Recent Posts

I am a Really Useful Engine

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Speaker by Rebecca Gray
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A couple of weekends ago, we were getting ready to go try out the new section of Te Araroa tramping track between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. Very nice views, I recommend it, though probably not on a really windy day.…

Geoffrey Palmer has decided to write a constitution

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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Last year, the Law Foundation made a $10,000 research grant to former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer to write about a New Zealand Constitution. But, after more than one recent government investigation ended in only recommendations to keep discussion alive,…

Three Dreams

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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I have three dreams. One is characteristic, one is recurring and one is singular. The characteristic one is simple in concept: it's me and my friends going places and doing things. In the last one I can recall, there was…

Mike's minute: Mike's maths!

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset. For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is…

This. Is. Crazy.

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing. We now…

The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship

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Access by Hilary Stace
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The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,…

The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website of…

Friday Music: Iggy at the Royal Albert Hall and all

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Wonderful, said the Financial Times. We'll never see his like again, said The Independent. Triumphant, said the Telegraph.  Primal, priapic and peerless, said some clever-clogs at The Guardian. Happily, the Daily Mail appears not to have sent a reviewer. But…

Confessions of an Uber Driver II: How we doing?

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Speaker by Ben Wilson
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So you're back for another ride? Liked the service last time? Or maybe the price? Used your promo code to get $20 off your first ride and realized you could have gone all the way to the airport on it?…

Decrypting “social investment”

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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It looks like next week’s budget will feature a lot of talk about the social sector. There’s whispers of big budget boosts in health and education, as well there might be with per-person health spending falling in real terms over…

Crowded houses

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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In the course of a searching interview with Guyon Espiner this morning, Social Housing minister Paula Bennett sought to emphasise how much the  goverment is spending on housing support: two billion annually in subsidies for social housing and accommodation supplements…

Media Take: Heavy topics

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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We take on a weighty trio of topics on Media Take tonight: family violence, the mooted Fairfax-NZME merger and its likely impact, and reporting about climate change. Our guests on the domestic violence panel are Jeremy Eparaima and Kyle Macdonald.…

Breaking the Silence

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Cracker by Damian Christie
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Last night I was invited to moderate a panel for the launch of Shaun Hendy’s new book, ‘Silencing Science’.  Shaun is a scientist, a science communicator and Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the…

Friday Music: Got Knox?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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You may recall a project launched a while ago to compile the illustrative work of Chris Knox into a definitive, high-quality book. It didn't hit a fairly ambitious crowdfunding target, but the plan hasn't gone away and Beatnik Publishing's Chris…

A simple strategy for Trump to win the Presidency

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Speaker by Kirk Serpes
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As things stand right now, Trump would lose hands down by a landslide to Hillary, mostly likely taking the Republican Party with him.  People hate Hillary but they hate him a lot lot more.  Not just white-American liberals, a lot…

An update of changes to suicide-reporting law (updated)

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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Parliament looks set to have its last substantive debate on the Coroners Amendment Bill this evening, with the committee stage on the Coroners Amendment Bill listed as the fourth item in the order paper (although, depending on how things go…

Tribute - Dr Chris Ward

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Capture by Philip Wilkie
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PAS Regular Chris Ward sadly died last year of cancer. Earlier this year we received an email from his friend Philip, with a beautifully written eulogy to Chris. We thought it would be good to post a collection of Chris'…

Forgetting what we didn't know

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The Panama Papers have been a "big, fat, flop" which has "told us nothing new" writes Duncan Garner in a column today. This might come as news to the former Prime Minister of Iceland, who vacated his post last month…

What Sorry Looks Like

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Up Front by Emma Hart
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I feel like I’ve been swimming in a sea of Domestic Violence the last couple of days, since that terrible Tony Veitch piece came out. I’ve seen so many people – lefties, women, feminists – saying, well, he’s sorry, and it was…

Is being a tax haven worth it?

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Polity by Rob Salmond
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With the latest revelations about Mossack Fonseca, we’ve learned this morning about New Zealand’s increasingly prominent role in the global tax avoidance racket. We have accounting firms that charge $3,000 a year to fill in a one page form on…

Friday Music: Good News

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Many years ago, a man came to the place I had been cast, and he saved me. That sounds more exciting than "In 1983 Murray Cammick travelled to Timaru, where I was working in the branch office of the Christchurch…

The Meltdown

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Access by Russell Brown
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As you might expect, I don't closely follow the singing career of Susan Boyle, so I'm a little late to the news that last month she suffered two traumatic incidents, at Derry and Heathrow airports respectively.  My immediate thought was…

UNGASS 2016: No one believes in your consensus any more

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last night's Media Take features my report from the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem: UNGASS 2016. It raises the question of whether the ultimate victory of this UNGASS lies in its failure. The "outcome document"…

Talking past each other: Ideological silos and research

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Speaker by Rebecca Gray
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Last week I went to two evening launch events that had some subject matter in common.  The New Zealand Initiative hosted a panel debate relating to its new report, The Health of the State, which sets out to examine the…

A weekend in a mad, lovely place

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The plan had been for a quiet weekend. Watch a little sport, make a little chicken stock, see off the jet lag. I held to that right up until about 9pm on Friday, when I thought I should go and…