Every year is special, but 2016 has been extraordinary. We are, I think, witness to two global revolutions, occurring simultaneously. One is of a world uniting. The other is of a world fragmenting. This push-and-pull, yin and yang, will go on, possibly forever, since they evoke two instincts deep in the human psyche. But this […]
Last week I commented on the atrocity that was occurring in Syria, and asked what the world, and we here in New Zealand, might do. An associate-atrocity is occurring in the same region, in Yemen, but with less global scrutiny. The same questions need to be addressed. In a sense, the proxy support from the […]
It’s hard to be objective in today’s post-truth world. But we have to try. US intelligence officials have recently alleged that Russian actors influenced the 2016 election through hacking individuals and institutions, under the supervision of President Putin. The allegation is that while the intrusion began with a general intent to undermine the credibility of […]
Syria is the world’s current agony. The civil war is five years old. That is too long for a civil war. Ideally they would not occur at all. Once they occur, they should not be allowed to continue. What goes wrong? The global structures for handling conflict are undeveloped. The structures, principles and methods we […]
Humanity has woken, after a quarter-century of fitful slumber, to the fact of climate change. Dangerous climate change.
With nuclear disarmament, people have been trying to find common ground since the first General Assembly resolution in 1946. The disarmament effort has been undermined by strategic rivalry and stalemates, despite the obvious threat that the continued existence of nuclear weapons poses to all of us.
When the Government announced it would need to uphold public safety during the upcoming International Naval Review, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was talking about wearing life jackets. But actually, the Government is applying restrictions that stop people boating and even swimming in parts of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour for twelve days. Yesterday the Minister […]
The intention of the Bill is to address maritime terrorism. We support that intention. Our Green Party Charter principle of non-violence commits us to work for peace, including an absence of terrorism around the world and clean and peaceful seas.
At the turn of the 21st century, China explicitly promoted what it called its foreign policy of ‘peaceful ascendancy’. To quote Yoichi Funabashi in 2003: “Chinese officials are now at pains to deny that they have any ambition to reign supreme again in Asia or destabilize the world economically, politically, or militarily. …. Chinese scholars […]
In the course of a century there are just a few events that change the direction of history. The early 20th century witnessed the First World War and the creation of the League of Nations. The mid-20th saw the second war and the United Nations. The late-20th saw the end of the Cold War, and […]
The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities.
Prime Minister John Key is in Fiji this week, in the first visit by a New Zealand PM since the coup led by Frank Bainimarama in 2006. Bainimarama was subsequently elected as Prime Minister in 2014 – the first election to take place in 8 years.
I was in the US last week, Washington DC for 3 days and New York for one. In DC, I had a board meeting for The Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) International to attend. GLOBE-International is developing a world-wide strategy of parliamentary activity to ensure that governments meet their Paris obligations, […]
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 […]
In his recent article (‘NZ Climate Change Bill One of the Biggest in the Developed World’, Politik, 19 Feb.), Richard Harman accurately quotes NZ climate ambassador, Jo Tyndall, in advising Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that, to use her words, “It’s going to cost New Zealand more, in terms of total cost to the economy, to […]
Yesterday in Parliament I asked the Prime Minister if he is planning to change our laws to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), even before it is clear if the US Congress will ratify it. The Prime Minister said he was going to push ahead with changing our laws and wouldn’t wait to see if […]
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’. […]
The national leaders of the world – there are, strictly as yet, no world leaders – have assembled in Paris and offered their wisdom on how to save the climate of planet Earth from humans, in the sense at least of keeping it congenial for humankind, and maybe a few other life-forms. There is a […]
The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us”. The sister, we are told, […]
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 […]
I began working with a new Assistant this term, Keli Yen, and today we felt it’s important to share how International Women’s Day inspires us to reflect on human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a remarkable achievement by humanity establishing a planetary consensus that all humans are inherently free and equally valuable. […]
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 […]
The New Zealand Green Party welcomes the election victory of Syriza in Greece — a cross-party coalition that includes the Greek Green Party. On 25 January, Syriza won Greece’s parliamentary election with 36 percent of the votes. That translates into 149 out of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, including 50 bonus seats for […]
What price is too high to join a club? According to the current the New Zealand Prime Minister, the lives of young Kiwi men and women are a part of the package. In his latest BBC interview, John Key fails to specify who exactly the members in this club are, or why we would wish […]
Even though New Zealand has been gently slumbering over the last few weeks, world affairs have been progressing at its usual break-neck speed. There have been a number of significant steps since we all disbanded from the last parliamentary year. On 31 December, the day before New Zealand took its seat on the United Nations […]
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 […]
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 […]
Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001 and 2006. Only 525 pages of the 6,000 page report were made public. The fact […]
New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here in New Zealand, I lodged a written Notice of Motion on Parliament’s Order Paper on […]
As we head into the final days of the 2014 election campaign, it is worth keeping a perspective on things. The week’s global moment of truth is actually the report of the independent Commission on the Economy and Climate. Whatever decisions Kiwi voters make on 20 September, NZ politics in the next three years will […]
It is good that an ‘unconditional and unlimited’ ceasefire has now been reached in Gaza. Above all, the human carnage stops. Whether it stops for good or for simply another five-year cycle is the real test. There are two ways of approaching the ongoing Israel-Palestine crisis. One is to make judgement on the merits of […]
Labour released its climate policy yesterday. Already in the election campaign I have fronted on climate change in a number of public meetings, with Labour (and National, and ACT….), with several more events still to go. Inevitably one of the questions asked is – how might Green and Labour climate policies reconcile if you are […]
The IPU is working to convene as soon as possible a Regional Round Table of Israeli and Palestinian MPs, to engage both sides in genuine dialogue. Since 1987, the IPU Middle East Committee has worked to bring together parliamentarians from both sides, to work on ways to bring tangible progress, and genuine political settlement. In […]
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 […]
At the time of writing, Israel and Gaza have agreed to another attempt at ceasefire in hopes of trying to bring about a resolution to this month long crisis. A new 72-hour truce, brokered by the Egyptians, is set to start at 8:00am local time today and will last for 72 hours initially. This initial […]
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 […]
I note today’s reports that the Immigration and Protection Tribunal has granted residency to a Tuvaluan family with climate change being included as one of the considerations. The Green Party welcomes any decision that goes towards recognising that climate change is a real issue for people living in the Pacific Islands. Their livelihoods, and indeed […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]