Friday, May 31, 2019

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Contextualising the persecution of Christians

Freedom of religious belief is a fundamental human right. It stems from the freedom to hold and express one’s own opinions. This principle is one that all of us – religious and non-religious alike – should be able to agree upon.

It is worrisome, therefore, to come across reports of the persecution of people for reasons of religious identity. Whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan or whatever, nobody should be persecuted because of religious belief. The Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians (full report due later this year – see “Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'”, BBC News, 3 May 2019), which warns that  Christianity may be “wiped out” in parts of the world, including the Middle East, should accordingly set the alarm bells ringing.

Point of Order: Setting a suicide-reduction target might have been detrimental to the govt’s wellbeing

The headline on a statement released from the PM’s Office on the eve of the official release of the Wellbeing Budget tells us the government is Taking mental health and addiction seriously.
To demonstrate this, the government has accepted, accepted in principle, or agreed to further consideration of 38 of the 40 recommendations in the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

Douglas Carswell: Nigel Farage is the one figure in British politics who has learnt from his mistakes

Success in politics, as with so many things, is often about learning from past mistakes. What is surprising, perhaps, is how few in politics – full as they are of their own sense of certainty – are able to do this.

Following last week’s catastrophic election results for the Labour Party, which saw millions of their traditional supporters abandon them for the Brexit Party, Labour moved further towards supporting a second referendum. As the party inched towards formally repudiating the views of 17.4 million people, it seems its leaders are quite incapable of learning from what happened in 2015.

Clive Bibby: The evolution of the activist in Godzone

Anyone interested enough to consult the dictionary about the title "Activist" may be surprised to discover that it is awarded far more "brownie points" than you might have first thought. But does it fit our modern occupier of the throne.

My search found that an Activist is "a person who works energetically to achieve political or social goals". That doesn't sound like an accurate description of the ones l know or know of in this country.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

NZCPR Weekly: Election Lessons

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine lessons for New Zealand from the recent European Parliamentary election and the Australian election, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Claire Lehmann provides an insightful analysis into why Bill Shorten’s Labor Party failed to win the Australian election, and our poll asks whether you believe New Zealand’s establishment parties are losing touch with voters.

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GWPF Newsletter: George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor

Preventing Shale Gas At Home, UK Govt Hands Out Aid To Boost Fracking In China

In this newsletter:

1) George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor
Global Warming Policy Forum, 29 May 2019
2) Fracking Saves Low-Income Americans’ Lives
Pasadenas Star-News, 28 May 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Policies Threaten To Kill Europe’s Steel Industry

Tories & Labour Face Existential Crisis After Brexit Party Surges To Crushing Victory

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Policies Threaten To Kill Europe’s Steel Industry
Steel Guru, 28 May 2019 

2) Steel Makers Blame Tory Government For Uncompetitive Energy Prices
The Daily Telegraph, 28 May 2019

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Kate Hawkesby: Parliament's only real bully is Speaker Trevor Mallard - he needs to go

What a shambles.
As I said when he first did it, I am completely bewildered as to why Trevor Mallard chose to play judge, jury and town crier in one heady moment - which as it turns out is now nothing more than a defamation suit waiting to happen.
Mallard, as Speaker of the House, was so far out of his lane I'm not sure what he was thinking.
His time as Speaker has been controversial to say the least: he injects himself too much into the politics, he rarely shows the impartiality the job requires, he allegedly leaks stories to the media - basically he can't stay out of the fray.

Bruce Moon: New Zealand's 'real' history

Vincent O’Malley is – or should be – notorious already for his gross distortion of history when, in an article in “The Listener” for 25th February 2017, he misrepresented as “an almost incomprehensible act of savagery” General Cameron’s humanitarian action in his almost bloodless capture of the Waikato rebels’ primary food source at Rangiaowhia. 

But no!  He has now produced another book entitled “The New Zealand Wars Nga Pakaranga o Aotearoa”, receiving on 18th May 2019 a nice slice of publicity from the “New Zealand Herald”[i] and even more from “The Spinoff”[ii] the day before.  Once again, his lurid tales in lieu of facts do no service to historicity – the genuine recording of our actual history.  Indeed his very title - “The New Zealand Wars” shows his bias since, whatever they have been called in the past, the only accurate description of those hostilities is as tribal rebellions.    Whatever suffering any tribes may have endured in consequence, they were the direct result of armed conflicts which they started – often, it is fair to say, by warlike chiefs simply spoiling for a fight - Wiremu Kingi in Taranaki and Rewi Maniapoto in Waikato for example.

Karl du Fresne: Ghahraman's master-class in media manipulation

It’s safe to assume that lots of politicians are incorrigible attention-seekers – if not at the start of their careers, then certainly once they figure out how the system works and how the oxygen of publicity can be exploited to their advantage.

In this respect, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is hardly unusual. But what marks her as different is the skill with which she plays the game. Although ostensibly still a political novice, she’s as media-savvy as any veteran.

She has also learned that she can exploit the sympathy of journalists who are drawn to her because she’s young and female (like many press gallery reporters) and also Green and an Iranian asylum-seeker. Looking good on camera helps too, although I shouldn’t mention that because it will be condemned as sexist.

Mike Hosking: Government has brought rock star economy to a grinding halt

It's not the news the Government wants in budget week. The Warehouse is laying off up to 150 people, and there are potentially more to come as they restructure their operations looking for efficiencies.

Vodafone has been in the news for the same thing. Air New Zealand has announced a profit guidance reduction, and a pay freeze at the top. They won't be the only ones.

This is an economy slowing, and one suspects faster than the leaders in Wellington are prepared to admit. They are currently pedalling the line that international headwinds are the cause, which is only partially true.

Viv Forbes: We Need a Power-Water Czar

The new Australian federal ministry resembles a giant bureaucracy with 52 ministerial positions selected mainly to look politically correct on sexual ratios, state representations and party factions but with no one charged with solving Eastern Australia’s critical water and electricity needs.

PM Morrison needs to create a powerful new position with Ministerial power called “The Power and Water Czar”.

This Czar’s job would be to identify, define and remove all obstacles to quickly building one or more new dams to provide hydro power and water into the Darling River basin and to urgently facilitate more reliable coal-fired power in Eastern Australia.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Theresa May Resigns As Green Tories Face Existential Crisis

EU Elections: Brexit Party Forecast To Win The Most Votes

In this newsletter:

1) Theresa May Resigns As Green Tories Face Existential Crisis
The Daily Telegraph, 24 May 2019
2) European Elections Polls: Brexit Party Forecast To Win The Most Votes
The Daily Telegraph, 24 May 2019

Tom Harris: Theresa May’s departure will inject fresh urgency into Brexit

Assuming our new prime minister takes office at the end of a six-week campaign that kicks off on June 10, they will enter Downing Street during the week beginning July 22, most likely the Wednesday of that week. At that point there will be exactly 1016 days left until the next scheduled general election on May 5, 2022.

In other words, if Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey or someone else want to beat the records of Gordon Brown, Theresa May or Neville Chamberlain in terms of tenure at Number 10, they need to get re-elected at a general election. And that means finding a way through Brexit that entirely evaded their predecessor.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bob Edlin: What Bridges can learn from Australia

Just  as  Australians  are  absorbing the   lessons  of  Scott Morrison’s  “miraculous” return from the electoral dead, New  Zealanders  are  being told by  a prominent   Wellington  economist  Ganesh Nana  he  fears  the   Ardern government  is  about  to  back down  from “meaningful economic  reform”.

Yet across  the Tasman   it  was  the  “ambitious”   economic reforms proposed   by   Federal  Labor  leader  Bill  Shorten   which delivered the crushing  blow   of   losing  what the pundits   called the  “unloseable” election.
Labour  in   NZ   is  probably   congratulating  itself  that  it  has   dropped  a  broad  capital   gains tax   not  just  from  its current  programme  but  for the future.For it  is clear  many  Australian  voters  rejected   Shorten’s  plan for  a   giant  tax grab across  the   economic spectrum   and  allowed   Scott Morrison to  play  mercilessly  the  line  “the  Bill  you  can’t  afford”.

GWPF Newsletter: After Election Defeat, Labor Premier Now Calls For New Coal Mine

Labor Party Faces Existential Threat 

In this newsletter:

1) After Election Defeat, Labor Premier Now Calls For New Coal Mine
Financial Review, 22 May 2019 
2) Labor Faces Existential Threat As Greens Warn Party Over Climate Change Shift 
The Australian, 22 May 2019 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Monica Burke: US Equality Act Harms American Freedom

The Equality Act promises to promote tolerance, respect and — of course — equality.

Instead, it would promote inequality by undermining parental rights, forcing the hand of medical professionals, and erasing women.

How? By imposing government-mandated gender identity policies in schools, hospitals and women’s spaces across the country.

The Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in the federal Civil Rights Act. It would also expand the definition of “public accommodations.” While this bill may sound harmless, these changes would have far-reaching negative effects on average Americans.

NZCPR Weekly: Criminalising Free Speech

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look into the Australian election result and Jacinda Ardern’s plan to regulate the internet and criminalise free speech, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Bronwyn Howell examines the Christchurch Call pledge and explains why it sets up technology companies to become government propaganda machines, and our poll asks how concerned you are about the threat to free speech from Jacinda Ardern’s Government – very concerned, a little concerned, or not concerned at all..

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dr Greg Clydesdale: Media campaign increases harm

At Lincoln University, we were all deeply affected by the attack on the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre.  We lost four people.  I personally lost a marker, a young man who had just finished his PhD and had his whole life ahead of him. 

The pitiful irony is the mass-murderer thought he was superior to someone who had just completed a PhD and was a good man in every sense of the word.  It is invariably the case that those who claim white supremacy are the ones who least fit that description.

Bob Edlin: Open letter sharpens focus on the Treaty influence on governance

A champion of the growing practice of appointing iwi representatives to sit with elected representatives on local authority decision-making bodies didn’t have a great deal to say, when questions were emailed to her.

Much of the little she did say – published on Point of Order last month – has been challenged by Bruce Moon in an open letter posted on Breaking Views.

The thrust and parry were triggered by governance changes on the Hastings District Council, which last month voted to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees.

GWPF Newsletter: Australia’s Left Loses An Election It Was Sure To Win

Around The World, Backlash Against Expensive Climate Change Policies

In this newsletter:

1) A Climate-Change Drubbing In Australia
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 20 May 2019
2) Tom Switzer: Australia’s Left Loses An Election It Was Sure To Win
The Wall Street Journal, 20 May 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Peter Hamling: Auckland’s cruise ship facilities – another perspective

Image result for Ovation of the Seas in auckland
Ovation of the Seas is 20 m longer than the height of the Sky Tower
Independent planning commissioners have switched on a green light for controversial mooring dolphins to be built off the end of Queens Wharf in Auckland to facilitate the handling of larger cruise ships.

GWPF Newsletter: After Another Defeat, Climate Policy Threatens To Devour Left Parties

How Scott Morrison Used Labor’s Green Policies Against Them

In this newsletter:

1) No Climate For Change: How Scott Morrison Used Labor’s Green Policies Against Them
Daily Mail, 19 May 2019
2) NYT: Why The Green Left Lost Australia’s Climate Change Election
The New York Times, 19 May 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mike Hosking: Morrison's miracle a lesson in good politics

There is a very significant lesson out of Saturday night in Australia for any western Labour party that cares to learn it - and that includes Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand.

It came from the focus on Bob Hawke on the eve of the vote. The key was not the fact that Hawke was the greatest Prime Minister of the modern age, but why he was.

He wasn't remotely representative of any of the modern Labour movements. Hawke floated the dollar, freed the economy, liberalised trade, things that these days would be seen to be very much at the conservative end of the Labour movement.

Blair, Hawke and Lange. They were all centrists, populists, representatives of middle New Zealand, or Australia, or Britain, and that is why they were popular.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bob Edlin: Michael Laws says he WILL share a council seat with 'elected' Maori representatives

Democrats who bridle against some community groups being granted privileged access to local authority decision-making bodies risk being portrayed for what they oppose rather than for what they uphold.
Waatea News, reporting on bizarre constitutional goings-on in Otago, illustrates the point.
The Otago Regional Council (a strong majority, anyway) has voted in favour of enabling Ngai Tahu to choose two iwi members, representing four Otago rūnanga, to sit on its policy committee.
The appointees will have voting and speaking rights and join 12 elected councillors at the table.

Clive Bibby: For all the right reasons

Forgive me if l savour the moment.

Saturday's Australian Liberal Party's improbable election victory is a lesson for those who treat the common man with contempt. Yet unfortunately, l doubt that those who should learn from the experience have the capacity to do so.

On the other hand,  Prime Minister Tony Abbott, having endured one of the dirtiest battles of the  campaign fighting insurmountable odds in an unsuccessful effort to retain his own seat, showed what real character was about when he graciously accepted defeat.

Gerrard Eckhoff: Democracy

It was rather astutely observed some years ago that a huge oak tree was once just a nut that held its ground. The birth and struggle of democracy in Greece was also a fragile concept that managed to hold on and grow to epic proportions throughout the world yet today our democratic traditions are under threat as never before. 

Even the very word democratic is reprehensively misused in that wretched country - the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. There is nothing remotely democratic or republican about North Korea yet the desire to use democratic in their name shows that even they understand the importance of a democratic pretense. The major difference (in part) is that corrupt politicians within a democratic system get caught. The socialist /communists leaders get rich.

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Hysteria Costs Labor Party 'Unlosable' Elections

Labor Loses Australia's 'Climate Election'

1) Climate Hysteria Costs Labor Party 'unlosable' Elections
Global Warming Policy Forum, 18 May 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has retained power in the Australian election while Labor’s election strategy to make climate alarmism the key issue has backfired.

Friday, May 17, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Due To Fewer Clouds, Chinese Scientists Find

Trump Administration Might “Re-Examine” Climate Modeling

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Due To Fewer Clouds, Chinese Scientists Find
Xinhua News Agency, 26 April 2019
2) Trump Administration Might “Re-Examine” Climate Modeling
Scientific American, 10 May 2019 

NZCPR Weekly: Climate Change Hysteria

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the Government’s radical Zero Carbon Bill in the context of the growing rejection of climate change hysteria around the world, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Barry Brill shares his analysis of what he believes is an extremely dangerous Bill, and our poll asks whether you believe National should support or oppose Labour’s Zero Carbon Bill.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Corbyn's Power Grab

Climate Hysteria Morphs Into Energy Socialism 

In this newsletter:

1) Jeremy Corbyn Draws Up Plans To Seize Control Of UK's Energy With Sweeping Nationalisation Of Networks
The Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2019
2) Labour Weighs Up Delisting UK Firms If They Fail To Fight Climate Change
The Guardian, 10 May 2019 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Barry Brill: Why subsidise more congestion?

Rumours abound that the Coalition’s second budget might introduce ‘Green’ subsidies for such items as domestic solar panels and private electric vehicles, as yet another strand of its hydra-headed climate policy.  

Every sane economist would counsel against such steps:

     Governments should never try to pick winners. When politicians claim an ability to foresee the future, the law of unintended consequences invariably runs rampant; 

     Coerced subsidies are usually handouts from the poor to the rich. Always and everywhere, climate change policies are severely regressive (i.e. they increase child poverty);

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Global Wheat Production Set To Hit New Record

Is The Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?

In this newsletter:

1) Ignore Climate Hysteria: Global Wheat Production Set To Hit New Record
Grain Central, May 13, 2019 
2) Sanjeev Sabhlok: Climate Science Violates The Basic Precepts Of Science
The Times of India, 9 May 2019 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Michael Laws: Cr Laws condemns iwi-only seats for Otago Regional Council

The proposal of Otago Regional Council (ORC) senior staff to give local iwi two (2) voting and paid seats on the ORC’s powerful policy committee, “is so privileged, and so obviously racist, that it calls into question the fundamental principles of democracy in Otago.”

On this Wednesday, 15 May 2019, the ORC will receive a senior executive management paper that recommends that two positions on the council’s policy committee be reserved exclusively for iwi (read Otakau runanga) representatives; that they be accorded full speaking and voting rights; that they be paid on the same pro rata basis as elected councillors; and that those positions be appointed by the local runanga and sit on the very next ORC policy committee meeting.

Brian Giesbrecht: Is it Okay to Be White?

Last Hallowe’en night a costumed person was seen tacking up posters at the University of Manitoba. The posters said “It’s Okay To Be White”. This strange occurrence was uniformly denounced by the university administration and various student associations who claimed that it was the organized work of white supremacists. 

The administrators also claimed that these racists had deliberately targeted an Indigenous students’ organization by sending copies of the posters to their office. In fact, so seriously has the university administration taken this incident that they called in the police to conduct an investigation into a possible hate crime. If the administration’s claims are true, and this was the organized work of racists or white supremacists the administrators’ actions make sense.

Daniel J. Mitchell - Comparing the Economic Growth of East Germany to West Germany: A History Lesson

Donald Trump is an incoherent mix of good policies and bad policies.
Some of his potential 2020 opponents, by contrast, are coherent but crazy.
And economic craziness exists in other nations as well.
In a column for the New York Times, Jochen Bittner writes about how a rising star of Germany’s Social Democrat Party wants the type of socialism that made former East Germany an economic failure.

Mole News

Financial disputes schemes failing Maori and Pasifika
The government-approved disputes schemes to which people wronged by a bank, insurer, or lender can appeal for help are hearing too few complaints from Māori and Pasifika New Zealanders.

When Dr Carla Houkamau from the University of Auckland evaluated the responses of a small sample of Māori participants in financial capability courses she found some people were deterred from engaging with banks because they saw them as racist.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup - the State of the NZ media

Last week was a big one for the media. Not only did New Zealand’s biggest newspaper launch a new paywall, but Thursday was “World News Day”, and Friday was “World Media Freedom Day”. All of this prompts the question, how well is New Zealand society and democracy served by the media in 2019? 

The World Press Freedom Index recently pronounced New Zealand as having the seventh most free media in the world (up one from eighth) – see: Press freedom threatened by business imperatives. The main point made by Reporters Without Borders, who authored the report, is: “The press is free in New Zealand but its independence and pluralism are often undermined by the profit imperatives of media groups trying to cut costs.”

GWPF Newsletter: EU Heads Downgrade Climate Change To 'A Footnote'

The Truth About The Latest Mass Extinction Scare

In this newsletter:

1) EU Heads Downgrade Climate Change To A ‘Footnote’ In Their Statement On Future Of Europe 
EurActiv, 9 May 2019 
2) The UN’s Extinction Warning Doesn’t Add Up
Toby Young, The Spectator, 9 May 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Bob Edlin: Now ‘binding’ has been defined, what's the meaning of ‘hate speech’

The Government seemed to be in a bind about the cannabis referendum to be held at the general election next year.  The dilemma was about whether the referendum should be binding.

Referencing a leaked cabinet paper, National Party drug reform spokeswoman Paula Bennett threw doubt on how binding the referendum would be. 
National declined to release the paper to protect the source (something of an impediment when it comes to establishing the credibility of claims against political opponents) but said only one of four referendum options due to be discussed by Cabinet yesterday might compel the Government to act on the outcome.

GWPF Newsletter: Europe's New Climate Rebels

Germany, Italy, Hungary & Poland Reject Net-Zero Climate Target

In this newsletter:

1) Europe’s New Climate Rebels: Germany, Italy, Hungary & Poland Reject Net-Zero Climate Target
EurActiv, 7 May 2019
2) EU Elections: Europe's Populist Parties Target Climate Policies
Thomas Grose, U.S. News, 8 May 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

Bruce Moon: An Open Letter to Associate Professor Maria Bargh

27th April 2019

Dear Associate Professor Bargh,

You are reported by Bob Edlin in “Breaking Views” on 19th April[1] as having written recently,

Te Tiriti o Waitangi reaffirmed Māori tino rangatiratanga and allowed for Crown kawanatanga. This partnership approach has been noted as one of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown, the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal. 

Te Tiriti o Waitangi creates obligations, including for the Crown to actively protect Māori rights and interests and to uphold the Treaty partnership. Ensuring that Māori are a key part of decision-making in local government is one of the ways that the Crown can uphold their obligations.”

Matt Ridley: Biodiversity threat won’t be tackled by alarmist biologist hype and dismantling capitalism

Driven perhaps by envy at the attention that climate change is getting, and ambition to set up a great new intergovernmental body that can fly scientists to mega-conferences, biologists have gone into overdrive on the subject of biodiversity this week.

They are right that there is a lot wrong with the world’s wildlife, that we can do much more to conserve, enhance and recover it, but much of the coverage in the media, and many of the pronouncements of Sir Bob Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), are frankly weird.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

NZCPR Weekly: Expert Group Proposes Increased Dependency

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the welfare changes recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group and the Government’s response, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Lindsay Mitchell shares her analysis of the Advisory Group’s report, and our poll asks whether you support Labour’s decision to abolish the penalty for mothers who refuse to name the fathers of their children.

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