Managing Rodney: a local test for Key

Will John Key and Rodney Hide be on roughly the same page in their speeches to the local government conference on Monday and Tuesday? For National’s sake, they have to be.

Hide has picked up where Maurice Williamson left off in the last National-led government. One get-together of predominantly conservative local government grandees was — until wiser counsel prevailed — itching to pass a vote of no-confidence in Hide. read more

Can Key do Lange-Douglas-style ambition?

Twenty-five years ago next Tuesday David Lange’s government was elected in a landslide and in turn set off a landslide. John Key, claiming “ambition”, is reticent by comparison.

Lange came to office as a mascot of a rising generation, the freedom generation. His contemporaries demanded personal, moral and economic freedom. Their prolific writing, painting and music reflected their independence from Britain, the first generation to be unselfconsciously so. read more

Now for barbies on a bicultural beach

The foreshore and seabed is much more a political than a legal issue. That’s why the government will take its time.

Of course, there is much law involved. The issue became political because the Appeal Court in effect laid down new law in 2003 by overturning a longstanding High Court decision.

There is also the common law, Maori customary law, Te Ture Whenua Act, which deals with Maori land, and complex coastal and marine law. And there is the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which the ministerial review committee, itself reinterpreting the law, wants repealed and replaced. read more

Hide on the go: setting out to catch Australia

On Monday Rodney Hide will take a paper to the cabinet to set up a 2025 commission. This is an ambitious undertaking.

The 2025 commission is part of the National-ACT support agreement.

The two parties agreed to set a “concrete goal of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025”. They also agreed that would “require a sustained lift in the productivity growth rate to 3 per cent a year or more”. read more