Thursday, May 25, 2017

Richard Epstein: Progressively Bankrupt

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal foretells a grim financial future for Connecticut, the wealthiest state in the union by per capita income. Its great wealth, however, does not translate into financial stability. For this coming year, the state expects a $400 million shortfall in tax collections that will only compound its looming budget deficit of some $5.1 billion, attributable to the usual suspects: service on existing debt, a lowered credit rating, surging pension obligations, runaway health care expenditures, and a declining population. 

In both 2011 and 2015, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy sought to fill the fiscal gap by engineering two tax increases on the state’s wealthiest citizens, so that today the state’s highest tax bracket is 6.99 percent. Under the state’s tax pyramid, about one-third of the state’s $7-billion budget is paid by the several thousand people earning over $1 million per year.

David Skilling: A busy week for globalisation

Globalisation is not dead, but it is definitely changing.  And from Asia to Europe and the US, this past week has highlighted that the transition to a genuinely multipolar set of arrangements is gathering pace.

This process has been underway for some time, of course, and partly reflects fundamentals.  As Asia rises, it is unsurprising that it will increasingly shape the rules of the game.  And there is an increasingly regional shape to the global economy (a lesson that the UK has chosen to overlook).  But the adoption of a more inward-looking ‘America First’ stance is accelerating the transition to a multipolar world with overlapping, potentially competing groupings.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Matt Ridley: The Red Queen race against computer viruses

The WannaCry ransomware cyberattack of last week, which briefly crippled much of the National Health Service, may be the biggest, but it will not be the last outbreak of cybercrime. 

Remember your Through the Looking-Glass. The Red Queen lives in a world where, she says: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” We, the good guys, are locked in a Red Queen race with hackers, just as we, the human race, are locked in a race with real viruses, and with antibiotic resistance.

Karl du Fresne: Accountability - frequently talked about, rarely practised

I’ve been scratching my head trying to recall the number of times when someone in a position of responsibility in New Zealand fell on their sword in atonement for things that went badly wrong.

Conservation Minister Denis Marshall did it after the Cave Creek viewing platform collapse in 1995 and Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson stepped down in 2012 over Pike River – in both cases, after commissions of inquiry released highly critical reports.

Mole News

Dr. Rangi Mātāmua hopes to revive Māori astronomy
Astronomer Te Kōkau Himiona Te Pikikōtuku's account of his people's Matariki tradition has been recorded by his great grandson Dr Rangi Mātāmua in his new book Matariki, The Star of the Year.

“The stories are there. Since Tāne travelled to the heavens to hang the stars. The stars are a tribe of chiefs. Knowledge is the sustenance of chiefs. Therefore the knowledge is there amongst the chiefs suspended in the sky.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

China Claims Methane Hydrates Breakthrough May Lead To Global Energy Revolution

Trump’s Climate Challenge:
Between Energy Superpower And Green Shackles

In this newsletter:

1) China Claims Methane Hydrates Breakthrough May Lead To Global Energy Revolution
CNN Money, 20 May 2017
2) China’s Motive Behind Takeover of South China Sea
Wall Street Daily, 5 October 2015

Sunday, May 21, 2017

NZCPR Weekly: Tax Competition

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, ahead of the Budget, we make the case for lower taxes, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Professor Richard Epstein from the US outlines the sweeping tax reforms announced by President Trump, and this week’s poll asks whether you think taxes should be reduced in Thursday’s Budget.

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Frank Newman: Closing the speculation tax loophole

Last week Labour announced further measures to crack down on property speculators. Their latest measure is to close the "loop-hole" on negative gearing, and is the third policy statement targeting residential property investors. The other two previously announced policies would ban overseas investors buying existing homes, and extend the capital gains tax (bright-line test) on rental houses from two years to five.

To recap, negative gearing is where an investor makes a loss from their investment, and offsets that loss against other income derived from another source. The effect is to reduce their taxable income, and therefore the amount of tax they pay (based on their marginal tax rate).

Brian Gaynor: In this game, we're beating the Aussies

One of the major differences between New Zealand and Australia is their respective political systems and this difference may have contributed to the much stronger financial performance of the New Zealand Government in recent years.

Australia has a bicameral, federal system with 13 houses of parliament and 782 elected representatives while New Zealand has a unicameral structure with only one house and 119 current members.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Power Shift

China & India Dominate Global Coal As Green Nations Divest

In this newsletter:

1) Power Shift: China And India Dominate Global Coal Industries As Green Nations Divest
Reuters, 16 May 2017
2) China’s Energy Silk Road Based On Building Coal Power Far And Wide
China Dialogue, 12 May 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Guy Benson: Analysis - Congress Should Subpoena Comey, Alleged Memo About Trump Pressuring Flynn Probe

Another evening, another potential bombshell. Just as Washington starting to wrap its arms around the possible fallout from the president's alleged disclosure of highly classified intelligence from a foreign partner (reportedly Israel), the New York Times drops this story:
"President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting. 'I hope you can let this go,' the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Phil McDermott: Auckland facing Hobson’s Choice - Expansion or Implosion?

Choosing Auckland
In 1840, the first New Zealand Governor, William Hobson, sailed into Waitemata Harbour and chose Auckland as the country’s new capital.  The harbour offered ease of embarkation and disembarkation.  Fertile coastal lands meant that settlers could grow food crops, and the local tribe, Ngati Whatua, welcomed the promise of protection and trade that European settlement offered.

Auckland’s early fortunes fluctuated.  The city could only be reached by sea from other parts of New Zealand.  It was on an isthmus divided by two harbours, crossed by flood-prone creeks and peppered with swamps.  In addition, tribes to the south resisted the sale and alienation of their fertile Waikato lands, stalling expansion of European settlement until the late 1860s. 

Matt Ridley: The Paris climate treaty is weak, so why do climate activists defend it?

President Trump will decide shortly whether to pull the US out of the Paris agreement on climate change. By all accounts, his instincts and his campaign promises encourage him to do so while his daughter Ivanka and his secretary of state Rex Tillerson want him not to. He has already started rolling back the “clean power plan”, which was Barack Obama’s way of meeting America’s commitment under the Paris agreement.

If he does pull out, or send the agreement to the Senate for ratification on the grounds that it is a “treaty” — something Obama took great pains to try to deny so that he would not have to send it to the Senate — there will be a fresh paroxysm of rage among his critics. Climate scepticism is high among reasons that the left hates Trump. By contrast, it is one of the few things on which I half agree with him.

GWPF Newsletter: Planet Earth Covered In Much More Forest Than Thought

Earth's Forests Just Grew 9% In A New Satellite Survey

In this newsletter:

1) Good News: Planet Earth Covered In Much More Forest Than Thought
Australian Associated Press, 12 May 2017
2) Earth's Forests Just Grew 9% In A New Satellite Survey 
Science, 11 May 2017

NZCPR Weekly: Cultural Competency

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week, we look into cultural indoctrination within the education system, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Fiona Mackenzie outlines serious concerns over the new Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession that will become operational on July 1st, and this week’s poll asks whether you think that cultural competency training should be compulsory for teachers.

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Frank Newman: Interest rates and MP houses

As expected, last week Reserve Bank Governor Graeme left the official cash rate (OCR) unchanged at 1.75%. What was unexpected was the tone of the comments made in the Monetary Policy Statement that went with it.

That surprise was evident in the reaction of the foreign exchange  market where the Kiwi dollar fell a cent against the Australian and US currencies. That reaction was because the "market" had been expecting interest rates to rise faster than the Governor is now forecasting.

GWPF Newsletter: Europe’s Biggest Solar Company Goes Up In Smoke

African Nations To Build More Than 100 New Coal Power Plants

In this newsletter:

1) Europe’s Biggest Solar Company Goes Up In Smoke
Reuters, 11 May 2017 
2) Largest US Solar Panel Maker Files For Bankruptcy After Receiving $206 Million In Subsidies
The Daily Caller, 11 May 2017 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Theresa May Faces Backlash Over Energy Price Cap

Plan To Cap Energy Prices Smacks Of 1970s Madness

In this newsletter:

1) May Faces Backlash Over Energy Price Cap
The Times, 9 May 2017 
2) May Admits Energy Price Cap Is Not 'Conservative' But Voters Come Before Ideology
The Daily Telegraph, 10 May 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mike Butler: Govt hazy on mandate data

A series of questions sent to the Office of Treaty Settlements revealed patchy information and a government that is hazy on data to do with claimant group mandates, the cornerstone of treaty settlement integrity.

Deeds of mandate are intended to provide evidence that the body claiming mandate has the widespread support of the members of the claimant group to negotiate a settlement of perceived treaty breaches by the Crown.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Antarctic Ice More Stable Than Thought

Antarctic Ice Sheet Has Been Stable For Millions Of Years: Study

In this newsletter:

1) Antarctic Ice Sheets Stable For Millions Of Years
The Indian Express 8 May 2017

2) Antarctic Peninsula Ice More Stable Than Thought
University of Leeds, 2 May 2017

Matt Ridley: Britain should adopt the Innovation Principle

An open letter to George Freeman MP, chairman of the government’s policy board.

Dear George, as a former biotech venture capitalist, you are a passionate champion of innovation. It has pulled an average of 137,000 people out of extreme poverty each and every day of the past 25 years. It’s the only thing that can pay off our £1.9 trillion national debt while keeping our grandchildren prosperous. You are on record as saying: “We have a once-in-a-generation chance to seize the opportunities to make the UK the innovation capital of the world, defying the doubters and being clear that we will go on leading the world in science and technology.”

Karl du Fresne: St John and the cult of managerialism

I thought it significant that in Consumer’s recent comparison of emergency survival kits on the market, the one that scored worst by far was marketed by the St John Ambulance organisation.

Its “Emergency Grab Kit” got a scathing “fail” from Consumer, with a score of 38% – far below any of the six other kits tested. How humiliating for an organisation that traces its history back to the 12th century, when the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem looked after sick and injured pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Christopher Horner: The Legal and Economic Case Against the Paris Climate Treaty

President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. 

The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: The New Pause

Europe’s Trend Of CO2 Reductions Seems To Have Stopped

In this newsletter:

1) The New Pause: Europe’s Trend Of CO2 Reductions Seems To Have Stopped
EUObserver, 5 May 2017
2) Tesla’s SolarCity’s Installations Crash Nearly 40%
Reuters, 5 May 2017

NZCPR Weekly: Claims Tsunami Hits Foreshore and Seabed

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the foreshore and seabed claims debacle and outline how some tribal groups are planning on ‘taking’ dolphins, whales, penguins and seals, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Dr Hugh Barr explains the claims process and raises concerns about the public being denied access to the coast, and this week’s poll asks whether you think the foreshore and seabed should be returned to Crown ownership. And, if you oppose tribal claims to the coast, please consider signing our on-line petition in support of Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed - HERE.

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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Richard Epstein: Trump's Tax Plan

The Trump administration has revealed a one-page tax plan that, if implemented, could have vast consequences for the economy of the United States. The high points of that plan are simplification and repeal. 

The brackets go down from seven to three—10%, 15%, 35%. Corporate tax rates are slashed from 35% to 15%. The standard deduction is doubled to about $24,000, removing large numbers of low-income people from the rolls. The alternative minimum tax and the special Obamacare capital gains tax of 3.8% are eliminated, along with the estate tax. Deductions for home mortgages and charitable donations are preserved, but those for state and local taxes are eliminated. The plan has drawn enthusiastic support from conservative commentators and withering criticism from Democrats. Where does the truth lie?

Brian Gaynor: No reason to go back to the bad old days

Rodney Hide, the former MP and leader of the Act party, says “we need the wild west back in New Zealand’s capital markets”.

He believes the wild west NZ sharemarket of the 1980s was not “a bad thing. It wasn’t. It was a time of the greatest and best transformation of business and organisation in the country’s history. It was possible then. It’s not now.”

New Study Confirms: Global Warming Pause Is Real

Arctic Defies Alarmist Hype

In this newsletter:

1) New Study Confirms: The Warming ‘Pause’ Is Real And Revealing
GWPF Observatory, 4 May 2017
2) Arctic Defies Alarmist Hype
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 4 May 2017

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Dealing with North Korea – getting Beijing on board

My sense of relief when the North Korean missile test of 15 April failed was short-lived.

Had that test missile worked, it would have headed towards the Sea of Japan and my expectation was that the US Navy Carl Vinson Strike Group, which we had been told had been despatched to the waters off the Korean peninsula, would have shot it down. Then what? Emperor Kim III had ranted and raved about nuking the US should “a single bullet be fired”. Would that have qualified?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: White House Leaning Toward Exiting Paris Climate Pact

In White House, Momentum Turns Against Paris Climate Agreement

In this newsletter:

1) White House Leaning Toward Exiting Paris Climate Pact
The Hill, 3 May 2017

2) In White House, Momentum Turns Against Paris Climate Agreement
The Washington Post, 3 April 2017 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Global Temperatures Plunge 0.5° Celsius In April

Trump On Paris Climate Agreement: 'Not With Me, Folks!'

In this newsletter:

1) Global Temperatures Plunge 0.5° Celsius In April
GWPF Observatory, 29 April 2017
2) Trump Promises To Make ‘Big Decision’ On ‘One-Sided Paris Deal’ Soon
Press Trust of India, 30 April 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: World’s First Commercial Fusion Reactor Takes First Steps Towards Generating Energy

Switch flipped on UK’s newest tokamak fusion reactor

In this newsletter:

1) World’s First Commercial Fusion Reactor Takes First Steps Towards Generating Energy
Energy Voice, 28 April 2017
2) We’re All Victims Of The Great Green Swindle
The Times, 26 April 2017

NZCPR Weekly: The Real New Zealand

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine three international assessments of New Zealand and make some policy recommendations, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Singapore-based Dr David Skilling, shares his perspective of New Zealand’s performance, and this week’s poll asks whether you think welfare beneficiaries should be drug tested.

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

Frank Newman: Property drivers and local co-governance

 The April issue of Property Focus published by the ANZ has some interesting comments about immigration, lending, and mortgage borrowing.

On immigration they say, "On a three-month annualised basis, net permanent and long-term migration was close to 74,000 in March, which is near all-time highs and over 1½% of the resident population. More arrivals and fewer departures have both contributed to this large net inflow, although over the past 12 months or so, the former has been the dominant factor.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Karl du Fresne: The mayhem predicted by breathless forecasters never happened

An expat friend emailed me from Brisbane. He had read about Cyclone Cook hitting New Zealand and wondered whether, after all the scary warnings, it had turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax.

I had to confirm that his impression was correct. Sure, trees were brought down, some houses were evacuated, farms were flooded and there were road closures, power outages and a few landslides.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Greens? Nein Danke

Germany’s Once Powerful Green Party Faces Existential Crisis

In this newsletter:

1) Greens? Nein Danke: Germany’s Once Powerful Green Party Faces Existential Crisis
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24 April 2017 
2) World’s Greenest People Are The World’s Poorest People
Daily Caller, 22 April 2017 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nicholas Kerr: The other passion of Sir Douglas Myers – public policy

Sir Douglas Myers was one of a kind and he leaves New Zealand business and public policy markedly better for his having been here. The tributes that have been written in recent days rightly note the beer baron’s business successes. But other than noting that he was involved in the New Zealand Business Roundtable, few, it seems, have given him the credit he deserves in the policy arena.

Myers and other business leaders in the early 1980s came to the realization that the country needed to change course. Successive governments and generations had stifled our entrepreneurial spirt and held back our productivity and potential.

Matt Ridley: European Commission buries science on bees

Is the European Commission determined to dim the Enlightenment? I ask this because its behaviour in one specific instance goes so utterly with dogma and against evidence as to suggest that there is no longer even a pretence of respect for reason left in Brussels. It concerns bees.

In 2013, you may recall, the European Union banned some uses of neonicotinoid insecticides to save bees. The verdict on this policy has now come in, from the commission’s own Joint Research Centre (JRC), whose job is to provide independent scientific advice to support EU policy. 

Mike Butler: Tribute to language petitioner

When Tauranga woman Robin Bishop heard, about two years ago, that English had no official status, she contacted Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, who confirmed that to be true.

She found that its status is based on the fact that most people customarily speak it. The Maori language was declared official in 1987, and sign language in 2006.

NZCPR Weekly: Charging for Water

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we reflect on the Government’s fresh water reforms and outline why the call for a price on water is so dangerous, our NZCPR Guest Commentator former Judge Anthony Willy examines the complexities involved in charging for water, and this week’s poll asks whether you think the Government should put a charge on water.

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Shale Gas Could Heat British Homes By Early 2018

Theresa May Accused Of 'Stealing' Energy Price Cap Manifesto Pledge From Ed Miliband

In this newsletter:

1) Shale Gas Could Heat British Homes By Early 2018
Business Cloud, 20 April 2017
2) Cuadrilla To Begin Shale Drilling In “Couple Of Months”
Kallanish Energy News, 14 April 2017

Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute: The Human Freedom Index 2016

Introduction to "The Human Freedom Index 2016 - a global measurement of personal,civil, and economic freedom".

The great third wave of freedom is receding and, despite hopes for the Arab Spring, no fourth wave is in sight—or at least so it seems. 

Samuel Huntington famously coined the phrase “Third Wave Democracy”. Waves of democracy, defined here as political freedom, overlap with waves of personal freedom as nations moving toward democracy also typically pledge to protect the personal freedoms of their citizens and tend to keep those pledges, at least initially.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Muriel Newman: Submissions needed on radical new education code of ethics

Do you have time to send in an urgent submission?

I have just been sent a copy of the 'Draft Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession'. It
 is the most radical race-based document that I have seen for a long time and it would surely be a national disgrace if it was implemented as is. 

Read it for yourself HERE

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Administration May Not Find Middle Ground On Paris Climate Deal

White House Divided Over Trump’s Election Pledge To Cancel Paris Climate Deal

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Administration May Not Find Middle Ground On Paris Climate Deal
Morning Consult, 17 April 2017
2) White House Divided Over Trump’s Election Pledge To Cancel Paris Climate Deal
The New York Times, 18 April 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Guy Benson: We Must Punish 'Problematic' Thought Crimes With 'Hostility'

Behold, the perfectly creepy and Orwellian capstone to a week of campus insanity and inanity, courtesy of the dim bulbs who populate the editorial board of Wellesley College's student newspaper.

I've employed that ad hominem descriptor for two reasons: First, their argument is a logical train wreck, but that's par for the course with anti-speech tyrants. Second, a compounding sin: It's horribly written. Their prose is truly and embarrassingly atrocious. It's as if a group of mostly-literate sixth-graders joined forces to whip up a self-important harangue, straining and failing to evince erudition.

Phil McDermott: Breaking Through and Moving on: Beginnings of a New Plan for Auckland

The Break Through
After years of pushing the compact city fallacy and ignoring the obvious approach to solving Auckland’s particular growth problems, the city and its planners have at last begun to water down their dearly held but doomed compact city plan.  
The New Zealand Herald revealed that “the council's planning committee will consider a report to allow for 120,000 new homes at six main locations in the north, north-west and south of the city.” A range of smaller rural settlements has also been identified for further development, spread over 130km from north to south. 

Matt Ridley: When populism falters and the elite strikes back

I am writing this from the Netherlands, where one of the most gruesome paintings in the Rijksmuseum, by Jan de Baen, depicts the eviscerated bodies of the de Witt brothers, hanging upside down after the mob had killed them and then roasted and eaten their livers in 1672. 

It is an episode mentioned in a new book published this week by Douglas Carswell, MP, called Rebel, in which he wrestles with an eternal dilemma: why populist revolutions sometimes bring tyranny.

GWPF Newsletter: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Calls For U.S. To Exit Paris Climate Agreement

HUGE! Geologists Discover The US’s Largest Natural Gas Deposit

In this newsletter:

1) EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Calls For U.S. To Exit Paris Climate Agreement
The Washington Post, 14 April 2017
2) Background paper: Paris Agreement - A Blank Cheque For CO2 Emissions By China And India
Global Warming Policy Foundation, May 2016

NZCPR Weekly: Supporting Free Speech

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we look at the danger of restricting free speech in New Zealand, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Auckland University of Technology's Professor Paul Moon explains why protecting free expression - especially at Universities - is so important, and this week’s poll asks whether you believe that free speech is under threat in New Zealand.

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Paris Accord Is A Dead Deal Walking As $100 Billion Climate Fund Disappears

China's New Coal Boom

In this newsletter:

1) Paris Climate Accord Is A Dead Deal Walking As $100 Billion Climate Fund Disappears
The American Interest, 11 April 2017 
2) Emerging Nations Urge Trump Administration To Honour Obama’s $100 Billion Climate Funding Pledge
Reuters, 11 April 2017