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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Dirty dairying: more cows at the expense of clean water

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Last week, another dairy farmer, this time in Taranaki, was fined $66,000 for recidivist water pollution when he discharged cow effluent into groundwater and a stream. The judge said the farmer’s offending was “wilful, blind and his attitude was negligent in the extreme”. Despite Federated Farmers saying this was terribly unusual, this farmer is not […]

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Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes

Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments of Britain, Sweden, Ireland and France have conducted votes endorsing the recognition of Palestine. Now […]

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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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Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility

Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at our borders to stop new pest incursions, but prevention, eradication and control programs nationally, regionally, […]

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Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to think so.

Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and that he in turn has no responsibily to dignify my questions with a proper answer. […]

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A welfare system for the 21st Century

Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the purpose of adequately supporting people, especially children. The current system creates a financial disincentive for […]

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The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird

A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant bird. This indignation, according to the NZ Herald, was due to them interrupting the bird’s sleep but […]

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National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change

New Brighton Beach, Christchurch

Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It looked phenomenal; Jan Logie wins style points for her acrobatic version! The event was organised […]

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Urgent end to commercial fishing of longfin eel needed

US based illustrator and artist Stephanie Bowman and Massey University ecologist Dr Mike Joy presented to Parliament’s Primary Production select committee today in support of Stephanie and Maanaki Tuna’s petition signed by more than 6,000 people to protect the threatened longfin eel. As Stephanie told the committee, “I know that many commercial interests would tell […]

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