Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it is being unduly restrictive by limiting submissions on the Long Term Plan to the traditional […]

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Community Law Centres

In the last year, 24 community law centres across the country have given over 150,000 hours of legal advice and assistance to 48,527 people who could not otherwise access or afford it. Meanwhile, a million people a year access the Community Law Manual at communitylaw.org.nz, obtaining information and educating themselves about their rights in our […]

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Govt managing our money for political ends

Treasury papers released under the Official Information Act show that it is providing advice on short-term measures the Government can employ to help it post a surplus this year. The advice includes possible savings from delaying the rebuild of Canterbury; delaying foreign aid expenditure; holding back ACC savings; and new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and […]

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Election Inquiry – Getting accessible voting on the agenda

James Shaw has been doing a series of blogs on the Election Inquiry into last year’s general election.  I thought this was a great opportunity to raise an issue very dear to me – accessible voting. Last year’s general election proved to be a major milestone for accessible voting. For the first time, telephone dictation […]

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Welcoming back Peter Greste – and various freedoms

The release of Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in Egypt brings to the surface the interplay of various freedoms around the world. Watch: Peter Greste arrives in Australia, calls for the release of colleagues Fahmy, Mohamed: http://t.co/eQyeJzxb9s pic.twitter.com/Oh0U0VegXb — AJE News (@AJENews) February 4, 2015 There are the positives: ‘freedom to’ express oneself and associate with […]

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Way opening for April Sun in Cuba

The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries and demonstrates the commitment of the USA, under Obama, to thawing a frosty relationship born […]

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Police Association off target with call to arm Police

Arming our Police will lead to more crime, more violence, and more killings – by criminals, and potentially even by police. The Police Commissioner is correct in pointing out that the Police Association’s recent call to arm all officers is not backed up by evidence, and could indeed be counter-productive. Statistics show assaults on Police […]

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The OIA Abuse

Yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted that his government withholds Official Information Act (OIA) requests for longer than necessary when it suits his government politically to do so. This is not allowed under the Official Information Act. The OIA is an integral part of our democratic system.  It was designed to increase participation of New Zealanders […]

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Biggest increases in wages go to the wealthiest blokes

Today’s business section of the NZ Herald features a two-page spread by Christopher Adams with the results of their survey of the country’s 50 top chief executives. Their research is based on the 2013 annual reports of companies and state-owned enterprises and it shows that their average income was $1.4 million, having risen by an […]

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Charities as advocates makes for better democracy

Greenpeace is to be congratulated for defending our democracy with their marathon effort in defining the meaning of “charitable purpose” through the New Zealand courts. Last week’s decision from the Supreme Court says that political advocacy – in Greenpeaces’ case for peace and disarmament – can be seen as a primary activity for public good […]

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The agony of Gaza – What price the right of self-defence?

As I write, the conflict in Gaza has seen yet another ceasefire deal squandered, with more death and destruction. Israel has repeatedly claimed its right to self-defence as justification for ‘Operation Protective Edge’. That claim is supported by leading Western powers, including the US, EU and UK. In my speech on the Gaza motion in […]

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Israeli Ground Invasion an Aggressive Action

My comment a week ago on the Israel-Gaza situation occasioned considerable comment, supportive and critical.  No surprise; on such an important and sensitive issue, personal opinions run deep, including mine. Comments in support take the long view – advocate a political re-alignment that reduces the US role as biased mediator; strengthen in various ways the […]

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Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe The latest round of violence in the Israel-Palestine saga reinforces a few timeless truths. They are: attempts at mutual slaughter achieve nothing but mutual slaughter; persisting with a politically-biased external mediator returns nothing but frustration; and an unreformed United Nations wringing its hands on the […]

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