Jan 18 2023

Turns out we did curb our spending before Christmas – new figures

With a recession looming, Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr warned of a need to curb consumer spending in the lead-up to Christmas. (Photo: Getty Images)

New Zealanders appear to have listened to the call from the Reserve Bank and cut down on our spending, at least according to new figures out today.

Retail card spending fell $166 million – or 2.5% – in December 2022 compared with November 2022, when adjusted for seasonal effects. It followed Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr’s call for New Zealanders to “cool the jets” ahead of forecast tough economic times.

Stats NZ’s business performance manager Ricky Ho said the fall in spending was large for a December – and represented the first drop in nine months.

Spending fell across five of the six retail industries, with the largest fall being from sales of durables – like furniture and hardware – down $95 million.

‘Braced myself’: Kiri Allan shares ‘kind note’ left on her truck

Kiritapu Allan (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

During a special live podcast event for The Spinoff’s Gone by Lunchtime at the end of last year, cabinet minister Kiri Allan went into detail about the stress of being a politician in a post-Covid world. She explained how she, like many other politicians, was often subject to vile and unprovoked abuse while out in the community doing their jobs.

One story involved a trip to Bunnings. “Literally [I was] being cornered in by two people who were very aggrieved around mandates locking myself, my partner and our two kids at the end of a row in Bunnings,” said Allan.

As a kind of counter point to this anecdote, I thought I’d share a post Allan made on her Facebook this morning where she revealed a kind message of support left on her truck.

“I braced myself for a note of other sorts… and then out fell this little letter of kindness,” wrote Allan. “There are lots of lovely people out there in the world – every now and then, it’s cool to get a little reminder.”

BBC sports show disrupted by ‘sex noise’ prank

There’s not much more to say about this but it’s the first week back and this feels like a worthy inclusion in the live updates.

The BBC’s live coverage of the FA Cup was disrupted by loud, err, noise that appeared to be coming from within the studio.

“I don’t know who’s making that noise,” said host Gary Lineker. “It’s toasty in this studio, it’s a bit noisy as well. I don’t know if somebody is sending something on someone’s phone, if it’s a joke. I don’t know whether you heard it at home.”

He later revealed that a phone taped to the studio in an apparent prank was responsible for the interruption.

Auckland’s Victoria Park ‘damaged’, music festival forced to shift

An Auckland music festival has been forced to shift locations due to damage to its planned venue.

The upcoming Gardens Music Festival, headlined by Fatboy Slim, was expected to take place at Victoria Park. However, it will now be held at the Auckland Domain on the same date, January 29.

A spokesperson for the event blamed damage caused by a previous event being held at Victoria Park, which 1News revealed was the Plane Sailing Festival held on January 6.

Garage Project warns it could soon run out of beer

The Garage Project Garage, Wellington

There’s nothing quite like a craft beer on a hot summer’s day – but Wellington brewery Garage Project has announced it could soon be out of stock following a CO2 shortage.

In a tweet, the company revealed that one of its sites was completely out of CO2, with over 60,000 litres of beer waiting to be finished. There’s no word yet on when a delivery of the gas might be made.

Speaking to RNZ, Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell said he was hopeful the situation could be rectified in a week or two, but “we just don’t really know when it might happen”.

The shortage of CO2 is also linked to sparse shelves in the frozen aisle of certain supermarkets. As detailed in a piece for The Spinoff last year, chicken nuggets and other frozen goods rely on CO2 for preservation.

National’s donors set party up for strong election campaign

Christopher Luxon with his Backbencher twin. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Election season may only just be getting started, but we’re already starting to get hints about the political year ahead.

The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan has broken down the 2022 Electoral Commission returns, revealing how much money each party pulled in via donations over the past year. It showed that National had a hugely successful 12 months, amassing $2.3 million from just 24 individual donors.

Comparatively, Labour pulled in $150,000 over the same period. Of course, Labour traditionally relies more on smaller donations in contrast to National. However, as Coughlan pointed out, National’s major donors provided more than $15 for for every $1 Labour raised.

It’s not known how much of this money was spent in 2022, but you can expect a lot will have been put aside for what is likely to be a tough election campaign.

The biggest single donor was Graeme Hart, the country’s wealthiest man, who donated $250,000 to National – and $100,000 to likely coalition partner Act.

In comments to the Herald, Labour’s general-secretary Rob Salmond said Labour was supported by thousands of people from all walks of life and accused National of having a “narrow focus on the wealthiest New Zealanders, both in its policies and its donors”.

Christopher Luxon with his Backbencher twin. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The Bulletin: Free dental care ‘a political dream and a financial nightmare’

Newsroom’s Jo Moir put the question of free dental care to prime minister Jacinda Ardern and writes that while it’s “an easy political win, given absolutely nobody would ever oppose it… it doesn’t stack up financially.” While Ardern wasn’t prepared to rule in or out any further changes to the party’s policy or manifesto in election year in Moir’s interview, we can probably take universal free dental off the list of election promises.

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