Bottom-lines on display in minor parties debate; home ownership set to rise as rates fall; National outspends Labour on infrastructure; Kiwi dollar plunges; and more
- Bottom-lines and coalition partners were highlighted during the minor parties' leaders' debate on TVNZ last night. The Greens and Progressives confirmed they would not work with National, while Act and United Future said they would not work with Labour. The Maori Party will deal with either major party. Despite being ruled out by National, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he would work with any party. "We face such a dramatic economic crisis, there is no time for these petty differences," the Dominion Post reported. The New Zealand Herald focused on Tariana Turia's comment that all voters on the Maori roll, not just Maori Party supporters, would be welcome at hui to decide which party and policies her party would support.
- The number of people owing their own homes is expected to rise, says the New Zealand Herald's lead story, as interest rates and house prices fall. Auckland loan specialists Cairns Lockie have calculated that people paying about $32,000 a year at last year's high interest rates of 10 per cent could be soon paying $25,000 if rates fall to 7 per cent...The affordability of buying and owning a house is improving."
- The Kiwi dollar hit a new five and a half year low of US54.35c last night as Japanese speculators fearful for their own economy brought their cash home. The yen surged and the Australian and New Zealand dollars plunged. The dollar's drop came as economics group Infometrics predicted that New Zealand would fall into another recession in the first half of 2009. While decreasing petrol prices and interest rate cuts could see growth over the final six months of this year, the continued fall of house prices, spending and export demand could see the economy contract again next year.
- The recession is sending more Dunedin people to pharmacicts for free consultations, according to the Otago Daily Times. Downtown shopkeepers say sales are "up and down", but garden centres reported strong sales as people chose to grow their own vegetables.
- National is promising to spend nearly twice as much on infrastructure as Labour, according to Colin Espiner writing in The Press. John Key has said his government would spend $8.5 billion over six years, adding that the Greens' opposition to building new roads means a Labour-Greens government could not make the same infrastructure investments.
- The DominionPost front page is dominated by the headline: The Forgotten Patient. Anita McCall, 48, died in August 2006 after she was lost in the hospital system for over a year. Wellington coroner Garry Evans has found that the mother of three could have beaten her cancer had three letters of referral not been lost by the Hutt Vally health system.