Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hugh Barr: National is appeasing Maori separatists on the foreshore and seabed

A recent article in the Sunday Star Times “Coastal legislation walks all over Maori” (17 October) promoted the Maori separatist view that the whole of the foreshore and seabed should be privatised to iwi customary title, together with full trespass rights, immediately without further proof. This would give iwi immediate effective ownership, including the right to charge for public access.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Owen McShane: Can the Auckland Council Survive

Len Brown, of the ‘Centre Left’, will soon be the first Mayor of the Auckland Council. Mega-amalgamations inevitably generate tension between the conflicting interests of the central urban area and the outer municipalities. Mayoral candidates from the business-focused central area will be seen to be more “right” than politicians from the surrounding communities. Consequently, the outer electorates favour their candidates over those from the central area. This geographic preference leads to the election of Mayors from the Centre Left rather than the Centre Right. London’s "Red Ken" was a famous example.

Tim Ball: Biodiversity Replaces Climate Change As The Weapon For Political Control

The reality that global warming and climate change are natural and current patterns are within historic patterns is taking hold. Fundamental common sense embedded in the majority of people joined with truth pursuers and the healing perspective of time to bring reason. As always, those who profit politically, financially, or both, fight a rearguard action. Partly to defend the misdirection, but often to move the focus, while maintaining the target. Some of these different foci hover around the edge of the main battleground, but most are unaware how they’re interconnected.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ron Smith: Learning from History

It has been said that the only thing to be learned from History is that nobody ever learns anything from History. The hypothesis may be again under test in the United Kingdom with the recently-published (19 October) Strategic Defence and Security Review. Not surprisingly in view of the difficult financial situation faced by the new coalition government, there are substantial cuts to be made across all three services. To a degree, the Army is ‘ring-fenced’ because of its on-going commitment in Afghanistan but the cuts for the other two services are substantial and, as they come into effect, will have a major impact on the defence capabilities available to the British Government in the years ahead. This is particularly the case for the Royal Navy and this where the matter of learning from history comes acutely to the fore.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Owen McShane: How High Speed Broadband gets People out of their Cars

Urban economies are now driven by their network connectivity more than by their size.

The combination of the internet, cellular computing-telephony, underpinned by High Speed Broadband, will drive the economic performance of cities through the 21st century mainly by hugely increasing the integration of urban enterprises with skilled labor markets throughout the region, and elsewhere in the world.

Ronald Kitching: Dangerous Termites Eat Out The Foundations of Western Society

Facts about Termites and Carbon Dioxide (CO2):

• Termites produce more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) each year than all living things combined.

• Termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ron Smith: Pensions and Revolutionary Justice

Isn’t it interesting how the political left can so easily set aside the democratic process? Legislation to raise the age of retirement in France from 60 to 62, has already been accepted by the popularly-elected National Assembly. It will shortly be passed by the Senate, having been initially proposed by the now embattled President. But the left are taking to the streets.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lindsay Mitchell: Labour promises built on false premises

Addressing the Labour Party Conference, Deputy Leader and Welfare Spokesperson, Annette King, singled out the domestic purposes benefit as a policy that would change under their new 'putting children first' philosophy. Unfortunately Ms King doesn't properly understand the dimensions of existing DPB dependence and its effect on children. Ms King claimed that, 'Around 70% of people on the DPB move off the benefit in 4 years, it's used as a family transition.'

Sunday, October 17, 2010

David Round: "Free" Beach Access - the Truth!

Just a brief note this week about public access under the government’s Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill. The Attorney-General and Minister of Treaty Settlements, Mr Christopher Finlayson, has said on various occasions that it is ‘clear’ that public access will be allowed as of right, and free of charge, over any foreshore and seabed to which Maori might be granted ‘customary marine title’ under the bill. Now this is simply not the case, and if Mr Finlayson thinks that it is the case, then he is either dishonest or not as good a lawyer as he thinks he is. There are two issues here. One concerns wahi tapu areas ~ I shall deal with them in a second, but it is pretty clear that there, there will not be public access as of right. The second is a more general issue, dealing with all foreshore and seabed which becomes subject to ‘customary marine title’. Here it is certainly possible to interpret the bill so that there may be public access as of right, but (as the bill is drafted at present) it is by no means ‘clear’ that there is that public access. I shall explain. I should warn non-lawyers that this explanation may become ever so slightly technical. But don’t be nervous, it is all really perfectly simple, and I shall be with you holding your hand every step of the way.

Allan Peachey: Speaking the Truth

The recent articles that I have written about the importance of science and history to the successful functioning of a democracy have drawn an interesting response; not just in the ‘Comments’ section to Breaking Views but also from a number of people who have made direct contact with me. One of the issues is the question as to the extent to which facts are facts. And that in itself is really important. Because something is either a fact or it is not. One of the things that young people need to learn is how to distinguish fact from opinion, interpretation, self-interest or straight out propaganda. Let me use history to illustrate my point. I could equally do the same with science, but I am more confident in dealing with history material.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mike Butler: English, banks, and property

The Government deficit has shrunk, according to financial statements released this week, but policy sacred cows remain untouched and Finance Minister Bill English remains oblivious as to what his comments and his tax changes have done to the property sector. A $2.5-billion gain in the value of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC investment portfolios helped narrow the deficit to $4.5 billion in the year ended June 30, from a $6-billion deficit a year earlier. (1)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Roger Kerr: The case for speeding up the MMP Referendum

The select committee considering the bill to set up the referendum on the electoral system is due to report back to parliament next month. It is important that parliament provides voters with the best possible process for deciding on this important issue. As things stand, next year’s referendum, to be held at the same time as the general election, will ask voters whether they want to keep MMP or change to a different system. If they favour a change, they will be asked in a second question to choose their most preferred alternative from four options.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mike Butler: Ngai Tahu, charity, and the land

Owen McShane’s report last week that included details of Ngai Tahu businesses registered as charities prompted a closer look at that tribe’s deals with successive governments. In his blog "Who Really Governs”, McShane noted that the Ngai Tahu Charities Group covers more than 30 separate registered charities including companies such as Ngai Tahu Capital Ltd, Ngai Tahu Finance Ltd, Ngai Tahu Fisheries Ltd, Ngai Tahu Property Investments Ltd, Ngai Tahu Joint Ventures Ltd, Wigram Aerodrome Ltd, South Island Landbase Ltgd, Ngai Tahu Forest Estates Ltd, Helijet Ltd, Shotover Jet Ltd (which was once listed on the stock exchange), Huka Falls Jet Ltd, Rainbow Springs Ltd, Westland Tourism Ltd, and Dart River Safaris Ltd.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ron Smith: Protest and Peace

There is a right to public protest in a democracy but there isn’t a right to damage property, public or private, in order to dramatise that protest. The 2008 decision by the Wellington District Court to acquit the ‘Waihopai Three’ on charges of burglary and intentional damage (on grounds of justification) was an absurdity and the Government is quite right to attempt to make that point by bringing a civil action for damages. The fact that some of those concerned appear to have limited means is not a reason for not proceeding with this action, although it may be a reason not to expect a financial return appropriate to the likely costs. There is an important point of principle here. It is simply obnoxious to public policy that this kind of deliberate damage can be seen as acceptable, provided that there is a claim, however vague, of moral right.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Karl du Fresne: De Bres and Henry

If anyone was to compile a list of the enemies of free speech in New Zealand, the name of Joris de Bres would have to be on it. The Race Relations Commissioner was in full cry again today, demanding that TVNZ do something about Paul Henry for his silly comments about the Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand.

Lindsay Mitchell: Treasury finds greatest opportunity for reform with DPB

A Treasury report prepared for the Welfare Working Group has correctly identified that the greatest opportunity for welfare reform lies with the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Treasury identified six ways in which welfare reform could improve outcomes for both beneficiaries and the economy. They are improved labour force participation; reduced poverty risk; fiscal savings; improved intergenerational outcomes; greater individual and social well-being and increased economic growth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dr Tim Ball: Two Lies Make A Truth In Green and Liberal Views on Climate Science

In the world of green and liberal politics, where they practice extreme environmentalism, nothing bears examination: two lies make a truth. We now learn that Bjorn Lomborg, who was never a climate skeptic, has magically disavowed that status. As the entire mockery of human induced global warming collapses, it is a convenient conversion.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Owen McShane: Who Really Governs?

We like to think that Parliament governs, and presumably Parliamentarians would like to think so too.

However, if a particular party, or coalition, governs for a few terms it can stack a host of government agencies with "right minded" or at least "like minded" people and these are the people who actually implement all those Acts and Regulations that grind through the Parliamentary mill.