Govt managing our money for political ends

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 […]

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Time for NZ to prohibit the killing of great apes

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 […]

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Manus Island and the New Zealand Government

This week the Greens have participated in awareness activity about Manus Island, the refugee camp on an island in Papua New Guinea where Australia dumps asylum seekers. John Key says that he has every confidence in the Australian Government’s claim that people are well treated, but the evidence is that these camps are sites of […]

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Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda

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 […]

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Welcoming back Peter Greste – and various freedoms

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 […]

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Dirty dairying: more cows at the expense of clean water

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Last week, another dairy farmer, this time in Taranaki, was fined $66,000 for recidivist water pollution when he discharged cow effluent into groundwater and a stream. The judge said the farmer’s offending was “wilful, blind and his attitude was negligent in the extreme”. Despite Federated Farmers saying this was terribly unusual, this farmer is not […]

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Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes

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 […]

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Way opening for April Sun in Cuba

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 […]

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Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility

Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at our borders to stop new pest incursions, but prevention, eradication and control programs nationally, regionally, […]

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Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to think so.

Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and that he in turn has no responsibily to dignify my questions with a proper answer. […]

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A welfare system for the 21st Century

Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the purpose of adequately supporting people, especially children. The current system creates a financial disincentive for […]

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