Saturday, October 31, 2020

Michael Zwaagstra: How Schools can Close the Gap

Picture a school in an underprivileged part of north London, England.

One-third of nearby families live in poverty, a significant percentage are visible minorities, and the neighbourhood crime rate is twice the national average. What kind of academic results would you expect from this school?

If you expected this school to score below average, think again. Michaela Community School is one of the top-performing schools in the United Kingdom. In fact, students at Michaela scored substantially higher than the national average.

With such impressive results, this school is definitely worth a closer look.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 25.10.20

Saturday October 31, 2020

Far North District Council rejects Māori seats - will poll public instead

Māori wards for Far North District Council (FNDC) failed to get across the line at its October meeting in Kaikohe yesterday after a move by councillor Kelly Stratford failed.

The council instead decided by a 6:4 majority to ask its community if it wanted Māori wards, by holding a poll with the 2022 local government elections.

Point of Order: Let’s forget about prison and see what a term in charm school can achieve – or will crime disappear in decolonised NZ?

A warning was sounded at the beginning of a recent New Zealand Herald report about the crimes of a couple of blokes who – according to the  Indigenous Pacific Uprising – should not be imprisoned.

The warning was in capital letters.


The two blokes in question were jailed for their part in what the Herald described as

“ … a brutal kidnap where the victim was tortured over 12 hours – his pinky finger cut off with secateurs, both feet shot and his naked body burned with a blowtorch while he was tied up and gagged.

Brian Giesbrecht: More Countries are Quietly Following Sweden

Most countries that adopted the “lockdown” model are still in the thick of the pandemic. Typically, there is an easing of rules when infection rates decrease, but when rules are relaxed and infection rates naturally rise, authorities clamp down again. Masks go off – then on again. Meanwhile, the horrendous cost of paying furloughed workers and closed businesses is bankrupting lockdown countries, and taking lives. And there is no end in sight.

Sweden found a better way.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Dr Oliver Hartwich: We Don't Know How Unlucky We Are In NZ

All eyes are on New Zealand.

In the lead-up to the election, Time magazine admired our "calmer democracy." The World Health Organisation once again praised our Covid-19 management. And in its latest issue, The Economist revealed that our Prime Minister is now the global leader with the highest approval ratings.

If the world had a choice, its people would either migrate to New Zealand or at least swap their political leaders for Jacinda Ardern. Kiwis went from “world-famous in New Zealand” to simply “world-famous,” and we love it.

But reports of New Zealand’s stellar performance are greatly exaggerated.

NZCPR Weekly: Attacking Free Speech

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s NZCPR newsletter, we look into the threat to our freedom of speech posed by Labour’s election pledge to introduce identity politics into new hate speech laws, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Karl du Fresne outlines the attack on Western civilisation that is presently underway and the failure of our politicians to even mention it during the election campaign, and our poll asks whether you believe Labour should strengthen hate speech laws or remove them.

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

Mike Hosking: If you are in politics, what’s the point unless you’re in charge?


I have been disappointed but not surprised at the line-up of former Greens who are advising the current Greens stay out of government.

Simple question, if you are in politics what’s the point unless you’re in charge?

Their point, which is potentially partially valid, is don’t get stiffed. Don’t end up in a deal where you get to do little but carry any fall out which I suspect there will be plenty.

But the Greens have been in the game along time now and only recently really got their hands on the levers of power.

And the Keith Locke/Catherine Delahunty view of the world is a good insight or revelation into the fact that there are many in politics that sadly aren’t there for any real gains. They are there to cause trouble.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: I can't predict which way the cannabis referendum will go


So tomorrow we get the preliminary results of the referendums.

If we believe the polls, Cannabis legalisation won’t pass and End of Life choice will.

But can we believe the polls?

And which polls? The main ones had support for the Cannabis referendum dropping, and opposition to it rising.

But then the week before we went to vote, Helen Clark and the Drug Foundation produced their own poll showing support for cannabis legalisation was up, it was ahead, that it was close, but that it would indeed get through.

So who do we believe?

GWPF Newsletter: EU report about vanishing beaches was alarmist and wrong, scientists say


Satellites find 75% of the world’s beaches are stable or growing

In this newsletter:

1) EU report about vanishing beaches was alarmist and wrong, scientists say
The Times, 27 October 2020

2) Told you so: 75% of the world’s beaches are stable or growing
GWPF Observatory, 30 April 2018

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mike Hosking: Too much commentary on housing ignores reality


Some folks we know retired last week.

They retired young. She will do a bit of work from their beach house which has become their main house due to the fact they sold their house in town for a lot of money, and as a result, they don’t have to work again.

Their story is the story of the New Zealand real estate dream.

They are well under 60, they bought the house they sold years ago for what seems like pocket change, did a few renos, made a killing. Got a pre-auction offer- 25 bids at the day of the auction itself – and sold it, got the cash and retired to the beach.

So Covid for them has allowed, one, her to be at the beach and do a bit of remote work if she wants, and two, seen the value of their home reach a point they could not be happier with.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Melanie Phillips: The treason of the educational class

Censorship of knowledge and ideas is now expanding from campus to schoolroom 

Bad ideas owe their advance into mainstream thinking not just to bad people but also to otherwise decent people going along with such notions out of cowardice or other weakness.

The censorship of any thinking which conflicts with the orthodoxies of identity politics is increasingly destroying the western university as the crucible of reason, along with its core purpose to advance knowledge through the free play of evidence, ideas and argument.

This closing of the western mind is now taking place inside schools too. 

Geoff Parker: On Merit and Not Ethnicity

In the next few days Kaipara, Far North and Whangarei district Councillors will be voting on whether or not to install Maori ward/s.

There are many cogent and valid reasons why they must vote against this undemocratic aberration.

Race-based wards should not be brought in at the whim of Councillors, any decision  should only be made after full public consultation including submissions and most recent polls show that constituents do not want these wards with an average 75% no vote against them. Why then would Council spend (waste) around $200,000 on a referendum when the result looks like a foregone conclusion based on past experience.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: European Parliament accused of killing Green Deal


U.S. cities failing to meet lofty climate goals

In this newsletter:

1) ‘Death sentence on nature’: European Parliament accused of killing Green Deal
The Independent, 22 October 2020
2) Current EU plans for farming subsidies won't achieve any CO2 emission cuts – NGO
Clean Energy Wire, 12 October 2020

Monique Poirier: Labour’s supposed mandate

In the weeks leading up to the election, we heard from Jacinda Ardern time and time again that she was seeking a strong mandate from voters. But a mandate for what exactly? And just what is a mandate anyway?

Labour has secured the right to govern alone. The implementation of its policy agenda does not rely on the Greens and the handbrake in the form of New Zealand First no longer exists. This means Labour can enact the policies they campaigned on without having to make concessions to another party.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bruce Moon: The Tall Tales of Ngatiapa

And now we have Ngatiapa, a Nelson area tribe which, according to its cultural advisor, Kiely Nepia,[i] was "almost wiped off the face of the earth", “marginalised to a degree, ... largely without language, ... landless” and “had suffered from colonisation”.

Well now that certainly seems a sad state to be in but if indeed it “had suffered from colonisation”, why is it that, judging from the white faces of many of its members, it is largely a product of that colonization?  And with a fat “Treaty Settlement” for its 846 members in 2014 of $28.374 million from its own white relatives and others, together with a substantial amount of “cultural redress”,[ii]  it would appear to have done rather well at the expense of the New Zealand taxpayer.

GWPF Newsletter: Record global wheat production expected, FAO


Argentina to produce climate-resistant super wheat in world first

In this newsletter:

1) Record global wheat production expected, FAO 
Grain Central, 9 October 2020

2) Heat-tolerant crops: Sudan announces largest ever wheat harvest
African Development Bank, 19 October

Breaking Views Update: Week of 18.10.20

Saturday October 24, 2020 

Treaty claim over poor conditions for Māori women in shearing industry

Māori women in shearing sheds have suffered dangerous, loud, unhygienic and stressful conditions for generations, a Waitangi Tribunal claim contends.

Masterton woman Manu Te Whata has lodged a claim over the “Crown’s failure to meet its obligations with regard to keeping wāhine Māori safe in the shearing industry”.

Matt Ridley: Students Who Catch Covid May Be Saving Lives

There is no course that involves zero suffering. It’s a question of minimizing it.

It is counterintuitive but the current spread of Covid may on balance be the least worst thing that could happen now. In the absence of a vaccine, and with no real prospect of eradicating the disease, the virus spreading among younger people, mostly without hitting the vulnerable, is creating immunity that will eventually slow the epidemic. 

The second wave is real, but it is not like the first. It would be a mistake to tackle it with compulsory lockdowns (even if called ‘circuit breakers’), whether national or local. The cure would be worse than the disease and it won’t work anyway.

Karl du Fresne: At least there's no argument about who won the right to govern

Tell you what (as Judith Collins likes to say): there’s at least one thing I welcome about the election result. It’s that there can be no doubt about its legitimacy, and hence about Labour’s right to govern.

It was a clean win, an emphatic win. Even if it wasn’t the result many of us wanted, we were left in no doubt about who were the winners and who were the losers.

More specifically, I welcome the result because we’re likely to be spared the grubby, opaque post-election manoeuvring that has tarnished so many elections since New Zealand adopted the MMP system in 1996.

Friday, October 23, 2020

NZCPR Weekly: A Covid Win

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s NZCPR newsletter, we provide an analysis of the election outcome and its implications for the future, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Frank Newman shares his breakdown of the results and predictions for 2023, and our poll asks whether you believe Labour will be able to retain the votes it gained from National at the 2023 election.

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

Kate Hakwesby: Kiwis still feel unsafe returning to workplace environments


I’m wondering exactly how many people are still working from home.

I see a recruitment agency saying that some bosses are struggling to get their staff back into the workplace.

Which immediately made me think – well not surprising, home is easy, it takes the commute and sitting in traffic out of the picture, it requires less interaction and distraction with colleagues so maybe you get more work done, you can work in your track pants and not have to spend an hour suiting up if you don’t want to.

But actually, it’s for another reason entirely.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: Will Trump's mudslinging campaign get him across the line?


We may have thought our election campaign looked dirty at times, with the odd sneer or raised eyebrow, but compare it to the US.

Actually you can't compare it.

The US race is always a mud slinger, and this time round is no exception.

I often wonder how much the gutter politics puts people off voting. It's two weeks until their election day - and it's ugly.

Barry Brill: This changes everything!

On 6 October, the World Health Organisation disclosed its estimate that 10% of the global population may have already been infected by the novel coronavirus.

That amounts to more than 760 million people.

This new official estimate is more than 20 times greater than the number of confirmed cases as tallied by both the WHO and Johns Hopkins University – which is little more than 35 million worldwide.

This bombshell announcement reveals that Covid-19 is not, after all, the “very deadly disease” that we have been assuming during eight long months. Its case fatality rate (CFR) is a huge 96% lower than we previously thought.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: Macron threatens UK with energy blockade


Science crisis deepens as UK Government now doubts its own scientific advisers

In this newsletter:

1) Macron threatens UK with energy blockade
Daily Express, 19 October 2020

2) Science crisis deepens as UK Government now doubts its own scientific advisers
The Times, 17 October 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

Mike Hosking: Labour has the place to themselves - what are they going to do?

The upside for Labour is they’ve got the place to themselves.

Which is good for the markets. Markets don’t like the Greens, they don’t like the uncertainty of the Greens, and although the Greens will be there, it will be in a non-confrontational ‘don’t break the china’ kind of way.

This is FPP in all but name, and whether that’s Covid or whether that’s us deciding MMP doesn’t work who would know

But the last government was pure MMP. Three parties that muddled along with handbrakes, standoffs and the lack of progression you’d expect from a lot of behind the scenes compromise.

So the up side is you can do what you want. Down side is, do they know what they want to do really?

Kate Hawkesby: National votes certainly went to Labour to keep Greens out

Despite the PM acknowledging this was a Covid election, her side kick Grant Robertson said even without Covid, they'd have won big.. because of all their delivery in their first term. Are you kidding me? Never a more delusional statement uttered. Out of step even with his own leader. But while we dissect whether to credit Labour for the win, or blame National... I can tell you that if I had a dollar for every National voter who told me they were voting Labour this time round to keep the Greens out, then I'd have made a lot of money out of this election.

Nats voters disillusioned with the omnishambles that is National right now, and freaked out by talk of a wealth tax, held their breath and ticked red on the day. Covid-fearing Kiwis ticked red, and the red ticked red, and voila - a landslide.

But the biggest surprise for me was Auckland Central.

Point of Order: Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern

Without brakes there should be no holding back Ardern – and the lobbyists are signalling their great expectations

Huge expectations now rest on the newly re-elected Ardern government. Just as the pioneering Labour government did in the 1930s under Michael Joseph Savage and the fourth Labour government did under David Lange in the 1980’s, it has won a stronger mandate to fulfill its programme.

So will it become truly transformational – as it first promised in 2017 – or will the economic recession threatening NZ overwhelm the new ministry?

Sunday, October 18, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: Lack Of Wind Sparks UK Energy Emergency Alert


National Grid Warns Lack Of Wind Could Plunge Britain Into Darkness

In this newsletter:

1) National Grid Warns Lack Of Wind Could Plunge Britain Into Darkness
Daily Mail, 15 October 2020

2) EU Leaders Divided Over New Climate Goals For 2030
Associated Press, 16 October 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Matt Ridley: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Science

The scientific method remains the best way to solve many problems, but bias, overconfidence and politics can sometimes lead scientists astray. 
My article for the Wall Street Journal... 

The Covid-19 pandemic has stretched the bond between the public and the scientific profession as never before. Scientists have been revealed to be neither omniscient demigods whose opinions automatically outweigh all political disagreement, nor unscrupulous fraudsters pursuing a political agenda under a cloak of impartiality. Somewhere between the two lies the truth: Science is a flawed and all too human affair, but it can generate timeless truths, and reliable practical guidance, in a way that other approaches cannot.

Brian Giesbrecht: Rejecting “Coronapsychosis” Could be Good for our Health

Little Belarus has been in the news due to the political turmoil following its presidential election early last month. While it isn’t high in the consciousness of most people in Western countries, it is one of the last European nations led by the kind of old-fashioned dictator who used to be common in countries like Portugal, Spain and the former Soviet satellites. In Belarus (population 9.4 million, GDP US$60 billion, per capita annual income US$19,240) that man is Alexander Lukashenko. He’s a bit of a puzzle. Although certainly authoritarian and no friend of the Western democracies, he’s also sometimes at odds with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

After the August 8 vote, the 66-year-old who’s held power since 1994 declared victory, claiming a resounding 80 percent of the vote and crushing the self-proclaimed democratic opposition led by Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya. The 38-year-old human rights activist claimed to have won the first-round voting and now, fearing for her safety, promptly fled to neighboring Lithuania. What the West should do, what Putin will do and how this will play out remains anyone’s guess. It is seemingly just another messy situation in a region that’s always been known for such sad sagas. End of story, right?

Lee Harding: Muslim Brotherhood Needs Examination

In July, the government of France did what no western government had done before. Following eight months of investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Senate issued a 244-page report that named MB the top Islamist enemy. The report made 44 recommendations, including banning MB leaders from France and ending international agreements that trained and imported imams. It’s time for Canada to make its own examination.

Canadian security expert Tom Quiggin has wanted Canada to pay heed to the Muslim Brotherhood since at least 2014. Back then, he penned a 202-page report that demonstrated how MB worked subversively through front organizations to advance ideals inconsistent with western values and send money to terrorist organizations.

Peter Kurti: Bye-bye, oh sweet Eskimo Pie

Stop right there and put down that chocolate-coated ice cream treat! It’s not just sugar that is dripping from those delicious rivulets of vanilla confection. Racism is apparently blended into the recipe too.

Just when you thought we’d seen off racist ‘Coon’ cheese, followed by the equally racist ‘Smarter White Milk’, it turns out there’s still more racism lurking on the diary shelf.

In another case of corporate virtue signalling run amok, venerable Aussie ice cream maker Peters has now dumped its allegedly racist ‘Eskimo Pie’ brand — a favourite of generations — to rename it ‘Polar Pie’.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 11.10.20

Saturday October 17, 2020 

More recognition for West Coast tangata whenua

The rights and needs of tangata whenua on the West Coast are set to gain formal and much fuller recognition in the region's new district plan.

Councils and iwi are working on a single planning document - Te Tai o Poutini (One Plan) - to combine and update the district plans for Buller, Grey and Westland councils.

Friday, October 16, 2020

NZCPR Weekly: Election 2020 - final thoughts

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s NZCPR newsletter, we share some final thoughts on the 2020 election, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Bruce Sheppard explains why he thinks it is a choice between accepting an average future or aspiring for something better, and our poll asks whether you believe the media coverage of the election campaign has been biased.

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

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: Is Judith Collins National's sacrificial lamb?

Someone texted me yesterday with a theory that Judith Collins is a sacrificial lamb.

They said she’s been after the National leader job for years, and that the Nats have resigned themselves to losing this election for a long time. I don’t think that part’s true actually.

I think most of them put up a fight, some are undermining things and making a hash of it, but in general I don’t think they gave up per se, I think they saw a viable fight in it, but perhaps felt knee capped by Covid and the dramatic response of this country to falling in love with Jacinda as a result of seeing her as some kind of medical hero for keeping Covid largely at bay.

GWPF Newsletter - New UN Climate Row: Alarming Report Contradicts Its Own Data


Seabirds Face Extinction If Boris Johnson Pursues Wind Farm Plan, RSPB Warns

In this newsletter:

1) New UN Climate Row: Alarming Report Contradicts Its Own Data
Edwin Timmer, De Telegraaf, 14 October 2020
2) UN Claim 'Staggering Rise In Climate Emergencies Since 2000'
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 13 October 2020

Garrick Tremain: Lurching!

 Here is Garrick Tremain's latest cartoon commentary!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Karl du Fresne: What no one's talked about during this election campaign

In 1992, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated book with the extravagant title The End of History and the Last Man. In it, he argued (I’m quoting from Wikipedia here) that the triumph of Western liberalism marked the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution.

The rationale was that the Soviet Union had collapsed under the weight of its own tyranny and sclerotic inefficiency. The decades-long Cold War that defined the post-war era was over and free-market economics (Reaganomics in the US, Thatcherism in Britain, Rogernomics in New Zealand and similar variants elsewhere, including Australia under Bob Hawke) had prevailed throughout the democratic West.

It seemed at the time that the epochal struggle between Marxism and capitalism had been emphatically resolved. There was a mood of smug triumphalism (guilty, your Honour) among advocates of what came to be termed neoliberalism.

Mike Hosking: There's light at the end of Covid's tunnel


If you put more weight on numbers than theories, then this Covid thing is far from the end of the world.

It's important to differentiate as more data comes to hand. 

They said back in March armageddon was on its way. 

But they said that because they were guessing, who the hell knew what was going to unfold.

The longer this has gone, the more we know and here's what we know as of this morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: Science Crisis And The Breakdown Of Trust


Massive Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Raises Doubts About Recovery Claims

In this newsletter:

1) Massive Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Raises Doubts About Recovery Claims
GWPF Observatory, 11 October 2020

2) Experts Can’t See Anything ‘Unusual About Current Rate Or Magnitude’ Of Climate Change
Sky News, 11 October 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: Chris Luxon to be the big winner from this election campaign


Being on a week’s leave was weird, mainly because I didn’t have to listen to the news, or read it, or watch it, and what I discovered in having a week out of the daily news hustle, is that I didn’t miss anything. It’s all predictable at the moment.

This election build up has been one of the most boring ever.  All favourable coverage has been given to the incumbent. The usual predictable stories of throngs gathering to fan girl Jacinda Ardern, much the same way Key was mobbed when he was Prime Minister.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sir Bob Jones: The Cannabis Referendum

As a libertarian I strongly believe in people making their own decisions as to how they live their lives. Some people are risk-takers seeking, in the case of say self-employment, a higher than standard income and the dignity they feel in being their own master. Others seek the security of employment at the price of a lesser material living standard.

Some opt for physically risky sports such as mountaineering or boxing; others golf and tennis. Some over-indulge with alcohol, others shun it altogether because of its potential adverse health effects.

I judge none of them, each to their own being my motto.

So given all of that, why will I be voting against making cannabis legal in the coming referendum?

GWPF Newsletter: Britain Rocked By Windfarm Scandal That Is Set To Cost Consumers £1.4 Billion


In this newsletter:

1) Britain Rocked By Windfarm Scandal That Is Set To Cost Consumers £1.4 Billion
Daily Mail, 10 October 2020
2) New Windfarm Scandal Three Times Worse Than ‘Cash for Ash’
Daily Mail, 10 October 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Karl du Fresne: It's not just the Labour Party that Collins is fighting

First up, a disclaimer. I am not, and never have been, a National Party supporter. While there have been rare occasions in the past 50 years when I’ve voted National, they are outnumbered by the times I’ve supported Labour. National won’t be getting my party vote next week, though I may yet decide to support the party’s Wairarapa candidate. (For the record, I voted for Labour’s Kieran McAnulty last time.)

It’s important that I get that declaration out of the way, because otherwise what I’m about to write will be dismissed by Labour camp followers as sour grapes from a disgruntled Tory. (That’s bound to happen anyway, but I need to spell out my position regardless.)

Now, to the point of this post. In recent weeks I’ve watched with mounting disbelief as the network formerly known as TV3 has conducted what appears to be a sustained offensive against the National Party.

Matt Ridley: Correcting Vitamin D Deficiency Could Save Thousands of Lives

A groundbreaking new study points to a cheap, safe, effective way of tackling Covid

As we face six tough months of curfews, isolation and economic misery, with vaccines a distant hope, testing struggling to control the virus, and the hospitalisation rate once again rising, it’s surely time to try anything reasonable to slow the pandemic down. 

There is one chemical that is known to be safe, known to be needed by many people anyway, known to have a clinically proven track record of helping people fight off respiratory diseases, and is so cheap no big firm is pushing it: vitamin D. It is not a silver bullet, but growing evidence suggests that it might help prevent Covid turning serious in some people.

Gerry Eckhoff: Tax

When politicians call for reform of the tax system, they are really saying there needs to be more taxation in order to meet their expenditure. The perpetually aggrieved present an implausible argument that is deficient in equity and logic, which is - the more you distribute other people’s income, the wealthier the nation becomes.  

It should come as no surprise as the election looms closer that political parties attempt to outdo each other by promising to spend more and more of voters' money.