Monday, 2 August 2021

'Has Aoteanomics Become Labour's Plan for NZ?'

"The Head of the Productivity Commission has just announced his disdain for GDP. He says it 'is not a great measure of anything useful' and blames the profit-oriented shareholder model for our society’s ills. Even though it forms the basis of wealth creation in this nation.
    "The Reserve Bank is backing him. As for the Climate Change Commission, had it cared about both the environment and economic growth, it would’ve advocated for carbon taxes with the revenues being used to cut other tax rates. But it didn’t. Furthermore, the keynote address at the NZ Association of Economists 2021 Conference by the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Chief Economist called for a 'systemic transition' to a new 'holistic,' 'post-growth,' 'doughnut' approach to management of the country’s affairs.
    "The keynote gave this new approach a name. Aoteanomics. What is it? A full blown rejection of the idea that [economic] growth is desirable. And it is way more radical and experimental than Rogernomics ever was. So why won’t the PM and Finance Minister come clean to the nation about the new post-growth agenda that’s the talk of the Wellington elite?"
          ~ Robert MacCulloch, from his post 'Has Aoteanomics Become Labour's Plan for NZ?'

Friday, 30 July 2021

"Unless one had a very high boredom threshold, one would choose a Labour MP as a dinner guest but a National MP as a neighbour..."

"Labour MPs are mal-contents, unhappy with the status quo, full of ideas, and always seeking improvements and change. The Nats on the other hand are basically conservative plodders, happy with the world as they find it.
    "I sum it up this way. Unless one had a very high boredom threshold, one would choose a Labour MP as a dinner guest but a National MP as a neighbour, assuming you sought peace and quiet."

          ~ Bob Jones, on 'Why the [Ardern] Government Will Fall in 2023'

Thursday, 29 July 2021


"Children are like fireworks — a small container crammed with potential. But it requires a spark before it shoots off and dazzles us all.
    "Independence — an adult believing in them and trusting them to do something on their own — IS that spark."
          ~ Lenore Skenazy, from her post at Free-Range Kids

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Q: Has more human production-and-use of energy made us more or less safe?

Here's a question: has more human production and use of energy made us safer? Or less safe?

If warmists are to be believed, recent natural disasters are all the result of our enormously increased production and use of energy. So they would (and do) answer 'No!' But what's the evidence here?

Over the last century-and-a-bit, global energy production-and-use went up by more than fourteen times, from 7.000 to 22.400 kWh/Capita with a trend to reach 40.000 kWh/Capita in the future -- most of that after 1950. And over that period, global temperatures went up by less than 1 degree C -- and most of that before 1950. It's this warming that the warmists say coyly suggest is causing so many of the recently-reported disasters.

But what's the truth? This vast outpouring of human-produced energy has certainly made us more productive; which has made us all more comfortable, and able to enjoy much longer lives. But has it made our climate safer? What's the evidence here?

To find out, let's look at Bjorn Lomborg's peer-reviewed* summary:

Graph by Bjorn Lomborg, updated from his 2020 article 'Welfare in the 21st Century'

The evidence is clear. Over the period of increasing energy production, fewer and fewer people have been dying from climate-related natural disasters:

This is even true of 2021, despite breathless climate reporting.

This shouldn't be any kind of surprise. Increasing use of energy allows us to leverage our puny human efforts to do things vastly greater than we could manage under our own steam.  As writer Alex Epstein has been saying for at least a decade, the availability of abundant energy has allowed humans to change the environment in our favour. “We don’t take a safe environment and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous environment and make it far safer.” The production of abundant energy hasn't caused environmental disasters, its abundance has instead allowed human beings to begin avoiding their worst effects. Lomborg summarises the result:

Over the past hundred years, annual climate-related deaths have declined by more than 96%. In the 1920s, the death count from climate-related disasters was 485,000 on average every year. In the last full decade, 2010-2019, the average was 18,362 dead per year, or 96.2% lower.
    In the first year of the new decade, 2020, the number of dead was even lower at 14,893 — 97% lower than the 1920s average.
    You hear a lot about all the deadly climate catastrophes in 2021 — the US/Canada heat dome, the floodings in Germany and Belgium, or the US February winter storm. All of these deaths are included in the graph.
    Also included are the 559 dead from India (incl a February glacial lake outburst in Uttarakhand killing 234 and a May hurricane killing 198) and more than a thousand others.  Many of these you probably haven't heard about, possibly because they're not first-world, photogenic catastrophes.
    2021 is not over so the actual graph shows the likely number of dead, based on the historical ratio of climate-related deaths in Jan-Jul to the full year. This gives a preliminary estimate of 2021 climate-related deaths at 5,569 or 98.9% lower than the 1920s.
    This is clearly the opposite of what you hear, but that is because we're often just being told of one disaster after another – telling us how many events are happening. The number of reported events are increasing, but that is mainly due to better reporting, lower thresholds, and better accessibility (the CNN effect). For instance, for Denmark, the database only shows events starting from 1976.
    Instead, look at the number of dead per year, which is much harder to fudge. Given that these numbers fluctuate enormously from year to year (especially in the past, with huge droughts and floods in China and elsewhere), they are here presented as averages of each decade (1920-29, 1930-39 etc.). The data is from the most respected global database, the International Disaster Database ( There is some uncertainty about complete reporting from the early decades, which is why this graph starts in 1920, and if anything this uncertainty means the graph underestimates the reduction in deaths.
    We are not well-informed when the media doesn't actually give us an overview of the data, but instead, just inundates us with one catastrophic story after another without context.
    Notice, this does not mean that there is no global warming or that possibly a climate signal could eventually lead to further deaths. Global warming is a real problem that we should fix smartly. But panic from bad media reporting does not help us being smart. This graph shows us that our increased wealth and increased adaptive capacity has vastly overshadowed any potential negative impact from climate when it comes to human climate vulnerability.
Despite the scare-mongers, increased energy use has made us less vulnerable to disaster, not more.

* The graph is an update of the one appearing in his 2020 peer-reviewed article in Science Direct

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Leaders ...


"A leader is best when people barely know she exists, when her work is done, her aim fulfilled, they will say: 'We did it ourselves'." 

          ~ Lao Tsu

[Hat tip Ron Manners

Monday, 26 July 2021

"...the worship of the state."

"A new type of superstition has got hold of people's minds, the worship of the state. People demand the exercise of the methods of coercion and compulsion, of violence and threat. Woe to anybody who does not bend his knee to the fashionable idols."
          ~ Ludwig von Mises, from his book Omnipotent Government

Friday, 23 July 2021

'Poverty the Problem, Not Exports'

"[F]orcing farmers to supply the domestic market [for which some economic illiterates are calling] would be an act of economic sabotage.
    "That the poor can’t afford to buy the high nutrient foods we produce, isn’t because we export them, it’s because they’re poor.
    "Handicapping exports would not solve that and would make the whole country poorer in the process."

          ~ Ele Ludemann, from her post 'Poverty the Problem, Not Exports'

Thursday, 22 July 2021

A flood of false climate blame [updated]


Animals adapt themselves to their environment. That's their way of survival. Humans by contrast adapt their environment to themselves. That's our unique means of survival. The availability of abundant energy has allowed that process to be turbo-charged -- to turn mere survival into full-on flourishing. 

Some argue that abundant energy has however been bad for the environment. Has made it dangerous. That is has already caused global warming, which is already causing untold natural disasters. Heatwaves in North America and recent flooding in Germany, China, and here at home, seems to some to suggest that's the case. "But such global warming claims are not supported by the facts and our best scientific understanding," and do not help us properly comprehend "a meteorological black swan event and how the atmosphere is capable of attaining extreme, unusual conditions without any aid from our species."

And as the historic record shows, catastrophic flooding is hardly new to any of these places. What has happened over the last century (on the back of increasingly abundant energy) has been the decreasing impact of such disasters. As writer Alex Epstein has been saying for at least a decade, the availability of abundant energy has allowed humans to change the environment in our favour. “We don’t take a safe environment and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous environment and make it far safer.” The production of abundant energy hasn't caused environmental disasters, its abundance has allowed human beings to begin avoiding their worst effects.

Consider the flooding. Tragic as recent flooding has been, even as recently as the 1970s, the casualties were measured not in the hundreds, but in the hundreds of thousands  ...

Catastrophic flooding is hardly new. What is new is the low toll of casualties -- and the accompanying phenomenon of blaming these catastrophes on atmospheric "warming" that even by the most juiced-up global record is barely 1 degree over a whole century. That's not just nonsensical, it ignores the real cause of these disasters -- which, as German media sources like Die Welt suggests, is not uncontrolled energy use but "inconceivable ignorance."

Politicians, authorities and the media point to climate change as the cause of the flood disaster. Yet severe weather warnings were not taken seriously. And disaster protection in our country is at the level of a developing country...
    The risk was known: Rainfall like this week’s has happened repeatedly in Germany, historical chronicles read like blueprints for the current flood disaster, and hazard maps show the flood risk. Yet politicians, authorities and the media point to climate change as the cause – while disaster protection in Germany is at the level of a developing country. An unbelievable scandal.
    At least 156 people have died because of heavy rain in Germany. Rain had fallen in amounts that have always been expected in Germany and have been an occasional occurrence since time immemorial. The same places that have been devastated by floods of rain this week have been hit in a similar way in the past, as chronicles show. 

Although past flooding was well known, and 

the heavy rains had been forecast days in advance, nothing was done to avert the inevitable destruction. Instead of taking responsibility, politicians are blaming climate change in a bid to shift attention away from their incompetence and gross negligence.
Shifting blame. That's something politicians and their supporters really are good at. That's their means of survival.

UPDATE: Germans are good at keeping records, even of historic flooding ...

Cuba Demoted to “Not Real Socialism”

Everywhere real socialism has arrived it has failed. Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, Cambodia, North Korea, Venezuela ... the roll-call is long. And every time it fails it becomes "not real socialism." Art Carden explains in this guest post how Cuba has become the latest example ...

Cuba Demoted to “Not Real Socialism”

by Art Carden

If the Socialist Party of Great Britain is an authority on such things (and they certainly claim to be), then it is now official: in light of recent anti-communist protests and civil unrest, Cuba has been demoted to “Not RealSocialism” and reclassified, along with the USSR and other failed socialist experiments, as “actually state capitalism.”

La Revolucion, it appears, is moving into the last stage of what we might call the 'Niemietz Cycle' -- named in honour of Kristian Niemietz, who expounded the descriptive theory in his excellent-and-downloadable-for-$0 book Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies (I review it here and here). 

The first stage of the Niemietz Cycle is the “honeymoon” stage where things look like they’re going well. And they often do: contrary to what neoliberal naysayers might think, short-run successes seem to prove that socialism is viable. As long as there's something to loot, the looters will always be able to win over the moochers and be celebrated for it. Vive La Revolucion!

The second stage, however, comes hard on the heels. Niemietz calls this phase the “Excuses-and-Whatabouttery” stage, as mounting socialist failures invite savage reprisals against "anti-revolutionaries," and the continual disasters are explained away as the products of a series of unfortunate (and entirely coincidental) events, like weather in the Soviet Union and Zimbabwe. In the case of Cuba, we’re told–as we have been hearing for six decades–that the country’s problems aren’t because of socialism; they’re actually because of the US embargo. If it weren’t for the embargo, we’re told, the regime would be stable and socialist Cuba would thrive.

I think the embargo is a terrible idea that should be lifted immediately, as it has given Cuban communists a convenient scapegoat for their country’s problems.  The embargo, however, is not what causes Cuba’s woes, and people blaming the embargo overlook the fact that Cuba trades pretty extensively with the rest of the world – how else do you think Australian and Mexican merchants get the Cuban cigars they hawk to American tourists? It’s not because a Cuban Rhett Butler is smuggling them past a blockade. It’s because Cuba trades freely with the entire world. I suspect the US embargo hasn’t really hurt Cuba that much more than the “transgender bathroom” boycott hurt Target. [But it has averted the possibility that the increased trade may have induced Cubans to quietly and inexorably become capitalists, as happened in Vietnam - Ed.]

The “embargo” story also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in light of Marxist claims about imperialism and free trade. On one hand, we learn that “periphery” countries are poor because they do trade freely with rich countries like the United States and welcome foreign direct investment. On the other hand, we learn that Cuba is poor because it cannot trade freely with the United States. I’m not sure how this works without a lot of auxiliary assumptions. It also ignores the conspicuous and inconvenient truth that the Cuban government restricts imports and has only lifted these restrictions for food, medicine, and toiletries “temporarily” in response to the protests.

Which brings us to the last and final stage of the Niemietz Cycle. At this point, the failures and the force have become too obvious to ignore or to explain away, even by western numb-nuts, and the country is thereby demoted to “Not Real Socialism.” Western intellectuals fawned over Stalin’s experiment with socialism, and only after it became a conspicuous failure did we learn that “It wasn’t actually socialism; it was Stalinism, and if only Trotsky had been in charge instead of Stalin….”

The litany of excuses is familiar. The disaster for those under these regimes is however very real. Cuba’s defenders have made much of its literacy programs and health care; however, 2018 research by Gilbert Berdine, Vincent Geloso, and Benjamin Powell shows that while Cuban health data aren’t exactly fake news, they aren’t exactly accurate, either

Even if the data are above reproach, there’s another important and uncomfortable question: if Cuba is a workers’ paradise, why are so many people trying so hard to leave? Migration patterns tell the clearest story. Cuba might provide asylum for high-profile American intellectuals and dissidents, but people “vote” overwhelmingly against socialism and for capitalism when they risk life and limb to get from Cuba to the United States. They may not be able to build a case from first principles explaining exactly why they prefer capitalism to socialism in a way that would satisfy a lot of intellectuals, but they demonstrate by their actions which system makes it possible for them to live as they see fit. Moreover, a few seconds with Google suggest to me that actually moving to and getting a job in Cuba would be really, really difficult, and if this website is correct that “A university professor can expect to earn in the region of CUP 1,500 (around US$68 per month),” I understand why so many intellectuals are perfectly happy to extol the virtues of Cuban socialism from comfortable offices and armchairs in the United States instead of lining up to live the collectivist dream.

We can sit around all day and debate the merits and demerits of socialism, whether or not Cuba is “real socialism,” whether or not its apparent reclassification is a demotion or a promotion (as the Babylon Bee calls it), and what intellectuals think people should do and want. Alternatively, we can look at socialism’s miserable track record and try to learn from what people actually do and actually want. Retroactively saying “Actually, that isn’t real socialism” about the Cuban revolution won’t change the fact that people vote for freedom and against socialism in overwhelming numbers.

* * * * * 

Art Carden is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.
His post first appeared at the American Institute of Economic Research.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Using free speech so as not to lose it

The deadline for submissions on the Ardern Government's so-called "hate-speech" legislation closes August 6. [Details here [pdf] and here] Rights Institute head Terry Verhoeven shares his submission below. The so-called Free Speech Union also has a generally good submission here. You could use either as a model for your own.

You might say "It's not worth submitting; they never listen to submissions anyway." But bear in mind that this Government is nothing but poll-driven. And it's worth noting too that the internet censorship provision of the "internet filtering bill" was dropped last month after submissions. So they can change minds. After all, how often would they have the opportunity to read a thoughtful, well-argued, articulate argument for freedom and the right to free speech ... 

Ministry of Justice Proposals to Reform
the Legal Frameworks related to Hate Speech:

Public Submission by Terry Verhoeven, principal of the Rights Institute

Proposal 1: Change the language in the incitement provisions so that they protect more groups that are targeted by hateful speech [sic].
Do you agree that broadening the incitement provisions in this way will better protect these groups?
Why or why not?:
Because the word “protect” here refers to a group’s special identity and that group’s supposed entitlement to be legally shielded from confronting speech, as opposed to being protected from actual threats of or incitement to violence, the word is really denoting the idea of privilege. Broadening the incitement provisions in this way therefore will better privilege these groups. Privilege in the sense I use the term is when the state initiates force against individuals (thereby violating their rights) to deliver what it has promised to the privileged person(s). In this case the privilege promised is members of select groups receiving protection from anyone who speaks out against their group in a confrontational way, even though the speech is not threatening or inciting any violence.

Threatening outspoken people with the prospect of jail time simply for saying something that is hated by members of a “protected” group is to wield a privilege, not to uphold a right. Here, the threat of incarceration is itself an initiation of force, and therefore a violation of individual rights. Further, if passed into law, the proposals would violate countless people’s property rights by effectively censoring what they can say on or with their own property, even though what is said does not threaten life, limb, liberty or property (the only legitimate basis for making something a criminal act).

As for the matter of social cohesion, what a society needs for it to become and remain resilient is for people to develop an immunity to encountering confronting speech, including criticism, insult and ridicule, not the criminalisation of confronting speech, including criticism, insult and ridicule. A sterile social environment free of verbal and written pathogens causes people to become hyper-sensitive to whatever they find confrontational, including speech that conveys truth. We see this today in academic institutions which have implemented policies to “protect” students from non-violent speech that confronts ideas they hold dear. Those institutions are a microcosm of what a society becomes when laws are enacted along the same lines to keep people “safe” from unwanted speech.

Pertinent to the proposals and their repercussions is what Rowan Atkinson said at the “Reform Section 5” launch at the British parliament in 2012. It is worth considering his words in some detail:
The problem with the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism is easily construed as insult by certain parties. Ridicule, easily construed as insult. Sarcasm, unfavourable comparison, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy can be interpreted as insult. And because so many things can be interpreted as insult, it is hardly surprising that so many things have been.
The exact same thing can (and should) be said about so-called “hate speech.”

Atkinson earlier started his talk with a long list of ridiculous charges that have been laid against peaceful but outspoken people under Britain’s hate speech laws… laws which, chillingly, the Royal Commission admits in its report are significantly harder to prosecute with than what it has recommended for New Zealand.

Atkinson continued:
Although the law under discussion has been on the statute books for more than 25 years, it is indicative of a culture that has taken hold of the programmes of successive governments that with the reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society, has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. It is what you might call the new intolerance, a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent. ‘I am not intolerant’, say many people, say many softly-spoken, highly educated liberal-minded people: ‘I am only intolerant of intolerance’. And people tend to nod sagely and say, ‘Oh yes, wise words, wise words’, and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realise that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another. Which to me doesn’t represent any kind of progress at all. 
    Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people. They are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with preferably outside the legal process. For me, the best way to increase society’s resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it. As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed. We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise. Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger. [Emphasis mine.]

The point about needing to build up mental and emotional resistance to verbal and written pathogens by fostering a societal norm of frank, open and free discussion, rather than limiting the sphere in which peaceful but discomforting discourse is legally allowed, cannot be overemphasised. Censoriousness is not going to build a more resilient or free or “cohesive” society, quite the opposite. This is just common sense.

If it is protection of minorities that is the aim, then it would do well to remember what philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand once observed: “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities”. The Royal Commission only ever consulted select groups, with a disproportionate focus going on one small group (Muslims) which has its own political ideas on the subject of freedom of expression. Most other groups have not been consulted. More importantly, individuals qua individuals have not been consulted. The smallest minority – the individual – will not be protected by the proposals. In fact, because the proposals explicitly aim to empower certain groups at the expense of the liberty of the individual, the individual is going to become the victim of the proposals if they are enacted. 

What has spurred the current push for “hate speech” legislation in New Zealand is of course the March 15th atrocity. We all recognise the inhumanity of that attack, and the needless suffering it caused, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Contrary to the findings of the Royal Commission however,  I understand that criminalising more forms of speech, however obnoxious they may be, is no guarantee something similar is less likely to happen again. If anything, making it unlawful to share abhorrent opinions is only going to make it even harder for the public and law enforcement to identify, monitor and intervene in the plans of those who would go on to perpetrate violence, by pushing such views underground. The reality is that the main effect the proposals are going to have, if enacted, is to give legal protection not to the lives, but to the feelings of some people at the price of the freedom of everyone. Protecting feelings is not a legitimate purpose for the law.
In your opinion, which groups should be protected by this change?


Again, because of the nature of this change, the question really asks which groups should become privileged by it. The answer is none.

As Britain’s experience with this sort of legislation shows, what is called hate speech tends to be not so much about hateful speech as about speech which is hated. To those who hate hearing or reading the truth, the truth becomes, for them, “hate speech.” This is an insurmountable hurdle which should stop these proposals in their tracks.

Further, it is a nonsense to equate something like religious belief or political opinion or even cultural practices, which are all matters open to choice, with something like race, ethnicity, biological sex or disability, which are matters not open to choice. It is perfectly rational (and therefore should be legal) for people to criticise, pass judgment on, and even ridicule matters that are open to choice, and to do so in ways that might even be construed as being hateful. It certainly is irrational to criticise, pass judgment on or ridicule matters that are not open to choice, but even that should be legal because no one’s right to life, limb, liberty and property – one’s means to living - is being violated. There is no such thing as a right to have one’s feelings protected.
Do you think that there are any groups that experience hateful speech that would not be protected by this change?

Groups not protected:

This question commits the fallacy of begging the question by assuming that people require more protection from speech than the law currently provides. People do not need legal protection from confronting speech that does not directly and objectively threaten life, limb, liberty or property, what they need is their property rights to be respected and upheld so that they have the freedom not to listen to or read hateful things. People also need to build up a mental and emotional resistance to such speech if and when it is encountered in public space. Where the speech is wrongful, but not directly and objectively threatening life, limb, liberty or property, and the person who is on the receiving end needs moral support, concerned others should come to their defence in a non-violent manner because it is the right thing to do, not because communicating ideas or opinions which others hate to hear should be a crime, or because arresting and/or incarcerating critics, however obnoxious, is the proper moral response. That which is wrongly spoken but which doesn’t threaten to initiate force should not be met with force, it should be ignored, or else met with persuasion in whatever form a person chooses so long as it does not employ physical force. 
Proposal 2: Replace the existing criminal provision with a new criminal offence in the Crimes Act that is clearer and more effective

Do you agree that changing the wording of the criminal provision in this way will make it clearer and simpler to understand?

Why or why not?
The Human Rights Act is already worded wrongly: speech that is not directly and objectively threatening life, limb, liberty or property should not be criminalised. Sometimes people and groups are deserving of contempt and/or ridicule, such as those propounding racist or bigoted or individual rights-violating opinions. Making something that is wrong to begin with clearer and simpler to understand does not change what is wrong to being right.
Do you think that this proposal would capture the types of behaviours that should be unlawful under the new offence?
Why or why not?
The question commits the fallacy of begging the question: it assumes the targeted behaviours should be criminalised.
Proposal 3: Increase the punishment for the criminal offence to up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 to better reflect its seriousness

Do you think that this penalty appropriately reflects the seriousness of the crime?
Why or why not?
Again, this question commits the fallacy of begging the question. Where is the crime? No one should go to jail or pay fines for saying something confronting about others, however obnoxious, when it does not threaten to initiate force. To criminalise such speech is to invite umbrage-takers to take out legal vendettas against those whose speech they hate to hear by calling upon the state to take away the outspoken person’s liberty and/or property. That is not justice.
If you disagree, what crimes should be used as an appropriate comparison?

Proposal Three: If disagree what crimes should be used as comparison:

No crime is an appropriate comparison because objectionable, offensive or insulting and even hateful speech should not be a crime unless it objectively and directly threatens life, limb, liberty or property. That does not mean such speech should be condoned or tolerated, merely kept within the sphere of free action and reaction according to natural and authentic rights.
Proposal 4: Change the language of the civil incitement provision to better match the changes being made to the criminal provision

Do you support changing this language in section 61?
Why or why not?
The proposed law should be scrapped. But if legislation based on the proposal(s) does pass into law, then the inclusion of a section like section 29J of Britain's Public Order Act 1986  is necessary to avoid a truly Orwellian outcome. It states: “Nothing in this [Bill/Act] shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.” Including this wording would ensure that ideas continue to be freely discussed without the threat of incarceration or hefty fines. Bringing charges against people simply for espousing ideas, including stating truths, would be an egregious violation of an individual’s rights, including section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” The Royal Commission’ report specifically cites the UK legislation as an example to be followed. The Royal Commission has made its fundamentally flawed set of recommendations so much worse for not supporting the inclusion of a mitigating provision such as the one found in UK law cited above.
Do you think that any other parts of the current wording of the civil provision should be changed?
Why or why not?
For reasons given above, they should be scrapped.
Proposal 5: Change the civil provision so that it makes 'incitement to discrimination' against the law

Do you support including the prohibition of incitement to discriminate in section 61?

Why or why not?
See answers above.
Proposal 6: Add to the grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act to clarify that trans, gender diverse, and intersex people are protected from discrimination

Do you consider that this terminology is appropriate?
Why or why not?
Begs the question.
Do you think that this proposal sufficiently covers the groups that should be protected from discrimination under the Human Rights Act?
Why or why not?
Begs the question.
Do you consider that this proposal appropriately protects culturally specific gender identities, including takatāpui?
Why or why not?
Begs the question.
General comments

Do you have any other comments or feedback?


Natural rights are not a Western idea, they are an Enlightenment one. Rights result from us reasoning about our nature as “the “rational animal” (as Aristotle identified our species), and may be arrived at and enjoyed by any individual who makes the mental effort to grasp and uphold them. This makes rights truly universal. 

If it is social cohesion that is the goal, then nothing can unite a people better than a mutual commitment to upholding the existential requirement of every reasoning mind: freedom, and the means of achieving freedom: rights. I give you Revolutionary America in the 18th century, and the Union (Northern) states of the United States in the 19th century as examples.

The proper means for dealing with and solving complex problems are Principles. Let us now turn to some basic principles about rights, because this submission is taking a principled approach to the question of whether certain forms of speech should be illegal. 

What is a natural and authentic right, as opposed to a privilege or a printing-press “right”? A right is a principle that defines and sanctions individual action in a social context. More specifically, it is what the facts of reality determine reasoning minds need to function and flourish in a social context. The principle of a “right” is arrived at by making a proper identification of that need. Rights begin with, end with, and serve to protect the reasoning mind, our defining characteristic as an enlightened species.

Note that the reasoning mind is not a group attribute, but an individual attribute. A group is but a collection of individuals. All thoughts and actions are ultimately generated by individuals. For this reason, rights are only had by individuals, and may be delegated to representatives. A group cannot possess rights that are any different to the rights held by its individual members. Privileges, yes. Rights? No. 

So, if the reasoning mind is both the subject and beneficiary of rights, what does it need to function and flourish in a social context? Is it not being offended? No! A reasoning mind can still function perfectly well when it is offended. Same with being insulted, or confronted with ideas opposed to one’s own. What a reasoning mind needs is freedom, which can only be achieved in the absence of coercion. The existential requirement of each and every reasoning mind is the freedom to think, speak and act, limited only by the inherent obligation not to infringe on another’s right to do the same.

The proposals under discussion, which aim to curtail the sphere of lawful speech, would themselves be an infringing act if passed into law and used to convict non-violent people. They would not achieve social cohesion, but introduce a new form of social coercion, their purpose being to coerce people into not speaking or acting in a manner that might offend, insult or discriminate against others, according to some subjective standard.

Property rights are perhaps the most important right missing in all this. Property rights implement the right to liberty, which in turn implements the right to live as a reasoning being, commonly called the right to life. In a free and just society, if you do not like what someone says on or with their legitimately acquired property, you simply go your own way and avoid them. No harm done. Conversely, if you want to say something on or with your own legitimately acquired property, no one has the right to stop you. Property rights enable people to live and let live by resolving conflicting claims to freedom of action in a compossible manner. Upholding property rights does not lead to a utopia by any means, because people are free to do or say dumb or obnoxious things with or on their property, but it is nonetheless the best and most just system of rights-implementation there is.

If passed into law, the proposals under discussion would violate countless people’s property rights by effectively censoring what they can say on or with their own property.

If people abuse the freedoms given them by rights, for example by being bigoted, the disgruntled and those who possess a conscience are free to exercise their right to ignore, boycott, protest, condemn, ridicule, retort, and/or take any other action within their rights to affect a change of attitude and behaviour. That is how a society remains free while progressing towards better outcomes.

Without property rights as the arbiter of what can or cannot be said with or on one’s own property (such as on a website, so long as there is no threat of or incitement to violence), a chaos of clashing claims inevitably ensues, whereby a culture of authoritarianism, political pull and ultimately corruption becomes the arbiter. That is the direction any legislation based on the proposals under discussion is going to take this country, which is why it and they should be scrapped.

The laws currently on the statute books are more than sufficient to protect against truly rights-infringing speech, as other submissions will no doubt point out.

* * * * * 
Terry Verhoeven is the principal of the Rights Institute (an initiative), and the author of Rights: Rediscovering Our Means to Liberty.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Politicians’ Biggest Anti-Marijuana-Legalisation Talking Point Just Got Thoroughly Debunked: New Study

Image Credit: PixaBay | CC via 2.0

A new study of the results of American semi-legalisation of marijuana suggests the notion that marijuana is a 'gateway drug' is little more than political fiction. As Brad Polumbo concludes in this guest post, however, to oppose the right of adults to decide for themselves, politicians will still resort to base scare tactics no matter how many studies debunk their false doomsday narratives.

Politicians’ Biggest Anti-Marijuana-Legalisation Talking Point Just Got Thoroughly Debunked: New Study

by Brad Polumbo

Politicians who defend criminalising recreational marijuana users have long riled up voters with dire warnings that the substance acts as a “gateway drug.” They insist that even if deaths directly caused by marijuana usage are virtually nonexistent, pot will nonetheless 'eventually' lead many users  to more dangerous drugs.

President Biden himself has long made this claim, stating in 2010 that “I still believe [marijuana] is a gateway drug.” Only in 2019, while campaigning for president, did Biden begin to walk back this position. Yet he still does not fully support federal marijuana legalisation. And the “gateway” position is still held by many other politicians clinging to their opposition to a widely popular legalisation movement. For example, Republican Congressman Andy Harris recently referred to marijuana as “a known gateway drug to opioid addiction” while arguing against legalisation. 

[And here in New Zealand, the recent referendum was confounded with the same fact-free assertion from politicians and their assorted supporters. - Ed.]

However, a new study suggests once again that the notion that marijuana is a “gateway drug” is little more than political fiction.

Economists examined the impact that recreational marijuana laws passed in 18 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have had on metrics key to the “gateway” narrative. The analysis is the first to “comprehensively examine the broader impacts of state recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) on a wide set of outcomes related to hard drug use, including illicit non-marijuana related consumption, drug-related arrests, arrests for property and violent offences, mortality due to drug-related overdoses, suicides, and admissions for drug addiction-related treatment.” 

And what did they find? Across four different nationwide databases, the researchers “find little consistent evidence” that recreational marijuana laws have gateway effects to hard drugs. Further, the study finds “little compelling evidence to suggest” that marijuana legalisation leads to more increases in drug use, more arrests for hard drug offences, drug overdoses, or admissions for drug addiction treatment.

They say there is even “suggestive evidence that legalising recreational marijuana reduces heroin- and other opioid-related mortality.” [Emphasis mine.] Ultimately, the authors conclude that critics' fear of marijuana’s supposed “gateway” effect appears “unfounded.”

Unfounded, indeed. But don’t expect critics to change their tune.

The argument for marijuana legalisation is, fundamentally, just an argument for personal choice and individual liberty. To oppose the right of people to decide for themselves, politicians must resort to scare tactics, no matter how many studies debunk their false doomsday narratives.

[Which means that here in New Zealand, as comedienne Michelle A'Court observed, even though the hypothesis that cannabis is a "gateway" to harder drugs has been debunked, it sure as heck remains a gateway to prison. - Ed.]

* * * * 

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), where his post first appeared.

Q: Is there a role for government in protecting individuals from the threat of dangerous infectious disease?

Is there a role for government in protecting individuals from the threat of dangerous infectious disease? If so, does it give them a legitimate power to enforce a quarantine? Or to mandate a vaccine?

Ayn Rand argued that although there is a legitimate role for government in protecting individuals from the threat of dangerous infectious disease, she still opposed government-mandated vaccinations. Asked about it at a lecture*, she gave her reasons ...
Now, requiring inoculation against disease: should this be a job for the government? Most definitely not and there is a very simple answer for it. If it is medically proved that a certain inoculation is in fact practical and desirable, those who want it will take that inoculation. Now if some people do not see it that way—do not agree or don’t want to take it, only they will be in danger since all the other people will be inoculated. Those who do not go along, if they are wrong in this case, will merely catch the disease. They will not be a danger to anyone else and nobody has the right to force them to do anything for their own good against their own judgement. They will merely be ill then, but they could not infect others. 
    The next question in regard to quarantine is somewhat different, because in the state of, sense of a quarantine, if someone has a contagious disease, against which there is no inoculation, then the government will have the right to require quarantine. What is the principle here? It’s to protect those people who are not ill, to protect the people who, to prevent the people who are ill from passing on their illness to others. Here you are dealing with a demonstrable physical damage. Remember that in all issues of protecting someone from physical damage, before a government can properly act, there has to be a scientific, objective demonstration of an actual physical danger. If it is demonstrated, then the government can act to protect those who are not yet ill from contacting the disease, in other words to quarantine the people who are ill is not an interference with their rights, it is merely preventing them from doing physical damage to others.
*This is from a Q&A session during her 1963 lecture 'America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.' (An edited transcript appears in Ayn Rand Answers)


Demonising those who produce ...

An observation of Thomas Sowell's puts last Friday's Groundswell protests in context:
 "One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonised those who produce, subsidised those who refuse to produce, and canonised those who complain." 
          ~ Thomas Sowell, from his Personal Odyssey

Monday, 19 July 2021




"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."

          ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his Journals

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Congratulations Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic

"Congratulations Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic for your great achievement, opening a new era in the quest to make space part of the human domain! 
    "Branson is the entrepreneur at its best; he created Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Rail and now, becomes an astronaut on the spacecraft of his company, Virgin Galactic, establishing a viable space tourism enterprise. The soon-to-be 71 yr young Branson has even bigger aspirations as well. 
    "With Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others of their vision and creative competence, he is a space pioneer and humanity at its best."

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

'Green' hydrogen?

"Natural gas – you poke a hole in the ground and capture the gas which gushes out.
    "'Green' hydrogen 
 you build expensive solar arrays, use uncompetitively expensive electricity to crack water, capture and compress the hydrogen. Or you use steam reforming, in which water mixed with coal or natural gas is heated and pressurised so much it burns, releasing vast quantities of CO2 which somehow have to be sequestered.
    "And then there is the difficulty of actually handling pure hydrogen – the cost of containing a gas with molecules so small, only high spec pipes can contain it, the risk of handling a gas which ignites easily over an extraordinary range of conditions, the danger of working with a gas whose flame burns so hot it is all but invisible.
    "I’m guessing we might have to wait a little longer than 2030 for green hydrogen to become price competitive."
          ~ Eric Worrall from his post on 'Green Hydrogen'

Monday, 12 July 2021

Explaining individualism to a slave-owner ...

"I have often thought I should like to explain to you the grounds upon which I have justified myself in running away from you. I am almost ashamed to do so now, for by this time you may have discovered them yourself. I will, however, glance at them...."
    “I am myself; you are yourself; we are two distinct persons, equal persons. What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both, and made us separate beings. I am not by nature bound to you, or you to me. Nature does not make your existence depend upon me, or mine to depend upon yours. I cannot walk upon your legs, or you upon mine. I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence. In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner.”
~ former slave Frederick Douglass explaining things to his former "owner" after escaping

Thursday, 8 July 2021

“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth..."


"What is the cost of lies? It's not that we'll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognise the truth at all." 
“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid.”
~ Valery Legasov from HBO's Chernobyl (written by Craig Mazin and Jonathan Renck)

[Hat tip Steve Rodgers

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

"The most selfish of all things... "


"The most selfish of all things is the independent mind that recognises no authority higher than its own, and no value higher than its judgement of truth."

~ Ayn Rand on the single-most important principle of rational egoism, from her novel Atlas Shrugged

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

"Without [the dairy industry], the country’s living standards would be under threat..."

"The dairy industry still ranks as the vital component of NZ’s export economy, without which the country’s living standards would be under threat. It is something the anti-dairying lobby groups – and some ministers in the Ardern government – don’t seem to be able to grasp."
~ Point of Order, from the post 'Farmers contribute much to NZ’s balance of payments and our standard of living...'


Monday, 5 July 2021

"It’s been a hard time for the American Revolution..."

"It’s been a hard time for the American Revolution.
    "It’s been smeared by the New York Times's 1619 project as a fight to preserve slavery. Juneteenth, a worthy event in its own right, is considered by some as a candidate to replace July 4, marking a supposedly more palatable and less flawed Independence Day. Statues of leaders of the Revolution have been vandalised and torn down.
    "This is wrongheaded, ungrateful and destructive. Ours is the greatest revolution the world as ever known. It succeeded where so many other revolutions have failed, delivered a severe blow to monarchy and aristocracy, inspired republican movements around the world and won the independence of a country whose power and ideals have influenced the course of history for the better."
~ Rich Lowry, writing in the New York Post on 'Saluting the American Revolution's Enduring Legacy'
"On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers declared to the world not only that the colonies would henceforth be independent from Britain, but also, and more fundamentally,
'that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.'
    "This was the beginning of the first moral country on earth—a country in which individual rights were to be explicitly recognised and protected."
"American Revolutionaries were rebels with a cause. Despite the vicissitudes that befell them—the hardships of war, the blood and toil, the starvation, the imprisonment and torture, the destruction of home and property, the loss of family and loved ones, and finally death itself—American Revolutionaries refused to compromise, or to surrender their lives, their fortunes, or their sacred honour.
    "The moral universe they inhabited might seem like a foreign place to 21st-century Americans, but we forget its moral lessons at our peril. Their revolution is surely one of history’s greatest monuments to human virtue. It is ours to remember, celebrate, and restore.
    "Independence forever!!!"
~ C. Bradley Thompson, on 'Why I Love the United States of America'

Saturday, 3 July 2021

"The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before..."


"The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else."

~ John Updike, from Conversations with John Updike 

Friday, 2 July 2021

The CCP: "an unreliable partner and an impossible friend"

"Unfortunately, far from heeding those lessons [of the totalitarian centralism of Mao and Stalin], the CCP is erasing them from the history books – just as it is seeking to erase the memory of the 35 million Chinese citizens conservative estimates suggest it sent needlessly to their deaths. More powerful yet also more paranoid, than ever and trapped in a Leninist mindset that has repeatedly plunged the Chinese people into untold misery, it is doomed to remain, for Australia and the West, an unreliable partner and an impossible friend."
~ Henry Ergas, concluding his column 'As Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party parties, history is rewritten'


What is 'He Puapua'? [updated]

He Puapua is a report commissioned by the Ardern Government to carry out The Key Government's commitments after signing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a "legally non-binding resolution passed by the UN in 2007" without New Zealand's vote -- which was withheld by the Clark Government. Among other rights and pseudo-rights asserted in the Declaration are said to be "the indigenous peoples' right to [their] own type of governance." That is almost specifically the aim of the He Puapua report, which 
sets out a timeline for ... transformational constitutional change which will divide the polity into "'hree streams: the Rangiratanga stream (for Maori), the Kawanatanga stream (for the Crown) and the Rite Tahi stream (for all New Zealanders).'
In the words of Elizabeth Rata, the report's commissioning and conclusions make it "clear [that] New Zealanders are at a crossroads." 
We will have to decide whether we want our future to be that of an ethno-nationalist state or a democratic-nationalist one.
The report itself makes its own aim abundantly clear: it "describes our future as an ethno-nation."

Delivered to the Ardern Government last year, and only released because it was leaked to the Opposition, the words "He Puapua" themselves translate as "a break," or "a separation."
While it’s usually used in reference to the ocean and a break in waves, in this case the expression centres on a 'breaking of the usual political and societal norms and approaches.’
Such a sundering is not a trivial thing. It brings to mind another famous Declaration, which recognised that "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Neither decency nor respect has impelled any such declaration in this case. Instead, as Rata says in an excellent take-down of the report:
Displaying an astonishing confidence, the authors claim that 'We consider Aotearoa has reached a maturity where it is ready to undertake the transformation to restructure governance to realise rangatiratanga Maori (self-determination).' I hope [says Rata] that this 'maturity' can accommodate the vigorous debate that is certainly needed if we are to abandon democracy - for what exactly? While each sentence of the Report deserves scrutiny I will confine myself to two points. The main one is the Report's premise of the political category as an ethnic one. The second concerns judicial activism in constitutional change.
    He Puapua envisages a system of constitutional categorisation based on ancestral membership criteria rather than the universal human who is democracy's foundational unit. Ancestral group membership is the key idea of 'ethnicity'.... The word entered common usage from the 1970s followed by 'indigenous' in the 1980s. 'Ethnicity' was an attempt to edit out the increasingly discredited 'race'. However changing a word does not change the idea. 

The report, in total, and the separate future it demands, is race-based. Explicitly. 

"When we politicise ethnicity by classifying, categorising and institutionalising people on the basis of ethnicity," warns Rata, "we establish the platform for ethno-nationalism. Contemporary and historical examples should make us very wary of a path that replaces the individual citizen with the ethnic person as the political subject." No such worries appear to occupy the report's authors.

"Interestingly," she continues, "those examples show the role of small well-educated elites in pushing through radical change." The report's authors are exactly as described. And as well-educated, well-heeled, and well-connected "culturalist intellectuals," their bios reveal them to be virtually all of one mind:

  • Claire Charters, "(Ngāti Whakaue, Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Tūwharetoa) [and the Report's chair] gained her LLM from NYU in the US, and her PhD from Cambridge University. She is an associate professor at Auckland Law School, University of Auckland, and Director of the Aotearoa Centre for Indigenous Peoples and the Law. She has been an advisor to the UN President of the General Assembly on Indigenous Peoples’ participation at the UN (2016 – 2017); chair of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Trustee (2014 -2020); chair of the cabinet-appointed working group to provide advice on the realisation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2019-2020); co-chair of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission Kaiwhakatara Advisory Group on human rights, Te Tiriti rights, and Covid-19; and worked on the negotiations for the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1998 – 2007)."
  • Canadian Kayla Kingdon-Bebb is "the current Director of Policy at Te Papa Atawhai / Department of Conservation. Previously she served for three years as Principal Advisor (and earlier, Private Secretary) to two successive Ministers of Conservation. Kayla has extensive experience in the machinery of government, and has led programmes of cross-agency and collaborative work on policy issues relevant to indigenous rights and interests... Kayla has a PhD and MPhil from the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral and master’s theses focused on Treaty law, indigenous customary law and legal pluralism in the context of natural resource management."
  • Tamati Olsen is the "Chief Advisor Maori at Housing New Zealand Corporation" and "Director (Acting), Wellbeing, Policy Partnerships. Te Puni Kōkiri – New Zealand Ministry of Māori Development" formerly "Manager Cultural Wealth" at Te Puni Kōkiri"
  • The 26-year-old Waimirirangi Ormsby "is project manager at Ka Awatea Services Ltd, developing Ka Awatea strategic vision document base on Mātauranga Māori principles." "Of Waikato, Ngātiwai and Te Arawa descent, [she] has foraged deep into her whakapapa to help environmental sustainability resonate more with her people. But for her the key is to live it herself every single day.... Together with her husband she created Pipiri Ki A Papatūānuku or PKP, which encourages a month of passive environmental action every year. People agree to a period of minimising their waste, tūkino free eating where they try to avoid industrially-farmed produce, begin composting or recycling and minimising plastic waste, or anything else they feel they can commit to.... Longer term, she has much grander ambitions for the recognition of traditional ways. “Te pae tawhiti, my vision for the future is, to be honest, one or two generations from now to have indigenous people leading the way and having indigenous knowledge systems be implemented into constitution, into law and policy, into the way that we live our lives, for everybody.” 
  • Previously at the Office of Treaty Settlements, Emily Owen is "General Manager Policy, Department of Corrections NZ. She holds a Masters in History from Massey University."
  • "Passionate about Te Tiriti o Waitangi and human rights," Judith Pryor holds "a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory from Cardiff University in the UK (2005)." Her "doctoral research in constitutions - examining law, history, policy and practice from a theoretical perspective - was published in 2008 as Constitutions: Writing Nations, Reading Difference." "Since returning to Aotearoa in 2006 from the UK, I have predominantly worked in Te Tiriti or human rights-related areas, including at Te Kāhui Tika Tangata, the Human Rights Commission; the Waitangi Tribunal, and the former Office of Treaty Settlements." She "can advise and support you and your agency to develop a capability plan as now required under the Public Service Act 2020. I can also devise a training programme for you, and can deliver Te Tiriti analysis training. Drawing on my previous experience in Policy, my workshop is particularly aimed at policy practitioners, and can be adapted for other audiences. The training covers:​ What the role of the Crown is in the Te Tiriti relationship; Why Te Tiriti analysis is critical for developing sound policy; How to embed Te Tiriti at each stage of the policy process (including engagement); How to practically work through a policy problem using a Te Tiriti framework."
  • Jacinta Ruru "is co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga [New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence], and Professor of Law at the University of Otago." Her "research interests focus on exploring Indigenous peoples' legal rights to own, manage and govern land and water. Jacinta's PhD thesis (University of Victoria, Canada, 2012) is titled "Settling Indigenous Place: Reconciling Legal Fictions in Governing Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand's National Parks."
  • Naomi Solomon has an LLB from VUW. She is Ngati Toa's "General Manager, Treaty and Strategic Relationships."
  • Gary Williams is a "Disability Sector Leader ... [whose] particular interests are issues for disabled people and especially disabled Maori, leadership development and training, the rights of disabled people and effective organisational governance and management. [Formerly] CEO of DPA [Disabled Persons Assembly], he has extensive sector networks, both nationally and internationally, and networks within government agencies."
Rata herself is explicit that what begins in ethno-nationalism often ends in bloodshed. "In Rwanda the ethnic doctrine 'the Mahutu Manifesto' of 1953 was written and promulgated by eleven highly educated individuals identifying politically as Hutu. The raw material of the ethnic ideologies that fuelled the violence in Bosnia and Serbia was supplied by intellectuals. Pol Pot began his killing campaigns immediately on his return from study in Paris." In all these cases, the bad philosophy preceded the horrific outcome. In Rata's 2006 speech to the NZ Skeptics she said: 
In New Zealand we are obviously not far down the track towards ethno-nationalism. However we need to recognise that the ideas which fuel ethnic politics are well-established and naturalised in this country and that the politicisation of ethnicity is underway". Fifteen years later the He Puapua Report shows the progress towards ethno-nationalism. Why has this racial ideology become so accepted in a nation which prides itself on identifying and rejecting racism?
The answer, of course, is what the report's authors call their philosophies. PhDs in subjects like Critical and Cultural Theory* have a real-world impact that appear in documents such as these. As Rata concludes:
'He Puapua' means a break. It is used in the Report to mean 'the breaking of the usual political and social norms and approaches.' The transformation of New Zealand proposed by He Puapua is indeed a complete break with the past. For this reason it is imperative that we all read the Report then freely and openly discuss what type of nation do we want - ethno-nationalism or democratic nationalism?

* * * * * 

Quick reminder that Critical Race Theory and the like are not merely “Let’s teach the bad parts of history too” -- it's more like "Let's teach that history is all bad. And racist." Richard Delgado, for example, founder of the critical race theory school of legal scholarship, noted for his 'scholarship' on hate speech, and for introducing storytelling into legal scholarship baldly asserts:

Unlike traditional civil rights [e.g., Martin Luther King’s approach], which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

Also, Critical, Cultural Theory etc, its not a theory
"The critical race theory (CRT) movement [says Delgado in Movement, Activists, Transform, Power] is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power."

So it's a "theory" only in the same sense that AntiFa is an idea.

Don't say you haven't been told. 

[Hat tip Stephen Hicks, Peter Renzland]