by Wyatt Creech

Reality forces limits. But expectations once created have to be managed. The government is learning that the hard way. Plus money for striking teachers and poll lessons

The debate over Budgets in Wellington is the ultimate in beltway-ness. For most New Zealanders settling the teacher and/or junior doctors strikes, making sure healthcare and welfare is funded sufficiently to ensure reasonable access, and other such day-to-day issues are what matters.

There's no way to guarantee safety in an imperfect world, but you would hope to have confidence in the Police's ability to keep guns under lock and key. It seems not

Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to convince yourself what you're reading is real. My previous column was on the gun debate – it solicited a number of sensible comments. Then, as if eager to underline one of my points, Police fumbled.

I value the guns I own, but with ownership comes responsibility and it's reasonable to expect licences and those who enfore them to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders

Given the public mood following the Christchurch terror attacks, I have felt some discomfort in admitting I hold a firearms licence. Understandbly, in the wake of the mosque shootings, there is a very strong anti-firearms sentiment in the public mind.

Whatever your view of current health funding, the Counties Manukau DHB's failure to sound the alarm is a dereliction of duty. What's more, there is a solution to the funding issues

The media in recent weeks has been full of articles about the state of Middlemore Hospital. On one side of the argument, you have a new government claiming the state of the hospital as evidence of under-funding by its pre-decesssor. 

While they're still getting used to being taken seriously and driven around in limos, we've already seen some fumbles and fair play by the new government

The early days of a new government are always a bit unreal. A new Prime Minister has a good advice stream from day one, with the support of a well organised department.

The vote this election was quite predictable, but the journey of the campaign was not and whichever new government we get, it will be very different from the John Key years

I've just reviewed my Pundit post from August 28. It then seemed obvious to me that neither National nor Labour would be able to command a single party majority and New Zealand First and Winston Peters would end up being the king- or queen-maker.

Many factors seemed to be pointing in that direction. 

As often as they say "let me be clear", politicians from both major parties this election are being anything but clear with voters. In a lolly scramble election, we deserve better

The campaign is getting down to the business end. Of all the previous general elections I recall, 2017 will go down as the biggest lolly scramble election. Every day brings a new multi-million dollar promise from one side or another.

Just under a month out from Election 17, the former deputy Prime Minister looks at the state of the parties and makes some picks

While it has been easy to see the headline goings-on in the lead-up to the election campaign proper - you can barely blink before something else happens - beneath the leadership froth more fundamental things are underway. 

Getting to know our Pacific neighbour is increasingly important if we want to take a meaningful role in our own regional backyard

There was a time two or three generations back when many New Zealanders referred to the United Kingdom as "home". We were a European-focused nation. No more. We are now a Pacific nation and at the core of our foreign policy we take an interest in developments in the Pacific region and its issues.

Yet we have a way to go to make this world view meaningful.

While Todd Barclay and Labour's interens have sparked some life into election year politics, here's hoping we learn from overseas and scandal isn't the dominate theme of Election 2017

The case for moderation is getting stronger by the day. We're hearing now that it's less than 100 days until the election, and until last week and the Todd Barclay story it had been a quiet build-up so far, with hardly any hype, let alone genuine interest in politics.