Blogs

That our bureaucrats failed to be prepared for a new government, is an indication of deeper problems.

For those interested in the totality of New Zealand politics the most extraordinary story of the year may be the finding that our public service was, broadly, unprepared for the change of government.

Did you know that Parliament could imprison you for saying that Trevor Mallard is biased in favour of Jacinda Ardern over Simon Bridges? But it (almost certainly) won't.

Wednesday’s flare-up in Parliament, which saw the Speaker ordering both National’s leader and Leader of the House out of the chamber while most of their party colleagues (

Since Gavin Hawthorn was sent to prison for ten years in 2003, over 5,000 people have died on New Zealand roads - at an average of 360 a year. That's almost one a day. Commentators calling for him to be sent to prison again are missing the point.

News that Gavin Hawthorn has recently been convicted of drink driving yet again has caused oodles of outrage, reported in the media. Hawthorn has already killed four people in two separate accidents.

The short answer is no; the long answer requires an explanation of what form that revolution will take.

We all know we’re shafting the planet, and headlines every other week are making sure we don’t forget. As another Conference of the Parties (COP) conference kicks off this week - this time in Poland, this time called COP24 - we have been warned that decisive action in the next two years will be crucial.

Brexit illustrates the challenges of economic independence and interdependence.

Over the next week the British Parliament debates the terms for Brexit or not. There is no point in my trying to guess what might happen. There are many opinions and they all contradict one another; probably all will be wrong.

We need to rethink our strategy towards migrants.

The European Union’s single market strategy is based on the four freedoms of the movement of goods, capital, services, and labour. While each is complicated, it is the fourth which has proved the most contentious. Arguably, it was that experience which tipped many English into voting for Brexit and it has affected the politics of other parts of Europe.

It seems NZ referenda are a bit like Wellington buses - you wait ages for one to come along, and then three arrive all at once. 

New Zealand’s recent experience with using referenda to make decisions has all been a bit odd, really. We had a rather pointless one in 2011 on whether to retain or junk MMP, mainly because John Key inherited Don Brash’s promise that we would and couldn’t back away from it.

The open letter to Jacinda Ardern to show some spine over alleged crimes against Anne-Marie Brady feels vital in the face of a less than urgent response thus far. The professor was only a mechanic away from being another Jamal Khashoggi or Fernando Pereira

The precise words Jacinda Ardern chooses when she finally addresses the claims by University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady will be telling, but at least she has Donald Trump to look to and the case of Jamal Khashoggi as inspiration.

How prepared are we for the next international financial crisis?

Adam Tooze’s magisterial Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World emphasises the role of wholesale financial markets in the global turmoil. Retail financial markets involve deposits placed in banks and other financial institutions.

We need to learn what happens when public spending is repressed. It does not lead to efficiency gains. Sometimes the consequences are disastrous.

The private enterprise failures in the Global Financial Crisis led to public expenditure changes. The Americans poured them into subsidies supporting the bankers, the Europeans went for Austerianism cutting back in the public spending on the ‘undeserving’, The Chinese – the last Keynesians? – splashed out on infrastructure, which has enhanced their growth prospects.