We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]
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.
When Nick Smith was questioned about the fact that overseas-owned companies can export freshwater they have bottled for free here in NZ, he answered that there is plenty of water, and at the moment there are only a few companies involved. Our most precious resource and indeed necessity is being bottled and sold offshore for […]
Last weekend the Government put out a consultation document on cleaning up freshwater called Next Steps for Fresh Water. it has have to look like it’s doing something big, because we are now at a crisis point with water quality. However we are disappointed in the plans, which lack some fundamental and essential commitments to […]
The Government has undermined its own negotiated Treaty settlements as it scrambles for arguments and precedents to prove “right of first refusal” doesn’t mean what it says. It is important to look at the reasons the Treaty settlements have these clauses in them. They are in the settlements because they relate to land taken either […]
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 […]
Last month I blogged about the sale of Housing New Zealand land in Haverstock Road, Sandringham, where – instead of redeveloping its land into a groundbreaking mixed housing development – Housing New Zealand was flogging off a huge parcel of land to the highest bidder. I visited the site on 25 March, and this is […]
It’s only a week since Auckland Mayor Len Brown officially launched the Auckland Unitary Plan and even before its official unveiling government ministers have been rattling their sabres and threatening to have another go at dismantling democracy in Auckland. As Brian Rudman explained earlier this week, both the Minister for Housing and the Minister for […]
Just like it is all around the country, Housing New Zealand is busy demolishing state houses and selling off the land to private developers in Sandringham. It’s a tragedy, not only for those who have now lost their homes in the area, but also a tragic missed opportunity to invest in more of the affordable, […]
Rio has come and gone, and so have the New Zealanders. I am off tomorrow, to New York on a different assignment for a few days. Then off again, to home where I have laid my head twice in two months. What did New Zealand achieve at Rio? I have blogged on Minister Adams’ speech, and […]
There’s nothing quite like a ministerial resignation to send political insiders and journalists into a frenzy. There are big issues arising from Nick Smith’s interference in Bronwyn Pullar’s ACC claim. Such as: Are the four letters that Nick Smith wrote concerning Ms Pullar’s claim the extent of his interference in her claim, or is there […]
Yesterday was just one of those days. I experienced, yet again, one of those apocryphal exchanges with Dr Nick Smith on climate change. Those who perceive global climate change as a competitive sport will be heartened to hear Minister Smith assure Parliament that New Zealand is punching above its weight in the negotiations. This is […]
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 […]
Green Party member Renee Annan and I drove into the car park at Maketu Surf Club. Clumps of people were wandering around and there was a small pile of contaminated sand bags on the edge of the beach. We had no idea how bad the problems were at Maketü but we figured talking to the […]
I’m puzzled as to why the Minister for the Environment is so unwilling to use the provisions of the Waste Minimisation Act to deal much more effectively with the issue of e-Waste in New Zealand. Dr Smith has announced today that he is “…asking businesses to come forward with innovative solutions on how we can […]
I asked some questions in the House on Thursday of the Minister for Environment, about how well (or more to the point how badly) we are meeting our obligations under the Basel Convention in regard to lead acid batteries. The Convention came into force in the early ‘90s as a response to the then emerging […]
It seems Environment Minister Nick Smith still doesn’t get it that “best practice” as far as lignite is concerned is to leave it in the ground. He was lost for words when challenged on this in Southland on Tuesday evening.
The “100% Pure New Zealand” myth has long been busted but work to clean up the country has lagged behind for many years. This is partly because it costs real money to tackle our worst problems such as the roughly 20,000 contaminated sites across the country. One of the reasons I stood for Parliament was […]
I’ll give you a clue: all bar one have taken on board a vast array of international advice, and adopted a policy that protects the apex predator in our largest and most complex ecosystem.
Medical practitioner and right wing blogger MacDoctor has three recent posts on the disastrous failings of ACC to provide entitlements to injured claimants. I couldn’t agree more with MacDoctor’s definition of the problem. But I disagree vehemently with his faux solution of privatisation.
This week Environment Minister Nick Smith released a long awaited and long overdue National Policy Statement on Freshwater. Unfortunately he took the teeth out of what was a sound draft policy statement and removed the parts which would have made the most progress towards cleaning up our seriously polluted rivers and lakes. The governments’ announcement […]
Four years ago the District Court decided that ACC claimants who were not earners at the time of their original injury, but who later became incapacitated from subsequent employment due to that injury, were not entitled to weekly compensation. Irrespective of the legal technicalities, it was an anomalous decision for a compensation scheme that is […]
Last week I attended a seminar on climate change and the prospects for the Cancun summit in December. I know that in our post-Copenhagen catatonia we all prefer not to think of climate change, but that will not solve the problem. The seminar was comprised mainly of government officials, academics and think tank experts. There […]
As an MP I receive many lobbying letters. Today one arrived that really caught my attention. It was from the National Foundation for the Deaf, and it was about the cutbacks to ACC cover and entitlements for work-related hearing loss. Attached to the letter was a very detailed 82 page position paper. The paper describes […]
Congratulations to one of our regular commenters, Robert Guyton, on his election to Environment Southland last weekend. I really hope Robert can make a difference in stopping the “Double Dipton” plan to double Southland’s dairy herd numbers, and stopping Gerry Brownlee’s Lignitemare. I was pondering a post on Nick Smith’s proposed National Environment Standard on forestry.
A couple of months ago, following ACC Minister Nick Smith’s u-turn on counselling for ACC sexual abuse claimants, I called for an independent review of the wide-ranging cutbacks to ACC imposed by the Government. I have now asked some questions about people being moved from ACC to welfare benefits. What really disturbed me about the replies is the huge increase in the number of people being shifted from weekly compensation onto welfare benefits since March 2009.
I’ve been enjoying Idiot/Savant’s posts over at No Right Turn about his ongoing battles trying to get various Ministers in John Key’s Government to respond adequately to his OIA requests. I’ve had a couple of classics myself this week.
The Major Electricity Users Group (MEUG) is complaing that the $145 million cash dollars of taxpayer money that Nick Smith’s ETS will give them between now and the end of 2012 is simply not enough free money.
ACC’s use of Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith to advise on sexual abuse claims can only have resulted from catastrophic systems failure or a sick culture. New Zealanders need to know which, and Minister Smith must take steps to thoroughly investigate so the problems can be fixed
John Key’s Government is going to do absolutely nothing to help New Zealanders prepare for what the scientists and actuaries know is already happening.
If you are concerned about the fact that 49% of New Zealanders live in areas where the quality of the air is dangerous because of avoidable particulates – submit by Friday this week on Nick Smith’s proposed changes to air quality standards! The Government is proposing to lower and delay air quality standards, which will […]
Remember the financial crisis with ACC? Remember Nick Smith describing ACC as “technically insolvent”, a claim that was rubbished at the time by NZ Herald economics editor Brian Fallow and actuary Jonathan Eriksen? Guess what? ACC is set to make a $2 billion surplus, and that’s before the levy increases and entitlement cuts have any impact, as they are only now beginning to phase in!
Nick Smith is undermining the blood sweat and tears of Kiwis in the 1980s that fought bravely to entrench New Zealand’s nuclear free status on the world stage.
Kiran Chug has a great story in this morning’s Dominion Post: the sorry tale of the proposed National Policy Statement on Freshwater management. Our rivers are getting dirtier and dirtier while this document languishes. A quick history: National policy statements are tools that can be developed under the Resource Management Act to guide local and […]
It’s great to see the people of Canterbury fighting back in their thousands, and to see Green MPs Russel Norman and Kennedy Graham supporting them, to return to democratic regional governance.
Cameron (Whaleoil) Slater has been having a bleat about how he has been treated by the private insurer Fidelity Life, which has cut off his income protection insurance. Funny how those on the political right don’t seem to get it – until it affects them personally, that is.
… constitutionally repugnant … contains elements of subterfuge … a constitutional affront … simply unacceptable … failed the legal requirement that the law should be general and forward-looking, not retrospective … denied all the equal protection of the law … either gratuitous or disingenuous … does nothing to promote respect for the law … a disproportionate response to the issues. Pretty strong words from a Professor of Law
A picture is worth a thousand words! If you are in or near Christchurch tomorrow Friday 30 April, come and join the protests against this abrogation of democracy: 5:30 pm @ ECan office 58 Kilmore St, moving to the Jenny Shipley gloat-fest lecture at the Copthorne Hotel, corner Durham and Kilmore Streets an hour or so later.
It was standing room only at a public meeting organised by the Green party in Christchurch last night to protest the government’s sacking of Environment Canterbury. 100 people who couldn’t get into the meeting held an impromptu meeting outside. The meeting hadn’t even been advertised in the media—who knows how many would have turned up […]
It seems the Environment Minister is getting short on friends…