Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mike Butler: Guns and utu

Matthew Wright’s new book “Guns and Utu”, steps back into 1818-1842 New Zealand, when tribal wars surged across the land, when war parties rushed out to kill, eat, and drink the blood of, their rivals, their anger driven by historic grievances for which they demanded settlement.

Anger, grievances, settlements; so what has changed? Here we are 200 years later, when tribes fight in courtrooms, over new grievances allegedly perpetrated by white colonists, where satisfaction is gained, not by killing and cannibalism, but by payments of cash, land, and businesses. The tribal balance of terror that existed when New Zealand Company colonists arrived in 1840, two weeks before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, was what resulted from nearly 40 years of carnage that took place during contact with an outside world that pre-European Maori did not know existed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mike Butler: Daylight Robbery in 2011

How South Canterbury Finance was taken down, how finance companies failed, the new round of privatisation, the Air NZ bailout and train set repurchase, KiwiSaver fee rip-offs, and Chinese attempts to buy NZ dairy farms, all feature in an 80-page new section of a revised version of investigative journalist Ian Wishart’s 2001 book “Daylight Robbery”.

A legal notice is posted on the copyright-ISBN number page stressing that the book “contains very serious allegations relating to named individuals” some of which have been made under parliamentary privilege. Readers are urged to remember that some allegations of fraud made in the book remain unproven until a court has ruled upon them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Steve Baron: Election Rhetoric Over

It was an interesting election night to say the least. The Labour vote collapsed, which will
be heart-breaking for many Labour supporters, even though Phil Goff put in a better than
expected campaign performance. There was an exceptional result for the Greens with a minor party getting over 10% of the party vote for the first time ever under MMP. The Lazarus like return of Winston Peters probably surprised many, even though he will be as effective as the castrated eunuch prancing around the opposition harem. The emergence of a new political party, the Conservatives, who will be encouraged by a 2.76% party vote (no easy feat for a mostly unheard of party and leader) and then there was even a dead-heat in Christchurch Central that will now be decided through special votes.

Steve Baron: The Incompetence of Big Business

I think I'm becoming a grumpy middle age man—I see very little value for money with what most businesses charge for their product or service and I'm feeling ripped off. The service of most businesses here in New Zealand also leaves a lot to be desired and I swear I'm never going to deal with another large corporation ever again. I'm convinced these businesses must spend at least half their time fixing up their own stuff-ups.

If you are by any chance trying to contact me right now then don't bother. My mobile has been blocked so I can't make, or even receive phone calls or texts. Why? Because I haven't paid the bill since moving from Cambridge to Wanganui. That's to be expected I guess, but even though I was very efficient and gave my telecommunications provider my new address before moving, they still sent the bill to the old address. Sure, I left my forwarding address with the new owners, but it seems the bill was never forwarded on to me. I did eventually received an overdue statement but by then it was too late—incommunicado. I tried to phone my telecommunication providers free-call number but I can't even do that—it's blocked too. I wonder if I can still make 111 calls... but thought it wise not to test that. If I need to and it doesn't work I guess you will read about me in the newspapers or hear it on the six o'clock news perhaps?

Steve Baron: Christmas Economics

This Christmas must surely be one of the most financially depressing for many families around the world ,since the Great Depression. As the global financial crisis (GFC) continues to unravel in Europe and the USA, it's tentacles have certainly reached here in the South Pacific. Huge amounts of money have been lost in finance company failures, business failures and the sharemarket. This has led to many jobs being lost with the associated consequences. While we wait for our political leaders to come up with the economic answers, the prospects are not looking good and answers seem to be few and far between—it's not a good time to be a Prime Minister or Minister of Finance. It would appear to me that our politicians are struggling to come up with an answer—we've tried both political sides, with right and left wing governments here in New Zealand and around the world, but history keeps repeating itself. Trying to understanding the international monetary system (IMS) and how it can be fixed is mind boggling to say the least but bear with me while I attempt to make some sense of it and look for some possible solutions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Karl du Fresne: Capitalism has mislaid its moral compass

Cast your mind back to the 1990s. The Berlin Wall had collapsed, and with it the entire rotten edifice of Soviet communism. Democracy and free enterprise were taking root in countries previously kept under repressive state control. Internationally there was a marked swing from left to right. Thatcherism in Britain and Reaganism in the United States had radically changing the political landscape. Even in countries such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the traditional parties of the left were shedding their socialist heritage and reaching a new accommodation with economic liberalism.

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama was sufficiently emboldened to write in 1992: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Martin Durkin: Three Cheers for Urban Sprawl

“Hands off Our Land!” screams the Daily Telegraph, like some shotgun-toting red-faced farmer.  The newspaper, on behalf of the reactionary toffs who form the least pleasant section of its readership, has launched a campaign directed against ‘urban sprawl’ (ie. the rest of us).

On a good day, the Telegraph serves up enlightened articles by progressive liberals like Janet Daley and Simon Heffer and Jeff Randal (I’m talking about real liberals here, not American Trotskyites).  But then it disappears under the desk, drinks some devilish, bubbling potion and emerges looking like Mr Hyde, all wonky teeth and messy hair.  “Hands off Our Land” is the Telegraph at its worst - a campaign to thwart the government’s all-too-modest suggestions to reform Britain’s vicious planning laws.

Owen McShane: Why We Must Learn to Love Asset Sales ... part one

There is a general consensus that New Zealand must develop more innovative and internationally oriented businesses. Innovation is a prime driver of economic development and can also support higher wages. Yet the election campaign has further locked in place a set of beliefs that deprive innovative companies of the capital they need to fund their forays into international markets.

The campaign promoted wide-ranging capital gains taxes and promoted “No Asset Sales.” Capital gains taxes can be a serious disincentive for venture capital investors because they can make it more difficult to achieve the targeted rates of return required by investors. We should avoid imposing fines for success.

Phil McDermott: Rethink the Link ...should Auckland pour money into a hole in the ground

Anchoring the CBD, or Sinking it?
A cornerstone of the Draft Auckland Plan is implementing an underground inner city rail link.  At an estimated $2.3bn this is the single most expensive new commitment in the plan, and accounts for around 15% of capital spending identified. This seems a big price to pay to transform what is already a perfectly functional CBD with adequate and improving public transport (PT) arrangements. And unless it makes a substantial difference, it could become a major fiscal anchor on Auckland’s development.  This posting considers the prospects.

So why do we need the inner city rail link?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Marc Morano: Special Report Presented to UN Summit ... A to Z Climate Exposed

'The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim - from A-Z - the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing. The A-Z report includes key facts, peer-reviewed studies and the latest data and developments with links for further reading, on an exhaustive range of man-made global warming claims'. 

Below is the Introduction to the report. 

Full report is available here

Many of the proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that climate change is worse than they predicted. According to an October 18, 2011 Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the “evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts” and “if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested.”

Mike Butler: Partner of billboard vandal back at work in Green Party office

The partner of a man responsible for organising vandalism of National Party hoardings during the election campaign has been cleared to return to work for the Green Party, according to blogger Whale Oil.

Anne Heins, executive assistant to Greens co-leader Russel Norman, was last month stood down from her job after it was revealed her partner, Jolyon White, had led a campaign to attach stickers saying either “Drill it, mine it, sell it” or “The rich deserve more” on 700 National billboards.

Mike Butler: Whistle blown on government separatist corruption

John Robinson’s book “The Corruption of New Zealand Democracy” has been acclaimed as the “smoking musket” that shows how government agencies create information to con the public into believing its “treaty guilt trip”. His 120-page treaty overview was sparked when the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, in 2000, told him to rewrite demographic research that undermined treaty orthodoxy or not get paid.

Robinson is an academic with impeccable credentials – a university lecturer and interdisciplinary research scientist with MSc degrees in maths and physics from Auckland University, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has researched Maori issues for Massey University, the Royal Commission on Social Policy, the Ministry of Maori Affairs, for the Treaty of Waitangi Unit at the Department of Justice, Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Development), the Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit at Victoria University, and the Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lindsay Mitchell: Child victims - no cut and dry answers

Three stories drew my attention today. Child death and child neglect and child neglect.

For ten years I have racked my brain over what can be done to either improve the lot of children who are born into circumstances of material and spiritual impoverishment, or reduce the likelihood of it happening in the first place. Initially I looked at the problem theoretically and philosophically, then I got involved at a political level, then a practical level for a number of years. And still I find myself without a single hard and fast answer.

Mike Butler: The no-vote protest vote

Why did the losers lose in last week’s general election? Labour leader-in-departure Phil Goff says it was not their time, and Shane Jones wants to know why three out of every four voters thought Team Goff was unfit to govern. Nearly 300,000 voters deserted Labour between 2005 and 2011 (1) voting with their feet against the Clark-Cullen leadership and Team Goff, plus the policies that went with them.

What were Goff’s unpopular policies? You don’t have to look far to see what went wrong. He promoted a capital gains tax on all property excluding the family home, a policy that former Labour leader David Lange warned would not only lose one election, but would lose the next three.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marc Morano: Scientific case for man-made global warming fears is dead

Many of the proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that climate change is worse than they predicted. According to an Oct. 18, 2011, Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the "evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts," and "if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested.

But a forthcoming Climate Depot A-Z Climate Reality Check report on the failure of the science behind man-made global warming theory will shatter any such illusions that the climate is "worse than we thought." Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a  cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears. The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim, the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed. The only thing "worse than we thought" is the shoddy journalism of the mainstream media, which parrots global warming activists' baseless talking points.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oliver Marc Hartwich: Incentives are life and death

If there was one word to sum up the whole body of economic theory, it would have to be ‘incentives.’ People act on incentives. As William Stanley Jevons (1835–82), one of the founding fathers of neoclassical economics, put it, the whole economy is ‘a calculus of pleasure and pain.’

Greece is playing out a most macabre application of incentives. Greece may be the madhouse of the world economy, but there is method in its madness. According to a report in The Lancet, the number of HIV infections in Greece has skyrocketed. The increase was partly due to the termination of drug rehabilitation and street-work programs as a result of government austerity measures. But there was a more chilling explanation.

Gerry Eckhoff: The Haves and the Have Yachts

Governments all over world are trying to deal with their financial debt problems but appear not to acknowledge the cause - as they battle to control the effects. Massive Government, national and international bank debt is the problem so why is the answer - according to the very people that got us into this mess – even more debt. Banks should be allow to fail but in doing so will bring down governments with them.

Lord Acton, Lord Chief Justice of England 1875 said…. “The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is - the people vs the banks”. Is the movement “Occupy Wall St” the start of Lord Acton’s prophecy?