If Labour and the Greens were hoping their Budget Responsibility Rules (BRR) agreement would foster an unlikely alliance then hey… mission accomplished! Because it isn’t every day that Sue Bradford, the CTU and Matthew Hooton speak with one voice, as happened yesterday. Unfortunately though, it’s hard to see how the BRR agreement will work to the advantage of Labour and the Greens in the context of the 2017 election campaign. Read the rest of this entry »
By now, any lingering hopes among the left that Donald Trump might prove to be an anti-Establishment figure likely to lessen US militarism abroad and inequality at home have been well and truly shredded. Some of us never had any illusions on that score. Yet the virulent hatred felt by many on the left for Hillary Clinton fuelled a peculiar bromance with Trump, one that was based on ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ principle. Well, more often, they’re just another enemy.
Plainly, the Trump presidency is far worse than anything imaginable from a President Hillary Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »
Do yesterday’s election results in the Netherlands have any lessons for our own election campaign this year ? So far, the headline stories have been about (a) the failure of the populist ultra-right to make significant gains, partly because the ruling party successfully co-opted most of its anti-migrant messages during the run-up to election day and (b) the collapse of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), which plummeted from 38 to nine seats, as the centre-left vote streamed out to the Greens, and other “soft liberal’ options like D66. Overall, the left made no inroads whatsoever into the right-of-centre vote. Read the rest of this entry »
Tomorrow morning, the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) will appear at Parliament to make the case that an abortion law passed 40 years ago may now need to be reviewed and modernised, in the light of 21st century attitudes and practices. You’d think that this would be a no-brainer. Yet the same kind of social regressives who framed and passed the original 1977 abortion legislation – and they now include the current Prime Minister – are saying there’s no problem, move on.
Lets make it really simple for the MPs. The process of review and change could easily proceed in two separate stages. Step one: abortion could and should be de-criminalised via a simple parliamentary process whereby abortion is taken out of the Crimes Act, and put where it belongs – into the Health Act, as a medical procedure between women and their medical practitioners, at the very least. Arguably, given the availability of chemical options in the 21st century, it can and should be regarded as a choice for women alone. Either way, this is a medical procedure, not a crime. Read the rest of this entry »
Perception matters. If whistle blowers don’t feel protected if and when they relay their concerns to senior staff – let alone if they later feel impelled to go public to the media – then the formal protections on paper are worthless. The fact that three Transport Ministry workers were made redundant only two months after communicating their concerns about now convicted fraudster Joanne Harrison – in a restructure in which Harrison was allowed to play a role – should alarm anyone interested in the existence of an honest, transparent public service in this country. The Transport Ministry situation will have a chilling effect on whistle blowers generally. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, the government finally announced the age of eligibility for superannuation will rise in steps from 65 to 67 but… don’t worry, the process won’t begin to be phased in until 2037 and won’t finally be in place until 2041. Is there a pattern here? Reminds me of the promise that 90% of our rivers will be safely swimmable 80% of the time… but only by 2040. Not to mention the aim of making New Zealand predator free… by 2050. The goals of climate change policy have a similar tendency to vanish into the political never never.
In each case, the policy rollout has been about appearances rather than urgency, and driven more by National’s political need to guard its flank in an election year than by any genuine response to the country’s best interests. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, Labour leader Andrew Little chose to appoint Winston Peters – and not Greens’ leader James Shaw – to Parliament’s committee on the security and intelligence services, as replacement for Labour’s David Shearer. Little justified the decision on these grounds:
[Peters has] had ample experience of briefings from the intelligence and security committees.” said Mr Little. “He’ll now what their work is, how they operate. There’s only a few months left of this Parliament this committee can meet and I just judged that it was best to have that level of experience straight away,” Mr Little said.
Not surprisingly, Peters agreed with the proposition that his vast experience would be useful to the nation. Read the rest of this entry »
A penis conveys gravitas to any political career. Think of the stream of gaffes by Murray McCully. Think of the hyper-emotionalism of Nick Smith. If they were women, they would have been laughed out of Cabinet long ago, or would never made it there in the first place. How does Steven Joyce get away with a hectoring style deemed intolerable in a Judith Collins or a Helen Clark? Obvious answer: because boardrooms are a boys club, and the serious stuff of politics is believed to happen there. Read the rest of this entry »
Thank goodness for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The Court of Appeal has just ringingly found in favour of the pilots’ union over the safety issues raised by the Wellington runway extension.
Not only has the previous High Court ruling been overturned. The Director of Civil Aviation (CAA) has also been ordered told back to the drawing board to properly do the job of evaluating the size of the safety areas required for the extension, in full accord with New Zealand’s international obligations. The pilots union were also compensated by the Court of Appeal judges for their costs in bringing the court action.
Interestingly, the reasoning in the Court of Appeal decision almost exactly mirrored the detailed critique of the original High Court decision made in this Werewolf article last October. Read the rest of this entry »
Personality politics – Jacinda is great! Jacinda is not so great! – have dominated the coverage of the Labour Party’s fortunes this week, just as a different form of personality politics – Picking Willie Jackson/Greg O’Connor is a masterstroke! Picking Willie Jackson/Greg O’Connor is a suicidal move! –formed last week’s narrative. Early days yet in this election year, but the coverage of the Mt Albert by election hasn’t been long on the policy implications.
Still, this is a relatively new and welcome problem for the centre-left. Labour has seemed so bereft of crossover talent for so long that it seems almost embarrassed by this latest development. Now that it has got a Jacinda Arden – young, smart, compassionate, politically and media adept – what on earth does it do with her? Maybe, make her the deputy leader? Read the rest of this entry »