Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ron Smith: Losers



For some while now it has been evident that President Obama is reluctant to talk about ‘terrorism’ and, still less, about ‘Islamic terrorism’, or ‘Jihad’, or ‘the war on terror’, or all those other things that are so offensive to the political correct.  It is now becoming clear that this ideologically-driven denial is extracting a price.  Apart from the absurdity of continuing to refer to the Fort Hood shooting as ‘work-place violence’, it is now emerging that the various agencies responsible for home security have seriously dropped the ball in regard to the Boston bombing.

Richard Epstein: In Praise of Income Inequality



You cannot make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.
One month into the second term of the Obama administration, the economic prognosis looks mixed at best. On growth, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports the last quarter of 2012 produced a small decline in gross domestic product, without any prospects for a quick reversal. On income inequality, the most recent statistics (which only go through 2011) focus on the top 1 percent.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Karl du Fresne: Not an easy woman to like




LIKE a lot of people, I’ve been thinking lately about Margaret Thatcher. My feelings about her are, to use a fashionable term, conflicted. The best way I can explain it is to say that it was possible to respect what she achieved without actually liking her. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mike Butler: Bombers’ anti-West influence



“Dzhokhar was a normal American kid,” the flabbergasted, politically correct media reported after it was discovered that the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out by two Caucasian Muslim brothers, one an American citizen, the other likely a green-card holder. Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh came under liberal media attack for linking the bombers’ behavior to the “liberal elite intellectual thought” that infects the Boston community.

Frank Newman: TV tenants



The Herald reports a tenant advocate has complained about the TV reality programme Renters. They claim it unfairly portrays tenants as villainous machete-wielding, house destroying, rent absconding characters, and has ignored the many very good tenants.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mike Butler: What the principal principal said


A simple press release from the president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, Philip Harding, that claims the ACT party’s proposed charter schools will open the door to religious groups to teach Kiwi kids discriminatory practices, including that same sex marriage is wrong, offers a glimpse into the brain-dead leadership of the movement opposing charter schools.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mike Butler: Sparks fly in electricity fight



A proposal from Labour leader David Shearer and Green co-leader Russel Norman, announced on Thursday, to bring down power prices, is the latest round in a tit-for-tat political struggle started by the National-led government’s policy of selling assets to keep the ship of state afloat. Labour had joined the Green Party in collecting 320,000 signatures to oppose the part-privatisation of electricity generating companies, and then 400,000 pre-registered for the Mighty River Power float, with 400,000 trumping 320,000.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Karl du Fresne: Heaven protect us from self-righteous zealots


We tend to think of idealism as a good thing. Idealists want the best for the world and for humanity – or so we assume. Who could possibly object to idealism, then? Yet idealism can be perverted. It can morph into zealotry and fanaticism. People can become so convinced of the correctness of their ideals that they feel able to justify almost any action aimed at fulfilling them.

Frank Newman: A new uncertainty



I have for some time now expressed the view that the greatest risk to investors at the moment is political uncertainty. After this week news stories about changes to the electricity market I am certain that is the case. Just to recap, last week the Labour and Green parties jointly announced that should they become the government after the general election late next year, they would regulate pricing in the wholesale power generation market.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mike Butler: The gay-marriage self-parody



The phrase “gay rights for nuclear-free whales” quite accurately parodies the shallow, trendy, bumper-sticker campaigns of the New Zealand left. Shallow trendiness dominated parliament this week as Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage Bill) Amendment Bill passed its third reading 77 votes to 44.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chris Trotter: Not Debating the Constitution


I DON’T GET ANGRY very often. I’ve been around too long, seen history repeat itself too many times, for all that malarkey. Just occasionally, however, I stumble across something that truly infuriates me. Like discussions billed as debates where everybody is actually on the same side. No, I’m not talking about TV3’s “The Vote”. What’s got my dander up is a four-part series being hosted by the NZ Centre for Public Law (NZCPL) entitled “Debating the Constitution”. All four encounters to be broadcast subsequently on Radio NZ National.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ron Smith: Climate change and the growing of the grape



A report in The Guardian (UK), a few days ago (8 April), was headed ‘Climate change will threaten wine production’.  A few days later (10 April), the New Zealand Herald carried a similar story,  ‘Warming likely boost to vineyards’.  Of course, the two reports are not as incompatible as they seem. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mike Butler: Tolerating tribal 'charities'



How long will taxpayers tolerate the tax-exempt status of tribal “charities”? Last week Dr Michael Gousmett in his guest column on this site titled “Tax-payer subsidised charities and their business activities - time for change” looked at the operation of three New Zealand taxpayer-subsidised charitable businesses and argued that there was time for change in the tax-exemptions.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mike Butler: Greens leader backs Maori dope trade



Maori in regions where jobs are limited who are growing and selling cannabis to keep their whanau fed shouldn’t be punished for their entrepreneurship, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei told Maori TV on Monday night. “It has become an income supplement for whanau particularly in rural areas where they have very little income and few job prospects, particularly in the back blocks, and we have to very careful how we manage that,” Turei said on the Native Affairs show.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ron Smith: An Iron Lady



I met Margaret Thatcher sometime in early 1970 and she made an enormous impression on me at that single meeting.  At the time I was employed by the Royal Institute of Chemistry (now the Royal Society of Chemistry) at their offices in Russell Square (London).  She was Conservative spokesperson on education.  The Institute had an issue to do with the recognition of its qualifications and I was engaged in lobbying on the matter. We had lunch at a restaurant in Charlotte Street.  It was arranged by a Conservative member of parliament, who was a chemist and a member of the Institute; Sir Beresford Craddock.  Mrs Thatcher was also a chemist (as well as a barrister), though she was not a member of the Institute.  The crucial thing was that (as noted) she was Party spokesperson and,  just might become Secretary of State for Education, should the Conservatives be successful at the coming election (they were and she did in June of that same year).

Mike Butler: Clarity on Maorified protocol



It takes a visiting Danish politician to bring a moment of clarity to the rent-a-powhiri madness that occurs at any official function. Marie Krarup, who was welcomed on to the navy’s Te Taua Moana Marae last month, decried the wero or challenge, objected to being welcomed by a “half-naked” man “shouting and screaming in Maori”, and objected to being forced to touch noses.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lindsay Mitchell: 4 in 5 Maori children born outside marriage

Four in five Maori children are now born outside of marriage. The earliest statistics kept on Maori ex-nuptial births were in 1968. The percentage of Maori children born outside marriage would have been even lower pre-1968.

Does marriage matter?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Viv Forbes: Warm and well fed, or hungry in the dark?


Which is worse - gradual man-made global warming or sudden electricity blackout? Alarmists try to scare us by claiming that man’s activities are causing global warming. Whether and when we may see new man-made warming is disputed and uncertain. If it does appear, the world will be slightly warmer, with more evaporation and rainfall; plants will grow better and colonise some areas currently too cold or too dry; fewer old people will die in winter and sea levels may continue the gradual rise we have seen since the end of the last ice age.

Karl du Fresne: RNZ must right its lean to the left


I have some advice – unsolicited – for whoever takes over from Peter Cavanagh, the chief executive of Radio New Zealand, who steps down toward the end of this year. RNZ is a national treasure, but it’s a flawed treasure, and that makes it vulnerable. By correcting the most obvious of those flaws, whoever takes over from Mr Cavanagh could help protect the organisation against political interference.

Reuben Chapple: Partnership? What Partnership



Only in the last 25 years has anyone considered it an established fact that the Treaty of Waitangi created a partnership between Maori and the Crown. For almost 150 years, this view was largely unheard of. Moreover, there is not a shred of evidence that the British authorities intended to establish such a partnership, nor that the chiefs saw this as the Treaty’s object.