The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations has welcomed “Prime Minister Jacinda Adrian’s recent announcement that measuring the national’s progress by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was flawed”.
Let’s overlook the flaw in the council’s spelling of the PM’s name and focus on the implication that Jacinda Ardern was announcing the discovery that GDP has shortcomings as an economic measure.
It depends what you are trying to measure, of course.
The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations mentions “the growing realisation” that GDP is “narrowly economic in focus and ignored important social and environmental aspects”.
The realisation – awareness would be a better word for it – is several decades old.
Consider this from an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond back in the 1990s (and what he was saying about gross domestic product and gross national produce had been recognised long before that). Continue reading “Why our well-being won’t necessarily be improved by opting for GPI instead of GDP” →
As the Labour caucus suns itself at Martinborough, and members savour one or two of the local products, it may seem like a golden summer for the party.
PM Jacinda Ardern is just back from Europe where some of New Zealand’s finest journalists modestly recorded how she bedazzled the elites.
And although some commentators on the Left, notably Chris Trotter, have rather carpingly been critical of Ardern because there is little to show for the “transformation” which the PM promised New Zealanders, caucus members are unshaken in their conviction transformation will happen.
Never mind the own goals scored by Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, not to mention Iain Lee-Galloway on the Karel Sroubek affair, or Phil Twyford with his KiwiBuild fiasco: the Ardern government will soon be tackling education reform, introducing a capital gains tax to make the system “fairer”, and giving trade unions greater powers in wage bargaining. Continue reading “The Martinborough message to ministers must be ‘lift your game’” →
When was an official crucifixion or beheading last conducted in this country and – if readers can recall the occasion – what offence had been committed by the person being put to death?
Point of Order asks because:
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed a man by crucifixion in the holy city of Mecca a few months ago, according to a report in Business Insider Australia. Crimes in Saudi Arabia such as homosexuality and attending anti-government rallies have previously led to crucifixion sentences. Unlike the biblical crucifixions carried out by the Romans against Christians in antiquity, Saudi crucifixions usually involve displaying a beheaded corpse in public on a cross.
- NZ’s Justice Minister Andrew Little last week stood before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to confronted criticism made about New Zealand’s human rights record. Saudi Arabia was represented on the panel which considered this country’s performance.
In a fair and decent world, Little should have been demanding the Saudis lift their game in the human rights department. Instead he became alarmingly craven. Continue reading “Little was apologetic about NZ’s justice system – now let’s see if the Saudis crucify us” →
A friend of a friend has been musing on plans to introduce an end-of-life bill, to decriminalise marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, and to give prisoners the vote, no matter their crime.
These – he reckons – add to a bemusing array of contradictions within New Zealand in the 21st century.
Fair to say, some of his observations are open to challenge. One person’s contradiction – you might argue – is another’s common sense.
Thus readers may agree that some – or many – items on the list are contradictions but not necessarily all.
One of those consulted about the list illustrated this by proposing another contradiction:
It is not OK to allow terminally ill animals to suffer but it is OK to deny terminally ill, fully conscious adults, judged to be of sound mind and after careful consideration by two independent doctors, the option of ending their suffering. Continue reading “Contradictory Kiwis – some ideas should fly while others are squashed” →
Reports from working groups undertaking reviews for the government are thudding on to ministerial desks – and several of them already are stimulating the kind of backlash which any government intent on protecting its poll ratings could find disturbing.
In implementing their recommendations, the Ardern coalition could write itself into NZ’s political history as reformist as the first Labour government led by Michael Joseph Savage. Then again, if it did have that ambition, it might nosedive as rapidly over the political cliff as the David Lange government did in the late 1980s.
The education changes proposed by the Bali Haque-led review are stirring fury among principals and trustees. The reforms to industrial law from the Jim Bolger-led panel, expected to give fresh powers to trade unions in wage bargaining, are likely to despatch any good will the business community has entertained towards the Ardern administration.
But the one issue which will test the nerve of even the boldest in the Ardern coalition is the capital gains tax which the working group chaired by Sir Michael Cullen was set up to formulate.
No matter how it is framed by Sir Michael, one of the cleverest politicians in NZ’s modern history, “expect to see the debate go nuclear”, as Liam Dann in the NZ Herald put it.
Continue reading “The taxing issue of capital gains – and the prospect of hostility on the hustings” →
PM Jacinda Ardern has been making waves in the Swiss Alps, we are informed by Amanda Larsson of Greenpeace NZ, writing in the Dominion-Post. It’s a feat to command worldwide attention.
Moreover, Larsson believes Ardern quickly emerged as a “star of the show” at the World Economic Forum and a leader on climate change.
“We should be proud that, with the eyes of the world on us, we’re returning to our rightful place on an issue of great moral fortitude”.
But, wait for it,
“ … before we bask too much, we must also turn our eyes closer to home and make sure that what we’re doing to tackle climate change matches our bold global stance”. Continue reading “Climate change and environmentalists – it’s time they gave the green light to GE science” →
Readers considering taking a punt at the TAB on the proposition the government will reach its various KiwiBuild targets may be confused about what odds they should take.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford this week said he is “pretty gutted” about the rate of progress and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government is still building affordable houses – “just not as fast as we want and as many as what we want as quickly as we want.”
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, on the other hand, said the Government would still be able to get to its 1000 KiwiBuild homes target by July – “I believe so, yes.” He happens to be Minister of Racing
Prospective punters in need of a form guide should consult the latest official progress report. Continue reading “1000 KiwiBuild homes by July – Peters (hurrah!) is intent on getting things back on track” →
We were reminded today of the minor parties and their role in our political system by a press release headed New Conservative – from Strength to Strength.
The announcement of two new board members, David Moffett and Casey Costello, would make New Conservative a serious contender in the 2020 election, chairman Simon Gutschlag declared .
“With the growing success we are seeing, our Board has been keen to add specific skills that will be necessary to take the Party forward towards the next election,” says New Conservative Board Chairman, Simon Gutschlag.
“The 2020 General Election is likely to be the most crucial election in NZ politics for the past 30 years. We will fight for every New Zealander, not just those that support us, and we will do that with a highly skilled, energetic and professional team, dedicated to putting people at the heart of every policy and decision.”
The press statement includes brief notes on both new board members. Continue reading “New Conservatives are refreshed – and optimistic – after winning 0.2% of the party vote in 2017” →
Some people were listening closely to Housing Minister Phil Twyford on RNZ’s Morning Report, when he said he couldn’t guarantee his signature KiwiBuild policy will meet its first deadline – 1000 homes built by July 1.
Twyford’s reluctance to guarantee the target represents a significant backdown for the Minister on the policy to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years.
And right there a good interviewer had material for robust follow-up questioning.
But RNZ’s Guyon Espiner, the Morning Report co-host, turned a failure to guarantee the target would be met into an assertion the target had been abandoned – an assertion he repeated even when the hapless Twyford insisted he hadn’t abandoned it.
This was a distortion of the sort that spawns fake news.
Continue reading “It’s highly unlikely the first KiwiBuild target will be met – but this doesn’t mean it has been abandoned” →
Whether congratulations are in order is a moot point, but today a Minister of the Crown triggered the Point of Order Trough Monitor for the first time this year.
The Minister was Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, who not only has tapped into several million dollars of taxpayers’ money – she has also brayed about it:
Low emission transport will receive a record boost totalling more than $11 million, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced today.
Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours” →