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) […]
Earlier this week I posed some questions to Finance Minister Bill English about his support for the government’s plan to spend a billion dollars on a new prison. I was pretty disappointed in his answers, all of which flew in the face of his own comments in the past acknowledging that prisons were a moral and fiscal failure.
The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions.
I would love to know who is calling the shots in the National government’s cabinet when it comes to deciding how best to spend taxpayers’ money. On the evidence of the last few weeks, it definitely isn’t Finance Minister Bill English making the calls.
Barry Coates’ speech on the final reading of the TPPA Amendment Bill, 10 November 2016. Tēnā koe, Mr Assistant Speaker. I rise to talk on the third reading of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill, and I have to say, this is the story of a farce. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has been a […]
This post first appeared on The Daily Blog – October 26, 2016 If you’re concerned about the TPPA, there is even worse to come. TiSA is a new trade deal that would leave citizens powerless to set the rules about what big multinational corporations can do in our communities and workplaces. Governments and corporate lobbyists […]
The National Government recently announced that they will be requiring community organisations to hand over client information to the government to get funding. Services such as women’s refuges and budgeting agencies will have to share “client-level data” as a condition of funding. I’ve been hearing a lot of concerns about this. Social workers and counsellors […]
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 […]
When the Government announced it would need to uphold public safety during the upcoming International Naval Review, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was talking about wearing life jackets. But actually, the Government is applying restrictions that stop people boating and even swimming in parts of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour for twelve days. Yesterday the Minister […]
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.
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 […]
A week ago I visited Lillestrøm, a short train journey to the north-east of Oslo and the site of the KRUS Correctional Service Training Academy the Norwegian training school for prison officers.
Our legal and political systems owe a lot to the Westminster model. When you get up close and personal, though, it’s apparent that there are subtle and not so subtle differences in structure as well as scale.
I was really honoured to be invited, along with Catherine Healy (NZ Prostitute Collective), Inspector Jason Hewett (Area Commander Counties Manukau West from NZ Police) and Dr Annette Nesdale (Medical Officer of Health in Wellington) by the United Nations Family Planning Association to go and present at a high level conference on the NZ experience of the decriminalisation of prostitution.
Councils around the country should be representative of the communities that they work for. In order for this to happen, the voting systems that elects councillors and community board members needs to be improved.
As Parliament goes into recess for two weeks, I’m heading away first to UK, then to Northern Europe. The purpose of my trip, somewhat unusually, is to visit and learn more about prisons and prison systems.
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 […]
The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply concerned about what the Government is doing. The legislation will give the non-elected Local Government […]
The intention of the Bill is to address maritime terrorism. We support that intention. Our Green Party Charter principle of non-violence commits us to work for peace, including an absence of terrorism around the world and clean and peaceful seas.
I am absolutely thrilled that today Parliament launched its live closed captioning service. For the first time since my election, I am finally able to follow the debate in the house from my office!
People who rent their homes have it pretty tough in New Zealand. Compared to lots of other countries, it’s pretty easy to get evicted or have your rent raised. You can get in trouble for something as simple as putting a poster on the wall.
Threats by the Aviation Security Service (AvSec) that striking workers could be locked out are a classic example of a public service employer playing hardball, backed by an anti-worker government.
Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in compensation is a sorely-needed acknowledgment of Pora’s suffering. It’s also typical of this government’s tendency […]
Immigration is once again in the news, with NZ First leader Winston Peters engaging in some furious dog-whistling to gain attention. I fear that his antics give the small, but vocal, portion of New Zealanders who hold racist beliefs an avenue for expressing their destructive opinions. At the very least it makes newcomers feel uncomfortable […]
Prime Minister John Key is in Fiji this week, in the first visit by a New Zealand PM since the coup led by Frank Bainimarama in 2006. Bainimarama was subsequently elected as Prime Minister in 2014 – the first election to take place in 8 years.
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 […]
This week SAFE and the SPCA presented a very strong, well-researched submission to the Primary Production Select Committee in support of their petition signed by over 62,000 people calling for an end to rodeo. They pointed out that rodeo relies on the use of a range of painful devices and practices in order to force […]
Yesterday we told New Zealanders thirsty for a better country that change is on the way. Yesterday Labour and the Greens announced an historic agreement to work cooperatively to change the Government at the 2017 election. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between us commits us to working more closely together in Parliament and includes […]
Budget 2016 once again left our only public broadcaster, Radio NZ (RNZ), worse off. After eight years of funding freezes, you have to wonder if RNZ is being iced-out for ideological reasons.
There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment statistics for new New Zealanders.
This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts on children and it is very worrying to say the least. Making the connections are […]
Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips paper” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Australian media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their New Zealand businesses (NZME. and Fairfax NZ) which could lead to what’s being […]
Most of the racist semi-abusive letters and emails that we receive at the Greens seem to be from older people. How can I tell? Possibly it’s the handwritten letters, usually from Tauranga or Canterbury, in the formal style we were taught at school many years ago. I answer these politely as the Pākehā Te Tiriti […]
Parliament’s Law and Order select committee (of which I am a member) has today called for public submissions to its firearms inquiry. This conversation should have been live since last year, when the Police Association started talking about their concerns over the increasing number of firearms that officers were finding in the hands of people […]
We’re calling for a change to the way that Governor-Generals are selected. At the moment the Prime Minister decides, without needing to consult with any other party in parliament. This is a pretty old fashioned system that doesn’t reflect the modern MMP environment. It’s hard to see why we shouldn’t have a new, more democratic […]
Yesterday the Minister of Justice announced a new better public service target to reduce family violence. She has created two new supporting measures of violent crime namely “Violent offences in private dwellings (a proxy for family violence); and Violent offences in public places.” I applaud the Ministers focus on family violence but I have two […]
On Wednesday night I went to Victoria University to hear Dr José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor Leste, speak about regional and global politics. Dr. Ramos-Horta is a Nobel Laureate (1996), co-awarded the Peace Prize for his work in exile working for Timorese independence. The Nobel Committee cited his sustained efforts to hinder the […]
On Wednesday night I went to Victoria University to hear Dr Jose Ramos Horta, former President of Timor Leste, speak about regional and global politics. Dr Ramos Horta is a Nobel Laureate for peace. I heard him speak once before during the APEC conference in 1999 when we were out on the streets of […]
Yesterday in Parliament I asked the Prime Minister if he is planning to change our laws to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), even before it is clear if the US Congress will ratify it. The Prime Minister said he was going to push ahead with changing our laws and wouldn’t wait to see if […]