Friday, June 29, 2018

Karl du Fresne: Labour's tackling its reno project with typical gusto - but will it last?

So far, so predictable. This government is doing pretty much exactly what people expect Labour-led governments to do.

Whoops. I almost said that it’s doing what people elect Labour governments to do, but of course the Labour Party won only 38 per cent of the vote last September. In fact this government’s legitimacy may be permanently tainted by the suspicion that it was formed essentially as a result of Winston Peters’ desire for utu against the National Party.

But let’s put that inconvenient misgiving aside. How’s the Labour-led coalition actually doing, nine months into the job?

GWPF Newsletter: Save The Oceans - Stop Recycling Plastic

New Report: Recycling Plastic Is Making Ocean Litter Worse

In this newsletter: 
London 28 June: An explosive report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) reveals that efforts to recycle plastic are a major cause of the marine litter problem. The report, written by public health expert Dr Mikko Paunio, sets out the case for incinerating waste rather than trying to recycle it.

Daniel Di Martino: Italy’s Taxes Drive Its Economy Underground

Milton Friedman used to say that “for many years Italy did well because of the black market.” 

Italy grew rapidly over the 20th century, and its black market was part of an important economic recovery after World War II. Italians made everything from low-cost toys to high-quality cars, from world-renowned coffee to thousands of movies.  

However, in 2018, Italy is one of only two European countries where GDP per capita has not recovered from the financial crisis. Italy has an unemployment rate of 11 percent and a youth unemployment rate of about 35 percent. In addition, Italians have the second-largest government debt in the world relative to their GDP.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mike Butler: Lest we forget our murderous past

When New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery planned to exhibit the $1.5-million painting titled A view of Mount Egmont taken from New Plymouth with the Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle, a former treaty claims negotiator kicked up a fuss over the depiction of his Taranaki forebears as thieves.

Factual depictions of 19th-century New Zealand history, like that painting, have become shocking to some because information that show Maori in poor light has been steadily dropped from official accounts.

Lindsay Mitchell: What could be kinder than offering a jobseeker a job?

Apparently the treatment of beneficiaries has become harsh and they are subject to unreasonable obligations. An 'expert' panel has been appointed to review the welfare system.

But what could be kinder to a jobseeker than the offer of a job?

MSD freely admits however that it can't get people off benefits despite a demand for workers. In a just-released publication relating to trends as at 2017 they say:

NZCPR Weekly: Killing Our Economy

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, we highlight the devastating impact that the Zero Carbon Bill would have on our economy and we encourage readers to have their say by engaging in the consultation process, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Michael Reddell shares his analysis of the Government’s economic modelling on their zero-carbon proposal and expresses his concerns, and our poll asks whether you support the Government’s plan to significantly reduce the material wellbeing of New Zealanders through their Zero Carbon Bill.

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

GWPF Newsletter: U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil

Green Campaigners Defeated As British Parliament Votes To Expand London’s Heathrow Airport

In this newsletter:

1) U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil 
Associated Press, 26 June 2018
2) Frivolous Climate Lawsuits Hit The Wall
Power Line, 25 June 2018  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lee Ohanian: California’s Solar Power Madness

The five political appointees who comprise the California Energy Commission voted unanimously in May to require that almost all new California housing include rooftop solar panels. 

The mandate also requires that new homes include expensive, highly energy-efficient appliances, lighting, windows, and home insulation. Environmental groups and the solar industry are embracing this building mandate, which would take effect in 2020. But the new policy is unprecedented within the United States and it highlights just how far California has gone in its quest for renewable energy.

California has committed itself to renewable energy like no other state, and this reflects the state government’s preferences to unilaterally reduce carbon emissions through renewables, with a focus on solar and wind power. As Governor Jerry Brown stated, “We don’t want to do nothing and let the climate get worse. California is all in.” The new solar mandate follows up on 2015 legislation requiring 50 percent of electricity to be produced from renewables by 2030. Moreover, California Senate Bill 100, which likely will be voted on this year, commits California to produce carbon-free electricity by 2045.

Paul Gregory: Why Socialism Fails

As the collapse of the Soviet Union approached, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the victory of liberal democracy over planned socialism in his 1989 essay, “The End of History?” 

More than a quarter century later, the USSR has indeed disintegrated. Its former east European empire lies inside the European Union. China has a market economy, though the nation is led by a single party. And the “socialist” states of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela are in economic ruin. Few now advocate “back to the USSR.” At the same time, many people still consider socialism an appealing economic system. 

Consider, for example, that Bernie Sanders—an avowed supporter of a socialist United States—is America’s most popular politician—and that as many millennials favor socialism as capitalism.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lindsay Mitchell: Govt fails public and prisoners alike

Last week the government announced it will add a net total of 174 extra beds at Waikeria prison by 2022. This will fall woefully short of what is needed to fairly serve both the public and prisoners alike because the incarcerated population will continue to increase. How do I know?

Because the population group most prisoners arise from continues to behave as they have for decades.

GWPF Newsletter: Happy Birthday! Shale Revolution Turns 10

The Shale Revolution Is A Uniquely American Story

In this newsletter:

1) Happy Birthday! Shale Revolution Turns 10
Business Wire, 20 June 2018 

2) The Shale Revolution Is A Uniquely American Story
Kathleen Hartnett White, Washington Examiner, 18 June 2018

Viv Forbes: Warmists lynching an innocent bystander, CO2

I live in SE Queensland. Yesterday the surface air temperature rose from a frosty 36ºF at sunrise to a balmy 72ºF in mid-afternoon. The enormous heat needed to achieve this 36º of warming came via radiation from the sun. 

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere plays no significant part in this daily heating event – in fact it may intercept a tiny proportion of the incoming solar radiation and re-radiate it in all directions, thus keeping the daytime surface temperature a tiny bit cooler than it would have been otherwise.

At the deep Mount Isa Mine in NW Queensland, the surface temperature may average about 77ºF but it increases by about 20ºF every 50 meters of depth – rock walls are red hot in places. The enormous heat causing this comes via conduction from Earth’s geothermal heat plus some oxidation and heating of the sulphide ores as they come in contact with natural air containing oxygen. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere plays no part in this heating.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Not A Single EU State Is Meeting Paris Climate Targets

Britain Backs Away From Total Ban Of Conventional Cars

In this newsletter:

1) Forget Paris: Not A Single EU State Is Meeting Paris Climate Targets
P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, 19 June 2018 

2) James Hansen: The World Is Failing 'Miserably’ To Address Climate Change
The Guardian, 19 June 2018

Melanie Phillips: The titanic struggle to save the United Kingdom

No-one should be in the slightest doubt about the titanic struggle becoming more desperate by the day to defend British democracy and restore the UK as an independent self-governing nation.

An all-out attempt is being being made to frustrate the wish of the British people, expressed by 52 to 48 per cent in the 2016 referendum, to leave the EU.

Last night, after a day of drama and arm-twisting, Theresa May’s government narrowly escaped defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Wendell Cox: Housing Affordability - Time To Do What Works

The front page of The Wall Street Journal cited the difficulty of cities (Note 1) trying to stop the escalation of house prices “Western Cities Try, and Fail, To Slow Chinese Home Buying.” The more descriptive online headline said: Western Cities Want to Slow Flood of Chinese Home Buying. Nothing Works: Governments from Vancouver to Sydney to Toronto are using taxes and other restrictions to tackle real-estate bubbles

The article also covered Auckland and Melbourne and their attempts to discourage Chinese buyers, who have been getting much of the blame for the severe housing affordability.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Time for Random Drug Testing of Drivers

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, we investigate the growing danger that drug users are posing on our roads and outline the urgent need for stronger deterrents and better detection, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Mike Noon from the Automobile Association is challenging the Labour-led Government to introduce random roadside drug testing devices, and our poll asks whether the Associate Minister of Transport, Hon Julie Anne Genter, should recuse herself from decision-making over the introduction of roadside drug testing devices.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Daniel Di Martino: Socialism, Not Corruption, to Blame for Venezuela’s Oil Production Drop

Venezuela’s tragic famine and refugee crisis taking place despite the largest proven reserves of oil on the planet. Watching it play out on television is one thing. Living through the ways socialism pushes the middle class to poverty and the poor to starvation is another experience entirely.

Although I was fortunate enough to leave Venezuela almost two years ago to come to the United States, not everyone has the chance to leave. Venezuela has become the latest experiment of socialism, and like all those before, it has resulted in famine and mass exodus.

However, some news outlets wrongly state that Venezuela’s crisis is due to lower oil prices and that its oil production has collapsed due to mismanagement and corruption, claiming socialist policies are not to blame. However, what these analysts fail to understand is that widespread mismanagement and corruption of a whole industry and country are only possible within socialism. Only an economy that lacks free prices and competition, with high levels of government involvement and tight regulations can harbor government mismanagement and corruption that lead to shortages and hyperinflation.

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice, NASA Scientist Says

Claimed Antarctic Ice Loss In Doubt

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctica Is Still Gaining Ice, NASA Scientist Says 
Daily Caller, 15 June 2018 
2) Ice Loss? Maybe
GWPF Observatory, 15 June 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Karl du Fresne: Even Northland didn't want him, but now he's going to be our acting PM

So we’re going to have Winston Peters as our acting prime minister for six weeks. Not bad for a politician who was rejected by his own electorate at the last election after failing to complete a single term.

Not bad either for a politician whose party won only 7 per cent of the vote and which, judging by recent polls, would struggle to scrape back into Parliament if an election was held tomorrow. 

This is democracy New Zealand-style, in which the rewards – the baubles of office that Peters once insisted he wasn’t interested in – go not to a politician who commands broad public support, but to a crafty minor player who has learned how to game the system and manipulate the bigger parties.

Frank Newman: ACT re-branding

Apparently the ACT Party is having an identity crisis. My take is that its crisis is much broader than identity alone, however ACT leader and sole MP David Seymour says they are looking at a possible name change.

In an interview on Radio NZ on 15 June he said he did not want to give anything away about the new name, but he did mention various options were being considered, like Liberal Party or something more radical like Reason Party.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Frank Newman: Fact based myths

Last month I wrote about the meth myth, and how a moral panic and media beat-up cost blameless tenants and landlords their homes and lots of money. 

The "How did this happen?" post-mortems are going on at present but it's pretty clear that real facts were nowhere to be seen when the decision makers were writing the rules. 

This makes one wonder what other moral "pandemics" are similarly based on fiction or fear rather than fact. How about house sales to foreign home buyers?

GWPF Newsletter: Coal Comeback Spurs CO2 Emissions Growth

Global Emissions Surged To Record High — But In The US, They Dropped

In this newsletter:

1) Coal Comeback Spurs CO2 Emissions Growth
Reuters, 13 June 2018
2) Oh Dear: Global CO2 Emissions Surged To Record High In 2017 — But In The US, They Dropped
Bloomberg, 13 June 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

GWPF Newsletter - Green No More: Germany Rejects EU’s Green Energy Ambitions

Germany On Track To Widely Miss 2020 Climate Target 

In this newsletter:

1) Green No More: Germany Rejects EU’s Green Energy Ambitions

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Newt Gingrich: The Economy is Thriving on Trump’s Reforms

President Trump’s positive impact on the U.S. economy and markets is unassailable.

Except for a short disruption in February, the major stock market indices have been on a steady ascent since Donald Trump’s formal selection as the Republican nominee for president. The Nasdaq Composite Index has sailed from 5036.37 on July 19, 2016 to 7637.86 at the closing bell on Tuesday – continuously meeting and exceeding record highs along the way.

We have seen similar market trends in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, which have climbed from 18559.01 and 2163.78 on the day Trump was nominated to 24799.98 and 2748.8 by Tuesday, respectively.

Melanie Phillips: Springtime for Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump?

So how should we view the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un and the declaration they have both signed? Is it a “historic” breakthrough for world peace as is being celebrated by the likes of this commentator; or is it a disgraceful debacle, as is being lambasted by the likes of this one?

Well, as Zhou Enlai reputedly observed when asked about the impact of the French Revolution on western civilisation, it’s simply too early to say.

The terms of the declaration signed by Trump and Kim are studiedly vague. The North Korean regime has previously made promises about de-nuclearisation which it promptly tore up.

NZCPR Weekly: Replacing Damaging Regulations

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into the damage caused by over-the-top regulations - including meth testing and the ban on fireplaces and wood burners, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Mike Butler investigates the methamphetamine testing scandal, and our poll asks whether you believe there should be a greater requirement for law makers to produce evidence-based research before passing new laws and regulations.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Massive Climate Funding Failed To Sway US Public Opinion

U.S. House Votes Down Social Cost Of Carbon

In this newsletter:

1) Massive Climate Funding By Wealthy Foundations Failed To Sway US Public Opinion
Western Wire, 7 June 2018
2) US House Votes Down Social Cost Of Carbon
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 9 June 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Art Carden: Red Tape Is What Keeps Housing Unaffordable

“I’d love to live in San Francisco, but I don’t want to pay $750,000 to live in a closet.” That’s what I tell my introductory economics students when I discuss housing prices. I probably need to update it to $2 million or something like that.

Why? Why is housing so expensive in cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York? It’s expensive because demand is high and rising. It’s insanely expensive to live in San Francisco because practically everyone wants to live in San Francisco.

But that’s only half the story. Housing is also insanely expensive because supply isn’t rising very quickly.

When you have demand rising quickly and supply changing slowly, you get rising prices. So, how do we fix it?

GWPF Newsletter: Global Ocean Air Temps Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels

Wind Disappears In Britain Leaving Turbines At A Standstill

In this newsletter:

1) Global Ocean Air Temps Drop Back To Pre-El Nino Levels
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 6 June 2018
2) Wind Disappears In Britain Leaving Turbines At A Standstill
Bloomberg, 5 June 2018 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Coastal Claim Developments

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into some developments regarding marine and coastal area claims – including a new claims Bill that is in front of Parliament, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Hugh Barr questions the legitimacy of claims for customary rights, and our poll asks whether you believe the High Court should be the only avenue for tribal groups to pursue marine and coastal area claims.

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

GWPF Newsletter: Chinese Solar Stocks Plunge As Beijing Pulls The Plug

Is Theresa May Re-Nationalising Britain’s Energy Industry?

In this newsletter:

1) Chinese Solar Stocks Plunge As Government Suspends New Solar Farms, Cuts Subsidies
South China Morning Post, 4 June 2018 
2) Is Theresa May Re-Nationalising Britain’s Energy Industry?
Nick Butler, Financial Times, 4 June 2018 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Murray Reid: Māori History and Language

I am 73 and grew up in Hamilton at a time when there were almost no Māori in the town, except to the west in Frankton. I went to Whitiora Primary, Peachgrove Intermediate and Hamilton Boys High School and my class photos show virtually no brown faces. If there were any Māori children they were just kids to us. High school was a bit of an exception but I think the few Māori boys there were from Raglan and Ngaruawahia. Again, they were just part of the mix.

Consequently, I grew up with almost zero Māori contact or knowledge and from memory our class social studies teaching was very superficial.

Once I started work in the mid 1960’s things changed as I was posted to places like Mt Maunganui and Taneatua. The industry I was in, and allied to, had many Māori workers. We mixed and mingled freely on the job and over a beer. I enjoyed the banter, some of which had racial overtones. They gave as good as they received, often with a smattering of Māori words or phrases. When I sort translations, there were always roars of laughter, from all parties.

Richard Epstein: A Frontal Assault on Social Media

To all appearances, the folks in charge of privacy regulation within the European Union are unfamiliar with that old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Last week, the EU parliament passed a long-anticipated and much-dreaded privacy law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a lengthy and convoluted document that is replete with vague substantive commands accompanied by hefty penalties for violation

The implicit assumption behind the regulation is that all individuals are entitled to control data about themselves, so that various firms that acquire this information not only have to hold it secure against outsiders, but are also limited in how they can use the data, while granting individual users extensive rights to access, control, and remove their personal data. 

Gerry Eckhoff: AIR BnB

A former Prime Minister of England once observed that getting a good outcome from a new tax is a lot like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up by the handle. 

The current debate over whether Air BnB homeowners should be regarded as commercial players in the tourism industry and rated accordingly highlights some interesting issues and wonderful euphemisms. “A level playing field” is demanded by commercial operators who seek to eliminate the so called unfair advantage of the poor old house holder who seeks to utilize a spare bedroom in their biggest asset. 

Level playing fields don’t exist despite the plaintive cry from those who already are bigger, stronger, faster, wealthier but who really want the field to themselves. We are asked to forget that size and scale matters and that purchasing power by major players in the accommodation industry really does give them significant advantage. The hotel and motel chains however cannot trump the personalized single unit home stay available for travellers looking for the real Kiwi people and experience, not to mention individualized interaction and service.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Incel – a lethal combination of victimhood culture and social media madness

I don’t know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice,  a crime. -  Elliot Rodgers in his ‘Retribution’ video the day before he became a multiple murderer (emphasis added).

The age of modern communications has provided every gaggle of crackpots and nutcases with the means to reach out to the world. It has moreover brought about ‘movements’ around outlandish themes that nobody in their right mind would have thought of creating a ‘group’ around before.

GWPF Newsletter: Germany’s Planned Coal Exit Hits A Wall

'Trump Has Broken The Spell Of Climate Change Mania'

In this newsletter:

1) Germany’s Planned Coal Exit Hits A Wall
Dave Keating, Forbes, 1 June 2018
2) Charles Moore: Trump Has Broken The Spell Of Climate Change Mania
The Daily Telegraph, 1 June 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

Brian Gaynor: Directors’ role in need of a major shake-up

Australia’s banking royal commission, officially known as “The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry”, raises serious questions about director competency.

The same questions, in this columnist’s view, can be raised on this side of the Tasman following the collapse of CBL Corporation and the poor performance of Fletcher Building, Metro Performance Glass and other companies.

The Australian business media is having a field day on the topic. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) quoted John Pollaers, the former boss of Pacific Brands and Foster’s beer business, as saying that directors are too busy building empires.

Karl du Fresne: Male, pale and stale - a despised minority

I am writing this column as a member of a despised minority. I will be 68 next birthday. I’m fair of skin and male of sex.

To put it another way, in the language of “progressive” millennials and people who, with no sense of irony, describe themselves as liberals, I’m male, pale and stale. 

There is no more crushing condemnation in the 21st century political lexicon. To be male, pale and stale is to be racist, sexist, bitter and selfish. Don Brash and Sir Bob Jones are prime examples of this wretched form of humanity. I am too, albeit of a lower order of celebrity.

Brian Balfour - Thomas Sowell: Social Justice Is a Blank Check for Government Power

“In politics, the great non-sequitur of our time is that (1) things are not right and that (2) the government should make them right. Where right all too often means cosmic justice, trying to set things right means writing a blank check for a never ending expansion of government power.”
This key passage from Thomas Sowell’s 1999 book, The Quest for Cosmic Justice, frames Sowell’s thoughtful analysis and rejection of arguments advanced by “social justice warriors,” or more briefly, SJWs.

Although written nearly 20 years ago, Sowell’s insights are especially relevant today, when you consider the heights of influence social justice activism has reached—especially on college campuses—in 2018.

For a blueprint to understand and refute today’s increasingly vocal SJWs, Sowell’s book proves to be an indispensable resource.

GWPF Newsletter: Extreme Flood Events Decreasing In Europe Despite Global Warming, Scientists Find

Flooding really was worse in the old days

In this newsletter:

1) Extreme Flood Events Decreasing In Europe Despite Global Warming, Scientists Find
The Times, 30 May 2018
2) Emails Show Climate Skeptics Tout ‘Winning’ Under Trump
The Hill, 29 May 2018