Author Archive

The Yellow Peril?

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 pm, November 15th, 2017 - 338 comments

What’s with the academic panic epidemic about China? Two in our media in the same week, referencing each other with vague warnings about the Chinese bogey. It’s not quite Lionel Terry in Haining Street again; more likely in my view a case of singing to someones else’s geopolitical tune. No prizes for guessing whose.

 

800th Anniversary of Charter of the Forest

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 pm, November 5th, 2017 - 21 comments

Issued alongside the Magna Carta on November 6, 1217, the Charter of the Forest is among the first ecological charters in history and among the first to assert the rights of ordinary people to the right to subsistence. 800 years old tomorrow.

Books but no beds

Written By: - Date published: 6:11 pm, October 18th, 2017 - 19 comments

Most viewed story on the Guardian website today: “New Zealand library cracks case of missing books.” Turns out some of Auckland’s 23,000 homeless were hiding bookmarked books in odd places so they wouldn’t lose their place. The library will now keep their books safe. Good on them. Finding homes for homeless must be a high priority for Aotearoa’s next government.

Passchendaele and Pyongyang

Written By: - Date published: 3:14 pm, October 12th, 2017 - 19 comments

The massive artillery barrage at Passchendaele was supposed to cut the German wire and make advance easy. All it did was churn up the mud though which so many doomed New Zealanders slogged and died. A monument to military incompetence and political disaster. These days they prefer bombs, which are equally deadly and equally futile. Its time we said no more.

Politics or Policy?

Written By: - Date published: 5:46 pm, October 9th, 2017 - 56 comments

Policy is everything, Winston Peters said today. This should not be a surprise. Before every election, he has refused to give any hint of Party support preference until after the vote. But he will have thought a lot about what he might want, as it has long been clear that his Party would decide the outcome. So what are his policies?

She’s got what it takes

Written By: - Date published: 12:23 am, September 17th, 2017 - 73 comments

Great read in London today – full page Guardian article headlined “I’ve got what it takes, says the charismatic Labour leader taking New Zealand by storm.” Send it far and wide.

 

Fire and Fury over North Korea

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, August 12th, 2017 - 60 comments

Donald Trump may not know it but Koreans certainly remember  the last time the United States unleashed fire and fury over North Korea. In the 1950s, B-29s used bombs and napalm to flatten every North Korean city. Gen Curtis Lemay boasted that the USAF killed off 20% of the population. That’s why this time they have nuclear weapons.

Politics in the Age of Populism

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 pm, July 6th, 2017 - 3 comments

Bryce Edwards, Stephanie Rodgers and Rob Egan. Connolly Hall, Guildford Street, Wellington, 5:30 pm Friday 7th July.Fabian society, all welcome.

New information on Glenda Hughes?

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 pm, June 28th, 2017 - 43 comments

On 20 June  after Melanie Read’s Newsroom interview Andrew Geddis blogged about possible obstruction of justice by a National Party Board member. That was based on new information in the Barclay case, and may be why the Police have since re-interviewed Glenys Dickson.

Follow the money

Written By: - Date published: 10:39 pm, June 22nd, 2017 - 49 comments

Bill English’s texted electorate chair Stuart Davie on 21st February 2016 saying Glenys Dickson was given an extra payout from the Leader’s fund “to avoid potential legal action.” It was the only source available for an extra payout for confidentiality. English said today no-one in February knew there was any issue of illegality. Then what legal action and why an extra payment?

Dirty Politics 2017 style

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, June 8th, 2017 - 27 comments

Latest polls and some anecdotal evidence from the doorstep are showing a move back to the Tories in Britain. If so it may in part be due to last-minute dark and dirty personally targeted Facebook advertising to voters in marginal seats. They cost so will need to be watched later on here.

Hager Hit & Run and NZ’s Asian wars

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 pm, June 5th, 2017 - 13 comments

Nicky Hager will talk about his book Hit and Run, and the issues it raises about New Zealand’s values and role in the world at 5:30pm on Wednesday 7th June at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington. The book is about important events and the incoherence of New Zealand fighting it’s longest ever war in Central Asia. This talk is particularly timely in view of this week’s visit of the American Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Scots git on Q+A

Written By: - Date published: 2:11 pm, March 27th, 2017 - 12 comments

I went to Q+A yesterday in search of political comment and was astonished to see John McTernan aka “Malcolm Tucker without the charm” given ten minutes to burble. McTernan promotes himself as a former political adviser to Blair and Gillard, but his last real job was chief of staff to Jim Murphy who led the Scottish Labour Party to oblivion in 2015.

Social investment meets the surveillance state

Written By: - Date published: 11:14 pm, March 4th, 2017 - 45 comments

First they came for the budgeting services. Now we know that every social service agency  has to provide clients’ private personal data to the Ministry of Social Development or get no funding. Apparently it’s  essential to Bill English’s much-touted and little understood “social investment” strategy, which is sounding more like something out of Orwell’s 1984. […]

Thanks Annette

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, March 3rd, 2017 - 9 comments

I well remember going to see new Minister of Employment Annette King in 1989 to ask for support for group apprenticeship in the motor industry. “Seems like a good idea, we’ll put up $50,000.” she said. I nearly fell off my chair. It was not the usual response from Ministers in those days, but is Annette King to a T – positive, decisive, and supportive.

Good ideas in Gisborne

Written By: - Date published: 1:28 pm, February 17th, 2017 - 97 comments

Andrew Little’s announcement yesterday in Gisborne of Labour’s pledge of up to $20million to build a prefabricated timber plant there is a much-needed boost to the area and a sign that Labour’s 100,000 new house pledge first made by David Shearer in 2012 has legs.

Key gives up on us, keeps International Democratic Union.

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 10th, 2017 - 33 comments

The Herald informs us that Key is going on the speaking circuit and will go back into finance (not that he ever left). Like John Howard before him, he also intends to carry on  chairing the International Democratic Union of right-wing parties. Not a surprise.

Prof John Quiggin – After Reform, What Comes Next?

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 pm, February 9th, 2017 - Comments Off on Prof John Quiggin – After Reform, What Comes Next?

University of Queensland Professor John Quiggin, author of Zombie Economics, will speak on this topic for the Fabian Society in Wellington on Monday 13th and Auckland Thursday 16th of this month. All welcome, details and registration inside. Will be interesting.

Peter Thiel’s Libertarian Dream – for New Zealand?

Written By: - Date published: 11:08 am, February 2nd, 2017 - 86 comments

From a Business Insider article in the OIA papers: Thiel is a long-term thinker, so what’s the big picture? What could the contrarian investor see in a country of 4 million people whose economy is based on agriculture and tourism? Maybe Peter Thiel wants to turn New Zealand into the next Silicon Valley. Or maybe even the libertarian utopia of his dreams.”

75th Anniversary Battle of Endau

Written By: - Date published: 4:24 pm, January 26th, 2017 - 9 comments

Today marks 75 years to the day since the suicidal Battle of Endau, when obsolete aircraft were sent to prevent the Japanese landing. Of the 72 aircrew from Nos. 36 and 100 Squadrons who participated in the raids, 27 were killed, seven were wounded and two were captured. My uncle was killed but Ron Reid survived the raid and captivity. He is interviewed by Dave Homewood of WONZ in  memory of the day.

2017: Political Year in Prospect

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 pm, January 25th, 2017 - 9 comments

Morgan Godfery, Mike Munro and Stephanie Rodgers will discuss this topic Thursday 26 January at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington at 5:30pm for the Fabian Society. All welcome – will be interesting.

Trump’s First Press Conference

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, January 12th, 2017 - 41 comments

You have to say he is not afraid to take on the heavy mob. A very direct attack on Big Pharma – a US version of Pharmac? A very direct attack on the armaments industry’s star program the F-35 fighter-bomber and its cost overruns. Then there is the intelligence community and the mainstream news media.  Read  the transcript for yourself.

Spy vs Spy

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 pm, January 9th, 2017 - 127 comments

It is MAD.  In the frenzy leading up to  Trump’s inauguration, we have the extraordinary spectacle of the CIA interfering in the US election by accusing the Russians of interfering in the same election. The CIA used only to interfere in other people’s elections. On the serious side this intervention means the war party hasn’t given up yet, no matter what Trump may say.

Of Leaks and Hacks

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, December 20th, 2016 - 24 comments

Maybe the Russians weren’t coming. Or we must believe that “KGB chief Vladimir Putin put Inspector Clouseau in charge of Russian security and left him to get on with it.” George Washington discusses the evidence. Fodder for the net-savvy

Denial in Politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:26 pm, December 17th, 2016 - 33 comments

There’s a lot of it around. The Democrats and their media and spook allies are in a complete lather over Putin’s supposed personal influence in the US election. Confident of victory and its spoils up till midday on election day, the Clinton team are incapable of assessing just what a debacle of a campaign they ran, still less what they need to do now. Lessons abound.

Cabinet reshuffle – Haere ra McCully?

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 pm, December 10th, 2016 - 31 comments

Bill English gets to name his own cabinet on Monday. It will be interesting to see what happens to McCully. In February McCully announced his intention to stand down in East Coast Bays and that he would seek a list place, but only if he remained as Minister of Foreign Affairs after the next election. It’s an ultimatum he may have cause to regret.

Three’s a crowd

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, December 7th, 2016 - 24 comments

The policy wonk, the ambitious change-maker, or the no-bullshit bullshitter – the contenders for National Party Prime Minister set out their stalls yesterday with John Campbell. Just like the Kaikoura quake, their pitches exposed some complex fault-lines. It’ll be a long week in politics.

Fabian Event – 5th Labour Government – 30 October Auckland 1pm

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, October 27th, 2016 - 4 comments

All are warmly invited to hear Sir Michael Cullen, Hon Margaret Wilson, Hon David Parker, Mike Williams, and Dot Kettle reflect on the experiences of Helen Clark-led three-term Labour government – its achievements and its legacy and discuss its lessons for the future. Sunday 30 October 1pm-5pm Owen Glenn Centre, Auckland University, Grafton Road. Please register here.

Fifth Labour Govt – Challenges and Lessons

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 pm, October 18th, 2016 - 7 comments

Michael Cullen and Margaret Wilson will speak at the Fabian Society Seminar “5th Labour Government – Lessons from a time of Challenges” at Owen Glenn Centre, Auckland University, Grafton Road on Sunday October 30 from 1-5pm. Mike Williams, Dot Kettle and David Parker will be on the panel. Everyone welcome to discuss and debate. Guaranteed to be interesting – details inside.

Out of the mouths of babes

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, September 29th, 2016 - 15 comments

Watch five-year old Brook Blair give it to Theresa May about homeless people. Got the right answers too. Brilliant!

“Itching Scratches” on Nine to Noon

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 pm, September 26th, 2016 - 61 comments

Matthew Hooton got carried away on Nine to Noon dissing Andrew Little’s views on political strategy and the centre ground that appeared to differ from Helen Clark’s. Stephen Mills piled in too on Jeremy Corbyn and the “missing millions.” All Little said was that he wants to connect with different groups of voters on issues important to them. Can’t argue with that.

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