Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Matt Ridley: Economic libertarianism no longer on offer to American voters

Last week both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump set out their economic policies in set-piece speeches. Mr Trump’s, delivered in Detroit, so far as one could tell from the fractured syntax and the digressions into invective, involves a trade policy designed to punish consumers and protect producers, a recipe for recession. 

But Mrs Clinton’s, also delivered in Michigan, was even worse. She too wants to pursue the old mercantilist fallacy of restricting imports and helping exports, but while spending more money, unleashing a blizzard of new regulations and doubling the minimum wage.

Brian Gaynor: Population soars as economy surges

The New Zealand economy is booming, but this strength is surprising given the depressed state of the dairy industry, the country’s major export earner.

A number of recently released statistics, including the latest population and employment data, partly explain the strong economic expansion. Economic growth has also been fuelled by the net wealth effect – mainly the increase in total household wealth from $807 billion to more than $1,150b since 2008.

Lindsay Mitchell: Disconnect

The Guardian:

"For 14 days and 14 nights Elijah Saitu, 15, has lived in a damp motel room, bordered by KFC to the left and a Denny’s 24-hour takeaway to the right.

He spends his days watching music videos on television and eating white bread, tinned sardines, fizzy drinks and packets of chips.

“He’s suffocating,” says Elijah’s mother, Emily Fiame Saitu, who has been begging the government to help her family.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Karl du Fresne: The lingering consquences of idealistic 60s liberalism

My generation has a lot to answer for. Recreational drugs, for example – or as former Wellington coroner Garry Evans preferred to call them, “wreckreational drugs”.

Mine was the generation that rebelled against the values of its parents. We were smug and spoilt, with plenty of time on our hands to reflect on how wrong our elders were about everything. We rejected their dreary, conformist moral values. “If it feels good, do it” became the catch-cry of a generation.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Great Reef Hysteria Exposed?

In Memoriam Sir Antony Jay (1930 - 2016)

In this newsletter:

1) Great Reef Hysteria Exposed? Tourism Operators Find Less Than 5% Of Coral Dead Due To ‘Extreme’ Bleaching
The Courier-Mail. 23 August 2016

2) “Yes, Minister” Creator Sir Antony Jay Has Died Aged 86
The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Can Science Be Saved From Self-Destruction?

Editor Sounds Alarm Over Falling Public Trust In Science

In this newsletter:

1) Editor Sounds Alarm Over Falling Public Trust In Science
Times Higher Education, 18 August 2016

2) Can Science Be Saved From Self-Destruction?
The New Atlantis, Summer 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mike Butler: Day to honour tribal rebels

The government has caved in to a petition fronted by two Otorohanga College pupils, Waimarama Anderson and Leah Bell, by agreeing to a national day to remember 19th century tribal rebellions. The aims of their petition were:

1. To raise awareness of the Land Wars and how they relate to local history for schools and communities.

2. To introduce these local histories into the New Zealand Curriculum as a course of study for all New Zealanders.

3. To memorialise those who gave their lives on New Zealand soil with a statutory day of recognition.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fiona Mackenzie: Open Letter to Mr Little, Leader of the Labour Party

Dear Mr Little,

As an Aucklander, I am disappointed that you recently criticised the removal of the Sites of Significance overlay and requirement for CIAs in the region’s Unitary Plan (Waatea News 11/8/16). But then again, you may not be aware of the facts.

There is already a well-established process for properly identified and substantiated heritage and/or waahi tapu sites to be recognised and protected. I do not have a problem with that.

Professor Richard Rose from the UK: Delaying the countdown to Brexit - a cost-benefit analysis

Friday, August 19, 2016

Karl du Fresne: The chugger on my doorstep

I was working at home the other day when there was a confident, assertive knock on the front door. 
I opened it to find a young man (well, young to me) wearing a badge and bib that identified him as representing a well-known rescue service-cum-medical emergency charity which I won’t identify.

It was a bitterly cold day and he was soaking wet, but that didn’t stop him from launching straight into an obviously well-rehearsed spiel.

Frank Newman: Interest rates down, dairy prices up

Last week the Reserve Bank reduced the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 25 basis points to a new low of 2%. The downward shift was widely expected.

Their main reason for doing so was low global inflation and the prospect that domestic inflation would remain below the 1 to 3% target range. Internationally interest rates are at record lows, as economies struggle to gain economic momentum in the face of a slow-down in China and a domino effect elsewhere.

GWPF Newsletter: Back From The Dead

Giant Coral Reef That ‘Died’ In 2003 Teeming With Life Again

In this newsletter:

1) Giant Coral Reef That ‘Died’ In 2003 Teeming With Life Again
The New York Times, 15 August 2016
2) The Corals That Come Back From The Dead
BBC, 6 September 2014

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Richard Epstein from the US: Our Regulator-In-Chief

Now that we are in the final lap of President Barack Obama’s presidency, the debate has begun over his historical legacy. The New York Times is contributing to that debate with a six-part series assessing his presidency called “The Obama Era.” The first article in that series, “Once Skeptical of Executive power, Obama Came to Embrace It,” argues that Obama is, in the journalists’ words, our “Regulator in Chief,” having issued about 50 percent more major orders than his predecessor George W. Bush. 

Though the article uncritically embraces Obama’s statist policies, the President’s major initiatives on environmental protection, drugs, health care, and labor markets have been both more far-reaching and socially destructive than those of his predecessor.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Big Chill: ‘Substantial Cooling’ Predicted Within The Next Few Years

New NASA Survey Finds Antarctica Covered in More Ice Than Previously Thought

In this newsletter:

1) Big Chill: ‘Substantial Cooling’ Predicted Within The Next Few Years
Daily Star, 14 August 2016
2) New NASA Survey Finds Antarctica Covered in More Ice Than Previously Thought
Interesting Engineering, 12 August 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Matt Ridley: Getting the rich to pay for conservation

The vast Bubye Valley Conservancy in southern Zimbabwe is slightly larger than County Durham, as well as much hotter and drier. Yet both contain abundant wildlife thanks almost entirely to the hunting of game. In Bubye Valley, it’s lions and buffalo that are the targets; in the Durham dales, it’s grouse. But the effect is the same — a spectacular boost to other wildlife, privately funded.

Bubye Valley was a cattle ranch, owned by Unilever, until 1994 when it was turned over to wildlife. A double electric fence was put round the entire 850,000-acre reserve. Gradually the buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and antelope numbers grew. Elephants and rhinos were moved there from areas more vulnerable to poaching, and the conservancy now has the third-largest black rhino population in the world.

Mike Butler: Littlewood treaty to disappear

The document that is most likely the final English draft from which the Treaty of Waitangi was translated into Maori will quietly be buried in archives when a new exhibition of “iconic constitutional documents” opens next year at the National Library opposite Parliament Buildings.

New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell is taking Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne to task over the exclusion of the Busby February 4 document from the treaty display.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Physicist Who Foresees Global Cooling Says Other Scientists Tried To ‘Silence’ Her

Academic Orthodoxy Is A Bigger Threat Than Climate Change

In this newsletter:

1) Physicist Who Foresees Global Cooling Says Other Scientists Tried To ‘Silence’ Her
The Washington Times, 10 August 2016
2) Editorial: Global Warming Extremists Try To Silence Science — Again
Investor’s Business Daily, 11 August 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Phil McDermott: Back to Basics: Planning, Housing Markets, and the Cost of Ignoring Economics

Acknowledging the impact of planning on housing
At last, economists, commentators and the media in New Zealand are recognising what has been evident in many countries since late in the 20th century; that plans to contain city growth in urban boundaries betray the hopes of large and growing numbers of urban dwellers and job seekers.
In Auckland, an independent panel has modified the proposed Unitary Plan to allow more dwellings.  But it is too little, too late; so Auckland remains consigned to increasing social division fashioned around a new poverty, a poverty rooted in the failure of the housing market.

Karl du Fresne: Any Australian's preferable to a Kiwi - even Kevin Rudd

Anyone who has observed the relationship between Australia and New Zealand over many years is forced to an inescapable conclusion. Some Australians don’t like the idea that New Zealanders can do anything very well, and positively recoil from the thought that they can do anything better than Australia can.

This was the only plausible explanation for the extraordinary contortions over whether the Australian government should back Kevin Rudd in his belated bid for the job of United Nations Secretary-General ahead of New Zealand’s Helen Clark.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Daniel Mitchell: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Donald Trump’s Economic Plan

With a big speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Donald Trump has tried to establish his bona fides as a “growth” candidate. There are many desirable features of his new plan, but some of the provisions should be junked, and others can’t be properly assessed given a lack of details.

Here’s what’s good in the plan:

Reducing the overall tax burden: Trump’s original tax plan reduced the tax burden by about $12 trillion over 10 years ($10 trillion after factoring in the impact of faster growth).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: New Solar Research Raises Climate Questions, Triggers Attacks

Quiet Sun May Cause Global Cooling, Says Newcastle Astrophysicist

In this newsletter:

1) New Solar Research Raises Climate Questions, Triggers Attacks
Global Warming Policy Forum, 9 August 2016
2) Quiet Sun May Cause Global Cooling, Says Newcastle Astrophysicist 
Newcastle Chronicle, 13 July 2016

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Karl du Fresne: Underwhelmed by the Olympic Games? So am I

I’m already over the Olympic GamesIt wasn’t always like this. Historically, the Games have been the ultimate sporting contest, commanding rapt worldwide interest.

I’m no sports fanatic, but even for me there was a frisson of anticipation as the Games approached and a feeling of being caught up in the contagious general excitement once they began. Everybody watched and everybody talked about it. It was the subject of water-cooler conversation before we’d heard of water coolers.

GWPF Newsletter: Families Offered Up To £13.000 To Kick Start UK Shale Revolution

Theresa May’s Shale Plan Is A Fracking Brainwave

In this newsletter:

1) Families Offered Up To £13.000 To Kick-Start UK Shale Revolution

2) GWPF Calls On Government To Deliver On UK Shale Development

Ron Smith: Politics and Policy

It has just been reported that President Obama has been engaged in extensive consultation with an independent foreign policy expert.  He is apparently contemplating making an important policy statement about the use of nuclear weapons.  Specifically, he proposes to address the issue of nuclear deterrence and the associated doctrine of ‘no-first-use’. 

Quite right, you might think.  President Obama has been much criticised for his reliance in these matters, on an inner circle of political appointees, who have not had the requisite expertise.  This has been the burden of much of the criticism from his three previous Secretaries of Defence.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Matt Ridley: There are no experts on the future

Michael Gove was mocked during the referendum campaign for saying that “I think people in this country have had enough of experts.” Critics asked pointedly if he dismissed the expertise of doctors when ill. But subsequent weeks have left economic experts, at least, looking a bit less than the full Nostradamus.

The expert pollsters told the hedge funds Remain would win right up till when it lost, so the pound and the FTSE 100 rose, then crashed. The expert financial forecasters then told investors the FTSE 100 would fall further, but it quickly recovered all its lost ground and more. The expert analysts told us we should watch the FTSE 250 plunge instead, but that has now returned to the level it was at a week before the referendum.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Aboriginal underdevelopment – Kipling’s ‘White Man’s Burden’ revisited

We need to acknowledge there are aspects of Aboriginal culture that need to be kept firmly in the past. No culture is static and unchanging, and the belief that Aboriginal culture needs to be frozen and preserved in time is preventing many Aboriginal people from moving forward and embracing modernity…  It is time to abandon romanticised notions of Indigenous culture…
Sara Hudson, in “Time to remove the rose-tinted glasses when it comes to Aboriginal culture”, Centre for Independent Studies, 8 July 2016.

The town of Aurukun in Far North Queensland hits the news headlines every few years, for all the wrong reasons – booze smuggling, communal violence, horrendous sexual assaults, alarming child health statistics. It’s such a rough place and the problems are so intractable that indigenous MP Billy Gordon, writing for The Australian (12 May 2016), called the Aurukun area “the Afghanistan of Australia”.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Karl du Fresne: It's Kevin Roberts' turn to be thrown to the wolves

I’m no fan of Kevin Roberts. He’s a tireless self-promoter whose talent for bullshit is breathtaking even by advertising industry standards. But the extraordinary furore over his comments on gender diversity illustrates the dangerous extent to which business is now held hostage by the po-faced forces of political correctness.

Roberts, the executive chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi, has been asked to take leave of absence for saying, in quite mild and unexceptionable terms, that the debate over gender diversity in the advertising business is over.

GWPF Newsletter - UK Energy Rethink: Theresa May's China Calculus

British Government To Delay, Reassess The World's Most Expensive Subsidy Plant

In this newsletter:

1) UK Energy Rethink: Theresa May's China Calculus -- BBC News, 31 July 2016

2) British Government To Delay, Reassess The World's Most Expensive Subsidy Plant -- The Daily Telegraph, 28 July 2016