Saturday, November 18, 2017

Matt Ridley: Amara's Law

Alongside a great many foolish things that have been said about the future, only one really clever thing stands out. It was a “law” coined by a Stanford University computer scientist and long-time head of the Institute for the Future by the name of Roy Amara. He said that we tend to overestimate the impact of a new technology in the short run, but we underestimate it in the long run. Quite when he said it and in what context is not clear but colleagues suggest he was articulating it from some time in the 1960s or 1970s.

Along comes an invention or a discovery and soon we are wildly excited about the imminent possibilities that it opens up for flying to the stars or tuning our children’s piano-playing genes. Then, about ten years go by and nothing much seems to happen. Soon the “whatever happened to . . .” cynics are starting to say the whole thing was hype and we’ve been duped. Which turns out to be just the inflexion point when the technology turns ubiquitous and disruptive.

Mole News

Manawatū District Council guarantees Māori seats at next election
The Manawatu District Council will have guaranteed Māori seats at the council table come the next local government election after a close-run vote.

The council on Wednesday voted 6-4 in favour of having one or more Māori wards at the next local government elections in 2019.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Richard Epstein: The Income Inequality Obsession

One of the great political divides in the United States concerns the role of the state in redressing income inequality across individuals and groups. 

Recently, the outspoken conservative commentator Dennis Prager noted that in one representative debate during the 2016 presidential campaign, the words, “Wall Street”, “tax,” “inequality,” and “wealthy” were used 59 times by Democratic candidates. In contrast, “ISIS,” “terrorism,” “free,” “debt,” “liberty,” and kindred terms gathered a scant 10 mentions.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: 'Brain Washing' Needed To Tackle Climate Change, California Gov Tells Vatican

Frustration Shows Up As Bonn Climate Summit Is Deadlocked

In this newsletter:

1) 'Brain Washing' Needed To Tackle Climate Change, California Gov Tells Vatican
The National Catholic Register, 12 November 2017

2) Frustration Shows Up As Bonn Climate Summit Is Deadlocked Again
The Indian Express, 14 November 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bruce Moon: Our Reversion to Tribalism

"The intense tribalism we are seeing, domestically and internationally, does suggest that we may be approaching a point of true planetary peril." 

So asserted commentator Robert Wright in writing "Why do we fight and can we stop?" in "The Atlantic Magazine" for November 2013.

"People", he says, meaning all of us, "magnify their grievances and do the reverse with their rivals  ... you forget your sins and remember your grievances. ... We're not aware of the information [our] biases exclude. ... The world's gravest conflicts are not over ethical principles or disputed values but over disputed facts. …  We seem designed to twist moral discourse to selfish or tribal ends."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

GWPF Newsletter - NASA: Volcanic Activity Is Heating Up Antarctica’s Ice Sheet

Climate Targets Threaten Germany’s Prosperity, Ministry Of Economy Warns

In this newsletter:

1) NASA: Volcanic Activity Is Heating Up Antarctica’s Ice Sheet
Daily Caller, 7 November 2017 

2) Are Underwater Volcanoes Causing Global Warming? 
Daily Mail, 6 February 2015 

NZCPR Weekly: A Government of Controversy

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s newsletter we look into the growing controversy surrounding the new Government, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Karl du Fresne examines the impact of Winston Peters’ legal action against National MPs on the legitimacy of the Government, and in this week’s poll we ask whether Winston Peters should authorise the release of details regarding the overpayment of his superannuation.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Green Energy Crash

World's Second Biggest Wind Turbine Maker To Cut 6,000 Jobs

In this newsletter:

1) Green Energy Crash: Wind Turbine Maker Siemens Gamesa To Cut 6,000 Jobs
Financial Times, 7 November 2017
2) GWPF Launches Podcast For Global Listeners
GWPF Podcast, 7 November 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Sceptics Are Winning The Debate

Ipsos MORI:British Public Increasingly Unconcerned About Climate Change

In this newsletter:

1) Ipsos MORI: British Public Increasingly Unconcerned About Climate Change
Climate Scepticism, 1 November 2017

2) Polar Bear Week: Twenty Good Reasons To Celebrate Polar Bear Resilience
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 6 November 2017

Mike Butler: Parihaka, the Green Party, and rape

For a few years there has been a call to replace Guy Fawke’s Day with a Parihaka Day to commemorate November 5, 1881, when government troops evicted 1600 people from a village built on confiscated land between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea.

This year the Green Party announced that Marama Davidson will re-enter the Maori Party’s Te ra o Parihaka Bill into Parliament’s Member’s Bill Ballot to establish a further grievance day following Land Wars Day (aka Tribal Rebellions Day) on October 28, and of course Waitangi Day on February 6. (1)

Monday, November 6, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Will Climate Change Controversy Bring Down Angela Merkel?

Climate & Energy Wars Shake Germany’s Political Order

In this newsletter:

1) Will Climate Change Controversy Bring Down Angela Merkel?
Augsburger Allgemeine, 4 November 2017
2) Climate & Energy Wars Shake Germany’s Political Order
Platts, 3 November 2017

Fiona Mackenzie: More on Council Absurdities

We apparently live in an enlightened era – one in which discrimination on any grounds is forbidden. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment tell us that we can’t hire (or choose not to hire) someone just because of their age, sex or sexual orientation, race, colour or ethnicity, religious or ethical beliefs, disability, marital or family status, or political opinions. To do so would be illegal. If one of these attributes (or lack of) was a necessity of the job, an employer would need to be prepared to prove it in court. Similarly, for landlords offering rental accommodation, it is unlawful to discriminate.

Thus it’s ironic that the public service entity, the Auckland City Council, has the gall to ask a potential supplier whether they consider their organisation to be a “Maori business”. This question is found in the online application for those applying for Council contracts. It is #5 in a list of standard questions on compliance certification, insurance, services, turnover and number of employees.

Stephen Franks: NZ’s productivity mystery not mysterious to me

I’ve been musing on the official puzzlement about our country’s woeful lack of productivity improvement. 

It turns out that for years our productivity has barely improved. In other words we are generating too little more per head than 20 years ago. Our GDP has grown, but disappointingly little more than population growth.

We have a whole Productivity Commission to agonise over the issue.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Tesla Shares Crash Amid Republican Bid To Kill Off Electric Car Tax Break

GOP Plan to Increase Taxes For Wind And Solar

In this newsletter:

1) Tesla Share Crash Amid Republican Bid To Kill Off Electric Car Tax Break 
The Register, 2 November 2017
2) GOP Plan to Increase Taxes For Wind And Solar
The Hill, 2 November 2017

Frank Newman: Council derivatives

Derivatives are the sort of things you generally only come across in movies about wheelers and dealers in far-away places like New York and London - but they have a relevance much closer to home.  You may be surprised to learn that the Whangarei District Council (WDC) has $244.5 million worth of interest rate derivatives. A council staff member has confirmed ratepayers are exposed to valuation movements on the full amount. That's a lot of money at risk, and raises many questions - but more on that later.

Derivatives are complex, but here's a simple run down on the basics, as I understand they relate to the WDC. A derivative is a generic term applied to a financial arrangement that derives its value from another market. These arrangements take many forms (futures, options, swaps), and very smart individuals sitting in high rise office towers around the globe keep coming up with new variations so they can enrich themselves by creating a new market and clipping the ticket on the deals that are done.

NZCPR Weekly: Tribal Control of New Zealand's Coast

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s newsletter we look into developments in the Marine and Coastal Area Act claims process that raise concerns that without intervention by the new Government, the coast may fall into tribal hands; our NZCPR Guest Commentator Hugh Barr calls on the new Government to clean up the foreshore and seabed shambles, and in this week’s poll we ask whether tribal claimants should be granted customary rights to areas that are regularly used by the public.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Gerry Eckhoff: We the people

NZ First Leader Winston Peters apparently made a unilateral decision to assume he was in charge of negotiations to form a new Government. 

Was he really in the pursuit of enhancing Parliamentary governance of the country or was he merely determined for reasons of self-interest, to advance the influence of a 7% party? 

We all knew that the special vote count would be similar in percentage terms to the last election so where is the value in all the delay and attention seeking by Mr Peters? And how does it help our country’s governance if policies already voted on by the public are then negotiated away or watered down in the process of forming a Parliamentary majority?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Global Temperatures Continue To Drop Back To Pre-El-Nino Levels

Global Oceans Continue To Cool

In this newsletter:

1) Global Temperatures Continue To Drop Back To Pre-El-Nino Levels
Clive Best blog, 29 October 2017
2) Global Oceans Continue To Cool
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 26 October 2017

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Catalonia and the growing clamour for ‘external self-determination’

Pro-independence Catalans would have the world believe that they have a democratic right to secession. Not so.

It’s not a matter of democracy when a group of like-minded people agree amongst themselves about what they want, even when they dress their demands up in what appears democratic garb such as an entre-nous ‘referendum’ [with no legal standing].

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Stephanie Perrin: Keeping an eye on Asian politics

Investors are keenly watching for any political changes or policies that may affect markets as well as specific industries or companies. Whilst domestically, the focus has been firmly on New Zealand politics over the last few months, the Milford investment team have also been following political events in the wider Asia Pacific region.

Having recently returned from a research trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo, and with the recent week-long Congress of the Communist Party of China and Japan’s snap election, I thought it timely to share some thoughts on the two countries. Despite being at opposite ends of the economic growth spectrum, both China and Japan have their sights set firmly on growth, albeit implementing pro-growth policy in slightly different ways.