LATER THIS WEEK, the recommendations of the Tax Working Group will become public. It is highly likely that a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) of some description will be near the top of the Working Group’s “To Do” list. How should Labour handle this extremely hot potato? The tax which all the experts tell us we have to have has much to recommend it theoretically, but, in the bluntest of practical political terms, it could very easily destroy this government.Read More →
David Clark does not appear to have a metric for moral force. The calculation of our health system’s ethical obligations seems beyond him. How, when all is said and done, does one measure a family’s sorrow, or calculate a young doctor’s dedication?
What is the market-price of kindness?Read More →
ONE OFFICIAL ERRUPTION of imperialistic bile in 72 hours could be dismissed as coincidence; two looks like a plan. The first spewed from the mouth of Gavin Williamson, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of Defence, on Monday (11/2/19). The second came today (13/2/19) from Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of the newly minted United States Indo-Pacific Command. Williamson was delivering a speech to the Royal United Services Club. Davidson was testifying before the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee. The principal target of both men was the Peoples Republic of China.Read More →
POLITICAL COMMENTATORS tell us a great deal about themselves when they turn their gaze away from home, and towards events unfolding overseas. Domestic politics inevitably presents a rather muddied picture. There is so much happening: so many players – all with competing agendas – that achieving clarity is extremely difficult. With events overseas, however, there is much less in the way of clutter. The issues seem so clear, and the players so compelling, that the temptation to apply only the brightest primary colours to one’s analytical canvas is very hard to resist. Muted palettes are best reserved for the politics of one’s own homeland.
The commentary currently being offered up to New Zealand readers on the crisis playing-out in Venezuela strongly confirms these observations. And nowhere is the tendency to apply the brightest colours with the broadest brushstrokes more in evidence than in the commentaries of Liam Hehir.Read More →
MUST READ: Harrowing Statistics – The Left’s Supposed To Shrink The Social Hell Of Joblessness – Not Expand It.
THE RISE in the unemployment rate, from 3.9 to 4.3 percent, may not sound like a lot – but it is. Not only because it represents a further 10,000 New Zealanders officially without work, but also because it’s the sort of news no genuine progressive government ever wants to hear. If progressive government is about anything, then it’s first and foremost about constantly expanding the number of citizens in good jobs with good pay. Any progressive government confronted with a steadily rising tide of joblessness should expect to drown.Read More →
VENEZUELA DESERVES DEMOCRACY, but that is not what Venezuela is going to get. What it will get – as the whole world is currently witnessing – is a brutal assault on its people by the world’s most powerful nation. Venezuela is being threatened with economic strangulation, civil war and, should these stratagems prove ineffective in dislodging the government of President Nicolas Maduro, a full-scale military invasion led by the United States itself.Read More →
How different is today’s Green caucus from the “magnificent seven” Green MPs who entered the House of Representatives so triumphantly in 1999. The New Zealand establishment recognised those Greens for what they were: enemies of the status-quo and certainly not the sort of people this country’s capitalists (not even those in the Labour Party!) felt the least bit comfortable about doing business with. Red-Greens they were called: a label which MPs Sue Bradford and Keith Locke wore with pride. Today, to be branded a Red is simply embarrassing: proof only of outdated thinking.Read More →
THAT RICH, OLD, WHITE PEOPLE dominate decision-making in New Zealand hardly qualifies as news. Having taken barely a quarter-of-a-century to dispossess its indigenous Maori inhabitants; rich, old, white people set about creating a society and an economy in their own image. In terms of whose views count, the New Zealand of today differs only marginally from the New Zealand of 150 years ago. Why, then, was RNZ moved to produce “White Noise”?Read More →
Union rivalries should not be allowed to obscure the very real threat posed to the New Zealand trade union movement by the DHBs’ divide-and-rule strategy. If Powell and her CNS negotiating team are beaten, and the RDA sustains a massive industrial defeat, then employers in other sectors of the economy will not be slow to follow the DHBs’ lead.Read More →
AN “AFFRONT TO DEMOCRACY”, was the State Services Commissioner’s characterisation of the state bureaucracy’s decision to spy on political activists. Few would disagree. That multiple state agencies felt entitled to contract-out the gathering of political intelligence to the privately owned and operated Thompson & Clark Investigations Ltd reveals a widespread antidemocratic disdain for citizens’ rights within the New Zealand public service. The alarming revelations of the State Services’ inquiry raise two very important questions: How did this disdain for democratic norms become so entrenched? And what, if anything, can Jacinda Ardern’s government do to eradicate it?Read More →
THE BEST MEASURE of a nation’s maturity is its willingness to submit its biggest challenges to the audit of art. For all their political boorishness, the Aussies can boast a much more favourable auditor’s report than we can. I can’t remember the last time this country committed significant resources to a dramatic examination of its domestic and international political relationships.Read More →
THE LATEST “State of Our Communities” report from the Salvation Army exposes a worrying fragility in New Zealand’s social relationships. Behind the happy multicultural façade so beloved of politicians and bureaucrats, racial animosities fester and tensions between competing ethnic communities multiply.Read More →
It is the privilege of artists to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable. Which is exactly what so many of them are doing in response to the deepening crisis of anthropogenic global warming.Read More →
KATOWICE, SILESIA. Polish humour, yes? To stage a critical conference on Climate Change in the heart of Poland’s coalfields just has to be a joke. Right?Read More →
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? The people who decided it would be a good idea to take Santa out of the Nelson Santa Parade?Read More →
HOW MANY YEARS has it been, I asked myself, since I climbed these stairs? That the little Wellington café was still in business after more than 40 years struck me as a miracle. And where better to meet the man who could still remember the events of 40 years ago – not least because he was there, in the thick of them?Read More →