Another cash rate cut in store?; National's promised tax cuts take a hit; record number of Aussies move to New Zealand; regional fuel tax approved; maternity system criticised; and more
- The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its official cash rate one percent yesterday, leading to speculation about a drop for New Zealand's cash rate, reports the Herald. The RBA dropped the rate from 7 to 6 percent, the biggest drop since 1992. Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard said a drop in the NZ cash rate should be in response to the economic outlook, not a reaction to global market turmoil.
- The National party unveils its economic policy today and promised tax cuts have been scaled back to accommodate the changing economic picture. While middle-income earners can still expect an extra $50 in their pay packet each week, high income earners will lose out on projected tax cuts, reports the Herald. Party leader John Key said the economic outlook was worse than expected after the Government opened the books on Monday and it was revealed the country faced deficits for the next 10 years. The Dominion Post adds that Prime Minister Helen Clark is claiming National will raid the KiwiSaver fund to pay for promised tax cuts.
- A record number of Australians migrated last year and the highest proportion planned to move to New Zealand. More than 75,000 people left Australia permanently last year, according to the Emigration 2007-08 report. About 14,000 of them were headed to New Zealand. That still doesn't make up for the 31,900 New Zealanders who moved to Australia in the past year, says the Dominion Post.
- The Government has approved a regional fuel tax to pay for Auckland's massive rail electrification project. A fuel tax of 2 cents per litre takes effect next July and will rise to 9.5 cents per litre in mid-2011, reports the Herald.
- In the midst of global economic panic, Invercargill-based SBS has become New Zealand's newest bank, says the Otago Daily Times. Formerly known as the Southland Building Society, SBS has branches in Tauranga, Hamilton, Blenheim, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and Cromwell.
- A Christchurch doctor says the maternity system is a "scandal" with unnecessary risks to mothers and babies, reports the Press. GP Lynda Exton, author of The Baby Business, blames the 1990 maternity reforms, in which midwives were permitted to work independently of doctors. Health Ministry chief adviser for child and youth health, Dr Pat Tuohy, said the book was "misleading" and "sensational".
- The Press reveals that Starbucks outlets in New Zealand allow 7200 litres of water to slip down the drain each day. It is standard practise for the company to install a "dipper well" in each of their coffee shops, used for rinsing utensils. The tap runs constantly throughout business hours. Starbucks New Zealand general manager Paul Wood said, "This has highlighted the opportunity to look at how to reduce our overall water use and to reduce our environmental footprint, particularly in New Zealand."