New Leader, Same Old?

We have a new Prime Minister – or do we? John Key may have been the front person for the National Party, but he was not driving policies. It is widely acknowledged Bill English did that, and he is the new Prime Minister. The question is, can Mr English sell his policies as effectively as Mr Key did for him? Continue reading

TPPA Protestors Not ‘Rent A Crowd’

The National government would have everyone believe that TPPA protesters are ill-informed, unemployed rabblerousers without anything better to do than make public spectacles of themselves. ‘Rent a crowd’, John Key calls them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. TPPA protesters are very likely the people serving you in shops and restaurants, cleaning your office, teaching your children, caring for you if you end up in hospital or residential care, giving you legal advice. TPPA protesters are a very large and diverse group from all walks of life. Continue reading

National Knows The Price of Everything And The Value Of Nothing

The National government are falling over themselves to entice rich businessmen to our country. The New Zealand Investment Attraction Strategy launched recently has as one of its main goals to “lift New Zealand’s pool of “smart capital” by convincing individual investors and entrepreneurs to live in the country.” Continue reading

Should the Left Take One for the Team in Northland?

According to recent polls, Winston Peters has an odds on chance to take Northland from National. Labour and Mana are sadly well off the pace, though both are fielding excellent candidates.

If New Zealand First were to win Northland, that would given them 12 MPs. National would go down to 59. Crunching the numbers, that means that all opposition parties apart from ACT combined would have 61 votes, to National and ACT’s 60. Continue reading

Here’s to a New Zealand Where Everyone is Able to Afford Shoes and a Raincoat for Their Kids

No disrespect to KidsCan, but the handing over of the 100,000th raincoat to a school child as they did on July 4th is not a cause for celebration. It is a tragedy. It should have been a national day of mourning.

It means that 100,000 children live in households where there is not enough money to buy such basic items as shoes and raincoats. Continue reading

Three Cheers for Tax and Spend!

Our Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce cries “tax and spend” like it’s a bad thing. But that makes no sense. What other option does a government have?

Tax is virtually the only source of income for our government and is used to pay for the things we all benefit from; the justice system, transport, education, health, social security, science and innovation, trade development, even Mr Joyce’s own salary and that of the departments he is responsible for. Personal taxes provide the largest portion of this income. Continue reading

Secrets, Lies, and Trade in Services Agreements

We thought the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement was bad. And then there was TISA. TISA is a world wide Trade in Service Agreement being negotiated in secret.

Even though New Zealand is one of the countries that has been part of negotiations, the first most people will have heard of TISA was via the Wikileaks release last week.

TISA once finalized will cover 68 per cent of world services. It seeks to expand access to foreign markets for private multi national service industries and ensure they receive national and most-favoured nation treatment. The aim is to open up services world wide by doing away with barriers such as: Continue reading

The App Economy; Can We Make it Work for Everyone?

The fastest growing companies are the ones in the tech/ecommerce industry. It has been described as the ‘app economy’. The app economy gives us great innovations – but it fuels economic inequality.

Ecommerce industries employ fewer people and they often eliminate existing jobs e.g self service checkouts at the supermarkets. But those at the forefront of these industries are rewarded with million or even billion dollar incomes. Thus concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Continue reading

Why Not Free Doctors Visits for All?

It is good to see the National government acknowledging the important role that GPs play in keeping us healthy with the announcement in the 2014 budget that it will provide free doctors visits and waive prescription charges for children under 13 years from July 2015. But why stop there? Why not free doctors visits and prescriptions for everyone? Continue reading

The TPP is like super glue: once we sign it we’re stuck with it

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) involves 11 countries, and if signed would affect all aspects of New Zealand life.

Like super glue, the TPP is binding for the indefinite future. We cannot get out of any part of it by voting out the government the way we usually do when we don’t like the direction the country is heading. Once we sign the TPP, we’re stuck with the TPP.

Yet “it is not in New Zealand’s best interests to confirm or comment on any issue that may be under negotiation,” according Trade Minister Tim Grosser. We simply have to trust the politicians and the corporate heads – yes that’s right corporate heads, all 600 of them – involved in the negotiations. Continue reading