Sick of hearing about dirty politics? Me, too. During the campaign I started to take note of allegations that came to light after publication of Nicky Hagers book of the same name, but stopped because I was running out of bandwidth.To name a few, major and minor: possible involvement by Judith Collins in efforts to undermine the head of the SFO, which may or may not have been what led to her resignation; manipulation of figures over gang involvement in crime; the PMs apparent pre-knowledge of a private advertisement in the Press that put the Government in a favourable light; the extraordinary revelations made in Auckland Town Hall by the worlds top three whistle-blowers, Glen Greenwald, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, about our involvement in mass surveillance, overshadowed of course by the Kim Dotcom debacle.Then we learned Solid Energy had kept from the Pike River families news that the mine had been assessed as safe to enter a year ago, which, given the amount of time and effort the PM and senior Cabinet ministers had put into the issue, had serious embarrassment implications for the Government.At the very least, all this shows there is something wrong at the heart of the administration. This is not the New Zealand way of doing things. At whatever level this behaviour is known about and sanctioned, its eradication needs to come from the top to have any chance of restoring our faith in our most important institutions.One reason a lot of voters discounted the dirty politics revelations was that they were too much to absorb. Just as we got our heads around one piece of blatant cynicism another popped up to take its place. It was easier to dismiss it on the grounds that “all politicians do it”. Anyone who believes that clearly has no idea just how odious “it” is in this case.All politicians do it a bit, but not this systematically, cynically and extensively. It is impossible to know that and not be appalled.And although it suits the Government for you to believe so, “everybody” has not always done it. Any evidence to the contrary would be most welcome.And following the election, what has the Government done to allay our fears about the sort of culture it is using to run the country? It has said: “Hey, look over there — a new flag.”The most appropriate design for a new flag would be a plain red one, to ensure that the warnings of recent weeks are not ignored.The end of the election campaign must not be the end of efforts to restore faith in the integrity within limits, of course — no one is expecting miracles of our leaders.Lets hope we will be able to look back on September 20 and see it as the end of the beginning.
This story comes with a warning: there are authorities who would much rather we were not writing this, let alone have you read it.It traverses areas they believe threaten “the maintenance of the law” in this country. It concerns a man they have gagged. You have probably heard of him, but you have never heard from him, and the state has deemed that as far as its concerned, thats the way it should be for the rest of his life.His name is Teina Pora.In November, his case will make history at the Privy Council, where his legal team, led by Jonathan Krebs and Ingrid Squire, will argue that he has been wrongly convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett. It is likely to be the last criminal case from New Zealand that the London-based court will hear.When permission for the appeal was granted in January, Justice Minister Judith Collins said the decision showed the system was working “very well”. Really?This is a system which saw Pora spend 21 years in prison. A system in which his case lay neglected without anyone making an effort to question its myriad flaws until four years ago when private investigator Tim McKinnel took it upon himself to start digging. Its a system McKinnel, Krebs and Squire have battled, often without funding, to get to the Privy Council. A system with a lattice of secrets and stone-walling that have made their task – and the medias – frustrating, to say the least. And a system which has deemed that Pora should be denied one of the most basic human rights – freedom of speech.
Some defining moments in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand
“New Zealand’s economy has been hailed as one of world’s top safe-haven economies in recent years after it emerged from Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, my research has found that many of today’s so-called safe-havens (such as Singapore) are experiencing economic bubbles that are strikingly similar to those that led to the financial crisis in the first place.
Though I will be writing a lengthy report about New Zealand’s economic bubble in the near future, I wanted to use this column to outline key points that are helpful for those who are looking for a concise explanation of this bubble.”
n August 2007, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index was beginning to decline, after being stuck at a plateau for most of the preceding year. In France, BNP Paribas was about to close two investment vehicles that were heavily exposed to the US housing market. And Northern Rock Bank was days away from the first British bank run in more than a century. The world was on the edge of the largest economic crisis in a generation. From the pages of Governance, here is a reading list on the crisis so far.