Businesses seem gloomy but health-sector companies are in good heart

The PM, Jacinda Ardern, received what her handlers would have perceived  as  unexpected  criticism  from the  media   after   she gave  a pre-budget speech to an Auckland business  audience.  One of those  in the  audience  was   said to  have   described   it  as  an   “ideological fairytale”;  others   apparently  were  disappointed   it had  “nothing for business”.   

Given   she  did list  as   two of the five priorities  in the budget as   being “creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy; and supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities”,  the criticism itself  could be  regarded as  a    bit  “ideological”.

Surely   business  doesn’t  expect   government hand-outs,  even if  it  is labeled  a  “well-being”  budget?

But  there   seems  little   doubt    that   the   mood of  business  is downhearted   these  days.

Or is it  really?  Continue reading “Businesses seem gloomy but health-sector companies are in good heart”

Muzzling the hate messengers seems easy enough (but not for legislators bound by the US constitution)

Let’s make it clear: Point of Order is not serving as a proselytiser for the United States, when we observe the constraints under which the US operates through its constitution which dates from September 1787.  Reflect on our earlier posting on gun laws.

By way of diversion, this is an example of why NZ might avoid the tendentious enthusiasm for a written NZ constitution from the likes of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a short-term former prime minister.

The hands of the US are tied securely by the founding document.  Imagine the Treaty of Waitangi being capable of amendment. Continue reading “Muzzling the hate messengers seems easy enough (but not for legislators bound by the US constitution)”

Ardern took aim at American gun laws – but the US Constitution explains why she misfired

So PM Jacinda Ardern doesn’t understand  why the United States can’t change its gun laws.  Homework, someone?  The right to carry weapons is enshrined in the US Constitution.

The Second Amendment to the constitution states:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This has been fought over for more than a century, up to the Supreme Court and within the 50 states which make up the US.   Individual states have similar provisions. Continue reading “Ardern took aim at American gun laws – but the US Constitution explains why she misfired”

No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit

The ranks of world leaders who will attend the summit in Paris on Wednesday next week to grapple with hate  speech and social media are looking somewhat thin.

Called by PM Jacinda Ardern and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, the conference is billed as seeing “world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate  terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Both leaders say the two nations will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Problem is, few world leaders seem eager to attend. At a recent count there might be five or six including Jordan and Indonesia. Continue reading “No great rush among global leaders to pitch in on ‘hate speech’ at Paris summit”

Spark will be cheered by endorsement of UK’s handling of the Huawei spying threat

New Zealand  may  have been  presented with  a  model  to  follow  in  dealing  with the Chinese giant technology  firm  Huawei.  According to London’s  “The Economist”  Britain has struck an artful compromise on Huawei and 5G, even though many Americans and other friends of Britain will be appalled by its decision and fear the country is being naive and toadying up to China..

But, in an editorial, The Economist reckons  the UK’s  measured approach to dealing with the controversial Chinese firm is a model for other countries.

Britain’s decision matters: it is a member of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing alliance led by America, and was one of the first Western economies in which Huawei built a presence. Britain also has experience of electronic spying and knows Huawei well.

“Far from being a betrayal, Britain’s approach, of using the firm’s gear on the edges of 5G networks, under close supervision, offers a sensible framework for limited commercial engagement while protecting Britain’s security and that of its allies.” Continue reading “Spark will be cheered by endorsement of UK’s handling of the Huawei spying threat”

Another step to building a modern economy – but an upgraded FTA with China would be welcome, too

Trade and  Export  Growth Minister  David  Parker  returned   to  NZ   on  Saturday  after  what his  PR  flaks   described  as  a  “successful”  official  visit to  China.

So  Point of Order  went  looking  for  the  success.  And yes, he has had  talks with his  ministerial  counterparts  in the trade and  environment  portfolios.

This, according to the press release issued in his name, constituted  “ yet another step  in this government’s  work to  deliver a  modern, sustainable economy  for   New Zealanders”.  

Wow. And no doubt our wellbeing will be lifted, too. Continue reading “Another step to building a modern economy – but an upgraded FTA with China would be welcome, too”

No, we don’t expect perfection from the Govt – but a considerable advance would be welcome

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, back  in   January, told the Labour caucus 2019 would be a year of “delivery” for the government.

Ardern then said 2018 had been a year where the government had set up the “infrastructure” for serious change and pumped money into health and education. 2019, by contrast, would be more focused on delivery.

And, yes,   she has  delivered:  a  huge backdown  on  a capital  gains tax.

And yes, a  stunning  failure  on its  Kiwibuild  programme.

Yet  commentators  see the CGT outcome  as  something of  a  political coup. Continue reading “No, we don’t expect perfection from the Govt – but a considerable advance would be welcome”