Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Point of Order: Mātauranga Māori will propel Pāpāmoa school kids’ science learning (in te reo)

Two ministerial press statements today draw attention to the Government’s incorporation of mātauranga Māori in its science policies and programmes.

One of these announced the launch of the national space policy, which will oblige our space boffins to bring indigenous knowledge into their considerations.

The national policy document tells us:

Cam Slater: Is National Actually Trying to Help Winston?

Every so often a once-in-a-lifetime issue comes along, an issue you can hang your hat on and grab a chunk of votes. National’s Christopher Luxon just passed up on one that was a sitter and went all woke and womble-like. It’s like he is trying to help Winston Peters grab some of National’s vote.

Garrick Tremain: Ram raiders and raiders

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on government-funded trusts and agencies! 

Mike Hosking: Jan Tinetti represents shoddy government leadership

If you are a regular to this show, then you will know my interest in the Jan Tinetti scandal.

There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind, or I suspect anyone who has followed this, that she misled Parliament.

It has been going on for several weeks now and her conduct has, at last, caught up with her.

You could argue this is a bit beltway - and it is.

Thomas Cranmer: Minister Awaits Review into DOC Funding Hole

Multiple reviews are examining options to address a $25M to $40M funding hole in its operating budget and a reported $300M, 70,000 hour maintenance backlog for huts, tracks and visitor assets.

Following Friday’s revelation that Budget 2023 has left the Department of Conservation with insufficient funding to meet its basic running costs, Chief Executive Penny Nelson sent an email to all staff later that day addressing some of the issues raised in my article.

The email also sheds further light on the precarious financial position that the department now finds itself in. It makes clear that Minister Prime is aware of the situation and is expecting to receive the initial results of several reviews taking place by the end of August.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Once again, National is the party of the flip-flop

I am risk of repeating myself two days in a row, but that’s only because National appears determined to keep making the same mistake

So here we go.

National should not have walked back Simeon Brown’s comments on bilingual road signs.

When National sent Nicola Willis and Chris Bishop onto morning radio shows today, it should’ve been to back up Simeon Brown. Not to back-pedal from what he said.

Wendy Geus: Deathly Silence by our leaders shows NZ's level of wokeness

Tyranny and anarchy rule when free speech dies

Graham Bell, former host of Police Ten 7, recently was bemoaning the demise of the show and the wokeness that did it in and got me thinking, New Zealand is one of the wokest places on earth.

How do I know?

The silence over the government's damaging radical policies, rarely mentioned in the insular mainstream media controlled by the government's PIJF, is deafening. TVNZ is the standard bearer or 'the government's propoganda arm' (quote Peter Dunne)

The media are now almost completely captive of the government's radical agenda.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Point of Order: Govt is open about NZ’s science relationship with China....

.....but a ministerial statement on defence relationship is hard to find

The Government is coy about some aspects of its relationship with China – and with the United States.

Earlier this month, the PM spent a hectic 23 hours in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, where he responded to the superpower security deal just struck between the United States and PNG by saying New Zealand did not support the “militarisation of the Pacific”.

He also said “having a military presence doesn’t necessarily signify militarisation”.

Foreign Affairs analyst Geoffrey Miller commented:

John MacDonald: Change is desperately needed around police mental health call-outs

Late last year, I had a catch-up with the Canterbury Metro Police Commander, Superintendent Lane Todd.

It was just after there’d been a lot of chat about crime in the central city and whether we should be getting a police helicopter in Christchurch - all of that stuff.

So I turned up at Police HQ in the centre of town and spent about an hour with Lane.

It was a really useful meeting - especially when it came to getting an understanding of how much police are involved in mental health call-outs here in Canterbury.

Barry Brill: What will we do about....the mammoth methane mistake

For over 30 years, New Zealanders have believed that they produce relatively high emissions of greenhouse gases; and that our farmers are responsible for nearly half of all those emissions.

No longer. Science moves on.

We now find that all our climate change calculations have been based on a simple but fundamental error.

Cam Slater: How Chris Hipkins Is Failing Us All

Damien Grant wrote an absolute blinder of an article on Sunday. In it he writes about the moral and competency failures of the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. These are inconvenient truths that Hipkins and Labour would rather keep on the down low. But Damien Grant has said it out loud, the Emperor has no clothes:

Mike Hosking: We don't need Māori road signs

What possible, sensible, and the key word here is 'sensible', reason can there be to introduce Māori road signs?

The idea is out for consultation as we speak.

I wonder how much of a rort that is. Is there really consultation? Is anyone actually listening? Or is it a smokescreen to pretend they asked a few people?

The simple truth is the vast majority of us don’t speak Māori. So, in a sheer practical sense, it achieves nothing.

Garrick Tremain: Crime wave

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on crime wave not really happening according to the pollys ! 

Roman Travers: How do NZ's primary industries diversify to keep ahead of global markets?

You'll be well and truly aware that when our primary producers do well, the whole country benefits.

When our farmers, orchardists and horticulturalists make a decent living, they’re able to invest a new capital and clear debt. That all trickles down through to our towns and cities.

Those selling farm implements, car dealers with the latest utes and farm to town cars for the family, boarding schools looking to increase their roles, and the likes of appliance clothing retailers, all reap the benefits of a good harvest.

The problem is that for a long time, even with decent payouts, the rate of inflation and rising costs has absorbed a lot of that disposable income.

Some in the dairy sector have commented about the excitement of increased payouts due to success at the global dairy auction - only to have their margins smashed with rising costs.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: National should never have signed up to housing density

National can call it what they like, they can say it’s a refinement, they can say it’s a sensible change; they can say it’s more ambitious.

But it’s a back down. They’ve backed down on their support of the housing density law.

Good. They should never have signed up to that idea in the first place. It was stupid.

John MacDonald: Time to take vehicles off drunk drivers

Should we be taking vehicles off drunk drivers? I say yes. And I’ll tell you why.

It's been revealed this morning that a man who appeared in court in Christchurch last month and pleaded guilty to drink-driving, got behind the wheel again that very same day and ended up killing himself and another innocent driver.

He was just 24. His name is Zejayohn Keyli-West Hurinui. The guy he crashed into and who also died was 69. He was from Methven - his name is Anthony Wood. Anthony’s wife survived the crash, but was seriously injured.

Eric Crampton: Does the Government's deal with NZ Steel make sense?

After spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out whether paying NZ Steel an enormous amount of money to install a new electric furnace made any kind of sense, I have finally come to a conclusion.

If the subsidy does make sense, it would indicate severe problems in how industrial allocations have been handled. Problems that I would hope are being addressed in the system’s review.

How the government runs industrial allocations also needs a lot of clarification and greater transparency.

So what’s the issue?

Tim Beveridge: What difference will the police pursuit policy make?

It's expected today that Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is going to announce a revision of the police pursuit policy and that a “fleeing driver framework would be introduced.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting that this framework is going to give the police, finally, the discretion that everyone's been calling out for. So they're going to give them the discretion whether or not to chase, based on an assessment of the crime that the driver has committed, and the risk they pose to the public.

What difference when it comes to crime is this really going to make?

Monday, May 29, 2023

Point of Order: Overseas-focused ministers busy with trade and security issues

Ministers who took time out from the Labour Party congress to attend to portfolio duties were focused largely on promoting the country’s interests overseas.

The statements with the widest implications dealt with:

Point of Order: What do Māori get from the Budget?

Not as much as last year, sorry, but $825m more than the rest of us

The question posed in a Te Karere TVNZ headline – Budget 2023: How much was given to Māori? – was partly answered on the same day by a OneNews headline – Budget delivers hundreds of millions for Māori.

The New Zealand Herald put a more precise figure on it: Budget 2023 breakdown: Māori initiatives get $825m, Te Matatini kapa haka festival receives massive boost.

Nevertheless, Newshub reported the Māori Party was miffed that Māori had been short-changed: ‘Should have done better’: Te Pāti Māori Co-leader reacts to Budget 2023.

RNZ (without a question mark) headlined a report: Budget 2023: What’s in it for Māori.

The article was providing an answer rather than asking a question.

Garrick Tremain: The Cox

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on what's holding National back! 

Cam Slater: Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave

Remember the fuss when Judith Collins called out Arena Williams over her tweet about her father now being able to heat his room and pay for his prescriptions? The media covered Judith’s ‘mean’ tweet, but didn’t actually look into the circumstances of Arena’s father. We did that.

Mike Hosking: Here Come The Attacks And The Desperation

A bit of good news for the National Party over the weekend.

The attack came from Labour that we are going to be $100 worse off under National.

The word poor is used. It's very deliberately emotive, the word poor.

What is 'poor'? Who is poor? Who decides? Anyway, we will see a bit of this in the campaign, the rich vs poor divide. The idea is to create envy - if you don’t have it, you don't want others to have it.

Ian Bradford: Can We Trust NIWA and Why “The Hottest Day This Century” May Not Be

Ian Wishart and Investigate Magazine have been probing NIWA’s records.

Cyclone Gabrielle  hit the country on the 14th February 2023. The Climate Change Minister said of the cyclones devastating effects: “ This is climate change.” ( From the Guardian 14th Feb 2023).

Let me remind Mr Shaw of the NASA definition of climate change.

“ No weather by itself is evidence of climate change/global warming, as the test is whether the weather adds to a new weather pattern over many years or even millennia.”

Francesca Rudkin: Recent cautionary tales show why we have to hammer home consent for men and women

This week I found myself shocked, angry, and saddened by what I read in the news.

You’d think as you get older, with all we’ve been exposed to, that there’s not much left to shock us with? In a way I’m glad I can still be taken aback. It’s a sign I’m still an optimist, think the best of people, and haven’t become totally cynical about humans and the world we live in.

But one story this week really hit home and reminded me that while most people are good and decent there are some truly despicable ones out there too.

Alex Penk: Beware of the Blob

What do Climate Karanga, Podiatry NZ, and the Free Store Wellington have in common? Probably not much, except that they’re all committed to co-governance.

They’re among dozens of NGOs who signed an open letter urging the government to carry on and implement the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. The media picked this up and amplified it, echoing their concern that this work might be paused.

This represents the arrival of the Blob—a gelatinous agglomeration of elite opinion that suffocates and skews public debate.

Thomas Cranmer: John Tamihere and the Waipareira Trust

The Charities Services decision to require the Waipareira Trust to claw back $385,000 of interest-free loans from John Tamihere brings renewed attention to the links between Whānau Ora and the Trust.

Revelations earlier this month in the Herald that the social services charity Waipareira Trust had agreed with Charities Services to cease making political donations and take steps to claw back $385,000 of interest-free loans made to its chief executive, John Tamihere, has put the controversial politician and media commentator back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

It’s not the first time that a financial scandal has hit the trust or Tamihere. In October 2004, the then Labour Party MP was accused of dishonest financial dealings, including in relation to a $195,000 golden goodbye from the Waipareira Trust that he accepted when he was elected to Parliament in 1999.

Roger Partridge: Budget gets worse with age

The eight days since last Thursday have not been kind to Minister of Finance Grant Robertson’s budget. Initial assessments flattered to deceive. Sure, it was a big-spending budget – but it could have been worse.

But eventually, Stockholm syndrome wears off. Then dismay sets in. The size of the transgressions becomes more transparent. The ‘kindness’ proves to have been cynical.

Robertson’s first objective should have been controlling inflation. Rising prices hurt businesses, workers, and consumers.

Bruce Logan: New Zealand's totalitarian mentality

The British philosopher Roger Scruton has claimed, “the first move the totalitarian mentality makes is to stop free-minded, open scholarship in pursuit of truth”.

Right now in New Zealand a totalitarian mentality in thrall to hate speech legislation is looking like the architect of bondage. Hate speech legislation is the tribal designer’s major tool as the diversity, inclusion and equity trinity (DIE) becomes Aotearoa’s civil religion; a religion that demands submission; mind first, body second. Hate speech legislation is necessary to punish the blasphemy of unbelief.

“Free-minded open scholarship” is not possible in the “decolonialising Aotearoa” because freedom is grounded in the existence of permanent and objective truth ordering the material world. DIE, instinctively suspicious of scientific method with its concept of falsifiability, would rewrite history to ideological fashion.

Brian Easton: The Economic Runup To The Election.

The Treasury released its budget economic forecasts. What do they say about the economy over the next four months?

Let me begin me with an irritation. One post-budget headline was ‘Treasury optimistic over recession risk in Budget 2023'. Treasury being optimistic is almost an oxymoron. They fire down the centre.

It is true that Treasury has lifted its forecast of economic activity (GDP) a little since its December 2022 exercise, reflecting stronger migration and tourism and the rebuild from the cyclones. Even so, it expects GDP per capita to fall fractionally between the June 2023 and June 2024 years. The next year is going to be tough, with some quickening of economic activity in the middle of 2024.

Point of Order: Essay competition winner might opt for the money and surrender the bag.....

......but that would be to eschew a robust chat with MPs

As the general election approaches, the Association of Former Members of the Parliament of New Zealand has organised an essay competition to to foster democracy. Secondary school students are being challenged to identify the important elements of a successful democracy, explain their value and consider whether they can be improved – in New Zealand.

The association – chaired by former Ohariu MP and Cabinet Minister Peter Dunne – is made up of MPs who either have retired gracefully or been given the heave-ho at an election by disgruntled voters.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Damien Grant: Chris Hipkins fails the moral and competence tests to be PM

In his maiden speech, the 30-year-old Chris Hipkins reached across the Pacific for inspiration, quoting former US vice-president Hubert Humphrey: “…the moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick and the needy.”

Consider those words and recall that it was the same gentlemen who played politics with Charlotte Bellis as she languished in Afghanistan, pregnant and abandoned by her government.

Consider those words and recall Hipkins was Minister of Covid 19 Response when hundreds of citizens were denied the chance to see their dying relatives in an ultimately futile attempt to prevent the virus entering our shores.

Lushington D. Brady: Where Am I From? Glad You Asked!

It’s not ‘racist’ — it’s friendly conversation

One of the funniest ratios I’ve seen on Twitter was when a race-baiting activist demanded to “Normalise asking white people where they’re REALLY from”. Whereupon white people flooded her timeline with replies detailing exactly where they and their ancestors for generations were really from.

Ancestry has in fact an $850m per year business out of people finding out exactly where they’re really from. As I responded on Twitter, I know perfectly well that my mob are from England, Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Germany… My kids have a healthy dose of Mediterranean and Maghreb genes thrown in.

Stuart Smith: NZ Law Society and the ToW

Professional bodies have a crucial role in establishing standards of conduct and protecting the reputation of their respective professions. It is expected that their directives remain apolitical and do not infringe upon the freedom of their members to hold their own political views.

However, the recent proposal by the New Zealand Law Society to introduce a new statutory duty for lawyers to adhere to the “principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi” is a highly controversial and a politically motivated move. It appears to be driven by the influence of woke socialists who seek to advance their own agenda, rather than prioritise the best interests of the people they serve.

Gerry Eckhoff: The distrust of authority

As the dust settles (for now) around the Gore council table, it would seem reasonable to at least discuss the conditions which brought about the debacle within that District council and (truth to tell) among most other councils throughout NZ. 

Those to whom a measure of authority has been given should pause occasionally to reflect on whether our representative democracy is working as intended – to benefit and serve the public. 

Even a casual glance at the process of local government should indicate a certain dysfunctionality of process.

James Kierstead: Back to the farm

Spread out over 8, 000 acres (hence ‘the Farm’), Stanford University’s campus is an impressive sight. Palms line the triumphant main drive. Sleek modern buildings ring a historic core of sandstone quads. Sprinklers soothe the manicured lawns.

I was lucky enough to spend six years at Stanford, and a couple of weeks ago I got the chance to go back for a conference. The campus seems as serene as ever.

But all has not been well on the Farm.

Cam Slater: Can Ginny Andersen Get ‘Back on Track’?

Did you hear Ginny Andersen get eviscerated by Mike Hosking on Wednesday morning? It was a train wreck. It also preceded National’s launching their slogan “Let’s Get New Zealand Back on Track”. Maybe Christopher Luxon was referring to Ginny Andersen and her train wreck interview. If you haven’t heard it, listen now.

Bryce Wilkinson: Government profligacy is unkind

Last week’s government Budget increased projected government operating spending over the next four years by $8.4 billion while projected revenue fell by $10.7 billion. Projected government borrowing rose by $20 billion.

Treasury now projects net debt in June 2027 to be $84 billion higher than in June 2019.

Those are massive sums when spread over less than two million households.

Wendy Geus: Chris Luxon Becomes More Forthright as National’s Star Rises

The politician emerges showing his pragmatism

National party leader Christopher Luxon kicked off his ‘Get NZ back on track’ tour with his first meeting at the Birkenhead Bowling Club on Auckland’s North Shore, surprising Spinoff writer Stewart Sowman-Lund with his emerging political skills.

This also coincides with a new One News Kantar poll which shows National and Act could govern alone. Could their stars be finally aligning?

I have watched some of Luxon’s speeches, far superior to Labour’s two most recent leaders, as he knows them by heart and speaks to the audience with real conviction, not off an auto cue or notes.

Oliver Hartwich: Capital markets - New Zealand's road to recovery

“There is a lot of ruin in a nation.” It is one of those sayings that is easy to misinterpret.

Taking Adam Smith’s famous quote literally, there are so many ways for a country to go wrong. But it can also be read as saying that there are many ways countries can come back from their difficulties.

Either way, Adam Smith’s 18th century dictum applies to New Zealand today.

Yes, there is a lot of ruin in New Zealand. Much more than would allow one to sleep comfortably. But maybe there is hope.

Dieuwe de Boer: De Boer v NZ Police

It has been well over 3 years since Police raided my family home at dinner time on the hunt for illegal firearms. I had plenty of legal firearms in my arsenal to show them but, after turning my house upside down for over an hour, they left empty-handed. I was left wondering: why and how did this happen?

My initial requests for information were denied under the doctrine of “active investigation” and so, on the advice of a lawyer, I began civil court proceedings. These were filed days before the COVID lockdown, at the time the courts had a backlog of up to a year. That backlog had grown to three years before my case finally got in front of a judge. It took so long that the original judge assigned to the case was long retired.

Our pleadings were based on three clauses: trespass, breach of privacy, and breach of parliamentary privilege.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Lushington D. Brady: ‘Yes’ Campaigners Are the Best Argument Against the ‘Voice’

All but trampling on Australian electoral law, the Albanese government has poured vast resources into the “Yes” campaign for the “Voice” referendum. Ever-eager to be on the woke side, so have big business, big sport and the entertainment industry.

The “No” campaign has been left to hang. And, really, that’s all in their favour.

As happened with the Republic referendum, Australians are seeing a stark and telling divide. On the “Yes” side are united all the forces of the Establishment elite, honking in chorus and wagging their fingers. On the “No” side is a grass-roots movement of their fellow ordinary Australians, black and white.

Oliver Hartwich: No competition? Time to level up trans-tasman business relations

Let’s imagine a computer game, shall we? It is called ‘Master Lobbyist’, and your job is to play the governments of two countries off against each other.

You tell each of them that, unless they cut taxes for the industry you work for, your industry will move to the other country. Predictably, both governments fall into the trap and outbid each other in tax relief.

The result: your industry must now pay hardly any taxes at all, and you have truly earned your handsome consultancy fees.

Sounds like a stupid game, right? Well, it is exactly what has just played out between Australia and New Zealand. And the industry in question is the computer gaming sector.

Peter Wilson: The Week in Politics - Reserve Bank raises OCR, Budget reaction continues

Ahead of Wednesday's Monetary Policy Statement there was much speculation about how the Reserve Bank would react to the government's budget spend-up.

Would it increase the Official Cash Rate by more than the expected 25 basis points? Would it say further hikes were needed because of the inflationary effect of increased spending?

Opposition parties warned that mortgage rates would be higher for longer, more pain for struggling homeowners.

They were eagerly awaiting anything that could be interpreted as "we're raising interest rates because of the budget".

None of that happened.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Labour might've lost its last best hope

I'm surprised that voters don’t really seem to like Chris Hipkins that much

We've spent quite a bit of time discussing Chris Luxon’s poor popularity, but take a look at last night’s poll: Hipkins’ is really poor as well.

His personal popularity in last night’s TVNZ poll: 25%.

Last week in the Newshub poll, only 23%.

That means three-quarters of us don’t want him as PM. 

That’s bad for an incumbent prime minister.

Graham Adams: O lucky man! Hipkins and an indulgent media

The Prime Minister must be keeping his fingers crossed that the mainstream media continues to largely ignore the fact he was an influential minister in Jacinda Ardern’s government. He’s got away with it for the four months since he took Labour’s leadership — and there is less than five months to go before the election. His luck may well hold.

By anyone’s reckoning, it is an extraordinary indulgence to overlook the five years Hipkins spent as part of Ardern’s kitchen Cabinet, especially given his mediocre record in portfolios that included education, health and police.

From the moment he stepped up to be Prime Minister in late January, most journalists have been happy to cast him as a new broom. This can only be true in the very limited sense that he has lifted a corner of the carpet and swept policies such as hate-speech laws and the social insurance scheme under it, from where they can be retrieved after the election.

Lindsay Mitchell: Article Four Activism

Massey University created a draft Tiriti O Waitangi Policy in May 2022 to staff, students and stakeholders which expresses its "commitment to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its associated principles". It was prepared by the Office of the DVC Māori (Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori) to update an existing document, issued recently and remains under consultation.

In 2012 the policy was a relatively brief, comprehensible statement:

The overall aim is that Massey University should be:

Jonathan Ayling: Academics don't feel free to air controversial opinions, according to survey

The second annual survey on academic freedom by the Free Speech Union is an eye-opening read for those of us who value ideas and solutions being openly debated in Kiwi universities.

The survey, which was conducted in conjunction with Curia Market Research and endorsed by their director and head pollster, had hundreds of participants from across each university.

Concerningly, this report shows that a majority of academics who responded at five of our eight universities disagreed that they were free to state controversial or unpopular opinions, even though this is one of the specific features of academic freedom as defined in the Education and Training Act 2020.

Josie Pagani: So, you want to win the election?

“Who do you think will win?”

The question is an occupational hazard of bloviating about politics in public forums. I usually answer declaratively: I don't know.

The quest for predictions recalls the Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow, who did a tour of duty as a weather forecaster for the United States Army during World War II. He was ordered to evaluate mathematical models for predicting the weather one month ahead, which he duly did, and found them all worthless. Informed of his findings, his superiors sent back another order: “The Commanding General is well aware the forecasts are useless. However, he needs them anyway for planning purposes.”

This late in the piece, we usually have a strong view about how the vote will go. The change of prime minister and the reset policy agenda has made the horse race closer.

Karl du Fresne: A fresh appraisal of an unfashionable subject

I’ve just finished reading a recently published book by my friend and long-ago boss, the Sydney-based New Zealand author and journalist Robin Bromby.

Tepid Whisky by Paraffin Lamp is subtitled Life and Work in Outposts of the British Empire in the Twentieth Century. It’s a very detailed and substantial piece of work on an aspect of history that most scholars either shy away from or approach in antagonistic terms because it’s considered ideologically beyond the pale.

Robin himself acknowledges that the history of the British Empire is “a subject one addresses now with caution”. From a 21st century perspective, the idea that European imperial powers could claim ownership over foreign territories at will, even when they had no particular purpose for them (as was sometimes the case), is unthinkable. But there was a time in living memory when it was considered entirely natural – in fact a matter of pride – that the sun never set on the British Empire. And as Robin notes, the administrators who ran those distant outposts were often motivated by high ideals.