Sunday, July 29, 2018

Jim Rose: Zero-carbon economy may not be worth the cost

Before we decide if a zero-carbon economy by 2050 is worth the cost, we must know what the damage to our economy from global warming will be if we do nothing. Only then will we know how important and urgent action on global warming really is.

Estimates of the cost of global warming as a percentage of GDP to New Zealand are elusive. I drew a nil response when I asked for that information from James Shaw, the Minister for Climate Change, and from the Ministry for the Environment. Both said such an estimate was too hard to calculate.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Frank Newman: Modular homes and mod' cons

One would think prefabricated home-building companies would be inundated with orders and have a bulging bottom line. That's why the collapse of Matrix Homes, one of New Zealand's largest modular home builders, has raised eyebrows.

The company's factory in Lower Hutt was opened in February 2015 by the then Finance Minister Bill English.  At the time Matrix said it would be different from other companies because, "we're turning fully finished houses with code compliance certificates".

Jarrett Stepman: How Big-Government Housing Policies Made San Francisco Unaffordable for All but the Rich

The San Francisco Bay Area is a booming locale, and certainly one of the most naturally beautiful. It should be a fantastically desirable place to live.

Yet, according to a recent poll, nearly half of San Francisco residents say they want to leave the Bay Area entirely.

A study from the Bay Area Council, a public policy organization, found that 46 percent of San Francisco residents have plans to move out of the area, a jump of 12 percent since 2016. Of those who participated in the survey, 61 percent said they planned to leave the state, with Texas being a primary destination.

GWPF Newsletter: EU Abandons Climate Stance In Trade Sop To Trump

Trump and Juncker Agree To Boost US Shale Gas Exports To Anti-Fracking Europe

In this newsletter:

1) EU Abandons Climate Stance In Trade Sop To Trump
EurActiv, 27 July 2018
2) Trump and Juncker Agree To Boost US Shale Gas Exports To Anti-Fracking Europe
CNBC, 26 July 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Arson, Not Climate Change, Suspected In Devastating Wildfires In Greece

Global Wildfires Are Declining, Royal Society Study Finds

In this newsletter:

1) Arson, Not Climate Change, Suspected In Devastating Wildfires In Greece
ABC News, 25 July 2018
2) New Study: Decline In Heat-Related Deaths In Spain – Despite Rising Summer Temps
Barcelona Institute for Global Health, 24 July 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: UK Government Finally Gives Green Light To Fracking Shale Gas

UK Government Axes Subsidies For Solar Panels 

In this newsletter:

1) British Government Finally Gives Green Light To Fracking Shale Gas
Reuters, 24 July 2018 
2) It’s All Over: UK Government Axes Subsidies For Solar Panels 
The Guardian, 20 July 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Nicholas Kerr: Seattle’s homeless contradictions

Seattle’s ongoing homeless crisis is surrounded by an absurd number of contradictions that if not addressed will only result in a continuation of this human tragedy. 

Leaders and supporters of the city’s current approach claim compassion, but have delivered heartlessness. When residents have been asked for and given more tax dollars, the result is only ever more homeless on the streets. 

Our city council continues with the same failed policies, yet anticipates different results. We elect the same politicians or ones cut from the same cloth, yet expect them to solve something they’ve failed at or made worse. And our councilors say they want more low cost housing, but adopt policies that only increase prices. This city needs change for our homeless to have hope.

NZCPR Weekly: Swimming With the Tide of Political Opinion

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we discuss the need for truth, not propaganda, in the public policy arena, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Bryan Leyland raises concerns about advisers who tell the Government what they want to hear rather than telling them the truth, and our poll asks whether you think there should be more honesty and less political spin in public policy debates.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Matt Ridley: The Secret Lives of Seabirds

Two fine new books on the journeys of birds and the first ornithologist.

This is recent Times feature article I wrote on the incredible new discoveries of what seabirds get up to far from land, and on the man who first visited seabird colonies with a scientific eye in the 1660s. 

It's sometimes still possible to write this kind of discursive essay! 

This one is about two of my friends from the same research group at Oxford.

GWPF Newsletter: Carbon Tax May Bring Down Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Gallup Poll: Americans No Longer Regard Global Warming As A Main Problem

In this newsletter:

1) Carbon Tax May Bring Down Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
National Post, 21 July 2018

2) Gallup Poll: Americans No Longer Regard Global Warming As A Main Problem
Breitbart, 22 July 2018

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Frank Newman: Exempt building projects

It became national news when the Dunedin City Council required a tree house to be removed because it did not meet the Building Code.  

Essentially the problem was that council staff were covering their own butts by applying their regulatory powers rather than going out on a limb and making a common sense decision to apply the exemptions available in Schedule 1 of the Building Code.

Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Building Act list those items that can be done without a building consent.  It's a long list with lots of ifs, buts, and maybes, but here's a rough summary.

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Campaigners Suffer Multiple Defeats

U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Campaigners Lose High Court Battle Over CO2 Target
Belfast Telegraph, 20 July 2018
2) Climate Lawfare Suffers Another Defeat 
Energy In Depth, 19 July 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Clive Bibby: "Please Explain"

While the world is running around like headless chooks reacting to the Trump phenomenon, most Western World democracies are dealing with another single issue at home which has far greater implications for each economy than anything the US President could have dreamed up.

It is the question of how to react to the climate change threat as it is being promoted by those who slavishly adhere to the Greens mantra of cause and effect.

In countries like ours, where the Greens have a disproportionate influence over Government policy, the economy is in the process of being transformed into something we may not recognise in the future and regret ever having allowed to happen.

Daniel J. Mitchell: Marginal Tax Rates Matter

Three years ago, I shared two videos explaining taxation and deadweight loss (i.e., why high tax burdens are bad for prosperity).

Today, I have one video on another important principle of taxation. To set the stage for this discussion, here are two simple definitions:
  • The “average tax rate” is the share of your income taken by government. If you earn $50,000 and your total tax bill is $10,000, then your average tax rate is 20 percent.
  • The “marginal tax rate” is the amount of money the government takes if you earn more income. In other words, the additional amount government would take if your income rose from $50,000 to $51,000.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Viv Forbes: Time to Drain the Energy Swamp

The Australian electricity market has become a stinking swamp covered with a tangled net of treaties, laws, rules, obligations, prohibitions, targets, taxes and subsidies. The swamp conceals the rubble of demolished coal generators; another plant destined for destruction (Liddell) is gradually sinking in the green ooze.

The swamp is slowly claiming paddocks of subsidised solar panels that, at best, only work for six hours per sunny day. The scene is uglified by spec-built regiments of ailing wind turbines that are often idle, but sometimes whirling madly. To distract the gullible media from this mess, big diesel generators charge a gigantic battery which pumps water uphill and then lets it run down again. A garbage dump of dead lithium batteries fills a nearby gully and the swamp is fenced by locked green gates.

Karl du Fresne: I tell you, it's a minefield out there

We lead sheltered lives out here in the provinces. Until recently, for example, I’d never heard of a terf.

You hadn’t either? Allow me to explain. A terf is a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.We have TVNZ’s excellent Q+A programme to thank for bringing us up to speed with this latest acronym from the culture wars.

Q+A ran a fascinating item two Sundays ago about a trans-gender person from Wellington who identifies as a woman but was denied membership of a women-only gym because the gym insisted on proof  of gender re-assignment surgery.

Tony Orman: Book review - another miscarriage of justice?

In recent decades the justice system has looked increasingly fragile with court cases such as of Arthur Allan Thomas and David Bain who were convicted then cleared of blame. 

Then there was the David Tamihere case where perjury abounded and the convicted was released after serving 20 years of a life imprisonment sentence. And there’s the oft-debate about whether convicted Scott Watson is guilty or not.

Justice is not always served.

GWPF Newsletter: Scientists Discover That Arctic Region Was 6°C Warmer 9000 Years Ago Than Today

Trump, NATO Summit Exposed Germany's Energy Problem

In this newsletter:

1) Scientists Discover That Arctic Region Was 6°C Warmer 9000 Years Ago Than Today
Kenneth Richard , No Tricks Zone, 12 July 2018

2) Australian Govt Weighs New Coal Power Plants To End Energy Wars
The Australian, 14 July 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Frank Newman: Tree house troubles

Oh dear. What has the world come to? A to-do has erupted in Dunedin about the tree house grandad Trevor built. It became national news when the Dunedin City Council required the tree house to be removed because it did not meet the Building Code.

The "But it's a bloody tree house!" response did not dissuade Council Officers from exercising their serious responsibilities as an "independently accredited building control authority".

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Free Speech Under Threat

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we investigate the importance of free speech and look into two cases where it has been denied, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Bruce Moon shares with us a speech on fake history that he intended delivering to a gathering at his local library – until they banned him, and our poll asks whether you feel that your right to free speech is under threat in New Zealand today.

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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

H. Sterling Burnett: US EPA - Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old

Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the end of a productive but tumultuous time at the agency, but when it comes to policy, the new acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is likely to stay the course.
However history judges Pruitt’s tenure at EPA, critics and supporters of Pruitt can agree EPA under Pruitt began a fundamental transformation of its operations. 

Ending sue-and-settle agreements; reshaping EPA’s science advisory committees to better reflect diversity of geography, experience, and points of view; reducing the chance of graft by halting those who make EPA research funding decisions from also receiving funding for their research; beginning to roll back myriad regulatory actions, including the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the massive increase in the Corporate Fuel Economy Standard (CAFE), and various energy efficiency mandates for appliances, EPA began changing the way it did business.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Brian Giesbrecht: Are trade wars coming?

The Trump administration has unveiled a long list of punishing tariffs that will affect everyone. This time around they will not exempt Canadian steel and aluminium. 

Is this the beginning of a worldwide trade war, or simply a clever negotiating tactic by a President who sees himself as an expert on “the art of the deal” – an opening salvo in his campaign to get a better deal for American workers?

Obviously, we don’t know the answer to this question yet, as world leaders scramble to figure out their response. 

Karl du Fresne: Let's hear the Canadians for ourselves and decide then whether it's dangerous

It is often the first instinct of the far left, when confronted with ideas or opinions they don’t approve of, to try to shut them down.

There was a tiny but telling example of this in a letter to the Dominion Post a few days ago from a reader who didn’t like my column outlining the advance of neo-Marxism. He said it was “disappointing” (note the morally superior tone and phony sanctimony) to see such opinions being given oxygen by a “credible New Zealand paper”.

In other words, he didn’t like what I said, so I should have been censored. Well, suck it up, buster. It’s called free speech.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Viv Forbes: Watching Weather Waves, but Missing Climate Tides.

The climate alarm media, the bureaucracy and the Green Energy industry follow an agenda which is served by inflating any short-term weather event into a climate calamity. They should take a long-term view.

Earth’s climate is never still – it is always changing, with long-term trends, medium-term reversals and minor oscillations. Humanity is best served by those who use good science to study geology, astronomy and climate history searching for clues to climate drivers and the underlying natural cycles and trends hidden in short-term weather fluctuations.

Justin Haskins: Six months in, tax cuts are already providing historic gains for minorities, women, and small businesses

Unemployment rates for minority groups are reaching historic lows.

When Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December, congressional Democrats denounced the legislation as a reckless attempt to help wealthy corporations at the expense of everyone else. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., famously dismissed the law’s benefits to most taxpayers as “crumbs.”

Six months later, many of the groups Pelosi and other Democrats warned would be worse off as a result of the tax reform legislation — including minorities, women, and small businesses — are not only thriving, they are experiencing some of the most notable economic growth in the country's history.

Frank Newman: KiwiBuild bargains

The housing cost crisis affects virtually everyone. That is pretty much the conclusion one can draw from the KiwiBuild eligibility rules which were announced last week.

To be eligible for a KiwiBuild home, a buyer must:
  • Be a first-home buyer or "second chancer" (being those who have previously owned a home but are through adverse circumstance are in a position similar to the first home buyer);
  • Be a New Zealand citizen or resident;
  • Intend to own and live in the home for at least three years;
  • Have an income below $120,000 if a sole purchaser or $180,000 for a couple.

Melanie Phillips: The British Government’s Brexit Betrayal

We don’t yet know whether Brexiteers in the Conservative party will seek to bring down the Prime Minister Theresa May over the UK negotiating position that she forced through Cabinet on Friday.

We don’t yet know whether the EU will accept her “compromise” package or will reject it with the contempt they have shown until now at any suggestion of a “pick and mix” approach to the EU’s customs union and rules.

But what we can say with near-certainty is that what Mrs May has done is put in serious doubt a Conservative victory at the next general election – and maybe at any further general election for a long time after that.

NZCPR Weekly: Government Conceit

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we investigate the cause of the fall in business confidence and the implications for the future, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Anthony Willy shares his concerns over the threat that socialism – and all the other ‘isms’ – pose to individual freedom and our free market economy, and our poll asks whether a council’s decision to remove a tree house was over-regulation and PC gone mad, or a council doing its job and upholding the law.

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Karl du Fresne: The long march of cultural Marxism

A significant anniversary passed recently with surprisingly little fanfare.

News stories marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx focused on the fawning tribute paid to him by the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

There was a large dollop of irony here, since the modern Chinese communist party is highly selective in its application of Marxism. It has combined Marxist-style political totalitarianism – brutal suppression of dissent and absolute obeisance to the party – with a largely unfettered capitalist-style economy. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: It's Roll-Back Time

Ontario Scraps $2 Billion Carbon Tax & Axes Green Subsidies

In this newsletter:

1) It’s Roll-Back Time: Ontario Scraps $2 Billion Carbon Tax & Axes Green Subsidies
Toronto Sun, 3 July 2018 
2) Canada’s Carbon Tax Racket Is Coming To An End
Toronto Sun, 25 June 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Frank Newman: The rising cost of construction

Last week a China Airways flight touched down in Auckland with two hundred construction workers on board. They were brought over by a Chinese based construction company building a luxury hotel in Auckland.  They are the first of many overseas workers required to fill  a labour shortage gap in the construction sector. 

According to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway that gap may be 30,000 workers: plumbers, electricians, engineers, builders and project managers.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of fit and able New Zealanders receive the unemployment benefit. It makes no sense that there is a skills shortage in the construction sector at all, but even less sense that such a large potential labour pool is paid to do nothing  - although to be fair, to say they do nothing is not correct.

Brian Giesbrecht: Happy New Zealand’s Suicide Problem

New Zealand is a country that is consistently rated on the U.N. “Happiness Index” as a country that has one of the happiest populations on the planet. And yet, amidst all this happiness there is very deep unhappiness as well – because New Zealand is now also the teenage suicide capital of the world.

How can this profoundly unsettling anomaly be explained?

In fact, the answer becomes apparent when the racial backgrounds of the suicidal teenagers are examined. Just as in Canada, where Indigenous youth account for a tragically disproportionate number of suicides, so it is in New Zealand, where their Indigenous population, the Maori, are disproportionately represented in the suicide numbers.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Richard Epstein: Donald Trump’s Trade Travesty

The presidency of Donald Trump has been marked by a war between two totally inconsistent intellectual mindsets: his disastrous trade policy and his wise domestic policy. Let’s start with the good news first.

On the domestic front, Donald Trump has largely followed, to great positive effect, the classical liberal playbook, which spurs growth through a combination of low taxation and market deregulation. Under Trump’s leadership, removal of the government’s heavy foot from the throat of the economy has paid off. 

The key move was to junk the popular Keynesian paradigm with its flawed assumption that one or more low-interest economic stimulus programs could spend the United States back to prosperity. But these glorified transfer programs only take from Peter in order to pay Paul. Their net effect is virtually always negative.

Dave Hill: Alarmist views on climate change hoax

The fact is, climate change is happening. It has from the beginning of creation. Ice ages, ocean level rises and falls, forests turned into deserts, deserts turned into forests; it's all happened many times and will do so in the future.

However, are the increasingly alarmist views, largely predicted by the leftist media, scientists, naive politicians and some commentators, actually going to become reality? 

The truth is, that, despite the tsunami of dire predictions forecast over the last 20 to 30 years, very little has changed. The Arctic ice shelf is still in place and is actually growing despite predictions that it would disappear by 2014. The Maldives are still above water also despite claims to the contrary. 

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Protectionism – putting own people first

I’ll come out with it straight away: I’m a protectionist. I have always been a protectionist, and will always be a protectionist. You can now assemble a firing squad.

I’m not an economist, but then as Marx correctly (for once) pointed out, economics is a sphere of political/ideological activity – which is why you’ll find highly qualified economists backing every conceivable economic system on a very broad spectrum from laissez-faire capitalism to Stalinism.

GWPF Newsletter: 'Stranded Assets’ Are Booming

Fossil Fuels Topple Tech As Top Sector

In this newsletter:

1) ‘Stranded Assets’ Are Booming: Fossil Fuels Topple Tech As Top Sector
The Wall Street Journal, 28 June 2018 

2) Think Coal Is Dead? It Could Be About To Soar
Daily Mail, 30 June 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Local Government Activism

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, we look into concerns that local government is becoming more ‘activist’ and we examine some of the Government’s planned changes to local authorities, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Bryan Leyland outlines how Local Government New Zealand’s climate change project will squander money and damage the economy in a futile attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, and our poll asks whether it’s time to remove the Government’s historic rates exemption, so they can pay their fair share of local authority rates.

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

Monday, July 2, 2018

Daniel J. Mitchell: The United Nations Report on American Poverty Is Just Plain Wrong

When writing about the statist agenda of international bureaucracies, I generally focus my attention on the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Today, let’s give some attention to the United Nations.

Based on this story from the Washington Post, the bureaucrats at the UN have concluded that America is a miserable and awful nation.
…a new United Nations report that examines entrenched poverty in the United States…calls the number of children living in poverty “shockingly high.” …the report, written by U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston, says the United States tops the developed world with the highest rates of youth poverty… The results of the report are not out of line with a number of others…in recent years by different organizations in which the United States has turned up at or near the top on issues such as poverty rates.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Previously Unsuspected Volcanic Warming Confirmed Under West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Sun Allergy Of Climate Researchers

In this newsletter:

1) Previously Unsuspected Volcanic Warming Confirmed Under West Antarctic Ice Sheet
National Science Foundation, 27 June 2018
2) Global Sea Ice Rebounds – One Million Square Kilometre Higher Than Last Year
Sunshine Hours, 27 June 2018