Moving in

Coincidence corner: as Aucklanders were this week hotly debating the impact of Chinese house-buyers, the Insider received an email urging him to invest in British rental property. The author claims to have been "swamped with Kiwis" keen to pocket high rental yields - a claimed 10 per cent-plus - to be made in hot spots such as Hull, St Helens and Hartlepool. Stand by for tragic stories about homeless northerners priced out of the property market by rapacious New Zealanders, and calls for a clampdown on buyers with Kiwi-sounding names.

Thirst for dairy

Never mind the ever-diminishing milk price - a giant dairy processor is eyeing up opportunities in this part of the world. Canadian company Saputo already owns Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, and boss Lino Saputo jnr has been visiting Australia, where he told Fairfax Media he was hungry for more deals in the Oceania region, among other places. "There are some smaller operators in New Zealand that are doing wonderful things that we would be interested in," he said. Saputo is smaller than New Zealand's Fonterra, but is one of the world's 10 biggest dairy companies.

Treaty trap

When John Key was Leader of the Opposition, he said that when he became Prime Minister, all historic Treaty of Waitangi claims would be settled by 2014. When 2014 came and went, that became an "aspirational goal" and the date was pushed back to 2017. Nowadays, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson doesn't talk about settling all claims by 2017, but is "keen" to have all deeds of mandate and terms of negotiation signed by then. It may seem a cheap shot to criticise the pace of settlements considering the progress that has been made - including the Tuhoe deal, which many thought would be impossible to resolve - but the slippage does illustrate the danger of setting deadlines.

After the retreat...

It will be interesting to see what form Prime Minister John Key is in after his mid-winter retreat to Hawaii. Most ministers have been keeping out of the foreign investment/race row provoked by Labour, and Key and Bill English are out of the country. English has been in China, his second trip in a short time, so there might be an interesting discussion around the Cabinet table on Monday about where the Government takes the political and policy debate from here.

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Last July, Westpac's provision of the Government's transactional banking and Crown cash management went out to tender for the first time in more than 20 years. Photo / File
Last July, Westpac's provision of the Government's transactional banking and Crown cash management went out to tender for the first time in more than 20 years. Photo / File

Sound of silence

What has happened to the Government's tender for banking services? Last July, Westpac's provision of the Government's transactional banking and Crown cash management went out to tender for the first time in more than 20 years. Many people had complained about Westpac's seemingly iron grip on the work, and suggested the Crown-owned KiwiBank should do it. That may or may not be practical but, either way, announcements about this and wider contracts for departmental banking were meant to have been announced by mid-year. Now it is July, and silence reigns.

Juggling finances

Green MP Steffan Browning is still suffering after last year backing homeopathic treatment for Ebola. The resulting mockery hurt the Greens' attempt to brand themselves as "sensible", and not the home for fringe crank theories. In the Greens' latest reshuffle, Browning lost more of his portfolios. The Greens' press release on the reshuffle notes that "Julie Anne Genter becomes only the third woman MP ever to hold the finance portfolio, after National's Ruth Richardson and, for a brief time, the Maori Party's Rahui Katene". That's quite a stretch: Richardson was a real Finance Minister for three years, not just an Opposition spokesperson.

File under ???

As Nicky Hager takes his case against the police seizure of documents and data from his home, former National Party leader Don Brash must be watching with some bemusement. He complained about the taking of his computer files, which became the basis for Hager's book The Hollow Men. The police showed little interest and didn't go raiding Hager's home as they did in this matter. Apparently the seizure of data covers Hager's "life's work" and some in National are wondering if that includes information showing who was behind The Hollow Men.