A dyed-in-the-wool EU accounts scandal

As the European Union is mobilising hundreds of billions of euros to save the continent’s currency, it would be reassuring to know that it can be trusted with money. After last week’s annual report from the European Court of Auditors, there is little reason for such optimism. [...]

America’s real choice

What the United States can least afford is four more years of election campaign-style politics. Both camps must work together to avert fiscal disaster. But are Democrats and Republicans willing to cooperate for positive change? [...]

Tipping towards eurozone fragmentation

A latent state of emergency has become Europe’s new normal. Even professional optimists such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel believe that the euro crisis will be with the continent for at least another five years. [...]

Affordable housing is more than a motherhood statement

In considering housing and planning reforms, we need to understand why New Zealand’s housing market is failing to adjust to increases in demand. This is the core question. Once we have found the answer, we will be able to design policies that will restore housing affordability. [...]

Germany’s gold rush to the head

How would you feel if you suddenly discovered that you were much wealthier than you thought? Well great, obviously. But after the initial amazement, your mind would turn to what you should to do with your unexpected riches. And that’s where things usually get complicated. [...]

Britain’s phantom austerity

To be clear, Britain is not Greece. Under enormous pressure, the Greeks actually had to cut public spending while the British so far are only talking about it. However, unlike the Greeks the British still have their own currency and central bank (and they pay some taxes, too). As long as the Bank of England continues to buy UK government bonds as if there was no tomorrow, they will be just fine. [...]

True colours

As I was watching Wellington Phoenix beat Sydney FC 2-0, I wasn’t sure which was stranger: seeing legendary Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero play football in New Zealand, or supporting a team dressed in black and yellow? I grew up supporting my local team, FC Schalke 04, the legendary “Royal Blues” from the West German mining town of Gelsenkirchen. To us Schalkers, the yellow-black colours of arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund are a worse provocation than a red rag to a bull. [...]

End the Dotcom sideshow

No doubt Herr Dotcom has real entertainment value, and his case confounds the view that there’s nothing comical about us Germans. But New Zealand would be better off dedicating its attention to real policy issues and sending Dotcom back into cyberspace. [...]

The EU deserved its peace prize – and more

The decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award this year’s peace prize to the European Union was criticised by the usual British eurosceptic suspects. The leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage said he was “baffled” and feared the Nobel prize had been brought “into total disrepute”. [...]

Germany’s understandable inflation paranoia

In a world ruled by quantitatively easing, unorthodox central bankers, Germany’s hard money focus may appear anachronistic. But given Germany’s history, it is entirely understandable for them and should be a lesson for all. [...]
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