Word of the day

09/08/2022

Minoritarian – a member or supporter of a minority group, especially in politics; a person who holds a minority view; of, or related to minoritarianism.


Sowell says

09/08/2022


Rural round-up

09/08/2022

Govt urged to listen to communities on Three Waters :

Local government lobby group slates Bill as ‘expropriation without compensation’ of assets held by authorities for their communities.

The government has lost its social licence around Three Waters reform in the face of overwhelming opposition, Communities 4 Local Democracy says.

It needs to listen to the community demanding better water reform rather than pushing forward with a plan that could deliver disastrous outcomes, the local government group said in its submission to the Finance and Expenditure committee on the government’s Water Services Entities Bill.

C4LD is a coalition of 31 territorial and unitary local authorities that was formed to develop and propose reforms to the government’s proposed Three Waters policy settings. . . 

Alliance beef and lamb fuels Commonwealth athletes :

Kiwi athletes’ medal-winning success at the Commonwealth Games has been powered by Alliance Group’s beef and lamb.

The co-operative is the official supplier to the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the games in the UK city of Birmingham.

General manager sales Shane Kingston says Alliance was privileged to supply its award-winning Pure South beef and lamb range and Lumina lamb for the protein-packed meals for the NZ athletes, their entourage and delegates.

“It’s no surprise our Commonwealth Games’ athletes turned to New Zealand beef and lamb to give them the boost they need. . . 

Redefining ‘rural’ can help tackle health disparities: study – Mike Houlahan:

Rural people have a higher mortality rate than city-dwellers and the New Zealand health system should redefine what “rural” means to ensure people who live in those areas have fair access to healthcare, new research suggests.

An article published in The New Zealand Medical Journal today argues for a review of the current “rural” criteria.

A group of authors, which included University of Otago academics, resurveyed New Zealand on an internationally recognised “geographical classification of health” (GCH) basis and then examined how well the enrolment data of two primary health organisations — one being WellSouth — matched both the old and new maps.

The methodology commonly used in New Zealand had a 70% match to WellSouth’s data, while the new geographic survey was rated almost 95% accurate. . . 

Whisky in the jar at New Zealand’s arable awards :

Many would say yes to a warming single malt whisky on one of these cold winter evenings – how about one made from purple wheat, black oats, or even black barley?

That’s the offer from Southland’s Auld Farm Distillery, awarded the Innovation title at tonight’s New Zealand Arable Awards sponsored by Rabobank in Christchurch.

Rob and Toni Auld’s enterprise – the couple also make a range of three gins from a base alcohol of oat, wheat, and barley – is typical of the diversity, entrepreneurship and commitment to quality being displayed so often in the nation’s arable sector.

Auld Farm Distillery has achieved several world firsts with their products, and that’s not uncommon from an arable sector that leads the world in several categories of the international seed market and has set world records in wheat and barley yields. Federated Farmers arable executive member David Birkett, who farms at Leeston, Canterbury, was named Arable Farmer of the Year.  . .

T and G Global lifts profit despite weather, logistical challenges :

Produce exporter T&G Global has managed to lift its half year profit in the face of ongoing supply chain disruptions and challenging economic conditions.

Key numbers for the six months ended June compared to a year ago:

  • Net profit $5.7m vs $3.4m
  • Revenue $645.5m vs $652.1m
  • Underlying profit $15m vs $10.9m
  • Net assets $563.6m vs $514.9m

T&G chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said the company had improved its financial results, despite it being a tough start to the year. . . 

Danny Bearsley wins horticulture Bledisloe Cup for 2022:

Danny Bearsley has won the horticulture Bledisloe Cup for 2022.

Danny is credited with saving the Hawke’s Bay process vegetable industry in the 1990s. This industry now processes more than 5,500 hectares of produce sourced from the Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Manawatu regions.

Danny’s horticulture career spans more than four decades. While he diversified into growing apples and kiwifruit, and fresh broccoli in the 1990s, Danny has always maintained a healthy interest the process vegetable industry.

Today, Danny maintains his involvement in horticulture through the wine industry. . .

Robin Oakley wins HortNZ environmental award:

Robin Oakley, a fifth-generation grower from Canterbury, has won a HortNZ Environmental Award for 2022.

‘Oakley’s is dedicated to continuous improvement,’ said Robin. ‘I am proud that our efforts have been recognised by HortNZ and want to share with New Zealanders the good work that is done on our farms.’

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables grow potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, pumpkin and arable crops including grass seed, wheat, peas and maize on more than 450 hectares. They wash, grade and pack produce on site.

In recent years, Robin has taken considerable steps to reduce, monitor and manage greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen leaching and improve soil quality, through initiatives such as the Sustainable Vegetables System project. . . 


From Dunedin to Edinburgh Tattoo

09/08/2022

Dunedin is named after Dùn Èideann, the Gaelic name for Edinburgh and two people from the southern city will be part of the Edinburgh Tattoo:

Michael Braithwaite first saw the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo live from the really cheap seats — the rooftop of a friend’s apartment which overlooked Edinburgh Castle.

Now, the former Dunedin musician gets the best views on the castle grounds, because he is the new creative director of the show and pretty much runs it.

He told British media that if someone told him he would one day be the creative director of one of the greatest shows on Earth, he would have laughed them out of the room. . . 

Singer Marla Kavanaugh has been invited to perform with her group The Highland Divas (a female trio, based in New York).

The show starts tomorrow after a Covid-19 hiatus and runs until August 27.

It is the first time Mr Braithwaite has been in charge, and The Highland Divas will be the first purely vocal act at the popular event, which reaches live audiences of nearly 9000 people a night, and reaches a television viewership of 100 million. . .


Olivia Newton-John 26.9.48 – 8.8.22

09/08/2022

Olivia Newton-John has died:

Born in Cambridge in 1948, Newton-John and her two siblings – the grandchildren of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born – moved to Australia with their parents when she was just 5. It was there that she won a trip to London on television talent contest. The appearance would lead to numerous spots on local Australian programs before she redeemed her prize and traveled back to the U.K.

In London, Newton-John began touring as one-half of Pat & Olivia – her act with Pat Farrar. By 1971 though, Newton-John’s solo career had kicked off. Two albums – If Not For You and Olivia – followed in quick succession, before 1973’s Let Me Be There certified her star status in the U.K. and the U.S. The title track won Newton-John her first Grammy, for best female country vocal performance.

The next year, Newton-John collected two more Grammys, this time record of the year and best post vocal performance, female – both for her timeless hit “I Honestly Love You.” In total, Newton-John was nominated for 12 Grammys throughout her career, winning once more for video of the year with “Physical” in 1982.

Newton-John was also recognized with multiple Country Music and American Music Awards, as well as four People’s Choice Awards.

In 1978, Newton-John’s acting career took off with Grease, in which she starred opposite Travolta as innocent high schooler Sandy. The role earned Newton-John a Golden Globe nomination. 

Two years later, she lead another movie musical, Xanadu, before later appearing with Travolta again in 1983’s Two of a Kind. Despite a few other film and television roles, Newton-John’s focus returned to music.

Newton-John — who received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal in 1979 — wed actor Matt Lattanzi in 1984, with whom she welcomed her only child, daughter Chloe Lattanzi, in 1986. The couple divorced in 1995.

One of the first stars to publicly share their health crisis’, Newton-John revealed in 1992 her first diagnosis with breast cancer. Her battle – which included a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction – ultimately lead to the creation of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne. In the decades since, Newton-John become an advocate for cancer awareness and research.

In addition, Newton-John began as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, and once served as the national spokesperson for the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition. She and Easterling – whom she wed in 2008 – also worked closely with the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research.

Eight years before her death, Newton-John was honored with the Medal of the Order of Australia. . . 


KiwiSpray

09/08/2022

Nicola Willis had a name for the government’s bungled cost of living payment in her speech to National’s conference – KiwiSpray.

That could be applied to far too many of Labour’s policies that show they don’t understand that spending more is very different from doing more effectively.

There were plenty of other gems in her speech:

. . . And thank you to our Leader, Christopher Luxon, for driving that mission. For uniting our team, for growing our support, for bringing his immense work ethic, integrity and enthusiasm to the leadership of our Party.

I’ve so enjoyed getting to know Chris better these past few months, seeing his deep care for people, his commitment to get the best out of every player in the team, his depth of knowledge and his global perspective. His pride in New Zealand and his optimism for what we can achieve.

Together, we’re going to turn this country around.

Our first task is to win an election, that’s true, but our ultimate task is to take New Zealand forward.

Now more than ever, New Zealand needs a National Government with a positive vision for the future.

Because as resilient and tenacious as we Kiwis are, and as great as this country of ours is, there’s no denying how tough things have become.

New Zealand is facing the most challenging economic conditions many of you will have experienced in your lifetime.

The cost of living crisis is making everything more expensive.
Prices are growing faster than wages, meaning your pay gets you less this month than it did the month before.

Interest rates are climbing fast, rents have exploded, and mortgage payments are costing more.

Businesses can’t find workers, so they’re letting down customers, compromising quality and giving up on growth ambitions.

The hotel I stayed in at the weekend had a sign at reception explaining they didn’t have enough staff to service rooms every day.

The people covering the vacancies feel exhausted, like the small business owner I spoke to recently who’d worked 152 days in a row without a break, like the nurses in our hospital doubling down on overtime and the farmers who can’t remember the last time they did less than a ten-hour day.

With Labour in Government many hardworking people can’t see a way out of these tough economic times. They are despondent about the future and fear it’s only going to get worse.

My message today is simple: National has a better way. We will get the economy working for you once more.

The Cost of Living Crisis: How did we get here?

To get out of our economic malaise we must first understand how we got in it.

Yes, COVID-19 has a lot to answer for.

And yes, New Zealand wasn’t the only country that responded to the pandemic with large amounts of borrowing, spending and money-printing.

But let’s be clear: New Zealand did a lot more of it than most. While all countries put their foot on the accelerator to some extent, our Government put its pedal to the metal.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 spend-up, relative to the size of our economy, was second to only one other country: the United States.

Meanwhile, our Reserve Bank’s monetary response to COVID was the fifth largest in the world, relative to the size of our economy.

We simultaneously had our Finance Minister pumping the accelerator while our Reserve Bank reached for over-drive.

No car can drive that fast without a moment of reckoning, and no economy can either.

Today, we are living with the consequences: Prices are rising faster than they have in 32 years, inflation has got a grip on our economy and its eating a hole in every pocket.

Reality bites. Inflation, like a debt collector in the night, is extracting a price from all of us.

National, along with every other Party in Parliament, is calling for an independent inquiry into the economic response to COVID-19. Labour says no.

I simply say this: Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat their mistakes.

The Cost of Living Crisis

Labour’s first approach to managing the cost of living crisis was denial. Now its magical thinking.

Instead of presenting a plan to restore productive growth to our economy and to address the underlying drivers of inflation, it has dialled up its spending, choked access to new workers, and lurched from one temporary band-aid policy to another.

Its signature move, the ‘cost-of-living payment’ has been a spectacular failure, resulting in taxpayer dollars going to ex-pats in London, French backpackers and dead people.
It’s so bad I think it’s earned itself a nickname: I’m going to call it KiwiSpray.

It’s like KiwiBuild only instead of being 99,000 houses short, it’s 800,000 payments short.

National on the other hand has a sensible, common-sense plan to beat inflation.

We will bring an end to Labour’s failed policies of high-taxing, big spending, big Government, with no accountability for failure and no focus on results.

We will restore careful economic management to this country so that prices stop rising so fast, Kiwis can get ahead and businesses can grow.

• We will reduce the tax burden on New Zealanders.
• We will restore discipline to Government spending
• We will reduce the regulation and costs imposed by Government
• We will ensure New Zealand has the workers needed to deliver services and grow businesses
• We will return the Reserve Bank to a single mandate

Tax

I want to make a few comments about why tax reduction is important to us.

As our first Leader Adam Hamilton said when National was founded: “[National stands] for a reduction of taxation so that enterprise may be encouraged, industries established and living costs reduced.”

National wants to leave as much spending power as possible in the hands of those earning the money. We want New Zealanders to keep more of their pay so that they can save for that first house, invest in that start-up, expand that small business, hire that new worker, take the kids to the movies or have the security of money put aside for a rainy day.

This highlights an important difference between National and Labour – one trusts us with our own money, the other thinks it knows how to spend our money better than we do.

Labour on the other hand believes bigger Government is the solution to every problem. Despite failing to deliver time and time again, they think things will miraculously get better if only they could spend more of your money. Like a gambler at the track, they throw good money after bad, and take no accountability for the results.

The result is that Government is now collecting $41 billion more a year in tax than when Labour first came to office.

It’s gone too far, and National will ensure a fairer deal.

• We will scrap the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax. It’s hurting Aucklanders every time they fill up at the pump. It has to go.
• We will scrap Labour’s plans for an Auckland Light Rail Tax.
• We will scrap the Ute-Tax. It’s nothing but a punishment to farmers and tradies and you deserve better.
• National will scrap the 39 per cent top tax rate. It’s an envy tax.
• National will scrap the 10 year Brightline test extension. It’s a capital gains tax by stealth. Labour didn’t campaign on it, didn’t have a mandate for it, and did it anyway.
• National will scrap the rent-hiking Tenant Tax. We will bring back interest deductibility for rental properties.

National will also deal to Labour’s stealth tax: inflation-driven bracket-creep.

Inflation has helped fund Labour’s tax and spend binge.

You see, when inflation increases, people’s wages go up on paper. In theory you may be earning more, but in reality the pay rise isn’t helping much because prices are gobbling it up. You’re probably going backwards.

But the IRD doesn’t care. It just sees a higher pay rate, and if you find yourself in a higher tax bracket, you get taxed at the higher rate.

National will index tax thresholds to inflation. We detailed our plan for doing this in March. We will deliver those tax reductions in our first term of Government. It’s our commitment to you.

You can expect to hear more from us on tax reduction next year. Our vision is to go further still.

National is committed to providing as much tax relief to working New Zealanders as we responsibly can.

Labour on Tax

Labour meanwhile is busy designing new taxes.

The Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, is quietly setting up a new unit in the ACC for his latest pet project, a social insurance scheme. He has a plan to pay for it too – a Jobs Tax. That’s right, the Finance Minister is planning a new tax on every single employer and every single employee.

National will scrap Labour’s Jobs Tax.

The Revenue Minister, David Parker, is also up to mischief.

Like many of his Labour colleagues, he fantasises about a capital gains tax.

He’s created his own new unit at the IRD. Sometimes referred to as the “Piketty Unit” after his idol, the socialist economist and wealth-tax advocate Thomas Piketty. The Piketty unit is working at pace, collecting data about New Zealanders assets and incomes, their taxes and business arrangements.

It’s not clear exactly what this will lead to but I do know this:

More tax is in Labour’s DNA, and they’re dreaming up new ways to take it.

Mark my words, Labour will put a capital gains tax back on the table. The name may change, it might be in disguise, but it’s coming.

Disciplined Government Spending

The more Labour spends, the more tax it needs.

And Labour is on a spending spree.

In December, the Government forecast it would spend $120 billion in the 2023 financial year.

Then the Budget rolled around and Labour just couldn’t bring itself to stick to its spending limit.

Instead of spending $120 billion this year, its spending $127 billion. That’s 70 per cent more per year than when it first came to office.

Ask yourself this: Are you spending 70 per cent more today than you were five years ago? I doubt it. Well, the Government is. Are they getting 70 per cent better results? Of course they aren’t.

They’re simply addicted to spending.

National will bring discipline to spending by stopping Labour’s worst projects, reducing backroom bureaucracy, eliminating waste and driving better results from existing Budgets.

Let me give you some examples of poor projects that Labour has been splashing the cash on.

-Three Waters Reform: Labour’s Three Waters plan to do a mega-merger of council owned water assets is undemocratic state centralisation at its worst. It also comes with a $3 billion price tag. National will repeal and replace Three Waters.
– The TVNZ-RNZ Merger: Labour has inexplicably decided to embark on a mega-merger of the two state broadcasters. It comes with a $370 million price tag. National opposes it.
– Labour have also ploughed $200 million into the creation of Te Pukenga, the mega-merger of New Zealand’s polytechnics and institutes of technology. National opposes it.

National will not pour billions of dollars into centralisation and bureaucracy.

National will instead focus on doing the basics better.

We value the vital role Government spending plays in delivering essential public services: providing healthcare and education, ensuring support for the vulnerable, keeping our communities safe, building and maintaining the physical and social infrastructure we all rely on.

That’s why National has committed to increasing health and education spending every year we are in office, matching increases to the rate of inflation at a minimum, but allowing also for population growth and other pressures.

But we know spending more will not in itself deliver better results. If it were that easy, then why is Labour overseeing an explosion in truancy, declining literacy achievement, and a health system in crisis?

National will set public service targets for the better health and education services New Zealanders deserve, drive better delivery, and demand accountability for results.

We will push for more value from every buck. We will ask every Minister to examine spending in their agencies line-by-line with a focus on eliminating waste.

Just as households are having to carefully evaluate their budgets to cope with rising costs, so too should public agencies.

National is wary of the insatiable appetite Government has for growing itself.

We will stop the explosive growth in the backroom bureaucracy and move more resources to the frontline, away from Departments and into communities.

National won’t tolerate a New Zealand where inter-generational poverty is normalised, where Government Departments service misery but repeatedly fail to solve it and where good intentions are seen as a substitute for good results.

National will revive Sir Bill English’s social investment work. We will use his social investment approach to solve our deepest social problems, getting Government agencies out of the way, investing not for narrow outputs tomorrow but for long-term impact, measuring results and changing lives.

We are determined to do better for the New Zealanders whose lives are complex, but whose potential is great. Social investment’s time has come.

National will stop the tide of Government costs and regulations.

As Sidney Holland, National’s first Prime Minister said in 1943 “National believes in individual freedom, a competitive economy, and the minimum of bureaucratic intervention, restriction and regulation”, “ less red tape”.

Our vision is to reduce red tape to ensure Kiwi firms can spend less time and money on compliance and form-filling and more time innovating and growing.

We will restore the right of employers and employees to negotiate freely and not to be bound by new compulsory, nationwide, sector-wide collective agreements.

The 1970s have called and they want their policy back. So-called Fair Pay Agreements have no place in 2022, and no future under National.

There’s nothing fair about the imposition of pay and conditions nationwide.

National will ensure New Zealand has the workers needed to deliver services and grow businesses

We will stop Labour’s experiment of seeing what happens when you starve an economy of migrant workers. We know what happens – fruit rots on the vines, hotel sheets go unchanged, manufacturers cancel orders, exporters leave value on the table and new customers go elsewhere: all for lack of people to do the job.

National will fix our immigration service. We will take it from the bureaucratic Police Force its become and turn it into the Recruitment Agency New Zealand needs it to be.

Finally, National will return the Reserve Bank to economic orthodoxy with a singular mandate to manage inflation

Ladies and gentlemen, the commitments I have outlined to you this morning will ensure our economy works better for you and all New Zealanders.

National is ambitious for this country, and our sights are raised high, so you can be sure we will work relentlessly on the long-time drivers of economic growth:

• unlocking the potential of our people through better education;
• delivering growth-enhancing infrastructure; including the infrastructure New Zealand will need to adapt to climate change
• attracting new sources of capital;
• embracing science and technology, including to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
• growing our connections with the world;

Conclusion

National has what it take to get this economy off its knees. We can bring hope back to every Kiwi slogging it out day after day, paying the bills, not asking for favours but desperate for a fair go; some reward for your efforts.

We hear the pleas of struggling Kiwis and we say: National has your back.

We won’t sit back and let inflation fleece you every time you open your wallet.

We will back you to get ahead, we will back your family with the better public services you deserve and we will back New Zealand businesses with the freedom and workers you need to succeed.

As Sidney Holland once said: the essence of the National Party philosophy is “fewer restrictions and greater opportunities”, “greater freedom to follow one’s own star”.

National will lift New Zealanders sights to those stars once more. We’ll get the country moving in the right direction again.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bring some aspiration back to New Zealand. With Christopher Luxon as our Leader, and the people in this room as our support, come next year’s election, that is exactly what National will do.

Last night’s poll showed the country is ready for change and National is working to ensure it’s change for the better.


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