Saturday, July 30, 2016

Karl du Fresne: When supposed liberals turn out to be anything but

It’s been an extraordinarily turbulent few weeks in international politics.

Two patterns have emerged. The first, which has been much commented on, is that alienated voters are rebelling against the political elites which, for the past couple of decades, have been calling the shots.

People are looking for something new from politicians. For want of a better word, they seem to be looking for some type of authenticity – a sense that politicians actually stand for something, even if it’s not very well articulated.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Ron Smith: The Proper Treatment of Combatants

Commenting on the atrocious slaughter of the elderly parish priest of the church of St Etienne in Rouen, north of Paris, French President, Francois  Hollande, said, “It is a war”. There is nothing remarkable about that, we might think.  He, and others, have said that sort of thing before.  The question is, does he (and the others) really mean it?  Because, if he does, some interesting questions arise.   To begin with, what are we to say of Adel Kermiche and Abdelmalek Petitjean who were jointly responsible for cutting the throat of the 85 year-old priest and holding his congregation hostage?

Are they combatants in that war?

Mike McViicker: Height of Hypocrisy

The announcement that the Rotorua Lakes Council had been successful with its Te Arawa Partnership Project (TAP) in the NZ Local Government Excellence Awards for “the outstanding delivery of best practise value and services to their community” certainly raises some questions.

Firstly, for such an undemocratic change of appointing unelected maori representatives to Council, which resulted in splitting the Rotorua community, and still does today, to win an Excellence Award strikes this writer as hypocritical. Particularly so when you take into account that the majority of Rotorua citizens did not support such a radical break from what had been the norm. (Rotorua Daily Post 68% against).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gerry Eckhoff: Rate Relief

The decision of the Dunedin City council to develop a rates remission policy to take into account the special relationship Maori have with the land is - well – interesting. All DCC ratepayers will I’m sure be sympathetic to the idea that all non-revenue bearing land should be exempt from rates yet intrigued to understand the principle the DCC employ that will allow for rates remission for only Maori freehold land not producing revenue.

It is a policy that will be embraced by most if not all rate payers as it sets a wonderful precedent. Cr Hillary Calvert sensibly noted that DCC staff should develop policy which included non-Maori land as well for consideration.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fiona Mackenzie: A Grab for the Gulf

The feeling of having been totally out-manoeuvred has become a common sensation amongst Auckland regional ratepayers – and they don’t know half of what is going on. This powerlessness extends to some of the well-meaning City Councillors who thought they were being elected to work for the people; they now see themselves as fall guys, taking the rap for conniving bureaucrats, greedy iwi and unscrupulous politicians.

Latest Target

Currently, there’s a scheme being executed to gain control of the Hauraki Gulf and its surrounds. It’ll give a few from 26 tribal groups incredible power over a massive and very critical 4,000km² body of water (from near Mangawhai in the North down to Waihi in the south, and beyond Great Barrier Island to the east), along with the significant land catchments bordering the entire eastern coast of Auckland, the extensive Hauraki Plains, the entire Coromandel Peninsula, and the many islands of the Gulf.

Lindsay Mitchell: Almost half of sole parent beneficiaries are Maori

47.4 percent of Sole Parent Support beneficiaries are Maori. In the Youth and Young Parent category the proportion rises to 49.4 percent.

I've charted the latest June data below:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Matt Ridley: Industrial strategy can be regressive

In her first speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street Theresa May said that she intends to listen to those who “just about manage”, not to the wealthy and mighty. “When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.” Dead right: but how?

In pursuit of that objective she has signalled that she may favour an industrial strategy intended to help those areas that have it toughest. Some have interpreted this as a sign that markets are out of fashion and that government intervention is back.

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctic Has Been Cooling For Almost 20 Years, Scientists Confirm

Mini Ice-Age Is On The Way, Newcastle Astrophysicist Predicts

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctic Has Been Cooling For Almost 20 Years, Scientists Confirm 
The Australian, 21 July 2016
2) Mini Ice-Age Is On The Way, Newcastle Astrophysicist Predicts
Newcastle Chronicle, 13 July 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: After Brexit, UK Tipped To Shift To Fracking

Dear Theresa, Get Cracking On Fracking

In this newsletter:

1) After Brexit, UK Tipped To Shift To Fracking
The Irish Independent, 20 July 2016
2) Ineos To Lodge 30 Fracking Applications To Kick-Start UK Shale Gas Market
Financial Times, 17 July 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Brian Gaynor: Housing Market – Watch the supply & demand

Residential property prices, like most other prices, are primarily determined by supply and demand. Dwelling consents, bank lending and net migration are three of the main factors determining house prices.

NZ housing market dwelling consents, housing loans, net migration

Frank Newman: The cost of building a home

The headlines are relentless about homelessness and the cost of housing. Nowadays $2,500 a square metre is not unusual even for a relatively straight forward build. Building something unique (bespoke) will cost substantially more, +$3,500m2. Given the average home is about 200m2, the building cost alone is likely to be +$500k (plus land cost). So why does it cost so much to build a house?

There are many reasons, but mostly the cause ends up at the doorstep of local and central government.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Sceptic Boris Johnson Is Britain’s New Foreign Secretary

British Government Abolishes Department Of Energy And Climate Change

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Sceptic Boris Johnson Is Britain’s New Foreign Secretary
Global Warming Policy Forum, 14 July 2016

2) British Government Abolishes Department Of Energy And Climate Change
reNews, 14 July 2016

Matt Ridley: Roundup's advantages

I once tried the organic alternative to the herbicide roundup for clearing weeds from garden paths: a flame-thrower. It was brutal for the environment, incinerating innocent insects and filling the air with emissions. 

Next week I might have to go back to that. Roundup, the world’s safest, cheapest and most effective weedkiller, may be illegal within days in Europe.

Richard Epstein: Hasty Judgment On “Institutional Racism”

Over the past few dizzying days, the nation has been shaken by the killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the five police officers mercilessly gunned down in Dallas, Texas. These events have intensified a bitter debate about whether institutional racism is endemic in police forces across the nation. 

Sterling and Castile, some say, were murdered in cold blood simply because they were black. But individual cases are unique, and often are notoriously difficult to judge, even with the benefit of hindsight.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stephen Franks: Politicians lying?

Andrea Vance and others in RNZ’s MediaWatch this weekend have been bewailing the absence of public concern about their allegations (or disclosure) of politician lying.

They are right to be anxious that democracy may not be safe if lies have no cost. The questioning in the programme tested the concern.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mike Butler: The kura and the mushroom farm

A town planning error in Hastings provided a convenient exit for the Ministry of Education in unpopular plans for a kura for the suburb of Havelock North but has caused a substantial risk for a log-established mushroom farm, and regular unpleasant smells for 600 home owners.

A stoush between a retired principal and the government sparked by plans to prefer a Maori-immersion kura over a new primary school for the Hastings suburb of Havelock North (see led to a public meeting in May.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Stephen Franks: Genetic challenges for genuine liberalism

Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own by Garett Jones has attracted little public attention in New Zealand, despite celebration of the Otago Longitudinal Study, and the international fame of Otago University’s Prof Jim Flynn. The book draws heavily on the research conducted after his shattering insight established the Flynn Effect.

The Hive Mind thesis is that a nation’s average intelligence can predict and probably determines whether a society can reliably achieve economic and cultural and political institutions and outcomes that we commonly consider good.

Karl du Fresne: Minto had me fooled

I’ve tended in the past to take a charitable view of John Minto. The worst thing I could find to say about him was that his devotion to left-wing causes was so wide-reaching and so passionate that he had become an almost comical fixture – a caricature – in the political landscape.

In a Dominion Post column in 2012, I wrote that I almost felt sorry for him. “His brain must hurt when he wakes up every morning. So many downtrodden people, so many heartless capitalists, so many injustices – which one will he deal with today?” I described him as a compulsive serial protester and said that images of him addressing rag-tag gatherings with a megaphone were one of the few constants in a chaotic universe.

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Plan Endangers Germany, Party Leaders Warn

Germany’s Biggest Energy Company Faces Bankruptcy

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Plan Endangers Germany, Party Leaders Warn
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 July 2016
2) Germany’s Biggest Energy Company Faces Bankruptcy
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 6 July 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Operation Regime Change – some aren’t giving up

Operation Regime Change (as I’ll call it) achieved some of its objectives, particularly the elimination of Saddam Hussein and Muamar Ghadaffi, but has been an unmitigated disaster for the MENA region and for the world at large.

It gave us ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the disintegration of Libya resulted in a country that now exists only as lines on a map and is about to become a staging post for ISIS metastases as well as being a springboard for illegal mass migration into Europe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus

Britain & Germany May Delay Coal Phase-Out

In this newsletter:

1) Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus
Financial Times, 4 July 2016
2) After Brexit, UK May Delay Coal Phase-Out
Bloomberg, 5 July 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brian Gaynor: Leave vote could bite older Brits hard

The Brexit vote is a major political event with important financial consequences, particularly in the United Kingdom. It reverses the post-World War II trend of countries working more closely together, politically and economically.

It also highlights the growing gap between the young and the old; the highly educated and less educated; and major cities and rural areas. These trends could have major political consequences in the years ahead.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Mike Butler: Hineuru’s sanitised history

We have a sanitised new history of New Zealand and we have the history full of facts and interviews with eyewitnesses. A $50-million treaty settlement with a small group of claimants from Hawke’s Bay called Ngati Hineuru that was passed into law on June 29, 2016, is an opportunity to compare the two histories.

The sanitised new history says that from the mid-1860s some Hineuru converted to Pai Mārire and Panapa, the Pai Marire leader amongst Hineuru, established a Pai Marire settlement.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mike Butler: Probing Whanau Ora trough

Why did it take Labour MPs Nanaia Mahuta and Kelvin Davis so long to question the Whanau Ora one-stop welfare scheme? Both MPs this week said it was not good enough that, six years after its launch, there has been no detailed public progress report.(1)

However, John Tamihere , the chief executive of Whanau Ora commissioning agency Te Pou Matakana, which hands out the money, disagrees.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Brexit Spells End Of Europe’s Climate Obsession

Germany Starts Roll-Back Of Climate Policy

In this newsletter:

1) Brexit Spells End Of Europe’s Climate Obsession
Reuters, 30 June 2016
2) Germany Starts Roll-Back Of Climate Policy
Reuters, 29 June 2016

Peter Saunders: Britain has rediscovered its liberty

Since the 1950s, the Eurocrat dream has been to impose a federal union onto the old, historic nations of Europe.  Since the creation of the common currency in 2002, this dream has become an imperative.

Nineteen of the 28 EU members dumped their national currencies in favour of the Euro.  Since then, unemployment in the southern European countries has surged.  Youth unemployment rates are staggering (49% in Greece; 45% in Spain; 39% in Italy).  These economies are being sacrificed to the Euro-federalist totem.

Karl du Fresne: Rogue cops negate the good work of their colleagues

How the police trapped the loathsome double murderer Kamal Reddy was brilliant – an example of patient, persistent and determined police work. 

Reddy is the Auckland man who cold-bloodedly killed his girlfriend, Pakeeza Yusuf, because she didn’t want him in her life anymore. Then he used a pillow to smother her three-year-old daughter, Jojo, so she wouldn’t talk.