Monday, November 30, 2015
However, a much watered-down Resource Legislation Amendment Bill that was finally introduced by Environment Minister Nick Smith on Thursday includes an unexpected requirement that tribal authorities be consulted at an earlier stage of planning applications.
at 7:25 AM
With National, Maori Party defining iwi participation
Bill English gave an important speech at Parliament this week about Maori, the state and self-determination.
But he should know because while Prime Minister John Key is the figurehead, Mr English manages it through its various strands, be it social service delivery through Whanau Ora, constitutional aspirations, parameters of Treaty of Waitangi settlements or Maori participation in freshwater management.
at 5:30 AM
Sunday, November 29, 2015
In 1837 Danish writer, Hans Christian Anderson wrote a short tale for children called ‘The Emperor’s new clothes’. In this a pair of enterprising weavers undertake to provide a magnificent new suit for his majesty, which will have the interesting characteristic of being quite invisible to those of his court who are ignorant, or incompetent, or otherwise, unfit for their position.
The story is apparently based on a 14th century version of a myth that goes back to classic times.
at 9:09 PM
Saturday, November 28, 2015
The Ernst &Young (EY) and Cameron Partners reports on Auckland Council’s long term $18.7 billion capital expenditure programme raise a number of important issues. These include:
- Should rates increases be used to fund these projects?
- Can the council rely primarily on debt funding?
- Should the capital expenditure programme be partly funded through the sale of council assets?
at 11:34 PM
Your Thanksgiving dinner is going to be less expensive. This year the average person will need to work 2 hours, 21 minutes and 57 seconds to pay for all the items in a standard Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people — a work reduction of one minute and 8 seconds from last year.
Back in 1986, the average person needed to work 3 hours, 12 minutes and 27 seconds to pay for the same dinner, or 50 minutes and 30 seconds longer than a worker today. This is the great beauty of the capitalistic system — in real terms, as measured by the time necessary to work to buy most anything, the price falls year after year.
at 11:27 PM
Fifty years ago, after the cracking of the genetic code, Francis Crick was so confident religion would fade that he offered a prize for the best future use for Cambridge’s college chapels. Swimming pools, said the winning entry.
Today, when terrorists cry “God is great” in both Paris and Bamako as they murder, the joke seems sour. But here’s a thought: that jihadism may be a last spasm — albeit a painful one — of a snake that is being scotched. The humanists are winning, even against Islam.
at 10:47 PM
Sunday, November 22, 2015
I spent much of the weekend mowing lawns and raking up leaves and other garden debris that had accumulated while my wife and I were on holiday in the United States. The only thing disturbing the peace – that is, once I’d turned the mower off – was the barking of a neighbour’s dog.
Meanwhile, a world away, the residents of Paris were locked indoors, reluctant to venture outside for fear of another terrorist attack. There could hardly have been a more striking reminder of how blessed we are, living in this remote and serene corner of the globe.
at 11:02 PM
Saturday, November 21, 2015
What follows are comments on some of the issues raised in my 15 November posting (‘There is a war on’), which dealt with the ISIS attack on Paris.
Last Tuesday (17 November), there was a soccer match in Istanbul between Turkey and Greece. Just before the kick-off an official call was made for a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris, on the previous Friday. It was greeted by whistling and shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’). They were celebrating!
at 4:42 PM
The leaky homes debacle has given rise to some pretty seismic changes in the building industry. A fair chunk of the blame was, rightly or wrongly, put on so-called Cowboy builders. The upshot is a Licensed Building Practitioners (LPB) scheme that is intended to ensure those who are doing "restricted" building work (i.e. building more than a rabbit cage) are suitably skilled.
As it happens there are seven different LBP classes: Design, Carpentry, Roofing, Brick and blocklaying, Site, External plastering, Foundations, and All. Practitioners in each class must gain between 12 and 18 points within a specified time frame to retain their license.
at 4:20 PM
Sunday, November 15, 2015
“… they thought that their fortresses would protect them…”
- from an Islamic State press release after the Paris attacks
One of the African delegates at the Malta conference addressing illegal migration into Europe last week made a disparaging reference to ‘Fortress Europe’.
There should be only one question on the lips of French citizens today and that is: are we really going to allow Islamic terrorists to continue to kill us without hindrance?
If, as I suppose, the answer is ‘no’, then we should expect decisive action against ISIS by France and the other states which are similarly at threat. If nothing else is plain, it must surely be beyond doubt that passive defence, which depends on security measures and intelligence-gathering, is not working, and neither is the pin-prick aerial assault on the Islamic state, itself, by various NATO and other forces.
at 2:26 PM
News of an urgent hearing into whether the Crown has failed to reduce high Maori imprisonment and re-offending rates prompted the Minister's comment that he didn't know whether they're a permanent commission of inquiry or some kind of imperial senate.
at 11:52 AM
Saturday, November 14, 2015
The World Bank projects that agriculture and agribusiness in Africa will grow to be a US$1 trillion industry in Africa by 2030. To promote this outcome, the continent must review its incentive structures.
Agriculture averages 24% of GDP across the continent. With post-harvest activities taken into account, agriculture-related industry accounts for nearly half of all economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa.
As you read this, I’m in the United States. It’s a country I’ve visited several times, but it remains an enigma to me.
The people I meet here are friendly, courteous and helpful. I see no trace of the crazy America that we read about in the headlines: the mass shootings, the religious fundamentalism, the overheated patriotism, the rabid political views, the nasty outbursts of apparently racist police violence. I find it hard to reconcile these with the Americans I encounter.
at 10:54 PM
Friday, November 13, 2015
There was good news for Argentina last week. It was expected that Daniel Scioli, the Peronist candidate and political heir of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, would win the presidential election. Much to most people’s surprise, Maurico Macri, the more free-market-oriented mayor of Buenos Aires, won almost as many votes as Mr. Scioli, forcing a runoff, which Mr. Macri has a good chance to win.
The Peronists (named after former dictator Juan Peron) have had political control much of the last 70 years, and it has been a disaster for the country.
at 9:44 PM
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Napoleon once said: “Only a foolish horse fights with his nose bag”.
But today we have many foolish people fighting their nose bag. They are weakening Earth’s food chain with a war on carbon.
Carbon is the building block of life. “Organic” means “containing carbon” and every bit of plant and animal life is built around the carbon atom.
at 11:17 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The abolition of China’s one-child policy brings to an end one of the most futile and inhumane experiments in top-down social engineering the world has seen.
I say futile because it did not work. China’s birth rate roughly halved in the decade before the policy was introduced, then fell not at all in the next decade. A less coercive policy would probably have slowed China’s population growth just as much, if not more — as it did that of other countries in Asia.
at 10:06 PM
Saturday, November 7, 2015
What is the future of television? Will television experience a similar dramatic downturn in revenue as the newspaper, music and book retailing sectors?
Television’s future is in the spotlight following the publication of Alan Wolk’s book “Over the Top: How the internet is (slowly but surely) changing the television industry” and the release of Television New Zealand’s 2015 annual report.
at 12:24 AM
Friday, November 6, 2015
Mr Harrison, who is chair of Evidence Based Seismic Strengthening, addressed more than 70 people at the Havelock North Function Centre.
at 9:02 PM
November 5, 1881, was the day that government troops evicted 1600 people from a village built on confiscated land between Mount Taranaki and the Tasman Sea.
at 11:25 AM