’s Tom Pullar-Strecker here on the psychological importance of what happens today and the RBNZ being right, no matter what happens. Either we listened to Adrian Orr in November and cooled the jets or the central bank will be justified in another offical cash rate rise in February.
Fuel subsidy and transport support package ends January 31
Any fall in the CPI is expected to be a result of easing cost pressures on tradables (overseas). A significant drop in fuel prices aided by the continuation of the government's fuel tax cuts is expected to have contributed to any fall. On January 31, the government’s transport support package will expire. The transport sector is already warning it will increase the price of everyday goods.
“If you are going to leave with a brass band, leave with a brass band from Rātana”
Ardern will also formally tender her resignation at Government House this morning. Her audience with the Governor General is private. She will slip away quietly, the speech she wasn’t expecting to give at Rātana yesterday her final farewell before a valedictory in April. Despite the commentary about the abuse and vitriolic threats to her life she’s endured, Ardern said the job had been the greatest privilege of her life and wanted people to know that she leaves “with a greater love of Aotearoa and its people than when I started.” Her speech in full here.
Titewhai Harawira dies, aged 90.
The mother of eight sons, including former MP Hone Hawawira, Titewhai Harawira will lie in state at Hoani Waititi Marae in Henderson and return to the north for burial. Journalist Mihingarangi Forbes described her this morning on Twitter as “relentless, purposeful and irreplaceable, the embodiment of mana wahine.” Harawira would frequently challenge politicians and was a member of Ngā Tamatoa, an activist group which formed in the 1970s to promote Māori rights, fight racial discrimination, and confront violations of the Treaty of Waitangi. They presented the 1972 petition to parliament to have te reo Māori taught in schools. Harawira was a familiar face at Waitangi, often escorting prime ministers onto Te Tii marae over Waitangi weekend. She was one of the leaders of the 1975 land hikoi that marched from the Far North to parliament and was active in the Māori Women's Welfare League.
Luxon’s Rātana speech
The tradition of travelling to Rātana really belongs to the Labour party but National party leader Christopher Luxon attended yesterday and delivered a speech outlining his views on co-governance. Luxon said he had wanted to be clear that National did not agree with co-governance in public services, but did want Māori to achieve and get ahead. He did not believe co-governance in public services was the way to do that. He said he thought the government had been messy in its approach to co-governance which had created fear and division. Stuff’s Luke Malpass writes that Luxon achieved his mission of delivering that message, but needs to move past stump speeches and “politics 101 primers”.
Bread, butter, Coke, Pepsi: on PM Hipkins
In the blink of an eye we’ll have a new NZ prime minister. Annabelle, Ben and Toby assess the coronation, the reset and what it all means for election 2023 in a new episode of Gone by Lunchtime.
UK looking to attract more Māori and Pasifika on working holiday visas
Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva talks to British High Commissioner Iona Thomas about the United Kingdom’s push to get more Māori and Pasifika people accessing the holiday visa scheme. As part of the free trade deal signed between the UK and New Zealand last year, the bilateral arrangement that gives young people from one country the ability to work in the other for a limited period of time was enhanced. The age limit for applicants will lift to 35 and the visa duration will extend from two years to three. Josiah Tualamaliʻi, a co-founder of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust, says young Māori and Pasifika could benefit immensely from efforts to reduce barriers to accessing the visas.
Click and collect
The capital gains tax question emerges again
The Economist’s deputy editor on what lies ahead for 2023
Work begins on independant monitoring of impact of any contaminants from Tiwai Point aluminium smelter on the surrounding coastal marine area
An early heads up on what the month of April brings for parents with school-aged children
It’s worth making sure the chairs your employees sit in aren’t terrible
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Friends - literally good for your health
Surveys in the US and the UK have found people’s friend groups have shrunk and many have lost contact with friends over the course of the pandemic. If you want 2023 to be the year you remedy that, here are some great reads on the importance of friends. The first is from the Washington Post on why tending to your friendships is as important as getting to bed early or eating well. The second is from Elle Hunt in The Guardian on bringing back the casual, expectation-free and somewhat spontaneous “hang”. It’s reminiscent of Anne Helen Petersen’s 2021 piece about the “errand friend”.
Hi Anna, I couldn't see how to contact Tommy de Silva on the Spinoff site, but his discussion on subsidies for E bikes is timely. He should also be advocating (and almost everyone in this country) for bikes/e-bikes to be exempt from FBT. The government make tiny amounts from FBT yet it means employers can't give employees the opportunity to purchase a bike without FBT being payable. Bike to Work schemes are standard in Europe and should be a no-brainer here in NZ.
"It’s worth making sure the chairs your employers sit in aren’t terrible" - should that be "employees"?