Friday, June 30, 2023

Kerre Woodham: I shudder to think at the tough times ahead for some households

In the wake of news that a whole raft of cost-of-living subsidies and temporary tax cuts are set to end tomorrow, along with all the other news headlines, I had to Google reasons to be optimistic this morning.

We've got the end of the fuel tax discount and the subsidy for road user charges for diesel vehicles coming to an end. Half-price public transport fares will stop for most as well. Children under 13 remain free, as do half price fares for community card holders and people under 25.

But for most people, especially those who rely on public transport to get to work, fares are going to go up and fuel is going to go up.

John MacDonald: Now is not the time to be scrapping the fuel discount

The way things are going, I’ll be paying nearly $15 to fill the tank up.

That’s the tank in the scooter, by the way. And, if I ride it every work day, it’ll be about a week-and-a-half before I need to fill it up again.

Different story, of course, with our cars. Especially after midnight tonight when the Government’s fuel tax discount comes to an end.

And so, tomorrow, we’ll be paying 29 cents more per litre - 25 cents for the fuel tax and about 4 cents more in GST.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 30/6/23

The PM is busy in China while Andrew Little deals with Five Countries – but for success, check out the Census numbers

The government’s diplomatic balancing act can be admired on two fronts this week.

In Wellington, Andrew Little released a statement headed Five Country Ministerial Communiqué.

This was the culmination of a gathering of political bigwigs from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Chris Trotter: Don’t Walk Away, Chippy – Labour Can Beat National On Tax.

The question upon which the forthcoming election will turn is: “How brave is Chris Hipkins?” If saving his government requires Hipkins to strike out boldly, with policies designed to seriously disrupt the status quo, does he have the cojones to do it?

There is nothing in his political career which suggests that he has what it takes to shake things up. He has succeeded by playing the percentages. Trimming his sails when he had to. Betting the farm when he was handed a sure thing. And it has worked. He is New Zealand’s prime minister. Not by dint of hard-won policy achievements, but by being a political cork. Chippy has floated to the top.

Lushington D. Brady: Beethoven Should Have Worn a Grass Skirt

Arts luvvie whacked for stating a blunt truth

Simon O’Neill is learning the hard way that it’s fatal to the career of an arts luvvie to say what they really think. Even more fatal to assert the superiority of classical Western culture.

Because the ruling orthodoxy of New Zealand’s chattering classes is that a literal Stone Age culture is the acme of art, science and human rights.

And truth is “hate speech”.

Net Zero Watch: First Sweden. Now Norway goes on an oil & gas spree


In this newsletter:

1) Norway approves more than $18 Billion of oil and gas projects
Bloomberg, 28 June 2023

2) Sweden shocks Europe: Abandons 'unstable' green energy agenda, returns to nuclear power
Red State, 25 June 2023

Cam Slater: The Bus Ticket Was Pre-soaked

Predictably the Labour-stacked Privileges Committee has only made Jan Tinetti apologise for her dodgy behaviour in handling Official Information Act requests, instead of censuring her or holding her in contempt of Parliament.

Mike Hosking: The gig is up on assisted petrol prices

It's about to be over.

Tomorrow our petrol goes up 29c per litre.

It's at that point you will realise, if you haven't already, what a madly, false world of cocked-up economics we have all been living in.

Robert MacCulloch: Why Jack Tame should do Economics 101 (and refrain from trying to advise the government)

In a prominent One News editorial, Jack Tame asks "Why don't politicians act on our most harmful drug?" He says, "A study by Otago University, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, used 17 different harm criteria to assess the impact of different drugs on New Zealanders. The study considered harm to the individual as well as society at large, and in the end the results weren't even close. Top of the pops, a full 17% ahead of second place, wasn't methamphetamine or opiates or tobacco, but good old-fashioned, buy-it-at-the-supermarket booze".

Garrick Tremain: Read all about it

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on the plight of newspapers! 

Cam Slater: Will the Kiri Allan Issue End Like Michael Wood’s?

We are seeing yet another slow-moving scandal threatening to envelop the Labour Party while Chris Hipkins is on his knees begging in China. Kiri Allan is the latest minister to be accused of bullying, and it appears to be rather more serious than the minister is letting on.

Stuff reports:

Heather du Plessis-Allan: PM has a call to make on Kiri Allan- back her, or cut her

The Prime Minister’s got a call to make on Kiri Allan, which is to back or cut her.

And if history is anything to go by, he's going to make the wrong call, because he’s already made this call twice before and got it wrong.

The first time with Stuart Nash, he backed him. Then more stuff came out and he had to get rid of him.

Kate Hawkesby: Try as we do to endlessly support the Police, they’re not making it very easy for us

Try as we do to endlessly support the Police, they’re not making it very easy for us are they?

This story of the citizen’s arrest this week irked a lot of people - and rightly so.

If you missed it, a Christchurch business owner and some tradies tackled a thief to the ground after he allegedly stole motorcycle parts, he had an armload of stuff, they chased him, got him on the ground, held him down while they called Police.

John MacDonald: My takeaway from the youth prison stand-off

So we’ve found out who it really was who managed to get that bunch of teenagers off the roof of the Burnham youth justice facility at the weekend.

It was Colonel Sanders. Ace negotiator Colonel Sanders.

I know he just looks like a friendly old chap on the signs outside the KFC restaurants. But turns out the Colonel’s the guy to call-in if you’re trying to defuse a tense situation.

Lushington D. Brady: NZ Academia Is a Global Joke

As the Labour government promises to throw yet more buckets of cash at New Zealand’s failing universities, no one appears to be giving much thought to whether or not it would be better to simply let them fail. Or, failing that, actively putting them out of their misery.

Kerre Woodham: Our drink driving numbers are quite frankly, unacceptable

Yesterday I touched briefly on the fact that yet another study has come out showing that alcohol is considered one of the most harmful drugs and numerous studies around the world, the latest from New Zealand, show the level of harm it does to others, as well as the level of harm it does to users.

And of course more people use alcohol than they do meth, so obviously more people are going to be affected. But when you look at just a sample of drunk driving stories - this is a handful.

Thursday June 29, 2023 


Thursday, June 29, 2023

Graham Adams: Close polls puzzle pundits as election looms

How long can Labour continue to levitate?

Centre-right voters are increasingly wondering how many more disasters it will take to seriously dent the government’s poll numbers. Whether it is repeated instances of bungled policy or a spate of Cabinet ministers in trouble, the received wisdom that “Oppositions don’t win elections — governments lose them” seems to be slow to kick in for this year’s election.

Bob Jones: More wisdom from Melissa Derby

Melissa is a Senior lecturer (Education) at Waikato university and a Council member of the Free Speech Union.

Her article below attacking diversity quotas for maoris in our shameless universities should be seen in the light of her own part maori heritage.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 29/6/23

Ministers busy strengthening relationships with China – but media attention is drawn to Kiri Allan’s office relationships, too

Much of the ministerial action deemed worthy of recording on the government’s official website over the past 24 hours took place in China.

This was reflected in extensive media reportage and commentary.

But there was significant media interest, too, in whatever might have happened in the office of Kiri Allan, Minister of Justice and Regional Development and Associate Minister of Finance and Transport.

Robert MacCulloch: On Penlink Tolls

Transport Minister Parker is Right to want them; National is wrong to scrap them

Regards Auckland's new Penlink road, upon which construction has begun, making access to the Whangaparoa peninsula easier, it was reported yesterday that, "Transport Minister David Parker has no plans to review the decision of former Transport Minister Michael Wood, who ignored official advice to not toll the new road & went ahead with charges for motorists". Well that's because the official advice was a load of hogwash. Wood & Parker got it right.

Cam Slater: How Is Ginny Andersen Going to Gaslight Us on This Case?

You can’t find a more ridiculous example at how out of touch this government is, or how useless our Police have become under this government. We have joked about the ‘catch and release’ crime policy of the government and now we have proof it’s real.

Mike Hosking: Poor, old Chris - this Government is imploding

Do you reckon Chris Hipkins regrets the deal he did with Grant and Jacinda late last year?

Do you think Jacinda had an inkling that things were spiralling out of control, both economically and internally, and thought "tell you what, a book deal, a King's Honour and wandering around a few universities waxing lyrical about kindness looks way more fun than this cluster"?

Poor, old Hipkins can't even leave the country without yet another minister imploding.

Peter Dunne: It’s the economy stupid

When Bill Clinton first ran for President of the United States, back in 1992, his campaign chief James Carville coined the now immortal phrase “it’s the economy stupid” to focus his team on what that year’s election was all about.

Over thirty years earlier, Stanford University economist Anthony Downs had postulated the theory that because they do not understand all the nuances of economic policy, voters judge governments at election time on how much they intervene in the domestic economy and what impact that has. He argued that public opinion about economic management was shaped like the traditional bell-curve, with a small group of voters having extreme views at either end of the spectrum, and the bulk of voters holding more moderate opinions in the middle. In turn, this meant mainstream political parties shaped their economic policies in a more centrist way to maximise their political support.

Garrick Tremain: Poor Sods

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on the universities crisis! 

Cam Slater: The Labour Party Has a Bullying Problem

For a party steeped in union dogma Labour sure does seem to have a problem with how to treat their staff. The latest to face bullying accusations is Kiri Allan. And the word is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, too.

Thomas Cranmer: Thames Water on the brink of collapse sends warning of Three Waters debt risk

The English water utility uses the same highly leveraged financing structure as proposed for Three Waters. Crippled by £14 billion of debt it now faces imminent insolvency or renationalisation.

Yesterday news broke that the UK’s biggest water supplier, Thames Water, is on the brink of financial collapse under the weight of £14 billion of debt. The utility provides water to 15 million people in London and the South East.

The water company has struggled under a mountain of debt for many years which has crippled its ability to upgrade its infrastructure on time and improve water quality. The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Thames Water had spilled sewage 22 times a day last year, leaks 630 million litres of water a day and has paid more than £30 million in fines.

Tony Orman: The Moa were gone in the Geological Blink of an Eye

“You see heaps and heaps of the birds’ bones in archaeological site. If you hunt animals at all their life stages, they will never have a chance.” –Morten Allenton, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Copenhagen

Exterminating the giant bird

The rapid extinction of the several moa species from New Zealand has long been debated. Some, in defence of the early Polynesian migrants who had arrived about 1250, have said the flightless bird numbers were already in decline. The Polynesian migrants were conservationists it was claimed.

In 2014, scientists investigated further and concluded humans were the sole factor in wholesale killing of the birds and in destruction of habitat. Strangely their findings received little media coverage at the time.

Kate Hawkesby: Be prepared for a bunch of cost increases over the next few weeks

We are in for a bunch of cost increases over the next few weeks. I know, more.

It’s not like we haven’t been facing a steady stream of rising costs for a while already, but a couple of things are coming up to bite us.

One, the Government’s petrol subsidy is coming to an end this Saturday, which’ll see petrol prices jump by 29 cents a litre. That’s a lot, and it’ll hit hard in a cost of living crisis.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: China may need New Zealand more than we realise

I’ll tell you what was clear from Chris Hipkins’ meeting with Xi Jinping last night and the Chinese media coverage afterwards. And that was that China actually needs us more than perhaps many Kiwis realise.

Of all the countries visiting Beijing at the moment, and there were quite a few, Barbados, Mongolia, and Vietnam- it was New Zealand that was singled out in the local press for special mention.

Karl du Fresne: Licence to indoctrinate

Astonishingly, no one has sought my advice on the financial crisis in the universities. This is a great shame, since I have a solution that would not only save millions but also go a long way toward extinguishing a key source of the divisive culture wars.

All that’s required is to abolish every department of communications and media studies. These seem to exist for no purpose other than to promote neo-Marxist theories about oppressive power structures, racism, misogyny, white supremacy, social justice (to say nothing of its recent offshoot, “climate justice”) and decolonisation.

Point of Order: Was the balancing act a mission impossible?

Having told the world Xi Jinping is not a dictator, it is not surprising PM Chris Hipkins was greeted warmly by the Chinese leader at their meeting in Beijing this week. It may be it does the trick and secures a boost for NZ exports to China.

Certainly NZ needs it, with the gap between the value of our imports and exports the widest it has been for three decades. Unless the deficit shrinks fairly rapidly, the international credit agencies could lower NZ’s sovereign credit rating.

Dark Jester: The Times They Are A-Changing

I enjoyed my time at university. It was definitely a time to develop my skills and grow. It helped me to strengthen my critical thinking, as well as the ability to research and analyse information. Of course, university did not turn me into a woke social justice warrior who changes pronouns every 10 seconds and panics about climate change. Instead, I headed in the other direction. Going to Wellington’s Victoria University was definitely an experience I would never forget.

  Wednesday June 28, 2023 


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

John Robinson: Another step towards Maori government

A rebel government has set up a separate and independent court to sit in judgement on New Zealand and New Zealanders.  This Maori court will follow their own set of laws, overturning the whole justice system.[1] 

“A Sovereign Independent Court of Justice – ‘Kooti Wakanga’ has been established under Tikanga and He Wakaputanga Law.”  This, claimed to be “the first sovereign independent Grand Jury Court of justice, Te Wakaminenga Kooti Wakanga nui of Nu Tireni – New Zealand, ...  will deal with civil and criminal claims for all Sovereign Nationals of Nu Tireni NZ who register with the Wakaminenga Maori Government under the jurisdiction of Tikanga and He Wakaputanga.”

Robert MacCulloch: The Productivity Commission's Inquiry on "disadvantage" misled the Cabinet (and the Kiwi Public)

The Productivity Commission has just released an "Inquiry" on disadvantage, poverty & inequality. Isn't that mean to be the job of the Ministry of Social Development? Anyhow, the Inquiry is called, "A fair chance for all - Breaking the cycle of persistent disadvantage". The word "productivity" barely rates a mention - about 12 times throughout the body of the 179 page report (aside from appearing in endless repetitions of the name, "Productivity Commission"). By contrast, the word "disadvantage" occurs 545 times.

Michael Bassett: Dealing with the underclass

The Bible tells us in several places that the poor will always be with us. It’s doubtful whether Jesus or any of the others who used that phrase ever imagined the numbers would be on today’s scale. Poorhouses, workhouses and charitable aid existed from early times. And then along came the welfare state with Dick Seddon then Mickey Savage pledging to guarantee better lives for the poor. What was on offer was a hand-up, not a hand-out. Walter Nash, Labour’s Finance minister to Savage and Peter Fraser made it clear that work was required from everyone if they were to improve their lives. Unemployment benefits weren’t designed to be permanent income for anyone except for the severely handicapped. There were to be no free lunches. As late as 1966 there were only 133 people in the whole of the country receiving an Unemployment Benefit, and 5,000 on Sickness Benefits.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 28/6/23

Finding out how $128m is being spent (on universities), who has met our PM (Xi Jinping) and what Robertson didn’t mention

Confirmation of our Buzz report yesterday was recorded on the government’s official website soon after we posted our news.

Yes, the government short-changed the universities on Budget Day and has come up with an extra $128 million funding, over two years, for tertiary education providers for courses at degree level and above.

For good measure, the government will review higher education funding system.

Adam Young: The Rich, the Marginalised, and the Right to Dissent

When I imagine the exercise of free speech, speaking truth to power and “sticking it to the man”, I don’t think of back-room discussions or big-money lobbying. No, one simply needs to run a google image search of “free speech” to see the symbols of protest: the crowds holding up their placards, the fist raised in dissent. Free speech is not the tool of the elite but the marginalised, who have not money nor power to set the agenda, but simply their voice. Now, a recent study coming out of Victoria University, looking at who appears to value free speech the most and who actually benefits the most, has found just that.

John MacDonald: Propping-up the ivory towers is not the answer

For a long time now, I’ve thought that we have way too many universities in New Zealand.

And the current situation with the Government coming out with this $128 million dollar funding package only reinforces my view.

The money is going to mean universities getting more subsidies for degree and post-graduate enrolments over the next two years.

Mike Hosking: The Government don't understand basic economics

If you want a good example of simple economics, we are living through a doozy.

It's only Wednesday but already this week we have millions promised by people who have less than no money to solve the problems they created.

Geoffrey Miller: Chris Hipkins’ successful meeting with Xi Jinping

Warm and constructive.

That’s how Chris Hipkins wanted his meeting with Xi Jinping on Tuesday to be remembered.

The New Zealand Prime Minister deployed the ‘warm and constructive’ phrase at least eight times in a subsequent press conference with New Zealand media.

Hipkins was also keen to note that ‘the meeting was at no point adversarial’. This served to reinforce the impression of warmness.

Cam 'Slater: Simon Wilson Is the Last Person That Luxon Should Listen To

A vowed communist Simon Wilson keeps on offering up advice to Christopher Luxon and the National Party. He is literally the very last person Christopher Luxon should listen to. In his latest missive at the NZ Herald, thankfully behind a paywall, he opines that National needs a “man ban” and more diversity. Seriously… that’s his suggestion:

Robert MacCulloch: Harvard Business School is caught in fraud allegations

Barely a week goes by when someone in NZ tries to sound knowledgeable & authoritative by saying something like, "Well, a Harvard Professor found A, B and C", which tells us we have to be doing "X, Y and Z in New Zealand". Well a barrage of "cluster-fake" allegations are currently being levelled at a leading Professor at Harvard Business School:

John Raine, David Lillis, Peter Schwerdtfeger: Where are our Universities Heading?

Troubled times in New Zealand Academia

A perfect storm is hitting our university sector right now. Current social-justice political activism is an aggravating factor in the present extreme financial difficulties our universities are experiencing. They will have welcomed the announcement on 27th June by the Minister of Education to inject $128 million into the tertiary education sector, but this is just a drop of water on a hot stone. A full review of the tertiary education sector funding model is long overdue. The current situation raises a long-term risk to the operational health and international reputation of our universities. This risk has in turn been intensified by the very slow post-Covid restart to international student business. What needs to be done to restore the sector to full health?

Eliora: Is there a Place for Principled Politicians?

Listen to the beautiful ballad “Wind of Change”, which starts and ends with its haunting nostalgic whistling. According to the band’s lead singer, Klaus Meine, this classic is purely a peace anthem. In addition to that, Meine referred to the song with political sentiment, as one that “symbolizes the end of the cold war”. Klaus Meine penned this song in 1990 and he wrote it without any aid from the other members of Scorpions.

Bob Jones: The Stuart Nash saga

After massive billboard front-page and editorial beat-ups when the issue first arose, the Nash enquiry finally published its report. But both Stuff and the Herald barely mentioned it. Why?

The answer is because what the enquiry revealed was Nash’s “offences” were technical and largely trivial and the media beat-up was over the top.

My company’s name was bandied about as one of the allegedly corrupt donors at the time.

Caleb Anderson: New Zealand's True Crisis

It certainly appears that New Zealand is facing a number of concurrent, and often interconnected crises.  Worrying signs are evident, and worsening, in education, the economy, the health sector, race relations, crime, media, governance, adherence to (and respect for) due process, freedom of speech, parenting, and so on.  The speed at which this is happening has taken most by surprise.  The dominos seem to be falling in all directions, and with astonishing speed.

 Tuesday June 27, 2023 


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Garrick Tremain: Trade talking

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on shortage of children! 

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 27/6/23

Govt seemed satisfied with Budget funding for universities just a few weeks ago – but today it has announced a rescue package

We are waiting patiently for the statement from Education Minister Jan Tinetti about another dollop of funding – or a rescue package – for our financially struggling universities.

News of a $128 million rescue package has been reported by RNZ and had been portended in many media reports over the past day or so.

Kerre Woodham: Do we need to rethink the whole university model?

There used to be ivory towers of academic learning, elitist, only a few could enter.

Now they’re businesses that live or die based on the number of bums they can get on lecture hall seats - and yet they still seem to be lost in the past and unable to forge away into the future.

Cam Slater: Why Take One Air Force Plane When Two Would Be Better?

We used to get outraged as a nation when our politicians took diabolical liberties with the public purse. There were Tuku’s undies, Shane Jones’s porn movies and Clayton Cosgrove’s amazing ‘bad luck’ with luggage that saw him getting five new suits on the taxpayer. Then there are the planes and helicopters that routinely landed Winston Peters, Helen Clark, John Key and Jacinda Ardern in hot water.

Lushington D. Brady: Voice Polling Just Keeps Getting Better

Better for the “No” case, that is

The “Indigenous Voice” referendum in Australia is in serious trouble. With just months to go before Australians vote whether or not to change their Constitution, polls are trending steadily downward for the “Yes” vote. The newest poll shows the “No” vote winning.

Australian referendums need a double majority to pass: a majority of voters overall, and a majority of voters in each of a majority of states.

According to the latest Newspoll, the referendum would fail on both.