How can the low voter turnout in local government elections be reversed? Andy Asquith and Andrew Cardow have a very good proposal and write

Don Day also examines



What's happening in the local body races outside of Auckland? To find out more about the Hamilton election, see Natalie Akoorie's

. For Dunedin's contest, see Brooke Gardiner's TV3 item,



Is our justice system broken? Chris Trotter makes a strong case for reform in his blogpost,

But the Minister of Justice says otherwise - see TVNZ's

. See also No Right Turn's

and Brian Rudman's




Are we losing trust in the New Zealand Police? That's the question asked this week in TV3's The Vote - you can watch the full 44-minute show

. You could also read Martyn Bradbury blogpost,

. But the best analysis can be found in Tim Watkin's

. Also relating to police conduct, see Dan Satherley's



Whatever happened to disgraced Employers and Manufacturers Association boss, Alasdair Thompson? Thompson lost his job after some controversial statements about women's periods and productivity. Since then he's apparently had a 'breakdown and a redemption'. Watch Paula Penfold's very interesting 3rd Degree profile on



Will New Zealand benefit from a TPP free trade agreement? Two newspaper editorials have a surprisingly critical analysis of what the agreement could mean - see the Dominion Post's

and the Southland Times'

. Interestingly, leftwing commentator Chris Trotter is much more open to the benefits of trade agreements, and has focused on one particular country that has huge potential for the New Zealand economy - see:

. For a very in-depth critical analysis, see Hadyn Green's



How well has the media covered the current TPP negotiations? Gordon Campbell makes a trenchant criticism of the media in his column,

. Some of the lighter coverage was worth reading to get a sense of John Key's current summit trip - see Vernon Small's

and Audrey Young's

. And for satire about the prime minister's trip, see Ben Uffindell's



What are the chances of a TPP trade agreement actually eventuating? Two commentators of the both the left and right are in agreement that the prospects are pretty bleak - see Gordon Campbell's

and Matthew Hooton's paywalled NBR column,

. Hooton argues that the strongest critics and supporters of the TPP both have an interest in the delusion that some sort of agreement is just around the corner.


Is Murray McCully really still the foreign minister? Paul Buchannan suggests that he's now the minister in name only and has been sidelined - see:



Who are the most powerful amongst the new Maori elite? As neotribal iwi corporations and institutions become more powerful, it's becoming more important to analyse their power. Morgan Godfery answers this comprehensively in his blogpost,


Who is to blame for the Maori Electoral Option leading to no additional Maori seats? Some point the finger at the Maori Party and its leadership disputes but the Maori Party itself blames the government authorities - see Newswire's




What do the latest Census figures mean for electoral politics? The best analysis is in David Farrar's blogpost,



Will the Government's housing announcements really make much of a difference and why can't they do more? For a libertarian perspective on this, see Peter Cresswell's



Should the Labour Party be committing itself to the promise of a minimum wage higher than $15? According to the No Right Turn blog, if Labour is to inflation-proof the union movement's demand for a $15/hour minimum wage, then it should actually now be $17 - see:



Have you heard of the TICS? It's the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill - another piece of contentious spying legislation we're going to hear much more about. Andrea Vance likens it to the 'little brother' of the GCSB bill, and she explains it all in great detail in her excellent article,



When is it right for a politician to refuse to front to the media? Cabinet minister Simon Bridges has some issues with TV3's Campbell Live programme - see Amy McGillivray's



Why is a part-owned government company buying shares in itself? Laura Walters explains in



How strong is New Zealand's economy at the moment? Brian Fallow reports on the latest International Monetary Fund's assessment - see:

. No doubt it's being helped by the reported $2.2 billion about to be spent by oil and gas companies exploring for resources - see Grant Bradley's



How much do politicians think cleaners should be paid, and who should pay? The Greens want their parliamentary cleaners to be paid $18 an hour - see Isaac Davison's

. Winston Peters has called for the individual political parties to top up their pay from their parliamentary budgets - see:

. David Farrar (@dpfdpf) also tweets 'I pay my cleaner $35 an hour. But that is not an argument for making everyone do the same'.


Should the Minister of Education resign over her latest loss in the courts? The fullest discussion of the Phillipstown School decision is in TVNZ's

. Greg Presland suggests Hekia Parata needs new lawyers. And No Right Turn asks 'how many other Christchurch school closures would be found unlawful if they were tested in the courts?' - see:



Will the Government's proposed university management reforms actually be improvements? Two vice-chancellors are speaking out against them - see Radio NZ's

. The Otago Daily Times has an interesting discussion of the issues - see:



Are Christchurch's NZ right wing resistance group really fascist? David Farrar has some evidence in



How might the House of Representatives operate its debates differently? Parliament is currently calling for submissions, and so far you can read the submissions of



24) What do outsiders make of New Zealand's GCSB debates? Read Anthony Loewenstein's Guardian article,


25) Is Lorde's song Royals racist? Definitely not, according to a blogpost co-written by John Moore and myself: Seeing racism everywhere:

. The minor controversy over the fast-rising New Zealand artist was kicked off on the prominent US Feministing website and is titled

. Other refutations of this accusation so far have come from New Zealand satirists Ben Uffindell - see:

and Scott Yorke - see:

Both are very funny responses, but the episode provides some very interesting insights into, not only modern pop culture, but also the politics of race, class and gender. One of these issues is raised in a post on the Daily Blog - see:

. The controversy is now being covered internationally by various media such as


, and the