Monday, 17 December 2007

Polls deliver EFB verdict

Two recent polls have the commentariat all aflutter.  I don't usually comment on polls, but Lindsay Perigo does.

Labour and the Greens have been pulling out all the stops to pass the fascist Electoral Finance Bill, the work of Labour's obnoxious, liberty-hating deputy-leader Michael Cullen. Voters have delivered their verdict. 

But it's important not to become complacent.  The Orwellian shape of New Zealand should Labour win a fourth term is obvious enough just from today's headlines... [Read on here.]

"Politicians' default position is to lie..." (updated)

TV3 political journalist Duncan Garner, who's seen more politicians than most, told a journalism training seminar recently:

"Those covering politics should be wary that politicians' default position is to lie and surround issues with a smokescreen."

Says Helen Clark: " I cannot accept that as accurate."

Discuss.  You may wish to refer to the discussion at Radio NZ's 'Mediawatch' programme.

UPDATE: Speaking of lies, here's Lance Davey from SOLO on this year's biggest lie, from New Zealand's biggest pack of liars:

The EFB will most certainly be passed on Tuesday, and the tragedy is that it is going through based on lies:

  • The lie that private wealth has any sort of "undue" influence on elections. Any influence it has, is as just, right and proper as the influence that private time and private popularity have.
  • The lie that some mysterious wealthy elite has the power to buy you and your vote and the EFB is the only way to stop them.
  • The lie that if you shut up then you can have your free speech. (New Zealand Fascist leader Winston Peters said in Nelson: "As long as you remain apolitical then this Bill will be no threat." You cannot legitimately preface any statement about an inalienable right such as free expression with "As long as.")
  • The lie that ambiguous "common sense" will always trump a non-objective, poorly written law...  Common sense? Is it enough to know that despite the potential accusations, investigations, harassment and the time and financial cost of defending yourself, after all that; common sense "should" prevail? The "chilling effect" is what happens when you don't want to risk finding out.
  • The lie that the Electoral Finance Bill was ever consistent with the Bill of Rights, and that the process of passing it wasn't a rotten, corrupt farce.
  • The lie that the Green Party are supporting it on principle rather than as pay back for Labour's votes on the "anti-smacking" law..
  • The complete and utter lie that "issues" campaigning is protected. We vote for a party, we don't get any vote on policies. To campaign on issues effectively you must at least imply party support or opposition. New Zealand, it's all a lie. The justification for the EFB,  the alleged consistency with the Bill of Rights, the supposed positive impact on democracy, all of it.

It is one massive lie to further entrench the state as our master, not our servant. Electoral communication will, for the entire election year, be more overwhelmingly dominated by the state than ever before.

Top ten words for 2007

The top ten words for 2007, as chosen by Public Address readers, are here. List is below, along with links to posts with those topics here at Not PC -- well, mostly from NOT PC.  If I've covered them.

    1. Te Qaeda
    2. Sub-prime
    3. It's business time
    4. Sustainability
    5. Reconditioning
    6. Rotation
    7. Smacking
    8=. Not okay
    8=. Carbon
    10. Xtra Service

Starship not buying

Helen Clark took taxpayers' money intended to run her office, and used it to run for office.  Your money is her money, and don't you forget it.  She's not the only politician with a morality bypass and their hands in the till.  In his failed bid to use taxpayers' money twice -- and good on Starship Foundation's Brian Mogridge for not buying into the stunt -- Winston Peters demonstrates has has no clue about the distinction between New Zealanders' money and New Zealand First’s money.  Or just no clue.  Raybon Kan makes the argument.

So New Zealand First has made a donation of $158,000 to Starship hospital. By coincidence, $158,000 is the precise amount of taxpayers’ money the auditor-general said New Zealand First spent illegally in the last election. Does this mean New Zealand First is off the hook?

It’s an interesting tactic if it works. If you’re done for fraud, can you just write a cheque to a charity and have it all go away? If you get a tax bill can you pay the exact amount to Starship? If you get a jail sentence can you sentence yourself to Starship? Why not take the money to one ward in Starship and get the kids to fight for it?

Every political party should try the same stunt. Take money from Parliamentary Services and write large cheques to whomever they want. Don’t call it misappropriation of public funds. Don’t call it embezzlement. Call it generosity.

But it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. This is why politicians love stadiums that will be used once. It’s not their money.

Every MP should follow Winston’s lead. Then we’d see MMP in real action. Instead of having a government policy, or some legitimate reason to spend the money, each party should simply write cheques according to their own whim, and charge them to Parliamentary Services. Let the charities campaign for the misappropriated funds. Roll up! Roll up! Get your Parliamentary Services slush money here! It’s disturbing that a former treasurer thinks this is OK. Wouldn’t he be the first one up with a winebox full of documents if somebody else did this?

Well, only if he thought there were votes in it.  A colleague sent Winston the following letter last week,

Dear Mr Peters
Congratulations on your donation of $158,000 to Starship Hospital.  It is a very generous thing to do.

Don't forget you also owe the taxpayers of New Zealand a similar amount of money - money New Zealand First Party spent illegally during the 2005  Election campaign.
I hope this debt will be repaid as soon as possible.

It's still to do.  And a reader reminds me that returning the cheque must have caused Starship some considerable financial pain -- they could certainly use that money for paediatric research -- and suggested those praising the gesture might want to put some money where there admiration is.  Don't just clap,  throw money.  You can do it here.

'A Climate Sceptic In Bali,' by Vincent Gray

Dr Vincent Gray has just returned from the United Nations' Climate Conference gabfest in Bali, where he was part of a small delegation of climate sceptics under the umbrella of the International Climate Science Coalition challenging the warmist mantra of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Here's a brief account of his experiences:  

There were some 10,000 people milling around the magnificent Conference Center at Nusa Dua in Bali. There are two large Conference halls holding 500 people, free  computers and wireless, nearly a hundred publicity desks, subsidiary meeting  halls, fountains and a Balinese tropical ambiance including  dancers and electronic gong music. The neighbouring Hyatt Regency  Hotel hosted many of the additional meetings and they extended to the next hotel  along, the Inna Putri Bali, where we stayed.

The heroes of the show were the Nobel Peace Prize winners of the IPCC, who had a  prominent stall, and Al Gore, who turned up, attacked his own government, and was sharply disowned by them.  Almost everybody seemed  to be greenwashed with the view that science has proved that emissions of  carbon dioxide are harming the climate and need to be reduced, but there are many reservations about the sort of measures that are being so frequently  trumpeted as necessary by every leaflet, newspaper, radio and TV programme.

When I first entered the place on Monday I found leaflets on every seat  attacking Greenpeace for discouraging the planting of forests and over-exaggerating "tropical deforestation" which accounts only for 17% of world timber production, and I was issued a leaflet by Oxfam headed "Stop Climate Poverty". They, and many other organisations present were frightened that the sort of climate mitigation measures which are being so loudly demanded will increase poverty in most underdeveloped countries. They were right.

Slogans like "Climate Justice Now" were on many stalls, arguing that the first priority for poorer countries is to encourage economic progress before they could be made to spend their limited resources on climate mitigation.  There was concern about the proposal, (called REDD) to bribe Indonesian forest interests with "Carbon Credits" paid by you and me, so that instead of working they can live on charity. (Many people are certain that the money would never reach  the actual forestry workers, but would end up in Swiss bank accounts.)

Another organisation with similar sceptical feelings about this conference as ourselves  actually had a seat in the conference chamber. This was the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change which is an international body consisting of 41 member organisations in many countries. Our own Business Round Table is a member and they have many from the USA and two in China. They are non-scientists, mainly economists and sociologists, who are prepared to believe that perhaps emissions of carbon dioxide might be a  problem, but they are horrified by the economic and social consequences of the measures being proposed which are usually opposed to the most obvious and necessary ways of tackling the many problems of underdeveloped countries.  The Civil Society Report on Climate Change arrived late, but is beautifully written, well received,  and very persuasive.

My main interest was the IPCC. As I am one of the scientists involved, I asked the lady at the IPCC stand when I would be likely to receive my portion of the Nobel Prize. I was told that it is likely that the money will go into a charitable trust  carrying out the objectives of the IPCC. I suppose most of the other scientists are doing pretty well out of the IPCC already, but I will continue to live on my pension.

I have been an Expert Reviewer of the drafts of every single one of the IPCC Reports for 17 years. I wrote 1,678 comments on the Fourth Report, 16% of the total. I have done this job as a retirement hobby, for all these years just  for the pleasure of science discussion and I never expected that anybody would ever know what I had said. I was therefore agreeably surprised recently when I  found that an application the Freedom of Information Act in the UK had led  to the publication on the web of all of the comments, so everybody can now  judge whether their frequent rejection was justified.

The Fourth Report of the IPCC does not exist in printed form, and I suspect that very few  people have read it and understood how unconvincing are many of its arguments.  Even fewer would have the comprehensive knowledge of  its contents which I have acquired over the years. The fourth volume of the current Report, the "Synthesis Report" was actually unfinished when it was launched in November, so it was not available  for scrutiny by the public. The Chairman had to use a "draft" version of the "Summary for  Policymakers."

The Fourth Report has been divided into four volumes. The first deals with the Science behind the greenhouse theory, the second with its Impacts, the third with Mitigation, and the fourth with a Synthesis of all of the reports. Since the second, third and fourth volumes depend heavily on the reliability of  the science in the first report, that is where I too I have concentrated. Over the years I  have slowly come to realise that almost all the science is flawed, unreliable  or grossly exaggerated, and for these reasons I found myself in opposition to almost everything that was going on at this conference.

The IPCC stand gave away free copies of printed versions of all four volumes.  The first three of these handouts contained only the "Summary for Policymakers" and "Technical Summary" of each full Report, but not the rest. The "Synthesis Report appeared in full for the first time. It was still subject to further correction, and the hurry in which it had been produced was evident in the fact that the main report was without coloured ink.

I met two Contributors to this Report, both of whom had read my comments,  and , presumably, rejected most of them. At the IPCC stand I met Jose Marengo from Peru, and I believe I went far in persuading him that my views are correct.  At the UK Met Office Stand I met  Richard Betts. The UK Met Office have a new pamphlet which has two interesting features. First they show officially, for the first time, that the globally averaged temperature of the earth has not only been almost constant for seven years, but that it has recently declined. Betts' explanation for this was "natural variability". It seems that this explanation applies only when the temperature goes down. When it goes up it is "global  warming"

The other  feature of his pamphlet was really courageous. Predictions of future warming made from the IPCC are so far ahead that nobody alive today is likely to be able to check whether they are right. The UK Met Office has dared  to predict the temperature only ten years ahead, so many who read this will have the opportunity to find out whether the greenhouse theory actually works. I earnestly hope that I  will be around, but I am currently 85 years old.

The International Climate Science Coalition produced many pamphlets dealing with the different aspects of climate science and policy with which we disagree which got distributed around the conference building,  together with the many others from every kind of organisation which sometimes  caused a paper glut.  We managed to organise several lectures and a press event where we distributed  copies of DVDs of the BBC programme, "The Great Global Warming Swindle" which is  yet to be publicly shown in New Zealand, although it created quite a sensation  in Australia. The lectures were given by Christopher Monckton, David Evans and   Bryan Leyland.

Christopher Monckton, who is a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, is a brilliant lecturer who has worked hard on climate science. He is also an accomplished mathematician,  and he launched his latest mathematical analysis of the IPCC calculations on the climatic consequences of doubling carbon dioxide. He showed conclusively that they have grossly exaggerated this effect so the consequences of increased carbon dioxide are actually negligible.

David Evans drew attention to the fact that computer models predict firmly that  there should be a "Hot Spot"in the lower atmosphere for which there is no observational evidence.

We carried out a "stunt"in front of the main conference entrance when six of us  dressed in lab coats and dark glasses displayed a banner saying "KYOTO 2 IS NOT NEEDED."  This created wide media attention and several at-length interviews. It was given particularly wide TV coverage in China, Malaysia and Japan.

I attended several of the many subsidiary meetings. One very influential one was from an NGO composed of the most prominent climate scientists in China. Amongst the listed names were those of Yihui Ding and Weijie Dong of the Beijing Climate Center who invited me to Beijing last year as a Visiting Scholar, where I delivered three lectures to appreciative audiences.

The presentation, by five scientists, was very impressive, They spoke perfect, understandable English (unlike many lecturers elsewhere) illustrated by clear, readable, power point slides. I regarded the whole lecture as an oriental attempt to emphasise that the "science is not settled," as much emphasis was placed on the inadequacy of current climate data and understanding, and the lack of understanding by Chinese rural people of the issues involved. They would not answer a question on the attitude of the Chinese Government, but it was clear that the united attitude of the scientists involved was one of caution.

It is some thirty years since I last visited Bali. I took a tour that showed how  the roads are now lined with shops and enterprises. The people live behind them often by a narrow passage, only negotiated by motor bikes. So everybody rides motor bikes, which are bigger than those common in Vietnam.

Bali is truly a tropical paradise with the most beautiful vegetation and  beaches. the people are gentle and born artists. Every object is a marvel of  artistic design and it extends to the ingenious architecture of the hotel I  stayed at, the Inna Putri Bali.

The partial deadlock in the negotiations, the rejection of Al Gore by his own government and the refusal of the Americans to be railroaded into the economic disasters demanded by the vociferous activists gives comfort that our visit was  worthwhile. It is still amazing to me, though, why so many people believe in this greenhouse myth, for which there is no sound scientific foundation. The earth's temperature is not increasing, and is currently falling (as we all know in New Zealand), Sea Levels are not increasing, as shown by the recent Australian study on Pacific Islands. Malaria is not a tropical disease, Polar Bears and penguins are not "endangered." Carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant" but the very staff of all life. Current climate events are not caused by warming, but by age-old and well-known inadequacies in government concern and lack of economic development. Tags: ,,

Cue Card Libertarianism: INFLATION

INFLATION = Disguised theft, practised by governments.

It's important to understand that inflation is not rising prices.  It's so important that I'll say it again: inflation is not rising prices.  In the normal course of events, prices rise and fall according to supply and demand, and it is important for the smooth functioning of the economy that these price signals are left unmolested.

Rising prices right across the board however are more accurately the symptom of inflation.  Inflation itself is the injection of currency or credit into an economy by government, ahead of productivity and production.  It is the inflation of the money supply. On the back of this injection of paper into the purchase of production, producers charge higher prices for their products in response to the extra “demand,” other producers raise their prices to compensate, the labour force seeks to do likewise, and the spiral has begun.  Those who raise their prices at the beginning of the spiral come out ahead (as do those who get first use of each new tranche of paper), but when the spiral is really underway one raises prices simply to keep up, and those on fixed incomes are left behind.

In that it is deliberately reducing the purchasing power of money by this means to cover its own profligacy, governments that inflate the currency are engaging in hidden taxation.  In a recent 'Free Radical,' Larry Sechrest draws the obvious conclusion from all the evidence :
Mark this well. Central banks are the source of both inflation and business cycles. Tragically, many people seem to believe that both inflation and boom-bust cycles are somehow an intrinsic part of a market economy. They thus turn to the central bank to solve the problems that the central bank itself created. I might add that the very existence of a central bank introduces into all markets pervasive “regulatory risk” that would not otherwise exist. That is, market participants expend real resources in an attempt to forecast---and then cope with---the manipulations of money, credit, prices, and interest rates undertaken by the central bank. It all sounds frighteningly familiar.
This is a tax that can only be applied once governments gain control of the banking system, and in particular of the money supply.  In the normal course of events, with banks free to produce their own banknotes based on some recognised store of value (often either gold or silver), it is neither possible nor advantageous for the currency to be inflated, and prices are able to rise and fall at the behest of supply and demand.  It is only once governments wrest control of currency supply that the motivation exists to indulge in this insidious form of hidden taxation.

It is a temptation few governments are able to resist.

The most famous historic example of an unchecked inflationary spiral and of its dreadful consequences was post-WW1 Germany. Between 1914 and 1923, the money supply increased several millionfold; prices rose even more. It was said that at the beginning of this period one might have taken money in one’s wallet to buy goods to take home in the shopping basket; by the end of it, one took money in one’s shopping basket to buy goods to take home in one’s wallet!

In New Zealand inflation was triggered by the deficit spending embarked upon by the Kirk/Rowling and Muldoon governments, and with the introduction of the Reserve Bank Act in 1989 and the explicit pursuit of price stability since then, it is often thought that it has been tamed.  This is an erroneous conclusion, since in order to hold the prices of a nominal "basket of goods" stable, the local currency has been inflated by between ten and twenty percent annually, leading to serious problems with the exchange rate, and problems for producers, exporters, home-owners and prosperity overall, and the rampant rise of malinvestment.

The fact is, that in pursuing this illusion of price stability while ignoring (and in fact exacerbating real inflation), our wealth is still being stolen, destructive illusions come to be peddled as common wisdom (the nonsensical idea for example that "too fast growth" is bad, and tax cuts will be destructive) and we are being set up for some serious future problems as the whole price system unravels.  MA Abrams explains:
"In an economically progressive community (that is, one where the real costs of production per unit are falling and output per head is increasing), any additions to the supply of money in order to prevent falling prices will be hidden inflation; and in a retrogressive community, (that is, one where output per head is diminishing and real costs of production are rising), any contraction of the supply of money in order to prevent rising prices will be hidden deflation. Inflation and deflation can occur just as well behind a stable price level as when the price level is rising and falling..."
It is essential that a separation of state and money supply be effected, one as effective as the historic separation of church and state.  It is most likely that in a free money/free banking scenario, citizens will repair to a currency whose everyday form will be backed by and redeemable in some other less perishable commodity (such as gold), whose existence will act as a discipline on the amount of the everyday form in circulation, and will undergird a genuine prosperity.

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by NZ libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here. The series itself is accumulating down on the right-hand sidebar, and in the archives here and here.

Cue Card Libertarianism: MONEY

Money is a tool of exchange and a store of value.

It is the concrete form of the abstract principle that human beings should deal with each other not as adversaries -- not as conquerors and conquered -- but as traders, exchanging value for value by mutual consent.  As such it is an embodiment of productiveness and freedom (see Harmony of Interests).

“Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return.” (Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged)

As a tool of exchange, money allows producers to voluntarily trade value for value.  In the productive complexity of a division-of-labour society, where the direct exchange of goods for goods becomes impractical, money makes possible the indirect exchange of goods.  It expands exponentially the number of one's potential trading partners, and hence our choices.

For money to serve as a means or exchange, it must be backed by goods to be exchanged.  Just as it's true that what makes consumption possible is earlier production, so too the purchasing power of money comes not from a Central Bank's printing of paper money, but from prior production.  What underpins the exchange value of money is not the power of the Central Bank's printing presses, but the value of production.  When the supply of money runs significantly ahead of the production of goods however, the value of its units decreases correspondingly (see Inflation).

Money is a store of value.  In itself, money is not wealth – it is a frozen form of wealth: of goods and services; of the expectation of future production, and the ability to purchase the goods and services produced.  As such, it is a symbolic tribute to their source: the human mind.  To concur with Christianity that love of money is the root of all evil is to say that the human intellect is evil and the material products of its exercise are evil: which is precisely what Christians – “hair-shirted despisers of the body” as Nietzsche says – have believed.  Which is why capitalism itself, as commentators beyond number have complained, has “laboured under a cloud of moral unease.”

Contrary then to the blandishments of false moralists and would-be thieves of money's value,  money is not the root of all evil -- as a symbolic tribute to the human mind, to the application of reason to job of survival, it is the root of all good.  “Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction," says Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged.  "When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men."   The choice is stark: it's either persuasion versus force; the dollar or the gun

If it's freedom from physical coercion that you're after, then it's the pursuit of money you should support.

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by NZ libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here. The series itself is accumulating down on the right-hand sidebar, and in the archives here and here.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Youngest one-year-old

It's been one whole year since the world's youngest libertarian started blogging, and one year later he's still going -- and still the world's youngest libertarian!  It's frightening to think where young Callum is going to be in a few year's time, but it's sure going to be exciting to watch. 

To celebrate his blogday, he's begun to repost his series on skyscrapers.  Excellent choice.  And well done, young man.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Beer O'Clock: Stu's 2007 beer picks

beerYes, it's that time again when we look start to look back at the year that's been and, if we haven't drunk enough to forget most of them -- and as Humphrey Bogart used to say, the trouble with the world is that everyone is just one drink behind -- we begin to gather from the tangled skeins of this year's memories some sort of order.  The task this year, beer-wise at least, falls to SOBA's Stus, who's drunk enough to know what's what, and just enough to remember.  Herewith Stu's beer awards for 2007:

NZ beer of the year:
Invercargill's Smokin' Bishop. In a craft beer market so dominated by hoppy pale ales and lagers, it's fantastic to see the little brewery differentiating themselves with something completely different. Smokin' Bishop is a strong, rich and malty red lager with a whiff of manuka-fired billy-tea. A splendidly moreish drop that beat off some extremely stiff competition to win the specialty section at BrewNZ 2007.

Best brewery:
Emerson's of Dunedin
continue to amaze and astound with a wide range of year-'round beers and a fantastic range of annual seasonals (think 'Taieri George', 'APA' and this year's new addition 'JP'). Not only is Richard Emerson the most passionate brewer in New Zealand, he's now employing one of the other most awarded and passionate brewers -- Chris O'Leary, the man whose Limburg range taught New Zealanders about wheat beers.

Best bar:
Auckland's 'Galbraith's Ale House' takes out a hotly contested fight - reminiscent of a classic Ranfurly Shield battle - against New Zealand's only other real ale bar: Christchurch's 'The Twisted Hop.'  These two bars are so completely different from each other, yet are both so similarly welcoming and beer-centric.  Great beer, great food, great wine, great service, great times. Galbraith's wins by a nose because of it's slightly wider variety of beer (note also that Galbraith's still remains New Zealand's best - and possibly only - example of a genuine ale house in an ex-country-and-western nightclub).

Best bottle store:
Wellington's Regional Wines and Spirits. Is there any other? Well, yes, there are a couple worth looking for: Wellington's Rumble's and the Island Bay New World; Christchurch's Beer Emporium; and, I'm hearing good things about Auckland city's Victoria Park New World. The strength of Regional's, besides their amazing drink selection and fantastic staff, is that anyone in the country can purchase from them via mail order system.

Best beer list:
The Malthouse, Wellington, beats off some solid competition from Hallertau Brew Bar in Riverhead, the best supporter of local craft beer. The Malthouse beer list, which numbers well over 100, covers off every occasion - and every type of beer drinker - with beers ranging from Heineken, Sol and Corona, through all the best NZ craft beers, to exquisite sipping ales like Rodenbach Grand Cru and Samuel Adam's implausible Utopias (26%!!!). When are New Zealand's restaurants going to take our amazing product seriously and arrive on the 'beer list' scene. (note: don't be scared off by the Scotsman's nostrils).

Best publication:
After a bit of a shaky start, Australian magazine 'Beer and Brewer' is really starting to hit it's straps. With more than half of the articles in the last issue being written by New Zealanders, or about our beer, we lovers of kiwi beer hope they continue to improve and receive support. Look out for the magazine at your local newsagent.

Best beer judge:
Blenheim-based beer writer Geoff Griggs is tireless in his judging commitments this year. Added to his usual judging tally (NZ International Beer Awards, BrewNZ, Consumer Magazine and The Capital Times Beer Survey) was the inaugral SOBA National Homebrew Championships (145 entries, and Geoff tasted every single one of them over two days). Geoff's certainly tasted more beers than anyone has had hot dinners! And he's doing most of that for little more than "thanks Geoff."  Top bloke.

Best local beer blog:
Wellington cheesemonger, homebrewer and beer judge Kieran Haslett-Moore has arrived on the blogging scene with his thoughtful blog: 'Beer from the Motherland'.  It's the first local beer blog since RealBeer  that has caught my eye, and it'll be interesting to see how it develops over the next year. Cheese lovers would be advised to keep an eye on this blog also.

Best homebrewer:
This highly sought award will be announced this Sunday, at the awards party for SOBA's National Homebrew Championships. Come along to the Boatshed, on Wellington's waterfront, to find out (and taste )a wide selection of home - and commercial - craft brewed beer. Some of my own beers will even be making a rare (and probably brief) public appearance.

Feel free to let us all know your own "Bests" in the comments. And keep on drinking great beer!

Slainte mhath, Stu Tags:

Crikey, a brain!

PC_Has_A_Brain_Shock_0001 PC_Has_A_Brain_Shock_0002I've heard suggestions that I haven't got a brain, and if I did I've never used it.  I know, I've heard you.  But me baby, I've got statistics, I've got facts.  I've got pictures.

Herewith the shocking evidence: actual picture proof that I both have a brain and, from those few splodges of colour there, that I sometimes even use it.  Frightening, isn't it.

(The pics, by the way, come from a scan done as part of a stroke study, for which the researchers needed some normal brains.  I did warn them about the inherent risk in using mine, but you just can't tell some people anything.  I've learned that.)

"No consensus" says scientists' letter to UN head

An open letter to the UN Secretary General from nearly a hundred scientists and at least a dozen economists says the UN/IPCC climate conference taking place in Bali is "taking the world in entirely the wrong direction."

"It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages," say the signatories. "We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation."

The signatories say the IPCC's "increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide [are] entirely unjustified," and further that it is not even established, as the IPCC's Bali delegates simply assume, "that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions."

The Summary Reports produced by the IPCC are the basis on which the world's industrial country's are to be shackled in an attempt to significantly alter global climate, yet contrary to the impression left by the IPCC, the Summary Reports "cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts."  Nor, say signatories, can they be considered an accurate characterisation of the science on which the Summaries are based.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:
- Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
- The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.
- Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate.
--Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

The science is not settled, they say, and the path down which the IPCC conference in Bali is heading ignores the lessons apparent from "the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions."

The letter and the list of signatories is here. Tags: ,

So much nonsense spoken about so much nonsense

Rarely has so much nonsense been spoken about so much nonsense.   Careful not to overstate himself, our Bali correspondent tells his story: "In a speech likely to go down in history as an oratorical milestone in the fight against global warming [an "oratorical milestone" -- goodness!], Al Gore, former US vice-president and co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, electrified [electrified!] the December 3-14 UN conference on climate change on its penultimate evening on Thursday. Clearly speaking from his heart..." etc., etc., etc.  The rest of the piece gushes along in just the same breathless way.

Our correspondent is gushing about a speech from a bloke with the stage presence of a fire hydrant, and "packed full" of "wisdom" such as this:

Global warming anywhere is a threat to the world everywhere.

Sew that one your sampler and pin it to your wall.  Fortunately, such wisdom was wasted on the IPCC's noble delegates.  "The ministers who were discussing the Bali roadmap were still in negotiating rooms and probably did not hear him at all."  Alas, poor Al. Tags: ,

'Twin Towers' - Michael Newberry






For what he describes as "a change of pace" from finishing his painting, Venus, artist Michael Newberry has been working on a series of drawings of the nude interacting with his shadow, about which Michael says:

There is a lot of play on metaphor, on alter-egos, and light and dark.

This is the first one finished in the group. Twin Towers.

There is something sad about the piece. The cast shadow reminded me of the Twin Towers, but so did the flash of light, the strange combination of shapes and shadows above; the tallness of the figure and his twin shadow. Tags:

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Could Skyhawks form a privateers' Air Force?

Well, why not?

Given that it's now obvious that no other Air Force is either able or willing to buy NZ's former Air Force Skyhawks; and given that they've now been shrink-wrapped in latex  so they can be parked outside in the rain; and given that they've cost taxpayers $8 million to store since the Clark Government decided they didn't have a country worth defending and didn't need a fighter wing to defend it ... given all that, why not sell the machines to enthusiasts around the country who already own several of the world's great fighter jets, most of whom are considerably more patriotic than the ministers of the Clark Government, and all of whom realise that a country like ours is worth defending and desperately in need of a rational defence policy-- and would probably be only to happy to have their planes used  as part of a privateers' Air Force.

How 'bout it?

Congratulations to Heather Roy for the suggestion.  Hat tip to Whale Oil for the news. Tags: ,

No. 1 on Google

I'm sure it won't last long, but you might be amused if you type "IPCC Bali" into Google, and check out the top ranking site for what must be the world's biggest emission of hot air at present.

Sense and non-sense from would-be world leaders

Two comments from two sources this morning for your comparison, one from a politician more braindead than normal, and the other from a very unlikely source showing more sense on the global warming charade than from many so called science writers -- and certainly more sense than is coming out of Bali at present.

Here's the first comment, from Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee who, when asked whether the global warming threat was "overblown" gave an audience his ambitious energy plan:

I think we ought to be out there talking about ways to reduce energy consumption and waste. And we ought to declare that we will be free of energy consumption in this country within a decade, bold as that is.

Free of energy consumption!  As someone said, that's like "chemical free food."  It's a pledge to repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics. It's not "bold," it's physically impossible.  Huckabee is now positioning himself as "the entropy candidate!"

Much more sense from ... the Pope.  Yes, the Pope.  He might have some unusual friends (including an imaginary one who he says is omnipotent), but he clearly has some good advisors:

The Pope condemns the climate change prophets of doom.
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering. [Read on here.]

Perhaps the (German) Pope has been listening to Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who reminded reporters at the launch of the German translation of his new book recently that "freedom, not climate, is under threat":

"Also (threatened) is the prevailing social and economic order, contemporary civilisation, the current prosperity of developed countries and the chances of developing countries to achieve a similar level of prosperity." He said the climate change movement was not based on science and that theories about man-made global warming could not be proven. "It has become a new religion or new ideology and in that sense I think it's justified to compare it with other ideologies," Klaus said.

Fifty years ago at school ...

Situation:  Johnny and Mark get into a fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2007 - Police called, armed offenders team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. School inundated for weeks with Victim Support counsellors.

Situation:  Jeffrey won't sit still in class, and frequently disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good caning by Headmaster. Returns to class, sits still.
2007 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money because Jeffrey has a disability.

Situation:  Billy breaks a window in his neighbour's car, and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normally, goes to uni, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse.  Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang.  Psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison.  Billy's Mum has affair with psychologist.

Situation:  Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 -
Mark shares aspirin with teacher.
2007 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Situation:  Sione fails high school English.
1957 - Sione gets extra tuition, passes English, goes to Uni.
2007 - Sione's cause is taken up by counsellors.  Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist.  Class action lawsuit filed by John Minto against Ministry and Sione's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Sione given NZQA unit papers anyway for effort and hurt feelings, and ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Situation:  Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers, puts them in a model aeroplane paint bottle, and blows up an ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2007 - Local police & noise control called. Johnny charged with  domestic terrorism, parents investigated, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Situation:  Johnny falls while running during morning tea and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary.  Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison while Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.


** In 1957 the novel Atlas Shrugged was published.  It became a best-seller, was found in a Library of Congress survey to be the second most influential book in America after The Bible, and was recently described by The New York Times as "One of the most influential business books ever written." 

** In 2007 the best-seller was a recommendation from Oprah's book club about the author's "year-long search for spiritual meaning."

Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand

Read more about this book...

Sunset - Fred Stevens, StudioNZ


Here's where I'm going to be for a few days over Christmas -- sipping martinis while watching sunsets exactly like this one over ... well, now that would be telling, wouldn't it.

I can't wait.

The photo is by Fred Stevens, from StudioNZ.

Beautiful, isn't it.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

New blog: 'New Freeland'

New blog worth checking out is 'New Freeland,' by a chap (?) called Shea Miller.  First post, smartly enough since he wants to attract attention, is a thoughtful piece suggesting the safe, smug, "self-congratulatory liberalism" of Russell Brown's Public Address "stifles leftist blogs."

Check it out.

Still in search of a purpose?

A few months back I agreed with Gonzo calling Facebook "a tool without a purpose."  So how come I've now got a Facebook site or page or whatever it's called? 

Answer in one word:  Curiosity.  I kept hearing about and getting messages inviting me to stuff on Facebook, for which I needed an account or site or whatever it's called, so I figured I'd check my inclination that it's a pointless time waster against the empirical evidence to see if it proved otherwise.  I figured that (within reason) I'll simply press 'yes' rather than 'no' when things come my way -- as they were in increasing amounts -- and see where that leads me.  I figured that might even help me determine whether it's a purposeless tool, a tool with a purpose, or simply a new means by which tools can amuse each other.   

I guess I'll find out.  If you're so inclined and you're of a mind to find my page or site or whatever it's called, then I'm sure you know how to go about such things.

Hard lessons about the right to self-defence (updated)

It starts like a really bad joke, and ends really badly:  This bloke walks into a shopping mall with a 'gun-free zone.'  He has a gun.  He pulls gun and shoots.  Eight people are killed.

Bad joke. Bad law.

This bloke walks into a small missionary training centre in Denver. He has a gun.  He pulls gun and shoots.  Two people killed. He gets away.

Bad joke.

Here's the punchline: This same bloke walks into a church in Colorado Springs packed with 2000 people.  He has a gun.  He pulls gun and ... is shot several times in the chest by a congregant with a concealed weapons permit and a law enforcement background, saving up to 100 lives.  Story here.

I invite you to draw the necessary lessons yourself.

I invite you too to contemplate whether if that congregant with a concealed weapons permit and a law enforcement background did the same thing in New Zealand, she'd be called a hero ... or something else.

UPDATE: "Gun Free Zones.  It's Time To Stop the Madness."

Controlling speech in order to keep it free

Attacks on free speech gather apace, even as the Electoral Finance Bill thunders through Parliament like a runaway train with the brakes gone -- and as the title above suggests, the attacks are taking on an increasingly Orwellian tone.

Not content with simply introducing and passing law that muzzles political opponents, there are now signs that, as David Farrar suggests, the Clark Government has plans to muzzle her opponents in the media -- that "her logical next target will be media regulation."  Keep that in mind, he says when you look at her words on Monday:

"She said there was little point complaining to the print media’s self-regulatory watchdog, the Press Council.

That just doesn’t get you anywhere."

Sounds like [says Farrar] she would like a system where her complaints will get her somewhere and she doesn’t have to just “shrug and say, ‘Well, that’s life,’ and get on with it.” Her Foreign Minister has labelled journalists as traitors and rails against the media and their owners.  If he demanded media regulation as the price of support, do you think Helen would resist?

Do you think she could resist for a moment?  Or want to resist?  As Phil says at Pacific Empire -- and he backs this up with several examples -- the disturbing truth about freedom of speech is that it’s just not that popular anymore!  Phil's critique of Jeffrey Sachs' toe-in-the-water for outright censorship also sweeps up in its net the method by which Clark and her allies have been spinning the Electoral Finance Bill, and describes their likely modus for the future:

Lame collectivism with the pervasive use of an all-encompassing “we.” A call for responsible journalism, which seems to mean nothing more than journalism Sachs agrees with, and a criticism of the unregulated Internet with its “blog sites.” But no call for outright censorship.

That should perhaps read "no call for outright censorship" YET.  When it comes, it won't come as an open attack, but as more slippery spin in which the would-censor acts to "protect" democracy, and from attacks upon it by "big money" -- enter stage left this point, Big Nanny, with her big stick. 

But wait, we've seen this strategy already, haven't we.  With the arguments for the EFB and it's "acceptable corruption," the stage is already being set to argue that in order to protect free speech, free speech itself must be muzzled.  It's not a big step from there to where we might be going, and the methodology is precisely the same.  Argued Chris Trotter for exaemple in support of the "ownership class" being muzzled by his favourite new law,

when these "owners" talk about the right to "free expression" [inverted commas his] what they're really referring to is the right to restrict ready access to effective mass- communication technologies to people like themselves.

Trotter's cloth cap hatred for those he derisively calls the "ownership class" allows him to believe that what he says is true: that it's "us" against "them"; that "they" hold the commanding heights of press power, and must be muzzled to protect "us" (with "us" being people like himself on behalf of people like the rest of us); that the only way to defend genuine free expression is to "restrict ready access to mass-communication technologies" to people like himself, and to place "limits on the rights to 'purchase' speech" in order ... "to protect our democracy from money politics" and "the machinations of an owning class." 

New_GoreIt's slippery spin like this and that of Sachs that is being used to justify crushing free expression, and genuine hatred of free expression like that of Winston Peters and his ilk that empowers it.  Wedge politics for speech rationing.

It's slippery spin from a song sheet prepared by the Apostle Al Bore (yes, him again)-- one from which he's already been singing for some time -- a new front he's opened in his war on western civilisation -- and in his book The Assault on Reason: A How-To Manual, he makes it even plainer than Mr Cloth Cap.  As Jason Roth summarises (in a review written for the last 'Free Radical')

It's interesting to observe the mind of a huckster -- a dimestore philosopher with the aspirations of a dictator. Gore has already been fighting a war on industrial civilization. He's now opening up a new front against free speech. As can be expected from an aspiring dictator, his war against free speech will be fought under its exact opposite premise. He wants to control speech in order to keep it free.

Taking his title from an old joke, Roth's review is entitled Al Gore Gave Us the Internet. Now He Wants to Take It Away. The first sentence is the joke.  Only true vigilance will ensure that the second sentence is too. Tags:

Justice not yet exemplary

The timely release of the Independent Police Conduct Authority report into Clint Rickards' complaints about the "shambles" he says was Operation Austin does at least remove the usual objection of justice delayed being justice denied, but while justice may well have been done with this report -- and let's hope it has been -- we have the problem once again that justice hasn't been seen to be done.

The review into Operation Austin was carried out by former commissioner Richard MacDonald and former acting deputy commissioner and acting assistant Commissioner Roger Carson, and was released yesterday by IPCA chairwoman Justice Lowell Goddard.  On the conclusion that Operation Austin was "exemplary," we have only have the judgement of Goddard, Carson and MacDonald on which to rely -- we have to take their word rather than have the opportunity to see the evidence of being exemplary for ourselves.  Goddard says, for example:

There was "no evidence at all" to support Mr Rickards' statement that Operation Austin had been a shambles.... "In fact, the opposite."

That's good.  But since the inquiry was held behind closed doors, we don't know this for ourselves.  This is justice neither to the police nor to the original complainants -- nor to Rickards.  Justice must be done, and it must be seen to be done.

It's good that the Police Complaints Authority is now independent -- at least nominally -- perhaps the next step should be that it is open, and truly independent.  It's what a mature democracy should require, and what confidence in the police demands.

"The debate is over" ensure IPCC's Bali bouncers

Debate at the IPCC's Bali High global warming talk-fest is being kept down by having dissenters kept out (a process all too familiar to observers of the Electoral Finance Bill, and of the methodology by which the IPCC's 'Summaries for Policymakers' are produced). Newspapers opposing the party line have been refused press credentials, and distinguished scientists from Africa, Australia, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States have been barred from presenting at panel discussions, side events, and exhibits, and also denied press credentials. Story here:

The scientists, citing pivotal evidence on climate change published in peer-reviewed journals, have expressed their opposition to the UN's alarmist theory of anthropogenic global warming. As the debate on man-made global warming has been heating up, the UN has tried to freeze out the scientists and new evidence, summarily dismissing them with the claim "the science is settled."
James M. Taylor, senior fellow for The Heartland Institute explained, "It is not surprising the UN has completely rejected dissenting voices. They have been doing this for years. The censorship of scientists is necessary to promote their political agenda. After the science reversed on the alarmist crowd, they claimed 'the debate is over' to serve their wealth redistribution agenda."
Taylor continued, "For example, ICSC scientist Dr. Vincent Gray recently published Unsound Science by the IPCC, which proves the main claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are scientifically unsound. Dr. Gray is an expert reviewer for the IPCC and has submitted more than 1,800 comments on IPCC reports. He is an expert on the IPCC methodology, [on which he has] published Spinning the Climate.
"Dr. Gray is the last person the politicized UN wants speaking," Taylor noted. "He single-handedly debunks the entire alarmist theory. And there are more than 600 Dr. Grays trying to be the voice of reason and science. All are being censored."

As the Clark Government and their allies in the Green have realised here, muzzling dissenters is certainly one way to achieve "consensus". But do please remember this banning of dissent when the release of the clearly predetermined 'Bali Mandate' is releases, accompanied by backslapping, agreement, unanimity and "consensus."

UPDATE 1: The IPCC is guilty of "Dishonest political tampering with the science on global warming" says Nobel Prize co-winner Christopher Monckton.

UPDATE 2: Global warming isn't just poor science -- it's not just full of dishonest political tampering -- it's not just the case that the "anthropogenic" part of anthropogenic global warming is still unproven, and the "warming" part hasn't been true since 1998 -- that our carbon emissions being responsible for planetary collapse are still unproven -- but there's a very good reason as Roy Cordato points out at the Mises Blog that "global warming is the holy grail for socialists," and it's of the utmost importance for freedom-lovers to understand it:

It makes market failure completely ubiquitous. Everything we do emits CO2, causes global warming and is therefore evidence of market failure. Global warming raises market failure from a special case to a reason to regulate/tax every aspect of life. This is why the anti-GW movement is certainly the greatest threat to liberty in my lifetime..

UPDATE 3: Canada Free Press has several stories updating readers with ICSC happenings in Bali, and seems to be updating the page regularly. Bookmark: Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing’ At UN Conference - CANADA FREE PRESS. Here's some recent highlights:

    ** Christopher Monckton ... had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday. “Climate change is a non problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing,” Monckton told participants. The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money..."

    ** IPCC reviewer and climate researcher Dr. Vincent Gray of New Zealand, an expert reviewer on every single draft of the IPCC reports since its inception going back to 1990, had a clear message to UN participants. “There is no evidence that carbon dioxide increases are having any affect whatsoever on the climate. If you examine every single proposition of the IPCC thoroughly, you find that the science somewhere fails. It fails not only from the data, but it fails in the statistics, and the mathematics.”

    ** David Evans [a mathematician who did carbon accounting for the Australian government, recently converted to a skeptical scientist about man-made global warming after reviewing the new scientific studies. (LINK) ] said, “We now have quite a lot of evidence that carbon emissions definitely don’t cause global warming. We have the missing [human] signature [in the atmosphere], we have the IPCC models being wrong and we have the lack of a temperature going up the last 5 years.” [Evans authored a November 28 2007 paper “Carbon Emissions Don’t Cause Global Warming.” (LINK) ] Evans touted a new peer-reviewed study by a team of scientists appearing in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society which found “Warming is naturally caused and shows no human influence.” (LINK) “Most of the people here have jobs that are very well paid and they depend on the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. They are not going to be very receptive to the idea that well actually the science has gone off in a different direction.”

    ** New Zealander Bryan Leyland warned participants that all the UN promoted discussions of “carbon trading” should be viewed with suspicion. “We should probably ask why we have 10,000 people here [in Bali] in a futile attempt to ‘solve’ a [climate] problem that probably does not exist,” Leland added.

    ** Owen McShane said that a UN promoted global approach to economics would mean financial ruin for many nations. “Having the same set of rules apply to everybody will blow some economies apart totally while others will be unscathed and I wouldn’t be surprised if the ones who remain unscathed are the ones who write the rules.”

    ** Professor Dr. William Alexander, emeritus of the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a former member of the United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, warned poor nations and their residents that the UN policies could mean more poverty and thus more death. “My message is specifically for the poor people of Africa. And there is nothing happening at this conference that can help them one little bit but there is the potential that they could be damaged,” Alexander said. (LINK) Tags: ,,,,

Related Links:

'Zabriskie Point' house - Paolo Soleri

Soleri-Zabriskie001At the end of director Michelangelo Antonioni's anti-capitalist, anti-life turkey of a film 'Zabriskie Point,' this house -- designed by architect Paolo Soleri and (like several scenes in Antonioni's film) based  on the house in Alfred Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest,' which was itself inspired by  Frank Lloyd Wright's desert houses -- this house is 'lovingly' exploded in montage as the 'climax' of the film; destroyed in balletic slow motion with "a final destructive glee." 

Why?  What does that accomplish artistically?

As a director, Antonioni was for sure an accomplished artist.  His films were honest demonstrations -- of essentially anti-life themes.  Antonioni's original ending to this film, which was the perfect culmination of his film's theme, was a shot of an airplane sky-writing the phrase "Fuck You, America," which was cut by MGM president Louis F. Polk.  

Never doubt that's what he meant this replacement scene to say -- "a series of slow-motion captures of capitalistic debris flying apart against a smoky blue background."  Never doubt that he meant it.

That's why the house needed to be so good.  Understand that, and you understand much of modern art.  Think about it.

And from the siting of the house you can begin to appreciate what it means to "integrate architecture with your site."

 Soleri-Zabriskie010 Soleri-Zabriskie007 Soleri-Zabriskie006 Soleri-Zabriskie008 Soleri-Zabriskie009 Soleri-Zabriskie002 

** Tags: ,

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

"The natural order of things..."

It's no wonder that among the greatest rises in price inflation are those that come from government spending (see the graph at this post for example showing the similar US situation). Figures for the four months to the end of October show that total core crown spending in New Zealand grew 9.6 per cent in the first four months from the same period a year ago.  "The culprits," notes Bernard Hickey,

are the big ticket items of health, social security, education and the core bureaucracy itself. Health spending rose 11.1% to $3.7 billion. We’ve seen big pay increases to nurses this year, and the effects of an ageing population are inflating spending there.  Social Security spending rose 5.8% to $5.9 billion. That’s despite record low unemployment.

(Well, maybe it's not such a "record low," eh?)

But the most interesting one is core government services. That’s bureaucrats in the ministries in Wellington. That rose 7.7%.

Great.  No wonder red tape and compliance costs are expanding exponentially.  No wonder the always prescient Thomas Jefferson declared "The natural order of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."  No wonder he recognised that "a little rebellion now and a medicine necessary for the sound health of government" ...

Stopping youth employment

From the I file labelled, 'See, I Told You' comes this news:  "Supermarket employers have been advised not to hire junior staff ahead of minimum wage legislation coming into force next April," says a Picton supermarket owner.

Picton Supervalue owner Casy Smits [said] that at a meeting Christchurch Progressive Enterprises had advised its supermarkets to stop employing junior staff because of increased pay rates.  The Minimum Wage (New Entrants) Amendment Bill allows a qualifying period of three months or 200 hours work for 16 and 17-year-olds who will then move on to the adult minimum wage.  Smits said they were talking about pay rates of $13.60 an hour. "A 16-year-old is going to get nearly $14 an hour -- my checkout staff at the moment get about $12 an hour," Smits said.

Nothing like ensuring youngsters are kept off the ladder to employment altogether, is there.

The really sad thing is that there is nothing prescient in predicting this stuff.  It's just basic common sense.  Shame introducing and agitating for it wasn't.  Take a bow Laila Harre, Matt McCarten, Sue Bradford and their various paid apologists around the traps*.  I hope you feel proud.

*One of these paid apologists, Tane Wilton of the EPMU, told me back in August, "Peter, I'm amazed you lot keep trotting out the tired old line that increasing minimum wage rates necessarily leads to unemployment. If done sensibly, this is demonstrably false..."  Not just false, but demonstrably false.  Well done, Tane.  You get an 'F.'