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Where to the nation?

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 am, December 23rd, 2014 - 143 comments

In whose hands?

Left wing politics in New Zealand bends most of its attention and energy inwards onto the nation state. This is of course understandable because traditionally Parliament has been the prime locus of power.  But no longer; two quite distinct forces are at work to change this picture. The first is globalisation. We are in its second […]

All Antennae – No Compass

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, August 27th, 2014 - 51 comments

john-key1

Duncan Garner lets it all out of the bag.  Part of the problem is that under any normal circumstances Cabinet Minister Judith Collins would have been sacked for trading dirty secrets with Cameron Slater, the low-life blogger WhaleOil. But none of this is normal. Because the prime minister, and others in his office, have been […]

Forty Christmases

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 pm, December 25th, 2013 - 49 comments

CloudInversion

Exactly 40 years ago to the day I was having a white Christmas – on the summit of Mr Fyfe overlooking Kaikoura. Today I celebrate another Christmas, high on another mountain, in another part of the world – with a light dusting of very dry, very icy snow drifting on the wind. The decades in […]

More BS Numbers from the Right

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, March 24th, 2013 - 27 comments

money water

Today we again have the Herald’s resident ignoramus Damien Grant sounds off about something he knows nothing about. As usual just looking at numbers without understanding what they represent and leaps to wrong conclusions. For a start he tries to compare the $8000  Watercare charge for a new water supply connection with the much smaller […]

The Human Cost

Written By: - Date published: 5:26 pm, March 23rd, 2013 - 57 comments

Bicyclenight

The funeral was a very full house and hard. You may have even seen it on Campbell Live;  The Herald gave it front page this morning.  Now comes the hard part, surviving the aftermath, the years with a hole in your heart, the family with a missing part. We never really had a cycling culture […]

The Stealth Dismantling of Environmental Protection

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, March 6th, 2013 - 27 comments

cow in river

To a first approximation the protection of the environment in this country is managed by two distinct entities; inside the Conservation estate it falls to DoC and outside of that it falls onto the Regional Councils. Under this government both are being slowly dismantled. Over the last month I’ve had the opportunity to talk extensively with DoC […]

Five Broken Things.

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, February 16th, 2013 - 81 comments

Universal Basic Income UBI

Yesterday I rather shamelessly threadjacked one of Irish’s posts on a Colin Espiner column in the direction of the Universal Basic Income idea. In this post I want to also shamelessly filch from Gareth Morgan’s book The Big Kahuna, specifically Ch.5 “The Five Big Issues” and wrap it into a quick read. (At some points […]

Media Medicine

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, November 28th, 2012 - 45 comments

journalisttarget

The relationship between media and politicians in this country has become incestuous and toxic. For much of the time they confine themselves to merely slanting the game with spin and framing language. We’ve learnt to live with that. But increasingly we are witnessing instances where a pack mentality dominates the story, placing journalists themselves as […]

Treachery

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, January 28th, 2012 - 701 comments

not for sale v3

Fran O’Sullivan is an enemy of the people. Her article in this morning’s Herald will forever brand her as a traitor to this country. She will be shunned and reviled by people who understand what a disgusting sell-out she has become. There is no coming back from this. The Crafar decision is a victory for […]

Two Left Feet, or a Kick Ass Combo?

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 pm, January 20th, 2012 - 26 comments

“We believed in ourselves”

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, December 13th, 2011 - 48 comments

P11 Bogie FEA

Read this and weep: New rolling stock (carriages) for South Island scenic rail journeys are as good as, or better than anything I have experienced anywhere else. They rival equipment used on Switzerland’s premier scenic rail journeys, including the famed Zermatt to St Moritz Glacier Express. And, best of all, the new rail vehicles, classified […]

Creating Jobs for the Young…and not how you’d expect.

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 pm, August 20th, 2011 - 48 comments

Unemployed Youth (2)

So we can safely predict this National govt will score it’s usual epic fail around youth unemployment. And we all know the reasons why this is such a critical issue, so I’m not going to re-hash them either. It’s just that both sides in this debate keep missing the crux of the matter… what is […]

The Heart of Utoya

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, July 31st, 2011 - 46 comments

utoya-victim

So Breivik has given us an eyes wide open gaze into the abyss. Chilling isn’t it? Much has been written in the last week about the political atrocity he committed, yet this article in the Sunday Star Times today is equally wrong. Here is why. Many years ago I recall listening to a BBC correspondent […]

How to tell you have a Tory govt

Written By: - Date published: 5:01 pm, April 16th, 2011 - 7 comments

inequality

Brian Fallow is one of the Heralds more understated columnists. Brian and I probably vote differently, but I find his articles usually worth the read. But there is understatement, and then there is deliberate obfuscation. His column today starts out workmanlike enough, repeating the PM’s case how average wages/salaries have increased in real terms around […]

Universal Income Revisited

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 93 comments

tax-blocks2_1

The tax system we currently have is a relic of the pre-IT age. In the days of manual clerk-handled accounts, it was impractical to reconcile tax accounts more than once a year. The introduction of PAYE in 1958 was welcomed as it eliminated the need for ordinary people to find the cash for a large […]

John “30-sec” Key…. smile and walk away.

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 pm, January 3rd, 2011 - 101 comments

The two significant things from the Herald interview: #1 The signalling by John Key of his willingness to step down. #2 The view of John Key that “essentially there is no money”. “There won’t be money for us and there won’t be money for Labour,” John Key. The significant thing about the first statement is, […]

I Owe My Soul….to the Company Store

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, July 23rd, 2010 - 65 comments

company_store

The words of this old song date back to the 1800’s when dominant and rapacious employers in small company towns would require their employees to purchase essentials from a ‘company store’. And because the employee was so badly paid, inevitably they would run up steep tab simply to keep their family fed and clothed. In […]

Free Market Failure

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, February 27th, 2010 - 56 comments

Sad-House

It’s time for the National Party to issue an abject apology to the nation… for the 1992 Building Regulations that directly led to the astounding public crisis we now face. Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson told the Weekend Herald the official $11 billion figure – which experts believe is half the true cost – […]

The Great Giveaway

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, January 31st, 2010 - 78 comments

From where I’m sitting the Left will never be back in power, not because they will never win elections, but because the power game is over. The nation state as we know it is being slowly dismembered before our eyes, the leviathan of globalisation has one flank firmly grasped, while rapidly discohering communities of self-interest […]

Good Old Fashioned Solidarity

Written By: - Date published: 3:41 pm, November 1st, 2009 - 27 comments

Matt McCarten writes a fine opinion piece in today’s Herald. He hits four main points: 1. The neo-liberal dismantling of NZ’s egalitarian society ideal in the 80’s and 90’s. 2. The new subservience of the State to corporate interests. 3. Dramatic increases in productivity over the last 30 years that have been almost entirely captured […]

Let them drink… bottled water.

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, September 2nd, 2009 - 4 comments

Not surprised to see that the Government has confirmed the Drinking Water Subsidy Scheme is being put on hold and reviewed. The subsidy aims to improve drinking water supplies in small communities of under 5000 people, and improve life for the 9% of the population whose current supply is sub-standard. Those of us living in […]

Rape and Pillage

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 am, August 29th, 2009 - 51 comments

The Conservation Minister, Tim Groser is quoted today: “If you can extract wealth from that [conservation land], that’s what we should do.” Stuff and goes on to label any opposition to this clear intent as ‘emotional hysteria’. While it was obvious that Brownlee was indulging in dishonest double-speak with his ‘stocktake’ earlier this week; we […]

Bridging the Big Ditch

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, August 20th, 2009 - 22 comments

Mr Key is off in Australia this week promoting further measures to bind the two countries into a single economic market, and slash red tape on trade, investment and business, and to shape the two economies into a force that can team up to position themselves for the world after the global economic crisis.. Well […]

Unassailable Evidence

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 8th, 2009 - 100 comments

Inaugural Lectures are very traditional University events; held these days to permit outstanding researchers to present an overview of their work to the wider academic community and public. Last night Prof. Tim Naish delivered a clear and decisive verdict about human induced climate change; the evidence is unassailable. Held in the very formal surrounds of […]

Break the Power of Money.

Written By: - Date published: 8:33 am, June 14th, 2009 - 30 comments

For some weeks our media has been distracted by various sideshows. Worth, Swineflu, Mt Albert, Flight 447 and of course David Bain, have all in turn captured our national psyche… but meanwhile the most pressing political issue, the global fiscal crisis, grinds on with little comment. The crisis response more or less worked. Historians will […]

1600 Dead Again

Written By: - Date published: 1:52 pm, May 17th, 2009 - 32 comments

Each year and every year, around 1600 New Zealanders die prematurely because we live in cold damp houses. This “excess winter death rate” is four times higher than the road toll. They die, most especially the young, unwell, disabled and elderly, of respiratory illnesses, strokes and heart attacks because far too much of our housing […]

‘Bout that gurgling sound…

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, April 24th, 2009 - 53 comments

The average house in New Zealand should be worth about 3.5 times the average household income. (3.5 * $48k = $168k) The historic long-term rental return on most residential property was about 10%. Current rents for a typical 120m2, three bedroomed home in an average suburb is somewhere in the range of $12-16,000 pa…. ie […]

Too Big to Fail

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 pm, April 10th, 2009 - 28 comments

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one of those rare thinkers who has the priceless ability to express complex ideas in ways that are immediately accessible and concrete. I’m going to shamelessly quote and derive from a very recent article he’s written in the Financial Times. It’s so good I’m going to take each one of the […]

Ominous Trickles before the Flood

Written By: - Date published: 5:35 pm, April 5th, 2009 - 12 comments

The attack on democratic local government is taking shape in the public domain. 1. Hide was not made the Minister of Local Govt for nothing. Radical changes are planned and National chose an ACT Party frontman to deflect public reaction. The Bill about to be introduced, and likely passed, to ‘cap rates at the rate […]

Compare and Contrast

Written By: - Date published: 4:32 pm, April 5th, 2009 - 4 comments

Prior to the last election our fearless MSM media uncritically repeated Key’s ‘NZ Sucks’ Crosby/Textor attack lines, framing an historically unremarkable rise in emigration, as evidence of Labour’s failure and general perfidy. Lots of examples abound, this being fairly typical. Of course since November emigration numbers peaked in January (and have fallen since in line […]

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