This week in Parliament I questioned Energy Minister Simon Bridges about the high prices facing some of our most vulnerable families who use pre-paid electricity. The Government is fond of telling people to shop around to get a better power deal – in fact, that’s pretty much their only policy to help households lower their […]
Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children are being cared for by grandparents after their parents have died, or have been put […]
Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak and vote in Parliament I was required to swear my allegiance solely to Queen Elizabeth […]
The provisional election results and gender representation are: National: 27.8% women Labour: 37.5% Green: 53.8% (hopefully down to 50% on specials) NZ First: 18.8% Māori: 50% And obviously Act and United Future bring in two men. This all adds up to fewer women in Parliament, with just over 32%, which may well reduce on specials. […]
The High Court has ruled that the courts can look at whether prisoners should be allowed to vote. ‘Jailhouse lawyer’ Arthur Taylor took up the issue of prisoners’ voting rights and wanted a declaration that the current law, which bans all prisoners from voting, was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act (BORA). However, the […]
In the last few days we’ve seen MMP being kicked around like the political football it should never be. Electoral systems shouldn’t be politicised or swayed by particular situations or political parties. But that’s exactly what’s happened with MMP since the announcement of the Internet Mana Party deal. Last election, the public voted to keep […]
We have made a big decision in our household this week: Dave has extended his parental leave until after the election. Our original plan was to have three months’ parental leave each and for Dave to go back to work part time at the end of April, when Esther would be six months old. I […]
I found it surprisingly emotional when I read out a motion yesterday in Parliament expressing support for our athletes heading to Sochi and especially the gay and lesbian community in Russia. It makes me very proud that all parties in our Parliament backed this message of support for a community that has been taking hit […]
Parliament’s back this week, and as is tradition for the first day of the year, party leaders had the chance to outline our priorities for the year and our greater vision for the country. I used my time to talk about this year’s election, which I see as a turning point in our history. The […]
Today is a big day for me on a personal level – it’s my first full day back in the House after taking parental leave to welcome my baby girl Esther into the world. She is 16 weeks old.
Tired of the conventional list of dubious political achievements? Join me in constructing your own from an openly biased rather than faux-neutral list of successes. 1, Big ups to Jan Logie and Lee Rhiannon (Aussie Green MP) for confronting the Sri Lankan Government on human rights the week before CHOGM in Sri Lanka! 2. Congratulations […]
The Green Party would respond to the scientific and international call to action to protect this dolphin. We would immediately stop all lethal fishing in the Maui’s sanctuary, extend protection measures over their full range and work with the fishing industry towards a sustainable transition.
Yesterday in Parliament I asked Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce about the SkyCity deal, and whether the Government would delay the bill in the House until after John Banks’ court case was resolved. As some of you may have seen or heard, it was pretty interesting. Not just because of Steven Joyce’s answers and the […]
It’s important that New Zealanders are able to have a say on the way our Parliament starts each Parliamentary day. It is symbolic for the country, and everybody should be able to contribute to shaping that symbolism.
After yesterday’s blog post about the lack of response from the Minister of Health to my written questions it was a nice surprise this morning to see my inbox brimming with responses. Well, sort of. These responses would be funny if they weren’t so sad. The first thing you need to know in order to […]
The game-changer in the Syrian crisis is not the US soliloquy whether a unilateral strike is to be or not to be. That is a normal phenomenon of the past half-century. It is the impressive working of parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom. That is not. Last week, the British Parliament was recalled to debate […]
It will come as no surprise that I believe that ensuring equal access to Parliament for all people, including access to the political debate, is an essential part of a healthy democracy. However the reality is that we do not have equal access and there are structural barriers that prevent access for many. For example, […]
This week the deadline for submissions on the Constitutional Conversation was extended by a month, so now we’ve got until July 31st to submit. This is a great chance for all of us to have a say on how we want our country to be run, as well as to share our values and aspirations […]
Yesterday, the Speaker released an updated list of the lobbyists that have swipe-card access to parliament. This list has more than doubled in the past year, which is a clear demonstration of the growing influence of lobbyists. Those on the list include three former ministerial staffers (two from John Key’s office and one from Steven […]
Question Time is an important part of our parliamentary democracy. How do you think the new Speaker is going in refereeing it?
Rt Hon David Carter Speaker of the House of Representatives Parliament Buildings Wellington 20 March 2013 Dear David After sitting through another chaotic question time I feel compelled to write this open letter to you as Speaker. I strongly urge you to revert to the set of rules that Lockwood Smith had developed over the […]
Yesterday Maurice Williamson used Parliament to boost his male ego and in the process turned Parliament back into a boys’ club, announcing how fortunate he’d been to spend the last hour in his office with the Miss Universe NZ contestants. Note the extended male laughter. I was told there was also barking but I was […]
I’m very excited to report that my first Member’s Bill has been drawn from the parliamentary ballot! I inherited the Lobbyist Disclosure Bill from former Green MP Sue Kedgley when she retired, and I’m thrilled that I’ll get a chance to continue Sue’s great work on transparency and open government with this bill.
Our new MPs are giving their maiden speeches in the House today. Transcripts will be posted once each speech is completed. Videos will be posted as they are made available.
On Thursday, Keith Locke and I spent a good part of the day in the House going to bat against the government’s ‘secret squirrel’ bill to amend the Police Act that Frog blogged on earlier . Our objections to the bill were matters both of process and substance. I want to comment here just on the process, which was appalling, […]
Intrigued by the Speaker’s ruling today that all women MPs should wear “business attire”, I sought guidance from Google. It appears that directing women to wear “business attire” is code for telling women to dress like men. So what I have deduced from the Speaker’s ruling is it is okay for women MPs to wear […]
Here’s John Armstrong’s view on Julia Gillard addressing Parliament, as published in the NZ Herald this morning. Greens’ vigilance on Gillard merits praise – John Armstrong The Greens have got some unwarranted stick for blocking Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard from addressing Parliament while it is officially in session. They were right to do so. […]
The visit by Australian PM, Julia Gillard, to New Zealand this week has caused some interest and intrigue. Prime Minister John Key has cited opposition to her speaking in Parliament – and identified the Green Party as opposing. The background to this is the following. Her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, was visiting last year and had […]
Metiria just delivered a powerful and tear jerking speech about her father and her journey into politics. Her personal story illustrates the need to build a fairer society in New Zealand for our children and grandchildren. Here are some of the highlights I used the training incentive allowance to help with study costs, I shared […]
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has completed a report entitled Lignite and climate change: The high cost of low grade coal. “The plans to increase lignite use are extremely concerning as they would produce huge quantities of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change – the biggest environmental threat we have ever faced.” The […]
Here’s our latest podcast from Parliament, this time about the cross-party friendships Green MPs have struck up across the chamber. Parliament is a strange place, and often the only images we get are of MPs shouting at each other across the chamber during Question Time. But when the gloves are off, how do MPs from […]
When I was a schoolboy, one of the common schoolyard taunts was to refer to someone as “mental” or “loony”. Through most of last century, mental illness was a highly stigmatised issue, and people with mental health problems were hidden away from the rest of society, often untreated and/or mistreated, in what were once known […]
Things must have been fairly quiet in parts of the Waikato yesterday (May 6th). That’s because an awful lot of ‘the locals’ were in Wellington, filling the galleries and the Grand Hall at Parliament, to witness up close and personal the passing of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill. It was a remarkable […]
Electricity consumers around the country are having smart meters installed that aren’t really smart, and then have to pay for them through their electricity bill, without getting any of the benefits.
Yesterday I joined what will undoubtedly be the first in a series of protests against the Government’s plans for mining in Schedule 4 land. Conservative media estimates put the numbers at 500, but I reckon it was closer to 1000. Metiria’s speech was a rousing call to action, and she contrasted Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson’s […]
The word opposition doesn’t always describe Labour’s voting patterns. In fact, Labour have voted with National almost exactly as often as the Maori Party, even though Labour is the official opposition, and the Maori Party is actually part of the Government! [For the political junkies, Labour have voted with National 12 times at first readings, […]
The Greens’ newest and youngest MP, Gareth Hughes, has taken his seat in Parliament and delivered his maiden speech, laying down a challenge to Parliament to take climate change seriously and to listen to the voices of the new generation he represents. This week we present some highlights from his maiden address. Click to play […]
For those who can’t make it to Parliament House, Jeanette Fitzsimons’ last speech is viewable on line in several ways. Look here to choose your preference. Tune in from 5:30 pm today to ensure you don’t miss a word. Yes, the sad day has come, but we’ll see her off in good style!
I never thought I’d be writing this post. Nevertheless, as I write, Jeanette is in Wellington announcing that she is stepping down as an MP. This post is a place for frogblog readers to send a personal message to Jeanette or recall a favourite memory. If you would like to debate the consequences or your […]
The headline kind of says everything, doesn’t it? It’s heartbreaking news to me, even if Jeanette has signalled since stepping down as co-leader that she would go before the next election. This is the post where we can discuss what it all means. Judging from past events, we will once again have to field all […]