With a straight down the middle approach, Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive on Newstalk ZB delivers the very latest news and views to New Zealanders as they wrap up their day.
The Huddle: What will Donald Trump's legacy be?
Donald Trump will walk out of the White House and board Marine One for the last time as president Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided.
Four years after standing on stage at his own inauguration and painting a dire picture of "American carnage," Trump departs the office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Republicans under his watch lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for the final major act of his presidency: inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation.
Trump will be the first president in modern history to boycott his successor's inauguration as he continues to stew about his loss and privately maintains the election that President-elect Joe Biden fairly won was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments.
Still, Trump has refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Bidens over for a get-to-know-you visit.
By the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will already have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, Florida, to face an uncertain future — but not before giving himself a grand military sendoff, complete with a red carpet, military band and 21-gun salute.
Guests have been invited, but it is unclear how many will attend. Even Vice President Mike Pence plans to skip the event, citing the logistical challenges of getting from the air base to the inauguration ceremonies. Washington has been transformed into a security fortress, with thousands of National Guard troops, fencing and checkpoints to try to stave off further violence.
Aides had urged Trump to spend his final days in office trying to salvage his legacy by highlighting his administration's achievements — passing tax cuts, scaling back federal regulations, normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, taking a single trip to the Texas border and releasing a video in which he pledged to his supporters that "the movement we started is only just beginning."
Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now than just two weeks ago.
Before the Capitol riot, Trump had been expected to remain his party's de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term.
For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who have spoken with him say he continues to believe he won in November. He continues to lash out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the coming years backing primary challenges against those he feel betrayed him.
Some expect him to eventually turn completely on the Republican Party, perhaps by flirting with a run as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge.
For all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his term as he began it: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally appeared to have had enough after Trump's supporters violently stormed the Capitol, hunting for lawmakers who refused to go along with Trump's
Rod Oram: Biden's effects on the markets and his stimulus package
Stocks have gained about 13% since Election Day as of Tuesday, a day before Joe Biden's inauguration — marking the the best post-election market performance for a new president in modern history, according to CFRA Research.
The second-biggest surge was from late 1960 to early 1961, when John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon, and the S&P 500 rose 8.8%. The market continued to rally during JFK's first 100 days in office, rising another 8.9%.
The current Biden market surge represents the second time in a row that Wall Street has cheered a new president: Stocks gained more than 6% in the election to inauguration period after Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The market gained 5% during Trump's first 100 days as well.
But there's one major difference: Trump was inheriting an economy that was growing at a stable rate during the long, post-Great Recession recovery. Biden is walking into the Covid-19 economy.
Investors seem hopeful that Biden, along with a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, will work with Republicans to quickly pass another stimulus bill.
The stimulus expectations, combined with the fact that Americans are starting to receive coronavirus vaccinations, has fueled hopes that the economy -- and corporate earnings -- will improve later this year.
Oil, banks and small cap stocks getting a bigger Biden boost
To that end, the energy and financial sectors have been the best performers since the election. Oil companies should benefit from an improving economy and rising crude prices, while banks often do better when there is increased demand for loans.
Small cap stocks have also outperformed the S&P 500, a move that makes sense considering that smaller companies have more exposure to the US economy compared to the large multinational firms that dominate the Dow and S&P 500.
The Biden boost is also in stark contrast to how stocks performed the previous two instances a new president was coming into power during tumultuous economic times.
The S&P 500 fell more than 6% in late 2000 and early 2001 after George W. Bush defeated Al Gore. That election was contested as well, adding to uncertainty that was already present in the market as a result of the dot-com bubble bursting earlier in 2000.
And stocks plummeted nearly 20% from November 2008 through mid-January 2009 after Biden's former boss Barack Obama defeated the late John McCain. Investors were still extremely nervous about the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the rash of high profile bank failures at the time.
But experts say investors need to realize that market performance between the election and the inauguration is not necessarily a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the year.
CFRA Research chief investment strategist Sam Stovall noted in the report that "the S&P 500 is overdue for a digestion of gains that could push the index value below its 2020 closing level."
In other words, the rest of the year might be bumpy. But any downturns could be brief: Stovall also predicted that any market pullbacks in 2021 will be "set early enough in the year to allow for time to recoup all losses and go on to set even higher highs."
text by Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
Jon Duffy: New World SMEG promotion may have breached Fair Trading Act
New world's impending shortage of SMEG knife blocks may soon land them in trouble with the commerce commission.
A customer has complained that the supermarket chain has breached the Fair Trading Act by failing to have enough blocks available to meet the demand.
New World owner Foodstuffs says the blocks were always advertised as being in limited supply, and they are confident they have met their legal responsibilities.
Jon Duffy, chief executive of Consumer New Zealand, told Heather du Plessis-Allan they may have done enough to breach the Act.
"Where it's not reasonable who you to believe that the stocks that you've got will meet the demand for selling goods at the price you've set or the promotion, and it could be that lower level that Foodstuffs has run foul of here."
Gavin Grey: Theresa May slams Boris Johnson, Meghan seeks to reach decision on legal action
Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday local time to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a "deeply personal" letter to her estranged father was "a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy."
Meghan's latest attempt to protect her privacy laid bare more details of her fraught relationship with her estranged father, who claims he has been "vilified" as a dishonest publicity-seeker.
The former Meghan Markle, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain's Prince Harry in 2018.
Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court, in what would be one of London's highest-profile civil court showdowns for years.
The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favor and dismiss the newspaper's defense case. Her lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had "no real prospect" of winning the case.
"At its heart, it's a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter," he said at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions.
Lawyers for the duchess say Thomas Markle, a retired television cinematographer, caused anguish for Meghan and Harry before their May 2018 wedding by giving media interviews and posing for wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency. In the end, he didn't attend the wedding ceremony after suffering a heart attack.
Rushbrooke said Meghan's letter, sent in August 2018, was "a message of peace" whose aim was "to stop him talking to the press."
He said the duchess took steps to ensure the five-page, 1,250-word letter wouldn't be intercepted, sending it by FedEx through her accountant to her father's home in Mexico. The letter implored Thomas Markle to stop speaking to the media, saying: "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces."
The last sentences, read out in court, were: "I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you."
Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure "does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind."
He said "the sad intricacies of a family relationship … is not a matter of public interest."
Lawyers for Associated Newspapers argue that Meghan wrote the letter knowing it would eventually be published. They say it came into the public domain when friends of the duchess described it in anonymous interviews with People magazine.
Thomas Markle says he allowed the Mail to publish portions of the letter to "set the record straight" after reading the People article.
In a written witness statement submitted by the defense, he said the article "had given an inaccurate picture of the contents of the letter and my reply and had vilified me by making out that I was dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated."
"I had to defend myself against that attack," he said.
"The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation. It was a criticism of me," Markle added. "The letter didn't say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health. It actually signaled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation."
In October, judge Mark Warby agreed to Meghan's request to postpone the trial, scheduled to begin this month, until October or November 2021. He said the reason for the delay should remain secret.
Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama "Suits," married Harry, o
Hannah McQueen: Rise in reverse mortgages sparks concern about retirement plans
A surge of retired New Zealanders are leveraging their homes to free up cash.
Heartland Bank has reported a 20 per cent uptick in reverse mortgage approvals over the past six months.
It allows homeowners to take out a mortgage on their house which isn't paid back until the property is sold.
Enable Me Managing Director Hannah McQueen told Heather du Plessis-Allan it's concerning.
"I know they're not prepared for retirement - the question is how long do we need to do it for, and what's our plan to make sure we can get through retirement."
Rebekah Hay: Local ginger beer company to donate the Lemon Oopsie batch
The bottling company for a small ginger beer producer accidentally added too much lemon juice to their drink. and ruined the batch of 15,000 bottles.
The drink is perfectly fine to drink, but it’s not the ginger beer that was ordered.
But for the insurance company to pay for the mishap, the company would have to destroy the batch - but they don't want to do that.
Rebekah Hay, founder of Hakanoa Handmade Drinks, told Heather du Plessis-Allan that they know how much work goes into making their ginger beer.
Instead, they will donate the drink to the needy - she explained how they will do that.
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Heather is exposing the incompetence of our useless PM and her inept government.
What a waste of our tax dollars.