A character reputation being put to the test

Is someone who does not pay a fair share of tax a person of “good character”?

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) OK-ed tax-haven law firm Mossack Fonseca clients Rafael and Federico Grozovsky (also convicted of serious pollution in Argentina) to buy land in Taranaki.

John Key and his personal lawyer think that harbouring trusts here through which foreigners escape tax at home is good for us. It earns millions of dollars.

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Is there really still an A in Anzac here?

Jihadis shout “Allah Akbar” (God is Great) when killing. “To the glory of God” are the first words on the 1964 dedication plaque on the National War Memorial in Wellington.

Often a god is a companion in war.

The wilful slaughter of innocents is not the same as defence of the homeland. But not too far back in Christian history aggressors invoked their Christian God as an aide-de-camp in battle. Victory vindicated righteousness.

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Advance Australia Fair?

Introductory comments by Colin James, Wanaka Aspiring Conversations, 24 April 2016.

Tomorrow is the centennial Anzac Day, the day when we first paused in our daily lives to grieve the killing at Gallipoli and find meaning. (Worse was to come in France and Belgium.) We were on that day in 1916 two dominions linked in battle for our empire.

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Deep social change’s reform challenge to Labour

It’s been an international week: Helen Clark going for the top United Nations (UN) job; rich skunks exposed shuffling money to hidey-holes like New Zealand to avoid tax.

Both invite talk of reform: for global governance; and to secure social and political stability.

First the UN.

Anyone meeting the shy, serious young Clark four and a-half decades back would have needed deep insight and/or an expansive imagination to project her trajectory.

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The opportunity and risk in collaboration

The sea crept back up the political beach last week, a reminder of a tidal change under way.

That tide might come in faster than previously thought.

A new research paper in Nature last week suggested the melting of the massive West Antarctic ice sheet, which most scientists do think is under way and which alone is calculated to raise sea level by up to 4 metres (maybe much more), might be much faster than previously assumed.

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Flag-flunk over, now (perhaps) real stuff for kids

Two losses in a week for a man who made a fortune winning: to Bradley Ambrose, the photographer he trashed in the 2014 election campaign; and no new flag.

John Key’s concession that Ambrose did not “behave improperly” in recording (by accident, Ambrose insisted) Key’s stagey chat with John Banks and that he (Key) had harmed Ambrose “personally and professionally” was a humiliating climbdown.

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Little and Labour have much work to do

Andrew Little could do some work on his dance steps. He has been tripping.

He parlayed himself into outright opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership when he could have stuck to asserting a right, regardless, to tighten land sales.

He may thereby have won Labour some notice among those fearful of TPP. But that was offset by disunity when Phil Goff, Trade Minister when TPP was mooted, broke ranks (with former leader David Shearer).

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Are English and Wheeler drifting out of date?

Is Bill English drifting out of date? Is Graeme Wheeler? Do the 1980s just not work in the 2010s? Ask around.

Wheeler will pronounce again on Thursday on the official (interest) cash rate (OCR). His problem: prices are rising too slowly.

Inflation targeting was brought into monetary policy to stop prices rising too fast. Now the global worry in the monkish chambers of central bankers and economic oracles is that prices are not rising fast enough.

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