We are all deeply, deeply stupid

Morgan Housel at fool.com writes

This is my 3,000th column. I’ve learned a tremendous amount… Here are a few of the big lessons.

I’ve learned that changing your mind is one of the most difficult things we do. It is far easier to fool yourself into believing a falsehood than admit a mistake.

I’ve learned that strong political beliefs in either direction limit your ability to make rational decisions more than almost anything else.

I’ve learned that short-term thinking is at the root of most of our problems, whether it’s in business, politics, investing, or work.

I’ve learned that debt can cause more social problems than some drugs, yet drugs are illegal and debt is tax deductible.

I’ve learned that finance is actually very simple, but it’s made to look complicated to justify fees. Read more »

Has MMP trapped Labour and the Greens?

Has MMP trapped Labour and the Greens?

Rob Hosking at the NBR seems to think the very system that Labour supporters believes benefits them has in fact cornered them and doomed them to opposition.

MMP, a political system vigorously promoted by New Zealand’s poltical Left, is playing a big part in the Left’s political failings.

It is one of the ironies of the current political scene that National seems to be moving into the kind of long-term government best demonstrated by Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in government most terms the past 50 years.

National will, I doubt, match that. But New Zealand’s status quo party has adapted to an electoral system that entrenches the status quo, while the radicals who urged that status quo system on New Zealanders are left grasping emptily at political impotence.

How very perspicacious. Although Jim Bolger was the idiot who proposed a referendum on our voting system it was the left wing who embraced MMP. All the pro-MMP lobby groups have largely been left-wingers…and it was Labour and the Greens who lobbied the hardest to retain the system.

MMP gave the radical Left opponents of the 1984-92 economic reforms a seat in Parliament, but also ensured they couldn’t actually do very much to overturn those reforms.

What MMP did was entrench the policy settings of 1996. That did not mean those cannot be changed, ever, it just made it much harder to do so.

If you strip away the looney left of Labour and the single interest groups you are left with conservative style politicians, with a good dose of pragmatism…they also tend to be sensible blokes, like Stuart Nash and Kelvin Davis. They would be happy in a John Key National government and actually move it to the right a bit.

The problem Labour and the Greens have is that they think the battle they are fighting still need fighting when the reality is they were either won or lost some time ago. Conservatism, which is what Rob Hosking is talking about is in the ascendency…and the loonies of the extremes are slowly being sidelined by MMP that rewards conservatism and the middle and penalises the extreme.




Nearly 20% of all children continue to be born into welfare dependency

Lindsay Mitchell blogs:

If there is one statistic that epitomises the state of modern family under decades of benefit influence it’s the following.

Each year I put the same question to MSD (adjusting dates obviously):

At December 31, 2014, how many benefit recipients aged 16-64 had a dependent child born in 2014?

This time the answer  is 11,149 – or 19.4% of all children born in 2014. Still nearly one in five.

While there is gradual and steady improvement (below are the percentages for the last 10 years) the pattern remains well entrenched (largely independent of the economy), a point I have made repeatedly over the years: Read more »


Steve Joyce exemplifies the lack of care for taxpayers’ money

It’s been revealed a senior Cabinet minister spent more than $1200 hiring a car and driver for a day in Australia.

Latest figures for MPs’ expenses show Steven Joyce clocked up the fare on a Government trip to Sydney last November.

“I think the right approach is for us to have somebody drive ministers because it’s the most cost-effective way, and frankly on this day it was a 4am start and an 11pm finish back in Wellington,” says Mr Joyce.

A car and driver were hired for the day, at a rate of $110 an hour. Mr Joyce says that’s because the Australian Government withdrew the use of its cars for New Zealand ministers last year.

He said if a Crown limo was used for the same length of time, it would have cost a similar amount. But Opposition parties say there are cheaper alternatives.

Joyce had the taxi on the meter all day.  He’d hop out and have the driver just wait until he was done with his meeting.

Read more »

Worksafe wombles need to pull their heads in

Worksafe, the organisation that goes around prosecuting farmers for not wearing helmets and other gay stuff like that has issued a press release about Duck shooting, which started at dawn this morning.

This weekend is the beginning of the duck shooting season. It is timely to remind farmers of commercial farms what their obligations are under health and safety legislation. This advice applies to visitors – people who come with your implied or actual consent to your farm for no commercial or business purpose and who have not paid you (directly or indirectly) to undertake an activity.

The first thing to take into account is that this is not a paperwork nightmare. No lengthy form-filling is needed, nor is there any need to sign people on and off the farm. It is really a matter of thinking about where the hunters will go, identifying hazards and risks the hunters wouldn’t reasonably expect in those areas, and warning them about those risks and how to avoid them.

Our recommendation is that you have a conversation with the hunter or hunter in charge of the party to pass on that information. Make a note in your farm diary about what you told them. Most people usually ring up the night (or during the week) before to make sure it’s all ok, so that’s a good time to have the discussion. It doesn’t need to be lengthy.   Read more »

Face of the day

Eric Allen Bell

Eric Allen Bell

Todays face of the day Eric Allen Bell is a Liberal, a documentary film writer and director. In 2012, he received significant media coverage for his views on Islam. He has been involved in a dispute over the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.He initially supported the mosque but then became critical of Islam.In the past, he was a contributor to the Daily Kos. After he became a critic of Islam, he was banned from this website.


Muslims are not what is wrong with Islam. This is what has been nearly impossible to communicate to most Liberals today. The problem with Islam is the Prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic scripture, in other words, what mainstream Muslims are taught to believe, the Prophet Muhammad was a slave owner, a rapist, committed mass murder, hated Jews with a passion, wanted homosexuals punished, killed his critics, stripped women of all rights and had sex with a nine year old girl, whom he married when she was six, named Aisha.

If the Prophet Muhammad was a Republican Senator from Kentucky, Liberals would oppose him vehemently. But as I have stated before, within the Liberal mind there seems to be a perceptive disability. When I say “Islam” they hear “Muslim”. Such is the nature of the Collectivist mind.

But Muslims are a symptom and not the source of the problem. The problem is the Prophet Muhammad. If he were alive today, Amnesty International would certainly have a problem with his followers obeying his laws, which demand that certain people have their limbs amputated and their nose cut off. The Democrats would have him in their crosshairs as being at the forefront on the “war against women”. The New York Times would certainly seek to expose him and any whistle blower in his ranks would be celebrated as the next Julian Assange.

Read more »

The Little Effect?

Regular readers will all know about the Moroney Effect…where National MPs increase their majority if Sue Moroney stands against them.

There is also the Little Effect as well…where a National MP increases their majority if Andrew Little stands against them.

It seems that the Little Effect is also catching….and is now affecting UK Labour.

With just one week until polling day, a major survey puts the Tories on 35 per cent of the vote, ahead of Labour on 30 per cent.

The Conservatives have taken a five-point lead over Labour with just one week until the general election, a poll has found.

A survey by Ipsos Mori for The Evening Standard puts David Cameron’s party on 35 per cent of the vote, ahead of Labour on 30 per cent.   Read more »

Len’s money grab continues as he seeks to introduce a poll tax

Not satisfied with increasing rates and pushing upon North Shore residents levies to build a train tunnel they will never use – Len has announced yet more theft in the form of transport levies (a poll tax in reality) for his socialist train set.

The average Auckland family will have to find an extra $200 a year from July to pay for Mayor Len Brown’s latest budget plan.

Mr Brown sprang a surprise on councillors yesterday by announcing a special “transport levy” that equates to an extra 4 per cent on rates from July. The levy is $99 for households and $159 for businesses.

It is on top of an overall rates increase of 2.5 per cent, which is down from the previous figure of 3.5 per cent.

Details of the combined rates rise and levy were not distributed at yesterday’s council meeting but Labour councillor Ross Clow calculated an average rates bill of $3000 would rise by $200.    Read more »

Ever wanted justification that Auckland Council is inept?

Ever wanted justification that Auckland Council is inept?

Then look know further than he leaky building saga which is far from over.

Auckland ratepayers face paying a share of $25.07 million in one of New Zealand’s biggest leaky building cases.

The 150 owners of the 12-level Nautilus tower in Orewa were awarded the payout in a decision released yesterday by Justice Murray Gilbert.

Rainey Law’s Tim Rainey, one of the lawyers who acted for the owners, said Auckland Council was liable for paying the full amount but could then seek to recover part of that money from other parties.

Mr Rainey claims he offered a settlement of $15.07 million on behalf of the owners before the six-week trial. But he said the council did not respond.

“The council never made a settlement offer to the owners. It seriously misjudged its legal responsibilities here. We made settlement offers including one which would have saved $10 million which the council didn’t even do us the courtesy of responding to. This case is a complete debacle for the council,” Mr Rainey said.

Council building control general manager Ian McCormack said: “With regards to the comments purported to have been made by Mr Rainey about settlement, the council’s solicitor has contacted him to discuss these.”

He pointed to the possibility of fighting the ruling.

Read more »

Is the flag worth burning political capital over?

John Key unilaterally decided to introduce debate and a referendum on changing the flag…despite there being n o evidence anywhere of a desire to change our flag.

One morning he woke up and just decided that he wanted to hang his hat on this debate.

I said that he would lose, and that people didn’t want it and that appears to be true now, with some evidence to support it.

Support for changing the flag has dropped with only a quarter of those polled in the latest Herald-Digipoll survey wanting a change, compared to 40 per cent a year ago.

Asked if it was time for New Zealand to design a flag for itself, 25 per cent said “yes” and 70 per cent said “no”.

Just after Prime Minister John Key announced plans for a referendum a year ago, 40 per cent supported a change while in 2010 more than half were in favour.

The latest poll, of 750 eligible voters, was taken from April 17 to 26, when there was a lot of media coverage of Anzac Day commemorations and the RSA criticised the timing of the referendum in the centenary year of the Gallipoli landing.

RSA chief executive David Moger said yesterday the poll reflected the feedback the RSA had received and was a “massive shift” from 2014. “I’m sure the commemorations and people realising the enormity of what has been achieved under our flag is really coming to the fore.”

Read more »