The international commentariat may be forgiven for believing new PM Chris Hipkins has relaunched the government rather well.
First a clever pivot to the centre and now a compassionate and inclusive focus on disaster recovery.
Giving credence to rumours that the key strategic brains agreed and executed a skilful change of direction rather well.
Continue reading “Not as simple as it looks” →
More direction on economic reform does not necessarily make things clearer on the political side.
We’ve just had the remarkable saga of Germany’s Chancellor Scholz doing his best to stop Ukraine getting a timely supply of German-built Leopard tanks.
Even his Green party foreign minister was moved to remind him that “We are fighting a war against Russia” (diplomats have since been at some pains to explain that this does not mean that Germany is a formal party to the conflict).
Continue reading “Political lessons from Ukraine: Part 2” →
One of the more important things to happen during the Ukraine war has gone largely unnoticed.
The Ukrainian government has announced that “half of Ukraine’s business regulatory procedures will be cancelled”.
Obviously, one hopes they get the right 50%.
Continue reading “Economic lessons from Ukraine: Part 1” →
Pity the poor Brits. They just can’t catch a break.
After years of reporting of lying Boris Johnson, a change to a less colourful PM in Rishi Sunak has resulted in a smooth media pivot to an end-of-empire narrative. The New York Times, no less, amplifies suggestions that Blighty will soon fall behind Poland or even – get your atlas ready – Slovenia. So dire is the situation we are told that even a reversal of Brexit may not be enough to save a once-proud nation.
Continue reading “Is Britain doomed (again)?” →
The resignation of Jacinda Ardern has already made more global headlines than you might expect for that of the PM of a small commonwealth nation like say Sierra Leone (population 6.5 million) or Singapore (population 5.5 million).
But international observers might not be too surprised by Ardern’s announcement that she has not got enough carbon-based fuel in the tank. That’s been evident for some time and being PM is a ferociously tough job.
Continue reading “PM makes NZ a world leader” →
The politics of reality have made for a strange year.
In Germany, an improbable rainbow coalition burnt lots of coal so it could close its nuclear power stations. Americans decided an unpopular Biden was marginally less problematic than Trump. Vladimir Putin overestimated his attractiveness and underestimated Ukraine’s. The Brits fell out of love with their Brexit government. And China’s Xi is finding it hard to get out of unstable lockdown and into stable growth.
Incumbents are unpopular all over the show – even New Zealand now. But that doesn’t always mean oppositions are doing much better.
Continue reading “You really can’t have it all” →
For people who sought to escape from the glare of unwelcome publicity, Harry and Meghan Windsor show no signs of going away.
Their latest business venture – an eponymous blockbuster Netflix docudrama – may or may not prove a success but there is no question that it’s on a grand scale.
Continue reading “Princess in fairy tale but happy ending unlikely” →
As the Kremlin’s spokesman tells us – somewhat improbably – that regime change was never Vladimir Putin’s goal, the debate on whether Russia and Ukraine should be negotiating gets another bounce.
Depressing – but necessary – to bear in mind that a settlement will rest more on power than on justice.
Some other lessons from the conflict also seem to be getting neglected.
Continue reading “Ukraine: what’s to negotiate?” →
In fact, they are acutely focused on what job they might be able to get after the next general election, due in 2024.
Prospects looked worse after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his mini-budget on Thursday. His programme: rolling tax increases for the next six years. And because tax thresholds are not being raised in line with rising prices and wages, persistent inflation (which also seems more likely) will make it more painful.
Have a smidgen of sympathy for the poor multi-millionaire. Under the current bipartisan rules of the game, there is no alternative if the growth in debt is to be curbed. Those who produce the most, must give the most.
Continue reading “Who says Britain’s Conservative MPs are not future oriented? “ →
America’s Democrats sighed with relief after Tuesday’s mid-term elections, even though they look likely to narrowly lose control of the House of Representatives, and perhaps even the Senate.
Because notwithstanding high levels of voter dissatisfaction, the widely-anticipated Republican wave petered out.
We should be impressed with the ability of diverse voters and voting regimes over a sprawling continent to deliver such finely nuanced results (including decisive victories for Trump Republican rivals such as Brian Kemp in Georgia and Ron DeSantis in Florida).
Continue reading “US elections: when in doubt, do nothing” →