The news that mattered this morning included Phil Twyford's criticism of Treasury's advice on housing investment, Kelvin Davis ruling out a mega-prison at Waikeria, news of a house building factory in Auckland, confirmation of a major scale-down of grants from Callaghan Innovation and America putting its trade war with China on hold.
'Treasury's kids' - Housing Minister Phil Twyford said on Friday the "bean counters" at Treasury had wrongly halved its forecast for residential investment to $2.5 billion and MBIE had correctly forecast the Kiwibuild programme would generate up to $11 billion investment.
"Some of these kids at Treasury are fresh out of university and they're completely disconnected from reality," Twyford said. "I disagree with Treasury's numbers. MBIE officials have done the same calculations, they've made a much more sensible set of assumptions, and instead of cutting back the impact of residential investment to two and a half billion, they think it could be as high as $11 bilion," he said. ( Stuff )
PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay said he was disappointed Twyford made personalised comments about advice from officials.
"It is public servants' job to give free, frank and fearless advice to politicians. Sometimes, this will involve giving those politicians advice they do not like - but that is their role in ensuring an open and transparent democracy," Barclay said. "The age of the public servants who prepared this advice is irrelevant, as their work is endorsed by their Department - in this case, Treasury."
No big prison - Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said on Sunday the previous government's plan for a 3,000 bed 'mega-prison' at Waikeria had been taken completely off the table, but the Government has yet to decide on an alternative. ( RNZ )
Callaghan scheme ending - Science, research and technology minister Megan Woods confirmed on Sunday Callaghan Innovation's growth grant programme would close to new applications from March 31 next year, while existing grant holders will continue receiving their grants until March 31, 2020. The move is not unexpected, given the switch from growth grants to Research and Development tax credits was confirmed in the Budget. ( NBR )
Factory coming - Fletcher Building's residential CEO Steve Evans said Fletcher would announce further details of a new high-tech fast house-building panelisation factory in Auckland next month. "We have a panelised factory that's being negotiated now. We're in the process of negotiating a lease and it will be in Auckland," he said. ( NZHerald )
On hold - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said overnight the U.S. trade war with China was “on hold” after China and America agreed to drop their tariff threats while they worked on a wider trade agreement. ( Reuters )