‘I know that there is a massive difference between announcements and achievement.’

30/11/2021

Christopher Luxon’s first speech as National Party leader:

Tēnā koutou katoa and good afternoon everyone.

It’s an incredible privilege and honour to have been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party today and I thank my colleagues for putting their trust and confidence in me.

And it is fantastic to have Nicola Willis elected as our Deputy Leader. I can tell you she will do an incredible job and we will be a formidable team.

I’d also like to thank Judith Collins for her service to the National Party during a very difficult period, and Dr Shane Reti for the dignified way he has supported our team through recent days.

Much has been made of my relative newness to Parliament but to be honest, I see it as an advantage.

I bring a fresh set of eyes, and what I see is that this place and this country needs a shake-up.

Nicola and I are fresh new faces for a revitalised National Party.

We are the reset.

Today we are drawing a line under the events of the last four years, and we are putting them behind us.

If you are one of the 413,000 voters who moved away from us, my message to you is: from today, National is back.

I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role.

Under my leadership, National will use our breadth of talent and real-world experience every day to deliver for each and every New Zealander.

We will be a new National Party for New Zealand.

There will be other opportunities for me to talk more about who I am, and National’s policies and plans.

But today I want to be very clear with you about one thing: New Zealand is at a critical cross-roads as we grapple with, and emerge from, a global pandemic.

We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future.

New Zealand needs an alternative now more than ever to take us in the right direction – because frankly, the country is heading the wrong way.

Inflation is soaring. We are paying more than ever before at the checkout and the petrol pump, and everyday Kiwis are struggling to get ahead.

There’ll be a million Kiwis missing at Christmas dinner this year because they can’t get home to see their loved ones.

After over 100 days in lockdown, Aucklanders are still utterly confused and directionless.

Our provincial heartland feels taken for granted. Our farmers are not villains!

I know that there is a massive difference between announcements and achievement.

Talking about something gets you a headline. Actually getting things done is what improves the lives of everyday New Zealanders.

For four years, New Zealand has had a government great at delivering good PR but woeful at delivering much else.

Nice ideas and good intentions don’t pay the rent or the mortgage, educate our children, keep us healthy, keep us safe from crime and gangs, improve our mental health, lower our emissions or keep us united.

I’ve seen the incredible things that people can accomplish when they are freed up and given the tools and the choices to seize opportunities.

I believe in a New Zealand that rewards hard work; a New Zealand that empowers Kiwis to take a punt and create prosperity for themselves and their families.

Most of all I believe in a New Zealand that while small in size is large in ambition. Let’s rediscover that!

Growing our economy and raising productivity are the single biggest things we can do to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.

I pledge now to those New Zealanders that I will give everything I have to this role.

I’m proud to lead a government-in-waiting that will work every day to represent all New Zealanders – a “national National Party” that earns back their trust and confidence, and actually delivers for them.

And the National Government I will lead will be a government of action.

We will bring the tide back in and lift all boats.

We need to seize the tremendous opportunities we have, rather than squander them.

As I often say, we’re all going to get the country we deserve – and I firmly believe that together we – each and every one of us – can achieve the very best.

Finally, can I say no-one can do this role without the support of their family and to my wife Amanda, and our kids William and Olivia, who are in lockdown in Auckland probably watching on TV, thank you for being so supportive, understanding and encouraging – I love you.

I want to again thank my Caucus colleagues for my selection as Leader and I thank Nicola for joining me in the leadership team.


Willis deputy

30/11/2021

A media release from the National Party:

Christopher Luxon has been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party, alongside Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader.

“It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Mr Luxon says.

“I’m delighted the Caucus has elected Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. She will do an incredible job and we will be a formidable team.

“The unified National Party that Nicola and I lead will work every day to represent all New Zealanders, earn back their trust and confidence, and deliver for them.

“Now, more than ever, New Zealand needs the National Party to offer them hope, ambition and drive to meet the challenges of the coming decade.

“We believe New Zealanders need a government of action – not rhetoric.

“I came to politics because I know how to solve problems and get things done.

“I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role.

“We are the new National Party that New Zealand needs.”

This is a very good start.


Word of the day

30/11/2021

Scot – a native of Scotland; a member of a tribe of Celtic raiders from the north of Ireland who carried out periodic attacks against the British mainland coast from the 3rd century and, eventually settling in N Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries; a payment corresponding to a modern tax, rate, or other assessed contribution; money assessed or paid; tax; levy.


Luxon is leader

30/11/2021

Chris Luxon is the leader of the National Party.

This is a good result and it was a gracious move from Simon that augurs well for future unity in caucus.

I await the announcement of caucus responsibilities with interest.

If you want to learn a bit more about Chris, his maiden speech is here.

 


Thatcher thinks

30/11/2021


Rural round-up

30/11/2021

Taxpayers Milked to the tune of $48K for anti-dairy propaganda :

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is challenging the New Zealand Film Commission’s funding criteria after it gave anti-dairy documentary Milked a $48,550 “finishing grant”.

The film, currently screening in New Zealand cinemas, argues that the dairy industry causes climate change, pollutes water, destroys land, abuses cows, and victimises dairy farmers. The film is explicitly political, with constant shots of the Beehive in the trailer, and features contributions from Greenpeace, SAFE, and the Green Party. The film appears to be part of a wider anti-dairy campaign – the promoters have erected billboards attacking the dairy sector.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The 40,000 New Zealanders employed in the dairy industry are unlikely to be happy to learn they are funding a film that attacks the source of their livelihoods. And that’s to say nothing of the rest of us, who all benefit from dairy’s enormous contribution to New Zealand’s economy.”

“We wish the filmmakers well in their attempts to win hearts and minds, but that doesn’t mean they should receive government money for their propaganda. Just imagine the outcry from certain groups if the Taxpayers’ Union received government money to produce a film on the evils of socialism.” . . 

Unease over regulations – Kayla Hodge:

Proposed changes to adventure activity regulations could prove to be a nightmare for commercial operators and landowners.

A review of the adventure activities regulatory regime is proposing to tighten restrictions on how operators work, and introduce tougher rules for landowners who allow access to adventure activity operators.

Under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposal, landowners will have to be involved in the management of natural hazards, providing information to operators or assessing and managing risks.

The review came in the wake of the 2019 Whakaari/ White Island eruption that killed 22 people and injured 25 who were on a tour accompanied by an operating company. . .

Co-products offaly underused: academic – Sally Rae:

Fancy a shake of pizzle powder in your chowder? How about some heart in your tart?

Don’t choke at the suggestion; meat co-products, better known as offal, are protein-rich and food scientist Associate Prof Aladin Bekhit, from the University of Otago, believes consumers are missing out on “wonderful nutrients” by turning their noses up at them.

A recent study, supervised by Prof Bekhit, investigated the macronutrient composition of sheep heart, kidney, liver, skirt, stomach, testis, tail and pizzle.

Protein content ranged from 10.2%-28.8% and the pizzle (an animal’s penis) was found to have one of the highest levels. . .

 

Fight to eradicate wilding pines far from over – expert – Tess Brunton:

The lead investigator of a nationwide fight against wilding pines says they can’t stop work to eradicate wildings or risk the tide turning against them.

Before 2016, wildings were estimated to be invading roughly 90,000 hectares each year.

Later that year, a five-year government-funded research programme, Winning Against Wildings, was launched aiming to control or contain wildings nationally by 2030.

It has sparked new knowledge, research and techniques for controlling the pests including remote-sensing tools to detect and map invasions in remote areas and using low-dose herbicides to control dense wilding invasions. . . 

ANZ sponsors Dairy Industry awards :

A unique sponsorship opportunity with the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) has been entered into by New Zealand’s largest bank.

ANZ Bank New Zealand will sponsor the Financial and Business merit awards in the Share Farmer and Dairy Manager categories in four regions – Southland/Otago, Canterbury/North Otago, Waikato and Taranaki.

A representative from the bank will also judge the National Share Farmer of the Year category.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon says this sponsorship shows ANZ Bank New Zealand has huge support for the dairy industry. . . 

NSA responds strongly to article labelling sheep a menace of the countryside  :

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is shocked and disappointed by factually incorrect and damaging comments made of UK sheep farming in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph (Thursday 25th November 2021).

In the article titled ‘There’s a fluffy white menace that is spoiling Britain’s National Parks’ ‘destination expert’ Chris Moss labels sheep as a blot on the landscape suggesting they be removed from National Parks and failing to recognise their importance to the countryside he is enjoying or the rural communities that so many appreciate visiting.

NSA Chief Executive says: “The comments made in this piece are both unhelpful and divisive at a time when many in agriculture and the environmental movement are working together to move to an even more multifunctional land use and approach to farming.

“Mr Moss states that sheep are ruining our landscapes, including National Parks, ignoring the fact the vast majority of these are in areas where sheep farming is the predominant land use activity. Maybe he should consider that it is thousands of years of sheep and livestock farming in these areas that has actually made these iconic regions such that people want to designate them as national parks. In fact, sheep farming and its relationship with the Lake District landscape and culture is one of the core reasons why this national park was designated a World Heritage site in 2017.” . . 

 


Sowell says

30/11/2021


Now’s the day . .

30/11/2021

This quote from Robert Burns is apposite both because it’s St Andrew’s Day and because the National Party will have a new leader today.

Now’s the day and now’s the hour. – Robert Burns


Complacency incompetence & control freakery

30/11/2021

Sir Brian Roche has yet another report criticising the government’s Covid-19 response:

Sir Brian Roche warned lockdown tolerance was waning, the vaccine rollout was failing Māori and MIQ was causing social and economic harm, a document dump released on Friday shows.

The esteemed advisor also told the Government the “current outbreak has revealed the very poor level of preparedness of hospitals for Delta”.

Sir Brian reviewed the Delta outbreak and its impact on reopening the borders. He sent his advice to ministers on September 23 – two days after Auckland moved to alert level 3.

Tolerance and goodwill for lockdowns and closed borders were being challenged, Sir Brian warned.

“The current Delta outbreak has, to a significant extent, exposed urgent issues with respect to New Zealand’s preparedness for reconnecting.

“Delta has fundamentally changed the model of preparedness and response and we must adapt accordingly. We do not have a do-nothing option.” . . 

The lack of preparedness for Delta is matched by being ill-prepared for opening the borders:

Sir Brian also wanted the Government to begin opening the international border “to address escalating economic and social harms”, but said before doing so there needed to be a means for vaccination verification, “coherent and fit-for-purpose plan” for MIQ alternatives with saliva and rapid antigen resting rolled out widely “as quickly as possible”.

“Rapid antigen testing is a critical prerequisite – we cannot afford the delays in its introduction that have been experienced with saliva testing.”

The Government only rolled out vaccine passes on November 17 and announced changes to MIQ alternatives and rapid antigen testing this week – two months after getting that advice.

To address the issues Sir Brian wanted a fit-for-purpose COVID agency or response unit because the current model “is failing and will fail” when the country reopens.

“We recommend that this unit is put in place before the end of the vaccination rollout as the current arrangements put the country at unnecessary risk.”

The lack of preparedness is partly due to complacency – all the time wasted last year that led to the delay in the vaccine strollout.

There are also elements of incompetence, especially around the delays in saliva testing and rapid antigen testing.

The costs of that have been compounded by control freakery:

Newshub can reveal Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield advised the Government “the rest of New Zealand could move to Alert Level 1” back in September. 

The Government dropped a heap of documents related to the COVID-19 Delta outbreak response on Friday, revealing behind-the-scenes advice from the Ministry of Health that informed alert level decisions. 

In a document dated September 12, Dr Bloomfield advised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet that Auckland could shift to alert level 3 while “the rest of New Zealand could move to Alert Level 1”.  . . 

Keeping Auckland at level 4 and the rest of New Zealand at level 2 for longer than advised  has been very expensive in both economic and human terms.

All sorts of events have been cancelled, businesses have failed, wedding services and funerals have had restricted numbers or been postponed because of restrictions on what can operate and how many people can gather.

The financial losses and emotional strain of this are incalculable.

But the biggest cost could yet be political.

The government has told us time and time again it’s following medical advice but this information dump shows that at least in this case it wasn’t.

So what was driving this very costly decision?

It wasn’t complacency, it might not have been incompetence – it looks very like control freakery as does yesterday’s traffic light announcement.

 


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