Thursday, March 31, 2022

Garrick Tremain: On pre election schedules

Garrick Tremain schedules Jacinda Ardern's photo ops

Point of Order: The PM urges sophistication in our thinking about democracy – to make it gel with co-governance (and unelected councillors)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – answering questions in Parliament on Tuesday – ominously reinforced impressions she believes the Treaty of Waitangi entitles some New Zealanders to more political rights than others.

The entitlement of tribal leaders to appoint their own representatives to local authorities rather than stand for election, for example.

She was asked if she stood by her statement at Waitangi in 2019 that “Equality is our foundation”, and, if so, did she believe that our constitutional foundation should be equal political rights for all New Zealanders?

As Hansard records, she opted to address only part of the question:

Graham Adams: The no-go areas that are killing mainstream media

The failure of mass news outlets to cover debates raging on social media — including transgender and Treaty issues — threatens their survival. As does avoiding contentious court cases.

In mid-March, a veteran political journalist commented on the Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page about the problems the industry faced. He was responding to a discussion over a generational divide between older and younger journalists, in which it was alleged that reporting and analysing the news these days is much harder than it was decades ago.

However, he sidestepped the generational friction to look at the bigger picture — the existential crisis the mainstream media is facing:

Barry Soper: Labour is abusing its absolute power

What's happening to democracy in this country, let alone the promised transparency of this Government?

Labour is abusing its absolute power and it seems those opposing it are powerless to do anything about it because majority rules.

A couple of weeks ago National wanted Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to appear before the Justice Select Committee to answer questions about the three-week occupation of Parliament's grounds by protesters.

The Labour majority of MPs on the committee blocked their request, arguing the Independent Police Conduct Authority was the "appropriate place for the review of police operational activities".

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bruce Moon: “Lies, damned lies and statistics”

In a paper published in the refereed journal, “Social Science and Medicine”, Arthur Grimes, Professor of Wellbeing and Public Policy at the School of Government and Senior Fellow at Motu Research, together with Rowan Ropata Macgregor Thom offers his opinion, which he states is that of “many New Zealanders” on “why Māori experience inequity across several social outcomes and why these inequities seem to occur in perpetuity”.  

While asserting that “other examples abound” he gives “as just one example”  Māori adult smoking rates (at 22.3 per cent) are much higher than for the general population (9.4 per cent).  They do not elucidate this statement further.

“Inequities”??  Synonyms for “inequity” given in my dictionary, the “Shorter Oxford”, are “want of justice” or “unfairness”.  So where exactly, I ask, is the unfairness or want of justice in any individual’s decision to have a smoke and just who is it who suffers accordingly?  (Not, surely, an unfair question?)

NZCPR Newsletter: Tribal Control of Health

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill will radically restructure our entire health system. Our 20 democratically elected and community focussed District Health Boards will be abolished. They will be replaced by two centralised agencies, Health New Zealand and a Maori Health Authority, that will “co-govern” New Zealand’s health services, with its workforce of 80,000, an annual operating budget of $20 billion, and an asset base of $24 billion. The Maori Health Authority will have the right of veto over the entire health system, and as a result, health services in New Zealand will be prioritised according to race instead of clinical need.

Labour’s plan for the restructure of health, comes straight out of their He Puapua playbook, a blueprint designed to replace New Zealand democracy with the tribal rule by 2040. It was not revealed to voters before the 2020 election but rolled out after Labour secured a Parliamentary majority to govern alone.

Lindsay Mitchell: Glossing over growing benefit numbers

Finance Minister Grant Robertson makes frequent self-serving references to New Zealand’s low unemployment rate of just 3.2 percent. He does not talk, however, about the Jobseeker dependency rate which is much higher at 6 percent.

In absolute numbers 93,000 people are officially unemployed according to Stats NZ but there are 188,000 on a Jobseeker benefit.

It is unusual for the gap between the two numbers to be so large.

Four years ago, the respective numbers were close at 128,600 and 123,039.

To understand the growing gap, we need first to understand the definition of ‘unemployed’ used by Stats NZ which is:

Point of Order: Bigger benefits from tomorrow – bravo! But they might not buy as much as before

Ministers have been celebrating their wisdom in raising benefits substantially from April 1.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni led the chorus by telling Parliament it is the biggest lift to main benefits in decades. For many years, the rate of main benefits has fallen further behind the average wage, placing many people, including children, in undue hardship, she said.

That was an unusual admission, given the Labour Party has been in office for four years.

So now the good news:

Net Zero Watch: Britain’s Net Zero wars heat up as both sides claim fresh MP backers


In this newsletter:

1) Britain’s Net Zero wars heat up as both sides claim fresh MP backers
Politico, 28 March 2022


2) Energy price shock will be bigger than in the 1970s, Bank governor Bailey warns
The Times, 28 March 2022

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Graham Adams: The biggest losers in the mātauranga Māori debate may be Māori students

Graham Adams reports on statements by Professors Robert Nola and Garth Cooper on why they resigned from the Royal Society.

The stoush over whether mātauranga Māori should be taught in the school NCEA science syllabus — sparked by a letter to the Listener by seven emeritus professors last July who asserted that indigenous knowledge isn’t scientific — has reached a stalemate.

Garrick Tremain: On school reports

 Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Johnny's school report

Bryce Edwards: Divisions are opening up, and left and right are making them worse

An important opinion poll was released back in January by Curia Research, showing the country is increasingly divided. The survey asked: “Thinking now about the state of New Zealand and our society, do you think New Zealand and New Zealanders are less divided, or more divided than a year ago?”

A large majority of 72 per cent said we are more divided, with only 10 per cent believing we are less divided. Notably, some respondents felt the divisions more than others. For example, city dwellers and Government supporters felt it less – only 57 per cent of Wellingtonians and 56 per cent of Labour supporters thought divisions were increasing, compared to 83 per cent in New Zealand towns, and 78 per cent of National supporters. Nonetheless, across all demographics a majority believed that divisions were increasing.

The Human Rights Commission also reports that they are now receiving twice as many complaints about public abuse. They say, “Complaints and inquiries have gone off the richter scale. People are really stressed and angry”.

Gerry Eckhoff: Different votes for Different Folks

The expression, “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”, penned by the greatest of them all -Shakespeare -  usually refers to the political and societal restraints being unleashed to operate against a civil society, often in times of peace. Vladimir Putin, who clawed his way to power has literally unleashed his dogs of war against the people of Ukraine in the worst way imaginable.

Here in New Zealand our PM has more overtly let slip the collar of those who very aggressively support the creation of an indigenous minority government, led by something similar to that which is characterized by the current Maori Labour caucus.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Kate Hawkesby: Bully Trevor Mallard not fit for diplomat job


Last time Phil Goff was on the show was when he announced he was departing as Auckland's Mayor. I asked him about heading off to London for the High Commissioner gig. He denied it. He batted it away as something he wasn’t even considering.

But now we know that’s exactly what he’s doing. 

And maybe the fact he’s been packing his bags for London explains why he’s seemed so absent of late in his role as leader of the Super City. I like Phil Goff, I’ve said it before, I once even voted for him as Mayor, but he’s been largely ineffectual in the role, and actually quite a letdown to Aucklanders. 

Garrick Tremain: On renaming government departments

Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on new Maori names for government departments

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Victor Davis Hanson: The Real ‘Reset’ Is Coming

President Joe Biden believes the Ukraine war will mark the start of a "new world order." In the middle of the COVID global pandemic, Klaus Schwab and global elites likewise announced a "great reset."

Accordingly, the nations of the world would have to surrender their sovereignty to an international body of experts. They would enlighten us on taxes, diversity, and green policies.

When former President Donald Trump got elected in 2016, marquee journalists announced partisan reporting would have to displace the old, supposedly disinterested approach to the news.

There is a common theme here.

In normal times progressives worry that they do not have public support for their policies. Only in crises do they feel that the political Left and media can merge to use apocalyptic times to ram through usually unpopular approaches to foreign and domestic problems.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Point of Order: ACT makes commitment to a referendum on co-governance

The Stuff team didn’t bring out the big headline type to report on a party political commitment of profound importance to anyone who cares about how and by whom we are governed. That – of course – should be everyone.

Stuff didn’t mention this commitment in the Dominion-Post (flagship of the Stuff fleet) – at least, Point of Order failed to find an account of it in our copy this morning, but maybe it was tucked away somewhere between some ads. Or maybe the press release around 7:09 last night was too late.

An online Stuff report did report it but its headline brought the Maori Party’s highly predictable response into the reckoning: New ACT Party policy branded ‘divisive’ and ‘bigoted’ by Māori Party

The online report opened:

Jeffrey A. Tucker: Forget About COVID, They Say

Earlier this year, a phrase was trending because Bari Weiss used it on a talk show: “I’m done with COVID.” Many people cheered simply because the subject has been the source of vast oppression for billions of people for two years.

There are two ways to be over COVID.

One way is to do what the memo from the consultants of the Democratic National Committee suggested: Declare the war won and move on. For political reasons.

Deaths attributed to COVID nationally are higher now than they were in the summer of 2020 when the whole country was locked down. They are also higher now than during the election of November the same year. But today we are just supposed to treat it for what it is: a seasonal virus with a disparate impact on the aged and frail.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 20.3.22

Saturday March 26, 2022 

Cabinet to consider next steps on Māori self-determination, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Cabinet will on Monday consider the next steps in developing a plan for Aotearoa to realise its international obligations around Māori self-determination.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson will take a paper to Cabinet with recommendations about developing a draft plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Friday, March 25, 2022

Henry Armstrong: Stop This Disgraceful Three Waters Confiscation, Ardern!

Recent comments in various media throughout New Zealand regarding Three Waters demonstrate the utter stupidity and gross political interference in local affairs by the neo-Marxist Ardern government in its planned seizure of all of New Zealand’s water resources. 

The Three Waters Reforms forcibly removes from District and City Councils, billions of dollars' worth of assets which comprise all of New Zealand’s drinking, waste, and storm water systems. 

Most Councils use these assets to borrow against to fund other high-cost projects such as roading, waste disposal and other public services. These assets do not belong to central government, having literally been paid for by generations of New Zealand ratepayers.

So why is the neo-Marxist Ardern government acting in such a belligerent, non-democratic and illegal manner and what are the implications for ordinary New Zealanders?

Caleb Anderson: Democracy and Co-governance - Antithetical Concepts

Last night's television news item on the issue of co-governance was interesting.  When asked by Maiki Sherman for her position on co-governance, the Prime Minister typically gave an oblique response.  Something along the line that  ...  co-governance thus far seems to be working well.  In a subsequent interview, Christopher Luxon indicated a desire to see co-governance defined.  Both comments are worth dwelling upon for a moment.  

While it appears very much as though the Prime Minister is in favour of co-governance, we are still unclear on what she means by this?  There are a thousand points of difference between an iwi advisor on a local council, and allocating to iwi half of the seats in parliament, with a right of veto on all legislation.  Where would she draw the line?  And why exactly would she draw it there?  Why not somewhere else?  That members of her own party seem inclined toward co-governance in the fullest degree possible, would seem to make questions around "just how far" very reasonable questions to ask, perhaps even imperative questions to ask. In fact, it is bordering on dereliction of duty that the mainstream media have not dug around on these issues. 

Mike Hosking: A sobering week of reminders of how far we've fallen behind

Have a look at the new bridge in Turkey that opened this week. It's the world's longest suspension bridge and it's spectacular.

They claim it will generate twice what it cost in economic returns. It produced 118,000 jobs.

What stands out about it for me is not just the fact it's spectacular, but the fact that Turkey did it. They're not really one of the planet's great economic powerhouses.

And this week here, that dreadful report that reminds us yet again that when it comes to things like infrastructure, we are hopeless.

Point of Order: Enhancing numeracy skills will enable students to work out taxpayers’ share of compensation offer

Taxpayers and Wellington ratepayers will be picking up the tab for yet another political decision that has resulted from the breakdown of law and order and the surrendering of the grounds around Parliament to protesters for three weeks.

Wellington City Council and the Government have agreed to support inner-city Wellington businesses which lost significant revenue during what they described as “the illegal occupation at Parliament grounds” with a $1.2 million business relief fund.

Point of Order: Professors warn of constitutional change by stealth and of the dangers of protecting Maori knowledge against refutation

A radical makeover of the research and science sector is outlined in Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways Green Paper, which was launched on October 28 by Dr Megan Woods as Minister of Research, Science and Innovation. Submissions on the discussion paper closed on March 16.

At the launch of the discussion paper, the government did not disguise its intention to embed the Treaty of Waitangi in the design and delivery of science and research in this country and to provide more opportunities for “mātauranga Māori”.

What does this portend? Graham Adams warns that the inevitable conclusion of the changes proposed in the discussion paper – especially if it is read alongside Te Pūtahitanga: A Tiriti–led Science-Policy Approach for Aotearoa New Zealand (HERE) – is co-governance with iwi of universities and Crown Research Institutes.

In other words, constitutional change by stealth.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

John Gibson: How Vaccine Messaging Confused the Public

Pivotal randomized control trials (RCTs) underpinning approval of Covid-19 vaccines did not set out to, and did not, test if the vaccines prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Nor did the trials test if the vaccines reduce mortality risk. A review of seven phase III trials, including those for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines, found the criterion the vaccines were trialled against was just reduced risk of Covid-19 symptoms.

There should be no secret about these facts, as they were discussed in August 2020 in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal); one of the oldest and most widely cited medical journals in the world. Moreover, this was not an isolated article, as the editor-in-chief also gave her own summary of the vaccine-testing situation, which has proved very prescient:

Garrick Tremain: the New NZ History Curriculum

Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Labour's new compulsory New Zealand history curriculum! 

Derek Mackie: The Ministry of Announcements

J: Grant! I’m so excited to see you. 
G: Excited, Prime Minister? Has that job offer finally come through from Guterres at the UN? 
J: No, nothing like that. Although, little birds have been whispering encouragingly in my ear….as long as I win the next election. 
G: Nanaia must have offered her resignation over Three Waters, then. Thank God! It’s about time. 
J: Grant, you’re such a joker! 
No, the reason I called you in is to ask your advice - being my closest political confidante and, if I may be so bold, my BFF at the Beehive. 

G: You know I admire you greatly, Jacinda. 
J: Yes, of course I do. But then, who wouldn’t! 
So, I’ve had one of my “special” ideas for a new government department. 
G: Gosh, more bureaucracy! 
J: I knew you’d love it! One that can truly reflect my skills and vision, and perfectly encompass the can-do attitude of my government….. but without the hindrance of being continually held accountable for promises which were made, with the best of intentions, but rarely if ever come to fruition.
G: Sounds like no other department I’ve ever heard of but put me down as the Minister, please. 

J: I’d love to Grant but you know I can’t. 
You’re the only one in the Cabinet any good at sums so you have to be Finance Minister. 
G: Damn! Put me out of my misery, then. What is it? 
J: The Ministry of Announcements! Inspired, isn’t it? 
G: Well….yes. Obviously, being one of your “special” ideas it would be. 
I’m just not clear what it would be responsible for. 
J: Oh Grant! You’re not normally this obtuse. The clue’s in the name. 

Guy Hatchard: Covid-19 has given western democracies a bad case of dementia

Jacinda Ardern has announced an end to vaccine mandates for just a couple of government departments including education, a decision that she was probably about to lose in court anyway, but she allowed private employers to continue to require vaccination for their employees. No one already sacked through her mandates has to be rehired. The confusing traffic light system, mask wearing, hand washing, and general hand wringing is set to continue. Mainstream media bewailed the minor loosening of restrictions.

The level of government misinformation, projected through saturation advertising over two years, has cemented primitive fears. 

Net Zero Watch: Climate change on the back burner


In this newsletter:

1) Climate change on the back burner as Foreign Secretary orders ‘radical’ review of international development strategy
The Daily Telegraph, 23 March 2022

2) Boris Johnson faces Cabinet split as push for onshore wind farms gathers momentum
The Daily Telegraph, 22 March 2022

Bryce Edwards: Bouquets and brickbats for the Government’s move against corruption

The Government has announced that it will legislate to force greater transparency around the ownership and control of private companies in New Zealand. This is a positive move that will help the fight against domestic corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, and the general use of New Zealand as a haven to hide the money of foreign oligarchs.

Commerce Minister David Clark announced yesterday that Cabinet has agreed to introduce legislation to establish a public register of the “beneficial ownership of companies”. This will require the accurate listing of who really owns and controls businesses here. And it will involve some strong compliance measures.

This is a real blow to wealthy vested interests attempting to keep any riches and ill-gotten gains secret from the public. Corporate New Zealand is being made to tidy up its act.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mike Hosking: Three Waters reform looks doomed


My gut says the idea that the Three Waters programme is on its inevitable path to nowhere. 

We have predicted since the start of this that the consultation would be rejected.  We have seen the delays, legislation was going in last year, then April this year, and now it's delayed until who knows when. 

A committee was set up to rummage around the remnants of what is left, to try and come up with something that is workable. That went back to the Minister a bit over a week ago, but already with councils including Auckland rejecting the rework. 

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive: the lights are changing and mandates going as PM declares Covid success (but how will Daniel react?)

In a letter to the Dominion-Post today, a Daniel Smith from Lower Hutt tells us what he thinks of at least one aspect of National Party policy on Covid-19.

He says recent calls by Chris Bishop and Christopher Luxon to immediately withdraw Covid-19 mandates at a time when the majority of New Zealand is still experiencing very high rates of hospitalisation

“… beggars belief and is nothing less than irresponsible.

“Have these people not seen what has occurred in the multitude of other countries with limited pandemic control measures in place? If not, they need to start paying attention.”

“Clearly the opposition parties in New Zealand, which are supposed to be advocating for greater accountability, don’t feel they should be held accountable [for] their own poor-quality policy proposals. We deserve better.”

Whether or not things are better under Jacinda Ardern is open to debate. But they are different.

Graham Adams: Next stop for co-governance - science and universities

Graham Adams: The inevitable conclusion to such a makeover, especially if the Green Paper is read alongside Te Pūtahitangi, would be co-governance with iwi of universities & Crown Research Institutes.

Eminent professors Elizabeth Rata and Brian Boyd have weighed into the mātauranga Māori debate over plans for a radical remake of the nation’s science and research sector. They argue that a ‘Tiriti-led’ system is as nonsensical as ‘Christian-led’ or ‘Xi Jinping thought-led’ science.

One of the most significant examples of chicanery by Jacinda Ardern’s administration is that, even as New Zealanders have been enjoined to “follow the science” over vaccination and Covid management generally, it has been simultaneously engaged in a stealthy project that will undermine the integrity of science and the nation’s scientific institutions.

Matt Ridley: How Putin Spent Millions Spreading Fake News About Fracking

When Lorraine Allanson spoke up in favour of drilling for shale gas in her part of North Yorkshire, activists cut off her internet, called her a “whore” and linked her to a fake crime number. “Shouting, abuse, public defecation, intimidation, hijacking lorries to stop deliveries, blocking the village street, this was the locals’ daily experience,” she wrote in her book My Story.

The wave of noisy protests against shale gas in Lancashire and Yorkshire in recent years looked like a grassroots movement. It was anything but.

It was peopled by a middle class rent-a-crowd, ramped up by misleading scare stories from Friends of the Earth, amplified by the BBC and The Guardian, funded by wealthy hedge-fund billionaires and welcomed by incumbent energy firms worried by the prospect of new competition for renewables, nuclear or offshore gas.

All this suited Vladimir Putin’s regime, because banning shale kept the gas underground and left us more dependent on Russia for our energy supplies.

Clive Bibby: Letter from the Provinces

Open letter to David Seymour, Christopher Luxon and all potential candidates from both the Act and National parties offering themselves to the electorate at the next general election. 

It is becoming common place for those of us here in the provinces who are suffering under the dictatorial whims of the current administration to hear that the cavalry is about to come over the hill and wipe away any trace of this disastrous spell on the treasury benches - almost as if we would be able to blot it out of memory like a bad dream.

Let’s examine whether this confidence in the alternative might be misplaced. 

NZCPR Newsletter: Labour IS the Crisis

In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, National’s new leader Christopher Luxon claimed New Zealand has a cost-of-living-crisis.

At first the Prime Minister denied it. But after a One News political opinion poll
showed Labour trailing National, she embraced it, announcing an immediate 3-month 25 cents a litre cut in petrol tax, and blaming international forces and the war in the Ukraine for our troubles, rather than her management of our economy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Barry Soper: Why can't this Government make a decision and announce it at once?

What is it about this Government that sees it make decisions, which to me seem not to be based on sound information, that can't be quickly announced - and even when they are announced, they won't be implemented immediately?

It keeps the country in suspense, creates uncertainty for those who actually have to make sound economic decisions based on the Beehive's latest pronouncements and leaves us all in a state of bewilderment and confusion.

Why on earth a government can't do its job and actually govern, make a decision and announce it - and then stand by it - is beyond most of us.

Is it about power or just plain incompetence?

Kate Hawkesby: If I was National, I'd be making law and order a big issue


I popped into my local dairy the other day and was surprised to see two policemen standing there.

I asked if they’d had a burglary, and one of the owners told me, not today, the Police were just here talking to them about safety protocols and how to beef up security. I asked why, had something happened.

They said they’d been ram raided, and since then they’d installed a fog cannon machine which she pointed to on the ceiling – a large contraption resembling an air-conditioning unit which, once a button is pressed by staff, sends immediate fog throughout the shop allowing staff to scramble and escape quickly if an intruder came in with a weapon.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Rodney Hide: Journalism in Aotearoa

If you want the lazy job in Aotearoa, be a journalist.

You write stories. Nothing could be easier.

You gather up some facts, get some expert comment, string it together with words to make a story -- or, in the sophisticated parlance of Aotearoa journalism, your narrative.

There is an infinite number of facts to choose amongst but your selection is made easy: you choose the facts that are easy to get and that are agreeable to you. After all, it’s your narrative.

The same for experts. There’s countless experts, often saying different things. It could get confusing. But it’s not. You quote the expert that says things agreeable to you. Also, the easy ones ready with a quote and keen to be the news. That’s why we hear from the same experts over and over.

Bryce Edwards: Labour needs to rediscover its political soul

In the last few days the Labour Government has come in for criticism for its panicked pandering to opinion polls. Last week it announced petrol tax cuts and reduced public transport fares. This was in response to pressure from opponents and the public who alleged the Government was out of touch on the cost of living crisis, and following a poll showing Labour behind National.

Likewise, the Government has decided to fast-forward the dismantling of the Covid protections framework – expect to see Covid passes and mandates being phased out. This all has the appearance of Labour choosing pragmatism over principle.

TVNZ’s Jack Tame has been scathing, telling his Newstalk ZB audience on Saturday that the recent petrol tax cuts were a kneejerk reaction: “The truth is, petrol taxes would never have been cut if Labour had been well ahead in last week’s poll. They saw the poll numbers. They freaked out. They dropped almost $400m to try and win back some popularity.” Tame argued that there are more targeted ways to relieve the cost of living crisis.

Richard Prebble: It is going to be a landslide defeat for Labour

Labour is heading for a landslide defeat. The seeds of its coming defeat were sown in its record victory.

Jacinda made it the “Covid Election”. We were promised we were at the front of the vaccine queue. MIQ was going to keep us safe.

Some 400,000 mainly female National voters crossed over to vote Labour.

Not one crossed over for the party’s manifesto. It was for Labour’s handling of covid.

Support has held up. In the Ipsos Issues Monitor in February 75 per cent of respondents thought the restrictions were about right, or could have been tighter. 47 per cent wanted the border kept closed.

In just one month 75 per cent of the electorate in the Kantar poll say it is time for tourists to return. This is an extraordinary turn around.

Why the change? Voters learn from experience. Even those who have not caught Omicron know people who have caught it. We are all close contacts.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Karl du Fresne: Media freedom in New Zealand and how we differ from Putin's Russia

The tragedy in Ukraine illustrates with striking clarity the importance of a free and independent press.

People frequently express the naïve hope that the Russian people will rise up and depose the fascist war criminal Vladimir Putin, but that won’t happen as long as he exerts almost total control of the media.

Even in the digital age, most Russians get their information from state-controlled sources – mostly the TV news. That enables Putin and his apparatchiks to manipulate public opinion by bombarding the country with misinformation.

As a result, most Russians are convinced the invasion of Ukraine is a “special military operation” undertaken with the noble purpose of liberating the country from Nazis, drug-runners and terrorists. Or, as an alternative justification, that the Ukrainian government is a puppet regime of Western powers hostile to the beloved motherland. Failing that, there’s the rationale that the invasion was necessary to protect the Russian-speaking minority from genocide at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists. Or how about the argument that Ukraine is rightly part of Russia anyway? Take your pick.

Dr Lawrie Knight: Fact checking Māori health claims that led to the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill

A decision has been made by government to create a separate Health Service for Māori based on Waitangi Report 2575 (Ref 15) and the Te Ora Report (Ref 1).

Māori doctors and health leaders have called the New Zealand health system "systemically racist" primarily contributing to poor Māori health and reduced Māori longevity.

The four most common claims made are:

Saturday, March 19, 2022

John Franklin: “We are now One People”

The current Labour government is purposely ceding control of New Zealand’s assets and infrastructure to the Iwi elite because they represent the indigenous people of NZ in line with the unworkable suggestions of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

This is not a theory; it’s a provable fact, there is evidence that it is part of a deliberate agenda, there is also the evidence of what they have already achieved to date, the evidence is there to see.

He Puapua is the name of the driving body set up by the current Labour government to push this agenda. Meet the team behind He Puapua below, there is only ever going to be one beneficiary from this group, the Iwi elite.

Point of Order: Faafoi is sharing few firm figures on the funding of public broadcasting after TVNZ and RNZ have been merged

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had few firm figures to share with the public, when he was questioned in Parliament about the merger of TVNZ and Radio New Zealand and the likely cost to taxpayers.

Budget confidentiality was one part of the explanation he gave for keeping numbers under wraps. Not knowing perhaps explains some, if not most, of the rest.

One number was provided in response to the first question asked by National’s Melissa Lee on Thursday:

Breaking Views Update: Week of 13.3.22

Saturday March 19, 2022 

Iwi water role too much for Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peter says giving iwi half the seats on the boards running the country’s water infrastructure will do nothing for ordinary Māori.

He says iwi are making demands in the name of the mass of Māori who are never consulted.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Caleb Anderson: NZ History Curriculum

The final version of the New Zealand History Curriculum contained no significant changes in spite of widespread concerns. The consultation process was an exercise in window dressing. The review panel was stacked, the terms of reference limited, the period of consultation constricted, and the outcome predetermined. 

My concern is not that there are controversial ways of looking at history, this is what makes history so exhilarating. My concern is that alternative perspectives can be deliberately suppressed in order to advance one perspective alone, creating the impression that alternative perspectives are not credible. As a consequence, critical knowledge is cast to the wind, perspectives become untethered from the events which gave rise to them, and the deliberate selection of some facts, and denial of others, can create questionable conclusions, unbalanced views, and unjustified causes.

Melanie Phillips: The ominous subtext of Nazanin's release

Is it a sign that the US really is about to turn the west itself into Iran’s hostage?

The British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been incarcerated in Iran for nearly six years on trumped-up charges of sedition, is back in the UK.

On a personal level, this is truly wonderful news. Her arrest and detention were unspeakable, with the Iranian regime playing cat-and-mouse with her during the years of negotiations for her release.

Karl du Fresne: Can Wellington rediscover its lost mojo

I spent a couple of hours wandering the streets of downtown Wellington this week. What a dismal experience.

Actually, it was worse than dismal. It was profoundly depressing. The city where I spent most of my working life looks as if it has lost the will to live.

John Key got into a lot of trouble in 2013 for saying Wellington was a dying city. It seemed a preposterous statement then, but if Key said it today, I could only agree.

Absolutely Positively Wellington? That was the city’s confident – you might say brash – slogan in the 1990s. Now it sounds like a black joke. Ditto the phrase “Coolest little capital in the world”, which is how Lonely Planet (not an authoritative guide, even at the best of times) dubbed the city in 2014.

Kate Hawkesby: I hope more Russians see Putin's lies for what they are


I hold out hope that media reports that Russia’s ugly war could be over in about 10 days prove true. 

I also hold out hope that claims peace talks are working, prove to be true. Because even if this does wrap up after a month, which in the grand scheme of wars seems a relatively short time, it has nonetheless been utterly heart breaking, painful and abhorrent to watch. And that’s part of the problem, we’ve seen it all unfold in front of us for the past 3 weeks like a horror show we just can’t switch off.