The Letter – Monday, 11 December 2006
The Letter – Monday, 11 December 2006
The Letter Limited - www.theletter.biz
Politics winding down. Just six days of
parliament left. National morphs further into Labour. The
census raises questions about growth. “Read this book”
to wind down prior to Christmas. Governments like to put the
accelerator down and push though legislation but there are
few bills this year. In Christmas week Ministers have a
tendency to release controversial reports knowing that they
will not get proper scrutiny. The first of these the
governments long over due climate policy document covering
electricity generation due today.
Without subsidy wind is not competitive with coal
and even with a subsidy wind is not the answer. Owen McShane
in his weekly digest comments on a new report by J.A Halkema
“Wind Energy: Facts and Fiction: A half truth is a whole
lie” and says the promises of wind is not being delivered.
(No one has figured out how to get the wind to blow
everyday.) See http://www.countryguardian.net. While Labour
is setting totally unrealistic “aspirational” goals, New
Zealand, per head of population is further from achieving
its Kyoto targets than any other Western nation. This is
partly because of good growth but mainly because methane,
not carbon dioxide is the biggest producer of green house
gasses and we are cutting down our forests to create methane
producing dairy farms. The report to handle this will be
much more controversial topic is being held back for
Today the Herald
reports UN saying “Cows, not cars, top threat to the
environment”. Owen McShane’s Digest also says that the
academic magazine American Scientist says the concentrations
of methane in the atmosphere, unlike carbon dioxide, are
It would be so like Labour to launch a program to control
something that is not a problem.
It has been observed that the final result of
war is to become your enemy. We observe that the war on
terror to preserve democracy daily results in less freedom.
In politics one observes the same thing happening to
parties. Helen Clark rails against the “failed policies of
the past” while quietly adopting an independent Reserve
Bank, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, SOEs, etc. John Key and
Bill English in their head long rejection of Don Brash
appear to be morphing National into Labour. Those on the
hospital waiting list who had their operations delayed yet
again by a strike will be amazed to learn that John Key
thinks the labour laws are working well.
What is left?
John Key has publicly rejected dropping race
based policies, rejoining ANZUS, has embraced Kyoto, talked
of increasing social spending and has re instated PC by
appointing a woman’s affairs spokesman. National has
given up the high ground on election funding. While John Key
says he favours tax cuts he has made Bill English his
finance spokesman who has publicly questioned the connection
between tax cuts and growth and as finance minister did not
promote free enterprise solutions.
It is worth remembering that National has tried
the me-too policy before, in the 2002 election, and the
result? The worst defeat in the parties history. National
tried a clear policy choice last election. The result? The
best result for National for 15 years.
Don’s Orewa speech galvanized National’s
base and attracted new members and support. Muldoon showed
that the one thing worse than a Labour government is a
National-Labour government. National’s leadership seems to
be saying that it is willing to enter into a coalition with
the Maori party who split with Labour because there were
some race based policies even Labour would not adopt. Turia
called in a recent speech for other races to have separate
representation in parliament!
Growth without wealth
Two documents this week raise questions about
living standards. The first is a paper by Helen Clark’s
husband that suggests we are working longer with both
parents working but our real standard of living has not
increased. The declining affordability of housing seems to
reinforce this. The second document is the census and the
news that the population has had its biggest percentage
increase for over 100 years. It is an obvious point but
often missed, if the economy is growing but so is the
population, then the individual standard of living may not
be growing as there are more of us to share.
“Read this book – I have just read – at one sitting – Richard Prebble’s latest book, Out of the Red. If you read no other book this year (or next year) read this one…”Out of the Red” would make a great Christmas present for those friends and relatives who still believe that the Lange/Douglas government sold off our national “assets”. As always with Prebble, there are fascinating insights into the politics of the process, but the book is actually about business, governance and management. We do not expect retired politicians to write great textbooks on management but that is what Richard Prebble has done. Given that most management texts are written by overseas experts we are doubly fortunate that this one is grounded in New Zealand enterprises and experience.
Once again we should
apply the media attention “inverse square rule”- which
says that the attention paid by the media to a book bears an
inverse squared relationship to its importance. Think Hagar
and think Prebble and you will get the point – especially
when you have read “Out of the Red”
Owen McShane Digest.
How to buy
Just $29-95, free post go to www.richardprebble.com or buy the old fashion way and send a cheque for $29-95 to The Letter, 45 State highway 30, Lake Rotoma, RD 4, Rotorua, 3074, today, to get delivery for Christmas.
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