by Tim Watkin

Jacinda Ardern may have been misguided showing mercy to Clare Curran two weeks ago given the odds of more coming out. But at least she's not left with a low bar precedent around her neck 

This will be a lesson for a still evolving Prime Minister. Better the Band-Aid is pulled off quickly than the slow, painful tear. The now former Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran could have been shown the door two weeks ago when she admitted to a second failure to properly declare a meeting in her role as minister.

UPDATED: This post is a different version from one published on RNZ this morning. It takes into account Trevor Mallard's decision to halt the inquiry into the leak of Simon Bridge's travel expenses. A decision that doesn't resolve anything

Well that’s as clear as mud. And, in way or another, rather sad. We now know that last Thursday both Opposition leader and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard received a text from someone claiming to be a National MP and taking responsibility for the leak to Newshub of Bridges’ travel expenses.

Let's not remember the visit of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux for the division and insults. That way, they win. Let's instead remember what we have in common and keep talking

This past weekend my Twitter feed was filled with fear. And some of the anger that stems from it. Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern - thanks for coming. I got bombarded with insults from a handful of people convinced that the pair are right to insist their culture is superior and - contradictorily - in jeopardy from others.

The coalition government has lost its way after the burst of policy in its first 100 days. So Jacinda Ardern's return this weekend signals a key moment in its life... and its path to 2020

Jacinda Ardern returns to Wellington and the full-time job of Prime Minister this weekend carrying not just bags of baby gear - and a new baby - but a whole bundle of political capital.

Debating the rights and wrongs of rights starts with the acknowledgement there is no right and wrong... so where do you draw the line?

I argued in my previous post that a free speech debate played into the hands of the numpties - Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux - who wanted to come to New Zealand to make their case for racial superiority and prejudice. I said it was better to defeat them than ban or martyr them, but I also can't resist dipping my toe in the free speech ripples. 

The national debate over free speech is in many ways a sucker punch  - "Squirrel!" - that has drawn our view away from the equally important job of winning the argument against the racist and ignorant views being expressed by the alt-right commentators

Now I'm up for a free speech stoush as much as the next person, however I can't help but see the debate that has arisen in the past week about the now-abandoned show in New Zealand by a pair of far-right activists as a missed opportunity. 

The birth of a child is almost always a joyous event, but it's especially so for a government that desperately needs the time-out to re-set itself and rediscover its discipline and competence 

As Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters stand poised to fulfill very different dreams, neither of them will be terribly happy with where the government stands on the brink of this wee bit of history.

Our police force are yet to fully discharged their duty in the Dirty Politics case, which raises further questions about government agencies' respect for journalism

The mea cupla is fulsome and the apology - however hard won - is on the record. Nicky Hager has won an important victory for the rights of journalists to go about their business without intrusive oversight from the police, who have been shown to be less than honest. But questions remain.

I started this blog post wanting to layout the issues left unresolved after a week of reportage on meth houses. I finished it furious at the inept government response, not just since 2016, but since the report was released. Phil Twyford has work to do

It's time for another big meth house clean-up. Not of the houses themselves, which Sir Peter Gluckman has finally and definitively said are about as dangerous as a $10 note, but of the decision-making process around disputed science in public policy and Housing New Zealand's leadership.

Two weeks out, Labour is positioning its first budget as a noble quest story in which it saves the nation from under-funding whilst also being super-responsible. But with questions about how it will try match its spending to its rhetoric, it feels more like a plot-twisting mystery

Budgets typically make for dry reading. From a speech that opens with a motion to pass the Appropriation Bill (yawn!) to appendices full of complex numbers, they're not exactly page-turners. Yet this year's Budget promises to be something of a pot-boiler packed with twists and turns and mysteries to be solved.