Ignore simplistic outburst on beggars

Sir Bob Jones says beggars are a "disgrace to the human race."

OPINION: Further abusing those whose lives have often been long sequences of abuse and addiction is no answer.

Look at boost for arts

Wellington's regional subsidy for the arts is much lower than Auckland's, even on a per-capita basis, a new report says.

OPINION: There's no need for panic, but the sector does seem to have lost steam.

Scrapping electric trains shortsighted

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says he supports Kiwirail's decision to scrap electric trains from the North Island ...

OPINION: Considering the urgent need for action on climate change, can it really be wise to bet on diesel trains?

Sport and the liquor barons

Rugby league legend Graham Lowe

There is a strong case for banning liquor ads in sport. This is not wowserism or ivory-tower puritanism. It is a rational response to the dreadful harm caused by abuse of alcohol.

NZ in the age of Trump

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump argues with a reporter during a news conference.

President Obama's final speech reminds New Zealand that its relationship with the United States is about to become more difficult. Just how difficult, remains to be seen.

A shamefully harsh policy

More than half of the people who had their visas cancelled in Australia between 2014 and March, 2016, for having spent ...

OPINION: Everyone knows about Australia's aggressive trawl to find foreigners on its soil with a criminal history, so it can boot them out.

The widening gap

Gareth Morgan announced his new party's policy outside John Key's mansion in Parnell, Auckland.

Say something is "unfair" and a stiff argument will always follow.  And the most damaging form of unfairness is the double standard.

Dirty dairying

Dirty dairying

Dairy farmers hate the "dirty dairying" tag. They claim they are doing their best to clean up our rivers and lakes and that the critics are being unfair.

Waitangi and the PM's visit

PM Bill English is not heading to Waitangi this year.

OPINION: It is not acceptable to ask the country's leader to such an event and then ban him from speaking.

Should we ban books?

Copyright expired on Hitler's Mein Kampf and so it has been republished in Germany for the first time since the war.

Democracies don't like banning books. The proof of this is the recent decision in Germany to allow the publication of Hitler's  Mein Kampf for the first time since World War II. Hitler and his book are the enemies of democracy and everything it represents. Yet German democracy has finally allowed his voice now to be freely heard in its original tongue.

Deaths on the road

The road toll never stops.

The holiday road toll was shockingly high and the human cost was awful. All the 19 who died left grieving friends and family. Seven more died than in the same period last year.

The hard core smoker

The pregnant smoker is a hard problem for government policy.

The sight of a pregnant woman smoking is not only sad in itself. It is a poignant sign of the addictive power of tobacco, since everyone knows how dangerous smoking is to the unborn child. Nearly all mothers-to-be understand that  the habit is harmful. Yet some 15 per cent of Kiwi women still smoke during pregnancy.

Trump and Putin vs the USA

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump

Russian hackers tried to subvert the American election, and now outgoing president Obama has decided to do something about it. His sanctions against Putin's hackers come much later than they should have, but they are certainly justified. The hacking is an attack not just on American sovereignty but on American democracy itself.

Election year 2017

NZ First leader Winston Peters.

This year is election year, and two questions arise. Can the National-led Government pull off the almost-impossible by winning a fourth term? And will some form of Trumpism come to New Zealand?

The year of 'No'

2016 was the Year of Trump.

OPINION: This was a year of rejections - and dashes for the exit.

The force was with her

Carrie Fisher, who played the legendary movie character Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, has died at 60.

OPINION: Who lasts most vividly in the memory of the endless franchise launched by George Lucas? The princess, of course.

The PM should be a list MP

New prime minister Bill English.

OPINION: Bill English is the first list MP to become prime minister. This is a good thing and should become the norm in future.

Yes to a tourist tax

Tourists are already thought to pay about $2.8 billion in GST a year.

OPINION: It's not unfair - such taxes are a dime a dozen internationally.

Time for kindness - and relief

Christmas dinner is served at the Aro Valley Community Centre in 2011.

OPINION: Every place needs its great shared institutions.

Move Wellington's Chinese Garden

Wellington's proposed Chinese Garden would need to be closed at night - one complaint that opponents make about it.

OPINION: The garden would be a welcome addition to the city, but not on the waterfront.

Ferry without a propeller

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

A ferry which loses a propeller is like an airliner that sheds an engine. These are not only spectacular failures, they are a PR disaster. So it was with the notorious incident when KiwiRail's Aratere dropped its propeller near Tory Channel in  November 2013.

By-elections and popular choices

Labour MP David Shearer's retirement from Parliament has sparked the Mt Albert by-election

The Mt Albert by-election has caused an outburst of predictable blustering by the politicians. Prime Minister Bill English says National won't stand a candidate because it's focused on winning the 2017 general election. Labour's Annette King cries "chicken" and says National should call an early election.

English fails to refresh

Demoted cabinet minister Judith Collins.

Bill English's "refreshment" of Cabinet amounts to very little. Those who wanted real changes in personnel and policy will be disappointed. But English has clearly decided that his government will be much the same as John Key's and that this is his best hope for a fourth term.

Slavery in NZ

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

The stiff jail setnence for a man convicted of human trafficking is a welcome punishment for a horrible crime. Faroz Ali, 46, is the first person convicted of this offence in New Zealand, and will serve nine and a half years.

Brownlee should know better

Prime Minister Bill English and Earthquake Commission Minister Gerry Brownlee visit the Kaikoura Cheese shop. Brownlee ...

OPINION: He's got one of the hardest jobs but Gerry Brownlee should know by now how to treat people.

One woman is not enough

Farah Palmer, first woman director of NZ Rugby and a
Massey University professor.

NZ Rugby now has a woman board member for the first time in its 124-year-history. That's a good start, even if it comes absurdly late. It also shows how much further rugby has to go.

A promise to the poor.

Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft.

Bill English says the Government can do a better job of supporting "the most vulnerable." It can and it should. But exactly how does the new prime minister propose to do that?

Ageism is a waste of workers

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell.

Ageism makes no sense when the economy needs older workers. But still the prejudice persists, as Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell points out, even though it's both stupid  and destructive.

Wellington needs more houses

Grenada residents say a planned 150-house development for their suburb would be a "socially unacceptable" addition.

OPINION: Each project that is shouted down, or sneered at, is a blow to affordability.

A new-look Cabinet

Murray McCully is one of the Cabinet Ministers Bill English should sack.

Prime Minister-elect Bill English promises renewal of the National-led Government. One place he could start renewing things would be in Cabinet.

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