Is The Mikado racist?

NZ Opera is currently staging a production of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Mikado (which I’ve reviewed here). It was written in the 1800s as a satire on British high society, but set in Japan so that the satire could be more biting (they were limits to what you could say directly about…

Polling: housing vs poverty vs inequality

Previous polling data about what’s on the public’s mind has often run together poverty and inequality, and sometimes even conflated them with housing. So what happens when you split the three issues out, as polling firm UMR has helpfully done for the last six months and summarised below? Well, when you ask people what they…

TOP’s Democracy Reset: good principles, rushed execution

Gareth’s Morgan’s The Opportunities Party (TOP) yesterday announced its ‘Democracy Reset‘, tapping into the growing public sense that democracy isn’t working the way it should. And it’s right to identify concentrated power within Cabinet, falling voter turnout and vested interests as key threats to the system. But while it has some good ideas, it doesn’t…

A modest proposal to aid voting on DHB elections

Local Government New Zealand’s Mike Reid has an interesting piece in the latest Policy Quarterly about local council turnout. (Short version: it’s low largely because councils don’t have many powers, and this is set to get worse as central government reforms strip even more power from them.) One of the other factors behind low turnout,…

On Gareth Morgan’s ‘new’ tax, and the UBI gone

Gareth Morgan’s The Opportunities Party yesterday (re)announced its first policy, Morgan’s long-standing plan for a comprehensive capital income tax. In effect, the policy argues that all forms of wealth generate – or should generate – income, just like savings accumulate interest, and that that income should be taxed, just like interest is. Most controversially, the…

Book review: Extraordinary Anywhere

Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place from Aotearoa New Zealand Edited by Ingrid Horrocks and Cherie Lacey (Victoria University Press, $40) This review was originally published on the Scoop Review of Books. When I was coming to the end of my six-year stint in London, British people would often say to me, ‘I quite understand why…

Women Working for Free Day

As of today, there is 13% left of 2016. And since women earn on average 13% less than men, as of today, women are effectively working for free for the rest of the year. The Pay Equity Challenge Coalition does a lot to raise this issue, and to point out that women aren’t working working for…