Thursday, February 29, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 29/2/24

ETS review will be good news (we think) for the forest sector but govt gets tough with Hamas and Israeli extremists

When the Luxon government took office last year, forest owners and investors were among the myriads of interest groups who pressed incoming ministers with pleadings, urgings and advice – typically self-serving – for change.

The forestry bunch hoped the new government would give clearer direction on the Emissions Trading Scheme as investment in the sector threatened to dry up in response to policy uncertainty.

Mike's Minute: Newshub's demise is sad, but context is needed

While fully accepting these are difficult days for the media in this country, it is important to put the Newshub news into a little bit of context.

You can still be successful in this country, and to take one sad case and lump it in with everybody else is to fail to understand the nuance of the landscape.

For a start, this country, as Adrian Orr pointed out yesterday, has massive economic troubles.

Peter Williams: RIP Newshub

The real surprise is not that Newshub is going under but that it’s lasted this long.

TV 3 started broadcasting in November 1989, almost 35 years ago. It was a different era. There was no Sky, no digital platforms and the new kid on the block was going head to head with TVNZ. News was a major battleground.

Cam Slater: Death Spiral or Flat Spin?

Political journalists and commentators are often prone to examples of exaggeration. Tova O’Brien is one of the worst, but it is understandable when you work for a niche publication that is so close to failing that its staff resort to calamitous exaggerated headlines to attract readers to their dross.

David Seymour: Parallel Assessment Means New Medicines Assessed Sooner

Pharmac is changing its process so it can assess a funding application at the same time Medsafe is assessing the application for regulatory approval. This means that medicines will be able to be considered for funding sooner in New Zealand.

Access to medicines is a crucial part of many Kiwis’ lives. We’re speeding up the process so more people have access to the medicines they need, faster.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Newshub

Is Newshub asking the same people its platform called bullsh*t liars for a bailout? How the wheel turns.

Any news outlet that does the following sort of reporting on its "Nation" show can only expect that it will be shut-down one day - no wonder Warner Bros. pulled the plug:

Dr Eric Crampton: NZ's uncompetitive urban land markets at root of housing problems

A good title matters. The recent and thorough essay explains how the anglosphere’s unnecessarily expensive housing affects, well, everything. Or at least almost everything.

Zoning makes it too hard to build houses where people want to build. Urban containment policies block new subdivisions, so downtown land no longer competes with land further out for developers’ attention and for residents. Land prices then inflate across the whole urban land market. Zoning that blocks new townhouses and apartment towers in places where people want to live further worsens scarcity and affordability.

Clive Bibby: Whose Next and who should be?

The sudden announcement of the pending closure of the privately owned 3 News has taken everybody, including the bulk of the company employees, by surprise. 

Tragically, those who put their energies into a news outlet that compares favourably with its competitors in the cutthroat industry, will be devastated that their commitments to a balanced presentation of the news has been left on the cutting room floor.

David Farrar: The Atlas conspiracy theory continues

Joshua Drummond writes:

To recap, quickly: The Atlas Network is a “think tank that creates think tanks“; a global network of more than 500 right-wing think tanks and lobby groups. New Zealand members of Atlas include the Taxpayers' Union and the New Zealand Initiative (formed from a merger of two think tanks, one of which was the infamous Business Roundtable.)

This, like everything else, is wrong. Atlas does not create think tanks. It did not create the NZBR, the NZ Initiative or Taxpayers Union. I know. I co-founded the NZTU and don't think I had even heard of Atlas when I did.

Professor Robert MacCulloch:

The RBNZ just went & broke National, ACT & NZ First's new law requiring it to focus only on cutting inflation

This blog isn't about whether you agree or not with the RBNZ's decision to keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at the same level today - its about whether the Bank has any regard for the new law that it is now meant to obey.

JC: Is Labour a Spent Force?

Normally after an electoral drubbing such as the Labour Government received last year one can safely assume that in another two or three election cycles there will be a path back to power. Voters will simply tire of the current lot and therefore there will be an appetite for change. Maybe a John Key or, God forbid, a Jacinda Ardern turns up to virtually single-handedly propel their party to victory.

David Farrar: Dave Armstrong on Reading corporate welfare

Dave Armstrong writes:

Imagine you're a struggling wellington apartment owner. Your mortgage payments have skyrocketed and you're struggling to make the council deadline for earthquake strengthening your building. It's going to cost you half a million bucks which you don't have.

Kerre Woodham: What is happening with NZ immigration?

Now, what on Earth is going on within immigration New Zealand? Ever since the days of the late, unlamented Iain Lees-Galloway, the department has been struggling.

A pause was placed on the processing of grandparents' visas, that was before Covid. Migrant workers are still being exploited by unscrupulous employers, despite a number of reviews under former Immigration Ministers.

John MacDonald: Christchurch Airport should pull the plug on the whole Tarras Project

Christchurch Airport is stopping any further work on the Tarras Airport project, the pipedream it’s had to build an airport 400 kilometres away in central Otago.

400 kilometres from the city it serves. And 400 kilometres from its majority owner - the Christchurch City Council. The council owns 75 percent. The Government owns 25 percent.

Wednesday February 28, 2024 


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Ian Bradford: Underwater Thermal Activities – an Overlooked Factor in Climate Change

In my last article I suggested that the increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere was coming from natural sources, NOT from human sources.  Humans supply a very meagre 4% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, whereas 96% comes from natural sources.  The oceans hold most of the natural CO2.  The oceans are warming and warm water holds less CO2 than cold water.  So as the oceans warm, more CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere. 

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 28/2/24

Puff! And before you can get through a packet of 20, Parliament will have stubbed out parts of Labour’s smoke-free law

Health dominated the government’s announcements over the past 24 hour or so, at the same time as Parliament was debating legislation to abolish the Maori Health Authority and repeal parts of the previous government’s planned changes to regulate smoked tobacco.

Sir Bob Jones: Is Stuff stuffed?

Reading Stuff’s principal newspaper, Wellington’s The Post, I now treat as a daily entertainment for its blunders.

Worldwide, newspapers are going over like ninepins, sustained only because they’re a life-long habit by older generations. Most people under 35 have never as much held a copy, glued as they are to their brain-rotting, ironically so-called smart phones and their diverse idiotic but plainly addictive offerings.

The problem for print media relying on that aging demographic is the buggers keep dying off.

David Farrar: Newshub to close

The Herald reports:

One of our biggest commercial media company's newsrooms – newshub – is set to close at the end of June, with dozens of journalists out of roles.

Warner Bros. Discovery has laid out plans to close its Newshub news division from the end of June, and will apparently look to “co-fund” local news with a partner.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: The Chair of the NZ Covid-19 Royal Commission of Inquiry

Holy Crackers: the Chair of the NZ Covid-19 Royal Commission of Inquiry is "Professor of Elimination" Michael Baker's coauthor - let's boycott it.

The more we find out about the Jacinda Ardern-Grant Robertson-Chris Hipkins government, the more shocking it becomes. Aside from them bankrupting NZ, now investigative journalist Kate McNamara alerts us to the fact that the Labour-appointed Chair of the Covid-19 Royal Commission of Inquiry is a guy called Tony Blakely who wrote the article with Michael Baker and Nick Wilson of the University of Otago, called "Elimination could be the optimal response strategy for Covid-19 and other emerging pandemic diseases", published in the British Medical Journal in 2020.

Dr Michael Bassett: TV One still doesn't get the message

It’s becoming clear that the state-owned TV One and its management have no intention of stopping their left-slanted news presentations despite being reminded by Karl du Fresne and others that using the airwaves to proselytise is improper journalism. Worse, it seems that the new Minister for Media and Communications either hasn’t tried, or has failed, to persuade TV One’s management that they should be striving to ensure balanced reporting.

Ele Ludemann: Bureaucracy or services?

The government is replacing an expensive bureaucracy with better services:

Legislation that will disestablish the Māori Health Authority will be introduced in Parliament today, heralding the start of a new vision for Māori health says Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti.
“We have said we will bring healthcare for all New Zealanders closer to the home and closer to the community. This will serve Māori and non-Māori well,” Dr Reti says. . .

Barrie Davis: Free Speech in Universities or Where’s Voltaire?

In a recent article in The Post, “The problem with the Government’s proposed ‘free speech’ law for universities” (here), Professor Nic Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Te Herenga Waka (was Victoria University of Wellington), wrote “Paradoxically, I believe insisting on everybody having a platform will diminish our capacity for people to talk respectfully together about difficult topics and discuss conflicting ideas.” Yes, that is seemingly absurd and self-contradictory, but I fail to see how it could be true.

Simon O'Connor: Time of New Zealand to step up

In recent weeks several large international companies have been identified as participating – directly and indirectly – in the forced labour of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, China. The major German chemical company BASF which is partnered with the Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry was identified as having workers in the company going house to house to identify, re-educate, and effectively harass Uyghurs. It is part of what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) called their fanghuiju campaign.

David Farrar: Nash on why Labour was soft on gangs

NewstalkZB reports:

Nash – who took over as Police Minister from chris hipkins when the latter became Prime Minister – said the first thing he did in the role was talk to Hipkins about dropping the seizure limit to $0.

“He said, ‘Well, see if you can get it past Kiri [Allan]. And I went to Kiri and said this is what I want to do. And she said ‘No, we need to leave it at $30,000.'”

Ele Ludemann: What’s necessary?

If a household, business or any other individual or organisation was facing serious financial problems they’d stop spending on any luxuries and reassessing necessities.

The government must take the same approach.

That means not asking if everything funded by any entity it funds is necessary but are all the entities it funds necessary?

Kerre Woodham: Who do you believe about the Ministry of Education?

Where to start from this morning's program?!

The Mike Hosking Breakfast was the gift that kept on giving, what with Stuart Nash effectively cutting any ties that remained with an existing Labour Party you would have to say, to say ‘I was all for getting tough on the gangs, but nobody would support me.’

And then we had Jan Tinetti responding to National’s press conference yesterday saying so many projects have been promised, and yet we've looked, and they simply can't be delivered. There's not a snowballs chance in hell, we can afford them because the cost overruns are so extreme.

John MacDonald: Labour soft on gangs? Nash says no, no, no, yes

When I heard that former Police Minister Stuart Nash was spilling the beans on what happened when he tried to get a zero limit on how much property gang members could keep if it was the result of illegal activity, I thought he should pull his head in.

Because, call me old fashioned, my thinking is that once someone has retired from politics, they should keep the skeletons to themselves.

Tuesday February 27, 2024 


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 27-2-24

No, it isn’t a surprise – the government is disestablishing the Māori Health Authority (just as it pledged before the election)

The mainstream news media have been grimly auguring this news for the past few days under headings such as…
This afternoon the government’s official website affirmed it.

Lushington D. Brady: Who Needs Reason When You Have Ungabunga?

How Oogabooga mysticism conquered the West

As I wrote recently, California, in the midst of a periodic water crisis, is busily demolishing dams. Why? Because of the magic, oops, ‘spiritually important’ fish, according to the mythology of local Indian tribes.

Of course, as one reader pointed out, there are sound environmental reasons for at least building better dams that don’t impede salmon runs. In which case, why not say so? Why demolish four dams critical to water storage and power generation because, in the government’s own words, “fish that are culturally and spiritually important to several Native American tribes in the area”?

Why the need to dress everything in oogabooga mysticism?

Dr Eric Crampton: This is why Wellington should be called Lowerer Hutt

Transport historian Dr André Brett has suggested that Wellington be renamed Lowerer Hutt, perhaps to help avoid confusion within the region.

Economists Matthew Maltman and Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy have been looking at Lower Hutt’s housing boom. Their paper, released this week by the Economic Policy Centre at Auckland University, suggests Brett was onto something.

Cam Slater: Grant Robertson's legacy

Heather du Plessis-Allan thinks Grant Robertson was a great bloke, but a poor Finance Minister. I’m not sure he was what I’d call a great bloke, but she’s right, he was a poor finance minister.

David Farrar: Non-resident ratepayers voting

Greg O'Connor has a bill to remove the vote from ratepayers who don't reside in the district they own property in. On balance I tend to support this, but there are good arguments either way.

Liam Hehir writes:

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Can Polls Drive Election Results under MMP?

Short answer: Yes, they can

The Centre for Mathematical Social Sciences at Auckland University held a conference last year that I attended. Part of the discussion centered on what is the best voting system for a country to have, a field called "social choice" which lies at the junction of economics and mathematics. NZ of course moved away from the UK-style First-Past-the-Post system to a German-style Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) system many years ago.

Mike's Minute: Labour's behind the scenes look reveals all

We could spend some time on the ineptitude of Jan Tinetti, who may well go down as one of our most ineffective education ministers.

The blow out in school buildings, as the Prime Minister suggested, borders on a crisis and, according to Labour, that’s just the price of stuff going up.

Caleb Anderson: If Jews first ... then who next?

I was moved this morning when I read a Breaking Views article titled "When we bring Hitler back ..." by Kara Isaac.  

In this article, Kara describes the antisemitic threats directed at her son in a Wellington schoolyard.  She comments as follows.

Turns out that today in some playgrounds, some kids, if they think your kid is a “little Jew” hold the view that Hitler had the right idea. And he's not alone. He was just young enough and foolish enough to say the quiet part out loud and more bluntly than most. 

Heather du Plessis-Allan: What will happen with the new gang patch ban?

I'm finding it quite amusing listening to the critics line up to tell us all the reasons why the Government's ban on gang patches won’t work.

Clearly, they don't remember what happened in Whanganui.

Ultimately, the Whanganui gang patch ban hit the same trouble that this Government's gang patch ban might also hit, which is the Bill of Rights Act.

Bruce Cotterill: It's a big mess. We need to be patient.

It hasn’t taken long has it.

Since returning from the summer break I’ve been watching the reaction to the new government. There is already plenty of criticism. I’m hearing and reading views that they’re not moving quickly enough, that the new PM is not aggressive enough and that the new Police Minister is too soft.

Hang on a minute! I think we’re being impatient.

Kerre Woodham: Gang Patch Crackdown Will Send a Message

As promised, the coalition government has announced legislation designed to make life just a little bit tougher for gangs.

They are not the first government to try and control the range and the breadth and the strength of the various gangs in this country, they are unlikely to be the last.

John MacDonald: We should be focussing on the how not the why on gang crackdown

Did you see Police Minister Mark Mitchell on TV last night?

He was asked how-on-earth the Police are going to manage to implement these tough new anti-gang measures and he did what politicians do all the time, and started going-on about why they’re doing it.

We know people have had a gutsful of gangs - I’ve had a gutsful too - so the Government doesn’t need to keep telling us that. That’s the “why” bit.

Monday February 26, 2024 


Monday, February 26, 2024

Point of Order: Yes, voters supported the scrapping of the Māori Health Authority......

.....but Stuff reminds us of the Waitangi Tribunal’s role…

Reinforcing the credence of an article posted here last week, Stuff yet again has been promoting the notion that “The Treaty” should over-ride the country’s democratic governance arrangements.

In the article published on Point of Order under the headline Media chiefs struggle to understand democracy, Graham Adams noted that New Zealand is about to be immersed in a highly charged debate about the “principles” of the Treaty of Waitangi and its status in New Zealand’s political life.

Lindsay Mitchell: Child poverty - complex or simple?

Question: Do you understand how the child poverty statistics are derived?

Clearly some people do not.

Last week the latest child poverty statistics were all over the media. But there are a number of misunderstandings that need addressing. Like this one from NewstalkZB’s John MacDonald who wrote:

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Statistics shown to be wrongly estimated

Former PM Hipkins & Profs Bloomfield & Baker should be held accountable for quoting statistics that have now been shown to be wrongly estimated

Why are we still talking about Covid when many countries - like the US - have moved on? Well the US economy is currently booming and ours is stuck in the mud. The reason has emerged over time.

Simon O'Connor: Extraordinary blindness

A response to Helen Clark and Don Brash's outdated views on AUKUS, China, and New Zealand.

The recent opinion piece by Helen Clark and Dr Don Brash is extraordinary, and not in a good way (you can read here [paywalled unfortunately]). Like other former leaders writing on the China question, they are living in the past – drawing on old perspectives to address the very real global challenges of today. Yes, China is an important trading partner for New Zealand – our largest and most important, and we must do all we can to nurture this trading relationship. But simultaneously we need to acknowledge the Chinese Communist Party is also a challenge to the rule of law, democracy, and the international order both in the Pacific and here in New Zealand.

Ele Ludemann: Questions media doesn’t ask

Various news stories have criticisms on National’s replacement for Labour’s Three + Waters.

Most of them talk about what it will cost and that ratepayers will have to pay more.

One question that the media doesn’t ask, or at least doesn’t report the answer to, is who would have paid for Labour’s scheme and how much?

Brendan O'Neill: The shameful silencing of radical Islam’s critics

Censorship by the woke elites is aiding and abetting Islamist violence.

What Tory MP Lee Anderson said this week was dumb. But what the cultural elites are doing on the back of Anderson’s comments is outright sinister.

They are using his outburst about ‘the Islamists’ having ‘control’ over London mayor Sadiq Khan to distract attention from the very real threat Islamists pose in 21st-century Britain. They are holding him up as oafish proof that the ‘real threat’ is the ‘far right’ and ‘Islamophobes’ – gruff gammon like him – not those mystical ‘Islamists’ people keep banging on about. They are exploiting the Anderson scandal to achieve something they’ve wanted to achieve since the 7 October pogrom and the orgy of bigotry it licensed in Britain and other Western nations – that is, shift the public’s attention away from Islamism and back to ‘Islamophobia’. It is one of the most cynical political manoeuvres of modern times.

Alwyn Poole: A year on the Recomendations still stand.

The following is a slightly edited version that a group of high quality educators and myself compiled.

They remain relevant as National currently drags the chain.

My Proposals (with respect to many sources)

Guest Post: “When we bring Hitler back…”

A guest post on Kiwiblog by Kara Isaac:

“Hey Jew Jew.” The words came from the 12-year-old boy standing in front of my son as they lined up at school waiting for their turn at a game. “When we bring Hitler back we're going to kill you twice.”

They were dropped with casual disdain and a smirk. The same kind of smirk he had used the week before when the teacher stepped out of the classroom and he took the opportunity to do a Nazi salute with an accompanying “Heil Hitler!”

Brian Easton: Do We Take Regulatory Impact Statements Seriously?

The Sorry Story of Earthquake-Prone Buildings.

The Treasury requires that when new or amended legislation is proposed, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) be provided – ‘a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options and their associated costs and benefits, the consultation undertaken, and the proposed arrangements for implementation and review’.

Dane Giraud: So many Coughlins

On a night in that grey depressive season of 1938, a filth blanketed New York City.

The bandwidth occupied by WMCA.

The pro-Mussolini pro-Hitler priest-turned-radio host Father Charles E. Coughlin made an address to his substantial audience (tens of millions of Americans every week), that bore a closer resemblance to something out of the toxic leaves of Der Stürmer than to any text in the New Testament.

idbkiwi: Good Work, if You Can Get It

I have an unhealthy interest in the doings and goings of the great disinformation debate. The disinformation bogeyman dangled about so readily and so often by our politicians and press, as proof, or disproof, of this or that. When in fact what it often boils down to is simple disagreement: you choose to believe this, they prefer you to believe that.

It has ever been thus; Jesus of Nazareth was accused of disinformation, and he in turn levelled the same charge at the Scribes, Pharisees and Temple accountants. Humanity’s greatest concept, democracy, is division, the contest of ideas, claim and counter-claim.

Max Salmon: To Waste

I’ve always had a focus on New Zealand’s infrastructure issues. Like many other waste enthusiasts, I’ve been concerned about the likely impact of the incoming government’s focus on cost-efficiency on our infrastructure outcomes. However, recent headlines have given me hope that we will continue to punch above our weight regarding rail infrastructure waste.