Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Michael Reddell: Treasury wanting to use fiscal policy more

Government departments are now all required by law to write and publish a Long-term Insights Briefing at least every three years.

Dr Guy Hatchard: Short and Sweet - The Appalling Decline in Mainstream Journalism

The lead article in the New Zealand Herald on 21st July entitled “Wellington company director Finlay Thompson loses 30kg taking Ozempic, wants medication funded” was written by youthful journalist Ethan Manera. Ethan, who began his career in 2023, is described by the newspaper as a multimedia journalist bringing us premium expert opinion.

Sir Bob Jones: The ludicrous Green Party

The Greens have not exercised the Waka jumping option against Darleen Tana which would enable them to have their entitled 15 MPs, as per their last election percentage vote under MMP.

This they argue is because historically they never supported that provision on the grounds that it would lead to ending opinion diversity within a party. That was silly. There’s a rich variety of opinions on every topic in any group of people and democracy resolves debated issues, plus compromise is part and parcel of politics.

Vance Ginn: The Economic Folly of a Carbon Tax

The push for a carbon tax has regained popularity as the fiscal storm in 2025 and climate change debates intensify. Advocates claim it’s a solution to pay for spending excesses while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But a carbon tax is a misguided, costly policy that must be rejected.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: NZ's Health Woes Have Nothing to do with Shifting the Deck Chairs....

NZ's Health Woes Have Nothing to do with Shifting the Deck Chairs, Bringing Back John Key's Mate, 70 yr old Lester Levy, to run things.

Surprisingly, although age has figured in the American election campaign, forcing President Biden out of the race, one seldom reads about it in the NZ press. The fact that 75 year old Sir Peter Gluckman (who was John Key's Chief Scientific Adviser) has been brought back by National to advise on how to reform our universities received little attention. This week the Nats have been at it again, reincarnating another of Key's mates to run NZ.

Tuesday July 23, 2024 


Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 23/7/24

Come back, Sir Donald – the govt needs a Special Envoy for a funeral in Saigon

More travel plans have been set out on the government’s official website over the past 24 hours.

They tell us not only what current ministers are doing. Foreign Minister Winston Peters – for example – will travel to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.

Mike's Minute: Is America ready for a female president?

Media outlets around the world rolled out the predictable articles yesterday post the announcement, with the headline "Who is Kamala Harris?"

They rolled out the same articles several years ago when she got picked as Vice President.

Depending on whether those articles are applicable in America depends a bit on whether she can now go on and win.

Simon O'Connor: I got it wrong ...

I thought Biden would hold on despite all the issues. A few quick reflections - in these early hours - on what has happened and what may happen.

Well, I am the first to admit I got it wrong. I expected Biden to stay in the race. In saying this I didn't think he was actually up to the job and have repeatedly, like others, noted his serious cognitive decline. However, that he had the near unilateral backing of thousands of Democratic delegates, a substantial war chest of money (which doesn’t simply transfer to the new candidate), and with so few days left to his Democratic Convention I thought he would hold on. There was also the reality – that will now play out – that for him to step down leaves major questions to be answered and a Party in disarray. Put simply it appeared to be his decision to stay or quit, and he and his team were unambiguous around his intention to stay.

Ele Ludemann: Paying for Labour’s big mistake

Labour was warned that restructuring the health system during a pandemic would be a mistake.

It was, and a very expensive one.

Like many other Labour policies, high costs went on back room increases with no improvement in frontline services.

That has to change:

Dr Bryce Edwards: Te Pati Māori political donations scandal gets worse

Sympathy should be extended to Te Pati Māori MP Takutai Tarsh Kemp, who announced yesterday that she is taking six weeks off parliamentary duties to recover from kidney disease. This, of course, doesn’t give her a pass from the continued scrutiny applied to her political donations and allegedly improper electioneering that got her into Parliament last year. The first part of the official government inquiry is due in nine days.

New allegations about Te Pati Māori political finance

Brendan O'Neill: There is nothing ‘graceful’ about Biden’s withdrawal from the race

This whole unsightly circus has exposed the moral rot of the Democratic establishment.

And so the spin begins. Within minutes of Joe Biden announcing that he was dropping out of the presidential race, his sycophants were gushing over his ‘grace’. The New York Times marvelled like a wide-eyed idiot at the ‘historical rarity’ and ‘fundamental humility’ of a president bowing out for the good of the nation. Celebs lauded his ‘integrity’ in stepping down to ‘save democracy’. He has restored ‘honesty’ to politics after years of ‘scandal and chaos’, said Mark Hamill, as if Old Joe was Obi-Wan Kenobi to Trump’s Darth Vader. One Democratic governor hailed Biden for setting the ‘ultimate example’ to the American people. That example being what, exactly? That you should stubbornly stay in your job even when you know you can’t do it any more?

David Farrar: The Health NZ problems

Shane Reti announced:

In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: I'm shocked by Biden's behaviour following his decision to drop out

Do you know what’s surprised me the most about Joe Biden quitting this morning?

It's obviously not that he’s quit - I mean that was predictable, it clearly needed to happen. But what’s surprised me is that he’s been so badly behaved about it.

First of all, it shouldn’t have taken him more than three weeks to quit. It should've been obvious to him immediately after the debate that it probably wasn't survivable.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 21.7.24

Tuesday July 23, 2024 

Oranga Tamariki acknowledges it should have engaged with mana whenua on youth boot camps earlier

Oranga Tamariki has acknowledged it should have engaged with mana whenua earlier when designing the Government’s pilot boot camps for young offenders in Palmerston North.

The acknowledgment comes after RNZ asked the organisation on July 8 what involvement local iwi had had in the process and when that involvement had begun.

John MacDonald: The invisible VP for president? Don't think so

One headline I’ve read about President Joe Biden quitting the presidential race is describing it as “a shock decision”.

It’s no shock to me. But it was, apparently, to some of his campaign staff.

Andrew Dickens: I'm truly confused over Dr Anthony Jordan's resignation from Pharmac

I have always avoided getting into the Treaty principles debate.

It’s just too much of a swamp to get trapped in.

Either you’re for David Seymour's debate on a reset, in which case some will call you a racist.

Kevin: Chlöe Gets Mugged By Reality

So, Chlöe, are you going to live up to your own book of rules?

Greens co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick has hit back at ex-Green MP Darleen Tana's claims she was unfairly treated, saying “feelings are one thing … but facts are another”.

It follows a 1News exclusive sit-down interview with Tana yesterday, where she faced questions about what she knew and when, and whether she will resign from Parliament after a Green Party-instigated independent investigation over allegations of migrant worker exploitation at Tana’s husband’s business.

Lushington D. Brady: Le Medaille D’or de la Terreur

The jihadis are giving it the gold medal try.

Are these going to be the most dangerous Olympics ever? It’s not just the likelihood of swimmers developing new and exotic diseases from being submerged in the filthy Seine. With Islamic terror waging war in the Middle East and across Europe, the greatest obvious danger is swivel-eyed Mahommedans or even more demented leftist anti-Semites causing bloody mayhem.

Monday July 22, 2024 


Monday, July 22, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 22/7/24

Karen Chhour can cobble whatever words she likes, but the media are sure to stick to “boot camp”

The government’s official website today serves as much as a ministerial travel guide as a record of governmental decisions.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: God Save New Zealand from Lawyers

For the past 40 years, what do US Democratic Presidents have in common? They have all been lawyers. Bill Clinton went to Yale Law School. Barack Obama went to Yale Law School. Hillary Clinton, who ran unsuccessfully for President, went to Yale Law School. The current US President who is standing down, Joe Biden, is a lawyer. Who has he endorsed to be the Democratic candidate for this year's Presidential election? Kamala Harris who is a lawyer. Meanwhile, current UK Labour Prime Minister Keir Starmer is a lawyer, and former UK Labour PM, Tony Blair, is a lawyer.

Mike's Minute: Yet again, we don't care about local body politics

The great dichotomy of local government is on display right now and seemingly no wants to address it: The turnout in Tauranga was pathetic.

The latest example of us not giving a monkey’s is Tauranga.

Professor Philip Klinkner: Until 1968, presidential candidates were picked by party conventions...

Until 1968, presidential candidates were picked by party conventions – a process revived by Biden’s withdrawal from race

Now that Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to be the nominee, it will ultimately be up to Democratic National Convention delegates to formally select a new nominee for their party. This will mark the first time in over 50 years that a major party nominee was selected outside of the democratic process of primaries and caucuses.

JC: Get Rid of the Māori Seats

Democracy is one thing. Using it for vile purposes is quite another.

The time has come. In fact it is well past. No longer should the majority in this country have to put up with the violent rhetoric emanating from the mouths of racist reprobates who represent about three per cent of the voting public. I object to having my money used to pay people to give them the opportunity to spout dangerous inflammatory language against me and other Kiwis. If there was some truth to their claims one might be a little conciliatory, but what we are getting is nothing more than racist dialogue with no basis in fact.

Ele Ludemann: Biden – jumped or pushed?

Joe Biden has finally pulled out of his attempt to win a second term as President:

President Biden, 81, abandoned his bid for re-election and threw the 2024 presidential contest into chaos on Sunday, caving to relentless pressure from his closest allies to drop out of the race amid deep concerns that he is too old and frail to defeat former President Donald J. Trump. After calling Vice President Kamala Harris an “extraordinary partner,” he endorsed her to take his place atop the ticket.

David Farrar: Who is hiking rates the most

The Taxpayers’ Union has a useful summary of the average rates increase for every Council. They seem oblivious to the cost of living crisis many families face.

The seven largest hikes are:

David Farrar: Finally, consequences

Chris Bishop announced:

“In March this year Ministers said enough was enough. We formally instructed Kāinga Ora to end the Sustaining Tenancies Framework, and to strengthen their management of disruptive tenants.

Olivia Pierson: The Attempted Assassination Of President Trump

Well I’ve never seen a man who is blessed with a more powerful guardian angel, than President Trump. He came so close to death on Saturday at the rally in Pennsylvania, and the Secret Service clearly failed him. It was no thanks to them that he survived that first volley of shots, it came down to a random turn of his head. Then he dropped down to the ground before his bodyguards covered him and got him out. Thankfully a SWAT team sniper took down the shooter.

Bob McCoskrie: “Human Rights” – just not yours

If you want evidence of why you the taxpayer should not be funding activist groups like the Human Rights Commission you only need to look at their latest publication – 102 pages of pure bunkem that wasted a tree in printing. But it’s gonna be cold tonight – so it’s the perfect fire starter

Conversion Practices Insights Report has been released by the Human Rights Commission – that’s the human rights for people we like commission. The intro says:

Brian Easton: Flooding Housing Policy

The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.

Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the announced strategy is going to quickly resolve New Zealand’s housing problems.

Dr Eric Crampton: Better path to Net-Zero

The government’s draft Emissions Budget gets a few important things right.

It abandons measures like subsidies for electric vehicles that, perhaps counterintuitively, cannot reduce net national emissions.

Every tonne of emissions in the sectors covered by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) requires surrender of a carbon credit. In transport, fuel companies buy and surrender credits on behalf of road users.

 Sunday July 21, 2024 


Sunday, July 21, 2024

Dr Michael Bassett: Dealing with today's small, raucous, crazy Maori fringe

Anyone watching and trying to understand last Sunday’s Q&A where Jack Tame interviewed Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will realise that she seems to be beyond reason. Tame tried to examine bits of her blather and her obvious misuse of words, but she immediately slithered like an eel under a rock and made louder assertions about how Maori “korero” and “kaupapa” justified her allegations of “genocide” being perpetrated by a “white supremacist” government against Maori.

Michael Laws questions Māori influence in local government decisions.

Michael Laws questions Māori influence in local government decisions.

Click to view

Joakim Book - Floating on Hyperbole: The New York Times’ Take on Low-Lying Islands

Human ingenuity can act faster than microscopic, gradual shifts in the earth's climate.

Summary: Climate change narratives have predicted the disappearance of low-lying islands like the Maldives due to rising sea levels. But as the New York Times has recently noticed, many of these islands are actually expanding, thanks in large part to human ingenuity. This highlights the human capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of environmental challenges.

The New York Times: Read the Transcript of Donald J. Trump’s Convention Speech

At the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on July 19 Donald Trump spoke for just over 90 minutes.

Thank you very much. Thank you very, very much. And thank you, Dana. Thank you, Kid Rock, sometimes referred to as “Bob.” And thank you, Lee, right from the beginning, thank you very much. What a talent. What a beautiful, beautiful song. Thank you.

Friends, delegates and fellow citizens. I stand before you this evening with a message of confidence, strength and hope. Four months from now, we will have an incredible victory, and we will begin the four greatest years in the history of our country.

Together, we will launch a new era of safety, prosperity and freedom for citizens of every race, religion, color and creed.

The discord and division in our society must be healed. We must heal it quickly. As Americans, we are bound together by a single fate and a shared destiny. We rise together. Or we fall apart.

Chris Lynch: Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

The Government has today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te a Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North.

Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said on the 29th of July, 10 young people will begin their time on the Military Style Academy Pilot.

Dr Bryce Wilkinson: Forty years on

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.”

This week and last week, The Listener ran five articles revisiting New Zealand’s economic reforms from 1984 to 1993. Four of those articles had little good to say about them, or the people who led them with such clarity, courage and determination.

Dr Eric Crampton: Shakedown finances

There are a lot of problems with the Paul Goldsmith / Willie Jackson media bargaining bill.

I hit on some of those over in the Stuff papers this week.

A snippet:

Alwyn Poole: The Genuine Legal Conflict for School Boards

There is media fuss today around the resistance of schools in terms of excluding students excluded from other schools. The NZ Herald highlights statistics that 100s of schools appear to be reluctant and three remain outright resistant.

The article highlights the legal obligation for schools to accept students in their zone. This can be ordered through a Ministry letter. Schools can also fight for extra resourcing for one of these previously excluded students – but don’t always get it.

Nick Clark: Absurdity in the asylum

This week, Stuff reported on a story that seemed so absurd, it caught our attention: the idea to fence a pool on a remote island, just meters away from the Pacific Ocean.

On Motukawaiti Island, 3.5km off Northland’s coast, authorities have mandated that a small swimming pool be enclosed. This pool, which has existed without incident for two decades, suddenly requires a barrier to protect against the unlikely event of unsupervised children under five accessing it.

Dr Guy Hatchard: What Has Become of Our Country?

The University of Auckland has announced that it is joining a research project of national significance co-hosted with Victoria University of Wellington and supported by the University of Otago and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

The project is to develop an mRNA vaccine platform. They plan to turn research into drug development, clinical testing and manufacture at an industrial scale. The plan has been signed off, presumably by Judith Collins MP, Science, Innovation and Technology Minister, and the participating universities. It has so far attracted an initial $70 million funding.

Saturday July 20, 2024 


Saturday, July 20, 2024

Professor Jerry Coyne: Another government-funded organization encourages staff to chant Māori prayers

Some of you may be wondering why I persistently post on the efforts of New Zealand to interpolate local superstitions and lore into science classes and other government endeavors. This is not because I hate New Zealand, but because I love it. I hate to see the country brought down, especially scientifically, by sacralizing the superstitions of the indigenous population.

Yes, I admit that the local “way of knowing,” Mātauranga Māori (MM), does contain some empirical trial-and-error knowledge, though most of that knowledge should be conveyed in anthropology and sociology classes. But what’s going on in the country now is the world’s most pervasive form of “wokeness,” though it’s not purely performative because it actually damages the country. And the authorities have ensured that no objection to this ideological capture will be tolerated.

Dr Eric Crampton: Right to Repair

The Green Party has a Member's Bill up arguing for a consumer right of repair; Auckland University's Alex Sims has written a few columns in support of such a thing.

I'd had an email asking about that legislation; figured I'd share my response here - tidied up a bit.

John McLean: Hate Packer

The Wahine Māori Party Co-Leader descends to new depths of divisive derangement

With her latest racial ranting, Te Pati Māori (Māori Party) Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has lowered her own abjectly low standards. Faced with a person like this, it’s hard to remain civil.

Toby Murray: What is CrowdStrike Falcon and what does it do? Is my computer safe?

A massive IT outage is currently affecting computer systems worldwide. In Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, reports indicate computers at banks, media organisations, hospitals, transport services, shop checkouts, airports and more have all been impacted.

Today’s outage is unprecedented in its scale and severity. The technical term for what has happened to the affected computers is that they have been “bricked”. This word refers to those computers being rendered so useless by this outage that – at least for now – they may as well be bricks.

Guest Post: Will John Minto condemn Hamas for refusing to free the hostages?

A guest post by Lucy Rogers on Kiwiblog

I woke up this morning to initial elation at the news that Israel and Hamas are apparently close to a ceasefire deal. The proposal involves the return of 33 hostages and Hamas’ removal from power, in exchange for the release of several hundred Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Israel’s withdrawal from eastern Gaza and a ceasefire in stages.

Dr Bryce Wilkinson: The myth of New Zealands business-friendly reputation

New Zealand has long enjoyed its reputation as one of the world's most transparent and business-friendly nations. Does it deserve this reputation? Surely, we should be doing better anyway?

Take New Zealand’s flattering ranking for the absence of corruption. In 2023, Transparency International ranked New Zealand as the third least corrupt of 180 countries. Denmark was first, Finland second.

Ele Ludemann: Cash still king

Yesterday’s global IT outage shows that cash is still king.

When computers, EFTPOS machines and internet banking don’t work, cash still does.

It doesn’T surprise me that young people don’t carry money but when I was working at Rotary Bookarama I was surprised how many elderly people used EFTPOS for as little as $2.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 14.7.24

Saturday July 20, 2024 

Pharmac director quits over Government’s Treaty of Waitangi directive

Pharmac director Dr Anthony Jordan has quit over the Government’s Treaty directive, the Pharmac Minister’s office says.

Associate Health Minister David Seymour this week told Pharmac it was inappropriate for the agency to keep considering the Treaty of Waitangi’s place in the health sector.

Viv Forbes: First Aid for Flicker Power

Wind and solar energy have a fatal flaw – intermittency.

Solar generators won’t run on moon-beams – they fade out as the sun goes down and stop whenever clouds block the sun. This happens at least once every day. But then at mid-day on most days, millions of solar panels pour so much electricity into the grid that the price plummets and no one makes any money. And after a good hailstorm they never work again.

Mike's Minute: We can't take our eyes off America

This has been the week the world changed.

Like it or not, America affects us all and the President affects America.

The Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump as their man and this afternoon our time he will accept.

Kerre Woodham: It's all about timing when it comes to sanctions

It's no surprise really, given that National campaigned on getting tough on work-shy beneficiaries, that benefit sanctions have increased more than 50% since the same time last year. Last year Louise Upston said should National become the government, they would make it crystal clear to those who were receiving the job seeker benefit, what their obligations were and what the consequences would be if they refuse to do their bit. So there were 10,389 sanctions issued in the June quarter, up 3,630 or 53.7% compared to June last year, mainly for not attending appointments and failing to prepare for work.

Dr Eric Crampton: Government right to rely on the Emissions Trading Scheme

The New Zealand Initiative today [17/7/27] welcomed the government’s intention, stated in the Draft Emissions Reduction Plan, to rely on the Emissions Trading Scheme to achieve the Zero Carbon Act’s goal of net zero emissions from 2050.
But it also urged measures that would strengthen the ETS