by Wayne Mapp

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...

The TPP may not deliver an immediate big bang for our dairy industry. But there's an awful lot to like in it - and New Zealand really has to be a part of it.

Helen Clark had the most succinct and best explanation of why New Zealand had to be part of the TPP. I know for a fact that her late intervention caused some people who were sceptical about the TPP to revise their opinion about the necessity for New Zealand being in TPP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership could yet be sealed in the next few weeks, and if it is we need to think hard about the cost of signing up... and the cost of staying out

As I write this I am listening to a Canadian journalist being interviewed on Morning Report about the prospects of concluding the TPP. His speculation? That Canada will not let TPP be concluded until after the Canadian election, which has just been announced for October 19, just three months away.