Rising fuel prices threaten to squeeze economic growth

Motorists have been incensed this week, with the price of 91 octane petrol heading over $2.30/l in some parts of the country. Increased fuel prices aren’t yet at the highest (real) levels we’ve ever seen – but they’re close. Based on the unrest in the Middle East, fuel prices might remain elevated for some time. This will hurt more than just the classic Sunday drive, with airfares, freight costs, and eventually goods prices also needing to increase to cover higher fuel bills.

Finding a cheap place to fill up just got harder

Transport funding and how much we’ll all pay at the pump has been all the (road) rage recently. In late March, the government introduced legislation to allow Auckland Council to implement a regional fuel tax, and in early April the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport was published, signalling a 3-4c/l annual increase to petrol prices nationally.

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.

Better growth in 2018 to prelude a more challenging next decade

Infometrics’ latest forecasts show the New Zealand economy still has more gas in the tank for 2018, despite the slowdown of the last 12 months and suggestions from some analysts that all the economy’s key drivers have already peaked. Infometrics’ Chief Forecaster Gareth Kiernan points to a buoyant export sector, increased government spending, and the perennial need to build more houses in Auckland as the key components of GDP growth averaging 3.4%pa during 2018 and 2019.

The Panama Canal: mosquitoes, a soft voice and a big stick

A sense of intrigue prompted David Kennedy to visit Panama City – an oasis of wealth and success in Central America.  He was vaguely aware of its economic and historic importance: it is a metropolis of futuristic skyscrapers, an airline hub, a tax haven, a financial hub, a nexus of global trade, and a United States outpost of sorts.  He knew that all these attributes related, in one way or another, to the Panama Canal.

The Wider Economic Benefits of Greater Connectivity

The Oresund bridge between Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden, a truly transformational (€4 billion) transport project that led to economic benefits much greater than would be estimated using standard cost-benefit analysis.
Although something on that scale is unlikely in New Zealand, it does raise the question of whether investing in large transport infrastructure projects could deliver benefits additional to those estimated using the NZ Transport Agency’s Economic Evaluation Manual.

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.

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.