Gareth Vaughan details the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am in association with Bank of New Zealand, with news the New Zealand dollar has reached an all time high against the euro.
The kiwi rose to 61.63 euro cents, topping the previous high of 61.43 reached last August. This comes as Groundhog Day strikes the European sovereign debt crisis once again, with yet another meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
This time the two warned Greece it would get no more bailout money until it agrees with creditor banks on a bond swap and also want an early deal to avoid a potential default in the euro-zone's most debt-stricken country. After talks in Berlin Merkel and Sarkozy said private sector bondholders must share in reducing Greece's debt burden, along with new European and International Monetary Fund lending. See more here at Reuters.
Meanwhile, Sarkozy secured Merkel's support for a tax on financial transactions, something their British counterpart and European Union partner David Cameron opposes.
Merkel said she supported thinking about such a tax in the euro-zone, with such a tax a "correct response." Last September the European Commission suggested a tax of 0.1% on equity and bond transactions, and 0.01% on derivatives, which it said could raise 55 billion euros a year. European Union finance ministers are due to discuss the levy in March.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says he'd block any attempt by the European Union to impose a financial transaction tax in Britain, where London is Europe's biggest financial centre. See more here at Bloomberg.
Back in New Zealand Ports of Auckland management and the Maritime Union are set to begin a fresh round of mediation on Thursday with ports boss Tony Gibson saying he's prepared to replace 330 union jobs with private contractors to get a more flexible workforce.
The union began another 48-hour strike at 11pm last night, the fifth such disruption at the port since November. Gibson says the port's ninth offer to the union is its final one. It includes a 10% rise in hourly rates, performance bonuses of up to 20% on hourly rates, the retention of existing benefits and entitlements in exchange for a new roster system providing more operational flexibility whilst allowing workers to plan their rosters a month in advance.
Union leaders say they are committed to the success of the port and adding to performance improvements already achieved, but this doesn't require the casualisation of the workforce. See more here at the NZ Herald and Stuff.
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