Since I entered Parliament I have wanted to focus on homelessness, in particular, in my role as the Greens’ spokesperson for Social Housing. As recent media coverage of the issue has highlighted, homelessness is much broader than rough sleeping, it covers all those who are in insecure housing situations.
This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was looking forward to an interesting and informative day, and I wasn’t disappointed.
We have a housing emergency in New Zealand. Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have so many people living in garages, in cars and on the streets. This is not the kind of country most New Zealanders recognise or want. There aren’t enough houses in […]
In 2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not be held accountable.
News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail.
On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by firms on average, either overall or into employment that lasted beyond the trial period” – which is what National said it would do. It also had no effect on the number of “disadvantaged jobseekers” being hired. In short, 90-day trials have failed to do what National said they would do.
For many New Zealanders the loss of swimmable rivers and the effects of intensive agriculture are big issues and they want it cleaned up. William Rolleston is running lines that no one believes and which do Federated Farmers reputation no good at all. Denying that 62 percent of our monitored rivers are too dirty for safe swimming is pointless.
The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities.
On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one point Taranaki maunga emerged in snowy splendour to urge us on. We had some excellent conversations about peace and justice based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
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 […]
Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota to 1000 places until 2018. It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, right before we celebrate World Refugee Day on the 20th June. The Green Party, like […]
The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather than lag behind it.
National’s desperate to be seen to be doing something about the housing crisis but giving property developers a more permissive regime for new subdivision is not the answer.
Saving rivers cannot be put in the too hard basket and I am looking forward to meeting water activists across country so we can support your efforts. Clean water is well worth this effort, it’s essential that we clean up rivers and make them swimmable again!
The Green Party supports the Bill. We need to keep parts of our oceans for nature, free from fishing, mining and drilling and other exploitation.
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 […]
Environment Minister Nick Smith and the National Government appear to have bowed to pressure from mining lobbyists to change the law to help seabed mining companies. In 2013 Trans-Tasman Resources applied for a marine consent under the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation to mine 66 km² of the seabed for iron ore off the South […]
Equal Pay for Work of equal value might have taken another step forward after more than forty years. I will state the obvious fact that the 1972 Equal Pay Act has not delivered equal pay. There has been much analysis of why – the lack of transparency (it’s very difficult for most women to know […]
If you read the news there are a lot of terrifying climate change reports being published but a new global resurvey of clean energy just out should give us some hope. Last year was a record year for clean energy globally according to the latest annual Renewables Global Status Report published this week. We are […]
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making a big deal about cuts to Conservation funding and the impact they are having on the work the Department of Conservation is charged with doing. Yet Maggie Barry, the Minister of Conservation, says I’ve got it all wrong. So I thought a review might be in order.
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 […]
I’ve been hearing an increasing number of stories about how hard it has become for people to get the help they need, and are legally entitled to, from Work and Income. I’ve heard of people who are have become homeless because of Work and Income decisions, people who are homeless who are sent away without […]
Last night I watched a fascinating programme about the Otago University 45 year study of 1000 New Zealanders. It concluded that there are ways to intervene and support people who are at risk of becoming violent. One of the key findings was that early positive intervention could help our youngest people develop self awareness and […]
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.
The Government delivers a budget that they say prioritises health but actually delivers $300m less a year than is needed to maintain services at the current levels of delivery.
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 […]
Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past.
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.
When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack of a social safety net: people living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, people who may […]
The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins. A government organic strategy and supportive advisory programme, could mean a major switch to highest value organic production for our primary production exports from all parts of New Zealand.
LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way to go to change this. In an ideal world, Budget 2016 would acknowledge we, LGBTQI […]
On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect.
This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.
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.
Support for migrant settlement With net migration at 50,000+ a year, if we want to make sure we have thriving and connected communities and a cohesive society we need to make sure that our new New Zealanders are appropriately supported and welcomed. Over the last year I’ve met with leaders from different ethnic communities and […]
To paraphrase Justin Trudeau – “It’s 2016”. Money needs to be in the budget to deliver equal pay this year to caregivers at the very least and that may require widening the tax base, which in turn if done well would help reduce inequality in our society at the other end.
A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and prioritise a plan for swimmable rivers.