This week in Parliament I questioned Energy Minister Simon Bridges about the high prices facing some of our most vulnerable families who use pre-paid electricity. The Government is fond of telling people to shop around to get a better power deal – in fact, that’s pretty much their only policy to help households lower their […]
The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the letterboxes of Northland voters over the last few days, and it does no credit to […]
“…if you find yourself in a coal hole, it’s probably time to stop digging and think of a plan to get out.”
Treasury papers released under the Official Information Act show that it is providing advice on short-term measures the Government can employ to help it post a surplus this year. The advice includes possible savings from delaying the rebuild of Canterbury; delaying foreign aid expenditure; holding back ACC savings; and new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, 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 […]
Nations in the coming months will be submitting individual emissions reduction contributions. I urge you to support emission reduction targets based on the science, to avoid dangerous climate change.
The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there was John Key’s “peaceful settlement” revisionism which he is now trying to defend. I and […]
Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a monster. On the other hand sexual violence is normalised in our society to the extent […]
Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle when they grow up. Let’s break that cycle, lunchbox […]
Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak and vote in Parliament I was required to swear my allegiance solely to Queen Elizabeth […]
Politics is a battle of ideas, values and ultimately in a democracy, the collective power of the group to determine a course of action. It doesn’t have to be negative: it can be empowering, uplifting and positive.
If Steven Joyce is such a believer in innovation, why is he planning to cut his investment in innovation so dramatically? Here, in three charts, is what National’s long-term commitment to innovation looks like: 1. National will cut their investment in science and innovation by 21 percent, in real terms, out to 2023/24. 2. The […]
I’m cautiously optimistic of news that the government-owned company Research and Educational Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd (REANNZ) has signed a $65 million anchor tenancy contract with Hawaiki Cable Ltd for its proposed new second internet cable. We announced in December 2012 our plan to fund a much-needed second internet cable. The Green Party plans […]
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 […]
National has finally relented to years of Green Party pressure to put the Government’s banking contract to competitive tender. This banking contract – the largest, most lucrative banking contract in the country – has been held by Australian-owned Westpac Bank since 1989 and has never been retendered since then. In 2010, we disclosed this cosy […]
OECD Secretary-General, Mr. Angel Gurría described the implementation of British Columbia’s carbon tax “as near as we have to a textbook case, with wide coverage across sectors and a steady increase in the rate”. British Columbia’s centre-right political party, the Liberal Party, implemented a broad-based low rate carbon charge in 2008 of C$10 per tonne […]
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 […]
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 […]
This coming week, I am part of a New Zealand delegation attending the 130th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Europe. The delegation is composed of one National, one Labour and one Green MP. It is an annual visit by a NZ delegation, where issues of interest to 163 national parliaments are discussed. It is, […]
Three weeks into our experiment combining parenting and Parliament and I am pleased to report that it is getting easier.
” A Green government will invest in our people, will protect our environment and will build an economy which works for everyone.”
Parliament’s back this week, and as is tradition for the first day of the year, party leaders had the chance to outline our priorities for the year and our greater vision for the country. I used my time to talk about this year’s election, which I see as a turning point in our history. The […]
Wellington’s waterfront dive platform is an inspired piece of inner-city architecture that draws huge crowds on a hot day. Where else in the world can brave jumpers thrill onlookers in the middle of a city? The big problem – and this is quite a basic one – is that the harbour water below is highly […]
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.
Tired of the conventional list of dubious political achievements? Join me in constructing your own from an openly biased rather than faux-neutral list of successes. 1, Big ups to Jan Logie and Lee Rhiannon (Aussie Green MP) for confronting the Sri Lankan Government on human rights the week before CHOGM in Sri Lanka! 2. Congratulations […]
I was one of those thousands of people who spent a lot of my spare time last year collecting signatures to trigger the referendum on the sale of our state owned assets. Now that the voting papers have been delivered to people’s letterboxes I’m not wanting to see all that work wasted so have spent […]
The latest global storm, Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, is the strongest on record to make landfall. The statement by the chief Philippine climate negotiator, Yeb Sano, at the 19th annual UN negotiations in Warsaw, is perhaps the most eloquent cry of pain on behalf of humanity yet uttered. Mr Sano, whose family has been […]
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 […]
Yesterday in Parliament I asked Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce about the SkyCity deal, and whether the Government would delay the bill in the House until after John Banks’ court case was resolved. As some of you may have seen or heard, it was pretty interesting. Not just because of Steven Joyce’s answers and the […]
The Treasury released papers last week recommending that the Reserve Bank move towards a committee structure for making future decisions on the Official Cash Rate (OCR). New Zealand is now alone in relying on a single person – the Reserve Bank Governor – to set the OCR. No other country in the developed world leaves […]
It’s important that New Zealanders are able to have a say on the way our Parliament starts each Parliamentary day. It is symbolic for the country, and everybody should be able to contribute to shaping that symbolism.
I blogged last week about the constitutional shortcomings New Zealand faces in debating issues of foreign policy and international relations. The Government has committed only to a ministerial statement in the House after a NZ policy-decision has been taken in response to the US request for support for a military strike against Syria. This compares […]
After yesterday’s blog post about the lack of response from the Minister of Health to my written questions it was a nice surprise this morning to see my inbox brimming with responses. Well, sort of. These responses would be funny if they weren’t so sad. The first thing you need to know in order to […]
The game-changer in the Syrian crisis is not the US soliloquy whether a unilateral strike is to be or not to be. That is a normal phenomenon of the past half-century. It is the impressive working of parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom. That is not. Last week, the British Parliament was recalled to debate […]
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 […]
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 […]
It’s fair to say MPs and politicians around the world don’t have a good rap for their tech or Internet knowledge. But actually, we’re in the twenty first century, and it’s ‘no longer OK to not know how the Internet works’