As the Reserve Bank monetary policy statement might indicate, the answer to the headline question is that as economic growth weakens, we increasingly need some more government spending. The bigger problem is how to manage it.Read More
The 2018 census did not do its job properly. But we shouldn’t use that fact to undermine other important institutions and processes.Read More
In laying out how poorly conceived was the law banning prisoners from voting and just how negatively it affects Māori in particular, the Waitangi Tribunal presents us with a fierce reminder of the need for change.Read More
Labour is obsessed with not being seen as a ‘tax and spend’ party, but its economic caution means social issues are dominating its agenda and it risks falling into another trap with the election little more than a year awayRead More
The chaos of Boris Johnson, the vacuous response to US gun violence, Harry and Megan’s family size, and the surge of Andrew Yang… overseasia is a curious place right nowRead More
Jacinda Ardern looks to have delivered a key election promise on a day when MPs showed how honest, civil debate works… except, that is, for Winston PetersRead More
Elements of our Public Finance Act are world class, as a recent conference reported. But other parts need to be overhauled.Read More
Yes, your eyes aren’t playing games. Things do look a little different round here. Let us explain…Read More
The Greens’ stubborn incrementalism and James Shaw’s ruthlessness with dissent is diluting support inside the party is hastening the day when it faces its own revolution or replacement on the leftRead More
Housing is one of the hardest meso-economic (between macro and micro) sectors to analyse. In part it is its complexity, but perhaps most fundamentally it is an area where standard market theory applies poorly. And then there is the politics.Read More
In the minds of most social democratic politicians, the Third Way is yesterday’s news. But it hasn’t been that easy to come up with an alternative vision of progress. Maybe what Giddens had to say might yet be a good starting point – if only to disagreeRead More
The debate at Ihumatao has become a battle over whether or not to build houses. What about a third option?Read More
I do not recall during the 2017 election thinking about your position, or that of the other candidates in my electorate, in regard to the legislation about assistance for those who choose to end their life. Now Parliament is going to make a decision about it. What do I want you to do for me?
My idealistic position on the role of MPs was articulated by Edmund Burke:
‘Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.’Read More
New Zealand has got itself into a right proper muddle over methane emissions and their impact on climate change. A simple change to the proposed legislation would sort it out.
The proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill treats biogenic methane emissions differently from all other carbon emissions. The latter are to be measured net so that emissions from fossil fuels can be offset by carbon stored in trees. However, methane from livestock is measured gross.Read More
The issues surrounding child uplift are complex, but we won't make progress without a better understanding of whānau and the tikanga behind it.
Later this month, thousands of people are expected to march to parliament as part of the #HandsOffOurTamaraki movement. At its heart, the movement is about preserving whānau and demanding that the state stop removing children from their whānau, hapū and iwi.Read More
Many foreign appointments to leading public agencies have proved disappointing. Is that inevitable?
The discussion on the quality of economic advice, which we reported last week, has spilled over into a discussion about whether so many senior appointments should be of non-New Zealanders. Recall I discussed the failure to develop career paths within the New Zealand public service.Read More
Conscience and consultation are good paths through the mire of emotional and controversial policies such as euthanasia. But referendums are key to ensuring voters are heard
The End of Life bill has been read a second time and is now heading for the House for further debate. Personally, I support the proposal. I don't ever expect to take advantage of the Bill's provisions myself, but as I see this is it my life – inasmuch as it is possible, how I end it should be my decision and mine alone.Read More
The kerfuffle over the budget leaks precipitated a public exposure of a simmering concern about the quality of Treasury’s work.
Before the substantive issue which this column is about – whether there has been a deterioration in the economic advice given to the government – a paragraph about the budget leaks.Read More
In part three, after the new right revolution of the 1980s, social democratic parties such as Labour were searching their souls. Then came new ideas and new 'third way' leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, with answers to the identity crisis
First way – the state, Keynesian demand management, the working class as the base of support. Second way – free-market, reduce the scope of the state and cut taxes, relative indifference to social justice. Third Way – well that's the question.Read More
It may be that higher levels of inequality have increased the incidence of poor mental wellbeing in the community. A recent book suggests a causal mechanism from one to the other.
International research shows that there is a socioeconomic status (or class) gradient, in which those with low SES experience higher morbidity from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, rheumatoid disorders, a number of cancers, psychiatric diseases, dementia and so on.Read More