Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle when they grow up. Let’s break that cycle, lunchbox […]
Yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted that his government withholds Official Information Act (OIA) requests for longer than necessary when it suits his government politically to do so. This is not allowed under the Official Information Act. The OIA is an integral part of our democratic system. It was designed to increase participation of New Zealanders […]
Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was referring to climate change. Launching a 20-page Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, US Defense Secretary Chuck […]
Under the John Key Government, New Zealand has recast its reputational integrity, losing traditional hues of national colour to which the Prime Minister is congenitally blind. This current Government has practised, to an art form, the statement of principles to govern the pursuit of stated objectives, in eloquent words of surpassing meaninglessness, whilst proceeding under […]
Alarmingly, despite the growing disparity, New Zealanders display a hardening attitude towards those in need. The graph published in yesterday’s NZ Herald accompanying the article about the visit by authors of The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, showed that only 50.1% of our people think the government should take some responsibility to reduce the income gap. We come last in the OECD countries for supporting government intervention.
We’d all like to avoid dangerous climate change, especially those under 20. If you are a bright year-8 school student, you will be at your professional peak in 2050, and a proud, if apprehensive, centurion in 2100. I shall be dead, but I am equally determined to avoid dangerous climate change. The quaint thing about […]
Our record on climate change has come to rank as perhaps the greatest policy failure in New Zealand history. The latest figures for this country’s greenhouse gas emissions were released on Monday. They project an extraordinary blowout in our emissions over the next quarter-century – the critical period of global and national emissions that will […]
What is it with this government and their complacency about the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in poverty in this country? Yesterday the Prime Minister John Key ‘slammed’ the concept of introducing a Living Wage and suggested that introducing a better pay rate for low paid workers will be bad for the […]
Back in 2011, John Key’s Government headed into the election campaign with National’s plan to build a stronger economy and a brighter future for Kiwi families. The Plan included protecting communities, supporting the primary sector, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. Last Friday, the Government announced its latest version of a brighter future for Kiwi […]
We flew to Honiara, Wednesday, to mark the 10th anniversary of RAMSI, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. The Prime Minister, 3 cabinet ministers, Phil Goff, Winston Peters, Peter Dunne and me; several Pacific leaders; NZ officials – several hundred of us, all up. Australian ministers for foreign affairs and aid, plus officials, flew […]
John Key may be comfortable with many things but we are not comfortable; we are not comfortable with, among many things, John Key’s pandering to the USA’s spymasters, and the wholesale spying on New Zealanders, either already happening or intended to, and assisted by the law changes in front of Parliament now; the GCSB and Telco Interception Bills.
In my speech to our party conference last week, I compared John Key to Robert Muldoon. This has provoked a furious response from the Right who accuse me of being a migrant who has no right to speak about Muldoon. So lets have a look at it a bit more rationally. Obviously Key isn’t exactly […]
Yesterday the World Met. Organization released its annual ‘Statement on the Status of the Global Climate’. The report, which investigates the major climate & weather events of the past year, found 2012 to be the 27th consecutive year with above average global temperatures. Global average temperature in 2012 was 0.45⁰C warmer than the 1961-90 long-term […]
Last week John Key announced his plan to sell Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV’s) to Colombia. In an effort to build trade and sell off redundant military equipment, John Key seems to have chosen to make New Zealand complicit in the further arming of a potentially illegal military force who has been responsible for very significant human […]
While John Key is pushing the cause of free trade in Colombia, he needs to raise concerns around the appalling number of trade unionists that die protecting workers’ rights there. In 2011, according to the International Trade Union Confederation 29 trade unionists were murdered in Colombia. Colombia is a violent society where helping to organise […]
Over the last few days, we’ve heard a number of statements from the Prime Minister relating to the decision to take 150 refugees per year from Australian offshore detention centres and the proposal for New Zealand to process asylum seekers arriving here at those same centres. John Key: “One, We don’t take more people, two […]
The announcement that New Zealand will take 150 refugees per year from Australia’s offshore detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea is good news for those refugees. They will be able to leave what the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has called “harsh” conditions with a “lack of clear and […]
On Tuesday I was on the steps of Parliament with Christchurch based MPs from Labour and NZ First to deliver an open letter to the Prime Minister from seven Christchurch groups and the Wizard of New Zealand seeking a restoration of democracy in Canterbury. We investigated the decision making around the Government’s suspension of Cantabrians’ […]
I’ve been a big fan of JRR Tolkien since I was a kid. I was so taken with Lord of the Rings that after I finished reading the books I became convinced that one of my older sisters was a hobbit and she started shaving her toes to shut me up. In my teens my […]
At the Pike River memorial service held at our local racecourse on a hot, still day in the weeks following the disaster, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who has often had the knack of putting his finger exactly on how our local community is feeling, referred to the Paparoa Ranges towering beside us as “our […]
Oh all right then. The issue with using the word “gay” in the way the PM did is that it works as a put-down only because it taps into and reinforces a bunch of negative ideas about homosexual people (actually, I didn’t think weird was one of them). As an adult gay man who has […]
Has John Key’s brain joined the exodus to Australia? Who or what is actually running the country? If John Key’s brain was sunning itself in Queensland it would explain a few things starting with how the Prime Minister can’t remember anything that it doesn’t suit him to remember. The latest lapse, over how he voted […]
Marriage equality is about basic fairness. It is a pretty basic principle of law that discrimination that disadvantages a particular group based on irrelevant criteria is unacceptable, particularly when it is practised by the State. Louisa Wall’s bill to redefine marriage to exclude discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is about eliminating exactly […]
Some 115 heads of state or government assemble at the 3rd Earth Summit in Rio this week. They include France and Australia. John Key, our erstwhile Prime Minister, is not among them. He has more important things to do. He has sent one of our more junior cabinet ministers, Amy Adams. Amy Adams is a […]
The messaging around John Key’s trip to Indonesia has not inspired confidence around the dirty little secret of West Papuan human rights and self-determination. One positive though has been the ability to raise some awareness around the human rights abuses that are currently occurring in West Papua. I hope that the Prime Minister will be […]
Last Wednesday, I spent the afternoon at Te Papa at a Youth Health and Wellbeing Symposium organised by Auckland University to present and discuss the findings of a youth survey undertaken by their Adolescent Health Research Group. This was the symposium where John Key made his surprise announcements about youth mental health interventions, which I’m cautiously […]
The fiscal neutrality or otherwise of the 2010 tax changes is important because it goes to the heart of the economic competence of National. They claimed the cut to income tax for upper income earners plus the cut to the company tax rate was balanced by the increase in GST and other tax changes. That […]
Here’s how the votes look likely to stack up on John Key’s dirty deal under which SkyCity would get a relaxation of casino gambling laws and an increase in their pokie machine numbers in return for building a new convention centre in Auckland. For: National + United Future = 60 Against: Greens + Labour + […]
This week John Key and David Shearer made key note speeches which included references to education. The rhetoric around education flowed freely but I couldn’t hear any depth or real excitement in either speech. Setting targets for NCEA improvement (which is the Government’s plan) and getting of bad schools and bad teachers (which is Labour’s […]
Today the Government released its vision for public sector reform. Prime Minister John Key has announced major reforms including the establishment of a super-ministry – the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – merging the Ministries of Economic Development, Science and innovation, the Department of Labour, and, somewhat strangely, the Department of Building and Housing. […]
The Green Party believes in an inclusive society, active job creation and basic human rights for every New Zealander. We believe in times of fiscal restraint it is all the more important to value people and foster our points of commonality rather than differences. This may sound all very ‘herbal’ as one friend of mine […]
As I predicted in my blog post last week, John Key’s Government has announced today what amounts to a nil increase in the minimum wage – a paltry increase of 50c an hour. The nominal increase is 3.8% – but at the same time the Consumer Price Index increased 4.6% in the year to September 2011 […]
Sometime around now, Cabinet will be undertaking its annual review of the minimum wage, which currently stands at a lowly $13 an hour. My bet is that we will see another effective nil increase, with the minimum wage being adjusted upwards no more than the level of inflation over the past year. That would be […]
Prime Minister John Key announced his new Cabinet this morning. The line-up is pretty predictable, but some of the portfolio allocations and rankings are interesting: The big winners are Steven Joyce and Hekia Parata, moving up 10 and 13 places respectively in the Cabinet ranking. Parata replaces Anne Tolley as Minister of Education. Paula Bennett’s […]
This afternoon John Key and Paula Bennett announced the National Party’s long-heralded welfare reform package. As I expected, it is a punitive war on the poor that will harass beneficiaries into low paid jobs, or in many cases off benefit and into no job at all because the jobs simply don’t exist. Metiria says National is backing […]
Yesterday I was on Motiti Island, where the hapu have borne the brunt of the oil and debris from the grounded Rena. You can clearly see the Rena really from the coast. The hapu are extremely well organised with clean-up crews. They have all the protective gear and they are sending teams out every day. […]
The Prime Minister is becoming increasingly picky about who he will speak to in the media. While happily fronting a weekly slot on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, and on Radio Sports, and a one hour special on Radio Live, he has refused virtually all requests for interviews on Radio New Zealand. He has declined 174 requests […]
Celebrate the 1st anniversary of National breaking its 2008 election promise to not raise GST by making a commitment to vote for a Party you can trust – the Greens.
Genocide is not a word to be used lightly but for the last forty years West Papua has been the dirty secret of the Melanesian Pacific.
Did I miss something? Did the Prime Minister say he was going to work with the business and community sectors to create jobs at a living wage for the 27 percent of young people with no jobs? No. But he did promise to privitise the management of youth benefits for profit via a food stamps system.