National Party

John Key upset at “stuck up” New Zealand authors

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Popular¬†Prime Minister¬†John Key¬†says he’s struggled with being an ambassador¬†for the literary arts¬†because he doesn’t think the literary arts are¬†doing as much as it could to support New Zealand.

Key, who won the 2008, 2011 and 2014 elections as leader for the National Party, has been at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where he told reporters he’s struggled with his identity as a New Zealand politician. ¬† Read more »

Argh crap. I warned him about this

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John Key may get good advice but it doesn’t mean he accepts all of it. ¬†He’s breaking one of the golden rules for starters: ¬†explaining is losing.

Prime Minister John Key and Labour Party leader Andrew Little are both poised to deliver keynote speeches tomorrow, but Mr Key has got in first, setting the agenda with the issue closest to everyone’s heart ‚Äď housing, but specifically selling off the ones the state owns. Read more »

Guest Post – Phil Hayward on Auckland and the RMA reforms

by Phil Hayward

The Auckland Unitary Plan Submission process is underway and we should soon know whether it is a charade with outcomes pre-determined and impervious to evidence. The usual suspects are also claiming once again to be able to ‚Äúdebunk‚ÄĚ the latest Demographia Report on housing affordability, and even the government is embarrassed over the dismal ineffectiveness of its trumpeted ‚ÄúHousing Accords‚ÄĚ.

My previous essays on this forum could usefully be read or re-read now by anyone interested in this subject.

The prevalent mythology is that Auckland already sprawls too much at low density, already has built too many roads (and that is why it is congested), is letting the floodgates re-open too much towards more new sprawl and not enough new intensification (60% of growth to be via intensification is the plan), the ramp-up in building now is major, and intensification will provide for affordability.

In fact, Auckland is around 3 times as dense as Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville and dozens of other US cities; is the second densest city in the Anglo New World after Toronto (pop. 6 million); is one of the densest first world urban areas of only 1 million people; is close to Amsterdam’s density and is denser than Lyon, Marseille, the Ruhr Valley and many urban areas in France and Germany, especially those with around 1 million people or less.

We have never actually had US style low density sprawl; very little of our suburban development was ever even ¬ľ acre sections. That always was a ‚Äúdream‚ÄĚ for most, and now nearly every such section has already had townhouses built on what was the backyard. In the USA, suburbs are common with minimum lot size mandates of 1 acre to 4 acres.¬†¬†

Michael Bassett and Luke Malpass (NZ Initiative) ‚ÄúPriced Out: How NZ Lost its Housing Affordability‚ÄĚ (2012) show that NZ and Auckland were during the period from the 1960‚Äôs to the 1980‚Äôs, building as many as twice as many new dwellings as now. Most of that was greenfields suburban development, albeit at considerably higher density than US-style sprawl. We now have congestion problems because there was inadequate planning of road capacity, not because we did the roads we did.

I have estimated from TomTom Traffic index data and Google Earth imagery, that Auckland has 1/3 the highway lane miles and 1/5 the arterial lane miles of Indianapolis, which has a similar population. Indianapolis in the TomTom Traffic Index, scores a congestion delay of 15 minutes per 1 hour of driving at peak (other comparable US cities are similar) versus Auckland‚Äôs 45 minutes. Of course its house price median multiple happens to be stable at around 3 as well, in spite of being truly low density, unlike Auckland. ¬† Read more »

Who is Andrew Little? Ctd – Is he Electable?

Andrew Little has run in New Plymouth twice now, and lost badly twice. Incumbent National MP Jonathan Young gave him a sound beating in 2011 and absolutely destroyed him in 2014.

At the 5.45 mark of his first press conference as leader he was asked about this. “Andrew Little you got whipped in New Plymouth, how can you beat John Key nationwide.

Lets take a look at the results in New Plymouth.

Little Young Margin Little Diff Young Diff Margin Diff
2011 13,374 17,644 4,270 -1,586 3,922 5,508
2014 11,788 21,566 9,778
Labour National Margin
2011 8,761 18,073 9,312 -814 2,896 3,710
2014 7,947 20,969 13,022

Read more »

The economy is booming – Labour never stood a chance

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We still have to be grateful for Labour declaring all those industry sector crises.  Because they sure ended up fixing everything.

Trade Me analysed more than 56,000 roles listed on its website and said there had been steady job growth since 2013.

After steady growth over the last half of 2013, the number of jobs advertised on Trade Me shot up by 16 percent in 2014. Read more »

Lets talk about Tax baby, let’s talk about you and me…

mbmbm

Lecherous lascivious lyin’ Len is starting to feel the pressure of time. ¬†He no longer has any friends in local or central government, but he still want to have his train set.

What can he do?

Try and start a groundswell of demand from the people themselves.  And this is how he started

Aucklanders are about to take part in an unprecedented debate, over whether they are happy to pay new taxes and motorway charges totalling hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Unprecedented only because they can’t force it on it any longer. ¬†Suddenly we’re all back to being democratic and wanting to debate things openly. Read more »

Commenting Standards from a readers perspective

I haven’t passed comment on our now more than a year old moderation and commenting policies. I haven’t commented for a reason…there is no need to comment, I am happy with the results despite more than a few detractors who are now junking up other people’s sites.

But people have noticed, and here is one reader who has sent in his comments about the difference between comments on my site vs the mainstream media.


Yesterday¬†I read two articles on the same subject – Helen Clark and her ambition to lead the UN, one on Whale Oil the other on TV3’s site.

No surprises in the content of the articles, but it was the comments sections which I though gave a very interesting insight on the whole perception of Whale Oil versus MSM scenario.

Often Whale Oil is portrayed as the nasty attack Blog with the lowest (or no) standards and the MSM the defender of standards and arbitrators of what is right.

Here are  random shots of both sites comments section where I could include at least three commentators who responded to a different point of view Рthe difference is stark.

I am betting If you asked a non Whale Oil reader who has been subjected to the anti Whale Oil propaganda they would be extremely surprised at the result.

TV3 has it so wrong on so many fronts it doesn’t need pointing out – they should actually close comments on their site if they cannot keep them to a reasonable standard.

This is why Whale oil continues to fight and win the good fights. ¬† Read more »

Gareth comes good, and not by wanting to nail more cats

About the only thing I agree with Gareth Morgan on is his desire to have the cat population of NZ killed.

Now there is another thing I can agree with him on.

The need for the Greens to change.

Since the election, several high profile commentators – including the businessman, Gareth Morgan – have suggested the Greens ditch some of their left-leaning policies.

Radio New Zealand invited Mr Morgan to take part in a discussion panel along with the Greens’ co-leader Metiria Turei and her predecessor Jeanette Fitzsimons.

Mr Morgan argued that the Green Party’s stance means they could only ever go into Government with Labour.

“I want to see the environment represented inside the tent. I don’t want the environment to have about a 50 percent chance of being in power.”

He said many middle-of-the-road voters cared about the environment but won’t vote for the Green Party because of its more left-wing policies.

Mr Morgan said the Greens should ditch their left-wing policies and focus solely on the environment, so they can hold whoever is in power to account.

Read more »

Sensible resource extraction

The major problem with resource extraction such as previous metals, fuel and wood is that the opponents such as Forest and Bird, the Green Taliban and often also Labour take a zero tolerance stance.  That leaves no room for negotiation, and even in the event some initiative is quite sensible, they continue to try and sabotage any economic progress for the area and the country on the basis that the only outcome should be to leave everything just as it is.

I have a personal affinity with New Zealand’s native forests, and don’t like the idea of selective logging. ¬†The ecosystems of those areas aren’t understood the the point where we can just start picking the eyes out of healthy forests and expect it to recover.

But nature sometimes gives a helping hand.

Helicopters have started salvaging some of the native timber blown over by Cyclone Ita on the West Coast in April.

The storm destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, and over the summer hundreds of valuable rimu logs are being recovered from bush land near Lake Brunner to be made into flooring and furniture.

Each log is worth about $5000, but once milled and processed they can be worth eight times that.

“It’s strictly taking very small percentages of the highest-value timber out,” says Jon Dronfield of New Zealand Sustainable Forest Products. “The economics of helicopter logging are pretty high. It’s an expensive business but it works for a high-value timber like this.”

While the logs have been expertly cut to size, there were no chainsaws involved in their felling; they were flattened by Cyclone Ita in April that blew over hundreds of thousands of trees, potentially 5 million tonnes of native timber.

Instead of letting it slowly rot on the forest floor, the Government pushed through new legislation allowing a tiny proportion of it, just 2 percent, to be extracted over the next five years.

Letting timber drop and rot away is part of the life cycle of the forest floor. ¬†The argument that all (usable) logs should be extracted is akin to starting a sequence of events where the forest will not recover from the windfall. ¬†In nature, logs don’t get taken away.

But at 2%, it is clearly an acceptably low amount of timber to take out.  Especially since they will only need to take the commercially viable logs, and the ones that would normally be turned into firewood and woodchip are left to be part of the life cycle.

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Trying to think like a Leftie

They say you need to walk a mile in a person’s shoes before you can even begin to understand them. I have found the Lefties reaction to the National Party winning the election mystifying. On and on they went bemoaning that New Zealanders are stupid and should have voted for that lovely Mr Cunliffe so he could form a coalition with¬† Laila Harre and Hone’s Internet Party funded by that lovely Jolly German Gamer Kim Dotcom.

Why were New Zealanders not convinced by Dirty Politics they screamed ineffectively, tears running down their pale vegan faces. It’s not faaiiiiiiiir.

Well finally I can sympathise. Something important to me has been beaten by something I do not support. New Zealanders have voted with their wallets and yet again my favourite business has been removed from my local mall. I am not happy and my bottom lip is starting to quiver.

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