Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Frank Newman: The interest rate worm has turned

The interest rate worm has turned, according to the latest ANZ Bank Property Focus Report. Their commentary signals a significant shift in the way the Bank sees things heading.
With respect to mortgage strategy they say, "Although the OCR has been cut by 25bps, this merely offset a rise in funding costs, and as a result, no banks have cut their floating mortgage rates. Rises seen for some longer-term fixed rates reflect both higher funding costs and the sharp rise in wholesale interest rates that has occurred since August. We believe mortgage rates have seen their lows, and although there is real pressure for them to rise further, we caution that rises are likely to be gradual. Nonetheless, given how flat the mortgage curve is, for the first time in a long time we believe it is worthwhile considering fixing some portion of your mortgage for longer than 1-2 years."

GWPF Newsletter: Record Drop In Global Temperatures As El Nino Warming Ends

How Far Will Global Temperatures Drop?

In this newsletter:

1) Record Drop In Global Temperatures As El Nino Warming Ends
Mail on Sunday, 27 November 2016

2) How Far Will Global Temperature Drop After El Nino?
GWPF Observatory, 3 November 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Matt Ridley: Artificial Intelligence is not going to cause mass unemployment

The tech industry, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is populated largely by enthusiastic optimists, who want to change the world and think they can. But there is one strand of pessimism that you hear a lot there: that the robots are going to take all our jobs. With artificial intelligence looming, human beings are facing redundancy and obsolescence. I think this neo-Luddite worry is as wrong now as in Ned Ludd’s day.

“Any job that is on some level routine is likely to be automated and if we are to see a future of prosperity rather than catastrophe we must act now,” warns Martin Ford, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, in his book The Rise of the Robots. “With the technology advances that are presently on the horizon, not only low-skilled jobs are at risk; so are the jobs of knowledge workers. Too much is happening too fast,” says another Silicon Valley guru, Vivek Wadhwa.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Karl du Fresne: Trumpophobes in the media need to get over it

It’s now more than two weeks since Donald Trump became US President-elect, and I’m wondering when the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (to use a biblical metaphor) is going to stop.

Many commentators in the media, both here and in the US, just don’t seem to get it.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Calestous Juma from Harvard University: Why Perceived Inequality Leads People to Resist Innovation

Americans are often portrayed as technological enthusiasts with unbounded eagerness to adopt new technologies. According to a recent Pew Research survey, nearly 28 percent of Americans view themselves as early adopters of new technologies. This is much higher than estimates in other cultures. 

But when it comes to biomedical technologies that enhance human abilities, they are more cautious. Many of the 4,000 survey respondents and focus group participants in another Pew study "felt that while no effort should be spared to help the sick, society should proceed with caution before allowing biomedical advancements to boost the capacities of healthy people."

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctic Sea Ice Has Not Shrunk In 100 Years

Trump To Scrap NASA Climate Research In Crackdown On ‘Politicized Science’

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctic Sea Ice Has Not Shrunk In 100 Years, Scott And Shackleton Logbooks Prove 
The Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2016
2) Trump To Scrap NASA Climate Research In Crackdown On ‘Politicized Science’
The Guardian, 23 November 2016

NZCPR: Tinkering Wth the RMA

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at the Government’s Resource Management Act reforms and the disastrous new concessions Nick Smith has made to the Maori Party that could result in iwi control of the resource consenting process, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Sir Bob Jones describes the fiasco of having to consult multiple iwi over a resource consent and calls it a ‘racket’, and our poll asks whether it’s time for Nick Smith to be removed as Minister in charge of RMA reforms. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Richard Epstein: California’s Needless Housing Crisis

Everyone agrees the most attractive areas in California suffer from a housing crisis that calls for drastic action. The difficult question is deciding what should be done. Many of the challenges are embodied in the small California town of Mountain View, population 80,000, which should be basking in sunshine as the home of Google. But instead the town is mired in discord and controversy over a set of well-entrenched anti-growth policies concerning housing. 

The tight supply of housing has raised the price of the median home to about $1.4 million. Rents, too, have skyrocketed, resulting in the displacement of many long-term tenants—teachers, nurses, and tech employees—who have to endure long daily commutes to work or find jobs elsewhere. Mountain View is now the proud home to numerous mobile home parks, occupied by individuals who crave access to the city—and who reportedly drive Teslas and Mercedeses, no less—but who lack the means to purchase or rent ordinary housing.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Matt Ridley from the UK: People took Trump seriously, but not literally

Years of compensating for the media’s tendency to look on the dark side of everything has taught me that it generally pays to seek silver linings. It’s possible of course that Donald Trump will start a culture war, a trade war and a nuclear war, but it’s also just possible that, while behaving like an oaf, he will preside over a competent administration. 

So here, after a few days of talking to people in America’s two biggest economies, California and Texas, are ten reasons why I think a Trump presidency may not be as awful as many think, even if, like me, you heard the news of his victory with a sinking feeling.

Karl du Fresne: New Zealand - a bolthole for disillusioned liberals?

I see Richard Dawkins, celebrated scientist, atheist and author of The God Delusion, is talking up New Zealand as a possible bolthole for disillusioned liberal refugees from the northern hemisphere.

Dawkins thinks our little country suddenly looks very attractive following Britain’s exit from the European Union and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. He suggests New Zealand should seize the opportunity to lure great scientific and artistic minds from America and Britain – “talented, creative people desperate to escape the redneck bigotry of their home countries”.

GWPF Newsletter: Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause

Three (Perfectly Democratic) Reasons Donald Trump Will Smother The Paris Climate Deal

In this newsletter:

1) David Whitehouse: Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause
GWPF Observatory, 21 November 2016
2) Donald Trump Expected To Slash NASA’s Climate Change Budget In Favour Of Space Exploration
The Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Charles Finney: Give Trump a break on trade policy – it may be better than you think

Since the outcome of the US presidential election became clear, there have been many people commenting on the implications of the result for trade policy. The views expressed are largely gloomy. 

Some go so far as to suggest that globalisation is at an end and that the era of trade liberalisation died with it. Others suggest the US has created a leadership vacuum that China will fill. Yet more are suggesting a different approach to the way New Zealand negotiates free-trade agreements.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Daniel Mitchell: The “Progressive” Threat to Baltic Exceptionalism

I’m a big fan of the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
These three countries emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Empire and they have taken advantage of their independence to become successful market-driven economies.
One key to their relative success is tax policy. All three nations have flat taxes. Estonia’s system is so good (particularly its approach to business taxation) that the Tax Foundation ranks it as the best in the OECD.

Brian Gaynor: US protest vote has echoes elsewhere

Donald Trump’s election, and the recent UK Brexit vote, demonstrates that there is considerable dissatisfaction with the political and business establishments in a number of countries.

A large percentage of the US and UK middle class, particularly white males outside the major cities, believe the system is rigged and they don’t have a voice.

New Zealand is fortunate because our MMP electoral system gives minorities a voice. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: U.S. Geological Survey Discovers "Largest Oil & Gas Deposit Ever Discovered In America"

The Never-Ending Shale Revolution That Keep On Giving

In this newsletter:

1) U.S. Geological Survey Discovers "Largest Oil & Gas Deposit Ever Discovered In America"
NPR, 16 November 2016

2) The Never-Ending Shale Revolution That Keeps On Giving
Forbes, 15 November 2016

Frank Newman: RMA rackets and the mood for change

Two years ago I quoted from a story appearing in the NZ Herald, written by Bob Jones. The story involved one of his buildings, a 17 story office tower in downtown Auckland. A tenant had blocked out some of the windows so when they vacated Jones wanted to restore the window panes.

Jones says, "..we were then informed by a planner my Auckland office uses for council dealings (which can be laborious) that under the new council rules, changes to a building's appearance require resource consent and we would be subject to penalty if we simply put back the window...we were then told that under the new Draft Unitary Plan, not yet enacted, our building being within 50 metres of a designated Maori heritage site, we needed RMA approval (for a new shop window, for God's sake), this instantly forthcoming at a cost of $4500 plus the approval of 13 iwi."

Food Regulations Under Review

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into whether the Government’s new food bill is stifling innovation and crippling small business – and we advise concerned readers that a formal review of the new law is currently underway with the deadline for submissions 5pm on December 5th, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Anna Tait-Jamieson shares her insight into the dangers of heavy-handed regulation in the food sector, and our poll asks whether you think the new food laws are too bureaucratic.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Karl du Fresne: It's their country

Well, at least Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected. You have to take whatever positives you can get out of the US election result.

Many of Clinton’s supporters seemed to think she deserved to win the contest just because it would make her the first woman president. Sorry, but that’s hardly justification for putting her in the White House.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Richard Epstein: An Open Letter To Donald Trump On Foreign Policy

Dear President-Elect Trump:      

Your surprise election as president will do more to shake up the political landscape than any other event in the post-World War II period, with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan’s selection as president in the November 1980 election.

The impact of the 2016 election may well be greatest on matters of foreign and military affairs, where the U.S. president necessarily has the greatest influence and control over operations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Likely To Slash And Burn Obama’s Climate Policy

Trump’s Climate Contrarian: Myron Ebell Takes On The EPA

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Likely To Slash And Burn Obama’s Climate Policy
Financial Times, 11 November 2016
2) Trump’s Climate Contrarian: Myron Ebell Takes On The EPA
The New York Times, 11 November 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nicholas Kerr: The Electoral College and the future of the Democratic Party

For the fifth time in history, the winner of the U.S. presidential election will not have also been the winner of the popular vote. And with it come the predictable calls to end the Electoral College. 

Supporters of Hillary Clinton who believe the electoral system is to blame for the result should both think again and be careful what they wish for.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Matt Ridley: The wisdom of crowds

My Times column on the wisdom of crowds, published the day before election day in the US:

‘In these democratic days, any investigation into the trustworthiness and peculiarities of popular judgments is of interest.” So begins an article entitled Vox Populi, which is not about Donald Trump but was published in 1907 by Francis Galton, a pioneer of statistics, by then 85 years old. He had analysed the results of a sweepstake competition held at the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition in Plymouth.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Lindsay Perigo: Hahahahaha! The Revenge of Les Deplorables

Lindsay Perigo's picture
"It's morning again in America," said Ronald Reagan when running for re-election in 1984. The facts and the voters backed him, and he was returned to the presidency in a landslide.
America in 2016 has endured a dark night far longer and blacker than that inflicted by Jimmy Carter, but the reinstatement of morning should be no more difficult for Trump than Reagan given The Donald's astounding sweep of both Houses of Congress as well as the Electoral College.

NZCPR: The Silent Majority Fights Back

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the US Presidential election and reflect on whether there are lessons for New Zealand, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Frank Newman shares his insights into the election result, and our poll asks whether you sense a growing disillusionment with the Government in New Zealand – like in the US and UK – and if so, what do you believe is driving this. .

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Richard Epstein from the US: Open Letter To President Trump

Dear President-Elect Trump:

Congratulations on your come-from-behind victory. You did the nation a great service in thwarting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who lost because she exhibited a deadly combination of moral arrogance, economic ignorance, and political blindness. 

More than anything else, it was her use of the phrase “the deplorables” that sparked her opposition to come out in force against her. But if she lost, you won, and you now face the greater challenge of how to make the enormous transition of rebellious outsider to the President of all the people in the United States. Here, in my view, lies the best path for your success.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Victory Signals End Of The Green Age

New U.S. President Will Reverse Obama's Energy And Climate Priorities

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Victory Signals End Of The Green Age
Bloomberg News, 9 November 2016
2) New U.S. President Will Reverse Obama's Energy And Climate Priorities
The Washington Post, 9 November 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Richard Epstein from the US: The Loyal Opposition

No matter which candidate wins this presidential election, the nation is likely to continue the downward slide that started with the election of Barack Obama as president in November 2008. 

In the last eight years, the nation has fractured morally; it has failed to grow economically; and it has been continuously embarrassed in its foreign affairs. As a lame duck president, Obama will likely do nothing to reverse these downward trends. But now consider our alternatives to replace him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Matt Ridley: Poverty, not wealth, is the greater threat to wildlife

As foxes move into cities and deer, badgers and otters grow ever-more numerous, along with birds such as ospreys, buzzards and red kites, you might be thinking much of Britain’s wildlife is doing well. 

Yet last week the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), published their latest assessment of the state of the world’s mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish: the Living Planet Report 2016. They found that on average populations of such animals declined by about 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012.

Daniel Mitchell: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Sweden

I’m in Sweden today, where I just spoke before Timbro (a prominent classical liberal think tank) about the US elections and the implications for public policy.
My main message was pessimism since neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton support genuine entitlement reform.

GWPF Newsletter: Ten Thousand Fly In For Doomed UN Climate Talks

UK Court Rules Unwinding Of Renewable Energy Subsidies

In this newsletter:

1) Ten Thousand Fly In For Doomed UN Climate Talks
The Times, 5 November 2016
2) Annual COP Ritual: ‘Last Chance’ To Limit Global Warming To Safe Levels, UN Scientists Warn
Inside Climate News, 3 November 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kevin Donnelly: Don’t undermine the West, celebrate it

US academic Samuel P. Huntington, after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, argued that the new global conflict would be between cultures when he said: “The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”

Based on the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic State’s reign of terror in Africa and the Middle East and in London, Paris, New York, Boston, Melbourne and Sydney, it’s clear how prescient Huntington was.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

GWPF Newsletter - Not Hacked: Former IPCC Head Pachauri Lied, Forensic Police Report Reveals

How Far Will Global Temperature Drop After El Nino?

In this newsletter:

1) Not Hacked: Former IPCC Head Pachauri Lied, Forensic Police Report Reveals
Economic Times of India, 2 November 2016
2) David Whitehouse: How Far Will Global Temperature Drop After El Nino?
GWPF, 3 November 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Gerry Eckhoff: Monopolies and Accountability

It is said that you reap what you sow. The developing saga of lines company Aurora /Delta which is in turn owned by the Dunedin City Council (DCC) raises several other issues beside delinquent maintenance of their power lines. Delta estimate around 3000 of their power poles are not fit for the purpose. There has already been one staff death due to a pole snapping during routine “maintenance”. 

There is a widespread belief that public ownership of utilities such as a lines company gives the public greater security of supply, control of service delivery at a fairer price, coupled with a healthy dividend back to the parent company. That simply isn’t true. 

NZCPR: The Paris Accord

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at what the Paris Climate Change Agreement means for New Zealand, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Matt Ridley discusses global warming fallacies, and our poll asks whether you think New Zealand should have signed the Paris Agreement. .

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Higher education does not necessarily make people ‘better’ – lessons from ISIS

The Islamic State as a physical entity will soon be consigned to history. ISIS as a movement will persist, but it will be a pale shadow of its former glory.

In the Islamic State we saw the emergence of a renegade but functioning nation-state reminiscent of the pirate republic of Nassau in the late 17th century. For a while it even seemed viable. What kinds of people made this nightmarish horror possible?

GWPF Newsletter: Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century

Henrik Svensmark: Cosmic Rays And Clouds Anno 2016

In this newsletter:

1) Solar Activity Weakest In More Than A Century
Vencore Weather, 31 October 2016
2) Coldest Winter Since 2012 On Its Way
China Daily, 31 October 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Science Is In Deep Trouble, New Paper Shows

'Fraudulent research makes it past gatekeepers at even the most prestigious journals'

In this newsletter:

1) Science Is In Deep Trouble, New Paper Shows
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2016
2) Donna Laframboise: Science Is In Trouble
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 31 October 2016