National have two flagship education policies which they have been pushing since 2008. A great deal of public money has been spent on both. Charter schools and National Standards are central to their strategy of supporting education as a business opportunity and focusing on measurement and assessment rather than learning. Both these policies have serious […]
Margaret Spencer, a family carer who has looked after her son who has Down’s Syndrome for 47 years, has finally won backpay after years of struggle. Family members such as Margaret who care for their disabled children should be paid the same as non-family carers, otherwise it is discrimination. She has finally beaten the Ministry […]
The Ruamahānga is a beautiful river, much loved by those who live near it. But it faces many pressures. South of Masterton, the river is affected by sewage issues and land use intensification that have reduced water clarity and made the river unsafe for swimming, particularly at The Cliffs, a scenic spot near a vineyard straight out of a tourist brochure. Unfortunately, the water has a D rating. You risk getting a nasty bug if you put your head under.
A week is not enough but it can be a spring board to taking steps towards our national language, the first language of Aotearoa. So far it has been tau kē! We had the celebratory hīkoi through Te Upoko o Te Ika, hundreds of excited tamariki, waiata, haka and Te Reo kōrero. We heard that cute […]
In 2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not be held accountable.
For many New Zealanders the loss of swimmable rivers and the effects of intensive agriculture are big issues and they want it cleaned up. William Rolleston is running lines that no one believes and which do Federated Farmers reputation no good at all. Denying that 62 percent of our monitored rivers are too dirty for safe swimming is pointless.
On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one point Taranaki maunga emerged in snowy splendour to urge us on. We had some excellent conversations about peace and justice based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Saving rivers cannot be put in the too hard basket and I am looking forward to meeting water activists across country so we can support your efforts. Clean water is well worth this effort, it’s essential that we clean up rivers and make them swimmable again!
Last night I watched a fascinating programme about the Otago University 45 year study of 1000 New Zealanders. It concluded that there are ways to intervene and support people who are at risk of becoming violent. One of the key findings was that early positive intervention could help our youngest people develop self awareness and […]
Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past.
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
It seems like a no brainer. If we teach the next generation the history of our country and give them some context for how we got to the present uneasy state of cultural confusion, we can hope to build better relationships in the future. Can’t we? After all, a petition calling for the Land Wars […]
Yesterday, a petition of more than 12,000 people was presented to us at Parliament calling for clean water and swimmable rivers. The groups who presented it were Choose Clean Water, Hīkoi Wai Tapu and the Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te reo ki Tūwharetoa. They had travelled from Turangi, walking much of the way […]
When Nick Smith was questioned about the fact that overseas-owned companies can export freshwater they have bottled for free here in NZ, he answered that there is plenty of water, and at the moment there are only a few companies involved. Our most precious resource and indeed necessity is being bottled and sold offshore for […]
On Wednesday night I went to Victoria University to hear Dr Jose Ramos Horta, former President of Timor Leste, speak about regional and global politics. Dr Ramos Horta is a Nobel Laureate for peace. I heard him speak once before during the APEC conference in 1999 when we were out on the streets of […]
Last week in Honduras, gunmen killed a woman in her home as she slept. Berta Cárceres was an extraordinary leader working in a dangerous context. Her primary mission was protecting the Gualcarque river from a huge hydroelectric dam proposed by multinationals, but she stood for so much more. Berta won the Goldman Environmental Prize for […]
Last week I went up to Paekakariki to visit Flo McNeill who is a driving force in the “Friends of Wainui Stream”. This stream is a beautiful example of community effort of riparian planting and healthy population of native fish and tuna (eels). The water looks clean, although running pretty low at the moment and […]
Last weekend the Government put out a consultation document on cleaning up freshwater called Next Steps for Fresh Water. it has have to look like it’s doing something big, because we are now at a crisis point with water quality. However we are disappointed in the plans, which lack some fundamental and essential commitments to […]
So in one week the OECD finds poor kids are six times less likely to do well as rich kids, AND it finds that the teachers in poor schools are just as good as the teachers in rich schools. The Minister of Education Hekia Parata has a bee in her bonnet that it is teachers […]
I have been to Waitangi every Waitangi Day except one since 2000. As usual, the good news and positive political events were ignored by many media. The Greens, for example, had a very good reception at Te Tii Marae. We were honoured to be welcomed on with the Maori Women’s Welfare League and political legends […]
1. Learn about our history and current issues – Te Tiriti education is powerful, inspiring and available! 2. Learn about where you live, who the manawhenua are and how you can support their kaupapa. 3. Support manawhenua activities from fundraisers to festivals and political action in your region. 4. Challenge comments and jokes which attack […]
The Public Works Act has too often been used to confiscate Māori land, and Members of Parliament will soon get a chance to vote to stop this. The original Public Works Act was developed in the 1860’s to facilitate the confiscation of Māori land. Like the TPPA, it was spun as nation building and an […]
This summer there have already been many news items about lakes and rivers being tested for cyanobacteria, a type of potentially toxic algae, which have killed dogs and are potentially lethal to humans. These algae blooms increase when the water levels are lower and the temperatures increase, and areas where there is drought will be […]
We want rivers and lakes that people can swim in – seems a simple enough request, doesn’t it? It’s not unreasonable that our kids and grandkids should be able to swim in lakes and rivers just like we have. However, 62 per cent of our monitored rivers are unsafe to swim in. Before we can […]
This year I had a huge breakthrough in getting the Education and Science Select Committee to open an inquiry to investigate the identification of and support for students facing the significant challenges of dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum disorders. We put the call out for submissions and were overwhelmed by the response. On the very […]
I had that cough virus three times this year and burst my eardrum. I spent too much being cross with the Government and not enough time exercising. I ate far too much chocolate after Question Time and got distracted from key tasks by trying to be clever on Twitter. However in many ways it has […]
Yesterday the Government put out their Special Education Update and the Action Plan which is their response. I’ve spent the last month listening to the tears and rage of families and teachers at the Select Committee Inquiry that I initiated into special education, and I find the Government’s response alarmingly vague. The messages from the […]
After 11 years in prison, West Papuan leader Filep Karma walked free last week. His crime was raising the Morning Star flag. Filep will now be back with his family and community but also faces the risks which all Papuan advocates face, of violence and even extra-judicial killing. Freedom is a tricky word in West […]
We are well underway hearing from submitters to the Select Committee Inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism issues in schools. The testimony has had considerable media coverage because it has been compelling and intense. The students and parents who have spoken to us have given us sometimes gruelling accounts of bullying, neglect and ignorance as […]
At this busy time of year, the Minister of Education has announced a review of aspects of the Education Act. Submissions close on Dec 14. There could hardly be a worse time for educators to engage with critical questions as they supervise and mark exams, organise prize giving and wrap up the year, but it […]
It is easy to take teachers for granted, I know I did as a student. However, on World Teachers’ Day I want to pay tribute to the true professionals of the craft of teaching. I want to pay tribute to teachers who are conscious liberators of students and their potential whether they are 4 years […]
It is easy for the Government to say that they are supporting our youngsters to be getting the best start in life at early childhood education. At the same time, the Government is not matching this rhetoric with the funding needed. The Government are pushing kids into daycare, without doing any work to check on […]
Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact […]