Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee

Fair-society-BLOGFEATURE

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 […]

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The hidden legacy of debt – our nation’s health

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 […]

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Access and Inclusion: FAQ (Part 1: Captioning)

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 […]

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Inequality in New Zealand is getting worse

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.

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$9700 per property WOF cost for landlords? Yeah, nah.

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 […]

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Swimming on the Wellington waterfront

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 […]

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It’s time for an inquiry into safety in the forestry sector

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 […]

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On the freedom of cycling

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 […]

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Why Transmission Gully doesn’t stack up

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.

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Transport and social equity: Part 2 Fares

(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 […]

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Transport and social equity: Part 1

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. […]

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Cardboard pokies take over Aotea Square

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 […]

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Open Streets Christchurch a Success

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 […]

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A table for one?

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 […]

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Family carers, discrimination and the law

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 […]

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Future proofing social housing

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 […]

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