I don’t know who thought of it first but some years ago some petro-chemical chemist somewhere decided putting plastic into the products we buy to clean our bodies would give us extra oomph. And so producers added ‘microbeads’ to some of our toothpaste and facial scrubs and shampoo products; and most of us don’t even […]
It feels like 2016 was exceptionally busy – and this was confirmed when I checked my diary. Looking at just my Ethnic Communities portfolio, between February and December this year I visited or attended celebrations with 25 different organisations and groups. In the House I did 33 five minute speeches on 16 different bills including […]
A recent New Zealand Herald article with the headline ‘International students ‘cheat system, take jobs’ is incredibly disappointing. It unfairly scapegoats international students and blames them for the conditions that have led to their systemic exploitation. Some facts first Let’s start off with some facts, shall we? Out of the 100,000+ students who are studying […]
After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of the South Island. Six years on, the battle to improve our health and safety continues, […]
I visited Kaikoura over the weekend – basically to see how the community was coping with all the rubbish and rubble created by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and to see my brother Rob.
The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the start of the week to RNZ’s Wallace Chapman on Sunday, there’s been considerable media and public interest. And […]
Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours. The Green Party supports their cause.
National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current New Zealanders, it has lurched from one extreme to another. First with a laissez-faire approach that […]
In the last week we have heard a
This week is the first ever Gambling Harm Awareness Week. It’s a bit of a big deal because until now there’s only been one day to recognise the harm that gambling can cause in the community. Since its inception in 2004 Gamble-Free Day has been marked by a variety of activities as part of […]
There have been many times I’ve cringed with shame as a result of this government’s heartless policies: how they blame the poor for being poor; deny there’s a homelessness problem or a housing crisis; condone the use of dodgy carbon credits to assert our climate emissions are ok – the list goes on. My […]
One of the things that often gets thrown around the immigration debate is the value of immigrants economically. How much – in dollar terms – are immigrants contributing to their economy? How much – in dollar terms – are immigrants costing? I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our Green kaupapa on immigrants. We […]
Threats by the Aviation Security Service (AvSec) that striking workers could be locked out are a classic example of a public service employer playing hardball, backed by an anti-worker government.
The first phrase of conversational Maori I learned was, “Haere mai kare, whengua tō ihu.” (“Come here darling, blow your nose.”) It was our first time at kōhanga reo and I was new to the community and with a four-year-old and a new-born, keen to make new friends and learn te reo Māori at the same time.
Currently, some NZ Bus drivers in Wellington earn up to $5 per hour more than the drivers at some rival bus companies in other parts of the country. Those rival companies are likely to be able to bid for the Wellington bus contracts at a lower price, because they pay their drivers less.
This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was looking forward to an interesting and informative day, and I wasn’t disappointed.
On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by firms on average, either overall or into employment that lasted beyond the trial period” – which is what National said it would do. It also had no effect on the number of “disadvantaged jobseekers” being hired. In short, 90-day trials have failed to do what National said they would do.
Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota to 1000 places until 2018. It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, right before we celebrate World Refugee Day on the 20th June. The Green Party, like […]
Immigration is once again in the news, with NZ First leader Winston Peters engaging in some furious dog-whistling to gain attention. I fear that his antics give the small, but vocal, portion of New Zealanders who hold racist beliefs an avenue for expressing their destructive opinions. At the very least it makes newcomers feel uncomfortable […]
Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. For example, the forecast is that the average wage is set to increase to $63,000 per annum by 2020, but when you consider […]
There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment statistics for new New Zealanders.
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Yesterday, I was one of the MPs who received a petition from ActionStation, signed by 20,000 New Zealanders calling for our Government to double our refugee quota. People from all walks of life, including every political party in Parliament, have called for an increase to our quota everyone except the National Government that is. […]
This Sunday could be the last Easter Sunday holiday for many New Zealanders who work in retail shops. National is planning to change the rules to allow local councils to let shops open on Easter Sunday, with the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. This will hit people who work in retail jobs hard. Even though […]
Yesterday was International Race Relations Day, so here are some of my reflections on the status of race relations in New Zealand. This isn’t going to be an easy post for lots of people to read, but telling the truth rarely is. One of the foundation myths that we have as New Zealanders is that […]
Over the last several years the European Union has been working on reducing waste and as a result many European countries are looking at how to meet the ambitious goal of reducing food waste by 50 per cent by 2025. France is tackling food waste with laws that will make it illegal for shops of […]
Last week I told you about some of my travels to see various ethnic communities in the South Island. In this blog, I bring you the other half of my adventures. Metiria and I shared morning tea in Dunedin with the North East Valley women’s multicultural group and I found the conversations incredibly uplifting. The […]
During the recess week, I’ve been focusing on my ethnic communities and immigration portfolios. I managed to combine hanging out at O-Week at Canterbury University with our wonderful Greens on Campus with an extended trip to visit people working with diverse communities and multicultural organisations in the South Island. In Christchurch, I had coffee […]
On Friday, about 70 percent of Auckland’s buses will be off the road for 24 hours as drivers from NZ Bus and Howick & Eastern Buses strike over the breakdown in the negotiations of their employment agreements. While this is a major inconvenience for bus users, it is not a decision that the drivers make […]
On Friday, James and I had the privilege of visiting the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre (MRRC). As someone who has long advocated for increasing the quota, it was very important for me to go and see the work that goes on at the MRRC. And I was absolutely inspired by what I saw. We got […]
It’s been a busy summer for AFFCO Talley’s as they toil away tirelessly in their attempts to bust the union at their Rangiuru site in Wairoa. Not content with locking out some of their employees who belong to the Meat Workers Union as they did last year and continue to do so, or refusing to […]
The protests against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yesterday were an energetic show of people power. It was great to see such a big turnout – at least 15,000 in Auckland by some estimates. That’s a lot of people not buying the National Government’s spin on the TPPA. I was at the Auckland protests […]
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its report “Environment at a Glance 2015″ this week and listed New Zealand’s performance on waste as the worst out of the 34 member states. The report says that all municipal waste (the waste from households, towns, and cities) in New Zealand goes to landfill and that […]
This week the Minister for the Environment, Dr Nick Smith, called for ideas on how to use old tyres as if he had no clues about what to do. Even Paul Henry got into it during his interview with my colleague Julie-Anne Genter today, suggesting a tyre theme park – I think as a joke. […]
Today, Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati after Associate Minister of Immigration refused to intervene against his deportation on humanitarian grounds. He will be returning to a country dealing with the impacts of climate change and sea level rises. The sea is lapping at homes on the islands, the gardens have been deluged with […]
After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the tour. This blog post will be first […]
As part of our Fair Share campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited several in Wellington on Friday and, since then, have been reflecting on what I heard. […]
The 50th anniversary of the Cook Islands Constitution Day this week was a