Friday, May 6, 2016

Mole News

Appointed iwi representatives get voting rights on Masterton council committees
A Wairarapa council has approved the appointment of unelected iwi representatives, with voting rights, to its standing committees.

Masterton District Council voted on Wednesday to appoint representatives from Wairarapa's two iwi, Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitane o Wairarapa, each with speaking and voting rights, to its policy and finance, and audit and risk, committees.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: The nebulous right of self-determination

All peoples have the right of self-determination.  By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  Article 1.1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966.

Mike Butler: Water claimants fight themselves

Over the past few months, Keep Water Kiwi campaigners have been treated to the spectacle of water claimants fighting among themselves -- in this case both the New Zealand Maori Council and Ngai Tahu.

Over the past two weeks, the High Court was used to resolve a leadership dispute at the Maori Council and Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon resigned in face of a no-confidence motion.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Matt Ridley: Bourgeois Equality

It took me two months to read this 650-page, small-type book, Deirdre McCloskey's feast of words on the "great enrichment", Bourgeois Equality, the third volume in a trilogy. In that time I read several other books, absorbing Bourgeois Equality in small doses on trains, ships, Tubes, sofas and beds. If that sounds like faint praise, it’s not. I wanted to savour every sentence of this remarkable feast of prose.

It is a giant of a book about a giant of a topic: the “great enrichment” of humanity over the past 300 years. It is so rich in vocabulary, allusion and fact as to be a contender for the great book of our age.

Stephen Franks: Aus research says bigger not better in local government – will business leaders notice?

Do mergers make for better councils? The evidence is against ‘bigger is better’ for local government“. That’s how The Conversation on 31 March summarised some unequivocal Australian research findings.

They confirm just how lucky Wellington region, Hawkes Bay and Northland were to dodge the amalgamation bullets prepared by the nobs of New Zealand local government, and recent Ministers. The Australian research is consistent with international evidence reviewed by economist Phil Barry of TDB Advisory before his advice confirmed for Hutt City Council that resisting amalgamation was in the interests of their city and ratepayers.

Karl du Fresne: Trump vs Clinton - a democratic malfunction?

You have to say this much for Donald Trump: no aspirant for political office in America has created so much interest in distant New Zealand.

In fact you’d probably have to go as far back as 1964, to the contest between Lyndon Johnson and his arch-conservative Republican rival Barry Goldwater, to find a US presidential election that aroused more interest worldwide. Trump can take credit for that, if nothing else.

Mike Butler: Work risk grossly exaggerated

A current work safely television advertisement campaign claims that last year there were 23,000 deaths and serious injuries in New Zealand when the actual figure is 450.

Wellington risk specialist Ian Harrison smelt a rat when he saw the adverts so reviewed the evidence to find that the claims were grossly exaggerated. He filed a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: Where the benefit babies are born

Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a 'benefit baby' means relying on a parent or caregiver's benefit by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided.
Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Karl du Fresne: Agenda-driven reformers untroubled by human consequences

The American economist Milton Friedman once said that it’s a great mistake to judge things by their intentions rather than by their results. Unfortunately it’s a mistake repeatedly made by agenda-driven reformers on a mission to create the perfect society. A Radio New Zealand Spectrum programme brought one such instance to public attention earlier this month.

Until 2007, intellectually disabled people in New Zealand were exempted from minimum wage laws. This meant they could be employed doing menial work in facilities known as sheltered workshops.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bryan Leyland: Things you know that ain't so - sea levels are rising

Things you know that ain't so - the sea level is rising rapidly and this will continue to increase

We are constantly being told by the Royal Society of New Zealand and others that the sea level is rising more and more rapidly and we must be prepared for a rise of something like 1 m over the next 100 years or so – 10 mm per year. This is a serious matter because many Councils are now restricting building close to the sea and putting restrictions on existing houses that have substantially reduced their value.

There is no scientific foundation for this belief. It is based on the output of computer models that, so far, have been shown to consistently overestimate the rate of sea level rise.

Anthony Willy: Straws in the wind

Readers will be well familiar with the blame mentality on which some Maori people thrive and the depressing slide into racial separatism associated with it which has been gaining momentum over the past few years; connived at by the Wellington bureaucracy and encouraged by The Waitangi Tribunal and a series of pronouncements from our highest Court many of which are unnecessary to the issue before them and seem to be made on the basis of what some of the Judges would have decided if the facts had been other than those before the court. 

Maori lobby interests such as the Iwi Leaders Group, a self-appointed collection of individuals handsomely funded out of the public purse by way of past treaty settlements and purporting to speak on behalf of all people of Maori descent (but do not) have become increasingly bold in their demands. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mole News Archive

From the NZCPR archives by Dr Muriel Newman
Race-based Water Rights a Step Closer
Water is being targeted by the Maori elite as the next resource to control. The influential Iwi Leaders Group is pushing ahead with their demand for a proprietary right to freshwater. They want a preferential allocation – in perpetuity – that can be commercialised. They say it’s their right under the Treaty of Waitangi. But it’s not – it’s just another attempted money grab and unfortunately our political leaders are allowing them to get away with it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Richard Rahn from the Cato Institute: Tracing Pathways to Success and Failure

Why is Hong Kong rich, Cuba very poor, and Puerto Rico struggling? Back in 1955, the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Hong Kong had roughly the same real per capita income. They each took very different economic paths. 

Now, some 60 years later, Hong Kong is even richer than the United States on a per capita income basis. Cuba is an economic disaster, having gone from the richest Caribbean nation to the poorest, next to Haiti. And Puerto Rico finds itself flirting with bankruptcy, with a per capita income much higher than Cuba’s but only roughly half that of Hong Kong. Incomes have increased approximately 22-fold in Hong Kong, 11-fold in Puerto Rico, and only fourfold at best in Cuba, in a little over a half-century.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Matt Ridley from the UK: The exoneration of dietary fat

Britain’s obesity tsar, Susan Jebb, says that it is not fair to blame fat people for their failure to lose weight. Genetically predisposed, many people cannot realistically lose weight by eating less, especially when the food industry tempts them with snacks. Meanwhile, George Osborne is slapping a tax on sugar to tackle obesity.

The new obsession with sugar definitely makes more sense than the low-fat sermons we have heard for decades. And the prevailing idea in the public-health industry that you get fat simply by eating more calories than you burn is misleading to say the least. While of course that’s true, it says nothing about what causes appetite to exceed need by the tiny amount each day that can turn you obese.

Brian Gaynor: Banks long shadow over NZ economy

One of the most important developments in recent decades has been the growing dominance of the trading banks in New Zealand and other countries.

These banks completely dominate the lending sector, have been primarily responsible for the housing market boom and are becoming more and more prominent in KiwiSaver, which is also supporting the housing market through its first home withdrawal scheme.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mike Butler: Waitara leaseholders pressured

A further step in a long-running dispute over leasehold land at Waitara, 16km from New Plymouth, was made last night when the New Plymouth District Council voted unanimously in favour of a proposed local bill.

That bill would give 76 hectares of land to Taranaki tribe Te Atiawa and give Waitara leaseholders the right to buy the land under their homes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mike Butler: Maori council seats vote petition

Maori wards could be set up on every district council in New Zealand without requiring a public vote, according to a Maori Party petition, which is the latest battle in a 20-year push to get separate voting into local government.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will present a petition to Parliament at the urging of New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd, who championed a Maori ward in his city - a move blocked by a public vote last year.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Viv Forbes: Carbon Delusions and Defective Models

The relentless war on carbon is justified by the false assumption that global temperature is controlled by human production of two carbon-bearing “Greenhouse Gases”. 

The scary forecasts of runaway heating are based on complicated but narrowly-focussed carbon-centric computerised Global Circulation Models built for the UN IPCC. These models omit many significant climate factors and rely heavily on dodgy temperature records and unproven assumptions about two trace natural gases in the atmosphere.

Matt Ridley from the UK: Green costs are killing heavy industry in Britain

Before Redcar and Port Talbot, remember Lynemouth, where Britain’s last large aluminium smelter closed in 2012. In aluminium, as in steel, China is now by far the largest producer, smelting five times as much as any other continent, let alone country.

The chief reason aluminium left (though a small plant survives at Lochaber) was the sky-high electricity prices paid in Britain: electrolysis is how you make aluminium. For extra-large industrial users, British electricity prices are the highest in Europe, twice the average, and far higher than in Asia and America.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Theodore Dalrymple: Trawling the trolls

I am no respecter of persons, particularly politicians, but even politicians are human -- more or less -- and are therefore deserving of some kind of elementary courtesy. 

When, shortly after my arrival in Australia to spend April at CIS, I read a Guardian article reporting the Treasurer's remarks on state taxation, I read with mild dismay, but not surprise, the readers' on-line responses; for example the following: