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 clichés’ 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 … 🙂 ]

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

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?).

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.

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)

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”.

Universal Student Allowance – why did it take Labour so long?

So Labour have finally decided to support a Univeral Student Allowance.

The question I have is why did it take them so long? They have led the Government for 9 years, and have had plenty of opportunity to do this before. We need to keep our brightest and most entrepreneurial New Zealanders in New Zealand, but Labour have spent the last 9 years encouraging them, as National did before, to work overseas, at least until they earn can an income sufficient that their loan repayments are not an impediment to them living here.

The costs of National and Labour policies over that period are enormous: – our brightest graduates working overseas to the deteriment of innovative industry here, and consequently paying no tax in New Zealand, thereby depleting the tax base that is necessary to provide essential services.

The question I have for Labour is why has this taken 9 years?

The question I have for voters is who do you trust more on this issue – Labour (who discovered it today) or the Greens (who have been advocating it since they began as a political party in 1990)?

Stealing Green achievements

Now this really pisses me off! I’ve just noticed Labour stating this on its election site as one of its achievements:

And more than that, we abolished youth rates. After 3 months or 200 hours work 16 and 17-year olds now have the same minimum wage entitlements as anyone else.

The Bill that did this was introduced by Green MP Sue Bradford. And the Green Party had to enlist strong lobbying support from the union movement to get Labour to support it. And when they finally did agree to support the Bill, they did so only on the condition that it was watered down to provide that “new entrants” to the workforce could be paid less than the adult minimum wage until they had worked 200 hours or 3 months.

And now Labour, having had to be dragged screaming and kicking by the union movement to support Sue Bradford’s Bill at all, have the temerity to claim the achievement as theirs!

Roll out the pork barrel

I have given National a bit of stick here over the last couple of weeks about its employment relations policies. Now it is Labour’s turn to cop some, on a different issue.

Today, Transport Minister Annette King announced that North Shore outpost Whangaparaoa’s pet Penlink roading project would be funded from the Auckland Regional Petrol Tax. This is the worst example of pork barrel politics since the political demise of the Prince of Pork, Rob Muldoon.

Maybe we Greens are sometimes too trusting when we are given assurances from other political parties. Only three months ago, Jeanette Fitzsimons spoke in Parliament on the Land Transport Management Amendment Bill:

In fact, after the regional priorities have been established and applied to the first 5c that Auckland will fund through the regional fuel tax, Ministers can add a second 5c that does not go through that process and that they do not put through that process, and Ministers are not obliged any longer, after the select committee—as they were when the bill came in—to be satisfied that their projects are consistent with the region’s priorities.

This is the worst kind of roading pork-barrel politics, and I do not believe that the Government intended it. It took me so much time last night, when I had another look at this, to work circuitously around the clauses, and around the actual impact of what the select committee had done, that I think it is a mistake. I do not believe that Ministers would want to force Aucklanders to pay the interest costs, through a regional fuel tax, on roading projects that they had not chosen and that were not consistent with their priorities.

So the Greens negotiated an amendment to the legislation to ensure this would not happen:

65M Additional capital projects may be included in proposed regional fuel tax scheme for Auckland region
(1) If the proposed regional fuel tax scheme that is lodged with the responsible Ministers under section 65K is for the Auckland region, the responsible Ministers may amend the proposed scheme by including 1 or more capital projects that the responsible Ministers have identified as priorities for the Auckland region, provided that the responsible Ministers are satisfied that the projects are consistent with the Auckland regional land transport strategy.

Now the Minister of Transport, Annette King, has said that she will approve funding of the Whangaparaoa Penlink road from Auckland’s regional petrol tax.

Jeanette was quick to respond. This extravagant roading project is not consistent with the Auckland Region Land Transport Strategy. It is the pipe dream of Rodney Mayor (elected under FPP with 29% of the vote) and former ACT MP Penny Webster. It is totally inconsistent with plans to get Auckland moving, because it will just encourage more commuter cars onto Auckland roads. And, above all, it is not consistent with the Auckland land transport strategy adopted by the Auckland Regional Council.

So it is strongly arguable that Annette King’s proposal is completely unlawful, as well as being one of the worst incidences of pork barrel politics designed to get votes from an outlying Auckland suburb that normally votes overwhelmingly National.

Jeanette has threatened legal action for non-compliance with s 65M of the Land Transport Management Act. Go Jeanette!!!

Let’s hope Aucklanders see through this debacle and give their votes to neither Labour or National, but to the Greens, who will get Auckland moving again and engage in principled, rather than pork barrel, politics.

The minimum wage

Yesterday Steve Pierson at The Standard posted on a rather disturbing comment by National Party MP John Hayes at an election meeting:

A member of the audience asked ‘John, can you please guarantee this audience that a National govt would continue to consistently raise the minimum wage – at least to cover inflation – which the Labour-led govt has done for the past 9 years, in order to support our lowest paid workers?’ According to the report, Hayes tried to avoid the question and waffled about MMP but the questioner insisted on yes/no direct answer. Hayes then snapped ‘No, we believe in tax cuts, not the minimum wage’.

Now that’s a pretty scary response for the thousands of workers who are on the minimum wage at the current princely sum of $12 an hour, and whose gain from National’s (and Labour’s) tax cuts will be minimal. So I went and checked the National Party’s employment relations policy, and there is nothing there at all about the minimum wage at all. So there is every prospect under a National-led government that there will be a repeat of the notorious nil increases in the minimum wage that saw the standard of living of low-income workers seriously eroded in the 1990s.

Even under Labour, unions have had to engage in an intensive lobbying exercise every year to get the meagre increases in the minimum wage that have occurred over the last 9 years. And Labour don’t seem to be proposing anything more than continuing modest increases in the minimum wage.

The Green Party, by contrast, would increase the minimum wage immediately to $15 an hour, and ensure wage security by legislating to ensure there are annual increases that do not permit it to fall below 66% of the average wage.

So for the thousands of New Zealanders on low wages, the answer seems obvious – Party Vote Green!

Labour’s FPP problem

Labour likes to claim it is better at MMP than National because it can work with other parties.  No matter that it has not been able to work with any party for more more than one term in a row. (Jim Anderton, if you can call him a party, excluded.)

So when Kiwiblog drew my attention to the glossy new Labour08 Labour’s FPP problem was starkly illustrated.

Every policy, every issue was illustrated purely in terms of Labour versus National.  Kiwisaver = Labour for, National against, Working for Families = Labour for, National against etc.  No mention at all of the other parties that have helped shape those pieces of legislation and government policy, sometimes pushing the Labour Party to go further than it would otherwise, sometimes moderating it.

For the record the Greens also support Kiwisaver, Working for Families (although we would extend it to end the discrimination against non-working parents), free early childhood education, (although again we would extend it to other young children who are currently not entitled to free hours) and raising the trainee minimum wage (and the minimum wage for all workers should come up to at least $15 an hour).  Suddenly the range of choices is not so black and white (or red and blue) is it?

The one that got me most riled was:

Policy comparison – climate change

Labour = Fair and balanced plan, National = no plan

I’ll leave National to dispute the fact that it does have a plan of sorts (which will probably end up looking very similar to Labour’s).  But I can’t let Labour off the hook with ‘fair and balanced’.  Does it mean ‘fair and balanced’ in the Fox News sense? How can it possibly offer up a policy comparison that shallow without referring to the huge debate about the ETS and it’s negotiations with all parties across the political spectra?  Does it think the ETS is all there is to climate change policy and it can tuck that one away safely in the ticked box along with Kiwisaver and the rest?

If Labour were drawing honest comparions about it’s climate change policy then the Greens would be on one side of that chart.  And then we’d see who was acting sustainably and who was engaging in shallow greenwash. But it won’t face that challenge because at heart it still thinks in the dichotomies of first past the post rather than the choices and diversity of MMP.