The Marine and Coastal Area Act is flawed in many respects, but especially in its failure to define a critical legal test. As it stands, unless the law is amended, it will be Judges rather than Parliament that determines whether Maori interests will own some of the coastal marine area or most of it.
The recent volatility in sharemarkets around the world should serve as a warning to our new Government about the fragility of financial markets and the crucial importance of having a strong balance sheet as a buffer against future economic shocks.
With the Jacinda Ardern-led tripartite coalition government passing its hundred day milestone in the 52nd New Zealand Parliament, Labour and National are now running neck-and-neck in public opinion polls. Either could potentially win the next general election in 2020 outright.
Over the years Waitangi Day has changed from being a celebration of the birth of our nation, when two peoples were united as one, to becoming a grievance day for tribal activists pursuing their Maori sovereignty agenda.
Earlier this month, a gift shop owner on Waiheke Island was called a racist, for selling golliwogs. The situation has been described as “Political correctness gone mad”.
In New Zealand, freedom of speech is enshrined as one of our fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights Act of 1990. By comparison with a great many other countries, New Zealand stacks up pretty well.
The ability to challenge ideas in a free and unfettered manner – even at the risk of offending others – is the foundation of liberty. Yet these days, the pressure within New Zealand society not to offend others, is increasing. For those who call a spade a spade, their fundamental right to free speech is now under real threat.
New Zealanders were once recognised as democratic, intelligent people, pragmatic and self-reliant, with a well-developed sense of social justice - the “fair go”, as it used to be known. There are still, of course, plenty of Kiwis who merit that description, but their proportion in the population is shrinking.
Following on from the controversial way the new Government was formed - whereby kingmaker Winston Peters chose a coalition of losing parties instead of the winning National Party - the 52nd Parliament also got off to a controversial start.
We learned a few days ago that on the day before the September 23 general election, Winston Peters kick-started legal action against National cabinet ministers - including then prime minister Bill English - party officials, a senior public servant and two journalists over the leaking of his superannuation overpayment. He took this action without disclosing it to either the National or Labour parties.