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KiwiRail aground while Government obfuscates

The problems at KiwiRail go further and deeper than the maintenance issue, which caused the inter-island ferry Aratere to run aground on Saturday. The company is also the subject of a damning report published last week about the way it runs its rail operations from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission. Meanwhile,...

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The new Beehive approach to the environment

A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called "Scrutiny" week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies...

Where the power really resides in Wellington

The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the...

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The end for the Air Force 757s

The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it...

Scrutiny week off to rocky start

Parliament's new "Scrutiny" process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to...

What China wants from NZ business

One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company's overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or...

Friendly but frank talks with China Premier

It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the...

The China puzzle

Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime...

The methane waka sinks

In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having...

Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration

A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing...

National breaks another health promise

National has broken another manifesto health promise, apparently to save only $550,000. It will now train an additional 25 med students next year rather than the 50 it promised. This comes on top of the delays caused by National’s coalition partners...

The next cuts will be the deepest

A slowing economy and, consequently, a lower tax take means we are looking at three years of economic austerity from the Government. That austerity will be the product of what will need to be more deep cuts to Government spending. That...

Can Willis beat the bank?

The success – or otherwise --- of today's Budget will depend as much as anything else on the views of one man, Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr. If the Bank concludes that the deficit track is either unconvincing or too...

Med school backdown the “right thing” says Seymour

One of National’s showpiece election promises appears to be in more trouble with Waikato University yesterday withdrawing its call for tenders to develop a new medical school. The move will delay any substantial increase in the number of doctors being...

Beijing troubleshooter’s surprise visit

The importance of New Zealand's relationship with China was surely demonstrated yesterday with the surprise arrival in the capital of top Chinese foreign policy...

Orr’s warning; two more years of austerity

Yesterday, the Reserve Bank confirmed there will be no free card for the economy to get out of jail during the current term of...

The Ambassador and Luxon – eye to eye

New Zealand's relationship with China is becoming harder to define, and with that comes a worry that a deteriorating political relationship could spill over...

It’s up to Willis now

Maybe the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister expected the worst, so they mounted a stout defence of the Budget tax cuts to their...
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Controversial proposal could threaten coalition

The University of Waikato has reworded an advertisement that begins the tender process for its new $300 million-plus medical school even though the Government...

Our slow regional councils

The Select Committee hearing submissions on the fast-track consenting legislation is starting to become a beat-up of regional councils. The inflexibility and slow workings of...

Labour’s chickens come home to roost

The Ardern Government's chickens came home to roost yesterday with the news that the country is short of natural gas. In 2018, Labour banned offshore...

Top OECD economist puts Willis between a rock and a hard...

The OECD’s chief economist yesterday laid it on the line for the new Government: bring the deficit under control or face higher Reserve Bank...

Willis on defence

The price of the foreign affairs "reset" is now becoming apparent, with Defence set to get a funding boost in the Budget. Finance Minister Nicola...

Peters’ real foreign policy threat is Helen Clark

Winston Peters’ much anticipated foreign policy speech last night was a work of two halves. Much of it was a standard “boilerplate” Foreign Ministry overview...