by Deborah Coddington

The Minister of Justice moved swiftly to change the rules on legal aid eligibility following Dame Margaret Bazley's report, but quick-as-a-flash, nothing's been done on her recommendation that creches be set up for kiddies in courts

For the past 17 months I've spent too many days hanging around district courts in Auckland and Lower Hutt as a defendant waiting for the square wheels of justice to slowly turn over.

The Police have more than enough laws to fight crime, it's just that they're not using them effectively. The two old parties - National and Labour - can just stop giving them more legislation. When did you ever hear the Rozzers say, "Thank you very much, we have enough power now."?

Justice Clifford's judgment in favour of Hells Angel member Philip Schubert, who sought judicial review overturning Wanganui City Council's bylaw banning gang insignia in public places, is a small blow for freedom of association and expression.

Here's an idea as we go into election year. Instead of part-privatisation of state-owned assets, especially those which generate essentials such as energy, why not nationalise the food outlets?

It's such a ripper, I can't imagine why no party has cottoned on to it. I mean, last night when TVNZ covered the story on selling shares in Meridian and Mighty River Power, to whom did the reporter turn for comment? Why, Molly Melhuish, of course, the go-to person for rising power prices (to be fair, we got Sue Chetwin, consumer advocate as well).

In taking a whack at Maggie Barry's putting her hand up for the National Party's Botany candidacy, and almost every other journalist who's had a go in Parliament, the Sunday Star-Times editorial gives a once-over-lightly dismissal of some of the world's great leaders.

"Most celebrity politicians don't have a show" said the headline yesterday for the traditionally anonymous editorial in the Sunday Star-Times (SS-T).

If you want to know why the wine industry's up the creek without a paddle, just look to those at the top. Join the Wine Institute of NZ Inc and stuff up a good thing.

There's no doubt about it, New Zealanders are great at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to things agricultural.

In the midst of the most heart-warming story of the year, why must we argue over whom to thank – capitalism or God? Can't we have it both ways?

First let me just get this off my chest: to those who always rabbit on about how the media never cover good news stories, I hope you are choking on your words this week, because there would have hardly been a news organisation which did not bring us hourly updates of the Chilean miners' progress until they were safely winched from their underground prison.

How little it takes to send this country's commentariat into a prissy lather

The ironies just continue to pile up in this saga.

On the first night, we saw unionists outside the TVNZ mothership demonstrating, demanding that Paul Henry be sacked for his racist statements in the workplace.

Can small political parties, or political movements, survive their own members?

There's been talk this week, in the wake of the Act Party meltdown, about the possible formation of a new new-right political party. Could such a party rise, Phoenix-like, from the ashes? Is one needed, to keep pulling National to the right?

Equality in prostitution is fine principle, but are women the same as men when it comes to shopping for sex?

Let me declare from the start, I got the idea and some help for this column from a male. It was not just from any man, it was from a Marxist - my colleague from the Herald on Sunday, Matt McCarten - who does actually understand the free market.

Where the F word is not a dirty word, and what a breath of fresh air that is.

I've just returned from two weeks in the United States, hence my absence from these pages.

As the wife of current president of the NZ Bar Association, each year I get to tag along to sessions at the American Bar Association's annual conference. The US organisation is vastly different from this country's. For starters, their motto is, "Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice".