Rodney Hide

The summer surge of politics continued this week with more big calls being made, especially by National, Labour and the Maori Party. But what do they mean? And where do they lead?

Wise decisions are at the heart of good politics. Judgment is everything when it comes to choosing what's best for our country and anticipating how voters will respond, and this week some big – politically massive – judgment calls have been made.

I figured Friday was as good a day as any to look back and ponder just how wise and wily party leaders have been this week.

What was 2010 like for the smaller parties propping up this government? Not a lot of fun, really. Big holes were exposed in ACT, the Maori Party and United Future, which raise even bigger questions

Power exacts a price. Of the three smaller parties with a role in government in 2010, the highest was undoubtedly paid by Rodney Hide and ACT, but the Maori Party too must be weighing up its political balance sheet. United Future is simply hanging on for grim life.

As ACT and the Maori Party kick sand in each other's face over an amendment that changes nothing, we get a good look at the politics of perception and National's misery in trying to hold its coalition partners together

In law it all comes down to one word - "free" - but to understand the Maori Party's political affront to ACT's proposed amendment to the Marine and Coastal Area Bill requires two words, and they are "mana enhancement".

Te Papa took a beating for suggesting Maori cultural values are a reason to treat genders differently. So what happens when Parliament legislates that Maori must be treated differently?

Seeing as the topic de jour is the invidiousness of discriminatory treatment based on characteristics such as gender or race, I assume we have universal condemnation of a law change solely designed to prevent Maori doing something non-Maori are entitled to do?

It's been easy to be a right-wing politician in New Zealand the past couple of years. It looks like it's about to get a lot trickier, as Garrett goes

Remember the "five-headed monster", John Key's attempt to scare voters in his direction at the last election? Well, it's back, or will be soon, as the politicians try to figure out the implications of ACT's disintegration as a credible political voice.