Democracy heading for a change of climate?

This is “democracy week”, Victoria University has declared. So how are we doing?

According to young people, not well in parliamentary politics, so it seems. At June 30 only 64% of estimated eligible 18-24-year-olds had bothered to enrol to vote, the Electoral Commission says.

For 25-29-year-olds the figure was 73%. Even for 30-34-year-olds it was 83%.

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A liberty lesson for a nation in a bubble

The chief guardian of freedom in the “land of the free” will give a speech tomorrow evening. But it will not be free. Welcome to today’s wobbly “western” world.

Decent, upstanding, even erudite and pillar-of-society non-terrorists will be subjected to the indignity of a security bag check and X-ray on their way in to an address by the august John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

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Boldness, caution, ironies and the future

Tomorrow, with the weekend’s mid-ranked parties’ conferences over, Labour will have another go at getting traction.

Grant Robertson will unveil Labour’s “alternative budget”. Will he map a path to the 2020s?

This is potentially an existential question for Labour which has not done the root-and-branch rebuild three defeats suggest was needed.

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Injecting “investment” into “social investment” (or not)

Expect to be assailed day-in-day-out in the election campaign with “social investment”. It reverberated through the National party’s conference. Ministers can’t get enough of the sound of it.

Even Steven Joyce, as hard-nosed a capitalist as you will find in the cabinet, spread “investment” through his commentary on the budget’s “social” bits.

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National: “Continuity and stability” into the 2020s

Here’s an imaginary bill Labour and National could usefully join forces to pass after the election: tighter gun laws to stop people shooting themselves in the foot.

Bill English’s metastasising response to new evidence of questionable behaviour by junior, soon-to-be-gone MP Todd Barclay gave his conference delegates at the weekend cause to get a bit “paranoid”, as he puts it, about the coming election.

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Some numbers to worry English but not just yet

Three months out from the election the numbers are going National’s way. But are they going the right way for the longer term? How numbers are used is critical to good government, new research says.

The big-number economy story is that gross domestic product (GDP) was still rolling along up to March and in this quarter, too, indicators say, even if not rollicking at last year’s pace.

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