The old or the new? Responses (or not) to turmoil

On Friday a few score current and former MPs and partners will over dinner commemorate a signal political event: the election of the first Labour government.

This was at a time of unstable global politics, soon to generate a world war, and economic disequilibrium after a deep depression.

Friday’s celebration (coming soon before a shadow cabinet reshuffle) has been got up by Stuart Nash, great-grandson (by adoption) of Sir Walter Nash, 14 years Finance Minister and three years Prime Minister.

read more

Dead cats, fiscal transfers and climate (in)action

The short story last week was John Key’s teenlike lash-out under pressure over Malcolm Turnbull’s treatment of deportees. That reaction to pressure is becoming a pattern.

It is unbecoming to him and to the country, which, also teenlike, he calls Newzealn.

Rob Salmond, Labour’s resident political scientist and campaign numbers guy, mined the advice of Lynton Crosby (of Crosby/Textor) to London mayor Boris Johnson to suggest Key’s attack on Labour for “backing rapists” was to divert attention by throwing a “dead cat” on the table.

read more

Doing the logical money thing — for the well off

On Thursday Graeme Wheeler will nudge you again, not in words but by his positioning: if you have money to invest, buy a house.

In a major speech on October 14 Wheeler trailed another official cash rate (OCR) cut.

He also said, significantly, that monetary policy “can affect the level of distribution of income”. He did not specify how but conservative commentators have: towards the well-off.

read more

The workers’ flag is deepest red — and Green

It’s Labour Day next Monday. What’s the point nowadays?

Once there was tradition: organisation and regulation for decency and dignity for those who got their sustenance from work for others.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is in that tradition. It held its biennial conference last week.

It farewelled president Helen Kelly, gravely ill but still sparky on the last day of her eight years at the top: fearless and tenacious, a “complete pain in the arse” for opponents but always with a disarming smile, Labour leader Andrew Little said at the conference.

read more

The many dimensions of TPP

TPP has many dimensions. That complicates any attempt at a cost-benefit analysis.

One dimension is time. The costs and benefits will be different in 15 and 25 years from those on year 1 or 5. Some, particularly some opponents, focus on the near-term impact and some, particularly some supporters, focus on the long-term impact.

read more

Will Key “man up” on what counts for kids?

John Key told the Labour party to “man up” and back his Crosby/Textor flip-flop law change for an additional design on the flag referendum. Earlier this year he told Labour to “get some guts” and back his Iraq adventure.

But does Key “man up” under pressure?

Did he “man up” over his indiscreet comments to John Banks in the 2011 election campaign? Did he “man up” over unlawful spying on Kim Dotcom? Did he “man up” over his office employee’s conspiracy with Cameron Slater to slop dirt over his opponents?

read more