Live updates, November 12: Judith Collins defends diversity of new shadow cabinet

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for November 12, covering all the latest New Zealand news, updated throughout the day. Reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz

7.45am: Judith Collins defends diversity of new shadow cabinet

National’s leader has defended becoming the party’s spokesperson for Pacific peoples, in a fiery interview this morning on RNZ.

Judith Collins unveiled her new shadow cabinet yesterday, revealing Paul Goldsmith and Gerry Brownlee had been dropped far down the list following the election campaign, but that Andrew Bayly and Michael Woodhouse received mega promotions.

The finance portfolio has been split between Bayly and Woodhouse, with the former moving up 13 spaces on the party list to number three on the list.

“It’s very important to me that we have a focus… on both the fiscal and the monetary side of the finance area.”

Asked about whether Simon Bridges had turned down the finance spokesperson role, Collins said you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. “[Each MP] had spoken to me and had interviews with me… the New Zealand public expect us as a party to do better”.

Woodhouse, who lost his health spokesperson role during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic for his role in leaking private patient details, has moved up into the fourth slot on the party list. Collins said New Zealanders are “passed all that silly stuff” and she was more focused on the health of New Zealanders and the economy. “Those matters have been dealt with,” Collins said.

Collins has taken on the role of National Party spokesperson for Pacific peoples in the new reshuffle. It followed an election campaign where Collins was accused of politicising her husband’s ethnicity. “I’m, obviously, in the caucus better placed than anyone else to deal with that,” Collins said.

“I consider Pasifika peoples a portfolio that I am very privileged to be able to hold and I will do my very best to undertake that… we don’t have any person in our caucus who is actually of Pasifika heritage.

“I am someone who does have deep connections with Pasifika, particularly with Samoa, and I am very happy to take that portfolio.”

Collins said the ongoing review of the National Party, run by the board, has not informed her decision-making on the cabinet rankings and portfolios.

Read more: Ten eybrow-raising decisions from Judith Collins’ caucus shake-up

7.40am: Top stories from The Bulletin

A big day for the Reserve Bank, with a range of announcements on monetary policy, with big implications for the housing market. First of all, the headline official cash rate will be kept at the record low of 0.25% – and as the NZ Herald reports, a new Funding for Lending (FLP) programme will be rolled out to banks. This is effectively what it sounds like – the Reserve Bank would “offer commercial banks a discounted retail rate which would lower their funding costs and enable them to cut mortgage rates further.” The expectation is that it would give banks an incentive to lend money to households and businesses, who would then use it to stimulate the economy.

On those two moves, one part of the economy is certainly likely to stay stimulated – the overheated housing market. That’s certainly the view from National, whose shadow treasurer Andrew Bayly put out a release saying there was little in the RBNZ announcement that would require such lending would go to productive investments, rather than just being parked up in property. In response, I’ll take a quote from journalist Bernard Hickey’s new (very good!) newsletter The Kākā, which noted:

The bank defended the lack of ‘strings’ attached to the lending, although it was clear in the MPS that bank lending since March had focused on housing lending, and had fallen for businesses. The Bank said the lack of business lending was more about a lack of demand than a lack of bank appetite.

Is the housing market spiralling out of control the Reserve Bank’s responsibility? Technically no, explains Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan. The RBNZ has a mandate to keep inflation at about the right level, and set monetary policy at a level that will support maximum sustainable employment. But it’s fair to say their moves have a huge impact on the housing market.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

7.30am: Yesterday’s headlines

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced a new funding for lending programme will be rolled out next month

The impacts of Covid-19 on Auckland Council continued, with new forecasts indicating $1 billion hole in its finances by 2024.

Vanuatu recorded its first official case of Covid-19 – a man who flew into the island nation from the United States via Sydney and Auckland.

The West Indies cricket team, currently in managed isolation in Christchurch, had training privileges revoked for repeatedly breaking the rules.

There was one new case of Covid-19, in managed isolation.

National leader Judith Collins unveiled the party’s new list ranking and shadow cabinet.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand revealed it was looking to reinstate loan-to-value ratio restrictions on high-risk lending early next year.

The government announced a new $70 million fund that will allow businesses to access financial support to switch from coal and gas to cleaner electricity.

The government pledged $100,000 towards a “mayoral relief fund” to support those affected by the severe flooding in Napier.

Donald Trump continued to claim he’d won the US presidential election.

Read yesterday’s live updates here.






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