Friday, March 29, 2013

Phil McDermott: Upping the Ante - Where can we Afford to Live?

Auckland fiddles, Sydney makes its move

The Auckland Council has released a Housing Action Plan that will be an addendum to its encyclopaedic
Draft Unitary Plan.  It contains seven objectives, 12 priority areas, and 32 actions.  The Housing Action Plan will now be subject to the submissions and appeal process  associated with the Unitary Plan, whatever form it takes, and presumably also subject to the red tape associated with trying to implement it.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: The Age of Aquarius and Enforced Ideological Conformity

The Age of Aquarius, I have long been informed by some of the shining lights of the astrological community of seers, is bringing about a higher level of social consciousness and its translation into policies and practices that actualise the ideals of social justice and equity. But the concerns are more at the abstract level than borne of heart-felt compassion, and this is being reflected in the increasing ‘impersonalisation’ of delivery. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Denis Hampton: Orange Treaty book a lemon

It is now generally accepted that the true Treaty of Waitangi is Te Tiriti (the Maori version). However if this document is to have ongoing significance we must be certain of what those early good folk had in mind when they made their marks. In my quest for a better understanding, I recently acquired a copy of Claudia Orange's The Treaty of Waitangi. According to Wikipedia this book “has become a definitive reference for interpreting the relevance” of the treaty.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bruce Moon: 20 constitutional questions

Since the Constitutional Advisory Panel may be holding meeting at a place near you, sometime soon, it would be a good idea to prepare some questions to fire at the visiting panellists. Given that much Nazi-style propaganda about the meaning of the Treaty continues to receive publicity, e.g. that Maoris are a "sovereign Treaty partner" (Danny Keenan, Wanganui Chronicle, March 16, 2013), one question would be whether the panel makes its best efforts to deny such falsehoods at every opportunity, and if not, why not? I have prepared a list of questions which some of you may think worth asking, should opportunities arise. No doubt others would use somewhat different wording. They are in no particular order and for your consideration:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mike Butler: Moon twists Urewera history again

Historian Paul Moon’s claims on TV3’s Third Degree show on Wednesday and in his New Zealand Herald column “The past must be remembered for us all” on Friday, that Tuhoe underwent “ethnic cleansing”, fails to remember key facts of our history. When questioned by Guyon Espiner for the Third Degree current affairs show about Tuhoe history, Moon said:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lindsay Mitchell: 1 in 5 babies born 2012 on welfare by year-end

Data released under the Official Information Act shows that 21.2 percent of babies born in 2012  were dependent on a caregiver receiving a welfare benefit by the end of the same year. Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said that, "Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering and sad statistic. But it's worse for Maori at over 1 in 3 or 35.9 percent."

Ron Smith: Manning an Unfinished Story

The Research Commons at Waikato contains a long review by me of the circumstances which surrounded the death in East Timor (Timor Leste) in 1999 of New Zealand Army Private Leonard Manning (  The review was written in 2005, after nearly six years of unsuccessful efforts on my part to find out what had happened and what lessons could be learned.  My earlier accounts, which were published in the New Zealand International Review, laid out the official version of events and raised some questions of my own about events on the day (24 July). I pursued these over the following years, culminating in a series of Official Information Requests, which were all refused and summarily dismissed by the Ombudsman.   There the matter has stood for eight years.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mike Butler: Historian twists voting history

An historian who wrote an op-ed piece titled “Maori focus on constitutional moves”, (1) published in the Wanganui Chronicle on Saturday, claims the way the government introduced voting spawned a legacy of disempowerment for Maori.”In an article that previewed a visit by the Constitutional Advisory Panel to Wanganui on Thursday, Danny Keenan wrote: “As most Maori are aware, their 19th century forebears had to wait 27 years after the 1840 treaty before being granted the vote in 1867. The franchise came to Maori 15 years after it was awarded to Pakeha. Inequalities like these have spawned a legacy of disempowerment for Maori.” He added that the Maori seats “were established as an act of denial”. Are these claims correct?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mike Butler: Historian caught twisting history

Propaganda from the Constitutional Advisory Panel provides an easy lesson on how our history has been twisted. “Maori focus on constitutional moves”,(1) an op-ed piece written by Dr Danny Keenan and published in the Wanganui Chronicle on Saturday, appears intended to give readers a treatyist nudge before a visit by the Constitutional Advisory Panel on Thursday.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Robin Grieve: Treaty propaganda leads to TVNZ complaint

In early February Robin Grieve complained to Television New Zealand that a news reader on Waitangi Day had breached Broadcasting Standards by inaccurately referring to the Treaty of Waitangi as the nation's "founding document". Robin's letter and TVNZ's response can be seen below. He is presently considering appealing the decision to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Kevin Donnelly: History curriculum sacrifices Western values at the altar of political correctness

Most of the debate about Julia Gillard's national crusade in education centres on school funding and how the government intends to respond to the report chaired by Sydney businessman David Gonski. The existing model expires at the end of the year and the government is scrambling to decide on an alternative by the April meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mike Butler: White privilege vs Maori privilege

On to the vexed subject of white privilege versus Maori privilege. There is a chapter detailing “white privilege” in the treatyist bible “Healing our history – the challenge of the treaty of Waitangi”, mostly written by Robert Consedine. He is the Consedine who conducts Project Waitangi workshops around the country. These workshops use psychodrama, an action method often used as a psychotherapy, in which clients use spontaneous dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation to investigate and gain insight, in this case, into how wicked and racist the white coloniser has been. This column summarises Consedine’s “white privilege” arguments and uses Consedine’s sub-heads to see whether there is Maori privilege.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mike Butler: Mokomoko and the gullible MP

When a select committee chairman appears to have offered a signed blank cheque to a claimant to fill out the amount, you know that emotion has trumped reason in the highest level. That is virtually what happened as the Maori Affairs committee heard a submission from Pita Tori Biddle at Waiaua Marae, Opotiki, last week, on a bill to restore the character, mana, and reputation of chief Mokomoko and his descendents.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lindsay Mitchell: Who's 'beneficiary bashing'?

It seems to me the phrase 'beneficiary bashing' was coined in the 1990s and originally used to describe Ruth Richardson's benefit cuts. For some time I've been reflecting that the Left are now very quick to cry beneficiary bashing whenever  government attempts to reform welfare IN ANY WAY. But this National government has never cut benefit payments. In fact they've introduced more protection for benefit levels through indexing.  National hasn't reduced the incomes of beneficiaries.

Michael Coote: Will tribal risks be fully disclosed in Mighty River Power sale?

The Mighty River Power (MRP) share float is being rushed through by a National minority government anxious to score a public relations victory. For prime minister John Key, the float is his chief hope of leaving behind a political legacy to be remembered after he has claimed his exiting knighthood. 

There will be tension between Mr Key, who would want to get the shares away come what may to help him win his gong, and finance minister Bill English, who should seek the highest possible price to pad out the government’s ailing books.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Phil McDermott: Out Might Just be Better than Up - the Housing Density Debate is Not Over

The fall-back position - let's not be LA

New Minister of Housing Dr Nick Smith is determined to “smash the city limits”, so that Auckland grows out, as well as up.  The Mayor of Auckland responded with the claim that allowing the city to expand outward is tantamount to advocating a “flawed Los Angeles model of suburban sprawl and unbridled land availability", and that it would be a throwback to the 1940s and 1950s.

Richard Epstein: Is Employment a “Human Right”?

Efforts to stamp out so-called discrimination in the labor market will kill jobs and stifle economic growth.

Today’s economic trends are not promising. In the United States, the European community and Japan, the prospect of dismal growth is too often met with desperate measures that only make matters worse. There are endless claims about the failure of austerity to spur growth, and impassioned attacks on the folly of unbridled spending that will drown the nation in debt. What a choice!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mike Butler: Earthquake strengthening bad policy.

Kneejerk policy is never good. For those skeptical about the government’s push for nation-wide building strengthening after the Christchurch earthquakes, new research shows that the official view that there are 15,000 to 25,000 buildings likely to collapse in a moderate earthquake is grossly incorrect.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ron Smith: Cinema and the secret world

I am not intending to expand into the arcane realm of the film critic but I am recommending, for those who have not yet seen them, two recent films that deal with the clandestine world of secret warfare.  The first of these is
Argo, which was a great success at the Oscars, a few days ago, and the second is Zero Dark Thirty, which deeply offended the sensibilities of the politically correct, and rapidly disappeared from critical view.  Both of these were made with the officially approved cooperation of the relevant intelligence agencies.  Indeed, Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT) was intended to be part of the Barak Obama re-election campaign, depicting him as a fearless fighter against terrorism, until that project tripped over in Benghazi in September.  This was when al Qaeda turned out to be very much alive and well-capable of killing an American ambassador in his consulate.