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An Open Email to Hekia Parata

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, May 22nd, 2012 - 41 comments
Categories: education - Tags:

Ko Hikaroroa te mauka

Ko Waikowaiti te awa

Ko ngā waka ; ko Uruao, ko Araiteuru ko Takitimu hoki

Ko Waitaha, Mamoe, Kai Tahu ka Iwi

Ko Ka hapū ko Kāti Huirapa,

Ko te marae te Puketeraki

Ko Pat Newman ahau

Tihei Mauriora!

 

Tena Koe Minister Hekia Parata

I pen this Open Email to you, with the purpose of saying respectfully that your arguments re: the proposed changes to class numbers, staffing ratios are so false, that you must be aware that they have little to do with doing what is right for children. Rather they have more to do with politicians using glib phrases to try and justify the further ruination of an education system, that was once the best in the world. Minister it is not you and your colleagues, nor is it me and my colleagues who will suffer from your changes. It is the children of this nation!

Minister, there may have been 42 in your classes at school

BUT WHEN YOU AND I ATTENDED SCHOOL:

1.    The Behavioural and Special Needs Children were rarely in the classroom, being found jobs in the garden, cleaning, rubbish collecting, working with caretaker etc…..

2.    The numbers leaving school in your day without the ability to read and write were hidden by full employment…….

3.    There was little testing, little remedial work, lots of whole class regurgitation…….

4.    You were lucky to have one meeting a week…

5.    Parental expectations were considerably lower….

6.    Teaching was basically rote learning, a system that works for low level learning but certainly is not a method that will cover the educational needs of our current generation.

7.    The huge number of children attending school with severe social and behavioural problems were not there. They were expelled…. (Not saying that is what we should be doing at all but that was the reality then…..

8.    The 100000 New Zealand children we have on drugs for ADHD etc. for some reason were not apparent…. Perhaps because parent s had time to work and talk to their children…. Perhaps because of whatever reasons, they didn’t seem to exist in our societies classrooms when you and I were pupils!!

AS WELL

It is being blatantly dishonest to the public when to infer/state that a few extra kids in a class won’t make much difference. You know as well as I know, that where your cuts will hurt is the very groups that you say you care about:

- those needing extra help, those falling behind, included in those, are many of our own children that you  say you care about…

Why do I say this, because it is the ability to use the staffing schedule at the level it is at, to provide staffing for individualised or small group extra learning, to take a group of children out of the class for a time each day over say a term, and provide them with intensive help.

You know this, and although I would never say or think it, I have heard others say that it is blatant political dishonesty to hide the effects of your changes from the parents of this country.

I include Dr Snooks latest address, perhaps it may rekindle the fires and expectations that I know you once held for children’s learning

 

Ka kite ano

-

Graduation Address, Massey University, 16th May 2012 – Emeritus Professor Ivan Snook

 

The ritual of today’s ceremony is an ancient one but it speaks to contemporary values: it acknowledges talent, hard work, learning and professional dedication. I join in congratulating you on your achievement and in honouring those – parents, teachers, families, friends, university staff – who have helped you to get here. Most of you crossing the stage this morning are working or will be working in educational settings: early childhood centres, schools, tertiary institutions – or in other organisations which support formal education.

Much is heard these days of the importance of literacy and numeracy and of studies which lead to employment and support the economy. These are important but my simple message to you today is that you have a higher calling: to educate your students, opening their minds and hearts to the treasures contained in our cultural traditions.

Literacy is important as a tool for living but more importantly it opens the door to the stories of peoples past and present—opening up a lifetime of enjoyment, engagement and creative contribution. It reveals to us the rich treasures of literature, history and the arts, helps us to make ethical judgements and enables us to make a positive contribution to society.  It would be sad if we improved reading scores while our people read less  and were less engaged with the cultural world they inherit.

Numeracy too is important as a tool for living but more importantly, it opens up for us the scientific traditions which have been slowly built up over the centuries: by hardworking people carving a living from a hostile environment, by creative geniuses theorising in their studies and by hard working scientists in their laboratories. It would be tragic if the stress on numeracy were to be accompanied by a reduction in scientific understanding—as a recent report has suggested.

True education has the following features:

1. It has no immediate end. At the present time there is a fixation on narrow and immediate outcomes but the true outcomes of education are manifest only in later life when people live more critically, more creatively, more ethically.

2.   Education opens minds – sometime dangerously so (that is why it is so often feared).  This is opposed to current movements which value  conformists and unthinking consumers.

3. Education is critical, especially of grand claims advanced by people in power. The educated person asks: whose interests are being served by these claims or these policies?

4. Education poses ultimate questions of value: Not just, “will this work?” but “will this lead to the welfare of people?”

I have suggested you are called to education.  A calling was once named a vocation. Today this term survives in the expression  vocational education (that is, training to make one’s living). The great educational thinker, John Dewey pointed out 100 years ago that it is a distortion of the whole meaning of vocation to narrow it to our paid work. It includes this, of course, but also extends to our whole life: as spouses, parents, neighbours, friends, church-goers, community members, and citizens of a democratic society. In this sense all good education should be vocational: preparing us for our full participation in the life of our society. It is a perversion to restrict it to paid employment.

Of course, there are enormous challenges. We have to ask

  • How can you liberate minds when the daily grind involves the filling in of forms and the mindless completion of checklists?
  • How can you encourage critical, creative and ethically aware citizens when social forces demand passive consumers?
  • How can you truly educate when you are expected to focus on a narrow range of outcomes and never question  prevailing orthodoxies?
  • How can you, faced with demands to prepare for a pre-determined future, manage to work to make the future better than the past?

It is strange that when the business world is asked what they want from the education system they say that they want employees who are creative, flexible and able to work in a team.  But then they support educational policies which lead to the very opposite: people who are timid, inflexible and competitive.

Only you can come up with answers to these questions. I can only urge you to

  • keep up your reading, thinking and professional discussion with colleagues so that you can stand up to nonsense even when it comes from principals, ERO officers – or university professors.
  • keep close to parents. While they are sometimes enlisted by those with agendas hostile to education, they, like you, have the interests of their children at heart.  You and they are natural allies.
  • As I have told countless groups teachers over the past 20 turbulent years: conform when you must, resist when you can.  In the long run, the forces of light may be more powerful than the forces of darkness.

Quite recently….last week in fact… someone wrote that the the sensitive teacher is always

“Searching to find a way forward….

and delighting in the magic moments When beauty and truth are expressed”  (Kelvin Smythe)

Delighting in the magic moments when beauty and truth are expressed.”

May you have many such moments. Whether you do will  depend not on glossy brochures, smart slogans, or flowery mission statements, but on the personal qualities you bring to teaching and how you use them.  I wish you well in your task of helping to create the future.

-

Pat Newman

Principal Pat Newman T.T.C. Dip Ed(Waikato) B.Ed(Massey) Dip.Tchg,  ANZPF

Http://www.horahora.school.nz

41 comments on “An Open Email to Hekia Parata”

  1. tc 1

    Yeah but they have opinion that differs so it’s a steady course to wrecking what works and breaking what didn’t need to be fixed.

  2. Carol 2

    Ah, yes indeed. Education is important to understanding and participating in the wider culture, to help people think critically, etc, etc… This was what was in the air when I trained as a teacher in the late 60s. Then, in the 80s, with the neoliberal shift, the focus has been on education for work, and measurement of short term outcomes.

    Emeritus Professor Ivan Snook mentions John Dewey. I seem to remember reading Dewey, who had a focus on critical thinking as a necessary goal of education for all in a democracy.

    some of the important points from the above address:

    …my simple message to you today is that you have a higher calling: to educate your students, opening their minds and hearts to the treasures contained in our cultural traditions.
    [...]
    True education has the following features:

    1. It has no immediate end. At the present time there is a fixation on narrow and immediate outcomes but the true outcomes of education are manifest only in later life when people live more critically, more creatively, more ethically.

    2. Education opens minds – sometime dangerously so (that is why it is so often feared). This is opposed to current movements which value conformists and unthinking consumers.

    3. Education is critical, especially of grand claims advanced by people in power. The educated person asks: whose interests are being served by these claims or these policies?

    4. Education poses ultimate questions of value: Not just, “will this work?” but “will this lead to the welfare of people?”

    [...]
    Of course, there are enormous challenges. We have to ask

    How can you liberate minds when the daily grind involves the filling in of forms and the mindless completion of checklists?
    How can you encourage critical, creative and ethically aware citizens when social forces demand passive consumers?
    How can you truly educate when you are expected to focus on a narrow range of outcomes and never question prevailing orthodoxies?
    How can you, faced with demands to prepare for a pre-determined future, manage to work to make the future better than the past?

    [...]
    As I have told countless groups teachers over the past 20 turbulent years: conform when you must, resist when you can. In the long run, the forces of light may be more powerful than the forces of darkness.

    And the bits in bold are my addition to highlight the key points.

    Well said, Prof!

  3. NattyM 3

    We know that class sizes really do matter and so do all the parents who have the luxury of being able to send their children to private schools. John Key’s son goes to Kings which proclaims on its website:

    King’s is proud of its academic record and, through our Entrance Examination, we ensure that students have the ability and potential to cope with our academic curriculum. Class sizes are limited and our policy of a low pupil-to-teacher ratio ensures students are given greater individual attention in the classroom.

    If it didn’t matter, private schools will increase their class sizes to cope with funding pressures.

    So yet again, the privileged children of the rich get even more advantage in life while the rich Nacts and their cronies running this increasingly vicious and hateful government pretend that it’s all about level playing fields and anyone can succeed if they try hard enough. yeah right!!

    • marsman 3.1

      If Private Schools want more funding will they be told to increase their class sizes?

  4. captain hook 4

    wasting your time folks.
    she cant read.
    she totally externally referenced.
    i.e. if I look good in my pearls and black number then I am ok.
    yeah right.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Parata is pretty intelligent. Just sayin’.

      • marsman 4.1.1

        CV i.e. she is being deliberately malevolent?

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1

          Not exactly. Worth remembering that Tories always keep their eye on the prize. She is doing whatever it takes to improve her chances at an eventual leadership tilt.

    • Sam Hall 4.2

      In Full Formal Fascist Battledress Today

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    principly class size –

    How many kids in your class?

  6. insider 6

    Jeez if he wants to make an impression on the minister it would help if he learnt to punctuate; The first sentence is appalling and a disgrace coming from a professional educator who chooses to lecture criticise others who are wanting to improve the education system.

    • Carol 6.1

      There is nothing wrong with the first sentence, but maybe you have difficulty following a complex sentence. I ran it through word 2010 grammar check and it was judged to be fine. And Word has a tendency to not like complex sentences.

      • insider 6.1.1

        Word grammar check is very dangerous. here’s a few issues I found

        I pen this Open Email (unnecessary capitalisation of nouns) to you, (superfluous comma) with the purpose of saying (are you penning or saying?) respectfully (I’d have separated this word from the main clause with commas, but accept some might not) that your arguments re: (why is there a colon here when there is no list or separation of clauses?) the proposed changes to class numbers, (why is there a comma here? Shouldn’t there be a conjunction?) staffing ratios are so false, (why is there a comma here?) that you must be aware that they have little to do with doing what is right for children.

        • Carol 6.1.1.1

          nitpicking, much! Do you have any comment on the content, BTW? Or are you looking to divert the discussion from the important issue at hand?

          Unnecessary capitals? – it’s part of the title of the email, so really, not a problem. And is in-keeping with the context of being an email, in which a colloquial tone is acceptable, in my view.

          This bit is an insert into the main direction of the sentence, and therefore is separated out by commas:

          , with the purpose of saying respectfully that your arguments re: the proposed changes to class numbers, staffing ratios are so false,

          saying or penning? Really – so much nitpicking! Not unacceptable. Commas around respectfully, not necessary and would overly complicate the flow of the main intent of the sentence.

          “re:” I wouldn’t have used, but it indicates a fairly informal, spoken word tone to the email – and it is an email. In a more formal context I would have used, “with respect to.”

          I don’t have a problem with the last 2 commas – nit-picking again.

          And I like the “exuberant” tone – it gives a sense of the urgency and indignation behind the email. IMO, it falls somewhere between formal written English and spoken language.

          Now, do you have any comment on the content, which is very pertinent and significant?

        • felix 6.1.1.2

          Penning or saying? Really, insider?

          There’s nothing unusual about using the written word to “say” things. Some of us do it all the time.

          Perhaps it seems odd to you because for all your penning you say so very little.

          • bullcat 6.1.1.2.1

            Considering the fact that this is the writing of a professor, I don’t think it is nit-picking to assume that the basic sentence structure should be accurate. Especially when she is published in a public forum like this.

            Assuming that only a moron would use a computer program to check grammar, it’s lucky that some people still have their own brain to recall primary school level linguistic information, such as “use ‘and’ to join items in a list.”

            Thus, the omission of an appropriate conjunction in the first sentence (“…class numbers, staffing ratios …”) is more bad grammar. I assume this would be a “needs improvement” or “not achieved” for a 14-year-old, so it should be a “hide your head in shame” for a professor.

            Or, perhaps the professor is trying to highlight, through her ‘deliberate errors’ (I know that teacher’s trick from my days as a student with useless illiterate pc monsters teaching values instead of usable skills because they are basically useless), how bad the education was in the past when she and Hekia Parata were at school?

            Get the professors next, Hekia. Cut every cost you can by sacking anyone who can’t prove their literacy. It’s time for language testing for all education professionals. How many of these Te Reo speaking professors would flunk an IELTS test?

            • Jason 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Awesome, ‘bullcat’: baited enough and you reveal your essentially racist thinking in your last paragraph – if this were me winding up a drunk in a shady bar – I’d know you were just about to swing. I teach English in a community that has a dialect that is not yet formally recognized, and I come from a province that has an officially recognized dialectial variation on NZ English. As such, I think I can say with some clarity and authority, that you, Sir, are being a prig and a bore. PLEASE PLAY THE BALL, NOT THE PLAYER. (That’s a metaphor, and deliberate caps abuse, yes, I WAS emphasizing).

    • North 6.2

      Nitpicker – watch your own punctuation.

      And how does increasing class sizes reflect a wish to improve education ?

    • Murray Olsen 6.3

      My question to you, insider, is why are you here? You seem like a typical Tory, thinking that style is more important than content. In other words, the guy in the flash suit must be intelligent and important, even when he talks complete rubbish. Good on the headmaster for taking a stand.

      • bullcat 6.3.1

        This isn’t about Left vs Right, Murray.

        If you want to draw pompous conclusions without engaging in debate with those who have different views to your own, why don’t you start up your own forum where you moderate all the comments to read like cheerleading chants for your opinions?

        The debate over how to improve teacher quality includes the question of how to judge teachers so that money isn’t wasted. One obvious way to judge teachers is by their ability to use language, both as a means of expression and as a proof that they themselves have high standards of education, which can be passed on to students they teach.

        Insider raised a point that might have touched on a nerve with your own low standards of education and resentment of those who have taken the time to acquire skills and knowledge which make them more valuable to society than you.

        Nobody is questioning whether good teachers are important.

  7. Rupert the Beer 7

    Wow – I like Pat, and support what he is saying, I just wish he wouldn’t write while he’s excited.

  8. Roy 8

    It’s an email. I think that it is generally accepted that the standards of punctuation and grammar in an email may be lower than those required for a formal document.

    • insider 8.1

      It’s a formal open email (or should I say Open Email) which has been publicly released to make a political statement. I think that puts it in a much different category than day to day emails.

      • Rupert the Beer 8.1.1

        I agree. Ignoring his unconventional style, an over-use of ellipses and multiple exclamation marks strikes me as a little unprofessional when he’s communicating with a Minister, and undermines his message IMHO.

      • mac1 8.1.2

        Interestingly, I first read Pat’s statement on facebook where the first sentence about which insider complains is punctuated differently. Pat also in giving permission to a user for this, not the Standard btw in this instance, gave a caveat about errors.

        I prefer his facebook statement and am in agreement with him and with my old school teacher, Ivan Snook.

        Now, insider, to the substance of Pat Newman’s open e-mail……. whaddya reckon about his and Dr Snook’s arguments?

  9. acting up 9

    I’ve met Pat a few times. He is a top class bloke, and a great educator. He has huge respect in the education field. He is someone with an opinion to be respected. I hope the minister pays him due attention.

    • Pat Newman 9.1

      Thanks for the comments about being a good bloke… Its the message that is important…

  10. pat newman 10

    Wot a sanktamoeous twit.. iwrit this to be read alloewd… to be honist if all he can critissize is my grammrr then he muxst. Be one of those boring farts who kill creativitie with adherense to ruls………

  11. Jenny K 11

    Good on yer, Pat ! I luv the mis-spelling . Insider obviously has no idea about how to write something which is eye-catching and also passes on a serious message.

  12. Dave 12

    While Pat does have some good points, it would be better if he used correct grammar and punctuation throughout his letter, given the subject matter and his occupation.

    • Pat Newman 12.1

      Dave when I accessed your blog site Extra Mural Students Association, it was good to realise that your comments re my position and status and grammar(OOPS three and’s in one sentence… that will give the pedantics another few hours of writing!!!) were not reflected in your own blog……

      I am also over the moon that you condescendingly comment that I have some good points……. perhaps if you actually worked in the field i do, you just might realise that I made my statement from experience and not academic theory and that everything I said came under the title”Good Points” not just some of it!!!!!!!!! I like using lots of explanation marks, so there…………….. and dots and anything else that makes me feel better when I write!!!!??XX!!!!!

  13. Dv 13

    Who said this?

    The Government was wasting an opportunity (with projected falling rolls) to shrink class sizes “to have better relationships between families, teachers and students which research shows is really important for achievement, particularly disadvantage kids

  14. We Live in Hope 14

    Parata waxes lyrical about addressing the so called “tail”of students that are failing to achieve and leave school without Level 2 NCEA. She wants to improve the quality of teaching so the best way to achieves this is to reduce the amount of Government funded teaching staff by very close to 20%.

    The mantra is that it is better to have more kids in the classrooms of competent teachers than less kids in the classes of incompetent teachers. The issue is that by increasing the class sizes of teachers from 23 to 27.5 (-19.56%) on average will mean that there is an increased likelihood that the good teachers will wither try to move to private schools who sell themselves on their low class sizes and greater individual attention or they will drift away from the profession. We are likely to end up with larger classes in the hands of less able teachers. Makes all sorts of sense. Schools will endeavour to cope by reducing the programmes that take up teacher hours such as music, drama, reading support, maths support and the tail will simply become longer as those kids who need extra support especially at primary school levels will not have it available to them.

    This has all the feeling of a corporate restructuring where everyone has to reapply for their jobs so the good people bugger off and get jobs with the competitors and the less able are left to fill the roles. But we would need a MBA to work out that sort of strategy.

    Then Parata wants performance pay but she is clueless on the criteria that can be utilised to determine the wheat from the chaff and she wants the performance pay determined by the well intentioned boards of trustees who are not qualified nor able to undertake such a task on what in all probability will be a set of criteria that have a fair degree of subjectivity. Makes all sorts of sense.

    The Ministry of Education has not yet been able to deliver a National Standard that is moderated and consistently applied from school to school so what chance of performance pay criteria.

    Despite all the window dressing that the government is trying to put around this it is simply a 20% cut to coal face teacher funding.

  15. red blooded 15

    Let’s take a deep breath and stop wittering on about proofreading and punctuation. The point is that this Minister (more articulate and telly-savvy, and therefore more dangerous, than the last) is on the attack. She and her mates have always wanted to teach teachers a lesson; the last time they were in charge the phrase they used to exclude teachers from having an input into education policy was “provider capture”. They seem unable to appreciate that most teachers are motivated by a commitment to helping kids learn and seeing as many of them as possible achieve their potential.

    Let’s remember, too, that the teacher unions (NZEI and PPTA) are two of the last strong, membership-driven and active unions in our fair land. They both have a strong professional core, spending members’ money to develop policy about education practice and resourcing that is based on best practice for students and a strong commitment to state education as the best way of providing equity of access and quality of learning. They both include principals, managers and classroom teachers (although principals are employed on separate contracts), and they are prepared to take action when needed. Other state employees (such as nurses) reference their earnings to those of teachers when bargaining on their own behalf.

    Class sizes have a direct effect on teacher-pupil interactions and contact. Let’s put this together with the issue of performance pay, too, which has been shown in countries and states where it is used to narrow the focus of learning, discourage the sharing of resources and expertise and grind down base pay rates. It looks like we’re in for a long two years…

  16. Georgecom 16

    A couple more matters relating to Minister Parata stating how she was in a class of 42.

    1. Back in her day at school half of all students who sat School Certificate, as I understand it, failed. Is Minister Parata also advocating for a system of examinations that fails 50% of students?

    2. Back in her day at school, a student could leave school at 15 and fairly easily walk into a job. Unemployment was around 1%. Is the Minister going to allow students to leave school at 15 and guarantee the unemployment rate at 1%?

    If the answer to these questions is “No”, then Minister, why raise at all the matter of you being in a class of 42.

    Isn’t it a dishonest justification and defense of your decision to raise class sizes?

  17. cray 17

    I’m am a father of two. Being a father of four would not be twice as hard. It would be exponentially harder. I have been a teacher of 30 students. Teaching 33 students was not a ‘little bit harder’ it’s exponentially harder. Teaching 35 students and beyond is almost undebatable. One minister teaching 42 is not substantial empirical evidence. Can someone who is not a teacher please show some support?

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    Transport Blog | 27-07
  • iPredict Ltd2014 Election Update #28
    Press Release – iPredict The chances of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 continue to plunge and are down to 50%, according to the combined wisdom of the 7000 registered traders on New Zealands online predictions market, iPredict. The forecast surplus...
    Its our future | 27-07
  • TPPA is a bad idea
    Press Release – Democrats for Social Credit Currently New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico are still negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Officially talks finished last August, but the reality is that they keep...
    Its our future | 27-07
  • Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
    Press Release – Public Good Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy....
    Its our future | 27-07
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #30
    SkS Highlights Dana's Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles examined a new paper by James Risbey et al that takes a clever approach to evaluating how accurate climate model temperature predictions have been while getting around the noise caused by...
    Skeptical Science | 27-07
  • Greens call for shipping lanes backed by Maritime Union
    The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping....
    MUNZ | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill to protect workers from exploitation and abuse....
    MUNZ | 27-07
  • Womensfest at UOA
    Apologies for lateness!...
    The Hand Mirror | 27-07
  • Update on the Downtown Shopping Centre
    There’s a good article up on the Herald website today, with an update on what’s happening with the Downtown Shopping Centre. I’d suggest heading over there and checking it out. The article notes that “Precinct [Properties] expects to release images...
    Transport Blog | 27-07
  • Party Lists – Election 2014
    . . ACT Party 1. Dr Jamie Whyte 2. Kenneth Wang 3. Robin Grieve 4. Beth Houlbrooke 5. Don Nicolson 6. Stephen Berry 7. Dasha Kovalenko 8. Gareth Veale 9. Ian Cummings 10. Sara Muti 11. Toni Severin 12. Max...
    Frankly Speaking | 27-07
  • Party Lists – Election 2014
    . . ACT Party 1. Dr Jamie Whyte 2. Kenneth Wang 3. Robin Grieve 4. Beth Houlbrooke 5. Don Nicolson 6. Stephen Berry 7. Dasha Kovalenko 8. Gareth Veale 9. Ian Cummings 10. Sara Muti 11. Toni Severin 12. Max...
    Frankly Speaking | 27-07
  • I am still waiting for my cheque
    I have often said I wonder how some of the anti-science propagandists sleep straight in their beds at night. Lately this refers to various members of the local anti-fluoridation movement and their claims. Pity I am not the litigious sort – there...
    Open Parachute | 26-07
  • Yet Another National MP Spending Tens of Thousands of Tax Payers Money…
    The list of National MP’s whose arrogance is beyond measure, grows … “National list MP Paul Foster-Bell is defending a huge spike in his taxpayer-funded expenses as he campaigned for a seat selection. Wellington-based Foster-Bell’s spending increased from $7459 between...
    An average kiwi | 26-07
  • National Party Plans on Near-Starving Hospital Patients to Save Money
    Yes, the National Party continues destroying the Health system and now it’s patients with it! Article below from the ODT Warning over hospital food cutbacks Nutrition experts have warned a government cost-cutting team that patients could suffer malnutrition or even...
    An average kiwi | 26-07
  • Northcote Walking and Cycling improvements
    Auckland Transport are starting consultation tomorrow for a series of walking and cycling improvements to Northcote. All up there will be 5.2km of improvements from the intersection of Taharoto Road and Northcote Road through to the Northcote Ferry Terminal. Along with improving cycling facilities...
    Transport Blog | 26-07
  • Thankfully, Tories are ALWAYS wrong
    Back in 2008, 2009 and 2010, were we not assured, absolutely assured, that debt rising above 90% of GDP would send the economy into a deathly death spiral and lead to death?Indeed, ladies and gentlement, you had better hope the...
    Left hand palm | 26-07
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #30B
    14 concepts that will be obsolete after catastrophic climate change Abrupt climate shifts in the past offer warning for future Changing human behavior is major factor in selling cleaner cars, curbing congestion China’s energy plans will worsen climate change, Greenpeace...
    Skeptical Science | 26-07
  • French Lessons
    Aux Armes Citoyens! Exacerbating Labour's current difficulties is the unfinished character of the rank-and-file's 2012 revolution. It was as if the revolutionary crowds of Paris, having torn down the Bastille, then decided to build it back up again!“APRÈS MOI, LE...
    Bowalley Road | 26-07
  • Most politicians don’t care about elderly
    Back at the end of June the New Zealand Aged Care Association ran a full paged advert in the NZ Herald concerning a number of questions they wanted politicians to answer. They also sent each party a letter outlining their...
    The Jackal | 26-07
  • I wish you all solidarity
    On Thursday night was my valedictory speech in Parliament – the last official word of my nearly nine years as a Labour MP. Valedictories are rites of passage.  Some of us will be remembered.  Most of us won’t, until we...
    Red Alert | 26-07
  • Billboards
    We drove out to Porirua today and back through the Wellington commuter suburbs: Johnsonville, Ngaio etc. There was a scattering of billboards around, almost all of which were TeamKey/National billboards. Here’s a picture of the cluster near to where I live on...
    DimPost | 26-07
  • Billboards
    We drove out to Porirua today and back through the Wellington commuter suburbs: Johnsonville, Ngaio etc. There was a scattering of billboards around, almost all of which were TeamKey/National billboards. Here’s a picture of the cluster near to where I live on...
    DimPost | 26-07
  • Reconcile this, please, Mr Coleman
    National’s Jonathan Coleman has some explaining to do. He has stated that: “Ministers had absolutely no knowledge of any pending FBI-NZ Police investigation.” The NZ Herald reports that Immigration NZ received a detailed briefing regarding the FBI’s interest in Kim Dotcom, ahead...
    Occasionally erudite | 26-07
  • Much to fight for in the Maori seats
    We all know it could be a fight to the death in the Maori seats this election, but it's startling to think that some candidates are borrowing money off their mortgages just to be able to stand at this election.It seems...
    Pundit | 26-07
  • A plea to all Labour Party activists
    Let's focus on being unfocused. Hey, maybe it will work....
    Imperator Fish | 26-07
  • Hosking hits back
    Greetings and salutations to you all. I’m broadcaster and National Party stalwart Mike Hosking and I just wanted to take a bit of time out of my busy Saturday eating Gruyère cheese and supping trim latte’s to speak on a...
    My Thinks | 26-07
  • The CRL and City Centre Office Shortages
    When the government finally announced they would support the CRL – but starting in 2020 – they listed two targets that would need to be on track to being met to bring construction forward. Rail Patronage to double to 20...
    Transport Blog | 26-07
  • A tale of two meetings…continued
    Last week I pointed out the marked difference between how many people are attending National's campaign meetings compared to the Internet Mana party's and thought a follow-up on how things are going is in order. Unfortunately for National thing's aren't...
    The Jackal | 25-07
  • Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job
    It seems that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has again been caught out interfering to allow more pollution in our rivers, the Green Party said today. Last year the Department of Conservation submission on the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was suppressed after...
    Greens | 28-07
  • Public deserves electoral integrity
    National's deals with spent political forces ACT and United Future will be met with a deepening sense of unease over the manipulation of MMP, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says."These parties have no electoral mandate and will return to Parliament only...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Out of control costs raise questions about National Science Challenges
    Amid strong criticism of the value of the National Science Challenges from some of the country’s senior scientists, new figures show administrative costs are skyrocketing while the level of investment in actual science remains a mystery, says Labour’s Innovation, Research...
    Labour | 28-07
  • Low build numbers and faulty repairs: what has Brownlee been doing?
    Despite being a man in a hurry new figures show just 2160 new homes, thousands fewer than needed, have been built under Gerry Brownlee in the last two years, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove....
    Labour | 28-07
  • Joyce’s heavy hand stifling innovation
    The National Government should allow scientists and businesses to get on with innovation rather than allow Steven Joyce's heavy hand to direct it, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today. Dr Norman was responding to reports today that several...
    Greens | 27-07
  • CERA spends almost $2m on 7000 flights
    CERA has spent $1.8 million on 7286 flights from Christchurch to Wellington in three years – a huge waste of money as Cantabrians still wait for solutions, Labour’s EQC spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says. “Of course CERA officials do need to...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Nick Smith oversteps the mark yet again
    Nick Smith has yet again completely overstepped the mark as a minister – this time with a threat to muzzle Fish and Game if they don’t keep in line with Government’s views, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “Nick Smith...
    Labour | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    “It’s great to have Georgie on board” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP.  ”She’s strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven’t had any – and won.  That...
    Mana | 27-07
  • Green Party launches plan to protect our beaches from oil spills
    The Green Party today launched its plan to protect New Zealand beaches from oil spills. The plan is the second component of the Party's environmental priority this election: Rivers clean enough to swim in again, and beaches safe from oil...
    Greens | 26-07
  • Auckland rail use spike shows need to start link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    The Green Party today welcomes Auckland Transport figures showing rail patronage has soared by 23 percent in June from June 2013, demonstrating both the value of electrification and the need to immediately get cracking building the Auckland City Rail link."We...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Puhoi-Warkworth decision doesn’t stack up
    The Board of Inquiry decision on the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway gives the green light to a project that doesn’t stack up, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour would spend $320 million immediately to fix the accident black spots, put in...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Key must stand Brownlee down during investigation
    The wise thing for the Prime Minister to do is ask Gerry Brownlee to hand in his transport warrant and to stand him down for the duration of the CAA investigation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “It’s not good enough...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Puhoi highway won’t help Northland roads
    The draft decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant resource consent to the proposed $1.65 billion Puhoi motorway doesn't stop it being a waste of money, the Green Party said today. "The Puhoi motorway is an unnecessary waste of...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Green Party to focus on issues not sideshows
    The Green Party has launched its creative for the 2014 election; Love New Zealand. The Green Party campaign focuses on the issues where there is concern that we do not love New Zealand enough; our increasingly polluted environment, increased poverty...
    Greens | 25-07
  • Coleman must come clean about FBI briefing
    Former Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman must come clean about when he was told the FBI was investigating Kim Dotcom, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Jonathan Coleman has previously said ministers were not aware of the American...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Regional economies need tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 25-07
  • Kiwis to get the final vote on amalgamation
    New Zealanders will get the right to have a final say on any proposed local body amalgamations, says Labour’s local government spokesperson Su’a William Sio releasing Labour’s Local Government policy today....
    Labour | 24-07
  • Dr Rajen Prasad’s Valedictory Statement
    Draft Hansard Parliamentary Record. Subject to correction. Bula vinaka. Namaste, Mr Assistant Speaker. Thank you very much. Tēnā koe. I am a lucky migrant and am privileged to have received as much as I have from this country for over...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Darien Fenton’s Valedictory Statement
    Nga mihi nui - kia koutou. I acknowledge all Members of Parliament I have served with and I do so without rancour or criticism. Over nearly nine years in parliament I’ve found that despite furious debate about political difference, most...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Immigation and Kim Dotcom – Harawira
    “I just got a call from National Business Review reporter, asking whether there was any contradiction between my thoughts on immigration in 2009 and now, particularly given MANA’s newly minted relationship with Kim Dotcom” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 24-07
  • Nats to announce 2nd crossing without rail
    Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says it has been leaked to him that John Key will rule out a rail option when announcing an accelerated timeframe for Auckland’s $5 billion second harbour crossing next month. “I understand the Government’s plan...
    Labour | 24-07
  • “They put Maori centre stage” – Harawira
    “I’m sorry I can’t be at parliament for the valedictory speeches of Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Tai Tokerau, ”but I’d like to add my own best wishes as they reach the end...
    Mana | 24-07
  • ACT trying to have it both ways on zoning
    ACT Party candidate David Seymour’s campaign against changes to school zones in the Epsom electorate looks hollow given his party’s commitment to the abolition of school zoning altogether, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It’s disingenuous for David Seymour to...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Interest rate rise will hit the regions
    The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of  New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.  “The regions are already hit by dropping  export...
    Labour | 24-07
  • Burning the flag or accepting the evil
    Burning the Israeli flag in Auckland in protest over the murder of innocent civilians in Gaza is nothing to be ashamed of” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “Calling for both sides to stand down when one side...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Photo op disguises abysmal failure
    John Key’s opening of four Housing NZ units in Bexley today is nothing more than an insincere photo op designed to hide the Government’s failure to rebuild the housing stock destroyed by the earthquakes, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto...
    Labour | 23-07
  • TAXPAYER UNION “outrageously stupid”
    Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says a MANA billboard “appears to have been funded by taxpayers”, and calls it “an outrageous use of taxpayer money”. “But the only thing that is outrageous, is how outrageously stupid Jordan Williams was...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Green Party launches Solar in Schools policy
    The Green Party will help schools install solar and save money on their power bills by investing $20 million into solar PV systems in schools. The $20 million is expected to:Help around 500 schools install solar over three yearsResult in...
    Greens | 23-07
  • Extent of job losses at Invermay remain hidden
    Despite growing concern in the agriculture and science sectors, both AgResearch management and the Minister responsible are continuing to hide the true extent of job losses at AgResearch’s Invermay campus, Labour’s MP for Dunedin North David Clark says. “Science and...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Tōku reo, tōku oho oho, tōku reo, tōku mapihi maurea – MANA launches ...
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, saidMANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. “MANA’s policy is based on a love...
    Mana | 23-07
  • Connectivity Upgrade to close digital divide
    Labour will close the digital divide with its Connectivity Upgrade to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of a growing, more connected economy and have the right to access quality broadband, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.  “The digital revolution...
    Labour | 23-07
  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Something Fishy About Nick Smith’s Game.
    NICK SMITH’S crude intimidation of the Fish and Game Council points to the bleakest of environmental futures should National be re-elected on 20 September. It is now considerably clearer than 60 percent of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams that...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Key’s odd personal hypocrisy in Epsom, his kiss of death to the Maori Par...
    Aside from tricking Colin Craig into running in an electorate National can crush him in, John Key has announced three things in his election deals that are ill thought out. The first is his deal with the Maori Party. At a time...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Why it’s all over for the Conservative Party
    Whatever flirtations were made months ago to Colin Craig by National strategists, the polling must have come back showing them too much of their soft urban vote would walk if Key was in Government with Colin Craig.  The necessary inside muscle to...
    The Daily Blog | 28-07
  • Balance in the NZ Herald and has something gone terribly wrong at the Heral...
    So the ‘balance’ in the NZ Herald this year for the election will be… Guest columnists will include the acerbic Cactus Kate from the radical right, former Labour candidate Josie Pagani and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury. Right, so that would be...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Phew – National Party hubris seals strategy
    The National Party are bot listening to Matthew Hooton. Phew. Hooton has crunched the numbers and based on past polling National always drops 6 points come election day. National aren’t listening. Barging through the need to cut deals with all...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Noam Chomsky on the TPPA
    Noam Chomsky on the TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Unacceptable secrecy around labelling people terrorists
    It’s good to see the Sunday Star-Times attempting to get more information from government agencies about Daryl Jones, the Kiwi killed in a US drone strike in Yemen.  The paper is right to complain about the government’s refusal to provide...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • A critical deconstruction of John Key – what’s behind the facade?
    Aspiring national leaders need a popular narrative of their rise to power.  Once in office, the narrative can be refined to fit the requirements of leadership and re-election.  Such is the purpose of John Roughan’s John Key: Portrait of  a...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Radio Live – off Mark
    The Top Marks lasted five weeks on Mediaworks radio station The Sound. This may have something to do with last being relevant in the mid-1980s when there were only two commercial FM licences in Auckland and they were on one...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • Wellingtonians say ‘No!’ to Israeli aggression
    .   . Wellington, NZ, 26 July – About 600 Wellingtonians, and from further afield, met at the Cuba Mall Bucket fountain under a wintery sunny sky, to protest Israel’s continuing aggression in the Gaza strip, which – at the...
    The Daily Blog | 27-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Shasha Ali – I am an indigenous person but I will never call ...
    Yesterday was indeed a politically hectic day in Aoteaora New Zealand, especially if you are an activist that cares about both human and non-human animal rights. Protest actions were organised to demand an end to factory farming from about noon, and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine or ‘Pro-Peace’?
    Latest protest for people of Gaza in Auckland In the past couple of weeks I have heard a lot of people say that they are neither Pro-Israel nor Pro-Palestine; they are pro-peace. This is a stand that I respect. Everyone...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • So we can’t feed the kids, the poor OR the sick now?
    Let me get this straight. We can borrow $10 billion in tax cuts over the last 6 years for the richest NZers, but we can not feed the kids, the poor or even the sick now? Revealed: Warning over hospital food...
    The Daily Blog | 26-07
  • Kim Dotcom has said it, Laila Harre has said it and now David fisher says i...
    Fascinating piece by David Fisher in the NZ Herald breaking down how many opportunities the Government had to listen to officials and stop KDC entering the country and concludes KDC should never have been allowed in… It prepared papers for the...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • You, Me and the GCSB Public Meetings
      The GCSB and TICS legislation rushed through Parliament by John Key represent the largest erosion of civil liberties this country has seen since the 1951 Waterfront Lockout. In the post Snowden world we now know a mass surveillance state operating...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist takedown of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday ‘Nothing to be sorry for‘ Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Ares Rolinson – New Zealand First – We’ll Be Back
    Earlier this week, Bomber penned a missive which set out in some detail why he thought my people, New Zealand First, wouldn’t be making it back into Parliament later this year. Being a pugnacious, vindictive sort who’d never let such an...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • The changes teachers DO want
    “Oh you teachers, you just want everything to stay the same – what’s wrong with choice?  Bloody teachers.  Typical that you don’t want testing – trying to hide that you’re all useless. What about our poor kids?  Gnash gnash rant rant...” That’s...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • A feminist take down of Whale Oil
    Whale Oil does it again. How many more times is he going to attack and discredit Tania Billingsley publicly? In a short blog published on Wednesday Nothing to be sorry for Whale Oil also known as Cameron Slater, is defending John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • On so called Labour Party ‘distractions’
    The right wing of the Labour Party are constructing a narrative that Labour need to stop chasing distractions and focus on the real issues that matter and not these silly GCSB, inequality, domestic violence, media bias, TPPA issues. It is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Selfies: Labour’s Electorate MPs are at it again
    IT’S A LITTLE TRIANGLE of grass at the corner of Rewa Street and Mt Eden Road, ideal for election hoardings. Wandering along Mt Eden Road last Saturday morning to our weekly appointment with the brunch menu at Orvieto, my family and...
    The Daily Blog | 25-07
  • Well, well, well – Jonathan Coleman did know about FBI interest into Kim ...
    Last years GCSB Town Hall meeting in Auckland Oh dear, the cover up and lies are starting to fall over now aren’t they… Coleman knew of FBI interest in Dotcom pre-residency decisionGovernment minister Jonathan Coleman knew the FBI was interested...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Why You Must March Against Factory Farming This Saturday, 12pm
    The rally this Saturday is critical because this is the FIRST TIME IN NEW ZEALAND HISTORY that a major party has agreed to ban all intensive factory farming practices. The Labour party, the Greens, Internet-Mana, the SPCA, SAFE and other...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Astronaut tweets photo of explosions over Israel and Gaza from space
      This is what a war zone looks like from space: From aboard the International Space Station, German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted this image as the station passed over Israel and Gaza in what he called ‘his saddest photo yet’....
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When Firstline are focusing on flag burning rather than dead Palestinian ch...
    The IDF are butchering children in UN schools this morning and what’s the big issue on TV3s Firstline? Flag burning. How pathetic, and what a slap in the face to Mike McRoberts who is currently risking his life in Gaza...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’
    ‘Victim’ vs ‘Terrorist’...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Petition asking TVNZ to stand Hosking down as election moderator jumps to o...
    In just a day the petition calling on TVNZ to replace Hosking as the election moderator has jumped to over 2500, you can sign it here. The defence that the Right are trying to run here is that John Campbell...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: the descent into sheer farce, according...
    . . It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to  plumb new depths of absurdity. On TV3, on 24 July,  TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting: MIKE HOSKING FOR PM?
    Yes indeed. Mike Hosking is for the PM. And now he’s able to do even more as moderator (or should that be immoderator) of TVNZ’s election debates. Here at the Coalition for Better Broadcasting we feel it’s pretty safe to say that...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • The lie that “There is no alternative” to neo-liberal economic policies
    Supporters of President Maduro in Venezuela rally   Since the 1980s we have had drubbed into our heads that there was no alternative to the economic and social policies unleashed at that time. It even had it’s own acronym – TINA. The...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • A Kanaky tale of mining skulduggery and environmental courage
    Florent Eurisouké … still campaigning against mining. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific AN EXTRAORDINARY story of mining skulduggery and a courageous struggle by indigenous Kanak environmental campaigners has been captured in a poignant new documentary,...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • UNBREAKING: The list of questions Mike Hosking will use in first TVNZ leade...
    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first TVNZ leaders debate being held live in the gloriously beautiful Sky City ball room. It’s such a beautiful building boys and girls, we are so blessed to have Sky City...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Internet Party Party review
      I have been to A LOT of political party functions in my time, and they tend to be dull affairs at the best of times but what is happening with Internet MANA is something quite exciting. I went to...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – after learning Hosking will be the leaders debate ...
    I have to be honest, I had made the decision last night  to accept Seven Sharp’s hastily offered opportunity to appear on their show after I savagely criticised the bullshit whitewash story they did on John Key’s favourite far right hate speech...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is another reminder that the National Government does not care about the survival of the Maui’s dolphin National...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Message from CTU President Helen Kelly
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Message from CTU President Helen Kelly Dear MikeThere’s only 43 days until September 3, when voting in the General Election starts. The last day to vote is September 20.Thanks heaps for signing...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour Posted on July 23, 2014 by admin in Joe Carolan, Press Releases“Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: We must act to save our dolphins A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: School told to manipulate national standards data Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Regional economies must have tailored plans News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Auditor General slams Shared Services project The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation While activists gather in London to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • A blog from the front lines of Palestine: It’s time for a new narrative
    I don’t know if I follow trouble or if trouble follows me, but somehow I seem to have found myself near one of the world’s hotspots again. The difference this time is that instead of sitting in some obscure location,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – The Path Ahead
    It’s well established that Labour has had a difficult couple of weeks. Getting back on to a successful path requires our focus to shift from looking inwards to outwards, heightened discipline, and inner conviction. While my assessment of New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Employers liquidating companies to avoid paying minimum entitlements
    Across the union movement we have seen a number of documented cases now where companies are liquidating their business in order to avoid their legal obligations, in terms of paying the minimum entitlements to their workers. The most recent example...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Carolan : Positively Controversial
    The protest in Auckland last weekend that the NZ Herald claimed was attend by only a hundred people. Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week. A good start would be for all their...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Forest & Bird supports Fish and Game’s freshwater advocacy
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is concerned over allegations the Fish & Game Council has been threatened over its advocacy for freshwater quality....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Time for Epsom to say “no deal”
    “Epsom voters will be disgusted by the deal announced today to try and once again gift their electorate to the ACT Party”, says Labour candidate for Epsom Michael Wood....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Petition for release the of seven Bah
    At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Capital gains in the capital city
    Victoria University will today be hosting a public debate on the merits of more comprehensive capital gains tax—a step which taxation expert Associate Professor Dr David White considers would be beneficial for New Zealand. Organised by student group Beta Alpha...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Te Kupenga supports efforts of anti-violence campaigner
    Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – National Network of Stopping Violence Services (Te Kupenga) wholeheartedly endorses statements made by DJ, Kickboxer and Anti-Violence Campaigner Richie Hardcore this morning on TV3’s Firstline about the role of men...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • iPredict Ltd2014 Election Update #28
    The chances of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 continue to plunge and are down to 50%, according to the combined wisdom of the 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict. The forecast surplus is now just 0.22%...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • TPPA is a bad idea
    “Currently New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Mexico are still negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Officially talks finished last August, but the reality is that they keep...
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Getting privacy right in our data future
    Privacy Commissioner John Edwards welcomes the release of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum’s report....
    Scoop politics | 28-07
  • Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good
    Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible
    New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to a paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ngapuhi wants to overthrow Maori King
    Ngapuhi is planning a hui for the end of the year – organised by iwi leader David Rankin – in which the future of the King Movement will be discussed....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Housing warrant of fitness little help for sick children
    A housing warrant of fitness has been promoted as a way of preventing sickness among children in poverty. The attached report shows that such a regime would have little impact on health outcomes but would come at a considerable cost,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Upcoming Fabian Events in Auckland
    Sue Bradford ’s PhD thesis, 'A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa—an impossible dream or a call to action?' looked at why no major left wing think tank has developed in Aotearoa and whether the left in 2010-2013 was...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Senior Citizens, Not Senile Citizens
    The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the merits and costs of the “ No car? No problem! Getting around your community without a car” brochure, released by the Office for Senior Citizens. The brochure’s purpose is to explain to senior citizens...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • NZ Troops Hone Their Skills in Queensland
    Around 260 New Zealand troops are on a 25-day Australian-led warfighting exercise in Townsville, Northern Queensland....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Maritime Union backs Green Party call for shipping lanes
    The Maritime Union is backing the Green Party’s policy to implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping, announced today....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban
    Auckland Council Bypasses Public, Ditches Rodeo Ban The Auckland Council has announced that they are abandoning the rodeo ban on council land, put into place in 2008. This was done with virtually no consultation, says SAFE, the animal advocacy organisation....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor
    Ministers Tolley and Coleman urged to meet West Papuan visitor Police Minister Anne Tolley and Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman have a rare opportunity this week to gain first-hand knowledge about Indonesian police and military activities in West...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Minister Right to Give Fish & Game a Serve
    Reacting to Radio New Zealand’s report concerning allegations that Conservation Minister Nick Smith warned the Fish and Game Council that it acts like a 'rabid NGO', Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Government needs to get Fishing reform bill passed now
    The Maritime Union is urging the Government to push through a Bill reforming the fishing industry....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Ivory trade laws look set to tighten following petition
    A petition mounted by an Auckland schoolteacher has won the support of a powerful Select Committee and has moved the New Zealand closer towards a fully enforceable ivory trading ban....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Bilingual guide a demonstration of leadership
    “Waikato River Restoration: A Bilingual Guide” to the Waikato River that saw Tainui Waikato, Landcare Trust and the Waikato River Authority working together is a demonstration of rangatiratanga or leadership says Race Relations Commissioner...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Georgina Beyer to stand for MANA in Te Tai Tonga
    "It's great to have Georgie on board" said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP. "She's strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven't had any - and won. That...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Sir Bob Harvey
    SUSAN Sir Bob Harvey was behind the transformation of Norm Kirk, and one of New Zealand's most popular Prime Ministers. He also advised Bill Rowling, David Lange and Helen Clark, the latter as Labour Party President. Wild Westie a new...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Rod Drury
    Xero boss Rod Drury told TVNZ’s Q+A programme what the political parties are offering at this election is ‘all too small.’ “There's no policy, all it is a bunch of incremental stuff. “All too small. What we want to do...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Q + A: Gerry Brownlee
    Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee Rules Out Fastracking Auckland’s City Rail Loop Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee told TV1’s Q+A programme this morning that he won’t be bringing forward an Auckland City Rail loop based on new figures showing...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey
    Lisa Owen interviews Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey Headlines: Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey suggests “we can move on some” changes to welfare for New Zealanders in Australia New Zealanders “brothers and sisters” who make “a massive contribution”,...
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • Flavell and Harawira on The Nation
    Lisa Owen interviews Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana leader Hone Harawira Headlines: Hone Harawira says realistically his Mana Party can take three Maori seats, Te Ururoa Flavell sticks to prediction that Maori Party will win all seven....
    Scoop politics | 27-07
  • The Nation 26,27 July: Flavell & Harawira, Joe Hockey
    On The Nation this weekend…. With the Maori seats primed to play a pivotal role this election, Torben Akel reports from the key battlegrounds and meets the top contenders. Then the Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Mana Party...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Announcement of New Zealand First Candidate for Rangitīkei
    New Zealand First has endorsed Dr Romuald (‘Rom’) Rudzki as the candidate for the Rangitīkei Electorate in the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Labour Offer Len Brown a Hotel Tax
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Labour Party's plan to allow councils to levy new 'pillow taxes' and regional petrol taxes. Reacting to this afternoon’s NZ Herald report Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union ,...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Cell phone evidence a first
    Cell phone evidence a first Evidence gathered solely from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a Hastings man for possessing child sexual abuse pictures. Michael Lawrence Worsnop, a 29-year-old orchard worker pleaded guilty to...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza
    A New Zealand Red Cross nurse working in Gaza says she has never experienced anything like the current conflict in her long aid work career....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Parking officers deserve safety at work
    The union representing the Auckland Transport parking officer severely beaten on July 17 says everyone has a right to go about their job without fear for their safety....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Caritas Aotearoa NZ to provide Gaza humanitarian aid
    Caritas Jerusalem is providing medical assistance, food and other necessities to the thousands of vulnerable people affected by the escalating conflict in Gaza, and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is contributing an initial $20,000 to support the humanitarian...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • ALCP challenges parties to support Charlotte’s Web
    The leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party Julian Crawford is calling on all other political parties to state their position on using cannabis oil to treat pediatric epilepsy....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Oxfam accepts cheque from Pacific Corporation Foundation
    Oxfam New Zealand has accepted a cheque for almost $1000 today from the Pacific Corporation Foundation toward recovery efforts in the Solomon Islands, following April’s flash flooding that left thousands homeless....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Draft report and decision – Pūhoi to Warkworth proposal
    The Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance: Pūhoi to Warkworth section Board of Inquiry has released its draft report and decision....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • New Zealanders willing to pay tax to protect dolphins
    A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Stop Smart Meters
    “The Democrats for Social Credit Party (DSC) wholeheartedly endorses the Stop Smart Meters campaign for a moratorium on installations of smart meters until the technology is proven not be a risk to health, and until home owners are given a...
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Maori Roll Electors Urged to Vote Strategically
    Voters enrolled in the seven Maori electorates must learn to maximize their influence by voting strategically, according to the Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Rev Te Hira Paenga....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Politicians Ignore Families’ Concerns on Street Prostitution
    Family First NZ says that politicians are ignoring the concerns of families, lack the will to take appropriate action, and are happy to drag the ongoing problem of street prostitution into the next parliamentary term....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Plunket celebrates Te Wiki o te Reo Māori
    Plunket is proud to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (21-27 July), with Plunket people across the country among several thousand New Zealanders taking part and increasing their kete of knowledge in te reo....
    Scoop politics | 25-07
  • Coleman must quit or be sacked over Dotcom case
    Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. Internet Party leader Laila Harré...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Auckland Councillors, Not Emperors
    25 JULY 2014 Responding to the NZ Herald report that Auckland Councillors have voted to keep their ratepayer-funded business class travel perks, and considered new rules that would have exempted councillors from Auckland City's parking charges, Taxpayers’...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Cunliffe Looks Dodgy Lunching with Sex Offender
    Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig says that David Cunliffe's social meeting with a known sex offender while on holiday "looks pretty dodgy."...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Taxpayers’ Union Back LGNZ Calls For Greater Transparency
    The Taxpayers’ Union is backing Local Government New Zealand’s calls for the Official Information Act to be extended to cover the Local Government Commission. Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Lecture series to provide insight into 2014 election
    Could National’s refusal to reform MMP lead to the defeat of the government? Is the media providing voters with the information they require to make an informed electoral decision? What directions might John Key’s leadership take if he secures...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • National Rally Against Factory Farming
    Animal advocates and members of the public all over New Zealand will unite for a ‘National Day of Action Against Factory Farming’ Saturday, tomorrow 26 July in response to two recent exposés that showed horrific conditions on pig factory farms....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Women in Politics Finds Support at Conference
    Women in Politics, a brand-new organisation for New Zealand women in political office, was met with overwhelming support at the 2014 Local Government New Zealand Conference held this weekend in Nelson....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
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