Word of the day

February 3, 2013

Empyrean – belonging to or deriving from heaven; he highest reaches of heaven; the sky.


Rural round-up

February 3, 2013

Basting a chop won’t make a steak – Chalkie:

Poor old Red Meat. There she is, best frock on, hair done, smiling with her eyes and showing a bit of leg, only to find that tarty dairy cow getting all the attention.

Dairy co-op Fonterra teased investors for years before finally letting them on to third base late last year, with explosive results. Units in its Shareholders Fund quickly shot up to well over $7 after being issued at $5.50 a mere two months ago.

Meat co-op Silver Fern Farms, on the other hand, is still working the street corner.

After a reform of its capital structure in 2009, ordinary shares in Silver Fern became tradeable by any Tom, Dick and Harry on the unlisted market, but they have not been pursued with any passion. . .

NZ meats on Singapore menu -

New Zealand beef, lamb and, most likely venison, are on the menu at the Lone Star’s first overseas restaurant in a top waterfront precinct in Singapore.

The meat, branded Pure South, is being supplied by meat processor and exporter Alliance Group to the Fern & Kiwi restaurant, an offshoot of the Lone Star bar and restaurant chain.

A New Zealand-themed menu was worked out by consultant chef Mathew Metcalfe, who has cooked for the late Steve Jobs and leading Hollywood figures.

The meat range will come from farms across the country and processed at Alliance’s Group’s eight plants. . .

Carter laments stubborn attitudes – Jon Morgan:

Outgoing Minister for Primary Industries David Carter reels off a long list of what he calls “a good number” of achievements during his four years in office, but at the end of it he has to admit to a few lows as well.

The intransigent wool and meat industries have both defeated him, as they have ministers before him.

It obviously frustrates him. He puts it down to warring personalities in leading roles and the farmers’ apathy that lets this continue. . .

NZ wool floors show crowds - Tim Cronshaw:

The reaction of customers to Wools of New Zealand’s (WNZ) carpet wool at the world’s largest flooring show has reinforced to its leaders they are on the right track with capital raising a minimum of $5 million.

A share offer to commercialise WNZ into a sales and marketing company was extended to February 25 after the capital raising reached more than $4.1m last year from 500-plus strong wool farmers committing 12 million kilograms of annual wool production.

WNZ chairman Mark Shadbolt said growing interest by spinners and manufacturers in WNZ carpet ranges at the world’s largest flooring trade show, Domotex, this month had been encouraging. The trade show was attended by 40,000-plus visitors. . .

Safety shake-up call – Gerald Piddock:

Farmers are going to have to make health and safety a normal part of running their business if the number of on-farm accidents is to be cut.

Some farmers struggle to give health and safety the same amount of attention as they do to stock health or pasture management, industry-good Farmsafe national manager Grant Hadfield says.

“It’s considered a bit of an ogre. It shouldn’t be because it’s pretty easy to put systems in place.” . . .

Plaudits for irrigation policy - Gerald Piddock:

The Government’s decision to become a minority investor in irrigation schemes will ensure those projects get off the ground, say farmers with close ties to irrigation schemes in South Canterbury.

The Government announced last week that it would establish a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development.

The yet-to-be-named company would take minority stakes in water projects with a long-term goal of getting out and leaving the projects to the private sector. . .

Submitters discuss Tarras irrigation scheme – Jessica Maddock:

There was passionate opposition to an Otago Regional Council proposal to invest in a $39 million Tarras irrigation scheme at a hearing yesterday, with submitters saying it would be using ratepayer money to benefit only a few.

The council is considering buying $3.5m of redeemable preference shares. It would also pay up to $500,000 annually for five years, toward the fixed costs.

Tarras Water is planning the scheme to benefit 40 families, by taking up to 73.6 million cubic metres a year from the Clutha River to irrigate about 6000 hectares.

Nearly 70 people lodged a submission on the investment proposal, with the majority in opposition.

Eleven submitters spoke at a hearing in Cromwell yesterday, before four council members. Eight opposed the proposal and three supported it. The first day of the two-day hearing was in Dunedin on Thursday. . .


NZ 8th in world for media freedom

February 3, 2013

New Zealand has moved from 13th place to eighth for media freedom in a table complied by Reporters Without Borders.

 . . .The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway. Although many criteria are considered, ranging from legislation to violence against journalists, democratic countries occupy the top of the index while dictatorial countries occupy the last three positions. Again it is the same three as last year – Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

 

“The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “In dictatorships, news providers and their families are exposed to ruthless reprisals, while in democracies news providers have to cope with the media’s economic crises and conflicts of interest. While their situation is not always comparable, we should pay tribute to all those who resist pressure whether it is aggressively focused or diffuse.” . . .

Rank Country Note Differential
1 Finland 6,38 0 (1)
2 Netherlands 6,48 +1 (3)
3 Norway 6,52 -2 (1)
4 Luxembourg 6,68 +2 (6)
5 Andorra 6,82 -
6 Denmark 7,08 +4 (10)
7 Liechtenstein 7,35 -
8 New Zealand 8,38 +5 (13)
9 Iceland 8,49 -3 (6)
10 Sweden 9,23 +2 (12)
11 Estonia 9,26 -8 (3)
12 Austria 9,40 -7 (5)
13 Jamaica 9,88 +3 (16)
14 Switzerland 9,94 -6 (8)
15 Ireland 10,06 0 (15)
16 Czech Republic 10,17 -2 (14)
17 Germany 10,24 -1 (16)
18 Costa Rica 12,08 +1 (19)
19 Namibia 12,50 +1 (20)
20 Canada 12,69 -10 (10)
21 Belgium 12,94 -1 (20)
22 Poland 13,11 +2 (24)
23 Slovakia 13,25 +2 (25)
24 Cyprus 13,83 -8 (16)
25 Cape Verde 14,33 -16 (9)
26 Australia 15,24 +4 (30)
27 Uruguay 15,92 +5 (32)
28 Portugal 16,75 +5 (33)
29 United Kingdom 16,89 -1 (28)
30 Ghana 17,27 +11 (41)
31 Suriname 18,19 -9 (22)
32 United States 18,22 +15 (47)
33 Lithuania 18,24 -3 (30)
34 OECS 19,72 -9 (25)
35 Slovenia 20,49 +1 (36)
36 Spain 20,50 +3 (39)
37 France 21,60 +1 (38)
38 El Salvador 22,86 -1 (37)
39 Latvia 22,89 +11 (50)
40 Botswana 22,91 +2 (42)
41 Papua New Guinea 22,97 -6 (35)
42 Romania 23,05 +5 (47)
43 Niger 23,08 -14 (29)
44 Trinidad and Tobago 23,12 +6 (50)
45 Malta 23,30 +13 (58)
46 Burkina Faso 23,70 +22 (68)
47 Taiwan 23,82 -2 (45)
48 Samoa 23,84 +6 (54)
49 Haiti 24,09 +3 (52)
50 South Korea 24,48 -6 (44)
51 Comoros 24,52 -6 (45)
52 South Africa 24,56 -10 (42)
53 Japan 25,17 -31 (22)
54 Argentina 25,67 -7 (47)
55 Moldova 26,01 -2 (53)
56 Hungary 26,09 -16 (40)
57 Italy 26,11 +4 (61)
58 Hong Kong 26,16 -4 (54)
59 Senegal 26,19 +16 (75)
60 Chile 26,24 +20 (80)
61 Sierra Leone 26,35 +2 (63)
62 Mauritius 26,47 -8 (54)
63 Serbia 26,59 +17 (80)
64 Croatia 26,61 +4 (68)
65 Central African Republic 26,61 -3 (62)
66 Tonga 26,70 -3 (63)
67 Mauritania 26,76 0 (67)
68 Bosnia and Herzegovina 26,86 -10 (58)
69 Guyana 27,08 -11 (58)
70 Tanzania 27,34 -36 (34)
71 Kenya 27,80 +13 (84)
72 Zambia 27,93 +14 (86)
73 Mozambique 28,01 -7 (66)
74 Armenia 28,04 +3 (77)
75 Malawi 28,18 +71 (146)
76 Republic of the Congo 28,20 +14 (90)
77 Kuwait 28,28 +1 (78)
78 Nicaragua 28,31 -6 (72)
79 Benin 28,33 +12 (91)
80 Dominican Republic 28,34 +15 (95)
81 Lesotho 28,36 -18 (63)
82 Bhutan 28,42 -12 (70)
83 Togo 28,45 -4 (79)
84 Greece 28,46 -14 (70)
85 Kosovo 28,47 +1 (86)
86 Guinea 28,49 0 (86)
87 Bulgaria 28,58 -7 (80)
88 Madagascar 28,62 -4 (84)
89 Gabon 28,69 +12 (101)
90 East Timor 28,72 -4 (86)
91 Paraguay 28,78 -11 (80)
92 Guinea-Bissau 28,94 -17 (75)
93 Seychelles 29,19 -20 (73)
94 Northern Cyprus 29,34 +8 (102)
95 Guatemala 29,39 +2 (97)
96 Ivory Coast 29,77 +63 (159)
97 Liberia 29,89 +13 (110)
98 Mongolia 29,93 +2 (100)
99 Mali 30,03 -74 (25)
100 Georgia 30,09 +4 (104)
101 Lebanon 30,15 -8 (93)
102 Albania 30,88 -6 (96)
103 Maldives 31,10 -30 (73)
104 Uganda 31,69 +35 (139)
105 Peru 31,87 +10 (115)
106 Kyrgyzstan 32,20 +2 (108)
107 Fiji 32,69 +10 (117)
108 Brazil 32,75 -9 (99)
109 Bolivia 32,80 -1 (108)
110 Qatar 32,86 +4 (114)
111 Panama 32,95 +2 (113)
112 Israel 32,97 -20 (92)
113 Montenegro 32,97 -6 (107)
114 United Arab Emirates 33,49 -2 (112)
115 Nigeria 34,11 +11 (126)
116 Republic of Macedonia 34,27 -22 (94)
117 Venezuela 34,44 0 (117)
118 Nepal 34,61 -12 (106)
119 Ecuador 34,69 -15 (104)
120 Cameroon 34,78 -23 (97)
121 Chad 34,87 -18 (103)
122 Brunei 35,45 +3 (125)
123 Tajikistan 35,71 -1 (122)
124 South Sudan 36,20 -13 (111)
125 Algeria 36,54 -3 (122)
126 Ukraine 36,79 -10 (116)
127 Honduras 36,92 +8 (135)
128 Afghanistan 37,36 +22 (150)
129 Colombia 37,48 +14 (143)
130 Angola 37,80 +2 (132)
131 Libya 37,86 +23 (154)
132 Burundi 38,02 -2 (130)
133 Zimbabwe 38,12 -16 (117)
134 Jordan 38,47 -6 (128)
135 Thailand 38,60 +2 (137)
136 Morocco 39,04 +2 (138)
137 Ethiopia 39,57 -10 (127)
138 Tunisia 39,93 -4 (134)
139 Indonesia 41,05 +7 (146)
140 India 41,22 -9 (131)
141 Oman 41,51 -24 (117)
142 DR Congo 41,66 +3 (145)
143 Cambodia 41,81 -26 (117)
144 Bangladesh 42,01 -15 (129)
145 Malaysia 42,73 -23 (122)
146 Palestine 43,09 +7 (153)
147 Philippines 43,11 -7 (140)
148 Russia 43,42 -6 (142)
149 Singapore 43,43 -14 (135)
150 Iraq 44,67 +2 (152)
151 Burma 44,71 +18 (169)
152 Gambia 45,09 -11 (141)
153 Mexico 45,30 -4 (149)
154 Turkey 46,56 -6 (148)
155 Swaziland 46,76 -11 (144)
156 Azerbaijan 47,73 +6 (162)
157 Belarus 48,35 +11 (168)
158 Egypt 48,66 +8 (166)
159 Pakistan 51,31 -8 (151)
160 Kazakhstan 55,08 -6 (154)
161 Rwanda 55,46 -5 (156)
162 Sri Lanka 56,59 +1 (163)
163 Saudi Arabia 56,88 -5 (158)
164 Uzbekistan 60,39 -7 (157)
165 Bahrain 62,75 +8 (173)
166 Equatorial Guinea 67,20 -5 (161)
167 Djibouti 67,40 -8 (159)
168 Laos 67,99 -3 (165)
169 Yemen 69,22 +2 (171)
170 Sudan 70,06 0 (170)
171 Cuba 71,64 -4 (167)
172 Vietnam 71,78 0 (172)
173 China 73,07 +1 (174)
174 Iran 73,40 +1 (175)
175 Somalia 73,59 -11 (164)
176 Syria 78,53 0 (176)
177 Turkmenistan 79,14 0 (177)
178 North Korea 83,90 0 (178)
179 Eritrea 84,83 0 (179)

School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing lecturer Dr Cathy Strong describes New Zealand’s improved ranking as “good news” though she still urges vigilance.

Dr Strong, who, re-joined the University last year after three years teaching multi-media journalism in Dubai, says the ranking is well above the USA ranked 32nd, the UK ranked 29th and Australia ranked 26th.

“It is a case of use it or lose it. My experience working in the Middle East made it clear that many people don’t even know the concept of free media, so New Zealand should not be blasé about the treasure it has.” . . .

Dr Strong says New Zealand should be proud that it continually guards the right of journalists to have access to public information, especially as it is the public’s taxes that pay for the generation of this information.

“Every time someone uses the Official information Act to compel a local authority or government department to release facts and figures, it is another step to ensure media freedom.”

Upholding freedom for bloggers and social media is a “vexing problem” she says, as they should have freedom, but like journalists, they should exercise it with a sense of social responsibility. . .

The right to express views and disseminate information electronically carries with it the responsibility to do so fairly and honestly.

Rank Country Note Differential
1 Finland 6,38 0 (1)
2 Netherlands 6,48 +1 (3)
3 Norway 6,52 -2 (1)
4 Luxembourg 6,68 +2 (6)
5 Andorra 6,82 -
6 Denmark 7,08 +4 (10)
7 Liechtenstein 7,35 -
8 New Zealand 8,38 +5 (13)
9 Iceland 8,49 -3 (6)
10 Sweden 9,23 +2 (12)
11 Estonia 9,26 -8 (3)
12 Austria 9,40 -7 (5)
13 Jamaica 9,88 +3 (16)
14 Switzerland 9,94 -6 (8)
15 Ireland 10,06 0 (15)
16 Czech Republic 10,17 -2 (14)
17 Germany 10,24 -1 (16)
18 Costa Rica 12,08 +1 (19)
19 Namibia 12,50 +1 (20)
20 Canada 12,69 -10 (10)
21 Belgium 12,94 -1 (20)
22 Poland 13,11 +2 (24)
23 Slovakia 13,25 +2 (25)
24 Cyprus 13,83 -8 (16)
25 Cape Verde 14,33 -16 (9)
26 Australia 15,24 +4 (30)
27 Uruguay 15,92 +5 (32)
28 Portugal 16,75 +5 (33)
29 United Kingdom 16,89 -1 (28)
30 Ghana 17,27 +11 (41)
31 Suriname 18,19 -9 (22)
32 United States 18,22 +15 (47)
33 Lithuania 18,24 -3 (30)
34 OECS 19,72 -9 (25)
35 Slovenia 20,49 +1 (36)
36 Spain 20,50 +3 (39)
37 France 21,60 +1 (38)
38 El Salvador 22,86 -1 (37)
39 Latvia 22,89 +11 (50)
40 Botswana 22,91 +2 (42)
41 Papua New Guinea 22,97 -6 (35)
42 Romania 23,05 +5 (47)
43 Niger 23,08 -14 (29)
44 Trinidad and Tobago 23,12 +6 (50)
45 Malta 23,30 +13 (58)
46 Burkina Faso 23,70 +22 (68)
47 Taiwan 23,82 -2 (45)
48 Samoa 23,84 +6 (54)
49 Haiti 24,09 +3 (52)
50 South Korea 24,48 -6 (44)
51 Comoros 24,52 -6 (45)
52 South Africa 24,56 -10 (42)
53 Japan 25,17 -31 (22)
54 Argentina 25,67 -7 (47)
55 Moldova 26,01 -2 (53)
56 Hungary 26,09 -16 (40)
57 Italy 26,11 +4 (61)
58 Hong Kong 26,16 -4 (54)
59 Senegal 26,19 +16 (75)
60 Chile 26,24 +20 (80)
61 Sierra Leone 26,35 +2 (63)
62 Mauritius 26,47 -8 (54)
63 Serbia 26,59 +17 (80)
64 Croatia 26,61 +4 (68)
65 Central African Republic 26,61 -3 (62)
66 Tonga 26,70 -3 (63)
67 Mauritania 26,76 0 (67)
68 Bosnia and Herzegovina 26,86 -10 (58)
69 Guyana 27,08 -11 (58)
70 Tanzania 27,34 -36 (34)
71 Kenya 27,80 +13 (84)
72 Zambia 27,93 +14 (86)
73 Mozambique 28,01 -7 (66)
74 Armenia 28,04 +3 (77)
75 Malawi 28,18 +71 (146)
76 Republic of the Congo 28,20 +14 (90)
77 Kuwait 28,28 +1 (78)
78 Nicaragua 28,31 -6 (72)
79 Benin 28,33 +12 (91)
80 Dominican Republic 28,34 +15 (95)
81 Lesotho 28,36 -18 (63)
82 Bhutan 28,42 -12 (70)
83 Togo 28,45 -4 (79)
84 Greece 28,46 -14 (70)
85 Kosovo 28,47 +1 (86)
86 Guinea 28,49 0 (86)
87 Bulgaria 28,58 -7 (80)
88 Madagascar 28,62 -4 (84)
89 Gabon 28,69 +12 (101)
90 East Timor 28,72 -4 (86)
91 Paraguay 28,78 -11 (80)
92 Guinea-Bissau 28,94 -17 (75)
93 Seychelles 29,19 -20 (73)
94 Northern Cyprus 29,34 +8 (102)
95 Guatemala 29,39 +2 (97)
96 Ivory Coast 29,77 +63 (159)
97 Liberia 29,89 +13 (110)
98 Mongolia 29,93 +2 (100)
99 Mali 30,03 -74 (25)
100 Georgia 30,09 +4 (104)
101 Lebanon 30,15 -8 (93)
102 Albania 30,88 -6 (96)
103 Maldives 31,10 -30 (73)
104 Uganda 31,69 +35 (139)
105 Peru 31,87 +10 (115)
106 Kyrgyzstan 32,20 +2 (108)
107 Fiji 32,69 +10 (117)
108 Brazil 32,75 -9 (99)
109 Bolivia 32,80 -1 (108)
110 Qatar 32,86 +4 (114)
111 Panama 32,95 +2 (113)
112 Israel 32,97 -20 (92)
113 Montenegro 32,97 -6 (107)
114 United Arab Emirates 33,49 -2 (112)
115 Nigeria 34,11 +11 (126)
116 Republic of Macedonia 34,27 -22 (94)
117 Venezuela 34,44 0 (117)
118 Nepal 34,61 -12 (106)
119 Ecuador 34,69 -15 (104)
120 Cameroon 34,78 -23 (97)
121 Chad 34,87 -18 (103)
122 Brunei 35,45 +3 (125)
123 Tajikistan 35,71 -1 (122)
124 South Sudan 36,20 -13 (111)
125 Algeria 36,54 -3 (122)
126 Ukraine 36,79 -10 (116)
127 Honduras 36,92 +8 (135)
128 Afghanistan 37,36 +22 (150)
129 Colombia 37,48 +14 (143)
130 Angola 37,80 +2 (132)
131 Libya 37,86 +23 (154)
132 Burundi 38,02 -2 (130)
133 Zimbabwe 38,12 -16 (117)
134 Jordan 38,47 -6 (128)
135 Thailand 38,60 +2 (137)
136 Morocco 39,04 +2 (138)
137 Ethiopia 39,57 -10 (127)
138 Tunisia 39,93 -4 (134)
139 Indonesia 41,05 +7 (146)
140 India 41,22 -9 (131)
141 Oman 41,51 -24 (117)
142 DR Congo 41,66 +3 (145)
143 Cambodia 41,81 -26 (117)
144 Bangladesh 42,01 -15 (129)
145 Malaysia 42,73 -23 (122)
146 Palestine 43,09 +7 (153)
147 Philippines 43,11 -7 (140)
148 Russia 43,42 -6 (142)
149 Singapore 43,43 -14 (135)
150 Iraq 44,67 +2 (152)
151 Burma 44,71 +18 (169)
152 Gambia 45,09 -11 (141)
153 Mexico 45,30 -4 (149)
154 Turkey 46,56 -6 (148)
155 Swaziland 46,76 -11 (144)
156 Azerbaijan 47,73 +6 (162)
157 Belarus 48,35 +11 (168)
158 Egypt 48,66 +8 (166)
159 Pakistan 51,31 -8 (151)
160 Kazakhstan 55,08 -6 (154)
161 Rwanda 55,46 -5 (156)
162 Sri Lanka 56,59 +1 (163)
163 Saudi Arabia 56,88 -5 (158)
164 Uzbekistan 60,39 -7 (157)
165 Bahrain 62,75 +8 (173)
166 Equatorial Guinea 67,20 -5 (161)
167 Djibouti 67,40 -8 (159)
168 Laos 67,99 -3 (165)
169 Yemen 69,22 +2 (171)
170 Sudan 70,06 0 (170)
171 Cuba 71,64 -4 (167)
172 Vietnam 71,78 0 (172)
173 China 73,07 +1 (174)
174 Iran 73,40 +1 (175)
175 Somalia 73,59 -11 (164)
176 Syria 78,53 0 (176)
177 Turkmenistan 79,14 0 (177)
178 North Korea 83,90 0 (178)
179 Eritrea 84,83 0 (179)

Sportsmanship

February 3, 2013

Any news of cheating or poor sportsmanship travels quickly.

This story of good sportsmanship and the honesty of a long distance runner is only getting traction through social media more than two months after it happened:

. . . on December 2, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

“I didn’t deserve to win it,” says 24-year-old Fernández Anaya. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” . . .

Isn’t it heart warming to know that winning at all costs isn’t what counts and doing the right thing still matters?

 


$NZ slightly under-valued on Big Mac Index

February 3, 2013

The value of the New Zealand dollar is making business more difficult for exporters.

Government critics say it is too high, and the government should do something.

But is it too high?

The Economist’s Big Mac Index doesn’t think so.

The Index compares the cost of McDonald’s signature burger in the US to its price in other countries.

If a Big Mac costs more in your country than the US, your currency is overvalued. A cheaper burger indicates its undervalued.

“It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries,” the publication explains.

The Economist reports a Big Mac costs $US4.37 in the US and $US4.32 in NZ – meaning the Kiwi is just 1% undervalued, and one of only a handful of surveyed currencies that is fairly valued. . .

Those saying the dollar is over-valued have yet to come up with a definitive answer to the question of what the right value should be.

They also ignore the benefits of a higher dollar –  imports are less expensive and interest rates lower.

People who are unhappy with the higher dollar would almost certainly be just as unhappy with higher prices for fuel, medicines, machinery  . . . and higher interest rates.


Shearer wants hands-on our money

February 3, 2013

David Shearer is trying to convince us we’d be better with a more hands-on government.

What he means is he wants his hands on more of our money to redistribute in ways that will help some at the cost of many.

The some he helps won’t necessarily be those in need and the many it costs won’t only be those who can afford it.

He doesn’t back up his desire for a more hands-on approach with facts, possibly because, the facts wouldn’t back him up.

Hands-on economies are struggling and countries which have weathered the global financial crisis better, are those which have a less hands-on approach.

The countries that best weathered the crisis were exactly those that have followed the so-called neoliberal agenda.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the world’s six freest economies are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada (see table).

These six have avoided anything like the deep and prolonged recessions of more interventionist countries.

The IMF continues to forecast higher growth for the six than for countries further down the freedom list.

Even more important, both unemployment and youth unemployment are lower in the more free-market economies.

“Hand’s-on” countries like Sweden seem unable to design an economic system that avoids a quarter of their young people being unemployed.  In the six freest economies, youth unemployment is half socialist Europe’s. . . 

New Zealand’s youth unemployment is higher than it was because of a left-wing hands-on approach, the removal of the youth wage.

. . . Still, Mr Shearer has done us a favour by launching a “hands-on / hands-off” debate.

It highlights the risks of departing from successful free-market economics towards the kind of EU-style interventionism first begun by Jim Anderton and continued ever since.

We have  clear choice.

There’s the hands-on our money approach of David Shearerpisos and Labour’s potential coalition partners.

Or the more moderate approach of National and its allies which prefer to address the barriers to growth and employment then allow people to get on with their lives and businesses.


Sunday soapbox

February 3, 2013

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.


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