Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bryce Edwards: The Gamechanger PM and polls

Last night’s opinion polls answered the big question of whether a switch of prime minister would really be a gamechanger for election year. The 1News and Newshub polls released at 6pm gave the same response: the shift from Jacinda Ardern to Chris Hipkins has changed everything, and Labour is back in the game, surging ahead of National.

The poll results for 1News and Newshub were remarkably similar. But to comprehend their message it’s still best to average them out. Here’s the average party vote results:

Kate Hawkesby: Labour is still the same, even with Chris Hipkins in charge


So that feels like a really long holiday, did I miss anything?

Jacinda Ardern quitting seems like a long time ago now given all the news we've had since. But I can tell you my first thought was not – oh dear, misogyny forced her out. The true reason of course was the polls, the research, the divisiveness, the polarisation, the fact Labour was on a hiding to nothing with her at the helm. 

Ani O’Brien: Luxon can’t afford to continue ‘small target’ politics

A ‘small target’ strategy is not going to cut it anymore if National want to win the upcoming election. The game has changed and the game plan needs to change as well.

Jacinda Ardern’s abrupt departure from the 9th floor has the potential to derail what looked to be an easy trot into the Beehive for Christopher Luxon and his team. It will no longer be sufficient for Luxon to simply not be Ardern while offering nothing up as an alternative.

John Porter: A Coup by Stealth

Were you worried about 3 Waters?

Were you worried about a separate Maori health authority?

Were you worried about The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngai Tahu Representation) Bill?

Were you deeply worried about Co-Governance?

I have good news for you!

Mike's Minute: Polls show the Govt got the hit it wanted, but issues still remain

There would have been a sigh of relief last night.

Not just from the Labour Party, but in the two newsrooms who put the polls out.

It's rare two polls come out on the same day, and last time it happened they didn’t match, and therefore you had no idea who was accurate or not.

Net Zero Watch - Let's face it: Net Zero is dead in the water


In this newsletter:

1) India to use emergency law to maximise coal power output
Reuters, 30 January 2023
2) Forget Net Zero: Oil and gas investment needed for another 30 years, BP warns
The Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2023

Monday, January 30, 2023

Garrick Tremain: First untruth

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on the first untruths by Hipkins! 

Point of Order: Mercury Energy’s hydro power generation has been boosted by a wet half-year

They called it an “atmospheric river”, the weather bombardment which hit NZ’s northern region at the weekend. It exacted a terrible toll on metropolitan Auckland and the rest of the region.

Few living there may have noted a statement from electricity generator Mercury Energy labelled “WET, WET, WET!” This was to emphasise the impact of what the company said had been “the wettest first half-year ever”. Mercury operates the chain of hydro-electricity stations on the Waikato river.

Stuart Smith: Ethical Trade vs Solar Panels

We have rooftop solar at home which has proven to be a sound investment and has made us far more aware of our electricity consumption, thanks to the helpful app. We’ve consciously changed how we consume electricity, to maximise our use of solar power.

Last year New Zealand’s distributed solar generation capacity increased by 33.8 per cent, which is a record increase, so there are many others also enjoying the benefits of rooftop solar.

However, have you ever wondered where solar panels are manufactured and what goes into making them?

Cam Slater: Open and Transparent? Not So Much

Jacinda Ardern claimed that her Labour Government would be the most open and transparent government ever. That was the slogan; reality turned out to be nothing less than an orchestrated litany of lies, cover ups and flannel. They had zero commitment to openness and transparency, and total commitment to deceiving the public

The latest example is the cover-up and lies over Three Waters’ entrenchment. Remember they claimed at the time it was all just a horrible mistake and they were fixing it?

Garrick Tremain: Robbie Burns

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Robbie Burns' and lies! 

Tim Dower: Time for Hipkins to show us what he's made of

Time now for Chris Hipkins to show us what he's made of.

He's done what was required of him and showed up in Auckland over the weekend, now his role is to butt out and leave the rest of the job to the people who know what they're doing.

What the Prime Minister has to get stuck into now is the more serious business of getting the country back on track.

Or as he'll see it, getting Labour back on track to give it a fighting chance at the election in October.

And how does he do that?

Damien Grant: Under Ardern's guidance, we became the nasty team of 5 million

And so it ends. A most remarkable premiership has run its course and all we have left are the memories.

Well. We also have $60 billion of additional sovereign debt, an expanded social welfare roll, inflation, a generation locked out of homeownership, expanded restrictions on free speech, and a container-ship of social meddling, from a ban on plastic shopping bags to a law preventing the sale of cigarettes to anyone born during or after the reign of Sir John Key.

Ardern’s zenith was in the weeks after the Christchurch terror attacks.

Garrick Tremain: Clean-out

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Jacinda getting rid of her rubbish! 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Denis Hall: The Treaty farce

As I lay here in bed this morning trying to make sense in my head of the conundrum that this Treaty farce has all been turned into by despicable government functionaries - who have simply heaped one lie upon another to completely subvert the intentions of the people who lined up in their hundreds to sign the thing - I am almost in despair - but I have to fall back on the simple thing of it.

I have read it over and over - and the Treaty of Waitangi is a simple document - with simple and obvious and straight forward intentions. It emerged out of thirty years of appalling Maori on Maori bloodshed - and Maori on Maori violence with Muskets that touched every Tribe (See Musket Wars) when they slaughtered 20% of their own population - and the Chiefs who instigated the William Yate letter to set the treaty in motion - were the Maori Statesmen of the time to have done that. We should all know their names.

(See and read the William Yate Letter on Google.)

Dr David Lillis: New Zealand Must Fight the New Curriculum


New Zealand Must Fight the New Curriculum  


This article is rather long but then we are talking about the education of future New Zealanders and there is much to be said. The refreshed national curriculum concerns the education of millions of students over future decades and will impose costs of several billion dollars to New Zealand taxpayers. Readers for whom this piece is excessively lengthy can use the headings to go directly to sections of particular interest.

Clive Bibby: Leadership under a National government - what we do and don’t need

It would seem that the election in October is there for the taking for a National party expecting to be fighting a government that has betrayed the trust of the people.

While many within the opposition party will be heaving a huge sigh of relief that the PM has abandoned the sinking ship and, by doing so, presumably made things that much easier, they would be advised to reflect on the real reasons why Labour are in this position facing an inglorious defeat. 

Matthew Birchall: The seduction of grandeur

New Zealand is small and relatively young, but it has a rich history that can help us think through today’s problems. Unfortunately, we often ignore the lessons of the past.

This historical amnesia has a cost, even if it is difficult to quantify.

Over the last several months, I have been exploring the history of our critical infrastructure. It has been a more enjoyable experience than it sounds! From Julius Vogel’s national rail network in the 1870s to the rollout of broadband in the new millennium, New Zealand’s past is littered with fascinating success stories.

James Kierstead: This one takes the cake

Going public with a complaint against your employer is always difficult. But enough is enough. And what better place to do it than in the always-serious Insights 3 column?

Susan Jebb, the head of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, has spoken out against that gravest of office dangers: colleagues who bring cake in to share. ‘If nobody brought cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day,’ Jebb said, ‘but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them.’

Guy Hatchard: The Official Covid Narrative Unravels at a Staggering Pace

This week I might just as well have sat back and let Pfizer shoot itself in the foot, except mainstream media was missing in action. Project Veritas managed to record a senior Pfizer executive admitting they were conducting experiments aimed at mutating even more virulent strains of Covid. The video accumulated more than 20 million views over 48 hours, but among MSM only Tucker Carlson and briefly the Daily Mail ran with this astounding story. Nothing here in New Zealand, as if the most prolific serial killer in history had been caught in the act, but it was judged unnewsworthy.

Answering a question in the House of Commons this week about record levels of excess deaths, the UK Minister for the Environment Therese Coffey replied briefly that it didn’t matter because it was happening all over Europe. Then abruptly sat down. She said this despite the crisis necessitating the construction of temporary morgues across the UK. It is comments like this, along with the Project Veritas sting, which reveals a striking failure of commonsense behind the official pandemic response. So how could this have happened?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Brian Easton: Christmas Briefing Papers

What Was the Prime Minister Reading in the Runup to Election Year?

It’s the summer break. Everyone settles down with family, books, the sun and some fishing. But the Prime Minister has a pile of briefing papers prepared just before Christmas, which have to be worked through. I haven’t seen them. Here is my guess at some of the headline items – in alphabetical order. (The identified ministers are those who were responsible at Christmas.)

Cam Slater: The Reverse Ferrets Have Started

In the media world a reverse ferret is a sudden reversal of an organisation’s editorial or political line on a certain issue. Generally, this will involve no acknowledgement of the previous position. We are about to see the political equivalent of the reverse ferret on policy. The first one to go will be the Radio NZ/TVNZ merger. Sir Peter Gluckman has produced a report on it that says it’s a dog:

Tova O'Brien: Google data reveals how our politicians have left us dazed and confused

I’ve got some fascinating data from Google to share with you.

In the new New Zealand lexicon of the last few years, co-governance has made its home alongside other buzzwords like lockdown, self-iso, WFHunmute, bubble and unmute.

In Google parlance the query “what is co-governance?” is what’s described as a breakout search. A search term which had a tremendous increase, in some cases because these queries are new or had few, if any, prior searches.

Roger Partridge: Labour's problematic new blasphemy laws

Hate speech is back on the Parliamentary agenda for 2023. Justice Minister Kiri Allan’s slimmed down reform proposals are expected to pass into law before the election. Yet her reform is still fraught.

New Zealand’s existing hate speech laws apply only to inviolable characteristics. The protected traits are skin colour, race, ethnicity and national origin.

Allan’s predecessor, Kris Faafoi, proposed adding to these protected characteristics a raft of others, including religious and ethical beliefs, employment and family status, age, sex and gender - and even political opinion.

Eric Crampton: Priorities

When the government broke for the summer, Prime Minister Ardern told her Cabinet to cut its legislative cloth to suit the government’s election-year capacity.

The government was attempting complex reform of the resource management system, council water infrastructure, and the entire health system. It was also setting up an income insurance scheme while shifting the labour market towards an Australian-style wage awards system. And dozens of smaller but still tricky initiatives.

Doing a limited number of things well might just be better than failing at many things simultaneously.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 22.01.23

Saturday January 28, 2023 

Call to prioritise Pacific and Māori health as hospital waiting times increase

In discussing ways to clear hospital beds before winter, Lowe suggested starting with Māori and Pacific patients who have been waiting for more than 12 months, but this was met with hesitation from some of those at the meeing.

“There’s people who are going to die, you can’t just say ‘Well, you're not Māori or Pacific and you’re not top of the list’”, says Adams.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Happy Australia Day!

Australia Day is held on January 26, the date on which the first British settlers arrived to colonize the country in 1788. It's a painful anniversary for hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Australians, marking the start of years of killings and dispossession, and many refer to it instead as Invasion Day. – Google (original emphasis)

Historical revisionism, while often associated with the ultra-right, is actually one of the few things the ultra-left excels at. They constantly tell us that there was an ‘invasion’ of indigenous nations, that the European powers engaged in systematic genocide against the indigenous people, and that 21st-century inhabitants of European descent of a once colonised land have something to ‘apologise’ for and be ‘forgiven’ for.

I reject these claims out of hand.

Don Brash: What does Hipkin's use of "New Zealand" imply?

I’ve been told that our new Prime Minister used the words “New Zealand” at Ratana the other day where Jacinda Ardern would have used “Aotearoa”, or “Aotearoa New Zealand”. And it has been suggested that his usage of the official name of our country rather than either of the ones usually favoured by Ardern is significant, and perhaps suggestive of a desire on his part to distance the Government from some of the more contentious aspects of its policies around co-governance.

If that was his intention, I regret to advise him that merely shifting some of the names is not going to solve the Government’s problem around what might loosely be called Treaty issues.

Bryce Edwards: Time for a sober discussion about toxicity and personality in politics

Since her shock resignation announcement, Jacinda Ardern has been at pains to point out that she isn’t leaving because of the toxicity directed at her on social media and elsewhere, rebutting journalists who suggested misogyny and hate may have driven her from office.

Yet there have been dozens of columns and articles, both domestically and internationally, blaming toxic public criticism for Ardern choosing to step down.

Cam Slater: Nice Words Chris, but What Are You Going to Do about It?

The problem with politicians is that they like to mouth platitudes but very rarely do they back up those platitudes with action. Jacinda Ardern was a classic at it, uttering bumper sticker slogans, but actually doing nothing. Christopher Luxon strikes me as similar.

At Ratana, he said that he opposed co-governance – for public services. Words matter. He should have said he opposed co-governance – full stop. But he didn’t, he added weasel words.

Brendan O'Neill: The Caesars of the Information Age

I thought I would feel some relief when the social-media giants came to their senses and let Donald Trump back on their platforms. Yet now that it’s happened, now that Meta has decreed that Trump has served his time in the virtual wilderness and may once again post on Facebook and Instagram, I just feel unnerved. Unnerved by the extraordinary power these people wield over who may and who may not engage with the billions of souls who gather online. Unnerved by their supranational authority to grant or rescind a licence to speak in the global town square. Unnerved by the historically unprecedented dominion this small clique of the woke rich enjoys over the liberty to utter.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Cam Slater: Polls Show Why Ardern Had to Go

The Taxpayers’ Union/Curia poll gave us the first indication of Labour’s perilous polling and the precipitous decline in Jacinda Ardern’s own rating, showing for the first time net negative ratings. Now Roy Morgan has delivered another reference point that shows how precarious their position is:

Peter Dunne: New Zealand Prime Ministers

Jacinda Ardern and Sir John Key have set a new standard for New Zealand Prime Ministers. Too often Prime Ministers have clung to their position, often through thick and thin, until they have been either been tossed out by the electorate or dumped by their own party. But by resigning during a term, and openly acknowledging they both felt they no longer had "enough in the tank" to carry on, first Key and now Ardern have shown a refreshing honesty. They have set a precedent for their successors to emulate.

Brendan O'Neill: The WEF is a menace to democracy

It’s not often I feel grateful to Keir Starmer. But I did last week when he gave the game away about Davos. Where would he rather be, a journalist asked him: Davos or Westminster? ‘Davos’, Starmer said, without missing a beat. Westminster’s too ‘constrained’, he moaned. It’s ‘just a tribal, shouting place’. Davos, on the other hand, the luxury Alpine resort where the world’s tycoons gather every year to quaff booze and put the world to rights, is a place where you can ‘engage with people’; people ‘you can see [yourself] working with in the future’. Ouch. If I were a British MP, I’d be feeling pretty bruised right now. Starmer wants nothing to do with you noisy tribalists – it’s the world’s woke rich he wants to mingle with.

Point of Order: Inflation is not slowing down yet.... can Hipkins take a tip from Prebble and risk a snap election?

Inflation is showing little sign of slowing down, posing a problem for freshly minted PM Chris Hipkins.

According to that old campaigner Richard Prebble, Hipkins should call a snap election. If he waits till October, he risks being swept away.

The dilemma for the new leader is that fighting an election while inflation is raging is no fun at all. It underlines the extent of Labour’s failure to implement successful economic policies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Rodney Hide: My Single Issue this Election

I am a single-issue voter. I will vote for anyone or any party promising a full inquiry into the safety of the covid-19 vaccine and the treatment of the vaxxed injured. I don’t care about their other policies.

It’s not much. It’s just one vote. But that's all I have. I want to use it to the best effect.

I have never had a high regard for single-issue voters. I figured they were too fixated and not sufficiently aware of the vast array of policies affecting our lives and our country.

And yet here I am.

Thomas Cranmer: Luxon talks co-governance at Rātana Pā

The National Party leader kicked off the political year with a speech at Rātana Pā that sketched out National's approach to the controversial topic of co-governance.

On a beautiful summer’s day yesterday, National’s Christopher Luxon joined other politicians on the annual pilgrimage to Rātana Pā to celebrate the birthday of T. W. Rātana, the founder of the Rātana Church.

Notably, Luxon used his speech to address “the big topic of the day and of the last few years - which has been that word co-governance”. And despite some criticism from Carmel Sepuloni and Marama Davidson for raising the issue yesterday, it was undoubtedly the right time and the right forum to broach the topic.

Garrick Tremain: Psychiatry

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Chris Hipkins seeking advice! 

Net Zero Watch: US states tout Biden's green subsidies to lure clean tech from Europe


In this newsletter:

1) US states tout Biden's green subsidies to lure clean tech from Europe
Financial Times, 24 January 2023
2) Greedy wind lobby is asking Biden for more subsidies 
Washington Examiner, 23 January 2023

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

NZCPR Newsletter: The Ardern Legacy

Appointed as New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 2017, Jacinda Ardern has been described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. She wooed the world with talk of kindness and compassion, while at home ruling like a dictator. No friend of free speech, she had little regard for public opinion and no respect for those with a contrary view.

Using her unmandated ‘Captain’s Calls’, she has destroyed lives, undermined our democracy, and deeply divided our society.

Point of Order: Our politicians have swarmed to Ratana...

......where Hipkins may cause some buzz when he explains his co-governance thinking

Yet another day has passed without Ministers of the Crown posting something to show they are still working for us on the Beehive website. Nothing new has been posted since January 17.

Perhaps the ministers are all engaged in the bemusing annual excursion by politicians of many stripes and a pack of political journalists to Rātana, a small pā between Whanganui and Bulls.

Point of Order: Framing an election-winning budget a priority for Hipkins-led team....

.... but will inflation erode any benefit before it arrives?

Incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has already indicated he intends making the tax system “fairer”. That points to the route a government facing an election could take to tilt the odds towards winning in its favour, given Labour’s support in the last months of the Ardern era had been drifting downwards.

Appearing on AM on Monday, Hipkins said he will focus on bread-and-butter issues, like the cost of living, in his new role.

He also hinted that tax changes could be on the cards, saying “we should always look at how we can make the tax system fairer”.

Don Brash: Does democracy have a future?

The following is an updated version of the final chapter of Don's autobiography Incredible Luck, published in 2014

Over the last couple of decades, the world has watched the Middle East as country after country has tried to establish a democratic regime and country after country has failed. The United States and its allies toppled Saddam Hussein and announced that they wanted to see a democratic regime take root in Iraq. The western powers helped to topple Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, and welcomed moves towards democracy in Tunisia, Egypt and the Yemen. Today, democracy looks like a very frail flower or has completely disappeared in all those countries. Perhaps that can be blamed on the very long history of autocratic rule which preceded the tentative steps towards democracy. Or perhaps it can be blamed on Islam, some strains of which are deeply and explicitly antagonistic to rule by the people.

Cam Slater: Burn, Baby, Burn: Labour’s Great Policy Bonfire

Labour’s worst-ever leader, David Cunliffe, says that Chris Hipkins is going to have to burn a fair bit of policy to the ground in the coming months in order to have any glimmer of hope at the coming election.

Kerre Woodham: A road map for success prioritises fixing our roads

Now some of you when we were talking about roading last year and the potholes and the damage being done to cars and trucks, the state of the roads, some of you might have been wondering what on Earth were banging on about? Most of us don't drive far. Short car trips under 2kms make up nearly a third of all car trips. So, listening to people talking about the appalling state of our roading infrastructure was probably not something directly affecting you.

But perhaps over Christmas, if you managed to get away, you got the dubious pleasure of experiencing our roads for yourselves. And driving to the conditions on occasion, the appalling conditions, means you may well have a greater appreciation for the concerns of the National Road Carriers Association, who say the biggest issue for the road transport industry is the shocking state of New Zealand roads.

Garrick Tremain: Drownings

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on drowning in te reo! 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Bryce Edwards: Labour shifts focus from Grey Lynn to West Auckland

The days of the Labour Government being associated with middle class social liberalism look to be numbered. Soon-to-be Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni are heralding a major shift in emphasis away from the constituencies and ideologies of liberal Grey Lynn and Wellington Central towards the working class politics of West Auckland and the Hutt Valley, where the two new leaders are based.

Hipkins and Sepuloni were elected yesterday and immediately started repositioning their Government away from what might be called the affluent “woking class” towards the “working class”. Gone is an emphasis on cultural politics, and in its place is a laser-like focus on the economy and delivery of better public services to ordinary citizens.

Lindsay Mitchell: Sepuloni

Hot on the heels of media nonsense about Ardern's departure - for instance, it was driven by misogyny despite many of her harshest critics being females - comes the fawning over Sepuloni.

In the NZ Herald Thomas Coughlan writes: