The Quantitative Easing Legacy

When the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) struck, it was essentially a US domestic issue unfortunately big enough to impact the world economy. As such, then US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke led the way out of the crisis with what some would argue was unconventional monetary policy while others hailed it the brave new formula. It was Quantitative Easing (QE).

QE in an historical perspective and by way of a simple explanation is the flip side of the way the economic world handled the great depression. Whether it is or is not a better strategy can never be answered because it wasn’t a global agreement; the world went in different directions.

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The Syria Issue

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Chief of Mission Residence in Paris October 14, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Chief of Mission Residence in Paris October 14, 2014.

At present we’re struggling to debate whether the beefing up of our domestic spy law is necessary to combat the rise of the Islamic State.

We’re being told, absolutely it is necessary, while there’s been next to no comment from the opposition; rather it is very much media versus the Government.

We are hearing talk about legislation under urgency, to address the issue – regardless the base problem still exists.

Russia dominates the European gas market, and as long as the Assad Regime remains loyal to Putin, there’s no way through Syria for Middle East gas to be piped to Europe.

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Glenn Greenwald and his Pulitzer Prize

The fallout from Dirty Politics has been varied and on-going. Nicky Hager has polarised political New Zealand with his book and media are in the firing line over their position on Glenn Greenwald’s Pulitzer Price.

News of the World import and Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance has been accused of misreporting the situation and being comfortable with the lie.

Amongst recent comments on an opinion piece about possible changes to New Zealand spy legislation I spotted this comment also;

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Who is the Opposition

Up till now this question may have had an obvious answer; National or Labour, depending on who isn’t in government. The positions of Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have not been matters of statute but parliamentary convention.

The leader of the largest party not in Government and not in coalition with a Government party is entitled to be recognised as Leader of the Opposition.

While MMP hasn’t brought about any dramatic change in the size and relative positions of parties on the political right, what has happened on the left is cause for some reflection, and possibly a change in the current parliamentary rules.

After the dismal performance by Labour this election, and with two caretakers minding the leadership as contentious factions slug it out in a presidential style leadership battle, the Party is hardly showing signs of a government in waiting or even looking like an opposition ready for the upcoming opening of parliament.

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New Zealand’s elusive UN spot

New Zealand has been a contender for a seat on the United Nations Security Council since announcing its interest back in 2004.

We are not seeking a place in the regional Asia-Pacific group but are one of the three countries along with Turkey and Spain vying for the two available seats in the Western European and Others electoral group (WEOG).

The 5 Permanent seats are filled by China, UK, US, Russia and France while the 10 non-permanent seats are filled by regional elections.

If successful in the these elections, New Zealand will return to the Council in January 2015 after a 21 year absence having last held a seat in 1993 – 1994. A non-permanent seat has 2 years tenure and an incumbent cannot be immediately re-elected.

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A Vote Against the System

Much has been said post-election about absentee voters.

There have been various assertions as to why a million Kiwis elected not to exercise their democratic right; even a claim that a right not to vote now exists for the disaffected. The eligible not-enrolled has risen to over 8%.

The fallout from Dirty Politics rolls on with Nicky Hager’s house being raided by Police in search of the identity of the illusive hacker whose haul of emails formed the basis of Hager’s book.

A review of a criminal complaint against Cameron Slater is underway over a similar incident that the WhaleOil website owner was involved in.

Another interesting twist in the tale of our most unusual election is the ‘Give a little’ fund for Nicky Hager’s legal battles.

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Air War ‘expensive’ but futile

While we may be geographically remote from the confrontation, the fight against ‘pure evil’ has already engulfed us here in New Zealand.

John Key confirmed this morning that advice is being sought from the Ministry of Defence on all options for a New Zealand involvement in the US led campaign against the rising Islamic State.

At the same time we are days away from a vote for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

We’ve been locked into that race for some time now and have invested in the prospect with oddities such as an embassy in a far off little country, although when we entered the race, the prospect of another war in Iraq was not on the table.

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