by Wayne Mapp

Role play any potential United States action against North Korea and you soon see the limited choice they face. So what should the US do? What role can China play? And what's best for New Zealand?

What is the current North Korea dispute about? Is it really about North Korea testing missiles and perhaps a nuclear weapon? Or is it actually about the relationship between China and the United States?

Under the Obama administration there was a general acceptance that North Korean missile tests would not result in military action against North Korea.

We can honour both our soldiers and the Afghans, but only by finding out what really happened on that August night in 2010... though that may not require a full inquiry 

War is different from any other organised human activity. Decades, even centuries, after military conflict, the reasons for it are examined and consequences are measured. A nation's conduct is weighed in the balance.

Why grasp one of the third rails of politics just six months from an election? Well, three possible reasons come to mind...

The interesting thing about Bill English's out of the blue superannuation announcement is not the substance of the policy -- it seems mild enough -- but why he made it six months before an election. After all, the key part of the policy, the shift in the eligibility age from 65 to 67 does not even start for another 20 years.

Come September 24, there are really only three likely scenarios as to who could form a government, and odds-on Winston Peters will face two difficult choices

A month ago I wrote that I would be looking at the possible perumtations of likely coalitions that may appear after this year's election. Although the right direction/wrong direction poll clearly favours the incumbent government, I thought it best to wait for the first opinion polls to see how the Bill English premiership has taken with the New Zealand public.

The rights and wrongs of National's election strategy will come down to three main points... and coalition partners

For eight years now, the right/wrong direction polls have consistently shown that the majority of New Zealanders believe their country is on the right track. The November 2016 Roy Morgan indicator has the right direction at 65 percent.

In contrast, during the latter years of the Clark-led government only 40 to 45% of the public believed the country was going in the right direction.

How should New Zealand see itself in world affairs, and does Chile provide a model for how we might do so?

As part of my extensive reading on the wars of the twentieth century, both from personal interest and as a member of the World War One Commemoration Panel, I have recently read “Unnecessary Wars” by Australian historian Henry Reynolds.

Is the TPP the current equivalent of New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance? How did it become such a defining issue? And will its impact last?

Among all the controversy and welter of opinions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I have been increasingly wondering, why has the TPP become the litmus test of progressivism in New Zealand?

It is not such a defining issue in other TPP nations; the debate seems particularly fevered in New Zealand.

Britain is divided, and the British Labour Party even more so, over its role in leading Western nations. So does it offer lessons for New Zealand?

Last week Britain voted for airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State. The parliamentary debate that preceded the vote was illuminating in the way it mirrored the divide in Britain about its place in the world.

Britain us a united kingdom of four nations. But that is likely to shrink by at least one. 

A hundred years on from Gallipoli, and a few days after the massacre in in Paris, where does New Zealand stand in the western alliance and what is out role in the world's troubles?

As we come towards the end of 2015, it's worth reflecting on what the commemorations of World War One, and in particular the Gallipoli campaign, have been all about. Why do the commemoration resonate so much with the New Zealand public?

Can candidates for the Auckland mayoralty next year find a way to move the Ports of Auckland? If so, where to and at what cost?

On a recent Sunday I was at dinner in the restaurant in the old Seafarers' building on Quay St, Auckland. Through big picture windows we looked out over the Waitemata harbour on a beautiful spring day. We could see the boats on the water, the houses sprinkled around the North Shore...