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 […]
Healthcare is expensive. National has lost no opportunity crowing about ‘record spending’ of $14.7 billion in this year’s Budget. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. This National Government has in fact continually underfunded health care relative to real need, this year alone by $232 million. How so? We are getting older, more overweight and more unequal year […]
Last week we launched our election disability policy priorities which received good coverage here and here. I have had some questions about different aspects of our policy, particularly on captioning which I will answer here. Why captioning? Current levels of captioning are woefully inadequate in New Zealand. Only 25% of broadcast TV is captioned compared […]
I was pretty taken with the colourful collection of re-upholstered chairs which are testament to the organisations ability to add value to material that would otherwise end up in landfill.
The serious part of the equation was in the purpose of the ride, which was to raise public awareness and discussion about suicide in New Zealand, and particularly youth suicide.
In Auckland there are around 15000 people who are homeless. About 7000 of these people are under 25. We heard about this on Monday at a forum hosted by the Auckland Council for people and agencies who work with the homeless. According to some of those agencies young people make up to half of all […]
Alarmingly, despite the growing disparity, New Zealanders display a hardening attitude towards those in need. The graph published in yesterday’s NZ Herald accompanying the article about the visit by authors of The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, showed that only 50.1% of our people think the government should take some responsibility to reduce the income gap. We come last in the OECD countries for supporting government intervention.
The Government this week got the message from those in the medical profession that they have significant concerns over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Many of those working in our health services are concerned that the TPPA will undermine Pharmac and thus push up costs on an already squeezed health budget. Other concerns raised […]
In an extraordinary turn around, and after years of refusing to budge on the issue, Labour has come out in support of Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for our food, with an amendment to the Food Bill. It’s great they now agree with something the Greens have been pushing for over a decade. This […]
You should be able to trust that what’s on your plate is safe and healthy. The Food Bill modernises the laws that ensure we can trust what’s on our plate. I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to improve this Bill. With your support I’ve been able to ensure that: Genetic Modification has been reinstated […]
Yesterday a random press release from an outfit called the NZ Centre for Political Research came across my desk, claiming that a Warrant of Fitness on all rental houses could cost landlords up to $9,700 per property. Run for the hills landlords! Proper, costed, evidence-based research shows a rental WOF will cost you nearly $10K […]
New Zealand has long been known as the Land of Plenty, and with good reason – the land and the sea provided many people with an abundant healthy diet; we were the first country in the world to achieve an 8 hour working day and we were considered the ‘social laboratory of the world’ with […]
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 […]
Last week two forestry workers were seriously injured and another killed in forests near Whakatane, Gisborne and Wairau. This comes on top of 10 deaths last year in the sector and another 90 serious injuries. Despite this the government – and Labour Minister Simon Bridges – is still silent on supporting an inquiry and tighter […]
With the inaugural Child Poverty Monitor showing that 16 % of kiwi kids will live in poverty for much of their childhood, I was stunned to hear the Social Development Minister say she was “incredibly proud” of her Government’s record for children. Asked if she had a target for reducing child poverty Paula Bennett instead reeled […]
Just for the record, I’m not opposed to gambling. Like most of us I have the occasional flutter. What I am opposed to is the harm caused by gambling and the deliberate strategies employed by the gambling sector to hoover as much cash as possible into their machines with no thought of where the millions […]
Three more workers lost their lives in forestry related deaths over the last 10 days and the government still sits on their hands and refuses an inquiry into health and safety in the industry. In February this year the NZ Council of Trade Unions embarked on a high profile campaign and petition to launch an […]
Last Thursday I went to a pub in Manukau to celebrate the launch of a campaign called Our Place is Proudly Pokie-Free and heard from the proprietor how after a career in the hospitality industry, top of his list of criteria for the business he wanted to run was a family-friendly venue that didn’t have […]
This is a cross post from The Daily Blog, originally published 20 November 2013. The automobile is often cast as a great liberator. The power to travel long distances at great speed, free of the tyranny of timetables or fixed routes. There is no question that a car can be a very useful tool for […]
The project is outdated and has a large opportunity cost. It’s money that won’t be available to spend on transport projects with greater benefits. Wellingtonians of a certain age seem to be completely convinced it will save the region, but all the evidence from around the world shows that urban highways aggravate traffic, result in people travelling longer distances and having to spend more money just to get around. That’s not good for the economy, and it will diminish Wellington’s natural character and advantages as a compact, public transport friendly region.
(This is a cross posting from The Daily Blog, originally published Tuesday 29 October.) There is no question, public transport fares in New Zealand – generally speaking – are too high. Especially in Auckland. Our fares are much higher than most comparable cities, which offer better services and have higher patronage. Two factors may be […]
A crucial part of the role of any Minister is to know what is happening in their area of responsibility. It seems that Tony Ryall, however, is taking a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach to being the Minister of Health. My previous blog posts on what Tony Ryall doesn’t want to answer and […]
This is a cross post from The Daily Blog, where it was originally published Tuesday 22 October. Transport is often the third largest item of expenditure for a household. It is on average between 10-15% of the household budget, surpassed only by food and shelter. But it can be higher for low- and middle-income households. […]
This morning there will have been a few tired MPs pulling themselves out of bed. Seven Green MP’s – Metiria, Gareth, Jan, Catherine, Julie Anne, Eugenie and I were joined by some Labour MPs and Brendan Horan last night to Clean up the House. This event was organised to raise awareness of the hard work […]
This week we physically demonstrated just how big the pokies-for-convention-centre will be by installing hundreds of cardboard replicas in Aotea Square. Over the day Aucklanders interacted with the pokies and wrote their messages about their opposition to the deal. The convention centre deal essentially sells our gambling law to Sky City and enables them to […]
Christchurch’s recent Open Streets Cyclovia event was a wonderful success. Central city streets were closed to cars for a day last Sunday, transforming them into a safe haven for cyclists and pedestrians. Residents of all ages took to the central streets on a variety of non-motorised wheeled contraptions to celebrate Christchurch’s potential as New Zealand’s […]
A year and a half on from the landmark conference about Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts last year I recently spent a Friday in one of the two that are now operating as pilots. It’s 8.30a.m., we are in the Auckland District Court and Judge Ema Aitken is convening the morning meeting. First off […]
Christchurch student, 15 year old Finn Jackson from Christchurch’s Rudolf Steiner School did work experience in the Christchurch Green MPs office recently. Here’s his take on cycling in the city: Cycling-What first comes to mind when you think of it? Aches and pains, too close an encounter with cars? Collapsing and crashing? Or how about […]
I am continuing to push the Minister of Health on the issue of planning for diabetes because it is his job to plan for future health services that we need; and he is not doing that. This is a problem for all of us who will inherit, within our lifetimes, an obesity and diabetes crisis […]
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 […]
I have just sent a letter to the Speaker of Parliament to complain about the apparent disregard with which the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, has been treating his democratic obligations. Here’s the main gist of my complaint: Every single one of the 101 Questions for Written Answer I have asked the Minister this year […]
Nothing quite beats growing your own food in your back yard. It saves money, tastes great, helps keep you and your family healthy and builds community resilience. But it’s not always easy to get that garden started and many people don’t have the first idea of where to start, which is why I am 100% […]
Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling (Gambling Harm reduction) Amendment Bill should be going through some of its latter stages in the House this week. Sadly the Green Party is no longer supporting this legislation due to some pretty massive changes that were made at the select committee stage. The aims of the original bill to give […]
Earlier this year, the Government forced a Bill through the House as part of the Budget which discriminates against citizens wishing to challenge on human rights issues, specifically issues around disability and family care. The Bill was a response to the successful court actions against the Ministry Health ban on paying family members arcing for […]
Social housing is an important means for providing affordable housing for those who are not able to afford private housing and fills a fundamental human right. Currently there is a serious lack of accessible housing for disabled people or older people with mobility impairments, forcing people into unsuitable housing that doesn’t meet their needs. Aging […]
Last Friday I went along to a few sessions of the Aotearoa Animal Rights Conference in Wellington. We heard from a range of people doing great work to protect animals from exploitation and I was really inspired by them. One of the links that I hadn’t made before was between organics and animal welfare. I […]
When a bunch of people dressed as rabbits with their dogs show up at Parliament to hand over a petition, they have my attention. Today I received a petition from SAFE and the Humane Society International calling for an end to animal testing for cosmetics in New Zealand. Animal testing is the ugly underbelly of […]
For many years the Green Party and many others have been calling for the regulation of drugs to be driven by harm minimisation and health promotion rather than a criminal justice perspective. The evidence is ubiquitous and extremely strong that the “war on drugs” approach does not work to reduce use or harm, and itself […]
More than 4,500 emails have been sent through our website to MP’s since last Friday, and MPs have been receiving many more directly. I am blown away by the speed and size of this response. I know that this is a reflection of the depth of public feeling about this issue – that it’s just […]
Paul Mees, an expert and great advocate of smart, green transport in Australia (and New Zealand) died this week. We hosted him as the keynote speaker at our Smart Transport for New Zealand conference in 2011. It was a hugely interesting and entertaining talk. You can watch it below.