Sunday, June 30, 2024

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Who, with an ounce of business sense, pulls out of a deal with no idea of what legal claims will arise

Who, with an ounce of business sense, pulls out of a deal with no idea of what legal claims will arise, and with no idea of the price of a replacement deal? PM Luxon and Finance Minister Willis.

The PM was elected on the basis that his previous career as CEO meant he had a much greater business acumen than Labour's leaders - that he knew the "Art of the Deal", as Donald Trump's famous book once described it. However, yesterday it was revealed by the accountant, Peter Reidy, who is the Chief Executive of KiwiRail, that the builder of the now cancelled new ferries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD), in South Korea, has put in a claim stemming from the terminated $551 million contract, since the shipyard has already started work on them.

John McLean: Decisions, Decisions.....

Decision: noun a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration

New Zealand, especially since it adopted Persona Aotearoa, has become hopelessly indecisive. (Me, I blame our nation’s self-sufficiency in food and water, for spawning the pervasive complacency.)

David Farrar: Why Simeon shouldn’t step in

HDPA writes:

The optics of a National minister neutering the power of the country’s first Green mayor and most left-wing council ever could be used against him. At worst, he could be accused of taking revenge against mayor Tory Whānau for the stream of stupid things she said about him before the last election.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Grant Robertson says NZ is booming and going into a surging surplus.....

News Flash: Grant Robertson says NZ is booming and going into a surging surplus right now. Didn't you notice?

Just a short while ago in mid 2022, this is what former Finance Minister Grant Robertson and incoming Vice Chancellor to Otago University told us about the economy, "We are forecast to reach an operating balance [budget] surplus in the 2024/25 financial year".

Lindsay Mitchell: Welfare - no good news

Right now, benefit statistics are worse than at the time of last year's election. There are 380,169 main beneficiaries - a rise of 5 percent. The number on a Jobseeker benefit is up 7.5 percent.

Yes, the unemployment rate is rising but there is much to do in the infrastructure realm. The Nats talk constantly of growing the economy's engine. That takes manpower. And 4.3% isn't a high number historically. Former WINZ boss Christine Rankin told Mike Hosking last Tuesday that most of the jobs MSD deals with will be entry-level and in that respect, "wherever you go there is a huge need."

Roger Partridge: Unlocking New Zealand's international education opportunity

With New Zealand’s economy becalmed, a fresh wind is blowing in from across the Tasman. The Albanese government’s decision to cap international student numbers has created a potential $2.5 billion-a-year opportunity for New Zealand.

Pre-pandemic, international education was New Zealand’s fifth largest export earner, contributing $3.7 billion annually to our economy. It now languishes in the doldrums, with student numbers at about half their 2019 levels.

Barrie Davis: A Referendum to Save New Zealand’s Parliament

For parliament to allow a particular race to have extraordinary exclusive power is undemocratic and racist. To allow a clown in a cowboy hat to subvert our House of Representatives and say he will set up an alternative parliament is submissive and ineffectual. If Mr Luxon agreed to drafting a Treaty Principles Bill so that he may become Prime Minister and then did not support it, that would be unprincipled and cynical.

We are to have the opportunity to make submissions regarding the Treaty Principles Bill. But that seems pointless if it does not subsequently proceed, although it would make clear the disrespect that our Parliament has for us. I figure that if I do not make a submission, the government will use that as an excuse to say that we were not really interested. So I’m going to take the opportunity to tell them what I think, then and now.

Capitalist: Do You Think Ardern Actually Failed?

At the weekend I read a rather amusing post on a friend’s Facebook. It was titled “World’s Shortest Books”, intended to be jokesy, and included such ‘titles’ as “Hawaii: a travel guide” by Captain Cook and “Maori Parliament: The Early Years” by Rawiri Waititi. One of the joke titles was “My Political Successes” by Jacinda Ardern; all rather amusing, but is it possible we’ve been looking at things all wrong? Has she actually ‘failed’?

Peter Dunne:

There would be few who would disagree with the approach to sentencing taken by Justice Cameron Mander in the tragic Lauren Dickason case.

Justice Mander effectively bypassed the jury’s decision that Dickason was guilty of the murder of her three infant daughters, with his comment that ““I am satisfied that your actions were the product of your mental disorder. I consider your severe depression dominated your mental process. Not just contributed to your actions but drove them.” In sentencing Dickason to three concurrent sentences of 18 years, with no minimum parole period, the Judge was rejecting the argument that she was guilty of cold-blooded murder. In practical terms, that means Dickason will be eligible for parole after six years.

Brendan O'Neill: Why the Democrats lied about Joe Biden’s frailty

The presidential debate has exposed the ruthlessness of the American establishment.

So this is how republics die. Not with a bang but with the hoarse ramblings of their ageing leaders. Few events have shone a light on ‘American decline’ as much as Joe Biden’s sad, impassive performance in last night’s CNN presidential debate. Here was the leader of the free world speaking in faint, broken tones, and struggling to stay focussed, and at points seeming to blank out entirely. Before the eyes of the world, it became clear: this man is too old, too frail and too infirm to be at the helm of America.

Dr Oliver Hartwich: An overdue reckoning

Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) Chief Economist Paul Conway recently delivered a speech entitled “Inflation: the road back to 2%”.

The speech ostensibly charted a path forward. However, conspicuous by its absence was any meaningful acknowledgement of its responsibility for New Zealand’s current economic predicament.

Saturday June 29, 2024 


Saturday, June 29, 2024

Cam Slater: Good Point You Raise There, Matthew

Last week Chris Bishop said out loud what no politician ever wants to be heard, by anyone, but especially home owners. He said he wanted house prices to drop significantly. Matthew Hooton writes about that in his weekly column at the NZ Herald:

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 28/6/24

Tohunga and rongoa get no special treatment under new medicines legislation: let’s see how the Maori Party reacts

ACT’s Brooke van Velden obviously wanted us to know about her beneficent role in a lolly scramble involving the dispersal of hundreds of millions of dollars. As Minister of Internal Affairs she announced that $343.5 million in lottery profits have been allocated to communities across the country – an increase of around $29.8 million from previous years.

David Farrar: Christchurch leaves LGNZ

Radio NZ reports:

Christchurch City Council has announced it is resigning from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).

Councillors at a meeting today decided to no longer be part of LGNZ, after its annual membership costs rose by more than $20,000.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Paying for cycleways

Did Labour's Hipkins & National's Willis & Bishop bust the Ferries & break NZ's State Highway 1 System Linking North & South to pay for pork-barrel-politics cycleways in their own electorates?

Contrary to popular belief, NZ always did have the money to pay for state-of-the-art rail-enabled ferries linking the North & South Islands, even at a cost of several billion dollars. It is not a matter of finding the funds, its a matter of using the scarce resources the country already has to maximum effect & not wasting them on stupid projects. Are there tools to help make these decisions? Yes, they go by the name of cost-benefit analysis.

Dr Bryce Edwards: The Greens need to front up on the farcical Darleen Tana inquiry

Key Facts

* Allegations arose in early March that Green MP Darleen Tana had been involved in migrant exploitation before her election to Parliament.

* On 14 March, the Green Party commissioned a lawyer to investigate the allegations and suspended Tana.

* This week, further information has emerged about Tana’s alleged management of migrant workers, and separately, the Electoral Commission has referred one of her 2003 election advertisements to the Police.

Ele Ludemann: Keep to Standard Time

If you were up early looking for the stars that form Matariki this morning, you might also have been up early enough to see the sunrise.

The further south you are, the later that would be.

Dr Eric Crampton: Food Waste

There are some areas where it's hard to get a solution without government intervention. Carbon prices, for example. Not saying it's impossible, it's just hard.

There are also plenty of areas where policy is probably wrong and could use advice from a Chief Science Advisor. For example, setting an air quality standard for schools that balances cost of cleaner air against benefits from fewer teachers and kids out sick. Seems important. Naomi Wu's put up interesting stuff on far-UV light. Does the science stack up? What would it cost to put those in schools, if government ordered at scale for every school in the country? Would doing so bend the cost curve and set an example for others to follow?

Dr Michael Johnston: Towards a knowledge-rich curriculum

In the opening months of 2024, I had the honour of chairing a Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) for Education Minister Erica Stanford. Our remit included both the curriculum, which specifies what students should be taught, and the common practice model, which specifies methods of teaching.

Friday June 28, 2024 


Friday, June 28, 2024

Cam Slater: A Slap on the Wrist with a Very Well Soaked Bus Ticket

As was predicted Golriz Ghahraman has pretty much got of ‘scotties’ free. Yes she now has a conviction, that’s about the only good news. She was fined just $1600 plus $260 court costs. She attended in her costume Palestinian tea towel showing utter contempt for the whole process.

David Farrar: Here’s some Scandinavian policies we could adopt

Simon Wilson writes:

Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden occupy positions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 on the UN’s inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. New Zealand is a mere 17th. Those same countries also hold five of the top seven places on the World Happiness Index. They’re doing pretty well.

Are there things we could learn from them?

I am sure there are. Here’s some of them:

Yvonne Van Dongen: Equal Treatment

RGE said InsideOUT did not support all rainbow and takatapui young people as claimed in its mission statement. InsideOUT emphasised the needs of trans, gender diverse and intersex students, at the expense of lesbian and gay students.

When it comes to charities, what’s sauce for the goose doesn’t appear to be sauce for the non-binary gander.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 23.6.24

Friday June 28, 2024 

Demographics fuel racist fears

Veteran journalist Paddy Gower says rapidly changing demographics are scaring Aotearoa-New Zealand ‘s baby-boomer white population.

Mr Gower told Radio Waatea host She Te Pou those pākeha born in the 1950s and 60s seem to feel the most threatened.

Michael Reddell: Astonishing indifference to a failed instution

Since taking office, the new government has replaced quite a number of chairs of government entities. I’m sure there are many others but NZTA, Health NZ, Pharmac, and the FMA are just the examples that spring to mind. It isn’t uncommon for such changes to be made, and in many government entities board members can be replaced at will by the government of the day.

Dane Giraud: Only the mediocre could dream of banning the bard

I am a classically trained actor, earning my diploma at Unitec Performing Arts School after an, at times grueling 2-year course, graduating in 1997. Raised in impoverished South Auckland, I was then a disillusioned glam rock guitarist with a shattered heart and a worsening alcohol problem. It was this bleak juncture that led me to the thespian path. By day, I tore tickets at the now-defunct St James Theatre; by night, I devoured three or four VHS tapes, mesmerized by the intense performances of Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Robert De Niro. I dreamed of transforming myself in the way these actors could, arriving on set with the same shocking dedication De Niro showed in “Raging Bull.” Alas, today I have a paunch, but no cameras seem interested.

Eliora: Our Privacy Should Be ‘Sacrosanct’

A few weeks ago whistle blowers raised allegations of New Zealanders’ completed census forms being photocopied without the persons’ knowledge. More details about this later.

Meanwhile the Princess of Wales underwent planned abdominal surgery at the London Clinic, a large, independent private hospital in the UK. The hospital has over 1,000 nurses, capacity to treat approximately 155 different conditions and, according to their website, says they “specialise in the care and treatment of complex medical conditions such as cancer, woman’s health, urology and orthopaedics, all in a high-quality private setting”.

David Farrar: Bad and good from the Government on law & order

The bad:

The Government has introduced a Bill today to restore the Three Strikes sentencing law, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.

“New Zealanders are rightly concerned about violent crime. We are delivering on our commitment to introduce a revised Three Strikes law as one of our key law and order priorities.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Why the Public wants Boot-camps for Young Offenders....

Why the Public wants Boot-camps for Young Offenders and how NZ's MainStream Media missed the point

The Main Stream Media has been hammering the PM & Coalition on proposals to introduce what our journos call "boot camps". OneNews located academics at Victoria University more than happy to slam National, ACT & NZ First's crime policies.

Kerre Woodham: There has to be consequences for crime

I thought we'd have a look at the plans to amend New Zealand sentencing laws.

National, ACT, and New Zealand First campaigned on the law-and-order ticket. Tougher sentences, consequences for serial youth offenders, safer communities. It is their thing, all of their parties, this is what they do. Let's get tough on crime whenever there's an election campaign. But given that there had been an increase in crime during the last six years, crime had been steadily going down and then it did not. There was a 70% increase in gang membership, violent crime was up by a third, 100% increase in retail crime, and I would venture to suggest even more than that, just people weren't reporting it.

Thursday June 27, 2024 


Thursday, June 27, 2024

David Farrar: Ghahraman convicted, fined

The Herald reports:

Her once-promising political career now in tatters, former Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman endured another blow this afternoon as she stood in an Auckland courtroom to be sentenced for shoplifting nearly $9000 worth of retail items from high-end stores.

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 27/6/24

Tougher sentences for criminals are in the offing – and Goldsmith highlights crime stats to justify law-and-order crackdown

The government continued beating the law-and-order drum over the past 24 hours, during a week in which it introduced a Bill to restore the Three Strikes sentencing law, announced the deployment of more Police on the beat in Auckland’s Central Business District, and introduced action to tackle youth crime in the form of a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around.

Mike’s Minute: A different perspective on job losses

A little something from the perspective file.

Although things are dire and dour and straight up and down bad, in some areas they are not as bad as headlines would lead you to believe.

The best line of high drama I have read this week was around jobs. "It's like the Hunger Games", it said.

Is it? Really?

Dr Oliver Hartwich: Macron's electoral gamble to see off the far-right

“How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?”, asked Charles de Gaulle in 1962. Well, after its forthcoming elections, a plethora of cheese varieties may be the least of France’s problems. Risks abound for both France and Europe.

President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call snap legislative elections for 30 June and 7 July was a high-stakes gamble. His centrist alliance suffered a crushing defeat by Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally in the European Parliament elections. Macron hopes the early election will catch his opponents off guard and secure him a fresh mandate.

The teaching profession straying from university capture

In the 2024 budget, substantial funding was announced to move teacher education towards an in-school, apprenticeship-style model. The injection of funding is intended to address the shortage of teachers currently facing our schools. The shortage is predicted to worsen, particularly at secondary level. It is exacerbated by substantial attrition from the profession.

Simon O'Connor: The good, bad, and ugly.

Funding of new pharmaceuticals is an undoubted win and a good thing, however, New Zealand is also facing the bad and ugly at the same time.

The good

News that the government is going to fund fifty four new medicines is great news. That twenty six of these are cancer related is also very positive. The reality of cancer is very present to just about every New Zealander – be it something we suffer ourselves, or we know someone who is.

Dr Bryce Edwards: Politicians are failing to put the national interest first in infrastructure

Key Facts

* The last Labour Government oversaw KiwiRail’s iRex ferry procurement project, in which costs ballooned.

* National Finance Minister Nicola Willis announced in December that she was cancelling the iRex ferry procurement project.

* A report has just been delivered to the government on options for the ferry procurement project.

* The grounding of the Aratere Interisland ferry over the weekend has reignited concerns about when new ferries will arrive and whether they will be fit for purpose.

Cam Slater: Latest Poll Shows Government in Control

In the latest 1News Verian poll, the political landscape in New Zealand seems to be holding steady, with the coalition Government maintaining its grip on power if an election were to be held today.

Ele Ludemann: Agreeing to disagree sign of maturity

The government has had its first agree to disagree moment but it is not, as Newshub headlined its report, a sign of crack appearing in the coalition:

Barry Soper: Are we seeing the first cracks in the new Government?

So are we, as has been widely reported, seeing the first major cracks in the National-led coalition Government?

Of course we are not. How on earth anyone can believe that three political parties, in this case, can surrender their identities at Government House when they're sworn in is nothing short of fanciful.

Beg-to-differ clauses have been in coalition agreements ever since coalition Governments came into being under MMP in 1996. The only time they haven't been in place was of course during the unbridled Labour Government over the last three years, and look where that got us.

Winston Peters: Support for Maori Ward referendum

On Monday a poll was released that was conducted by polling company Curia Market Research on the issue of Māori Wards.

What may come as a shock to the out-of-touch dictators on the left, it showed that 58% of people believe that it should be the local ratepayers that decide on Māori Wards by a referendum, not councils.

Michael Reddell: GDP-Live….has limitations

Richard Prebble, once upon a time an Associate Minister of Finance, has a column in the Herald this morning which he devotes to the twin causes of bashing the Reserve Bank and singing the praises of an interesting nowcasting data project run by a Massey academic, GDP Live. I’m quite partial to a fairly critical approach to today’s Reserve Bank of New Zealand (even had a post in mind on the very subject for today), but I don’t find Prebble’s stick to beat them with – GDP Live – particularly persuasive on this occasion.

John MacDonald: The Covid inquiry is messy - but a must-have

This might be because I’m still recovering from the Bird Flu/Man Flu combo that had me stuck in bed last week. Or maybe, on this occasion, Winston Peters is actually making sense.

Either way, I agree with him that it’s Mickey Mouse that we have an epidemiologist who was involved in our COVID response, leading the inquiry into it. The Royal Commission.

Ele Ludemann: A hagiography

A documentary on Jacinda Ardern promises to be a hagiography:

Madison Wells will produce a documentary focusing on the public and private life of Jacinda Ardern, the trailblazing Prime Minister of New Zealand who helped introduce strict gun laws following the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. She also led her country through the Covid pandemic and grappled with issues such as child poverty and climate change.

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Is Ardern now bigger than Jesus?

Is Ardern now bigger than Jesus? Her message is "Love your neighbour". Where have we heard that before?

The Beatles had to make it in America to make it big. And, of course, they did. Nothing much has changed. To make it big, to become "bigger than Jesus", as John Lennon once so eloquently put it, Ardern also must make it in America. Even though she has ripped apart America's approach to gun control, abortion, lack of regulation of the Internet, its economic policies which, in her view, have created a great evil of inequality, and most other things the US stands for, Ardern will not to be deterred.

Nick Hanne: Critic, Conscience and Kaupapa: the ongoing Free Speech clash at UoA

Spare a thought for election officials in India who have just run the largest national election in human history. Equally impressive though is the fact that India’s is just one of more than 60 different national elections which will take place in 2024, affecting 50% of the global population. If you were an alien visiting from outer space you could be forgiven for thinking this impressive democratic spectacle represented an upward trend toward greater global liberty and enlightenment.

Everything, however, is not what it seems.

Kerre Woodham: The hard questions about Covid need to be asked

A second Covid inquiry has been announced. And while that may sound like two Covid inquiries too many, this one may well get the answer a lot of us are looking for. New Zealand First has invoked the Agree to Disagree clause that allows a party within a coalition government to disagree in relation to issues on which the parties wish to maintain a different position in public. Generally, in a coalition agreement you like to present a united front, but when there are real disagreements, the clause can be invoked and that is what Peters has done.

Wednesday June 26, 2024 


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 26/6/24

Just in case you missed it – the govt has received the final report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care

Oops – did someone jump the gun in announcing the Government’s receipt of the final report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care?

We raise the question on noting these two statements posted on the Government’s official website

David Farrar: A good Mayor

1 News reports:

Whangārei Mayor Vince Cocurullo is being slammed by five of his councillors for refusing to allow council debate on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict next week.

Mayor Cocurullo said he had turned down both representations under the Local Government Act because the matter was not related to the council’s role or function.

Mike’s Minute: It’s not crack, but a mature coalition instead

We have our first agree to disagree clause of this new coalition.

First point to make - what a mature look it is.

New Zealand First has invoked the clause, which is probably not the surprise.

Chris Lynch chats to Winston Peters about the Covid-19 inquiry

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has blasted ‘legacy’ media for gaslighting the public and burying a significant COVID-19 inquiry update.

Click to view

Cam Slater: Voters Want a Say on Maori Wards

recent Taxpayers’ Union – Curia poll found the majority of New Zealanders in favour of local voters having the final say on the introduction or disestablishment of Maori Wards through a referendum. The results showed that 58 per cent of respondents believe that local voters should be the decision-makers, while only 23 per cent think it should be left to local mayors and councillors. The remaining 19 per cent were unsure.