Some numbers to worry English but not just yet

Three months out from the election the numbers are going National’s way. But are they going the right way for the longer term? How numbers are used is critical to good government, new research says.

The big-number economy story is that gross domestic product (GDP) was still rolling along up to March and in this quarter, too, indicators say, even if not rollicking at last year’s pace.

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A trend that might change the constitution

Queen’s Birthday Weekend is over and new knights and dames quiver with pleasure and honour. The quaint endures even in the digital age.

Opinion polls tell us the republic is some way off. William, Kate, George and Charlotte keep us swooning.

But constitutions evolve. We live in a republic in all but form. When here, the Queen exercises formal head-of-state functions by courtesy of New Zealand law.

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Some unfinished business from the Richardson era

Steven Joyce’s well foreshadowed reshuffle last Thursday of tax thresholds, rebates and allowances tells us there is unfinished business from the Ruth Richardson era.

That business is not yet more deregulation and trimming of the state nor another “mother of all budgets”, Richardson’s 1991 attempt to drive Sir Roger Douglas’s revolution to new heights, or depths, depending on your perspective.

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Budget time — and some signs of policy movement

Colin James’s Otago Daily Times column for 2 May 2017

The budget is three weeks away. Money is being sprayed around. It’s election year.

Last week’s spray was the infrastructure spend, up a bit from the December Treasury update, half of the increase due to the Kaikoura earthquake.

Steven Joyce presented that as investment for the future. Labour’s Grant Robertson said it was catchup with the immigration flood.

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A message from Martin Luther 500 years on

What is the link between social media and Easter? Don’t we live in a secular society now? Isn’t Easter just a paid holiday from work?

The answer is that six months from now will come the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous, and fabled, nailing of “theses” to a church door which sparked a revolution — via the still newish medium of printing.

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