Blogs

The city’s motto is 'Palmam qui meruit ferat'. (Let him, who has earned it, bear the palm.) Not sure that reflects a modern New Zealand city. Why does Nelson deserve a palm?

In terms of ambience and style, Nelson City reminds me of the New Zealand I grew up in half a century and more ago. I do not mean that it is not a modern city. The shops reflect today’s customers – gone are butchers, haberdasheries and milk bars – and there is a steady increase of good quality restaurants.

National's decision to collapse a select committee meeting to make some sort of point may or may not be good politics. But it is bad for our parliamentary processes and long term constitutional culture. 

On Wednesday something happened in Parliament that was on its face a clever but petty political move designed to capture headlines, yet at a deeper level ought to concern anybody interested in how New Zealand governs itself. Forgive me while I set the scene with some bureaucratic jargon before I tell you why I think what happened matters.

I'm shocked I tell you. Shocked... Shocked that anyone would be surprised by tonight's Newshub-Reid Research poll. The seasons of politics are turning as expected. The complicating factor is Judith Collins.

The headlines cry crisis for National and Simon Bridges. The latest Newshub Reid Research poll has landed a series of blows on Bridges and his party – National is down, Bridges is down and Collins is up. Wham, bam and thank you Ma'am.

I went to Waitangi for Waitangi Day and it got me wondering about commemorations, celebrations, blandness and what's missing

The chap waiting in the Mr Whippy queue with me wearing his grandfather's Maori Warden helmet used the 'c' word. So did one of the aunties on the waka stage, as she introduced her kapahaka group. It's a word that seems to be edging its way into Waitangi Day events, but one that deserves a bit of thought. The 'c' word? "Celebration".

The report on the failings of the life insurance industry raises the wider issue of how we regulate markets throughout the economy.

The headline ‘life insurance firms put sales and profits ahead of customers’ is a troubling one. It summarises a report by the Financial Management Authority (FMA) and the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) which concludes that some life offices have often been working against the interests of their clients. My troubling does not arise because the proposition is false; it is almost certainly true.

Donald Trump is being backed into a corner politically and legally, with the Mueller investigation expected soon. How far will he go and can America's famed checks and balances withstand the coming storm?

It was a warm November evening on the gulf coast of Florida. President Trump was flying in for a rally two days before the mid-terms and the taxi driver taking us there was a Republican. “Government doesn’t always know best,” he reckoned. “The working man should decide for himself”. But he was a Never Trump Republican, worried about where this mad, bad presidency might end.

The theories one uses needs to be explicit, especially when the issue is as complicated as Brexit or Trump.

Two of my intellectual mentors, Maynard Keynes and Karl Popper, give broadly the same advice. Be aware that you are using theories; be sensitive to their assumptions, to their limitations. Very often our public discussions involve no awareness of the underlying theoretical constructs, let alone their weaknesses (as well as their strengths).

Some seem keen to ignore the chaos on Venezuela, not least because Donald Trump has taken a stance against the dictator Nicolo Maduro. But that's a mistake and New Zealand's silence only lines us up again alongside Putin's Russia

This month I have written two columns for Stuff on the catastrophe currently unfolding in Venezuela (here and here

This column is not about the Government successes nor the Opposition failures. Its purpose is to learn from the various flapdoodles, some of which are significant, some of which are trivial.

Own Goals

What advice does Trump’s book give to the current President of the United Sates?

Back in 1987, Donald Trump published a book that was part autobiography and part extended essay on how to become a winning negotiator. The Art of the Deal became a number one bestseller, and it was one of the things which put Trump into the public spotlight.