Which rules are lawful?

June 27, 2014

Lucan Battison has won his court case against St John’s College over his suspension for having long hair:

Today Justice David Collins ruled in favour of Lucan, stating the suspension was unlawful, as was the hair rule set out by the school. . .

St John’s College principal Paul Melloy said the school was “disappointed” by the decision.

He said the school board would consider the judgment “in terms of its impact, both on our school and on other schools”.

“It is not about the individual student but being able to manage our school in a positive equitable environment, this includes compliance with our rules,” he said in a statement. . .

Suspension was the nuclear option and other consequences could have been imposed first.

But all schools and other organisations are now going to be faced with the potential for the questioning of their rules because this ruling calls into question which rules are lawful and which are not.

I wonder what the school’s teachers, board and other parents think of the rule, the court case and the verdict?

Life isn’t always fair or reasonable but surely a school has the right to set its own rules and interpret them as it sees fit?


Word of the day

June 27, 2014

Roseate – rose-coloured; bright or promising; cheerful or optimistic.

Rural round-up

June 27, 2014

Young Maori Dairy Farmer for 2014 – Sally Rae:

Young Maniototo sharemilker Wiremu Reid has his sights firmly set on farm ownership.

Mr Reid (24), a fourth-generation dairy farmer, has won the 2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year award.

Originally from Whangarei, he moved south with his partner Bettina Tolich in 2009, because of the opportunities in the industry. . .

Planting trees and eating healthily – Sally Rae:

It reads a little like something out of a Mills and Boon romance novel.

In 2008, Englishwoman Loveday Why met Dunedin-born Kris Mullen in Australia and, within a week, they were living together in a tiny hut in a forest at Shag Point.

They later travelled, married and have now settled in the Dunedin area where they are developing two businesses – native tree planting business Wildwood Ecoforestry and healthy eating initiative Wild and Good. . . .

Levy about ‘putting heat’ into industry – Sally Rae:

The proposed levy referendum is about ”putting heat back into the industry”, Wool Levy Group chairwoman Sandra Faulkner says.

Sheep farmers will have the opportunity to vote on whether to reintroduce a wool levy in October.

Until then, Mrs Faulkner, a sheep farmer from Muriwai, and her team will be speaking to groups at events across the country about the referendum process and the importance of voting.

She called her team ”fantastic” and said it had pan-sector representation.

The referendum will take place on October 10, 2014 and will determine if sheep farmers want to fund a new industry body by paying between 2c and 5c per kilogram of greasy or slipe wool they grow. . .

Apples key component of Scales business – Alan Williams:

Prospective investors in Scales Corporation will be keeping a close eye on Hawke’s Bay weather.

That is where it has about 1000ha of apple orchards, which contribute a large part of its earnings. Other orchards in the province supply fruit that the group’s Mr Apple subsidiary exports.

Mr Apple produces 16% of the New Zealand apple crop and its share of exports is 24%.  

Turners & Growers is a bigger exporter but Mr Apple has a much larger orchard area and has a bigger apple business overall. . .

A place to call home –  Jessica Frecklington and Vernon Graham:

THE Webb family first sank their roots into the Tarana district between Bathurst and Lithgow almost 175 years ago and not even trigger-happy bushrangers have been able to shift them.

William Webb and his feisty wife, Ann, emigrated from Cornwall, England, in 1840 with three small children and headed straight for Tarana, one of the first districts settled when the colony spread west across the Blue Mountains from Sydney.

Webb managed a grazing property, “Keirstone”, on the Fish River near Tarana for Dr David Ramsay for about 11 years before he was accidentally killed, leaving Ann a widow with eight children (Alice, Richard, William, Elizabeth, Hannah, Robert, Mary and Thomas). . .


Friday’s answers

June 27, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery!” ?

2. The Beatles’ first recording took place in which company’s studios, where?

3. It’s tambour in French, tamburo in Italian, tambor in Spanish and taramu in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Where is the Strawberry Fields memorial?

5. What’s your favourite Beatles’ song?

Points for answers:

I’m giving Andrei 5 which is taking a generous interpretation of his answer to #4 – the place which inspired the name rather than where the memorial is now. For that he wins an electronic batch of ginger crunch.

J Bloggs gets 4.

Robert gets 1.

Alwyn wins an electronic batch of ginger crunch with a clean sweep.

Willdwan and Paranormal get 4.



Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

10 essential economic truths

June 27, 2014

Jeffrey Dorfman lists 10 essential economic truths liberals need to learn:

  1) Government cannot create wealth, jobs, or income. Because government has to take money from somebody before it can spend it, there is no economic gain from anything the government does. Money collected in taxes or borrowed would have been either spent or invested in the private sector. Any jobs government claims to have created are only in place of other jobs the same money would have produced if people had been allowed to spend it themselves.     

2) Income inequality does not affect the economy. Poor people do spend more (or all) of their income while people with higher earnings save some of their income. However, saving is as good for the economy as consumer spending (or better). The basic identity is that national income equals consumer spending plus investment plus government spending on goods and services plus net exports. To make investments, money first must be saved; so savings contribute to national income, too. In fact, savings that lead to increased capital (a company borrows it to build a factory, for example) will lead to higher national income in the long run because the capital can produce income year after year.

3) Low wages are not corporate exploitation. In a free country, people voluntarily accept employment, so all workers believe their current job to be the best choice from among their opportunity set. If a business paid its workers much less than they were worth, a competitor would offer more and hire them away. As consumers, when we go shopping, we are happy to find low prices. We certainly do not go out of our way to pay more than we need to for things. Businesses are the same when they are buying labor; they do not pay more than they need to pay. Businesses exist to make profit, so a business will not, and should not, pay its workers more just because it has the profits available to do so. Workers get paid more only when they become more productive or when the price of what they make goes up.

4) Environmental over-regulation is a regressive tax that falls hardest on the poor. When we reduce pollution more than we should, worry about climate change more than we should, or over-restrict access to natural resources, prices go up. Because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income, forcing up prices is a bigger penalty on the poor. Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of how environmental extremists are causing energy prices to be higher.

5) Education is not a public good. We provide publicly funded K-12 education to all (even to non-citizens), but the education provided produces human capital that is privately owned by each person. This human capital means more work skills, more developed talent, and more potential productivity. People with more human capital generally get paid more, collecting the returns from their education in the form of higher earnings. One common defense of education as a public good is worth refuting here. Yes, education helps people invent things that benefit society. However, they will expect to be paid for those inventions, not give them away for free in return for their education.

6) High CEO pay is no worse than high pay to athletes or movie stars. Yes, CEOs are paid a lot, maybe too much. The top professional athletes, television and movie stars, singers, lawyers, and hedge fund managers also all make lots of money. High CEO pay does not reduce the pay average workers get any more than high athlete pay means that the equipment manager gets paid less or the roadies on a Rolling Stones tour make less when the Rolling Stones make more. The high pay of CEOs, movie stars, and athletes all come out of the pockets of the owners of the business, movie studio, and team, respectively. Such pay reduces profits, but not the pay of other workers who are paid what they are worth in the marketplace. Shareholders have a right to complain about CEO pay, but other employees and labor activists do not.

7) Consumer spending is not what drives the economy. An extra dollar of investment, government spending, or net exports adds just as much to GDP as does a dollar of consumer spending. In fact, until recently, consumer spending was 65 percent of GDP (find an old economics textbook and look it up for yourself). Then, as savings fell beginning in the 1980s and consumer credit became more widely available and less expensive, consumer spending rose to 70 percent of the economy. This is actually a bad thing. Robert Solow, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, showed that nations are the wealthiest in the long run if they save a share of their income known as the Golden Rule Savings Rate. This is tricky to estimate, but all economists are sure that the U.S. is well below it. So if we save more and spend less of our income, our children and grandchildren will be better off.

8) When government provides things for free, they will end up being low quality, cost more than they should, and may disappear when most needed. Public education, free health care, welfare programs; does anybody think these programs are high quality, reliable, and have no waste in their budgets? Most states fund the majority of their technical and community college programs. Thus, in the recent recession, right when lots of people wanted to get some new job skills, technical and community colleges had to cut their budgets and offer fewer classes. The freebie disappeared at just the wrong time. The sad reality is: when the customer does not pay, the product is rarely any good.

9) Government cannot correct cosmic injustice. Esteemed economist Thomas Sowell wrote a fabulous book on this topic. Nobody likes to see cosmic injustice: kids with serious health problems through no fault of their own, families whose homes are destroyed in natural disasters, etc. However, when government steps in to correct a cosmic injustice, the price must be paid by someone else—a someone else who had nothing to do with causing the injustice being addressed. Thus, every time government fixes or eases a cosmic injustice, it creates a new one by sticking somebody with the bill—either a financial one or one measured in some other sort of cost. For example, each affirmative action college admission by definition mean some other applicant must be turned down. We may be willing, as a society, to bear an injustice in order to fix some cosmic injustices (e.g., many will willingly chip in to pay for a child’s medical care), but we cannot create a world free from all cosmic injustice.

10) There is no such thing as a free lunch. In America today the number of free lunches being served is at an all-time record high. People on food stamps, households receiving a government check of some kind, the number of people collecting disability, need-based financial aid for college expenses; all either hit highs recently or are at all time highs right now. Yet, somebody is paying that bill; no free lunch is really free. This is true more broadly about all regulations that promise to provide us with something good; the costs are lurking somewhere in the background. Raising the minimum wage does not just take money out of employers’ pockets, but also raises prices for all customers and will cost some low-wage workers their jobs. If we protect voting rights, we get more voter fraud. If we help underwater homeowners, it will be harder for future borrowers to get a mortgage. Sooner or later, those free lunches get paid for and often the bill lands in an unexpected or unintended place.

Liberals love to talk about their compassion. Compassion is great, but no amount of caring can repeal the simple facts of economics. It is fine to support raising the minimum wage, but understand that jobs will be lost and prices will rise. Protecting the environment is a wonderful thing, but it is also expensive and hurts the poor in particular. Politicians love to claim the government spending which they direct creates jobs, but it only moves jobs from one place to another. Greedy businesses cannot exploit workers because another greedy business would be happy to exploit them a little less until greed removed all the exploitation.

Political disagreements are fine and different belief systems can lead to different answers in terms of optimal policy choices. Thus, two people can take the same policy options with the same expected outcomes and arrive at different conclusions about what should be done. What we need to get rid of are the disagreements about the outcomes themselves, as opposed to which outcomes are most desirable. Because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts.

Whether you’re running your own home, a voluntary organisation, a business or the country, basing decisions only on economics might not be sensible, or right.

But that doesn’t mean that decisions based on other factors make economic sense.

Hat tip: Lindsay Mitchell

There’s hope for young

June 27, 2014

There’s hope for the young – the left has lost Generation Y:

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a programme entitled Is this generation right?. It was based on a 2013 study by Ipsos Mori which examined the generational differences in attitudes towards the UK benefits system. According to the study, ‘Generation Y [18- to 30-year-olds] is more likely… to believe the role of the state should be more focused on providing opportunities and less on managing the risks individuals face. This suggests that Generation Y is a more individualist generation than the others, more concerned with personal independence and opportunity.’

Putting aside the rather trite conclusion that views on welfare alone mark the difference between left and right, the findings of this survey do raise an important issue: the inability of the modern left to engage with Generation Y. While, in times past, being left-wing was bound up with ideas of opportunity and social mobility, the left’s present incarnations have patronised and alienated ambitious young people. Policies implying that young people are incapable of self sufficiency, and are in need of constant guidance, vigilance and support have suffocated a generation. . .

The cotton-woolling and we-know-best might work when people don’t think for themselves.

But once they start thinking independently and working to achieve their ambitions they realise that isn’t helping them up but holding them back.

Young people who are doing it for themselves don’t want the government to get in their way as those on the left inevitably do.

Hat Tip: Not PC

BOI conditions damn dam?

June 27, 2014

The Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal has granted consent for the Ruataniwha Water storage project with strict conditions.

The Board’s decision is to allow the Plan Change request with amendments, grant the 17 resource consent applications, and confirm the Notice of Requirement (NoR) for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme (RWSS) subject to the conditions.

The Board of Inquiry adopted a ‘dual nutrient’ approach in the Plan Change to manage both phosphorous and nitrogen in the Tukituki catchment. This included setting an in-stream dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) limit/target, as well as on-land [maximum allowable] leaching rates for nitrogen, based on the Land Use Capability Classification System (LUC).

Following comments received on the Draft Report and Decision, the Board has, in addition to other drafting changes:

• Corrected an error and amended the rule that would have required individual farmers to observe the DIN limit/target in receiving waters. If an individual farmer complies with the LUC leaching rates (and meets the other requirements of the rule other than the DIN limits) the use of production land is a permitted activity;

• Resolved an anomaly in the rules relating to the use of production land by raising the upper threshold for exceedences of LUC leaching rates (from 10% to 30%) before a restricted discretionary activity becomes non-complying; and

• Clarified that compliance with the LUC leaching rates should be determined using a four year rolling average of either measured or estimated leaching rates derived from annual nutrient budgets. . .

These conditions don’t only potentially damn the dam, they will severely curtail existing farming activities.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council might appeal the decision:

. . . Radio New Zealand News understands HBRIC has been preparing a High Court challenge to the Board of Inquiry’s final decision. These decisions can only be challenged on points of law, and it is unclear whether the nitrogen limits can challenged on this basis.

Mr Wilson said on Wednesday he would not comment on whether the council would challenge the board’s decision. It was waiting for the final decision and was seeking to find a balance between environmental protection and economic growth. . .

That balance is important and it is possible to get economic growth without environmental degradation but this decision doesn’t appear to do that.

The BOI’s decision is here.



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