Spies, education, finances, a star and a forecast

John Key pulled the election date forward. He said it was to avoid clashes with likely global leaders’ visits after the G20 meeting in Australia in November. But clouds were looming too. One was John Banks’ conviction, widely expected. By … Continue reading

An adept sermoniser on a pillar of good government

Who came down from the mountain last week carrying tablets of stone from which he read a fiscal sermon? Russel Norman. What’s going on here? Norman’s sermon was to John Key and Bill English. It abominated election lollies of the … Continue reading

The health pillar of good government

Whatever the result on September 20, John Key will start the next term with diminished personal authority. Our democracy’s health is also diminished. Key’s inch-by-inch retreat to the point where his imagined leftwing conspiracy turned into a rightwing one and … Continue reading

The foundation and a pillar of good government

Can you fit “Collins” and “justice” comfortably in the same sentence? Will John Key want to if he gets to form the cabinet after September 20? The Minister of Justice’s behaviour has been unbecoming of her portfolio and of a … Continue reading

The economy works for National — for now

In politics friends can sometimes be as big a risk as enemies. John Key’s chats with Cameron Slater/Whale Oil reflect two aspects of him which might in time gnaw at his popularity. One side is the cavalier. He got offside … Continue reading

Deaf ears and young people’s populism

Here’s a quote from last week: “We cannot arrest our way out of crime.” Some handwringing leftie? Actually, Anne Tolley, National party Minister of Police. Tolley was announcing, with John Key, new measures to deal with gangs, which she prefaced … Continue reading

The law, trust and predistributive justice

Comments to a lawyers in government conference First, some context. We are living through a turbulent decade. One element is the coming of age of a disruptive technology, digital technology, which is turning a hyperglobalised world into one that is … Continue reading

A medium-term tax issue and a three-way coalition

Currency and bond traders are short-termers. Three weeks is medium-term. The Key government is the short-term government. Policy wonks are medium-to-long-termers. Three to four years is medium-term. The English government is the medium-term government. For project managers the job is … Continue reading

Policymaking in a hyperglobalised world

Speech to a conference of the Industry Training Federation and Polytechnics, 31 July 2014 First, some context. We are living through a turbulent decade. One element is the coming of age of a disruptive technology, digital technology, which is turning … Continue reading

Finding the right door to catch a flight

Why must the Minister of Transport go through airport security? Do we seriously think he will storm the cockpit and knife the pilots? Will he blow the plane up? It’s a matter of form. First, as the boss of air … Continue reading