Police Association off target with call to arm Police

Arming our Police will lead to more crime, more violence, and more killings – by criminals, and potentially even by police. The Police Commissioner is correct in pointing out that the Police Association’s recent call to arm all officers is not backed up by evidence, and could indeed be counter-productive. Statistics show assaults on Police […]

Continue reading


The OIA Abuse

Yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted that his government withholds Official Information Act (OIA) requests for longer than necessary when it suits his government politically to do so. This is not allowed under the Official Information Act. The OIA is an integral part of our democratic system.  It was designed to increase participation of New Zealanders […]

Continue reading


Biggest increases in wages go to the wealthiest blokes

Today’s business section of the NZ Herald features a two-page spread by Christopher Adams with the results of their survey of the country’s 50 top chief executives. Their research is based on the 2013 annual reports of companies and state-owned enterprises and it shows that their average income was $1.4 million, having risen by an […]

Continue reading


Charities as advocates makes for better democracy

Greenpeace is to be congratulated for defending our democracy with their marathon effort in defining the meaning of “charitable purpose” through the New Zealand courts. Last week’s decision from the Supreme Court says that political advocacy – in Greenpeaces’ case for peace and disarmament – can be seen as a primary activity for public good […]

Continue reading


The agony of Gaza – What price the right of self-defence?

As I write, the conflict in Gaza has seen yet another ceasefire deal squandered, with more death and destruction. Israel has repeatedly claimed its right to self-defence as justification for ‘Operation Protective Edge’. That claim is supported by leading Western powers, including the US, EU and UK. In my speech on the Gaza motion in […]

Continue reading


Israeli Ground Invasion an Aggressive Action

My comment a week ago on the Israel-Gaza situation occasioned considerable comment, supportive and critical.  No surprise; on such an important and sensitive issue, personal opinions run deep, including mine. Comments in support take the long view – advocate a political re-alignment that reduces the US role as biased mediator; strengthen in various ways the […]

Continue reading


Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe The latest round of violence in the Israel-Palestine saga reinforces a few timeless truths. They are: attempts at mutual slaughter achieve nothing but mutual slaughter; persisting with a politically-biased external mediator returns nothing but frustration; and an unreformed United Nations wringing its hands on the […]

Continue reading


Double win for Greens in economics this week

National has finally relented to years of Green Party pressure to put the Government’s banking contract to competitive tender. This banking contract – the largest, most lucrative banking contract in the country – has been held by Australian-owned Westpac Bank since 1989 and has never been retendered since then. In 2010, we disclosed this cosy […]

Continue reading


Public interest on UN bid says – ‘Show us the money, John’

Under the John Key Government, New Zealand has recast its reputational integrity, losing traditional hues of national colour to which the Prime Minister is congenitally blind. This current Government has practised, to an art form, the statement of principles to govern the pursuit of stated objectives, in eloquent words of surpassing meaninglessness, whilst proceeding under […]

Continue reading


The Pope, Prayers, and the Middle East

True to his developing reputation as an original and courageous leader, Pope Francis has led the Israeli and Palestinians in prayer together. http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/10133858/Pope-brings-Middle-East-leaders-together It is probable that no other individual on Earth right now could bring that off. If ping-pong diplomacy could cut the ice in US-China relations in the 20th century, then maybe prayer […]

Continue reading


Is Key misrepresenting us over Five-Eyes?

Over the weekend, American investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill was interviewed on TV3’s ‘The Nation’ programme. Jeremy Scahill is the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and the author of the international bestseller ‘Blackwater’. His latest book, ‘Dirty Wars’, raises questions about America’s war on terror, including the use of drones. In the […]

Continue reading


The right to Internet access

The Internet has changed our world. It is now a major part of how people access information, express themselves, engage in financial transactions, and participate in the democratic process. UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue “…believes that the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the […]

Continue reading


Inequality in New Zealand is getting worse

Alarmingly, despite the growing disparity, New Zealanders display a hardening attitude towards those in need. The graph published in yesterday’s NZ Herald accompanying the article about the visit by authors of The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, showed that only 50.1% of our people think the government should take some responsibility to reduce the income gap. We come last in the OECD countries for supporting government intervention.

Continue reading


Earth’s climate … and the matter of the human spirit

There is something surreal to the climate epic that is beginning to define the fate of the planet – and the human species with it. This was portrayed last week in the muted diplomatic exchanges that echoed along the corridors in Yokohama, marking the adoption of the IPCC’s Working Group II’s 5th Assessment Report on […]

Continue reading


Crimea: judicial settlement v. political contestation – no contest

The Crimea crisis continues to unfold.  It is perhaps the clearest example of a Cold War-style confrontation since the US invasion of the Bay of Pigs – except the roles are reversed. In 1961 the US felt strategically on the back-foot vis-à-vis the USSR.  In 2014 Russia feels on the back-foot vis-à-vis the US. Little […]

Continue reading