Today, the Government announced its draft kiwi recovery plan, which seeks to turn around the current decline in kiwi numbers. It is an ambitious plan that rightly recognises that predator control and habitat protection will be key to saving the kiwi. What is most concerning however, is that there is an acknowledged annual funding shortfall […]
Cats and dogs are two of New Zealand’s most loved companion animals who are often integral parts of a family. My own dog, Kea, is a rescue from the SPCA and brings huge joy in my life. It’s well established that having a pet can have many benefits. Having a pet when you are a […]
We were on our first visit to the Oparara Basin, on the Karamea side of Kahurangi National park, famous for its large natural rock arches.
Special needs and early intervention in education has been topical recently. So I really appreciated the opportunity to visit the Champion Centre at Burwood Hospital last week to learn more about how it operates and its philosophy. The Champion Centre us New Zealand’s largest early intervention centre, serving nearly 160 children with disabilities between 0-6 years […]
I’ve heard the numbers before – 43,000 people homeless or experiencing severe housing deprivation – but I was still unprepared for the raw stories told by mothers and other submitters.
It is great to see that four of New Zealand’s largest zoos have now thrown their weight behind the Australasian campaign for mandatory palm oil labelling.
The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.
In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the live captioning of the Rio Olympic Games. I had earlier put out a call for […]
I am absolutely thrilled that today Parliament launched its live closed captioning service. For the first time since my election, I am finally able to follow the debate in the house from my office!
This week SAFE and the SPCA presented a very strong, well-researched submission to the Primary Production Select Committee in support of their petition signed by over 62,000 people calling for an end to rodeo. They pointed out that rodeo relies on the use of a range of painful devices and practices in order to force […]
On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect.
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows through captioning, is something I am personally very passionate about.
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, […]
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. […]
Imagine this: you are in a cage so small you cannot even turn around. In a building with hundreds of other mothers also confined in cages. Something goes wrong nearby and thick choking smoke fills the building followed by a rapid increase in stifling heat. You can hear the frantic screams of your neighbours. Panic […]
Tomorrow I will be accepting a petition from SPCA, SAFE and Farmwatch signed by tens of thousands of New Zealanders calling for rodeo to be banned. This is something that is long overdue. Last year there was some shocking footage made public that showed the abuse that goes on behind the scenes to force animals […]
Last year Green MPs had the pleasure of opening our new Christchurch office. We are delighted with the new premises. They’re spacious, warm, sunny and accessible – a stark contrast to the temporary offices we had following the Canterbury earthquakes. It also came as a huge relief as my fellow MP Eugenie Sage, staff and […]
Last year I had the opportunity to join the Primary Production Select Committee on a visit to the egg farming systems run by Mainland in the Waikouaiti area and to observe the differences between large-scale battery, colony and free-range systems first hand. This was something I was very keen to do given that I have […]
As an MP, it’s generally expected that I keep abreast of current affairs and breaking news in order to be able to make informed comment on political topics of the day or in my portfolios. However, this poses significant challenges for me because, like thousands of other deaf or hard of hearing New Zealanders, I […]
Currently, immigration law discriminates against disabled people and their families. If you are deemed by immigration to potentially be at risk of costing the health system more than ‘X’ dollars a day, then you or your family will be denied residency. You don’t have to look far to find cases in the media: Juliana […]
Earlier this year I launched a campaign for mandatory palm oil labelling. For the last two months I have been following the news coming out of Indonesia with a growing sense of dismay and frustration. Indonesia is burning . Thousands of hectares of pristine rainforest is going up in smoke to make way for palm […]
The events of the last two weeks have highlighted how weak our regulations around live exports are, particularly in relation to live sheep exports. We urgently need a moratorium on live sheep exports until they’ve been significantly strengthened. We have just seen the largest live sheep shipment in a decade leave Timaru port for Mexico, […]
Recently TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make them get into the ring. More extensive footage has also been released by Farmwatch. I […]
Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were fortunate to be able to visit the Wellington Chocolate Factory to learn more. Co-founders Rochelle […]
One of the amendments I have put up to the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill prohibits the killing of great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans). Great apes are our closest relatives and are as intelligent as human toddlers, with diverse personalities, complex emotions and mental traits once considered uniquely human, such as self-awareness, empathy and […]
James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election. I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election proved to be a major milestone for accessible voting. For the first time, telephone dictation […]
The Government is about to progress the final stages of the Animal Welfare Amendment bill. This will be our last opportunity to get changes made to improve the bill to ensure a better outcome for animals. I have put forwards a number of amendments including one to ban the testing of cosmetic products and ingredients […]
Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously. Yesterday, more than a year after two petitions calling for better access to buildings were […]
Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a pig factory farm in the Waikato. Conditions on that farm are typical of intensive pig […]
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the theme this year is one close to my heart – The Promise of Technology As a person with a profound hearing loss, I am a huge fan of technology! My hearing aid transforms my world from a totally silent one to one full of […]
Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory farm was held in Pukekohe. The applicant, Craddock Farms, put forward their case that their […]
Recently I was contacted by a local resident from a township called Patumahoe, just south of Auckland. She told me that a company called Craddock Farms has applied for council consent to build an egg factory farming right next door to her home. It turns out that this isn’t just any factory farm; if building […]
Last week we launched our election disability policy priorities which received good coverage here and here. I have had some questions about different aspects of our policy, particularly on captioning which I will answer here. Why captioning? Current levels of captioning are woefully inadequate in New Zealand. Only 25% of broadcast TV is captioned compared […]
On Sunday I was shocked by the follow up story to TVNZ Sunday’s investigation into pig factory farms in New Zealand. A link to the video can be found here. The footage aired was obtained by FarmWatch, who set up a surveillance camera on a random farm in the North Island. This was a different […]
The Bill has just been reported back from the Primary Production Select Committee. Like most bills it contains a mix of things that we agree with and those that we don’t. It has mostly been a missed opportunity to get it right for animals experiencing the greatest suffering in NZ which is in animal testing […]
The Green Party takes electoral reform very seriously. An electoral system that is robust, democratic and fair means everyone can have confidence in our parliament and our democracy. Today we stood up for a fair electoral system by voting against the Electoral Amendment Bill, which sought to make some changes to the Electoral Act in […]
As some of you will be aware there has been substantial debate over the last week around an interview that I did on a community radio show called “wheels on fire” which focuses on disability issues. The Taxpayers Union criticised my trip because they didn’t feel that it represented good value for money, but received […]
Some significant flaws have been uncovered in recent days in the Government’s Human Rights amendment Bill. During Select Committee hearings, one high profile and hugely experienced human rights campaigner even urged for bill to be withdrawn altogether. A key concern among critics is that the Bill could jeopardise the UN’s accreditation of our Human Rights […]
Last night, I spoke at the first reading of the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill. We took a strong stand on the Bill because it contains a retrograde clause that will have a negative effect on people with disabilities and their friends and family. In my speech, I talked about how my family were affected […]
At Youth Parliament earlier this year, I was represented by Auckland student Dean Buckley. Dean is a stand out role model and I was so proud to have him as my youth MP. While he was here in Wellington, he was followed by a film crew from Attitude Pictures who were documenting his experience. Dean’s […]