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Pick up the ball

Written By: - Date published: 10:53 am, September 28th, 2014 - 30 comments
Categories: climate change, election 2014, energy, mana, peak oil, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Yes the Left have taken a drubbing, but never mind, time to pick ourselves up off the floor, patch up our wound pride, dust ourselves off, cast around for our friends and allies, and re-enter the fray.

Lots of work for us to do, no more time for the factional fighting that has proven so destructive for the Left.

In the spirit of new badly needed Left Unity…..

The Left opposition needs to start setting the agenda

First up: Hone Harawira’s ‘Feed The Kids’ bill. This bill to address childhood poverty is still live on the floor of parliament and is likely to be one of the first things on the order paper.

With the departure of Harawira from parliament, this bill will have to be lobbied and fought for by the other parties of the Left and Centre, NZ First, Labour, The Green and Maori Party, and if possible United Future.

The government will counter that there is no money for such a program, however within a short time will announce New Zealand’s support for the endless war in the Middle East. The link needs to be made between the fact that there is never any shortage of money and treasure for war, but never any money to feed hungry children, or lift them out of poverty. On behalf of the 100,000 children that struggle to learn on an empty stomach, it is incumbent on Te Ururoa Flavell to pick up this dropped Taiaha, and spearhead this campaign in parliament.

Second up: For the second time the government is again bailing out the technically insolvent Solid Energy, this week the government announced another $103 million bail out on top of the $150million the government gave them last year.

It is not often I agree with the Taxpayer’s Union, but I find myself agreeing with them this time, when the Executive Director of the TU, Jordan Williams says that all parties need to commit to abolishing New Zealand’s culture of corporate “Corporate Welfare”.

But more than just being an act of corporate welfare this is also a chilling climate crime.

Despite the huge continual endless bailing out of Solid Energy, the continuing stream of heartless redundancies of mine workers with little compensation, show that the time has well past for the government hear the call made by Gareth Hughes last year, that this money would be better spent paying for a just transition to jobs that don’t fry the planet.

Coal is not going to be the fuel of our future if we are to stabilise our climate.

“New Zealanders and Solid Energy workers need a just transition into more sustainable jobs – jobs that don’t fry the planet.”
Gareth Hughes October 1, 2013

Thirdly: And on Thursday the government announced another $8 million of the public’s money will be given to help make it easier for people to invest in oil and gas exploration. No doubt this other piece of corporate welfare will have been written at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, worried at the growing international fossil fuel divestment movement.

This subsidy of the oil company investors using tax payers money is an open slap in the face to the international divestment campaign.

Business As Usual needs to be opposed

As John Key declares, “Business As Usual”.

In response, the combined Left need to make a big showing at the March to Stop Deep Sea Oil

If you are in Auckland on Tuesday Midday, take time to join the march leaving from the Britomart Centre 12.00 up to the Sky City where the National Petroleum Industry is holding their conference.

The Norwegian oil giant Statoil, the same company who is threatening to drill for deep sea oil off the coast of Northland (and the Arctic) are partly funding this conference. Together we will tell Statoil and the oil industry that we want clean energy not dirty deep sea oil.

At the same time this conference is being held in Auckland World leaders are meeting in New York for a conference on climate change. Unfortunately for us, New Zealand will be embarrassed before the world by being represented at this conference by the National Government.

The point needs to be made, (here and in New York), that by massively subsidising the coal industry and actively opposing the international divestment movement, New Zealand, from being a world leader on environmental and peace issues, has on climate change, become a world scab for the fossil fuel industry.

Pat O’Dea

Mana Movement climate change spokesperson


30 comments on “Pick up the ball ”

  1. Rosie 1

    Kia Ora Pat. Nice post 🙂

    Re Peter Dunne supporting the Feed the Kids bill, he won’t. Last year when it looked like Hone’s bill was coming up and there was talk of Dunne supporting it he made clear his position.

    Here in Wellington there was quite a focus on the Bill on Radio Active, with several interviews with Deborah Morris Thingo, formerly with Every Child Counts (and who is now with Unicef). Listeners were contacting Dunne to encourage him to get him on side, to no avail.

    Dunnes former flunky, Pete George asked him about it and this is what he had to say (distilled into NO for those of you not feeling like reading it)


    It will up to the Left to put up a fight for the kids. Dunne can’t be relied upon or even trusted. When the time does come, People’s Power Ohariu have a stash of placards ready go, to put up around the neighbourhood that read “Hey Peter! Voting no on feed the kids?” (We were all ready to go with them last year and then the Bill was put on the back burner)

    And “NZ, world scab for the fossil fuel industry” – Line of the day!

  2. Bill 2

    My tuppence worth is that people could do far worse than view policies first and foremost in terms of global warming and then demand politicians justify their various policies against that unfolding reality.

    I know it doesn’t apply to every policy, but it applies to a hell of a lot of them…anything that is punted out 20 or 30 years (retirement policies, savings policies etc)… as well as the more obvious policies relating to fossil fuel exploration/extraction.

    In other words, I’m suggesting we change the frames of reference politicians are allowed to operate within. Unity of purpose then, if not organisational unity.

  3. Dialey 3

    Climate change is a civilisational wake-up call – of fire, flood, drought and extinction – a call for an entirely new economic model and way of sharing the planet. (Naomi Klein)

    • Bill 3.1


      So the question becomes one of how to divorce politicians from their current economic management roles. Only way I can see is to constantly highlight the fact that current economic arrangements won’t persist in the face of AGW – to call bullshit on them, and then throw the wording of the commitments they’ve signed up to on AGW at them at every turn. (eg the Copenhagen Accord)

      Make them explain and justify. (They won’t be able to)

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        But politicians have long been divorced from their economic management roles via the dogma of central bank independence and economic/monetary orthodoxy.

        • Bill

          CV – you know damned fine well what I mean.

          Yes, a lot of control was passed onto international and unelected people via so called ‘independence’ for central banks etc. But they still defend and promote neo-classical economic hegemony. And they still endeavour to ensure society structurally accommodates market economics (neo-classical or otherwise).

          • Colonial Viper

            OK. I look at the example of the UK, Greece, Spain, USA. Your points have been made again and again by economists, NGOs, civil society groups – against austerity, against the XL tar sands pipeline, against the wealthy becoming richer while everyone else gets poorer, against the persecution of whistleblowers, against the fracking of land against landowners wishes.

            And still, what do the power elite do in the face of protests, riots, Occupy (the latest being in HK where peaceful students protestors were tear gassed for no legitimate reason of law enforcement), legal action, widespread public dissatisfaction with mass surveillance.

            They ignore us and continue with their agenda. Look at the Australian government – and senate – and the Australian Labour Party – pushing through sweeping nearly unlimited post-Weimar style surveillance state powers even after all the Snowden and Greenwald revelations – legislation that I have no doubt was drafted in direct co-ordination with other FVEY countries especially the USA.

            None of this is a reason not to act; if anything, it increases the moral imperative for each of us to get involved and resist peacefully and bring many others with us. Our leaders need to be held to account for their actions against the 99%. But its coming to the frightening situation now that people in western nations are (more clearly than ever) no longer in control of their democracies. And I’m really unsure who is. Probably a shadowy group of corporate elite and their paid lackeys who rarely ever make the public media, the 0.1%.

      • Tom Jackson 3.1.2

        No. The answer is that you can’t be a democrat and get anything done. You would be better off getting wealthy people and companies who have something to lose from climate change to bribe politicians to do something about it. Electoral politics is a non-starter.

        • adam

          Tom are you being glib? Do you not see what the wealthy and the corporations are doing? The wealthy and the companies are the problem. And yes we are past the point where by the electoral process can do anything – they have that, brought and paid for.

    • Gosman 3.2

      The proposed solutions from many on the left aren’t new. They are just variations of big government socialism. That is likely why they haven’t been implemented.

  4. blue leopard 4

    Great to see someone from Mana writing a post on the Standard, thank you, Pat O’Dea.

    It would be heartening to see the ‘Feed the Kids’ bill picked up by other parties.

    Countering ‘unaffordability’ thinking by pointing out what we are currently (or soon to be) spending money on is a good plan. This highlights our priorities and encourages us to redress them.

  5. Gonzo 5

    I fed my kids. my parents fed their kids, my grandparents before them fed their kids. Down through the generations all the adults in our family have gone without some things in order that the kids be fed.
    Why the hell should I now have to feed someone else’s kids because a group of self entitled refuse to make the necessary adjustments to their own lives to be able to feed their kids?

    • greywarbler 5.2

      @ Gonzo
      My grandfather went to war, my father went to war, just so you could be on the planet and have kids. He and a lot of people died for you. Why now shouldn’t you pass some of that concern and support for others that you were given, onto others.

      (And if you are an old forces man, you would want to make that fighting and killing and dying stand for something other than a passing hell and armaments rotting away.)

      So don’t harden your arteries, and have a heart attack, as you will expect us to save your life. Some people are always wanting stuff from others.

      • Gosman 5.2.1

        Your grandfather and father are unlikely to have gone to war so as to ensure some unrelated person not yet born in NZ could have kids. Even if they did think that both the second world war and especially the first would not likely have stopped NZers getting on with our lives even if the side we were on lost.

    • Murray Olsen 5.3

      Gonzo, when as a nation we decide we don’t want any of our children going hungry, why should you be excused duty? On what grounds is your conscientious objection based?

  6. Yoyo 6

    Are there any kids seriously hungry because of poverty, or do their parents just have other priorities. I would be skinny as a rake before I sent my kid to school without breakfast and yet the parents tend to be huuuuge. If I didn’t have an emergency fund I would not overeat myself and save the food money until I had one, because I feel that to ever leave yourself in a position where your kids might not have food is neglect. Apart from those who are sick, all many of them need to do is cut out the booze, sky fags, gambling, debt from loan sharks and over-eating themselves and they’ll be able to feed their kids. The debate should be over shoes and clothes – I’d be prepared to fund that if they couldn’t afford it, but not being able to feed your kids in my opinion is a joke – I think they can afford to feed their kids, it’s just not a priority for them.

    • Murray Olsen 6.1

      I have never seen so much ugly dog whistle bullshit rolled into one post. I don’t give a toss about your self-satisfied opinions and sense of superiority. You sound like the sort that would piss in soup you didn’t want rather than see a hungry person eat it. You’d justify it by saying you had no desire to encourage dependency.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        Well said Murray. Yoyo is full to the brim with hate, and small wonder when the government goes out of its way to encourage it.

  7. alwyn 7

    You say that
    “Hone Harawira’s ‘Feed The Kids’ bill. This bill to address childhood poverty is still live on the floor of parliament and is likely to be one of the first things on the order paper.”

    Not according to the Parliamentary website it isn’t. It has lapsed.
    According to them, in their material about Parliament having been dissolved

    “What happens to business before the House and select committees?
    All business before the House and its committees will lapse when the 50th Parliament ends on 14 August. These items of business may be reinstated by the new Parliament when it meets, resuming at the point they had reached at dissolution.”

    Thus the bill is not live, and it will depend on the new Parliament whether it is reinstated. See the word “may” in the comment. Presumably someone in one of the opposition parties will try to take it over, now that neither Hone nor his party will be there any longer.

    • Pat O'Dea 7.1

      Presumably someone in one of the opposition parties will try to take it over, now that neither Hone nor his party will be there any longer.


      Indeed, and therein lies the challenge.

      Will any of the other opposition parties pick it up?

      Will they champion it?

      Will they lobby Peter Dunne and any Left(ish) Nats to at least get it to its first reading so as the merits or not of this measure can be properly debated in the house?

      Will public sumissions be allowed to be heard?

  8. philj 8

    The new ‘tunnel’ (really a covered trench) to create a memorial park to commemorate Gallipoli cost 124 million dollars. Can’t afford to feed the kids or to have a non commercial public tv channel. Priorities are seriously out of whack. And 12 bilion for motorways.

  9. Zolan 9

    For a long time I’ve felt that relentless reporting on Corporate Welfare could be a foundational meme that is easy for anyone to understand and scorn as well as setting the stage for more specific debates.
    Highlighting where the money goes, the opportunity cost, and the active choice in what’s “unaffordable” etc.


    “Feed the Kids” should be a no-brainer for the left and moderates, and it would be an outrage if Labour and Greens at least don’t champion it. It would be politically astute for the Maori Party to do so as well, before cynical opinions of them harden further.

  10. adam 10

    Pat I disagree on you call about left wing unity. I really do – I think the left has been working quite well together – yes we argue, and sometimes we throw a hissy fit. But the left is working fine.

    It’s the wolves in sheeps clothing, that was the problem. The labour-rights who deliberately use pathos and other tactics to disguise their hard core cupidity. The very fact they support capitalism untethered, makes them right wing. They have, for some time, been able to pull the wool over one’s eyes. Those days are over.

    So back to my point, I think the left have woken up to that and we are, and have been working together. Indeed, great posts like your Pat, and the comments that follow – just prove that point.

    • boldsirbrian 10.1

      @ adam (10)

      “It’s the wolves in sheeps clothing, that was the problem. The labour-rights who deliberately use pathos and other tactics to disguise their hard core cupidity. The very fact they support capitalism untethered, makes them right wing. They have, for some time, been able to pull the wool over one’s eyes. Those days are over. “

      Enlightenment: Zilch

      A few links to support the hatred would be a little helpful.

      (Or perhaps you are National Supporter, trying to fill the Standard up with Whaleoil like comments to “prove” that the blog is “as bad as Whaleoil” and “everybody does it”)

      I can think of a few policies that I’m concerned about. eg marching into the TPPA. Are supporters of this the evil “Right”? If they are, I would like to disagree with them vigorously on this policy. But reserve my right to agree with them on other policies.

      It’s a glass half full / glass half empty type of situation. In my mind, better to enjoy what is shared, rather than spending the same effort on how to amputate the differences.

  11. Gosman 11

    I’m curious what policies do people think National has a mandate to implement given it is obvious from this post that some believe the left should try and get left wing policies adopted in the next three years despite the Left losing badly at the last election?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      National didn’t campaign on policy, and how many times will it take you to get it into your head that people don’t vote for entire policy packages? National has a mandate to govern and little else.

      In fact, given that Bill English said the plan is to carry on exactly as before, they have a mandate to make no legislative changes whatsoever.

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