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Canada’s shame

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, March 27th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: activism, Environment, International - Tags: , ,

seals.JPGFor those of you who saw the title and thought this post was about Celine Dion, sorry, it’s about the seal cull. 

Every year Canada kills and skins hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals, leaving their bodies to rot. The seal cullers’ favoured tool is the vicious hakapik a long pole with a sharp spike intended to destroy the seal’s brain but which often fails to kill the animal, meaning it is skinned alive.

Why does Canada slaughter seals in such barbaric fashion?

The trade in seal skins generates relatively little revenue, $24 million a year, and the cost of the cull on far-flung ice floes freezing temperatures means it is barely profitable. In fact, the Canadian government has to assist the cull by using its icebreakers to clear seaways to make it worthwhile. Canadian fishermen claim that if there weren’t a cull the seals would eat too many of their fish, which makes you wonder what the seals survived on before the fishermen arrived. We are even told that if not for the cull over-population would see seals would starve to death; so much kinder to skin them alive.

Canada’s shame is that there is no good reason for the seal cull. Like Japan’s archaic whale-hunt, the seal cull is in reality nothing more than a testament to the power of lobby groups in important electorates and bloody-minded adherence to tradition. And like Japan, Canada’s otherwise spotless international reputation bares a bloody stain for it.

The EU is set to ban the import of seal products (most of the Canadian skins pass through Europe on the way to Russia and China). This may be the death-knell of the seal fur trade and the cull. For Canada’s sake, let’s hope it is.

21 comments on “Canada’s shame”

  1. Not often we see eye-to-eye Steve, but I’m with you on this one. The barbarity of the seal cull shown on the news the other night was shocking, and pretty much indefensible. If there IS a good reason for the slaughter of seal cubs, and I’m not convinced that there is, surely there is a more humane method than clubbing them to death.

  2. Why is it bad to kill baby seals and not other animals? Is it because other animals are not as furry and cute and nice to look at?

    I’m sure if their was some butt ugly Lizard from Africa that was getting slaughtered, all these animal rights groups from the far left wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

    I guess its okay to kill something that is ugly, but leave the pretty animals alone.

    I mean when was the last time you saw Greenpeace having a picture of the Endangered Lizard from Kenya.

    They wouldn’t get enough money in donations from that, to carry out their so called legal activities.

    By the way, I love a good steak, so this is not some vegetarian rant from some wacko, just asking a legit question.

  3. Scribe 3

    Steve,

    Is there likely to be a follow-up post on “New Zealand’s shame”, outlining the 18,000-odd HUMAN BEINGS suffering this same fate every year? And with an explicit photo alongside?

    Or are baby seals infinitely more important than unborn human babies?

    Just curious.

  4. “Why is it bad to kill baby seals and not other animals? Is it because other animals are not as furry and cute and nice to look at?”

    Empathy comes into. Emanuel Kant called it “circles of moral concern”. The more alike we feel to a species the more we empathise with them. This is why we generally don’t like eating humans, chimpanzees, dolphins or other apes (generally animals which we consider to be “intelligent”). Seals do have a fairly human-looking face, so this is probably why many people are squeemish about the idea of killing and eating them.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    “I mean when was the last time you saw Greenpeace having a picture of the Endangered Lizard from Kenya.”

    Brett. you can’t expect people to provide pictures of hypothetical creatures that you made up for the sake of argument.

    Scribe. abortion is a tragedy but morally there is space between what most people regard as an ok way to end a potential human, contraception, and an a way most peple would not regard as ok, infanticide. Abortion sits between these two points – it should never be taken lightly and it would be great if it happened less but it is justifible on a number of grounds.

  6. Scribe-

    Abortion fits into the framework as well. Humans don’t feel much in common with the lump of non-sentient cells which is a 20 week old fetus. Which is probably why many people are comfortable with the idea.

  7. Should have been:

    “the non-sentient lump of cells that is a 20 week old fetus…..

  8. higherstandard 8

    RN

    It is a pity that more NZers aren’t more comfortable with contraception rather than abortion as both our STD rates and abortion rates would be decreasing rather than increasing.

    http://www.abortion.gen.nz/information/statistics.html

    http://www.avert.org/stdstatisticsworldwide.htm

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    hs. to be fair abortion is decreasing http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/hot-off-the-press/abortion-statistics/abortions-yedec06-hotp.htm (the 2007 figures aren’t there yet but I saw them in the paper the other day and they were lower again). interestingly, the decrease was attributed entirely to the reduction in the number of asian students studying here.

  10. I agree HS – but that’s a point of personal responsibility isn’t it? If you don’t want it to happen to you, use contraception.

    You may say, well “the tax payer shouldn’t have to fork out for the abortions” – but that’s a whole other debate..

    Also, maybe there’s a case to made for promoting feminism there as well. Our rape stats are truly horrifying – around 20% of NZ women have been raped (I have several friends who work for rape crisis). Their analysis (which I agree with) is that our culture encourages passivity in women, and misogyny in men, resulting in a culture which facilitates rape. Similarly, if women were less passive, and men were more respectful of women, there would be less of an STD problem (women would be more likely to assert their desire to use protection when the man doesn’t want to). Anyway, I’m sure there’s much more to it than this as well.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Brett, I can sort of see what you’re getting at, although it would be better if you used a real example. At the end of the day, Humans have limited empathy – we can only care about so much. That’s why you get all these twats complaining that NZ is becoming ‘third world’ – they’ve forgotten the horrors of drought, famine and disease and think a traffic jam or slow broadband is equally as bad. but I digress.

    Greenpeace can’t save everything – do you think they should give up? If they are going to put a lot of effort into something it’s worth them doing it in an area that will garner public attention, support, and money. Lastly – give me an example equivalent to any Government authorising and supporting the imhumane slaughter of near a million infant (or otherwise) animals. Unlikely…

    P.s. based on what you said i would have though you were more carnivore than omnivore of vegetarian…!

  12. Steve Pierson 12

    roger. but should our morality rise above asethetics?

    I think the answer to Brett is that there is no Endangered Lizard cull and if there was it would also need to be justified, otherwise it would be opposed just like the whale hunt and the seal cull.

  13. Steve, I partially agree. You’ll notice though that I didn’t include any moral judgments in my explanation for why humans are often fine with killing and eating some animals, though not others.

    I’m a vegetarian in principal, but don’t really care that insects are shredded by harvesting machines whilst they collect the grain I eat. I guess my circle of moral concern just doesn’t go that far.

  14. Scribe 14

    Roger,

    Humans don’t feel much in common with the non-sentient lump of cells which is a 20 week old fetus. Which is probably why many people are comfortable with the idea.

    Check this out and tell me if this 20-week-old “foetus” has much in common with you or I. Or if it looks like a “non-sentient lump of cells”: http://www.birth.com.au/Info.asp?class=6731&page=5#

    That’s the stuff the abortionists don’t show women and girls before they choose to abort their son or daughter.

    Steve,

    to be fair abortion is decreasing

    The numbers have fluctuated a little bit in recent years, but NZ has the second-highest rate of abortions in the OECD. Any minor decrease in the raw number of abortions is also attributable to the over-the-counter availability of the morning-after pill, which I’m sure you’ll think is fine, but I oppose. That’s an argument for another day.

    And if anyone wonder if abortion is simply back-up contraception, ponders these numbers. In 2005, 1,236 women were having their third abortion, 383 their fourth, 101 their fifth, 28 their sixth and 10 their seventh. THIS IS A DISGRACE.

  15. Billy 15

    “I’m a vegetarian in principal (sic)…”

    Just not in practice?

    Cool. I’m going to adopt this: I am sober in principle. I am very good at sexual intercourse in principle.

  16. Hillary 16

    Why is the left which ususally advocates for the disadvantaged so blind when it comes to protecting unborn children?

  17. Scribe 17

    Great question Hillary. Maybe you’ll get an answer other than Roger Nome’s contention that babies at 20 weeks’ gestation are a “non-sentient lump of cells’, which the photo I’ve linked to above completely discredits.

    Maybe some of the abortion supporters on this blog could try answering this question: What miraculously happens to turn a “foetus” into a baby?

    Once they realise the answer is “it grows”, maybe the culture of death will start subsiding.

  18. higherstandard 18

    Hillary you might find this link informative for a perspective on the American left and abortion.

    http://www.therant.us/staff/garnica/2008/01282008.htm

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    Maybe some of the abortion supporters on this blog could try answering this question: What miraculously happens to turn a “foetus’ into a baby?

    Well I have no intention of getting into a drawn about debate about this, because I sense it would be pointless, but in my opinion nothing miraculous happens.

    Just biology. In my opinion 20 wk fetus is not a person, and it certainly isn’t a “baby”. (Important words include viabilty and sentience).

    Your statement that the only development a fetus goes through is “growth” is so bizzare that I suspect you don’t believe it yourself. I mean for a start even a very developed fetus gets nourishment through a cord attached to a woman, and it can’t breathe air. That’s pretty different from a baby.

    Either that or you believe that the numerous profound developments (like the growth of a brain) that a fetus goes through are far less important than some indefinable essence of personhood,(a soul if you like), that remains constant and is implanted at conception. If that’s the case, fine. But surely you must realise that that is opinion, and that reasonable folk can differ. If they do differ, and I assure you they do, why should your opinion be the deciding one, over the woman concerned. Your opinion counts when it’s your body.

    In 2005, 1,236 women were having their third abortion, 383 their fourth, 101 their fifth, 28 their sixth and 10 their seventh. THIS IS A DISGRACE.

    Well I for one would want some more information before passing judgement. Though I’m not entitled to that information because it is none of my fucking business. Maybe these women (and their partners) belong to one of those weird religions that believes contraception to be evil. Having an abortion is a lot easier to hide from your partner than taking the pill.

    Or maybe you are right and they are just ‘disgraceful’.

    Or maybe a bit of both, they belong to a disgraceful religion that believes contraception is evil and thinks they should be forced to get pregnant if they can’t keep their damn legs shut.

    Or maybe something else entirely.

    We don’t know and we are talking about people here Scribe, people making very personal decisions. Maybe some people you even know. Sorry to get moralistic, but making rash judgements about people without the facts is a bit disgraceful. IMHO

    Like I said I’m not interested in getting into a drawn out debate. The presuppositions aren’t shared and aren’t particularly malleable, so it only ever turns into a shouting match.

    I will however give some links, that if you want to read them, may give you a broader idea about what pro choice people think about prolife arguments and why they don’t think criminalising abortion is a good idea.

    This is about some stats around abortion rates, womens health and abortion law.

    http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2007/10/11/index.html

    This one talks about some common prolife arguments and wonders about consistency.

    http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2005/09/gop-fetuses-are-rights-bearing.html

    At the end of the day scribe, if you think it’s murder, don’t have an abortion.

  20. Scribe 20

    PB,

    Maybe these women (and their partners) belong to one of those weird religions that believes contraception to be evil. Having an abortion is a lot easier to hide from your partner than taking the pill.

    Um, I doubt if they adhere to what their church would say about contraception that they would think having an abortion is OK.

    Steve,

    Sorry for what has been a partial threadjack, but I do find the outrage at seal culling and apparent acceptance of abortion (not ascribing that sentiment to you) to be totally inconsistent.

  21. This must be different to the one that they stopped a few years back, with the resulting near-destruction of an indigenous community.

    What I heard was that they were allowed to start again to feed themselves, but then they weren’t allowed to sell the skins so they couldn’t pay for fuel etc that had to be imported.

    Just as well, that particular cause put some celebrities in a very bad light. It’s not a good look “protecting” a species whos numbers are increasing at the expense of driving the locals to drink.

    But this one must be different.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
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  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
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    1 day ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Review: The Block Party
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    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
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    1 day ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    1 day ago
  • New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
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  • Redline on the Labour Party
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  • Selfie-takers think they’re the greatest
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  • UCOL cutting the staff who lifted student results
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  • Another Road Only Harbour Crossing on the Cards?
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  • Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham
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  • Gordon Campbell on bank scandals and air crashes
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  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
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    2 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
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    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
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    GreensBy Denise Roche
    8 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    9 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    9 hours ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
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  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    10 hours ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
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    1 day ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
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  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
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    2 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
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    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
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    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
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    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
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    4 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
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    4 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
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    4 days ago
  • The Price of Water
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
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    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    5 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
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    5 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
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    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
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    6 days ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
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    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    7 days ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
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    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
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    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
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    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Law Commission speaks up for domestic violence survivors
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago

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