Saturday, December 31, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Sceptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold

Climate Science And The Illusion Of Knowledge

In this newsletter:

1) Sceptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold
RealClearInvestigations, 30 December 2016

2) Republican Attorneys General Eager To Dismantle Obama’s Climate Agenda
The Washington Times, 26 December 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Karl du Fresne: All this cultural appropriation must stop

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in a flagrant act of cultural appropriation. So did several thousand other people.

We watched a Christmas parade. Santa Claus was in it, complete with mock reindeer. Most of the floats were decorated with Christmas symbols: fake snow, tinsel, stuff like that. A brass band played traditional English carols. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Muriel Newman: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

On behalf of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research we would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! 

Thank you so much for your interest during the year and for the contribution you have made to the debate -  and best wishes for 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Frack On! UK High Court Gives Fracking Green Light

At Last: UK Fracking Expected To Start Within Months

In this newsletter:

1) Frack On! UK High Court Gives Fracking Green Light

2) At Last: UK Fracking Expected To Start Within Months

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: The $3.5 Trillion Fracking Economy Is About To Get A Lot Bigger

OPEC’s Nightmare Scenario: U.S. Frackers Are Winning The Oil War

In this newsletter:

1) The $3.5 Trillion Fracking Economy Is About To Get A Lot Bigger 
The Daily Caller, 17 December 2016
2) OPEC’s Nightmare Scenario: U.S. Frackers Are Winning The Oil War 
The American Interest, 18 December 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kevin Donnelly from Australia: How Swede it is - a good education

Given Australian students are going backwards in the inter national TIMSS and PISA tests, where we are now out performed by more than 20 countries including Kazakhstan, England, the United States, Slovenia and Portugal, something must be done.

One approach is to remove the dead hand of bureaucracy and adopt a market-driven model. Around the world, cutting-edge reform involves giving parents financial help to choose where their children go to school, and schools are given the freedom to manage themselves.

Karl du Fresne: John Key: the whatever man

I’m forced to admit that I don’t understand my fellow New Zealanders.

John Key was possibly our most popular prime minister in living memory, but even after his eight years in office I struggle to understand his appeal.

People call him charismatic. I must grudgingly accept that he is, although to me he's more enigmatic.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trump’s Secret Weapon To Reverse Obama's Climate Policy

How Obama’s Climate Rules Might Unravel

In this newsletter:

1) Trump’s Secret Weapon To Reverse Obama's Climate Policy
Bloomberg Government, 12 December 2016 
2) How Obama’s Climate Rules Might Unravel
Bloomberg, 15 December 2016

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at political change and some of the challenges of the year ahead, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Anthony Willy shares his forthright analysis of the draft constitution that Sir Geoffrey Palmer is proposing for New Zealand, and our poll asks whether you think National is more likely to work with NZ First now that Bill English is the Prime Minister. 

Thanks for your interest and contribution during the year – and best wishes for 2017.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Trump’s Top Nominations Signal Push For American Energy Boom

North America: 21st Century’s Energy Superpower

In this newsletter:

1) Trump’s Top Nominations Signal Push For American Energy Boom
PoliZette, 13 December 2016
2) Climate Sceptic Rick Perry Is Trump’s Pick To Lead US Department of Energy 
Post Register, 13 December 2016 

Bryan Leyland: Things you know that ain't so - electric cars

"Things you know that ain't so - our renewable energy resources will charge our electric cars."

The government is promoting (in effect, subsidising) electric cars because it believes that the electricity they need to charge the batteries will mostly come from our renewable energy resources – hydro, geothermal and wind.

The reality is somewhat different as you can see from my comments on a recent government press release:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

George Smith: Ayn Rand Predicted an American Slide toward Fascism

In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: “Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme - collectivism.” 

Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: “The Fascist New Frontier” (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus” (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

Karl du Fresne: The road toll statistics they tried to bury

I checked the latest road toll statistics a few days ago. Interesting.

For the year from January 1, road deaths were up from 291 last year to 300. For the 12 months to Tuesday, they were up from 315 to 328. For driver fatalities, the figures were up from 138 to 151 (for the calendar year to date) and from 146 to 170 (over 12 months).

Michael Coote: Key leaves lingering racist legacy

Few other politicians have done more to create conditions ripe for the destruction of racial equality

Gone- by- Monday Prime Minister John Key shrewdly picked a retirement date amenable for collecting one of those New Year’s honour knighthoods he personally reinstated.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Met Office Data Confirms Record Drop Of Global Temperatures

Britain Faces Green Energy Crisis, Senior Regulator Warns

In this newsletter:

1) Met Office Data Confirms Record Drop Of Global Temperatures
Mail on Sunday, 11 December 2016

2) David Whitehouse & David Rose Discuss Reactions To Global Cooling Post-El Nino
GWPF TV, 12 December 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Picks Climate Sceptic To Head Environment Agency

Ebell Offers Energy And Environment Agenda To Next US Congress 

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Picks Climate Sceptic To Head Environment Agency
Financial Times, 8 December 2016

2) Scott Pruitt: Climate Debate Is ‘Far From Settled’
National Review Online, 17 May 2016

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, we reflect on the Prime Minister’s resignation, as our NZCPR ‘Guest Commentator’, we feature John Key with his explanation for his decision, and our poll asks what effect John Key’s resignation will have on National’s chances of winning the 2017 election.

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

Frank Newman: Valuations and statistics

A few months ago I reviewed two websites that had made finding property data whole lot easier: Trademe Property Insights ( and

Both apply a secret algorithm, to arrive at a suggested market value for residential properties, and provide a range of information about the property. They take what's called a desk top valuation approach - they look at recent sales in the area and compare the actual selling price of each property against its most recent capital value (as shown in the rates notice). They then apply that percentage change across all properties in the area to arrive at an estimated market value. No property inspection is carried out so the approach is inherently flawed. Both sites are upfront about these limitations and point it out in various disclaimers.

Richard Epstein from the US: America’s Immigration Quagmire

America’s immigration problem raises a huge set of thorny issues. At a theoretical level, it is difficult to articulate, let alone implement, the ideal immigration policy. While there are compelling arguments in favor of the basic norm of free trade, an open immigration policy could lead to massive political dislocations. 

Allowing the free flow of goods across borders is quite unlike allowing people to do the same. Goods do not put potential burdens on educational, health, and social service institutions; they do not participate in political activities, lobby to become citizens, or vote. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Plans To Overturn Obama’s Pipeline Ban

Trump’s Full EPA Transition Team Named

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Plans To Overturn Obama’s Pipeline Ban
Nasdaq News, 6 December 2016
2) Trump Advisors Aim to Privatize Untapped Oil Reserves on Native American Reservations
Reuters, 5 December 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Despite Denial, Global Temperatures Dropping Fast

All Global Data Sets Show Temperatures Falling As El Nino Ends

In this newsletter:

1) Despite Denial, Global Temperatures Are Dropping Fast
GWPF Observatory, 5 December 2016
2) New Study: Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ May Last Until 2030
The Daily Caller, 1 December 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Daniel Mitchell: OECD Economic Research Finds That Government Spending Harms Growth

At the risk of understatement, I’m not a fan of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of the European governments that dominate its membership, the Paris-based international bureaucracy has morphed into a cheerleader for statist policies.

All of which was just fine from the perspective of the Obama Administration, which doubtlessly appreciated the OECD’s partisan work to promote class warfare and pimp for wasteful Keynesian spending.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Matt Ridley: Why is the left reviving apartheid?

The student union at King’s College London will field a team in University Challenge that contains at least 50 per cent “self-defining women, trans or non-binary students”. 

The only bad thing Ken Livingstone could bring himself to say about the brutal dictator Fidel Castro was that “initially he wasn’t very good on lesbian and gay rights”. The first page of Hillary Clinton’s campaign website (still up) has links to “African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, Asian Americans and Pacific islanders for Hillary, Women for Hillary, Millennials for Hillary”, but none to “men for Hillary”, let alone “white people for Hillary”.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: New Shale Wars: OPEC vs US Frackers

Can the U.S. Become an Energy Superpower in 2017?

In this newsletter:

1) OPEC Cuts Output, US Shale Industry Rejoices
The American Interest, 30 November 2016

2) Shale Wars: Where Are Oil Prices Headed As Saudi Arabia Lets The Big Bet Play Out?
Forbes, 30 November 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: How long until someone does something about North Korea?

As the year draws to a close, I can’t but wonder how many more years will pass before we see the demise of the last bastion of Stalinism – the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea a.k.a. North Korea. I suspect it won’t be all that many, for things are coming to a head.

Korea was referred to as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ by 19th-century Western adventurers owing to its seclusion.

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.