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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Te Borg

As Craig Ranapia once said, Maori and Maori opinion aren't The Borg (I think he dubbed it "Te Borg"), and despite what the mainstream media often portrays, do not think act and feel all the same way. It seems that a large number of New Zealanders seem to believe that Te Borg exists, and is after their foreshore and seabed.

Sadly, it seems some Maori seem to believe this also. Luckily it looks like they're in for a rude shock come November 26. I predict more protests at Waitangi Day 2012.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Productivity up - due to unemployment?



Productivity is up 3.7% for the 2009 - 2010 year. This compares with an average of 0.9% growth from 2006 - 2009. It's the highest it's been in 10 years.

The Standard says this is because unemployment's up. If that was the case, you'd expect there to be stronger correlation between poor productivity performance and low unemployment. As you can see from the graph above, unemployment has shot up following the global financial crisis in 2008.

Japan

Not just an earthquake, but a tsunami followed by what looks like the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

My friend JJ, who lived in Japan for a year as an English teacher, has an excellent article on the tragedy.

As for the nuclear issue, sadly the usual hysterics have come out, arguing that this is incontrovertible proof that nuclear energy is evil. I remain unconvinced - specifically that nuclear energy is itself evil; for New Zealand the economics simply don't stack up. The Japanese situation is totally unique, and it's questionable whether planners could've conceivably thought of the earthquake plus tsunami combo.

The real problem with nuclear energy is not the operation of plants - it's the nuclear waste they generate, and storing it for thousands of years after it's been used. The idea of nuclear energy being clean and green is, for this reason, nonsense. That said, while nuclear plants are in operation they produce substantially less carbon emissions.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Christchurch

It's been sadly fascinating to see the snipes and counter-snipes across the political divide following the Christchurch earthquake. If there's any sign of life returning to normal, it's the positions taken by both sides. Predictably, the left either want higher or special taxes to pay for the rebuilding, while many on the right want spending cuts and tax cuts to increase growth. Oh well. Thankfully we now have a service to look forward to on March 13th.

Good on Peter Dunne for making Wellington City Council release its list of "quake-risk" buildings. There's also a "quake-list" map knocking about. Kapiti, Porirua and the two Hutts should follow suit.

What impact will it have on the general election? My prediction is that the Government will move more to the right at the election; its privatisation program will be more generally accepted and there will be spending cuts; probably only to Working For Families though.