A land tax on foreign based land owners?

April 26th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

In a dramatic shift in position, John Key is threatening to apply a land tax to foreign-based house buyers if there is evidence they are pushing up New Zealand house prices – and it could apply to Kiwis abroad.

I think a land tax on all land owners is a good idea economically. However only if other taxes are reduced so that NZers are not taxed more overall.

The evidence on foreign buyers could be just two weeks away.

A land tax to dampen demand by foreign-based buyers would be a complete flip in the Government’s insistence that overseas speculation has not been a problem in the heated property market, and a switch from its focus on increasing supply.

The Prime Minister told the Herald any land tax could also apply to Kiwis abroad with property in New Zealand after an exemption period of perhaps three years away.

But such an exemption could potentially contravene New Zealand tax treaties with other countries.

If it did, the tax would apply at the same time to all foreign-based buyers who are tax residents elsewhere, including Kiwis abroad.

“Subject to our capacity to do so, New Zealanders living abroad would be exempt but you could do it for a period of three years at which point if they retained the property, they might have to start paying [the tax].”

Quite a novel approach – actually gather evidence to see how big a problem there is, and then decide based on the evidence.

 

Quote of the week

April 26th, 2016 at 9:00 am by TaxpayersUnion

“Socialism states that you owe me something simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-forced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a product or service you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is more moral than forced redistribution.”

– Ben Shapiro

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.

Netherlands votes to ban petrol cars

April 26th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025.

The motion has only passed through the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament, and would need to pass through the Dutch senate to become legally binding. But its success in a majority vote puts the earliest date yet on just when a major country might begin phasing out polluting transportation.

Bans are ridiculous and stupid. It is denying people choice. Prices should reflect external costs (hence a price on greenhouse gas emissions) but having politicians decide what sort of vehicles are allowable is doomed to failure.

Mediaworks almost loses Budget lockup for everyone

April 25th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

The Treasury has confirmed it is to go ahead with a lock-up for journalists for the budget on May 26, despite the Reserve Bank’s decision to end the briefings.

In a note sent to media organisations, Treasury chief executive Gabriel Makhlouf said he had weighed up whether to end the practice. “On balance, I have decided that an embargoed briefing for Budget 2016 will be held as planned. However, I will continue to review both the overall status of future Budget briefings and the ability of organisations to attend, in light of the adherence to lock-up conditions.”

This means there was a serious chance that Treasury could have canned the lockups.

It is unfortunate that Mediaworks has not been punished in anyway for their breach of the Reserve Bank lockup. As I said, they should at least pay the cost of the investigation.

Guest Post: Where Kiwis spend their time

April 25th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Where kiwis spend their free time

1

This summary enraged two men in Auckland. So much so that they set up easylifestyle.co.nz to encourage NZers  to work to their strengths – with less housework like laundry and ironing and more charitable giving.

Let’s look through some of the interesting insights:

2

When I see this graph I think:

  • We spend too much time on mass media
  • We waste a large proportion of our life on housework
  • We don’t spend enough time on religion, reflection and charity
  • And the majority of people in this country don’t spend time with children.

3

Averages can be very misleading. But, they can also be a useful guide. All in all we are pretty even. This must have been widely different to 100 years ago. But, it is still fair to say that females are doing a bit more at home like ironing & laundry and men are still doing more paid work.

4

Overall there is little difference between males and females. Females spend a little more time at home with others while males spend more time out of home (probably at work). And we both spend around 54% of our lives with family.

5

Of little surprise though the more we earn the more we neglect our family. We go to work and work too much. On top of this we feel like we should socialise with work mates more. Then we rush home and do household chores and finally try and have some quality time with the partner and kids.

6

Education has little impact on our family time. PHDs or scraping through with Cs … either way family is family and it’s a big part of our life.

7

This is interesting. Work little or a lot to not be alone. However, if you work a part time job you are destined to join introverts anonymous.

Compared to Auckland University Pyschology survey

I tried asking Dr. Chris Sibley the Lead researcher for the NZAVS Department of Psychology at Auckland Uni for permission to publish this. But, I couldn’t get in touch. So given google made it public I’ll share it.

  • New Zealanders worked on average 24-25 hours per week. They did, on average between 10-11 hours of housework and cooking per week, and spent roughly 13-14 hours looking after children. New Zealanders commuted an average of 5 hours per week
  • In terms of leisure time, New Zealanders spent an average of 11 hours watching television, films and videos, between 1-2 hours playing computer games, and between 4-5 hours exercising.
  • New Zealanders, on average also spent between 1-2 hours per week performing charitable activities.

In summary what will you change?

  • What are the things you want more of in your life? What’s stopping you?
  • If you don’t have enough family time, reduce your work hours (whether homework or paid work). If you want someone else to do your laundry and ironing in Auckland head to http://easylifestyle.co.nz/
  • If you want an easy way of boosting your charity time easy lifestyle is a social business that supports clean drinking water for Africa and poverty alleviation in New Zealand with every order.

Check out the stats: StatsNZ

Author – Daniel Howell

Founder of easylifestyle.co.nz a social entrepreneur who believes in people over profit. He is passionate about seeing kiwis work in their strengths and make the world a better place for everyone around them.

Infographic-where-kiwis-spend-their-time

 

No tag for this post.

Wellington trolley buses to remain electric

April 25th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington’s trolley buses are set to jump their wires and could soon head anywhere in the country.

The iconic buses have been thrown a lifeline with their owner, NZ Bus, signing a $43 million deal that will see “a significant number” of its 1100 buses in Auckland and Wellington converted to electric.

The capital’s 60 trolley buses were set to be removed from service in mid-2017 when NZ Bus’ current contract with Greater Wellington Regional Council expires, but this deal means they will live on.

NZ Bus chief executive Zane Fulljames refused to say exactly how many buses would be refitted with electric drivetrains in the deal with American firm Wrightspeed, but said it would be significant number.

Great -a decision made by the company, with no (apparent) subsidies.

The Wrightspeed motors will be fitted into existing buses and will operate mostly on rechargeable electric batteries, topped up by a small conventionally-powered motor if needed on the road.

As battery technology improves, the top ups will no longer be needed and the buses will travel entirely on electric power, Fulljames said.

As battery technology improves, this is what will really impact take up.

New Zealander Ian Wright co-founded Tesla then founded his own company Wrightspeed in the US.

Nice to see a NZer do well globally.

Vision tests for licenses

April 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Blink and you won’t miss it – eyesight tests could be dropped from driver’s licence renewals under proposals that aim to push licensing online.

The Ministry of Transport has proposed a one-off vision test for drivers when they first apply. For renewals, people would simply have to declare they can see properly.

Eyesight testing for licence renewals has been controversial. The majority of people who fail the tests are later told by their optometrists that their vision is fine for driving.

Studies done for the ministry have found there are few safety benefits from frequent eye tests, and a discussion paper said the changes could save up to $13.7 million over the next two decades, mainly through cutting time spent travelling to licensing agents.

The studies found people who failed vision tests and were forced to wear glasses were no safer on the roads than before they failed. People with undiagnosed eyesight problems were at no more risk of crashing.

“The studies, which suggest there is no discernible road safety benefit from the current frequency of vision testing, are one input into the decision-making process,” ministry communications team leader Lesley Reidy said.

Most people with bad vision know it, and get glasses. You certainly can be unaware your eyesight has deteriorated, but it has to be pretty bad for it to affect your driving. As they say, the research is that the vision tests do not improve road safety.

However, optometrist Jack Crawford questioned those studies, and said vision safety should not be sacrificed for a more convenient system, “especially when the science behind it isn’t that strong”.

Hmmn, who makes money from vision tests?

THE PROPOSED CHANGE

* The proposal would require people renewing their licences to declare they are not aware their vision has deteriorated since their last renewal, or that any deterioration is being managed by glasses or contact lenses.

* This would not apply for commercial licences, and people over 75 who would still need vision checks through the medical fitness process.

Keeping them for over 75s is sensible.

General Debate 25 April 2016

April 25th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

28,927 killed serving their country

April 25th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

28,927 New Zealanders have died while serving overseas in our Armed Forces. We do not forget them.

Those killed by conflict are:

  • WWI 16,697
  • WWII 11,874
  • South Africa 228
  • Korea 41
  • Vietnam 37
  • Malaya 26
  • Afghanistan 14
  • East Timor 5
  • Thailand 2
  • Rhodesia 1
  • Falklands 1
  • Kuwait 1

E-cigarette safety

April 24th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Q: How safe are e-cigarettes and how effective are they for people trying to quit smoking?

A: Oliver Knight-West, a research fellow at the National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, says:

There is established evidence that e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco smoking. It also tells us that current e-cigarettes are exposing vapers – e-cigarette smokers – to even fewer toxins compared to earlier products which are no longer available to buy, and that the levels of toxins are generally lower than the upper limits deemed safe for human exposure.

Of course we cannot be certain that e-cigarettes are completely safe and that long-term vaping is risk-free, but we can be confident that if any negative health effects are detected, they will be very small compared to the proven dangers of tobacco smoking.

Public Health England estimated they are 95% safer than tobacco. So that is not 100% safe, but still exponentially safer.

While we desperately need these studies too, it is puzzling that the current regulatory framework around e-cigarettes in New Zealand does not take heed of the data we already have and allow the legal sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine.

At the moment, highly toxic tobacco is given preferential treatment as a way for people to use nicotine.

With the right framework, e-cigarettes with nicotine could be just the breakthrough to help hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders become smoke-free and live healthier, longer lives.

It is pretty insane the more dangerous product can be sold in any retail outlet while the far safer product is illegal to sell!

Bill strikes a nerve

April 24th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Trans-Tasman reports:

Finance Minister Bill English touched a raw nerve when he spoke of a cohort of individuals who are “pretty damned hopeless.” He was pilloried by the Opposition, and other commentators were quick to condemn the Govt for its failure to lift these unemployed out of their hopelessness. It’s an issue which divides NZ. Evidence came in the flood of emails to English’s office supporting what he said, more in a day than he had received all year.

That’s a lot of e-mails.

A good copyright decision

April 24th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The legal fight over Google’s effort to create a digital library of millions of book is finally over.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge from authors who had argued that the tech giant’s project was “brazen violation of copyright law” — effectively ending the decade-long legal battle in Google’s favor.

Without the Supreme Court taking up the case, a federal appeals court ruling from October, which found the book scanning program fell under the umbrella of fair use, will stand.

Back in 2004, Google started scanning millions of books from major research libraries — creating a vast database from the digitized copies known as Google Books. Users can search Google Books for quotes or keywords, and it will display paragraphs or pages of context for the results from within the books.

The Authors Guild started complaining about the project in 2005, arguing that Google Books had undermined writers by putting their work online for free.

Good to see the decision this is fair use stand. Google was not making the books available for free. They were allowing very small extracts of the books to be found and quoted. This is exactly what fair use is about.

Hide on Niue deal

April 24th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

Labour Leader Andrew Little this week got the political blunderbuss out and blew off both feet and then his arms. He never grazed his target.

In my view, his was a disgraceful display of nastiness and political incompetence not expected of a rookie opposition MP and gobsmackingly awful for a would-be Prime Minister.

I refer, of course, to what Little would have you believe was Niue-gate.

It was a spectacular own goal.

The trustees of the resort are New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Ross Ardern (Labour MP Jacinda Ardern’s father); MFat Deputy Secretary Jonathan Kings and former NZ High Commissioner to Niue (and Wellington Mayor and National MP) Mark Blumsky. The trustees appoint the board of directors of Matavai Niue Limited (MNL), responsible for the resort’s operation. They are Ian Fitzgerald (chair), Bill Wilkinson, Toke Talagi (Premier of Niue) and John Ingram.

That’s a distinguished list.

Yet according to Little all part of a deal that stinks to high heaven. I didn’t realise the Premier of Niue is one of those Little has effectively accused of corruption.

In 2013 Auckland firm Horwath HTL did an independent review for the board and, among other things, recommended the appointment of a hotel management company.

The following year, on behalf of the board, Horwath ran an Expressions of Interest and Request for Proposals process that culminated in the consideration of two proposals with the recommendation of Scenic Hotels. The board agreed.

The transaction was not just arm’s length, several oceans of separation lay between the political donation and the management contract. There is no evidence of impropriety. The process would appear a model of probity.

Meanwhile, Little has besmirched a successful and highly regarded business couple, a New Zealand business success story, senior government officials, his own MP’s dad, and the Premier of Niue.

National sails on untouched. Little is on camera weaving and dodging the obvious questions and backpedalling on his original concerns.

Politics can be nasty. It’s often incompetent. Somehow Little has managed to plumb new depths.

If Little or his staff had done their homework, he could have handled it very differently – still calling for the AG to investigate, but avoiding smearing those involved by declaring it stinks to high heaven.

General Debate 24 April 2016

April 24th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

MPs occupations

April 24th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Blackland PR has looked at the backgrounds of our 121 MPs:

The study, by political researcher Geoffrey Miller and public relations expert Mark Blackham, researched and compared the career histories of all 121 Members of the current Parliament.

They found that business owners, agriculturalists and unionists have a falling share of voice in their traditional parties, and have been replaced by people with no specific career interests, or careers limited to government and politics.

Miller said 23% of National MPs had experience working in a business, and only 10% of Labour MPs had worked in a union.

“National is no longer dominated by business experience and Labour no longer by unions.

“In fact, the whole of Parliament is now dominated by generalists, people of no specific experience, and government specialists – people whose only experience is working for government or in politics.

This is not a good trend – the rise of the professional political class.

mpsoccs

I’ve compiled this table from their data. The percentages add up to over 100% as some MPs have had multiple careers.

Will xenotransplantation help those needing organs?

April 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NZeno blogs:

At NZeno, we believe xenotransplantation is ready to enter the clinic because of the major advances made possible by new gene editing techniques.

The vast majority of xenotransplantation literature and news stories describe results with pigs created using genetic engineering technology that is almost 20 years old.  For instance, the recent research featured on Pig Hearts Survive more than 2 years in a Baboon used pig engineered with the same technology used in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.  Genome editing has advanced far more in just the last three years than in all of time previously.

Preclinical research on pigs created using CRISPR, if published at all, is released very quietly and normally receives no coverage.  Many researchers refuse to publish for fear of being scooped.  Those that do publish release cryptic results that are useful only to their patent strategy.  NZeno’s founders are seminal figures in the transition to use new techniques to solve the challenges of xenotransplantation.

Some people may find this yucky but if xenotransplantation can save human lives, or at least enhance them, then I’m in favour. The ethics need to be managed well, but this should not be a barrier to research here.

Little’s conspiracy gets even larger

April 23rd, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

As for McCully’s handpicked appointees, these are the members of the Niue Tourism Property Trust whose members are indeed appointed by McCully on behalf of the Niue Government.

It has already been widely reported that they include the likes of the island’s High Commissioner and former police officer Ross Ardern. (Ardern also happens to be the father of Labour MP Jacinda Ardern so one would assume he’s not embedded with the National Party).

But this is where it gets complicated.

The Niue Tourism Property Trust appointed a board to oversee the running of the hotel and according to one of the four board members the agreement was negotiated and signed between Scenic Hotels and the board rather than the trust itself.

The tender process itself, meanwhile, was run by consultancy group Horwarth (which did the early feasibility studies for Auckland’s international conventional centre). So again, a step removed from the government appointees on Niue property trust.

Little is right when he says that it is his role as Opposition leader to ask questions when a big political donor is awarded Government contracts.

But suggesting it “stinks to high heaven” takes things to a different level.

Even if there hadn’t been a number of steps between the minister and the decision to award the contract, Little’s claim appears to rest on the assumption that everyone involved in the process – from senior diplomats, to government agencies and senior politicians – was either swayed by the donation, or leaned on by the minister.

In the absence of a whistle blower, or any documentation, leaked emails or other evidence so far to support that view, that’s a pretty serious accusation. Seemingly, it relies solely on the fact that Hagaman donated money to the National Party.

This is dangerous territory for Little and not because the Hagamans have threatened legal action.

With the involvement of Horwarth, Little’s allegations only stack up if the conspiracy involves McCully, the two Hagamans, the three trustees (including Ross Ardern), the four board members and the staff of Horwarth.

Little was right to ask the question but wrong to leap to judgement before the Auditor General decides even whether to take a look.

If Little had just asked for it to be reviewed, no problems. But he rushed to judgment and declared it stank to high heaven, and insulted the trustees by effectively referring to them as McCully’s handpicked mates when one of them is an MFAT Deputy Secretary and another the High Commissioner (and father of a Labour MP).

If every big donation is going to be decried as dodgy there seem to be only two alternatives – either barring donors from tendering for Government contracts, which is probably unworkable, or a fully state funded regime, which is where the first option ultimately leads anyway, given the inevitable drying up of campaign funds.

This is what Labour wants. They are broke so they want to force taxpayers to fund their party.

The Energy Outlook for 2040

April 23rd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Went to a presentation by the global forecaster for Exxon Mobil about what they think the energy outlook will be in 2040. They’ve been doing this for several decades. I did ask how accurate was their 25 year forecast in 1990 for 2015 and he said that they got the overall demand level about right but thought nuclear would be a bigger sector today than it actually is.

The forecast is here.

Some key forecasts are:

  • China will go from 10 cars per 100 people to 30 cars per 100 people
  • Per capita incomes in OECD countries will increase 60% by 2040 while non OECD countries will go up 135%
  • Coal generated electricity will drop from 40% to 30% of electricity
  • Natural gas will grow more than any other energy source which will meet 40% of new demand from 2014 to 2040
  • Energy related co2 emissions will peak around 2030 and then decline
  • Fuel economy for light vehicles will improve by around 80%
  • World population will reach nine billion and India reaches 1.6 billion to become the most populous country
  • China will be 20% of world GDP in 2040
  • India’s GDP per capita will triple
  • Energy demand will increase 25% with OECD demand dropping 5% and rest of the world increasing
  • OECD co2 per capita emissions will fall 30% by 2040 by which date China will have around the same per capita emissions
  • Average growth rates for energy sources will be oil 0.7% a year, gas 1.6%, coal -0.2%, biomass 0.3%, nuclear 2.9%, solar/wind 4.8%, hydro/geo 1.3%
  • World has 150 years supply of oil at current demand levels and estimates rise as technology gets better. So much for peak oil.

 

We should charge for water – but for everyone

April 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has downplayed concerns over foreign companies bottling and exporting water for large profits, saying only “a very tiny amount” is being sent overseas.

Controversy has been sparked by the Ashburton District Council’s decision to sell a property, with rights to extract 40 billion litres of water over 30 years, to an overseas company.

Opposition parties and environmental groups have called on the Government to charge fees for large-scale water takes which are exported overseas.

Why would you charge only if it is being exported? You charge for all or none.

However, Key told reporters in Beijing that governments had operated under a “long-standing principle” that water did not belong to anybody, and could not be sold by the Crown.

“The point is that no-one owns water, and if we’re going to start charging for it, then arguably we’d have to be consistent and charge a lot of people.

Yep. And we should as the market would be better at allocating water than local government officials.

“That means Meridian, when it gets its water and puts it through its hydro schemes, they would need to pay for that water, and Meridian aren’t going to pay the bill, so you the consumer are.”

Key said the access permits were only temporary, while only 0.004 per cent of all water used in New Zealand was bottled and sent overseas.

It is a tiny amount, and as usual xenophobia is behind it. But again Meridian should pay for the water it uses.

General Debate 23 April 2016

April 23rd, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Canada to decriminalise cannabis

April 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Canadian government says it will introduce legislation next year to decriminalise and legalise the sale of marijuana, making Canada the first G7 country to permit widespread use of the substance.

The announcement was made by Canada’s health minister, Jane Philpott, at a United Nations drug conference in New York. It follows through on a promise made during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s successful election campaign last year.

Philpott said details of the legislation are being worked out, but she vowed that the government “will keep marijuana out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals.”

This follows three or four US states that have done the same.

One study by a leading Canadian bank estimated that legalisation could spark development of an annual marijuana trade worth about C$10 billion (NZ$11n).

Better to tax it than have a black market.

QE II turns 90

April 22nd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

qeii

Her Majesty has turned 90. Many good photos of her but this one is my favourite. Those pictured from left to right are:

  • James, Viscount Severn, 8 (10th in line to the throne)
  • Lady Louise Windsor, 12, (11th)
  • Mia Tindall (holding the Queen’s handbag), 2 (17th)
  • Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, 11 months (4th)
  • Savannah Phillips, 5 (14th)
  • Prince George of Cambridge, 2 (3rd)
  • Isla Phillips, 3, (15th)

The Queen is by far the oldest living British Monarch. Victoria and George III both made 81, then Edward VIII made 77 and George II 76.

A Penny Bright campaign we might all support

April 22nd, 2016 at 2:56 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

While Auckland mayoral candidate and ex-Xero NZ boss Victoria Crone appears to have backed off from a battle over billboards with Auckland Council, fellow candidate Penny Bright has decided to take up cudgels on her rival’s – and ratepayers’ – behalf. …

Although Ms Crone seems to have conceded defeat on the issue, however, perennial rates activist and mayoral Penny Bright has signalled her intent to battle the billboard bylaw, which she sees as a matter of freedom of expression.

“So here we have Auckland Transport not telling us where they’re putting our money but they do want to tell us where and when we can put our signs,” Ms Bright says.

“I’m actually prepared to fight it on the basis of the Local Government Act 2002 s.155 (3) – that Council bylaws cannot be inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990.

“If it had been previously ok for years for individuals to display election hoardings on their private property at any time they liked, what’s changed?

“Who died and made Auckland Transport ‘the boss’ regarding the lawful rights of citizens to freedom of expression?

I agree. The Council and AT can make signs for their own property but it is ridiculous that they ban people from putting up election signs on their own property or on commercial hire sites.

Collins vs Goff

April 22nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police Minister Judith Collins and the police have spoken out against claims that community stations in Auckland and the rest of the country will close, saying that is incorrect.

 NZME had reported that sources within NZ Police had claimed there are plans for the 16 to at least temporarily shut their doors and that some may never re-open.

According to NZME, information provided by independent sources and also by Labour MP and Auckland Mayoral candidate Phil Goff claimed that “police may be under pressure to reduce their footprint and under pressure to close stations”.

Interesting that Goff has been using his parliamentary role to help his campaign by asking numerous parliamentary written questions on Auckland issues.

Collins quickly responded, saying that she was “really disappointed that Phil Goff is touting a false story to the media against New Zealand police”. …

Police  have denied the community station closure saying  that a new set of infrastructure design features are being introduced for safety measures at police front counters.

The new features are designed to deal with the most likely threats at publicly accessible police premises.

“Our review of existing infrastructure has highlighted a number of premises where more immediate practical steps are needed to increase security.  There are 105 stations we have identified in this category around New Zealand,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner District Operations, Bruce Bird.

“In some of these stations, one of the options may be to limit public access at times when constabulary staff are on the premises.

“This does not mean the stations will permanently close, but the public access at some stations may be, as an interim measure, restricted to those times when a constabulary/authorised officer is available to work at the front counter.”

So Goff is attacking the Police for making their staff safer and more secure from attack.

500 trillion litres!

April 22nd, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Nick Smith released:

The call from opposition parties for a moratorium or a new tax on consents for bottled water plants is typically uninformed and scientifically unsound in respect of dealing with the challenges New Zealand has in freshwater management, says Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“New Zealand has five-hundred trillion litres of fresh water each year flowing through our lakes, rivers, and aquifers, and we extract only two percent of that for human purposes. Ten trillion litres are extracted, made up of six trillion for irrigation, two trillion for town water supplies, and two trillion for industries. The total water extracted for bottled water is only 0.004 per cent of the resource.

So that is 500,000,000,000,000 litres a year. That is 100 million litres per New Zealander. And the opposition parties are scaremongering over it.

The suggestion by the Greens of a moratorium on bottled drinking water takes is about as sensible as pretending you could solve Auckland’s traffic congestion by banning bikes. The New Zealand First proposal for a special tax would be like putting a charge on bikes but ignoring trucks, cars and buses and pretending that it would help traffic management,” Dr Smith says.

As I’ve said many times, I have no problem with a charge on water, but it should apply to all.

“There is also a contradiction by opposition parties calling for a more diverse range of export industries than dairying but then wanting to prohibit the export of bottled water. Each litre of milk takes about 400 litres of freshwater to produce and if the export market is prepared to pay a good price for bottled water, it may be a more efficient and productive use of the resource. It would also be difficult to justify a charge on bottled water but not on a bottled product made with minimal additives of juice concentrate or other similar bottled drinking products.

“There is no case for the bottled water industry to be treated any differently from the thousands of other water users.

A tax or ban on bottled water is simply kneejerk idiotic politics.