Thursday, April 27, 2017

Karl du Fresne: The mayhem predicted by breathless forecasters never happened

An expat friend emailed me from Brisbane. He had read about Cyclone Cook hitting New Zealand and wondered whether, after all the scary warnings, it had turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax.

I had to confirm that his impression was correct. Sure, trees were brought down, some houses were evacuated, farms were flooded and there were road closures, power outages and a few landslides.

Mole News

Kaye expects 'healthy debate' over Te Reo in schools
Any extension of teaching Te Reo in schools would depend on whether the resources are available for it, the incoming Education Minister says.

The former Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, has called for the teaching of the Māori language to be compulsory in schools.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Greens? Nein Danke

Germany’s Once Powerful Green Party Faces Existential Crisis

In this newsletter:

1) Greens? Nein Danke: Germany’s Once Powerful Green Party Faces Existential Crisis
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24 April 2017 
2) World’s Greenest People Are The World’s Poorest People
Daily Caller, 22 April 2017 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nicholas Kerr: The other passion of Sir Douglas Myers – public policy

Sir Douglas Myers was one of a kind and he leaves New Zealand business and public policy markedly better for his having been here. The tributes that have been written in recent days rightly note the beer baron’s business successes. But other than noting that he was involved in the New Zealand Business Roundtable, few, it seems, have given him the credit he deserves in the policy arena.

Myers and other business leaders in the early 1980s came to the realization that the country needed to change course. Successive governments and generations had stifled our entrepreneurial spirt and held back our productivity and potential.

Matt Ridley: European Commission buries science on bees

Is the European Commission determined to dim the Enlightenment? I ask this because its behaviour in one specific instance goes so utterly with dogma and against evidence as to suggest that there is no longer even a pretence of respect for reason left in Brussels. It concerns bees.

In 2013, you may recall, the European Union banned some uses of neonicotinoid insecticides to save bees. The verdict on this policy has now come in, from the commission’s own Joint Research Centre (JRC), whose job is to provide independent scientific advice to support EU policy. 

Mike Butler: Tribute to language petitioner

When Tauranga woman Robin Bishop heard, about two years ago, that English had no official status, she contacted Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, who confirmed that to be true.

She found that its status is based on the fact that most people customarily speak it. The Maori language was declared official in 1987, and sign language in 2006.

NZCPR Weekly: Charging for Water

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we reflect on the Government’s fresh water reforms and outline why the call for a price on water is so dangerous, our NZCPR Guest Commentator former Judge Anthony Willy examines the complexities involved in charging for water, and this week’s poll asks whether you think the Government should put a charge on water.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Shale Gas Could Heat British Homes By Early 2018

Theresa May Accused Of 'Stealing' Energy Price Cap Manifesto Pledge From Ed Miliband

In this newsletter:

1) Shale Gas Could Heat British Homes By Early 2018
Business Cloud, 20 April 2017
2) Cuadrilla To Begin Shale Drilling In “Couple Of Months”
Kallanish Energy News, 14 April 2017

Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute: The Human Freedom Index 2016

Introduction to "The Human Freedom Index 2016 - a global measurement of personal,civil, and economic freedom".

The great third wave of freedom is receding and, despite hopes for the Arab Spring, no fourth wave is in sight—or at least so it seems. 

Samuel Huntington famously coined the phrase “Third Wave Democracy”. Waves of democracy, defined here as political freedom, overlap with waves of personal freedom as nations moving toward democracy also typically pledge to protect the personal freedoms of their citizens and tend to keep those pledges, at least initially.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Muriel Newman: Submissions needed on radical new education code of ethics

Do you have time to send in an urgent submission?

I have just been sent a copy of the 'Draft Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession'. It
 is the most radical race-based document that I have seen for a long time and it would surely be a national disgrace if it was implemented as is. 

Read it for yourself HERE

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Administration May Not Find Middle Ground On Paris Climate Deal

White House Divided Over Trump’s Election Pledge To Cancel Paris Climate Deal

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Administration May Not Find Middle Ground On Paris Climate Deal
Morning Consult, 17 April 2017
2) White House Divided Over Trump’s Election Pledge To Cancel Paris Climate Deal
The New York Times, 18 April 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Guy Benson: We Must Punish 'Problematic' Thought Crimes With 'Hostility'

Behold, the perfectly creepy and Orwellian capstone to a week of campus insanity and inanity, courtesy of the dim bulbs who populate the editorial board of Wellesley College's student newspaper.

I've employed that ad hominem descriptor for two reasons: First, their argument is a logical train wreck, but that's par for the course with anti-speech tyrants. Second, a compounding sin: It's horribly written. Their prose is truly and embarrassingly atrocious. It's as if a group of mostly-literate sixth-graders joined forces to whip up a self-important harangue, straining and failing to evince erudition.

Phil McDermott: Breaking Through and Moving on: Beginnings of a New Plan for Auckland

The Break Through
After years of pushing the compact city fallacy and ignoring the obvious approach to solving Auckland’s particular growth problems, the city and its planners have at last begun to water down their dearly held but doomed compact city plan.  
The New Zealand Herald revealed that “the council's planning committee will consider a report to allow for 120,000 new homes at six main locations in the north, north-west and south of the city.” A range of smaller rural settlements has also been identified for further development, spread over 130km from north to south. 

Matt Ridley: When populism falters and the elite strikes back

I am writing this from the Netherlands, where one of the most gruesome paintings in the Rijksmuseum, by Jan de Baen, depicts the eviscerated bodies of the de Witt brothers, hanging upside down after the mob had killed them and then roasted and eaten their livers in 1672. 

It is an episode mentioned in a new book published this week by Douglas Carswell, MP, called Rebel, in which he wrestles with an eternal dilemma: why populist revolutions sometimes bring tyranny.

GWPF Newsletter: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Calls For U.S. To Exit Paris Climate Agreement

HUGE! Geologists Discover The US’s Largest Natural Gas Deposit

In this newsletter:

1) EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Calls For U.S. To Exit Paris Climate Agreement
The Washington Post, 14 April 2017
2) Background paper: Paris Agreement - A Blank Cheque For CO2 Emissions By China And India
Global Warming Policy Foundation, May 2016

NZCPR Weekly: Supporting Free Speech

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at the danger of restricting free speech in New Zealand, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Auckland University of Technology's Professor Paul Moon explains why protecting free expression - especially at Universities - is so important, and this week’s poll asks whether you believe that free speech is under threat in New Zealand.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Friday, April 14, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Paris Accord Is A Dead Deal Walking As $100 Billion Climate Fund Disappears

China's New Coal Boom

In this newsletter:

1) Paris Climate Accord Is A Dead Deal Walking As $100 Billion Climate Fund Disappears
The American Interest, 11 April 2017 
2) Emerging Nations Urge Trump Administration To Honour Obama’s $100 Billion Climate Funding Pledge
Reuters, 11 April 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Matt Ridley from the UK: Stand up for the right to criticise Islam

"It is wrong to describe this as Islamic terrorism. It is Islamist terrorism. It is a perversion of a great faith.” 

This is what the prime minister said in parliament after the attack on Westminster Bridge that killed three tourists and a policeman. While I completely accept that the sins of extremists should never be visited on the vast majority of moderate believers, I am increasingly uneasy about how we handle the connection between religion and extremism.

Brian Gaynor: Amazon’s Aussie move spells danger for NZ retailers

The direct entry of into the Australian market is another step in the company’s attempt to conquer the world. The online retailer’s establishment across the Tasman could create major issues for New Zealand retailers and retail property owners.

Amazon is one of a handful of companies – including Apple, Facebook and Google – that are changing the world. But the big difference is that Amazon is attempting to disrupt existing operators while the other three are essentially offering new and unique products.

Frank Newman: Memorandum of Understanding and confidentiality

Last week the Northland Regional Council (NRC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with a Chinese state-controlled company to investigate infrastructure investment opportunities. According to the NRC press release, "It builds on a relationship that began in June last year when the council hosted a delegation from China Railway Zhongji Holding Group..."

It seems that delegation was on a NZ road trip as the Chinese group is reportedly also looking at relationships in Gisborne - and last November Fairfax media reported it had entered into an agreement with Wellington property investors Chow Group Management to provide up to $100 million in funding for construction ventures.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Karl du Fresne: Free speech on campus - has the wheel turned full circle?

Remember the 60s? That was the decade when middle-class baby-boomers rose up in defiance of their elders.

Nothing was sacred. Traditional morality was scorned and conventional political values overturned as the protest generation stormed the barricades of conformity.

Gerry Eckhoff: Free Speech

Evolutionary science has identified that the most distinguishing feature of human beings is their capacity for complex language. Inherent within the use of language is the right to freedom of speech which is widely accepted precept in the western world’s cultures. It is also well established that we humans have used language in the political sphere for the singular purpose of advancement of a cause or ideology. The politics of the environment is one such more recent example.

 Free speech today cannot be constrained or quantified as it once was. Those freedoms, inherent in our society to speak or challenge without fear or favour -  are paramount.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: UK To 'Scale Down' Climate Change For Post-Brexit Deals

Britain Looking To Renege On Climate Goals Post-Brexit

In this newsletter:

1) UK To 'Scale Down' Climate Change For Post-Brexit Deals
The Sunday Times, 9 April 2017
2) UK Looking To Renege On Climate Goals Post-Brexit – Reports
PV Magazine, 6 April 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

NZCPR Weekly: Addressing Child Abuse

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we highlight some changes that need to be made if the Government is to get on top of the child abuse crisis, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Bruce Tichbon outlines the way forward for family law, and this week’s poll asks whether you believe that the sole parent benefit needs further reform.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

GWPF Newsletter: New Study Reveals the Atmospheric Footprint of the Global Warming Hiatus

New Lawsuit: Did The Obama White House Collude With A Politically Motivated Scientist?

In this newsletter:

1) New Study Reveals the Atmospheric Footprint of the Global Warming Hiatus
Chinese Academy of Science, March 2017
2) New Lawsuit: Did The Obama White House Collude With A Politically Motivated Scientist?
National Review, 6 April 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Frank Newman: RMA reforms pass into law

Last week the National and Maori parties passed their Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms though Parliament. There was an air of arrogance from Environment Minister Nick Smith as the Bill passed through the House - knowing full well that he had the 59 National votes and a proxy for the two Maori Party votes in a 121 member Parliament.

In my view the National Party has made a strategic error in passing this unpopular amendment by making the RMA a bigger "Frankenstein".

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Muriel Newman: Shared Parenting Speech

Shared parenting. When I first got involved I knew from experience that the warfare had to be taken out of family law and the only way to do that was to remove the threat of a parent losing their children through custody and access – shared parenting seemed the logical way forward.

We did our research and drafted a bill, which I submitted it into the Parliamentary Private Members’ ballot where, like Lotto, you take your chances.

GWPF Newsletter: At Last UK Said To Seek End For 2020 Renewables Target

Scientific Advice Promoting Diesel ‘Was Wrong’, Former Chief Scientist Admits

In this newsletter:

1) At Last: UK Said To Seek End For 2020 Renewables Target
Bloomberg, 5 April 2016 
2) Scientific Advice Promoting Diesel ‘Was Wrong’, Former Chief Scientist Admits
The Times, 5 April 2017 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: China And Pakistan Join Forces For World’s Biggest Brown Coal Programme

Alternative Truths And Some Hard Facts About Coal

In this newsletter:

1) China And Pakistan Join Forces For World’s Biggest Brown Coal Programme
Bloomberg, 1 April 2017
2) U.S. Coal Miners Find A New Buyer In Asia
OilPrice 23 March 2017

Stephen Franks: Doubling down for Nick Smith

I was obliged to spend all yesterday on unplanned responding to calls about Dr Nick Smith’s Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. It could be passed by Parliament this week.

Yet New Zealand is just waking up to what desperately bad legislation it is. Some beneficial provisions are badly overdue, but it tries to fix other weeping RMA sores by forcing Councils  to plaster them with Ministerial acne cream. It is so prescriptive it could be a Green bill, rejecting property rights as a cure for Planners Paralysis, and instead subjecting local authorities to detailed Ministerial decrees.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Genderless pronouns just might make sense after all

The following informal guidelines on how to treat people who are transitioning or genderqueer may be helpful for colleagues and fellow students. Listen to the person, and ask them how they want to be treated and referred to. Think of the person as being the gender that they want you to think of them as. Use the name and pronoun that the person asks you to. If you are not sure what the right pronoun is, then simply ask
-          University of Oxford Transgender Guidance

An idea gaining traction is to have an assortment of pronouns that people can choose from depending on their ‘gender identity’. With 50+ ‘gender identities’ being bandied about, that could become complicated.

Matt Ridley: A menagerie of fallacies

Budget week might be a good time to remind ourselves of the fallacies on which bad policies feed. Last year the University of Michigan’s Professor Richard Nisbett wrote a short book called Mindware, about the ways in which people deceive themselves and others about statistical reasoning. Since reading it, I have been noticing examples of the art everywhere.

Think of Nisbett’s book as a field guide to a nature reserve. Keep an eye out for the Sunk Cost fallacy, wherein you argue that a nuclear power station or a supersonic airliner must be built because you have spent a fortune on it already. It should never matter how much cost has already been sunk into a project: it is only worth spending more if it is cost-effective.

Viv Forbes: Battery Baloney

Every day some green energy promoter or a battery salesman tells us how green energy with battery backup will supply Australia’s future electricity needs.

A battery stores energy. Energy can be stored using lead-acid, nickel/cadmium, lithium, molten salt, pumped hydro, hydrogen, flywheels, compressed air or some other smart gizmo. But NOT ONE battery produces new energy – they simply store and discharge energy produced by other means. They all deliver less energy than they consume. Moreover, to manufacture, charge, use and dispose of batteries consumes energy and resources.

NZCPR Weekly: Stop the Bill, Prime Minister!

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we ask the Prime Minister to stop the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Rodney Hide explains why tribalism is the worst form of economic organisation, and this week’s poll asks whether you believe that the introduction of the Maori co-governance of local authorities should be conditional upon the approval of a majority of New Zealanders through a binding public referendum process.
I have sent a letter to the Prime Minister appealing to him to stop the Bill. We feel so strongly about this, that we are publishing the letter in the Sunday Newspapers - so the public can better understand what’s going on and add their voice to our appeal to the PM to stop the Bill. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: ‘Weaker Sun Could Reduce Global Temperatures By Half A Degree’

Experts Call For The Creation Of ‘Red Teams’ To Challenge Un Climate Science Panel

In this newsletter:

1) Swiss National Science Foundation: ‘Weaker Sun Could Reduce Global Temperatures By Half A Degree’
Swiss National Science Foundation, 27 March 2017
2) Red Teams Can Save Climate Science From Itself
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 March 2017