I’m really privileged to take on the responsibility of the water portfolio. Eugenie Sage has done excellent work in this area in the last term of parliament and provided a great platform for further work. Last Parliament my bill to address point source pollution and clean up the Tarawera River was voted down by National. […]
On Tuesday I presented a petition to the Mayor of the Thames Coromandel with Linda Smith from the “Save New Chum for Everyone” group. Linda and I have been working together for some years now on the campaign to protect the wilderness values of this beach which has been rated as in the top 10 […]
There have always been massive rainstorm and floods on the Coromandel, it’s part of our history and geography. Cyclone Ita was the first huge event for some years and even then the effects were limited to certain areas of the Peninsula. But seeing the impact of this storm on the landscape of the northern Coromandel […]
This week I travelled to a small community west of Huntly, driving over the Tainui Bridge and through the current coal mining area until I reached the windy hill country and two small villages – Glen Afton and Pukemiro. These communities back onto a former open cast coal pit, the owner of which now wants […]
Early on Saturday morning, residents and friends of the Coromandel led by the legendary Coromandel Watchdog group took a two hour walk uphill to the Newmont gold drilling rig in the Wharekirauponga area of the Forest Park. Newmont has been drilling in this area for several years and claims to be pretty excited by the […]
Yesterday Gareth Hughes and I visited the Contact Energy geothermal power complex at Wairakei. It was a chance to see how the power stations work including how the energy is managed and how water and waste is treated It was a fascinating opportunity to go inside the older facility at Wairakei built in the 1950’s […]
This weekend saw New Zealanders out on our coastlines around the country with a clear message: no deep sea oil drilling in our waters – our environment is too precious to risk. Green MPs Catherine Delahunty and Steffan Browning joined Hands Across the Sand events in Coromandel and Christchurch. Kaikoura might have put on the […]
Many of the Frogblog readers would have supported the fantastic campaign in 2010 to love and protect the Schedule 4 areas of our beautiful country from mining. You will not be impressed by the news that the Government which promised to protect Schedule 4 is now eroding the promise. You will not be impressed by […]
Last week the Local Government and Environment Select Committee started hearings on my Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill. Most of the submissions support the Bill because it will clean up rivers and provide certainty, however not the mining industry. The mining and petroleum industries submitted against the Bill […]
At the schools rally in Christchurch on Tuesday, Board Members and parents were talking about the promise broken by the Minister of Education. A number of schools such as Central New Brighton and Branston Intermediate had been clearly told they would have until the end of 2014 to prepare for merger or closure. The announcement […]
Another hot afternoon and a stadium full of homemade banners. I saw the pride and hurt on the faces of schools facing closure for reasons they could not fathom. I stood for a few minutes with the man who runs the Community Centre at Phillipstown School. They have been marked for closure and with […]
Downtown Invercargill may not be as heavily populated as downtown Auckland, or Wellington, but I have never met such a supportive and friendly group of random strangers.
A couple of weeks ago I had another Bill drawn from the Members ballot, my total is 4 so far. This Bill titled the Resource Management(Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits Amendment Bill is about the long term desecration of a river. The Bill would change one clause in the Resource Management Act […]
This week a Bill in my name which would help end child poverty was drawn from the Members’ Ballot. The purpose of the Bill is to extend the In Work Tax Credit to all low income families. The issue is urgent because one quarter of all children are growing up in poverty. As a country […]
This week I spent 4 days in the Environment Court with some Waihi residents opposing the expansion of the mining activities in the Martha pit. It is a small variation on the 1987 Mining Licence but it could lead a new large scale underground gold mine. At the hearing, the manawhenua Ngati Hako were raising […]
I feel quite conflicted about the announcement that Exide will close its controversial battery recycling facility in Petone next month because the Government is exporting lead batteries overseas and depriving them of business. On the one hand, the plant has a shocking history of resource consent breaches, dangerous waste disposal, and toxic pollution. It’s located […]
I am concerned by media reports that the Ministry of Education is considering taking off boards of trustees the role of hiring their school’s principal. Rumours about such a significant proposal should not be swirling around in the media without a confirmation or denial from the Ministry. School boards and parents should be formally notified […]
The Government has introduced legislation to establish the permanent position of Disability Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission – or has it?
A new study from the Ministry of Education shows in many occupations tertiary qualifications make very little difference when it comes to the gender pay gap. Four years after graduating, women earn on average $4380 less than men with the same qualifications. The only professions where this is not the case are the performing arts […]
Yesterday’s Herald poll said 65% of women believed that there was discrimination against them at work simply because of their gender. The Employers and Manufacturers Federation (whose former CEO was Alasdair Thompson) have come up with a brilliant solution which no women would ever have considered. They say women should apply for high income jobs! […]
A Green-friendly employer and EMA member just sent me this (recipient details removed). I presume it has been sent to all EMA member employers today: If Alasdair Thompson has really had the epiphany he proclaims after a day to cogitate on the reaction to his outrageous comments, then perhaps he might like to reconsider the […]
OK, this video of Alasdair Thompson being interviewed by Mihingarangi Forbes is astounding. Watch it from about 22 mins in. His behaviour is evidence enough of why we need stronger laws around equal pay. 1. Thompson stands by the claim that women should be paid less than men because they take off more time because of […]
As the debate rages about the proposed merger of two Miramar schools I want to challenge the perception that these schools have a lower quality of education, teaching staff and student behaviour. For the past two years I have been a proud supporter of activities at Miramar South School, presenting books to students and attending […]
Professor Paul Moon has a curiously negative approach to the new initiative by Te Kahui Mana Ririki to encourage Maori parents to embrace a loving tradition of child raising. Te Kahui Mana Ririki spokesperson Anton Blank has made no romantic claims that pre European tangata whenua culture was always peaceful, but he is promoting some […]
One of the worst aspects of the “death by a thousand cuts” Budget is the cut to the Community Organisations Grants Scheme (COGS).
Some school principals have revealed that they are getting some interesting advice from the Ministry of Education about how to incorporate the National Standards into their school charters. The suggestion that they should essentially fake it – by inserting the words “national standards” into their charters, even if they are not actively using them – […]
In the middle of his other troubles, Associate Education Minister Rodney Hide spoke at our Select Committee on Wednesday about the Review of Special Education. It was apparent that his 6 month journey with this portfolio has included some transformative moments, as documented in TVNZ’s Make the Politician Work. He has been open about the […]
I spent the weekend at the Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) Conference in Auckland. This conference had the strongest turn out of people from every level of the public education sector since I have been attending. There were powerful presentations from people active in early childhood issues, the compulsory sector and the tertiary sector. Everyone […]
World Autism Awareness Day falls on 2 April each year, but as that was on a weekend, we held a breakfast to acknowledge it during the week in Parliament. It was an honour to be asked by Autism New Zealand to host the event, which was well attended by MPs from across the political spectrum. […]
Last night Green MP Keith Locke and myself attended the Roger Awards, an annual event which “celebrates” the worst multinationals affecting Aotearoa/New Zealand. Chief Judge of the 2010 awards Christine Dann and her team of supporting judges awarded first place to the utterly deserving Warners Bros for their interference in both the political system and […]
This is a very old and a painful issue for many people. I was bullied in my primary school and I bet most people reading this have either witnessed or experienced bullying in schools. The issue of what to do with persistent bullies sounds simple: kick them out! But it’s not as simple as it […]
I had two very positive days last week meeting with community sector groups in Porirua and in Nelson. It was great to hear some positive stories from people who are leading change in these places, and to realise how much great work is going on despite the recession, the Government and the hard times since the earthquake.
Today is the day we salute the efforts of women everywhere for equity and justice for our gender and as workers. This year, our hearts and thoughts start and finish with women in Christchurch. I spent the weekend door-knocking on the streets of Aranui, Wainoni and New Brighton which are all low-income areas hit hard […]
A woman is standing alone watching her neighbours packing mattresses into a trailer. She tells her children to hug the neighbour’s children. They’re moving permanently to Rotorua. The woman starts to cry as she tries to tell us how frightened she is at night in the dark street and now her neighbours have gone. I […]
I’m delighted to announce that the Human Rights Commission is now advertising the position of Disability Commissioner on their website. People with the relevant skills and passion for inclusion can now apply for the role. I am thrilled that my Bill contributed to this moment, and pleased that the Government has supported the immediate creation […]
Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited our Parliament and promoted free trade agreements with all the fervour of the faithful. This position was predictable, but less well known is her stance on education. Julia is the leader who imposed the Australian version of National Standards on Australian schools against the wishes of the teachers’ unions.
I am always astonished by the contrast between the media reporting on Waitangi and the experience on the ground. This year was no exception. There has been a lot of media talk about Hone Harawira’s “State of the Maori Nation” speech. Actually, he was a member of a panel which included Metiria Turei and Parekura […]
I asked young people directly what they need from their education. Their answers are summarised in our report, ‘What is a real education’, released today.
Today is Day 12 of our mini ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ campaign. Each day, Metiria and Catherine have highlighted issues relating to inequality and child wellbeing, and presented Green solutions to those issues. Check it out day by day: Day 1 – Introduction Day 2 – Child poverty Day 3 – Disability Day 4 – […]
There is just one week to go to make submissions on the Government’s Welfare Working Group’s Options Paper – submissions close on Christmas Eve, unless the Welfare Working Group heed Catherine Delahunty’s call for an extension of the submission date. It really is ridiculous that such a short time is provided for public submissions on […]