Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The quiz is back

I’m pleased to announce that as from today, the daily quiz that I supplied for more than 16 years to the Dominion Post and other Stuff papers has a new home.

It will appear every morning on, the popular news and comment website co-founded in 2008 by business journalist Pattrick Smellie.  It will no longer be The 5-Minute Quiz (that name belongs to Stuff) but in all other respects it will be unchanged.

The quiz has a big following in the public service and corporate sector, which makes it a good fit with BusinessDesk’s established readership. Pattrick Smellie has written an introductory piece here and the first instalment of the new-look quiz can be viewed here.

Importantly, the quiz is not behind a paywall, but I can’t guarantee it will stay that way forever.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Hitting the road

Readers please note: this blog will be inactive for the next couple of weeks. The road beckons. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

On Thomas Nash and the hundreds of other troughers embedded in the public sector

I’ve never met Thomas Nash – in fact hadn’t consciously heard of him until this morning. Yet I feel I know him.

The Wairarapa Times-Age devoted its prime centre-page spread to an opinion piece, originally published on The Conversation but supplied by New Zealand Herald owner NZME, in which Nash outlined his vision for New Zealand in 2040. It’s a standard left-wing Utopian wish list, big on public sector control of the economy, central planning, pure-green transport modes (pure-green everything, in fact) and heavy iwi involvement in decision-making.

It ends on a note of bright-eyed optimism, envisaging a society in which “Government agencies [are] now seen as useful and relevant, having been equipped with the money to provide housing, social services, environmental restoration and support for economic change”. But Nash notes that it took “strict rules” to make it all happen – a telling pointer to the incipient authoritarianism that underlies the neo-Marxist agenda.

The footnote to the article described Nash as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” at Massey University. As I say, I don’t know him but felt I recognised him, simply because I read examples of verbal flatus from people like Nash every day. New Zealand is full of Thomas Nashes, all with their noses deep in the public trough and determined to transform the country whether the rest of us want it or not.

My recent resolve to cut back on letters to the Times-Age turned out to be short-lived. I sent them the following this morning:

Thomas Nash, who took up a large chunk of yesterday’s paper with his idealistic vision of New Zealand in 2040, was described as a “Social Entrepreneur in residence, Massey University”.

Let me translate that for your readers. Nash is paid by the taxpayer to promote the idea of a dreamy socialist Utopia. The words “Social Entrepreneur” are capitalised as if they mean something, when in fact the term is meaningless and often serves as a synonym for political activist. 

There are dozens more like Nash – no, make that hundreds – embedded in the public sector who know what’s best for us and are paid by us – not that we have any say in the matter – to guide us into the sunny uplands of enlightenment.

Some of the goals outlined in Nash’s article seem harmless – indeed, hard to argue with. What worries me is the degree of state authoritarianism likely to be required to force citizens to comply.  As C S Lewis said: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

Incidentally, Nash also exerts influence as a Green Party member of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. And like others of his ilk, he’s hyper-active on social media.

Ordinary working New Zealanders, busy raising families and paying off mortgages, have little chance of countering the influence of the highly motivated, publicly funded ideologues who increasingly shape public policy. 

I could have added that people like Nash have sympathetic connections in the media, which would explain why his opinion piece appeared not just in NZME papers (although independently owned, the Times-Age publishes content from NZME) but on Stuff as well. What used to be a broad-church press is now a monoculture  bent on indoctrination and increasingly (one might say suicidally) out of touch with readers, as illustrated by plunging circulation figures.