The Dim-Post

February 4, 2016

Brief TPPA note

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:27 pm

I don’t have much to say about today that others haven’t said. But this jumped out at me from the Herald’s overview of the signing ceremony:

Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, said that the debate in his country has produced no shortage of critics with studies and projections downplaying the economic gains.

But you either listened to those who produced studies based on models and assumptions, he said. Or you listened to those on the ground doing business.

“For us in Malaysia we’ve been talking to people in industry and businesses and we know they are looking forward to it.”

A crucial thing to grasp here is that the critical economic models and the optimistic businesses can both be right. The TPPA could be a genuinely terrible deal for the people and economy of any given signatory but a fantastic deal for the various corporations who are close to that government and able to influence its negotiating position.

Since negotiations involve concessions and tradeoffs, and corporations and lobbyists could access all of the parties involved and influence the talks, and everyone else was totally locked out, this was always the most likely outcome of the process.

50 Comments »

  1. Ha. While it’s possible that those corporations are right about the benefits that will accrue to them, it’s also true that people (including businesspeople) often don’t appreciate the benefit and protection they derive from government rules and intervention. They merely see the burden, not the positive consequences they’ve come to take for granted (rather like the anti-vax crowd).

    (To be clear, I’m not necessarily opposed to the TPPA, just deeply cynical.)

    Comment by fivehoursnorth — February 4, 2016 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Yes, many things _could_ be true. However, generally reputable economists are projecting benefits from it, as pretty much all economists predict from free trade. I haven’t yet worked out why it is that we should listen to the majority of climate scientists on climate change, but we don’t listen to the majority of economists about economics.

    Comment by PaulL — February 4, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

  3. Replace TPP with Climate Change.

    are you going to wait for international perfection or work with what you have and accept what you can even though it’s not perfect.

    negotiations happen between people with different points of view. If you have a different way of doing things Danyl then maybe you could come out and say.

    For all the noise from the left they aren’t actually achieving much besides self aggrandisement. If it’s so obvious and simple, Keys a liar, Obamas a neocon in and Clintons a witch etc then how come the revolution hasn’t happened.

    Comment by NeilM — February 4, 2016 @ 11:04 pm

  4. With such logic, could Danyl be related to the elders of Te Tii marae? Perhaps it is not the Protocols of the Elders of Zion we have to worry about but the Protocols of the Elders of ……?

    Comment by Tinakori — February 5, 2016 @ 6:48 am

  5. “as pretty much all economists predict from free trade”

    what ive noticed on that front is for the economists to focus on the trade issues only, while the opposition is all focused on the non trade issues

    a grand talking past each other if you will

    but really – if you want to claim expert status you really should be discussing the whole deal, from both pro and con – Ive seen lots of sales techniques, but havent seen much of the full spectrum analysis happening (but hey – im not omnipresent so im only talking about what i have seen personally)

    interestingly – it looks like theres some rather big issues with the economic models being used – which is a bit of a problem if correct.
    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2016/01/26/gordon-campbell-why-the-tpp-is-something-we-shouldnt-sign/

    Comment by framu — February 5, 2016 @ 7:36 am

  6. @ Framu

    “if you want to claim expert status you really should be discussing the whole deal, from both pro and con”

    Completely agree. Otherwise you’re not an expert giving a balanced view (even if you do agree with it) – you’re an apologist and propagandist. It’s hard to tell the difference between some economists’ views and Matthew Hooten’s for instance. I have no problem with Matthew’s approach, as he is clear where he is coming from and doesn’t hold himself out as an independent expert.

    @ PaulL

    And that is the difference and error in your comparison between scientists and economists. Paul do you know anything about the conduct of science? Heard of any economists lately actively trying to disprove their own theories?

    Comment by Joe-90 — February 5, 2016 @ 7:47 am

  7. Not sure that Canada is the home of sensible economic thought Framu – are you thinking we should go back to a scheme where each dairy cow is licensed and you can’t have cows without a license? And I really like the idea of a strategic maple syrup reserve….

    The criticism there smacks to me of fiddling around the edges and then claiming the whole model is faulty. I get that it’s easier to compute the outcomes with certain assumptions (such as that there is full employment). The question is whether it would make any difference to the result if that assumption wasn’t in the model. The concern about share of income going to labour and potential changes in that also gave me some idea of the likely ideological persuasion of the critique.

    Comment by PaulL — February 5, 2016 @ 7:52 am

  8. “Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, said that the debate in his country has produced no shortage of critics with studies and projections downplaying the economic gains.”

    Weirdly the first two Malaysian media links I found read like government press releases, with no indication of criticism at home or abroad whatsoever. Apparently the ceremony began with “a colourful cultural performance”.

    Comment by izogi — February 5, 2016 @ 8:32 am

  9. Heard of any economists lately actively trying to disprove their own theories?

    That’s pretty much what every economics paper ever written does.

    Comment by Phil — February 5, 2016 @ 9:09 am

  10. PaulL – “The question is whether it would make any difference to the result if that assumption wasn’t in the model.”

    exactly

    Im not going to claim any deep expert knowledge of modelling systems, but its the sort of thing that should really be highlighted and discussed in the actual formation of the model rather than a “whoops – didnt see that one – oh well cause $$” (perhaps it was?)

    note: not trying to claim any sort of gotcha – more a case of “theres something that appears odd and could the experts please address it for us plebians”

    and, while knowing little about canadian economic track record (so your joke went somewhat waaay over my head🙂 ), i would say it doesnt take an expert to see that the assumption could lead to incorrect results – (but more than happy to accept an explanation – hell, i will even accept a variety of explanations – i like contradiction in the world)

    Comment by framu — February 5, 2016 @ 9:38 am

  11. I haven’t yet worked out why it is that we should listen to the majority of climate scientists on climate change, but we don’t listen to the majority of economists about economics.

    Two points on this:

    (1) (Almost all) climate scientists agree that climate change is happening, but there’s then a fair amount of disagreement about what that change will look like. Same thing goes for economists – (almost all) may say that free trade will lead to economic gains, but the question then is how much and for whom? And on that point there is a wide divergence of opinion, such that you can pick-or-choose your economic expert to fit your preconceived beliefs.

    (2) As framu notes, the TPP isn’t so much a free trade deal as a free business deal. Its intention is to impose a relatively standard set of market rules and conditions across the region. That’s not a conspiracy theory – it’s an explicitly stated goal. The consequence, of course, is that all those in the deal must adhere to those market rules and conditions even if their people dissent from their impact in any given case – or, at least, they must pay a substantial amount of compensation to business interests affected by a departure from the market rules and conditions. And in many cases, the practical effect of the latter is to prevent the departure from occurring.

    The question then becomes, is the (predicted, but disputed even amongst the economics profession) amount of economic gain worth the (potential, but uncertain) loss of a country’s ability to set its own domestic rules? That’s not a question that economics can answer because they are incommensurable goods.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — February 5, 2016 @ 10:03 am

  12. It may just indicate direct experience.

    Successive NZ govts have seen the real world damage done to our economy by the protectionist polices of other governments and the benefits from their removal.

    Comment by NeilM — February 5, 2016 @ 11:34 am

  13. This is state capture, plain and simple. No matter how it is spun there is no suitable argument against this fact.

    Comment by politicalinkwank — February 5, 2016 @ 11:36 am

  14. I agree, Danyl.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 5, 2016 @ 12:22 pm

  15. Academic economics isn’t quite as monolithic as some people seem to think. There is quite a strong strand of economics which acknowledges that there can be losers from free trade. For example: http://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/125719/1/WWWforEurope_WPS_no063_MS6.pdf

    Comment by Dr Foster — February 5, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

  16. @ Dr Foster

    I wrote ‘some economists’ deliberately in the first part because I am conscious what a broad ranging and diverse group of exponents the discipline contains, and I was referring directly to those who appear to be apologists or mouths for hire, rather than genuinely independent scholars trying to present a balanced view. I went on in my mind refering to that subset and that public mode of behaviour in comparison to scientists, but accidentally dropping the qualifier of ‘some’ and over simplifying. My bad.

    Comment by Joe-90 — February 5, 2016 @ 5:05 pm

  17. With the current state of TPP dissent Key might not have to hope Hager produces another book.

    I think the left might want to rethink the destroying our sovereignty line. It wouldn’t be much use if only a few countries introduced laws to deal with tax evasion by Google. It would have to be international endeavour. It would also requirecountries to follow the international line otherwise it would all fall apart.

    Countries have placed constraints on their own sovereignty in order to create an international community.

    Little shut down Shearer. Which of them would you rather listen to on international issues.

    Comment by NeilM — February 5, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

  18. NeilM: “I think the left might want to rethink the destroying our sovereignty line.”

    Who do you mean by “the left” when you say this? As far as I can tell, TPPA objections seem to be coming from a large and decentralised collection of highly outraged people, mostly drawn together by this.

    Whether or not it really destroys NZ’s sovereignty, or continues to enable it, is both subjective and hard or impossible to tell at this point. But there’s a growing fear that this government’s been fostering for the better part of 7+ years when it’s basically said “trust us, it’ll be brilliant but only our approved industry partners are allowed to know anything about what we’re negotiating”. Furthermore, in the past few months with signing being imminent and with so many assurances, the line has largely changed to “We don’t gain much but not signing it would be a disastrous step backwards.”

    Comment by izogi — February 5, 2016 @ 9:14 pm

  19. Who do you mean by “the left” when you say this? As far as I can tell, TPPA objections seem to be coming from a large and decentralised collection of highly outraged people, mostly drawn together by this.

    You’re right, I was being bitchy and should have been more precise.

    Opposition is broader than just Little’s reactionary nationalism and the dildo throwing because of raping sovereignty incident but I can’t see the other strands of objection are coming through.

    Personally, if I was opposed then I’d be taking about how the benefits get distributed.

    I get a bit bitchy because ill conceived opposition to Key plays into his hand. I’d like there to be a sensible opposition to the conservative as we had with Clark.

    Comment by NeilM — February 5, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

  20. Hi @NeilM.

    “Personally, if I was opposed then I’d be taking about how the benefits get distributed.”

    Oh, yes there’s merit in that. I do get frustrated with some of the coverage, though.

    Last night both Story and Seven Sharp went out to ridecule protestors for barely understanding any detail (whilst doing zero to check if supporters understood any detail). On both 7pm programmes we had to put up with presenters moaning their opinions about people who caused their traffic problems instead of seriously reporting about the traffic problems and what’s been driving them. Tori Street then confidently put in her word about how the protestors might be responsible for killing babies.

    I mean, come on. This scale of protest hasn’t happened for many many years, and it doesn’t happen lightly. There’s always going to be an extreme element. I watched part of the Wellington meeting yesterday from a distance, thought a few of the claims being screamed by speakers were far-fetched and also saw a few people who’d probably turn out at any anti-government rally for any reason. I’m also fairly certain, though, that it’s a much more diverse crowd of people than what many of the apologists would have us believe. There a lot of fear and extreme concern out there, and many people who absolutely don’t trust what’s happening, or what they’re being told about how great this deal will be. The nurse who threw the dildo at Steven Joyce today, who was coincidentally interviewed by TVNZ last week, is worried that more of her patients are going to be dying as a consequence of this deal.

    Ill informed or not, this is a movement that’s attracted a very wide bredth of people accross many walks of life and many demographics. It’s much more than a niche protest with a few troublemakers. Even if journos disagree, they’re real people and surely the protests at least deserve some respect.

    Anyway, I’m prepared to accept that, by this point, New Zealand might not have a reasonable choice other than to go through with the TPPA. Even if so, I’m very unhappy with how we’ve arrived at this point. If the problem is merely that so many people are ill-informed, that’s due in a large part to the government’s dreadful handling of the whole thing.

    Comment by izogi — February 5, 2016 @ 11:19 pm

  21. Over the last several weeks i have grown used to Spanish news. Here they have lengthy talking head journalism that takes journalistic standards and politics seriously. It is pleasurable to listen to and read.

    So what to make of Audrey Young’s piece in today’s Herald? Well, it is an utter disgrace that would cause even Putin’s tame journalists to blush. When she isnt sneering at the governments opponents she is condescending. It is a work of naked propaganda masquerading as unbiased opinion. She is typical of a certain style of cretinous egotism that has nowadays infected our pathetic, hopeless right wing media. She “knows” voters will basck Key. She uncritically supports the TPP. Her piece is all about attacking the governments opponents.

    You expect NZ journalism these days to be clickbait and rubbish trawled from Whaleoil or Farrar. But Young’s piece is even worse, because pompous clowns like her are still taken seriously by some people.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 6, 2016 @ 5:27 am

  22. For comparison, Radio NZ is also hosting an opinion piece (Chris Bramwell) about how many TPPA protestors are woefully ill-informed about the detail. But the tone of that piece is completely different. It’s at least acknowledging much more about what’s driving the protests, and questioning how that’s come to happen, instead of simply expressing the journalist’s own subjective opinions of a few people as being idiots.

    Comment by izogi — February 6, 2016 @ 6:39 am

  23. Personally, if I was opposed then I’d be taking about how the benefits get distributed.

    Don’t you mean that if you supported the TPPA, you’d be talking about the benefits, when they’ll accrue and how they’ll be distributed? The Government has been largely silent on this, which is perhaps not surprising as there’s been no cost benefit analysis carried out.

    Comment by Ross — February 6, 2016 @ 7:02 am

  24. Earlier this week, the Dominion Post published a series of articles about TPPA, including one about its effect on workers’ pay.

    Even economists who are adamant about the significance of the deal for the overall economy don’t think there will be any particular spike in wages.

    BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says the potential benefits of the TPPA for the economy are like the little touches put together for an open home, such as freshly brewed coffee and baked bread.

    “No-one’s going to be able to say, ‘As a result of the smell of fresh bread, I got a price two per cent higher than would otherwise be the case’, but all of these things you do contribute towards a successful outcome in the end, and that’s what this is.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/76367121/tppa-how-it-will-affect-your-pay-packet-and-the-job-market

    What comes through the article is that it’s all about the economy re TPPA – as long as the economy does well (whatever that means), workers’ standard of living doesn’t matter and can be ignored. The focus on the economy, rather than on workers, is rather odd. Having a motivated, productive and well-paid workforce is the cornerstone of any economy. It’s clear that TPPA won’t be of any benefit in that regard.

    Comment by Ross — February 6, 2016 @ 7:18 am

  25. Listening to Kim Hill this morning, I’m not sure that I agree with Margaret Wilson that having a constitution would make issues such as the TPP less controversial.

    Hirini Kaa’s defence of Hone Harawira – one person made one mistake, it was just a technicality. Not knowing or not acknowledging that there is a specific exclusion clause in the TPP for NZ regarding the treaty is hardly a minor mistake.

    There is something startling worrying with debating how the TPP could affect maori on the basis of denying in such an offhand manner what is in the TPP.

    Comment by NeilM — February 6, 2016 @ 10:00 am

  26. “There is something startling worrying with debating how the TPP could affect maori on the basis of denying in such an offhand manner what is in the TPP.”

    Should that not reasonably be expected, though, when there’s been a near complete vaccum of information for years, aside from unofficial leaks, about what’s been being negotiated in favour and away? When people can’t get the information they need, they take what’s available.

    The complete verified text was only released on 26th January, and 9 days later it’s being signed. That’s a completely inadequate time for anyone to reasonably expect to read and absorb it when starting from nothing, let alone have a decent debate. It’s not even anywhere near what we consider long enough for public analysis and submissions on nearly any legislation that Parliament debates, unless urgency’s invoked, and that’s almost always considerably shorter.

    Comment by izogi — February 6, 2016 @ 11:11 am

  27. Other people knew of the treaty provisions in the TPP but Harawira claimed there was no mention at all.

    And Kaa defended that by saying it was a mere detail. His view that opposition is some mystical process where you diemonstrate side by side with others, the facts don’t really matter because of caring for the children isn’t going to be of much help trying to rein in big
    Pharma.

    That’s more likely to happen by taking advantage of Obama and arguing on the facts as as possible.

    Comment by NeilM — February 6, 2016 @ 11:25 am

  28. “I think the left might want to rethink the destroying our sovereignty line.” NeilM @ 17
    Indeed: every convention, agreement, double-tax agreement or treaty we sign, involves a little “destruction” of our “sovereignty”. Of course, the biggest destruction of sovereignty occurred to those countries who joined the EU, especially that subset that signed away their monetary policy to the Germans. Yet the left love the EU and its triumph of the bureaucracy over democracy, said to be due to the supposed suppression of nationalistic tendencies. Also known as “sovereignty. Hell, the deal in Paris is a prime example of “loss of sovereignty” and (snigger) if enforced, will deal a blow to industry and the workers. Yet most on the left love it.

    “I haven’t yet worked out why it is that we should listen to the majority of climate scientists on climate change, but we don’t listen to the majority of economists about economics.”
    PaulL @ 2
    Climate scientists are only tiny subset of scientists. Whereas economists, probably most, agree on the theory of comparative advantage. It does make you wonder why “we” believe climate scientists, but not economists. Both rely on models after all…
    It’s also funny how many of the people who believe in cAGW trust the scientists on this, but not on nuclear energy, genetic modification or fracking. And it’s also amazing how many people still believe that deficit spending can boost economic growth. Observation (not least Japan, depression era USA, Obama USA, Muldoon’s NZ) shows all it does is create anxiety, uncertainty and intergenerational debt.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 6, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

  29. “corporations and lobbyists could access all of the parties involved and influence the talks, and everyone else was totally locked out, this was always the most likely outcome of the process.”
    Agenda 21?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 6, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

  30. “how the benefits get distributed.” NeilM @19

    With the theory that future returns will increase for capital, perhaps at the expense of returns to worker (and the regressive nature of VAT), perhaps it’s time to revisit the idea of a flat rate income tax plus a citizen salary?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 6, 2016 @ 3:08 pm

  31. Of course, the biggest destruction of sovereignty occurred to those countries who joined the EU, especially that subset that signed away their monetary policy to the Germans.

    On the whole I support the EU but borders and sovereignty are a vexing question.

    There are no objective borders, there is no objective sovereignty. These are just mental concepts we have developed. There’s the old adage nation states were invented in order to wage war. I would argue the exact reverse.

    Lines in the sand are illogical, ephemeral and often deadly but we might be worse off without them. I haven’t read it but I think Pinker talks about these as new taboos.

    Comment by NeilM — February 6, 2016 @ 5:16 pm

  32. “On the whole I support the EU”
    Why? Why is the massive destruction of sovereignty so good, when compared to what NZ has done: sign TTPA and some conventions on human/child/workers right?

    “These are just mental concepts we have developed.” What ISN’T considered a mental construct these days?

    “There are no objective borders” tell that to islanders (hint we live on an island). Just because some borders are lines ruled on a map by fat old me with moustaches, doesn’t mean ALL borders are non-objective. River borders can make sense, too.
    Remember, nations (and states, provinces, regions, towns/cities) are rather handy ways to administer the joint affairs of a bunch of people. A few years back, the favourite buzzword in the EU was subsidiarity. It was all bollocks, as centralization continued apace, local ideas and knowledge overridden by the competencies that nations have signed away to the EU.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 7, 2016 @ 5:07 pm

  33. “There are no objective borders” tell that to islanders (hint we live on an island).

    Tell that to Tuhoe.

    But take a step back, what’s the purpose of borders – whether between nation states or tribes?

    Comment by NeilM — February 7, 2016 @ 5:25 pm

  34. Before the arrival of the Dutch proper there was the Dutch East India Co.

    Comment by Ripley — February 7, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

  35. The notion of borders, for Europe I understand was a consequence of the unnecessary bloodshed of the so called ‘Hundred Years War’ in which countless died as a result of ill-conceived loyalties and disputes about of vague areas and territories based on anecdotal or historical views about who owned what. Consequently, alongside technological improvements in map-making and surveying, it became possible to indicate borders and ratify borders under International Law Hence the notion of sovereignty as a physical and evidenced thing arose as a governmentalised discourse about ‘ownership’ of territory – often sanctified by the presence of superior force. Under this international agreement it became illegal to arbitrarily wage war or invade another’s borders without proper process. Also, it had implications for colonisation. It meant that to achieve ‘ownership’ of a piece of territory, one merely had to get there first and put your flag on it, for it to become your sovereign territory. So when the English arrived in Aotearoa and ‘claimed’ the islands by sticking a flag on it, it was as much to stop say ‘The French’ from doing it as it was to ‘claim’ it as Briitsh according to International Law. In short, ‘borders’ are not a nebulous idea, they were designed to ‘protect’ people, and sovereignty is not an arbitrary notion, it has evolved to indicate the unique branding (for want of a better word) of a people or peoples who are protected under International Law from arbitrary or mischievous invasions by other nations.

    The Treaty of Waitangi was an attempt to solidify this concept of Aotearoa as a sovereign nation after the clumsy first attempt to brand it during the initial Declaration of Independence was rejected by Sydney as inadequate to keep British Trade free from interference from foreign navies – the original ensign using the United Tribes deemed unsuitable as a proper naval ensign.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — February 8, 2016 @ 7:56 am

  36. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/07/eu-multinationals-tax-arrangements-us-google-amazon

    How else could one do this other than by the EU and the necessary sacrifice of sovereignty?

    Borders were used to try and prevent conflict but the world has changed. Forms of commerce transcend borders in ways that could not have been imagined in the past.

    Information transfer is now much more immediate and pervasive.

    We’ve seen the horrors that allegiance to the nation state can cause.

    We still live in a world of tribal loyalties on exist on scales from neighbourhood to gender to ethnicity to nation state but now we are confronted with that via technology in ways that are new and challengingly.

    What I see in the TPP is an attempt to cone to terms with these new transborder conflicts.

    It’s an attempt and not perfect but when I look at the opposition I don’t see an alternative. And in general I fail to see from the Left any intellectual curiosity about these issues. It’s all neoliberal this, neocon that.

    Comment by NeilM — February 8, 2016 @ 10:44 pm

  37. “How else could one do this other than by the EU”
    The OECD is working on this already. An EU-only response may simply result in regional HQs moving away from Europe. The OECD may well be called on to help with cross-border VAT issues.

    “We’ve seen the horrors that allegiance to the nation state can cause.”
    So we ban nations? Will we ban religions next? Because religion has caused, is causing, horrors. Just because a nation exists, doesn’t mean that it will go to war. Don’t be like my dad: he reads stuff about cyber crime in the paper, so thinks computers should be banned. Countries, states, cities, are brilliant ways of dealing with collective issues affecting only the locality we think of as a country. A nation state is (or can) be united around a common way of thinking, or shared culture, or even just language.
    Sure, if misused, it can cause all sorts of shit. But people who crave power, will always find some of point of distinction with which to cause trouble.

    Amalgamate nations states into bigger conglomerations and you’ll end up with a behemoth like the US or the USSR: throwing their weight around on the world stage, because they can. And not really meeting the needs of the disparate peoples brought together under the one flag.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 9, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

  38. NeliM – I think it’s a bit early to call time on the notion of Westphalian sovereignty.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 9, 2016 @ 3:06 pm

  39. I agree with Neil M. If we had a Constitution in one written form, clearly spelling out our ethos, that would make trade deals such as the TPPA less controversial. The problem is that we are a part of the Commonwealth and, as such, it is threatening to that particular relationship that we have a Constitution. Moreover, because we originated as a Colony, New Zealand perhaps just hasn’t “gotten around” to developing a decent Constitution. Issues such as the TPPA should, in theory, make our law-makers alert to the need for a written Constitution in one single form; as we have our Constitution spread throughout various pieces of legislation, loopholes or contradictions may be present.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — February 11, 2016 @ 10:22 am

  40. The problem is that we are a part of the Commonwealth and, as such, it is threatening to that particular relationship that we have a Constitution.

    That didn’t appear to be a problem for Australia, which has had a constitution since it came into being in 1900. If NZ had opted to be part of the new Federation back then it would have been our constitution too.

    Comment by Joe W — February 11, 2016 @ 10:53 am

  41. New Zealand perhaps just hasn’t “gotten around” to developing a decent Constitution.

    No. It’s a conscious choice made by successive Parliaments not to limit their primacy.
    The only other modern democracies not to have a written constitution are Britain and Israel.
    The key difference between NZ and the other two is that we get somewhat of a ‘get out’ as a result of the on-going constitutional conversation relating to the ToW.

    Comment by Gregor W — February 11, 2016 @ 1:31 pm

  42. The key difference between NZ and the other two is that we get somewhat of a ‘get out’ as a result of the on-going constitutional conversation relating to the ToW.

    We might also possibly be less influenced by Talmudic law.

    Comment by unaha-closp — February 11, 2016 @ 2:48 pm

  43. I can’t tell if that was a joke or not. Well played!

    Comment by Gregor W — February 11, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

  44. “The problem is that we are a part of the Commonwealth and, as such, it is threatening to that particular relationship that we have a Constitution.”

    Hmm, didn’t stop the UK entering the EU (EEC as it was) and freezing out our produce. And, latterly, working with other EU member states, to get an EU constitution installed, without giving it’s own citizen’s any say in yay or nay. When it was rejected by the French and Dutch, these guys simply incorporated the constitutional arrangements into the existing EU treaties via amendments.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 12, 2016 @ 2:40 pm

  45. I don’t know what the world’s coming to, stretched out here on the boundary.

    Mr Grasssmann continues to work from home and the local gravitons are scattering like there’s no tomorrow.

    Comment by NeilM — February 12, 2016 @ 11:55 pm

  46. Should have been perimeter perhaps rather than boundary. But something is happening and I don’t know what it is.

    Comment by NeilM — February 13, 2016 @ 12:38 am

  47. Thank you for clearing that up, Neil.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — February 13, 2016 @ 7:42 am

  48. I continue my lone battle against the emphatic mood.

    The gravity waves experiment reminds of how physics is still wrestling with issues that have been around since at least the Greeks.

    Change vs continuity, the big vs the small, can objects be in and of themselves.

    With space-time looking more and more likely to be emergent, quantum field theory being local and entanglement operating at the scale of black holes it’s an interesting time.

    And now there’s actual experiments with the potential to test theories once more.

    Comment by NeilM — February 14, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

  49. I guess one can contribute all sorts of wonderful ideas, and further humankind in lots of novel and groundbreaking ways; but woe betide you if you have an autistic child. I refer to the New Zealand Immigration Service.

    For shame. Total unadulterated, hide your head, weapons-grade shame, N(a)ZIS.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — February 15, 2016 @ 7:24 am


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