Here are the big three numbers that dominated the surprises in the political economy of 2016, and the questions they raise for 2017

By Bernard Hickey

2016 was a big year for surprises and for politics driven by economics, so here's the big three numbers of the political economy over the last 12 months.

US$150 million - This was the amount Donald Trump's campaign spent on Facebook and Instagram advertising in the final weeks of the US Presidential election campaign. This was over three times more than Hillary Clinton spent on targeting voters through those social media and was credited in helping him squeak to victory in the Electoral College vote.

Clinton spent over NZ$200 million on television advertising, which was twice that of Trump, but his campaign was much more effective at hyper-targeting specific voters in specific states with specific messages tailored to them. Trump's digital campaign managers built individualised profiles on 220 million voters with up to 5,000 data points on each of them, including their ethnicity, their location, their spending habits, their net worth and their social networks.

In the final days of the campaign Trump was targeting up to 175,000 different individualised advertisements per day to either win voters over to Trump, or to discourage them from voting at all. Most people never saw these 'dark posts' in private news feeds. Trump shocked the world by winning 46 Electoral College votes in the states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He did that by winning those three states by a total of 77,193 votes. Nationally, Clinton received 2.848 million more votes than Trump, but his hyper-targeting and voter suppression worked a treat to scrape over the line in those states. If Obama's supporters from 2012 had voted in the same amounts and at the same rates for Clinton in 2016, she would have won the election.

The big question for New Zealand in 2017: who will win the election on Facebook?

70,282 - This was the amount of net migration to New Zealand in the year to the end of October, which is the latest data we have. This was yet another record high and represents population growth from net migration of over 1.5% in a year. That is three times faster than the migration rate into Britain, which helped lead to Brexit, and is almost twice as fast as the migration rate into Australia, which helped prompt the revival of Pauline Hanson.

Net migration over the last three years totalled 180,443, including 184,568 people who came here on temporary work visas or as international students. An Auckland University report published this week detailed widespread abuse of migrants by employers who paid them less than the minimum wage, overworked them and refused to pay them holiday pay and sick pay. Many such workers are hoping to get permanent residency, which requires the cooperation of their employers. The Reserve Bank has noted the surprisingly high number of working-age temporary migrants has suppressed wage inflation in the last three years.

Auckland has borne the brunt of this unprecedented population growth, with the combination of net migration and more births than deaths increasing the number of residents and motorists by almost 3% per year for the last three years. All it takes now is a rain storm to gridlock the city for hours and the housing shortage is now over 40,000 and growing at a rate of 5,000 a year. Employers are struggling to find workers who can afford to live in Auckland, and the Government is spending thousands of dollars a week to accommodate people in motels.

The big question for New Zealand in 2017 is: who will win the election debate over migration?

NZ$1 trillion - That will be the total value of New Zealand's houses by the end of 2016 if house prices keep going up at the rate in December that they have in the previous 11 months. The value of New Zealand's homes have risen by more than NZ$400 billion or two thirds over the last eight years. Those homes are not bigger or fancier or warmer or drier or have better views. They're the same houses, but interest rates are substantially lower and New Zealand failed to build enough houses over that time to match population growth.

Also over that time, New Zealand's home ownership rate has fallen to close to 60% and many young Auckland first home buyers have had to abandon their dreams of owning a home and deal with rents rising faster than incomes. Yet voters also rejected Opposition proposals at the last two elections for a Capital Gains Tax and now Labour has given up trying to campaign for any changes that would see house prices fall. Less than half of young renters voted at the last election, while more than 90% of property owners over the age of 50 voted. Politicians know this and have calculated that more voters want higher house prices, which means they can afford to ignore the renters.

The big question for New Zealand in 2017 is: will young renters start voting at high enough rates to change that political calculation in the same way that poor white voters started voting and changed the calculations in America?


A version of this article also appears in the Herald on Sunday. It is here with permission.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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97 Comments

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No.
But you are dead wrong when you say that all rich landowners want house prices to be high. A large chunk of those who have no mortgage and who have no plans to move would love house prices to drop. I don't know how large a proportion of people that would be, I doubt that anyone would know what it is, but to dismiss it entirely is incredibly self serving.

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agreed as one of those people (who does not use his house as a credit card) I would rather prices dropped to a sensible level, 5 times earnings.
if I (ever) sell I have to buy again unless I live in a tent so makes no difference.

I personally would be happy to see them drop, and people tell pollsters they'd be ok with it too, although not overwhelmingly.

http://www.interest.co.nz/property/83203/umr-poll-finds-60-aucklanders-over-18-would-prefer-house-prices-fell-bit-or

Yet politicians are actually cleverer than that. They poll regularly on what people think and do. And their conclusion is the balance of opinion of those who vote is that anything that might threaten current house values is dangerous. Bill English won't touch the lack of a capital gains tax and Key knew it innately.

Read this to see: http://www.interest.co.nz/property/76953/pm-john-key-says-non-aucklanders-tell-him-they-would-love-more-chinese-buyers-says

Andrew Little knows it. That's why he abandoned the capital gains tax as one of Labour's core election policies.

And finally, the electoral mathematics of renters not voting and property owners voting is overwhelming. Politicians know that. One day renters might work it out.

cheers

Bernard

Love your articles, keep it up. Stay Based.

Housing was one of the main issues in Mt Roskill. Voters there by a 2 to 1 margin went for the Labour candidate who campaigned on fixing the housing market. John Key despite being in the electorate for more days than Andrew Little could not reframe that message. National voters did not get out to vote.

Bernard you forget there is a precedent of NZ voting for a party promising affordable housing reforms. This being the 2008 National party following the immigration and housing booms of the early 2000s.

Check out this 2007 National party video if you do not believe me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWPgoAI1cLE

Any party that has policies for 'affordably housing' need to be taken with a grain of salt. Housing can be made affordable simply by reducing the interest tomorrow, which is why people can afford to buy million dollar houses when they relatively don't earn that much.
But that doesn't mean that people should be buying a house on paper that has a 2016 value of a million dollars on average, when 10 years ago it may have only been worth 300-400k. Instead we need the housing to be cheaper. But there are many factors affecting that, not just a single factor. These parties are only looking at things in isolation, rather than looking at the full picture. For a start building materials are too expensive, because there is little competition in the market. Also in the retail market there are only a small handful of player. you only need to go to the US to see how cheap building materials can be, and they would still be making healthy margins. Many of the different brands are owned by a handful of companies. We also have over regulation in the building sector, and our health and safety stuff seems to be overkill. Immigration numbers, land supply, lack of housing stock, lack of quality builders, leaky building hangover, council compliance costs, no restrictions on overseas buyers and investors etc all play a role in why our housing is so expensive.

No wonder Key resigned - that video on housing indicates complete and utter failure to perform on the housing front. Failure by Key and his mob in all areas, migration out of control, imported cheap workers holding wages back, massive increase in debt, etc, etc. to top it all off a knighthood would be pure hypocrisy given he wanted the Union Jack removed from the flag. Key government very poor performers and regardless of polls looks like they are out of power next year.

Thought that video would be something like the 2008 speech that Joe Public, bless, is making sure we don't forget, so put off watching it till now. Very comprehensive, it was, very definite about kiwis being able to own their own homes, affordable homes. How very comprehensive has been the failure.Fast forward to yesterday, and now we no longer even have a Minister of Housing. And I thought Key was a cynical b.......d

Apart from investors and those people who would end up with negative equity due to paying too much in the first place, then I can't see why most people wouldn't want them to drop. There are a lot of positives with having house prices half of what they are now. But does that make NZ as a country poorer on paper?
I can't see wages increasing unless our productivity increases. If the east now has most of the money in the world (gained over the last 30 years), then we have to produce something that they are willing to pay for, apart from houses, and cheap companies. One of those things could be fresh water, but we are giving that away. Then again houses are only a medium term investment for many. Once they reach a level, they can sell back to NZers for a healthy profit.

because banks asset requirements are %25 of %8, backing their loans. %50 would lead to catastrophic bank failures, the end of the world as we know it.

So does that mean that banks have been lending people too much? I presume they are relying on professional valuers, but valuers can only base their values on similar sales. So you get into a vicious cycle of increasing values, that potentially ends in tears. The thing is that like all markets, prices can crash. Whether that will happen, or we will just end up with static figures for the next 5-10 years, noone knows. But if you look at Wellington, apart from the last couple of years, since the GFC prices just went sideways.

look at bank profits to find cause and effect

You mean 3/5 of 5/8ths of not a lot surely??
Bank leverage must be reduced

Bernard, you are a decent chap and rightfully call attention to some of the key issues. Immigration is far too high, house prices are far too high, the standard of houses is awfully low and there are too few new ones being built. Wages have not gone up. As a country we collectively spend more than we earn and have done so every year since 1973. Yet, you offer the failed idea of a capital gains tax as a cure all. I don't get it, is this some sort of left over resentment from your younger lefty days? Every country that had a big housing boom and bust in 2008 also had a capital gains tax. If anything it made matters worse because it incentivised governments to help generate taxable capital gains from property speculation.

What we need are simple, uncontroversial steps to gently encourage saving and discourage borrowing, not polarising quick fixes that don't work. In the UK they are reducing the ability to deduct interest as an expense, that sort of thing is worth considering. Or maybe allow businesses with no borrowing to write off capital expenditure in year one. Or allow a deduction for inflation from interest income as the Savings working group suggest, a real winner for pensioners. What about a 15% company tax rate for businesses with under $100 million group turnover (ie favour the smaller growing companies over the stale corporates). If you want a real sledgehammer then I would suggest stopping the deduction of interest as an operating expense altogether for all businesses and giving business a corresponding tax cut. This would create a powerful incentive for profitable businesses to fund expansion from earnings not borrowing.

You are right. because the people in those positions just got poorer.
Say for instance that they had a $500,000 house and $500,000 invested in industry or loaned through a bank. The house value doubles and you might say there wealth increased from $1m to $1.5m. Another way of looking at it is to say that their wealth dropped from 2 to 1.5 house units of wealth. Certainly from an intergenerational point of view, which is after all, a more meaningful perspective, that is what has happened.
Similarly wages, salaries, prices and all the other measures of the productive economy are depreciated in favour of the non contributing, speculative investment sector.
Thanks John Key.

...squeak to victory in the Electoral College vote.

I would call it more of a landslide from an Electoral College vote point of view (306/232).

Trump's digital campaign managers built individualised profiles on 220 million voters with up to 5,000 data points on each of them, including their ethnicity, their location, their spending habits, their net worth and their social networks.

This was very smart and something we should do straight back at those wanting government positions. We need to know as much about a candidate as possible before we cast a vote.

Trump definitely was more Internet savvy. No one watches much television anymore and few people take seriously the opinion pieces of mainstream media which there is far too much of.

All it takes now is a rain storm to gridlock the city for hours and the housing shortage is now over 40,000 and growing at a rate of 5,000 a year.

I don't think that is true. Gridlocked for hours?

...housing shortage is now over 40,000 and growing at a rate of 5,000 a year.

Probably a bit exaggerated. There are 1,345 listings on TradeMe for houses up to 500K and 4,901 houses offered to rent.

Less than half of young renters voted at the last election, while more than 90% of property owners over the age of 50 voted.

What do you have to say Hardworkerdoes..??

"Trump definitely was more Internet savvy. No one watches much television anymore and few people take seriously the opinion pieces of mainstream media which there is far too much of." Yip they much prefer the veracity of the "Macedonia Daily"

>Didn't campaign ONCE in Wisconsin or Michigan
>Called half the country deplorable or basement dwellers
>Didn't know C stood for classified
>Ran for no reason other than "I'm a woman and I'm not Trump"
>Has been recorded saying that she has public and private opinions on every issue
>Called for war with Russia
>hillary "Smart"

I was a Bernie Sanders fan. The US is going to suffer some serious buyer regret with Trump, especially seeing who is surrounding himself with. Those poor people in the "rust belt" who thought he was their "saviour" are going to get a very rude awakening

Bernie is a hypocrite and establishment shill.

There was no alternative to Trump. Already saved 1000 carrier jobs and stopped Ford from moving factories to Mexico.

Trump is an idiot and Putin's puppet (shill), only Sanders has actual ideas. We could go on like this forever, but I think now I might sit back and watch Trump destroy the States, because he will.
You might want to check your actual facts about those carrier jobs btw http://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/12/04/trumps-carrier-deal-m... and you might want to check out who he has put in charge of Labour in his cabinet, a guy who does not believe in a minimum wage. Trump will screw average Joe Yankee over like he has never been screwed over before.

I agree Bernie should have been president. Thats where the Clinton team got covered in dung, trying to keep Bernie out of the Primaries and now they are desperate enough to blame Putin.

It's funny how they complain about Putin's influence when the US has for years been influencing the elections of other countries, especially Russia after the end of the Cold War.
For years it was the Reds they feared but now the US has gone Cultural Marxist it is the Nationalists they fear. It's a funny old world.

but they are faux-nationalists if they are unwilling to confront Russian meddling in their elections.

Can anyone plausibly deny US interference in Russia's affairs? Putin might have much to resent?

The rape of Russia–the Russian nation, the Russian state, the Russian people–beginning the end of the 1980’s, was a coup d’état engineered by the US Central Intelligence Agency along with rogue and not so rogue networks directed by former CIA Director, then President, George Herbert Walker Bush and continued by Bush’s successor, Bill Clinton. Western accounts of what took place inside the Russian Federation during the Yeltsin years of the 1990’s speak of “Russian mafia,” or “Russian Organized Crime.” Never do they mention or even hint that those Russians who plundered their own country were organized and paid, made rich by the West, to be more precise, by the Old Boy CIA networks loyal to former CIA Director and then US President, George Herbert Walker Bush. Read more

Trump is clearly not an idiot.

His idiotness is unpresidented

Yes, somehow an idiot owns an organisation worth billions

That is not necessarily a hindrance, in fact the odd personality disorder or two actually can make it easier. I will leave you to work out how that might be

Well Trump is certainly arrogant and views himself as being above the US law, we can certainly tell that from the way he's been behaving over 'conflict of interest' with his business empire. That all adds up to a very dangerous cocktail.

The BBC have a very good recent article on this: Trump: The Billionaire President
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04k9sd0

I wonder what is wrong with people that they think a guy who has aided his march to wealth by bilking contractors etc out their money can possibly be anyone who gives a tinker's toss about anything other than how he will come out of all of this looking. I suggest the personality disorder that allows that will be the exact same one as the one that will oversee an increasingly totalitarian society where he can write the history that best reflects what he wants.

No; merely a congenital liar, a misogynist and deeply racist. He is also a climate change denier and has put people like Myron Ebell,David Schnare and Scott Pruitt into the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) transition team. They are there to gut the agency and serve the fossil fuel industry.
The world now has to put up with this creature for 4 years and I can only hope that the penny drops for the American people by then.

maybe, but his wife is super sexy

She's all bought and paid for, there, Andy

they say thats the best way, saves a bundle over time.

Auckland traffic is now affecting businesses, those deliveries that took an hour ten years ago now take two, the only thing that has kept the prices from rising accordingly has been fuel price dropped and importing drivers on low wages.
As it gets worse prices will need to rise,
as an example every trucking that used to use SH1 that can not now because of the earthquake as is now having to go the longer way has put a 15% + surcharge on to cover the extra cost
these cost eventually will get passed onto the consumer

https://www.reddit.com/r/newzealand/comments/5df6tf/transport_how_fucked...

In summary, Entropy/diminishing returns is grinding the (world) economy to a halt on multiple angles

Entropy! But that always increases doesn't it (maybe only in an isolated system)? Returns maybe not.

Um .... I wouldn't call Trumps victory a landslide. His victory was ranked 8th of the past 10 elections at 56.9% of the electoral college votes ( only GW was below him).

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/war-is-peace-freedom-is-slavery-trum...

If you want a landslide you have to go back to Bill Clinton at 70.4% in 1996 or even further back to FDR at 98.5% in 1936.

Clinton won the popular vote.

Republicans lost ground in the House and the Senate. While they still have a majority the next test will be in 2018 at the mid term elections.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-12/five-facts-about-trum...

The Presidency, the House and the Senate. How about a convincing victory then?
(Also Bernard was talking about the Electoral College vote and not the popular vote which doesn't count anyway)

But it's not the landslide you claim.......

What is most important is Bernard's article. You should be agreeing with me that Trump's win was hardly a squeak to victory in the Electoral College vote.

But I'm not commenting per say about Bernard's article - I'm commenting on your assertion that it was a landslide victory - which it wasn't.

Bernard's statement is somewhat correct ( yes I know a bit of a weasel word) as was pointed out that in several states that margin was not that decisive and that could have tipped the balance in favour of Clinton.

I consider it a landslide.

Politicians use the word landslide to imply something - a legitimacy that may not exist - a mandate to do somehting. You would consider it a landslide but others don't.

But what I want to know is "how can we ensure Bill English continues for house price increases of 20% next year and the year after?"....I wish we could get John Key back

Yes, couple of points noticed during the week.Firstly English and Brawnlie getting abused at Kaikoura, that would never have happened to JK, we were too much in awe of the man, Emperor,no clothes syndrome. Secondly Bridges announcing a massive amt for road rebuilding, Key would never have given that task to a lowly minister.

Interesting seeing the effect of social media on the US election. If NZFirst or TOP get on board with that we might see those most affected by the Nat policies finally start to vote in significant numbers.

Finally any house owner with teenage children are foolish if they want house prices to keep ramping up. Same with high immigration, those entry level jobs are what provides the start of work experience for young Kiwis and when the wheel turns they wont be there.

High house prices are good for the economy....it creates jobs and forces people to move to the provinces.

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No they are not. The economy is for the people, rising house prices are bad for the people, ergo rising house prices are bad for the economy, as people have to spend more and more of their money on providing housing, thus leaving them with less to participate in the rest of the economy.

How else would we stimulate the economy? We don't manufacture anymore.

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You are kidding me, aren't you? That is utterly ridiculous.

NZ manufacturing is growing despite the politicians spin, only this week sistma sold for 660 million, the lunch box maker, that makes the in a massive factory by Auckland airport.
also you have new food plants being built all over the place,
http://www.treasury.govt.nz/economy/overview/2016/21.htm

Probably the beginning of the end for Sistema, unfortunately. The tooling will be off to China or Vietnam pdq. Give me a company still run by it's owner and founder anyday.

the owner got a 20 year guarantee to keep the manufacturing in NZ, I'm sure that will be circumvented and it will disappear within ten years.
it a shame he never took to the NZ market or the super fund

@ NissanGTR: Sorry mate but you've got it all backward. High house prices and very, very bad particularly for NZ's economy which is largely made up of exports and tourism.

Let me spell it out for you; High house prices = high dollar NZD, = low exports due to high cost of goods. Also leads to a lower amount of tourism due to high dollar. Get the picture?

Oh and don't forget that that higher house prices = higher credit risk = bust (We've hit this stage if you haven't noticed).

Expecting that people will just move to the 'provinces' and magic new industries out of thin air is just fiction. We're at the arse end of the world, do you really think that Bill Gates is going to rock up to Dargaville?

Bill Gates rock up to Dargaville? Maybe not quite to Dargaville, but these people are easy to buy. A corporate tax rate of 15% should do it, if we could swallow our misplaced pride.

English will be dead in the water unless he actually starts seeing to it that house prices and incomes generally begin to draw closer to each other. 20% increase? Well, the Chinese appear to have been summoned home so maybe -20% might be on the cards, seeing as they have been the prime influence on ridiculous house price rises.

We need more Chinese buyers, I want more capital gain.

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Tough! There are hundreds of thousands just want a home.

@NissanGTR: Ahh well you have Trump to thank for the Chinese tightening their belts and reducing capital flight. Can't let the yuan drop any further against the USD. ;)

I love your comments NissanGTR. Keep them coming.

Please, no facebook fake news. We do not need the hyper partisanship of the US and the rest of world.

So you want censorship then? and the removal of free speech?

Not sure how you come to that conclusion. I fully support every person's right to lie under the right to free speech, because it grants the rest of us the right to call them out on their bull.

What I want is for our political establishment to stand up and say: "No. There are some acts that are too low. There are some things that I will not do in order to get someone elected". Look at Trump - that dude will say anything, do anything, attack anyone, to get elected. Nothing is sacred. I do not want that in New Zealand.

And I want our electorate to call out people that behave that way. We must demand a modicum of decency from our leaders and their handlers.

You are the establishment.

That is a bit unfair NissanGTR, I think the term you are looking for is useful innocent (I'm being kind here).

Sticks and stones, Zach and GTR.

pro tip: attacking the person, rather than the argument, shows that you can't debate their points. Thanks for conceding the argument, jolly good of you. This is where I leave you.

They have been attacking the pale, male and stale without any modicum of decency for years now. What we witnessed was a massive counter attack.

There is two of those things no-one should really ever want to be, tbf

I thought Comrade Stalin's rather too apt phrase was "useful idiot". It referred to people who supported revolution for all the right reasons, and who would therefore have to be shot immediately afterwards (or they would always be a threat to those who had seized power, instead of doing what they were told like everyone else).

I think the term is used more generally now:

In political jargon, a useful idiot is a person perceived as a propagandist for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who is used cynically by the leaders of the cause.
....confused and misguided sympathizers.. Link

Typical of the current adoption of double speak. I prefer the clarity of the original.

The whole Wikileaks thing was good though. It wasn't really fake news so much as exposing to the world the true thoughts and intentions of those in power. The very opposite of fake news I'd say.

But it doesn't matter that the emails say, all that matters is WHO HACKED THEM

Great to see Obama having a wee tantrum as he blamed Russia for the incompetence and venal self interest of the Democrats. Of course it must be a naughty Russian hacker. Couldn't possibly be a whistleblower disgusted at his own party's degeneracy.

I think that is pretty clear Nissan "Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Murray said: “I know who leaked them.
“I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

“As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two."

The ex-Uzbekistan ambassador said Mrs Clinton should take account of what she did wrong - rather than making accusations about the hack.

He said: “And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.”

Warning all Facebookers - the politicians can now buy you off Facebook and bombard you

You are Fodder. You are being fed, you are being used, you are being sold

[quote - Bernard Hickey]
"Donald Trump spent US$150 million on Facebook and Instagram advertising. Trump's campaign was much more effective at hyper-targeting specific voters in specific states with specific messages tailored to them. Trump's digital campaign managers built individualised profiles on 220 million voters with up to 5,000 data points on each of them, including their ethnicity, their location, their spending habits, their net worth and their social networks"

Think - how did they do that

Hope you read Jenny Tibshraeny's article on the subject last week

It is exactly why i don't use it. The negatives of it outweigh the positives IMO. Also it isn't free, people who use it are essentially selling their valuable information, for why is a pretty terrible user experience. But for some, it is the only way they can keep in touch with some people.

You don't have to use Facebook for your "valuable" information to be "sold". I can't see any "negatives" going away if I stop using it.

Whenever people are fed up with government and the greater the disenchantment greater the voting percentage and in next NZ election, we should see one of the highest percentage of voting.

Is there still going to be beer and rugby at the next election? Then no, don't expect any change.

This is the same mistake that many politicians made and lead to Brexit and trump.

Nice BBC article for you Zachary: David Remnick: Why Trump’s win is ‘an American tragedy’
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38344175

Although I'm not a fan of Fox, I do agree with this opinion of Sean Hannity:

Sean Hannity details WHY AMERICA CHOSE Donald Trump for Prez using the Real Numbers & Facts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMP1Vht3mSk

The "established" parties both got the US where they are now, in a deep financial hole.
Whether Trump, who is not a "real" republican, can get them out is questionable, but the voters completely brassed off with the status quo, were ready to give him a chance for change.

The NZ economy is to serve NZ citizens We got that back to front for a while. Lets see what Bill E will do. I have some (some) faith. John K was never going to turn it round.

Yesterday, tried to go to Franklin Street to see the lights. The traffic on Ponsonby road at 9.30 pm was so bad, stand still and crawling, had to return home.

Now afraid of the necessary trips to the airport. High house prices, but poor quality of life on the streets. that is Auckland. Mt Roskill electorate was possibly moved by Labour's promise of a train line.

Remember the joke....'Auckland, where you get free parking on the motoroway' ?

House prices may drop but the transport ills will be with us for a long time to come. Whoever attacks it will get the votes.

Thats why we are going to borrow 100k for every house in AKL, to fix it, although temporarily if we keep putting 40k new cars on the road every year just in Auckland.

Fix it? Crikey. Well I suppose that's another impossible thing to practise believing in. Is it best to practise before or after breakfast though, I could never quite figure that part out?

more population, more cars = traffic jams, its not rocket science
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/09/thousands-stuck...

Try and not be so partisan Bernard... "squeak to victory in the Electoral College vote." He won the electoral colleges 306 to 232. You would be pushing the limits of journalistic integrity to call that a "squeak". Pointless to argue with the ref when the game is over. Focus on the next game.

One thing I hope the public start recognizing is that GDP growth is mostly a measure of how fast our population is growing. We need to call out our politicians when using this number and ask what is the GDP growth per person. The media has a responsibility here.

Too right. Productivity and GDP per hour worked would also be good to have widespread in the public discourse.