Bob Jones on Housing

May 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in NBR:

Let’s get some facts straight, once and for all on this matter.  First, most house dwellers in Auckland are owners.   Make no mistake, it’s no crisis in their eyes.  Good luck to them for this wealth windfall. 

Prime Minister John Howard summed it up beautifully a dozen years back.  He listened patiently while a current affairs television journalist berated him about house prices.  “Listen,” he said, when the bore finally finished.  “Over the past three decades I’ve been harangued from one end of Australia to the other on every imaginable subject, with one exception. No one yet has complained to me about their home’s rising value.”

Secondly, Auckland is today and has been for the last decade or so, Australasia’s fastest-growing city.  In a nutshell, that’s the market, otherwise known as the public, voting with their feet – a huge compliment to the city.  With that rapid population growth comes unavoidable baggage, namely transport congestion and housing shortages. Nothing is free but what’s undebatable from the continuing inflow, not just from abroad but also from within New Zealand, is that those problems are a price people are willing to pay. That’s not opinion but logic; otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming.

Land re-zoning, house, road and rail construction to resolve these demand pressures can’t be achieved with a wave of a wand. They not only take time but lots of it.  More important, they’re all happening in Auckland right now. No one is sitting on their hands, despite the newspapers’ tiresome handwringing.

This situation is a global one with other cities experiencing similar inflow booms. London, Hong Kong, Sydney, New York, San Francisco and many more, are all having the same growth problems, without the accompanying tedious journalistic infantilism we are enduring.

Bob Jones is right that these large increases are occurring in many major cities around the world.

And there is a huge amount happening on both the demand and supply side, which I detail below. But the one thing which would make the biggest difference – a major shift in the urban boundary for Auckland rests with the Auckland council, not the Government. If you want cheaper land in Auckland, vote for a Council that will make the land available.

What has been done though is:

  1. Tax changes so any sale of an investment property within two years gets fully taxed
  2. Houses no longer depreciated for tax purposes
  3. Reserve Bank introduced restrictions on the number of mortgages a ban can offer with less than 20% capital (and in Auckland less than 30%)
  4. Obligation for all buyers to have an IRD number to track if foreign demand is significant and needs a policy response
  5. New home construction in Auckland up from 3,579 a year to 9,566 in the last year
  6. The KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme which allows more KiwiSaver members to use their savings and a grant of up to $20,000
  7. A Government building programme in partnership with Auckland Council through the Tamaki Regeneration Company building 7,500 homes
  8. The fully Government owned Hobsonville Land Company building 400 homes
  9. Almost 28,000 new houses and sections consented in Auckland through the Special Housing Areas and a further 28,000 likely
  10. RMA changes which have reduced some consenting costs

Best Bob Jones letter ever

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

Jones-p1_0 bob-jones2_0


Letter and cartoon copied from NBR.

I know several of the tenants in Solnet House and I suspect would indeed be happy to vacate their offices to allow for the 5,000 metre high statue of Gareth.

I also especially enjoyed the economic impact analysis of the proposal, as it seem more robust than most similar studies, projecting the statue and temple will lead to 20,000 more hotel rooms, 900 more cruise ships and four extra airport runways.

Carmen’s Mayoral campaign

June 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post looks back at Carmen’s 1977 campaign for Mayor. I recall that campaign as a 10 year old – it was very funny.

Flamboyant transgender businesswoman Carmen lit a bomb under Wellington’s 1977 mayoral race, much as she had shaken up its social life over the previous decade.

Carmen, born as a Taumarunui lad named Trevor Rupe, ran against incumbent mayor Michael Fowler in a campaign that featured bared breasts, a shock engagement, and strippers stopping rush-hour traffic. Her slogan was “Get in Behind”.

“I am easily the best candidate,” Carmen told 1000 university students at a debate that August.

“I am better looking than Sir Francis [Kitts], I am more charming than Michael Fowler and I could beat [Values candidate Tony] Brunt in a brawl any day.”

A great line.

Her mayoral campaign was the brainchild of property baron Bob Jones, and funded by a group of Right-leaning businessmen tired of inaction under Robert Muldoon’s first government.

“If Carmen was mayor, so our logic ran, nothing would ever happen and citizens would have a respite from ever-increasing rules and regulations,” he wrote in The Dominion Post in 2007.

“Carmen cut a grotesque figure, as might be expected of a 136-kilogram King Country Maori bloke wearing a dress and flaunting massive breasts,” Jones said.


Another prominent Dominion ad listing dozens of Carmen’s supporters sparked a protest when Jones added to the list without their consent a dozen “highly conservative QCs, businessmen and other city hierarchy”, he said.

In retaliation, one of the named luminaries organised a dozen bare-breasted strippers to parade along Kent Terrace on election eve, October 7, bearing placards with indecent comments about Jones and Carmen’s other backers.

Some of those QCs were very very upset!

In one last publicity stunt before the election, Carmen announced her engagement to top investor and businessman Ron Brierley. Gamely playing along, Sydney-based Brierley discussed the engagement ring and honeymoon when interviewed by Radio Windy, but his investment firm’s share price fell, and one director threatened resignation.

Jones played many jokes on Brierley, as recounted in his Letters books

Sir Bob Jones putting the record straight

June 4th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

For those who haven’t seen it, the below is from Sir Bob Jones on what happened on that Air NZ flight:


Twice in successive weeks recently, I slammed the New Zealand media’s ludicrous behaviour in two New Zealand Herald satirical columns, over their infantile excesses following the ponytail incident.  How ironic then that a few weeks later I should be the subject of their obsession with trivia.  Here’s what happened.

I shot up to Auckland for a Vice-Chancellor’s university function, in my honour.  As I’ve done countless times I gave my ticket to the always helpful Koru Club ladies who set about re-organising me into the big leg room emergency seat and if possible, and as indeed in that case, with no-one besides me.  On the flight I was greeted by one of Air New Zealand’s most charming chief stewards, a Chinese chap, took my seat, donned my air phones to avoid the unbelievably childish safety claptrap, and had a pleasant 50 minutes read. 

The following day at Auckland saw a repetition, marked by one of the X-ray machine officers shaking hands with me, saying he hadn’t seen me for a while.  Such is the usual friendly conduct I and doubtless other regular Auckland-Wellington are accustomed to.  Once again, I took my seat, donned my earphones and settled into my book, of which more shortly.  There was a tap on my shoulder.  I looked up to see a young hostess frowning at me and assuming it was the usual seat forward silliness, pushed the side button and returned to reading.  She tapped again.  I took off the headphones. 

“You’re in the emergency seat”


“Do you know you’re in the emergency seat?”


“Do you want to change seats?”

“Not particularly”

She then disappeared and I resumed reading.  Then came another tap.  This time a grim-faced woman of about 60 was glaring at me.  We went through the same rigmarole only she then commanded me, the first such occasion in countless times in that seat, and I’ll wager, the first such time ever, to turn to the wall and read the instructions.  I did so, and turned back and with another glare she started to walk away.  “Childish,” I remarked to the chap beside me.  She heard me, spun around and snapped, “I’ll get the captain.” “OK,” I said and resumed reading.  20 minutes later a couple of security guards appeared so I left with them.

There was a smattering of applause, I assume from people frustrated at the delay, this predictably, subsequently reported as mass cheering.  I’m told the captain then announced that safety was their foremost concern.  The only safety threat, once the doors closed, was of everyone drowning in his extreme wetness. 

What then happened was an abrupt reversal.  I was greeted by a certain senior ground official, plainly disgusted at what had occurred, who took my ticket and said they’ll have me on another flight in a flash.  Half an hour later I boarded again for the usual trouble-free, head-phoned trip south, there absurdly to encounter the camera crew half-wits en masse.

People assumed I’d made a fuss.  Not so, for a very good reason.  In Auckland I’d purchased a recently published Epicurus book, this written by a classicist unconvincingly arguing that financial collapses would become a standard event in future and that unless we adopt Epicurean principles, we’re doomed.  In particular he honed in on what he considered the real victims of the hard-driven market economy; the unskilled underclass who in the highly stratified modern economy, were reduced to utterly tedious repetitious work.  I was musing over that when the grim-faced 60 year old arrived and I realised she epitomised the author’s point.  Decades of mindlessly pouring tea and coffee, but a uniform and by God she was bent on using it and taking her misery out on me.  Even if not very bright she should have worked harder at school back in the 1960s.  Perhaps she realised that and the sight of me engrossed in a book incensed her.  

That afternoon in the Wellington office the manager came in.  He’d just had an email from our managing director, then in New York.  “That puts paid to it,” he wrote.  “We’ll definitely buy a private jet,” this something we’ve been considering.  And so we shall.  I’ve had enough of Air New Zealand’s infantilism.

POSTSCRIPT – I’ve had numerous calls from senior journalist friends saying that someone called Patrick Smellie claimed I made a fuss.  Their uniform response was that if Smellie said that, then I must have been in a coma.  Take heed of the nearby passenger who commented publicly that all I wanted was to read my book and I was being deliberately pestered.

I suspect you can read your book in peace on a private jet!

Jones on lefties

May 13th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the NZ Herald:

Embittered old lefties still amusingly rant on about our greatest postwar Government, the 1984 Labour Administration. …

The old diehard left survivors pose a threat to our political process, insofar as (to the despair of their political wing) they currently control the Labour Party, still our alternative Government.

Tony Blair shook them loose in the early 1990s, recognising he could never prevail otherwise. This dilemma confronts Andrew Little who cannot sustain acceptance on the sole grounds of not being Cunliffe.

Waiting for the inevitable pendulum swing also won’t do it as the danger exists of other parties filling the opposition void.

Indeed, this is National’s best hope for a fourth term, namely voters’ disdain for a fragmented coalition alternative.

No poll shows Labour/Greens coming close. At best they would need Labour, Greens and NZ First and the fact NZ First and Greens are diametrically opposed on many issues means it would be far from stable.

Bob Jones on the living wage

October 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

Through hard work, he and his wife have built a nationwide airport and CBD lunch retail operation with more than 100 stores, supplied by his Wellington factory working through the night, its output flown out early in the morning across the land. They have about 400, mainly retail, staff.

What staggered me most, given its scale, is how marginal this operation is. Some stores do well, others badly, while many just break even in this intensely competitive field. Raise your prices, I suggested, inducing a derisive laugh. The owner told me regulars making the same daily purchase comprise a large component of their business. Apparently, even the most minor increase elicits outrage and the loss of their custom.

My inquiry as to the best employees brought an unsurprising answer – new immigrants by a country mile. What particularly interested me was the salaries for what’s essentially menial work. In most cases they’re on the minimum wage. Any more and they’re out of business, he said, and I believe him.

Margins in retail are often minuscule. So that would be 400 jobs gone.

I mention all of this in the context of the absurdly titled living wage clamour, the noise invariably coming from leftish critics not employing anyone, nor ever likely to. There are exceptions. Two leftie Wellington city councillors, respective owners of small city retail food businesses, led the charge recently for menial task council employees to be paid the so-called living wage. Inquiry however, revealed their own employees were on the minimum wage.

“We’d go broke,” they wailed when their hypocrisy was exposed. It was classic left do as I say, not as I do, double standards.

It was indeed.

The answer is elementary. If you want the $18.50 “living wage” or better, choose employment paying it, rather than complain.

Harsh but not entirely untrue. There are very very few people in New Zealand that couldn’t train to do a job that pays better than the minimum wage.

Jones on Cunliffe

September 24th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

Two months ago I wrote that the election was done and dusted and that David Cunliffe – the most disliked political leader in this country’s history, loathed by his caucus but foisted on them by extremist elements controlling the party – was leading Labour into a terrible disaster.

I suggested caucus should change the leader then and there if they were to save their party from a catastrophic outcome.

That produced a flood of bitter abuse from their nasty bloggers, cowardly hiding behind pseudonyms, accusing me of being a die-hard National voter. I last voted National in 1981, but did so this time with gusto, although giving Trevor Mallard my candidate vote.

Hager had the temerity to say right bloggers are attack bloggers, and ignores the left bloggers who don’t even post under their own names.

Serial apologiser Cunliffe should put aside his sorrow at being a man and do the manly thing, namely apologise to his battered party and resign, as convention demands. Unsurprisingly, he refuses to do either which says everything about him.

Never before in NZ political history have we had a leader who has so little support in his caucus, yet refusing to go.

A party that produced the two greatest reforming 20th century governments, namely in 1935 and 1984, has now been brought to its knees by Cunliffe. He will go, even if ignobly, and thereafter Labour must re-organise their structure to take control from the minority interest factions now in the driving seat, and then pursue a new centralist liberal position.

I doubt that will happen. The unions simply will not give up their new powers.

The best line of the night belonged to TV3’s grossly ill-mannered, pushy interviewer who so rudely hammered Cunliffe, but she was partially forgiven when she asked loony Laila: “Is this your Moment of Truth?”

That’s Rebecca Wright 🙂

But, most of all, congratulations are due to John Key. His likeable, everyman demeanour, cheerful outlook and genuine humility stood in clear contrast to Cunliffe’s sheer awfulness.

Possibly more than any other factor, this landslide was attributable to a leadership contest.

The winner is more humble than the loser. Says a lot.

Bob Jones voting National for first time since 1981

September 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

When I wrote recently that this election was done and dusted, a storm of protest erupted on the New Zealand Herald’s website from Labour’s deeply unattractive, rabid tribalists.

Abuse aside, the common theme was that I’m a die-hard National supporter. That gave great amusement given that I last voted National in 1981. Excepting the New Zealand Party in 1984 and later Act twice, I’ve voted Labour ever since.

So in seven of the last nine elections, Bob Jones has voted Labour.

Policies, not parties are my guide. But while I’ve given financial support to Labour MP friends, I certainly don’t want to see a change of government.

I wonder which Labour MPs will declare donations from Sir Bob?

Aside from other disturbing considerations, a Labour government is currently only possible by incorporating the most abysmal line-up of no-hopers ever to have presented themselves in our history. The Nats’ rowing boat television advertisement is spot-on; consequently, this time National will get my party vote, although I’ll opt for the Labour seat incumbent.

A Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana-Internet Government propped up by Kim Dotcom makes many shudder.

Bob Jones on the campaign

August 1st, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes:

I never thought anything could top Laila Harre’s 2002 defeat explanation with her “Unfortunately the public voted with their heads”, but by God there’s been some serious challenges, notably from Laila herself. Even the most hardened hacks were dumbstruck by her protest at allowing her boss into the country. But she was immediately trumped by Dotcom himself, who agreed it was an outrage. If he feels that strongly then America, where he’s destined to end up anyway, will give him a big hello, plus free accommodation for a very long time, although decidedly smaller than his current abode.

Yes, the Internet Party is the only party I now that is outraged and demanding an inquiry into why their founder was allowed into New Zealand!

Colin Craig continues to delight. Explaining away his nutty image, he instead cemented it by saying, “It was logical to platform off the rhetoric already being discussed”. Psychiatrists are banned from entering, but there’s a trip to Upper Volta for anyone making sense of that. Having lost female voters after declaring New Zealand women promiscuous, Colin is now targeting homosexuals by an advertising campaign showing him lying in long grass with a come-hither look. Missing is a rose stem between his teeth.


To add to the madness, Labour’s normally sane Andrew Little, jealous of Trevor Mallard’s moa headlines, declared men charged with sex crimes will be automatically guilty unless they can prove their innocence. Then to further alienate male voters, Labour’s serial apologiser leader, at least for the next two months, chimed in, unbelievably apologising for being a man. 

Labour’s war on men!

But the clear winner in the lunacy stakes is New Zealand First’s Asenati Lole-Taylor for her insistence that the Reserve Bank is owned by foreigners. 

I agree, it is hard to top that.

12 questions with Bob Jones

July 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones does the 12 questions in the Herald. Most answers are amusing, but especially this one:

I don’t set out to charm women, but I’ll tell you one thing they like laughter, but they don’t like pranks. I quite like women and permanent relationships but it never lasts that long. They last about seven or eight years but we all stay great friends and holiday together. I’ve never understood monogamy. It seems to be unnatural for me. Variety is the spice of life. Blondes. Brunettes. That sort of thing. I’ve had all sorts of races and that. Girlfriends everywhere. Am I good to them? Of course I am. I’m good to everyone. Absolutely, women keep you young. Having it off all the time does. It’s absolutely critical.

Bob Jones is a youthful 75!

Bob Jones on Cunliffe

July 10th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

The Opposition’s role is to hold the Government to account plus present itself as an alternative administration.

The current conglomerate Opposition has fulfilled the first of these but not the second – Labour, in particular, failing abysmally as the polls consistently reflect.

I dislike third-term governments, as invariably they become arrogant, but we’re going to get one – and thank God, given the alternative. The absurd amalgam of Labour, the Greens, Harawira and possibly Harre and Winston is simply unfit to rule.

Well said. Labour can’t even govern itself with the factional warfare – let alone a five party coalition.

Labour’s problems directly reflect its management structure, to cite Labour MP Damien O’Connor, in allowing the party to be captured by a “gaggle of gays and unionists”. These factions control both candidate and leadership selection and have installed a discredited left-wing agenda, contrary to most of their senior MPs’ sentiments.

No Labour leader has ever been so unpopular as David Cunliffe, evidenced by the disastrous polls and also the Reader’s Digest trustworthy survey bracketing him humiliatingly in bottom place with Dotcom and Harawira. Cunliffe was installed against the strong wishes of those who knew him best, namely Labour’s caucus, and now the public know him as well, resulting in a wider disdain.

There are a large number of Labour MPs going around saying “We tried to tell people, but they wouldn’t listen to us”

I know someone who, through much hard work, became wealthy in the last few years. He has a sentimental historic attachment to the Labour Party, as do many affluent individuals, and he was planning a six-figure donation this year, chuffed at his new-found capability to do so.

But he was outraged after hearing a Cunliffe interview following the leadership race. “Will you raise taxes on higher incomes?” Cunliffe was asked. “You betcha,” the new leader exclaimed with gusto. My acquaintance was angry for, as he said: “I’ve worked my butt off and the tone of Cunliffe’s enthusiasm to punish me for this was sickening.”

“Will you now vote National?” I teased, knowing he’d never hitherto done so. “You betcha,” he exclaimed.

Labour are planning to tax New Zealand families and businesses an extra $5 billion a year.

National is laying off Cunliffe, fearful that the caucus will remove him – but they must. As in 1990 with Mike Moore, they should persuade someone such as Annette King to lead them into the election if only to save the party.

She’s likeable, competent and a highly-effective campaigner. Most importantly, she’d recapture the women vote which deserted Labour in droves after Cunliffe was foisted on the party.

Cunliffe insulted his caucus colleagues implying any who opposed him were scabs. A scab is someone who goes against the group – the group in this case is the Labour Party, not him.

He should go with dignity for the sake of his party. The sooner they replace him and also change their management structure, the better – not just for Labour but, more importantly, for the system.

I don’t think it will happen.

Jones on Dotcom

June 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

Anyone wrongly charged with a serious crime should be ultra-eager to get into a court and argue their innocence. Instead, Dotcom has wasted millions trying to avoid doing so.

So he has resorted to a final desperation measure, namely to spend millions attempting to buy a change of government, which he hopes will override a court-backed extradition order, an inevitable outcome once he’s used up all of his legal ploys.

He’s wasting his money as no government will do that, regardless of any undertakings from the soul-selling abysmal no-hopers he has garnered together to fund as a political party. If anything, his efforts will hugely harm the Opposition cause in Balkanising and confusing its message, thus presenting an electoral option with, on one side, a rabble of dissimilar, mutually antagonistic parties, all with unpopular leaders and wildly different messages, set against a stable governing party with the most popular leader in our history.

Can anyone really think that a Government of Cunliffe, Norman, Turei, Peters, Harawira, Harre and Dotcom would be stable.

This is the fifth party Dotcom’s new leader, Laila Harre, has belonged to, which speaks volumes. Laila will always be remembered for the funniest political gaffe in our history when she explained her 2002 defeat by lamenting on television that voters had voted with their heads rather than their hearts.

I’d forgotten about that!


Bob Jones on 2014 election

January 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes:

But the election is still a race and thus interesting, more so as polls suggest it will be tight with National and a Labour-Greens combination currently polling 50/50. The expected thriving economy should consolidate the Government’s support although one suspects most folk will read about this promised new prosperity rather than actually feel it. National’s prime asset is John Key. He’s been an excellent Prime Minister, his genuine affability and popularity, plus his sharp intellect comprising a huge hurdle for David Cunliffe going toe to toe with him in debates. Additionally, my Press Gallery contacts report apathy in Labour’s caucus through distaste for their leader which doesn’t augur well for an impassioned campaign.

Labour have been almost missing in action over the break.

Much is made of the third parties deciding who’s government, specifically New Zealand First and the Maori Party. That’s presumptuous. Neither might be there after the election. Winston was just under 5 per cent then just over in the last two elections, while the Maori Party is in disarray and Harawira’s and their seats may revert to Labour.

I can’t see the Maori Party not being there. The issue will be how many seats they have.

Then there’s Christchurch, which unexpectedly backed the Government heavily last time in the all-important party vote, but polls suggest will not this year. So the election outcome is undoubtedly up in the air. Will Peter Dunne get up again? Probably – he’s an excellent electorate MP. Can Act find an attractive leader whom Epsom can vote for? Probably. This will dismay the Press Gallery who were hugely looking forward to Colin Craig’s arrival and soliciting his views on whether the earth is flat and if not, why don’t we Southern Hemisphere dwellers fall off, and other such pressing issues.

Colin Craig, Winston Peters and Dotcom all have a knack for headlines (positive and negative). But is there room for all three of them?

Still, with all these question-marks the Prime Minister could be forgiven for envying the recent Azerbaijan presidential election in which the results were accidentally released the day before anyone actually voted. After all, we all seek certainty in our lives.


Bob Jones endorses Robertson

September 10th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the NZ Herald:

I don’t know David Cunliffe but his parliamentary colleagues and the Press Gallery do and virtually to a man and a woman can’t stand him. By contrast Grant Robertson is enormously liked by everyone. That alone should decide Labour’s leadership, for as John Key demonstrates, likeability is a considerable electoral bonus. …

Throughout his career, everyone Abbott’s worked with, going back to university days, liked him enormously and remained staunchly loyal. Conversely, it took only a few months throughout his career for everyone around Rudd to detest him with a deep loathing.

This was the killer line for Abbott in one of the debates, where he said if you wanted to know about my character then ask my colleagues, and if you want to know about Mr Rudd’s, ask his colleagues.

I think Sir Bob over-states the case though. Rudd was hated by almost all of his colleagues. The antipathy towards Cunliffe is more measured and by a smaller proportion of his colleagues.

So, returning to Labour’s leadership contest, I believe Robertson is the standout choice for, as he attracts such warmth and respect from his caucus colleagues, inevitably he will from the wider electorate in the high-profile leader’s position, and will better achieve a united caucus than Cunliffe. …

If anyone can stir this apathetic lot it would more likely be the affable, rugby-playing Robertson.

All of this points up the foolishness of Labour’s candidate and leader selection mechanism. It stands in stark contrast to National’s democratic model in which the electorates choose their candidates and caucus their leader.

A strong endorsement for Robertson from Sir Bob, however not sure it will help him with the members vote!

Bob Jones on fear of change

August 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes at NZ Herald:

There’s an amusing bitter battle going on in Waikanae, an affluent coastal town 60km north of Wellington. It involves two factions, one, “The Friends of The Waikanae River” headed by an 86-year-old, and its rival, led by a 76-year-old dubbed “The Lord of The River”, who, despite his relative youth, leads the conservative faction in the row.

And the issue in dispute? Damming the river? Drawing water from it? Discharges into it? Brace yourself. It transpires that the dopey district council has been ripping out long-standing native plants from the river’s banks on the absurd grounds that a century ago, those particular species weren’t there.

This has the whole-hearted support of the Lord of The River and his followers but brought cries of “eco-terrorism” and “botanical ethnic cleansing” from The Friends of The Waikanae River (I’m not making this up). Unsurprisingly, it’s also backed by Te Papa’s Curator of Botany, doubtless bearded, who has described The Friends as not true conservationists but gardeners.

Truth is stranger than fiction!

Such is the depth of anger; the next step will be a full-scale shooting war with much loss of life which won’t matter because the protagonists are not making much use of theirs anyway.

That said, if I was to bear arms and join in the bloodbath then it would be alongside The Friends, consistent with my life-long detestation of fanatical conservatism, whether in politics, religion or anything at all.

When some of our more adventurous simian ancestors first dropped from the trees and attempted to stand, you may be assured it would have been to a background gibbering protest from the tree-bound and always-present conservative elements that have dogged human progress ever since.

All human advancement has been marked by conservative resistance. The most stultified period in mankind’s history; the thousand-years Dark Ages, was conservative church-prescribed while today ultra-conservative Islam fanaticism costs the world billions annually in holding its evil efforts at bay.

Political conservatism fought democracy, universal suffrage, votes for women, free education, weekend shopping, free trade and, indeed, every progressive step, big and small, towards our present civilisation. 

Well said Sir Bob.

Bob Jones on Herald commenters

July 17th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes on what the likely comments would be to his Herald column if he simply wrote “The cat sat on the mat::

Struggling Worker, Henderson: “Yeah right, Mr Jones. Fine for the 1 per cent who can afford cats and mats but what about the rest of us?”

Doto, 54: “As always, more Jones sneering from on high, which is why I never read his column as every week it’s the same garbage from start to finish.”

Raupo, Morrinsville: “I also never read Mr Jones, but finally he’s got something right. Our cat sits on a mat.”

Shaun, Turangi Prison Farm: “It’s an attack on Catholics – clear as day.”

Anne, Whakatane: “Bob’s wrong. Our cat only lies on a sofa.”

JD, Wanganui: “Hang on, Anne. What colour’s your cat?”

Anne, Whakatane: “It’s ginger, JD.”

JD, Wanganui: “Well there you go, Anne. It’s obviously Irish and just being obstreperous. Normal cats sit on mats, as Bob said.”

Struggling Worker, Henderson: “What none of you realise is that lots of us are battling to make ends meet and can’t afford cats and mats. It’s simply more of Jones’ weekly arrogance, ridiculing the poor, which is why I never read his rubbish.”

Margaret, Tauranga: “Lots of kittens are available free.”

Struggling Worker, Henderson: “Yeah right, Margaret. But we’re not all parasitically raking in rents from high-rise buildings and can afford to feed cats. And for that matter, who’s giving away mats?”

As one can expect, some of the commenters did not like being mocked and responded:

So, Bob Jones’ response to the avalanche of critiicism last week over his ill-advised ‘poor people spend too much money on fancy $30 lunches’ diatribe is to say to everyone that he doesn’t care what we think ’cause he is right and we are all stupid idiots.  

I’m reading you online Bob Jones. And you are right. Who gives a toss what you think.

Can you please get this useless old geezer’s rant off I could not give a toss to actually read most of the rubbish herein, but it’s still polluting the internet.

I suspect Sir Bob is enjoying the responses.

Sir Bob should sue!

June 22nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones


Sent in by a reader!

Jones on the Euro

June 12th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes:

Britain’s historic aversion to Europe reached silliness proportions after Waterloo and led to its unnecessary involvement in the Crimean War and ultimately, in the even more fabricated World War I. But as the saying goes, the winners write the history books. …

Britain has been a huge loser through this belligerent nationalism but, and there is a but, for once it has served them well, in staying out of the terribly ill-considered euro. Has there ever been a dumber construct in modern times? Essentially it amounted to abandonment of economic sovereignty and, more important, a denial of the wisdom of free-floating exchange rates to cope with trade and currency flow fluctuations.

So true. UK Labour were very keen to join the Euro, but could never find the right time to do it. In hindsight, their failure to join was a huge blessing.

The motives for the euro were excellent, being to facilitate trade by avoiding currency exchange inconveniences and costs, plus prevent inflation. It’s achieved all of those objectives. But the dangers were ignored, and I’m not being wise after the event as I’ve frequently written predicting its inevitable collapse.

In creating a common currency the unavoidable effect was to give Germany, in particular, an artificially low currency advantage, and the weaker southern economies, a contrived high one. This gave those weaker economies an unearned ability to raise cheap but unsustainable loans.

Currency union will only work if you have fiscal union also. Monetary and fiscal policy have to work together.

We now see the consequences with mass unemployment and increasingly desperate people, many ominously turning to political extremists for salvation. Talk about history repeating itself! That said, there’s a lovely irony in Germany pumping billions into the suffering economies, solely to save the euro. Aside from being money they can wave goodbye to, it’s insane, for even if the euro is “saved”, a collapse would only reoccur with this flawed common currency for uncommon economies. Germans are now awake to this and complain bitterly about Chancellor Merkel’s obstinacy in persisting at their expense. She faces an election later this year and her unpopular actions may result in her political demise.

Now finally, one of the euro’s original architects, Oskar Lafontaine, the former German Finance Minister, has seen the light and called for the euro to be dismantled. This will be incredibly messy but not doing so will lead to even greater catastrophic consequences.

They should allow the PIGS to leave the Euro, so their new currencies can reflect their actual economic situation.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, some Brits continue pushing their anti-European sentiment, reflected by the rise of UKIP (UK Independence Party) which has the primary objective of Britain leaving the European Union. As the bulk of the UKIP’s support comes from Tory voters, Prime Minister Cameron has now promised a referendum on the issue. The latest polls show 46 per cent in favour of quitting. It’s madness.

But let’s face it. At the bottom of this sentiment is an antipathy not just to annoying over-zealous Brussels regulations, but also immigration. Talking to an English friend about this I suggested the Poms should be grateful for Polish builders and Indian nurses and doctors, otherwise they’re in big trouble. “Oh we are,” he said. “It’s the trouble-making blacks and Muslims flowing in we object to but we’re no longer able to say that.” Similar strongly held views are held across Europe.

Almost every bar maid in London now appears to be Polish. I’ve yet to find a friend who is complaining about this 🙂

What Europe needs is a larger but less busy-body union and an immediate end to the euro but, even so, the disastrous consequences from the ill-fated common currency venture will linger for years. It’s strange today to recall Jack Marshall’s continual back-and-forth trips to Europe, begging for special terms for New Zealand, with the advent of the European Union. Thanks to Britain going to bat for us we were given time, a challenge our exporters rose to magnificently. Who would have though four decades ago that Europe would become almost irrelevant to us, now taking a minuscule 7 per cent of our exports? Thank goodness for that.

For many years our distance from Europe was a major disadvantage. Now it is becoming an advantage as we have built better trade ties with our Asian neighbours.


Bob Jones on culture of entitlement

June 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the NZ Herald:

The Dom, as it’s colloquially known, plumbed the depths last year with a ridiculously over-the-top full-page photograph of a Queen’s Counsel caught driving over the limit; justifiable treatment only if he’d won the Nobel Prize or climbed Everest naked.

But it topped all previous idiocies recently when it devoted 90 per cent of the front page to a mind-blowingly non-story relating to a mortgagee house sale. Across the top it ran three photographs of a weeping Mrs Fesuiai.

Underneath, the bold-type lie, “An $800 debt spirals into $79,000”. I say “lie” because it transpired the original $800 car tyres loan back in 2003 was subsequently added to by further borrowings “to cover family events, gifts and other expenses”, in Mrs Fesuiai’s words. The interest rate quoted is the standard one for hire purchase, credit cards and the like.

I blogged on this story at the time.

But back to Mrs Fesuiai. It transpires, despite the lender’s overtures to accommodate her and her husband, both in full-time employment with their children grown up and gone, she remains obstinate, refusing to make payments, thus forcing the lender to pursue a mortgagee sale.

Their house has a valuation of $250,000 and they have equity in it of $120,000.

I researched the lender, Finance Now, and discovered it’s owned by one of our most respected and oldest banks, the Southland Building Society, formed in 1869. Last year, it was awarded the Financial Institution of the Year honour at the Roy Morgan Research Customer Satisfaction Awards. That’s quite a tribute, hardly suggesting usury.


All of this raises two issues. First, the incompetence of the Dom in insulting its readers with such front-page rubbish, a classic case of a newspaper creating the “news”. But it also highlights the mindset of many of our citizens with an unjustified sense of entitlement, an attitude the Dom promoted in presenting Mrs Fesuiai as a victim, which she most certainly is not.

Some media delight in finding and promoting victims. Campbell Live has turned it into a daily art.

Consider the account in this newspaper recently regarding the Avondale College ball. The school wants to prevent pupils attending whose parents haven’t paid the annual “donation” of $175, despite paying $110 for the ball ticket.

The Herald ran a photo of a Mr Tony Hunt and his crestfallen daughter. “This is extortion,” Mr Hunt complained.

In response, the board of trustees chairman correctly pointed out that the ball was an extra-curricular activity, thus they could set their own terms but “in the case of hardship the school would come to the party”.

The account did not detail Mr Hunt’s financial circumstances; still, one questions his priorities if he forks out $110 for a ball ticket but won’t chip in a tax-deductible mere $3.50 a week to aid his daughter’s education, as the parents of all but three of the college’s 2700 pupils have done.

Only three out of 2,700. That’s pretty good. No surprise the school doesn’t want to reward those who don’t.

State schools are substantially funded by the wider taxpaying community but across the land parents chip in a further $100 million annually in donations. But not Mr Hunt, because in his mind he is entitled to an education for his daughter at everyone else’s expense and to expect him to contribute is extortion.

How have we descended to this situation where so many citizens feel no moral qualms in living off their fellow citizens’ toil? Our welfare society’s excesses are morally bankrupt and we all know it.

Sir Bob on the mark.

Bob Jones on coroners

February 20th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the NZ Herald regard the Coroner saying coke should have warning labels:

We read this sort of coroner guff frequently following unusual deaths in which, not content to simply do their job and officially state the cause of death, they instead ignore the extreme oddity of the circumstances and ascribe them to the community at large.

A circus elephant escapes, runs amok and tramples someone to death and the coroner will urge that the government makes us all build elephant-proof fences. A 158kg woman rolls over in bed in a drunken stupor and crushes to death her ex-jockey husband. This actually happened in Tasmania in the late 1980s.

Coroner Crear presumably would urge the government to ban jockeys and other small males sleeping with fat women, or alternatively, that fat women have a warning sign tattooed on their buttocks. In short, coroners too often fail to recognise freak accidents as simply that, namely freak.

Heh, so true.

Older readers will remember George Wilder who delighted us all with his prison escapes. Who can forget his escape from a Taranaki prison when the army was called in from Waiouru to assist prison officers and police searching for him on the central plateau where he had been spotted. Because they occasionally ran across hikers, at day’s end the searchers were shown a photo of George. “That bugger was here all day in the search party”, they all shouted, but too late, George had slipped off into the night.

George wasn’t publicly perceived as a villain, rather he was viewed as an addiction victim for his obsession with taking cars, riding about in them for half an hour then leaving them unharmed. He simply couldn’t stop himself despite endless court warnings. Coroner Crear would doubtless blame the car manufacturers and Professor Sellman would want cars added to the addictive substances list.

Highly likely! They always blame the company.

Bob Jones on teacher unions

July 18th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob writes:

The role of Minister of Education has always been a nightmare posting. If you’re Minister of Agriculture then you’re subject to intelligent dialogue with Federated Farmers. If Justice Minister, you can wallow in the ego-inflating pleasure of issuing pompous utterances, interspersed with all-night drunken sessions with the Law Society, and so it goes.

But Minister of Education; God help the poor buggers, confronted as they always have been with embittered, self-important nobodies, as teacher union representatives invariably are.

Sir Bob continues:

Readers may consider I’m being too charitable with that description. Well, I can’t help it, temperance having been my life-long practice. But I’d be a great deal more if instead of endless moaning, the teachers’ union focused on promoting English, science and history and abandoned film studies, Maori wonderfulness, gender studies, et al bogus subjects, now so prevalent.

I’ve speculated why teacher unions are so ghastly when compared with other lobbying bodies. My conclusion is that they have never left the school-room or grown up and that if we resurrected corporal punishment and delivered a daily flogging to these unionists, it might produce a general amelioration.

Bob may need t be careful. If the PPTA affiliates to Labour, they’ll get a vote in the next Labour Leader, and in exchange for their votes may insist the next Leader brings in a hate crime law, so Sir Bob is jailed for hate speech against them 🙂

In 1991, I popped over to Georgia to have a look at proceedings when the civil war broke out. One night in Tbilisi, my wife and I were guests of some university academics in an outdoor restaurant near the river. Abruptly the night erupted with explosions and for half an hour, mortars rocketed over our heads from across the river. Our Georgian friends took a nonchalant approach to this. “Relax,” they said, “it’s just the school teachers’ union bombing Parliament,” this over some trivia they were whining about.

Heh. Probably a protest against league tables.

Anyway, after two weeks here and there, we arrived at our Blantyre hotel. At 6pm I turned on the television news. The lead item was the president of the Malawian Women’s Institute carrying on about school teachers having it off with schoolgirls.

She was followed by the Malawian school teachers’ association president.

Never have I witnessed such explosive anger. He was livid and I would describe him as being white with rage, but in the circumstances that would be pushing it.

“Do you realise how little my members are paid?” he shouted at the Women’s Institute president, who began to look remorseful.

“Are you demanding my members risk their lives with you Aids-ridden lot? This is the sole perk of the job,” he exploded

Well that is a novel rationale for a pay rise.

Jones on asset sales

July 5th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the Herald:

 Defending the contentious asset sales policy, the Prime Minister argues he was open about his party’s intentions before the last election and thus has a mandate. The openness was commendable but not so his assumption. His party would still have won if it had also proposed publicly hanging the unemployed, which, mind you, when one quietly considers it, does have some merit.

I look forward to all the outraged comments that Jones advocating hanging beneficiaries.

After all, public hangings were immensely popular entertainments in Britain, drawing enormous crowds and in the process creating much happiness and gainful work, (hangmen for example) plus considerable food and beverage, manufacturing and purveying employment. The sole shortcoming with the public hanging industry though was its brevity.

This was resolved by introducing multiple successive hangings, thereby ensuring a decent day’s family outing and a corresponding greater demand for food and drinks. Learning from this, boxing promoters of the day introduced preliminary bouts; these multiple hangings and preliminary fights initiatives marking yet another giant stride forward in the march of civilisation.


Our existing dams are monopolies, thanks to the greenies’ wrong assertion that they always damage the environment. They certainly can do, such as the ill-considered enormous Mekong dam planned by Laos, which likely will be stopped by the other Mekong nations. But in New Zealand? I don’t think so.

Rather than wreck the environment, they’ve enhanced it. Prior to the construction (despite the then massive public protest) of the huge South Island dams, the top end of the food chain in the rivers to be dammed were brown trout, averaging in weight at maturity, rarely more than 3lb. Today, Otago newspapers regularly show photos of anglers holding 15lb and upwards trout, caught from these dam-created lakes.

Have a chat to nymphs, cockabullies and the other diverse lake life, all the way up the food chain, and they’ll tell you they’re now living the life of Riley, having escaped the arduous river existence of their ancestors.

Additionally, the lakes have created yachting, boating, lakeside residences and other pluses. Nevertheless, as the greenies are currently in the policy ascendancy and people enjoying themselves always hugely upsets them, new dams are out.

I agree a dam can have many benefits. But I don’t think dams are monopolies. They compete with other dams and other sources of power. We have a competitive market and price for electricity – 400,000 people swapped provider last year. The ultimate proof.

What puzzles me is why the Government doesn’t sell TVNZ. The rationale for owning it was to ensure quality public broadcasting. It’s hardly debatable that TVNZ’s fare is, with few exceptions, a diet of populist trash, yet inexplicably, its one attempt to create a channel providing a degree of quality broadcasting it’s now closing.

TVNZ should be sold, and the capital used to fund a public broadcaster.

Issues with a lake for Christchurch

May 15th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged how Sir Bob Jones had proposed a lake in the Chch CBD, with businesses being allocated a shorefront location. At the time I said I liked the proposal, but wasn’t sure it was practical.

A reader e-mailed his brother who is a geological engineer. He commented:

In an area that is prone to liquefaction the last thing you want is have more ponded water in the form of a lake.  Lake edges are typically worst affected by lateral spreading induced by liquefaction, often 10s to 100s m back from the ponded water. To create an artificial lake in the Chch CBD you would have to dig a large hole in the ground to hold the water.  This allows the surrounding lake shore and adjacent land to move (expand) under strong earthquake shaking – to spread laterally into the lake. But If the ground is still in place you get a lot of cracking and water and silt ejection, but not much ground deformation.  Its the ground spreading, often accompanied by subsidence, that is most damaging to buildings.  The best way to stop this from happening is to lower the general ground water table, and create a ‘non-building buffer zone’ (of land) along the banks of rivers, canals, and around the shores of other bodies of water bodies  – not dig more holes in the ground and fill them with water !!

So sadly not practical.

A lake for Christchurch?

May 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Outspoken property investor Sir Bob Jones says Christchurch should replace its former central business district with “a massive lake”.

Writing in this week’s The Listener, Jones urges the city to build on its “garden city” reputation and abandon thoughts of resurrecting a high-rise CBD.

Under its central-city proposal, Christchurch would replace its destroyed building stock – described by Gerry Brownlee as “old dungers” – with “new dungers”.

“Here’s the answer,” writes Jones.

The Government should use its powers to seize all the central-city sites and “create a massive irregular-shaped lake” on the destroyed CBD land.

He suggested each former CBD site owner be allocated a lakeside site, its size reflecting the former rating value.

“Along the lake edge could be sandy beaches, with rafts anchored offshore to swim to,” he says.

“Elsewhere, perhaps, could be deeper coves with fixed diving boards and waterslides.”

Jones also suggested introducing trout and white swans to the lake, with a rebuilt modern cathedral as its centrepiece.

He said the world’s best cities, such as Vancouver, Sydney and Hong Kong, were all sited around lakes or harbours and it was not unheard of to create one retrospectively.

You know, that’s possibly the best idea I’ve heard for the Christchurch CBD. It may not be practical but it is visionary.

I also liked Sir Bob’s vision for Wellington to make Lampton Quay into a vehicle free mall.

An e-mail from Sir Bob

November 14th, 2011 at 2:19 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column of 28 October I wrote:

Introducing the principle of means testing, is another very welcome step. I think it is wrong that we pay millionaires such as Sir Bob Jones, NZ Superannuation.

Sir Bob has e-mailed to comment:

Dear David,

Before using a photo of me to make your point you could have enquired whether I actually receive the Government super, which I have been eligible for over the past seven years.

The answer is I don’t. It is essentially a form of welfare which I absolutely don’t need.

That said I have been shocked at people of considerable wealth whom I know and who do take it.

Just possibly I am not just the only New Zealander who doesn’t have a cellphone but also the only eligible Kiwi who doesn’t take the super.

Best wishes,


Bob Jones

My thanks to Sir Bob for putting the record straight. In hindsight I am not surprised he doesn’t take it. I wonder how many others do not take it, whom are entitled to?