No, Simon Bridges isn’t floundering – he’s buoyed by pitching for mainstream support

It’s  tough   going  for  National’s  Simon  Bridges,  judging  by  anything   you  might  read in  what   was  once the  mainstream   media.

From one  commentator   we  had   this  on July  23:   

National is bereft: bereft of ideas. Personality. Communicatiion skills. Anything really.”

A week later from the  same commentator:

The big ticket item was the announcement that National would be reducing class sizes. Great! More teachers is a fantastic idea. While there were no more details at least the idea is positive.It seems that National as a party is starting to think about things differently, the pro-choice protest, the medicinal marijuana bill, more teachers.”

 Then   there  is  the wily   veteran   Winston Peters  capturing  a  headline   with his    warning on The Nation that “the jackals” are coming for  National’s  Simon Bridges and    Paula Bennett and will take out the weakest first. Continue reading “No, Simon Bridges isn’t floundering – he’s buoyed by pitching for mainstream support”

UK’s Daily Mail urges Theresa May to listen to Kiwi trade expert

Brits who may be despairing at the lack of progress on Brexit, as Britain’s political class trade blows and the process becomes bogged down in politicking, have been told “there is a small corner of a government department that they can turn to for cheer”.

This is the office of New Zealand’s Crawford Falconer, Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser at the Department of International Trade, described by the Daily Mail as

“… a man of immense experience in such matters. And, in contrast to the doomsayers, his message about Brexit is one of almost unbounded optimism.”

Continue reading “UK’s Daily Mail urges Theresa May to listen to Kiwi trade expert”

How Trump has wrong-footed (for now) his trade-policy critics

LONDON CORRESPONDENT:  Donald Trump’s foes must lower their aim to bring down their target.  Extravagant criticism only helps him to look like a winner.

When Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports a bare two months ago, some serious people thought it presaged a breakdown in world trade, a new global depression or even worse.

The President’s latest demonstration of the art of the deal came in Washington last week when he struck a bargain with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission.  Continue reading “How Trump has wrong-footed (for now) his trade-policy critics”

Peters turns from maverick to statesman – and may further blossom beyond 2020

Winston Peters  heads   for  Singapore this week,  after completing  his  six-week term as  acting PM,  for  several  high-level meetings, including a vital one with  US Secretary of  State  Mike  Pompeo.

He came to the  prime  ministerial  role (even if it was no more than a fleeting moment in a political career spanning 44 years)  as  if  to the manner born.  He has kept  ministers across  three parties  in line and  run a  mature  and serious leadership,  at the same  time working hard in  his  own patch of foreign affairs.  Continue reading “Peters turns from maverick to statesman – and may further blossom beyond 2020”

Democracy – a farm leader says it could be dangerous and iwi leaders want it weakened

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, vowing that her country would continue to increase defence spending, develop its indigenous defense industry and work with like-minded partners to contribute to regional peace and security, further said:

“We can work together to ensure that future global security won’t be determined by military or economic might. Instead, it will be guided by the values of freedom and democracy.”   

But buying into this democracy stuff is a challenge for some New Zealand groups.  In Canterbury, a farm leader is concerned about the prospect of “dangerous” consequences from regional council elections.  In Hawke’s Bay, some iwi leaders would prefer to be governed locally by regional council commissioners appointed by authorities in Wellington who share power with them. Continue reading “Democracy – a farm leader says it could be dangerous and iwi leaders want it weakened”

Greens should turn shocking pink from deep embarrassment over waka-jumping position

Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will be deeply disappointed in the anti-democratic position taken (reluctantly” – ha!) by her party’s current bunch of Parliamentary incumbents.  They will be voting in support of the so-called waka-jumping bill.

As reported by Newshub, Fitzsimons said of the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill:

“You can’t legislate for integrity. Integrity is a question of judgement. It’s a question of conscience,” she said.

The bill’s singular aim is to prevent disgruntled MPs from exercising their freedom to join or create another party if they fall out with their own. Continue reading “Greens should turn shocking pink from deep embarrassment over waka-jumping position”

EU-US agreement on trade barriers is encouraging for NZ exporters

NZ  exporters   who have been tracking  the threat  of  global  trade  wars  triggered by President Donald Trump will have been  relieved  by the apparent  success of  EU-President  Jean-Claude  Juncker on his visit to the White House.

He won  agreement  from Trump to “work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods.

In  a  sense  this appears  to be a  victory for  Trump,  whose threats  to  raise tariffs  on  key  EU  exports, particularly cars,   sent tremors through European  industrial  heartlands including  the big  car manufacturing centres of Wolfsburg, Stuttgart and Munich.  Those threats forced the   EU  to  the negotiating  table. Continue reading “EU-US agreement on trade barriers is encouraging for NZ exporters”

Paisley’s political plight spotlights a recall process which NZ could adopt

The Electoral (Integrity) Bill, designed to prevent MPs from switching parties and one of Labour’s concessions to NZ First in the coalition talks, is being examined by a select committee which is due to report back to the House by July 30.

The bill amends the Electoral Act 1993

“ … to enhance public confidence in the integrity of the electoral system by upholding the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors”.

But it has been widely denounced.  This critique at The Spinoff, for example, said:

It demonstrates how far our political parties in Parliament have wandered away from us, the voters in the electorates. In a system where party loyalty reigns supreme, what is left of our representative democracy?”

Continue reading “Paisley’s political plight spotlights a recall process which NZ could adopt”

GDP growth forecasts – Finance Minister is not concerned by signs of slowdown

Politicians are apt to seize on the forecasts that suit their agenda rather than the forecasts that favour the case being promoted by their opponents.

We were by no means surprised, therefore, that National’s Amy Adams bandied GDP forecasts from Infometrics which predict growth of “roughly 2% per year between now and 2021“, which is “more than 1% lower than Treasury’s economic forecast“.

If this be so, she asked in Parliament yesterday, what effect would GDP growth 1% lower than Treasury forecasts have on future Government surpluses? A good question.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in reply it was not the rate of economic growth that would decide future Government surpluses… “it’s the priorities and spending decisions of Governments”.
Continue reading “GDP growth forecasts – Finance Minister is not concerned by signs of slowdown”

How future-proofing has extended a 16-minute Wellington bus journey to 45 minutes

Wellington citizens are re-discovering the joys of public transport, as the Greater Wellington Regional Council undertakes what it says is the first major change to the Wellington region’s public transport in 30 years.  A new bus contract, among other changes, “will future proof us for the next 30 years as commuter demand grows”, the council says.

The council promised

“ … to deliver a brand new network of services. The new network will give more people access to frequent services, will provide more weekend and later evening services for 15 suburbs and new services for 11 suburbs.

“More cross-city routes, e.g. from Johnsonville to Island Bay and from Karori to Seatoun, will mean fewer services will begin or end in the CBD, resulting in less bus congestion and quicker journey times”.

Continue reading “How future-proofing has extended a 16-minute Wellington bus journey to 45 minutes”