8 things that mattered this week

A tui in a flame tree. Photo by Suzanne McFadden

Here's my read on the eight things that mattered in the political economy over the last week.

1. Behold, the Tui

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr revealed his monetary policy plumage this week. He's a tui, rather than a hawk or a dove. Sounding and looking more open and engaging than his predecessor, he forecast interest rates didn't need to rise until late next year and said his current view was balanced. Rates could just as easily be cut as hiked, he said. The New Zealand dollar fell to a four-month low of 69.3 USc because the Reserve Bank lowered its inflation and growth forecasts slightly and saw a slightly later start to rate hikes. See the full report from Newsroom's Thomas Coughlan.

2. 'Tighten your belts. Again

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced another budget inquisition to look for cost savings and indicated previous savings and tax windfalls would go on increased operational spending in Budget 2018 next Thursday, rather than than a bigger capital spending plan. See the full report from Newsroom's Shane Cowlishaw here.

3. Faster (more expensive) track

Transport Minister Phil Twyford launched a procurement process for two light rail lines in Auckland costing around $6 billion after a NZ Super Fund -led consortium launched an unsolicited bid to build, own and run the lines. He said the model could also be used for light rail in Wellington and Christchurch. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the move could bring forward the lines by up to 20 years. See the full analysis from Thomas Coughlan here on why it may become an expensive money-go-round.

4. Black market news

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor detailed another widening of the m.bovis outbreak, suggesting it could cost $1 billion. Officials blamed a thriving black market for cows and poor compliance for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme. See more here from BusinessDesk's Jonathan Underhill on this spreading story.

5. 'Look what I got for you'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters displayed the nearly $1 billion extra in funding he had secured in the Budget for MFAT to spend on aid in the Pacific and 50 more diplomats to do trade deals with Europe and Britain. See the full report from Newsroom's Sam Sachdeva here.

6. 'No underarm banking please'

Orr ordered the Australian-owned big four banks in New Zealand to prove they were different from their parents in Australia. He said a cultural check was necessary and a "cultural readjustment may be necessary. See the full report from Newsroom's Lynn Grieveson here.

7. Trump vs the World

US President Donald Trump pulled America out of a deal that swapped sanctions relief on Iran to limit its nuclear programme. Europe and New Zealand lamented the move, which is expected to further destablise the Middle East. Israel launched airstrikes overnight to destroy Iranian bases in Syria after Iranian rockets were fired at the Golan Heights. Meanwhile, Trump announced his summit with Kim Jong Un would take place on June 12 in Singapore, saying he wanted to make it a "special moment for world peace!" He also said many people wanted him to win the Nobel Peace prize...

8. Trump World's 'essential consultants'

The world learned a lot more this week about how Trump's closest confidantes and connections used that proximity to make money for themselves, including from New Zealand through its embassy in Washington. The New York Times reported US corporates paid Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen millions for 'consulting services' through a shell company called 'Essential Consultants LLC', hoping to win access and influence with Trump.

Newsroom's Sam Sachdeva revealed ](https://pro.newsroom.co.nz/articles/2734-long-read-the-deal-stryk-struck-with-nz) New Zealand's own attempts to get closer to Trump through an aspiring lobbyist and Trump devotee called Robert Stryk , who it turned out inhabited a world of arms dealers, alleged fraud, and "uncomfortable" auditions for foreign allies. Read Sam's piece to understand more. It's the best thing you'll read all week.