Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, January 27th, 2013 - 108 comments
Categories: child welfare, climate change, Conservation, democratic participation, disaster, farming, greens, Maori Issues, Metiria Turei, poverty, sustainability, tenants' rights, vision - Tags:
Lately I have often disagreed with Matt McCarten. However, certainly agree with one part of his column today. The column is largely about John Key’s fail at Ratana, plus his other struggles this week. McCarten then says in contrast it was a good week for Labour and The Greens. However, he saves the biggest praise for Metiria Turei at Ratana. McCarten wrote:
Green co-leader Metiria Turei was centre-stage. She had just released the Greens’ housing policy. Shearer moved the housing debate at his conference, promising to build 100,000 homes in partnership with the private sector.
Turei gazumped that by putting up a plan where even the poorest families could afford to buy state-built homes. The Ratanas loved it so much they ditched their male-only marae protocols to let her speak.
The Government responded by putting out a press release bleating about the price of the Greens’ policy. They obviously missed the news this week that New Zealand houses are among the most costly in the world, and most Kiwis will never be able to afford a home. Rentals, too, are rising faster than wages.
The Green Party housing policy does what a solid left or labour movement policy should do: give first consideration to those on low incomes (whether in paid or unpaid work, or on social security). At it acknowledges that affordable and secure rental accommodation are every bit as important as affordability of home buying. And it brings state housing into the mix.
I recently talked with someone who works with low income people looking for somewhere to live in Auckland. The situation was described as desperate: for low income people there is just nothing available, and many are looking to the outer rural edges of the greater city area.
At Ratana, Turei’s speech showed the down-to-earth, fun side of her personality, recalling her long association with the Ratana, and her first kiss behind the bandstand there. Turei also affirmed her whanau and community-centred commitment to ending poverty.
Eliminating poverty is not a matter for charity, it is an act of justice. And it starts with the basics.
I talk to too many whānau who have been forced to move homes too many times, who are trapped in a no win cycle of uprooting their kids, changing schools and starting again because they can’t afford to keep up with rent rises, or the home is so cold and mouldy it’s making their kids sick, and they can’t afford to buy one of their own.
The cost of groceries, power and school fees is so high that they barely manage to get through each day, let alone put money aside each week to save for the deposit on their own home. I know we can do better for our whānau.
This weekend, The Greens have also spoken for sustainable agricultural practices, in response to international news about contaminants in New Zealand milk. The Greens agriculture spokesman, Steffan Browning, says that rather than focusing on the acceptable level of contaminants, Zealand should be looking to adopt more sustainable practices.
Today Metria Turei is launching an initiative to build a movement to oppose the Key government.
The I’m in – for the future campaign will be officially launched today during the state of the planet speech delivered by Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei in Auckland.
“The Green Party is committed to giving New Zealanders a political voice and the opportunity to be involved in politics outside of elections and without having to join a party,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“This is about building a ground campaign of individual New Zealanders who represent the future that will be a real challenge to the old wealth and vested interests of the National Party.
“More and more Kiwis are out of work, can’t afford to buy a home, are unhappy with the state of the environment or their kids education. This Government is offering those people nothing and is out of step with their world view.
Yesterday, the online, print version of Turei’s State of the Planet 2013 Speech states:
Today I want to issue a call to action to unleash the passion and the power of the new Aotearoa New Zealand, those who care for our children and their birthright.
There is much to do because our children face real challenges in this 21st century world.
The world faces the toughest challenges we have seen in a long time. The effects of the global financial crisis still echo around the world
Income inequality in OECD countries is at its highest level for the past 50 years.
The planet is suffering massive bio-diversity loss. Eco-systems are under more pressure than ever.
The hurt of climate change is biting. Extreme weather events, storms, cyclones, droughts and fires are getting worse.
I want to acknowledge the people of Samoa, Fiji and Australia who have suffered for extreme weather over this summer.
The people of the Pacific can realistically wonder if their islands will even exist in a few years; threatened by a problem they did not create.
But the tide is beginning to turn on the destructive thinking that has led to climate change.
The speech covers Green Party policies on various issues from anti-asset sales, for public schools and a living wage, to building the “I’m in – for the Future” movement.
Picnic for the Planet: today 11:30am – 3:00pm, Tahaki Reserve, Mt. Eden.
The Greens have the momentum right now!