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Large caucuses can be devilishly dangerous as National showed

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, October 25th, 2020 - 11 comments

A post mortem of the 2017-2020 parliament shows that far from being the “opposition from hell” as they had threatened, National’s caucus was as ineffective as Donald Trump dealing to Covid 19. It is a salutary lesson for the new Labour caucus which has won 64 seats in the new parliament. There may be many backbench MPs who are underemployed.

Will consensus building paralyse Ardern?

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, October 21st, 2020 - 33 comments

Jacinda Ardern aims to bet both ways on our future – transforming Aotearoa to rid us of inequality and poverty, and building consensus. She has won a mandate with her historic, landslide victory but can she do both? My question is whether Labour are willing to do that because of her desire to maintain consensus and not rock the waka.

Will Jacinda Ardern meet her promise to transform?

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, September 4th, 2020 - 62 comments

Neoliberalism has run its course and displayed its profound inability to address inequality issues. It makes the poor get ever poorer while the affluent top 10% ticks of society get bloated and increasingly insufferable on untaxed capital gains. In 2017 Jacinda Ardern set a goal of bringing all children out of poverty within six years. So how is that going? And what are the next steps?

Aotearoa’s free-market waste experiment dumped

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, August 1st, 2020 - 13 comments

Environment Minister Eugenie Sage this week announced the beginning of the end of Aotearoa’s unfortunate experiment with free-market waste management that has trashed our environment. It may be just a baby step, but moving away from a failed free-market approach seems a good first step.

Depression looms as rapidly as Covid spreads

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, April 7th, 2020 - 93 comments

New Zealand, like many other nations, is hurtling towards economic depression faster than Covid-19 spreads. “We are going to have a depression”. “This is like an asteroid hit the global economy”. “We can print our way of this”. Reflections on what lies ahead by Simon Louisson, Bernard Hickey and others.

New book reveals Le Carré’s bleak view of post-Brexit world 

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, January 3rd, 2020 - 5 comments

John le Carré’s 26th book, Agent Running in the Field, which, according to the publishers is his take on Brexit, and suggests a dystopian future for European liberal democracies in a post-Brexit world. It follows John le Carré’s overarching theme – with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Wellington mayor-elect flip-flops on sale of Wellington Airport

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, October 30th, 2019 - 26 comments

One of the first acts of Wellington mayor-elect, Andy Foster has been to reverse his stance on the council’s 34% holding in Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL). Whether he can get his plan to sell the airport stake past a once hostile public or a leftist-dominated council also seems about as likely as his desire to bulldoze through another tunnel through Mt Vic.

Tough, swift leadership needed to police social media

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 am, April 10th, 2019 - 73 comments

The government has been rightly lauded for swiftly acting to ban assault weapons after the Christchurch massacre, but is its failure to decisively call social media giants to order just as weak and unacceptable as the failure to act on Aramoana massacre back in 1990?

We need more than capital gains tax to address inequality

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, March 25th, 2019 - 46 comments

The most important comment in the Tax Working Group’s Final Report is that even the reasonably comprehensive capital gains tax proposed is likely to have only a minor impact on addressing inequality — what is needed is a more progressive income tax system that lifts the top marginal tax rate 

Power pricing not just a rip-off, it’s immoral

Written By: - Date published: 3:23 pm, March 22nd, 2019 - 43 comments

Submissions for the final report on the Electricity Price Review closed today at noon. My recent experience with Genesis Energy reveals pricing by power company majors not only rips customers off, but is immoral. The initial report of the EPR is unlikely to address this issue.

Banning Rambo weapons not a knee-jerk

Written By: - Date published: 5:35 am, March 21st, 2019 - 185 comments

Passing stringent gun controls is far from a knee-jerk reaction to the Christchurch massacre – our politicians of all stripes have procrastinated over this ever since the 1990 Aramoana massacre. We already have the 13 recommendations of the 2017 Law & Order committee that were rejected. Let us at the very least now accept those.

Too many jobs being created

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, November 7th, 2018 - 14 comments

The latest unemployment data showing the jobless rate falling to under 4% follows the equally bad 1.0% economic growth in the September quarter and a budget surplus of $5.5b, confirming the economy is going down like Donald Trump, as predicted by the ANZ Bank’s business confidence survey

Ross saga quiescent, but donations scandal needs addressing

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, October 25th, 2018 - 21 comments

The Jami-Lee Ross scandal may have quietened down but issues raised by his explosive tape recording of Simon Bridges still need addressing. Does the $100k Zhang Yikun donation suggest we are going down the US track and, if so, what needs to be done about that

No smoking gun but plenty of sunlight from Bridges tape

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, October 18th, 2018 - 207 comments

Maybe not a smoking gun, Jami-Lee Ross’s tape recording of Simon Bridges sheds plenty of sunlight on the influence that money can buy within the National Party, casual racism endemic within National, the manipulation of ethnic communities and, most importantly, insights into the wielding of “soft power” by China.

Ross resigns, to lay corrupt practices complaint against Bridges with police

Written By: - Date published: 12:41 pm, October 16th, 2018 - 171 comments

Jamie-Lee Ross will seek to win a by-election as an independent. Says that Simon Bridges is corrupt and unlikeable and that he could prove it.  Refutes Simon Bridges claim against him of harassment of women. Said the by-election would be a referendum on Bridges’ leadership. Updated: Simon Bridges responds – what he doesn’t say is more interesting

 

Wellington bus debacle deeply damaging to Govt’s transport policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, September 24th, 2018 - 66 comments

Wellington has been the poster city for public transport in Aotearoa, but the debacle of introducing the hated hub system to Wellington’s bus system not only threatens that status but has wide implications for the success of government’s policy of favouring public transport over cars. Intervention is needed.

Tax Working Group report depressing reading

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 pm, September 21st, 2018 - 66 comments

The Tax Working Group says the gaping holes in our tax system make it unfair and undermine its integrity, but the prospect of the electorate embracing even its limited recommendations on taxing capital gains make for depressing contemplation.

GDP figures expose business confidence survey nonsense

Written By: - Date published: 1:29 pm, September 20th, 2018 - 99 comments

ANZ Bank’s Outlook business confidence survey has been forecasting gloom and doom for the economy ever since the surprise election result turfed out the National Party. Today’s GDP data showed the economy has actually been pumping along faster than the Reserve Bank believes is good for it.

What does it take for bosses not to get their bonus?

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, September 13th, 2018 - 17 comments

Why is it that all risk lies with the shareholders? Why does poor performance by a company not result in CEO and top management bonuses being clawed back?

Cullen says 2020 election effectively a referendum on tax

Written By: - Date published: 1:20 pm, March 7th, 2018 - 32 comments

Don’t hold your breath for recommendations of radical tax reform from the Tax Working Group. Chair Sir Michael Cullen says the 2020 election will be a referendum on tax and he is already kicking for touch

Fletcher Chair resigns but directors retain huge fees despite staggering loss

Written By: - Date published: 4:34 pm, February 14th, 2018 - 123 comments

Fletcher announces more huge losses but directors still laughing all the way to the bank

Fonterra a failure in concept and in practice

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 pm, February 9th, 2018 - 109 comments

New Zealanders 17 years ago accepted the idea of a national dairy monopoly on the condition it would deliver outstanding returns. The cost has been high — filthy and unswimmable rivers. Now it turns out the result has been a financial fiasco – the whole thing is literally bullshit, or more correctly, cowshit.

Ideological issues more than leadership are Nat’s problem

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, February 4th, 2018 - 108 comments

Changing National’s leadership will not help the conservatives regain power if they fail to address questions of why they lost the 2017 election. National may be the biggest single party but it is unlikely to stay that. And they have no remaining parliamentary partners.You can’t form a MMP government from that…

High Country selloff scandal laid bare

Written By: - Date published: 2:11 pm, January 21st, 2018 - 35 comments

A feature in yesterday’s Domion Post Weekend lays bare the extent of the scandalous selloff of huge tracts of our high country. The tenure review of the high country has been conducted since 1992 to  privatise some of the land and also bringing parts into the conservation estate. The process has been followed by both National and Labour governments.

It’s time to embrace nanny state

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, January 19th, 2018 - 22 comments

Rather than apologise, it’s time the Left and the new government embraced “nanny state” as a positive, just as the gay community claimed the previously pejorative term “queer”. A nanny state is clearly economically and socially more efficient. We should celebrate our nanny state and not apologise for it.

IMF: higher taxes for rich will cut inequality and won’t hurt growth

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, October 14th, 2017 - 104 comments

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it now favours higher taxes on the rich and has demolished the myth this might adversely affect economic growth. The authoritative Washington-based think tank in its influential half-yearly monitor also argued for taxes on capital, suggesting a wealth and/or land taxes should be considered, something that will make Gareth […]

Labour won’t regain power until it wins the tax debate

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, September 25th, 2017 - 178 comments

Labour didn’t deserve to win on Saturday because, firstly, because it failed to bring a fully-fleshed tax policy to voters, and, secondly, it never attempted to win the ideological battle over tax. To succeed at the next election, Labour must begin work today to frame this debate.

NZ fishery catch 2.7 times reported – new study says

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, May 16th, 2016 - 15 comments

“The findings also reveal how the Quota Management System, despite its intentions and international reputation, actually undermines sustainable fisheries management by inadvertently incentivising misreporting and dumping,” University of Auckland’s Dr Glenn Simmons said.

Competition lapdog a cert to approve newspaper monopoly

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, May 14th, 2016 - 43 comments

“The newspaper market is buggered anyway. I wouldn’t expect we will have any daily newspapers in ten year’s time,” says Brian Gaynor.

National Party President selling out?

Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, May 12th, 2016 - 14 comments

The $25 million deal prompted considerable curiosity because it involved an off-market purchase of shares from Sanford’s second biggest shareholder, Avalon Investment Trust, which is run by the family of Peter Goodfellow.

Silencing scientists integral to National’s anti-science DNA

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, May 11th, 2016 - 40 comments

“It’s gone too far. The spin and message control has got stronger. They are less willing to put scientists out there to talk to the public because of the inability to control the message” – Shaun Hendy.

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