With real sadness, I have decided to withdraw from the Green Party’s list for the 2014 general election and not seek a second term in Parliament. I will stay on as the Green Party candidate for Hutt South to campaign for the Party Vote in my community I am gutted to be leaving so soon […]
In the last few days we’ve seen MMP being kicked around like the political football it should never be. Electoral systems shouldn’t be politicised or swayed by particular situations or political parties. But that’s exactly what’s happened with MMP since the announcement of the Internet Mana Party deal. Last election, the public voted to keep […]
Yesterday’s Budget was a bit different for me – since I’ve been the students spokesperson for the Greens, each Budget has delivered cut after cut to student support. Last year we saw the Government crackdown on overseas borrowers and limit student allowances for older learners. In 2012, there were even bigger changes, including removing access […]
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has today released new research that shows the impact of rising rents on students. They identify the measly amount available to students through the accommodation benefit as contributing to the problem. Despite skyrocketing rents, the amount that students can receive per week to help out with accommodation […]
I have already shared two stories from psychology students about how the postgraduate allowance cuts have affected them. These stories demonstrate the widespread impact the changes are having. Here is yet another story I have received, this one giving the perspective of someone who is a single parent as well as a postgraduate student. I’m […]
Following my post last week of a psychology student’s account about how the changes to postgraduate allowances have affected them, I have received more stories from affected students that I feel compelled to share. Here is another one of many: I am in the last 6 months of my unpaid internship and receive $173.56 per week from […]
Yesterday a random press release from an outfit called the NZ Centre for Political Research came across my desk, claiming that a Warrant of Fitness on all rental houses could cost landlords up to $9,700 per property. Run for the hills landlords! Proper, costed, evidence-based research shows a rental WOF will cost you nearly $10K […]
I was pleased to see the impacts of the Social Housing Reform Act being discussed in a Dominion Post op-ed on Thursday by Elinor Chisholm and Philippa Howden-Chapman from the He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme at Otago University. The Social Housing Reform Act has introduced reviewable tenancies to all state tenants. Chisholm and […]
We have made a big decision in our household this week: Dave has extended his parental leave until after the election. Our original plan was to have three months’ parental leave each and for Dave to go back to work part time at the end of April, when Esther would be six months old. I […]
Last month I posted about the damaging impact the cuts to postgraduate student allowances could have on the future psychology workforce in New Zealand. Steven Joyce, the Minister for Tertiary Education, claims this is not an issue because students can borrow living costs and therefore don’t need an allowance. However, this does not tally with what […]
Yesterday in parliament, a punitive law was passed to ‘crack down’ on overseas student loan borrowers. It increased the repayment responsibilities of graduates living overseas, and means that they can be arrested at the border for not paying back their student loan. When these changes were first announced in last years’ budget, I received an […]
Earlier this week, I asked the Tertiary Education Minister about the significant impact his cut to postgraduate student allowances could have on the future psychology workforce in New Zealand. It was prompted by research from the New Zealand Psychological Society and the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists that raised serious concerns about the effect […]
As a former student magazine editor (holla Critic – Te Arohi) I am very sad to hear that MASSIVE magazine from Massey University has become a casualty of Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) after a proud heritage of 80 years. Student media plays a vital role on campuses as the critic and conscience of the university […]
Three weeks into our experiment combining parenting and Parliament and I am pleased to report that it is getting easier.
I was pretty amazed to hear the news that Otago Uni has become one of the major sponsors of the Otago Highlanders rugby team. Universities should be focusing on student achievement and investing in good quality public education and research, not on corporate sponsorship. The Super 15 rugby competition is a corporate competition. It’s inappropriate […]
Today is a big day for me on a personal level – it’s my first full day back in the House after taking parental leave to welcome my baby girl Esther into the world. She is 16 weeks old.
Today the Government announced that online voting will be trialled at the next local body elections in 2016. Although it’s a while away, and is only a trial at this stage, this is really great news. Turnout at local body elections is notoriously low and online voting has the potential to be a great tool […]
The Government has introduced their latest Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill to put in place the reforms to student loans that they announced earlier this year as a part of the Budget. Changes covered in the bill focus on issues to do with overseas borrowers and, in the Government’s words, ‘increasing personal responsibility for debt […]
This week the Government Administration Select Committee presented the final report on the Lobbying Disclosure Bill – my Member’s Bill to set-up a lobbying disclosure regime in New Zealand. The original aim of this bill was to bring a measure of transparency and public disclosure to lobbying activity in New Zealand, and to enhance trust […]
The Electoral Commission have just had to remove 70,000 New Zealanders from the electoral roll, after the election packs they sent out for the local body elections later in the year were returned, saying ‘gone – no forwarding address’. This was part of the checks to make sure that everyone who’s eligible is correctly enrolled […]
This week the Government released their formal response to the select committee inquiry into the last election. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with what was released. Justice Minister Judith Collins has had the select committee report for three months, but rather than present anything substantive, the Minister has instead fobbed off making […]
There’s less than one week left for any New Zealanders of Māori descent to choose which type of electoral roll to be on for voting in the next two General Elections – the Māori roll or the General roll. The Option closes on Wednesday 24 July. The option is currently only open once every five […]
Yesterday was a pretty exciting day in the world of Youth Parliament, but today might have been even better… The Youth MPs finally got to experience the House, with Question Time, a legislative debate on the mock bill to increase youth participation in elections, a general debate, and notices of motion. Question Time was amazing […]
Youth Parliament officially started today, with 121 Youth MPs and 20 members of the Youth Press Gallery arriving in Wellington for Youth Parliament – including the 14 wonderful Green Youth MPs. After a pōwhiri and official photo, the serious business started after lunch when I and MPs from other parties briefed the Youth MPs on […]
The OECD has just released its annual ‘Education at a Glance’ report, which takes a look at the state of education around the world. The theme that emerged in their findings is that the value of education is rising, but investment in education is falling. The specific findings for New Zealand are pretty embarrassing for […]
This week the deadline for submissions on the Constitutional Conversation was extended by a month, so now we’ve got until July 31st to submit. This is a great chance for all of us to have a say on how we want our country to be run, as well as to share our values and aspirations […]
Yesterday, the Speaker released an updated list of the lobbyists that have swipe-card access to parliament. This list has more than doubled in the past year, which is a clear demonstration of the growing influence of lobbyists. Those on the list include three former ministerial staffers (two from John Key’s office and one from Steven […]
So Steven Joyce believes his decision to remove access to student allowances for postgraduate students has had no effect on the numbers studying. Really? Appearing before a select committee yesterday, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said that this cut had made very little difference in university enrolment numbers around the country. The issue is that […]
Some pretty interesting research was released today by the Financial Education and Research Centre at Massey University, who surveyed nearly 300 students about their views towards money and their finances. What’s pretty alarming are the numbers that show the burden of debt and the struggle for students to get by day-today: 34.9% said they’ve […]
In just over a month, parliament and the press gallery will be taken over by 16-18 year olds for Youth Parliament. We’ve previously blogged about the fantastic Green Youth MPs. This amazing experience includes question time, debating a mock bill in the debating chamber and considering a range of specialised issues in their select committees. […]
One of my pet bug-bears about the annual “crackdown” on student loan repayments that we’ve been experiencing for the past five years since National has been in Government is the implication that it’s lazy students that are being targeted. Student loan borrowers who are eligible to repay their loans are graduates – grown ups! – with complex responsibilities and situations.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson found himself fighting a losing battle on twitter last night as he tried to defend his hyperbolic claim that New Zealand was currently experiencing a “golden age” in the arts under his watch. So what would create a real golden age for the arts in NZ?
This week marks graduation at Auckland and Victoria Universities, where thousands of students, along with their families, will get the chance to celebrate all they’ve achieved. This week is also Budget week, which has historically brought some pretty bad news for students. Last year’s Budget gifts from the Government included: removing access to student allowances […]
It’s Youth Week, with events happening around the country celebrating all that it is to be young and encouraging young people to live like legends. As a part of Youth Week, Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye has today made an announcement on this year’s Youth Parliament, including releasing the issues that the Youth MPs will […]
The Government’s decision in last year’s Budget to remove eligibility for student allowances from postgraduate students has to be one of its most short-sighted decisions ever. For that reason I’ve drafted a member’s bill that would reinstate eligibility for student allowances to postgraduate students.
Last month I blogged about the sale of Housing New Zealand land in Haverstock Road, Sandringham, where – instead of redeveloping its land into a groundbreaking mixed housing development – Housing New Zealand was flogging off a huge parcel of land to the highest bidder. I visited the site on 25 March, and this is […]
A new website was launched today – www.urs.net.nz – aimed at supporting young people in getting creative. Damian Christie, better known as host of Backbenches (which will be back on TV screens next Wednesday, by the way), has today launched his project – ‘URS’. URS is a website where young people, aged between 13-25 years […]
As of Monday this week, the rate for repaying student loans has increased from 10% to 12%. This means that everyone with a student loan who earns more than the $19,084 threshold will now have to pay 12 cents of every dollar they earn over that threshold towards their student debt. This is a significant […]
The NZ Herald reported yesterday that the Office of the Ombudsman is planning an investigation into the way that the public service is responding to requests under the Official Information Act (OIA). This came after the Ombudsman’s investigation into the Ministry of Education’s handling of OIA requests on the school closures in Canterbury, which highlighted […]
Pledgeme, a very cool crowdfunding platform for creative projects in New Zealand, is about to reach a pretty great milestone – raising a total of $1million for creative projects in New Zealand in just over a year. Crowdfunding is a collaborative way to fund something, and Pledgeme have set up a really successful website where […]