No, we aren’t part of the nuclear submarine pact, but CER keeps us in a relationship with our cobbers in OZ

Reassuring news about this country’s relationship with Australia emerged from the office of Trade Minister Damien O’Connor yesterday after his virtual meeting with his Aussie counterpart.

It was reassuring because of the concerns raised in some quarters after this country (where we pride ourselves on shunning nuclear power) was left out of the new defence pact embracing Australia, the US and UK that will deliver a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to the Pacific.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to news of that alliance by letting the Aussies know their nuclear submarines would not be permitted in New Zealand waters, in accordance with this country’s long-held anti-nuclear stance and laws.

Whatever might happen in terms of New Zealand’s military relationships with Australia, the US and the UK,  the joint statement on the economic relationship shows the trans-Tasman trade ministers are still talking to each other.

And their statement reiterated that CER, which they described as one of the most comprehensive trade agreements in the world, underpins the integration of the New Zealand and Australian economies.  Continue reading “No, we aren’t part of the nuclear submarine pact, but CER keeps us in a relationship with our cobbers in OZ”

Outdated Views? Andrea Vance On Sean Plunket

 
Chris Trotter, political columnist, blogger and commentator, writes here about “shock jocks”, “outdated” views, “privilege” and the “Woke” establishment …  
 
 
IT’S ONE OF THOSE throwaway lines which, precisely because so little conscious thought was given to it, tells us so much. The author, Andrea Vance, is an experienced political journalist working for Stuff. The subject of Vance’s throwaway line, Sean Plunket, is an equally experienced journalist. It was in her recent story about Plunket’s soon-to-be-launched online media product “The Platform”, that Vance wrote: “Plunket’s dalliances with controversy make it easy to paint him as a two-dimensional character: a right-wing, shock-jock with outdated views on privilege and race.”

It’s hard to get past those first four words. The picture Vance is painting is of a dilettante: someone who flits from one inconsequential pursuit to another, taking nothing seriously. And, of course, the use of the word “dalliances” only compounds this impression. To “dally” with somebody it to treat them casually, offhandedly – almost as a plaything. Accordingly, a “dalliance” should be seen as the very opposite of a genuine commitment. It smacks of self-indulgence. A cure, perhaps, for boredom?

To dally with controversy, therefore, is to betray a thoroughly feckless character. Controversies are all about passion and commitment. Controversies are taken seriously. Indeed, a controversy is usefully defined as a dispute taken seriously by all sides. And yet, according to Vance, Plunket has only been playing with controversy: trifling with it, as a seducer trifles with the affections of an innocent maid.

In Vance’s eyes, this indifference to matters of genuine and serious concern distinguishes Plunket as a “two-dimensional character”. It reduces him to a cardboard cut-out, a promotional poster, a thing of printer’s ink and pixels – insubstantial. Or, which clearly amounts to the same thing as far as Vance is concerned: “a right-wing, shock-jock with outdated views on privilege and race.” Dear me! The scorn dripping from those words could fill a large spittoon!

Continue reading “Outdated Views? Andrea Vance On Sean Plunket”

Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery

The government’s choice of a randomised electronic queue for the distribution of 3,000 MIQ rooms yesterday had one surprising benefit.  It showed just how many New Zealanders were desperate enough to stand in e-line – more than 26,000 according to Stuff.

It also reminds us that while ministers and their officials can sometimes do one thing well – occasionally even two or three – the system is not designed to meet your personal needs. The fatal conceit, as Friedrich Hayek pointed out, is that the bureaucracy thinks it knows what they are.

Continue reading “Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery”

The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand

The Beehive website has been focused on Covid-related news in recent days – each of the last four press statements from ministers is related to Covid-19 issues and, for good measure, we can include a statement which arrived in our email in-tray yesterday from Peeni Henare which has not yet been given “official” Beehive website status.

But none of those statements deals with the question of why a remand prisoner who should have been kept in Alert Level Four lockdown along with all other Aucklanders – preferably in a prison in his case – was allowed to cross the border to the Waikato.

And guess what?

The Minister of Health revealed at the weekend that three household members of the prisoner have tested positive for the virus. Continue reading “The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand”

Curia political poll is grim news for the Nats – but its measure of enthusiasm for “Aotearoa” will be vexing for Maori Party, too

The New Zealand Herald was not alone in reporting on the discomforting results for National in the latest Curia opinion poll and the petition mounted by Maori Party leaders to have the name of this country officially changed to Aotearoa.

The first matter was headlined The National Party’s polling company has the party crashing to within six points of Act

The writer of the report beneath this headline seemed to delight in noting who had conducted this poll.  

The National Party’s historic pollster has the party’s support crashing to historic lows, while Act is on the verge of overtaking it.

A Curia poll, conducted for the Taxpayer’s Union, has National on just 21.2 per cent, with Act close behind on 14.9 per cent.

The result is only a whisker above National’s worst-ever election result, 20.93 per cent in 2002. It is the closest National and Act have ever been in the poll.

Labour is at 45.9 per cent with the Greens on 9.6. Te Paati Māori is on 1.2 per cent. Continue reading “Curia political poll is grim news for the Nats – but its measure of enthusiasm for “Aotearoa” will be vexing for Maori Party, too”

Come on, Joel – more research should show that classism and the pox weren’t the only exports sent here by the Poms

ACT​ leader David Seymour (who is doing nicely in opinion polls) irked many people when he sent out priority vaccination access codes intended for Māori.

The critics (no surprises here) included

  • Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, who said the move was “despicable” and she would be writing to Speaker Trevor Mallard about it.
  • Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who said it was a “low-life move” aimed at intentionally sabotaging the Māori vaccine campaign.

This week, former Stuff reporter Joel Maxwell pitched in, too, to huff:

I’ll admit, Māori like myself were pretty angry about it. Some might accuse us of being ideologically driven, and that’s true – if the ideology was not wanting our whānau to die.

Having told us what he thinks of Seymour and his politicking, Maxwell proceeded to a bout of Pommy-bashing: Continue reading “Come on, Joel – more research should show that classism and the pox weren’t the only exports sent here by the Poms”

Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed

Your Point of Order team delighted at the words chosen by Police Minister Poto Williams to brandish the government’s law-and-order colours.

Her statement was headed Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime and kicked off by advising us that … 

  • Operation Tauwhiro (did you know anything about it?) has been extended until March 2022
  • Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:
     
    • 987 firearms seized
    • $4.99 million in cash seized
    • 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence

And then we are given a welcome assurance: 

Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful organised crime operation, Police Minister Poto Williams says.

Relentlessly?

Earlier today, we had learned from Stuff that a judge has questioned the value of a controversial Mongrel Mob-led meth rehab programme, when (he contended) the gang is responsible for most local meth offending, and the programme is not approved by Corrections. Continue reading “Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed”

Allan spends for the future, Little hires more advisers and Shaw sets out a time line for emissions reductions

The reassuring headline on a press statement from the Minister of Conservation said Projects create benefits into the future.

Ah – a forward-looking government, obviously.

The spending of $12,997,000 of public money on the projects listed in the press statement, accordingly, has been calculated to generate future benefits.  But come to think of it, in what other direction could the benefits be created?  Benefits into the past?

Elsewhere in the Beehive, Andrew Little was adding to the small army of advisors he is building within one of his portfolios.

He is adding four members to the outfit named Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques.

The group is made up of 32 members from across New Zealand, including affected family survivors and witnesses, representative communities, civil society, local government and the private sector.

Before long this group will be as big as the SIS workforce, we uncharitably mused at Point of Order, although a check with the SIS’s 2020 annual report showed this was somewhat fanciful: as of 30 June 2020 the NZSIS had 366.5 full time equivalent staff.

Little’s advisory team nevertheless is bigger than the Ardern Cabinet, which has 20 ministers. Continue reading “Allan spends for the future, Little hires more advisers and Shaw sets out a time line for emissions reductions”

Ardern govt surprised by news of Aussie decision to buy nuclear subs and form new security partnership

What do you do when your neighbour goes nuclear?

The Ardern  government will be tackling that question after being taken aback by news the Australians are to buy US nuclear attack submarines and will form a new trilateral security partnership to be called AUKUS.

Our Beehive connections tell us PM Jacinda Ardern was briefed by Australian PM Scott Morrison last night.

We are tempted to say these developments confirm how far NZ has slipped off the map in terms of a regional defence power. Our contacts say the Beehive is still grappling with how come NZ wasn’t consulted about the new security partnership – or even invited.

Canberra will acquire several Virginia Class nuclear attack submarines. A $A90 billion plan to buy French nuclear submarines and convert them to diesel-electric power will be abandoned. Continue reading “Ardern govt surprised by news of Aussie decision to buy nuclear subs and form new security partnership”

Health researchers measure the benefits of taking precautions – but they stumble when they bring the Treaty into considerations

The headline on a recent press statement from Massey University showed what great things emerge from state-funded research, although it seemed to state the obvious:  New research highlights the benefit of injury prevention measures in Māori households.

Was research really required to find it’s a good thing to take steps to prevent injuries in Maori households – or any household, come to think of it?

Introducing a few common-sense safeguards – you might think – would be good for the wellbeing of householders, regardless of race, in much the same way as we all would benefit from putting on warm clothing when the temperature drops or from looking for oncoming traffic before crossing the road.

Ah – but the research gives us a number:  relatively low-cost modifications in homes can prevent 31 per cent of fall injuries in Maori households.

The cost of the study (if our researchers have tracked down the relevant information) was $786,851.52, a sum which was provided by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), the government’s principal funder of health research. Continue reading “Health researchers measure the benefits of taking precautions – but they stumble when they bring the Treaty into considerations”