Decolonisation, secession, and human rights: insights from a global leader

  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 […]

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Political leadership needed to end rape culture

When Prime Minister John Key shouted that opposition parties “backed the rapists” on Tuesday, he not only tried to distract people from his failure over the Christmas Island detainee issue, he trivialised rape and was deliberately offensive to many MPs. What’s more, the Speaker allowed him to do it. We asked the Speaker to hold John […]

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People Surge: the Philippines’ Climate Survivors

Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact […]

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Holding onto Pacific Culture and Language?

The Minister for Pacific Affairs is supporting the value of Tuvalu’s language and culture this week – but in words, not deeds. Despite Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga stating he’s “committed to creating opportunities to share and promote Pacific cultures,” the value of Pacific heritage is consistently being undermined. A single celebratory week does little to […]

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Quite a bit of work to do

Overnight the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities released their concluding observations on the initial report of New Zealand. There are over 30 recommendations covering a wide range of fundamental rights that are currently limited or denied to people with disabilities in New Zealand. Here’s a very quick summary of the […]

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Barrick Gold’s violence highlights need for ethical investment

The Green Party has long advocated for ethical investment by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.  Several companies, in which the Super Fund invests, have been accused of human rights violations, the production of nuclear arms, and causing severe environmental damage. One such company was Barrick Gold– a Canadian mining company which has caused environmental damage […]

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The right to Internet access

The Internet has changed our world. It is now a major part of how people access information, express themselves, engage in financial transactions, and participate in the democratic process. UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue “…believes that the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the […]

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Democracy at the Global level? An idea whose time is (almost) come

Last week I attended (with one National and one Labour colleague) the 130th meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.  The IPU is the world gathering of MPs from 163 parliaments.  It is a big affair.  The peoples’ representatives talk to one another.  They embrace, fall out, pass resolutions, and return to base.  It is something worth […]

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Rights and their role in shaping our country

This week the constitutional advisory panel reported back to government. Based on really extensive consultations they’ve made some great recommendations for government action. The recommendation I’m most excited is adding economic, social and cultural rights, and environmental right to the Bill of Rights Act. Well done Amnesty for getting the economic social and cultural rights […]

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The Parliamentary week that was, 11 December, for Pacific communities

Parliament has been very busy trying to pass quite a few pieces of relatively uncontentious legislation over the last couple of weeks. Select committees have also been very busy. Wednesday 12th December was the last day that the House sat for the year, which means the various parties made their adjournment speeches. Greens Co-leader Metiria […]

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