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Promises and Politics

Paul Keane
Washington

Some weeks, I struggle with an appropriate item to discuss, whilst others there are so many items of interest, I have difficulty in making a decision as to an appropriate discussion point. I always focus on the key areas of RCGs business those being, Retail, Property and Research as the base benchmarks for discussion. On occasions I go off the path, and enter into the areas of travel, particularly where I believe readers will be interested.

"I have always tried to avoid discussing politics or religion".

This week I have decided to discuss two items which I believe have a strange connection. Maybe an analogy is a better description!!

A few weeks ago I had the benefit of being invited to visit the White House when I was in Washington DC with some close friends who live in Oklahoma. The invite was through their local Congressman whom I had the pleasure of meeting in his offices in the Capitol Building. The experiences of both visits were memorable. To see the speaker of the White House and its tradition was something else, whist the drama of being in the seat of power in the Capitol Building was enthralling, with its hustle and bustle. Certainly it is something I will remember for a long time. The fact that Donald Trump is President and certainly invites disparaging comments from left and right political commentators is pretty well forgotten when you are in these seat of power environments. Security is a key word in both areas and it probably dominates as the one feature of both the White House and the Capitol Centre and is also very apparent in other areas of interest to tourists such as museums and monuments. Overall if you can forget the political and racial problems within the USA, the people of Washington DC pretty much get on with their own lives. So where is this story heading?

I said at the outset that this was an analogy, so here goes. Across the road from the White House is “The White House Gift Shop”. Just outside the store is a sidewalk stall selling all kinds of USA memorabilia. I wanted a cap with “Make America Great Again” for a friend in NZ. The Stall had caps for $10 whilst inside the Gift Shop the caps were $17!! An American customer told me to buy the instore cap as it was “made in America” as promoted by Donald Trump when he was on the election trail. Strangely, on inspection the cap was found to have been made in China, much to the derision of the USA local customer. Of course I proceeded to buy the cap from the stall outside which was made in Vietnam for just $10!! When I met the Oklahoma congressman in the Capitol Centre, he asked me how Mike Moore was, and proceeded to tell me what a great job he had done in the USA and how well liked he was as New Zealand’s Ambassador. I promised to pass on his regards.

"While I was away in September, the New Zealand elections were held."

On the night of the elections, the National Party were jubilant in a potential victory. A month later, just last week, a coalition was elected as the next New Zealand government. So here’s the analogy. Promises have been made by the elected parties as to building 10,000 new houses in Auckland within 10 years, whilst at the same time as reducing immigration. One will certainly impact on the other!! A new port is on the cards, the costs of which are undefined and transport and infrastructure costs are likely to impact negatively on our economy. It’s like the Trump cap, never believe what politicians promises!!

Conversely, the Mike Moore comment from a US congressman got me thinking. Certain politicians keep a low profile and do a good job, recognised by others. It is really all about performance in the end. We are judged by what we do rather than what we promise or say. I am sure we will see that evolve over the next three years and we will all watch with a great deal of interest.

Constructive Thought

Cruise ships are often a feature of NZ harbours these days, and the 2017-2018 season is now underway (running roughly from October to April).

Although cruise ship tourism has grown massively in the last decade, there hasn’t been much analysis of this market in the past. That’s starting to change, with Stats NZ releasing some info last week. This showed 222,000 cruise ship passengers visiting NZ in the last year – half of them from Australia, and with a “median age” of 65. It’s worth taking time to understand this market, which is quite different from the typical tourist (median age 41, and with a different split of source countries).

Overall, New Zealand had 3.7 million visitors in the last year, so cruise ships only accounted for around 5% of all visitors. But it would be unwise to overlook this growing market, especially when there’s an accommodation shortage in some New Zealand cities. Auckland hotels are running at 85% occupancy, and dangerously close to 100% during the peak summer months. Most cruise ships visiting New Zealand are three times the size of Auckland’s largest hotel (which has 450 rooms), so they’re one of the few growth avenues we have in the short term.

Cruise Ship

In the Press

Local Media Highlights Monday 16 October to Tuesday 24 October 2017

 

Council needs to find $2.1 million to complete Ngā Puna Wai project stage

More than $2 million is needed to finish stage one of Christchurch's multimillion-dollar Ngā Puna Wai sports hub. Part of the Christchurch City Council-led project is also delayed because of poor weather this year. The first stage was initially due to be completed in November this year, based on the original concept plan.

(Source: Stuff)

Council's 'Our city tomorrow' set to tackle future challenges head on

Wellington needs to find space for the equivalent of about six more Karori suburbs – and almost half of that population growth will be in the CBD. Former Labour MP Moana Mackey, who now works in Wellington City Council's city planning team, is leading the 'Our City tomorrow' initiative that has identified population growth as one of three drivers of change for the city.

(Source: Stuff)

'Crazy' food imports likely as urban sprawl goes unchecked

We're paving paradise. Farmland is being swallowed up by urban development as the populations of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga grow. Between 2001 and 2016, about 10,000 hectares of horticultural land was lost, said Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman. Sixty per cent of that was in vegetable production and the remainder produced fruit.

(Source: Stuff)

Does your house earn more than you?

Houses in many regions have taken a pay cut with stalling sales prices cutting into capital gains. In the past few years, homes in areas including Auckland had earned more in soaring values than the average worker earned at their job. But new figures crunched by the Herald show the trend has reversed as the housing market plateaus and quick profits dry up.

(Source:NZ Herald)

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