Last Chance for Maui’s Dolphins!

The Maui’s dolphin is the most critically endangered dolphin in the world. In just a few short years, the population of Maui’s dolphins has halved from 111 in 2005 to an estimate of just 55 left today. The time for talk is over and urgent action is needed. The Government …should use the precautionary principle to put in place an immediate set net ban along the Taranaki Coast and to enlarge the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

Join Green Party MP Gareth Hughes and the last remaining 55 Maui’s dolphins in front of parliament on Wednesday 28th March to help us call for action and to launch our submission guides to the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries to put measures in place to protect this unique species NOW!

12.30pm – 1.30pm, in front of Parliament steps, Wellington.
Facebook event here.

Pictures will magically appear here after the event ;-)

Green MP Gareth Hughes at the submission guide launch today

Green MP Gareth Hughes at the submission guide launch today

You can read more about the submission guide here, and see what Forest and Bird have to say as well.

White Flag at Parliament.

It’s time for a monthly activism event for cannabis legalisation.

WHAT?
NORML White Flag Meeting

WHERE?
NZ Parliament Buildings
Molesworth Street
Wellington 6160
New Zealand

WHEN?
6th MARCH, 01:00pm at the Richard Sedden statue.
Assemble in front of Cenotaph at 12:45pm

WHY?
To demand the immediate release of Dakta Green from Mt Eden prison.
To highlight the Law Commission Report on the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
Also, continue to request compassion, and common sense cannabis law reform – and an Armistice to end the War on Drugs.

HOW?
We carry with us, the international symbol for peaceful dialogue – The White Flag.
We will walk from the Cenotaph at 01:00pm up to the Richard Sedden statue. Once there, we will pause for a One Minute Silence for the victims of the global War on Drugs.
Following that, will be a few words spoken regarding our actions, and our intentions for these meetings, with a reading of the letter, and then a photo or two..

NORML members, and also non-members are all welcome, a desire for sensible law reform is all that is required.

VSM Bill protest today, organised by NZUSA

Converging on Parliament Grounds from 1:30pm – 2:00pm at Parliament lawn, Wellington.

Join students, MPs and the public to oppose ACT’s Bill to end universal membership of students’ associations, and push for a reasonable alternative to VSM.

Despite thousands of submissions and local and international evidence against it, National are still supporting ACT’s reckless Bill to end universal membership of students’ associations WHILE being irresponsible with how they implement it. They’re throwing student representation, advocacy and services into an unknown environment with a potential 100% loss of income for students’ associations, putting much of what students value and need at our universities and polytechnics at risk.

National should drop their support for this extreme Bill that undermines the student voice and will cut campus culture. They need to stop treating students like a political football every few years on this issue and instead come to a reasonable and enduring compromise on association membership.

Come hear from MPs opposing the Bill and support the reasonable alternatives that National has so far ignored. Be there on the day of the final vote on the Bill to tell them you still don’t want this Bill to pass.

[Re-posting from NZUSA source, onya NZUSA!]

There will be students from Massey Wellington and VUW coming from their respective campuses.

Update:
Here’s some pix from the rally at Parliament.

M@WSA banner, signed by students

M@WSA banner, signed by students


NZUSA co-pres David Do speaking to the crowd

NZUSA co-pres David Do speaking to the crowd


The placards were very witty

The placards were very witty


I particularly liked this one ...

I particularly liked this one ...


PSA pennants flying in support of student services

PSA pennants flying in support of student services


A forest of placards around the statue

A forest of placards around the statue


Gareth Hughes speaking, flanked by Green & Labour MP's

Gareth Hughes speaking, flanked by Green & Labour MP's


Hone Harawira signing the NZUSA letter

Hone Harawira signing the NZUSA letter


NZUSA letter signed by MP's from Green, Labour Maaori and Mana parties

NZUSA letter signed by MP's from Green, Labour Maaori and Mana parties

This was a big day for me, so I won’t make much comment apart from the captions. I did hear some of the closing debates on the final reading of this bill from the public gallery, which was crowded with students and NZUSA exec members, listening with faint horror as their future was sold down the river. Labour ministers made a strong showing against the Bill, National speakers revealing the depth of their antipathy towards education for the masses. Green, Maaori and Mana speeches to the Bill had all passed by the time I got there. If you’re a real keen bean, look them up on Hansard. You can search by date of debate, name of Bill, or keywords.

Fancy a stroll on the lawn next week?

WHAT?
NORML White Flag Meeting

WHERE?
NZ Parliament Buildings
Molesworth Street
Wellington 6160
New Zealand

WHEN?
2nd AUGUST, 01:00pm at the Richard Seddon statue.
Assemble in front of Cenotaph at 12:45pm

WHY?
To highlight the Law Commission Report on the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
Also, continue to request compassion, and common sense cannabis law reform – and an Armistice.

HOW?
We carry with us, the international symbol for peaceful dialogue – The White Flag.
We will walk from the Cenotaph at 01:00pm up to the Richard Seddon statue. Once there, we will pause for a One Minute Silence for the victims of the global War on Drugs.
Following that, will be a few words spoken regarding our actions, and our intentions for these meetings, with a reading of the letter, and then a photo or two..

….AND THEN?
Meeting over, we will take advantage of the Speaker’s decision from Armistice Day 2010.
We will stay behind the barriers, we won’t cause any violence, and then we will consume some cannabis.

“Senior Sergeant Scott Miller said police had acted in consultation with the Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, and a decision had been made to monitor the situation and act only if there was violence or an attempt to breach the barricades.” – Dominion Post 11/11/2010

NORML members, and also non-members are all welcome, a desire for sensible law reform is all that is required.

(I admit to having shamelessly stolen this entire post from Gary Chiles.)

Update
Well that went well, and Green MP Metiria Turei managed to squeeze in a quick stop by to discuss things with a few of the NORML crew, in between caucus meetings and the 2pm resumption of Parliament for the next session.

Green MP Metiria Turei speaking with NORML members

Green MP Metiria Turei speaking with NORML members


NORML White Flag rally with monument

NORML White Flag rally with monument

Gareth Hughes in da House!

Today held a brighter event for me, and for many of the past members of the Greens-at-Vic club, the Young Greens wing of the Green Party, and a whole lot of Greenpeace activists.

At 5.45pm promptly, just after the Speaker, the Hon Lockwod Smith, had regained his seat, Gareth Hughes began his first speech in Parliament. He made much of his status as the youngest MP in the House, but also gave a pretty good overview of where he’s been since he was an 18-year-old Gisborne boy-racer who liked his hamburgers.

The galleries were crowded with family, friends and collegues and most of us trooped in an orderly fashion over to the Green Party floors in Bowen House for a speech or four, some waiata and a few drinks and nibbles with our new ‘man about the House’. Young Arlo Hughes, much referred to in the Speech, amused all of us during the reception speeches by piping up and interjecting, whilst providing the floor-show.

The text to Gareth’s speech is here.

And in usual form, here’s some crowd shots of the reception!

Keith Locke amid a crowd

Keith Locke amid a crowd

another table, more crowd...

another table, more crowd...

Gareth heading for a beer

Gareth heading for a beer

Jacinda Adern, beginning the Youth Caucus

Jacinda Adern, beginning the Youth Caucus

Blessed silence

Congratulations to Metiria Turei!  She seems to have discovered the secret to silencing Gerry Brownlee.  Now if she can just extend her powers beyond the debating chamber…

Of course, I’m not quite sure how, according to the Speaker and Kiwiblog,  the general public is supposed to “having heard the question and seen the Minister’s refusal to answer it, [make] the final judgment on the situation”.

“Ministers would be very unwise to refuse to answer them, because in the court of public opinion a Minister would be condemned for refusing to do so.”

I’m all for being an active, informed and engaged member of the polity, but requiring the public to continuously listen to parliamentary debates so that they can learn that Brownlee acted like a pratt, is perhaps asking a  bit much commitment on their behalf.  So I guess the minister gets away with his contempt for proper debate this time.

Parliament Open Day

Ok, so anyone who knows me, knows I don’t need a guided tour of Parlie. I get around the place far too much as it is… But today was sunny, and I like checking out the artworks ‘back-of-house’, so I grabbed my camera & went for a stroll downtown.

Big mistake! Not allowed to take photo’s. So here’s some from outside :-)

Ushers at the Public Entrance

Ushers at the Public Entrance

This is what Parliament Steps look like ...

This is what Parliament Steps look like ...

However, there was more than enough bumph on offer, so I collected some quite nice free papers on my way around. I did discover some new things, too – like the education centre in the Beehive building, near the Theaterette where the Press Conferences are held. This is a purpose-built spot for schools to access information in a classroom-type setting, and is a big step up from how school visits were managed around 8 years ago or so. Lovely resources, some of which I snaffled for my nephews, who live out of town now. Lollipops!
Parliament TV was getting a lot of mention, so I’ll humour them.

http://www.parliament.nz

It’s on Freeview 22, SKY Digital 94, and TelstraClear Digital 94 as well, for those who like their politics on widescreen.

I visited the old Upper House chamber, which I’d last been in (I think) for Rod Donald’s Memorial; certainly made me wince, walking back in there! Also had a quick look at the State Hall (banquets!), and Bellamy’s, where a lively band entertained those who needed a breather. While I was meandering around the Beehive, I found the Electoral Commission stand, with all the local current electoral rolls, plus forms for people to enroll to vote, and (yay!) balloons, tattoos & lollipops. (So easily bribed, eh!).

Then a look at the Hansard offices, and a lovely chat with one of the Hansard staff. Lots of reprints were available, one of which made me chuckle – the PM having, on the 2nd March 2004, moved that the House record it’s admiration for LOTR gaining 11 Oscars, singling out Peter Jackson for a mention, and then going on to talk about Keisha Castle-Hughes’ nomination that year. Other more serious Hansard reprints were available, however – David Lange & Nandor Tancos’ Valedictory speeches, the Ministerial statement on 12 Sept 2001, about the World Trade Center attacks in the USA, and the Obituaries on 9 November 2005 of Rt Hon David Lange, John Luxton, Hon John Falloon, and Rod Donald (whew, was that a week in politics!).

I finished off with a quick walk-through of the General Assembly Library, which is where all MP’s send their researchers to find useful-to-know stuff; and where a friend of mine works. So I managed to find her, bundled up in a 19th C dress and bonnet, in her least-librariany look for along time, and had just enough time to look at the lovely gilded fittings in the upstairs librarians’ office, along with the beautiful stained-glass window in the upstairs hallway, then it was shut-down time. So Sy got me out through the security doors, as we had chatted past the security guards shooing everyone else out. It really is one of the most beautiful libraries in Wellington, I encourage everyone to go for a look sometime. (For those who are past staff, it’s had a huge facelift, it really is gorgeous now!)

Then I was let out through the main doors of the Parliament Foyer, so scooted into the sunshine to eat a banana sitting on the lawn, and contemplate my haul of promotional goodies. Once-in-a-while, I really relish my citizenship, and today was one of those days.