Why Winston Peters should be paying heed to the outcome of Australia’s climate change election

Winston Peters is too astute a  politician to be oblivious to the outcome  in what Opposition  parties  across  the  Tasman labelled  the  “climate change  election”.   Almost  certainly,  when he spoke   in the debate    of  the  Climate  Change Response  (Zero Carbon)  Amendment  Bill  on  Tuesday  afternoon,  he  was  thinking  of  how  the  Australian Federal  Labor  Party  lost the  “unloseable” election simply because  it  campaigned so hard  on   what  voters  assessed  as  too demanding,  and too costly, measures to  combat  global  warming.

How  else to explain   his  rambling  defence  of   NZ First’s  support  for  the  bill?    It  was,  almost   word  by word, as if   he  could feel  support  for  NZ   First in the rural  regions  evaporating.

He  started by   asking  why the House  was  having the  debate.  His  answer:  because the previous National  government had  signed up to the  Paris  Agreement.

He  went  on to  say  the  bill  fulfills NZ First’s agreement with Labour to establish a Climate Change Commission, “but one that does not resemble the statutory or arbitrary or final powers of the Reserve Bank”\, Continue reading “Why Winston Peters should be paying heed to the outcome of Australia’s climate change election”

The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry

The Ministry of Health website and the Minister of Health are out of synch, when it comes to elective surgery.

On a page last updated on August 10 last year, readers will find a section headed Health targets: Improved access to elective surgery.

This says the Government has directed the ministry to develop a new set of performance measures to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

While work is underway to develop these new measures DHBs will continue to report to the Ministry against the current set of health targets, as well as against a previously established suite of wider measures.

Readers are referred to the Health targets page for more information on the development of new measures.

On the specific matter of improved access to elective surgery, a sub-heading asks:  What is the target?

The answer (drum roll, please) is: 

The volume of elective surgery will be increased by an average of 4000 discharges per year.

Continue reading “The govt has no national health target for elective surgery – perhaps David Clark should tell his ministry”

Open letter to associate professor sharpens the focus on Treaty of Waitangi and its influence on governance

A champion of the growing practice of appointing iwi representatives to sit with elected representatives on local authority decision-making bodies didn’t have a great deal to say, when questions were emailed to her.

Much of the little she did say – published on Point of Order last month – has been challenged by Bruce Moon in an open letter posted on Breaking Views.

The thrust and parry were triggered by governance changes on the Hastings District Council, which last month voted to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees.

The council press statement which announced the decision noted 25 per cent of the local population is Māori and five of the council’s 14 elected members (33 per cent of the total) have identified as being of Maori descent.

The council voted in favour of appointing more Maori to join the elected ones “to be more inclusive and hear the voice of our iwi partners”.  

Associate Professor Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington Te Kawa a Māui Head of School, welcomed this bypassing of the electoral system and the granting of speaking and voting rights to iwi appointees.

Her reasonscan be found in an article on the VUW website headed Academics commend Hastings District Council for inclusive, effective decision-making, .

Continue reading “Open letter to associate professor sharpens the focus on Treaty of Waitangi and its influence on governance”

Brexit: things may happen fast

Britain’s most unlucky Prime Minister since Ted Heath is still on her feet.  Just. Theresa May won a stay of execution by saying she would give a timetable for her departure in early June, after she has brought her Brexit deal back to Parliament for a fourth attempt.  Hardly anyone thinks it has a chance of passing. Some think it might not even get to the starting blocks, if the European elections this week go badly.

The talking, votes and deadlock have gone on for so long that it seems to have become the new normal. But in reality, the ground has been shifting very fast.  Look at the signs.

Continue reading “Brexit: things may happen fast”

Another lesson from Oz – improved wellbeing is reliant on economic growth

As  a  footnote  to  our  earlier  post  on the   Australian  election result,  Point of Order notes how  money has since  talked it  up.  Financial   markets  bounded   up,  the   Australian  dollar  strengthened : it  was pay day  for  all  Australians    with  pension funds.

The  sharemarket’s  main index — the  S&PASX 200 — had risen around  1.6%   by  mid-afternoon.  Within that  in  the  banking sector, prices of the  major bank  shares  climbed 6-8%.   Freed  from  the   worry   about  Labor’s  promise to abolish negative  gearing, companies   in  the    property   sector averaged rises of  around  2%.

By  far the  biggest  rises   were  in the  mining  sector  with the  companies   involved  in the  proposed  Adani coal  venture   rising  about  11%. Continue reading “Another lesson from Oz – improved wellbeing is reliant on economic growth”

What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons

Just  as  Australians  are  absorbing the   lessons  of  Scott Morrison’s  “miraculous” return from the electoral dead, New  Zealanders  are  being told by  a prominent   Wellington  economist  Ganesh Nana  he  fears  the   Ardern government  is  about  to  back down  from “meaningful economic  reform”.

 Yet across  the Tasman   it  was  the  “ambitious”   economic reforms proposed   by   Federal  Labor  leader  Bill  Shorten   which delivered the crushing  blow   of   losing  what the pundits   called the  “unloseable” election.

Labour  in   NZ   is  probably   congratulating  itself  that  it  has   dropped  a  broad  capital   gains tax   not  just  from  its current  programme  but  for the future.For it  is clear  many  Australian  voters  rejected   Shorten’s  plan for  a   giant  tax grab across  the   economic spectrum   and  allowed   Scott Morrison to  play  mercilessly  the  line  “the  Bill  you  can’t  afford”.

Labor underestimated,    as  one  Australian pundit   put it,  the downside of

” … mucking around with the aspirations of middle Australia [through negative gearing and capital gains tax changes that stirred anxiety about falling house prices]. I think this would be the last time that the Labor Party goes anywhere near people’s homes.” Continue reading “What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons”

How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins

A headline in the left-leaning The StandardIn praise of Judith Collins – caught us by surprise.

The author of The Standard’s post criticised ACT leader David Seymour for “being a dick” about Green MP Golriz Gharaman and for tweeting:

“Golriz Ghahraman is a real menace to freedom in this country.” spoke to about the dangers facing free speech in New Zealand and the political theatre of Jacinda Ardern’s Christchurch Call.”

Let’s check out what’s going on here and why – on this matter, at least – Collins is being praised by a left-wing blogger.   Continue reading “How David Seymour’s railing against censorship and a Green MP resulted in The Standard praising Judith Collins”