Author Archive

Brits aim assistance to the low income

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, March 30th, 2009 - 22 comments

The irony of this article struck me when this week the well-off get the biggest boost to their wallet. From the Guardian : The chancellor is preparing to channel cash to poorer families in his budget as part of a mini-fiscal stimulus to kick-start the economy and protect the vulnerable. Senior cabinet figures are backing […]

SSTimes Editorial: Clark’s UN job great for NZ but…

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, March 29th, 2009 - 35 comments

I haven’t spotted an on-line version of this yet (SStimes Editorial, 29 Mar 2009) but wanted to pull a couple of quotes out that made sense to me: Helen Clark’s new post is an achievement, both for her and New Zealand. She is the outstanding politician of her generation and this appointment recognises and rewards […]

Once upon a time there was an island

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 pm, March 16th, 2009 - 47 comments

Fancy a restful island holiday? If the Cateret Island was your chosen destination you might want to travel sooner rather than later according to CNN: There is one holiday destination that should shake the faith of even the most vehement climate change skeptic: the Carteret Islands, part of Papua New Guinea, located northeast of Bougainville… […]

Death knell for print media?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, March 16th, 2009 - 12 comments

A conversation that seems to be occuring more and more frequently is asking what’s the future of our newspapers? It’s a global question and is examined in some depth in this interesting article from The American which says: Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the […]

HerStory – what’s happened to the quality chic-flick?

Written By: - Date published: 5:07 pm, March 8th, 2009 - 4 comments

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a very interesting interview with Dr Diane Purkiss (audio here) on Nine to Noon. I missed the opportunity to post on her findings of the  “dumbing down” effect, but then I spotted the same discussion in this Sydney Morning Herald article. Rom-com heroines used to be witty […]

Beneath the headlines – complete sentences

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 pm, March 3rd, 2009 - 34 comments

The issue of parole has long been controversial. We’ve also seen one of the core underpinings of our justice system become a manipulated by its political opponents, regardless of what the policy arguments are. In this article from the Listener at the begining of the year we gain some insight into parole – and why […]

Tax cuts no help for those worse off

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 pm, February 24th, 2009 - 73 comments

According to RNZ: Official papers confirm low income families will be worse off under the National Government’s tax cut package, compared with Labour’s. Radio New Zealand‘s political editor says papers obtained under the Official Information Act, also show higher earners will be better off. From April 2011 a person with children earning $40,000 per year […]

Education lesson from UK

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, February 21st, 2009 - 59 comments

Last year we saw how unpopular National’s “national testing” policy was going to be. Now a major study in the UK is highly critical of what appears to be a similar policy. The Guardian says: Children’s lives are being impoverished by the government’s insistence that schools focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of […]

A sign of the times?

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, February 20th, 2009 - 5 comments

This item in the Brisbane Times caught my eye as to how the whole nature of campaigning is changing – and the mixed blessing of Facebook: A senior Liberal National Party staffer has been reprimanded over comments she made on a website attacking Premier Anna Bligh. Katherine Smith, a media adviser for LNP deputy leader […]

Love’s Labour’s lost

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, February 14th, 2009 - 14 comments

There were few Valentine’s Day sentiments for Labour in John Armstrong’s column today: It is difficult to put a finger on it, but something does not feel quite right about Labour’s approach to being in Opposition…Labour is exhibiting a self-righteousness which grates when placed against the backdrop of its rejection by voters…. We have yet […]

Marking time: Darwin to Lincoln

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, February 13th, 2009 - 19 comments

Today is the anniversary of two of histories great names – Darwin and Lincoln. Both men made significant (albeit different) contributions to our current understanding of the world. Simon Jenkins of the Guardian asks which was the greater? Was it the man who transformed our understanding of the human race, or the man who made […]

When less is less

Written By: - Date published: 5:25 pm, February 12th, 2009 - 45 comments

It appears National are trying to promote the “little and often” approach to economic planning – but commentators are appearing a little skeptical. Take John Armstrong: The $500 million worth of capital spending on doing up state houses, constructing new roads and bridges, building new classrooms and so forth sounds impressive but will directly create […]

Thoughts with our neigbours across the Tasman

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 pm, February 8th, 2009 - 10 comments

It doesn’t seem appropriate to write a detailed post on the horrific fires raging across in Australia. But at the same time I wanted to acknowledge the tragedy that is continuing to unfold. Keep strong, our thoughts are with you.

A musical interlude : Mary Poppins – a tale for our times

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 pm, February 2nd, 2009 - 6 comments

The stage has often been the realm where society holds itself up for examination and consideration, but who amongst us would have picked Mary Poppins as a tale for our times? According to Harold Evans of the Guardian “the tale of the twinkly-eyed nanny is suddenly topical – because the father is a banker suspicious […]

Walk the walk

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 pm, January 28th, 2009 - 8 comments

Parents around the country are counting down the days until school starts for the year – but for some the NZHerald had some alarming news, stating “cuts in government funding [from MSD]could force 24 after-school care programmes run by Kidicorp to close….The after-school School’s Out programmes run in Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay […]

Join the job queue – an Aussie perspective

Written By: - Date published: 6:28 pm, January 23rd, 2009 - 5 comments

Jobs, jobs, jobs seems to be the theme of the day. After reading that Microsoft has announced that 5,000 jobs are to go (the first mass layoffs in its 34-year history), and Sony signalling bigger than expected losses ahead ($US2.9 billion, the first in 14 years) this article from the Sydney Morning Herald seems to sum up the […]

Job losses in Aussie

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, January 23rd, 2009 - 17 comments

Across the Tasman Kevin Rudd’s plea for employers to save jobs has fallen on deaf ears, with some of Australia’s biggest companies (mining, retail and automotive sectors) announcing plans to axe jobs. BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest miner and Australia’s top profit earner, will lay off about 3300 Australian workers — 8 per cent of the total [BHP […]

Obama implements pay freeze for some aides

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, January 23rd, 2009 - Comments Off on Obama implements pay freeze for some aides

President Obama has announced his intention to institute a pay freeze on the salaries of senior White House aides earning over $US100,000.  He says “public service is a privilege, it’s not about advancing yourself”. I think it is significant that he has implemented this for those at the upper end of the payscale, rather than across […]

What lies around the corner?

Written By: - Date published: 4:44 pm, January 22nd, 2009 - 9 comments

Under the full warmth of the summer sun those clouds that keep gathering on the horizon seem to have  been quickly dismissed by many, with the hope that the new National-led government will sort it out. What are the signs of action so far? Not a lot of concrete ideas are to be found (as suggested here) but we gain […]

Xmas Eve whimsy: little yellow ducks

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, December 24th, 2008 - 2 comments

The Guardian informs us that: Sailors, fishermen and cruise passengers should be on the alert. If anybody spots a yellow rubber duck bobbing on the ocean waves, Nasa would like to know.The US space agency has yet to find any trace of 90 bathtub toys that were dropped through holes in Greenland’s ice three months […]

Impressions of the House

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 12 comments

First question time – the teams square off. Let the games commence. So what was the vibe? Well both sides kept getting their language muddled up (Minister/ member etc) as they tried to remember that they had shuffled around in their roles. So what of the performance? I start by making it clear this is […]

Enough already – no more tests please

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 15 comments

When I went to my first parent/teacher interview I was amazed at the breadth of markers against which my daughter’s performance was being evaluated. I admired the commitment of the teacher to such a level of engagement. I felt fully aware and informed of my daughter’s strengths, and the areas we needed to work on. […]

Rod Oram: The global crisis is real

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, December 15th, 2008 - 5 comments

As usual an insightful analysis from Rod Oram on the need for our political and business sector leaders to better come to grips with what the international economic situation means domestically. He says: Every sector of this economy has its own set of structural challenges forced on it by global conditions. Yet, we’re hearing nothing […]

Keith Rankin: Controversy over National’s Tax Cuts

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 5 comments

If you’re feeling lost in the discussion around National’s tax plans there’s handy analysis from Keith Rankin who point out: … persons earning between $14,000 and $24,000 will receive annual tax cuts of less than $100. They will receive nothing before 2011. This contrasts with Labour’s already legislated for tax cuts, from 2010, which target this group […]

Valuing children

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 21 comments

I know I won’t be alone in being disappointed in the results of the Unicef survey, which says that “New Zealand has an appalling child poverty rate, spends too little on early childhood services for which there is unequal access, and lags far behind other developed nations in parental leave provisions, according to a new […]

Tough law for tough times

Written By: - Date published: 5:18 pm, December 10th, 2008 - 2 comments

Against the backdrop of tough new employment laws there’re predictions that “35,000 jobs could be lost in the construction sector.” No wonder that there are reports that Kiwis are worried about losing their jobs! A quarter of workers are afraid of losing their jobs, while more than half the workforce is not expecting a pay rise […]

Hanging up on Barack

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, December 7th, 2008 - 2 comments

According to the BBC: US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen thought she was being hoaxed when a man who sounded a lot like Barack Obama called her – so she hung up on him. In fact, the man at the other end of the line was indeed President-elect Obama himself. It took two further phone-calls before Ms […]

The ethical considerations of Christmas trees

Written By: - Date published: 4:20 pm, December 7th, 2008 - 12 comments

Christmas is coming. We want to feel like we’re part of the sustainable, clean and green in action movement. So what sort of Christmas tree should be twinkling? Leo Hickman of the Guardian asks these questions and more: Aren’t they just a colossal waste of money? Can such a decadent waste of resources be justified in our […]

Attention turns to local government

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 pm, November 26th, 2008 - 24 comments

Seems the commentators are definately picking local government as one of the issues to watch in terms of how the new Nationaladministration handles MMP politics (and how the opposition parties handle it as well I guess). Gordon Campbell notes: Giving the local government portfolio to Rodney Hide creates some management challenges for John Key. Can […]

The Bard offers chance for new Minister

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 pm, November 15th, 2008 - 46 comments

This afternoon I read with a degree of surprise that Shakespeare’s days as standard classroom fare could be numbered: Shakespeare’s plays and other great works of literature considered too difficult for some pupils will disappear from classrooms under proposed changes to the curriculum, alarmed principals say. There are also fears that basic content in maths, […]

Crosby/Textor on repeat

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, November 15th, 2008 - 58 comments

The topic of Crosby Textor has emerged again with a story in the NZ Herald. While it is unsurprising to read that Crosby Textor is “drumming up business after last week’s election by offering insights into the new Government and its personalities” there’s another aspect I think also deserves examination. How and why is this […]

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Shifty Bill jumps the shark
    Bill English's claim today that it has never been established that Todd Barclay's recordings of his staff took place is bizarre and shows a complete lack of honesty and leadership, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  "Todd Barclay told Bill ...
    12 hours ago
  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    1 day ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    1 day ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    2 days ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    3 days ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 days ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 days ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    3 days ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    3 days ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    4 days ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    5 days ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    6 days ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    6 days ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    1 week ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Motel bill blows out as Nats fail to deliver emergency housing
    Minister Amy Adams has admitted at select committee that National has now spent $22m on putting homeless families in motels as it fails to deliver the emergency housing places it promised, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, how out of touch are you?
    What was going through Jonathan Coleman’s head in the Health Select Committee this morning when he claimed he was unaware that an estimated 533,000 people have missed out on a GP’s visit in the last 12 months due to cost, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Divided we fall
    I’m getting pretty sick of the politics of division in this country.  The latest example was yesterday’s comments from NZ First leader Winston Peters having a good go in the House at driving up fear and loathing towards people of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Electoral Amendment Bill to enhance democracy
    Democracy will be enhanced under Labour’s Private Member’s Bill which will have its First Reading today, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police underfunded despite rise in crime
    As crime continues to rise dairy owners are scared for their lives and communities reel under a record increase in burglary numbers, it has now been revealed that Police received less than three quarters of their bid in this year’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Road pricing years off, public transport investment needed now
    With road pricing still years away, Labour will step up with investment in public transport to ease Auckland’s congestion woes, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call to protect Easter Sunday in Auckland
    Auckland’s Labour MPs are backing the community to protect Easter Sunday by retaining current trading restrictions in the city, says Labour MPs Aupito William Sio and Michael Wood.  “The Government’s weak and confusing decision to delegate the decision over Easter ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.3 billion shortfall in health
    The funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.  “We used to have a health ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Catherine Delahunty: My Mataura River visit
    On June 1st the Greens swimmable rivers tour visited the Mataura river and communities connected to it. All we need now is a Government willing to set clear strong rules and support the new conversation about measuring our success by ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago