The politics of science and its doubters

Colin James’s speech to the NZ Veterinary Association, 25 June 2004

Start up Mount Taranaki in light clothing. Get lost in cloud, get very cold and get hypothermia. Expect a helicopter to come to the rescue, courtesy of the taxpayer. You are not responsible for your predicament and you count on the taxpayer to neutralise the risk you took. read more

Whose party is this anyway?

Speech by Colin James to the Institute of Directors, 16 June 2004

1. Start out on the right with Rodney Hide. His job is to make ACT credible: to ACT’s core supporters after a divisive leadership contest; to enough voters to get

ACT 5% of the party vote; to National as a realistic coalition partner. To do this Hide has to acquire gravitas and he has to project ACT’s core values while also commanding attention. He started well the day he was elected leader, declaring he would do less scam-hunting and more promotion of the market-liberal case.
ACT is polling around 2.5%. It has been that low before and recovered. But that was when National lacked credibility and a good number of National voters put their votes with ACT, either to ensure it got over the 5% or out of frustration with National. With Don Brash as leader National has higher credibility with those people so they will be less inclined to switch to ACT, especially if there is doubt it will be in Parliament after the next election. read more

Some questions I have about Asia?

Comments to the Asia Forum, 27 April 2004 by Colin James

Back in November when Farib Sos invited me to do this, I told him his invitation was misplaced. I know very little about Asia. I have been to Japan and Hong Kong four times briefly, most recently in each case late last year, spent a week in each of three South-east nations in 1982, a week in Indonesia and two days in Brunei in 1985 and 36 hours in New Delhi in 2001. I have never been to China the bureaucracy is too cumbersome for a journalist’s visa and so I rather doubt I shall ever go there. I have never written about foreign affairs except incidentally to my political commentary and have not worked the diplomatic circuit here. My connection with foreign affairs and with Asia is through my fossicking around in domestic affairs. read more

What made the revolution: The context of the 1984-87 Parliament

Paper by Colin James to conference on The First Term of the Fourth Labour Government 30 April-1 May, Parliament Buildings

This conference was originally about leadership — David Lange’s. Sometime after I agreed to contribute, Lange disappeared from the programme and the topic was changed to the first term of the fourth Labour government. That is an arbitrary boundary, though, on reflection, I do think it is the first term, from 1984 to 1987, that really counts and so, in a sense, this period is a relevant one for a conference. read more

The indigenisation of Aotearoa-New Zealand: the politics of the Treaty of Waitangi

Paper for the Australian judges conference by Colin James, 27 January 2004

Twenty-five years ago the Treaty of Waitangi had no force. In most people’s minds, that is. In the minds of many influential Maori the Treaty was central to aspirations for more recognition and a better life, as it had always been. Now the Treaty is central to the life of this nation. Getting “the Treaty” right is the greatest political challenge. read more

A peculiar inversion: politics over the next 12 months

Speech to the Information Technology Association, 20 November 2003

This country held its own economically between 1992 and 2002. It matched Australia and the United States and the OECD average in per capita growth, despite a two-year drought. It doubled productivity growth between the 1970s/1980s and the 1990s. It lifted elaborately transformed manufactures’ share of exports by 10%.
In short, the 1990s were a good decade for the economy. Why? The answer to that question is at the heart of the short-term political game between Helen Clark and Don Brash. read more

A hack at foreign affairs

Colin James to the Wairarapa Institute of International Affairs, 15 October 2003

I am here because Ian Grant, who has done me too many kindnesses over the years to refuse him outright, felt it was time you had some light relief.

I do brush up against the world in my columns from time to time because occasionally the world intrudes on politics just as does crime, monetary policy, biotechnology, the Treaty of Waitangi and cooking. But be clear about my credentials: a journalist is a baggage carrier and to carry baggages one needs know only their dimensions and weight, not the contents. The journalist is expert at not being an expert; a journalist’s expertise is in inexpertise. The journalist is a hack: hence the real title of the assemblage of anecdotes and random observations I am about to offer is “A hack at foreign affairs”. read more