Douglas points to why youth unemployment doubled

Youth Rates

This graph from ACT’s Roger Douglas illustrates John Key’s duplicity in first helping to cause, then pretending to care about, youth unemployment.

National, Labour and the Greens — all parties bar ACT – voted down Roger’s bill to reinstate youth rates and get kids off the couch and into work.

By refusing to allow kids to be paid less than adults, Key deliberately allowed the number of young unemployed to double.

Now he’s offering a dollop of your money to any boss who pays a kid an adult’s wage.

Why not just let the boss pay the kid a kid’s wage, and let the kid work their way up – the way most of us did?

Excellent graph, whoever did this.

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 10:20 am  Comments (15)  

The Ballad of Brave Sir Russel

[With apologies to Monty Python and The Holy Grail, and especially Brave Sir Robin.]

Bravely bold Sir Russel
Did love to scam a lot

He was not afraid to lie
O brave Sir Russel!

He was not afraid to claim
We’d be killed in nasty ways

Due to climate change
Brave Sir Russel!

He was not in the least bit scared
To make the children cry
With tales of terrible drought
And polar bears drowned
To exaggerate the threat
For the votes that he could get

And put us deep in debt
Brave Sir Russel!

And then the man he loved to hate
Did challenge him to a debate
To see who’s global view was true
And what did brave Sir Russel do?…

Brave Sir Russel ran away
Bravely ran away, away!
When Monckton reared his ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes, brave Sir Russel turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the brave, Sir Russel!

NOTE: Sir Russel is really an amalgam of John Key, Nick Smith, Russel Norman, Al Gore and all the courageous climate scammers who insist the science is settled, yet refuse to debate the facts.

The Climate Con is one of 4 Big Cons being perpetrated upon the people of New Zealand — the others being the John Key Con, the Maorification Con, and the Education Con.

I’ll be doing my best to expose them all as clearly as I can.

Success — for now

Good to see John Key appears to be having a rethink.

John says the billboard is inaccurate. Really — which bits? 

Does he mean iwi will no longer get

  • ownership rights
  • development rights
  • mining rights, and
  • veto rights

over the foreshore and seabed, and that all New Zealanders will continue to have 

  • free access to all beaches (including those declared by iwi to be ‘culturally significant’)?

Because if he doesn’t, he should apologise to the Coastal Coalition, who are getting mightily sick of being painted as liars.

And if he does, then why is he going to the trouble of renouncing Crown ownership?

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  

Iwi/Kiwi — the Sequel and the Prequel

 
2010

Come back Helen Clark, all is forgiven.

You may have thought Ethics was a county in England. You may have trampled on our free speech in election year. But at least you locked in our right to a free beach.

Just yesterday we learned that John Key can no longer guarantee that right.

He can’t be sure a group of part-Maori, part-Pakeha New Zealanders won’t one day tax you for the right to swim, sail or fish in your own bay.

By Christmas he may well have traded away tens of thousands of square kilometres of New Zealand coastline for a resource he prizes more highly than all the oil in our territorial sea.

Five Maori Party votes.

There’s a word for that, and it’s not trader.

There was a time not so long ago when the National Party could say it was to the right of Helen Clark on matters Maori.

It had a leader with principles for whom I was proud to create advertising.

As the billboard below made clear (but was cynically misinterpreted by the left), there was never any doubt who Don Brash stood for.

As any dictionary will tell you, Kiwi means all New Zealanders, which clearly includes those represented by the last three letters — iwi.

But when John Key gives iwi the right to negotiate directly with the Crown — meaning former Ngai Tahu lawyer and strongly pro-Maori minister Chris Finlayson — who will speak for Kiwis?

 

2005

Critics on the left thought it dishonest to characterise Helen Clark as ‘Iwi’. After all, did her Foreshore and Seabed Act not claim the coast for the Crown?

It’s a fair point.

But it was not the way the National Party saw things at the time.

They viewed Labour’s bill as deliberately embedded with fish-hooks that iwi could use to eventually hook the resources they craved.

Below is the long copy forerunner of the Iwi/Kiwi billboard, which I wrote a year earlier to spell out National’s concerns.

It talks of their fear of vague concepts like tikanga Maori and customary rights.

In 2004 the Nats believed those concerns to be real, but it would now appear those fish-hooks were blunt. In the six years since, few if any tribes have succeeded with their coastal claims.

So while Clark may have been Iwi next to Brash’s Kiwi, alongside Kaumatua Key she’s ‘Kiwi as’.

Key’s foreshore and seabed plans are frightening, as he’s repeatedly shown he’s willing to sacrifice the national interest for the interests of the National Party.

For a fascinating insight into principles as a tradable commodity, click on the magnified image at the very bottom and read my 2004 body copy.

You may need to pinch yourself as you do.

Yes, this is the National Party trying to scare you about Labour’s coastal management — when most of the same fish-hooks are now part of their own policy, but sharper.

Enjoy the exquisite hypocrisy.

2004

Click on the below image to magnify the body copy, then again if you need to.

 This post is also appearing on Muriel Newman’s site www.nzcpr.co.nz.

Note: I’ve submitted the billboard at the top to the Coastal Coalition. Hope they decide to run it.

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm  Comments (9)  

Today is…

In honour of possibly the stupidest tax in New Zealand history, which comes into effect today.

The above was produced with the help of the intimidatingly multi-talented Grant McLachlan (lawyer, columnist, screenwriter, researcher, cartoonist, animator, designer, yacht club commodore, etc., etc., etc.)

If you like it, pass it on.

 The more the public can be encouraged to link their price rises with John Key’s and Nick Smith’s totally pointless ETS, the sooner the Nats will be encouraged to scrap it.

Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 1:12 am  Comments (1)  

Key has faith in IPCC

A prime minister needs to be a jack of all trades. So it’s not really fair to expect him to be master of many.

But we do expect him to be a good judge of which masters to place his faith in.

On global warming, as you can read here, our prime minister places his total faith in the much-maligned IPCC.

With his idiotic climate tax due to start hitting you in the pocket the day after tomorrow, read this and weep. 

JOHN KEY ON LEIGHTON SMITH SHOW
4 FEBRUARY, 2010

SMITH

I’ve never had so many questions for a prime minister before.

No doubt because of the higher prices those listeners will soon be paying because of the ETS.

An emailed question:

In view of the overwhelming evidence that the IPCC has produced a flawed document and flawed policy, would he consider postponing the extra charges on petrol and electricity coming into force on July 1?

If not, where does the tax money go? I have not been able to get a satisfactory answer from anyone.

KEY

It’s not our intention at this point to delay the ETS.

And what I’d say about the Emissions Trading Scheme that we have in place is it’s at the very mild end of an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So why do I say that?

Beats me, John.

Because your scheme is the most punishing emissions trading scheme in the world. No country outside the socialist EU is silly enough to have one.

And theirs only punishes 4% of their economy, while yours punishes 100% of ours.

Also, 80% of European trade is inside Europe. So their companies are on a level playing field with their competitors.

Whereas 100% of New Zealand trade is outside New Zealand. So our exporters’ are playing on a field that’s tilted in their competitors’ favour.

Well firstly, basically the price of carbon is capped at $12.50.

So it’s significantly lower and can’t rise for the period of time that it’s in for the first few years.

Secondly, where does the money go?

It gets recycled.

So the old scheme Labour had proposed actually sucked, in the end, tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money out of the economy into the pockets of the government.

That’s right. The only scheme dumber than National’s was Labour’s.

Dumb and Dumber. Is that the best this country can be?

We’re not doing that.

We are taking a modest amount and giving it to people who plant trees or come up with technological answers to climate change.

So it’s quite modest.

Tell that to the shivering pensioners and other strugglers you’ll soon be hitting with higher petrol, power and grocery prices — on top of your GST rise and any normal price rises.

SMITH

Are you still receiving advice on climate change from Dr. Gluckman?

KEY

I don’t get really my major advice on climate change from him. I do talk to him.

But he doesn’t provide the formal written advice. That comes from other government departments.

SMITH

Such as?

KEY

Well, NIWA provides advice.

That would be the same NIWA who were donkey-deep in the Climategate racket?

The Ministry of the Environment provides advice. Some comes from Forestry actually.

That would be the foresters who can’t believe their luck at being compensated for trees they planted after 1989, even though they neither expected any compensation, nor think they deserve it.

 SMITH

Plus the IPCC. Which a lot of those entities you talk about take their advice from.

KEY

Yeah, a combination of things.

For instance, if you look at the most recent advice I had before I went to Copenhagen – and we can come back to that and the merits or success of that particular meeting.

But, if you go and have a look at that, the advice we’ve had is that NZ has warmed by about .8 of a degree, just under 1 degree, over the last (I think it’s) 50 odd years.

Yet back in the pre-industrial 18th century, there was a rise of 2.2 degrees in 36 years. From natural causes. 

SMITH 

That’s the advice you had before you went?

KEY

[No response]

SMITH

You know that advice is now under severe criticism.

KEY

  This is New Zealand, not… not…

SMITH

Yes, but are you aware that that is under severe criticism now?

KEY

Well, I think we’ll go back to the debate.

There are always going to be arguments over the merits one way or the other.

What you can say is that those that wanted a focus on climate change and nothing else, such as Greenpeace, were winning public opinion.

And there was a big push in that direction.

And we were out of sync with them.

Because we said: New Zealand needs a balanced approach between creating jobs and growing our economy, and dealing with our environmental issues.

On the other side of the coin, there are clearly those who think this is all a load of rubbish - it should be completely discounted as a left wing plan.

Er, yeah. You’d think a right-wing government would have been wise to that possibility.

And what happened since the Copenhagen breakdown, there has been growing scepticism around the world.

Not since Copenhagen, John. Since Climategate. Which was before Copenhagen. Big difference.

I think the pendulum will eventually settle somewhere around where National has been the whole way through.

You mean the Al Gore position? I don’t think so.  

We will eventually do things about climate change, because we are expelling more greenhouse gases. The population is growing.

How do we deal with that in a practical way without asking people to change their standard of living?

But you are asking people to be poorer — even though New Zealand has next-to-no population, and expels next-to-no greenhouse gases.

Oh and is — so you keep telling us — supposed to be trying to become as rich as Australia.

SMITH

So you still subscribe to CO 2 being a driver of climate change?

KEY

Well, it’s not just CO 2, it’s methane and nitrate.

SMITH

What would it take to disabuse you of this theory?

KEY

I think the first thing is: factually, we can measure the rise in greenhouse gases.

We can measure quite accurately the rise of CO 2 and methane and nitrate in the atmosphere.

So that’s not debatable.

Nor is it an answer to Leighton’s question, John.

What we can’t do, I guess, is ever – when it comes to science – 100% say that there’s a cause and effect: because that’s rising, that’s having these implications.

 And that’s where the debate often rests.

That’s where it should rest — until the cause and effect is proven.

It should not rest with the knee-jerk acceptance of a highly dubious theory as fact.

It should certainly not rest with the squandering of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a non-solution to a non-problem.

You’ll get those who say climate change is responsible for Hurricane Katrina, catastrophic weather conditions, and actually cooling.

And a lot of the people making the most bizarre claims (now discredited) are those very same people you take advice from — the climate scientologists of the IPCC.

(It’s not necessarily always changes in warming. Changes in weather patterns.)

Others will say they are not.

But if you go back to the bulk of the scientific evidence, it overwhelmingly supports that there is an effect.

The real evidence says the effect is minuscule.

Yes, a bunch of computer models are forecasting all manner of doom and gloom, but they’ve been programmed to produce the result their politicised programmers want.

And how have those projections panned out in real life?

Very badly.

Here’s the Global Warming Model Validation Scorecard. By 2006, when this site stopped counting, the models’ record of successful predictions stood at: Won 1, Lost 27, Drawn 4.

(Ever wonder why scientists only ever call them projections, not predictions? It’s because they get it wrong over 90% of the time.) 

Dodgy computer models are not evidence.

Now, can that change? Will it change?

I don’t know.

But all I can tell you is that a lot of people, for a long period of time, have looked at this.

And the overwhelming bulk of scientific evidence supports it.

Even if you go to someone like Bjorn Lomborg, he would say to you — yes, the Sceptical Environmentalist — he would say to you, “Climate change is happening, but is it worth fixing?”

He would say, “Pour money into fixing the world’s water supplies,” for instance.

Glad you mentioned Dr Lomborg. Let’s have a look at what he actually said.

Here he is at the TED conference in 2005.

He said a number of different groups of economists were asked to rank the world’s fifteen biggest problems by how cost-effectively we could solve them.

All groups rated one problem 15th and least worth trying to fix.

That problem? You guessed it: global warming.

Why?

Not because it wasn’t happening. But because we’d have to spend $150 billion a year cooling the planet. And with all that money, we’d still only be able to nudge the temperature down by a gnat’s whisker.

It’s simply not worth it.

With half that money — $75 billion a year — we could fix all of the world’s major problems. Including all of the world’s communicable diseases like AIDS and malaria.

Lomborg also said something else very interesting.

He talked about what would happen if we let the market system kept lifting poor people out of poverty at the same rate as it has been.

He said that by 2100, the average Bangladeshi will be as wealthy as today’s average Dutchman. So they’ll be well able to adapt to any climatic problem they may face.

(And we all know how the Dutch coped with their little water problem centuries ago — when they had less technology than today’s Bangladeshis.)

So I personally believe human-induced climate change is occurring.

New Zealand’s got to take a responsible approach for a variety of reasons.

 But not one of those reasons stacks up.

Most of the foresters don’t need compensating, and those that do would only set us back about $20 million.

No country is going to take action against us for not having an ETS when they either haven’t got one themselves or (in the case of Europe) it doesn’t apply to agriculture or anything except heavy industry.

But I don’t think we should be at the extreme end of the debate.

So why are you?

If the world’s first all-sectors, all-gases ETS doesn’t put us at the extreme end of the debate, what would?

SMITH

Let me ask you again: What would disabuse you of that belief that you’ve adopted?

KEY

Scientific support that we are wrong.

SMITH

Are you — with the greatest respect to the office of the Prime Minister — can I suggest to you that you are ill informed, and the sources that you’re getting your information from are not providing you with up to date and accurate information?

The scam of man-made global warming – of man-made climate change – is being exposed all over the world at the moment.

Even the New Zealand Herald, while it still held reserve at the end of the Editorial yesterday, finally woke up from it’s 40 year sleep and wrote an editorial that said this scam is going on.

Time Magazine – all the pro-anthropogenic global warming pushers in the media  – have backed off and are now saying we need to go back to square one and work with real science, and not the nonsense that’s led the prime ministers of the world to tax their populations.

KEY

Yeah.

So isn’t the answer here, though, to say, “Look, let’s accept for a moment that it is occurring” – and I accept your perspective that it’s not. 

No that most certainly is not the answer, John.

Before you commit billions of dollars of taxpayers to fixing a problem, the burden of proof must be on the scientists to prove that the problem exists.

You should not just “accept for a moment that it is occurring”.

That’s lazy leadership.

It’s a very long-term problem. Whatever happens, it’s a long-term issue.

The history of the world’s climate is an extremely long-term issue. And as paleontologist Professor Bob Carter will tell you, by the standards of the past we’re going through a rather chilly phase at the moment, with relatively little carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

But I don’t suppose Dr Gluckman and his IPCC friends mentioned that, did he John?

And where the debate becomes ridiculous at one level is when someone like myself and other leaders turn up in Copenhagen, and world leaders like the head of Bangladesh — the President or Prime Minister of Bangladesh — gets up and says — as she did actually at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Trinidad and Tobago — that hundreds of millions of people were starving in her country as a result of climate change.

Well, actually, there’s been long-standing problems in Bangladesh, and I think to start rooting them all back to climate change is ridiculous. 

You had Bolivia and Venezuela getting up at Copenhagen saying that climate change was the evil that was causing capitalism.

Well, I mean that’s a ridiculous statement.

So you’re less ridiculous than Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and the president or prime minister of Bangladesh. Hardly cause for celebration.

SMITH

But you are in good company now. You’ve got Osama Bin Laden on your side.

KEY

 Oh right. So…

But my point is simply this.

We have a very modest system, which we can gear up or ultimately can gear down.

If, at the end of the day, we plant a few more trees in New Zealand, work on expelling less greenhouse gases, in my view — and build greater efficiency, fuel efficiency and the likes — in my view they all have merits and benefits.

We have a million hectares of erosion-prone land in New Zealand. Let’s fix that anyway.

SMITH

The Australian ran a piece today… [went on to talk about the article that said that trees may not be the carbon sink we thought they were.]

KEY

Yeah, there’ll always be a debate. But if you look at it, we have years of research and evidence that shows that trees do suck co2 out of the atmosphere.

So does grass. Why can’t our farmers get any credits for that?

SMITH

I want to conclude it with this.

The claim was, “The science is settled, the consensus has it.”

Both of those are fallacies. They are now becoming unravelled big-time.

KEY

Well, I would go back to you and say what I started with.

I think the debate got extreme on one side pre-Copenhagen.

I think you are seeing a predictable push back the other way.

But I’ll be amazed if, in a few years time, you’re still not seeing countries around the world attempting to do something about this problem.

I’m not saying they’ll- Well, if they’re smart, they won’t sacrifice everything in their economy and all these stupid things for taking a sole and singular focus on climate change.

But I think countries will deal with it.

SMITH

Dr Lomborg, who you quoted earlier, said, “The brave thing to do at the moment is nothing.”

He said that. And somebody wrote to me this morning with a question for you: “Are you brave enough to do nothing?”

KEY

Well, it’s not a question of being brave.

I think the answer there is that if New Zealand did nothing, what would be the implications on the international markets - given we export around about a third of our economy, and want to export more?

And the answer is, there will be pushback.

SMITH

Given what the leading media in the UK is saying at the moment — and other places, but the UK seem to be of major interest to us on this front — no pushback.

None whatsoever.

KEY

Well, I don’t know, ‘cos you’ve got the UK being taxed on that front. You’ve got all of Europe in an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So you are saying that… See, you can argue the merits of it one way or the other. But in the end, the Europeans, the Americans…

In the end, John, the Europeans aren’t taxing agriculture. So they can hardly get upset if we don’t either.

The Americans aren’t going ahead with their cap and trade scheme.

The Chinese won’t be getting an ETS any century soon.

And to cap it all off, Australia’s delayed the scheme we’re supposed to be working in with for at least three years. (A delay that new PM Julia Gillard has endorsed.)

That’s all our main trading partners.

So where will the reprisals be coming from? 

SMITH

Have I drawn your attention though this morning to the fact that it really is unravelling?

And can I ask you to make further enquiry?

KEY

I will.

I hope Leighton asks him to report back.

CALLER

What debate are we prepared to get involved in? Certainly sooner or later someone has to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”

We have to have- Chicken Little has to be called home to roost, so that we can have that debate, so that we can actually know what direction to go to.

Because we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars of peoples funds, nations’ funds, right at the time of a global catastrophic financial meltdown.

KEY

I think the truthful answer is: you’re not going to get as straightforward and binary black and white answer as that any time real soon.

Because I think there will be conjecture and debate and quite ferocious arguments put up by both sides for decades.

What we do know is: the population of the world is getting larger.

We know that they’re industrialising quicker and consuming a lot more carbon.

The question now is ultimately: Does that have any long term impact on the world?

And the scientific evidence that we see indicates it does, and that we should attempt to do something about it.

From New Zealand’s point of view, I think that if we don’t play our part in the world, we’ll have our reputation tarnished. We’ll have reduced access for our goods and services.

So now that we’re playing our part and the rest of the world isn’t, will the rest of the world give us increased access? Or is our shining reputation just one for stupidity?

But I think we should do it in a considered and modest way. And that’s what we’re doing.

Enjoy your considered and modest prices rises after Thursday.

Thanks to Karen Bridgman for the transcript of the interview.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 1:26 am  Comments (4)  

JK — master sidestepper

I like John Key. He’s a nice guy, a great husband and father, and might just be the most astute politician any political party ever had.

He’s just not a good leader for our country.

You can tell this by the way he sidesteps and spins his way out of all the tough questions.

Now I happen to believe that when a citizen asks a question of his elected servant, that servant should do the citizen the honour of answering it.

And if he sidesteps the question, I think we should call him on it.

And if he keeps sidestepping, we should keep calling him on it until he learns to respect his employer. 

So that’s what I’m going to do in this post. 

In Sunday’s Star-Times, 50 New Zealanders, including me, were asked to put a question to John Key.

You can see my question below. 

And you can see how JK sidestepped it.

And not just my question. Also questions from Sir Colin Meads, Gareth Morgan, Don Nicholson, Oscar Kightley, Denis Dutton, Michael Laws, Peter Chin, Phil O’Reilly and others.

This PM, like the last one, has the sidestepping down pat.

So much so that it reminds me of that other famous JK, All Black John Kirwan. (For the culturally challenged, that’s him on the left.)

Here’s a selection of those questions and answers — punctuated by the interjections I wish I could have made.

1. Sir Colin Meads, former All Black: Do you think you are doing too much for the Maori people? Is it just to keep their votes?

We are putting our focus and energy into the settling of historic claims and the sense of grievance it conjures, so we can move on into the next phase of this country’s history. I think it would be a betrayal of Kiwis’ basic sense of decency to forget the past and the legitimate claims of iwi.

Sidestep. Everyone agrees about the legitimate claims. But what about the illegitimate ones? Like the recent half billion dollar payment to Tuwharetoa.

By all accounts, that iwi was so happy with their 19th century payout (for the then-barren Volcanic Plateau) that they dug up their late chief negotiator and propped him up against a tree for the celebration party.

But at the same time I am determined New Zealand will not become stuck in that past.

You mean like stuck with the temporary Maori seats you promised to abolish — a promise you broke to forge a totally unnecessary alliance with the Maori (sovereignty) Party?

 I am optimistic the next phase can be characterised by better race relations and an even more strongly united sense of our shared aspirations as New Zealanders.

Sounds idyllic. United? Sounds like One Law For All — a concept your predecessor promoted and you ditched to please your new mates.

7. Oscar Kightley, film-maker and comedian: Pacific heroes Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala gave you their support, and that of their supporters, because they thought that, under National, Pacific people would be owning factories and not just working in them. When do you think that will happen?

Lifting New Zealand’s economic performance will help all New Zealanders, and I know that is also what Inga and Michael believe.

So why have you ruled out so many policies that would lift New Zealand’s economic performance?

Michael has said publicly it was my aspiration to bring all New Zealanders forward, including Pacific people, which convinced him to support us. I know our strong commitment to economic growth in the Pacific nations, including business mentoring, is important to New Zealand’s Pacific people.

Sidestep. Oscar asked “When?” 

10. Greg Fleming, chief executive of the Maxim Institute: Are there any issues you care enough about that you would be willing to lose all your political capital for them?

I have some bottom lines, and I care deeply about many issues, not least of which is education. I have said I would resign as PM if superannuation entitlements were ever cut. However, political capital is important because it is a measure of how well the public is receiving your policies. Democracy demands the involvement of voters in all the decisions you make,

You mean like with the anti-smacking referendum, where you ignored 85% of voters?

so it can be a balancing act.

Likewise, we have three support partners whose views must be balanced against our own.

I know we’re not meant to ask this, but: Why must the views of the Maori Party be taken into account? After all, their supporters gave their party votes to Labour.

Yet to feather your own political nest you:

a) broke the promise you made to the electorate to abolish the race-based seats

b) gave $500 million of our money to Tuwharetoa for land they’d already been paid for in the 19th century

c) bribed the tribes to get them to support the ETS (where you broke another promise not to lead the world)

d) secretly signed us up to a UN convention that opens a new track for the Treaty gravy train

e) gave away the foreshore and seabed to any iwi with a sense of grievance and a smart lawyer.

That is the nature of MMP government.

Maybe it’s time we got rid of it.

So you’re saying you’ve got one bottom line. You’d sacrifice everything else to keep superannuation payments from being cut.

Isn’t this just Winston Insurance — for when the Oracle returns and reminds his bewildered flock about National’s broken promise over the superannuation surcharge in 1990?

14. John Ansell, designer of the famous “Iwi-Kiwi” billboards for the National Party election campaign in 2005: If you’re genuine about closing the Tasman wage gap, why are you driving up New Zealanders’ power and petrol prices with an emissions trading scheme, when Australia and all other countries have deferred their climate taxes because so much of the science is fraudulent?

I believe human-induced climate change is happening.

Why? Why are you now a Climate Scientologist when you were one of the first to conclude it was a hoax? (A view now clearly shared by our biggest trading partners.)

Further, by refusing to implement the ETS proposed under the former Labour government, we have halved the fuel and electricity costs facing businesses and households.

Oh great. So we’ve progressed from Dumber all the way up to Dumb.

New Zealand, as a responsible international citizen, and as a country that values its clean, green environment, must act to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Why, when…

a) there’s hardly any of them.

b) it won’t change the climate in the slightest.

c) it won’t help you achieve your goal of catching Australia — since even Aussie’s Labor government isn’t dumb enough to punish their people with a tax on the breath of life?

However, this must be in ways that result in the least cost to society and the economy.

Sidestep. You didn’t answer my question. So here’s another one for you…

Which has the least cost to society and the economy:

a) A 5-10% power price rise plus a 4-8c a litre petrol price rise?

b) A 0% power price rise plus a 0c a litre petrol price rise?

15. Peter Elliott, actor: How difficult is it to reconcile the recent success of New Zealand’s ideological stance on nuclear issues with President Barack Obama, when the National Party vilified and ridiculed the instigators of our anti-nuclear policy?

Just days after becoming leader of the National Party in November 2006, I announced my unswerving support for New Zealand’s anti-nuclear legislation. I said then that under my leadership the anti-nuclear legislation will not change, and it won’t. New Zealanders are proud of the anti-nuclear policy, and it is iconic. As I said in 2006, I believe in that position and see absolutely no reason for change.

Translation: “Where Helen stands, I stand.”

(Will you be going to the UN too, in return for promoting the opponent so many of us worked so hard to defeat?)

20. Roger Kerr, executive director, Business Roundtable: Unlike your predecessor who famously said, “The government’s role is whatever the government defines it to be”, you have endorsed the concept of limited government. What do you regard as the proper limited role of government?

A vital role of government is to improve the living standards of New Zealanders. Sometimes it can do that by funding or providing services itself; sometimes by keeping out of the way of private enterprise. I am not overly ideological about the role of government; I believe in what works.

We look forward to the next OECD GDP per capita rankings to see whether your policies are taking us up or down. Will you take us ahead of the hapless Greeks or be overhauled by the clever Koreans?

I note those same policies have already widened the Tasman Wage Gap.

25. Peter Chin, mayor of Dunedin: When will the government be required to meet the same levels of transparency it demands of local government – especially since the increasing costs of such central government imposed compliance (annual plans, consultation etc) become a further burden to be met by ratepayers?

Central and local government are not directly comparable, but the process of accountability and transparency seems to me to operate in a similar way. For example, both central and local government are subject to the Official Information Act. Through that, expenditure by government – no matter whether it is central or local – can be scrutinised publicly.

Sidestep. Peter was talking about annual plans. How come local governments have to submit annual plans and central government doesn’t?

And how come a prime minister can get away with saying he’s got a plan for achieving his stated goal, when he hasn’t?

26. Don Nicolson, president of Federated Farmers: Do you categorically know if our assumed “clean-green” and “sustainable” brand is a primary reason why consumers in the growing markets of Asia, the Middle East and Africa buy New Zealand food products and if not, why not?

As I said in a speech to Federated Farmers last November, we ignore environmental concerns of our overseas customers at our peril. I said then that environmentally aware consumers across Britain and Europe were increasingly demanding higher environmental standards for the food they buy.

America’s largest supermarket chain, Walmart, is introducing a Sustainability Index. It includes factors such as the impact on natural resources, energy and climate change in the manufacture of its products. I believe consumers in other markets like the ones you cite will increasingly become sensitive to environmental concerns. I do not believe we can differentiate between those types of markets.

Sidestep. The question is not whether Walmart has a Sustainability Index. It’s whether a large percentage of their customers base their buying decisions on it.

As I said to the conference last year, regardless of your view about the environment or climate change, the opinions of your consumers will ultimately decide how well your products sell.

Do you really think our exporters need to be told that? If our professional marketers don’t think it’s a problem, why should the government get involved?

27. Ruth Lim, Sunday Star-Times reader, Christchurch: You went through the public school system and seem to have fond memories of your time there, as evidenced by your recent visit to Burnside High. You have also done very well in the business and political world since. What are your reasons for sending your own children to private schools?

I believe all New Zealanders should have the freedom to make choices, especially when it comes to issues like education and healthcare. New Zealand has excellent schools and one of the reasons for that is different schools are able to cater for students’ various needs. My children enjoy their schools – they’re a good fit. As all parents know, if your children are happy at their school it makes a big impact on their all-round wellbeing.

Sidestep. John, you once said our private schools were no better than our state schools.

If so, why do you and every other senior politician I’m aware of (Labour’s former education minister Mallard included) send your children to private schools?

You know private schools tend to be better. You lead a private enterprise party. Why not be honest and say so — proudly?

30. Denis Dutton, professor of philosophy, University of Canterbury: We continue to lose our smartest, most imaginative and entrepreneurial young people to Australia, the UK, and the US. New Zealanders have a tiresome repertoire of self-delusional excuses for this (“They will come back to raise families”, “We can replace them with Zimbabwe-trained professionals”, “If they are so greedy, who needs them”, etc). Our loss of university-trained citizens is near the top of the OECD. What three initiatives would you put in place to staunch New Zealand’s haemorrhaging of its best young talent?

Ensuring New Zealand remains a lifestyle choice for returning New Zealanders and new migrants means developing a package of initiatives which will endure.

Sidestep. Staunching the haemorrhaging means convincing our  kids not to leave in the first place.

These include an attractive tax system, incentives for businesses, and world-class health and education. New Zealand will always see its young people doing an OE. While many come back home, there will always be those who settle into a new life overseas, and we can’t begrudge them seizing those opportunities. However, we can continue to develop a suite of policy initiatives to ensure we can compete with other countries to attract not only our own best and brightest, but the very best in the world.

The question asked for three initiatives. The answer provided none.

42. Michael Laws, mayor of Whanganui: One of the primary reasons Labour was voted out of office in 2008 was a perceived political correctness that dominated its political thinking. Is the National government not guilty of the same – with its decisions on parental smacking, the spelling of Whanganui, the repeal of the seabed legislation, its embrace of Whanau Ora and its relationship with the minority Maori Party?

One of the government’s priorities this year is to make significant reforms in social sectors like the welfare system, education, the justice system, health and state housing, to deliver better results. All New Zealanders deserve a future with less unemployment, welfare dependence, crime and all the social problems that go along these. To secure this brighter future, we have to get to grips with some of the big issues in these areas which have long been left unaddressed, and we need to tackle these issues as a nation. If National, with its confidence and supply partners, can make headway in these issues, then all New Zealand will benefit. But I don’t believe it’s something National should do alone – having the support of our political partners and New Zealanders across the spectrum is crucial. One thing I believe strongly is that there is no room in New Zealand for separatism. And, although there will be bumps along the way, we need to acknowledge that this is the only way forward.

Sidestep. 169 words and not one on-topic. Never mind Kirwan, that’s Bryan Williams territory.

43. Gareth Morgan, economist and investor: What is the single most important policy advance, to your mind, if NZ is going to have any chance of closing the income gap with Australia?

I have always maintained there is no one silver bullet. It will be a raft of policies that lift New Zealand’s economic performance. Reforming our tax system in a fair and equitable way is one. Reducing red tape, boosting infrastructure such as broadband, electric rail and road networks, driving better performance in the public sector, and encouraging innovation, particularly in science, are others. This will be an ongoing programme, year-on-year.

Sidestep. Gareth asked you for your signature dish, not the whole menu.

44. Phil O’Reilly, chief executive, Business New Zealand: We’re a nation of small businesses, but we really need to develop more global-sized firms like Fonterra to secure our economic future. What are the two most important policy levers you would pull to increase our chances of growing more global companies?

To grow more successful companies in New Zealand, we have to be a better place to run a business. And that doesn’t happen with just two policy levers – we actually have to do hundreds of things well as government, so businesses have the confidence to invest, grow and create higher-paying jobs.

That’s why we have been busy in a whole lot of policy areas from the RMA to trade agreements, to tax to transport, to science to electricity, to education to capital markets, to local government to broadband, and so on. With action in all those areas we increase our chances of growing more successful, internationally competitive, bigger businesses.

Sidestep. Phil didn’t say there should be only two policy levers. He asked for the two most important.

47. Selwyn Pellett, businessman: In business a CEO is hired who knows his craft, understands his chosen market and knows how to extract value from it in the interests of all his shareholders. The corporate goals are almost always achieved with a clear inspiring vision that all stakeholders buy into it. If this is the prescribed business wisdom for success (strong, strategic and inspiring leadership) and you are the head of our business party, do you think that New Zealanders should also demand this of our prime minister?

Running a business is one thing, running a country is another. There are obviously some similarities but it is the job of a prime minister to articulate a vision for where the country is heading, why we want to get there, and how. Voters demand that of political leaders, and that is what I am focusing on.

Wrong. The job of a prime minister is not to talk about getting there. It’s to get there.  

You articulate a vision of closing the Tasman Wage Gap. That’s good.

And you articulate why you want to close it. Also good.

Then you fail to articulate how you’re going to close it. Not so good.

And as a result you’re failing to close it. Bad.

In other words, John, your non-plan is not working.

Now people may think this post is mean. Part of me really doesn’t want to talk like this. I’ve got friends in the National Party, and I have no personal animosity towards John Key at all. Quite the reverse.

But there’s a bigger issue here. The future of our country.

For the last 10 years, under two dominant leaders, New Zealand has been a parliamentary dictatorship.

Now, thanks to his unparalleled political skills, what JK wants, JK gets.

And what JK wants is popularity.

And that’s the wrong motivation. It wasn’t Don Brash’s. It’s not Roger Douglas’s. Nor was it Winston Churchill’s or Margaret Thatcher’s or Ronald Reagan’s.

Real leaders get out of bed in the morning hell-bent on creating a better country. Not just building a bigger majority.

That’s why real leaders like Churchill and Thatcher (and in New Zealand, Douglas) will be remembered long after mere politicians like Clark and Key are forgotten.

Where is the New Zealand leader who can talk straight?

One who doesn’t need to sidestep?

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm  Comments (5)  

Rudd pushes Aussie ETS back 3 years. Key’s Big New Tax due inside 3 months.

Australia’s left-wing Labor PM has just put off their ETS for at least three years.

Meanwhile our left-wing National PM – who says he’s ambitious for New Zealand and claims he wants to catch up with Australian living standards – will be punishing his people with an ETS inside three months.

Rudd’s backdown shows the power of new Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s campaign against “The Big New Tax”.

What a shame New Zealand doesn’t have an Opposition.

If we did, it could put a climate change invoice for $3000 in every letterbox, complete with a few basic facts about the real science of climate change.

Then the public would know what the sceptics know, and the ETS would be a red-hot election issue.

Wanted: one Opposition.

Note: according to the Doomsdayers who love to terrify our children (which includes many warmmongers), the world is going to end in December 2012. Is Rudd’s 2013 deadline just his subtle way of telling the faithful that the ETS is off for good?

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 11:46 am  Comments (6)  

Key trades your prosperity for green votes

Thanks to reader The Silent Majority for sending me the above quote from John Key’s campaign blog.

Silent Majority sums up the flip-flop:

Well we are the world leader now John Key, way out in front, leading the charge, putting our businesses, farmers and exporters at risk, jobs will be lost, beef and sheep farms will convert to forestry, small rural communities will struggle, costs will go up across the board, for everyone, and our noble efforts will make not one iota of difference to the world climate.

When the facts change, John Key, intelligent people are willing to change their mind. You are an intelligent man John Key, so change your mind, before it is too late.

Perhaps that should be ‘change your mind back.’

Because as Opposition Leader, he had it right.

Yet as Prime Minister, little more than a year later, he became the world’s first national leader to pass a law punishing carbon-based life forms for emitting carbon.

In doing so, he ignored a slew of evidence that the world has been much warmer in the past than even the most extreme warm-monger says it’s likely to get in the future – and that those warm times were times of great abundance and prosperity.

He refused to look at evidence that the evidence of his advisors was not evidence at all.

Instead, he chose to believe a theory put about by a discredited religious sect masquerading as scientists, who base their claims on doctored computer models that dissolve on contact with reality.

John Key won’t delay the ETS, as the more sensible Australians and Americans have done.

Why not?

Because he simply doesn’t listen to anyone outside the NIWA/ Environment Ministry climate clique.

Just as they don’t listen to anyone outside the increasingly comical IPCC (Intergovernmental Perpetrators of Climate Cockups).

And so to July 1, and the aforementioned expense to our economy. Power prices up. Petrol prices up. All other prices up.

All because of John Key and Nick Smith’s determination to lead the world in saddling their people with a pointless solution to a   non-problem.

In a future post, I’ll publish a transcript of an interview that shows you how thoroughly the PM has been captured by one side of the climate debate.

In the meantime, you might ponder why John Key and Nick Smith would change their minds so completely on this issue from their time in Opposition.

Could it be the Nats are locking in those female urban liberal green votes “at the expense of our economy”?

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 12:19 am  Comments (2)  

Can NZ catch Tasmania?

People who make excuses for our economic decline say it’s only natural we should be poorer than Australia.

After all, those convict larrikins lucked into a continent-sized treasure chest fair groaning with minerals.

As excuses go, it’s plausible enough. Till your mind  flicks to a little pinprick up north and a bit to the left.

Singapore. That micro-state that accommodates half a million more citizens than New Zealand, on a rock the size of our biggest lake.

Only Singapore’s ‘lake’ has no water.

Yet somehow its people earn more money than both New Zealanders and Australians.

Which goes to show that when it comes to generating wealth, size isn’t anything.

That convenient excuse also doesn’t explain how, for over a century, we used to be just as rich or richer than our sunburnt neighbours.

And it collapses completely when you realise that we’re no longer just Aussie’s poor cuzzie. We’re now poorer than every single Australian state.

Yes, even Tasmania.

So when John Key and Bill English consigned Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce plan to the too-hard basket, they seemed to be doing their bit to ensure that New Zealand remains a basket case.

If Allan Bollard is right that we’re now only fit to catch the crumbs from Australia’s table, would it be too ambitious to hope that by 2025 we might have caught up with Tasmania?

The widening Tasman Wage Gap (AKA the John Key Credibility Gap)

I left National in 2008 because I could see that John Key had no ambition for New Zealand, only for himself and his party.

Two years later, Key and National are riding high on their wave of false promises, while the Sunday Star-Times reports the all-too-predictable reality: Kiwi wages slip further behind.

For once I can’t help but agree with Phil Goff, who describes Key’s promise of catching Australia as “reckless and dishonest”:

“He was undertaking to the New Zealand electorate that he had a secret plan whereby he could catch up with Australia, and the truth is he had no such plan. And, far from catching up, New Zealand has fallen further behind.”

Key’s motto, as far as I can see, is “You can fool most of the people most of the time.” And it seems to be working a treat…

Say you’re ambitious for the country. (When you’re not.)

Say you’ve got a plan for growth. (When you haven’t.)

Join forces with a party that actually has a plan. (And ignore it.)

Say you agree with the ‘catch Australia’ goal. (When you don’t.)

Commission a plan to catch Australia. (Then reject it.) 

Chide your central banker for saying we can’t catch Australia with your policies. (When you know damn well he’s right.)

Press on with your Emissions Trading Scheme. (When the country you’re supposed to be catching has put the brakes on theirs.)

(And when the science increasingly supports your first instinct that man-made global warming is a hoax.)

So why is our prime minister doing these things?

And why did he take such a ‘principled’ stance in defying his core supporters on the anti-smacking referendum?

The answer is simple.

It’s because John Key is not running New Zealand for his core supporters. He knows he’s got their votes in the bag.

Nor does he have to worry about those righteous ACT know-it-alls, since they’re hardly likely to cuddle up to the reds or Greens.

No. He’s running our country for the benefit of a few female urban liberals of the Lucy Lawless ilk.

Women to the left of Jeanette Fitzsimons, as he calls them.

Women who took one look at his cheery smile and all-things-in-moderation patter and saw someone they could take advantage of.

A Helen Clark with a feminine side.

Women who couldn’t care less about boring male obsessions like money and Australia. But who care lots about carbon footprints and wrapping their kids in cotton wool.

That’s why, when Lucy and Keisha and co. said, “John, go to Copenhagen,” off to Denmark he dutifully trotted.

That’s why, when the lib-fems said, “John, legalise smacking and we’ll smack you,” he was happy to give 85% of Kiwis the fingers.

And that’s why, when wise heads bombard him with sound reasons to delay the ETS, he’ll be obeying Lucy and the liberals and putting planet before people.

It’s great politics. It’s also negligent leadership. 

Of course, Bill English and others would say, “There’s no point making unpopular changes then getting voted out.”

Yes, there is.

If you really cared about your country, you’d run that risk, knowing that successful reforms tend not to be wound back.

But you can reduce the risk by explaining to people why we need to change – just as a responsible parent explains to his family why they can’t keep living beyond their means.

Roger Douglas took that risk in the 80s. And guess what? The public didn’t like it.

But they understood it.

They returned Labour with an increased majority, and a mandate to finish the job. 

Key could do that too. It would hardly be a huge risk, since the Brash report only calls for cutting spending to 2005 levels.

As Don Brash said, John Key has the communication skills to pull it off.

But does he have the courage?

To find out, keep an eye on that Tasman Wage Gap. Because it’s also the John Key Credibility Gap.

If it closes, he’ll have silenced many a doubter. 

If it keeps widening - as we all said it would – the PM’s political epitaph could well be (to paraphrase Julius Caesar):

 I came, I smiled, I tinkered.

National Wallaby breeding programme

You may have seen this slide in an article by Don Brash in the DomPost recently. [Photo: SueAllmanPeople. Parents: Rebecca and Ken Hope.]

I made it for Don to lend weight to his 2025 Taskforce report – which his Reserve Bank and National Party successors clearly find too ambitious for New Zealand.

But in contrast to Helen Clark, who set a bold goal of scaling the heights of the OECD then charted a course in the opposite direction, John Key does have a cunning plan for achieving his 2025 goal…

Pray there’s gold in them thar national parks!

Published in: on February 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Reserve Bank Governor’s flag

The open letter below illustrates why I left National to work for Sir Roger Douglas (for a lot less money, I might add).

Alone among New Zealand politicians in my lifetime, Roger believes in setting SMART goals for the country. And setting out plans to achieve them.

I suggested the idea of setting a bold national goal to the National Party.

They thought I was nuts.

“But we might be held accountable!” they scoffed.

So I took the same idea to ACT.

In the blink of an eye, Roger had grabbed it with both hands.

But what should the goal be? “What’s our biggest problem?” he asked himself.

Easy: we’re haemorrhaging people to our bigger and better-run neighbour.

Pretty soon, he’d defined the goal in two words: catch Australia. And set a deadline: by 2025. 

Then he devised the ACT 20 Point Plan to get the job done.

You can imagine my amusement at seeing the 2025 goal come full circle after the election as the goal of the so-called ambitious Key government. 

It’s been interesting to watch the PM profess to be committed to catching Australia, while putting the kibosh on most of the steps necessary to get there.

“You can fool most of the people most of the time” would appear to be the Nats’ belief.

And the fools who give the government their record high ratings confirm that it’s correct.

But for the Governor of the Reserve Bank to play chief surrender monkey is a new low.

Allan Bollard said yesterday that we’ve got no hope of catching Australia, so should resign ourselves to catching crumbs from Australia’s table. 

This is the man who succeeded Don Brash, who left the Reserve Bank for Parliament with the goal of staunching the flow of emigrants across the Tasman.

John Key’s National Party predecessor, the same Don Brash, was hired by Key to devise a plan to do that, and when he did so, John ‘ambitious for NZ’ Key rejected it as too ambitious.

Anyway, this is how our greatest-ever finance minister views the Governor’s capitulation:

 An Open Letter to Dr Allan Bollard by Hon Sir Roger Douglas
 
Dear Dr Bollard,
 
I write to you regarding the comments you made about the possibilities of New Zealand matching the level of economic output of Australia on a per capita basis, which you made on ‘Q & A’, Sunday 7 February.
 
In particular, I was shocked at the following comment:
 
“I don’t think we can catch up with Australia, Australia’s a most unusual country, Australia has been blessed by God sprinkling minerals across the top of the surface in very easily accessible areas in places where it doesn’t annoy people to mine them.
 
“China’s there buying all that, it’s not rocket science, they’ve run the economy well, but we just don’t have those advantages, but that’s all good news for New Zealand because there’s a lot of crumbs come off the Australian table that we can take advantage of.”
 
The idea that the lack of mineral wealth will stymie economic growth is simply wrong. 
 
Consider the success of Hong Kong during the fifty years it was a British crown colony. 
 
In 1960, Hong Kong’s per capita income was 28 percent that of Great Britain’s. 
 
By 1996, it had risen to 137 percent of Great Britain’s. 
 
Within four decades, Hong Kong – a tiny portion of overcrowded land, with no real resources to speak of except human ingenuity and a port - was able to increase its level of economic output so that it topped the level achieved in the birthplace of the industrial revolution.
 
In fact, if large resource wealth was a prerequisite for economic success, then many countries that have had much faster growth rates than us should be doing quite poorly – Singapore, Ireland – and countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be doing well. 
 
Mineral wealth is clearly neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for economic wealth.
 
A far more potent factor in driving economic growth are the institutions we develop – the nature of our constitution, the policies the Government adopts, and the social norms that develop. 
 
Economic wealth in Hong Kong has been created by, amongst others: freedom of exchange, both national and international; low taxes that reward productivity and reduce deadweight loss; and a Government that fulfils its core roles – to protect our freedoms, enforce contracts, and help create a framework for competitive markets.
 
There is no doubt that if we continue to maintain the status quo, then we have no hope of catching Australia. 
 
To blithely suggest that we can never catch Australia because of the minerals they have is to ignore the lesson of economic history – that policy matters.
 
Regards,
 
Hon Sir Roger Douglas 
Douglas is like Lord Monckton. Everyone calls him names, but no one can match his arguments.
Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

PM signs up to fern flag

It may not be his top priority, but Prime Minister John Key has confirmed  he’d like to see New Zealand adopt a silver fern flag.

Would it make a good second term issue, as he once suggested in Opposition?

With the media now stoking the debate, will we see our PM take a leaf out of Canadian PM Lester Pearson’s book by putting a leaf on his country’s flag?

Will John be prepared to face down audiences of angry old soldiers as Pearson did?

At least Key’s hecklers would be nodding nonagenarians rather than the fiery fortysomethings Pearson had to placate only 20 years after WWII.

(Mind you, Pearson was a Liberal, and didn’t have to defend his heretical leanings to a National Party conference.)

Good to have the top man onside as a fern fan. His design instincts are spot-on.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 2:40 am  Comments (2)  
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