The broad swathe of Government and industry fell in behind a 10 year plan costing $886 million to eradicate mycoplasma bovis, the Salvation Army called on the Government to urgently convene an expert group (rather than an MBIE one) to kickstart KiwiSaver, Jacinda Ardern is riding high in the polls (while Simon Bridges isn't) and political turmoil in Italy is threatening to force a referendum on it staying in the euro zone.
Full court press - Farmers and the National Party swung in behind the Government's plan announced late yesterday to spend $886 million to try to become the first country in the world to eradicate mycoplasma bovis, albeit over 10 years. The plan will see a further 126,000 cattle slaughtered (just under one percent of the national herd), mostly over the next year or two.
The Government said a management regime would have cost $1.2 billion over 10 years and a 'do-nothing' approach would have cost $1.3 billion. Taxpayers will pay for 68 percent of the plan, which contrasts with the 50 percent paid during the PSA outbreak seven years ago.
But mass stock movements will still go ahead on Friday when sharemilkers move their herds to new farms. Many farmers will also move thousands of dairy cows to properties for winter feeding. The mass movements will challenge a discredited stock tracking system (NAIT) that was widely credited with allowing the disease to move around unmonitored to start with. MPI acknowledged the risks, but said the only other option would be to “shut down the entire industry”.
'Get on with it' - The Salvation Army called on the Government to urgently set up an expert group "charged with delivering the required number of Kiwibuild houses quickly at an affordable cost for families needing them," it said, adding "Government departments are not presently well equipped to direct the Kiwbuild programme."
"The Kiwibuild programme needs to be directed by New Zealanders who have between them a wide range of high-quality skills. We urge the Government to urgently convene such a group so that the Kiwibuild concept can deliver as quickly as possible this homeownership housing," the Salvation Army said, indicating a growing frustration with progress on Kiwibuild. ( Interest )
Bridges behind - Support for National rose one percentage point to 45 percent in TVNZ's Colmar Brunton poll published last night, while Labour was steady on 43 percent and the Greens fell one to 5.0 percent from a month ago. New Zealand First fell 0.8 percent to 4.2 percent.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rose four percentage points to 41 percent as preferred Prime Minister, while National Leader Simon Bridges rose two points to 12 percent and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters fell one point to four percent.
The results echoed those of Newhub's Reid Research poll published on Sunday night, which showed National up 0.6 points to 45.1 percent, Labour up 0.3 points to 42.6 percent and the Greens down 0.3 percent to 5.7 percent. New Zealand First fell 1.2 points to 2.4 percent. In that poll, Ardern was on 40.2 percent as preferred Prime Minister, while Bridges was at 9.0 percent, which Newshub said was a 10 year low. Winston Peters was on 4.6 percent and Judith Collins entered the preferred PM standings for the first time at 3.7 percent.
Regressive saving - Australia's Productivity Commission released its draft report this morning into Australia's 27-year-old compulsory superannuation system. It concluded unintended multiple accounts and entrenched poor performance hurt the young and the poor the most. "The impact is highly regressive. It causes great harm to young people, workers on low incomes and workers in and out of the workforce," the Commission's Deputy Chair Karen Chester wrote.
"With default funds being tied to the employer and not the employee, many members end up with another account every time they change job," she said. A third of accounts (about 10 million) were unintended multiples, meaning excess fees and insurance premiums amounted to A$2.6 billion every year. The Commission recommended moving to a New Zealand-style system of members being defaulted only once when they start working for the first time.
Democracy? - Italian politics were plunged into turmoil overnight and the whole eurozone shuddered after Italy's head of state (a bit like our Governor General) rejected the new governing coalition's choice of Finance Minister because he was a eurosceptic seen as likely to damage financial market confidence in the heavily indebted country's government bonds, which are held by banks across Europe. The Five Star-Northern League coalition collapsed and a pro-euro technocrat was put in charge. Politicians demanded the head of state be impeached. ( New York Times )
New elections are expected later this year, which some now think will effectively become an Italian referendum on whether it will stay in the euro zone. An 'Italexit' vote would be financially and politically disastrous for the euro zone. ( Reuters )