Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees

This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as overtly destructive as its gets. A number of remote communities threatened with closure are, perhaps […]

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Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it is being unduly restrictive by limiting submissions on the Long Term Plan to the traditional […]

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‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity related diseases

Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from Australia, using both education and community and local government involvement. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health […]

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Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders

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The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day on 21 May. The book authored by Marie Brown, Theo Stephens, Raewyn Peart and Bevis […]

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The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?

Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism. So when Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced a high level review of CYF last […]

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Return to Sender

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” as Benjamin Franklin is said to have said. For purveyors of funeral caskets, the truth of this makes for a reliable, recession-proof market. It also makes for pretty a lethargic attitude toward innovation – the caskets your great-grandparents were buried in […]

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Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer

At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides malathion and diazinon, both used in New Zealand. All three will be even more dangerous […]

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Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood

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 […]

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Community Law Centres

In the last year, 24 community law centres across the country have given over 150,000 hours of legal advice and assistance to 48,527 people who could not otherwise access or afford it. Meanwhile, a million people a year access the Community Law Manual at communitylaw.org.nz, obtaining information and educating themselves about their rights in our […]

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Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.

Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23 years and this year it was moved from its traditional home at Western Springs park to […]

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Genetically engineered trees are an international concern

Recently, the Brazilian government was asked to approve commercial plantations of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees. Worldwide protests were held to pressure the Brazilian government to turn them down, including here in Wellington. I went with protestors to the Brazillian Embassy to raise our concerns, and was graciously invited into the Ambassador’s office (pictured above). I […]

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Smarter thinking, not bigger thinking, needed to manage our water resources

Right now there is a perfect storm for some farmers, but no rain. Drought and commodity prices are hitting hard and creating stress. This is not a new experience, but if drought in particular becomes the new normal, pressure on water resources will increase. It is a challenge to everyone but particularly in Canterbury and […]

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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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