Trump versus Facebook

I think that Facebook has a right to choose who uses their platform.

The President can grizzle about who Facebook bans aas much as he likes, but hew shouldn’t be able to dictate to Facebook who they should allow to user their media platform.

Barbecue ban would stretch out LPG resources

Barbecues may be completely banned this year.

For many years now open fire (wood or charcoal) barbecues have effectively been banned in most places – you need to get a fire permit to light one, and who can plan that far ahead with the fickleness of New Zealand weather?

The Government ban on new oil and gas exploration permits means that clean burning gas will be at a premium, with estimates that it may only last another seven years at current rates of use – see ‘Hasty’ lawmaking may lead to increased emissions.

Banning domestic LPG use – for most people this means gas for their barbecues – will stretch out the life of LPG for essential uses.

There should be an added benefit in further reductions in emissions, due to a reduction in males drinking (beverages with gas) and burping around the barbecues.

So a ban on barbecues would have a number of benefits for the environment.

But there could be a conflict with the Greens, if people are required to have gender equality in cooking time. Currently barbecues are the main avenue for males to cook, and that’s usually only in weekends.

There is a fear that without barbecues men might switch to cooking more baked beans, and that would just switch to a different emission problem.

The barbecue ban has been kept quiet for fear of another adverse effect – a rise in hot air on talkback radio.

Another trumped up ban at The Standard

So things seem to be much the same at The Standard – a trumped up ban from Te Reo Putake. I don’t care about bans at The Standard, but this is quite shonky moderation – ironically when discussion was generally working quite well.

I posted this comment:

There was actually some reasonable discussion, apart from a few like Sacha trying to say I should shut up because i didn’t know enough about something that is very vague.

But:

I’m used to special standards of attribution for me that many others are never asked or required to meet. I’m used to trumped up bans.  But that’s pathetic TRP. Embarrassing for The Standard .

TRP – did you do that on your own? Or did Sacha or someone else put you up to it?

So it seems that decolonisation is a touchy subject in some quarters. Can’t have the general population talking about it.

See What does decolonisation of Aotearoa mean?

Oh, and TRP, do you actually know what plagiarism means? I note that you haven’t attributed to the cartoon replicated in your post.

 

Massey University review clears chancellor over Brash ‘ban’

I’m suspicious of inquiry and review reports being made public just before Christmas – a time thought to be good to bury news as people are distracted by Christmas and holidays.

Putting something to a review in the first place sometimes seems to have a purpose of defusing and even burying contentious issues.

Another review has just been released:  Review clears Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas over Don Brash ban

A review has cleared Massey University vice-chancellor Jan Thomas of wrongdoing in cancelling a Don Brash speaking event.

Brash and Thomas have been at the centre of a freedom-of-speech debate since former National Party leader Brash was prevented from speaking at the university’s Manawatū campus in August.

Thomas cancelled the venue booking for Brash’s planned visit, citing security and other concerns, but it was later revealed Thomas didn’t want the university to be seen endorsing racist behaviours, and she was uncomfortable with Brash’s leadership of lobby group Hobson’s Pledge.

Consulting firm Martin Jenkins reviewed the decision to cancel the event and the following fallout.

The review found Thomas did not intend to stop the event before a security threat was made and that she didn’t lie about the reasons for cancelling the booking.

But it said she did not fully explore alternative options, which opened the university up to criticism about the potential security threat not being genuine.

It didn’t just ‘open up the university’ to speculation and criticism, they were blasted.

The review recommended if the university were to face similar circumstances it should thoroughly assess the threat before deciding whether to cancel the use of a venue.

“This process, the criteria for the assessment, and who should provide such an assessment should be part of a formal university policy,” the report read.

Perhaps they could set up a review to assess any urgent threats, and release the report on the review several months later.

Brash is still critical.

Brash found the report’s findings “profoundly disappointing”.

“It’s a document that seems to whitewash what the vice-chancellor did and to my mind the behaviour at the time was disgraceful by the vice-chancellor.

“Does the vice-chancellor believe in free speech or not? That’s the profound and fundamental question.

“The report seems to say ‘not necessarily’ – if free speech conflicts with the vice-chancellor’s interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Brash, who wasn’t contacted for the review, thought the report would have expressed concern about the way things were handled.

I guess Thomas was contacted for the review, so at least she had an opportunity to defend her actions.

Thomas has said it wasn’t a ban, but an event cancellation.

Use whatever semantics you like, but Thomas made it clear she thought that it wasn’t appropriate for Brash, an ex party leader, to speak to a political group at Massey about politics. And her cancellation of the event ensured Brash couldn’t speak on campus ()he has since been to Massey to speak).

 

 

 

 

Plastic bag ban

The Government announced today that a ‘single use’ plastic bag ban will be phased in over the next year.

I’m all for drastically reducing plastic bag use, and plastic use. Waste plastic is creating a lot of problems.

Some large retailers are already at least working towards this, so the ban will just push some of this along.

I’m less sure that a one year phase in. It mat depend on the detail of the plan – especially whether suitable alternatives become available quickly and economically.

There is a risk this will add to business uncertainty, but it will be difficult to quantify that.


Single-use plastic bags to be phased out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

“We’re phasing-out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.

“Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags – a mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.

“It’s great that many people are already changing the way they shop. But it’s important we take the time now to get this right so we can help all New Zealanders adjust their shopping habits.

“We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start.

“We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand’s environmental challenges. Just like climate change, we’re taking meaningful steps to reduce plastics pollution so we don’t pass this problem to future generations,” said Jacinda Ardern.

Eugenie Sage said many countries and major cities around the world have successfully taken action on plastic pollution in recent years. She was confident New Zealanders would also embrace the change.

“Public calls for action have encouraged a significant number of retailers, including supermarkets, to move on single-use plastic bags. We want to support their efforts by ensuring the retail industry moves together in a fair and effective way.”

She encouraged people to read the discussion document and share their views.

“The Government will work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags and we want to hear from New Zealanders as to how we can best do this.

“We’re proposing a six month phase-out period and we’re confident this is a change we can make together.

“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that,” said Eugenie Sage.

People have until Friday 14 September to share their views. This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, any retailers that should be exempted, and how best to help people with the transition.

To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.

Lizzie Marvelly supports Brash ban

Lizzie Marvelly has a bigger platform to speak than most – she is a regular columnist at NZ Herald, and she has her own blog Villainesse.

She also attracts attention on Twitter, as she did yesterday when she one of a small minority who support the banning of Don Brash from speaking at Massey University.

No, Brash hasn’t been silenced, he has been given a megaphone after being banned. That’s what attacks on free speech can do – generate far more speech than they try to suppress.

Marvelly engaged after some responses:

@MatthewHootonNZ: The young students who invited him may have. They were perhaps as young as 3 when he became leader of the opposition.

@LizzieMarvelly: As members of a university politics society it’s very likely they’ve heard him rabbiting on and on about the same tired old stuff, if not in real time (and that’s possible – bafflingly, he has continued to rabbit on outside of politics, and to be given airtime) then in old clips.

@JarrodGilbertNZ: But they invited him.

@LizzieMarvelly: Ah. That’s unfortunate. Can’t anyone find a new mouthpiece for anti-te reo, anti-Māori rhetoric?

It looks like Marvelly jumped into this issue without knowing anything about what Brash was invited to talk about, which was nothing to do with te reo or Maori specific issues.

@LizzieMarvelly:  Many more shocking calls are made every day to exclude or under-represent women and Māori speakers. Forgive me for not feeling outraged at Brash being deprived of one of the many platforms he enjoys.

For all Marvelly knows their may have also been women and/or Māori speakers scheduled to speak at the same students’ political society event, who will also been excluded from speaking after the event was cancelled.

Regardless, it seems obvious that free speech is not an important principle for Marvelly.

And she isn’t alone in her attitude. It is common to see people say that some groups of people should be given more speaking rights, and that the views of others don’t matter.

Interjection ban on National dog barker, and crappy “stupid little girl” cop out

Parliament’s question time can be raucous, with some members barking at every passing Minister. National MP David Bennett annoyed the Speaker enough today to earn a two day ban on interjecting.

In Question No. 9—Children:

Darroch Ball: What is the Minister doing to ensure that children get the best services that they need?

Hon CARMEL SEPULONI: Excuse me, Mr Speaker. I forgot that we had one other question coming, perhaps. On behalf of the Minister for Children today, Oranga Tamariki are holding the first of 14 regional hui with their 525 providers to talk about how they will work together in the future to ensure that all services meet the best needs of the child. Collectively, they receive around $268 million from Oranga Tamariki per year. The ministry is trying to give them greater certainty around their funding and is moving to longer-term contracts—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume her seat. David Bennett will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon David Bennett: I withdraw and apologise.

In Question No. 11—Social Development:

11. ANGIE WARREN-CLARK (Labour) to the Minister for Social Development: What recent announcements has she made regarding the Growing Up in New Zealand study?

Hon CARMEL SEPULONI (Minister for Social Development): Mr Speaker—

Hon David Bennett: Oh, has she got her notes this time? Good on her!

Hon CARMEL SEPULONI: Today, I announced that the Government would restore more than $1.9 million—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume her seat. Now, Mr Bennett, your interjections are very, very frequent. Referring to members using notes in the House to answer questions is an area which is totally my responsibility and not for you to comment on. I would like to remind the member that several of his colleagues rely heavily on notes, not to answer questions, which is quite a lot harder, but even to ask them.

In Question No. 12—Employment:

Hon WILLIE JACKSON (Minister of Employment): Thank you, Mr Speaker. In response to the first part of the question, of course I stand by my statements. As for the second part, the policy response for job seekers remains the responsibility of the Minister for Social Development.

Hon Paula Bennett: Does he stand by his statement that “people have commitments,” as reasons that unemployed New Zealanders cannot pick fruit, and, if so, how many commitments does an individual need to not have to show up to work?

Hon David Bennett: How many commitments have you got?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: Of course I stand by—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Order! David Bennett, once again you have interjected, involving me in the answer, and what we’re going to do is have you on an interjection ban for the rest of this question time and tomorrow. [Interruption] Order!

Overyapping in Parliament is unlikely to do the opposition any good, Putting a muzzle on Bennett for a couple of days will be better for the House.

Also under scrutiny is an as yet unidentified National MP – Newshub investigates: Which National MP made a ‘very sexist remark’ about Jacinda Ardern?

In Parliament last week, while the Prime Minister was speaking, a National Party MP hurled a “very sexist remark” across the Chamber.

He – and yes, Newshub can confirm the remark was made by a man – called Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a “stupid little girl.”

As soon as the comment was made, Speaker Trevor Mallard stopped proceedings in the House, calling for the person who made the “very sexist remark” to apologise.

A week later, the culprit still hasn’t owned up to the remark. If they ever do, they will have to stand in Parliament, withdraw the remark and apologise.

At the time the comment was made, Mr Mallard said the remark wasn’t made by Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges; “It was someone behind.”

Behind Mr Bridges sits Matt Doocey, Jonathan Young, Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith.

Other men in close proximity are Simon O’Connor, David Bennett, Jami-Lee Ross, Chris Finlayson, David Carter and Paul Goldsmith.

So with the culprit not big enough to own up all these MPs have a cloud hanging over them.

Newshub asked nine of the 10 male MPs who sit behind Mr Bridges whether they made the remark and whether they know who made it. The tenth has been contacted.

The nine MPs are named and all deny making the statement. The tenth must be Simon O’Connor.

Regardless of who it was this looks terrible for National.

Mr Bridges said he’d have to review footage before deciding what would happen to an MP who made such a remark – though he said these sorts of remarks are heat of the moment.

“Parliament’s a place of cut and thrust. People say things in the heat of moment, on all sides of the House, including, let’s be honest, the Speaker,” Mr Bridges said.

That’s a crappy cop out from Bridges. A decent modern leader would have made sure the culprit stood up in Parliament and made a damned good apology.

Without that National look like a pack of mongrel MPs who have no idea how to build respect in opposition.

No cost analysis, no consultation, no idea on oil and gas ban

Minister of Energy Megan Woods has said she isn’t aware of any cost-benefit analysis before the decision to ban future oil and gas exploration permits, no formal consultation was undertaken with the Petroloeum Exploration Association, and the impact on the price of gas was not considered.

And alarmingly, no estimates were made on whether global greenhouse gas emissions will fall as a result of the decision.

Newshub: Government did no cost-benefit analysis on oil and gas ban

The decision to ban future oil and gas exploration was made without a cost benefit analysis to back it up, Newshub can reveal.

It’s one of a number of admissions revealed in parliamentary written questions pointing to a lack of evidence behind the decision.

“I am not aware of a cost-benefit analysis using the Treasury’s CBAx tool being undertaken in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits,” Megan Woods said.

Dr Woods’ office told Newshub officials did not think it was appropriate to use the Treasury tool in this case as there were too many unknowns about how much gas and oil was actually out there.

“Searching for petroleum offshore is a low probability of success event but high impact if found, so trying to model the costs and benefits in a traditional option analysis spreadsheet would have required substantial assumptions to be made,” a spokesperson for the minister said.

So they just decided to do it regardless of possible costs and effects.

The Energy Minister has also admitted no formal consultation with the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) took place.

“No formal consultation was undertaken with PEPANZ in relation to the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. However, I have spoken publicly about the Government’s direction to transition away from fossil fuels and my office has had open dialogue with PEPANZ before this announcement.”

Woods has just been to meet producers in New Plymouth this week.

“No specific estimate has been provided to me on the price impact on gas of the decision to grant no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits. Officials have advised that gas prices have risen in the past when the supply of gas has been constrained,” Dr Woods said.

No concerns about adverse effects of the decision.

There’s also been no estimates on whether global greenhouse gas emissions will fall as a result of the decision.

“No specific estimate has been provided to me. I have been advised by officials that the effect on global emissions depends on the response of New Zealand’s large gas users.”

And it seems that there was little or no interest in whether the ban would be effective or not.

It looks like this is a rushed ideological decision rather than evidence based.

And it looks negligent.

Sandpaper escalation in Australian cricket scandal

Australia’s cricket cheating disgrace has got worse with the revelation that sandpaper was being used to tamper with the ball. The main players have been given lengthy playing bans, but there are still questions unanswered.

SMH: Sandpaper, lies and videotape: Warner fingered by CA as architect

The twists and turns have just kept coming in Australia’s ball-tampering disgrace in South Africa with Cricket Australia admitting it was sandpaper and not tape that was used and that David Warner had been the architect, even instructing Cameron Bancroft how to cheat.

As Steve Smith and Warner received 12-months bans from playing for Australia – and were banned by India from the IPL – CA released a jaw-dropping charge sheet against the sacked captain and vice-captain and opener Bancroft, who has been suspended for nine months.

That is probably a career ending ban for Warner, who was also copped a life time banned from being captain again.

Smith is younger so would have time to try to get back into international cricket and into lucrative league deals, but that won’t be easy for him. Bancroft’s career may be over just after it started.

The most stunning revelation was that it had been sandpaper, and not a piece of yellow tape, that Bancroft had used to try and alter the condition of the ball at Newlands and then hid down his pants in full view of the television cameras.

However, CA also lambasted Smith for making “misleading” public comments about the incident and confirmed Warner’s position at the heart of the scandal, banning him from ever captaining Australia.

The governing body’s investigation established that Warner had not only told Bancroft to take the sandpaper onto the ground, but had gone as far as giving Bancroft a tutorial on how to tamper with the ball.

Warner was found to have been behind the “development” of the plan and was alleged to have given “instruction to a junior player to carry out a plan to take steps to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper”.

Further, and most damningly, it was concluded that he provided “advice to a junior player regarding how a ball could be artificially altered including demonstrating how it could be done.”

Smith, who is prohibited from captaining Australia until a year after his ban expires, was also slammed for his part in the conspiracy and the attempted cover-up.

Smith was also found to have been guilty of “seeking to mislead match officials and others” about Bancroft’s conduct on the field.

At this stage coach Darren Lehmann has been cleared, and is now saying that Australia should learn from new Zealand’s approach to cricket – playing hard but fair, something Australia were known for a long time ago.

But there are still question marks.

It would be remarkable if the captain and vice captain planned to cheat by doctoring the ball without the coach’s knowledge. At the very least it suggests a corrupt culture they operated in, which is the coach’s responsibility.

It would also be remarkable that the bowlers, who would have most benefited from ball tampering, had no knowledge that they may get artificial assistance.

The big question is whether this was a one off or whether it the Australian players have done it before, and if so, how much.

Warner seems to be well practiced in tampering, and until the recent test was the player in charge of looking after the match ball. He handed that responsibility over to Bancroft for the fateful test where this all turned to yellow custard.

The culture of Australian international cricket is also in the spotlight, where a win by any means attitude has been obvious for some time (since Lehmann took over).

SNH: ‘What the f— is going on?’ The words that cleared Darren Lehmann

Cricket Australia has moved to distance Darren Lehmann from the ball-tampering crisis, saying he had radioed down to substitute Peter Hanscomb to tell him to ask “what the f— is going on” rather than to tell Cameron Bancroft that he had been sprung with a piece of sandpaper.

Lehmann said he was “confident it’s an isolated issue and a grave mistake”, although he could not be sure his team had not previously engaged such tactics.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who wonders whether the team had an arrangement where the coach effectively had a policy of ‘do what you want but don’t get caught and don’t connect me to it’.

The head coach maintained that the first time he had realised it was sandpaper that Bancroft was using – not tape as the opener had originally explained – was after the CA investigation had been completed.

While he has been cleared by CA of any responsibility for the conspiracy to cheat, Lehmann has been targeted elsewhere for overseeing a team culture that had deteriorated to the point where such reprehensible behaviour was allowed to happen.

That will be a key discussion point of an independent review of the team’s culture that has been announced.

“I’ve got no doubt that he feels some sort of personal responsibility for that,” Sutherland said.

He may well do.

Should New Zealand ban internal combustion engines?

It is difficult to imagine the degree of disruption and change that we would have in New Zealand if internal combustion engines were banned. But this is what some people want.

Dominion Post: Why New Zealand should ban internal combustion engines

THOMAS ANDERSON AND JONATHAN BOSTON

Bold and decisive actions are necessary if New Zealand is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions substantially.

The new Labour-led Government has committed to introducing a zero carbon bill later this year. But how should the aims of such legislation be achieved?

Of such measures, perhaps the most effective would be a ban on the sale of all new or imported used vehicles with internal combustion engines. Such a ban could take effect, say, from 2030.

At least that would be twelve years to prepare.

Many developed and developing countries have already introduced or are seriously contemplating such bans.

Britain, France, Ireland, Germany, India and China are listed – if car manufacturing countries ban internal combustion engines that would have a flow on effect here anyway.

New Zealand should follow suit.

As it stands, our transport sector accounts for around 18 per cent of annual gross greenhouse gas emissions and over a third of carbon-dioxide emissions. Emissions from road vehicles make up over 90 per cent of our total transport emissions. Hence, a ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles would, in due course, considerably reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

It could also considerably change how people travel. It would presumably also affect freight – and at the moment I don’t think there is EV technology that would handle long haul trucking. And if it also applies to rail that would require electrification of all existing rail lines, a huge and costly exercise.

About 85 per cent of our stationary energy comes from renewable sources and this percentage continues to increase. Accordingly, EVs can be recharged in New Zealand with a very low carbon footprint.

18% isn’t that much different to the 15% of non-renewable stationary energy.

And from RNZ yesterday: Electric vehicles could put strain on power network

There are fears that an increase in the uptake of electric vehicles could end up overloading the electricity network.

Electric vehicles make up less than one percent of the entire fleet, but it has been predicted they could make up 70 percent of it by 2050.

Consultant Simon Coates told Nine To Noon that if this happened they would account for 40 percent of domestic electricity usage and would place a strain on the network.

The above proposal is for a 100% electric fleet by 2030, but back to the ban proposal…

Of course, even with such a ban it will take decades to decarbonise New Zealand’s transport fleet. In 2016 close to 40 per cent of light vehicles were at least 15 years old. If the current age structure is maintained over the coming decades, it will be mid-century, even with a ban, before most petrol and diesel vehicles are phased out.

It  may make sense to move away from internal combustion as quickly as possible, but it will be complex, difficult and costly.

A ban of the kind suggested would serve multiple purposes. It would underscore New Zealand’s global commitment to substantial emissions reductions. It would help give substance to our claim to be ‘clean and green’. It would send a powerful signal to the automotive industry and consumers, thereby altering expectations and decision-making.

Moreover, it would help improve planning in the transport sector by providing greater certainty. In so doing, it would speed up the required investment in a comprehensive charging infrastructure and hasten the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The planning required would be huge.

It might be argued that the proposed ban is unnecessary. After all, by 2030 most automobile manufacturers will probably have ceased producing internal combustion engines. But a high proportion of vehicles sold in New Zealand are used imports rather than new vehicles. New Zealand must not continue to be a dumping ground for cheap, out-of- date, high-carbon technologies. We must aspire to a better, cleaner future and act accordingly.

This is fine as an aspirational ideal, but there is no attempt to detail what this would actually require and mean for New Zealand.

There is also no costings – how much would be required to convert? And what would the resulting transport costs be like?

Who has proposed this?Not a couple of young Green idealists.

Thomas Anderson is a Research Assistant at Victoria University of Wellington. Jonathan Boston is Professor of Public Policy at VUW.