Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Graham Adams: Stuff crowns itself the arbiter of truth

The media site’s grip on “facts and science” is selective and shaky.

Stuff appears to be taking its self-appointed role as the Ministry of Truth extremely seriously — despite its extremely patchy record on covering what it regards as science and facts.

On August 14, it launched Fire and Fury, an hour of taxpayer-funded agitprop that was designed to demonise anti-vaccine mandate protesters outside Parliament in February as being the dupes of far-right conspiracy theorists and white supremacists.

Its evident overreach was met with derision in some quarters — and even opened the door for Voices for Freedom, a group opposed to lockdowns, Covid vaccines, mandates and Three Waters, to thank the documentary’s host, Paula Penfold, for helping boost its subscriber numbers by 400 per cent.

Garrick Tremain: Trust Jacinda?

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Jacinda's lies, pipe dreams and porkies! 

Wendy Geus: Tim Roxborogh Wears His Bias Loudly

Luxon wears his religion loudly, according to Tim Roxborogh on the weekend collective. My first reaction was: Tim Roxborogh wears his bias loudly.

I went to church and Sunday school as a child, but am not religious. I do not judge others for their religious beliefs.

We can only surmise that, for Roxborogh, religion, particularly Christianity, is a dangerous thing.

Mike Hosking: This Government is simply dishonest about tax

Once again, I find myself a bit confounded by a government that seems, at heart, basically dishonest.

Can they argue the GST treatment on KiwiSaver fees is not a new tax, given they said there would be no new taxes?

Yes they can, because GST is not a new tax.

But are you paying more tax because of the Government's move on KiwiSaver fees?

Bob Jones: More bogus human rights nonsense

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt stated last week, “many renters are having to make trade-offs between their fundamental human rights, such as the right to adequate food and the right to a decent home. A home is first and foremost a fundamental human right and not an investment,” he repeated. This garbage is fairy tale nonsense.

He continued on…referring to a non-existent country he called Aotearoa NZ, Hunt claimed it’s in breach of a “legally binding international human rights obligation.” What this agreement was he didn’t advise, but probably he was referring to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That was simply a wish list of perceived desirable aspirations and as such worthy.

My complaint is the word “Rights.” Saying someone has a human right to something implies that someone or something else has an obligation to provide it and therein lies the problem.

David Seymour: New Report Highlights Policy Failures Of Co-Government Agenda

“Dr Bryce Wilkinson’s damning report into the Government’s misguided approach to our health system is evidence of why we need to move on from Labour’s co-Government agenda,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The report says that failings within our health system stem from an endemic approach within the Labour Government to characterise things purely on race, rather than diagnosing the issue using good data and applying the best solution. Wilkinson states: “Those who are serious about wanting to close the gaps should be serious about assessing causes and finding what works. On the evidence reviewed in this paper, Officials are not seriously interested in assessing the causes of poor outcomes for Māori and others. This is a very discouraging finding; billions of dollars are being spent annually. No wonder outcomes remain poor.”

Chris Trotter: Mistrusting Democracy.

Jan Tinetti, Associate Minister of Education, is firmly of the view that those who subscribe to “an ideology of hate” have no place on a school board of trustees. So convinced is the Minister, that she is actively seeking administrative and/or legislative changes to prevent such persons from being nominated. Though doubtless undertaken with the best of intentions, Tinetti’s initiative is deeply troubling. In a democracy, the idea that the state is qualified to decide which ideologies are acceptable for candidates for public office to hold, and which are not, should be laughed off the political stage.

Andrew Bolt REACTS to interpol leak and Jacinda Ardern's response

Jacinda Ardern and the banning of entry of Australian journalists to New Zealand.

Point of Order: Long Covid: less about health, more about politics?

Covid doesn’t grab British headlines these days. Recent coverage instead picked up on heat-related deaths from July’s scorching weather.

Shame that there wasn’t more probing into that data set. Because there was some good news. The – deep breath now – age standardised mortality rates for England and Wales in the year to date are at almost their lowest-ever level.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Garrick Tremain: Bureaucracy growth

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on just another ministry! 

Bryce Wilkinson: Every life is worth the same - The case for equal treatment

Taxpayers commonly work hard to earn the money that governments take in taxes. Knowing the effort sacrificed they naturally want governments to spend that money wisely and well.

Value for money from pharmaceutical spending depends on the medicine’s efficacy for treating an accurately diagnosed condition.

The skills going into the discovery and production of medicines do not depend on the country of origin, creed, religion, or race of those involved. Neither do diagnostic skills.

Bryce Edwards: Has the Govt become too focused on comms instead of delivery?

When politicians are failing to deliver, they tend to prioritise their communications efforts. It’s not surprising therefore that the spend on consultants and public relations has risen dramatically under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Ardern is an accomplished communicator and knows the value of good public relations in politics. After all, this is what she got her university degree in.

$1bn spend on consultants each year

Labour’s spending on contractors and consultants has climbed to nearly $1bn a year, despite Labour coming to power suggesting that they would rein in this use of the private sector.

Point of Order: There’s a lesson here for Tamati Coffey

You should tweak things to fix a cock-up, not to create one

Inland Revenue Minister David Parker joined the ranks of the Government’s tweakers when he announced his department is refining the screening tests for eligibility for the Cost of Living Payments ahead of the second payment being made from 1 September.

This refinement – the introduction of extra checks to stop cost-of-living payments being made to people based overseas – follows Inland Revenue’s finding about 31,000 of the 1.4 million people who received the first payment might have been overseas. They will have to provide further information before receiving further payments.

Mike Hosking: Economics of idiots causing labour shortage

The statistic that should send a chill through every one of us was the one you might have seen over the weekend from a construction company.

They hired 52 people, but lost 54 to poaching.

It's that fundamentally destructive aspect of the economy that has seen us almost certainly in a recession in the first half of this year, and quite possibly another one in the latter part of this year and into next.

The economy is broken, it can't function without enough people and we don’t have enough people.

Net Zero Watch - Green Britain: Energy bills to wipe out almost three quarters of state pension


In this newsletter:

1) Green Britain: Energy bills to wipe out almost three quarters of state pension
The Daily Telegraph, 28 August 2022 

2) Green Britain: Almost one in four say they won’t turn heating on this winter
The Daily Telegraph, 29 August 2022

Kate Hawkesby: Dire straits for Queenstown hospo is heartbreaking


“All I do is cry” was the quote that broke my heart over the weekend.

The ODT had a story about the state of Queenstown at the moment, and it talked to café and restaurant owners who’re still in dire straits over lack of staff. They claim there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and that this is worse than Covid was. 

Hospitality NZ’s regional manager was quoted as saying that it’s such a pressure cooker situation that, ''It's becoming a luxury for our operators to open at the moment.'' Imagine that. A luxury to even open your doors.

Cam Slater: It’s Called the Wrap up Smear

How state and media players smeared Avi Yemini

Yesterday we broke the story of how Police used a NZ Herald smear article written by an anonymous person to seek further information so that they could ban Avi Yemini from New Zealand. This tactic is known as a “wrap up smear” in political vernacular, and it is precisely what was done to Avi Yemini.

Here is a video from Nancy Pelosi who explains precisely how you conduct a wrap up smear.

Wendy Geus: Luxon Misses the Boat over Hosking’s Challenge

Mike Hosking was on a roll last week. With Mallard exiting the House en route to Ireland, he put in a call to Christopher Luxon’s office asking if he would recall Mallard from Ireland when he becomes PM.

My immediate thought, with a recent softening in the polls, this could be the moment he grabs back the narrative and the lost voters; who see a leader showing real leadership making a (popular) executive decision. To me, it was a no-brainer. With Labour wallowing around in the mud, what better time to take the moral high ground?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Clive Bibby: The Huiarua / Matanui betrayal


Recently I enjoyed the experience of helping two young local men shear some of my sheep.

The exercise was a mixture of one that helped to restore my faith in our local farm based economy but also another that reinforced my concerns about the contemptuous manner in which the farming industry is being treated by the current government. 

Who would have thought that it would be possible to have two views of the same cornerstone industry that are so diametrically opposed. 

Point of Order: Unlike our leader, Joe Biden is a bloke and he is much older

But another big difference is that he is a Democrat

Point of Order’s attention was drawn to a post on The Standard headed Labour’s Ardern and Democrats’ Biden: Learnings.

Written under the pseudonym Advantage, the article kicks off:

Lindsay Mitchell: Why Do Our Young Lead Developed World In Poor Mental Health?

In 2020, UNICEF ranked New Zealand last of 38 developed countries in child mental well-being. In a new report for Family First, “Child and Youth Mental Health: Why New Zealand's young lead the developed world in poor mental health”, researcher Lindsay Mitchell explores the UNICEF claim.

"What I found was NZ has the worst youth suicide, self-harm and bullying statistics. Mental disorders have risen significantly, as has consumption of antidepressants and anti-psychotics. These increases are above what is occurring in the general population,” says Lindsay Mitchell.

Bryce Edwards: Brian Tamaki’s Destiny Church party is nothing more than pantomime

Far too much attention is paid to the endless political pronouncements and activities of Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church. Last week the Bishop dominated a lot of political coverage and debate with his protest at Parliament and the announcement of yet another political party – Freedom NZ.

There is a tendency to take Tamaki and his church at face value. He and his followers are constantly painted as a bona fide threat to the established political order. The reality is nothing Tamaki does or says is particularly worth taking seriously. This is because he and his church are not the serious political movement they pretend to be. Instead, everything that they do is a charade.

Steve Stannard: Why it's important we keep asking questions

I vaguely remember as a child asking my father questions about many and varied things, because I was sure he was the fountain of all knowledge.

That was well before the middle teenage years at which point I suddenly knew much more than him.

Many years later, I recall my children asking me about things: “Why is grass green?” “Why isn’t there a king?” “Why can’t I spend my Monopoly money at Pak-N-Save?”

Being able to confidently answer these makes you feel useful and important as a parent, and as such, questions were encouraged.

Cam Slater: Leaked: Police Begging Interpol for Intel on Avi Yemini

Leaked emails show NZ Police wanted to ban Avi Yemini and desperately sought intel from Interpol to support their desire

Last week Australian journalist Avi Yemini was prevented by Immigration NZ from entering New Zealand. Media at the time suggested that the decision was made by Immigration NZ, but an investigation by The BFD suggests that it was in fact the NZ Police who were acting to stop both Avi Yemini and Rukshan Fernando from entering New Zealand and covering the protest at parliament in Wellington.

There is an interesting timeline in play here. An article appeared in the NZ Herald on 20 August that sought to smear the two journalists. The article was unattributed to any journalist. In that article they stated:

Mike Hosking: When will this Govt actually accept accountability?

Accountability is one of the most important attributes of leadership.

If you have a mandate to make decisions, then they must be defended and the decision maker must be held to account.

This Government doesn’t want to be held to account.

The Aged Care Association wrote to the Health Minister. Their warning was that the industry was on the verge of collapse.

The job gaps are so great it’s now dangerous.

Garrick Tremain: Candidates

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on running for council! 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

LIndsay Mitchell: More children unsafe under Ardern's watch

Jacinda Ardern in 2017:

“...we are small enough that we can absolutely introduce child wellbeing policies so that New Zealand is once again a great place to bring up children and be a child.”

Since then, more children are being investigated for family harm incidents:

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: The desecularisation of NZ government

The first New Zealand Parliament … in 1854 separated church and state more sharply than in the Australian colonies. In rejecting a state church, New Zealand was more secular than its parent societies. 
-  Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (original emphasis)

Addressing Rurawhe as "Mr Speaker elect" the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern recited a phrase in Te Reo Māori. "Translated it means, 'may the mouthpiece of e hoa, the temple of Rātana support and guide the mouthpiece of the house'."
– 1News 24 August

Well, I for one hope that ‘e hoa’ – or any temple for that matter – doesn’t do anything of the sort.

Chris Trotter: A Bridge Of Insufficient Strength.

A great deal can be learned from the metaphors politicians choose to illustrate the challenges they are required to overcome. At the recent gathering of Māori and Pakeha leaders at the Māori King’s Turangawaewae marae, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, gave us the metaphor of te Tiriti o Waitangi as a bridge. Somehow, she suggested, New Zealanders must be brought safely across this fragile structure. Her job is to lead them.

Listening to the Prime Minister, I was reminded of the compelling final scene of the movie The Man Who Would Be King, in which Sean Connery strides bravely towards safety across a swaying rope bridge. Behind him, enraged tribesmen hack away furiously at the anchoring cables. Beneath him, a yawning chasm waits to swallow-up the foolhardy Scottish soldier.

Certainly, it is difficult to escape the notion that the Prime Minister perceives this present moment to be one of considerable historical danger.

Point of Order: Thanks Minister – we now know what Govt is investing in forestry

But chatting and singing to hasten tree growth shouldn’t cost much

Point of Order’s Beehive monitors couldn’t get too wildly excited by the latest announcements from the Beehive.

A bridge was opened – the press statement calls it the Old Māngere Bridge Replacement, rather than the New Māngere Bridge.

Pacific peoples and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have welcomed “a new dawn of partnership and prosperity” at a Dawn Raids apology commemoration ceremony in Auckland. Among other things, this suggests the Dawn Raids apology a year ago is to be remembered in commemoration ceremonies every year.

New appointments have been made to the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group and the term of the group has been extended until December.

The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green in response to flooding in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough districts.

And progress is being made on another Treaty settlement. Ngāti Ruapani mai Waikaremoana and the Crown have signed an Agreement in Principle.

Point of Order: In politics there are lies.

And then there are lies

Russia’s foreign ministry recently put out a handy three minute video to commemorate (celebrate is probably not the word) the 83rd anniversary of the signing of the Hitler-Stalin alliance on 23 August 1939.

As befits professionals, they try to avoid direct lies and use as much of the truth as possible. Inconvenient facts (like the division of Eastern Europe into zones of occupation, deportation and extermination) are omitted.

But you have to pause at the concluding sentence: ‘Thanks to the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, the War began on strategically more advantageous borders for the Soviet Union, and hundreds of thousands of lives were saved’

So much to discuss.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Ross Meurant: Democracy in New Zealand

What is “democracy”?

A system of government by the whole population of a country, typically through elected representatives.

By extension of logic, this concept suggests that the populace is equal?

According to a Holy Grail(1) apparently chaps in American times gone bye, by the name of Jefferson and later Lincoln, espoused and subscribed to the doctrine that, “all men are created equal” as a fundamental element of the American Constitution.

NZCPR Newsletter: Local Body Election Exposé

Local body elections are well under way.

Nominations have closed and ballot papers will be delivered from the middle of next month.

Voting closes at midday on October 8 and preliminary results will be known shortly after. The final results will be declared a week or so later.  

In some local authority areas, competition is fierce, while in other areas, it’s been a struggle to get people to put their names forward.

One well-contested election is the race to lead the country’s largest city, where 23 candidates are standing for the Auckland Mayoralty.

Cam Slater: 129 Ram Raids since May

Nothing tells voters that it is time to change the government like out-of-control crime and a Government intent on cuddles for crimes instead of jail. There have been 129 ram raids since May, almost all of them on the watch of new Police Minister, Chris Hipkins.

Bryce Edwards: Mallard’s diplomatic appointment lacks integrity

Trevor Mallard is widely regarded as the worst Speaker of Parliament the country has ever had. He has always been a controversial and divisive figure, prone to temper tantrums and nasty attacks, but in his role as Speaker he has seriously botched a number of issues he has been responsible for.

A recent 1News opinion poll found only 17 per cent of the public approved of the way Mallard was doing his job. He had to go because he was causing too much reputational damage to both the institution of Parliament and to the Labour Government, and so he has finally been eased out of Parliament’s top job.

Point of Order: Power without the pain of unbearable prices – how our electricity companies have been performing

The big power companies on which New Zealanders depend for energy supplies in their homes, factories and farms have had a remarkable season. But unlike their counterparts in Australia and the United Kingdom they have navigated it without inflicting the same sort of pain on their consumers in soaring prices.

An earlier post from our authoritative London writer this week on Point of Order charted the UK issues. The lessons are instructive.

Here in NZ, consumers may have complained, too, but by comparison they enjoyed plentiful supplies without the problems when they become too dependent on wind and solar power as a result of the drive to decarbonise.

Net Zero Watch - Green Britain: Three quarters of pubs face extinction as energy prices soar


In this newsletter:

1) Green Britain: Three quarters of pubs face extinction as energy prices soar
Business Matters, 23 August 2022
2) Energy bills to hit £6,600 a year in spring, warns Cornwall Insight
The Daily Telegraph, 26 August 2022

Guy Hatchard: How A Small Scientific Elite Dictates Government Policy

Fact Check: Are Excess Deaths in New Zealand the world’s highest or lowest?

The University of Otago publishes a blog called Public Health Expert. The 24th August edition was entitled “The Covid-19 experience in Aotearoa New Zealand and other comparable high-income jurisdictions and implications for managing the next pandemic phase“.

The authors were Dr. Jennifer Summers, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr. Lucy Telfar Barnard, Dr. Julie Bennett, Dr. Amanda Kvalsvig, and Prof Michael Baker, who all work at the Otago University Department of Public Health.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 21.8.22

Saturday August 27, 2022 

Auckland Uni pilots rongoā programme to help Māori recover faster from injury

A new programme designed to help Māori recover faster from injury is being piloted at the University of Auckland.

Named Ngākau Oho, the university and ACC programme aims to implement rongoā Māori (traditional healing practices) in mainstream healthcare systems in Aotearoa.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Derek Mackie: Democracy's Overrated

     A: Art Ful-Kwizzer 
    W: Will E Jackson 

A: Another week, another government cock-up! How do they manage to be so consistently incompetent, we ask ourselves?
 On NZ’s top rating, no-holds-barred, political talk show - Would I Lie to You - we hold politicians to account for their actions, or lack of them.
 Unlike our “Tame” mainstream competitor, we’re not scared to ask the hard questions....or financially rewarded not to ask them. 

 Tonight we have an exclusive interview with Will E Jackson, leader of New Zealand’s youngest political party, Democracy’s Overrated
I’ll be asking Mr Jackson some probing questions, demanding to know on behalf of all Kiwis, why our democracy is no longer fit-for-purpose…in his view, not mine. 
And why he contends that his party and its contentious policies are the best future path for our country. 

 So, no biting, gouging or kicking. Let’s get ready to rrrrrrrrumble!
 Welcome to the programme, Will. 

Kate Hawkesby: Local Body Elections are coming up, will you be voting?


Do you know we can start voting for our mayors and local councillors in about a month's time? Are you going to?

Apathy is the problem with local body elections. Always has been.

We don’t know who anyone is, we can’t be bothered, we don’t care.

But actually, we do care about our communities don't we? Don’t we care about what's happening to our local shops and our streets at the moment?

Mike Hosking: Political opinions aside, it's been a good week for democracy

It's potentially been a good week for democracy.

The Brian Tamaki march -come-party launch gave us one more option to vote for next year.

I personally don’t think it will go anywhere. On day one, one of the parties that allegedly signed up said they didn’t sign up, so if that’s the opening shot they have trouble.

But in an MMP environment choice is always good, even if the choice won’t appeal to many.

Garrick Tremain: Ponytail fetish

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Luxon not shaping up! 

Point of Order: How the state went shopping in Austria to have 500 houses assembled in Titahi Bay in the 1950s

Readers who go wandering around the Titahi Bay area of Porirua may well stumble upon the consequences of the state acting both as land developer and builder of state-owned homes when the private sector failed to meet the demand for housing in the early 1950s.

In 1952 the then Minister of Housing, W.S.Goosman, approved 1000 prefabricated houses to be bought overseas.

Five hundred of the pre-fabricated dwellings came from Austria to meet state housing demand.

Point of Order: The PM is an unambiguous champion of all Kiwis having votes of equal weight? Not if the Treaty is tossed in to perplex her

The Prime Minister failed to unambiguously champion the democratic ideal that all citizens should have equal rights as citizens, when she was questioned on Q + A a few weeks ago.

She flunked the test again in Parliament this week.

Guy Hatchard: The Tide May Be Beginning to Turn, But Most Are Pressing on Regardless

The publication and analysis of damning official data from the UK, Israel, and all points of the compass (see here and here) has established that Covid vaccination is driving adverse effects and all-cause deaths on an unprecedented scale.

Suddenly a few officials are offering apologies. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US CDC, told us last week that they had got their pandemic response wrong.

Bryce Edwards: Why the Gaurav Sharma drama is important

Is the Gaurav Sharma saga finally over? And was all the drama worth it?

After two weeks of extraordinary infighting, the Hamilton West MP has now been expelled from the Labour caucus, and sent to the margins of political life as an Independent in Parliament. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared the matter “concluded and resolved”. And there’s a general sense from most media coverage and commentary that Sharma is a hapless primadonna with little to show for his rebellion.

Bob Jones: More hitherto unknown human rights

Reporting on a voluntary palliative care group in Marlborough, the Dominion-Post quoted one member inventing yet another hitherto unknown human right, specifically,

“Everyone has the right to die comfortably…”

I’ll say it again, re this seemingly endless flow of “rights” claims; they’re aspirations, usually desirable to be sure, but rights they’re not.

Lindsay Mitchell: MSM and poor reporting

A TV1 news item says about the inquiry into abuse-in-care:

"A report from the Inquiry shows one in three young people placed in residential care by the state between 1950 and 1999 went on to serve a prison sentence. The research shows Māori were even more likely to end up in prison, with 42% serving a custodial sentence as an adult. For the general population during the same period less than one in 10 ended up in prison." (My emphasis)

I got stuck on the last part of that. 'Less than' is indeterminate but suggests not much less than. Which seems way too high. From the actual report:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Mike Hosking: Government's moves won't mean cheaper groceries

Communism has finally arrived and it's lobbed into Countdown.

Or New World or Pak'nSave.

Anyway, your can of beans will now be priced by David Clark.

I am assuming suppliers will be happy. Under the Government's threat yesterday, and that’s all you can call it, supermarkets have to cut a deal with anyone and everyone at commercial rates.

Point of Order: Expect to hear heaps about supermarkets and child welfare changes

But few will notice the fate of sod-turning ceremonies

Uh, oh. We no longer have a simple sod-turning ceremony to kick off work on a new road, pathway or whatever.

The dignitaries who are invited to these photo opportunities will find they are attending something called a huringa nuku.