Quotes of the month

The gross mismanagement of Covid will mark this government as the most incompetent in our post-war history.  Sadly, authoritarian governments are now the norm world-wide as the evidence is clear that a sizeable timorous section of populations like being told what to do. That’s certainly true of New Zealand.

Conversely there’s also a sizeable section who prefer to stand on their own feet and not be bossed about. They’re the doers and shakers critical to a society’s success and right now they’re seething with rage. – Bob Jones

Frankly, I fear for New Zealand as the disastrous economic and social legacy of this government will take a decade to repair. – Bob Jones

If the Prime Minister frustrates the aspirations of her Maori caucus, she will risk losing the Maori seats Labour holds and possibly wider support in Maoridom as well.

If she continues to indulge them, she will open a clear path to a National-Act government in 2023, given that both parties, smelling blood, have pledged to return the assets to councils.

Three Waters has all the signs of becoming Ardern’s Waterloo. – Graham Adams

From PPE gear, to testing kits, to vaccine roll outs, to MIQ, to decisions that weren’t made, borders that got breached, to the current shambles we find ourselves in.   

It’s been a trail of haphazard unprofessionalism and needless economic and social damage. – Mike Hosking

The real Royal Commission will be in September of 2023.

We call it an election.

The only hope this Government has, of course, is memory fade. If Covid is in the rear-view mirror by the end of next year all may be forgiven.

But as we sit here today if a government can be voted in, in record numbers, based on Covid and the fear that surrounded it a year ago, surely their ensuing handling of the following two years will be a judgement that if executed today, they would be deeply fearful of.  – Mike Hosking

To get real traction on anything, anywhere, politicians actually have to do more than just talk. They have to be authentic and they have to have their actions match their words. Staying awake also helps.   Kate Hawkesby

In other words, women who would like to be men but still have their ovaries and wombs can become pregnant by sexual intercourse with fertile men, the latter now being known as “penis-containing” persons. (The venerable but increasingly lunatic medical journal The Lancet recently decided to call women “bodies with vaginas.” How long can it be before we no longer address meetings or assemblies as Ladies and Gentlemen but as Penis-containers and Vagina-bearers, or perhaps P and V for short?)

At the same time as we are enjoined to think of biological sex as unimportant to the point of nonexistence, and to believe that men who can have babies by penis-containers are men in precisely the same sense that Tarzan was a man, we are also told to distinguish human beings solely by one or other of their genitive features. This makes the doublethink of Nineteen Eighty-Four seem straightforward or even lucid by comparison. – Theodore Dalrymple

It is possible that I am mistaken, of course, and that thorough research would prove me wrong, but I do not think that anyone would have used the expression penis-containing partner ten, maybe not even five, years ago. It seems that civilizations go bankrupt like people, first slowly, then quickly.Theodore Dalrymple

The first cultural trend is an increasing reluctance to accept any limitation whatsoever to the satisfaction of one’s desires that are placed by circumstances beyond one’s control, that is to say an exaggerated or exacerbated Prometheanism: You can be anything you want, without limitation, and therefore you do not have to accept anything you were born with as ineluctable. In such a culture, death itself becomes unacceptable, an insult to our desired omnipotence; it is not any particular kind of death that we reject or fight against, often with success, but death itself. – Theodore Dalrymple

The second trend is to magical thinking, despite the supposed rationality of our age and its vaunted defeat of superstition. We believe that we can change reality by means of mere verbal incantations. If we alter our language enough, reality itself will change. –Theodore Dalrymple

The third trend is the worship of power. The object of deliberate language change is not to improve the state of the world, or even anyone’s state of mind, but the exertion and consolidation of power for its own sake. – Theodore Dalrymple

The fourth trend is centralization of the marginal; that is to say, a marginal phenomenon such as transsexualism comes to occupy the center of intellectual attention. To employ a different metaphor, the tail wags the dog. Theodore Dalrymple

The fifth trend is to the increasing spinelessness or cowardice of much of the intelligentsia, who in this case have proved themselves astonishingly easy to intimidate, a pack of intellectual Neville Chamberlains (but Chamberlain had more excuse, for he had lived through the horror of the First World War, which he did not want to repeat). Nothing has proved too absurd for this intelligentsia to swallow; indeed, the swallowing of absurdity is easier for the intelligentsia than others, for rationalization is their métier. There is no point in being an intellectual if you think only what everyone else thinks. – Theodore Dalrymple

Postmodernist councilors have white-anted the scientific integrity of our Royal Society, and brought political, racial, cultural, and religious bias into its workings. In embracing the Treaty, they are imposing political, racial and cultural obligations, expectations, and limitations on scientists – the equivalent of imposing the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Hindu Vedas, or the Book of Mormon on them. Bob Brockie

World science and matauranga cannot be reconciled. Science operates in the natural world but Maori thought is rooted in the supernatural.

Matauranga is often defined as traditional knowledge, passed from generation to generation. A prominent Maori maintains that indigenous knowledge belongs to iwi and that they should control it. How different is science! All science is provisional, and open to criticism and challenges. But challenge matauranga and you will be branded a racist. – Bob Brockie

Our Royal Society was once a bastion of science but has now abandoned truth, reason, and science, to become a mouthpiece for faddish woke politics. The supernatural world of matauranga would be better taught in religious studies instead of science. Bob Brockie

This year, I have made more complaints to the Ombudsman than in any previous year. So far, every one has been upheld. – Andrea Vance

In my 20-year plus time as a journalist, this Government is one of the most thin-skinned and secretive I have experienced. Many of my colleagues say the same.

Even squeezing basic facts out of an agency is a frustrating, torturous and often futile exercise. – Andrea Vance

It’s now very difficult for journalists to get to the heart and the truth of a story. We are up against an army of well-paid spin doctors. – Andrea Vance

Since the current Government took office, the number of communications specialists has ballooned. Each minister has at least two press secretaries. (Ardern has four).

In the year Labour took office, the Ministry for the Environment had 10 PR staff. It now has 18. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade more than doubled its staff – up to 25.

MBIE blew out from 48 staff to 64. None of those five dozen specialists could give me those figures for many weeks – and again I was forced to ask the Ombudsman to intervene. – Andrea Vance

The super ministry – and its colleagues uptown at the Health Ministry – are notorious for stymieing even the simplest requests. Health’s information gatekeepers are so allergic to journalists they refuse to take phone calls, responding only (and sporadically) to emails. 

But it is the New Zealand Transport Agency that take the cake: employing a staggering 72 staff to keep its message, if not its road-building, on track – up from 26 over five years.

At every level, the Government manipulates the flow of information. Andrea Vance

It also keeps journalists distracted and over-burdened with a rolling maul of press conferences and announcements, which are often meaningless or repetitive and prevent sustained or detailed questioning.

In this age of live-streaming and blogging, organisations often feel obliged to cover every stage-managed utterance for fear of missing out. – Andrea Vance

Perhaps the trials and tribulations of the nation’s journalists do not concern you. Why should you care?

Because the public’s impression of this government is the very opposite.

They see a prime minister that has captivated the world with her ‘authentic’ communication style, intimate social media postings, daily Covid briefings and proactive releases of Cabinet papers.

It is an artfully-crafted mirage, because the reality is very different. This is a Government that is only generous with the information that it chooses to share. Andrea Vance

I doubt that the thought of collapsing economies and massive social dislocation keeps Thunberg awake at night, assuming that it even occurs to her. But these are factors politicians must weigh in deciding how far to go in countering climate change. Thunberg, on the other hand, just wants action, regardless of the human cost.

For all their glib talk and showboating, the politicians she disparages have to live with the consequences of whatever they decide. In that vital respect they are the moral superiors of Thunberg and her moronic followers. It’s a shame the fawning media coverage doesn’t reflect that. – Karl du Fresne

Imagine that you still want to believe the experts and the commentators, but now that requires you to believe your country is racist, that men are bad, and that gender is a social construct, which is an idea you still don’t really understand. – Konstantin Kisin

Imagine your confusion as the same people who spent three months telling you not only that masks don’t work, but that there are several reasons you shouldn’t wear or purchase them, suddenly introduce mask mandates. We’re “following the science,” they tell you. This seems to make little sense, but a pandemic is no time for questions. And who knows, maybe our understanding of the science evolved?

As you cautiously go to the supermarket, you notice that masks have made people less likely to socially distance. You remember reading somewhere that bicycle helmets work similarly: They give the wearer more confidence, and the result is often more accidents and injuries, not fewer. “Silly people,” you say to yourself. “If only they would follow the experts.” Konstantin Kisin

Now that a bigot is no longer president of the United States, closing national borders to visitors from other countries is no longer considered xenophobic. In fact, it is widely advocated in the media. Likewise, it is no longer considered racist to detain people at the border, to put them in holding cells, to deport them, or to simply turn them away.

The supposedly racist conspiracy theory that the virus came from a lab in Wuhan is now also open for discussion. It even looks like the most credible explanation of the origins of the virus.  Konstantin Kisin

The same people who told you Brexit would never happen, that Trump would never win, that when he did win it was because of Russian collusion but also because of racism, that you must follow lockdowns while they don’t, that masks don’t work, that masks do work, that social justice protests during pandemic lockdowns are a form of “health intervention,” that ransacking African American communities in the name of fighting racism is a “mostly peaceful” form of protest, that poor and underserved children locked out of shuttered schools are “still learning,” that Jussie Smollett was a victim of a hate crime, that men are toxic, that there is an infinite number of genders, that COVID couldn’t have come from a lab until maybe it did, that closing borders is racist until maybe it isn’t, that you shouldn’t take Trump’s vaccine, that you must take the vaccine developed during the Trump administration, that Andrew Cuomo is a great leader, that Andrew Cuomo is a granny killer, that the number of COVID deaths is one thing and then another … are the same people telling you now that the vaccine is safe, that you must take it, and that if you don’t, you will be a second-class citizen.

Understand vaccine hesitancy now? – Konstantin Kisin

What is clear from the polling trend is support for Labour is sliding away as a groundswell of discontent builds against the government’s reform agenda.

No doubt Labour’s MPs sitting in marginal electorates or in the lower echelons of the party list will be wondering if Labour has gone too hard, too fast, and too extreme. They must be thinking that it is they who will pay the price. Frank Newman

We’re a little country at the bottom of the world, we’ve always paid a higher price and risk premium for the debt that we borrow. The higher those debt-to-GDP levels, the more exposed you become, and in a GFC they’re shown up to be even more. – John Key

If you take New Zealand and you look at inflation, and look at that globally, and you make the case, as now [Reserve Bank governor] Adrian Orr is, that interest rates will have to go up, it doesn’t take too much to realise how much pressure that is going to put on households already.John Key

The co-existence of a major recession in 2020 with record-high sharemarket indices, record gains in US household net worth, and falling bankruptcies is bizarre and unnerving. – Bryce Wilkinson and Leonard Hong

If you want proof that Jacinda Ardern’s is the most racist government in New Zealand’s history, just take a look at the proposed legislation for the new health structure. The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill introduced last week that was sent to a select committee concerns itself almost exclusively with Maori health. Maori are mentioned in most clauses of the legislation. The health of 17% of the population seems to be the only concern of this government. Pacific Islanders get a look-in briefly, the Minister being required to produce a specific strategy for their health. But all the rest of us who make up 70% of the people are never mentioned, and are dismissed at one point as “the other populations”. By the time Maori health providers have been accommodated in the new health structure which is amazingly top-heavy and bureaucratic, there won’t be any room for Pakeha or Asian input on anything. The Bill is a further indicator that Jacinda Ardern regards Pakeha as interlopers of whom her government is contemptuous. Like so much else, it too has Nanaia Mahuta’s malign influence stamped all over it. She has become Rasputin to the Tsarina, intent on running a faltering ministry. – Michael Bassett

Achieving “equitable outcomes” in health or indeed in any area of life, is an impossibility. Always has been, and always will be. First, we aren’t all born with equal intelligence; we don’t all have parents who care about us; and up to 40% of Maori children are truant on any normal school day. But if all children got their ante-natal jabs, were cared for, got to school, made an effort, and passed their exams, they still wouldn’t have equitable outcomes in life, either amongst themselves, or with other racial groups. DNA and sheer luck play big parts in peoples’ lives. So, if the government persists with Section 7 (1) (a) (iii) of the Bill and gives achieving equitable health outcomes priority then the whole expenditure of $24 billion on Health is in jeopardy. Not even the resourcing of “Kaupapa Maori”, or “culturally safe services” reflecting an undefined “Matauranga Maori” in the delivery of services will produce equitable outcomes for them, let alone for all Kiwis. – Michael Bassett

You can only pull the wool over voters’ eyes for so long. You can only rely on goodwill for so long. You can only bank on your support, in such a smug fashion, for so long. What voters want is transparency (which this Government promised and has failed to deliver on), authenticity, also now out the window, surety that there’s a plan, a way forward, some leadership. That’s all missing and has been for a while. It goes to show the huge highs this party enjoyed were a post Covid love-in where people were emotive.  

This time around, there’s still plenty of emotion – but in the opposite direction.  

People are angry, disillusioned, divided, locked out of their home country, in the case of many Kiwis overseas, and being driven to despair. Instead of being honest and admitting when they’ve got it wrong, this Government continues to put its head in the sand and tell us ‘nothing to see here’.  

They govern on the hoof, are reactive not proactive, lack experience and political nous, and continue to railroad through policy they won’t even bother consulting on.  – Kate Hawkesby

No, the truly depressing part of this week has been the crisis of faith now keeping the general, red-voting masses up until 2am eating toast in the kitchen.

Because the worry is, if they’re not good at beating Covid, what are they good at? – Verity Johnson

Recent protests have been dominated by a hotchpotch of weirdos whose comparisons of Ardern with the worst mass murderers are as offensive as they as stupid. Ardern is not a Hitler, Stalin or Mao. But she is increasingly governing like a second-term Robert Muldoon or Helen Clark, which is surely bad enough — especially given what followed in their third terms, with moves like the Clutha Development (Clyde Dam) Empowering Act and the Electoral Finance Act.

A stench of bewilderment, detachment from reality, confusion and lack of candour has joined the old odour of incompetence that has surrounded Ardern’s Government since it first became obvious in early 2018 that it had no idea how to go about delivering its signature promise to build 100,000 KiwiBuild homes. – Matthew Hooton

With a handful of exceptions like David Parker, the criticism that this is a government of student politicians rings true. It is not just that they don’t know how business produces goods and services to generate revenue to pay wages and returns on investment, but that most have never even thought about how the paper and toner gets in the photocopier in the university library, or how the campus gets cleaned at night.

In the face of Covid, they could shut everything down easily enough but have made a hash of anything operational and of opening up. – Matthew Hooton

Equal pay is now determined by gender identity, not sex; statistical data is likewise collected by gender identity instead of sex. Prison accommodation too is determined by self-identification, meaning that people with fully intact male bodies can be placed with the country’s most vulnerable women.  – Jan Rivers & Jill Abigail

If a new religion was created that encouraged gays and lesbians to be sterilised, would this be acceptable? Yet in teaching our children that it is possible to “change sex”, gender identity activists are doing just that. Transgender medicine uses drugs that suspend puberty and thus the development of sexuality. Almost all children treated with these drugs progress to cross-sex hormones, and many have surgery too.

It is not love and acceptance to encourage children to believe they were “born in the wrong body”. Children can have no concept of the downstream impacts on their later lives of infertility and the inability to respond sexually. They cannot anticipate what these losses entail, let alone the other effects of ongoing medicalisation. – Jan Rivers & Jill Abigail

Instead of immediate affirmation, a ‘watchful waiting’ approach for a child expressing gender dysphoria allows them time to explore their feelings without making decisions that are irreversible. Studies have shown that gender questioning is resolved by puberty in more than 80 per cent of affected children. A high proportion grow up to be gay or lesbian adults. – Jan Rivers & Jill Abigail

It is far too easy to slap labels of bigotry and hate speech on people raising concerns. What we really need is a careful, well-informed discussion about how to secure women’s rights, and develop a rights framework for transgender people, without damaging children. – Jan Rivers & Jill Abigail

This is lazy legislation without thought to the damage it will do to New Zealand’s reputation or investment in additional testing capacity. Replace the words “testing laboratories” with any other term and this is a template for state seizure, through requisition, at the whim of public officials. As such, all Parliamentarians should be concerned.

Enacting this legislation will restrain new investment in COVID testing technology by innovators. Those that do, would be at risk of seizure under this law. New Zealand will miss out on future advances in COVID testing technology. These provisions also lower the standards of testing to the lowest common standard. By overriding normal health standards public confidence in the existing standard will be undermined. – Leon Grice

The Ministry has never considered why its COVID-19 testing regime does not scale and consistently fails to deliver the reach required. The Ministry has repeatedly failed to adequately plan, contract and provide testing infrastructure over the period of the pandemic. This is demonstrated by their inability to deliver widespread saliva testing, some ten months after it was first available in New Zealand. And thirteen months after being directed to in the Simpson-Roche report. – Leon Grice

Giving the Director General of Health draconian powers over laboratories will not fix the ongoing, consistent and fundamental failures in New Zealand’s testing infrastructure. – Leon Grice

We are dealing with a regime so consumed with the righteousness of their cause they are willing to discard traditions and customs won by the barons 800 years ago. Most business leaders have shown themselves to be craven, compliant and cowardly. – Damien Grant

The government, too, is struggling to change its economic playbook in response to events. We can see the same lack of agility here as we have seen with the health response to the pandemic, where ongoing lockdowns and quarantine for Kiwis at the border continue to restrict freedoms and damage livelihoods, despite our now very high levels of vaccination.

Today’s economic problem is not too little stimulation, but too much. Money has been sprayed all over the place, the public service has been super-sized, and the spending keeps on coming. Just in the last couple of weeks we have had announcements about expensive light rail projects and further increases in social welfare payments.Steven Joyce

Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson need to acknowledge that the world has changed. For the first time in 20 years, debt-fuelled government spending is inflationary. And inflation is effectively a tax which hits lower-income people hardest and increases poverty. It also increases the interest bill on our growing mountain of public debt and that restricts society’s choices.

They should be minimising their spending outside of what they need for the actual pandemic response and what they morally need to provide to those people forced to curtail their livelihoods. They should be trying to take the inflationary pressure off household budgets, not talking at every opportunity about spending more. – Steven Joyce

Making it clear the government is responsible for employment would give the public more confidence that the bank will do what it takes to keep inflation under control. It would in turn give the government more pause before implementing its long list of employment-damaging labour market ideas.

The minister could also tell the governor to back off out of issues like climate change, which have very little to do with the bank. A clearer delineation between the government’s role and what the bank is responsible for would be very useful right now. That’s if we want to stop persistent inflation being the next big risk to the prosperity of New Zealanders. – Steven Joyce

It’s predicated on the concept that all Maori, we all think alike. This idea of self-determination must rely on the fact that all Maori identify with the same views, the same political outlooks, the same needs,” she said.

What we’ve actually created is a Maori elite, that their careers, their livelihoods, their relevance, relies on a Maori victimhood and we’ve lost sight of outcomes. – Casey Costello

Is her obvious lack of enthusiasm in backing Three Waters because it is so disastrously unpopular that her strategists are keen for her to distance herself from it?

Or have the reforms been forced on her by her Māori caucus and they won’t let her back down — which would be her usual swift response to any policy that looked like it might cost her the 2023 election?

In short, is the Prime Minister trapped between electoral disaster and the relentless ambitions of her Māori caucus? – Graham Adams

In years to come, when the history of this Government is written, the month of October 2021 will likely be viewed as the time when its honeymoon with the New Zealand public ended. Not only will it be seen as the time when the previous tolerance of restrictions, at whatever level, in the interest of the greater good that the Government had relied on so successfully since March 2020, dissipated, but it was also the time when public patience ran out.

The cumulative effect of prolonged lockdowns, an inept and uncaring MIQ system, and inconsistent rules have finally taken their toll. Unfortunately for the Government, all that has coincided as its own ideas and the luck which has largely sustained it since the outbreak of the virus was also running out. – Peter Dunne

But health cannot possibly be a human right, since death is inevitable and is not generally a sign of health. I have been severely ill several times in my life, but it never occurred to me that my rights were being thereby infringed.Theodore Dalrymple

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that this is a government that has become increasingly comfortable taking our freedoms away. You see, the more you do something, the more comfortable you become doing it. After a while, it becomes automatic. Even if what you are doing is wrong, it becomes acceptable in your own mind.

Here’s the problem. Apparently it takes just 21 days to learn a new habit. And our political leaders have fallen into the habit of taking our freedoms without giving it a second thought. – Bruce Cotterill

You see, while those making the decisions that affect our lives are collecting their pay cheques every month, there are many New Zealanders who are not. Their businesses are on hold indefinitely. Their busiest time of the year is about to pass them by. And even if they can go back to work one day, their debt and stress levels are unthinkable. It’s no wonder these people are at breaking point.

While our government ministers, together with their respective officials, pop off on their forthcoming European jaunts, there are businesspeople going to court to get permission to travel overseas to enable their businesses to keep going.

And while Aucklanders are locked down, the hardship expands to the rest of the country. – Bruce Cotterill

And I have no doubt that one of the greatest tragedies in all of this mess lies in the group of New Zealanders who want to come home, but can’t. We’re not hearing enough of their stories.

Apparently, we have to make room in our MIQ system for criminals who are deported from other countries, and the entourages accompanying our government ministers on their overseas jaunts.

But the average, law-abiding Kiwi who just wants to come home? We put them into a poorly organised raffle every week. There are 30,000 such people. Kiwis. Our people.  – Bruce Cotterill

But sadly, as one party asserts control, another loses freedom.

Curbing freedoms is becoming more and more a feature of this government. It started with the daily updates. “Tune in at 1 o’clock and hear from the single source of the truth,” they said. Lockdowns. Confiscating water assets. Centralising healthcare. Centralising education.

It’s not hard to see that the arrogance that comes with such behaviour leads to a stifled democracy. While the locked-down people are tired and frustrated, our politicians place unelected representatives onto councils and boards, take control of newly centralised education and healthcare and rewrite school history curriculums. All such roads leading to further curbs on the freedoms of the people.Bruce Cotterill

Here’s the problem. There’s an awful lot of take, take, take going on. The people need some give, give, give. The give should include a government that can run competent border policy, pandemic preparedness such as hospital capacity and ICU enhancement, and a vaccination programme that is informed, well managed and timely.

Our government has failed on each of these measures. Their only solution is to confiscate our freedoms. The failures have been theirs. However, in order for their freedoms to be maintained they are happy to change the rules.- Bruce Cotterill

Many years ago I observed that an incompetent manager will often limit the opportunity for their team or their organisation by slowing things down to a pace that he or she can cope with. In other words, to control the pace to a level that suits their agenda. We are all learning now that an incompetent government can do the same.

When one party asserts control, another loses freedom. – Bruce Cotterill

There is obviously a kind of person who believes that when you pull an economic lever from on high, the result is precisely what you expect and want. Such people must live in a world without unintended consequences, in which human beings are vectors of forces whose trajectories can be calculated in advance and then shifted in precisely the direction desired. Such people suffer from what might be called the technocratic delusion.    – Theodore Dalrymple

The whole saga however highlights a very important truth, after 20 years in existence Fonterra is still bound by legislation that tilts the playing field heavily towards its competitors. The fact that a company could take a democratic shareholder vote and the decision whether to enact the outcome is left to the Government is ludicrous.Craig Hickman

The Prime Minister’s cause du jour, reducing child poverty, is a cover for communistic cravings. Left-wing governments always want to tax the rich to give to the poor in the name of greater equality. Do this under the pretext of alleviating child poverty and sympathetic voters will support you. If redistribution was advocated for the reduction of drug-addicted poverty it might find less appeal. That some children in poverty have parents burning money on their addictions remains a fact … but never mind.

There is no excuse for taking money off productive people to encourage bad decision-making. – Lindsay Mitchell

While RNZ has, historically, leaned slightly to the liberal end of the political spectrum, it has largely remained committed to the traditional journalistic belief of giving truth to power without political favour. 

But RNZ National has, almost imperceptibly and without any debate, been transformed from providing a platform for a diversity of views, the traditional role of a public broadcaster, to being a platform that now amplifies the perspectives of the liberal elite that occupy the upper echelons of New Zealand society. It has become home to a  journalism that has became fixated with culture issues, race and gender. In the process its tone has become so smug and exclusive that it is obviously alienating a large number of listeners who have departed elsewhere.  – Against the Current

The weekend’s #Groundswell protests, and the #Groundswell movement itself, were intended to highlight the plight of the New Zealand farmer under an unsympathetic regime. Instead, however, the organisers have allowed it to become easily gaslighted as something it’s not. As racist, or anti-vax.

And the important message has been lost: that it’s NZ farmers who allow us to live in first-world comfort — that it’s their exported produce that allows us to buy, at not unreasonable prices, all the technology of the world.  – Peter Cresswell

It’s those dairy exports that pay our way in the world; that, more than anything else, allow the average New Zealander to, at a reasonable price, directly acquire technology that allows them to see, hear, read and interact with the whole world’s movies, music, artworks, books, and communications technology  — to each acquire the sort of library that past royalty would have envied — and to indirectly live the sort of lifestyles that people around other parts of the world envy still. It’s those dairy exports that, more than anything else we do here, make it all possible.

Perhaps some gratitude to the farmers, rather than gaslighting them, should be the response they deserve. Peter Cresswell

These are extraordinary times which demand extraordinary measures in emergency time frames.

But in New Zealand, our bureaucracy bumbles it’s way like a plodding sloth to unfortunate outcomes.  – Andrew Dickens

One GP said even though there is high demand for the pulse oximeters, they have not been all that easy to get.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said not every single Covid-19 positive household gets one, but the Ministry of Health said they do – while Minister of Health Andrew Little said they don’t necessarily, and Grant Robertson said everyone does.Jordan Bond

It’s called media control but asking questions is called democracy and accountability. – Barry Soper

Who knew an eminent scientist expressing an honestly held opinion — that mātauranga Māori, while valuable as a form of knowledge, is not science — would end up dealing with an Inquisition in 21st century New Zealand? Graham Adams

There is no greater aspiration than one that thinks more of our legacy to future generations than the immediate difficulties experienced in the process of establishment.

We should return to the days when we all believed in those guidelines. But time is of the essence. It may soon be too late. – Clive Bibby

One of the growing images of this government is that they are on the side of the hopeless and some times worse than that, the just plain ugly. – Mike Hosking

Giving people a hand up has always been the New Zealand way. But like so many of the houses and circumstances themselves, the theory has been, and is being, abused.

It’s not a hand up, it’s a lifestyle. And the government who have sided with those who abuse it all dig an ever-deeper hole for themselves while we foot the bill. – Mike Hosking

We are dealing with monsters here, and [Kāinga Ora] have got this no evictions policy which is outrageous because the deterrence in the system has gone. – Adina Thorn

We don’t want to evict anybody. But sometimes there has to be an endpoint to this when things are completely out of control… it’s a privilege, not a right, to live in a state house. If you’re going to exploit that, something needs to give. – Adina Thorn

It’s not uncommon for Ardern to deliberately evade simple questions and give answers that bear no resemblance to the actual question.

In this case all it does is emphasise there is no increased risk if the changes were implemented ahead of Christmas, and rather than admitting that, Ardern is hoping word soup answers will be a distraction.Jo Moir

We are all going to get Covid antibodies either by vaccination or infection. The traffic lights just delay, increase social division, economic cost and the total lives lost.

The traffic lights are not based on science but on polling. We have gone from being a team of 5 million to scapegoating an unpopular minority. Not the Kiwi way.

A poll-driven government is mob rule. – Richard Prebble

War, after all, is not an equal opportunity employer, or at any rate not for long. The aged, the seriously infirm, the mad, the grossly obese must surely be excluded. A totally inclusive navy would probably sink even before it engaged in action. It would never even put to sea.Theodore Dalrymple

The enunciation of high-sounding but impossible principles disguises from us something that we would rather not know, though in fact we do know it and cannot but know it: namely that the world and life are often intractable and unfair. Not everything can be bent to our wishes, a fact which we find an assault on our self-regard. Better to hide the truth, in the process making ourselves sound liberal and generous. – Theodore Dalrymple

Remember, this is a bill that authorises the government to set constraints on who can and cannot take part in large parts of social life for the foreseeable future, that specifically permits it to require people in certain occupations to be vaccinated, and that is going to authorise other workplaces to decide if their employees have to be vaccinated or else lose their jobs. It’s getting pretty close to effectively mandating that people accept a vaccination, even if it isn’t imposing direct penalties on them for not doing so.

That may well be fine to do. I’m double-vaxxed, my kids are/will be when the age limits shift, and the science is the science. But, still, legislation that allows the state to say “put this in your body or else largely forgo social interactions” is a big step. And it’s one that ought to be taken with due respect; given time for proper scrutiny and debate, with input from an informed public. – Andrew Geddis

 First, the government apparently didn’t realise this request had been made, and so failed to respond to it in the time the OIA allows. Then, it refused to release the information because it will be made public “soon” … in late January, two months after the legislation authorising the use of vaccination certificates has been enacted into force. 

This is, to put it mildly, simply not good enough. Indeed, if you were trying to construct a lawmaking process to set off the conspiracy minded and undermine the social licence needed for success, it would look something like this. Hide the information that’s informed your legislation, introduce it at the very last moment, whip it through the House overnight, and present it as a fait accompli the next day.

Not, I hasten to add, that I subscribe to any conspiracy reasoning here. Rather, the reasons for the government’s behaviour are far more depressingly mundane. It has a parliamentary majority that allows it to act as it pleases.Andrew Geddis

But here’s the thing. When you’re the government, you’ve got to do better than “just enough”. Putting rules in place to allow society to function in the new Covid normal matters. But how you put those rules in place also matters. And in that respect, the government has failed us with this latest bill. – Andrew Geddis

You need a principled, talented opposition to provide an alternative vision, so let’s not worry about individual careers or egos, it’s the country that matters. Chris Finlayson

For me [the announcement] is absolutely useless and I find the ongoing restrictions completely over the top. New Zealand will be 90% vaccinated, so is Australia. It’s time to move on and stop destroying the economy and keeping families apart, and denying New Zealand citizens their rights to return and leave their country. –  Vanessa Freeman

Simply put, our nation locked us out and the populace stayed quiet on that, which alludes to there being a tacit agreement between the two. Teamed with a lack of empathy or compassion for what those of us locked out went through, I have forever been changed by all this.Sharelle Govignon-Sweet 

HOW LONG before Labour’s senior ministers realise how much damage Kāinga Ora is doing to their Government? Because it is difficult to overstate just how bad the optics of the Crown entity’s “unruly tenants” have become. As story after shocking story is picked up by the news media, public disbelief and disgust is growing exponentially. What’s preventing Labour from cauterising this self-inflicted political wound?
The answer would seem to involve the peculiar moral blindness that afflicts so much of the state bureaucracy. Partly, the result of an unrelenting focus on the “challenges” faced by criminal and dysfunctional individuals – challenges that are permitted to obscure, almost entirely, the consequences of their criminality and dysfunction. Partly, the result of the impulse to offer protection to those deemed “beyond the pale” by the rest of society. And, partly, the result of an ingrained bureaucratic reluctance to have any state agency’s shortcomings exposed to public and political scrutiny. Bring all these together, and the chances of the responsible bureaucrats seeing either the bigger picture, or the even bigger problem, are slim. – Chris Trotter

To the rest of the world, of course, the idea of allowing young children to remain in the custody of individuals who abuse and threaten their neighbours, is unthinkable. With that sort of parental example, they would argue, what chance do these kids have of growing into anything other than another generation of violent and uncaring thugs? “Get them out of there! Now!” Would be the immediate response of the average New Zealander. “And then evict their parents!”

In the eyes of the bureaucrats, however, this is exactly what must be avoided. Years of experience have taught them that breaking-up the family unit is only likely to make things worse. They insist that all these allegedly “common sense” solutions end up creating are more unruly citizens. Far from reducing the number of problematic individuals in state houses, you end up multiplying them. (Overlooked, or downplayed, is the fact that equally dire outcomes tend to flow from families in which unpunished violence, intimidation and harassment are part of everyday existence.) – Chris Trotter

So fixated have the bureaucrats become with “managing” the perpetrators of what in many cases are criminal offences, that the harassed and terrified people on the receiving end of those offences are simply forgotten.

This is the moral blindness that drives the victims of such behaviour, and all who read about it, to utter distraction. They begin to feel like lab rats in some dark behavioural science experiment. Their terrible experiences are simply incidental to the pathology of the experimental subjects. The quality of the victims’ lives is not the point of the exercise. The agency’s only concern is how successful their interventions are at rendering unruly tenants less unruly. – Chris Trotter

If law-abiding citizens’ faith in the state’s willingness to protect its citizens from violence, intimidation and harassment is not rewarded with swift and decisive action, then people will look elsewhere, and to others, for protection

Official inertia and vigilantism are not unrelated.Chris Trotter

The greatest failings of government arise when a growing bureaucracy and political ambition replace the principals of service. – Mark Rais

The IOC decision released last week ignores the wealth of scientific evidence, and common sense, that males have a competitive advantage against females in almost all sports,” said the organisation’s spokesperson Ro Edge.

“It has effectively eliminated the female category in sports by now allowing any male to compete in the female category on the basis only of “self-identification” as a woman.Ro Edge

In order to restrict a male from competing as a female, an individual sporting body will have to provide its own “robust and peer-reviewed research” to prove that women will be unfairly disadvantaged.

“This is indefensible….it’s clear the IOC hasn’t been able to figure out how to allow the inclusion of transwomen in the female category without it impacting fairness and safety for female athletes – and that’s because it is an impossible task. – Alison Roe

It [the IOC Transgender Framework] states that “everyone, regardless of gender identity, should be able to participate in sport safely and without prejudice”.

“While no one should disagree with that, the real question is, should a person have the right to participate in any category they choose?Ro Edge

On the contrary, it seems as if the end of communism and apartheid (closely related, for the apartheid regime in South Africa would never have dissolved itself while communists of the African National Congress could hope for an alliance with the Soviet Union, after the downfall of which they swiftly converted to crony capitalism) has liberated the inner totalitarian of the leftist intelligentsia to turn its attention on its own society, and use race, climate, and inequality to further its drive for power.

Far from wishing to ease racial tensions, it wishes to provoke, maintain, and exacerbate them so that they become a pretext for endless political and bureaucratic interference in everyone’s life. As Lenin put it, the worse the better. – Theodore Dalrymple

We’re all familiar with the phrase “the worst of all possible worlds”. Well, I think we now know what that world looks like.

We have an all-powerful, increasingly authoritarian government that combines ideological zealotry with ineptitude, profligacy, laziness and contempt for democratic process – surely the most lethal confluence of malignant political forces in living memory.Karl du Fresne

Speaking of the media, we have a new breed of political journalists whom no one can trust, who regard themselves as players rather than observers, and who treat politics as some sort of entertaining blood sport – one in which all participants risk being maimed with the exception of … the media, who are accountable to no one and are in the uniquely privileged position of ensuring they always come out as winners. I’m reminded of a British journalist’s memorable line about newspaper editorial writers: “They watch from the hills as the fighting rages, then come down and bayonet the wounded.”

That pretty much describes some of today’s Press Gallery journalists, such as Newshub’s political editor Tova O’Brien and her understudy Jenna Lynch, who have no skin in the game and can walk away unscathed from the carnage they helped to orchestrate. Newshub played a key role in National’s leadership crisis, constantly contriving opportunities to undermine the floundering opposition leader while leaving the prime minister – the person actually running the country – untouched within her media-enabled force field. Dirty politics? You have it right there – but don’t expect another book from Nicky Hager.  – Karl du Fresne

No, if you want to trace New Zealand’s parlous situation back to its origin, the trail leads inexorably to Winston Raymond Peters. Remember the 2017 election? With just 7 percent of the vote, Peters held the balance of power and exercised it by anointing Ardern as prime minister when, morally, National had earned the right to govern with 44 per cent of the vote to Labour’s 38 per cent.

Had the New Zealand First leader done the honourable thing in 2017, Bill English would have remained prime minister and might have turned out to be a good one. Not only had he done much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes in the Key government, but he had a social conscience that marked him as a politician in the mould of National Party liberals from the Holyoake era – National’s golden age, when it won four consecutive terms.Karl du Fresne

The media have been complicit in this process, for months on end treating the pandemic as if it was the only story of any consequence and ignoring, or at the very least playing down, elements of the government’s agenda that might cause public disquiet. Covid-19 has forced almost everything else off the news pages and the evening bulletins, allowing Labour’s activists to get on with their project virtually unhindered.

Peters, ironically, found himself ousted from Parliament, the voters finally having had enough of his decades of chicanery, so perhaps there’s some justice after all. But with the NZ First leader again hovering balefully around the periphery of politics, no one should forget his ignoble role in all this. – Karl du Fresne

There is no authority in numbers. There is no weight, in the realm of science, to a consensus if a single fact can disprove the proposition. Damien Grant

The Royal Society is one of the pillars of our civil society. It is funded by the state. It has over three and a half centuries of commitment to open and free inquiry. Membership confers status and recognition.

They should step back from the track they are treading and return to the traditions which has made it one of the great institutions of our time. – Damien Grant

Silencing or punishing someone for an opinion runs counter to reason. … No one is infallible; no one is omniscient. The only way our species has been able to do anything worthwhile is by voicing opinions and allowing them to be criticised…

If you’ve got a regime where merely voicing an opinion gets you silenced or punished then we’ve turned off the only mechanism we have of discovering knowledge. It is a way of locking ourselves into error…

If we have a regime that can subject someone to an investigation based on an opinion, we know from history that’s the way totalitarian autocracies work and oppressive theocracies work.

We know that the countries that have done well — the liberal democracies — have had freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry.Steven Pinker

It is to Chris Luxon’s credit that he is one of the few MPs to have taken a pay cut – in his case of over $4,000,000 a year – to enter Parliament, having left the top position at Air NZ. He is a person who is clearly motivated by public service rather than raiding the taxpayer’s wallet. – Jordan Williams

Journalists had fun mocking the recent Covid vaccine protesters. I did it myself. But, talk to anyone across the land, and I do frequently, who deal with the public, such as gym owners, shop-keepers, GPs and so on and all report a seething anger at the government’s oppressively dictatorial behaviour. The past 15 months inability of Kiwi’s to come home from abroad despite being vaccinated and happy to do a week at home, the absurdity of the South Island semi-lockdown, the PM’s hogging of television until the tide turned, then hiding out for three months under the radar in Wellington, and much, much more.

But over-riding everything is the racial divide the government has brought about by its relentless promotion of Maori favouritism. Bob Jones

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. – Chris Luxon

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. Chris Luxon

: 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. – Chris Luxon

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.Chris Luxon

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. –  Chris Luxon

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.Chris Luxon

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