It feels like 2016 was exceptionally busy – and this was confirmed when I checked my diary. Looking at just my Ethnic Communities portfolio, between February and December this year I visited or attended celebrations with 25 different organisations and groups. In the House I did 33 five minute speeches on 16 different bills including […]
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) […]
Last week, our new PM Bill English announced his upcoming Cabinet, with Paula Bennett being appointed Minister for Women. Today, English said that he “doesn’t know what feminism means,” following on from Bennett’s earlier comments that she calls herself a feminist “some days”. Well. Not only do the Greens understand what feminism is, we work […]
You’d be forgiven for not noticing that the Government published a new draft energy strategy this week. It’s basically the same as the old energy strategy, which they published in 2011, but with one new target around industrial process emissions intensity. In short, it’s a missed opportunity that shows a lack of bold vision and […]
Top of the “to do” list for incoming President Trump (it will take a while to get used to writing that) are changes to trade policy. Number one is rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). He will be supported by a Republican Congress and Senate, so it is now clear that the TPPA, as […]
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 […]
This morning there have been reports in the media about community budgeting services caught in limbo as MSD delay over the review of services.
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.
Over the weekend, Stuff.co.nz published a story titled “The Baby or the House” about how more and more young Auckland couples who want to start a family are putting it off because it’s too expensive to have kids and a mortgage. I think part of the problem is that renting rules aren’t very family-friendly. People […]
It was both distressing and inspiring listening to people’s stories of coping with poverty, homelessness, housing insecurity, and cold, damp rentals, and their ideas for change at the Christchurch hearing day for the joint Green, Labour, and Maori Party inquiry into homelessness.
Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists).
I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet sadly, despite having epidemic levels of sexual and domestic violence, we have a justice system […]
We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]
The Labour Party launched its package of ideas to fix the housing crisis over the weekend. Their ideas match ours in many ways. This is good news, because it means that when we change the government we’ll be ready to hit the ground running with a common policy programme to tackle one of the most […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. For example, the forecast is that the average wage is set to increase to $63,000 per annum by 2020, but when you consider […]
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows through captioning, is something I am personally very passionate about.
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 […]
I wrote this blogpost sitting in Parliament listening to the Attorney General’s first reading speech on the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranganui Claims Settlement Bill. He has acknowledged the impact of colonisation that made it difficult for whanau and hapū to pass on language and culture and the profound […]
This Easter I’m at home reading papers on urban development and social development, in between trying to catch up on Masterchef and make up time away from my partner. It’s a peaceful time, but I know many people are spending this Easter waiting in trepidation to find out if they’ll have a job in a […]
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 Friday, about 70 percent of Auckland’s buses will be off the road for 24 hours as drivers from NZ Bus and Howick & Eastern Buses strike over the breakdown in the negotiations of their employment agreements. While this is a major inconvenience for bus users, it is not a decision that the drivers make […]
Several political commentators have commented on the rise of gender politics that has been evident this year – in truth this has been building over the last few years. My work, this year, has certainly been dominated by issues that impact most on women and gender minorities. It’s been a fraught year, here’s a selection […]
I had that cough virus three times this year and burst my eardrum. I spent too much being cross with the Government and not enough time exercising. I ate far too much chocolate after Question Time and got distracted from key tasks by trying to be clever on Twitter. However in many ways it has […]
Over 1 million people didn’t vote in the last election, many of those people didn’t/don’t believe their vote matters. The majority were low income New Zealanders. Yesterday we heard from the Salvation Army that children in Auckland are living in cars, garages, camping grounds and emergency housing. We heard that this is due to […]
At this busy time of year, the Minister of Education has announced a review of aspects of the Education Act. Submissions close on Dec 14. There could hardly be a worse time for educators to engage with critical questions as they supervise and mark exams, organise prize giving and wrap up the year, but it […]
Once again our media is covering another story of male high school students getting girls drunk so they can perform sexualised acts with them to post on line. Again these young men have only been issued warnings rather than being charged by the police. It was great to see the Principals’ Association speaking out and […]
On any given day, there are about 20,000 New Zealand children who have a parent in prison. These kids often have a very tough time – while they have done no crime, they are nevertheless serving a sentence. We know that these kids are seven times more likely to end up in the criminal justice system than others, […]
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 […]
Tomorrow is the last day to submit to the Education select committee’s inquiry into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Autism Spectrum Disorder screening and support in schools. We’ve made a submission guide to help make it easy. Submissions from individuals and groups are coming in and I have also been out meeting with some groups and families […]
Today, Ioane Teitiota will be deported to Kiribati after Associate Minister of Immigration refused to intervene against his deportation on humanitarian grounds. He will be returning to a country dealing with the impacts of climate change and sea level rises. The sea is lapping at homes on the islands, the gardens have been deluged with […]
Last Monday morning bright and early (well, early at least) I knocked on the door of a house in Hamilton East, a house that looks quite ordinary from the outside, but where every week day morning something quite extraordinary happens. I was warmly welcomed, handed a cup of tea, and over the next few minutes […]
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 […]
Last weekend, a Whakatane Police officer
Good on the midwives taking their case straight to the High Court. Of course, it’s for the Court to decide if this is a case of gender discrimination, but the public arguments sounds pretty compelling. I’m not sure how anyone would think a midwife, after three years of training, with significant legal and medical responsibilities, […]
The 50th anniversary of the Cook Islands Constitution Day this week was a