Thursday, August 31, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 31/8/23

$110.783m of highway spending comes from the govt – payments to the news media will come from corporate giants

Transport Minister David Parker today explained what is happening to $110,783,000 of the government’s $419 million Transport Resilience Fund.

Work will start this year on the first 94 projects under a fund dedicated for early preventative works to protect our state highway network from future severe weather disruption, Parker said.

Bob Jones: Our bloated bureacracy

I don’t know Nick Mowbray although I’m obviously aware of him.

Recently a lawyer friend sent me a copy of his observations on bureaucratic growth, which I reproduce below.

Thoughts of Nick Mowbray founder of Zuru.

Its time NZ looked at our return on bureaucrats.

Cam Slater: Well Now, That’s Suddenly Really Interesting

National has released their tax policy and it is rather more detailed than anything we have seen from the Labour Party. Predictably, Labour has rubbished it, but it certainly looks like Nicola Willis has put considerable thought into this policy.

Garrick Tremain: Died laughing

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Hipkins and Robertson being a bad example for kids on finance management! 

Kate Hawkesby: If this election is going to be about middle swing voters, the left’s tactics will lose them

So the Nat’s tax plan – is good – and we know it’s good for two reasons, one, because of all the positive feedback it’s had, and two, because of how ropeable the Government are about it. 

 They are dark on it because they know they’ve been badly exposed here, by a sensible party doing sensible things, which reeks of common sense.  

It reminds us just what common sense feels like - a distant memory for most of us politically these days let’s be honest.  

Peter Winsley: Will New Zealand’s liberal democracy survive?

New Zealand’s democracy based on equal voting rights is changing with different rights assigned at birth, based on whether you have Māori blood or not. New Māori-only rights exist or are being put in place in the environmental, resource management, education, health, science, local government, and other sectors. Resources are therefore allocated based on race rather than on need

Race-based rights are increasingly enabled in legislation, promoted by Labour Government politicians, academics, public servants in key positions, and supported by most mainstream media. Opposing voices are silenced through publication bans, disruption of meetings, threats to careers, and Orwellian racism accusations.

Peter Williams: Speed limits to reduce

Stand-by to move slowly on empty open roads

Sometimes I wonder if politicians just want to really, really piss us off.

How else could you explain some crazy scheme which we in the south might have to put with about how fast we can drive? Not far from where I live, the Queenstown Lakes Council want to slow Wanaka right down. At the moment the speed limit in town is already just 40kph . Now there are plans to reduce that 30kph or lower.

Brendan O'Neill: There really is a war on the car

Sadiq Khan’s expansion of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) speaks to the elite’s contempt for the freedom to drive.

Of all the callous things the state could do to its citizens during a cost-of-living crisis, making them pay to drive their own cars is surely one of the worst. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the cost of foodstuffs has risen by 15 per cent, now you’ll have to pay through the nose just to get to the shop that sells those foodstuffs. As if it wasn’t tough enough forking out for your kids’ school uniforms and stationery, now you’ll have to pay for the privilege of dropping the kids at the schoolgates. As if it wasn’t hard enough getting time off work to visit your poorly mother in a care home, now you’ll have to stump up £12.50 to get to that care home.

Mike Butler: Iwi leaders feeling heat?

A comprehensive rant from a spokesman for the National Iwi Chairs Forum is a rare display of a privileged and powerful elite apparently feeling the heat of public criticism.

In a piece titled “Co-governance is good for us”, published in E-Tangata on August 27, 2023, Te Huia Bill Hamilton tries to counter Julian Batchelor’s Stop Co-Governance campaign. (1)

Hamilton, who declares that his ancestry is “Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Raukawa, Nga Rauru, Scotland”, is described as “a Treaty of Waitangi and human rights specialist and a lead adviser for the National Iwi Chairs Forum, who has spent 25 years educating Pakeha and tauiwi about Te Tiriti through his company Treaty Solutions”.

Michael Bassett: The view from abroad and the harsh realities

Someone once wrote that “distance lends enchantment to the view”. After several weeks in Canada and the United States, I found returning to New Zealand anything but enchanting. Seventy years ago, our country enjoyed a standard of living the equal of Canada and the US. In those days everything looked promising, and was. But we have now fallen way behind, and it’s distressingly obvious. Our public facilities, like airports, are inadequate. Roads have badly filled potholes, while contractors seem unable to construct anything on time, or within budget. In the main streets of Auckland and Wellington lots of shops are closed because there are no longer many shoppers in town. Rough sleepers curl up in doorways; recently I saw a man in Queen Street, Auckland’s main street, piddling against a shop front at 11am on a weekday. Only the foolhardy go into the city at night where there have been several murders in recent months.

Kate Hawkesby: Everyone seems to know what to do about killer seaweed - except the Govt

Labour announced yesterday that ‘bottom trawling and Danish seining will be banned in most of the Hauraki Gulf as part of a plan to better protect the 1.2-million-hectare marine park.’  

They have four options going for public consultation next week, one of them stipulating that ‘bottom-trawling would be banned from 89 per cent of the Gulf. Currently, 27 per cent of the Gulf is closed to bottom trawling and Danish seining fishing methods.’  

Bottom trawling involves dragging weighted nets over the seafloor to catch fish.  

Karl du Fresne: Guest post - the Maori electorates

In the following article, retired businessman Perce Harpham makes the point that Maori electorates are no longer necessary to ensure Maori representation and provide a means by which voters of part-Maori ancestry can exercise disproportionate political power. This runs counter to the basic democratic principle that every person's vote should carry equal weight, regardless of race. Publication of his article on this blog doesn't imply endorsement of everything Perce says, but I agree with his essential proposition.

Point of Order: Big power companies are pumping funds into the state’s coffers

Almost as fast as they are generating big profits

Three of New Zealand’s big power companies have reported their annual results, giving state coffers a handsome boost from dividends. Meridian, for example, in achieving an operating profit of $780m is paying a final dividend of 11.9c a share (17.9c for the year, $462m in total).

Meridian, Mercury, Genesis and Contact’s combined operating profits for the year have totalled just under $2.7bn, fulfilling a forecast by broker Forsyth Barr that they would report the largest-ever increase in their operating profits, after what it described as in many ways a perfect year for the sector.

John MacDonald: When did ram raid bragging become free speech?

I know David Parker’s got a job to do. As Attorney-General, he’s got a job to do and part of that job is to run a fine-tooth comb through new laws to see if they stack up and won’t be more trouble than they’re worth.

What I mean by that, is making sure they don't have so many holes in them that anyone who wants to could get all legal on it and either get away with whatever the law is designed to stop, or haul the government off to the likes of the Supreme Court.

Lushington D. Brady: A Rare Win for Free Speech

Every joke, Orwell as reminds us, is a tiny revolution. “A thing is funny when… it upsets the established order,” the great essayist wrote. “Whatever destroys dignity, and brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny.” This is partly why bards, even jesters, enjoyed a certain level of protection in many ancient cultures. Even the mightiest ruler couldn’t bear to be mocked.

Just ask Chinese why they can’t post pictures of Winnie-the-Pooh online.

Wednesday August 30, 2023 


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Ulyana Kubini: Why Private Healthcare Is Booming in Scandinavian Countries

In the eyes of young voters and socialists of all creeds, Bernie Sanders is a superhero, passionately advocating for his vision of a socialist utopia in America. With Denmark as a shining example, he champions the idea that the U.S. should draw inspiration from the accomplishments of countries like Sweden and Norway, particularly when it comes to “benefiting the working class.”

During the 2016 presidential debates, he emphatically declared, "We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” continuing the sentiment to this day.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 30/8/23

Multi-agency 111 response is among the latest govt initiatives which depend on Labour surviving the general election

Many burning questions (as the general election looms) are answered on the government’s official website today.

Let’s start by checking how ministers are spending (or misspending) our money.

Peter Jacobsen: Why Do Some Countries Stay Poor?

This week for Ask an Economist, I have a question from a reader named Mark. He says,

“I've worked with immigrants that recently moved to the US, and workers still living in their native country and working for me remotely.

My experience is that they're on average, much harder working and more skilled (even in technical fields) than my American colleagues. The foreigners work hard, making no excuses, grateful for the work, and take every opportunity to better themselves. Americans, on the other hand, demand much higher wages, complain about the work, and make little effort to improve themselves.

Since the people from many of these poor countries are better workers, why are their home countries so poor? Immigrants on average start more businesses and do better in the US than US born citizens. With all their skills and ambition, it seems their home countries ought to be significantly richer than the US cities, yet this isn't the case. What's the cause of these countries' poverty?”

Mike Hosking: The accuracy of polls in election year

Once again, we have an interesting insight into polling.

Yesterday we told you about the poll results from TOP and their numbers in Ilam.

Ilam is a blue seat in Christchurch. It was held for years by Gerry Brownlee until the Covid upheaval three years ago when Sarah Pallett, who never thought in a million years she would win it, won it.

Bob Jones: An answer to our hospital crisis

I was interested to read that breast reduction surgery is available from Medicare in Australia. This made the news when women complained they were at the back of the queue, apparently some surgeons viewing it as a cosmetic issue.

That’s nonsense. Overly large breasts are a hellish problem and just as much an impediment to a physically comfortable life and thus needing surgery, as say hip surgery. But offering this operation in New Zealand (outside of the private sector) would be a pipe-dream, due to the appalling shortage of medical professionals here.

Garrick Tremain: Vandalism complaint

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on the Maori Party's billboards being vandalised! 

Cam Slater: The Economy Is in the Dunny

Everyone, including Blind Freddy, knows that our economy is in the dunny. The only ones who think everything is grand are Grant Robertson and the other useless idiots in the governing parties. Even the IMF knows that we are in dire shape:

Peter Williams: Give it a rest Rosemary

I see that Rosemary Penwarden has been at it again.

She’s the Dunedin grandmother who is a serial eco protestor, a woman who is actually on bail after being convicted of forgery and using a forged document. That was after a trial in Dunedin in June following her attempt to call off the Petroleum Exploration and Production conference in Queenstown in 2019.

Rosemary is due to be sentenced on that conviction next month, although up until today (August 29th) I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d been discharged without conviction.

Chris Trotter: Going For Broke With Woke.

What are we to make of Chris Hipkins speech “Working With Others”? Ostensibly about unity, the Prime Minister’s address homes in on the two issues which, for the last three years, have divided New Zealanders the most – Ethnicity and Gender. For good measure, he has also ruled out leading Labour into any kind of coalition agreement with NZ First. Taken in its entirety, Hipkins’ speech has much less to say about unity than it does about refusing to work with anyone who declines to embrace Labour’s radical social agenda. That being the case, it would have been more honest to entitle his address: “Going For Broke With Woke”.

John MacDonald: As John McEnroe would say...

I’m channelling my inner John McEnroe today. If there is such a thing.

This $4 billion cut to public service spending over the next four years that the Government has announced six weeks out from the election.

There’s only one response to it, isn’t there? And this is where tennis legend John McEnroe comes into it.

Tuesday August 29, 2023 


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 29/8/23

Greens have cause to gripe about edict on public spending but Hauraki Gulf conservation options will be more agreeable

Two of the government’s latest announcements may well raise the question – among many citizens, at least – of timing.

Why has it taken so long?

Mike Hosking: The weather is a scapegoat for our ineptitude

In a display of brass neck that even for Labour was quite something, Carmel Sepuloni tried to explain in an interview on TV that the current cost of living crisis wasn’t necessarily the Government's fault.

As regards an explanation as to who's fault it might be, she seemed to settle on the weather. There is a theme here as the weather has taken a lot of heat this year.

What a spectacularly convenient scapegoat it is because, in part, it's true, but only in part. The weather is no ones fault so it’s the perfect alibi.

Nicholas Khoo: Talk of a new Cold War is overheated

But NZ faces complex challenges in the era of ‘strategic competition’

As the general election nears, the campaign focus so far has been almost exclusively on domestic issues. And yet, over the past two months, no fewer than five government documents have been released outlining the significant defence and security challenges the country now faces.

Bob Jones: Free money offer

Former Labour Party President Mike Williams issued a press release saying the election is still too close to call. If he genuinely believes that then here’s an opportunity for him to get rich.

I’ll give him 3 to one odds that Labour will not be the next government. I suggest he endeavour to gather up monied supporters to back his claim for as many millions as he likes and I’m happy to deposit with a lawyer of his choice, three times what he can raise.

Garrick Tremain: Audition

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on NZ's tribal elite chewing up PM's and spitting them out! 

Cam Slater: Robbo Proves Winston Was Right

Remember 28 days ago when Winston Peters claimed that there was a $20 billion hole in Government accounts and that public sector bosses were being called in for serious and secret talks about how to save money in their departments?

Chris Trotter: The Election Labour Has To Lose.

Labour's going to lose the General Election, and everybody with a shred of objectivity left to them knows it. The government of Chris Hipkins is doomed, and it’s not just the polls that are giving us the bad news, it’s Hipkins himself. He has nothing to offer the electorate: nothing that it wants to hear; and he knows it. Political promises are useless now. There are simply too many voters convinced that, after 14 October, Labour will be in no position to honour them. Hipkins is in the same position as a country experiencing hyperinflation: no matter how many zeros get added to the notes rolling off the printing presses, the currency remains worthless.

Stephen Agnew: Financial education needs to start in the home

Even as an economics student at university, I remember heading into town on a Friday night knowing what I needed to pay the bills before I could spend on socialising. But despite having the financial literacy to know better, Monday could still sometimes begin with a trip to the bank to ask for an overdraft extension.

So it was encouraging to hear that financial education has become a political talking point ahead of this year’s election. Both Labour and National are promising to deliver compulsory financial literacy classes as part of the school curriculum.

John MacDonald: NZ First - What should Christopher Luxon do?

Does Christopher Luxon know something we don't? Because that's the only reason I can think of, for him being so cagey.

Did you hear him talking to Mike Hosking this morning? I thought it was Monday when I woke up - but no, it’s Groundhog Day.

Peter Williams: Why National, why?

Nats to continue the fiscal lolly scramble

Somebody suggested to me yesterday that the 2023 version of the National Party is similar to the Helen Clark Labour Party of 20 years ago. That is just to the left of centre.

When you look a few policies, that comment isn’t far off the mark. They’re going to retain the 39 cent top tax rate and they’re maintaining the Zero Carbon Act, when the ETS could do the same job at a fraction of the price.

Andrew Dickens: Misguided, naïve, or just plain timid

So last week we lost Sir Michael Parkinson, the great interviewer. His son interviewed in the weekend saying his father was proud of his working-class roots but hated politics. While he hated politics but loved policy. He thought most of politics was just an act, but policies are actions.

I thought about that watching the corny play that was acted out over the weekend. Hipkins ruled out Peters even though Peters had ruled out Hipkins ages ago. Then Dunne says great politics and that it snookers Luxon, but Luxon comes back and says he's not thinking about Peters at all.

 Monday August 28, 2023 


Monday, August 28, 2023

Karl du Fresne: Hypocrisy, cant and fashionably woke opinion masquerading as news

■ The Master Huffer and Puffer is back in business. When Winston Peters spent 11 minutes blustering his way through an interview with Corin Dann on Morning Report this morning, it was if he’d never been away. It was déjà vu, and not in a good way.

One point in particular struck me. Peters got indignant, as only he can, when Dann asked whether NZ First might be prepared to provide confidence and supply from the cross benches in the event of a hung parliament.

Kate Hawkesby: Does NZ First stand a chance with National?

We went to Christchurch at the weekend, and we were waiting to board the plane and a woman comes up to us and says to Mike, “Just wanted to say I love your show, I listen all the time, but I have to say I think you’re wrong about Winston.”  

First things first, this woman was under 70 years old. She looked about mid-40’s I guess, so not your average Winston supporter.  

Mike replies, “What do you mean?”. She says, “You’re wrong about him not having enough support, I reckon he’ll be in government, he’s going to get at least 5 percent.” Mike replies, “Are you insane?” Which, personally, I’ve always thought is a weird way to address your listeners in public, by asking them if they’re insane, but hey, who am I to judge.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 28/8/23

New welcome mat is put out for Ukrainians but Hipkins pulls rug from under NZ First (and crystalises stance on race)

It has been an easy two days for Point of Order’s monitors of ministerial accomplishments, misjudgements, embarrassments and what-have-you. Just two ministers, Immigration Minister Andrew Little and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, jointly have produced one press statement.

Lushington D. Brady: Get ’Em Woke While They’re Young

Childcare centre makes tots apologise for being white

In a stunning scene from Fred Schepisi’s The Devil’s Playground, a priest delivers a terrifying sermon on the torments of hell. The priest is played by author Thomas Keneally, who would later talk of his “feeling of outrage that at the age of seven we were lumbered with the neurosis of the confessional”.

These days, though, Keneally is a signed-up member of a new religion that is hell-bent (pardon the pun) on burdening even the youngest children with the “neurosis of the confessional”.

Derek Mackie: My Generation's Wind Moment

I trust The Who would approve of this renewables-inspired version of their classic song, My Generation, critiquing the why, where, when and how of wind power. 

People try to put us …. down 
     Talkin’ ‘bout wind generation 
‘Cause we don’t always spin around 
    Un-pre-dict-able rotation 
Don’t work at all when it’s calm and c-c-cold 
    Useless in tough situations 
Know I’ll die before I get old 
    Low life expectancy duration 

That’s wind generation 
That’s wind generation, baby 

Mike Hosking: It wouldn't have happened in my day

To use an old but, nevertheless, true saying, it would never have happened in my day.

I read with alarm the revelation that TVNZ, a place I have worked for a couple of times over the years, including starting the countries first TV breakfast show about a life time ago, has taken money from the Government. In this case, the money came from a Government energy agency and in return TVNZ produced so-called news stories about climate and climate change.

JC: One Country, One People, One Law

Why on earth does the National leader, Christopher Luxon, bother to go to Ngaruawahia? Is it a case of if you don’t go you’re insulting your supposed hosts, and if you do go it’s their chance to insult you? Regardless, it serves no useful purpose. ACT and NZ First had the good sense to stay away. A better idea would be to scrap the Maori seats because they serve no useful purpose.

It is now 2023 and the time is well past when the priority should be to ensure we are all one people living under the same laws. National has to stop pandering to one small sector of Maoridom. There are no votes in it for them. The elite know their best chance of screwing the rest of us is to stick with Labour. The last six years and particularly the last three since Winston left, are proof of that. The Labour Maori caucus has virtually run the show to the detriment of our country.

Garrick Tremain: Cyclone Jacinda

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on Jacinda's devastation of the Labour Party and New Zealand! 

Peter Williams: Will Auckland Council include Maori seats?

And will they be voted for ?

In the midst of the general election campaign, you would think that matters pertaining to local body elections would not be high priority for the population at large.

As a voter in a local authority, I’m certainly not thinking of local elections and most probably neither are you.

That lack of interest and attention is probably the rationale behind an extraordinary exercise by Auckland Council at the moment called “Deciding whether to introduce Maori Seats for 2025.” One might have thought this was quite an important issue requiring attention free from other political distraction for the voters of Auckland.

Robert MacCulloch: New IMF data ranks NZ's GDP growth as worst out of 159 nations in world along with Equatorial Guinea

What has PM Hipkins done? The newly released IMF Regional Economic Outlooks say NZ is projected to be the worst performing economy in the entire world in 2024 in terms of GDP growth, with one exception, Equatorial Guinea, which has been ripped apart by civil war. No other time in our history has NZ been bottom of the planet.

Damien Grant: When Te Pāti Māori tell us what they stand for we should believe them

American poet Maya Angelou is credited with the statement; “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”

Angelou was a prolific author and penned seven autobiographies, so the statement could have been a marketing polemic as much as a deep philosophical insight.

Still. It is wise advice. Let’s apply it to politics current bad-boy Rawiri Waititi.

Peter Williams: Who's really dividing New Zealand?

Time for Chris Hipkins to assume some self-awareness

Before today (August 27th) we pretty much took it as read the way the political parties would coalesce after the election. But at least we have had it confirmed now after what Chris Hipkins has said about Labour’s relationship with New Zealand First.

It’s National, Act and NZ First on one team, and Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party on the other. Except of course if National and Act are so dominant they can govern alone and don’t want New Zealand First.

But I wonder if the Prime Minister has any sense of self-awareness after his comments when he ruled out New Zealand First. To quote Chris Hipkins “National, Act and New Zealand First are focused on dividing New Zealand.”

Muriel Newman: Nothing to Fear

In a week when Russia invaded the Ukraine, and when the protesters in Wellington scored a major victory with the removal of vaccine mandates for children, the Government has embarked on a charm offensive to quell the growing public opposition to its racist He Puapua agenda.

He Puapua is, of course, Labour’s ‘masterplan’ to replace democracy with co-governance and tribal rule.

Lushington D. Brady: Humans Are Good for the Planet

Earth is not a closed “spaceship”

As I wrote recently, contrary to the gloomy Malthusianism of the green left, we humans may effectively never run out of resources. There may not be a Planet B, but we probably won’t ever need one. The Earth provides and will continue to do so.

This, of course, flies in the face of the ruling doom-narrative. There can’t be infinite growth on a finite planet! wail the green Jeremiahs. To be fair, this seems self-evident. But is it true? Like many things that seem “just obvious”, in real terms it may in fact not be.