Author Archive

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, June 12th, 2015 - 101 comments

“Rock-star economy” is a catch-phrase that has served very well to persuade us that we are doing well in economic terms. But “chickens coming home to roost” and “living in a fool’s paradise” may be nearer the truth about our economic performance.

How Did We Come to This?

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, June 2nd, 2015 - 140 comments

When did New Zealanders become convinced that the care of the most vulnerable in our society, and particularly of those suffering mental illness and disability, should be treated as an opportunity to make a profit rather than as a community responsibility?

Budget Blues

Written By: - Date published: 4:33 pm, May 22nd, 2015 - 139 comments

Twenty five dollars a week can’t be bad, can it? For families on the breadline, it’s surely better than nothing and every little helps. And when the total spend is $790 million, that’s not peanuts, is it? – even if multiplying $25 up to this total should surely tell just how many qualifying families there […]

Which Deficit?

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, April 12th, 2015 - 64 comments

So, the much-touted and long-awaited government surplus looks unlikely to arrive this year. Is that a surprise? No. Does it matter? Not much. The only reason for sparing much time on the failure to eliminate the government deficit is that it relates to a target that the government itself identified as the crucial test of […]

A Fool’s Paradise?

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, March 21st, 2015 - 36 comments

The pre-election, headline-grabbing, so-called “rock-star economy” may be less in evidence today, but there is still a good deal of self-congratulation about an annual GDP growth-rate of over 3%. There is general agreement that the New Zealand economy is doing pretty well, particularly when compared with what is happening elsewhere. It is only when we […]

A Fair Deal for Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 4:51 pm, March 1st, 2015 - 92 comments

The Christchurch earthquake was a catastrophe that was national in its impact and significance but that required the people of Christchurch to pay its terrible price. In the four years that have since elapsed, they have had to shoulder the burden of rebuilding shattered lives and a devastated environment. There has been no shortage of […]

Solving the Housing Crisis – Facts or Ideology?

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, January 26th, 2015 - 63 comments

The scale of the housing affordability crisis, particularly in Auckland, is now unmistakable. Not only do individual families suffer as home ownership increasingly moves beyond their reach, but the impact on social cohesion and on the fair distribution of resources is becoming more and more damaging. The rising cost of buying a house is without […]

The Light Dawns

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, January 17th, 2015 - 62 comments

The evidence is surely mounting that the remedies to recession proposed by orthodox policy have failed.

The whole basis of monetarist policy is revealed to be a charade.

A Government in Waiting?

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, December 11th, 2014 - 272 comments

Andrew Little has wasted no time in making his mark, not just on the Labour Party but on New Zealand politics. What is already clear is that here is a Labour leader who is thinking seriously about what it means to be in government. A striking instance of this hard-headed approach to his job as […]

Supping with the Devil

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, December 1st, 2014 - 164 comments

Slater holds John Key’s place in that history in the palm of his hand. If Slater calls the Prime Minister, of course that frightened man will jump to it.

Kim Jong Key Is Missing

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, October 16th, 2014 - 45 comments

The Latest News Bulletin from CNN   “Concern is mounting in New Zealand over the whereabouts of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Key. The Great Leader has not been seen on television or heard on radio for over two hours. Observers say that his disappearance for such a long period is unprecedented. Speculation is rife […]

The Election That Left One Third of Us Behind

Written By: - Date published: 5:32 pm, September 23rd, 2014 - 171 comments

No one should begrudge John Key and the National party the right to celebrate an impressive election victory. It is little consolation to those who opposed them that the win is very much a personal triumph for the Prime Minister rather than for the party and government he leads. As the tumult and the shouting […]

Looking Ahead

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, September 21st, 2014 - 145 comments

Win or lose, there are never any final battles in politics. A defeat simply means the firing of the starting gun for the next round in a never-ending struggle. And, especially for the left, it is the struggle that matters. Without that struggle and the effort that has gone into it, the values of fairness, […]

A Matter of Simple Logic

Written By: - Date published: 4:54 pm, September 16th, 2014 - 102 comments

One of the few journalists to do his job properly over the course of the dirty politics scandal has been Guyon Espiner. He has, without in any way breaching his duty of impartiality, seen it as his responsibility on Morning Report to put questions to, and demand answers of, the Prime Minister – and, when […]

John Key On Trial

Written By: - Date published: 4:35 pm, September 15th, 2014 - 26 comments

The latest instalment in the saga of John Key’s struggle to maintain his image as someone above suspicion has produced the amazing spectacle of a Prime Minister in free fall. Faced with the threatened revelation that he has been – not just economical with, but contemptuous of – the truth as to whether or not […]

No One’s Fault But Ours

Written By: - Date published: 5:45 pm, September 9th, 2014 - 66 comments

Nothing so clearly demonstrates John Key’s contempt for the New Zealand voter as his confidence that we will believe whatever he tells us. He has had ample experience to back up that confidence. The course taken by the dirty politics saga is perhaps the most obvious case in point. If the polls are to be […]

Why Is John Key Not Compelled to Give Evidence Under Oath?

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, September 1st, 2014 - 75 comments

I have today sent an open letter to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to ask why Mr Key is not required to attend her inquiry and to give evidence under oath.  The letter is attached.

Whose Resignation?

Written By: - Date published: 3:52 pm, August 30th, 2014 - 115 comments

“There can surely be no more important issue than the fitness to govern of some of these pretending to office. What could be more serious than the abuse of power – its use, not to serve the interests of the country, but to discredit and destroy, in an unfair, vicious and underhand way, those whom the government sees as its opponents?”

We Are Asking the Wrong Question

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, August 23rd, 2014 - 63 comments

The Prime Minister has so far managed, by the skin of his teeth, to avoid censure by claiming that he was not personally involved in the disreputable behaviour about the SIS OIA that has come to light. But he has been able to do so because we have been asking the wrong question.

John Key – The End Game

Written By: - Date published: 3:33 pm, August 21st, 2014 - 149 comments

It is one of the wonders of the modern world that the democracy that past generations fought and died for is regarded as of little consequence by those who currently enjoy its benefits. While many parts of the world are still struggling – and suffering – under forms of government that fall short of the […]

The real John Key?

Written By: - Date published: 10:49 am, August 20th, 2014 - 28 comments

Swearing is not often a major factor in the political debate. Yet John Key’s alleged use of the “f-word” seems to have assumed considerable significance in the run-up to election day in the light of the Slater debarcle. National has a lot invested in John Key’s nice guy facade.

Government Inquiries – Not Throwing Light But Closing Down Debate

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, July 23rd, 2014 - 8 comments

As a young MP in the British House of Commons in the late 1970s, I rapidly became aware that half the political stories in Fleet Street originated with the Press Association’s indefatigable political correspondent, Chris Moncrieff. I was regularly button-holed by Chris as I crossed the Members’ Lobby and asked to comment on the latest […]

Growing Inequality Can Be Seen As Clever Politics

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, July 21st, 2014 - 160 comments

Voter turnout has been falling steadily across the western world in recent decades, and not least in New Zealand. We have a proud record of high turnouts in general elections, but even here, we dipped below 80% in 2008 and fell further to a post-war low of 74.21% in 2011. The problem is even more […]

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