Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pointless position

Another pointless position National could axe rather than re-fill.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trevor Mallard hysterical

Red Alert has just put up a post entitled

Anne Tolley doesn’t care about sex criminals looking after children

Without even clicking on the link I knew it would be Trevor Mallard.

I am assuming this is because police checks will no longer be needed for someone to oversee a highly visible play pen in a gym or shopping mall if new legislation is passed. I have commented that if no-one can be trusted then everyone is suspect. That is exactly the climate that Labour fostered with its excessive intervention. Remember how they also tried to change these sorts of babysitting services into early childhood education which required trained teachers, thereby rendering them prohibitive in cost?

More reasons to go to Aussie

Libs bid to trump Labor on tax cuts

November 19, 2010

STAMP duty on home purchases would be cut and thousands of small businesses could become exempt from payroll tax under a Coalition plan to trump John Brumby's economic credentials.

As the state election campaign enters its final days, the Coalition will also announce a budget savings package that will target hundreds of millions of dollars of ''wasted'' government spending on advertising and consultancies.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu is looking at options to lift payroll tax thresholds to free up small businesses from what he calls a ''tax on jobs''. But The Age understands no final decision has been on made on whether such a move can be afforded.

Read more

Unlike our opposition the Liberals understand that if job creation is important (when isn't it?) cutting taxes is the best way to do it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ACT MPs - a bob each way

Earlier I suggested the Women's Affairs Ministry should go and with no current Minister, now is the ideal time. The 2 female ACT MPs are now apparently saying the same - but with a caveat;

The MPs suggested the Women's Affairs Ministry could be absorbed into the research unit of the Social Development Ministry, and said they suspected some of the work was already replicated there.

This is just obfuscating. The result then is an even bigger MSD.

Why can't ACT take a clear cut position? Perhaps it is the political bob-each-way, ever mindful of hankering after the 'women's vote'.

They said all departments should seriously consider issues of gender equality, just as the private sector did, without relying on a gender-based body to abrogate any responsibility.

'Gender equality' is a collectivist notion. ACT is supposed to be a proponent of individualism. So for that matter is National, though it is less disappointing when they don't get it. Individual rights should trump gender rights. My rights as an individual supersede any rights based on my gender, my ethnicity, my sexual preferences etc.

The whole problem with contemporary society is that collectivist rights are trampling over individual rights. It is evidenced in the environment via the RMA and local government edicts; and in the vast amount of wealth redistribution with the taxpayer having no power to refuse to cede the product of his work to any favoured group: and through legal institutions like the Family Court. Collectivist rights strip people of individual and private property rights.

The ACT MPs might argue they were advocating voluntary adhesion to gender equality. But exhorting "serious consideration" of gender equality gives it weight and veracity, whereas any employer should be free to choose staff based on merit or whatever other priority they put on the make-up of their workplace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I wonder how compromised Don Brash would have been as Prime Minister? From his column in today's NZ Herald;

Markets don't work perfectly, but they are the best wealth-creating mechanism yet discovered. New Zealanders, and the New Zealand Government, need to embrace them, not bet on the ability of smart officials or ministers to outperform them.

There is a gaping hole in NZ politics presently for a party focussed solely on the economy, one that embraces the above sentiment. There is no doubt Key is personally popular but I think National's support is very soft. Labour poses little danger to it but a new entity could.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Something about the money earned by the highest paid chief executive in NZ bugged me.

The figure nagged me. Was there some particular significance about $4.386 million?

I got it.

The NZ population clock shows 4.387 million.

I have great memory for numbers and make idle connections between them.

I wonder which number will rise faster? Mr Frazis' remuneration or the population?

Bits and pieces

A beautifully written editorial from the Washington Times warns about moves towards global taxes in the game of social justice and global warming but identifies a silver lining in the economic crisis cloud;

Unfortunately for the global taxers, their views are not likely to have much traction in the middle of a worldwide economic downturn. It is easier to send people on guilt trips when they are not worried about simply surviving.

Isn't Simon Power getting just a tad too powerful? Removing the right to be judged by one's peers is wrong. And I see my gut response to this is in line with a mind much better equipped to judge legal reforms than mine. Stephen Franks:

I regret the loss of the right to elect trial by jury for small but important charges on matters of principle, where judges cannot be trusted to reflect the common conscience.

It is always interesting to compare headlines generated by the same event.

The DomPost says, Cost of sick staff could be $13b - report

The NZ Herald says, Sickness costs country $5b a year, says Treasury

The second is written by Simon Collins who, while I may not always agree with him, is a reliable journalist if you want facts and detail over scary headlines.

And an Australian Social Policy Research Centre report complains that their dole is losing ground against the pension;

The OECD says a single unemployed Australian on NewStart now receives only 68 per cent of the pension.

Their unemployed should consider themselves lucky. In NZ the dole is only 52 percent of Super (based on the over 25 single unemployment benefit versus NZ Super for a single person living alone.) It would be even lower if the dole rates were averaged out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

21st Century Welfare - disappointing

The following are statements from the UK government's 21st Century Welfare paper on welfare reform;

Work and personal responsibility must be at the heart of the new benefits system.

The benefits system has evolved with good intentions but with flawed results.

The welfare state is now a vast, sprawling bureaucracy that can act to entrench, rather than solve, the problems of poverty and social exclusion.

Sounds promising. But don't get excited.

The bulk of the paper is about doing exactly what the authors accuse earlier governments of doing. Tinkering. Changing delivery systems, abatement rates, incentives and the interface between the benefit and tax systems.

I was asked at the weekend conference if I put any store by what the Brits are doing and I had to say, no. I will start believing they are serious when they start using the words;

life-time limits
mandatory work participation

(I searched the word 'temporary' and the only time it appeared outside of public comments was as a description of work)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Advice for National - turn a problem into an opportunity

Use Pansy Wong's demise as an opportunity to get rid of the Minister and Ministry of Women's Affairs. It is a ridiculous and redundant outfit. You can justify it in fiscal terms if you don't have the fortitude or ability to explain it within the framework of individual freedom and choice, and limited government.

A first class communicator

Yesterday I travelled to Auckland to talk to the Libertarianz conference about welfare reform. I am glad I did as I was fortunate enough to listen to the address of one Professor Antal Fekete.

Currency, banking systems, etc are not over my head but neither are they accessible enough for me to have previously taken an enormous interest in them. A matter of some negligence. Professor Fekete has changed that however. At 78, with many years of communicating his ideas, he very successfully stripped back the complexity and made the subject of the gold standard and the spectrum across a system of application come alive.

I was left with a sense of unease. According to Fekete there is deep economic hardship ahead. He felt NZ was rich enough in resources that our problems might not be bad as those of other countries. But he has pressed an alert button in my mind and I will henceforth be attuned to what is happening in this arena and trying to understand the developments.

That is the best outcome a communicator can hope for.

At this moment, when the world’s monetary system appears increasingly shaky, Prof Fekete details why the current paradigm is flawed and how the problems must be dealt with. This is almost taboo in the main stream financial media. Prof Fekete explains it as a gold crisis, not a dollar crisis. Those who doubt it would do well to recall that every fiat* money system ever tried – and history is littered with examples – failed.

* Money that is not backed by, or convertible to, any specific commodity and whose only value is that determined by government.

Update; So when I saw this today I read it in full; The Gold Standard Never Dies by Llew Rockwell. Rockwell makes references to Zoellick in the same vane as did Fekete.)