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ITEM ONE: BUDGET 2015: New Zealand’s finance minister Bill English has delivered a third-way styled budget that commits significant increases to beneficiary and low income family entitlements but fails to address the causes of poverty. The Government also failed to deliver a Budget surplus, revealing a $684 million deficit, despite campaigning in the general election that New Zealand was on the cusp of an economic boom. The Nationals have delivered deficits since 2008 when they came to power. There is significant increased spending for public health, hospitals, and schools. Defence spending is up, as is the budget for New Zealand’s police and intelligence agencies. But there is no mechanism to address the under capitalisation of New Zealand, nor address the domestic economy’s vulnerabilities and over reliance on foreign capital, lenders, and investment. In fact while GDP and the tax take is down on previous forecasts, the Government has refused to aide the diversification of New Zealand enterprise. Recipients of research and development grants continue to be selected by government, leading to allegations of cronyism. These grants are largely contested by businesses that have a proven record of development and have grown into enterprises of significance. In short, the Government has maintained its desire to reward through R&D grants those who it favours rather than provide R&D tax credits to the cumulative mass of small and medium companies that are seeking to develop value added product and services. And that is an opportunity wasted. If harnessed, New Zealand would likely witness an explosion of innovative and highly prized market-leading product. But the National-led Government failed to provide breathing space for small and medium-sized businesses. The Government has also gone silent on a Joe Hockey-styled so-called Google tax. ITEM TWO: FASHION: According to a news report this week, it might be time to dust off the old safari suit and platform shoes. The New Zealand Herald has reported how a new generation of fashionistas are switching on to 1970s-styled flares and wide lapels… According to the report, a 70s retro fashion trend is catching on, the trend conceived when Gen Ys checked out photos of their parents in their prime. What they saw were their mums and dads in “flared jeans and leather jackets – appearing almost unrecognisably cool”. Fear not however, it appears far too soon for the 1980s mullet hair style to be resurrected. New Zealand Report broadcasts live on Fridays on Five AA Australia, and webcasts on EveningReport.nz, LiveNews.co.nz, and ForeignAffairs.co.nz. –]]>



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