Monday, October 31, 2016

Matt Ridley: Batteries won't make renewables into reliables

Batteries are no longer boring. Whether catching fire in Samsung Note 7s, being hailed as the answer to future electricity grids thanks to breakthrough chemical innovation, or being manufactured on a gigantic scale in Elon Musk’s gigafactory in Nevada, batteries are box office. And though battery technology is indeed advancing by leaps and bounds, there is a considerable quantity of balderdash being talked about it too.

If only we could store electricity! Then we could make it in the summer sun and on windy days, for use on cold winter nights.

Karl du Fresne: The rise and rise of control-freak government

The ancient Greeks left us several words describing various forms of government: democracy, autocracy and oligarchy, to give just three examples.

But there was one omission, probably because it describes a type of administration that the Greeks never envisaged. For want of a better term, I’ll call it control-freak government.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Graeme Edgeler: Just get the App, already

It’s over two years since then-Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee boarded a plane in Christchurch, after entering a secure area through a no-entry door, skipping past the security check.

I spent time that day on Twitter, trying to work out what law Brownlee might have broken (I couldn’t find one), and ended up writing a post, without really getting to the bottom of it. My curiosity piqued, I requested a copy of the Civil Aviation Authority report into the events under the Official Information Act. I make a few OIA requests, and have a pretty good track record of, eventually, getting the information I’m after. I’m rarely in a hurry, and when things are redacted, it’s usually for a reason that seems justifiable.

NZCPR: Water Rights Agenda Exposed

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we outline a major new work programme into fresh water reform - that the Government doesn’t want you to know about, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Anthony Willy backgrounds Cabinet’s intentions regarding the reforms, and our poll asks whether you think it is acceptable that Iwi Leaders have been involved in establishing the process by which water rights will be determined...

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Daniel Mitchell from the Cato Institute: Sweden - big government and the welfare state

Sweden punches way above its weight in debates about economic policy. Leftists all over the world (most recently, Bernie Sanders) say the Nordic nation is an example that proves a big welfare state can exist in a rich nation. And since various data sources (such as the IMF’s huge database) show that Sweden is relatively prosperous and also that there’s an onerous fiscal burden of government, this argument is somewhat plausible.

A few folks on the left sometimes even imply that Sweden is a relatively prosperous nation because it has a large public sector. Though the people who make this assertion never bother to provide any data or evidence.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Frank Newman: What property investors are thinking

The ANZ Bank and the New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation (NZPIF) have released the results of their annual property investors’ survey.

The key findings are:

• Investor confidence is high. A net 69% of respondents are to buy more property and nearly 25% expect to buy within the next 12 months.

• 60% of respondents believe prices will rise by more than 6% over the year (up from 51% last year).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Matt Ridley from the UK: Let in more scientists, not fewer

Michael Kosterlitz, one of the four British-born but American-resident winners of Nobel prizes in science this year, is so incensed by Brexit that he is considering renouncing his British citizenship: “The idea of not being able to travel and work freely in Europe is unthinkable to me.” He has been misled — not by Leavers but by Remainers.

It’s not just that the overseas press have consistently portrayed Brexit as a nativist retreat, despite Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Daniel Hannan consistently saying the very opposite. Throughout the referendum campaign — and, shamefully, since — academics have been told by their lobby groups (such as Universities UK) that Brexit probably means losing access to European research funds, European scientific collaborations and European talent.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

NZCPR: Welfare in Need of Change

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into why immigrant workers are taking jobs that Kiwis could do, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation describes the success of welfare reform in the US, and our poll asks whether you think the welfare system is doing enough to encourage able-bodied beneficiaries into work. .

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Karl du Fresne: Ross Bremner and the great mental health experiment

The American economist Milton Friedman once said it was a great mistake to judge things by their intentions rather than their results. I was reminded of that quote when I read about the tragic series of murders perpetrated by the Waikato man Ross Bremner.

Bremner, you may recall, stabbed his mother to death and left his father critically wounded. He then drove to a remote settlement on Kawhia Harbour where he killed a harmless and helpless elderly couple, apparently at random, before taking his own life.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Frank Newman: Smart property data a click away

In recent months finding data about a property has become a whole lot easier, thanks to two free APPs.

Trademe has just released a new tool called ‘Property Insights’ which it says “provides property data and information about residential properties across New Zealand, empowering Kiwis to make better property decisions”.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Richard Epstein from the US: An Open Letter to Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:  

It is hard—perhaps impossible—to calculate the damage that you have done to the United States and its people, and the people of the world. The situation that the United States faces today is one of great uncertainty at home and great peril abroad. 

You are running at the end of Barack Obama’s failed presidency, against Hillary Clinton, one of the least trusted and most unfit candidates ever to run for high office. There is little question that any other Republican candidate, including your vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence, would be far ahead of her in the polls, because any other candidate would concentrate on her dubious ethics and weak policy proposals.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Daniel Michell: Higher Taxes and Bigger Government Is Not a Recipe for Growth

I must be perversely masochistic because I have the strange habit of reading reports issued by international bureaucracies such as the International Monetary FundWorld Bank,United Nations, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
But one tiny silver lining to this dark cloud is that it’s given me an opportunity to notice how these groups have settled on a common strategy of urging higher taxes for the ostensible purpose of promoting growth and development.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Karl du Fresne: If anything, New Zealand Rugby should hail Aaron Smith as a role model

The tut-tutters who clucked their tongues over All Black Aaron Smith’s tryst in an airport toilet must have been startled by the number of voices raised in his defence.

The Mother Grundys were almost outgunned by Smith’s defenders, who recognised that this affair was different in vital respects from other recent furores involving delinquent rugby players.

GWPF Newsletter: Green Nightmare: War On Coal Can’t Stop Fuel’s Enduring Demand

Brexit: Green Campaigners Fear ‘Bonfire’ Of Green Regulations

In this newsletter:

1) Green Nightmare: War On Coal Can’t Stop Fuel’s Enduring Demand
Bloomberg, 13 October 2016
2) Green Nightmare II: Third Runway At Heathrow ‘To Get Go-Ahead In Days’
Daily Mail, 14 October 2016

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at elections and democratic rights, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Karl du Fresne shares his concerns about the way a new lobby group promoting equal rights was treated, and our poll asks whether you believe holding local and central government elections on the same day is an idea worth pursuing...

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: German Energiewende To Cost €520 Billion By 2025, First Full-Cost Study Finds

Green Energy Transition = 25.000 For Each Family Of Four

In this newsletter:

1) German Energiewende To Cost €520 Billion By 2025, New Study
Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft, 10 October 2016
2) While Europe Gets Gouged, Americans Enjoy Cheap Power
The American Interest, 7 October 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Matt Ridley: Britain's chance to be the global champion of free trade

The prime minister wants Britain to be “the most passionate, most consistent, most convincing advocate for free trade”. Under  either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and with world trade stagnating, it looks as if the job is increasingly likely to be vacant in March 2019, so Britain has both a vital duty and a golden opportunity. It worked for us before.

Next year sees the 200th anniversary of David Ricardo’s insight of “comparative advantage” — the counterintuitive idea that trade benefits “uncompetitive” countries as much as efficient ones.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: Why a 'child poverty reduction target' is wrong

Anti-child poverty campaigner Max Rashbrooke writes at RNZ:
Anyone planning their summer holiday will already be thinking about the logistics - the plane tickets, the car hire, the hotel bookings, and so on. 
But before they get onto those things, they'll have decided on one key point: where they're actually going for their holiday, and when. 
The same point applies to government policy, and the currently hot topic of tackling child poverty. The first thing is to know where you're going: how much you want to reduce child poverty, and by what date.

Stephen Franks: The Rugby Union’s clerical duties

Have I lost touch with my country? Where am I?

When did it become an obligation on an employer to discipline an employee for what could be a fleeting airport toilet shag with a woman not his ‘partner’, thousands of miles from the ‘workplace’ with no evidence (so far) that it could affect workplace performance.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the education reforms that are currently being undertaken by the Government, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Nicholas Kerr shares education insights from global entrepreneur and Apple founder Steve Jobs, and our poll asks whether you agree with the Government that a ‘global budget’, which gives principals and boards more control over school funding, should be considered, or whether you agree with the unions that it should be rejected. 

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Green Disaster - South Australian Blackout Due To Loss Of Wind Power

Australian Energy Market Operator Orders Wind Farms To Limit Generation

In this newsletter:

1) Green Disaster: South Australian Blackout Due To Loss Of Wind Power
The Australian, 5 October 2016
2) Australian Energy Market Operator Orders 10 SA Wind Farms To Limit Generation After Statewide Electricity Blackout
The Advertiser, 4 October 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Stephen Franks: Social and economic rights in a NZ constitution

My last post mentioned the risks and problems arising when social and economic “rights” are created in law.  The Palmer/Butler draft constitution tries to allay those concerns by saying that such rights are “non-justiciable” (presumably meaning not enforceable in court). It then lays out in draft section 106 a glittering array of new rights – without solving the fundamental political problem – whose duty is it to provide the goodies, at whose cost.

106 Social and economic rights

Matt Ridley: Mental illness is the greatest research challenge

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, and his wife Priscilla Chan, a paediatrician, have announced their intention to spend $3 billion over ten years on medical research. Having met them last year, I thought I would take the liberty of making a suggestion as to how they spend their money.

Dear Priscilla and Mark,

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Karl du Fresne: The backlash against immigration

Internationally, the anti-immigration Right is on the rise, and the only surprise is that anyone should be surprised.

Donald Trump in the United States, Pauline Hanson in Australia, the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) Party in Germany, the triumph of the Brexiteers in Britain’s EU referendum … all point to a backlash against the liberal multicultural consensus that has dominated Western politics for decades.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Brexit and the problematical issue of constitutional change

Ken Clarke: Theresa May has “no idea” what to do about Brexit. According to the former Chancellor, “nobody in the government has the first idea of what they’re going to do next” – ‘New Statesman’ 29 September

Jean-Claude Juncker is very brassed off with the UK, with good reason: there’s been a lot of lead-swinging going on with regard to the UK/EU divorce, and continues to be – despite some tentative prattle about getting things moving in February, there probably won’t be any serious movement on the issue until late 2017, according to informed British sources.