Giving eradication our best shot means supporting farmers all the way

Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) is spreading fast in New Zealand and causing devastating effects for farmers. The Government this week announced an ambitious attempt to stamp out the disease, through mass culling and strict restrictions on farmers. M. bovis causes a wide range of problems in cattle, ranging from pneumonia to arthritis. The government says they have a good shot at eradication… if they act now.

How big an EV fleet can New Zealand’s grid handle?

I have been talking a lot lately (wait for it) about whether we have the infrastructure for a large electric vehicle fleet. The main worry is that countries don’t have the infrastructure to charge up an entire fleet of electric vehicles, so I thought I’d figure out exactly how many EVs the New Zealand grid can handle.

Why are our car forecasts so much higher than last time?

We have revised up our car sales forecasts considerably over the five-year forecast period when compared to our February outlook. A big part of this long-term lift is a change in our forecasts for net migration. But there are also factors, such as high ownership rates and an improving economy, which are also going to push up demand for vehicles throughout our five-year forecast period.

Reserve Bank unlikely to consider rolling back LVRs

Plummeting house sales prompted the Real Estate Institute to call on the Reserve Bank to review its loan-to-value ratio limits. But the effect of LVRs is only part of the picture. Floating mortgage interest rates have ticked up over the past year. And, after being downgraded by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s for their high exposure to property markets, it appears that Australian-based banks are being more selective in their lending. With the target of financial stability, the Bank appears to be nowhere near the removal of LVRs.  

Log exports boost freight traffic

Exports made their rebound in the June quarter, with volumes up 6.8% from March (seasonally adjusted). Rising prices on the international market have supported a lift in dairy, horticultural, and forestry export volumes – so much so that Eastland Port boasted record log shipments in the month of June. Although the recovery in export prices has brought demand for heavy vehicles back on line, there are concerns about the consequent increases in road maintenance costs.

Are we under-measuring our migrant numbers?

New data from Statistics NZ shows that migration, as we currently track it, is not always representative of true long-term migration. Using this information, we know that net migration in 2003 was severely underestimated. Given current labour market conditions and the attraction for both foreigners and returning New Zealanders to stick around, we believe that long-term net migration could currently be underestimated by 4,000-8,000 people.

Long-term implications of high net migration

New Zealand has gained around 72,000 more people in the past year according to arrival card data, and we’re feeling the strain of squeezing all these extra people into our cities.  But further analysis of visa data suggests that there are longer-term implications for these high arrival levels that, if left unchecked, could pose a problem for policymakers when we come off the high point in the business cycle.