When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack of a social safety net: people living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, people who may […]
The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins. A government organic strategy and supportive advisory programme, could mean a major switch to highest value organic production for our primary production exports from all parts of New Zealand.
LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way to go to change this. In an ideal world, Budget 2016 would acknowledge we, LGBTQI […]
On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect.
This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.
Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing of our tamariki.
Support for migrant settlement With net migration at 50,000+ a year, if we want to make sure we have thriving and connected communities and a cohesive society we need to make sure that our new New Zealanders are appropriately supported and welcomed. Over the last year I’ve met with leaders from different ethnic communities and […]
To paraphrase Justin Trudeau – “It’s 2016”. Money needs to be in the budget to deliver equal pay this year to caregivers at the very least and that may require widening the tax base, which in turn if done well would help reduce inequality in our society at the other end.
A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and prioritise a plan for swimmable rivers.
This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once upon a time in our history they were events, where everyone tuned-in to hear how […]
On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the role of government to ensure that everyone has a warm and safe home to live in. Our announcement outlined how Housing New Zealand […]
This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with Alfred Ngaro from National. It is important to celebrate our wins. This is a significant […]
I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals to not just double New Zealand’s intake of refugees, but also double the funding we allocate to help them settle into life in New Zealand. The Government has signalled that it’s been thinking about the refugee quota, and the Budget would be an ideal time to announce that it’s prepared to invest a bit more so New Zealand can take a step towards doing its fair share to help the global refugee crisis.
This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a great panel of speakers from a range of backgrounds. I was unsure how concerned people would […]
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows through captioning, is something I am personally very passionate about.
On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was temporarily shut down and 5 people have been issued trespass notices. The company doing this […]
New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system so we have a single provider, a monopoly called Transpower, which is meant to be […]
A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things had arrived at the point where this woman was faced with taking her children […]
This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts on children and it is very worrying to say the least. Making the connections are […]
It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make up more than half the value of these exports. The ever increasing piles of logs […]
Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips paper” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Australian media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their New Zealand businesses (NZME. and Fairfax NZ) which could lead to what’s being […]
I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work that has the potential to correct a real injustice in our system. Victims who kill […]
The government may not get its way on relaxing the restrictions on Easter Sunday shopping hours after all. Today the Commerce Select Committee reported back to the House on the Shop Trading Hours Amendment bill but – unusually – the amendments the Government members wanted to make to the bill couldn’t be included because they […]
The National Government’s Resource Legislation Bill has been described as making the most fundamental changes to the RMA since it was passed in 1991. It’s a complicated and technical bill which makes 40 changes to six different Acts, including the RMA. Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the original architect of the RMA has identified, “at least three […]
Yesterday the House was in uproar when the Prime Minister attempted to “out” me as an owner of a foreign trust during question time. This is inaccurate, and he is of course conflating two separate things. Foreign trusts are set up by people not resident in the country they are citizens of or resident in, […]
Most of the racist semi-abusive letters and emails that we receive at the Greens seem to be from older people. How can I tell? Possibly it’s the handwritten letters, usually from Tauranga or Canterbury, in the formal style we were taught at school many years ago. I answer these politely as the Pākehā Te Tiriti […]
Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]
I’m not a fan of fast food companies, but a few days ago I was thrilled to see fast food multinational Burger King announcing that they are going to dump caged eggs in New Zealand. They join other food companies, including McDonald’s and Wendy’s, who have made similar commitments. This is great news for chickens. […]
Parliament’s Law and Order select committee (of which I am a member) has today called for public submissions to its firearms inquiry. This conversation should have been live since last year, when the Police Association started talking about their concerns over the increasing number of firearms that officers were finding in the hands of people […]
I wrote this blogpost sitting in Parliament listening to the Attorney General’s first reading speech on the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranganui Claims Settlement Bill. He has acknowledged the impact of colonisation that made it difficult for whanau and hapū to pass on language and culture and the profound […]
In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be a city that leads New Zealand in the way its residents live, work and play; […]
I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week. Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food for too long. Does he really think that Dunedin people are so easily fooled by […]
Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year it was combined with another unique annual event, the Roger Awards, a competition for the […]
Last Saturday, my colleague Eugenie Sage took me for a drive across the Canterbury Plains. I had seen from the air the landuse changes across the plains in recent times; a patchwork of crops and stock raising has been transformed into a green desert. Driving through, the treeless expanses are vast. The paddocks are dominated […]
This week’s reported comments by Fonterra chair John Wilson that dairy “volumes were only going to keep increasing” are troubling. Mr Wilson was supporting a potential renegotiation of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the FTA dairy products such as whole milk powder attract higher tariffs when volume thresholds are reached, often early in […]
The Green Party supports the proposed Kermadec ocean sanctuary. We need to keep parts of our oceans free from fishing, mining and drilling and other exploitation as places where nature can thrive.
I was in the US last week, Washington DC for 3 days and New York for one. In DC, I had a board meeting for The Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) International to attend. GLOBE-International is developing a world-wide strategy of parliamentary activity to ensure that governments meet their Paris obligations, […]
Old habits die hard. National’s knee-jerk response to experts who are forecasting unprecedented sea level rise caused by climate change has been to deny it’s a problem New Zealanders should be concerned about. Finance Minister Bill English said the National Government won’t be looking into this risk any time soon as “it’s a bit speculative” […]
Last week the Education and Science Select Committee visited the dyslexic student programme at Kapiti College. They invited us to visit them during the Inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism Spectrum in schools which I initiated. We were hosted by the students and their teachers. The visit consisted of giving us a series of learning […]
This week, I went to Wairoa and met people affected by the Waihi dam failure and the huge impact of silt build up on the waterways. This disaster started last year when the Waihi dam behind Wairoa sluice gate broke and tonnes of built-up silt poured into the river. The main damage occurred between November and January, […]