It's a rough ride but it is what we ordered

What would you do if you were running the central bank for the world’s biggest economy and you saw “irrational exuberance” in the financial markets?

Your answer is right at hand. You have read Milton Friedman and you would worry that the exuberance might be evidence of too much money which is bad for inflation and for economic stability. So you would tighten the screws so the exuberant irrationalists could do less damage. read more

What really counts in Winston Peters' slide

The important issue in the donations stink is not the looming end to Winston Peters’ sinuous career. It is the looming end of New Zealand First.

We can now be nearly sure Peters won’t be a minister after the election even if he manages to cling to his warrant before the election.

One never says die of Peters. Remember him walking up to the podium to concede Tauranga in 1999, only to hear as he walked that he had won by a sliver. read more

Turning CER into SEM

Trivial haggling over trading in peas and beans, leather wallets and even sea water prodded politicians into CER, the closer economic relationship with Australia, 25 years ago. Now the haggling is over complex and often obscure regulatory matters to make a single economic market (SEM). There is plenty to keep them going another 25 years. read more

Climate change: foreign and trade policy too

The National party wants the emissions trading bill passed but is voting against it. Does that make sense to you?

The government is ramming through the bill with late changes so numerous it is near-impossible to work out what it actually says and with minimal guide for those who try. We can be sure it is riddled with errors. Does that make sense to you? read more

Making environment and the economy a unified ambition

Here’s a challenge for policymakers of the 2010s: to not just balance economic growth and environmental maintenance but make them a single, unified ambition.

Against that, Winston Peters is a transitory excitement. His distinction is to have been twice ejected from a ministry and once suspended. That is not the record of a selfless hero. That is the record of a self-regarding misfit. read more

A politicians' pastime: fitting up your election

Here’s a democratic promise John Key could make: that if Prime Minister he will promote a fixed term for Parliament. Republican Helen Clark has clung to the vestige of monarchical power that allows her in effect to set the election date.

This is your election she has been playing with. It doesn’t improve her democratic record that, as Gerry Brownlee pointed out, in July she appointed swags of Labour lags to state-owned enterprise, Crown entity and other boards while she still could. read more

Key and his "p" ideas for a new generation of MPs

John Key did broach the “p” (for privatisation) idea at the National party’s conference. Twice in fact. And there was no uproar.

On one count people of Key’s 47 years (as of last Saturday) and younger might sensibly have got into far more of a lather than did Labour politicians and, eventually, National politicians over what senior MPs were scurrilously recorded to have said over drinks — a lather that said more about National’s devotion to marketing dictates than about its “secret” agenda. read more

The secret of riches: play by the unwritten rules

Here’s an idea from Winston Peters: when you are in a hole dig faster and heave dirt around.

The idea is to cover so much outside the hole with dirt that the casual observer might lose sight of the hole. You might then be able at some future point to climb out unnoticed.

So Peters has attacked the bearers of inconvenient news. He has offered no explanations for the apparent inconsistencies in his various statements and actions over the years and between his and others’ statements on big-business contributions to various trusts with leads back to him or his party. read more