On Sceptics Sunday I thought some holiday fun was needed. Enjoy this.
I confess. I am a Climate Sceptic. As such I have been consigned to the Church of Latter-day Sinners, put there by the hysterical witch hunters of the Church of Global Warming.
I am beginning to like my new home. Daily more sceptics are finding their own way here. Some found their way here earlier than most. One such was Margaret Thatcher but, until recently, this aspect of her life has been ignored.
Thatcher was one of the founders of the Church of Global Warming. Ironic isn’t it that those who loathe the Iron Lady most - the environmentalists, the Greens, the socialists - have her to thank for laying the foundation stone of their church.
Margaret Thatcher was the first leader to warn of global warming - but also the first to see the flaws in the climate change orthodoxy
However, Thatcher was a scientist, so she continued to question the underlying assumptions of the Climate Change Cult (CCC). Eventually she recanted and became one of the first prominent Climate Sceptics but this has been ignored – until now.
It is not widely appreciated, however, that there was a dramatic twist to her story. In 2003, towards the end of her last book, Statecraft, in a passage headed "Hot Air and Global Warming", she issued what amounts to an almost complete recantation of her earlier views.
I have never belonged to the CCC. It has always had the whiff of hysteria around it, as does all environmentalism, so I was surprised to learn that Margaret Thatcher had been sucked into that whirlpool of deceit. It is gratifying to know she saw the error of her ways and came to realise that the CCC is really about politics not science.
Her sage advice is worth noting.
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for an Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance to represent the people of Auckland who foot the bill for the waste of ratepayers' money that has become the hallmark of Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown.
The need for an Auckland Ratepayers Alliance is well overdue as I have said time and again in my blogs.
The Taxpayers’ Union has done a great job representing the taxpayer. As such it is the perfect umbrella organisation to look after the interests of Auckland ratepayers.
Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers' Union, has called for support for the concept in an article in today's NBR.
An Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance can’t come soon enough
Support them by ‘liking’ this blog and joining them at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/
‘Zombie towns’ are those places in provincial New Zealand experiencing aging infrastructure and aging populations. The term was coined by Shamubeel Eaqub, chief economist of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. These struggling communities are found everywhere outside the main cities. Their plight may explain why National lost Northland, an area feeling the pinch of rural neglect. How these communities can be revitalised should be at the top of any political agenda, but especially National’s, whose bedrock support is rural New Zealand.
Director of the NZ Centre for Political Research Dr. Muriel Newman summed up the situation in a recent article.
Essentially, voters believed they had been taken for granted. While the government’s focus, for reasons that are quite understandable, has been on Christchurch and Auckland, people living in Northland and many other provincial areas have been feeling neglected and ignored. The long term impact of poor roading and limited economic growth opportunities not only generates discontent, but it also creates deep pockets of deprivation and hopelessness.
I have been privileged to hear Shamubeel Eaqub speak on this topic at an LGNZ Conference and more recently at the ACT Party Conference. He made the point that although concentration of the population into cities is a world-wide phenomenon it is more than usually so in New Zealand.
Rural communities rely on primary industries, farming and mining, for jobs, but New Zealand has one enormous in-built barrier that discourages the re-vitalisation of rural communities, the Resource Management Act, that triumph of environmentalism. Muriel Newman again:
The RMA is one of those Acts of Parliament that most people have little contact with. They are the lucky ones.
It is ironic that a win for Peters may well derail much needed changes to the RMA that National is trying to push through Parliament. Personally I believe the RMA is such a poor piece of legislation that has been tinkered with so much it has lost its way. Nothing has been as damaging to fundamental freedoms as this Act’s limits on private property rights. It has been used to justify race-based rorts such as the ‘mana whenua’ provisions in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and has introduced a ‘cult of racketeering and extortion’ into local government.
There is little chance of the government scrapping the Act and going back to the drawing board, which is what should happen, but the reforms being proposed by National, whilst they do not go far enough, are needed, especially in places like Northland.
It remains to be seen whether Peters will represent the interests of his constituents over his own personal vanities.
Political correctness, that pernicious heir to pro-Communist progressive thinking, demonstrates a need to oversimplify and control and an intolerance toward disagreement. PC people have an absolute conviction of their own moral superiority. You can spot them a mile off because they are the people who want to ‘ban’ things. It is becoming a modern epidemic.
Because PC people are convinced of their own self-righteousness they are particularly intolerant of other people’s freedoms, especially freedom of speech. I was struck by some recent examples. Today Kiwiblog reports on a petition sent to Auckland Council libraries seeking to ban a book (Farrar’s comments are in bold).
Not the Library’s job to censor April 2nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar
Good on Auckland Council and David Farrar for standing up for freedom of speech.
The inappropriately named Ms Joy and the 2400 people who signed her petition should be ashamed of themselves. Banning books is the hallmark of religious fanatics, communists and national socialists. It is the hallmark of intolerance.
Another example of the desire to ban. with its drift towards a more intolerant, PC society and the consequent undermining of democracy, is given today in a Whaleoil blog. The High Court has upheld freedom of speech in its finding that the ban by the Electoral Commission of a musical parody of John Key during the election campaign was unlawful. This is what Whaleoil has to say and I agree.
I strongly believe in Freedom of expression. I cannot expect to have the right to criticise or mock those in politics I disagree with and on the other hand try to silence those who want to criticise or mock the party I support.
PC has no place in democracy. It is shameful that the Prime Minister of New Zealand and an institution set up to oversee democracy, the Electoral Commission, have so little regard for the fundamental principles that underpin their existence.
Like Cameron Slater I too am deeply saddened as the National Party drifts towards a more PC future.
Thank goodness democracy is still being upheld in the courts. Thank goodness for bloggers who stand up for freedom of speech.
The profligate Waiheke Local Board lurches from one ill-conceived action to another. This time they’ve rushed in to waste yet another $30,000, of the small amount of ratepayers’ money they have left, on an opinion survey of islanders’ views of alternative locations for marine protection. The promise is that the survey results will feed directly into ‘Sea Change’ – Auckland Council’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan (HGMSP) process.
The euphemistically named ‘Sea Change’ process is being led by a so-called partnership of mana whenua, local and central government. It has a budget of many millions of dollars, most of it coming from Auckland Council ratepayers. It has been variously described as the ‘best thing since sliced bread’ and ‘a massive under-hand carve-up of the Gulf by vested interests’. As the Sea Change website notes, the HGMSP will be ‘non-statutory but information from the Plan will be used to modify unitary, district, regional and coastal plans …’ More planning through the back door.
Why the Waiheke Local Board has to contribute $30,000 to this process is unclear. It seems they felt they really must spend some more of their residual 2014/2015 SLIPs Opex (Operational) fund before the end of Council’s financial year and didn’t have any other better ideas. Or was the Board alerted to the ‘Keep Our Beaches’ (the group opposed to any marine reserve on Waiheke’s northern beaches) submissions before Parliament this week and this is their attempt to influence the results of that process. Whatever the motive, spending $30,000 of ratepayers’ money as an ‘extraordinary’ item (that means it wasn’t on the open agenda for everyone to see) is yet another example of poor governance on the part of this Board.
The Board’s Waiheke survey results will apparently be tacked onto the draft HGMSP, which is currently nearing completion and hence the so-called need for haste. But the survey is entirely unnecessary. The draft Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan will be undergoing yet another whirl of expensive and wide public consultation – and that’s the time that public views on the location of marine protected areas should be canvassed - paid for from the Sea Change budget and free from local political manipulation.
The Waiheke Local Board’s actions raise several issues.
While we welcome a Waiheke community public opinion survey, Keep Our Beaches has grave concerns about this approach on several grounds:
Item 5 above shows the cowboy nature of this Board that they would think it in any way legitimate to tack on a completely unrelated survey of the Esplanade. It is a further abuse of power and waste of ratepayers' money trying to revisit the use of The Esplanade by vehicular traffic when Auckland Transport has only recently conducted a survey of their own.
$30,000 is a lot of ratepayers’ money to waste on surveys, especially ones that disenfranchise a large portion of Waiheke ratepayers. The whole process is being done with indecent haste and little thought. It is this sort of self-serving behaviour by elected representatives that tells us there is a need for a group to represent ratepayers’ interests.
If our elected representatives won’t represent ratepayers, then someone else will.
Opposition to the push by environmental groups to make the northern beaches of Waiheke into a Marine Reserve has reached Parliament. This week the 'Keep Our Beaches' campaign team has been in front of the local government and environment select committee to argue that the populated northern beaches of Waiheke are no place for a Marine Reserve.
The group is not opposed to a Marine Reserve but say the proposal by environmental groups will turn the quiet semi-rural area into a Goat Island eco-tourist destination does not take into account the lack of infrastructure. Today’s Herald reports on the on-going fight.
Marine groups' scrap at Parliament
The Green inspired Waiheke Local Board is supporting the environmental groups. These groups are favoured by Waiheke's Auckland Councillor, the economically illiterate Mike Lee. They are doing this by using ratepayers' money. This is the biggest scandal of all. I will be writing about this aspect in another blog.