by Josie Pagani

The Greens were getting ahead of themselves with their offer to Labour to campaign as a coalition government in waiting, and Labour was right to reject the offer.

Winston’s right. When a party publicly offers to collaborate with another party and there’s no agreement behind the scenes, that’s not a friendly gesture - that’s an attack.

….but only if they can sort out their own muddled messages.


John Key’s promise not to promise anything in his pre-budget speech last week revealed some serious muddle in National’s thinking. The tried and tested rule is that governments spend in the bad times to stimulate the economy when no-one else can, and save in the good times.

The economy, thank God, does not resemble my household budget. 

Still, National will tell us they have the books in order because they’ve listened to our grandparents' voice of reason: ‘don’t spend more than you earn, and if you get into debt, spend less and save more. Batten down the hatches and wait for the recession to pass.’


Can we agree to ban the household budget metaphor from the election campaign? Probably not, because its a good story. It makes sense not to spend more than you earn, right? Who wouldn’t agree with that?

Except that if we ran the economy like a household budget we’d be a basket case.

I wrote a column in the National Business Review this weekend, and it’s driving right-wingers there nuts.

Bill English believes the government shouldn't bother with trying to promote added value exports. If the market wants raw logs, then that's what we should sell.

There’s been a nasty dose of ‘border relativism' in the debate about Crimea and it misses the point; you can’t have a referendum at the point of a gun, doesn’t matter what history says.

Yes, Crimea used to be part of the Soviet Union and was gifted to Ukraine in 1954 (which was part of the Soviet Union then) by Nikita Khrushchev. He couldn’t have anticipated Ukraine would one day be independent - or perhaps he could; the Russian borders have bulged and receded over the last 1000 years, as have the borders throughout Europe.

The announcement of the election date was an opportunity for the left to define the campaign. It can’t afford any more missed opportunities.

It wasn’t like we didn’t know it was coming. The announcement of the date today has highlighted the fact that the left now has six months to add five per cent to its support, find and mobilise a couple of hundred thousand people, change perceptions of the government, announce a manifesto, promote its own vision and raise around a million dollars a month. 

Words are easy. Don’t just ask the world to vote for New Zealand to get on the UN Security Council because “Our foreign policy has been tested by significant confrontations with some major powers, when we have proved our independence and resilience".

Show the world what we mean.  Show we deserve a position of global leadership.

We need to push strongly for the United Nations to stand up to Russia’s violation of international law and the sovereignty of Ukraine.

Ukraine is nascent democracy. New Zealand is a small one. There is only one side we can be on in a confrontation between a big bully and a small country struggling to make itself free.

It never ceases to amaze me how outraged the richest people get when you suggest paying poor people a little bit more.

Act’s new leader Jamie Whyte said it was "hard to think of a crueler policy" for people most in need of work than increasing the minimum wage.

Say what? Cruel to pay people on the lowest incomes 50c more? Surely he can think of something crueler than that, like not having a minimum wage at all.




No, reducing gender inequality doesn’t make income inequality worse.

When I was a teenager, the political right would argue that working women caused inflation and unemployment. They said women in work put men out of jobs, while rising household incomes led to rising prices so that no one was better off. 

National is in trouble. 

Tonight’s TV3 poll put NZ First over 5%, which could make them king maker. No-one knows, least of all John Key, who they’ll pick after the election. But we do know Winston has a case for utu against John Key.


To add to John Key’s woes, Act has saddled itself with serious libertarians over the second choice poodle, John Boscawen , whom the Nats were making it known they preferred after poodle of preference, Rodney Hide, demurred.