Archive for January, 2007
The BBC has an article summarising the many many criticisms of the Stern Report. And it notes these criticisms do not come from “climate change sceptics, but researchers with years of experience who believe that human-induced climate change is real and that we need to act now.”
As an example Professor Richard Tol of Cambridge is quoted by the Stern Report 63 times. His analysis of the Stern Report is it is somewhere between a D for diligence and F for fail,.
“There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make”
Hat Tip: Tim BlairTags: Uncategorized
Online we have a variety of views.
Green co-leader Russel Norman highlights the good and the not so good in the speech, from his perspective. Reasonably fair (for them
Tony Milne has done a tagcrowd on the speech and says it is a good speech, using the language of the left.
Jordan Carter at first says he does not disagree with much in the speech, but then in a later post goes on to argue that any underclass is rapidly shrinking and now consists of no more than “1,000 families” out of 1.6 million households.
The PM has taken a similar line, basically saying there is no longer much of an underclass. I think she may regret that assertion.
John Armstrong labels it timid but picks up on subtle nuances such as involving business and the private sector in helping solve some problems, nut just relying on government departments.
The NZ Herald Editorial is fairly positive saying “Key’s achievements have been well publicised by political detractors. He has committed the cardinal sin, to them, of becoming very rich on his own wits”
Tracy Watkins in the Dom Post just gives a fairly straight summary of the speech.
Audrey Young covers the speech and gives a summary of reaction from other parties.Tags: National
It does not look likely, but I hope National do decide to vote for the Maori Party’s bill to repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation passed by Labour and NZ First. In doing so, they should make very clear that they are voting for it at first reading only, and do not at all pledge support for beyond that.
it is worth recalling this entire problem was caused by Labour’s knee-jerk reaction to the Court of Appeal ruling. What the Government should have done is appealed to the Privy Council. They were about to abolish it so put politics ahead of good policy and refused to appeal, opting instead to legislate.
The court of appeal ruling set very narrow criteria for claims, yet left open the possibility that such a claim could go all the way through to full title, which could lead to previously open beaches (well up to high tide) closing.
Labour’s legislation basically did two things. One is it made it much easier for claims to be made against sections of the foreshore. That is why National and others opposed it. But it also legislated so such claims could not end up with a grant of full title. So it did potentially deprive some Iwi of their legal right to pursue such title.
In other worlds the legislation increased the breadth of potential claims, but decreased the depth they could go to. This left all sides unhappy.
Now a simple repeal is no longer much of an option, as the ability to appeal the court ruling has now passed, and there are public policy issues around access to the foreshore.
But by voting for the legislation to go to first reading, one might be able to then negotiate some sort of compromise where perhaps the legislation is repealed, yet there is a commitment that in the event of any title being granted, access will be maintained for all of the public.
That would be a real win-win and a true partnership.
There are some precedents to this. In the Ngai Tahu settlement they had Mt Cook returned to them, and then in turn they gifted it back to the public.
The NZ Herald editorial believes that you look duplicitous if you vote for a bill at the first reading and then change your vote at a later reading. I disagree. I think the public are quite capable of understanding you support a bill initially to allow it to be considered, but only carry on supporting it if you are satisfied with the bill as amended.Tags: National
One has to ask, what exactly does it take for Helen Clark to take action against an MP. I thought Taito Phillip Field’s announcement he would no longer co-operate with the Police was a golden opportunity for Clark to dismiss him from Caucus.
But no she keeps accepting his proxy vote, and he keeps getting paid.
Yesterday’s Dominion Post called for Clark to act, saying “Set the albatross free”. They say:
New Zealand has a reputation as one of the few countries in the world in which politicians and officials cannot routinely be bought. Mr Field should be doing his utmost to preserve that reputation. Instead, he is hindering police attempts to establish the truth of what occurred. That should not be tolerated by the prime minister or his Labour colleagues, who have already suspended him – on full pay – from the Labour caucus.
Neither Miss Clark nor the Labour Party has the power to sack the Mangere MP, but Mr Field’s colleagues do have the power to kick him permanently out of their caucus to demonstrate that they find his conduct unacceptable. That is what they should do, not just because it is the right thing but because it is in their own interests.
Oh and when Clark was told of Field being sued by the Thai tiler for unpaid wages and asked to comment, she laughed on radio. Very sympathetic to the exploited she is.Tags: Labour
John Key has just finished delivering a speech at the Burnside Rugby Clubrooms in Christchurch. The speech is online and titled “The Kiwi Way: A Fair Go For All”.
Well worth reading the whole thing. A few paragraphs that resonated with me:
For me, politics is not about the pursuit of power for the sake of it. Unlike some, I won’t measure the success or failure of my political career by the number of years I hold office.
For me, politics is about the ability to make change for the betterment of all New Zealanders. It’s about challenging us all to dream how great our country can be and then setting out to achieve it.
We have, over generations, evolved a set of essential New Zealand values, attitudes and shared experiences. These represent what I call ‘The Kiwi Way’.
You get a taste of this when you listen to foreigners talking about what New Zealanders are like. They typically say we are friendly and modest people; we are inventive and empathetic; we are proud of the natural beauty of our country; we believe in working hard and getting rewarded for it; we think no one is born superior to anyone else and that everybody deserves a fair crack in life.
We are not four million spectators, having a passing interest in someone else’s game. This is our country; we make the rules and we should decide its direction.
There are streets in our country where helplessness has become ingrained. There are streets of people who believe they are locked out of everyday New Zealand the way most of us experience it, and are locked into a way of life for which the exit signs and the road maps have long since been discarded. These streets have become dead ends for those who live in them.
I’m not just talking about poor communities – because we all know that being poor needn’t rob you of hope. I’m talking about places where rungs on the ladder of opportunity have been broken. I’m talking about streets like McGehan Close, in Owairaka, Auckland. In one week last year, two kids in that small street killed themselves and another two made unsuccessful attempts. It is a street terrorised by youth gangs.
Around the country there are other places like this. The worst are home to families that have been jobless for more than one generation; home to families destroyed by alcohol and P addiction; home to families where there’s nothing more to read than a pizza flyer; home to families who send their kids to school with empty stomachs and empty lunch-boxes; and home to families where mum and the kids live in fear of another beating from dad.
Last week, for the first time in its history, New Zealand Post stopped delivering mail to three streets in Hamilton. They stopped delivering to Tennyson Road, Emerson Place and Dryden Road because gang violence has made them too dangerous for posties to enter. If it’s too dangerous for a postie to enter, what is it like to live there?
We are seeing a dangerous drift toward social and economic exclusion.
That is not The Kiwi Way. It’s not the kind of New Zealand I grew up in and it’s not the kind of New Zealand I want my kids to grow up in. It’s not the kind of New Zealand I want anyone’s kids to grow up in.
These are tough problems – very tough problems. But I have no intention of being a Prime Minister who tackles only the easy and convenient issues. I don’t pretend I’ve got all the solutions. But I can tell you that dealing with the problems of our growing underclass is a priority for National, both in opposition and in government.
My first point is this: the solution doesn’t lie in just throwing more money at the problem. If it did, this Labour Government would have solved it a long time ago. And yet family dysfunction has flourished under Labour.
Look at the Kahui family. The Government recognised they were a needy bunch. So what did it do? It doled out around $1,000 a week in benefits to the Kahuis and the Kings, and do any of us believe it helped them?
My second point is that we need to make changes to a whole range of government services.
Addressing the problems of the growing underclass involves tackling serious and interconnected issues of long-term welfare dependency, crime, illiteracy, poor parenting skills, social exclusion, malnutrition, drugs, and lost hope.
In all areas of social policy, I am tasking National’s spokespeople to come up with policies to address the deep-seated problems in some of our families and communities.
We also need to ensure there is effective policing in all parts of our cities and in all areas of the country. We will not tolerate violence and antisocial behaviour. Under a National government, gangs will not be controlling neighbourhoods so posties can’t even deliver the daily mail.
Let me say that under National, the parole system will be focused on protecting innocent Kiwis from hardened, unrepentant and dangerous criminals. Under any government I lead there will be no parole for repeat violent offenders.
We also have a serious and growing problem with long-term welfare dependency.
I have said before that I believe in the welfare state and that I will never turn my back on it.
We should be proud to be a country that looks after its most vulnerable citizens. We should be proud to be a country that supports people when they can’t find work, are ill, or aren’t able to work.
But we should be ashamed that others remain on a benefit for years even though work is available to them. That is no way forward for them and it is no way forward for New Zealand.
Long-term dependency robs people of confidence, motivation and aspiration. Ultimately, it robs people of a stake in their own society.
We have to ensure that Kiwis, even those with relatively low skills, are always better off working than being on a benefit. We have to insist that healthy people receiving assistance from the State have obligations, whether that be looking for work, acquiring new skills for work, or working in their community.
National will use the welfare system, on behalf of all New Zealanders, to motivate long-term beneficiaries to change their lives for the better.
A National government will challenge the business community to work with us in backing a programme of providing food in low-decile schools for kids in need.
Too many kids in our poorest communities are being excluded from sport because their parents can’t afford it. These are the very kids who need it most.
A National government will work with schools, sports clubs, businesses and community groups to ensure that more kids from deprived backgrounds get to play sport.
We will invest in getting those kids playing sport because it reinforces The Kiwi Way.
Labour often views non-government providers as its competitors, not its partners. It sees them as unprofessional. It tries to squeeze them into boxes that just don’t fit. It smothers them with paperwork and makes them apply to multiple funding pools.
Well, I want to grow the competition. I want to get alongside the amazing groups that make a difference in our communities. I want to ask them what the government can do to support and extend their efforts.
My time in politics will only ever be a success if I can look back knowing I played my part in building on that pride.
I believe the best years for New Zealand are ahead of us. As a nation, we have everything to look forward to. We can be a country that is coming together; not a country that is coming apart.
I am determined to lead a New Zealand that delivers on our promise. I invite you all to join me in that mission.
I couldn’t agree more with Goldman Sachs JBWere who recommend the Government sells TV2. TV2 is fully commercial, provides no public good service, and there is no rationale for the Government to own it.
They think TV2 could fetch $436 million.
The report notes that TV1 had lost 26 per cent of its prime-time audiences since the charter was put in place on March 1, 2003. TVNZ is confused with a dual role to be both a commercial broadcaster and a public service broadcaster. One can’t do both.
Also the role of the Government as both owner and regulator complicates things.
So yes sell TV2 and focus TV One on being a public service broadcaster. Has my vote.Tags: Media
Excellent to see Mayor Kerry Prendergast promising a focus on better broadband in Wellington, even talking of fibre to the home for the whole of Wellington.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Council itself providing money, but as Kerry suggests they could make council-owned ducting and sewers available to a network partner.
There’s actually a lot of things a local authority can do, to make it easier for broadband to happen in their area. Zoning and resource consents, notification of any digging up of roads to broadband providers, notification of new subdivision activity etc. In fact one of the things on my to do list for this year is to get some experts together and see if we can come up with a nice list of say 10 simple steps for a local authority to help encourage broadband infrastructure. Again these may not even involve money, or significant money – just making sure some trench is laid every time a road is dug up helps – that will massively cut the cost of future fibre if the trench is already there.Tags: Local Body Politics
An interesting report on a study which concluded that “Attempts by the British Government to combat the growth of Islamic extremism among a minority of young Muslims are making the situation worse”.
I thought the statement:
“Government policies to improve engagement with Muslims make things worse,” the report’s lead author Munira Mirza said. “The Government should stop emphasising difference and engage with Muslims as citizens, not through their religious identity.”
was perceptive.Tags: International
Jordan claims on his blog that under seven years of Labour, unemployment has dropped from 140,000 to 36,000 or so.
The official measure of unemployment is the Household Labour Force Survey, seasonally adjusted. It has unemployment as at Sep 2006 as 83,000. Also in December 1999 it was 119,000. So a decrease (which is still good) of 36,000 not 104,000.
Incidentally National managed to get it down from 185,000 in Sep 2001 to 119,000 in Dec 1999. And it had got it even lower than that in 1995 and 1996 but the Asian Crisis then pushed it back up again. But still a decrease of 66,000 over eight years compared to 36,000 decrease over seven years.
And before anyone points out the obvious, yes National did take power nine months before Sep 1991. But it inherited a bankrupt economy from Labour with skyrocketing unemployment (up 30,000 in 1990) and an election alone doesn’t reverse a trend. It takes around nine months to get your first budget passed, to change labour laws, and for this to impact the economy.
In fact it is a damn lot harder to reverse a trend of rising unemployment (as was the case in 1990) then it is to continue a trend of falling unemployment (as was the case in 1999).
In 1990 unemployment increased by 30,000 while in 1999 unemployment dropped by 26,000. Which economy would you rather inherit?No tag for this post.
Yesterday’s Herald on Sunday Editorial was on blogs, titled “Big Blogger is watching – and spewing inarticulate filth”.
The editorial is not online, and I only heard about it when Russell Brown critiqued it at Public Address. Go read what Russell says, as I pretty much agree with him.
The editorial in full is copied after the break on this post. I hope HoS don’t mind this stretching of fair use provisions, but I figure they won’t mind the target audience being able to read it online.
Now I should acknowledge that the editorial did say nice things about this blog (and Public Address):
Operated the right way, blogsites offer and generate intelligent debate and insight. The likes of kiwiblog and publicaddress are worthwhile reads, maintained by a dedicated group of talented writers and thinkers.
That’s a decent comment to make, especially as last year the Editor and myself exchanged a couple of pretty testy e-mails over the Mick Jagger and the reporter story. Incidentally I’d like to know where this “group” is. I’m the sole writer here, and occasionally even a thinker!
Taking other parts of the editorial:
But most bloggers _ and we’re talking 95 per cent _ are fly-by-night, gutless wonders who prefer to spit inarticulate venom under inarticulate pseudonyms.
As Russell noted, 95% of bloggers only blog about their travels, their pet cat etc etc. Most blogging is personal. Now even if one just looks at political bloggers, not that many are truly anonymous. Of the 50 or so regular political bloggers in NZ, I would know the identities of well over 40 of them. Maybe over 45. The CYFSWatch Blog is rare in terms of being totally anonymous.
With regards to that blog, I agree that it goes too far in soliciting names and personal details of individual staff, plus the language of some of the posts are extreme and nasty. However I would not be as quick as the HOS to dismiss all the contributions to the site. There are some compelling cases there. Even if CYFS was near perfect and got it right 95% of the time, that means there will still be a fair number of families where the wrong call has been made. Maybe the HOS could ask some of those who posted to the site to contact one of their reporters, and have the reporters check into their stories?
The editorial calls Google “extraordinarily hopeless” for not deleting the site. Even putting aside the futile nature of such deletion (it would be back in minutes), I wonder why anyone would think Google is trained to judge what is a breach of New Zealand law? You see what is defamatory under NZ law might not at all be defamatory under US law (much harder to win there). And I don’t think it’s a good idea that Google yanks content just because there has been a complaint. That is how the Scientology cult suppressed information on them for so long.
The editorial goes on to say:
Online abuse is now rampant in all parts of New Zealand society. Disaffected employees and students can now publicly pull apart their bosses and teachers through specially designed websites. Police have had to be called in to dismantle claims made on sites such as bebo. Police were also called in this week when a schoolgirl spat on the West Coast was thrashed out on several websites set up by the students.
As the Internet grows, the uses it is put to grow – both good and bad. And there is no real evidence the bad is anything but sporadic. For one case of bullying on bebo, there are a million happy users. For every ratemyteacher.com there is a ratethisrestaurant.com type site which is undoubtedly a public service. And anonymous criticism is not new to the Internet. It has been present on Usenet, the Internet discussion newsgroups for well over a decade.
At the end of the day blogs are just a form of technology that allows you to maintain an easy to read website easily. How people use blogs will always vary as with any medium. One can do good or do harm with them. Or, as is more likely, just keep posting photos of your pets to them!
A lot of people should be interested in the Digital Copyright Bill (formally the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill) before Parliament. I’ve blogged a bit on it before, as has Russell Brown in more depth,
InternetNZ has arranged a workshop in Auckland (Wed 14 Feb) and a workshop in Wellington (Tue 13 Feb) to learn about and debate the issues. These are open to any interested person, and we hope it may encourage people to put in submissions to the Select Committee considering the bill, as well as provide input to the InternetNZ submission.
There’s a great lineup of speakers including:
* University of Auckland’s Peter Gutmann
* technologist Nathan Torkington
* Bronwyn Turley of the Ministry of Economic Development
* barristers Clive Elliott and Michael Wigley
* lawyers from TVNZ and Telecom
* Chip Dawson from NZ Software Association
* Internet and music commentator Russell Brown
* Victoria University’s Stephen Marshall
* amplifier.co.nz’s Chris Hocquard
* APRA’s Anthony Healey
Specific areas the workshop will cover are ISP liability, technological protection measures, fair use, rights of copyright owners vs. rights of users, and format shifting.
The programme is online as a pdf here. Myself and intellectual property barrister Peter Dengate-Thrush are chairing the workshops.
Those wanting to attend should e-mail InternetNZ. It is free to attend if you are a member of InternetNZ (membership only costs $21). The standard fee for non members is $150, but if this is a barrier to attendance, and you don’t wish to become an InternetNZ member just to attend, please let me know as there can be flexibility for deserving cases (such as students).Tags: Internet
The left often go on about the 1991 cuts to some benefits as the great evil of the 1990s, without ever putting them into context (of course) or noting they have never ever reversed them despite record surpluses. If you only read from the left you would think that National did them because it hated poor people (which is what they want people to think).
First of all, it is important to note that Labour did not campaign in 1993, 1996 or 1999 on reversing them. Sure they whined non stop about them, but never did they promise to reverse them. Why not? Because they knew they couldn’t be afforded and also the would destroy the gap between low paid jobs and being on a benefit. And despite being in office for seven years with record surpluses, they still have not even once increased the base level of a benefit beyond that required by inflation.
Now let’s look at why some benefits were cut in 1990. The main reason is because Labour left the country almost bankrupt. The accounts were done then on a cash basis and money from asset sales was hiding the fact that there was a large operating deficit.
How large? Before the 1990 election we were told there was a surplus. In fact the new Govt found out that there was a deficit projected to be $5 billion. And this was back in 1990 when that was a whopping 19% of total crown income (then only $26b). So we were set to overspend by around 20%.
Now on top of that we had a crippling level of public debt. How much? A whopping 44 billion which represented 169% of total crown income.
And what did that debt cost to service? In 1991 it was a huge $4.6b. By comparison health expenditure was under $4 billion. Yes we spent more on debt than we did on health. Thanks to those 1991 cuts this is no longer the case.
And worse it was a vicious circle. Run a $5 billion deficit and that is $5 billion more debt which at the 15% interest rates of the time was $750 million more interest annually so even if nothing else changed the deficit grows by $750 million so next year it is almost $6 billion.
So in 1991 we had a deficit of 20% of crown income, a debt of massive proportions, 15% interest rates which meant servicing on the debt cost more than either health or education votes and this all looking just to get worse in a vicious circle.
Obviously there was a huge fiscal need to cut the deficit and debt. Anyone who denies that is lying. And that is why so many areas had expenditure cuts. Because if they had not been cut in 1991, they would have been cut not many years later when we couldn’t pay the interest on the debt.
The incoming National Government had this dire situation hidden from it. They took the tough calls in order to save the country. The situation now is vastly different from 1990. We have structural surpluses and almost no debt. We have them to thank for that.No tag for this post.
An interesting editorial from the Dominion Post today.
Not too many will be surprised that the paper endorses Kerry Prendergast for a third term as Wellington’s Mayor. But somewhat radically they call for Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden to be sacked, saying “He is not suited to the mayoral chains”.
Bizarrely they refer to rumours (which are news to me, and I suspect to Mark) that Mark Blumsky wants to return to local government, and suggest he stands for the Lower Hutt Mayoralty!Tags: Local Body Politics
The CEO of Cisco predicts that by 2011, just 20 families will generate more Internet traffic than the entire world did in 1995!
Not sure how much traffic there was in 1995, but I started using the Internet in 1996 and monthly traffic would have been 1 MB or so a month.
Today I use or exceed my 20 GB limit each month, and also my blog generates approx 100 GB a month. So on an annual basis I’m responsible for around 1.5 Terabytes.Tags: Internet
Chester is today’s featured new Nat MP. I’ve known Chester for around a decade or so, as he was a third time candidate, and like everyone who knows him was delighted when he made it this time.
As an ex-cop, his comments on the Police are worth noting:
Were you disenchanted with the police and what would you change?
I think to some degree the police have disengaged from society from where they were, say, 20 years ago. Police have almost become a little bit exclusive in who they mix with and what they do within communities. I think they’ve run off down some roads that are more about accounting to the Treasurer than doing what people want. There’s been an over-concentration on road policing and a disengagement from … real crime.
And in terms of MPs from other parties:
I’ve got a healthy respect for Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. They just ooze mana. I’ve got a healthy respect for Sue Bradford’s intellect. I disagree with her strongly on a number of issues and probably agree with her more than she would care to think. Nandor Tanczos has got a great grasp of social and criminal justice.
People got so upset over a cull of a few hundred horses, yet relatively little protests over 35,000 humans being culled from hospital waiting lists last year.
It is mind bloggling that Labour can literally throw billions and billions of dollars into this black hole, and not get any significant improvement in terms of elective operations.
No wonder so many people have private medical insurance.No tag for this post.
My company, Curia, is polling tonight. I don’t normally come in for the phoning as I have experienced staff who supervise and train up the other staff. But I was in today.
First problem is that the main supervisor was overseas and the new supervisor (Emma) had a swipe card for the office but not for the lift – she didn’t realise that one now needed two different cards and thought the second card was a spare. That meant we were facing a walk up many flights of steps.
Luckily another tenant was passing by and let us all up.
Then when we got up there, swiped the door open and Emma goes to the alarm console and says “So what’s the code”. I reply “Umm, it’s on the e-mail you were sent”. Emma replies “I didn’t bring it as I knew you would be here”. I say “Oh shit, it is on my laptop, so step back outside while I look it up”.
But as we do that, the alarm goes off. So I’m phoning the alarm company on one hand and booting the laptop up with the other. I then get the alarm code and tell it to Emma so she can go back in and key it in. At this stage Emma realises that in her rush to get back out of the office, she left the swipe card inside, so now we are locked out of the office and unable to turn off the ringing alarm!
Eventually I locate someone with a spare card, and we start polling only 30 minutes late!Tags: DPF
As has been highlighted in the media, NZQA has introduced some new grades for NCEA exams, such as “You sack of poo”, “Nice one mate”, and “Good one dick!!”.
To help parents and students understand the new grades, and their equivalents in the old marking system, we are happy to provide a copy of the official translations from NZQA:
A+ Good guessing champ
A Go hotdog go
A- You’re a bit of a peacock
B+ Not bad cobber
B Nice one mate
B- You’re a real Joe Average
C+ Getting closer pal
C Try again chum
C- Good one dick
D You sack of poo
E You give retards a bad name