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”
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 …. ?”
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”
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?”
Preacher Bill Subritzky, whose “patients” claimed his prayers could heal cancer, brought a team of evangelists to Wellington a few years ago to pray for the sick.
Health authorities warned people to approach their healing claims with “extreme caution”. But fliers distributed to Wellington households contained testimonies from Subritzky’s followers telling of miraculous recoveries from cancer, kidney failure and arthritis.
“I had kidney failure and was instantly healed after Bill prayed for me,” one says.
Rather than disparage the faith healer, blogger David Farrar proposed Subritzky spend a month at Mary Potter Hospice praying to cure their cancers. Continue reading “Let’s not just make it an option – let’s give rongoā Māori a cancer trial”
A political row that has broken out in Britain could not happen here, thanks to our switch to the MMP electoral system.
The row is summed up in this Guardian headline: The cheating of Jo Swinson has exposed the UK parliament’s rotten core.
It involves a breach of a “pairing” arrangement – a longstanding practice in the House of Commons whereby the whips of the government and an opposition party agree to allow MPs from one side to miss a vote because of personal reasons or official business. The other party agrees to hold back one of their MPs from voting so the two absences cancel each other out.
Continue reading “Parliamentary “pairing” rules were scrapped in NZ when we adopted MMP”
Relations between Canberra and Wellington have had more than a touch of frost about them lately. That’s perhaps not surprising, after Justice Minister Andrew Little talked about Australia’s “venal politics” in a recent ABC programme and acting PM Winston Peters cited Australia for breaching the UN convention on the Rights of the Child, in relation to the case of a 17-year-old in an adult migrant detention centre awaiting deportation to NZ.
Earlier PM Jacinda Ardern had been critical of Australia’s policy towards those detained on Manus Island. When she met Australia’s PM Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney back in March she also raised the problems involved in Australia deporting New Zealanders who had committed crimes, particularly those with Australian families.
But Turnbull rebuffed her, telling her the policy was “fair and just” and “moral”. Continue reading “Why EQC’s Christchurch challenges might be more attractive than Canberra”
Kiwiblog’s David Farrar had no problem answering the question he posed in a headline on a recent post: So who is benefiting from the pork barrel fund?
He referenced a TVNZ 1 News report which said
… the Ngati Hine Forestry Trust will profit hugely from the taxpayer investment and critics argue that it’s not a good look.
The trust will be receiving $8 million from the government to plant trees and create 60 jobs for the people of Northland.
The trust’s website shows its acting chief executive and a trustee is Pita Paraone, recently retired NZ First MP. Continue reading “Northland is doing nicely, thank you, from project funding announced by Shane Jones”
Watch your BMI, London’s The Economist advised last week as it updated its Big Mac index—what it calls its lighthearted guide to currency valuation.
For NZ this has special meaning, because since January the NZ dollar has moved from being 17% to 23% undervalued, according to the BMI.
The Big Mac index, invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level, is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP).
Continue reading “Big Macs and BMI – getting the measure of our economic health”
While the trade wars triggered by Donald Trump raise fears of a rise in global protectionism, Japan and the European Union this week signed a wide-ranging free trade deal. It has important implications for NZ, which is also seeking to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU.
NZ farm lobbies could be concerned that their European counterparts have stolen a march in getting better access to the Japanese market than they do under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
But tariffs on European farm products, particularly beef and cheese, in fact will be removed slowly in Japan and will not reach zero for 15 years. Continue reading “EU-Japan trade deal is seen as a counter to Trumpist protectionism”