Lots of people are saying 2016 has been a bit of a shocker, with political events like Brexit and Trump; US Police shooting black people – and the emergence of Black Lives Matter; the death of legendary musicians like Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen (and let’s not forget Lemmy at the very end of 2015) […]
Last week, I announced that I will not stand again at the next election. Don’t worry though, I’ll be in Parliament working hard until that date, which will be the end of my third term here. I’m leaving not because I am ungrateful for my extraordinary opportunities as a Green MP; it’s because it feels […]
Every week, I get media alerts about unhealthy water, including algae risks at swimming spots and boil water notices in small towns. It got personal the other week when I went kayaking on a river and found a rash on my arms and legs wherever I had touched the water. The rash formed small itchy […]
Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis! RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing seems to have been done about it. Staggeringly, in Auckland where rates are highest, the […]
On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory palm oil labelling.
When I was told I was the recipient of the Public Health Association Tū Rangatira mō to Ora award I was speechless. It took a little while to process. I’m not very good with surprises, and I consider the work I do for tamariki and whānau as a service, so being rewarded for it seemed odd. […]
Today, Christchurch City Council considered the National-led Government’s Block Offer 2017 proposal to tender for permits which allow companies to explore for oil and gas in New Zealand, including off the Canterbury coast . Thankfully, the City Council voted by 15 to 1 not to support the proposal and to ask Ngai Tahu and Environment […]
It’s become clear that Housing NZ has ignored repeated warnings from senior government officials in the Ministry of Health that it’s misusing methamphetamine guidelines to evict tenants. The long story short is that hundreds of people have been evicted from their homes unfairly. It is one thing to cook or make meth. Doing that contaminates […]
Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours. The Green Party supports their cause.
This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke. They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed changes to Child Youth and Family. Paora Moyle said that when she heard Anne Tolley […]
Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues in some schools for some children with learning support needs and children whose behaviour has […]
The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money — Shamubeel Eaqub Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this is cost cutting — Prue Kapua, President of Maori Women’s Welfare League The MSD Investment approach […]
For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of coercion and control that may or may not use physical or sexual violence. Just one […]
In Part One, I critiqued the government’s domestic violence justice reforms. However, we will not get the results that we need unless we take a whole of society/government response to this problem. The justice system is an essential component of our response to domestic violence but it is only one part of the puzzle. As […]
I want to acknowledge that I respect Minister of Justice Amy Adams and I think she genuinely wants to improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence with recently announced reforms. I also want to be clear though that unless there is systemic change to the Government’s response to domestic violence, we will not get the […]
I had a good friend who worked at Parliament in various roles in the catering services over a number of years. I saw her almost every day. She always made me and many other people feel welcome and she went to extra effort to make sure we received quality service. She was also a really […]
Over the weekend, Stuff.co.nz published a story titled “The Baby or the House” about how more and more young Auckland couples who want to start a family are putting it off because it’s too expensive to have kids and a mortgage. I think part of the problem is that renting rules aren’t very family-friendly. People […]
It was both distressing and inspiring listening to people’s stories of coping with poverty, homelessness, housing insecurity, and cold, damp rentals, and their ideas for change at the Christchurch hearing day for the joint Green, Labour, and Maori Party inquiry into homelessness.
I was so happy to wake up this morning to the news that Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has done a u-turn and agreed to fund sleep pods for newborn babies. Baby sleeping pods, like pepi-pods or wahakura, are safe sleep bassinets that play a big role in saving babies’ lives. At the last election we […]
Ashley Peacock has been locked in seclusion in this country’s mental health system for more than 5 years, and I am deeply saddened that the Minister who has the ability to get him out has declined to do so. I asked the Minister yesterday to step in, under Section 32 of the Public Health and […]
Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing of our tamariki.
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows through captioning, is something I am personally very passionate about.
Yesterday, a petition of more than 12,000 people was presented to us at Parliament calling for clean water and swimmable rivers. The groups who presented it were Choose Clean Water, Hīkoi Wai Tapu and the Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te reo ki Tūwharetoa. They had travelled from Turangi, walking much of the way […]
Currently, immigration law discriminates against disabled people and their families. If you are deemed by immigration to potentially be at risk of costing the health system more than ‘X’ dollars a day, then you or your family will be denied residency. You don’t have to look far to find cases in the media: Juliana […]
This year we have had more scathing reports about the state of Child Youth and Family. We know the system isn’t working and our children are suffering. In 2012 Green MP Holly Walker raised concerns about children being abused in CYF care. It turned out 30 children in CYF care were abused by CYF approved […]
Pharmac has allocated a ‘low priority’ to Keytruda, a new drug for people with advanced melanoma. They say the drug is promising, but with a price tag of $30Mn per annum, the evidence of effectiveness isn’t good enough. In order to get a higher priority for funding it would need to have more evidence of […]
My comments about not all rapists being monsters seem to have been misinterpreted by some. So I will take this opportunity to look at this a bit more. I’ve already explained how our perceptions of rapists as monsters can make it hard to disclose, less likely victims will be believed and offenders held to account. […]
When Prime Minister John Key shouted that opposition parties “backed the rapists” on Tuesday, he not only tried to distract people from his failure over the Christmas Island detainee issue, he trivialised rape and was deliberately offensive to many MPs. What’s more, the Speaker allowed him to do it. We asked the Speaker to hold John […]
On 1 October, the Government’s Bright Line Test came in to force, despite the fact the legislation has yet to be passed into law. It is still being considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee. When it is enacted, sometime before the end of the year, it will be retrospective. This is National’s too-little-too-late attempt […]
We are in the middle of the submissions period for this Select Committee Inquiry and already I have been personally contacted by families with such powerful stories to tell. Students have described to me the experience of sustained bullying by others who know they are vulnerable. Parents have spoken of endless, draining battles with the […]
The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses signifying the 291 people who have died at work since the Pike River mine disaster […]
In June this year, Prime Minister John Key stated that “New Zealand is never going to sign up to the TPP unless it is in New Zealand’s best interests”. As the TPPA negotiations enter their final stages in Hawaii, these increasingly seem like hollow words. The little information that we have about the draft agreement […]
Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for the result – where the judge decided the Ministry’s processes were flawed and unfair – […]
I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major problems in the social services sector. I would not deny that for a second. For […]
As consumers, we must be able to make informed choices about the food we buy and eat, and feed our kids. If a food has been produced with genetically modified (GE) ingredients, we should know about it. Just last month, the US state of Vermont won the right to make labelling of GMO foods compulsory […]
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 […]
I’ve worked with children in the slums in India and that experience confirmed my sense of luck that I live in a small, naturally abundant country, which many years ago made the decision to share those resources so everyone had a fair chance to participate in society. These experiences make me absolutely committed to protecting […]
Yesterday AUT released the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey 2014. The conditions of aged care workers are important for many reasons. We have an ageing population and people are going into care/requiring care later than before, so it’s critically important that we get this area of workforce development right. It’s also important because it’s […]
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 […]
Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in their hands. They help people pee and then wipe their bums. They help people bathe. […]