New Zealand needs a new written Constitution

The Constitution Unit Blog


The New Zealand Constitution, like that of the United Kingdom, is not written down in one place. In a forthcoming book former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Dr Andrew Butler will argue that this is not good enough and propose their own draft Constitution. In this post Sir Geoffrey Palmer explains why he believes that a single written Constitution for New Zealand is needed and elaborates on some of the detail of what he and Dr Butler are proposing.

The existing New Zealand Constitution derives from the Westminster model. In 1852 the Imperial Parliament enacted the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852. Five years later responsible government was conceded. The 1852 Act lasted until 1986 when New Zealand enacted the Constitution Act 1986. By that time it was reduced to a rump of its former self, with only 12 provisions and these offered few clues on how…

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An adult start of a criminal career is uncommon

Japan’s Slow-Motion Fiscal and Monetary Suicide

International Liberty

Remember Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, the 1993 comedy classic about a weatherman who experiences the same day over and over again?

Well, the same thing is happening in Japan. But instead of a person waking up and reliving the same day, we get politicians pursuing the same failed Keynesian stimulus policies over and over again.

The entire country has become a parody of Keynesian economics. Yet the politicians make Obama seem like a fiscal conservative by comparison. They keep doubling down on the same approach, regardless of all previous failures.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the details of the latest Keynesian binge.

Japan’s cabinet approved a government stimulus package that includes ¥7.5 trillion ($73 billion) in new spending, in the latest effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to jump-start the nation’s sluggish economy. The spending program, which has a total value of ¥28 trillion over several years…

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Notes from the bookshelf 10: “The Righteous Mind” of Jonathan Haidt


haidt-marginalia-080513_0Having dedicated the last several posts to Jonathan Haidt’s book on moral psychology with reference to my study on ethical consumers, I thought it would be useful to sum them all up into a singe book review – I genuinely hope that some of you will find it helpful.

“The Righteous Mind” takes a reader on a fascinating tour of human morality. The book is divided into 3 parts, each intending to convey a particular message about the nature of human moral reasoning through an eloquent metaphor. The “intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second” argument should be the key take-away from the first part. Sourcing inspiration from the ideas of a Platonic philosopher Hume, Haidt argues against a rationalist approach to morality which regards moral reasoning as largely a cognitive ability that humans develop as they grow up and that is focused almost exclusively on the concept of justice. Instead, his social intuitionist model…

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Do you feel safe walking alone at night? OECD by gender

The Japanese are surprisingly worried and New Zealanders too. I lived in both countries. People go about at night without many fears except when it comes to answering Gallup surveys. I use the reliable test that a mugging will get on the front page because they are so unusual.


Source: Women Feel Less Safe Than Men in Many Developed Countries.

@JeremyCorbyn’s In The Thick of It moment: not knowing pop culture

There is an hilarious skit in The Thick of It where the minister discovers that an actor was the member of the focus group he was relying on for the best views of normal voters. He knew she was an actor because the minister saw her on East Enders. He saw her in the 40 minutes video he gets every week summarising developments in the soapies. He gets that video so he can have conversations with normal people. The actor was bought into the focus group to make up the numbers. I cannot find the actual clip.