A Surprise from Jim Bolger

Jim Bolger will have surprised a few people this week.  In an interview with Guyon Espiner of National Radio, the former National Prime Minister expressed the view that “neo-liberal” economic policies have failed, and that an important aspect of that failure has been that most of such new wealth as has been created has gone […]

When the Chief Banker Gets it Wrong

It is no surprise that a former Governor of the Reserve Bank should seek to defend the banking system from its critics.  It is less expected, however, that Don Brash should do so while displaying an apparently complete – and certainly shocking – ignorance of the subject.   In attempting to deny the accuracy of […]

The Truth about Brexit, As seen from New Zealand

It is very hard, at 12,000 miles distance, for Kiwis to get a good handle on the Brexit issue – particularly if their source of information is a newspaper like The Guardian, the self-appointed standard-bearer of the Remainers’ cause. You would be hard put to find a Guardian front page over recent months that did […]

Did SBW Get It Right?

It’s not every day that monetary policy dominates the news.  It is normally seen as a technical issue, very much within the realm of the Governor of the Reserve Bank, and – apart from the odd unexpected move in interest rates and therefore impacting on mortgage rates – of not much significance to anyone else. […]

What Lies Behind the Missile Attack in Syria?

Donald Trump would not be the first leader to try to revive his flagging fortunes by embarking on a foreign adventure.  The missile attack he authorised on a Syrian airfield comes after his Presidency has suffered a decidedly shaky opening few weeks. His term so far has seen one failure piled on another.  He has […]

Public Spending Cuts Hurt

Voters have been conditioned over recent years to applaud governments when they cut public expenditure – and they do so, not just as taxpayers, but because they have been persuaded that the government’s own finances should be treated as assuming a special importance. Individuals, families and businesses, and – even more importantly – the country […]

Public Services Matter

Public services are never far from the headlines.  Whether it is inadequate police numbers in Northland, or a shortage of social workers in Child, Youth and Family, or a possible failure of border bio-security that allowed PSA to decimate our kiwifruit industry, we are constantly reminded of the fact that effective public services are essential […]

The Lessons of Kaikohe

Humankind comes with many different characteristics, and it is sometimes informative to consider how those can be categorised.  Some people, for example, will be extroverts, others introverts, some romantics and others realists, some optimists, others pessimists. I have devised a test that I think can be used to make another – and, I think, important […]

Did Trump Really Want to Be President?

Cast your mind back to the moment when Donald Trump announced that he was running for President.  Like most people, no doubt, you were bemused, entertained and intrigued, but at that point his chances of actually reaching the White House would have been rated at zero. The possibility of a President Trump seemed very remote. […]

International Women’s Day

Last week – a week that included International Women’s Day – appropriately enough saw the role of women in our society making the headlines.  Sadly, those headlines highlighted again the way that women are treated in a male-dominated society – less a matter of celebration than of shame. First, we learned that the perennial and […]