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Intellectual life, Brian Easton

Brian Easton considers reviewing as New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa turns 25.

New Zealand Books was founded a quarter of a century ago, responding to a fear that The New Zealand Listener’s book pages were ending. I do not recall that there was then a concern that newspaper book pages would also be cut back. Once, a weekend newspaper devoted a whole broadsheet page – typically opposite the editorial page – to (shorter) book reviews. Today, you are lucky to get in their magazines two or three pages, at least one of which looks like a personality profile of the author issued by the publisher. Sometimes, the review is of a New Zealand book. So the annual award for review pages has been abandoned. (The death of newspaper reviewing is not peculiar to literature. For example, the gap in Wellington music reviewing has had to be filled by the Middle C website; local obituaries have all but disappeared.)

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Posted in Comment

Town and country, Brian Easton

Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in New Zealand
Shamubeel Eaqub
Bridget Williams Books, $15.00,
ISBN 9781927277614

When the Farm Gates Opened: The Impact of Rogernomics on Rural New Zealand
Neal Wallace
Otago University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 9781877578724

In the last hundred years, the median population centre of New Zealand has moved from near Nelson (which is at the geographic centre of New Zealand) to near Hamilton. The drift north has been remorseless, as has been the drift to the cities. A hundred years ago, one in two New Zealanders lived rurally; today it is one in six, fewer than those who live in Auckland.

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Posted in Economics, Non-fiction and Review

Profiting from health, Brian Easton

Democratic Governance and Health: Hospitals, Politics and Health Policy in New Zealand Miriam J Laugesen and Robin Gauld Otago University Press, $40.00. ISBN 9781877578 274 I have long puzzled over the point of local democracy in the highly centralised state

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Posted in Health, Non-fiction and Review

Acts of God and government, Brian Easton

The Christchurch Fiasco: The Insurance Aftershock and its Implications for New Zealand and Beyond Sarah Miles Dunmore Publishing, $38.00, ISBN 9781927212035 Given New Zealand’s reputation as The Shaky Isles, together with its accompanying history of deluges, hurricanes, landslips, tsunamis and

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review and Sociology

Problems with experts, Brian Easton

The New Zealand Tax System: New Zealand Taxes in Comparative Perspective  Rob Salmond Institute of Policy Studies, $30.00, ISBN 9781877347450   The New Zealand Economy: An Introduction  Ralph Lattimore and Shamubeel Eaqub Auckland University Press, $34.99, ISBN 9781869404895   To

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Posted in Non-fiction and Review

Bring out your dead, Brian Easton

Crisis: One Central Bank Governor and the Global Financial Collapse  Alan Bollard with Sarah Gaitanos Auckland University Press, $29.99, ISBN 9781869404696   I examined carefully the Reserve Bank Bill before Parliament in 1988 to ensure that, come a financial crisis,

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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

A tale half-told, Brian Easton

Innovation and Independence: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand 1973-2002  John Singleton (with Arthur Grimes, Gary Hawke and Frank Holmes) Auckland University Press (in association with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage), $49.99, ISBN 1869403649 This history of the Reserve

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

From sclerosis to stagnation, Brian Easton

Remaking New Zealand and Australian Economic Policy: Ideas, Institutions, and Policy Communities Shaun Goldfinch Victoria University Press, $39.95, ISBN 0864733933 Shaun Goldfinch’s Remaking New Zealand and Australian Economic Policy is the latest version of what is becoming the standard account

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Posted in Politics & Law and Review

Popper, Plato and profits, Rodney Hide

The Commercialisation of New Zealand Brian Easton Auckland University Press, $39.95, ISBN 1 86940 173 5 Reining in the Dinosaur: The Story Behind the Remarkable Turnaround of New Zealand Post Vivienne Smith New Zealand Post, $24.95, ISBN 0 473 04389

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Posted in Economics, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review
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