Before foreigners pass the buck, new investment law will require a quality check

The bill stopping foreigners from buying houses in NZ has emerged from select  committee study with   significant   amendments.  Associate  Finance  Minister  David Parker   says the  new law will ensure the  market  for homes  is a  “NZ  market  not  an international  one”.  He  contends  Kiwis  should not be outbid by  “wealthier  foreign buyers”.

But the same bill now includes a move to encourage  “foreign direct  investment”  in forestry.   Forestry Minister Shane Jones says the legislation –  by bringing forestry rights into the overseas investment regime – will help promote high-quality foreign investment  which puts more emphasis on genuine benefits for New Zealanders.

So – foreign money  for  NZ homes  is  dirty but  foreign money for  NZ  trees is clean? Continue reading “Before foreigners pass the buck, new investment law will require a quality check”

Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?

The teaching of public service ethics is admirable. Accordingly we approve the expansion and changes to the Australia and New Zealand School of Government which include a newly created chair in public service ethics and integrity at Victoria University of Wellington.

But it is called the New Zealand Prime Minister’s ANZSOG Chair in Public Sector Ethics and Integrity, a more problematic proposition. Besides being a gob-stopping mouthful, the association of ethics and integrity with politicians – no matter how Right Honourable an incumbent PM might be – is fraught.

Politicians such as Housing Minister Phil Twyford have made no secret of their contempt for some public servants. Questioning Treasury’s estimates around KiwiBuild in the Budget, he said he did not agree with the “questionable assumptions” used and:

“I just think some of these kids in Treasury are fresh out of university and they’re are completely disconnected from reality.”

Continue reading “Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?”

Simon Bridges and climate change – maybe he’s not as green as it seems

It’s been a field day for  political  commentators, and  cartoonists,  as  Winston  Peters  fulfils a lifetime  dream  and steps  up to the  role of Prime Minister  (even if it  is only for  six  weeks).

And the country  awaits just which one of the  many  politicians who have inhabited  the frame of  Peters  over the best part of  40 years  will  emerge  into the spotlight.

Those who know him well — and there are not many in the media who do — reckon  he’ll be playing the   would-be statesman.

“Look  New Zealand, see what you’ve been  missing…” That’s  the  line  he  will want to  propagate. Forget the political bruiser, blur the memory of  the  past:  he  craves more than just a footnote in  political  history.

If he does  shine as  something of a statesman (a very  Kiwi one, it would be)  then there  might be  sudden  turnaround in the polls. Continue reading “Simon Bridges and climate change – maybe he’s not as green as it seems”

Fair wage plans are upsetting for some on the left, too

Some business people are uneasy about Government proposals to introduce fair pay agreements. Far-left commentators – as it happens – aren’t too chuffed about what’s going on, either.

Their concerns are encapsulated in the headline on a weekend post at Scoop which shrilly warns: Labour government to extend bans on strikes

Beneath the headline, John Braddock, from the Socialist Equality Group, complains that New Zealand’s Labour Party-led government has “defrauded” voters by preparing to further restrict the right to strike for broad sections of workers when it overhauls the country’s industrial laws.

If you read on, you will learn more about who are the goodies and baddies in the formulation of labour market policy, as viewed through a Socialist Equality Group prism, than about anything  the Government wants to hide from us.  Continue reading “Fair wage plans are upsetting for some on the left, too”

One objection halts UK upskirting bill – so how would NZ have handled it?

Conservatives are among the many people in Britain whose reactions range from disappointment to outrage after one MP, a bloke called Sir Christopher Chope, objected to a private member’s bill that would have made “upskirting” a criminal offence in England and Wales.

Sir Christopher’s lone voice blocked the bill’s progress through Parliament.

The bill has cross-party support.  If passed, anyone who secretly takes a photo under a victim’s skirt will be liable to up to two years in prison.

A disappointed PM Theresa May  said she wanted to see it pass soon “with government support“. The Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said the government will allocate time for the bill in Parliament to ensure it does not get pushed down the list of private members’ bills, which would mean it could some time to return to the Commons.

Backbench colleagues have excoriated Sir Christopher. Tory MP Nick Boles tweeted he was a politician “whose knuckles dragged along the ground“. Outside of Parliament, there are demands for him to be stripped of his knighthood.

In this country, one MP’s objection could not have scuttled a member’s bill but its chances of being debated would depend on it being drawn in a legislative lottery.   Continue reading “One objection halts UK upskirting bill – so how would NZ have handled it?”

How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice

Advice?  I’ll tell you where to stick your advice…

Police Minister Stuart Nash is in good company when he ignores official advice. Correction.  He is in high-ranking company.  Whether it is good company is a matter of opinion.

The high-ranking company we speak of is that of  President Donald Trump, a bloke with a huge contempt for advice and a strong belief in his own omnipotence.

*  During the recent eclipse – and unlike millions of Americans – “he went against the much-repeated and often-emphasised advice of NASA, ophthalmologists and moms everywhere and looked at the sun without glasses”.  He perhaps believed it would be the sun that would be blinded by his gaze. Continue reading “How Nash differs from Trump in discarding official advice”

Corporate socialism – funding uplift for Air Chathams and a gondola

It has become hard to keep track of the corporate welfare troughs around the country into which companies dip their snouts.  One challenge in some cases is to find out how much swill has been poured into them.

The Business Dictionary defines corporate welfare as government financial support for big business, usually in the form of bounties, subsidies, or tax breaks.

The Taxpayers Union, which monitors this form of wealth redistribution, a year ago released a report, ‘Socialism for the Rich’, by Jim Rose.  This showed the annual cost of corporate welfare had become $1.6 billion – or $931 per New Zealand household.

Releasing the report, it said:  Continue reading “Corporate socialism – funding uplift for Air Chathams and a gondola”