Can a national park be a person?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, September 6th, 2016 - 17 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, Maori Issues - Tags: , , ,

Te Urewera national park has been granted legal personhood, meaning nobody owns it. The park has the same rights and powers as a citizen. The ruling could set a new precedent for land rights and conservation around the world.

The Māori Law Review article on Te Urewera Act 2014,

A new dawn for conservation management in Aotearoa New Zealand has arrived with the enactment of Te Urewera Act 2014.  Te Urewera, named a national park in 1954 and most recently managed as Crown land by the Department of Conservation became Te Urewera on 27 July 2014: “a legal entity” with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person” (section 11(1)).  Te Urewera Act is undoubtedly legally revolutionary here in Aotearoa New Zealand and on a world scale.

Why Rights? (from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund),

Environmental degradation is advancing around the world. The United Nations has warned that we are heading toward “major planetary catastrophe.”  There is a growing recognition that we must fundamentally change the relationship between humankind and nature.

Making this fundamental shift means recognizing our dependence on nature and respecting our need to live in harmony with the natural world.  This means securing the highest legal protection on nature and sustainability. It means placing the highest societal value on ecosystems and a healthy planet.  Recognizing rights of both humankind and nature to health and well-being helps achieve those legal protections and societal values.

Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth:

Preamble

We, the peoples and nations of Earth:

considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;

gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;

recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;

convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;

affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;

conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;

proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.

World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 22, 2010 (full text)

Moana Jackson on the Bolivian constitution,

In Bolivia you cannot make a decision that infringes on the rights of Mother Earth. If we have a constitution based on the rights of Papatūānuku then we will have no need to protest Statoil, because by its very nature it is infringing the mana of Papatūānuku.

17 comments on “Can a national park be a person?”

  1. Ad 1

    Don’t ask for what you wish for too soon, lest you fall into a whole bunch of unintended consequences.

    Things other than humans have been proposed to have the same rights as humans for millennia. In fact the will to impute even greater power than humans is at the core of our common spiritual impulses and goes back into the earliest moments.

    Projecting our own powerlessness to nature as abasement before sublime power hasn’t worked, obviously.

    The unintended consequences get pretty apparent when you start peaking around the corner. Who would have thought that assigning personhood to corporations would have gone so bad?

    In U.S. Santa Clara V Southern Pacific Railroad, the US Supreme Court set the precedent that corporations are persons under the 14th amendment.

    In the 1978 case Marshall v Barlow, incorporated businesses were grated the same protection human citizens have from Police searches.

    In Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, the court struck down a ban on corporations spending money on behalf of candidates in political campaigns.

    A dumpload of hindsight and unintended consequences. So before we go off with UN declarations, have a go at peeking around the corner of what this would mean in reality.

    • Bill 1.1

      Bad comparison Ad.

      A corporation is a human business construct that, acting in accordance with economic rules, is geared towards hegemony… that we gifted infinite lifespan to.

      That’s entirely different to an eco-system or an area of wilderness/nature or whatever that has no economic incentives and no agency within the business sphere.

      Given that we’ve (western capitalism) viewed nature as some kind of mechanistic object to be used and abused in the interests of profit generation, I’m viewing the assigned ‘person-hood’ as nothing but hugely positive.

      You can’t currently use and abuse other people at a whim to make money for yourself – eg, just chop off that child’s hair to sell to a wig manufacturer or gouge that person’s gold fillings for personal gain. But we can currently do almost anything we want to nature given that we’ve placed the making of money above anything else. (Hell, as far as AGW goes, we’re currently placing profit way above the future viability of our own eco-sphere)

      This legislation addresses to some extent the imbalanced and insane way we view the world and worth and wealth. It might mean that profit can’t be argued as being more important than the integrity of the source the profit is to be derived from – ie, suggesting that the child’s locks ought to be taken in the name of profit (and anyway, they’ll grow back).

      That’s essentially been the way business has argued in favour of exploitation. Now, I guess, the goal posts have shifted. So exploitation of a natural resource becomes couched in terms not at all different to those surrounding that child’s head of hair.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        Nature is also a human construct. So it’s entirely relevant.
        Law is also a human construct. So it’s entirely relevant.
        How personhood is defined is a human construct. So it’s entirely relevant.
        And we take more and more of our legal guidance from the US Supreme Court rather than the British.

        I don’t see announcing an imagined global juridical order with no framework other than defining it as an absence is useful. Terra nullius is pretty similar as a concept, and that didn’t work out too well a few hundred years ago in our nearest neighbour.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Myself, I’m not convinced that personhood is the best way to go, but it may be the pragmatic thing to do, because it frames things in ways that the Western mind set can cope with. Getting Westerners to see themseves as part of nature again is a big problem, and this framing may be the most expedient, which is important given the whole climate change thing.

          “Nature is also a human construct”

          And that’s a great example. The hubris in that comment is stunning enough, but it’s the power and control issues behind it that are probably more concerning. Let’s just say that most human cultures historically haven’t considered nature to be something humans invented, so you’re positing a particularly abstract and unusual concept there. A self-serving one too, given the context.

          • Ad 1.1.1.1.1

            Personhood is also a human construct.
            There’s no way around the ‘self-serving’ hubris of your own humanity.
            Lots to argue about in your last paragraph.

            Given our dominance of the earth, it would be better to have the old RMA apply to every country across the earth. That’s as likely to happen as anything you’re proposing, but still more useful.

        • Bill 1.1.1.2

          Sure Ad. All ideas and concepts that we can possibly have are ‘human constructs’.

          That banality aside, what I said in relation to your comment was that a corporation is a human business construct. And that the fact it’s a business model leads to all types of priorities, assumptions and dynamics that are tied to the idea of something as a business.

          Terra nullius was a green light for people, or a specified group of people, to do as they damned well pleased. Assigning legal personhood to nature stops similar bullshit in its tracks.

        • Murray Simmonds 1.1.1.3

          “Nature is also a human construct. So it’s entirely relevant.”

          Yeah???

          So that means – like – “Nature” wasn’t already here on earth long before the human being evolved???

          Interesting point of view – – Nothing exists outside of the human head?

          No doubt the philosophers have a term for this kind of reasoning, but I, for one, don’t buy into it.

          • Bill 1.1.1.3.1

            I blame those French Stalinists and their rush for relevance compelling them to come up with a pile of ‘post’ type flim-flams – eg, post modernism, deconstructionism or whatever they call it and other….stuff.

            I’d buy the notion that the thing we ascribe the name to was there before us and will persist (common sense) and that the term ‘nature’ with all its subjectivity is what Ad was really referring to.

            Then again. Maybe he’s from Akaroa 😉

    • weka 1.2

      “Who would have thought that assigning personhood to corporations would have gone so bad?”

      Um, anyone with half a brain.

      As Bill says, the comparison between Nature Rights and corporations having personhood is not useful or valid because they’re such different things.

      You appear at best to be saying that giving personhood to anything that isn’t human might be a problem, and that there might be unintended consequences. I’m pretty sure those are the arguments used for human rights too (giving women the vote was going to cause all sorts of problems). How about you be a bit more specific.

      The point of the post is to get people thinking about what Nature Rights might be, why they might be a good idea, how we might do that etc, not to just go oooh, scarey thing over there.

      “Things other than humans have been proposed to have the same rights as humans for millennia.”

      Leaving aside the problem with the word ‘same’ there, yes, many human societies historically have had a different relationship with nature. Native peoples tend to see themselves as part of nature, that all of nature has inherent value, and that the relationship is one of reciprocity and respect. It’s not about wanting to impute greater powers than humans, it’s about understanding how things work. Power relations 101, it’s about time we thought about that in terms of nature, thanks for bringing that up.

      • DoublePlusGood 1.2.1

        “Who would have thought that assigning personhood to corporations would have gone so bad?”
        W.S. Gilbert, for one, in the light opera Utopia Limited. The absurdity of that idea is thoroughly lampooned.

      • Ad 1.2.2

        “Anyone with half a brain”. And still you didn’t get the analogy. Nevermind.

        To me what you are proposing is a globalisation of a kind of law. The world appears to be running away from such globalisation of juridical order as quickly as it can. Law for me is all about the force behind it – otherwise it’s just words. Maybe states and kingdoms won’t solve our relationship with the earth, any more than corporations, but neither will blithely assigning the earth personhood.

        The best chance our version of humanity had of such a redefinition of our relationship with the earth was immediately after World War II during the formation of the United Nations. Instead of of a rights framework based upon common need, rights were generally framed in terms of constraints upon the physical person. That rights framework remains inescapable, and it simply doesn’t work.

        The second best chance was during the negotiations over the Antarctica Treaty that came into force in 1961. Previously lots of countries including New Zealand had claims over it. But we all agreed to give those up – and now it exists in some none-state state. That’s a set of treaties that didn’t require anything so nebulous as an alteration in global personhood.

        The next part of a problem is the instrumental force needed to defend and sustain this new concept over land. Most absences don’t last in this world. without hard force to sustain them. Might be fine for the Uruweras, but not many other places.

        I think this legal idea from the Uruweras is only ever going to be applicable to tiny states who are largely immaterial to the functioning of the world, and who have large tracts of non-degraded land, and who also have forceful groups of people who can step out of the machine of the world.

        Otherwise, there are faster and more effective means of holding us to common account with a massive area of wilderness. They are called National Parks.

        • Bill 1.2.2.1

          If this was adopted elsewhere….no more need for people to camp out in a national park in the US to identify and catalogue an endangered species in order to build some case against a profit seeking enterprise.

          The onus would shift to those seeking the profit to justify their project on the same grounds as would apply to a natural person. And that’s a fucking powerful legal position from the perspective of any nature under threat from profit seeking businesses.

          Go a step further and consider general government inaction on AGW. Assigning personhood to nature is a big bloody stick to beat them with in the courts…I guess charges of negligence (of this legal person – nature) could be drawn up without too much difficulty. Maybe some variant of assault and battery as well? Perhaps even a murder charge or two…

  2. Bill 2

    Excellent and long over-due!

  3. McFlock 3

    I tend to agree with Ad.

    This is a rather pointless legal fiction that simply provides fodder for lawyers who will be paid by people with rich pockets. Nature or a park have even less agency than a “corporation”. I mean legal or social agency, not to be conflated with any metaphysical analogies or beliefs.

    Basically, how will actions be taken to protect this “person’s” rights? What about rights to exchange its assets for benefit? Will lawyers claiming to act in the interest of this “person” end up arguing that this park has a right to divest itself of some old-growth native timber? Will it be “represented” in trust by some board of tory notables who charitably offer their time to make such decisions for this “person”? Will this “person” be required to file a theft report if someone nicks wood or minerals from it, or grazes cattle illegally?

    If the weather turns and a tramper dies, will this “person” be charged for workplace safety violations? Can it be sued? If this person becomes bankrupt, will it be a victim of its own choices? Is this legal fiction a sneaky path to de facto privatisation, or is it a shield behind which the government can avoid its obligations? Will it become these things?

    I’m all for environmental preservation being a central platform for policy and commercial controls, and I love our national parks and reserves, but this is just paperwork. Nobody knows what the final objective might be.

    • Bill 3.1

      What about rights to exchange its assets for benefit?

      It does this. We call it the life cycle.

      Will lawyers claiming to act in the interest of this “person” end up arguing that this park has a right to divest itself of some old-growth native timber?

      Again. Forested areas already do this through the process of decay.

      Will it be “represented” in trust by some board of tory notables who charitably offer their time to make such decisions for this “person”?

      Well, as alluded to above, unless they can successfully argue that nature is a frustrated capitalist entity, then who the fuck cares?

      Will this “person” be required to file a theft report if someone nicks wood or minerals from it, or grazes cattle illegally?

      As with natural people, it’s the authorities who pursue crimes committed by one against another (whether reported by the victim or another)

      If the weather turns and a tramper dies, will this “person” be charged for workplace safety violations?

      Ain’t a workplace.

      Can it be sued? If this person becomes bankrupt, will it be a victim of its own choices?

      it has no financial assets or monetary worth. That answer those ones sufficiently?

      Is this legal fiction a sneaky path to de facto privatisation, or is it a shield behind which the government can avoid its obligations? Will it become these things?

      It’s intended to prevent ownership, no? I think it probably does that better than those who agreed to this reckon. Not privatisation. Not a shield for government to hide behind – more a stick for government to be whacked with.

      • mikes 3.1.1

        “Not a shield for government to hide behind – more a stick for government to be whacked with.”

        Except government creates statutes so what will matter is any statutes created specifically regarding these new legal entities.

      • McFlock 3.1.2

        What about rights to exchange its assets for benefit?

        It does this. We call it the life cycle.

        Your comment is exactly the sort of conflation that I was talking about. Some rich prick hires lawyers to persuade the court that the “person” really would be cool with losing a bunch of ugly old trees in exchange for cash paid to a random greenwashing trust, we’d call it “legal”.

        Doc workers maintain huts. Sightseeing helicopter pilots are paid. So parks are a workplace. Parks have lots of assets and monetary worth – they just need to be logged/mined/stripped/hunted/fished or built on. So they can be sued, and privatised that way.

        How does it prevent ownership? All it does is create an entity that can be sued, removes the government as an active preserver of this “person’s” rights, the cops already fail to prosecute crimes against real people (let alone imaginary “people”), and so on.

        To whack the government with a stick requires two things: a stick that has no agency, and a real person to hold it. If you call the stick a person, it’ll just lie on the ground and rot.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Hamilton: City of the Future
    This post is about: How spillovers from the Auckland boom are driving growth in nearby regions. The opportunities for these communities to benefit more from this economic change. The central role of inter-regional transport infrastructure for reviving small towns and ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    20 mins ago
  • Trump and Truman
    Incinerating Hiroshima by Don Franks US President Donald now threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea’s country of 26 million people. This from the leader of the only power that ever used nuclear weapons. Trump isn’t a one-off nutcase. He follows ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    10 hours ago
  • You’re Wrong Keith: We Have To Do This NOW.
    Let's Do This NOW! Elections are won when the electorate’s general preference for prosperity and stability is overwhelmed by its desire to turn the page and begin something new. When simply restoring the same old faces to the same old ...
    11 hours ago
  • Lies, damn lies and the National Party 
    This week Patrick Gower called it. The National Party was guilty of the biggest lie of the campaign. It’s not the only lie, but it’s certainly the biggest. Labour, apparently, is going to lift income tax. National are arguing, like ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    14 hours ago
  • Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
    Anti-fluoride campaigners don’t agree. Image credit:Dental Care Tips for Mom and Baby” presentation What’s the story about this new IQ-fluoride study? The one that claims fluoride intake by pregnant women could endanger their children’s IQ? Whatever the truth, ...
    14 hours ago
  • BSA and ASA to political parties: “sure, lie all you like”
    When I first saw the National Party’s blatantly misleading “Let’s Tax This” ad, I thought: the Advertising Standards Authority would have to uphold a complaint about this one. And if the ad is broadcast on TV or radio, the Broadcasting Standards ...
    15 hours ago
  • WINZ steals from the poorest
    Hot on the heels of yesterday's news of WINZ lawlessness, we learn that WINZ has been illegally underpaying the poorest beneficiaries: More than 7000 of New Zealand's most-desperate beneficiaries have been short-changed by the Government - and they're about to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Suspicious
    Remember National's court case with Eminem? A decision was supposed to be issued within three months of the trial ending in May. But strangely, its late:Justice Helen Cull reserved her decision on May 12 - noting at the time that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Māori Party confirms opposition to tertiary education Bill
    The TEU is pleased to report that Marama Fox, co-leader of the Māori Party, has told the TEU that her party is opposed to National’s tertiary education Bill. The Bill would give Ministers greater powers to divert public funds away from public ...
    17 hours ago
  • Second chance learners rely on public tertiary education
    Craig West, a senior lecturer at Otago Polytechnic, discusses the importance of public tertiary education for second chance learners and its role in the local community. Education sits at the heart of every community and this could not be truer than ...
    17 hours ago
  • Election a huge opportunity to improve lives of students
    Jonathan Gee, national president of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, says this election is a chance to make politics work better for students – which, he says, will benefit us all. For too long, students and young people ...
    17 hours ago
  • National announces tertiary education policy
    National published its tertiary education policy for the election with minimal fanfare last week. The policy contains little of substance, but there are two commitments worth pointing to. The first is a target to increase the value of international education in New Zealand ...
    17 hours ago
  • What next for tertiary education?
    David Cooke, national chair of the Quality Public Education Coalition, looks at some of the key issues facing the tertiary education sector after the election before offering some thoughts on what we can do together to ensure a positive future for students and ...
    17 hours ago
  • TEU celebrates Suffrage Day
    Tuesday 19 September was Suffrage Day and TEU members were out in force to celebrate. Many chose to honour those women who fought and won the right to vote 124 years ago by coming together to vote early. The TEU teams at ...
    17 hours ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters Part 4: Health and Support
    This is the fourth of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    18 hours ago
  • A positive sign
    While Donald Trump seems trying to start nuclear wars with both North Korea and Iran, there's abeen a positive sign: the UN has outlawed nuclear weapons. And New Zealand was one of the first countries to sign up to the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • New Auckland Transport Chief Executive
    Yesterday, Auckland Transport finally announced who would replace David Warburton as Chief Executive later this year. The job has gone to Shane Ellison. It certainly seems that he has significant experience with running public transport which will be very useful for ...
    19 hours ago
  • What Do the Chinese Pay For?
    The Herald’s readiness to alert its readers to the important conclusions of the University of Canterbury research into the links between China and past and present New Zealand politicians and their family members is to be commended, not because there ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: The Day After Tomorrow
    The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index dipped marginally this week, but, said the bank's chief economist, "households remain in good spirits". In truth, our good spirits rely on us not looking too far ahead.New Zealanders' perception of their current ...
    19 hours ago
  • Rotten to the core
    How rotten is WINZ? So rotten that they use false names for those serving on their internal Benefit Review Committees, and present them as truthful to their statutory appeal body. As if that's not bad enough, they then continued to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • The Grow Room Profiles – Villette
    Local Alt R&B songstress/producer Villette discusses some of her formative musical experiences, her positive forecast for Women within Aotearoa's music industry, and finally drops the name of her new mixtape. This video was made with funding support from NZ ...
    19 hours ago
  • The Singles Life: What happened to political music in New Zealand?
    Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music. In these trying times, political music feels like it would ...
    20 hours ago
  • Media Link: Chinese influence operations, Hillary’s blame game, Trump’s incoherence and NZ’s 3...
    As part of the series of radio interviews I do with Mitch Harris on RadioLive on Wed nights, this week we decided to be a bit more free ranging than usual (since the normal focus of the radio version of ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    24 hours ago
  • The beginning of the end for nuclear weapons
    "I have been waiting for this day for seven decades and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived,” said Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow in July, when a new treaty banning nuclear weapons was agreed at the United Nations in ...
    1 day ago
  • Election Transport Policy Roundup
    Transport featured prominently in this election, particularly in the opening weeks of the campaign. At the same time, the differences between the parties when it comes to transport policies has been stark. It’s also worth remembering the outcome of the 1News ...
    1 day ago
  • The loneliness of the election hoarding
    Every three years the institution of the election poster gives us an object lesson in psychogeography, remaking the country into red zones, blue zones, contested zones. A sign erected on a private fence or put up at one’s window makes ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    1 day ago
  • This is how civil wars start
    As I write this, Spanish police are raiding Catalan government offices and arresting government officials in an effort to prevent Catalans from voting in a referendum on independence:Spanish police officers have raided three Catalan regional government departments and arrested 12 ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Election edition of It’s Our Future Bulletin
    A vote for National is a vote for the TPPA-11 Kia ora koutou katoa, This will be a short Bulletin as you are all, no doubt, up to your eyeballs in political spin and campaign rhetoric. The general election Saturday ...
    Its our futureBy Stephen Parry
    1 day ago
  • National Increased and Introduced 18 New Taxes, How Many More to Come?
    While National have been the failed Government of New Zealand they have increased or introduced 18 taxes on the ever suffering New Zealand public!   These included an increase in GST, taxing your Kiwisaver contributions, increased your Prescription ...
    2 days ago
  • Bugger
    Still, the Greens look safe. That's SOMETHING.And if NZ First don't get back in (assuming Winston loses Northland and they slip 0.1% more ... Well, I'll try very hard to lament the undemocratic wasted vote while punching the air and ...
    2 days ago
  • It takes just 4 years to detect human warming of the oceans
    We’ve known for decades that the Earth is warming, but a key question is, how fast? Another key question is whether the warming is primarily caused by human activities. If we can more precisely measure the rate of warming and ...
    2 days ago
  • Why I was an idiot for not voting last election
    Three years is a long time.   Image: The Wireless/Luke McPake   I have a flatmate who probably won’t vote. He says he might, but it’s not looking good. A capital gains tax could persuade him, but Labour’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Not That Kind of Voting
    As is customary in the run-up to an election, there is some hand-wringing going on about what turnout is going to be like.read more ...
    PunditBy Leonid Sirota
    2 days ago
  • Bill English is incompetent
    When John Key handed Bill English the poisoned chalice of a third term, it was pretty clear that the smiling assassin was getting out while the getting was good. After all, English had been largely left out of most of ...
    2 days ago
  • Pre-emptively poking holes in the land tax bucket
    Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis support a water tax
    The prospect of making farmers and water bottlers pay for their use of public water has been a big issue this election campaign. Irrigation-dependent dairy farmers hate the idea, of course - they're freeloaders who don't want to pay their ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National censors NZTA
    Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
      ...
    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
    This is the third of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
    . . You show me yours, I’ll show you mine… . Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • The mystery of the Wellsford-Whangarei business case solved
    Exactly a month ago, the National Party announced the biggest element of their transport policy for this election, $10.5 billion on 10 new Roads of National Significance. These are: Wellsford to Whangarei East West Link in Auckland Cambridge to Tirau Piarere ...
    2 days ago
  • Which New Zealand are you voting for?
    I was walking out of a meeting with two fine people the other day, one a National Party supporter and one a Labour Party supporter. The centre-right man reckons his team has lost it, but he sighed, "the economy's going ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Farmers blame absence of Bill English for failure to summon Cow God
    Farmers were deeply disappointed when an incantation meant to summon the Cow God instead summoned Winston Peters. Dairy farmers have spent the better part of today blaming Prime Minister Bill English for their failure to summon the Cow God beneath ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
    The Green party has renewed its calls for abortion law reform, after a woman who was declined a termination considered suicide.    Under the Crimes Act, an abortion must be approved by two licenced specialist doctors.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
    The fight goes on.   Merinda Jackson. Photo: The Wireless/Max Towle Women wearing suffragist dress gathered outside Wellington’s central library this afternoon. They periodically broke off into small groups and disappeared inside for a few minutes at ...
    3 days ago
  • How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong
    Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Narcissistic men are more likely to troll on Facebook – study
    “Aggression, manipulativeness, low agreeableness.” Sound familiar? Illustration: 123RF A new study analysing people’s motivations for trolling has found men are more likely to bully others on Facebook because they’re more narcissistic. Researchers from Brunel and Goldsmiths universities ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
    For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    3 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago
  • The evidence says TOP have no hope
      The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan has come out swinging against the polls, which unanimously report his party polling nowhere near the 5% threshold. He basically says they’re fake news because they (mostly) only poll landlines. He predicts TOP will ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • If you support Labour, Green, TOP, Māori, or Mana: Party vote Green
    I wrote this post on Facebook and it’s got a bit of traction so I thought I’d put it here as well. (These thoughts aren’t unique to me: other people are making similar points.) Most people intending to vote Labour, Green, ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • An Alternative to Neoliberalism?
    Are we at a turning point in our politics? I don’t mean whether we have a new government. That is a matter for the voters; the polls say that either they are very volatile or that the polls are very ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • 1969: The “Nearly-But-Not-Quite” Election.
    Labour Nearly Did This: It didn’t really seem possible that Labour could have lost. Its 1969 campaign had broken new ground in terms of media sophistication. Labour’s theme-song “Make Things Happen” had topped the local charts, and its television commercial, ...
    4 days ago
  • Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)
    Here’s some commentary from PR professional Matthew Hooton, owner of the ‘Exceltium’ PR agency*, on how he sees efforts by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission to increase voter turnout. “I think the way the Electoral Commission has behaved, taking upon itself ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    4 days ago
  • Its going to be a short election night
    Advance voting has really taken off this year, with enormous numbers exercising their right to vote early, parties campaigning specifically for advance votes, and queues at some advance polling booths. As of Sunday, 445,000 people had advance voted - more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • We need more post-publication peer review
    We often tout peer review as the reason for accepting the veracity of published scientific studies? But how good is it really? Does it ever match the ideal picture people have of it? And what about peer review before and ...
    4 days ago
  • No choice
    The decision to have a child can be life changing. But Kate* says she didn’t have a choice.  Illustration: Lucy Han / The Wireless A woman who was denied a second trimester abortion through North Shore Hospital says ...
    4 days ago
  • Too many cows
    Waikato's dairy farmers - the dirtiest in the country - are protesting in Morrinsville today to defend their "right" to keep pumping their shit into our rivers and their piss into our wells. Meanwhile, to get an idea of how ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Upgrading Takapuna’s heart
    While the beach may be the soul of Takapuna, Hurstmere Road is perhaps it’s commercial heart. Working in Takapuna, it’s a heart I know well (in fact at the time this post is published I’m probably walking along it to ...
    4 days ago
  • Cameras on boats will wreck ‘way of life’ – fisherman
    Push back against plans for surveillance on the high seas.       Fishing boats lined up along Bluff wharf. Photo: The Wireless/John Lake For Bluff cray fisherman Jayce Fisher, working the ocean is a way of ...
    4 days ago
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus... ...
    4 days ago

  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
    National’s failure to acknowledge and fix the housing crisis will be their legacy. Labour will tackle the housing crisis head-on, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
    Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is important to recognise that ...
    19 hours ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
    Voters this week have a clear choice between Labour’s optimism and honesty, or rewarding National’s campaign of relentless lies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Day after day National has been deliberately spreading lies about Labour, our intentions and what ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
    New Zealand’s economy is failing the very people it is supposed to uplift, characterised by stalled productivity, exports going backwards and a Government content to let it drift, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Voters have a clear choice ...
    2 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
    News today that the emergency department at Waikato has turned 180 patients away is another crisis for the Government and its besieged health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “It’s astonishing that the Government has had to rely on ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    2 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    3 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    3 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    3 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    4 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    6 days ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    7 days ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    1 week ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Making renting secure and healthy
    Labour will move to make renting a more stable and healthy experience for families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago