Labour’s “Man-ban”

Well, when I first heard about this, I thought it was quaint – after all, we’ve been gender-balancing our Green MP’s in the party lists forever. Ok, so Labour are catching up with us in a slow and unwieldy way, but it’s no real biggie.

I went off to do some essential, offline tasks.
Then I came back to the internet after dinner.

Oh dear, the trolls and the journalists have joined hands and danced around the fairy circle together.

Comments on posts on Facebook have veered from curious to bewildered, amongst the left, and gone straight to blindingly misogynist on the right.

Apparently, Whaleoil started it. No, I don’t link to his festering cesspit of a blog, you can google that one for yourselves if you want to go there.
Stuff had a go at finding a woman to throw the argument sideways.

Andrew Geddis at Pundit was more reasoned, and gave a clear outline of why so many (even Labour supporters) are concerned about both the announcement, and the timing (right when Key is on the ropes with GCSB hearings).

Chris Trotter has done an ‘insider’s view’ post at the Daily Blog, with a stirring look back at the formation of NewLabour Party in 1989. Recollections of Jim Anderton’s breakaway from ‘old’ Labour had me reaching for the chocolate again.
(yep, I’m playing the feminist version of ‘scull for clich√©s’ by chewing a lump of chocolate each time I see a glaring piece of male appropriation of the debate. Gonna be a long night if I keep reading around, it seems …)

Even The Civilian has had a go. Excuse me while I roflmao.

No-one seems to have made much about the strategic problem of how you do this when list candidates get juggled around by the electorate seat results, and Labour seem to have forgotten just how many female MP’s they have exactly … which makes for some gruelling reading as they back-step & correct themselves in clear view of the journo’s etc firing off hits at them.
[excuse me while I just scoff another piece of chocolate … ūüôā ]

I’ll be mightily interested to see how this story plays over the weekend, and slightly curious to see which newsrooms scrabble together a feature in the weekend papers, and with what angle.
Do play along at home, and throw article links into the comments here on g.blog.

Update:
Well, the pollie journo’s at Granny Herald seem to have a bob each way going this weekend. Fran O’Sullivan comes out with a strong piece in support of gender balance in Parlie, as she also supports workplace gender balance. On the ‘noes’, it’s Adam Bennett, reporting a back-peddle from Shearer and some prize misogyny from Shane Jones and Damian O’Connor (why am I not surprised?).

Advertisements

Pike River: not laissez-faire but lackadaisical

The Pike River commission’s report must, finally, represent the low-water mark of economic de-regulation in New Zealand.

A dictionary definition of “laissez-faire” gives two meanings:

  1. individualism the doctrine of unrestricted freedom in commerce, esp for private interests
  2. indifference or non-interference, esp in the affairs of others.

Read the section What Happened,¬†in volume one of ¬†the report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy. ¬†It difficult not to draw the conclusion that, in¬†New Zealand’s¬†deregulated and commercially-oriented¬†economy,¬†laissez-faire means not just indifference, but callous indifference, to the well-being and even the lives of others.

Rod Oram, in the Sunday Star-Times on 11 November, damns the “She’ll be right” culture that seemed to pervade the Pike River company, saying:

It wasn’t an anomaly. It will happen again. Deep in our psyche we believe improvisation is innovation. We believe cutting corners copes with complexities.

Rod’s opinion piece is a good read, and a damning indictment, but it doesn’t entirely get to the heart of the matter.

Over the last three decades, New Zealand’s ruling elites have developed a culture of indifference and unconcern – not just to workplace safety, but also to child poverty; to the integrity of the democratic system of government; to our economic future in the post-carbon age.

The term “lackadaisical now correctly describes New Zealand’s political and economic system. The proof of that is given in the Pike River tragedy; and in this government’s gutting of the ETS; and in the programme of road-building it has undertaken; and in the child poverty statistics.

And it is not just this National Party government that is to blame. ¬†It is the cosy duopoly of National and Labour governments that have led us down this path, playing pass the parcel in parliament – both following a neo-liberal agenda, since the mid-1980’s.

The Pike River tragedy must serve as the nadir of neo-liberalism: the point at which we should turn away from those corrupt ideas, and start to restore and re-develop our public and private institutions.  Market systems are fine when they are effectively self-regulating: but the concept of self-regulation does not imply a lack of regulation.  Market mechanisms can, and must, be used if they do in fact serve the needs of society and all its members. In any other case society must, unapologetically and thoughtfully, regulate to serve its best interests.

The antonyms of lackadaisical include: active, careful, caring, energetic, enthusiastic, and hard-working.  These words are more than mere adjectives: they also describe values.  Values that should describe the Green Party in the public mind, and a Green Party government after the 2014 election.

Save TV7, come to Back Benches and even a march on Parlie :-)

Haven’t updated y’all on the progress of Back Benches for a week or two, so here goes. COME ALONG TO SEE IT FILMED, IT RUNS OUT SOON!

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, some cut’n’paste goodness and linky-love for you to play clicky with:
As you may have heard, the Back Bencher was damaged in a kitchen fire, so there’s been a lot of woe and dismay about the final three shows.
Last week’s episode was filmed in the Shepherd’s Arms in Tinakori Rd, just uphill & around the corner as it were, from BB. Notorious to a certain generation of VUW law students as the Western Park tavern, it’s now less of a booze barn and more of a heritage pub with a ‘southern’ twist. Once more, my trusty companions and I eschewed the brews for coffee and soft drinks, all the better to pay attention.
The acoustics are not great, as half the bar is incapable of seeing or hearing the set, thus talk amongst themselves. We had fun anyway, and Damian and Wallace soldiered on, attempting to get good soundbites from Nat MP Paul Goldsmith, Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove, our own lovely Julie-Anne Genter, and NZ First’s inimitable and intractable Richard Prosser.

This week, it’s the turn of Green MP Kevin Hague, Labour MP David Parker, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin and National MP Louise Upston, with topics on ACC, Asset Sales, and Gareth Morgan’s opinions. TVNZ blurb here. Once again, at the Shepherd’s Arms Tavern in Tinakori Rd, Thorndon, get in by 6pm if you want food, or 8pm if you just want a spot to stand. Filming starts at 9.05pm, live broadcast with help from the big techy truck parked outside.
Closest thing you can get to being an unpaid extra on a film set … no, wait, it is actually being an unpaid extra on a film set. Damn, shoulda checked that with the union!

Then for even more excitement, join the Save TV7 crew for a march through Wellington on Thursday 28th June, meet at Civic Square 12 noon and march to Parliament. More at their website www.savetvnz7.co.nz, where you can also find the petition – it’s still worth signing to save our only ‘TV for grown-ups’ channel in NZ.

It could only happen in the National Party

Interesting discussion between Nat MPs Sam Lotu-Iiga and Louise Upston on Twitter this afternoon:

Louise Upston might be interested to note that the closing date for submissions, set by Sam Lotu-Iiga as Chair of Parliament’s Social Services Select Committee, was actually last Friday. Yes, her colleague Sam Lotu-Iiga allowed only 11 working days for submissions on this Bill, and Upston obviously doesn’t realise this.

There is already disquiet about the lack of time for democratic input on this Bill. So come on, Louise – you were obviously blindsided by the short deadline too. So have a chat with your colleague Sam, and get the deadline extended by a couple of weeks so people’s voices are heard.

Transport Heavyweight Championship: Julie Anne v Gerry

Julie Anne Genter is a¬†transport heavyweight. She’s got all the academic qualifications and consultancy¬† experience to know what she’s talking about as far as transport is concerned. Gerry Brownlee is a heavyweight too, although his most admirable qualification in that regard appears to be his loyalty to the National Party and his being prepared to take one (or two, or three) for the team.

So here’s how they shaped up in 3 rounds of sparring in Parliament last week:

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Big points win to Julie Anne.  We have the long Easter recess for Parliament now, but I suspect when it resumes Julie Anne will win by TKO.

We Greens support non-violence, so however big and ignorant the opponent is, we still need to leave him or her with some respect. So no KO leaving Gerry convulsing on the canvas – although I’m sure you could do that, metaphorically, should you choose, Julie Anne.

More Back Benches!

I realise that this may seem to be the only thing that I’m doing lately, which is not true, but I’m just not blogging here about other stuff I’m involved in.

So, moving right along, this week’s lineup is:
Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.
Details here.

Could be worth attending for the fireworks.
TV7 is still likely to be closing down mid-year, so if you’ve ever enjoyed participating in the circus that is live filming of pub politics, come down.

Update:
I once again failed to make it along, but there was certainly a good crowd handy, have a look here. Phil Goff got a minor ragging from Wallace for his first appearance ever on the show (not ever having been a Back Bencher while the show has been recording before now) and both Hone Harawira and Michael Woodhouse had strong showings.

Otherwise, my lovely green friends, you will have to suffice yourselves with Pints’n’Politics, the latest brainchild of the local branch worthies, who fancy sitting and talking about politics without the intrusion of floor managers, cameras, Damian or Wallace.

There was a trial run at the Southern Cross in Te Aro CBD a while back, and it’s being mooted as a ‘first-of-the-month’ travelling circus, so that the day of the week varies each month to capture all those people who are busy every Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday, etc and won’t commit to another regular event.

Kick-off is Sunday April 1st, prolly around 3pm, and venue still being disputed, I mean discussed. I’ll keep you posted about how that turns out, and provide details if the decision comes down that it is to be widely promoted. *sigh*

Link

Tomorrow (wed) on

Back Benches

– Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie makes his debut (Nat), with Kris Faafoi (Lab) & Gareth Hughes (Green).

The C-word..Casualisation, civilianisation of workforces, MFAT and other job cuts, and school discrimination of those with disabilities. Come for a pint 8.30 pm

Update:

Due to another piece of direct activism conducted during the day, I didn’t actually make it to Back Benches this week.
However, Gareth and the crew did, so looky here to see how they handled the topics of the week.
Fun times spotting greenie regulars in the crowd. Green MP Stefan Browning makes an appearance in the crowd, midway through his tour of organic producer regions discussing the up-coming Food Bill.

Scheduled downtime for Green Party website(s) tonight

We’re going to be upgrading some systems which power the Green Party website tonight.

This means that we’ll be pulling a few cords and crossing some wires from the early evening, and while that’s happening some of our sites will be down.

… and probably one or two campaign or internal sites as well.

We’ll update here with progress reports for those of you who might need to know when things are coming back online, and you’re welcome to use the comments here to report any issues you see when things come back up!

Sorry that this is very boring and technical and not the usual tone.

More Back Benches to come!

Haven’t done a post about Back Benches for a while. Not because I haven’t been attending (I have had the soggy overcoat to prove my dedication) but because other things going on in my life have interfered with writing posts for a while.

So here’s a compendium of reviews of the past two shows and a plug for the next one.

The first one (22nd Feb) was very busy, the bar was crowded and the topic in hand was the Christchurch earthquake anniversary. Christchurch MP’s were on the panel – Liane Dalziel (L), Nicky Wagner (N), Kennedy Graham (G) and Denis O’Rourke (NZ1). They had all been at commemoration events during the day in Christchurch, then flown to Wellington to be on the show, so kudos for that. The media coverage of the days events was pretty much wall-to-wall, and the MP’s referred to where they’d been under the assumption that non of the audience could possibly have missed seeing footage.

The following week was ‘leap day’, 29th Feb, and a re-shoot of the Hamilton show that didn’t get broadcast during the summer tour. The pub was barely filled, and I was surprised to be invited, with my young companion (a friend’s son) to move to another, closer table so that the cameras had some audience to film. So we did, and ended up sitting right next to National MP David Bennett’s wife and daughter, who both got spots speaking with Damian Christie. Other MP’s on the panel were Cath Delahunty (G), Sue Maroney (L) and Richard Prosser (NZ1). Students with or without jobs got a fair bit of airtime, especially given recent announcements by the Minister for Social Development during that week’s press on welfare reforms.

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

This week 7th March, the line-up is Labour MP Rino Tirikatene, Dr. Cam Calder (Nat) and Denise Roche (Green) – still from 8pm if you want to get a drink beforehand, at the Back Bencher pub, opposite Parliament in Molesworth St, Wellington.
There’s been some good young Green crews along in the past, now that Orientation is on again, might be nice to get some more yoof down to the pub for a bit of a laff, eh?

Update
That was a very good night out, episode here and here’s a quick pic from before filming began showing all the panellists.

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

There’s still time to email TVNZ about saving TV7, have a look here.

Hey NZ Police! GTFO of our Internetz!

The NZ Police raided a house yesterday and arrested some people. Around the same time US authorities shut down a popular website, Megaupload

The first sentence is commonplace, we all know the NZ police love to raid homes (mostly rentals) and arrest people, hey its part of their job. In this case it was an extremely luxurious rental to be sure (thanks Chrisco!). Normally its for life threatening crimes against humanity such as growing herbs in the backyard or holding audio tapes from conversations made by corrupt politicians. This time however it was because they had been working with US authorities in a timed attack on internet freedom under cover of protecting copyright.

The arrest of the people running MegaUpload¬†was quite nicely timed in the middle (well nearing the end) of the debate around SOPA/PIPA¬†(though the spectre of terrible internet controlling legislation will be around for awhile yet). The arrests speak further to the propaganda of ‘stopping piracy’ when really whats at stake are our internet freedoms.

So to the point really, why are the NZ police involved? Lets get political for a second, this article on Stuff by Henry Cooke, has him getting ahold of some politicians and asking them what they thought of the bill (or trying to). It will come as no surprise¬†¬†to readers of this blog ¬†that Gareth Hughes had the best of the responses; ‘He called the bill “draconian,” mentioned how much “fear and uncertainty” it would cause, harming innovation throughout the world, and “would like to see the New Zealand Government […] express concern through diplomatic channels.” He also mentioned the New Zealand Copyright Act and how legislators with “limited knowledge of the internet are regulating it with chilling implications.” He¬†tweeted¬†today that the Green Party website will be blacking out in protest.’

Labour MP and party IT spokesperson Clare Curran didn’t come out against the bill directly (correct me if I’m wrong) which is standard fare from Labour, all sizzle no sausage. Although, they have retrospectively come out against the ‘Skynet’ bill (which they voted for in the first place allowing it to pass) Labour and it’s MP’s are guilty of being just as un-knowledgeable as some of the rest of the worlds politicians when it comes to ‘Teh Internetz’. Cracks me up. Still, better than nothing from Labour though eh?

Speaking of nothing, National MP Amy Adams, National’s Technology spokesperson, came back to the poor bloke with nothing, not even a ‘Thankyou for your email but we receive a lot of correspondence and no matter what the public say we’ll do what we’re told by large corporate interests‘ type email. Pretty lame if you ask me. But as one of the commenter’s on that same Stuff article points out, that’s standard fare for National, ignore it and hope it goes away, or if it doesn’t, change a law under urgency. No surprises there. If Labour dressed up and took the odd free dinner date from US corporate interests every once in awhile for the sake of ‘beneficial mutual relations’, then National goes straight to bed and skips the foreplay. National and the US are more like best mates than Labour and the US, which at least have a love/hate relationship. Read Nicky Hagers book ‘Secret Power‘.

I won’t get into the other parties, National ACT MP John Banks couldn’t rub two internetz together to start a¬†book burning fire and unconfirmed sources report United Future MP Peter Dunne may still be using Windows NT. Hone wouldn’t have a bar of it I’m sure, he gets it, and NZ First would probably need Curwen’s help to get their head round it.

So back to the NZ Police raiding the homes of ‘internet criminals’, oh wait they were providing a service that non-criminals used too? And now the whole future of the cloud is at stake? Noone wants to upload their files anywhere, legal or not, if the government keeps on shutting down every site that hosts ’em and then steals them all, like some sort of modern day pirates plundering booty to take back to their island where they amass their riches, oh wait… SNAP! Talk about double standards!

This isn’t a blog post about the evils of piracy, its about the evils of restricting the internet and bowing down to corporate pressure so they can ram their views down your throat while making shedloads of money from it, all the while denying people their rights.
Oh and by the way, if you’re against SOPA/PIPA and have been tweeting and facebooking about it, and voted for National,¬†why? Don‚Äôt forget that the Greens were the¬†only Party to vote against the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing Amendment) Act 2011 which attempts to do largely the same thing.