Answering questions from readers on New Zealand's lack of Ikeas and a good reading list for getting into NZ politics.
"The Waitangi Tribunal : the conscience of the nation" by Paul Temm. Written in 1990 so it doesn't include anything about important recent cases, but it covers treaty history, the origin story of the tribunal and settlement process, as well as those initial foundational cases. Plus it's only 130 pages. It's not about politics in the same way Blue Blood is, but it's pretty important context for understanding the rest of NZ politics.
Setting aside some time, pulling up a chair, and spending hours in our Hansard online is a fascinating way to gain some insights to our political history. The enthusiasm of the late 1800s thru to the mess of the 1930s is an interesting change to see play out in speeches.
On history, I liked "The Penguin History of New Zealand" by Michael King.
On more recent times, I recommend two books by Colin James (who in my opinion can't be beat): "New Territory: The transformtion of New Zealand 1984-92" and "Unquiet Time: Aotearoa/New Zealand in a fast-changing world".
Bill Sutch - Poverty and Progress In New Zealand - a reappraisal. 1967. The most readable economic and political history of New Zealand I have found so far.
Simple on a Pulpit by John A Lee. Turns out the first Labour Government had similar power dynamics as more recent Labour Governments. And John A Lee's understanding of economics is streets ahead of what we get these days from economists.
Thanks. Your best column yet
So many good books. There is a great series based on Prime Ministers edited by Margaret Clark including 'Peter Fraser: Master Politician', and 'The Lange Years' (they were originally seminars in Parliament later published containing multi perspectives from many on the front lines). Some recommendations: Ranginui Walker 'Struggle without end'; Geoffrey Palmer and G Palmer Steeds 'Democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand; autobiographies of Michael Cullen (very lively and written in haste before he died), Margaret Wilson; biographies of Peter Fraser ('Tomorrow Comes the Song' by Michaels King and Bassett and a fascinating 1952 one by his parliamentary colleague James Thorn); M Hayward 'Diary of the Kirk Years'; biographies of Annette King, Helen Clark, Sue Bradford ('Constant Radical') and of course Jacinda Ardern. 'Helen Kelly' by R Macfie has great coverage of recent decades of left wing and union history, and for earlier S Davies 'Bread and Roses'. For some older history of political women J Coleman, 'From suffrage to a seat in the House'.
Henry a glaring omission is Chris Trotter's No Left Turn.