Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: Where the benefit babies are born

Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a 'benefit baby' means relying on a parent or caregiver's benefit by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided.
Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Karl du Fresne: Agenda-driven reformers untroubled by human consequences

The American economist Milton Friedman once said that it’s a great mistake to judge things by their intentions rather than by their results. Unfortunately it’s a mistake repeatedly made by agenda-driven reformers on a mission to create the perfect society. A Radio New Zealand Spectrum programme brought one such instance to public attention earlier this month.

Until 2007, intellectually disabled people in New Zealand were exempted from minimum wage laws. This meant they could be employed doing menial work in facilities known as sheltered workshops.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bryan Leyland: Things you know that ain't so - sea levels are rising

Things you know that ain't so - the sea level is rising rapidly and this will continue to increase

We are constantly being told by the Royal Society of New Zealand and others that the sea level is rising more and more rapidly and we must be prepared for a rise of something like 1 m over the next 100 years or so – 10 mm per year. This is a serious matter because many Councils are now restricting building close to the sea and putting restrictions on existing houses that have substantially reduced their value.

There is no scientific foundation for this belief. It is based on the output of computer models that, so far, have been shown to consistently overestimate the rate of sea level rise.

Anthony Willy: Straws in the wind

Readers will be well familiar with the blame mentality on which some Maori people thrive and the depressing slide into racial separatism associated with it which has been gaining momentum over the past few years; connived at by the Wellington bureaucracy and encouraged by The Waitangi Tribunal and a series of pronouncements from our highest Court many of which are unnecessary to the issue before them and seem to be made on the basis of what some of the Judges would have decided if the facts had been other than those before the court. 

Maori lobby interests such as the Iwi Leaders Group, a self-appointed collection of individuals handsomely funded out of the public purse by way of past treaty settlements and purporting to speak on behalf of all people of Maori descent (but do not) have become increasingly bold in their demands. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mole News Archive

From the NZCPR archives by Dr Muriel Newman
Race-based Water Rights a Step Closer
Water is being targeted by the Maori elite as the next resource to control. The influential Iwi Leaders Group is pushing ahead with their demand for a proprietary right to freshwater. They want a preferential allocation – in perpetuity – that can be commercialised. They say it’s their right under the Treaty of Waitangi. But it’s not – it’s just another attempted money grab and unfortunately our political leaders are allowing them to get away with it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Richard Rahn from the Cato Institute: Tracing Pathways to Success and Failure

Why is Hong Kong rich, Cuba very poor, and Puerto Rico struggling? Back in 1955, the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Hong Kong had roughly the same real per capita income. They each took very different economic paths. 

Now, some 60 years later, Hong Kong is even richer than the United States on a per capita income basis. Cuba is an economic disaster, having gone from the richest Caribbean nation to the poorest, next to Haiti. And Puerto Rico finds itself flirting with bankruptcy, with a per capita income much higher than Cuba’s but only roughly half that of Hong Kong. Incomes have increased approximately 22-fold in Hong Kong, 11-fold in Puerto Rico, and only fourfold at best in Cuba, in a little over a half-century.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Matt Ridley from the UK: The exoneration of dietary fat

Britain’s obesity tsar, Susan Jebb, says that it is not fair to blame fat people for their failure to lose weight. Genetically predisposed, many people cannot realistically lose weight by eating less, especially when the food industry tempts them with snacks. Meanwhile, George Osborne is slapping a tax on sugar to tackle obesity.

The new obsession with sugar definitely makes more sense than the low-fat sermons we have heard for decades. And the prevailing idea in the public-health industry that you get fat simply by eating more calories than you burn is misleading to say the least. While of course that’s true, it says nothing about what causes appetite to exceed need by the tiny amount each day that can turn you obese.

Brian Gaynor: Banks long shadow over NZ economy

One of the most important developments in recent decades has been the growing dominance of the trading banks in New Zealand and other countries.

These banks completely dominate the lending sector, have been primarily responsible for the housing market boom and are becoming more and more prominent in KiwiSaver, which is also supporting the housing market through its first home withdrawal scheme.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mike Butler: Waitara leaseholders pressured

A further step in a long-running dispute over leasehold land at Waitara, 16km from New Plymouth, was made last night when the New Plymouth District Council voted unanimously in favour of a proposed local bill.

That bill would give 76 hectares of land to Taranaki tribe Te Atiawa and give Waitara leaseholders the right to buy the land under their homes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mike Butler: Maori council seats vote petition

Maori wards could be set up on every district council in New Zealand without requiring a public vote, according to a Maori Party petition, which is the latest battle in a 20-year push to get separate voting into local government.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will present a petition to Parliament at the urging of New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd, who championed a Maori ward in his city - a move blocked by a public vote last year.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Viv Forbes: Carbon Delusions and Defective Models

The relentless war on carbon is justified by the false assumption that global temperature is controlled by human production of two carbon-bearing “Greenhouse Gases”. 

The scary forecasts of runaway heating are based on complicated but narrowly-focussed carbon-centric computerised Global Circulation Models built for the UN IPCC. These models omit many significant climate factors and rely heavily on dodgy temperature records and unproven assumptions about two trace natural gases in the atmosphere.

Matt Ridley from the UK: Green costs are killing heavy industry in Britain

Before Redcar and Port Talbot, remember Lynemouth, where Britain’s last large aluminium smelter closed in 2012. In aluminium, as in steel, China is now by far the largest producer, smelting five times as much as any other continent, let alone country.

The chief reason aluminium left (though a small plant survives at Lochaber) was the sky-high electricity prices paid in Britain: electrolysis is how you make aluminium. For extra-large industrial users, British electricity prices are the highest in Europe, twice the average, and far higher than in Asia and America.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Theodore Dalrymple: Trawling the trolls

I am no respecter of persons, particularly politicians, but even politicians are human -- more or less -- and are therefore deserving of some kind of elementary courtesy. 

When, shortly after my arrival in Australia to spend April at CIS, I read a Guardian article reporting the Treasurer's remarks on state taxation, I read with mild dismay, but not surprise, the readers' on-line responses; for example the following:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: CYF overhaul - crux of the matter overlooked again

Another voluminous  report into CYF; a long-winded ministerial response; multiple cabinet papers and a proposed radical overhaul promised

But when will the system that turns children into careless accidents or meal tickets be radically overhauled?

Because until then, none of these other investigations and re-inventions will matter a damn.

Brian Gaynor: ‘Free market’ failings fuel the Trump movement

Robert B. Reich’s book Saving Capitalism is an excellent read for those wanting a better understanding of the Donald Trump phenomenon. It also highlights why the traditional political order has been disrupted in many other countries and why New Zealand could also have a “Trump experience”.

Reich, who was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, is a strong supporter of capitalism but he believes that its rules are strongly skewed in favour of a number of elites and against the majority of ordinary citizens.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mike Butler: Two Ministers and a kura

A stoush between a retired principal and the government over the provision of a new primary school for the Hastings suburb of Havelock North stepped up a notch at the weekend with the National Party MP for Tukituki blaming the Labour Party.

Frustrated by a continued lack of response from both Tukituki MP Craig Foss and Education Minister Hekia Parata, the retired principal, Malcolm Dixon, yesterday launched a website to fight for the new primary school that was promised in 2010.

Karl du Fresne: 'Did anyone get that on camera?' Yes they did, and we could all see who was at fault

Protesters, eh? I’ve been one myself, so I’m not entirely hostile to the idea of marching in the street and waving banners. But sometimes protesters push their luck.

Consider what happened last week in Wanganui, where a car driven by National MP Chester Borrows allegedly drove over the foot of a woman protesting against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: ‘People of the Book’, ‘People of No Book’, and the ‘clash of civilisations’

I think Islam hates us. There's a tremendous hatred… There is an unbelievable hatred of us.” – Donald Trump, 9 March

Islamist extremists certainly hate us. But exactly who is ‘us’? The ‘Christian West’ would be a common answer especially in the US, but it’s not a very satisfactory answer – there was little ‘Christian’ about the twin towers and even less ‘Western’ about the victims of the Lahore atrocity last week.