John Key

As John Key re-writes the script for relations between New Zealand and the US, what are the implications for China and does this mean a return to automatic support for America?

There has been a fair bit of recent speculation about whether John Key's approach to foreign policy represents a departute from the consensus of the past two decades and if this, somewhat to everyone's surprise, will be a central part of his legacy. After all, Key is supposed to be all about the economy, in contrast to Helen Clark's focus on foreign relations.

When it comes to signing trade deals there are two principles which should never be up for negotiation; the net benefit to your country has to outweigh any concessions, otherwise what’s the point? And you never trade away fundamentals, like the right to legislate to protect your environment, the health of your citizens, or your education system.


The National government hasn’t been able to reassure us that they really will protect these principles in their secret Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

Colin Craig has given up. Kind of. But by conceeding he can only win a seat with a deal, he's put the onus firmly on National and made John Key an offer the PM can hardly afford to refuse

Remember in the 2009 Mt Albert by-election when Melissa Lee said she was hoping to come second? She was roundly mocked and, presumably put straight by an advisor or senior colleague.

If a large majority of us are worried about inequality and National is making the problem worse, not better, why isn’t the Left doing better politically?


A recent UMR poll found 50% of us are 'very concerned' about growing inequality, 37% are 'somewhat concerned', and only 13% 'not concerned at all'. 

Seven out of ten of us believe the gap between rich and poor is widening.

If you'll excuse the paraphrasing of Billy Bragg, it seems appropriate as the left leave the moral high ground for a bit of electoral mud-wrestling and coat-tailing. But at what cost?

Call it genius or hypocrisy, but the Mana Internet alliance, Laila Harre's decision to lead the Internet Party into this year's election and Kim Dotcom's record $3 million donation creates all sort of problems on the left of New Zealand politics. It also, to me, feels like something worth grieving no matter how the cards fall on September 20.