by Wyatt Creech

What odds a policy debate this election? And how do we elevate it above more sensationalism and dirty politics? Here are some dos and don'ts

The news cycle sure is quick these days – and getting quicker. We've long known that today's news is tomorrow's fish n' chips wrapping, but these days articles last mere hours, even minutes, on websites before analytics tell the editors what's being read and what needs to disappear. This hardly encourages deep consideration of public policy options as we head into the general election.

It's too easy to call an inquiry just to put the questions to bed, so the Prime Minister has called it right. Why put people through the mill without incontrovertible evidence?

I don't want to be disrespectful to a fellow pundit, but to my mind Bill English has got it right by deciding not to hold an inquiry into allegations that New Zealand soldiers may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The evidential threshold just hasn't been met.

Touching the third rail of superannuation is a brave act by any government, but what about those other curly questions?

Good on you, Bill. I respect political courage. Too often in New Zealand, superannuation promises have been used to buy elections, beginning with Rob Muldoon back in 1975. He made the age of entitlement to universal super 60; it took years of pain and a raft of broken promises to get the age lifted to 65 (back where the old age pension began).

Just because Donald Trump is a shoot from the hip president, doesn't mean we should fall into the same trap

As a personality I find nothing attractive about Donald Trump - he is, frankly, a pig of a man. But we need to avoid being overtaken by emotion when unpicking the state of the world, which is why in my previous column I tried to make the case for balance and moderation as we react to events.

It's easy to play the anti-establishment and change cards or go on the attack. But the real challenge for our politicians and journalists is to allow voters to hear balance

Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump is now president of the United States. We have no choice but to deal with that fact, and with him. But it's hard to find any New Zealanders who have much good to say about him.

Thirty years after the Falklands War, the dispute over who controls the British outpost simmers on

Now for something completely different – a blog about the Falkland Islands.

Jury trials are slow, expensive and don't necessarily produce the 'right' verdict -- so why do we still use them?

Our legal system – note I do not call it our justice system – deserves to come in for criticism. Not everything is bad, but there are elements that need to be reformed.

Basic things don’t look right to me – for starters, it costs way too much and is way too slow. But there is more.

Admit it -- you'd never heard of NZ First MP Richard Prosser till the Wogistan debacle. Now he is a household name. Plus Ralph Stewart's payout and Novopay.

A week ago I wrote a blog about Parliament, noting that what went on there was mostly theatre – a “game” – and the content of what was said there was not to be taken too seriously. In one sense what Richard Prosser MP said last week confirmed this; the content of his statement about young Muslim males and “Wogistan” was such nonsense that only a fool could take this guy seriously.

Waitangi Day events played out more peacefully than expected, but the risk of division remains if we don't pay attention to public opinion

Another Waitangi Day has come and gone. While there were still a few protesters they were pretty nominal. There has been the usual dialogue around the event as the country struggles to settle just what to do with the day.

While school children come to watch MPs goofing around in parliament, the real business of governing takes place outside the debating chamber

"New Zealanders don't want stand-up comedy – they want someone to stand up for them". David Shearer rhetorically let forth with those words in his recent speech to the opening of this year's parliament, and I suppose anyone thinking about it would immediately see that to be true.