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Dr Muriel Newman

Lessons from Brexit

After one of the most divisive campaigns in British history, the UK is now preparing for a future outside of the European Union. After 43 years as part of the alliance, the Brits surprised all predictions with 52 percent voting in favour of leaving.

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Professor Richard Epstein

Trade and Immigration After Brexit

No matter what happens next, last week’s stunning “LEAVE” vote on Brexit has permanently disrupted the status quo ante. Both the Conservative and Labour parties are facing major leadership changes; conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned, and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has been besieged by his shadow cabinet for his tepid support of the REMAIN option.

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Dr Muriel Newman

Standing Up for Democracy

Democracies must be vigilant to ensure that the “the will of the people” remains as the basic authority of government. Winning elections does not give councillors dictatorial powers. They are still accountable to their communities, and if proposals are put to them that undermine fundamental democratic principles, then they must put the issues to a referendum of electors so the will of the people can prevail.

Karl du Fresne

Whatever this is, it's not democracy

I’ve always thought democracy is a pretty good sort of system. Not perfect, of course, but as Winston Churchill said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Dr Muriel Newman

Changing the Guard

Last month the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, announced that the next Children's Commissioner would be New Zealand's Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft. He will be replacing the outgoing commissioner Dr Russell Wills, when his five-year term ends in July.

Lindsay Mitchell

Family Structure and Child Poverty: What is the evidence telling us?

On the back of last month's budget, opposition politicians, academics and other advocates once again expressed outrage at the incidence of child poverty. The culprits routinely blamed are unemployment, high housing costs and insufficient benefit payments. But another factor is constantly overlooked - the rapid change in family structure.

Dr Muriel Newman

The Lesser of Two Evils

Politics is full of surprises. You only have to look at the US presidential race to see the truth in that statement. Here in New Zealand, last week’s announcement by Labour and the Greens, that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to showcase themselves as a viable ‘government-in-waiting’, was also a surprise.

Nicholas Kerr

Bernie Sanders, Sweden and New Zealand

Much of this year’s US presidential election coverage has focused on the unexpected success of Donald Trump to win the Republican Party nomination. However, pundits also got it wrong on the Democratic side of the ticket...

Dr Muriel Newman

Questions about Budget 2016

On the surface, National’s eighth Budget looks sensible. It shows a small surplus, a plan to reduce debt, an increase in spending to address the pressure on social services due to record migration, and on-going investment in infrastructure and innovation. But going forward, key indicators are signalling that all is not so rosy.

Dr. Don Brash

Budget 2016

In some ways it was indeed a good Budget. Government spending is under reasonably tight control, with the ratio of government spending to GDP continuing to edge gradually lower from the levels it reached in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes and the global financial crisis.