Work on a welcome new addition to Waikanae Park is underway with the council laying the foundations for a portable pump track.
The recent Suez Canal shipping blockage has delayed delivery of the new portable track until mid-May, however.
Once here it should be quite quick to install on top of the foundations. The upside of this delay is it gives time for the grass beside the pump track to grow, so the council is leaving the fencing around the workspace up to help with this.
In the late 20th century the United Nations predicted that as a result of global warming many coastal areas, notably in Bangladesh, would be under water by 2020. It hasn’t happened. So do we have a problem? Our government thinks so. We have a Climate Change Minister, a Climate Emergency has been declared and the young people have recently demonstrated about the dangers. The main issues are rising sea levels, increasing temperatures and humans pumping more greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, into the air.
Climate change has been happening for millions of years with intermittent ice ages interspersed with warming and cooling periods. We are currently in a very gradual warming phase. NIWA data shows that from 1900 to 2008 sea levels rose by 1.7mm a year, and that in the 110 years from 1909 to 2019 the overall increase in average temperature was 1.13º Celsius. This is hardly scary stuff. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air has increased since the industrial revolution, but the gas comprises only 0.04% of the atmosphere. CO₂ is essential for human survival and plant growth being the key element in the carbon cycle, so more is good.
Every extreme weather-induced event – storms, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, droughts – gets blamed on climate change. But these have always happened. Fundamentally we have nothing to fear from the natural, eternal process of changes in weather and climate.
(This was composed as a Letter to the Editor of the DomPost)
Although we are reasonably tolerant of colourful terms describing politicians, we would prefer that if you think someone is a f**kwit (for example), that you show us why rather than just tell us. It helps to keep discussion thoughtful and pleasant.
Quarantine may be a hot topic right now, but it is nothing new. The heritage on Matiu/Somes island is an important reminder of pandemics past before it became a jewel in our pest free island network. Senior Heritage Advisor Richard Nester shares with us the MIQ experience from 149 years ago… The view on Matiu/Somes…
“When the press bows down to the authorities, the authorities will mistreat the citizens. This has always happened, worldwide, and it has happened to us.” –Catalin Tolontan
by Geoffrey Churchman
The above quote also applies in NZ nowadays with the obsequious nature of the country’s legacy media towards the Jacinda government. When the major media refuse to hold those in power to account, then these will do whatever they think they can get away with. The only checks on bad government in NZ sadly now come from a handful of sites like ours and whatever social media manages to escape censorship.
This documentary, nominated for two Oscars (Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature), follows the events following the tragic fire in the Colectiv nightclub of October 2015 in Bucharest which had no functioning fire escapes. The audience tried to get out through the entrance causing trampling injuries to many in addition to those who were burned. 27 died and 180 were taken to hospital.
Worse followed, however: a further 37 died in hospital even though their injuries weren’t life threatening. Why?
It transpired that bacterial infections were responsible. One thing people take for granted at hospitals is cleanliness, but that was completely inadequate in Romania’s hospitals. The Romanian mainstream media fails to investigate these deaths, and Romania’s Health Minister, Nicolae Banicioiu, began boasting about the country’s medical facilities. It fell to a whistleblower and Catalin Tolontan, the editor of the “Sports Gazette”, to take up the hunt.
Firstly, it’s established that because of corruption the country’s main disinfectant manufacturer Hexi Pharma and its owner, Dan Condrea (who later dies in a mysterious car crash), were selling well-diluted product: on average it had only 10% strength. The country also had inadequate facilities to treat burns victims, but patients were denied or delayed transfers to proper facilities in Vienna or Germany due to pride and greed.
But there are deeper revelations to come.
Catalin Tolontan and his team slowly peel back the layers, and discover massive fraud and corruption. Protests and social upheaval follow, as the government politicians continue to tell lies. Continuing revelations led to the ouster of Banicioiu and others.
Former patients’ rights activist Vlad Voiculescu is named temporary Health Minister, and he permits total transparency by allowing documentary director Nanau unfettered access to meetings and phone calls. The camera follows as token reforms are instituted. Vlad Voiculescu acknowledges the whole healthcare system is “rotten”, and “we doctors are no longer about human life. We only care about money.”
The movie is powerful enough with the above, but it becomes even more poignant with inclusion of clips on the burn victims, especially Tedy Ursuleanu. Her severe burns left her head scarred and took one of her hands, yet she refused to hide, choosing instead to be photographed for all to see.
This is the sort of documentary that employees of NZ’s Newshub, TV1, NZME and Stuff should see, but I highly recommend it to all.
A new Parliamentary palace? You’re dreaming, Trevor
The Speaker’s attempt to pitch a new $250 million Parliamentary palace as a humble “wooden office block” doesn’t pass the sniff test.
As I told Stuff, you can’t trust politicians with property projects. Their instinct will always be to turn a new building into a gold-plated legacy project.
You just know the planning stage will turn into a performative, naval-gazing, drawn-out consultation process. Some special interest group will demand it’s built from native pine with swamp kauri detailing. The wool industry will demand merino carpets, and the vegans will protest. There will be sermons on post-colonial architecture. And eventually some boffin will remember we’re facing a timber shortage.
You pay this man a $340,000 salary
One of our highest-paid public sector bosses is using his platform to urge the abuse of our neighbours.
Over the weekend, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards took to Twitter to suggest New Zealanders should mock Australians for the actions of the Christchurch mosque shooter:
Tens of thousands of Australians live and pay tax in New Zealand. They deserve confidence that the Commissioner has their best interests at heart, but instead he’s making flippant digs, undermining the dignity and impartiality of his position.
Mr Edwards has form for jumping into issues that don’t concern him. Instead of talking about issues like the privacy posed by COVID-19 tracing programmes, facial recognition technology, and the Civil Aviation Authority’s new airport ‘nudie scanners’, he’s picking fights on Twitter.
Hamilton City Councillor is unhappy that we’re asking hard questions
Hamilton City Councillor Dave Macpherson has run to RNZ with some dubious figures estimating the staff costs involved in answering Taxpayers’ Union information requests.
Tellingly, he didn’t release figures for costs of information requests for any other groups. Just us.
It’s a sad attempt to pursue ‘utu’ on the Taxpayers’ Union: we recently revealed how the Council has been harvesting submissions from school children for its iwi partnership strategy. We also poked fun at Councillors and staff for building 51 lego ducks on ratepayer time.
Cr Macpherson argues that the Taxpayers’ Union should simply ask for information by just calling up the Council. But whenever we do that, we’re told to put the request in writing – including with the very question he said we should have ‘picked up the phone’ for!
A final comment from Jordan:
Councils of course have an incentive to inflate their reported costs for responding to information requests they don’t like answering. But if it’s true that answering a few questions has cost Hamilton City Council tens of thousands of dollars, that’s an even bigger scandal: they’re spending absurd amounts on spindoctors to sanitise their information releases.
Amazon has taxpayers over a barrel
Last week it was revealed that taxpayers are pitching in $162 million for Amazon, one of the world’s richest companies, to film a season of its Lord of the Rings television series.
This handout is emblematic of a clunky, ad hoc approach to attracting international business. We should be attracting business on the basis of our economic merits: that would involve lower taxes, flexible employment laws, and minimal red tape, not just for one company or sector, but for all.
The Minister responsible, Stuart Nash, argues subsidies are part and parcel of the international film industry. That’s politician-speak for “we’re fighting a bidding war with taxpayer money”. Amazon uses its near-endless lobbying resources to play different governments off one another.
According to the Minister’s rosey predictions, Season One will employ 2,100 people directly and indirectly (whatever that means), for the $162.5 million in subsidies. That’s the taxpayer tipping in $77,380 per job – per year.
What happens when Amazon threatens to send the production of future television seasons overseas? The Government will have to choose between facing humiliation, or forking out an even bigger subsidy.
Is your local council telling the truth about its planned rates hike?
Hutt City Council Mayor Campbell Barry (pictured) is telling local ratepayers that he plans to hike rates by “just” 5.9 percent. But ratepayers who delve into the fine print of the consultation material have noticed this excludes the effect of a new targeted rate for rubbish and recycling.
Once you manually calculate the impact of that cost, the real rates hike ends up being well over 10 percent.
While the subterfuge at Hutt City Council is particularly bad, we’re seeing other councils using similar tricks. Wellington City Council wants to pay for a new sludge plant via a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ – paid for out of a new $70 to $100 annual levy that has not been added to the Council’s advertised rates hike.
We’ve been keeping track of every local council’s planned rate hikes on our Rates Dashboard. We might now have to add a ‘new taxes’ column to keep the councils honest.
Unelected commissioners shouldn’t be making constitutional changes
We say the commissioners are overstepping their role. Here’s what Jordan told the media:
The unelected commissioners have an obligation to run the Council in a caretaker mode before elected governance can be re-established. The vote to establish Māori wards does the exact opposite. It’s effectively making a binding constitutional change without any kind of democratic mandate.
To call this a ‘vote’ is ridiculous. It’s a decision by four people who report to Nanaia Mahuta.
We’re working with a group of highly-motivated Tauranga locals to establish a Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance. The goal: ensure the Commissioners are held accountable to Tauranga ratepayers, not just Nanaia Mahuta.
If you’re based in Tauranga, let us know by replying to this email and I’ll make sure you’re contacted about the launch.
Do our new MPs believe in anything?
Another two episodes of our Taxpayer Talk podcast have gone live. Both are part of our MPs in Depth series, providing insight into the background and beliefs of new MPs.
National’s Penny Simmonds shares insights from her former career leading the Southern Institute of Technology, and her entry to politics. Listen for one particular anecdote about Sir Tim Shadbolt.
ACT’s Simon Court is a self-described ‘radical environmentalist’ has worked on cleaning up Agent Orange, and has a fascinating story about how he was deported from Fiji.
The screenshot is of an article on the Stuff site where instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’; ‘his’ or ‘her’, the terms are ‘they’ and ‘their’.
Weren’t we all brought up being taught that in English ‘they’ is a plural term, while ‘he’ ‘she’ or ‘it’ are the singular terms?
In this case, the sex of the deceased body was sure to have been identified by the police (and told to the reporter), that only becomes difficult when it’s badly decomposed. But this reporter is undoubtedly obeying orders from her employer to use Wokeist-speak.
An article on the BFD today examines the problem that the standard use of the ‘Royal We’ and now the ‘Royal They’ by the Legacy Media is going to cause for comprehension:-
“I don’t even care when transgender people want to drop the masculine and feminine pronouns. That is up to them. Most of them seem to want to adopt pronouns such as ‘they’ or ‘them’ when people refer to themselves, even when speaking in the singular. Like I said, I don’t care. So far, I haven’t come across anyone in real life who insists on such a thing, although I did meet a transgender person a few years ago who was clearly a man in a dress. I just called him/her by the chosen name. No dramas.
“You will note though that they never want to be referred to as ‘it’. That would make the most sense, but is never given as an option.”