Meet the future NZ First Minister of Finance

NZ First’s Clayton Mitchell stated:

A predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is likely to cost trillions, not millions as the government claims, says New Zealand First.

“The National government’s promise to make New Zealand predator-free for the bargain price of $28 million is nothing but greenwashing,” says Conservation Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.

“Zealandia, a predator free plant and bird sanctuary in Wellington, cost $17 million to set up with an operating cost of $867,000.

“Using these figures as a yardstick, the cost of keeping the entire country predator free and maintaining it would see a capital expenditure cost of $1.67 trillion and an operating cost of $91 billion per annum – as New Zealand is 98,000 times larger than Zealandia.

“The operating cost alone would be 40% of New Zealand’s GDP.

This may be the stupidest release put out by NZ First since they complained about the Reserve Bank being owned by foreigners.

They really are the Donald Trump party. Their level of stupidity has hit a new low.

Quote of the week

“Wealth – any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.”

– H. L. Mencken

The quote of the week is brought to you by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. To support the Union’s campaign for lower taxes and less government waste, click here.

Māori King rejects Labour

Mihi Forbes at Radio NZ reports:

The riverside at Tūrangawaewae marae was abuzz this afternoon as nearly 1000 people gathered to hear the Māori King, Kiingi Tuheitia, deliver his annual speech.

Celebrations have been going on for several days at the marae in Ngāruawāhia for the tenth anniversary of his coronation, which is today.

However, what caught the crowd’s attention was the unscripted closer, where he told those gathered that he would not be voting for Labour again.

He said he had changed his mind about the party after its leadership said it would not work with the Māori Party.

The Labour Party keeps trying to destroy the Maori Party, rather than work with them.

In another story they report:

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox was in the crowd and saw the speech as the king’s nod of approval.

“It was as close as I think an endorsement was going to be and I appreciate his words.”

So how did Nanaia Mahuta take the king’s comments? “If that’s the intention of the Māori Party certainly under Tuku’s presidency then that could be a very different landscape.”

Māori Party chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan has been in the role for less than a month and is on record as pledging to win all the Māori seats at the 2017 election including Hauraki Waikato.

“It’s as I said, it’s a momentous occasion it’s not often that the King would make that kind of announcement here in front of the motu.”

Waikato has had a long relationship with the Labour Party and Ms Mahuta has held the seat for 17 years, but that relationship is well and truly severed with the king saying he’d no longer vote for Labour.

Maori politics is getting more interesting.

More Winston inventions

Stuff reports:

Hundreds of would-be bus drivers could be granted visas to work in New Zealand, Winston Peters claims.

The NZ First leader said bus company Go Bus was “considering employing 200 drivers from the Pacific.”

But …

Go Bus managing director Calum Haslop said his company had “talked to Immigration New Zealand about the prospect of bringing Pacific Islanders into the country and offering them jobs.”

However, he said that was unlikely because of the high number of applications from local jobseekers.

So only if they can not get locals would they look overseas. As it should be.

The company had only advertised locally, not overseas.

Again as it should be.

A spokeswoman for NZ First said “a lady who came in” told them about the company potentially hiring 200 people from Samoa.

“The lady told us and I believe her,” she said.

The spokeswoman said “the lady” likely found out about the bus drivers thanks to “word of mouth”.

This is what NZ First regard as credible. A lady came in and told us, as she heard about it word of mouth.

It would almost be a joke if not so serious.

But NZ First did not have a copy of an advertisement to prove it had been run offshore. 

Evidence? What’s that.

No Clinton press conference in 257 days

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post writes:

Donald Trump said lots (and lots) of things during an hour-long town hall meeting with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. This one – Trump talking about Hillary Clinton – stood out to me:

“She is so protected. They are so protecting her. She hasn’t had a news conference in, like, 250 days.”

It couldn’t be that long since Clinton has talked to the press, I thought. So, I went to the handy-dandy tool that some guy named Philip Bump built to track how long it’s been since Clinton faced the press. And this is what I found: 257.9 days.

Trump and Clinton are such opposites.

He may do half a dozen interviews a day and Clinton hasn’t done a press conference in nine months.

Clinton is guarded to the point of paranoia.

Trump says what he thinks. Sadly what he thinks is generally pretty bad.

Almost 258 days! Trump undersold something!

Unheard of!

Jokes aside, it’s beyond ridiculous that one of the two people who will be elected president in 80 or so days continues to refuse to engage with the press in this way.

But she does sit-down interviews! And she did a “press conference” with a moderator, um, moderating the questions!

Not good enough. Not when you are running to be president of the United States. One of the most important things when someone is offering themselves up to represent all of us is that we get the best sense we can about how that person thinks on his or her feet, how they deal with unwanted or adversarial questions. Those two traits are big parts of doing the job of president in the modern world.

There’s nothing like a press conference to put a candidate for president through their paces. If you don’t believe me, just watch how Clinton handled a presser – not well! – when she tried to put the email server controversy to rest.

In NZ the Prime Minister does one formal press conference a week and often five to seven additional informal press standups.

Put all of that aside, and think of this: The last time Clinton held a press conference was December 5, 2015. That was before:

1. A single state had cast a vote in either a presidential primary or caucus
2. Major terrorist attacks in Nice, Brussels and Orlando
3. FBI Director James Comey issued his scathing report on Clinton’s email practices while at the State Department
4. The Bernie Sanders phenomenon
5. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was run out of the Democratic National Committee in the wake of a massive email hack/leak
6. This whole Ryan Lochte international gas station incident

The temperature in Washington on December 5, 2015, was 6 degrees Celsius. It’s 28 on Thursday. A woman who conceived on December 5, 2015, would be 8 1/2 months pregnant now. On December 5, 2015, the Golden State Warriors were NBA champs. On December 5, 2015, I was still in my 30s.

You get the idea. It’s been a long time. Lots of important things – Lochte and my 40th birthday being at the top of the list – have happened. Clinton is now the unquestioned favourite to be the 45th president of the United States – if you believe polling. The fact that she continues to avoid questions from the press is simply unacceptable given the office she is seeking and the stakes in this election.

She’ll probably now do one, and then that’s it until after the election!

The Happy Planet Index

NZ is ranked 38th out of 140 on the Happy Planet Index.

The index is calculated by multiplying life expectancy by wellbeing by inequality of outcomes and divided by ecological footprint.

It is the relative ranks in each sub-area that I found interesting:

  • Life Expectancy 12th/140
  • Wellbeing 13th/140
  • Ecological Footprint 119/140
  • Inequality 12th/140

Being 12th best for equality of outcome is a good result. And very different to what you hear from the inequality lobby groups who would have you think we’re Rwanda.

A new public holiday

Stuff reports:

The battle for a public holiday to commemorate the New Zealand Lands Wars has been won – now, all they need to do is set a date.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement on Friday during the return of the Rangiriri battlesite to Maori at Turangawaewae.

The historic site was handed back at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Maori King Tuheitia’s reign.

I’ve looked for a press release confirming this, but can’t find one. I assume the reports are correct. It just seems unusual for such a significant announcement to have no release attached to it.

Work was underway to determine the day best suited for the celebrations.

“One of the things they are asking to consider is it does not clash with any particular battle site commemorations, so that it can be a clean and stand alone date and then people can have their commemorations on their dates free and clear of any hinderances,” Papa said.

June, September and October seemed to be “fairly clear”, he said, and “everyone would likely prefer a warmer month”.

A decision around the date was expected before the end of the year.

Creating a specific day to remember the land wars would lead to more people exploring what it meant.

I’m happy to have one of our public holidays to be to commemorate the NZ Land Wars. They are part of our history.

However I don’t think employers should have to fund an extra day’s holiday pay for it. So the new public holiday should replace an existing one to keep them at 14.

Both Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day are fairly meaningless to most NZers. I say replace one with Land War Day (or some better name) and the other with a New Zealand Day.

UPDATE: It appears the media reports were incorrect and a public holiday has not been announced. There will be a commemoration day but it will not necessarily be a public holiday.


The rarest Olympic medal of them all

Stuff reports:

New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin and US rival Abbey D’Agostino have each received the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal in recognition of their good sportsmanship in the heats of the 5000m at the Rio Olympics.

When Hamblin and D’Agostino clashed in the 5000m heats and fell to the ground, not many would have given them a second glance. After all, distance track running often involves these stumbles.

But what happened next became one of the iconic moments of the Rio Olympics, on par with Usain Bolt’s triple-triple and Michael Phelps’ triumphant conclusion to his enormous personal medal tally.

D’Agostino, quicker to her feet than Hamblin, helped get her off the turf, before she shuffled her way through 4 1/2 laps to finish the race, where Hamblin was waiting for her. D’Agostino had ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament, traditionally a 12-month injury.

The two embraced at the finish line, where D’Agostino was wheeled out as she could no longer walk at all. Now, the International Olympic Committee has honoured the two runners by awarding them the Pierre de Coubertin medal. 

The medal, only awarded 17  times in Olympic history, is reserved for athletes, volunteers or officials who are deemed to have demonstrated the Olympic spirit.

What a great decision for two great people. Yay.

Sunday TV advertising

Stuff reports:

Television advertising should be allowed on some Sunday mornings, but only during “special events”, the Government has decided.

The proposal is a compromise on an issue that has divided television companies and church groups.

Broadcasters will be allowed to play adverts on Sunday mornings during “events of major significance” such as the Rugby World Cup, under a proposed law change that will also expand the role of the Broadcasting Standards Authority to cover online television services.

There is currently a blanket ban on commercials between 6am and noon on Sundays.

A step in the right direction. But why not just remove the ban entirely? What makes Sunday mornings so special that you can’t have adverts?

A television and radio ad-ban on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day morning will remain.

The theory behind the Sunday morning ad-ban has been that it encourages broadcasters to show “special interest” programming – such as religious programmes – without concern that they may be missing out on larger audiences that would be of interest to advertisers, to whom they would otherwise cater.  

The ban may have made sense when we had one TV channel. We now have dozens. There are niche regional broadcasters, special interest broadcasters etc. And all the special interest programming you can devour online.

I’d remove the ban not just on Sunday mornings but also on the four holidays.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes opposed lifting the Sunday morning ad-ban when the idea was first discussed a year ago, saying it was “important there is a little bit of peace and quiet in our hectic modern world”.

Well you can simply turn the TV off, if you want that.

Wgtn Light Rail has a BCR of 0.05

Stuff reports:

The cost of light-rail “utopia” for Wellington could be headed down as a group of councillors say half a billion dollars can be shaved off its price tag.

According to the group, modern street trams could link the city to the airport and southern suburbs for $450m to $650m, depending on the route they took. 

Greater Wellington regional councillors Paul Bruce, Sue Kedgley and Daran Ponter have united to push for light rail to be put back on the agenda, ahead of local body elections in October.

They’re supported by two regional council candidates Dr Roger Blakeley, and Dr Russell Tregonning. 

Do not vote for any of these people. They are unwilling to accept fiscal reality.

Even Celia Wade-Brown was willing to accept reality when it emerged that the benefit to cost ratio for light rail in Wellington was 0.05. That is a benefit of $5 for every $100 spent. Slightly better than burning $100 notes.

First of all never believe costings made up by politicians saying they think it can be done for half the price.

But even if they were right, the BCR would be 0.10 instead of 0.05. That is still an appalling waste of money.

You can be very pro public transport but think light rail is bonkers due to the cost. Think of the opportunity cost if you spent $500 million on say dedicated bus lanes. You could have buses every five minutes on every route probably.

No housing crisis for sex offenders


This looks like a nice place to live. It has stunning views, and is a well maintained modern house.


You even get lovely views from the bathroom.

I’m told (by a local resident) that this is the where Corrections have put up the child sex offender in Lower Hutt.

I’m not saying ex-prisoners must be put up in slums. But there is a middle ground between that and putting them up in a house that would be well above the median for the city. The cost to the taxpayers would be immense.

Note that of the many photos available of the house I have used the ones which make it hardest to identify the house externally. I’m sure some people can reverse engineer from the photos to work out the house so I considered not using any photos. But the reality is that the exact address is already known by pretty much every local person in the area, so I decided to use a couple of photos to illustrate. Do not post anything in the comments about exactly where the house may be, if you know.

Spinoff/SSI Auckland poll

The Spinoff reports:

Phil Goff has established a commanding lead in the Auckland mayoral race with less than four weeks until voting begins. The former Labour leader and Mt Roskill MP recorded 60.3% of decided voters in a new poll conducted by Survey Sampling International and commissioned by The Spinoff in association with Jennings Murphy. His closest challenger at this stage is former Xero executive Victoria Crone, on 15.5%.

Crone has almost double the current support of John Palino, who finished second to current mayor Len Brown in the last election. The news is dismal for the other candidate from the right, Mark Thomas, who has the support of only 3.3% of decided voters, trailing even leftwing firebrand Penny Bright, on 4.6%.

Even the combined backing for the three leading centre-right candidates – Crone, Palino and Thomas – at 26.7%, remains less than half that of Goff.

So Goff has a 45% margin. Massive.

While the leading candidates have nailed their colours to the mast of rates control, “reducing rates” ranked third when respondents were asked to select the top priority for a new Auckland Council. The leading issue, selected by 50.7% of people, was housing, followed by public transport on 33%, reducing rates on 29.5% and cutting bureaucracy on 19.2%. Picking up the rear was berms, which 1.2% selected as the top priority, while 3.2% said none of the above.

No surprise with the issues.

There was a largely grim report card, meanwhile, for Brown, who is standing down after serving two terms as the first mayor of the amalgamated Auckland, and will hope to be remembered more for the Central Rail Link and the Unitary Plan than the sex scandal that threw his mayoralty off course a few days into the second term. Just over 41% of those who answered rated his performance as “fairly bad” or “awful”; 36.7% said “average”; and 21.7% “excellent” or “fairly good”.

Only one in five voters say he has been a good Mayor.

UPDATE: The stories have glossed over almost 50% of the sample were undecided. So Goff has 60% of decided vote but 30% of total voters. Still a commanding lead but not a sure thing.

Ratepayer funded propoganda

Stuff reports:

A community paper put together by a group that gets city council funding is under fire for endorsing the political platforms of two staffers standing for election.

Veteran city councillor Dave Macpherson and political hopeful Max Coyle are campaigning in the city’s West Ward on a “no water meters” platform.

The pair also volunteer at the Western Community News, which is distributed bi-monthly to 18,000 residents in the city’s west. Macpherson is listed as the paper’s production editor and Coyle the publishing manager.

Any group is free to endorse anyone they want and publish anything they want.

But if you do so, you shouldn’t get ratepayer funding. Ratepayers should not be funding such stuff.

The Western Community News is published by the Western Community Centre in partnership with Fraser High School.

The centre receives $91,000 in council funding a year.

However, Tolan said the newspaper was funded solely from advertising revenue and was put together by volunteers.

Then it should be able to continue fine without the centre getting $91,000.

But just as bad is this, also reported by Stuff:

A faction of city councillors are calling for the council’s propaganda rag to be scrapped, saying it’s been hijacked by political opponents. …

Councillor Garry Mallett said residents had contacted him over concerns about the binned Claudelands article.

The council had a responsibility to respond to residents’ concerns urgently.

“There are people out there who believe that this [Claudelands article] is an attempt to influence an election,” Mallett said.

“They think this was a clumsy, clumsy, attempt by someone as yet unknown, or someones, to try and influence the election.

Any publication ratepayer funded has to be information not advocacy and the binned Claudelands article was clearly advocacy.

So what if a preacher spoke at a school

Stuff reports:

American Christian preacher Reggie Dabbs has angered parents again, with a motivational speech at Kapiti College being slammed by some as evangelism by stealth.

Dabbs spoke to about 280 year 9 and 10 pupils on Thursday as part of a tour of Wellington secondary schools including Wellington College and Rongotai College.

At the end of his speech, flyers advertising Arise Church’s Impact convention at Wellington’s Opera House on Friday night were made available, which sparked an uproar on a Raumati community Facebook page.

One parent voiced her concerns on the heated thread saying the flyers were “inappropriate” and that Dabbs’ speech was delivered with “a side of church.”. 

So what? I’m all for not teaching religion in schools, but banning an interesting motivational speaker because he is a preacher is getting too purist.

In a statement on the Facebook thread Kane said the issue was a difficult ethical question for schools, but young people might be more sophisticated in matters of theology than they were given credit for. 

“So I guess to answer the question: should we allow a religious group to preach their views to a captive audience in schools? Absolutely not,” Kane said.

“Should we allow someone who happens to be Christian to give a worthwhile presentation in schools? There are a variety of views in the thread, but I am struggling to see the harm.”

I agree both on young people being more sophisticated than you’d think and that what was the harm?

Ministry for Vulnerable Children

Stuff reports:

The ‘Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki’ is set to begin operating by April 2017, with Tolley as the current Social Development Minister taking responsibility for it.

Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft criticised the name as “stigmatising and labelling” and has vowed to only use the Maori name “Oranga Tamariki” which meant the wellbeing of our children. He urged all New Zealanders do the same. 

He has a point. The name isn’t great. I’m not sure what name is better, but am sure there is one.

However, Tolley said the new name makes it “crystal clear” that it exists to support and protect vulnerable children: “That is its only job. We cannot shy away from this. We can’t hide it and dress it up as something else.”

Pressed on RNZ’s Morning Report on Friday morning about what she’d call the new ministry, Tolley said she would use its formal title but probably also refer to it as “my ministry”.

“I’ll probably call it ‘my ministry’. I’ll use both names and the full name depending on the occasion.”

Asked why it hadn’t just been called the ‘Ministry for Children’, she said the reason was simple.

“We’re not focusing on all New Zealand children, there’s over a million New Zealand children and young people. And most of them are perfectly capable… they live in great families who look after them and make sure they have great futures.”

“This ministry is going to be unashamedly focused on those children that for one reason or another, are vulnerable.”

Tolley has a strong point about this agency is not about all children. I think it is critical that it has a focus on the children in need of state support and intervention.

Most children do not need the state getting involved. We don’t need a Ministry for Children. Most families do a great job raising their kids. An agency that focused on every child would end up serving those in actual need much worse.

So I agree with Tolley that the focus should be on vulnerable children only. However it would be good if there was a name which was slightly less stigmatizing. The name may put some families off make contact.

The elite backlash on Brexit

Brendan O’Neill writes in The Spectator:

At the same time, a gang of peers is plotting to hold up Brexit. Led by Patience Wheatcroft (if you do titles, which I don’t, she is Baroness Wheatcroft of Blackheath, though of course not one soul in Blackheath ever voted for her), these ‘several dozen’ peers want to delay the enactment of Brexit, or what some of us call the people’s will, in the hope of bringing about a second referendum. A chance for us ignorant plebs to redeem ourselves and give the right answer. One of these peers, former Labour MP Oona King, now Baroness King of Bow (‘What?’, asks everyone in Bow), says she wants to ‘scrutinise’ the decision made by ‘the British people’ and ‘bring more facts to their attention’. Turns out the neo-aristocrats are a lot like the old aristocrats, fancying themselves as better placed than the little people to decide the fate of the nation.

Professors are joining the revolt of the elite, too. AC Grayling, the bouffanted atheist, has called on MPs not to support triggering Article 50 because Brexit was a ‘decision by crowd acclamation’ and ‘rule by crowd acclamation is a very poor method of government’. Dumb crowds. Other academics are threatening to quit Britain if something isn’t done about Brexit / the people. As one report puts it, ‘A rising tide of xenophobia [where?] and anti-intellectualism [ie. we’re stupid] following the Brexit vote is making academics think of leaving the country and discouraging others from applying for jobs here.’ What a temper tantrum. The people voted for something we don’t like, so we’re off! And they accuse the electorate of behaving like children.

If the elites do manage to prevent Brexit, then there will be a backlash like you have never seen. But they won’t succeed.

Auckland 8th most liveable city

The Economist has released their annual survey of the best and worst major cities in the world to live in. The top 10 are:

  1. Melbourne 97.5
  2. Vienna 97.4
  3. Vancouver 97.3
  4. Toronto 97.2
  5. Calgary 96.6
  6. Adelaide 96.6
  7. Perth 95.9
  8. Auckland 95.7
  9. Helsinki 95.6
  10. Hamburg 95.0

The bottom ranked city is Damascus at 30.2, which is no surprise perhaps.

Who bugged the All Blacks?

The Herald reports:

The device – the sort used by law enforcement and spying agencies – had been planted in a chair in the hotel, where the team have been staying since Sunday, theHerald has learned.

The hotel has launched its own investigation.

The Herald understands the foam of the seat appeared to have been deliberately and carefully cut to make way for the device and then sewn or glued back together to be almost undetectable.

The Herald has been told that hiding the device was a highly skilled and meticulous act and whoever put it there would have needed a significant amount of time to have pulled off such an accomplished job.

Tew said this afternnoon he had spoken with Australian Rugby Union counterpart Bill Pulver who was “just as shocked as I was” at the bugging.

“We haven’t made any accusations of anybody, so there’s no room for denials,” he said when asked if Australia had denied involvement in the incident.

When the discovery of the bug was revealed by the Herald late this morning, Tew said in a statment that the New Zealand and Australian rugby unions had “jointly decided to hand over the investigation to the Australian police”.

“We are taking this issue very seriously, and given it will be a police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details.”

This morning Pulver told the Herald the organisation was alerted to the discovery by Tew this morning.

I don’t think it would have been the Australian Rugby Union. They could hardly tell the players “Hey this is the All Black game plan – we bugged their meeting”. The players would be revolted if they were told.

It is possible the bug was planted a while ago and intended for someone else at the hotel.

The other possibility is that some sort of tabloid media organisation did it. It isn’t that far removed from phone hacking.

UPDATE: Well if it was the Wallabies it didn’t do them much good. The All Blacks slaughtered them 42-8. Sonny Bill cheekily tweeted during the game “So who bugged whose rooms then”. I suspect the bigger motivating factor was the talk from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika about how the ABs would do without McCaw and Carter. Just fine was the response.

NZ scored six tries, which is great against any team, but incredible against the Wallabies.

Lydia wins silver

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko has claimed a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, finishing runner-up to South Korea’s Inbee Park in the women’s golf tournament.

Park finished on 16-under after shooting five-under 66 in the final round, to claim a dominant five-shot victory. 

Ko avoided a playoff for silver with China’s Shanshan Feng after picking up a birdie on the 18th. Feng claimed bronze on 10-under with Ko shooting two-under 69 in the final round, finishing at 11-under overall. 

“Today not many putts were falling,” Ko said. “But for a crucial putt like that on the 18th [hole] to fall, I think I celebrated like the gold medallist… This means so much more to me. Since 2009 I’ve just dreamt and imagined myself to be here in Rio alongside the world’s best athletes.

“Having this silver medal is just a dream come true. The Olympics isn’t about [whether] somebody lost to another player. It celebrates each and every athlete and we’ve all won. This week has just been surreal.”

Great words from our best sportswoman.

We’ve now won 17 medals which I think is a record for NZ.

On the various league tables we are:

  • Medals per capita 2nd
  • Gold medals per capita 5th
  • Weighted medals per capita 4th
  • Weighted medals by GDP 15th
  • Weighted medals by team size 32nd
  • Total Medals 15th
  • Gold Medals 19th

A stunning bronze

The Herald reports:

Eliza McCartney is the toast of New Zealand sport today after pulling off a stunning bronze medal performance in Rio.

The 19-year-old from North Harbour equalled her personal best 4.80m to nail the third place on a countback from Australian Alana Boyd and nothing could shake the excitement from her.

“My cheeks are so sore and my eyes are red from crying. I’m so happy,” she laughed.

McCartney has won New Zealand’s 16th medal of the Rio Games and while she was ranked eighth going into the event, it was still a tall order for a jumper who only joined the senior ranks at the world indoor championships in Portland, Oregon in March.

It was the biggest day of McCartney’s rapidly burgeoning career and she was determined to enjoy it. At one point she clapped at a medal ceremony; she congratulated another vaulter for clearing a key jump with a quiet word, her routine and rhythm was bang on and she made the most of it.

“In Portland, I got quite caught up in the hype, but also my nerves. I learnt a bit about that. It was the first time I’d been competing against senior girls. Now I feel I know them so that’s fine.”

The important point for McCartney was she started with a rush.

She cleared 4.50m, 4.60m, 4.70m and 4.80m with her first attempt each time.

Such a great competitor.  She’ll be a great medal prospect also at Toyko.

Faster rural broadband speeds

Vodafone announced:

Vodafone is pleased to announce new peak speed commitments for 4G rural wireless broadband services delivered under the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

In an agreement signed with MBIE, Vodafone has increased its 4G wireless broadband peak speed commitment from 5Mbps to 30Mbps download. Its 4G peak upload speed commitment has increased from 500Kbps to 5Mbps.

A long way off fibre speeds but still pretty decent. A good way to cover areas where fibre is uneconomic.

A rare Trump policy that has some merit

As readers know I am no Trump fan. I don’t like his narcissism, most of his policies, and much of his style.

But that is not to say he is wrong on everything.

His policy to ban every Muslim in the world from entering the US, either as a migrant or tourist was one of the most reprehensible policies he has had. It treated 1.4 billion identically, that their religious affiliation was all that mattered. It would have treated Malala Yousafzai the same as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He has now retreated from that, and proposed “extreme vetting”. USA Today reports:

In calling for “extreme vetting” of foreigners entering the United States, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested a return to a 1950s-era immigration standard — since abandoned — that barred entry to people based on their political beliefs.

“We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” Trump said Monday, explaining how he would deter terrorists from entering the U.S.

I think there is a case for vetting on the basis of extreme ideology. Not as Trump describes it though.

Of course anyone who is an actual terrorist will not be allowed to migrate. No-one disagrees with that. But are we saying that anything short of being an actual terrorist is okay? Would you want Anjem Choudary migrating to NZ?

This is where again it is useful to differ between Islam and Islamism. Within Islam you have a huge range of views from those who are incredibly devout and support sharia law as the law of the land to those who are liberal and see their religion as merely something for their personal behaviour.

Christianity has a similar variety from extremely liberal Anglicans to ultra Conservative Catholics to some fundamentalist baptists groups such as Westboro.

Within Islam though those who hold extreme views (such as supporting the death penalty for apostasy) are a significant number. They are not a majority but a large minority.

George Borjas at Politico makes the case for vetting:

In particular, is it really that big a departure from what we have done in the past if we also asked green card applicants: “Do you believe that religious law should supplant the Constitution of the United States?” Or if we asked: “Do you believe that the law should treat people differentially based on their gender, their race, or their sexual orientation?” And would it really be that unreasonable if we had second thoughts about admitting persons who answered those questions in the affirmative? Are there really that many Americans who would disagree with the notion that a reasonable immigration policy should, in Trump’s words, keep out “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred”?

I think we should ask questions to exclude people who for example think apostasy should be a crime.

Of course, it is sensible to wonder whether such filters are effective. I doubt that the 9/11 terrorists admitted in their applications for foreign student visas that they planned to use their flight training to fly planes into the World Trade Center. But the fact that such filtering is far from perfect does not imply that we should not have any filters whatsoever. If nothing else, the perjury in the visa application gives the government an easy way for detaining and deporting dangerous immigrants living in our midst, even after they become American citizens. The falsification or concealment of relevant facts during the application process provides grounds for the removal of a green card, for the revoking of naturalization, and for eventual deportation.

It will not be of course 100% effective but perfect is the enemy of good. Asking such questions would give grounds for removal, but also it may discourage people from migrating to a country where they will not integrate.