Netherlands To Close 3000 Farms To Comply With EU Climate Rules

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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The Dutch government plans to buy and close down up to 3,000 farms near environmentally sensitive areas to comply with EU nature preservation rules.

The Netherlands is attempting to cut down its nitrogen pollution and will push ahead with compulsory purchases if not enough farms take up the offer voluntarily.

Farmers will be offered a deal “well over” the worth of the farm, according to the government plan that is targeting the closure of 2,000 to 3,000 farms or other major polluting businesses.

Earlier leaked versions of the plan put the figure at 120 per cent of the farm’s value but that figure has not yet been confirmed by ministers.

“There is no better offer coming,” Christianne van der Wal, nitrogen minister, told MPs on Friday. She said compulsory purchases would be made with “pain in the heart”, if necessary.

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Rolling Blackouts Looming For New England

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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This winter’s heating woes might not be limited to high bills for customers across the state: One small Massachusetts electric company is warning of a chance of “rolling blackouts.”

“For the last few years, the reliability of the electric grid has been deteriorating, especially in the winter in New England. This year is even worse. If there is an extended cold snap, there is a high probability of rolling blackouts,” General Manager of Groton Electric Light Department Kevin P. Kelly said in a statement posted online.

Kelly explains that the situation has been developing for years as baseload generation has been shut down in New England, with coal, oil, and nuclear plants being closed. In January 2022, 11% of the electricity produced in New England came from diesel fuel, Kelly wrote.

“At the present time, diesel fuel storage on the entire eastern seaboard is at historical…

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Bilateral bargaining in multiparty coalitions

Fruits and Votes

This is just a follow up to the previous planting. As I noted there, the incoming Israeli PM’s party (Likud) will sign separate coalition agreements with each of five partner parties (three of whom ran on a joint list in the election but maintain their separate “faction” status in the Knesset).

I believe this is typical of multiparty coalitions in parliamentary democracies: that when there are multiple partners, each one signs its own bilateral deal with the incoming cabinet head. I know it is the way it has been done in Israel for as long as I have been paying attention. It is also how it has been done in recent bargaining in New Zealand. I actually do not know if other counties with coalitions uniformly do this, or if there are cases where coalition agreements are joint among all the parties entering government. (There are some cases with no…

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Not that way

croaking cassandra

A consistent theme of this blog over the 3.5 years since the Monetary Policy Committee was established has been the severe inadequacies in the way the MPC was designed, and in the way it has been staffed. Last Tuesday, Stuff journalist Tom Pullar-Strecker had an article that reported on a variety of similar concerns, informed by extensive comments from former Reserve Bank chief economist John McDermott. A particular focus was on the role of the non-executive members (“the externals”).

At the press conference for the Monetary Policy Statement asked the Governor about the externals, and if he didn’t get far (the awkward questions at that press conference were mostly left completely unaddressed), he did get from Orr an observation that of course externals were free to talk, subject to (his interpretation of) the MPC Charter provisions (agreed by Orr and the Minister) under which for the first 24 hours after…

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Stacking vs. checking: Otzma Yehudit in the emerging Israeli coalition

Fruits and Votes

In a recent publication (details below), Reut Itzkovitch-Malka and I investigate when parties “check” partners in coalition governments and when they “stack” via the committee overseeing a ministry. Here’s a clear case of stacking in the incoming Israeli coalition: Otzma Yehudit reportedly will get both the ministry it most wanted as well as the chair of the parliamentary committee overseeing that ministry as part of the new Israeli government.

Broadly put, when coalitions are bargained, the parties forming the government have a choice of “stacking” whereby they agree to give one party full control over certain policy portfolios, or “checking” whereby two parties are given organizational bases from which to check one another in a given portfolio. There is considerable literature in political science on questions such as these, mostly focused on the degree of authority delegated to cabinet ministers. For instance, Laver and Shepsle (1996) famously developed a model…

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Despite Labour polling below 30%, party strategists believe it can win Hamilton West, and general election next year

Point of Order

Although recent opinion polls have shown Labour’s support dropping below 30%, suggesting it is now the underdog going into election year, party strategists still nourish the belief the Ardern government may emerge from the general election able with allied parties to hold on to office.

They are convinced the National Party has not won back the degree of support that would indicate it is a shoo-in at next year’s poll. This, they believe, will become clear after votes are counted in the Hamilton West by-election on December 10.

They have taken heart, too, from the result of the elections across in Victoria at the weekend, where the premier Daniel Andrews swept aside the challenge of the Coalition, though with a reduced majority. Andrews, like Ardern here, had been ruthless with his lockdowns during the Covid pandemic, but although that incurred some hostility, a majority thought he did a good job.

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The Spencer precedent

croaking cassandra

Over the last couple of months, the National Party has been running the line that a Reserve Bank Governor should not be appointed to the normal full five-year term when Orr’s existing term expires in late March, but that rather an appointment should be made for just a year so that whichever party takes office after next year’s election can appoint a Governor of their preference. We are told (although we have not yet seen the letter) that they made this case to the Minister of Finance when, as he was required to, he came consulting on his plan to reappoint Orr.

It is a terrible idea, on multiple counts.

But what is also irksome is the idea that in making a five year appointment, for a term beginning probably at least six months prior to the election, the Minister is breaching some established convention. That is simply a nonsense…

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Monetary policy appointments

croaking cassandra

I watched the Q&A interview yesterday with the Leader of the Opposition Chris Luxon. Monetary policy and the position of the Reserve Bank Governor came up.

It is really quite disappointing that the Minister of Finance, presumably with the acquiescence of the Prime Minister, has so politicised the situation that a Leader of the Opposition can reasonably be asked what he would expect (eg possible resignation) of the Reserve Bank Governor after the election if National wins. If he is at all serious about his answer – appoint an independent reviewer as soon as they take office and only decide after that – it is a recipe for considerable, unwelcome, market uncertainty, and further reputational risk for New Zealand and its system of economic governance.

We really should have appointees to such positions that both sides of politics can respect and trust. That has always been implicit in the model…

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Star Trek: Season 3, Episode Seven “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”

Great Books Guy

Stardate: 5476.3 (2268)
Original Air Date: November 8, 1968
Writer: Rik Vollaerts
Director: Tony Leader

“But things are not as they teach us.
For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky.”

While traveling through space, the Enterprise suddenly encounters a red alert. Several missiles have been fired out of nowhere and the Enterprise engages in evasive maneuvers to quickly deflects them. Where did these missiles come from? At Warp 3, the Enterprise heads toward the missiles’ point of origin –an asteroid 2 hundred miles in diameter. Chemically the asteroid checks out, however it is curiously not in orbit like a normal asteroid, and instead it appears to be pursuing its own independent course. The asteroid –or perhaps space ship—is actually on a collision course with Daran V in approximately 396 days (a planet with a population of 3.724 billion). This poses a serious…

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