Build the facilities and we will fly there says Pacific Blue

Pacific Blue is offering the prospect of flights to many more destinations in Australia provided governments pick up the cost of border control and security services at airports which do not currently have those services available.

Services between Wellington and Canberra are a hot prospect for the carrier, which says it is evolving from a low cost leisure airline to competing with traditional carriers for the business market.

Pacific Blue's Commercial General Manager, Adrian Hamilton-Manns, told a Wellington business audience that liberalization of travel rules on the Tasman will lower airfares but won't necessarily open up more destinations.  The mater is currently being studied by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

How to close the cinome gap with Australia

 

The 2025 Taskforce headed by Don Brash to find ways of closing the income gap with Australia is seeking ideas about what needs to be done.

A letter from Don Brash has gone out to dozens of business and community organisations and leaders seeking "a brief submission (2-3 pages) outlining your views about what needs to be done to close the income gap with Australia."

The letter specifically asks for input on the barriers to New Zealand's achieving incomes as high as comparable countries, what the government should do about those issues, and how much difference it would makes if the changes proposed (by the submitters) were implemented.

Mobilise Kiwi Ingenuity

Bill English says there's no silver bullet to rescue the New Zealand economy and put it on the road to recover. Perhaps he's right. But there are plenty of people who think they have "the plan" which if only people would follow it, would result in miraculous amounts of prosperity for all.

Roger Douglas as a Minister in the Labour government, and then in ACT, was forever sketching plans on a whiteboard to show that the paths to prosperity and electoral success were simple.

Zealous thinkers believe that if only others believed what they "know to be true" then nirvana would be achieved in their lifetimes, and probably within the term of the then current government.

How to close the income gap with Australia

The 2025 Taskforce headed by Don Brash to find ways of closing the income gap with Australia is seeking ideas about what needs to be done.

A letter from Don Brash has gone out to dozens of business and community organisations and leaders seeking "a brief submission (2-3 pages) outlining your views about what needs to be done to close the income gap with Australia."

The letter specifically asks for input on the barriers to New Zealand's achieving incomes as high as comparable countries, what the government should do about those issues, and how much difference it would makes if the changes proposed (by the submitters) were implemented.

Dr Brash describes raising productivity and closing the income gap as "clearly the biggest economic challenge New Zealand is facing."

Kiwis' insular world view needs to change

Globalisation will work better for NZ with policy changes and a shift in attitude says the Treasury.

A tough talking Treasury working paper is calling for further changes to immigration policies and investment rules so New Zealand can gain more benefits from its open economy.

It seeks to reduce barriers to foreign investment, and also questions whether agriculture will continue to be the backbone of the economy.

A wide range of domestic policies need to be changed to give more weight to improving New Zealand's international connections, including making direct foreign investment easier (see the IKEA story below).

More tax cuts still needed says Treasury

The Treasury is calling for further cuts in personal and company tax despite the large and continuing deficits in the government's accounts over the next decade.

The tax cuts are a "key priority" to revive growth and make New Zealand more competitive, Treasury Secretary Dr John Whitehead said in a speech to business leaders in Wellington this morning.

"There is a growing view that the high mobility of our skills base means high personal income taxes are especially harmful for New Zealand's growth and productivity. 

Alternative to Picton terminal back on the agenda says KiwiRail

Clifford Bay, the much talked about but never acted upon alternative South Island rail ferry terminal, is back on the planning agenda at Kiwi Rail.

KiwiRail's chief executive Jim Quinn told a Wellington business audience this morning that KiwiRail was keen on the project for a number of reasons.

"As a champion of productivity, we are interested in reducing travelling time for passengers and freight."

Having the rail ferries discharge at Clifford Bay east of Blenheim near Lake Grassmere "would cut at least an hour off the travelling time from Wellington and would make Auckland to Christchurch a same day journey."

"Taking the ferries out of the Marlborough Sounds would also avoid any risk of environmental damage," Mr Quinn said.

Big issues in regional transport

Transport remains one of the Wellington region's most vexed and difficult issues. Although there are plenty of initiatives and solutions proposed, the key is still securing government funding.

In aviation, Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) has just released a long term strategy plan for consultation. It envisages passenger numbers doubling in the next ten years but only a ten percent increase in aircraft movements.

The difference is the expected shift to larger aircraft both domestically and internationally. WIAL chief executive Stephen Fitzgerald says the $450 million investment plan allows for the introduction of modern long range mid sized jets like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.

Changes sought in leaky homes law

A leading legal practitioner on leaky homes wants changes to the current law to enable claimants to keep more of the settlements they are awarded and to extend the current time limit on the claims period.

Dan Parker is the principal of Parker and Associates, a specialist litigation firm in Wellington that has handled hundreds of leaky home cases.

Owners of leaky homes can pursue claims through the High Court or seek an independent assessment and mediation through the Watertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS).

Parker's issue is costs.

"In the WHRS, the claimant gets costs only if they can prove that the other side's case lacked 'substantive merit" which is a high threshold, basically that they had no case at all.

Governance changes sought in Wellington

Hard on the heels of Auckland's forthcoming formation into one regional city, the Chair of Wellington Regional Council is proposing changes to the governance of the Wellington region.

Fran Wilde is proposing a single regionally-based council responsible for all strategy, planning, infrastructure and network issues, and with the sole rating power in the region.

She wants to retain the current territorial local authorities as "community councils". 

This differs from the Auckland model, which replaces the seven city and district councils with one super council and up to thirty community boards.

Ms Wilde, who was an MP for eleven years and a previous Mayor of Wellington, is now in her second term on the regional council, her first as chair.