• Beth's Best, 21 Sep 2018

    Welcome to the first edition of our irregular and sometimes irreverent Friday newsletter. I hope you find it refreshing and entertaining. If you do not wish to receive this communication from us, please scroll to the bottom and unsubscribe.



    Thanks for your emails telling me how much you enjoyed the first edition of Beth’s Best. Not one unsubscribe, but I did receive a couple of comments that suggested maybe “Beth’s Best” wasn’t the best name for this new e-letter. So, feel free to send in your suggestions and if I like one of them, not only will I use it but I’ll send you a copy of David Seymour’s Own Your Future.




    ACT’s Regulatory Reform Bill is meant to prevent unnecessary laws from being passed by first asking the question: “what problem are we trying to solve?”. What problem are we trying to solve by insisting on labelling mixed lollies?



    If you haven’t already seen this, take some time this weekend and watch my all-time favourite John Stossel video:


    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.



    David’s speech in the House marking 125 years since women in New Zealand received the right to vote rattled off a list of nearly every woman he knows.



    Twerking for charity raised a total of $71,240 for Kidsline. Is Andrew Little trying to cash in on David’s popularity with this even more cringe-worthy promo for a Youth MP?




    A Christchurch resident wanted to build a granny flat on her property for her 76 year old profoundly deaf brother. When she contacted the Christchurch City Council, she was advised building consent would cost $1500.

    We have a housing affordability issue which started in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown but has spread all across the country. In this case, poor advice coupled with a resource consent that would be unnecessary under an Urban Development Act such as ACT proposes, have significantly increased the costs of the project.  http://act.org.nz/housing/



    This performance in the House by the supposed Minister for Children and Associate Minister of Education, shows Tracey Martin be utterly devoid of mana.  My thoughts are with the hundreds of young people, already facing significant challenges and who have gone through months of uncertainty, being compared to dogs.  I wouldn’t make her Minister of Animal Welfare!  This minister should be stripped of both portfolios. That’d reduce the size of the executive further.




    I need to sharpen up my debating skills. What better way to start than to understand the tactics of the opposition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4q-VbAIMzU


    That’s it from me this week. Have a great weekend and get out and enjoy some freedom while you still can.

  • Beth Ad Lib, Friday, 28 September 2018

    Here's our Friday newsletter.  If you do not wish to receive this communication from us, please scroll to the bottom and unsubscribe.


    Beth Ad Lib is the new name for my newsletter. This was put forward by a reader who has been sent a copy of David Seymour’s Own Your Future - thanks!  Ad lib, and a little glib at times. These are some of the topics that caught my limited attention this week.  Feel free to send me tips and links for future issues.

    I don’t even have anything more to say about this one. A return to participation certificates perhaps?



    By now readers will recognise this as my way of introducing a topic that I consider to be the start of a slippery slope, or a “where does this end?” scenario. These words are the title of a song by Manic Street Preachers in the 1990s. Pedants may wish to debate the history behind the lyrics and their suitability to an ACT newsletter. I however, just like the song and this particular line in it.

    Contributions welcome.



    Auckland Council have placed a ban on jumping off a North Shore wharf because a five year-old tragically drowned there last year. The fact is that five year-olds shouldn’t be jumping from wharves unsupervised. A ban will not prevent this from happening again, and only restrict the fun of those old enough to make a responsible decision.



    Whatever the reasons for it – and let’s face it problems at home are a major contributor – truancy is indeed a precursor to a poor work ethic and negative social statistics.  I’ve listened to the Fraser High School principal’s speech [video no longer available but this opinion piece in the Spinoff covers it well] and it is given with power, passion and conviction.  Kids generally want to go to school when an engaging teacher challenges them in a positive way to reach higher goals, rewards and then drives them on further. ACT would pay good teachers more, based on KPI’s set by an individual school’s Principal and Board of Trustees. One of these KPI’s might well be reducing truancy rates.



    One place that truancy levels are vastly better than our public schools has been in Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua. By now we will all have seen inspiring video of some of the young people attending these schools giving testament to how they have turned their lives around. But it wasn’t just the kids that were troubled; imagine the anguish of the parents dealing with a tween- or teen-ager who is falling behind and out of school. The stress on family relationships, the inability to hold down full time work and income while having to take time off to attend school disciplinary meetings, social services and justice appointments with your child.  So it’s not just the kids benefitting from these schools. Mums and dads have probably had their sanity, relationships with each other, their employers, and their children, restored.



    Conservation volunteers doing God’s work - culling, trapping, baiting, weeding, planting, and picking up litter.

    Unisex toilets and change rooms. Economical and practical.



    Being anti-1080

    Cognitive bias-promoting social media

    Agricultural vandalism



    I know it’s all well and good to bag the current government for whatever wrongdoing of the day, but we should be able to counter that with what ACT would do differently or better. But the problem is in most cases the answer would be to do nothing. For instance, if new energy technologies are coming down the pipeline so to speak to replace dependence on oil, coal and gas, then there is no need to ban oil and gas exploration. The danger of doing so is that should these new technologies not be on line in time, we will need to revert to less environmentally safe practices such as drawing on our coal reserves or importing oil and diesel from other parts of the world via many sea-miles. David spoke well in the House this week about just that. The ban is nothing more than colossal virtue-signalling – but you knew that!

    Have a great weekend everyone. I hope you have time to get out in the fresh air, jump off a wharf, and listen for birdsong.

  • Beth's Best, 15 Sep 2018

    Welcome to the first edition of our irregular and sometimes irreverent Friday newsletter. I hope you find it refreshing and entertaining. If you do not wish to receive this communication from us, please scroll to the bottom and unsubscrib


    With the recent dropping by Marama Davidson of the “C” bomb and Golriz talking “sh*t”, I think it’s safe to say that the Greens are no longer clean.  These politicians have lowered the bar for women in parliament, right on the marking of 125 years of women’s suffrage. What ever happened to class?



    Only this government would celebrate a monumental point in history by handing out money!  

    “I am pleased to be here today with the Canterbury University’s Feminist Society who received $1,500 from the fund. The future of women organising for change and making our world better is in good hands,” says Ms Sage.

    Was it just me that saw ‘red’ when they read that? Does it make you ‘green’ with envy? I can’t wait to hear what they are giving away to celebrate men being given the vote. Oh, wait.



    While it’s great to see the surge in support for Partnership Schools Kura Hourua, is anyone else feeling just a little bit sick that National is so late to the party? They had six years to get in behind ACT’s innovative education policy, but failed to do so to any degree and in fact were obstructive. Now they’re jumping on board to save them. If they’d been more supportive as a coalition partner, a larger number of schools would be open by now and achieving results similar to the ones that have. A critical mass would have formed that would have been far harder to shut down.

    National’s July annual conference demonstrated that they are flat out of ideas. There were two announcements that were made by Leader Simon Bridges.


    • Smaller class sizes. You know, that Labour party policy that they ran on when the National-led Government was increasing class sizes. No detail on how that will be achieved other than being smaller
    • Re-instating charter schools. That’s the Act policy they reluctantly agreed to in the 2011 confidence and supply agreement. They washed their hands of Act’s ‘experiment,’ dragged their feet right up until they were demonstrated to not only be effective but also popular at which point National happily took the credit for them. Re-instating the original charter schools isn’t enough. We need to give existing public schools the opportunity to convert to charter schools and expand the application process for more sponsors to create new charter schools.



    Following on from the crackdown on Air BnB hosts, Auckland Council has made no secret of the fact that they intend to progress to hunting down people working from home in small businesses for a rate grab in the form of business rates applied to that portion of the property used for business purposes. This will hit home hairdressers, cake decorators, sewers, massage therapists, draughtsmen, small business accountants, language tutors, toymakers, counsellors, etc. – many of them parents wanting to be there for the kids when they get home from school to supervise homework, prepare home-cooked meals, drop what they’re doing to get the kids to extracurricular activities, maybe even let them earn a bit of pocket money helping in the business to learn a few life skills, and of course supplement the family income. The alternative for these aspiring people is to ditch the idea of a home business and drive to a job, contributing to congestion on the roads, and putting the kids into day care or after school programmes, or claim benefits. Talk about perverse incentives.  ACT believes in encouraging enterprise and self-determination without adding punitive taxes.

    Don’t live in Auckland? Don’t worry, where Auckland goes, the rest of the country follows. Auckland’s left-leaning local government leads the way hand in hand with central government on these types of policy.



    You can say what you like about either of these two, but both of them have been fighters on the New Zealand political landscape for decades. Penny fought for transparency and accountability, who could be against that? Stephen Berry has written a tribute for the 125th anniversay of Woman’s Suffrage to Penny Bright on his facebook page.


    83/100 FOR TE REO, HOW AM I DOING?

    In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Maori language week. I’ve never had a single lesson in Te Reo so I’m pretty proud of my score.  If you’re a child of the 70s or earlier, you will agree that the language has had quite a resurgence. It wasn’t taught at all when I went to school. Despite this, I knew 83% of the words in this Newshub quiz, proving compulsion is completely unnecessary. Parents already have the choice of sending their kids to a Maori immersion school. We didn’t “learn” English by compulsory lessons in school, we learnt it at home before we went there. Literacy and numeracy in any language are the foundation for a lifetime of comprehension, so take your pick.



    I remember saying on Breakfast Club on TV One on 17 August [sorry clip no longer available], that I didn’t believe NZ First MPs would sign a contract that obliged them to pay $300,000 in penalty if they waka-jumped. What sane MP would?  Turns out Winston has had a “memory lapse”. A memory lapse that they signed, or a memory lapse that this clause was ever in their candidate agreement? My prediction is that this will spell the end of Winston’s parliamentary term.  We will all remember that!

    That’s all for this first edition of Beth’s Best!