Here is the news that mattered this morning in New Zealand's political economy, including a looming decision on dealing with mycoplasma bovis, the start of printing of Budget 2018, a blowout in the state housing needs list, Shane Jones' latest attack on Air New Zealand and North Korea's threat to the nuclear summit next month.
D-Days loom - Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor plans to make a decision within seven to 10 days on whether to keep trying to eradicate mycoplasma bovis or whether to accept its presence and manage its spread and effects. The key deadline is the June 1 'Gypsy Day', when farmer owners and sharemilkers often move their stock at the start of a new contract or the completion of a sale.
The Ministry of Primary Industries reassured farmers yesterday those farmers not under controls would be able to move stock, but O'Connor warned them to comply with rules in the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) requirements. O'Connor announced last night after a meeting with DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers, Rural Women New Zealand, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Fonterra and the Meat Industry Association they had committed extra staff to help farmers with compensation claims, while MPI had committed to make an initial compensation payment within two weeks of an application.
Budget printing starts - Finance Minister Grant Robertson hosted a gaggle of journalists around a Petone printing plant yesterday as the print run on his first budget started. The now traditional event includes no detail about the budget, but plenty of promises that they will come after "just two more sleeps." Robertson did reveal he would not be eating a Budget day pie (a tradition started by Bill English) and he would have a fresh tie, probably donated by a friend.
The E Tu union announced industrial action yesterday at Blue Star printing plants, including the one used to print Budget 2018, but Robertson said it would not affect the delivery of the Budget. The full Newsroom team of reporters in Wellington, including myself, Lynn Grieveson, Shane Cowlishaw, Sam Sachdeva and Thomas Coughlan will be in the Budget lockup in the Beehive's Grand Hall from 10.30am until it is published at 2 pm on Thursday.
Housing need blowout - Housing Minister Phil Twyford published be making a major investment to tackle the national housing crisis on all fronts in Budget 2018 later this week) figures yesterday showing the public housing waiting list had increased 26 percent in the past three months, which was the largest increase in four years. Figures released as part of the Housing Quarterly Report to March 2018 and Housing Regional Factsheets showed there are 7,890 households in need of public housing and a further 1,805 households waiting to be transferred from their existing public house. Twyford said the Government would "be making a major investment to tackle the national housing crisis on all fronts in Budget 2018 later this week."
Price hike attack - Regional Development Minister Shane Jones attacked Air New Zealand again this morning after it confirmed a five percent increase in domestic ticket prices because of higher fuel prices and other costs. ( Newshub )
Hiccup - North Korea announced this morning it had indefinitely postponed high level talks with South Korea later today, citing a joint South Korean-United States air force drill. The rogue state also warned the drill could threaten President Kim Jong Un's summit with President Donald Trump on June 12. ( ABC )