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Green Party for democracy

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, May 31st, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, democracy under attack, democratic participation, greens, john key, local government, Mining, national/act government, russel norman, social democracy, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Yesterday in Question Time in the House, Green MP Holly Walker put a telling series of questions to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee (Peseta Sam Lotu-Liga).  The Questions were about the National government rushing through the submission stage of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill.  As Holly Walker later explained in a press release yesterday, the government is rushing through the committee stages of this Bill, which enables the government to over-ride local government policies on housing:

National Party chairperson of the Social Services select committee, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, used his delegated authority to set the submission period for the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill after it passed its first reading under urgency after the Budget.

Only two weeks were allowed for submissions on this major Bill that gives central government the power to overrule local democracy and grant development consents without the agreement of councils. …

Submissions on the bill close at midnight tonight. It is understood that very few have been received so far.

“National needs to give councils and members of the public more time to have their say on this major piece of legislation,” said Ms Walker.

“This Bill would give the government of the day the power to ride roughshod over local democracy. Legislation to implement the housing accord that the Government has reached with Auckland Council is one thing, but this Bill will also apply to the rest of the country and allow the government to create new special housing zones without the support of local authorities.

“National knows what it is doing is wrong. That’s why it set a shortened report-back period for the Bill and allowed only two weeks for submissions without informing key stakeholders.

Actually, as far as I am aware, the Bill still has done the dirty on Auckland Council by NOT including key parts of the negotiated “accord”.  So the government’s anti-democratic processes are even worse than stated by Walker.

The questions to Lotu-Liga further exposed the government’s disregard for democracy.  Lotu-Liga squirmed and diverted, trying to avoid answering whether he consulted with the Minister of Housing (Nick Smith) or his staff before announcing the shortened submission date.

1. HOLLY WALKER (Green) to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee: When do submissions to the Social Services Committee on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill close?

PESETA SAM LOTU-IIGA (Chairperson of the Social Services Committee) : Submissions on this bill close today: Thursday, 30 May 2013.

Holly Walker: Did he consult with the Minister of Housing or his staff before making the decision to close submissions on this date?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The difficulty the member has with any supplementary questions is that they must be something that is a matter of the responsibility of the chairman. As advised by the Clerk, that one does not meet the Standing Orders.

Various opposition MPs rose to make several points of order as the Speaker was leaning towards allowing that diversionary behaviour by Lotu-Liga.

Question 2: 

2. HOLLY WALKER (Green) to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee: What is the length of the period for submissions to the Social Services Committee for the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill?

PESETA SAM LOTU-IIGA (Chairperson of the Social Services Committee) : The public call for submissions was made on 17 May 2013. Submissions, as I said in the answer to question No. 1, closed today. The length of time, therefore, was just under 2 weeks.

Question 3: showing Lotu-Liga avoided enabling stakeholder responses to the Bill.

3.HOLLY WALKER (Green) to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee: Has he, as

Question 4:  in which Lotu-Liga denies knowing how many submissions have been received so far.

Question 5:

5.HOLLY WALKER (Green) to the Chairperson of the Social Services Committee: Did he decide that submissions to the Social Services Committee on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill will close today; if so, why?

PESETA SAM LOTU-IIGA (Chairperson of the Social Services Committee): As I said, under Standing Order 192(1) I have the discretion to determine the closing date. I felt that the closing date of today was the appropriate amount of time for submissions, giving a 10-week turn-round period for the closing date.

Quotes from Green co-leader, Russel Norman, in today’s NZ Herald, show how much more democratic the Green Party is, compared with John Key’s NAct government.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman will attack undemocratic lawmaking in his speech to the party’s annual conference this weekend and turn the tables on the National-led Government by describing it as “extremist”.

Norman referred to several pieces of legislation which are the result of the government over-riding democratic process: restricting protests against mining at sea; the government’s abolition of the regional council in Canterbury; and this:

He pointed to the passing of urgent legislation which prevented most carers of disabled family members from getting paid, and removed their ability to challenge the law in court.

The bill was passed into law a day after being introduced and with official advice heavily censored.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the Greens’ annual conference this weekend.  It is being conducted away from the MSM spotlight, in order to enable members to speak openly.  The Green Party has always foregrounded democratic process as a foundation of the party.



34 comments on “Green Party for democracy”

  1. Macro 1

    I have been a voter for around 20 elections and have therefore witnessed at least 20 different governments as an adult. I have to say that apart from perhaps the Muldoon govt and the immediate Lange Govt (in which Prebble, Douglas et al held sway) this crowd have to be the most abusive of power that I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Indeed I would say that they outstrip even Muldoon; for theirs is not just a desire to control – but the blatant cronyism, the dishonesty, the greed, the complete disregard for the democratic process, the graft, not to mention blatant theft, makes them the most despicable of all. How ANYONE, who is not a direct recipient of their greed, can continue to support them, is beyond comprehension.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      No, its not beyond comprehension. There’s a class of people who follow, who mimic their betters, and during the ever increasing oil surplus after the oil scare of the 70s, they were rewarded for their compliance to the Tory paradigm, loose monetary policy, banks rising leveraging ratios (banks printing money essentially), deregulation, regulatory capture, etc, all looked good because growth kept coming. But here’s the thing, the growth was going to come anyway, all the policies of the Tories was to funnel it, inhibit it (trickle down was all many were to get), and hand it over to a few global oligarchs. And there’s the rub, all these right of center voters, zombie voters if you will, have created a monster that they now have to consciously disown, yet they’ve spent their rational facilities on blindly supporting their own impoverishment, housing bubble, leak homes, regulation that incentives building a few large homes than lots of quite warm adequate small homes are in heavy demand. Its distortion capitalism gone mad, incapable of revising itself and heading for the cliff.
      So the answer is for voters to be led to the executioner either kicking and screaming (housing collapse) or by electing a rational government who will remove the distorting processes (regulation and laws, and introduce a CGT etc) and let the bubble deflate with some stability.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Jeremy Grantham, founder and investment strategist for hedge fund GMO, said that between 1902 and 2002 commondity, materials and energy prices collapsed by a real 75% – a huge boost for anyone trying to get rich during that time frame. People could look damn clever getting rich, without acknowledging that they were riding a much bigger wave.

        But between 2002 and 2010, that entire 100 years of commodity price deflation was reversed in just 8 years.

        His view – we have hit a one in a million turning point, a secular change in the availability and pricing of raw materials and energy.

        Next 50 years is going to be very very interesting, and not necessarily in a good way.

      • Macro 1.1.2

        Yes I understand all you say aero. But actually I wasn’t talking about that……
        I was commenting on the abuse of power and the collapse of the democratic process, referred to in Karol’s post above, and I was also noting that not only was this Government abusing the process for their own ends and that of their mates, it was corrupt in other ways as well. It’s all very well for voters to support a Party because that is where they think their interest lies, but it is another matter for them to continually turn a blind eye to obvious corruption, blatant cronyism, and greed.

        • aerobubble

          The lazy governing practices of our current administration is the culmination of thirty years of zombies voting for these idiot who believe all they need do is spin whatever policy they think in their tiny minds is the best. Unfortunately this both ignores the parliamentary process of consensus building and builds policy in a ever tightening list of neo-liberal assumptions that turns free market thinking on its head, i.e. intervention of govt to support casinos and leave miners high on exhaust fumes, etc, etc. Its precisely because they’ve had it so easy, that zombies kept selecting them for their ability to spin rather than to perform, that they can’t understand, don’t need, don’t care for government, governance, or consequence of poorly thought through policies. Take Judith Collins and her support for terrorism, her new objectionable legislation will make it illegal to depict the prophet, Muslims globally are in awe of her trashing our free speech liberties.

    • asd 1.2

      Everything you said is why I can’t fathom why the polls are not responding more heavily against National than they should be for their continual terrible behaviour. My only guess is that once Shearer is gone and replaced with a stronger alternative the slide and the tide against National will accelerate until Labour/Greens win either the next election or the one after it.

      • aerobubble 1.2.1

        One thought was that the new power policy left many who were asked did they feel the country was finally heading in the right direction more likely to leave the election question, as they know who they were going to switch to, but just had less buy in right now the good news of lower power prices…

  2. fambo 2

    Yes, if anyone who is not well acquainted with the Greens investigated its party structure, it would find that the democratic political processes are paramount when it comes to keeping the party going and coming up with policies. This can be a weakness politically in that the public tends to latch on to personalities more easily than a party, but it gives long term strength in that it gives more stability over the longer term and personalities are not able to over-ride policies. However, I believe there is a place for personality in politics as human beings are emotional beings so some balance is required.

  3. Yes 3

    I feel you are mis-guided by the former communist Russel Norman. national have taken austerity measures which i wont deny.

    Russel is taking Labour over by stealth I CANT BELIEVE YOU GUYS CAN NOT SEE THIS.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      Feeble. You need better lies.

    • Grumpy 3.2

      News flash!!!

      Ex Aussie Communist Party illuminati goes “democratic” – Tui billboard designer “interested”.

      • Te Reo Putake 3.2.1

        Norman was in the Democratic Socialist Party, not the CP. It’s a Trotskyist organisation not a communist one. Funnily enough, they cancelled my candidate membership because I advocated working with Labor and the leadership of the time actually considered social democracy to be a greater evil than neo liberalism, so I was swiftly culled.

        So, big ups to Russel Norman for leaving that blinkered perspective behind. He’ll be an excellent Minister in the next government.

        • Grumpy

          Left it behind?? Yah reckon??

        • Jenny

          So, big ups to Russel Norman for leaving that blinkered perspective behind. He’ll be an excellent Minister in the next government.

          Te Reo Putake

          If Norman is to become a Minister in the next government, it will come at a cost.

          That cost will be the Green Party’s advocacy for the environment. In particular their advocacy for action against climate change.

          As you well know TRP, Labour are fully in support of coal mining the Denniston Plateau. Labour, also support Deep Sea Oil exploration drilling. (the same sort of drilling that led to the Deep Water Horizon disaster). As well as this, Labour also conditionally support Fracking. And until recently Labour championed the completely crazy coal to diesel scheme. A scheme that was launched under a Labour administration. This Labour Party supported, boondoggle on the edge of fantasy, as well as being extremely damaging to the climate, almost broke Solid Energy.

          The Labour Party will not bend on Denniston, or Deep Sea Oil Drilling, or even Fracking, as a condition of coalition with the Greens.

          For Norman to become a Minister in a Labour led administration, the Green Party will have to swallow these poisonousness climate changing dead rats.

          As members of the government Green MPs will not be allowed to put up bills opposing government policy. Effectively, this will end the Green Party’s opposition to climate change in parliament, for at least the next three years, (maybe even longer).

          Personally I think this cost is too high. And in my opinion could even, eventually see the end of the Green Party as a political force.

          The Green Party choice couldn’t be clearer.

          Adopt the Maori Party strategy that, “It is better to have a seat at the table”. Or, the Mana Party strategy that it is better to advocate for what you want to achieve in parliament outside of government.

          Which strategy has been more effective?

          I leave it to the readers to decide what strategy works best. But as is being proved daily by the Maori Party. And was proved earlier by the Alliance Party. Trading principal for Ministerial positions, rang their death knell.

    • Naturesong 3.3

      Please explain; Russel Norman and stealth in the same sentence is a bit of a non sequitur.

      And when you say “communism” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism), are you actually aware of Dr Norman’s history?

      He has tied his colours publicly and consistently to the mast of Social Democracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy). Centre left for those keeping score.

      Other ideas you may find useful;

      And a quote from one of the coolest people ever;

      Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

    • weka 3.4

      “I feel you are mis-guided by the former communist Russel Norman.”

      Ae, that needs a citation.

      “Russel is taking Labour over by stealth I CANT BELIEVE YOU GUYS CAN NOT SEE THIS.”

      He’s not even a member of the Labour party. Where is this stealth influence you speak of? I think what you mean is that Norman and the GP are talking over Labour policy and thus votes, and I’m pretty sure that most Labour people are well aware of this. The problem is that some don’t seem to care (and I’m not talking about ts commenters and authors).

      • Yes 3.4.1

        he sees Shearer as weak – easy take over – it is a simple plan used a 100 times before.

        See my argument has always been – if labour want to get my vote again (which I have done before) – I want to know what labour stands for not labour/Green – I have no idea who I am following.

        Guys before you abuse me – please just think about what I am saying.

        I want one leader to follow – not 2 and a committee.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          The wingnuts must feel genuinely threatened. Watching them squirm makes good sport, despite the limited imagination on display.

          • Yes

            who are the wingnuts? excuse my lack of understanding on some of the coined phrases on here about people.

            Democracy is important – all I am saying is that the Greens are working very hard to take over the left side of nz voters – attack the middle ground of the labour voters andinflict some damage on the nats.

            they are doing a very good job.

            Its strategic planning 101 and I just want labour to get shot of them – stand on its own to feet and give us some good policies.

            I like that labour defends the poor and trodden – but it will only labour who will be poor and trodden if greens are allowed to continue their march into headlines, policies and fighting for the lost causes.

            maybe I am fighting a lost cause – but at least here is my statement – greens are beating labour at every post – 33% poll vote is vulnerable – if labour got their act together they will get at least 40% – and regained the left wing vote or younger voters who are sitting the green 10 or 15%

            here is a brave move – david asks norman that greens now come under the labour umbrella, even the maori party and mana party.

            If Russell is a good man and cares about the country and democracy – he would say YES.

            bet you he wont

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              It’s a contraction of ‘right wing nut job’.

              My expectation is that the Devil Beast will win the next election, and all the cry-baby pants-wetting wingnuts will look like complete tools when Labour/Green form a perfectly stable government that delivers better results than the incompetent troughers we’ve got at the moment.

            • karol

              Yes, you are dreaming. The answer to the Labour caucuses current weak state is not to co-opt other parties that are in a healthier position.

              Of course the Greens are trying to increase their vote, as does any political party. If they are picking up left votes, it’s because the Labour Caucus have deserted the low income battlers, in their attempt to court the centrist voters.

              I have voted Green in recent years, and would be appalled if the Greens put themselves under Labour’s umbrella, especially given the current state of the Labour caucus. A smallish party does better staying independent. Look what has happened to the likes of the Maori Party when they cosy up to a bigger party. Staying independent gives the Greens more potential to develop clear left wing policies.

              It’s up to the Labour Caucus to get itself in order, rather than to try to hi-jack the Greens or any other smaller party.

              • Yes

                Thanks Karol..while I might be dreaming..at least you agree that labour needs to be dominate and get back to it’s traditional base. Maybe my posts aren’t in vain

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Vain? Yep.

                • karol

                  I don’t care which truly left party is dominant, or even if two are fairly equally dominant. Right now, the Labour caucus leadership has lost it’s way. Any party needs to be clear about its values and related policies, however big (or small) they are.

                  • Yes

                    But why can’t labour ditch greens and be alone. Greens are taking over

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You might as well ask why Key has kept John Banks around.

                    • Tim

                      @ Yes
                      Does it really matter IF Greens are taking over – as long as they represent a democratic ‘left’?
                      Unless there is some of their policies you object to that are of such an overriding force that negates their positives, what’s in a name? – or is it just that you don’t like Norman (or some other personality). As you say – you want one leader to follow.
                      Personally I rather have a committee that’s representative of an electorate than one leader that sheeple ‘follow’.
                      I’ve given up on voting for Labour given their recent record. Under the current circumstances, IF I voted Labour, it would be for sentimental reasons only in a vain hope that one day they might wake up and return to their roots and principles. Meantime I’m running out of life waiting.

                      And does it matter if there has to be some sort of accommodation between parties in order to achieve that ‘better deal’ we all strive for? It is, after all an MMP environment.
                      I’m not voting Labour because they’ve quite simply lost their way, and a few over-ambitious self-interested people have managed to hijack the party. Others are showing more signs of stepping up to the plate to fill that vacuum.

    • bad12 3.5

      Oh my god, you have just opened my eyes to the evil Doctor Norman’s plan, having voted for the nice Green Party on the basis of saving the planet i honestly am at a loss of what to do,

      Please help me with advice as even tho you give every indication of being some form of really fucked up retard you must be super-intelligent to have uncovered the devious plot by the Doctor…

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Ahhh back to the Reds Under the Bed and the Dancing Cossack ads

  5. Cant remember my last username 5

    If the green party ever got into sole power, I wonder how long it would take for them to lose all democratic principles and initiate a secret police to keep the ‘naive’ populace in line with the revolution?

    Given how strongly the population rebelled vs. Labours ‘mini ‘nanny state they would have kittens with what the Green’s would ultimately introduce

    • karol 5.1

      LOL. More spin lines from the right. It’s interesting that they are trying to smear the Greens as undemocratic left, when some Labour/left supporters have spent a lot of time on this site, in the last year or so, saying how “blue” and centrist or right wing the Green Party is.

      The NAct government’s record is now one of having made a long string of substantial attacks on democracy, in terms of over-riding democratic democratic process, and restricting citizens and workers’ rights. I just don’t know how right wingers can keep a straight face when attacking Clark’s alleged “nanny state” and the Greens as potentially being dictatorial.

      We already have a pretty radical right-wing Daddy state.

      • kiwicommie 5.1.1

        They want to divide and destroy the center and center-left, by encouraging suspicion and distrust between Labour, the Greens and other opposition parties. Divide and conquer strategy.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      You must be really worried about National’s snooping enabling legislation then.

  6. Holly Walker – Green Party Housing Spokesperson did a very good job yesterday, and I would like to publicly thank her for presenting the following petition:


    Petition of Penelope Mary Bright

    Requesting that Parliament declines to proceed with the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill until the lawfulness of the reliance of Auckland Council on the New Zealand Department of Statistics”high”population growth projections, instead of their “medium” population growth projections for the Auckland Spatial Plan, has been properly and independently investigated, taking into consideration that both Auckland Transport and Watercare Services Ltd, have relied upon “medium” population growth projections for their infrastructural asset management plans.

    Petition number: 2011/64
    Presented by: Holly Walker
    Date presented: 30 May 2013
    Referred to: Social Services Committee


    EVIDENCE proving the reliance of Auckland Council on the New Zealand Department of Statistics”high”population growth projections, instead of their “medium” population growth projections for the Auckland Spatial Plan can be found HERE:


    PS: I DID manage to get a submission in on this Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill, and it is my intention to address the Social Services Select Committee in person.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption/ anti-privatisation campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

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    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
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  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
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  • MSD and their investment approach
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
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  • Certainty needed for community services
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
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    GreensBy Jan Logie
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