Auditor General

John Key loves closing a deal. But when it comes to SkyCity and plain packaging he seems to have lost sight of the fact that how you do things is the mark of a man... and a government

We seem to live in a world these days where the means don't matter so much if you can justify the end - we're driven by outcomes; the result is all that matters. Yet just how much the means means to a person, or a government, can be telling and two big stories this week have been revealing when it comes to making sense of John Key and his second term government.

It was a killer line about karma from Hekia Parata. Not only did it reveal her true feelings, it encapsulated what the government can expect in 2013 as it heads into its fifth year

Isn't it funny how a single word, a moment of levity, can be so revealing? When Hekia Parata joked that a technical hitch which saw Education Ministry staff missing out on their pay was "karma", it was a simple reference to the Novopay mess and the missed pay so many teachers have suffered in recent months. But it's a pretty good word to set the scene for the government's prospects in 2013.

An industrial-grade whiff of incompetence disqualifies Environment Canterbury from making a nationally significant resource management decision on cubicle dairy farming

Environment Canterbury (ECan), the regional council tasked with deciding whether cubicle dairy farming resource consent applications should be granted in the McKenzie Basin, is itself mired in effluent.

When is it enough to just follow the rules? The escapades of Rick Barker and Bill English raise some quite gnarly questions.

For my sins, I spent last Friday at the New Zealand Legal Research Foundation's conference on "Modern Challenges to the Rule of Law".

Bill English is no doubt hoping Dipton-gate will disappear fast following his decision to pay back all his ministerial housing allowance. But will it?

It wasn’t that long ago that the Finance Minister was on the opposition benches taunting the Labour Party with the cry of ‘pay it back’ .