Friday, March 24, 2023

Karl du Fresne: In different circumstances, you could almost admire their chutzpah

Justice Gendall in the High Court has come to the right decision in the case of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker. Whether it was for the right reasons remains to be seen.

Gendall ruled that the government’s decision to allow Parker into New Zealand to speak at rallies in Auckland and Wellington was lawful.

As Jonathan Ayling of the Free Speech Union says, it was the only right result for a country that values tolerance, free speech and the ability to debate.

Bob Jones: Well done Michael Wood

Congratulations to Immigration Minister Michael Wood for refusing to ban British anti-trans activist Posie Parker speaking in New Zealand. The utterly fraudulent argument proffered by diverse sexually confused groups for the ban was that Parker’s presence would cause riots. And the reason they would occur is these same groups say they plan to cause them.

Cam Slater: Wayne Brown Flips the Bird at LGNZ

Wayne Brown is a plain speaking man who says what he means and damn the consequences. Yesterday the Auckland Council voted to quit the most useless quango organisation in New Zealand, Local Government NZ, and in the process has saved Auckland City at least $640,000.

As a parting gift for good measure, he called them out as a bunch of self-interested pissheads.

Mike Hosking: Luxon's speech showed what the polls don't

If everyone in this country watched Christopher Luxon yesterday outline where our education system is at, he would not have the issues he currently does around whether he is getting traction in polls.

He talked about how the system got where it is, how it is measured and how the world sees us.

Ultimately, it is why it will all come right later this year when the campaign properly starts and some decent attention is put on his performance.

Point of Order: What becomes of the broken hearted?.....

.....Nanny State will step in to comfort them

The Nanny State has scored some wins (or claimed them) in the past day or two but it faltered when it came to protecting Kiwi citizens from being savaged by one woman armed with a sharp tongue.

The wins are recorded by triumphant ministers on the Beehive website.

The decision to leave us to protect ourselves from the words and ideas of someone who calls herself Posie Parker (this can best be done by staying out of hearing range) has not been recorded there because it was decided by an official rather than a minister.

Thomas Cranmer: Free Speech or Transphobia? Kellie-Jay Keen's Visit to New Zealand Sparks Tensions

Kellie-Jay Keen's visit to NZ leaves no room for doubt that the transgender debate is the frontline in the culture wars.

Kellie-Jay Keen is yet to land in the country but we have already seen days of alarmist press coverage and increasingly frenzied social media jousting. So heated is the debate, that those on either side of the argument cannot even agree on how to describe Keen. To the left, she is a ‘controversial anti-trans activist’, whereas Keen describes herself as a women’s rights advocate. From there the debate only becomes more polarized, with no room for compromise or nuanced discussion.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 19.03.23

Friday March 24, 2023 

Ngāti Ngararanui opposes housing development that may affect its awa

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is aiming to build 350 new homes in Ngongotaha, Rotorua, as a solution to housing stress and related community impacts.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Garrick Tremain: Mr Chippie

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on the great Kiwi swallow!

Karl du Fresne: That dull, clunking sound you just heard

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges memorably described the Falklands War as two bald men fighting over a comb.

The parallels may not be immediately obvious, but the same phrase could be applied to the confected outrage over the speaking tour of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker.

Okay, we’re not talking about war here. Nonetheless, Borges’ description fits a situation where a rational person can only wonder what all the fuss is about.

Bryce Edwards: The Beehive’s revolving door and corporate mateship

New Zealanders are uncomfortable with the high level of influence corporate lobbyists have in New Zealand politics, and demands are growing for greater regulation.

A recent poll shows 62 per cent of the public support having a two-year cooling off period between ministers leaving public office and becoming lobbyists and 14 per cent oppose such a law. This is exactly what Kris Faafoi did recently, but because New Zealand lacks a cooling off period he was able to move straight from being a government minister and go to work lobbying his former colleagues while they are still in government.

Mike Hosking: Not liking what someone says isn't a reason to ban them

"Based on their previous expression of opinion or ideas."

That’s the key line from the immigration folks as they announced they are not stopping ol' Posie Parker from lobbing up and having a word about transgender issues.

Section 16 of the Immigration Act is a high bar. High enough that a few "controversial" views and a lot of hand ringing control freaks here can't scupper someone getting into the country.

Thank the good Lord.

Cam Slater: This Is the Issue That Costs Elections

Yesterday morning the National Party announced that they were proposing to re-write the education syllabus if they win the election. I’ve provided you with a link because it is now hard to find, such is the interest in the policy. Bold or stupid? I pick stupid because education is not a touchstone issue for anyone other than those with children. It isn’t even in the top five issues that voters are concerned about.

What is a top issue, is the economy and anything attached to it, like the rising cost of living. James Carville, Bill Clinton’s strategic advisor coined the phrase it’s “the economy, stupid” during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent George H. W. Bush. His phrase was directed at the campaign’s workers and intended as one of three messages for them to focus on.

Dr David Lillis: Allegations of Racism in New Zealand Universities

In complex areas like the study of racial inequality, a fundamentalism has taken hold that discourages sound methodology and the use of reliable evidence about the roots of social problems. We are not talking about mere differences in interpretation of results, which are common. We are talking about mistakes so clear that they should cause research to be seriously questioned or even disregarded (Jindra and Sakamoto, 2023).


Executive Summary

In recent years we have heard many allegations of systemic bias and racism in various sectors, including education, health and indeed in the New Zealand workplace. We have also heard allegations of racism within our universities. It is asserted that it is particularly difficult for Māori and Pacific academics to find employment in the universities and, once within the system, to achieve competitive salaries and promotion into the professoriate. Unfortunately, on occasion such claims are advanced in conjunction with personal, sometimes vitriolic, attacks on colleagues and attempts to damage their careers.

Lindsay Mitchell: Gloomy outlook for young people on benefits

Yesterday MSD issued some insights into how young people (16-24 years-old) are faring in the benefit system. Searching for some good news, their first key finding described how young people "have recovered much faster from the economic effects of the pandemic compared to the Global Financial Crisis."

The government response to covid drove a very steep increase in young people going on a benefit so naturally enough you would expect a fairly steep corresponding decrease. By contrast the GFC presented a gradual increase and decrease in numbers.

Michael Johnston: Teacher's Unions are not helping our best teachers get the pay they deserve

Last Thursday, most of New Zealand’s teachers were on strike. Teachers’ unions representatives say that the action was necessary to press their claim for better pay and working conditions. Prior to the strike, NZEI president Mark Potter asserted that, without striking, “we aren’t going to get the change that we need”.

It’s not hard to see why teachers believe they deserve more pay. Teaching is a profession with a high degree of responsibility. Teachers increasingly must deal not only with their core job of educating young people, but also with social problems in their wider communities.

Kate Hawkesby: Promises to make communities feel safe doesn’t fly, it's time for the Police to get tough

Well just as the new Police Minister was fronting media yesterday and telling them she wanted communities to feel safe, Leo Molloy was making headlines for calling the Police ‘weak as piss’.

His words, not mine. 

The hospitality owner was furious that an attempted break in at his Auckland viaduct restaurant – which caused more than $50,000  in damage -  had elicited a ‘chat’ from the Police, but no arrests.

He had CCTV footage of the offenders, police had shown up and spoken with them, but did nothing more. They were free to go.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Bryce Edwards: Who will drain Wellington’s lobbying swamp?

Wealthy vested interests have an oversized influence on political decisions in New Zealand. Partly that’s due to their use of corporate lobbyists. Fortunately, the influence lobbyists can have on decisions made by politicians is currently under scrutiny in Guyon Espiner’s in-depth series published by RNZ.

Two of Espiner’s research exposés have been published this week, shedding light on the influence that lobbyists have on government. And more revelations are expected.

What can be done about the problem of wealthy vested interests utilising lobbyists to get their way? In New Zealand lobbying is entirely unregulated. A “wild west” approach is taken in which politicians let lobbyists run amok, especially in terms of their use of the “revolving door” in which they freely switch between jobs in the Beehive and lobbying firms.

Point of Order: National’s Luxon may be glum about his poll ratings....

....but has he found a winner in promising to raise scholastic achievement?

National Party leader Christopher Luxon may be feeling glum about his poll ratings, but he could be tapping into a rich political vein in describing the current state of education as “alarming”.

Luxon said educational achievement has been declining, with a recent NCEA pilot exposing just how far it has fallen: a staggering two-thirds of students are unable to meet the minimum standard in reading, writing and maths.

“National will not allow this to continue. National will make sure every child leaving primary and intermediate school can master the basics so they can succeed at high school and lead fulfilling lives,” he said.

Karl du Fresne: Traffic cones and the precautionary principle

Driving between Eketahuna and Masterton recently, I came across some road works.
The road was reduced to one lane each way. There were the usual Stop/Go controls at either end, but this time there was a new twist.

I was at the head of a queue that was stopped at one end. A line of vehicles coming the other way was led through by a white ute with flashing lights.

As they reached my end of the road works, the ute pulled over to the verge. Then it did a U-turn and positioned itself at the head of the line of traffic waiting to go the other way.

Peter Dunne: Coastal shipping

Thirty years ago, after a marathon Parliamentary sitting, the Bolger National government passed the Maritime Transport Act which deregulated coastal shipping by abolishing cabotage. Cabotage was the practice which restricted the operation of sea, air, or other transport services within a country to that country’s domestic operators only.

The abolition of cabotage meant that New Zealand’s coastal shipping services were opened to direct competition from overseas shipping lines. According to the argument at the time, it was more efficient to allow foreign vessels coming here to transport their cargo around the coast themselves, rather than requiring them to unload at major ports to smaller, New Zealand-operated coastal vessels. Abolishing cabotage, it was said, would cut transport costs, make deliveries more efficient through greater economies of scale, and provide a better service overall to consumers.