Auckland, January 1, 2019
The dawn of a New Year always brings with it fresh beginnings, punctuated by new hope, ideas, wishes and renewed optimism. Although various faiths have varied ‘New Year Days’ over a 365-day period, the world has come to accept that January 1 is the start of a new calendar, new phase in life – everything in fact that marks a new start.
Day of Celebration
January 1 is also a public holiday in many parts of the world making it a Day of Celebration and as we in Indian Newslink wish you, your family, colleagues and everyone around you the best of everything in the New Year, we hope for world peace and greater economic and social prosperity.
True, there are many things that ail this world; poverty is the worst demon that blocks a significant number of people everywhere from becoming partners in human progress. Millions subsist below the poverty line, creating a major challenge to governments across the hemispheres. But we hope that there would be collective global progress for, in the 21st Century, what affects one country has a rippling effect everywhere else.
Wellbeing Approach in New Zealand
There are signs that the New Zealand economy will continue to perform well, despite the rhetoric of ‘loss of business confidence’ orchestrated mainly by the political adversaries of the current coalition government. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has done well, winning international attention with her ‘genuine politics.’ She has brought along a new brand of governance that is open and honest – a brand that seems to be working.
Year 2019 will see the furtherance of the Government’s ‘Wellbeing Approach,’ with Budget priorities spelling new ways of working and of thinking about how we measure our success as a country and as a Government.
Raising Living Standards
The priorities for Budget 2019 have been chosen using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF), evidence from sector-based experts and the Government’s Science Advisors, and collaboration among public sector agencies and Ministers. They are focused on the outcomes New Zealanders want to achieve and all Ministers and agencies will be collectively responsible for delivering the priorities.
To begin to tackle the challenges identified in the Wellbeing Outlook, the Government has identified five Budget Priorities for Budget 2019, which include (1) Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy (2) Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities (3) Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities (4) Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence and (5) Supporting the mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds.
US-China Trade War
The global scene provides a mixed bag of goodwill and conflicts of interest.
The commerce sector is holding its breath as the US-China Trade war, the worst in decades, continues unabated. The Trump Administration has imposed tariffs on Chinese products valued at US$ 250 billion. Beijing has retaliated.
The US has also slapped tariffs on steel imports from Europe, Canada, Mexico and many other countries.
As the Economist mentioned, Donald Trump intervened on national-security grounds to scupper a US$ 117 billion bid from Broadcom, a chipmaker with ties to South-East Asia, for Qualcomm.
“It would have been the biggest-ever tech merger.”
“In another dysfunctional year at the White House, Rex Tillerson was sacked as Secretary of State, as was Jeff Sessions as Attorney-General, both after the President had publicly undermined them. The investigation by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, into Russian influence in American elections rumbled on, laying charges against some of Mr Trump’s former aides.”
In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May is battling with Brexit issues.
Despite these problems, we hope that 2019 will usher in a new era of prosperity.