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. […]
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 […]
The deaths of two young Canadian women in Thailand have been blamed on phosphine gas, which New Zealand uses to fumigate sawn logs for export. While the young women died when the beds they slept on had been fumigated with the poison to kill bed bugs, we use it to protect the countries we are […]
Access to buildings is a big issue for many New Zealanders. It looks like that, due to the hard work and persistence of people in the disability community, the Government may finally be starting to take access to buildings seriously. Yesterday, more than a year after two petitions calling for better access to buildings were […]
Yesterday four men appeared in the Wellington District Court charged with more than 30 counts of ‘Obtaining by Deception’ after a two and a half year investigation into in an alleged $30 million pokie fraud. The four men have close links with the South Island racing industry. One of them – Patrick O’Brien is the […]
Legally, New Zealand is perhaps one of the more progressive countries when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights even though we have further to go on the last two. However, the latest Westpac’s Rainbow Acceptance Monitor provides us with clear evidence of the gap between rights on paper and rights […]
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. […]
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the theme this year is one close to my heart – The Promise of Technology As a person with a profound hearing loss, I am a huge fan of technology! My hearing aid transforms my world from a totally silent one to one full of […]
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 […]