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”

Find a post for Helen Clark, by all means – but in London rather than Washington

David Farrar last week posted an item on Kiwiblog headed “Jacinda should appoint Helen Ambassador to the US.”

He noted that Helen Clark once ran New Zealand.  She then went on to run the UN Development Programme.

“Now her main activity seems to be picking fights with Eden Park.

“She’s obviously bored and needs a job. To spare us the daily headlines about what Helen has tweeted on any issue, I propose Jacinda gives her a decent job to keep her busy.

“Why not Ambassador to the US? They are huge on hierarchy so nothing works better than a former PM. She gets to be called Prime Minister Clark for her duration there”.

Here at Point of Order, we don’t think Foreign Minister Winston Peters would agree with Farrar on this.  Continue reading “Find a post for Helen Clark, by all means – but in London rather than Washington”

Brexit: it’s time to put up or …. ?

LONDON CORRESPONDENT:  So the UK cabinet resignations duly came and the EU duly rejected Theresa’s May’s latest Brexit plan.

What next? Those who really want to forget the whole thing think it’s time for another referendum (although it’s not obvious what the question(s) might be).  But given the EU’s implacable stance, it looks like the UK needs to prepare for, and show willingness to implement, hard Brexit.

Paradoxically, that gives it the best chance of achieving a satisfactory deal. In effect, UK leaders are coming to terms with their participation in a gigantic game of chicken.

Not least because the media are making good running with lurid end-of-the-UK stories. The truly silly ones can be handled briskly:  hospitals will run out of medicines (we have plans, says the NHS) or dairy products may become luxuries (because the UK for some unexplained reason will impose even higher tariffs than the EU does). Continue reading “Brexit: it’s time to put up or …. ?”

Well-being index may show we have little to bleat about – except productivity, perhaps

The  government  is reported to be  planning  a   “world-first well-being”  budget  in  2019.   It  won’t  be  some “light, fluffy happiness index”, but  will be based, says  Finance  Minister Grant  Robertson, on  indicators  and measures of well-being   which  can be tracked.

It  sounds a  great  idea.  The  government   sees it  as  running in tandem  with the current  measurement of  GDP growth,  which according to Robertson is a  good, long-run  measure of  economic  activity.  But he reckons GDP  doesn’t represent  what  New  Zealanders  regard as  success. He believes  success should be measured  not just through  financial  capital  (by  GDP), but through natural  capital, human capital  and  social  capital.

The government’s enthusiasm   for   tracking  “well-being”  is  apparently  matched in the departments tasked with undertaking the  research,  particularly  Treasury  and  Statistics.  Continue reading “Well-being index may show we have little to bleat about – except productivity, perhaps”

Nurses won lots of sympathy – but who says tax collectors are invaluable?

A press release from the PSA at 9:32 am  which advised IR and MBIE workers on strike TODAY.

WHEN: Today, Monday 23 July, 1pm – 3pm

WHERE: Various locations around New Zealand (see below)

WHAT: 4000 PSA members from IR and MBIE take strike action

The statement advised that PSA members at Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment “will reluctantly hold a second day of strike action today”. Continue reading “Nurses won lots of sympathy – but who says tax collectors are invaluable?”