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Dire Predictions for NZ Green Party...

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One thing that I have learned about politics over many years is that it always lives in a microcosm of ignorance that has little connection or reference to the past. Very few political commentators use historical perspectives on which to base their opinions and the media generally prefers extreme and emotional reactions to those that are more measured and circumspect.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has just elected Marama Davidson as its third ever Female Co-leader since the Party began in 1990. Here is a sample of the reactions to this news from mainstream media:

"The Greens swing left with Marama Davidson in the co-pilot seat" - Henry Cooke

"Expect fireworks with Marama Davidson Elected Green co-leader", "...a radical social justice warrior..." - Kate Hawkesby

"All they'll be is a far-left party that condones beneficiary fraud and wants to make it easier to stay on the dole", Why the Green Party will be gone in a decade - Heather…

NZ Politics, a rocky road ahead.

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After almost a decade under a National government we are now experiencing the inevitable adjustment period as a new government begins to assert itself and shape its work plan.

All those who received preferential treatment from the previous Government will be suffering from withdrawal symptoms. National's "old boy" networks have been well established throughout business communities and the individuals it placed on various influential boards and committees. It had an open door approach to big business lobbyists and investors with money and it's willingness to limit or remove regulation was appreciated by them. Even right wing commentators like Matthew Hooton voiced concern at the level of corporate welfare that was naively supported by Key and Joyce. The changing of the guard and dismantling National's human infrastructure will be a messy business as many will object to losing their past influence and business opportunities. These people have the resources and med…

"Being a mum is not a job!"

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Mark Richardson, a former New Zealand cricketer and media personality, has made a valuable contribution by asking the "frilly undie crowd" to "shut up listen" to his latest attempt at mansplaining motherhood and parenting.

"Being a mum is not a job," he claimed.

Richardson acknowledged that it was hard work but had the view that it is simply a fact of life and what we have to do, but can't be considered a job.

I can understand his flawed reasoning that being a mum does not fit the normal definitions of a job: there is no formal employment process to take it on; no job description provided; no agreement to sign; no holidays or sick days provided and it certainly isn't automatically paid. However, by not viewing it as a job and a hugely valuable one at that, it has meant that it has little status or recognition. There is no training or qualifications needed to be a mother and it generally isn't considered useful to include on a CV under 'wor…

Climate Change Just Got Personal

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Over ten years ago (2007) I organised a symposium on climate change to support a Climate Change Tour being conducted by the Green Co-leaders at the time, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Russel Norman. It was Norman who fronted at the Invercargill meeting and he was supported by his young staff member Gareth Hughes. We had over 40 attendees, including representatives from local councils and a scientist from NIWA, who also spoke. For many of those attending, the information they received was largely new to them.

At that time the reality of climate change and its human causes were still being debated in homes around the country. Nothing substantial was really being done ten years ago, but the fifth Labour Government had passed the Climate Change Response Act in 2002 to provide a legal framework for ratifying the Kyoto agreement and to meet obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2008, just before the end of their term, the Labour Government established th…

Golriz Ghahraman and Post Truth

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Golriz Ghahraman is another potential casualty of the 'Post Truth' era of mainstream media reporting and the dirty, ignorant politics behind it.

Chris Trotter and Bryce Edwards have accused the Greens of being politically naive and being caught misrepresenting the facts. Similar accusations occurred after Metiria Turei's speech where she admitted minor benefit fraud to expose the realities of being a beneficiary. I feel the real issues and problems are being ignored and there is a good deal of hypocrisy at play.

The political environment is a rough one and any politician needs a thick skin to survive, however, it is not a level playing field and Brian Gould was able to explain this well when he compared the difference in treatment of the previous Prime Minister and Turei. Surely we should be more concerned about unethical, ill-informed reporting and deliberate misinformation coming from our mainstream news outlets. When comparing the treatment of Ghahraman to that of John …

Coalition Talks Myth Busting

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As we all wait for the results of the special votes to determine the final numbers for the 2017 election, there is a good deal of noise coming from media and political commentators. Much of the commentary is misleading, not based on fact or is just pure political spin.

Sadly writers and publications that should know better are buying into fabricated myths about MMP and conservative, ill-informed views of how coalitions should be progressed. Even the editorial in the latest Listener encourages the continuation of First Past the Post (FPP) thinking.

I would like to respond to the nonsense.
MMP IS FAILING
The reason MMP was supported in the first place was to stop the unfair outcomes of the previous FPP system when a party could substantially lose the popular vote but, through electorate wins, capture large majorities. 
FPP created what was essentially a two party system, there was little diversity in parliament and many large and important communities were not represented. In 1993 (the …

Post Truth Politics works for National

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New Zealand is a land of Bullies. While many New Zealanders are good caring people it is a bullying culture that leads and governs us. The evidence for this came out strongly in the recent Unicef report. We have the 2nd highest rate of bullying in schools out of 51 countries and if anyone disputes this they can try and explain why we have the highest levels of youth suicide in the world.

Bullying is a learned behaviour and the fact that it exists so strongly in our schools is just a reflection of what has been taught within the environment our children live in. National Standards in Education (narrowing teaching to literacy and numeracy), has stifled the teaching of a rich curriculum and reduced the importance of teaching values. Strict uniform rules and demanding compliance has also become increasingly important in some schools and civics education has a low priority. The focus has been on educating to be work ready rather than supporting our students to be fully active citizens in …