Russel Norman Archive

  • Russel Norman

    Open letter to the Speaker re: Question Time - by Russel Norman

    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 […] read more
    March 21, 2013 9:24 am - 12 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bill English a climate change denier? - by Russel Norman

    Is the Deputy Prime Minister of our country a climate change denier? It may well be the case. During question time in Parliament yesterday I wanted to get into the lack of focus and inaction from this Government on climate change which is starkly highlighted by the suffering our drought-stricken farmers are going through. I […] read more
    March 14, 2013 12:30 pm - 142 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    From 100% to 5% - by Russel Norman

    The Government has suggested that up to 90% of shares will be owned by New Zealanders, and Treasury’s figures show that around 5% of all New Zealanders will be able to afford to buy shares. Without even thinking of the Australian share float, which will dilute Kiwi ownership, the asset sales program is about a […] read more
    March 5, 2013 11:13 am - 385 Comments
  • frog

    The final word on bank profits - by frog

    The Report of the Finance & Expenditure Committee on the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Statement for December 2012 is now public and contains the following gem on bank profitability late in 2012 (from page 9): Recent data released by the Reserve Bank updated information it had provided to us in November about New Zealand banks’ […] read more
    December 21, 2012 8:35 am - 35 Comments
  • frog

    ICT Initiatives Launch - by frog

    On Monday we launched 3 brand new ICT initiatives in a proposal that has had overwhelmingly positive feedback from across the NZ ICT industry, media and social media. We want to see ICT boom in NZ. It is a jobs-rich sector and it employs many more New Zealanders than mining, its jobs are highly-paid, it makes use of […] read more
    December 18, 2012 5:07 pm - No Comments
  • frog

    Superannuation funds caught out on cluster bombs - by frog

    In 2008 New Zealand hosted the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions.  This was the largest disarmament meeting ever convened in New Zealand.  On its closing day 82 Countries committed to negotiating a treaty banning these weapons. Cluster bombs are weapons that can go on killing long after a battle has taken places.  They are a […] read more
    December 7, 2012 9:49 am - 5 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Reports - by Russel Norman

    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Reports are hard to find and don’t seem to be available online, so we’ve uploaded them. Here they are: 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Will post 2012 once available. Russel UPDATE 29/08/13: Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Annual Report […] read more
    September 28, 2012 5:00 pm - 28 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    A fairer society is a richer society - by Russel Norman

    A new United Nations Trade and Development Report has found that reducing taxes for those who earn the most has not delivered widespread economic prosperity, as promised. In fact, the UN has found that such policies have caused developed economies to stagnate and grow increasingly unequal. The UN report found that better income distribution within […] read more
    September 14, 2012 12:56 pm - 14 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Fukushima II - by Russel Norman

    As I posted earlier, I was able to spend a day in Fukushima on Wednesday. I was able to talk with a couple of the local Mayors as well as a number of locals known to the MP I was travelling with. It was illuminating and I’d like to record a few observations. The first is at […] read more
    March 16, 2012 9:31 pm - 12 Comments
  • Eugenie Sage

    River Pollution Patrol on the Wairua - by Eugenie Sage

    Northland’s Wairua River with a 750 sq km catchment is one of the major rivers flowing into the Kaipara Harbour — our largest estuary, a nursery area for snapper and other fish and an essential habitat for migratory waders. The Wairua drains what was once the magnificent Hikurangi Swamp. Sadly, this is now largely drained […] read more
    February 27, 2012 10:23 am - 7 Comments
  • frog

    Member’s Bills drawn - by frog

    Today, there was a ballot at Parliament for two Member’s Bills – they get drawn by a Lotto-style “numbers in a bucket” system as there are always many more MPs outside the Cabinet wanting to progress legislation than there is time in Parliament to deal with their Bills. I had high hopes for a Green […] read more
    February 7, 2012 8:54 pm - 6 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Dairy compliance message is failing - by Russel Norman

    Bay of Plenty Regional Council recently expressed their concern that some dairy operators are still not getting the message that it’s not okay to pollute NZ’s waterways with effluent. There have been eight prosecutions in the past year in the Bay of Plenty regarding breaches of dairy effluent disposal rules and conditions. This is eight […] read more
    November 14, 2011 1:10 pm - 40 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Open letter to Auckland councillors over the development of Te Arai beach - by Russel Norman

    Posted below is an letter to the mayor and councillors of Auckland from concerned Aucklander John Shaw. John is a surfer who’s passionate about the stunning beauty of Te Arai beach north of Auckland and doesn’t want to see its natural character destroyed by development  like so many of our other pristine beaches.   Dear […] read more
    October 21, 2011 5:01 pm - 2 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Bay of Plenty Regional Council ready to ask the hard questions - by Russel Norman

    I am encouraged to read today the Bay of Plenty regional council’s policy position on management and land use change in the Lake Rotorua catchment, which includes the recognition that land management changes alone will not be enough to achieve water quality targets. Lake Rotorua is seriously degraded and a huge reduction in the amount […] read more
    October 21, 2011 4:14 pm - No Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Canterbury water management in no-mans-land - by Russel Norman

    I recently was the guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Water Rights Trust (WRT) in Christchurch, where outgoing Chairman Murray Rodgers gave an impassioned speech about the poor state of water resources and water governance in Canterbury. Murray remains as a trustee of the WRT and is also a member of the […] read more
    August 29, 2011 3:55 pm - 18 Comments
  • frog

    John Key scared to debate - by frog

    Russel questions John Key on why he will go on lightweight shows like the Letterman show and the Tony Veitch show,  but refuses to go on Morning Report , Campbell Live or particpate in an all-party leaders debate where he could face tough questions.  read more
    August 3, 2011 5:06 pm - 14 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Water pollution and debunking the Yale study - by Russel Norman

    The Government is once again under attack for its lack of effective action to clean up waterways. The Cawthron Institute released a report stating that the Government’s National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management combined with the subsidies for new irrigation, and hence new cows and pollution, will mean our rivers won’t be cleaned up in the […] read more
    August 2, 2011 10:31 pm - 42 Comments
  • frog

    Australia gets real on carbon emissions - by frog

    Big congratulations go out to our Aussie Green cousins for their very successful negotiations with the Gillard govt to introduce a price on carbon! read more
    July 11, 2011 6:02 am - 125 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Scientists respond to Feds’ claim that trout are cause of water decline - by Russel Norman

    Invasive trout blamed for poor water quality — are farmers off the hook? Press Release by Science Media Centre at  6:49 am, 05 Jul 2011 Scientists are questioning claims by a prominent dairy industry representative, suggesting trout are a ‘disastrous species’ — no better than ‘freshwater stoats’ — and that farmers have been unfairly blamed […] read more
    July 5, 2011 6:45 pm - 10 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Thompson makes case for Equal Pay amendment - by Russel Norman

    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 […] read more
    June 24, 2011 12:12 pm - 38 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Privatising public energy companies in Wonderland - by Russel Norman

    Tony Ryall, Minister of State Owned Enterprises, turned up to the Finance and Expenditure Committee today to justify their plans to partially privatise the state owned energy companies. With a little bit of creative licence, the exchange went something like this: Tony: We need to partially privatise them so that Government can raise capital to […] read more
    June 22, 2011 4:46 pm - 14 Comments
  • frog

    Many questions, but no answers on Telecommunications bill - by frog

    Green MP Gareth Hughes had some questions for Communications Minister Steven Joyce in Parliament yesterday: Here was Steven Joyce’s reply: Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. So Gareth tried again: Steven Joyce still wouldn’t take a call to respond. As Toad, one of our regular […] read more
    June 17, 2011 6:46 pm - 10 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Outdoor industrial dairy factories in the Maketu swamp - by Russel Norman

    On May 27th I visited the Lower Kaituna River and the Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary, just to the east of Tauranga. I met up with Ray Bushell and Maria Horne from Te Arawa, and Julian Fitter, a local conservationist. They are trying to save the Maketu Estuary and the Kaituna River, which are highly degraded ecosystems. The Kaituna River flowed through the Maketu Estuary […] read more
    June 14, 2011 10:43 pm - 20 Comments
  • frog

    Russel Norman’s Budget speech - by frog

    Go Russel! I make no pretense of being unbiased, but I think Russel nailed the real economic issues facing New Zealand very well: Bill English didn’t. read more
    May 19, 2011 10:20 pm - 34 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Trustpower and the Govt plan to mine this national park – Rakaia River - by Russel Norman

    Last Saturday I went to pay my respects to one of the grand old men who built the Canterbury Plains, the Rakaia River. The Rakaia River is the greatest of the remaining untamed braided rivers. Starting in the Southern Alps it reaches the ocean south of Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora. It is one of the rivers that […] read more
    May 9, 2011 6:13 pm - 4 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Aucklanders, you know you’re drinking the Waikato River - by Russel Norman

    One in three New Zealanders (Auckland, Hamilton et al) have a very direct interest in the quality of the water coming down the Waikato River because their drinking water is extracted from that catchment. The more polluted that water is, the more expensive and difficult it is to treat it. So how bad is the water at the end of the Waikato river? read more
    April 29, 2011 5:05 pm - 18 Comments
  • frog

    Podcast: Russel’s Dirty Rivers Wrap-up - by frog

    Russel is about to wrap his second annual Dirty Rivers Rafting Tour. Russel has been visiting rivers that are either dangerously polluted, or threatened due to large dam and irrigation projects, and rafting or kayaking them with local environmentalists, whitewater enthusiasts, iwi, farmers, and media. The purpose of the tour is to highlight the threats […] read more
    April 29, 2011 3:47 pm - No Comments
  • frog

    Greens’ concern over Parliamentary urgency gains widespread support - by frog

    Last year, around the time the shameful Hobbit Bill was being rammed through Parliament in two days and without Select Committee scrutiny, Russel Norman posted here and here about his increasing concern over the National-led Government’s use of Parliamentary urgency to bypass normal Parliamentary process: The problem with urgency is that it often means that laws […] read more
    April 20, 2011 9:07 am - 16 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Mangatainoka River – April 3, 2011 - by Russel Norman

    The Mangatainoka River has been made famous by Tui with their beer ads – scantily dressed women supposedly frolicking in the river near the brewery. Well, it’s true that the Mangatainoka is near the brewery, but it is heavily polluted so I don’t reckon they frolicked in the river itself. As recently as January 18, […] read more
    April 13, 2011 2:35 pm - 5 Comments
  • frog

    National is failing the people of Christchurch, and everyone else for that matter - by frog

    This is really sad.  I would have thought that the National Party would care about rebuilding Christchurch following the devastation of their earthquakes.  And I would have thought that a compassionate, albeit conservative, major Government party would have agreed that a temporary levy on higher earning taxpayers living outside Christchurch is a good idea.  After […] read more
    April 5, 2011 7:57 pm - 26 Comments
  • frog

    Paying to rebuild – cuts vs levy - by frog

    John Key’s Government is now openly talking about cuts to Working for Families to pay for the cost of earthquake rebuilding. As Russel pointed out yesterday, we think a small, temporary earthquake levy would be a much better and fairer way of funding the rebuilding. Depending on how you set it, it would raise between […] read more
    March 4, 2011 4:42 pm - 23 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Paying to rebuild Christchurch: A small temporary earthquake levy - by Russel Norman

    While the horror of Christchurch’s second earthquake continues to unfold, those of us not immediately involved in the recovery can begin to plan for the rebuilding of a city and the livelihoods of those who live there. The question that immediately comes to mind is how are we going to pay for the recovery and […] read more
    February 25, 2011 9:45 am - 76 Comments
  • frog

    Something stinks in iconic Southland lagoon - by frog

    Recent monitoring of the Waituna Lagoon in Southland has revealed high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in sediments, largely attributed to dairy farming in the region. Environment Southland Chairwoman Ali Timms said it was at high risk of irreversible damage because of intensification of land use in the surrounding catchment, and that steps might be […] read more
    February 16, 2011 12:36 pm - 2 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Nats use EPA to de-protect Horokiri Stream to build a motorway on it - by Russel Norman

    OK, how bad can it get. Currently Horokiri, Ration and Pauatahanui Streams near Porirua are strongly protected under the Wellington Regional Freshwater Plan. And for good reason – they are the home of a lot of endangered New Zealand fish.  But these streams and their gullies are also the proposed route for Transmission Gully motorway from Porirua to Kapiti.  So […] read more
    February 13, 2011 5:51 pm - 7 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    A straight line is godless – the Ruamahanga River - by Russel Norman

    On Friday (11-2-11) I rafted down the Ruamahanga River with a group of locals from the Wairarapa as part of my Dirty Rivers Rafting Tour. We had people there from Rangitane o Wairarapa, Forest and Bird, the Greens, Fish and Game, Wai Not Go Green local enviro group, and other locals. The Ruamahanga starts in the […] read more
    February 13, 2011 11:22 am - 6 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    Blue Greens addition to Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora - by Russel Norman

    One of the initiatives of National’s Blue Greens was to extend the length of time that one farmer could continue to graze the edges of Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora near Christchurch. This is what they are adding to the lake: Yep, that’s a lot of cow pats next to the lake (photo from 2005) - faeces just waiting […] read more
    February 8, 2011 10:02 pm - 4 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    The Taniwha of the Tarawera - by Russel Norman

    Yesterday (3-2-11) I rafted down the Tarawera River in the Bay of Plenty. As we came around a bend on the river we came across a series of large steel beams sticking out of the water - “The Taniwha of the Tarawera” muttered Tipene Marr stting next to me on the raft. These steel posts anchor the discharge pipes for the Kawerau pulp […] read more
    February 4, 2011 1:31 pm - 27 Comments
  • frog

    State of the Planet speech 2011 - by frog

    Last Sunday Russel gave the annual State of the Planet speech to a packed and excited crowd at Te Mahurehure Marae in Auckland. It was a great and powerful speech that clearly defined the Green vision for Aotearoa. Russel also attacked National and Labour for bludging off our grandchildren and pulling the ladder of opportunity […] read more
    February 3, 2011 9:22 am - 11 Comments
  • frog

    It’s Green Campaign Conference weekend - by frog

    Blogging might be a bit slow here this weekend, as the Green Party’s Campaign Conference is underway. This is the start of the democratic process under which aspiring and current Green MPs get to present their credentials to the Party membership. After the Conference there will be an initial vote by STV ballot from electorate […] read more
    January 28, 2011 7:12 pm - 32 Comments
  • Russel Norman

    The fair Wairoa needs some cleaning up - by Russel Norman

    On a rainy Sunday I embarked on stage 3 of my Rivers Tour, on the Wairoa River in Clevedon (just east of Auckland). The Wairoa is threatened by agricultural runoff and poorly maintained septic tanks. Around three quarters of tests on the Wairoa show faecal contamination above safe levels for swimming or contact recreation. Disturbingly, […] read more
    January 25, 2011 12:03 am - 3 Comments