Monday, October 25, 2021
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Why Boris gave away so much to get the trade deal with NZ

New Zealand’s successful free trade deal with the United Kingdom appears to be a big win for the New Zealand negotiating team. That may be because the British were not going to go to the wall over access to a market of 5 million people (half the size of London)...

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When we went where Britain went – our long (and heroic) battle to retain access to the British market

This was first published on 27/06/2016 after the British voted in their referendum to leave the EU and is republished to mark the agreement last night of the New Zealand UK Free Trade Agreement "Both with gratitude for the past...

MIQ: help is on its way

The Government is on the brink of bringing forward some elements of the “Reconnecting New Zealand” plan it announced in August. Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday that he hoped to be able to announce details, probably next week. But...

Farewell to the “Quarter Acre, Pavlova Paradise”

The Government’s deal with National yesterday to ease planning restrictions on housing rests on a series of what are likely to be highly contestable...

Vaccine mandates by another name

The Government may not be prepared to go as far as "no jab, no job" mandatory vaccinations, but it is preparing to introduce the...

Can the complicated rooster crow again?

There is a revealing anecdote in Simon Bridges’ book, “National Identity”, about his time at the University of Auckland Law School. The school has been...

No MIQ space for expected Covid surge

The Government yesterday stopped even pretending that it could stamp Covid out. The Prime Minister had almost conceded as much on Monday when she said no one around the world had eliminated a delta outbreak. But yesterday, Ministers began preparing the...

Why James Shaw thinks the ETS fails

The Government has turned its back on 13 years of leaving tough economic decisions to markets and conceded that the Emissions Trading Scheme will not bring about the greenhouse gas emission reductions we need to meet our climate change...

Business getting frustrated

The big Covid question now is whether the Government will extend yesterday’s announcement of a vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, schools and early childhood centres to business. Businesses are caught in a legal tangle if they try to enforce “no...

Treasury on paying for covid: Increase taxes or cut spending

The choice will come, and it will be simple; raise taxes or cut spending or do a bit of both. Sooner or later, a future New Zealand Government will have to decide how to pay the bill for Covid. . That...

Covid strategy flakes as reality bites

The Government's Covid management strategy yesterday began its re-entry into reality, and bits seemed to flake off in the process. The Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency, Te Pou Matakana, is to seek an injunction in the Wellington High Court to try...

How white middle-class bureaucrats are holding up Maori vaccinations

The Covid story is rapidly becoming a Maori story as Maori dominate new cases, and vaccination rates among Maori lag well behind the overall population rate. But there are questions about whether white middle-class Wellington bureaucrats and politicians can really...

Ardern supporters turn on her

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was under fire from her own supporters last night after what they argued was a backdown over Covid restrictions in Auckland. Twitter was ablaze with criticism and much of it from her own side of politics. Neale...

Moving beyond elimination

It is time to move on beyond the elimination strategy. That was a consensus view yesterday among both Opposition politicians and some of the country’s most eminent epidemiologists and public health medical academics. The only difference is that the medical people...

The tough questions are starting

The whole focus of the Covid fight is now going to swing to reaching the 90 per cent vaccination target. Only then will borders be able to open, and lockdowns cease. Though 78 per cent of the country have had one...

Four weeks ago Collins fired him; now he’s leading National’s big...

National yesterday capitalised on the Tuesday night failure of 25,008 people to get Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) vouchers to get back to New Zealand before Christmas and unveiled its own border opening policy. Although National’s plan had a lack...

Shaw and the fragile international politics of climate change

Climate Change Minister James Shaw is heading off to the  COP26 conference in Glasgow, knowing that New Zealand has lost a considerable chunk of credibility on climate change. That must reduce his clout at the conference, which as always will...

Opening up the border (slowly)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the self-isolation trial announced yesterday for business people returning from overseas will likely become universal for all travellers in the first quarter of next year. But the trial appears to lack the urgency of a...

Key’s Covid comments challenge both Ardern and Collins

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key yesterday filled the vacuum which has been National’s indifferent response to the Covid crisis. Key's much-read "op-ed” on both the NZME and Stuff websites captured a growing frustration within the business community over the...

The PM picks a political number

The Government’s release yesterday of modelling to show likely Covid deaths at various vaccination rates may owe more to politics than pure mathematics. The release seemed designed to scare people into getting a vaccination. But in doing that, the Prime Minister...

The big vaccination question

Australian Tourism Minister, Dan Tehan, yesterday told the country’s National Press Club that he hopes fully vaccinated Australians returning from overseas will be able to quarantine at home before Christmas. He also said he hoped the quarantine period would be...

The trade offs ahead

The clear message from the Government now is that the Covid future entirely depends on the vaccination rate. And the trade-offs such as lock-downs that have to be made will depend on that rate. How difficult those can be was...

Government reviewing Covid strategies

The Government appears to be looking at adjusting its response to future delta outbreaks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suggested this at her Covid media conference yesterday. “We will take the opportunity over the course of the week to delve into a...

Ardern lays it on the line

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern laid it on the line yesterday and reminded the United States and Australia that New Zealand has an independent foreign policy. There is nothing new in our Prime Ministers declaring that. Successive Prime Ministers have said the...