Monday, July 31, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 31/7/23

Robertson congratulates the Black Ferns, Mahuta will watch the Silver Ferns – but does govt support help a team’s chances?

How our money is being spent – and misspent – is among the burning questions which Point of Order strives to answer by monitoring the government’s official website.

Today we can record a few projects proudly announced by ministers – but we can’t always tell readers how much is being spent because the ministers haven’t bothered including that information in their press statements.

Another question we like to ask relates to the whereabouts of our busy ministers – and their sporting interests.

Kate Hawkesby: A big loss to us

So I’ve just been to Sydney last week and I’ve got to go again this week – these are not holiday trips, these are events I’m attending so I’m in and out, but here’s what I can tell you about Australia, it’s going off.

And by that I mean it’s energized, it feels ambitious, it’s got everything going for it that we used to have but have sadly lost. Even in Melbourne when we were there a few weeks back, the vibe was more upbeat, and that’s a city that’s mimicked Auckland’s a lot in terms of post Covid decline... more homeless, more edgy peeps around at night, more for lease signs. Yet the city still hums.

David Farrar: Māori Party policy is for effective tax rates of 150%

I think readers instinctively understand that the Māori Party policy will not result in much extra revenue from high wealth NZers. It will in fact result in less revenue.

Sean Plunket talks to Oliver Hartwich - Is New Zealand shutting up shop?

Sean Plunket talks to Oliver Hartwich from the NZ Initiative on The Platform - Is New Zealand shutting up shop?  Lessons that can be learn't from Ireland's robust economy.


Graham Adams: Should you trust Winston Peters?

Even the PM is not convinced NZ First will shun Labour

In November last year, the NZ Herald’s senior political correspondent Audrey Young broke the news that, “For the first time since MMP began, the former Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader [Winston Peters] has emphatically ruled out working with a major party.”

Young reported that a reason for Peters’ assertion that he wouldn’t be part of a Labour-led government after this year’s election was because he had been “kept in the dark over the commissioning of He Puapua and what the Three Waters reforms looked like”, which he described as a “secret agenda”.

Mike Hosking: Global boiling? Tell that to the world using coal

There was no shortage of irony on Friday as UN boss Antonio Guterres, who might just suffer from a dose of alarmism, was declaring global boiling.

It was also announced by the International Energy Agency that the world this year is using more coal than ever, and there are no real signs of that changing.

Guterres says a lot of alarmist stuff and my fear is that this sort of language turns people off.

Garrick Tremain: PIJF bribe money

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on MSM telling the truth! 

Lushington D. Brady: Do You Want the Narratives of Aus History or the Facts? Pt 1.

Academic historians are an odd bunch. Especially in Australia. They’re all too ready to write up fairy-stories and garbled oral legends as “history”, but not much interested, it seems, in actual, documented, primary sources. For instance, peer-reviewed Australian journals cite the “memories” of an Aboriginal stockman in the Northern Territory, telling of how Ned Kelly fought Captain Cook to protect Aborigines, as the serious stuff of academic history. I kid you not.

When Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu claimed to have examined primary sources to prove that Aborigines lived in large towns, built vast grain storages and waterworks and invented democracy, almost no academic historians spoke up to point out that he was talking a pile of dingo poo. On the contrary, he was appointed to a cushy academic position and his ludicrous book deposited in school libraries and reading lists across Australia.

Don Brash: For heaven's sake, leave GST alone

I read with dismay this week that the Labour Party is contemplating removing GST from fresh fruit and vegetables. It will seem such a sensible policy to a great many people, and may therefore attract a lot of votes. As somebody who wants rid of this present Government, that caused some of my dismay.

But the main part of my dismay was because exempting fruit and vegetables from GST – or exempting anything else – is seriously bad policy.

Francesca Rudkin: Is Grant Robertson being undermined by Labour?

Mike Hosking said something interesting to me on Friday, when I was hosting Early Edition. He told me Labour probably needs Grant Robertson to quit now- because how does a Finance Minister sell something he doesn’t believe in? This is of course a result of the Prime Minister making all the calls on the Labour Government’s tax policies.

It may make sense, but can Labour afford to have Robertson, the politician regarded as most likely to succeed Jacinda Ardern if he’d wanted the role, to make a move at this point? How much more destabilising would it be for an already wobbly Labour Government to lose one of their few competent ministers?

Bryce Edwards: How NZ First might “take back our country”

New Zealand First aren’t being given the attention they warrant by political commentators in the lead-up to this year’s election, with most rubbishing or downplaying the chances of Winston Peters and his party making it back into Parliament.

This is despite the fact that the party is bubbling just below the five per cent MMP threshold – mostly around three per cent, but sometimes as high as 4.4 per cent. NZ First’s polling is important, because if the party does manage to get back into Parliament, it will almost certainly mean a change of Government

Sunday July 30, 2023 


Sunday, July 30, 2023

Professor Richard Epstein: “Disinformation” Campaign Vs. Open Debate

The Biden administration should be forbidden to pressure social-media companies to manipulate COVID discussion.

On July 4, in Missouri v. Biden, judge Terry A. Doughty issued a broad injunction whose primary function is to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, and multiple other federal agencies from speaking to or meeting with social-media companies for the purpose of “encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.” The government has insisted throughout the litigation that its active cooperation with these companies is part of a vital public campaign to stop the spread of “disinformation” on social media, including its efforts to prevent what the Biden administration termed “vaccine hesitancy” on the part of the public.

Bryce Edwards: Can David Parker push Labour back onto a more progressive path?

Cabinet Minister David Parker recently told the Spinoff he’s reading “The Triumph of Injustice – how the wealthy avoid paying tax and how to fix it”, by Berkeley economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez. The book complains that leftwing politicians throughout the world have forsaken their historic duty to innovate on taxation and force wealthy vested interests to pay their fair share. The authors say governments of both left and right have capitulated unnecessarily to the interests of the wealthy in setting policies on tax and spending.

Kerre Woodham: Labour's plan to remove GST from fruit and veges a desperate plan to win votes

I was about to write my opener this morning on Labour's widely anticipated move to announce the removal of GST on fruit and veg, when an ACT party press release landed in my inbox and I thought David Seymour said it best: “If Labour announces a policy to remove GST from fruit and vegetables, that's not a sign they want to address the cost of living. It's a sign of a truly desperate political party willing to throw any semblance of sensible policy making out the window to snare some votes.”

Lushington D. Brady: The Comedy Relief of the Alliance [updated]

The closeness of the Australia-New Zealand relationship is a long-standing fact of both nations’ history, going back to Cook’s first voyage in 1768-71. The two nations went to world war together as the ANZACs. But, under its Labour government especially, the reliability of New Zealand as a defence partner has often come under scrutiny. Not just because of the deterioration of New Zealand’s defence capability (although Australia hasn’t a lot to boast about there, either), but Labour’s increasing cosying up to the Chinese regime.

Michael Johnston: Reforming teacher education without carrots or sticks

Teacher education in New Zealand needs serious attention.

Politicians are naturally drawn to top-down solutions. For one thing, they afford Ministers the illusion of control. For another, they promise quick results.

Ministers for Education from the Australian states have agreed on a major overhaul of teacher education. Their consensus follows a report identifying a range of deficiencies. These include failures to follow scientific evidence on how children learn, to prepare teachers to teach literacy effectively, and to set new teachers up to be capable classroom managers.

The Australian Ministers settled on a top-down solution.

Roger Partridge: Time for a new approach to foreign direct investment

New Zealand prides itself on being an open trading nation. When it comes to trade in goods and services this claim is certainly true. Few countries embrace free trade as unequivocally as we do.

It is a different story when it comes to capital. Our country’s screening regime for foreign direct investment is the most protectionist in the OECD. Where countries like Ireland and Singapore actively pursue foreign investment, it can seem like our Overseas Investment Act is designed to keep it out.

Karl du Fresne: My response to Professor Mohan Dutta

I see I’m now designated as a voice of the Far Right. That description comes from Massey University professor Mohan Dutta, so carries a spurious air of authority.

I supposed I should be alarmed, but I’m not, for two reasons. One is that academia has so recklessly squandered its credibility that we should pay no more heed to the opinion of a professor of “communication” – least of all an imported zealot from the far Left – than to that of the local barber.

The other is that I’m no longer sure what the Far Right is. The term was once reserved for outfits like the Ku Klux Klan and Britain’s National Front, neither of which was active, still less influential, here.

Eric Crampton: These are not serious people

If you believe it to be a good idea to remove GST from food, whether all food or just some food, at least one of three things is true.

Saturday July 29, 2023 


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Bryce Wilkinson: Why 'Wellington' can be sure it knows what is best for us

Everyone knows that Wellington’s CBD will thrive when those who know best ban cars.

People will love coming into the CBD to buy bulky products, such as a microwave, to cart home on the handlebars of their bicycles. Buses are an option too, in between shortages and strike action, but bicycles are better for us. Wind, rain and steep hills heighten the experience.

Delivery firms will love supplying CBD businesses. Motorised roller skates could flourish.

Brian Easton: Governing A Region Far Far Away.

The Chatham Islands may offer insights on to how to govern New Zealand better.

It is said that our first minister of regional development – in the early 1970s – claimed that he wanted all our regions to have above average incomes. Duh! You would expect that there would be some variation in regional incomes. They are probably not large (partly because ours is a small country). They are not measured but we do have estimates of per capita regional domestic production (similar to GDP) which in March Year Ending 2022 ranged from 17 percent above average for the Wellington Region to 34 percent below for Northland. Because of income tax and social security benefits, the income range will be narrower. (Another factor which narrows the income range is that some of the profits of a region will go elsewhere; for instance Taranaki does well on the GDP measure but much of its profits from its hydrocarbon resources do not stay in the province.)

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 29/7/23

Govt is now gunning for modern slavers – but will strong chains (or other protective measures) keep the registry secure?

Not too long after the government was hailing the launch of its gun registry, the newly created Firearms Safety Authority upset gun owners by accidentally leaking information about them.

As Stuff tells it, the email addresses of 147 firearms licence holders were sent to each other in error, after an email was sent with the recipients’ email addresses pasted into the carbon copy (cc) address field, rather than as a blind carbon copy (bcc).

Gary Judd KC: Freedom is a precious commodity

Suppressing opinion is just the start of attempts to take it away

Having been involved with the political left in my youth and early adulthood, I had the same thoughts as Thomas More [“It continues to amaze me that ideals we used to think of as espoused by the political left have been abandoned by so-called "progressive" activists, freedom being just one of them”] as I read the Halfling's first-rate observations about the devaluation of the concept of freedom (link).

Oliver Hartwich: Economic expert says homeowners are disproportionately feeling cost of living crisis pain

An economic expert says homeowners are disproportionately feeling the pain of the cost of living crisis.

Latest figures from Stats NZ show the average household's cost of living increased 7.2%in the year to June.

The official inflation rate for the period was six percent, but interest payments went up 28%.

Matthew Birchall: NZ's roading problems can't simply be patched over

The number of potholes on the country’s highways has more than doubled since 2017. In 2022 alone, more than 54,000 needed urgent repair.

Yet problems with how New Zealand’s roads are funded and managed are deeper than even the biggest pothole. And they can’t be patched over with measures like National’s proposed Pothole Repair Fund.

Structural reform is needed.

Lushington D. Brady: Do We Really Want to Be Like NZ?

Co-governance is a warning, not a beacon

Here’s one that’ll draw a good belly laugh from BFD readers:

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has held up his country as one that has successfully embraced reconciliation with its Indigenous people, in a strong signal of trans-Tasman support for the voice referendum.

Perhaps a decade ago, I would have said Chippy was mostly right. Today, though? New Zealand stands, not as a beacon, but a warning: Here there be taniwhas.

John MacDonald: Labour's fruitloop thinking on GST

How likely is it, do you think, that when the Australian Prime Minister jumped on the plane yesterday after his visit to Wellington and headed back to Canberra, Chris Hipkins wished he was on the plane too?

You know, like kids, they’ll have a playdate with one of their mates, but they don’t want the party to end and then they want to turn it into a sleepover.

I reckon that’s how Hipkins will have been feeling yesterday when he saw Anthony Albanese’s plane heading down the runway. Or maybe it was US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s plane Hipkins wanted to be on. Because he was in Wellington yesterday too.

Peter Wilson: Week in Politics - Kiri Allan's out, wealth tax keeps haunting Hipkins

The political implications of Kiri Allan's downfall; David Parker gives up revenue - was there "a whiff of petulance" around his decision? National says Labour's tax policy includes removing GST from fruit and vegetables, and it isn't denied.

A justice minister being arrested is about as bad as it gets for a government going into an election but writing Labour off because of Kiri Allan's downfall could be premature.

Peter Williams: Cabinet car crash

The Kiri Allan car crash on Sunday night just continues a pattern of appalling yet mostly unreported driving behaviour by cabinet ministers in recent years.

Answers to parliamentary questions reveal that in the three years inclusive between 2020 and 2022, there were twenty two accidents involving self-drive ministerial cars.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 23.07.23

Saturday July 29, 2023 

Te Māngai Pāho And NZ On Air Announce $3m In Co-funding Support Of Māori Regional News Hubs

Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho (TMP) have confirmed four recipients of funding as part of a co-fund to provide continued support to Māori Regional News Hubs, an initiative providing collaborative news services across 11 Iwi radio stations.

David Lillis: Education and Research in New Zealand

For those interested, here is a letter that was written several months ago to the editor of the New Zealand Herald - which they declined to publish – refusing, by the way, to give a reason.

The public should be aware of proposed changes to our national primary and secondary education curriculum, embedding matauranga Māori (traditional knowledge) throughout the curriculum, probably requiring students of all ethnicities to spend significant class time on Te Reo. Both Te Reo and matauranga Māori should be treasured and preserved, but the changes are excessive.

Coming into force in 2026, the refreshed curriculum will damage the education of millions of students over future decades and impose costs of several billion dollars on taxpayers. A negative consequence will be the effect on every child of substituting time on critical learning with much Te Reo and matauranga Māori. Matauranga Māori is to be accorded equal status with world science, probably taught as truth, and the quality of education and portability of our secondary qualifications will suffer as a result.

NZCPR Newsletter: A Big Idea

The bedrock of any successful democracy is that it delivers government of the people, by the people, for the people. In the case of our current government, and too many other western democracies, this once abiding principle has been subverted. We now have government of the people, by the government, for the government.
– Sir Roger Douglas 2023

How on earth has a fiercely independent nation like New Zealand, with its number eight fencing wire heritage and strong pioneering spirit, reached a point where The Government is doing almost everything for us – including feeding our children?

Friday July 28, 2023 


Friday, July 28, 2023

Bob Jones: The shabby Greens

I’ve followed our politics since the 1949 election and say without hesitation that the current Green Party mob is the shabbiest lot of the post-war period with one, never to be matched exception. Namely the abominable Jami-Lee Ross whose catastrophic political career ended with his risible ADVANCE Party in the 2020 election.

Jami has since found his true vocation, namely running a brothel although from media accounts he’s even cocked that up given the publicised complaints from his stable.

Mike Hosking: Should Grant Robertson quit over GST policy?

Surely, Grant Robertson has to quit.

Although David Parker resigning from Revenue had a touch of the tantrum about it, it had also an element of principle as well.

If you believe in something substantive like wealth tax, and the rug is pulled out from under you, you can do one of two things. One, be like Grant Robertson, ex express disappointment but say you are a team player, grit your teeth, and carry on.

Or two, do a David Parker and walk.

Chris Trotter: The Demonstration Effect.

What happened in Auckland on Saturday, 25 March 2023, revealed the power of officially-sanctioned protest. That power was demonstrated to even greater effect the following day in Wellington. New Zealanders are blessedly unfamiliar with this type of politics, which is more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes such as Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela. Nevertheless, the mass demonstrations against Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka “Posie Parker”) strongly backed by government ministers and the state-owned media, revealed just how potent a weapon the mass mobilisation of sympathetic citizens by official, or quasi-official, forces backed up by the news media, can be.

Cam Slater: We Warned Them, but They Didn’t Listen

As predicted by many, the Police’s new profit-based Firearms Safety Authority has suffered a major privacy and security breach. The only thing no one expected was that it occurred less than one month after the registers went live. So much for the much-vaunted “bank level security”:

Francesca Rudkin: Te Pāti Māori’s tax policy unsurprising

Yesterday Te Pāti Māori released their tax policy ahead of the election.

The policy wasn’t a huge surprise. At their election campaign launch a few weeks ago they made it clear their tax reform policy would have a focus on redistributing wealth. So the proposal for a new wealth tax, an increase in income tax for those earning over $200,000, and a tax free threshold for income up to $30,000 are all expected.

Lushington D. Brady: Meta Busted for Scamming and Spying

Late last year, this little snippet passed almost unnoticed in the NZ media:

Robert MacCulloch: PM Hipkins goes pro-business on economics

When Hipkins became PM he said he'd make economics and reducing the high cost-of-living his priorities, since people had tired of former PM Ardern's focus on non-economic, moral issues, symbolized by the "kindness" mantra. However, as costs soared, his promises on that front now look empty. Two crucial policies strongly supported by Finance Minister Robertson and Revenue Minister Parker, namely unemployment insurance & capital taxes, have now been shelved by the PM.

Point of Order: The Maori Party proposes a “Robin Hood-style” tax policy

Is it the shape of NZ’s future?

The Maori Party has announced a tax policy which – by appealing to low-income groups – could give it a stronger voice in the next Parliament.

The party promises to be “staunch” in coalition negotiations to achieve its tax plan, raising the question: is this the shape of our future tax system?

Garrick Tremain: Finalising treaty details

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on who foots the bill on politician's drunken escapades! 

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Labour haven't denied plans to drop GST on fruit and vegetables

It’s hard to believe it’s possible, but Labour’s week just got even worse- because their tax policy just got leaked.

National's Nicola Willis says she’s got a source who told her Labour is planning to announce it’ll take the GST off fresh fruit and veges, which immediately got headlines because her sources have proved pretty solid.

Remember, she got the tip-off that Labour was working on a wealth tax-tax switch, and it turned out they were.

Mike Hosking: We must still demand accountability

While everyone that might hold any level of responsibility and accountability ducks for cover under the old "there is an inquiry going on, so let's see how that goes” line, here's what I have learned out of last Thursday's killings in Auckland.

Firstly a week on, how quickly we move on. Once we hit the weekend I made a conscious note to keep checking each day on coverage. Who was saying what, how many questions were being asked, and how big a deal this was.

The answer was not that big.

Jerry Coyne: Could Mātauranga Māori advance quantum physics?

I suspect the answer to the title question is “No way!”, but the incursion of Mātauranga Māori (“MM”, or Māori “ways of knowing”) into New Zealand’s science is reaching ludicrous depths. Even in the U.S.A. we don’t see headlines like the one below. (Note that “complement” is misspelled as “compliment”.)

Why am I so sure this endeavor won’t work? Simply because there is nothing about quantum physics in MM, and I can’t envision any MM-derived insights into the discipline that could advance it beyond what modern physicists are doing already. Of course Māori physicists, like the one below, could well make contributions to quantum mechanics, but it’s hard to see that those insights would come from MM, a mixture of trial-and-error knowledge gained from living (gathering plants and fish), theology, superstition, tradition, and ethics.

Chris Trotter: The Power Of “Lived Experience”.

Have you noticed it yet? The emerging power of “Lived Experience” testimony? It’s rapidly trumping the hard data produced by traditional science. And if you are one of those people our society once referred to reverentially as “experts” – then watch out!

Nobody wants to know what “experts” think anymore, because, really, what do experts know? It was experts who told the world that toxic bundles of unredeemable debt were worthy of Triple-A credit-ratings. Experts who advised governments to pursue “herd immunity” from Covid-19. Experts who reassured us that there was absolutely no way that Russia was going to invade Ukraine.

NZCPR Podcast: All Are Equal

The United States Supreme Court has ruled against a university giving preferential entry on the grounds of race. The Court said the American constitution is colour-blind and prohibits racial preference. 

Thursday July 27, 2023 


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 27/7/23

Seamless trans-Tasman travel was on the agenda for talks between Hipkens and Albanese

The PM and his Minister of Foreign Affairs – reporting on their meetings with big-wigs from abroad – have posted the only two items of fresh news to be found on the government’s official website at time of writing today.

Nanaia Mahuta has given an account of her meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (carefully written in diplomatese and short on te reo – our country is referred to as “New Zealand”, not “Aotearoa”).

Wayne Ryburn: Article 3 - Exposing History Curriculum Myths

This is the third of a series of eight articles exposing some of the myths about New Zealand's History, now being taught to secondary school students. 

Article 1 can be seen HERE, Article 2 HERE.

The Level 5 workbook for Year 10 students on the "Treaty of Waitangi - Te Tiriti o Waitangi" was published and has been in use since 2014. The page numbers and headings in the text are referenced throughout the series of articles. 

Kate Hawkesby: Supermarket thefts are hourly, according to the checkout operators

I was at the supermarket this week and I got to witness first-hand the theft that is taking place on the daily. In fact it’s more than a daily basis; it’s like hourly, according to the checkout operators.

My check out operator by the way, I’m convinced, was some kind of angel on earth. She wanted to help the thief. The guy, who to be fair looked dodgy and if I was in the business of profiling customers who may be stealing, I would have picked him all day long: hoodie, head bowed, scruffy, sifting through the aisles looking uncertain, and in his trolley just a couple of packets of meat.

Brian Gill: Who promotes science thinking when everyone defers to culture?

With New Zealand science agencies shy to push the general power and wonder of science, and instead applauding ethnic world views, the science view-point flounders.

 The seven University of Auckland academics whose letter to the Listener in July 2021 provoked what a former newspaper editor called "the full, vindictive fury of the woke academic left", weren't just concerned that a government educational working group proposed making science and Maori knowledge of the natural world equivalent in the school science curriculum.  They also worried generally about "disturbing misunderstandings of science emerging at all levels of education and in science funding".

Clive Bibby: Lolly scrambles are for children

I will be voting in my 20th election in October and I consider this to be the most important one in which l have been privileged to take part.

I say that because our country New Zealand has never before faced such a threat to its existence as a sovereign nation built on sacrifice and endeavour rarely seen in a world that too often demands unquestioned obedience from its citizens.

We have become a country that cherishes those hard won freedoms and instilled values yet we are in danger of allowing ideologues, who care little for our heritage or the price we have paid for the position we occupy in our commonwealth of nations, to destroy it all.

Cam Slater: Gee, I Wonder What Caused That?

Proof Labour’s policies have made NZ more racist not less

Like everything this Government has done since taking office in 2017, their attempts to supposedly address race relations have had the opposite effect to that which was intended.

Affordable housing policies and healthy home initiatives, plus the war on landlords, have seen rents and house prices skyrocket. The only light at the end of the tunnel in that regard is the oncoming train of recession tanking house prices. The recession will deliver yet more bad news for them, countering any positive claims regarding house prices.