Decolonisation, secession, and human rights: insights from a global leader

  On Wednesday night I went to Victoria University to hear Dr José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor Leste, speak about regional and global politics. Dr. Ramos-Horta is a Nobel Laureate (1996), co-awarded the Peace Prize for his work in exile working for Timorese independence.  The Nobel Committee cited his sustained efforts to hinder the […]

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Taking Climate Action to the Next Level: Reflections by a UN Climate Chief

 As the ink dries on the Paris Agreement concluded in December, the significance of the event is now being weighed up.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are extremes in views.  At one and the same time, it is an ‘historic moment of hope for humanity’; it goes ‘nowhere near far enough’; and it is even a ‘fraud’. […]

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Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood

The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That is a major policy shift with ramifications for all. Consequently, the Palestinian Authority instructed officials […]

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Welcoming back Peter Greste – and various freedoms

The release of Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in Egypt brings to the surface the interplay of various freedoms around the world. Watch: Peter Greste arrives in Australia, calls for the release of colleagues Fahmy, Mohamed: http://t.co/eQyeJzxb9s pic.twitter.com/Oh0U0VegXb — AJE News (@AJENews) February 4, 2015 There are the positives: ‘freedom to’ express oneself and associate with […]

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Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes

Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments of Britain, Sweden, Ireland and France have conducted votes endorsing the recognition of Palestine. Now […]

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Way opening for April Sun in Cuba

The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries and demonstrates the commitment of the USA, under Obama, to thawing a frosty relationship born […]

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Our Green vision and policy – my speech at Kumeu

The Green philosophy is about sustainability. It takes, as its worldview, the environment, within which human society and its economy operate. It places the soaring human population within Earth’s finite capacity for resource-use and waste-disposal. If there is one thought that underpins Green belief, it is that we have one planet, to share. The Green […]

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Time for real action to curb ag emissions

A sharp rise in in agricultural emissions shows the National Party’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) must go and a meaningful carbon price be applied to the sector. According to new Environmental Protection Authority data, agriculture’s greenhouse gas output rose 7 percent last year. We cannot continue to ignore such a large and growing contributor to […]

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The agony of Gaza – What price the right of self-defence?

As I write, the conflict in Gaza has seen yet another ceasefire deal squandered, with more death and destruction. Israel has repeatedly claimed its right to self-defence as justification for ‘Operation Protective Edge’. That claim is supported by leading Western powers, including the US, EU and UK. In my speech on the Gaza motion in […]

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Israeli Ground Invasion an Aggressive Action

My comment a week ago on the Israel-Gaza situation occasioned considerable comment, supportive and critical.  No surprise; on such an important and sensitive issue, personal opinions run deep, including mine. Comments in support take the long view – advocate a political re-alignment that reduces the US role as biased mediator; strengthen in various ways the […]

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Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe The latest round of violence in the Israel-Palestine saga reinforces a few timeless truths. They are: attempts at mutual slaughter achieve nothing but mutual slaughter; persisting with a politically-biased external mediator returns nothing but frustration; and an unreformed United Nations wringing its hands on the […]

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Public interest on UN bid says – ‘Show us the money, John’

Under the John Key Government, New Zealand has recast its reputational integrity, losing traditional hues of national colour to which the Prime Minister is congenitally blind. This current Government has practised, to an art form, the statement of principles to govern the pursuit of stated objectives, in eloquent words of surpassing meaninglessness, whilst proceeding under […]

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The Pope, Prayers, and the Middle East

True to his developing reputation as an original and courageous leader, Pope Francis has led the Israeli and Palestinians in prayer together. http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/10133858/Pope-brings-Middle-East-leaders-together It is probable that no other individual on Earth right now could bring that off. If ping-pong diplomacy could cut the ice in US-China relations in the 20th century, then maybe prayer […]

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Defining the Election Issue: National and Green climate policy

At its AGM last weekend, the Green Climate Protection Package was rolled out. –    It contains the over-riding goal of net carbon-neutral economy by 2050, with a National Carbon Budget comprising a series of five-yearly budget components to get to that goal. –    There will be an independent Climate Commission to advise the Government on […]

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“Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ scientists

Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists. On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this one addresses strategy (see my blog-post of 15 April). In a possibly unprecedented action, leading […]

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