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Showing posts from 2017

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 …

What vote will deliver the change we need...?

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This has probably been the most dramatic election campaign that I have experienced in almost 40 years of voting. As with most elections, the media focusses on the drama rather than the substance and there is very little real analysis of the policies and what would really be in the best interests of our country.

After nine years in power National has created an opportunist, boom and bust economy that has served property investors, banks, corporate interests and intensive dairying well. At the same time we have seen damaging under-investments in social welfare, housing, education and health. The lowest income quintile of New Zealanders have suffered most and we now have the highest percentage in the developed world of homelessness and the worst statistics for child health and welfare. Our environment has suffered hugely and we have one of the weakest responses in the world to climate change.

To hold on to power National has resorted to wild scaremongering as it has seen its comfortable…

Paddy Gower makes stuff up again.

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John Campbell was a thorn in the side of right wing politics, many of his stories revolved around ordinary New Zealanders and their struggles. His continuous interviews with poorly treated home owners and school communities after the Christchurch earthquakes exposed huge gaps and issues with the recovery processes. His stories have since been validated by both the Ombudsman and Treasury. Campbell was duly removed and his slot was replaced by lighter shows. While he is still inflicting damage to the National Government with his stories on our failing health system (from his new Radio New Zealand home), he does not have the same reach (most RNZ listeners probably vote Labour/Green).

With Campbell gone three opinionated men, with clear right wing bias, now dominate the political narratives coming out of Media Works' NewsHub and TV 1 during peak viewing times. While more measured commentary and interviews exist through the weekend early morning shows (The Nation and Q+A),  it is Dun…

Secrecy, Conflict and Corruption in New Zealand Elections

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Green Party leader James Shaw is advocating for greater transparency around political donations and wanting to expose potential conflicts of interest. Some years ago Metiria Turei managed to open MP expenses to public scrutiny and it is likely that this has saved the country millions when the spotlight was shifted to the use of public funds by our elected representatives. The Sunday Times has revealed that the two major parties manage to keep the names of around 80% of their major donors secret and New Zealand First refuses to reveal any of theirs.

It is generally understood that the United States political system has been corrupted by money. Few candidates for any elected position can run a successful campaign without significant funding and major donors generally expect a return on their investment. The influence of big donors and corporate funds enables legislation that often impacts negatively on the wider population. This system has led to processed tomato sauce being regarded a…

Metiria Turei, the price of boldness

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I have been a bit stunned and emotional since Metiria's resignation. I was surprised at the extent of the impact it has had on me and I think many other Green Party members feel the same.

It was hard enough reading and listening to all false narratives about Metiria's motivations and integrity and her resignation had a similar affect on me as if I had received the news that a close family member had terminal cancer. Metiria obviously isn't suffering from a terminal illness but her political persona has had to endure some pretty heavy hits until the impacts on her family could no longer be endured. This is the end of her political life as a Green MP and I am really upset that this is how it had to happen.

Some commentators will say that Metiria brought it upon herself, she put herself forward to lead the Party and she was the one who openly admitted benefit fraud. Of course an element of this is true, but the level of scrutiny and political attack she has had to endure has…

The Green Party and the consequences of boldness

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The resignations of MPs Kennedy Graham and David Clendon were unfortunately timed and they managed their announcement badly, disregarding party protocols. Although I regard both as friends, I believe our caucus, our party and the campaign will actually be stronger because of their decision.

For some time the Green Party has been drifting into a more centrist space and we had become very risk-averse. There was a general acceptance that the party needed to be in government to really make a difference and the pathway chosen to achieve this became a more moderate one. I believe that this was a mistake and the Party just became absorbed into the centrist swamp of poll driven caution. For many the Budget Responsibility Rules and James' immigration announcements were a step too far and we were beginning to look no different from Labour and National.

The Green Party is a values based party and we desperately need a more values based approach to deal with current issues than the largely f…

Turei slaps Pakeha privilege in the face!

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Metiria Turei's AGM admission has exposed the inequality, racism and meanness that thrives in New Zealand society.

There are few people who can look back at themselves as young adults (18-24 years) without remembering past decisions and actions that we wish could be replayed with our current knowledge and experience. Times when we badly mismanaged relationships; broke the law and got away with it (or not); impulsively squandered money or said or did something stupid while intoxicated.

We also know now that no matter how intelligent or educated a young adult is, their brain isn't yet fully developed until the age of 25. Until then impulsiveness and risk taking are common features of any early adults' behaviour. The internationally respected Dunedin Study revealed that more than 90% of young males will break the law in some way. Most stop their criminal behaviour, settle down and become responsible citizens who contribute positively to society and the economy.

However, this…

Winston and the Greens, a reality check

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Let's have some honesty around the Winston factor in this election. Metiria Turei has received a good amount of criticism for calling out New Zealand First for racist rhetoric during a Q&A interview and at the Green Party campaign launch in Nelson. Some commentators and politicians are claiming it isn't political, or diplomatic, to criticise a potential coalition partner. At the same time there is a growing demand for honest politics and when Metiria stated that the Greens could work with New Zealand First if it allowed progressive change (but it wouldn't be the Party's preferred scenario) this was a truthful representation for voters to be mindful of. It seems that the Greens can't win either way.

I wish there was a little more honest analysis of New Zealand First's policies and the Party's relationship with the Greens.

Winston Peters is described as a celebrity politician and possibly the only one left in this campaign since our celebrity Prime Minis…

The disturbing truth about the Green Party

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The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has existed for 27 years and it was built on the foundations of the Values Party that was formed in 1972. The Values Party was the first Green Party in the world to stand in a national election and its 1975 manifesto Beyond Tomorrow exists as one of the foundation documents for all the Green Parties of the world (it was especially pivotal for the formation of the UK Greens). The charter and principles of the Party have reamained consistent since it began and the values, that form the foundation of all policies, have changed little.

The Green Party Charter accepts Te Tiriti (the document that was actually supported and signed) as the founding document for our country and recognises Maori as the first people of Aotearoa. Four principles direct the Party's operations and policy and they are:

Ecological Wisdom: Currently we are stuffing up our planet with our emissions and waste. In New Zealand we have huge issues with our water quality and lack…