Economic policy crucial for election

September 30, 2013

For all the sideshows and media circuses around particular policies, people and events, when it comes to elections what really matters most to most voters are the economy, education, health, welfare and security.

The ability to make significant progress in the last three depends on the first.

The economy really does matter most and, as Rob Hosking points out in the print edition of the NBR (not online), economic policy will be crucial in the election and that’s an area of tension for the opposition.

While attention has been on likely tensions between Labour and the Greens, there are also tensions within Labour – tensions between those who kind of get the importance of economic growth and those for whom it is more an academic exercise.

This group is never exactly anti-economic growth; they just view the policies required to produce that growth with a degree of disdain and, by and large, they would rather talk about climate change and taxing things more.

And Mr Parker is definitely from this wing of Labour.

With a preference for talking about climate change and taxing more, that wing has a lot in common with the Greens.

The phalanx of economic spokesperson-ships Mr Cunliffe announced on Monday is not, if labour were to form a government, just there to form a human shield around Beehive photocopiers so Russel Norman doesn’t go berserk with the currency.

It is also to balance out Labour’s own tensions.

A party with internal tensions over economic policy isn’t one best placed to run the economy.

Against this, National will have the known quantity of Mr English, who should be able to offer a return to surplus and, no doubt some election sweeteners (probably on savings and investment policy) and a track record of having got through the worst economic crisis since the 1930s in what is actually quite remarkably good shape.

That is going to be as important a match up as the John Key/David Cunliffe battle.

John Key and Bill English against Davids Cunliffe and Parker with Russel Norman wanting a major role too?

That’s sound economic policy that is working against a lurch to the left that has failed every time it’s been tried.


Prevent, reverse and/or prepare?

September 30, 2013

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded there’s a 95% certainty climate change is human-induced.

There are several possible responses to that including work to prevent or reverse it, panic and/or preparing for it.

New Zealand contributes such a tiny amount to global emissions there’s little we can do to prevent or reverse it, but Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said we’re doing our bit:

. . . “New Zealand has been an active participant in the IPCC process. It is important that we contribute as addressing climate change demands collective action, and it keeps our scientists and officials up to date with the latest in climate science. This assists policy development and decision making at home.

As well as making an important contribution to the IPCC scientific process, New Zealand is playing its part to achieve fair and binding international rules around greenhouse gas emissions.

“New Zealand actively participates in international climate change negotiations and supports collective, collaborative action. We recently convened and hosted an informal dialogue to inject some fresh thinking into negotiations to replace the Kyoto Protocol, by the end of 2015.

“New Zealand is committed to doing our fair share without imposing excess costs on households and businesses, while the Government focuses on jobs and strengthening our recovery,” says Mr Groser.

“The Government recently made an unconditional commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to five per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and maintains a conditional commitment to a reduction target range of 10% to 20% below 1990 levels.

“We have implemented the Emissions Trading Scheme, we are making progress towards our 90% renewable electricity target, and have launched the Global Research Alliance, committing $45 million to research ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.”

As well as playing our part in prevention and reversal we need to prepare for the consequences should the forecast effects eventuate.

One way to prepare for the increased heat and droughts which are predicted is irrigation some of which requires water storage.

Federated Farmers vice president William Rolleston has been calling for more water storage systems for some time.

He says the Opuha dam in Canterbury has proven to be effective in times of dry weather, and more opportunities for water storage around the country need to be sought.

Dr Rolleston says the discussion around a proposal by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to build the Ruataniwha dam needs to continue and the dam could be positive for the economy and the environment.

The Ruataniwha dam is controversial, because of concerns it could lead to an intensification of farming, with nutrient run-off potentially proving toxic for the Tukituki River and its fish species.

But Dr Rolleston says climate implications need to be considered.

He says farmers need to prepare, and water storage systems, like the Ruataniwha dam, could help mitigate extremes of climate.

Dr Rolleston says like the Opuha dam, the Ruataniwha dam could prove effective in times of dry weather.

While New Zealand has plenty of water, he says it’s not always in the right place at the right time.

“Certainly in South Canterbury we’ve had the Opuha dam for some years and it’s proven to be a real bonus for both the economy and the environment and we need to be aware that water storage can have a positive effect on both.”

Dr Rolleston says discussions about the Ruataniwha dam need to continue.

Ironically  the people who are most vociferous about climate change and adamant we must do something about it are often the ones who are most vehemently opposed to irrigation and the water storage which enables more of it.

They fail to see the benefits which aren’t just economic but environmental and social too.

Whether or not climate change eventuates as forecast, droughts have always been with us and will continue to occur.

Water storage can insure against that and should be pursued where at all possible, with the necessary safeguards to ensure that increasing the quantity of water available doesn’t compromise the quality.


Which century is he in?

September 30, 2013

Quote of the day:

“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” he told Sabq.

“That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees,” he said.

No specific medical studies were cited to support his arguments. – Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan

He was reacting to a campaign by Saudi women who want to overturn the ban on them driving.


Hooton responds to Cunliffe’s response

September 30, 2013

Last week Matthew Hooton questioned David Cunliffe’s claim he’d exaggerated his role in helping with the formation of Fonterra.

Cunliffe responded with a time sheet from the Boston Consulting Group.

Hooton has now responded to that.

. . . In politics, explaining is losing so in writing all this I have just lost the little public contretemps between me and the likely next prime minister.  I was wrong to call Mr Cunliffe a liar when he said he had “helped with the formation of Fonterra” and consequently apologise to him for using an inaccurate word.

On reflection, I think he genuinely believes that a month’s work in 1997 on the impact on R&D of an early iteration of a failed proposal for dairy industry consolidation is the same as “help[ing] with the formation of Fonterra”, but I do not agree.  Nor would any of the top players in the GlobalCo project.

While I think his claim to have “helped with the formation of Fonterra” is untrue, I accept he believes it and it is good that the likely next prime minister feels such a strong connection with the country’s most important export industry. . .

Of course, this little kerfuffle is hardly the biggest issue facing the nation, and is relevant only because Mr Cunliffe’s Fonterra comments are the same type of self-aggrandisement that gets him into trouble over other issues.  There were his false or exaggerated claims of community work for the Auckland and Wellington City Missions and Forest & Bird, and his claim to have graduated with a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Business School when in fact he earned the degree from the nearly-as-impressive John F. Kennedy School of Government.

It is the same self-aggrandisement his colleagues complain about: that he takes credit for policy work for which he has only peripheral involvement. . . 

This all pretty petty, even to a political tragic, but it does provide an insight into Cunliffe’s character and confirm that less is more with CVs.

It’s safer to stick with the basics. If you’re as good as you think you are it will soon be obvious, and if you’re not, you haven’t tried to convince anyone you are.

The media and political opponents will remember this but what matters now to most others is not what Cunliffe did in the past, and how he portrays it,  but how he performs now and what he plans to do in the future.


September 30 in history

September 30, 2013

1399  Henry IV was proclaimed King of England.

1744  France and Spain defeated the Kingdom of Sardinia at the Battle of Madonna dell’Olmo.

1791  The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, premiered at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.

1791  The National Constituent Assembly in Paris was dissolved; Parisians hailed Maximilien Robespierre and Jérôme Pétion as incorruptible patriots.

1813  Battle of Bárbula: Simón Bolívar defeated Santiago Bobadilla.

1832 Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, American labour activist, was born (d. 1905).

1860 Britain’s first tram service begins in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

1882  The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

1888  Jack the Ripper killed his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

1895  Madagascar became a French protectorate.

1901 Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.

1903  The new Gresham’s School was officially opened by Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood.

1906  The Real Academia Galega, Galician language’s biggest linguistic authority, started working in Havana.

1921 Scottish actress Deborah Kerr was born (d 2007).

1924 US author Truman Capote was born.

1927  Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.

1931  Start of “Die Voortrekkers” youth movement for Afrikaners in Bloemfontein.

1935  The Hoover Dam, was dedicated.

1935 US singer Johnny Mathis was born.

1938  Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to occupy the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1938  The League of Nations unanimously outlawed “intentional bombings of civilian populations”.

1939  General Władysław Sikorski became commander-in-chief of the Polish Government in exile.

1943 Marilyn McCoo, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1943 Ian Ogilvy, British Actor, was born.

1945  The Bourne End rail crash, in Hertfordshire killed 43 people.

1949  The Berlin Airlift ended.

1954  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear reactor powered vessel.

1955  Film icon James Dean died in a road accident aged 24.

1957 US actress Fran Drescher was born.

1962 Sir Guy Powles became New Zealand’s first Ombudsman.

Government watchdog appointed

1962  Mexican-American labour leader César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers.

1962  James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, defying segregation.

1965  General Suharto took power after an alleged coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia. In response, Suharto and his army massacred over a million Indonesians suspected of being communists.

1965 The Lockheed L-100, the civilian version of the C-130 Hercules, was introduced.

1966  The British protectorate of Bechuanaland declared its independence, and became the Republic of Botswana. Seretse Khama took office as the first President.

1967  BBC Radio 1 was launched and Tony Blackburn presented its first show; the BBC’s other national radio stations also adopted numeric names.

1968  The Boeing 747 was shown to the public for the first time at the Boeing Everett Factory.

1970  Jordan made a deal with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the release of the remaining hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings.

1975  The Hughes (later McDonnell-Douglas, now Boeing) AH-64 Apache made its first flight.

1977  Philippine political prisoners, Eugenio Lopez, Jr. and Sergio Osmeña III escaped from Fort Bonifacio Maximum Security Prison.

1979  The Hong Kong MTR commenced service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (aka. Kwun Tong Line).

1980  Ethernet specifications were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation.

1982  Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed six people in the Chicago area.

1986 Martin Guptill, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1986 Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of Israel covert nuclear program to British media, was kidnapped in Rome.

1989  Foreign Minister of West Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher‘s speech from the balcony of the German embassy in Prague.

1990 The Dalai Lama unveiled the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Ottawa.

1991  President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was forced from office.

1993  An earthquake hit India‘s Latur and Osmanabad district of Marathwada (Au rangabad division) leaving tens of thousands of people dead and many more homeless.

1994  Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground closed after eighty-eight years of service.

1999 Japan’s worst nuclear accident at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tōkai-mura, northeast of Tokyo.

2004 The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.

2004 – The AIM-54 Phoenix, the primary missile for the F-14 Tomcat, was retired from service.

2005 – The controversial drawings of Muhammad were printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

2006 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Constitutional Act that proclaimed the new Constitution of Serbia.

2009 – The 2009 Sumatra earthquakes  killed more than 1,115 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: