Adoration of the PM is a strong card for Labour but polls are pointing to a close-run election

NZ   politicians  have  been  quiet  over the   holiday season,  perhaps  in the case  of   the  Labour team, reflecting  on the  “year of  delivery”  and where  it all  went  wrong.

But  now  we  are  into a new decade (one  authority has already labelled it  “the roaring 2020s”)  and New Zealand cannot stay  isolated in  some sort of  cocoon, no matter how  much  this may be desired.

Even   those politicians  who have succeeded  in finding a  peaceful  beach on which to  sun themselves  will  be  formulating the strategies  they hope will  work for  them  in election year.

Many  on the  Labour side  of the  fence   believe   Jacinda  Ardern  has a fan base    strong enough to  carry  the coalition to a  second term.   Here at   Point of  Order,   we have  encountered  sufficient adoration within  that  fan base  to  consider  that  they  will stay   loyal  when they  cast  their ballots.

And  she   is  regarded  as  one of the  most admired world leaders,  isn’t  she?

But  as  elections elsewhere have  shown,  particularly   in the UK  but also  in   Australia, constituencies  which have  never   deviated   from being  rock-solid  Labour  for  decades can turn decisively  away  from the party. Continue reading “Adoration of the PM is a strong card for Labour but polls are pointing to a close-run election”

Update on the undermining of literacy – no honours for writers and the rundown of libraries

A pre-Christmas post headed New library boasts admirable resources – but don’t expect to find too many books raised concerns for Point of Order readers about New Zealanders’ reading habits and the rundown of public  libraries.

We quoted  Lloyd Jones, writing on The Spinoff news website about his first visit to the new library in Christchurch.  He said it has a “wonderful sound recording studio”, a sewing room and a  3D printer – but he found the books “herded into an area barely more generous than the space on the ground-floor allocated to teenagers and video games”.

Wellington’s central city library, closed as an earthquake risk in March last year, used to hold 380,000 books and have 3000 visitors, including 500 children, a day.

There is no schedule for reopening it or replacing it, but if that happens new mayor Andy Foster told the Dominion Post (Dec 4) he would like it to have “creative spots and activities such as Lego and 3D printing”.

Jones disagreed with Victoria University’s professor of library information and management studies, Anne Goulding, who said libraries were moving away from being storage places for books and “transactions to building relationships in the community”.

“A library is where people go to read,” Jones said. “A library is where they may borrow a book. A library is one of the most honourable and civic institutions that a community can accommodate and offer to its young.” Continue reading “Update on the undermining of literacy – no honours for writers and the rundown of libraries”

Too many tourists and cows – but sustainable management policies will treat them (and culling) differently

Concerns throughout the country about tourism and its adverse impacts – crowded towns, clogged roads, dangerous drivers, filthy freedom campers, congested trails – were examined by Mike White in Noted in August. He asked if we need to limit the number of tourists coming here, a question supported by the statistics he produced.

A hundred years ago, 8000 overseas visitors came here (each year, presumably).

By the early 1960s, that had risen to 100,000; then 500,000 in the 1980s. Through the 1990s, international tourist numbers rocketed by 85% to 1.8 million. There were static years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, but recently things have boomed again. Encouraged by cheaper jet fuel, more airlines flying here, and the middle classes of China and India beginning to travel, there has been a 40% growth in overseas visitors in the past five years, to 3.9 million a year at present. That’s predicted to expand to 5.1 million by 2025. Nobody is suggesting the growth will stop there.

White acknowledged that tourism is our biggest earner, reaping $39 billion last year ($16 billion from overseas tourists – 20% of our exports – and $23 billion from Kiwis holidaying at home). More than 200,000 people are directly employed in tourism, about 8% of the workforce.

It’s unquestionably a cornerstone of the country’s economy.

But as with dairying, the backbone of the country’s economy, there is a down side. Continue reading “Too many tourists and cows – but sustainable management policies will treat them (and culling) differently”

Our taxes are to be used to look for gold, reduce waste, restore wetlands and help businesses hurt by a rahui

Oh dear.  A former Green MP has been ired by the government’s decision to lend $13 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to a gold mining project under DOC land on the West Coast.

Now the chairperson of Coromandel Watchdog, Catherine Delahunty said she and her group are appalled that the PGF

” … is being used to subsidise a dinosaur industry at Reefton.

“The old Blackwater Mine at Reefton cost the Government $3 million to clean up and now they are being funded to create more toxic waste.”

“ What is worse is that the proposal is to mine under DOC land .”

We can find no record of Delahunty’s reaction to Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage’s announcements of government handouts for environmental projects.  Continue reading “Our taxes are to be used to look for gold, reduce waste, restore wetlands and help businesses hurt by a rahui”

Faafoi’s folly – his confession to saying dumb things should put focus on his portfolio and the future of fuel prices

Back  in  September,  when the  NZ  Herald  issued  its   supplement  “Mood of  the  Boardroom”,  Commerce  Minister  Kris Faafoi  featured as the  politician who most impressed  top  chief  executives  on ministerial  performance.

The newspaper  reported  it  was the first  time  in the history of the Mood of the Boardroom  survey  that a  minister  ranked towards the tail-end of Cabinet (at  17th) and who  had  been in the position only since   January, had substantially  outranked  his  colleagues.

Faafoi  headed not only the PM, Jacinda  Ardern,  and  deputy PM  Winston  Peters,  but other senior ministers  Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and  David Parker.

Really?

Last week  Faafoi  was  engaged in a  rather  different  exercise, receiving  what he  described  as  a  “stern talking to”  from the  Prime  Minister after  it  was disclosed   he had promised to “speed things up” in an immigration case for Opshop singer Jason Kerrison. Continue reading “Faafoi’s folly – his confession to saying dumb things should put focus on his portfolio and the future of fuel prices”

If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood

Newspaper staff were among those to express dismay and fury during the frenzy of denunciations that followed publication of an ill-considered cartoon about Samoa and the measles epidemic.

The Spinoff recorded their reactions under the heading ODT cartoonist infuriates his colleagues with Sāmoa measles epidemic ‘joke’.

It also reproduced the highly controversial cartoon (just in case readers didn’t know what the fuss was about?) while reporting:

An Otago Daily Times cartoonist who saw humour in the deadly Samoan measles epidemic has found himself at odds with both colleagues and his editors.

As most if not all other media have done, it proceeded to repeat the joke:  a Garrick Tremain cartoon in the ODT depicted two women leaving a travel agency. One asked the other what the “least popular spots” to visit right now were, and the other responded with “the ones people are picking up in Samoa.” Continue reading “If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood”

Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning

Dave Hansford, a science and environment writer, sensed the same whiff of rat that was niggling our olfactory senses at Point of Order the other day.  He proceeded to investigate and reporteds his findings in an item, Dead rats, a mystery lab, and the very curious antics of the anti-1080 lobby, which was published on The Spinoff.

The whiff followed the release by an anti-1080 lobby of “lab tests” which – the group contended – found poison in vermin that washed up in Westport last month.

This directly contradicted the findings of Landcare Research, which had tested carcasses for 1080 and found none. (In necropsies, Massey University was unable to establish a cause of death).

Hansford set out see if the lobby’s claims stand up to scrutiny.

He failed to flush out the identity of the laboratory which did the testing: Continue reading “Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning”