Hone Harawira wins in Te Tai Tokerau, and I am celebrating

In a very low voter turnout, Hone Harawira has won the Te Tai Tokerau byelection.  Congratulations Hone!

Together, Mana & Greens have the ability to drag Labour over to supporting tino rangatiratanga and clawing back the devil takes hindmost neoliberal ideology that has driven both Labour and National for the last 25 years.

So let’s work together for that end, and to restore kaitiatitanga over our most precious and treasured lands and waterways.

And maybe the disastrous polling for the Maori Party (less than 10% of the vote) may give them cause to reassess their alliance with the Party that is the class enemy of most New Zealanders, be they Tangata Whenua or Tangata Tiriti.

Kia ora, Hone! Kia kaha, e hoa ma.

Advertisements

The relationship between the Green Party and the Mana Party

I hope both the Green and Mana Parties in future focus their attacks on the policies of those Parties (ie National and ACT) which threaten the commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice we hold in common.

The Greens and Mana are very close in their political objectives (based on Green policy and what Hone Harawira has said, because Mana have obviously not yet had time yet to engage in a process to develop detailed policy).

I don’t think Sue Bradford’s comments on Pundit (although I share her analysis on the Green support for Labour’s Emissions Trading Scheme) are helpful towards building the obvious political alliance between the Greens and Mana. Nor were Russel Norman’s comments attempting paint the Mana Party as fighting battles of the past.

The Greens and Mana are natural allies, with little difference in policy. What’s more, the two parties appeal to different demographics. Mana is never going to get significant support in Rongotai, Auckland Central, Dunedin North, or Wellington Central where the Greens do well.

But the Greens are never going to pick up a substantial party vote in Te Tai Tokerau, Mangere, Waiariki, or Manurewa – where Mana may do very well.

We are parties with very similar policies, but can appeal to very different demographics.

The Greens and Mana can complement each other, and work towards implementing the many policy goals we share. With neither Party achieving over 10% in the polls, at least for now, attacking each other is not a strategically sensible option.

Template for Making Submissions on Waterview Connection

I’ve written a draft submission on the Waterview Connection that you’re welcome to copy and adapt. Submissions are due this Friday so please take a few minutes to read through it, add your name and contacts, delete any points I’ve made you don’t like, add any of your own ideas and then send it in to the NZTA at waterview.connection@nzta.govt.nz You could also send it to Steven Joyce as he is the one driving this project on steven.joyce@parliament.govt.nz

This will be one of the most expensive motorway projects ever built in NZ (per km) and by completing the Western Ring Route it will have a really lasting effect on traffic patterns in Auckland. So, don’t be shy, wherever you live in Auckland feel free to submit!

If you wanted to write your own submission that would be even better! For more information about Waterview check out here: http://www.transit.govt.nz/projects/waterviewconnection/. And for the Green Party’s position see here: http://www.greens.org.nz/node/21145

Draft Submission on Waterview You Can Adapt

Date
Name
Address

I oppose the early completion of the Western Ring Route (WRR) through the Waterview Connection because I believe:

  • the priority for Auckland should be building new public transport infrastructure. For example, electrifying the Auckland rail system, extending the rail line into a loop around the CBD, or putting in a rail link from Avondale Station to Onehunga Station to the airport and back to Puhinui on the Southern Line.
  • the Waterview Connection will not reduce traffic congestion in Auckland in the long-term. Completing the WRR will not reduce congestion on local roads near the motorway or in the greater Auckland region long-term. This is because building the motorway will induce traffic, that is, it will cause more people to drive in private vehicles than currently do so or are predicted to do so in the NZTA’s modeling of the project’s impact on traffic flows.
  • the costs and benefits of the projects have been calculated in a way that is fundamentally flawed. For example, almost 90% of the economic benefits of the project are based on congestion reduction or time savings for commuters but, as stated above, I do not believe building this motorway will reduce congestion long-term.
  • oil prices may rise sharply in the near future as they did in 2008. Constructing this motorway does nothing to “future proof” Auckland against sudden changes in oil prices. Instead it will simply increase Aucklander’s dependence on private motor vehicles to get around and mean we have no alternative mode of transport if oil prices peak.
  • climate change will require NZ to reduce our emissions dramatically. Road transport is one of the sectors in NZ whose emissions have risen most rapidly since 1990. Building this motorway will increase rather than reduce our emissions.

Some of the specific effects of the Waterview Connection I am most concerned about are:

  • the 240 people who will be forced to leave their homes and will only receive the government valuation of their house.
  • if there are backups of traffic waiting to get onto SH16 at peak times (as seems very likely due to the traffic that the project will induce) this will worsen traffic congestion on Great North Road.
  • negative effects on the local sports club Metro Mount Albert who will lose some of their fields when the Alan Wood Reserve is taken for the motorway.
  • impact of poor air quality in Waterview on the health of children at Waterview Primary School and St Francis School. NZTA traffic modeling suggests there will be more than 90,000 vehicles/day traveling through the interchange between SH16 and SH20 which will be only a few 100 metres from both schools.
  • negative effects on Waterview School of losing some pupils (due to the loss of houses in the area). I do not believe that moving more Housing NZ tenants into an area with poor air quality that will be cut off from the rest of Auckland by two major roads (the Waterview Connection and SH16) is an acceptable solution to this problem.
  • loss of green spaces (e.g., Alan Wood Reserve, Hendon Park) in an area that already has a very low ratio of green to built up space.

If the early completion of the Waterview Connection goes ahead despite my opposition some modifications I would suggest to the project to decrease its negative effects are:

  • make one of the two lanes in each direction available only to buses, freight, and high occupancy vehicles (3 passengers or more). This will counteract the “induced traffic” effect of completing the WRR to some extent.
  • use sound walls and tree planting to minimize the effect of the above-ground sections of the motorway on residents.
  • compensate those people who will lose their houses by giving them slightly more than the current government valuation for their properties.
  • cover the section of the motorway that will be above-ground near the intersection of  Blockhouse Bay & Great North Road.
  • ensure that the project will not make construction of the Onehunga to Avondale rail line any more difficult than it would have been before the Waterview Connection is built.
  • carry out on-going testing to ensure that air pollution from the interchange of SH20 and SH16 will not damage the health of students at Waterview or St Francis School. If there is a health risk then I believe NZTA should investigate the possibility of either relocating the schools to another site close by or using tree planting to provide an air-cleaning buffer between the interchange and the closest classrooms.
  • work with the Metro Mount Albert sports club to ensure that they are compensated for their lack of fields through construction of new fields elsewhere.
  • use bike and walking bridges over the motorway to ensure that residents are not cut off from their communities by the motorway.

Finally, I live in the project area so I hope my comments will be noted with due attention/I do not live in the project area but since I believe that the completion of the WRR will affect traffic throughout the Auckland region I hope the NZTA will attend to my comments.

I would like to be kept informed about this project by email/post. I can be contacted at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx email or xxxxxxxxxxxx phone number as well as by mail.

 Yours Sincerely

XXXXXX

A welcome change of heart

Remember Nick Smith stomping around the country stirring up racism and bigotry following the Court of Appeal Foreshore and Seabed judgment.

And remember this from John Key:

Now don’t get me wrong. I welcome the National Party’s apparent change of position on the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

But let’s not forget that the National Party opposed the Foreshore and Seabed Act for very different reasons to the Greens and Act. While the Greens and Act took the principled position that the law abrogated the right to justice and property rights, National opposed the FSA because they considered it conferred too many rights upon Māori.

National were just as complicit as Labour in this despicably racist chapter in our nation’s history. Let’s not forget that as we proceed to unravel it.

Hat Tip: The Standard (for the video)

How many strikes does he get?

Act MP David Garrett (aka The Garotte) seems to have survived well beyond the three strikes he promotes.

Today he is reported as making sexually inappropriate comments to a female Act Parliamentary staffer.

That is on top of another incident, related to me a couple of weeks ago by a Green Party Parliamentary Service staffer. The staff member reports that he had just arrived at Parliament carrying a suitcase with a Wellington airport destination tag still attached. The staff member advises me he and Garrett shared a lift from the ground floor of Bowen House, and Garrett, whom he had never spoken with before, out of the blue commented:

You wouldn’t have got that on as cabin baggage, would you. Because you’re not a Polynesian who can get away with pretending to not speak English!

How many strikes does this guy Garrett get?

  • Drunkenly equating homosexuals with paedophiles on Eye to Eye.
  • Promoting a Bill that the Attorney General considers to be in breach of the Bill of Rights Act.
  • Having the same Bill criticised by the United Nations Human Rights Council as likely to violate two human rights conventions.
  • Caught out lying in his claim that 77 lives would have been saved if his Three Strikes Bill had been in force. Official information responses from the Corrections Department reveal there would have been none.
  • Racist comments to a Green Party staffer.
  • Sexual harrassment of an Act Party Staffer.

He’s got at least 6 strikes now. So come on Rodney – how come you are just saying you “hoped the incident would not lead to the end of Garrett’s career as a member of Parliament.”?

Isn’t it time to get rid of this guy?

Things that National’s banned

We heard a lot from National before the election last year about the Green Party wanting to ban things. David Farrar even compiled a list, even though many of the things on it incorrectly stated Green policy or were standards or restrictions, rather than bans.

So when I saw John Key reported as wanting to ban pseudoephedrine in cold medicines, I thought I’d do a tally of the things National has banned or has proposed to ban in the six months they have been in office.

I got to 20. Additions to the list welcome.

  1. Public submissions on the Electricity (Renewable Preference) Repeal Act 2008
  2. Public submissions on the Bail Amendment Act 2008
  3. Public submissions on the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Biofuel Obligation Repeal Act 2008
  4. Public submissions on the Education (National Standards) Amendment Act 2008
  5. Public submissions on the Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Act 2008
  6. Employees in workplaces with less than 20 staff taking personal grievances if dismissed in the first 90 days of employment
  7. Employees in workplaces with less than 20 staff right to be told the reason for their dismissal if dismissed in the first 90 days of employment
  8. Public submissions on the Electoral Amendment Act 2009
  9. Gang patches in Whanganui
  10. Public submissions on the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009
  11. Councils and local government organisations in the Auckland region from making ongoing expenditure commitments over $20,000
  12. Councils and local Government organisations in the Auckland region borrowing money for a period that extends beyond 30 June 2011
  13. Councils in the Auckland region refusing to co-operate with the Auckland Transition Agency’s local government reorganisation plans
  14. People in Auckland region having the right to a poll on local government reorganisation
  15. Appealing a resource consent application to the Environment Court unless they put up security for costs
  16. The Minister of Conservation from making decisions on behalf of the public on consent applications for restricted coastal activities
  17. The right to appeal a Council plan on other than points of law
  18. The ability of community groups “representing a relevant aspect of the public interest” to become party to an appeal if they were not a submitter
  19. Councils from creating rules that protect trees of a certain size or type
  20. Pseudoephedrine in cold medicines

Quite a tally for 6 months in office. Scarily, many on National’s list are bans on democratic participation, which is not something you would find on any Green list.

Hypocrisy from ACT, vision from Greens

ACT MP John Boscawen led the campaign for big money to dominate politcs in opposing the Electoral Finance Act. So how extraordinarily hypocritical for him to come up with this billboard now he is ACT’s candidate for Mount Albert:

Russel Norman’s billboards are great though, three of them building on the kids theme the Greens used during last year’s general election:

Mt Albert hoarding - Oakley Creek

Mt Albert Hoarding - Pt Chev

Mt Albert Hoarding - Owairaka Park

Russel Norman Mt Albert Hoarding

Does Fill-in Goff support child abuse?

This is scary stuff!

Having campaigned succesfully to get belting children made illegal, I am terrified by Phil Goff’s comments on Q&A:

The Labour Party appears to have made a u-turn on the controversial anti-smacking policy.

On TVNZ’s Q+A program on Sunday, Opposition leader Phil Goff said smacking in a disciplinary context should not be prosecuted.

This comes as the party looks to re-brand itself after the election loss and the loss of some very experienced old hands.

Goff acknowledges issues like law and order are big for New Zealanders, but says so are what he calls the “little things”, such as what light bulbs Kiwis should use and if parents can smack their children.

What Goff told Q+A about the latter signals a major policy shift.

When Paul Holmes asked if a smack, as part of good parental correction, should be a criminal offence in New Zealand, Goff said: “The answer to that is, no, it shouldn’t be a criminal offence, or we should not have people following up for a smack in that context.”

This is truly scary stuff! Holmes has bought straight into the anti-child “Family Fist” agenda, and the precise wording of the deliberately ambiguously worded Larry Ballock referendum developed to attempt to relegalise belting children. Goff either supports him, has been naively sucked into the child-beating agenda, or is playing an unprincipled political game to recruit votes from those who want to whack their kids.

For me, as someone who was a kid who suffered severe child abuse – by way of plum tree switch, leather belt, and wooden spoon – Goff is selling out all of us who were abused as kids, and all who eventually will be if you try to change the law to quantify the level of violence against chidren that is “acceptable”.

We’re not dancing with Mr D

Well, it’s been a day now since the Greens announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Party.

Some have suggested that the Greens have sold out. But that just doesn’t stack up. The Greens are not dancing with the devil, despite what some on the right and the left have commented.

But before the political commentary (for the benefit of those who are too young or were too stoned to remember the 70s), let’s have the video:

The Greens are not dancing with Mr D – they’re just trying to make the best of a bad situation for the planet and its people.

The agreement provides that the Greens can condemn the Nats’ proposals for private prisons, the RMA gutting, NZAID being screwed, ACC being privatised, Auckland being screwed, the ETS on hold until the “science is settled” (that’s actually the Luddite ACT Party’s deal with the Nats), the lack of respect for democratic procedure and select commitees shown by the government, the inaction over the recession, the readying for sale of state assets such as TVNZ, the acceptance of pay inequality between the sexes in the public service as a necessary evil of the recession, and so on…

And we will continue to do so, both inside and outside Parliament.

Three strikes and you’re garrotted

An interview with ACT Party Law and Order spokesperson David Garrotte

garrotted1

Toad: David, for many people, you first came to public attention when you appeared drunk on Eye to Eye.

Garrotte: Yeah, I was pretty pissed. I’d been on it all afternoon.

Toad: And you equated homosexuals with paedophiles on Eye to Eye. Are you homophobic?

Garrotte: Hell, no! I just don’t like poofters – or any other perverts or deviants for that matter.

Toad: Do you regret that comment on Eye to Eye?

Garrotte: Well, my position on the ACT list was announced after all the other candidates. That comment may have had something to do with that. But I got elected in the end, so I guess not.

Toad: Deborah Coddington said you told her on the show that your brother hates her. Is that true?

Garrotte: Yeah, it is. He does. I might have said it stone cold sober. I call a spade a spade, you know.

Toad: Some people find that a bit difficult to cope with. Did you find it difficult employing the right staff when you got into Parliament?

Garrotte: Hell no. I just asked the applicants if they thought William Bell should have got a bullet. Oh, and I asked the women if they were feminists. That sorted them out.

Toad: When the Attorney General’s report on your Three Strikes Bill came out, you were reported as saying “We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights.” Do you think there is such a thing as fundamental human rights?

Garrotte: Yeah, for law-abiding mainstream New Zealanders there is. But not for crims, boongas, queers, lezzos, prostitutes, and assorted left-wing scum. At least we don’t have too many Jews and Gyppos here – they are always carrying on about their rights. Anyway, that report was written by some oik in the Crown Law Office, so I don’t really care what it said.

Toad: With respect, David, Attorney General Chris Finlayson has confirmed that he doesn’t just sign off on Crown Law opinions, but considers them substantively himself.

Garrotte: Well, he’s a pansy and a wishy-washy liberal anyway, so what would you expect. I’m surprised he’s not in the Green Party.

Toad: And your Bill has also been criticised by the United Nations Human Rights Council as likely to violate two human rights conventions. Are you concerned about that?

Garrotte: Hell no! That Committee is full of wogs from places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. What the hell would they know about human rights? There’s probably even a terrorist or two on it.

Toad: It’s been suggested that the increased prison muster resulting from your Three Strikes Bill may result in increased instance of prison assaults and rapes because many prisoners will be required to double-bunk. Are you concerned about that?

Garrottte: Not at all. Those low-life scum don’t have any rights. In fact a good rectal rogering or two in prison might make some of them think twice before committing a crime next time.

Toad: So you’re not concerned that some criminals could face disproportionately severe punishment on the third strike?

Garrotte: Not at all. Personally, I’d like to see them garrotted on the third strike, but the National Party has so many wish-washy liberal types that I know I’d never get that through.