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A review of things you need to know before you sign off on Wednesday; a few retail rate changes, rapid ageing, COL support due, Aussie CPI highish, swaps little-changed, NZD ditto, & more

Business / news
A review of things you need to know before you sign off on Wednesday; a few retail rate changes, rapid ageing, COL support due, Aussie CPI highish, swaps little-changed, NZD ditto, & more

Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today (or if you already work from home, before you shutdown your laptop).

MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES
Heartland Bank increased its floating rate by +50 bps to 4.60%, and decreased its 3 year fixed rate by -10 bps to 5.39%.

TERM DEPOSIT RATE CHANGES
The Cooperative Bank raised their six month TD rate to 2.80%, Their 12 month rate to 3.90% ('special'), and their 18 month rate to 4.00% (standard)

SAVINGS ACCOUNT RATE CHANGES
ASB raised its Fastsaver account by +20 bps to 0.40%, its Savings-on-call account by +25 bps to 0.55%, and its Headstart account by +50 bps to 1.75%. Heartland Bank raised most of its savings accounts by +30 bps, except its 90 day Noticesaver which rose +25 bps to 2.95%.

SILENT DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS
Stats NZ issued population projections today, noting that the number of people aged 65 years or older is likely rise from 842,000 today to hit 1 million by 2028. On current demographic trends and assumptions, this cohort could reach 1.3 million around 2040, and 1.5 million by the 2050s. No other age cohort is growing. That means currently those 65 or older now make up 25% of the working aged population (15-64), to 30% by 2028, to 36% by 2040, and to 40% by the 2050s. The current median ager of 38 will rise to 45 in the 2050s. Only immigration can prevent this imbalance which if left unchecked will become fiscally unsustainable well before the 2050s. The current shifts are just more in the twists that generally benefit older citizens at the expense of younger ones. No-one in public policy positions seem to care.

NOT A TAX CUT
On Monday, August 1, the IRD will pay its first instalment of about $116 into the bank accounts of the 2.1 million eligible Kiwis as 'cost of living support'. There will be an equivalent payment on Thursday, September 1 and Monday, October 3. All up, that will cost taxpayers $731 mln (and as the budget is in deficit, all of which will be borrowed).

HANDS OFF
It has been almost seven years since the Reserve Bank obviously intervened in currency markets. They didn't in June either (F5).

CUSTOMERS VANISH
Public transport usage in Auckland is in serious trouble with ridership falling very fast. It fell more than -10% in June from May. It is on track to fall another -10% in July from June. The July patronage will come in -30% lower than year ago levels. The recent fall-offs seem ominous. It a system running with almost -60% fewer passengers than at its peak in May 2019. They just aren't returning. And AT is assuming they will, making no adjustment to reflect the new realities.

STOGE HARDER TO MAKE MONEY OFF
Fast-food operator Restaurant Brands (RBD, #46) said its sales are up +10% in Q2 from a year ago, but profits will be down by a third as higher costs and staffing problems bite them.

30 YEAR HIGH
The AUD fell -30 bps on the release of its June CPI data. It came in at 6.1% year-on-year and just below analysts expectations of +6.2%. But that was up from +5.1% at at March. It was also their highest level in more than 20 years (and the 20-yr-ago peak was when they introduced GST). Apart from that, it is their highest since 1990. Perhaps signaling that this could be their new peak, the Q-on-Q rate slipped from +2.1% in March to +1.8% in June. But this probably locks in another +50 bps hike on Monday, August 1, by the RBA. For perspective the New Zealand June CPI rose +7.3%, the US was up +9.1% and Japan was up +2.4% for the same annual period. Canada's CPI rose +8.1%. All these comparables make the Aussie rise seem moderate - even if they don't think so.

SWAP RATES HOLD
Wholesale swap rates may again not have moved much today. The 90 day bank bill rate was up +2 bps to 3.16%. The Australian 10 year bond yield is now at 3.31% and down -6 bps from this time yesterday. The China 10 year bond rate is now at 2.79% slipping -1 bp. The NZ Government 10 year bond rate is down -4 bps at 3.59%, and matching the earlier RBNZ fix for this bond which was down -1 bp to 3.59%. The UST 10 year is now at 2.81% and up +2 bps from this time yesterday.

EQUITIES GENERALLY UNINSPIRED
Wall Street struggled on poor earnings prospects today, ending its Tuesday session and down -1.2% on the S&P500. Tokyo is flat in its Wednesday session after opening lower. Hong Kong is giving up all of yesterday's rally and more, down -1.3% on the day so far. Shanghai has opened flat. The ASX200 is also flat in afternoon trade. The NZX50 however is trumping them all, up +0.4% in late trade.

GOLD SLIPS
In early Asian trade, gold has fallen -US$10 from this time yesterday, now at US$1,717/oz.

NZD LITTLE-CHANGED
The Kiwi dollar has fallen -30 bps to 62.3 USc from this time yesterday, in a shift initiated by the AUD. Against the AUD we are up marginally at 90 AUc, recovering after the Aussie CPI release. Against the euro we are soft at 61.4 euro cents. That means our TWI-5 is now just under 71.1 and little net change on the day.

BITCOIN HOLDS
Bitcoin is now at US$21,134 and up a mere +0.2% from where we were at this time yesterday. Volatility over the past 24 hours has been modest at +/-1.4%.

Daily exchange rates

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Source: CoinDesk

Daily swap rates

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109 Comments

The continuing AT ridership falls are interesting. At a time when half-price fares might work in the other direction.

On the other hand, the fact that half of the busses are cancelled due to lack of staffing certainly isn't helping their ridership.

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8

It's wet out there 

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Imagine the questions that would be asked during a job interview for a management position at AT. It would be absolutely cringeworthy.

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WFH is the new normal

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Only way to survive financial

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It's funny, just the other day i was reading auckland PT patronage is up 42%
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/local-government/129332672/ha…

PT transport is highly seasonal, June is always >10% lower than May. With the rail network shutdown for maintenance, and half the buses are cancelled due to lack of drivers, I'm surprised the drop is not larger than normal.

The data is very choppy at the moment, hard to derive any long term trends from it.   Our office building is very busy with new fitouts, but i bet they aren't going to be full 5 days a week like they might have pre-covid. Hell my employer started 1-2 days WFH in 2008.

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An ageing population burdensome to the younger generations to the point that it will eventually become too weighty for them to carry. Perhaps a more pragmatic government might have let the grim reaper loose in the guise of Covid and culled a few of the older bracket as quite a few commenters here at the time suggested would be warrantable. Just joking but the age of medical innovation has elongated life expectancy to create societal distortions that have been largely unforeseen. 

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You are saying that a pragmatic government might have let the grim reaper loose in the wake of Covid. Let's mark that statement and remember it and revisit in a year or so.

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would have made bugger all difference

Its just taking those who are on their way out anyway, if let loose it would have dragged a few more but insignificant in the scheme of things.

The delaying of operations in hospitals will probably bag a bigger haul.

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I sometimes think, somewhat tongue in cheek, that a simple age cap would solve a few problems. Bit of pressure off the health system, much easier retirement planning as you don't have to prepare as if you might live to 100, more ability to die with dignity in your own home after the appropriate arrangements and farewells. I imagine the appeal diminishes as you approach the cap. 

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The old have just as much to live for as the young - the rest of their lives.

"...live forever, or die in the attempt.“ - Joseph Heller, Catch 22

 

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So far, so good.

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An age cap? We have two centenarians in our family. Neither though would be aware of that status. This week we euthanised our cat who pro rata to human years, was vastly more aged. That didn’t make it any easier though. Far from it. It is a complex issue. There is nothing more final than death.

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Logans run?

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To be brutally honest most of the funerals I go to now the guest of honour would have had a better life if they had of snuck off a year or two earlier. 

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"Only immigration can prevent this imbalance ...."

So no chance that procreation can assist, then? Perhaps the reason we have such an imbalance is that our young stand next to no chance of replacing our ageing population (that will die off and alter the mix) given the economic impediments they face. Fix that, and maybe we don't need the immigration solution.

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Not in the 18 or so years to 2040, unless you want child labour to fill all the gaps

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Birth rates in developed cities only seem to go one way, so pretty hard to fight what appears to be a naturally occuring population tendency.

So it's a trade off, higher tax burden on kiwi workers in the future to support a higher ratio of dependents, or the consequences of migration.

Like covid, at least we get to see other countries arse things up first before biting bullets. 

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There are options other than taxing the smaller workforce at a higher rate - i.e., wealth and inheritance taxes.   

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Well Congolese child labour works pretty well for our EVs. Perhaps we should expand the program?

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If you are referencing Cobalt, my Teslas have LFP batteries so no cobalt. However the refineries use Cobalt for oil refining for my ICE cars. Go figure. 

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The heavier, less efficient option. Give iron and lithium are cheaper to mine than recycle are you going to dump the battery, pay to have it recycled or bludge some farmers ute tax to pay for it?

"Now, recyclers primarily target metals in the cathode, such as cobalt and nickel, that fetch high prices. (Lithium and graphite are too cheap for recycling to be economical.) "

https://www.science.org/content/article/millions-electric-cars-are-comi…

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Well they have barred entry to  that particular provider in Fiji, before he even got here, from the sound of it.

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+1 bw, I was going to say exactly this.

Make NZ attractive to its' own youth and maybe they won't leave, make it possible to raise a family while paying off a mortgage on one income again and maybe they'll have kids...

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Otherwise, we are condemning ourselves to the same problem in perpetuity.

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I’m not sure why declining birth rates has everyone so perplexed. It’s too expensive to raise a family these days. Fix that (without unimaginative family subsidies) and things will begin to rebalance. 

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News just in: it's always been too expensive to raise a family.

It's best to "Just do it".

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Yes, from personal experience, cramming 2 kids into a smallish bedroom in our rental has been doable.

Bunks.

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Should be fun when they get old enough to start bringing home girls.

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Ha!  They are girls themselves but I'll try to keep an open mind.

 

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This is not news. 

We had 2 boys in one room with a temporary wall down the middle of our house, in the year 2000.

Its not necessarily a renters issue. In fact owning a house is a huge  incentive to not spending a cent on anything remotely luxurious. eg Never had Sky, netflix, amazon prime, spotify etc. 

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My roommate at University had 11 siblings. His father naturally enough took longer than expected to build the new home to fit them all in. Only a long curtain down the "dormitory room" separated the boys from the girls (same for my Grandmother 50 years earlier). Father worked as a scientist for Johnson & Johnson and went on to invent the disposable diaper. Necessity is the mother of invention!

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What part of the human foot on the throat of the biosphere would you consider needs "rebalancing"?

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This is a very serious issue - there is a case being made that the imbalance in China will see it cease to be a viable country in 5-10 years time, and China is not alone.

The problem with your theory is that babies don't arrive aged 24. The problem is one of replacement income earners. Each person who retires removes his income from the national income list, and reduces the income of the economy accordingly. In theory he gets replaced, but when the numbers of people leaving the workforce is faster than the replacement rate you have a crisis from which there is no way back.

Less workers for more jobs is inflationary - wages will be bid up as companies seek to replace retiring workers. To compensate the hiring company is forced to pass this cost onto its customers, leading to inflation pressures.  Add to this scenario the current global situation. We have a massive global food crisis 12 months away as the worlds biggest grain exporters in Ukraine and Russia are fighting (battling in the areas where grain is produced). Ukraine is also one of the leading producer of Nitrates for fertalliser, which will result in reduced yields in other countries. Many countries around the world are imploding (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey). 

All this on top of the greatest ever global housing bubble where we have the potential to see 30% of the population serving as indentured servants to the banks. People are alarmed at the effect of interest rates returning to a discounted rate of 7% (remember the average rates of 9,25% anyone?). 

 

 

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Globally and locally, we need to reduce to sustainable population levels - or the physics of the situation will do it for us.

Seeing people as 'income earning' is - and has been for more than a decade - invalid. Money is not the issue; energy available is the issue. Of that, there will be orders of magnitude less - so much and so quickly that DCs comments re the future, are wrong. Just plain wrong.

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If public transport is down then what is up?

Road User Charges, regional fuel tax? School attendance? Home deliveries?

More data, we need more data.

Without data we could assume health issues and the Internet technologies are removing the need for planes,boats and trains, gasp…motorways…curse the thought..

 

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Stats NZ issued population projections today, noting that the number of people aged 65 years or older is likely rise from 842,000 today to hit 1 million by 2028. 

No problem. Switch on the reverse mortgages. 

Was discussing with someone recently how in Singapore and Japan, many seniors continue working after retirement. They usually take part-time jobs and volunteer positions. It's good for society. 

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Reverse mortgages, the wealth killers. All those children hanging out for home ownership through wills, legacies etc have their hopes dashed when their parents' home has $50k equity to contribute to the estate. As people live longer that's a realistic prospect.

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The ultimate betrayal

Millenial: Ok Boomer

Boomer: Reverse mortgage up to the eyballs - holidays, boat, new car.

Will: The bank has disposed of the house and there is $1,100 left to distribute between the 3 kids.

 

 

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People live so long now that inheritance needs to skip a generation to help with home ownership anyhow. Inheritance going to children goes to retirement funds, not fhbs. 

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Good luck changing the law with that tide of vested voters. As a Boomer, neither major party scare me right now and that’s not going to change. A land of beneficiaries. 

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I guess those poor kids will just have to struggle in the same way as those without inheritances to look forward to.

How awful. 

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Ok if that's true then nobody will have much money to spend on a house. Therefore the cost of houses has to plummet.

ie It will become affordable for all first home buyers! No problem.

 

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A world where it's feasible for most to buy a house without cash from the parents sounds great to me. Somewhat less feudal than where we are heading. 

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Mate, who do you think is capitalising of those reverse morgages? They arn't done for free. Rise of the corporate home ownership.

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Sounds like a better society when houses are homes rather than a means of extracting wealth from following generations.

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Oh well, I guess it would be a millennials pocketing the cash from hawking cars, boats, etc? Maybe they will still whine, seeing as it's what they do best.

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I finally found an inflation comparison by country that makes sense... Amazingly, the countries with high inflation are the ones that are most dependent on fossil fuels. 

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except us --   you would think with 90% + renewables and the opportnity if we wanted to go 100% and beyond --   that this would insulate us --  but wait -- no longer refining our own petrol-  so totally dependant on oil being shipped over the globe and refined in other places -- Madness 

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We've always been reliant on oil shipped all over the place!

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Japan is very dependent on fossil fuels.

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Japan is feeling the impact of increased petrol prices, but they are still using cheap liquid natural gas from Russia (they have joint projects) 

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they had joint projects.  Russia is nationalising some of them at the moment.

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Ha. Fair.

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David, we realise you are an anti-public transport rightist with shades of climate change denialism, but you are really showing your bias. 
And as you and your writers often do, you are presenting raw data without any analysis or nuance. 
most importantly - bus drivers have been decimated by winter ills, as have the general population. You don’t think that might be having a fairly major impact on public transport patronage?

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2.5 years of making everyone afraid of what they might catch from the strangers on the bus probably hasn't helped.

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Turns out our public service broadcaster just found a new quirky scientist type to remind us all how afraid we're supposed to be of each other:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/in-depth/470690/whose-breath-are-you-breathi…

I thought it was a joke at first, the guy looks like he should be hosting What Now. Anyway, taking the bus these days is apparently the most dangerous thing you'll do all day. Ever see that movie Speed?

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Most of the trains I have been on recently have been pretty busy.

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True, I once caught herpes off someone on a bus. 

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What were you doing on the bus?

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Riding 

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We have had winter ills forever.  And we don't die.  As in Covid-19 we don't die.  Get on the bus, you won't die.

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The current median ager of 38 will rise to 45 in the 2050s. Only immigration can prevent this imbalance which if left unchecked will become fiscally unsustainable well before the 2050s.

Over the past few years, billions of dollars have been borrowed on the assumption that a sizeable, productive working-age population will be around to pay it all back. Taking on debt is like borrowing prosperity from the future, and we've borrowed from future generations of people who aren't likely to exist.

Immigration won't fix it, the debt simply cannot be repaid. I would not be surprised to see defaults at local government level over the next few years for this reason. The LGFA has encouraged councils to borrow stupid amounts of money, and by the time they figure out that they can't just keep on raising rates forever in order to pay it back, it'll be too late to do anything about it.

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Yip I agree chebbo...I think we could find that the likes of of Sri Lanka is just the tip of the iceberg.

The idea that across the anglosphere we can have some of the worlds most expensive houses (Aus, Can, NZ) and a pile of boomers rolling into retirement, living in million dollar homes, while young people are left to pick up the tax burden of their retirements, and simultaneously the debt/interest burden of having to partake in the dysfunctional housing market they have created under their management watch (intentionally or incompetently - does it really matter either way?). 

The best thing that could happen is a massive asset price correction and clear out of bad debt across the economies and start again. Pull the bandaid off quickly...rather than slowly, where will experience pain for years or even decades as we continue to deny that we have a serious issue on our hands. 

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Things make more sense when you realize inflation is the governments only hope to repay the debt pile 

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Who is repaying their debt pile? I think the strategy is to delay default for as long as possibly without causing social anarchy. 

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I think you are right, but from what I know about many Boomers and anyone corporate is that they will fight tooth and nail purely to protect their wealth with no regard for anything or anyone else. With the size of their voting block they don't need support from many other people. Take the bloke above in this thread that proudly states he is 'not afraid of either major party', yup and nor should he be.

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The original Me Generation

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"can't just keep on raising rates forever in order to pay" - why not?

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Because people will eventually be unable to pay them.

Look at Tauranga. Rates increase of 13% in 2022 alone, with more likely in the years to come. This is a city of fixed-income retirees.

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With multi million dollar houses. Hard to claim poverty isn’t it?

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Think they'll sell their homes to pay the rates?

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They may be forced to, it’s not optional. I think given a choice between the council defaulting or the council forcing oldies to sell up and pay up they will choose the latter (they are probably mandated to)

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Possibly, but at some point it becomes like getting blood out of a stone. This isn't just specific to local government, either. We're reaching a point globally where income streams are insufficient to service the amount debt we've taken on. GDP is falling (reduced income streams) at the same time as interest rates are rising (increased cost of debt). The inevitable result of all this is default, which we're seeing more and more of lately, and likely to see more of in the future. Flogging a dead horse by raising rates isn't going to change that.

 

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Who do they sell to?

And how much can that echelon afford?

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This is a good idea and kudos to Tauranga for having the go to implement it. They can sell to younger people. Keep in mind that house prices have dropped ~5% so far and combined with inflation probably being minimum 5% that a 10% drop in real terms, more since 2020. Projecting at least the same to 2023 

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Asset rich, income poor

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When all the wealth has been transferred to landowners, land value tax must be part of paying for things.

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People from Auckland who were pissed off with traffic went to Tauranga so they could drive everywhere - oh look now Tauranga is Choka full of traffic and the same old people are demanding the same solutions they asked for in Auckland that failed moooooaaaaar rooooadddds, watch as they swarm to the next provincial town (Whakatane?) like locusts and repeat the process, destroying the land as they move.  The issue is that living in a big house on your own section in the suburbs driving everywhere is not sustainable ... Not sustainable anywhere ...  end of story.  

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Great stuff Chebbo. Thinking laterally is a great skill to have. 

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Immigration could fix it. Sell work-visa and residency-visa by dutch auction; with NZ being English speaking, experienced with immigrants, remarkably tolerant and fairly peaceful they would sell very profitably for our treasury. My guess: $200k for residency and $30k for a three year work-visa.

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I'm going to buy bitcoin with my stimulus payment.

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These ageing population statistics are scary. Some small changes like tightening up how long you need to be here to qualify could help at the margins and prioritising young immigrants. We are going to need to bring in a lot more younger people to bulk out the demographic profile. People don’t realise how much pressure this group of beneficiaries places on the governments books - we should have already made KiwiSaver compulsory, raised the contributions and raised the age of eligibility. It’s too late now. Bringing in more people is not a sustainable solution though as this then transfers pressure to infrastructure which is itself expensive and hard to build when 40% of the working age population is in their golden years. 
 

One of the problems with relying on immigration is that competition for immigrants will he intense by mid century. Many countries in Europe, Asia and North America will be in hard reverse. Especially China who will have the mother of all demographic bubbles. The willing immigrants we take for granted now just may not exist and we might have to work with what we have.

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That's right, paying into your Kiwisaver makes it your money.

The big con about Super was it pitched as being the same, ie it was your money but the Govt. was investing it on your behalf, just for them to change the definition and say NO it was being spent on present retirees and come your retirement, the taxpayers of the day would pay for you.

This is especially galling that past taxes were much higher and if that money had gone into the equivalent of Kiwisaver back then, then today's retirees would have had more funds at retirement.

Rather than looking to immigration for the solution, any future economy should look at a fixed population, including budgeting for the demographic imbalance.

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Your last paragraph nails it. High immigration is the easy option, and simply kicks the can down the road…

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Agreed.  It will take all parties to agree to -

Raising the date for super eligibility;

Raising the number of years you must live in NZ (and pay tax) to be eligible;

Make KiwiSaver compulsory and phase out early withdrawals so our Kiwisaver is eventually like Australia's Super (tax free withdrawal would be good);

Means test Super.

None of the above will win votes, but kicking the can is not working.

 

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Only immigration can prevent this imbalance...

Solve one problem by causing two more? Perhaps not a brilliant plan if I'm being critical.

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Why not kick the can down the road a lot longer? Creating a bigger problem later, while clipping the ticket now, has always been popular with one dimensional economic geniuses.

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On the silent demographic issue mentioned - The 4th Turning is certainly worth a read for anyone who wants to take a deeper dive on this issue. I've found the Strauss-Howe theory invaluable in having a mental model for understanding how society and the economy has turned into such a shambles in recent years. For anyone thinking the same, the book is worth a look. 

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On my tablet at the moment. 4 weeks since I've read it. Going to start again. 

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Many local govts are already technically broke. The debt they hold can never be repaid. There will be more civil disorder well before that happens. We are living beyond our means & have been for a long time. We can outsource our production costs to keep things stable, but those days are disappearing fast. Reality sucks as my mate Richard would tell me. He's right. I would not be surprised to see a few banks go under over the next 12-18 months or so. They are already collapsing in provincial Asia. Perhaps there will be some mergers.

Who knows, the NZ Govt might be able to pick up a bargain or two if we play our cards right.

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On the demographic crisis: "No-one in public policy positions seem to care."

Indeed.  I've mentioned this once before on this site but may have some value to say it once more:  I was in The Treasury during the 90s, and intergenerational equity was a hot topic among aspiring analysts.

I'm so glad the govt got right onto that.  \sarc

I guess feigned reluctance and an immigration surge is the inevitable result to keep the rentals full and wages "affordable".

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Nobody votes for more immigrants

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Ah, but they do vote for labour

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I reckon most are conservative National voters. 

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M Garland said, in no uncertain terms, any criminal act to interfere with the transfer of power will be prosecuted.

Shown on NBC. MSNBC, CNN have videos on this in YT.

Mr  D J Trump is under investigation, and many predict that he will be indicted.

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Isn't putting up the super entitlement age, and/or means testing it (at a high level of wealth), the solution to our upcoming population age changes? 

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But John Key spent 9 years telling us superannuation affordability was not a problem, end of story.

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David Chaston needs to contemplate the unaffordable cost of infrastructure due to the population explosion of recent decades.  All due to immigration.

Outcome: Neccessary new infrastructure is not being built.   And the old stuff ain't getting updated. 

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And as people live longer, they need to work longer. 

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There's no mandatory retirement age in New Zealand now. If you want to go on working you can do so.

My suggestion is that retirement benefits are probably a little too generous and enticing able people into retirement earlier than might be economically wise.

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I don't think David was saying more immigration was necessarily a good idea.  I also think David knew mentioning it would wind you all up.

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Mainly due to foreign immigration but also caused by internal move to the city.

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ASB raises Fastsaver account to 0.4% OMG lol

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Mmmm, generous. A -6.9% return on savings. Hard to resist.

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Better than a 30% capital loss.

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Over 20 years of negative returns on my savings, battling inflation.  Mmn.  Back to work. You wonder why the fractional reserve banking system is at 10%?  (perhaps it is ZERO)  Mmn.  Crank up the presses.

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A week or two back there was some discussion on the potential origins of covid. I had suggested the awful markets of China, including Wuhan, were responsible. A few people offered the view that it came from the lab. 

Well a couple of new studies are out supporting the market hypothesis, including one from a scientist who had previously thought the lab theory was quite plausible:

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/27/world/covid-origins-two-st…

 

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Further to this, does anyone have any idea whether the CCP has clamped down on these cruel and disgustingly and dangerously unhygienic markets??? 

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