Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mike Butler: No-vote and Maori seats relevance



Preliminary results of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election are unsurprising with Labour candidate Meka Whaitiri taking nearly double the votes of the runner-up in a poll on a sunny day marked by low voter turnout. The big Maori no-vote could be seen as a message that the sun is setting on separate Maori seats.

Reuben Chapple: Immigration Concretes


Current immigration debate refers to immigrants in general as if they were abstract people in an abstract world. But concrete differences between immigrants from different countries allow us to make a fair stab at determining whether their coming here is good or bad for New Zealand.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Karl du Fresne: The ubiquitous idiot Dad - a television stereotype


Anyone who watches much television is familiar with that stereotypical character, the idiot Dad. It’s hard to pinpoint his exact origins, but the chief suspect would have to be Archie Bunker from All in the Family.

Think back for a moment. Prior to AITF, television fathers were generally presented sympathetically.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mike Butler: Extra time for constitution scrap



You now have to the end of next month to tell the Constitutional Review Panel whether you agree/disagree/ don’t care whether New Zealand entrenches a system of government that could split the country into “Maori” and “the rest”. The panel this week extended the closing day for submissions, from July 1 to July 31.

Phil McDermott: Just Another Stake in the Sand - Planning, Demographics, and Uncertainty


Another million or another myth?

The Mayor, Len Brown, reiterated the Council view that Auckland is facing an increase of around one million people over the next 30 years, and that planning for this level of growth is the prudent thing to do.  I cannot be so sure. 
The Mayor is pretty bullish about growth, though.  He even claimed that “our actual rate of population growth has been well above the highest projection” since 1999. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ron Smith: Syria and President Obama - why intervene now?



Sometimes international developments, and the political decisions that lie behind them, are hard to explain.  On the other hand, there are occasions when there seem to be too many plausible explanations, and that can be a worry as well!  This latter seems to be the case with the recent announcement from the Obama Whitehouse that America will now supply ‘military assistance’ to the Syrian opposition.  So, given the widely acknowledged ‘war weariness’ of the US population, why has this decision been taken, and why now?  The civil war in Syria has been going on for more than two years, and with much of the character that it now displays, so what explain the decision?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rob Paterson: Constitutional Change in New Zealand


Introduction: New Zealand is reviewing its constitution but the panel set up to do this review is comprised, not of constitutional experts or representatives of a fair cross-section of the people of New Zealand, but an appreciable number of Maori studies academics, some with strident anti-colonialist views. Discreet and separate Maori and non-Maori consultation is a feature of this review. It is the second constitutional review in seven years and is being undertaken in the absence of a constitutional crisis. The review is being driven at the behest of the Maori Party, a political party that captured just 1.4 percent of the party vote in the 2011 general election.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Michael Coote: Submission on the Auckland Unitary Plan


May 2013
Draft Auckland Unitary Plan Feedback from an Auckland Ratepayer and Resident

To whom it may concern,

I write concerning the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan (“D-AUP”) as it relates to policy concerning Maori and Mana Whenua [The people of the land who have mana or customary authority – their historical, cultural and genealogical heritage are attached to the land and sea].

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mike Butler: Treaty try-on forces farmer to sell



Allan Titford did not know what he had stepped into when he bought land 40km north of Dargaville that he intended to farm and subdivide. That was nearly 27 years ago. Within seven years, he was one of several farmers forced off their land as a result of trumped-up treaty claim and a farcical Waitangi Tribunal inquiry.

The Te Roroa claim is not the only “grievance” that started out as an opportunistic try-on that gained a kind of standing by repeated petitions to parliament.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ron Smith: Security and trust

I have regularly argued (or sometimes simply assumed) that it is reasonable to accept some degree of state intrusion into the private dealings of its citizens, in the interests of national or individual security (see, for instance, ‘Spying and the public interest’, November 2011).  Of course, I also accept that it is permissible to spy on individuals who may not be citizens but who may represent a threat to those who are.  Indeed, quite recently, I have criticised US security authorities for failing to be sufficiently proactive in the matter of the Boston bombers (‘Loosers’, April, this year).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mike Butler: Tuhoe deal just? You decide



Were Tuhoe innocent victims of crafty colonisers or did their 19th century leaders make a series of bad choices that exposed their people to the sharp edge of the British Empire? This article compares some Office of Treaty Settlements rhetoric that alleges “Crown behaviour made a harmonious relationship with Tuhoe impossible” with historical fact.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lindsay Mitchell: Getting to grips with 'child poverty'



A recently-released Ministerial Committee on Poverty report  contains information familiar to me but presented in new and revealing ways. For instance, the chart below shows that of the 270,000 children deemed to be living  'in poverty' (i.e. in households below 60 percent of the median equivalised after housing costs) more than half are not experiencing hardship. That's because income is arguably less important than outgoings, or budgetary prioritising:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mike Butler: Young Maori wooed for eighth seat



The Maori roll is more appealing to new voters, according to an Electoral Commission progress report, while the number of seasoned Maori voters moving to the Maori roll is roughly the same as those who leave it. The progress reports are part of the 2013 Maori Electoral Option which enables Maori voters to choose whether they want to be on the general or Maori rolls.

Frank Newman: Insurance shake-up


The Canterbury earthquakes are having huge consequences. Not only are the lives of residents in the area directly affected, but it is causing seismic changes to the insurance industry and that affects every property owner in New Zealand. You need to be aware of those changes – your house may depend upon it. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ron Smith: Terrorism, propaganda and war

Terrorism has long been described as ‘the propaganda of the deed’;  I noted this last August (‘Terrorism, Murder and Madness’).  It is a description that comes from Nineteenth Century Russian theorists of political violence, who were persistently intent on bringing down the Czarist regime.  Since then, it has provided a potent method of getting the message across for a wide range of activist groups, down to the present time, and there is every reason to think that it will continue into the indefinite future. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reuben Chapple: All ideas have a pedigree


Dr Elizabeth Rata’s recent article (“Democracy and Diversity”) makes some excellent points about why equality in citizenship and one law for all must always trump identity politics in the public square. However, she seems to have skated somewhat lightly over how it is that “liberals of both the Left and the Right embraced biculturalism with such religious-like commitment.” All ideas have a pedigree.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Karl du Fresne: Who's Norman trying to kid?


Russel Norman’s speech to the annual conference of the Greens, in which he compared John Key with Robert Muldoon, rated a 10 for desperation and a zero for credibility. I’m no cheerleader for Key, but even to mention him in the same breath as Muldoon is laughable. Norman arrived in New Zealand from Australia in 1997, and on the basis of his speech I would guess that’s about as far back as his knowledge of our political history extends.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mike Butler: De-knighting treaty sugar daddy



While Prime Minister John Key is agonising over whether former National Cabinet Minister Sir Douglas Graham should be stripped of his knighthood, here are a few aspects of the beleaguered knight’s record on treaty settlements, often quoted as his saving grace. Graham, who went down in the 2008 collapse of the Lombard finance company along with Bill Jeffries, Lawrence Bryant, and Michael Reeves, had appeals against their sentences for their roles in the failure rejected on Thursday, and were told that their sentences were “manifestly inadequate”.