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Dr Muriel Newman

Local Body Developments

Not content with the failure of the Local Government Commission to merge councils in Northland, the Hawke’s Bay, and Wellington, National is now proposing to put their amalgamation agenda into effect via the back door, using a new local government bill to increase the power of the Commission, while removing important democratic rights from residents and ratepayers.

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Fiona Mackenzie

A Grab for the Gulf

The feeling of having been totally out-manoeuvred has become a common sensation amongst Auckland regional ratepayers – and they don’t know half of what is going on. This powerlessness extends to some of the well-meaning City Councillors who thought they were being elected to work for the people; they now see themselves as fall guys, taking the rap for conniving bureaucrats, greedy iwi and unscrupulous politicians.

This Month On NZCPR

Dr Muriel Newman

Countering Global Warming

Public policy has a major impact on our lives; that goes without saying. If the assumptions upon which policy is based are sound, there is a good chance that the resulting laws and regulations will have a positive influence on the country. But when the assumptions are driven by ideology instead of reason, the outcomes can be detrimental.

Bryan Leyland

No Evidence of Dangerous Global Warming

Many articles in the Herald have emphasised the dangers of man-made global warming and warned us that extreme measures are needed to save us from this imminent climatic disaster. Almost without exception, the authors have assumed that man-made carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming, rapid sea level rise and more floods, droughts, cyclones and so on.

Dr Muriel Newman

Ballot Box Democracy

Last Saturday, Australian voters went to the polls to vote in a double dissolution election - only the sixth in the country’s history. The Prime Minister had made use of a constitutional mechanism designed to resolve deadlocks between the two Houses of Parliament.

Anthony Willy

Britain’s exit from the European Union

The recent referendum on the whether or not Britain should leave the EU has captured the imagination of those with an interest in public affairs. It is being cited as a part of a pattern of international events, including the rise of Donald Trump in United States, and the failure of the Liberal Coalition to secure an election night majority in Australia.

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.

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.

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.”