The Greens: Party democracy and parliamentary politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, June 9th, 2013 - 106 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, democratic participation, greens, local government, national/act government, russel norman, same old national, spin - Tags: ,

Yesterday The NZ Herald’s John Armstrong followed the Lusk plan in attacking The Green Party: he picked up and ran with accusations made by “right wing bloggers”.  In his attack on recent changes to remit procedures at the party’s annual conferences, Armstrong used as much spin-and emotion-laden language as he claimed the Greens’ Russel Norman had been using when critiquing key’s anti-democratic government.  A more balanced account of the Green Party rule change was reported by Isaac Davison in yesterday’s Herald.

The Green Party rule change does raise some issues about the possibilities for bottom-up democracy, within a parliamentary system that is pretty much organised on a top-down basis.  This is something worth discussing, without the right wing and  anti-Green spin that is used by Armstrong.

In his piece, Armstrong presented the highly flawed argument that the rule changes were equivalent to the raft of anti-democratic processes enacted by our present National-led government:

It therefore took some gall for Russel Norman to use the conference as a platform to tear strips off the Prime Minister for being increasingly undemocratic and even Muldoonist in his actions, when the endorsement of another item on the conference agenda stripped away rights from the Greens’ grassroots membership and reinforced the already heavy clout of those in the party’s hierarchy.

So much for democracy. Not that too many at the conference seemed to mind. By all accounts, the motion to streamline the party’s antiquated remit system easily obtained the required 75 per cent backing to effect a change to the party’s standing orders.

Get that?!  A rule change that won a vote by the party membership with well over 75% for the change, is equated with the following:  the NAct government’s on-going excessive amount of abuse of urgency in the house; over-riding local democracy in Canterbury and Auckland; changing the GCSB in support of foreign commercial interests; making democratic protests illegal around some mining areas; taking away the democratic rights of family carers of disabled people…. and on it goes.

A more balanced article was published by Davison.  He gives both sides to the issue about the rule change.  It now means that for remits to reach the floor of the annual conferences, a local branch must get the agreement from 2 other branches, including one from another region.  Previously a remit had required only 12 signatures.  The argument against this remit goes:

One party source said the effect of the rule change would be to wipe out any debate on grassroots-sponsored remits at the Greens’ conferences.

The requirement that the backers of any remit would have to get the endorsement of a branch in another region would require driving hundreds of kilometres around the country to lobby other members.

“It wouldn’t be worth the effort,” one party member said.

The argument for the remit, which apparently got about 80% support, goes thus:

Party co-convener Georgina Morrison said that there was some contention about the amendment, which the party felt was “normal and healthy”.

She said the party was always working to be more professional and to have high-quality remits, but any important grassroots proposals would not be censored from the party’s annual meeting.

If issues raised by the party’s local branches were not dealt with at the annual meeting, they could be raised at other party meetings.

The article reports that one green member was suspicious this change was done in anticipation of a Green-Labour government:

One Greens member was suspicious about the timing of the rule change, believing it had been done before next year’s election to stifle any internal criticism of the Greens’ performance in any subsequent coalition with Labour.

Ms Morrison dismissed this as “absolutely ridiculous”, and said the Greens were already planning how their executive and MPs would continue to remain engaged with members as the party grew larger, or if it entered Government.

“We want to take the membership with us.”

Remits debated at the annual meeting influenced how the party was run, but did not determine Greens’ policy.

This does raise an important issue about the difficulties a smaller party has in negotiating with a larger one within a government alliance.  Along with that come crucial questions about the role of the flax roots in determining caucus policies.  The caucus needs some flexibility in negotiating with another party, and in the heat of parliamentary politics, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly.

The Green Party is in a tricky position.  It values bottom-up democracy, but we have a parliamentary “democracy” that often works against that.  Nevertheless, at least with the Greens and Labour such parties, such debates are given some public airing, unlike the secrecy with which the National Party conducts its party procedures.

106 comments on “The Greens: Party democracy and parliamentary politics ”

  1. Jane 1

    Was it over 75% of all party members that supported it or 75+% of those that were attending the conference?

    • outofbed 1.1

      That would be the delegates selected by the members to represent their views.
      It was not a major change
      Nothing to see here

  2. KJT 2

    All that has changed is some administrative process.

    Unlike all other NZ political parties, the formation of policy, and the choice of leaders and MP’s remains democratic and bottom up.

    And. Also, unlike other NZ political parties, and decisions of parliament, if Green party members decide it is not working as planned, they can soon decide to change it. same as we can change out leaders that do not follow policy set by members.

    Greens. Policy formation. decided by all members.
    Labour. Policy formation. Caucus.
    National. Policy formation. Party funders, including US RWNJ..
    UF. Policy formation. Dunne.
    NZF. Policy formation. Peters?

    Greens. Party list and leaders. Decided by all members.
    Labour. Party list and leaders. caucus.
    National. Party list and leaders. Party funders, including US RWNJ..

    It is easy to see that the Greens remain a democratic party, unlike any of the others.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      All that has changed is some administrative process.

      Putting more time demands and overhead on members to make their voice heard.

      • A little more, perhaps, and only if they want their voice heard at the most high-profile meeting. They can always just make friends in other branches and email each other about their remits.

    • Wayne 2.2

      KJT, try and be balanced, and actually look at the National Party constitution. Do really you believe that Simon Lusk really controls the National Party. No one I know in the National Party would give any credence to that, and I am in a position to know.

      I know that that people in political parties like to mock other parties, but you did look like you were trying to make a serious comment about parties and internal democracy.

      I might just as well refer to the Greens and Morris dancing – but I know the Greens have moved on from that.

      • KJT never mentioned anything about Simon Lusk. And unlike the Greens and morris-dancing, there is actually a party faction that would like to sell policy to US interests, and as we have no visibility of how the National Party makes policy, there is no guarantee that isn’t already happening.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.2.2

        Dr. Mapp; pull the other one. KJT doesn’t assert that Lusk controls the party. He asserts that its clients make its policies.

        Lusk’s manifesto whines about MPs failing to obey clients’ wishes, which tends to undermine the proposition that clients make policy. On the other hand Sky City, Charter Schools, the Hobbit deal, deregulation/underfunding/Devoyding of regulatory bodies, and the ongoing assault on human rights, especially in the workplace.

        Lusk’s preferred policy settings are more naturally suited to ACT, but he knows that would make his creatures unelectable, so he has to attach them to the National Party, where they value his shrewd counsel. That’s influence, not control.

        • Wayne 2.2.2.1

          But how much influence does Simon Lusk really have? I suggest not much. And as you know I think the Greens are having to work pretty hard to show that the Nats are hard right wingers, at least if the near universal reaction to Russell Norman’s speech is anything to go by.

          Much of Russell’s complaint is about process rather than outcome. But any Govt constantly gets people and companies putting forward various propositions.

          For instance it is hardly surprising that oil companies might say to Govt (actually any Govt) that it is too risky to have protestors within 500m of an operating oil rig or a moving survey ship. I imagine they actually said a greater distance. At sea, 500m seems much shorter than the same distance on land, and in my view is hardly a constraint to lawful protest at sea (as oppossed to protest that seeks to stop the activity, but then such protests are unlawful). Of course on land 500m would be an unreasonable restriction. For instance at Waihopai protestors can go right up to the fence to make their point. And not forgetting the unreasonable restrictions on the protests against the Chinese President in 1999.

          By the way, who else had $400 million for a convention centre? Commonsense says no one. I note that pretty much that same deal was done in South Australia (under a Labor Govt I think).

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.2.2.1.1

            We’ll never know who else had $400M for the convention centre, because the other bidders were never asked what they’d pay for a law change that affected their bottom line.

            The attempt to curtail freedom of expression at sea will doubtless be challenged in court.

            As for Lusk, I think the recent kerfuffle was very much about seeking to limit his influence, but Collins was the intended target.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2.1.2

            By the who else had $400 million for a convention centre?

            The government. We know this because the arseholes are spending $400m of our money on an irrigation system for farmers.

          • ghostrider888 2.2.2.1.3

            Petrostates (look them up).

          • karol 2.2.2.1.4

            Much of Russell’s complaint is about process rather than outcome.

            Isn’t democracy largely about process?

            is it possible to have a democratic outcome from an undemocratic process?

            And how many Kiwis, especially Aucklanders, really put the SkyCity Conference Centre deal & its pokies as something of benefit to them?

          • Shaz 2.2.2.1.5

            Wayne,
            Your comment above.
            “By the way, who else had $400 million for a convention centre? Commonsense says no one”

            I’ve heard this before from another National Party member – almost the exact same words. Dressing up a false tender process by hinting that anyone but a fool could see this was only ever going to go one way – Sky City’s – is a rather ugly sort of Realpolitick. Is this really what this National Government’s legacy will be to NZ?

            It’s a serious question.

            I would argue that if the real situation were known to other tenderers ie. Invest up front and reap the rewards in terms of law changes, access to SOE property and 40 year guarantees of business continuity then I daresay (sadly) that other tenderers would have adjusted their bids accordingly.

            • Wayne 2.2.2.1.5.1

              But only Sky City could actually benefit this way; ie pay $400 million but get an extension of their gaming licence (which would have happened anyway). I can not believe that a Labour/Green Govt would pass legislation to completely outlaw casinos, which is about the only way to terminate Sky City.

              No one else had anything that they were doing that could conceivably have them come up with $400 million.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                That’s entirely dependent on which legislation the National Party was prepared to sell. Are you saying Lloyd Morrison wouldn’t have stumped up $400M in exchange for some changes in investment banking regulations?

              • Shaz

                So the tender process was a sham, a fig leaf to provide cover for an agreement advocated by Sky City and pre-agreed to by government to change the law, provide lengthy licences and guarantees for compensation in case of future law change and that sits well with you because it makes common sense.

                I ask because above you have agreed (above) that it is fair to say that democracy is about process.

    • Rich 2.3

      Excellent.

      (To be fair to Dunne, his party list, leadership and policy formation are all decided by the sole party member, the Right Honorable Peter Dunne).

    • The Fan Club 2.4

      Oh look for heaven’s sake. The next Labour leader will be elected by members, MPs, and the affiliated unions. The policy process in the NZLP is a partnership between caucus and the r&f, with a heavy tilt towards the r&f. Get your facts right, eh?

      On the other hand, the Greens remain a party so weak in on-the-ground volunteers they had to pay people to collect signatures! I mean, for reals, this is laughable.

      • weka 2.4.1

        How many members does Labour have? How many members do the Greens have?

        How many signatures did Labour get? How many did the GP get?

        Spin it all you like, but the GP are just better at some kinds of organising than Labour (and vice versa I’m sure). Don’t know why you have to be such an arsehole about it.

        • The Fan Club 2.4.1.1

          So, in other words, the Greens are better at the kind of organising that involves paying people money? I’m more than happy to acknowledge that.

          • weka 2.4.1.1.1

            No, and I’m sure you know this already and are just being an arse, the GP organise well to suit their memberhip base and what they are trying to achieve.

            How many members does Labour have? How many members do the Greens have?

            How many signatures did Labour get? How many did the GP get?

          • Murray Olsen 2.4.1.1.2

            The Greens are better at creating jobs. In this case they were part time, short term ones. There are enough people who need a few extra bucks, thanks to 30+ years of Rogernomics. I’m happy they managed to help a few of them out temporarily.

      • Aotearoean 2.4.2

        You are really annoying Fanclub. You diss the leader that the Labour Membership wanted and you then say that the increased democracy that the rank and file achieved at the last conference is a good thing.

        Can’t you get your story straight? Are you in favour of a mass membership democratic Labour Party or do you prefer to it being controlled by a bunch of careerists?

  3. KJT 3

    The message has gone out. Greens are a sensible and realistic threat to the looting of New Zealand.

    The RWNJ media have been told to:

    Endlessly repeat these memes, “the Greens are unrealistic, communist and loony”.

    The RW media will keep repeating these on the usual idea that, if you repeat crap often enough, even those who should know better begin to accept it.
    They will not engage in any discussion or supply underlying evidence for these assertions, as they know full well there isn’t any.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    this change, however it is dressed up, reduces the impact that individual members and individual branches have, cuts out outlier ‘out of the box’ thinking and gives advantages to orthodox, mainstream, centralised policy making.

    I so hate party officials saying things like, ‘Trust us, we have every intention (for the moment and while it suits us) of taking the membership along with us.’

    The most remarkable thing of course is why a large group of Green Members at the meeting would vote for their own voices as branches and individuals to be substantially softened.

    My summary: this change reduces the power and voice of outlier members and branches, gently moves policy making towards an orthodox middle of the road, and despite what might be claimed, doesn’t appear to solve any actual major policy development problem that the Greens were having – so u have to ask why was it done.

    • outofbed 4.1

      No doesn’t do that at all Just tries to streamline the Agm process And my God if you have been to many Green Agm’s you would know why.
      The grassroots democratic process of the Green Party has not been undermined one iota with this changes

    • Ant 4.2

      CV has it right, just further sanitising by the Greens into a ‘safe’, middle-class lifestyle brand.

      They don’t want any hokey ideas popping up that will be reported in MSM.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        They don’t want any hokey ideas popping up that will be reported in MSM.

        Which frankly, given the proven hostility of the MSM towards the Greens, seems like a perfectly sensible defensive posture. In a much different world the Greens could afford to try and be ‘perfectly democratic’ and allow every member unlimited scope for self-expression. But in this world no organisation can afford that. Some form of internal discipline is necessary.

        Politics is a brutal game; to pretend otherwise guarantees failure. The skillful part is to understand this while remaining true to your own authentic self.

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      Someone below described Green remits as typically being for changes to the party constitution and not for policy or coalition decisions. Given that, I think that the impact of the change will not be a problem, and will help the AGM focus on its business.

    • Shane Gallagher 4.4

      Hyperbole much?

      All this means is that is someone wants to bring a remit to the AGM which is costly in both time and money for the members they will have to have had two other branches look over the remit and point out things like “that is already in the constitution – can’t you lot read?”, “that doesn’t make any sense”, “that rule has already been changed – didn’t you read the extensive notes sent out on this?”, “that is already being debated in a specially convened committee and you should try reading your emails”, “that wording is really bad – we don’t understand what this means”, “we decided that at the last agm – stop trying to re-litigate this issue just because you didn’t like the result” etc. (and these are variations on real world examples).

      If the remit proposed is worthy then you will get support. There are things like email which you can send items like remits to other branches for them to debate. In Auckland most of the branches are really close to each other. I live in Dunedin and we have one of the biggest provinces in the country and our branches are literally hours away from each other and we manage to talk to each other a lot and really well. We meet as often as possible in person, email and skype lots. There are excellent provincial level systems in place so it is quite trivial to have a remit debated at a bunch of branches. Seriously this is nothing.

      And what is wrong with having a well worded and thought out remit brought to the AGM? It shows respect to the other members. You take a big chunk of time and money out of your life to do good and to have it wasted by an ill-thought out and badly worded remit is really, really annoying. It is not respectful or thoughtful.

      • weka 4.4.1

        Thanks Shane, it’s good to have input from someone in the GP who knows how it works.

        As member who hasn’t been to meetings for a long time, I’m unclear now on how things work at the regional/local level now. Is that structure and process online (eg via login)? Or do I have to go to an actual meeting to find out?

    • weka 4.5

      I so hate party officials saying things like, ‘Trust us, we have every intention (for the moment and while it suits us) of taking the membership along with us.’

      CV, the quote in Karol’s post made me cringe a bit too. It came across as being spoken by someone who sees themselves and the organisation they work for as separate from the members. Bit patronising, hopefully nothing worse than that.

  5. Clockie 5

    “This does raise an important issue about the difficulties (are smaller) has in negotiating with a larger one within a government alliance.”

    Should that read: “a smaller party..”

  6. Oscar 6

    Drive hundreds of kilometres to lobby other branches? Have these members not caught up with skype, email, Facebook and other forms of communications that will enable them to lobby just as effectively? They could all hangout on Google+ and have debates there too.

    Afaik this change appears to be nothing overtly substantial, and reduces the time necessary to have to debate every penny spending remit that’s submitted. At least the peer review process that’s now in place will reduce the number of frivolous remits.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      I think your comment describes the direction the Greens are taking. After all its fair to expect your comfortable middle class membership to all have broadband.

      • kiwicommie 6.1.1

        *shrug* In the US most people can afford internet, even the homeless – though they get it free in starbucks and fast food chains.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          OK Aotearoa GP members living in homeless poverty in the US are set

          I actually find this ‘let them eat cake’ attitude hilarious

          ‘Anyone who is anyone in the Greens can just conference call in using Skype from their iPhone’

          • kiwicommie 6.1.1.1.1

            I am not a member of a political party so I wouldn’t know, but having had a quick look at their website – it does seem rather quiet in their overseas forums. Then I would say that the 20,000 or so NZ’ers living in the states are disconnected [from NZ] much more so than NZ’ers living in Australia. Skyping in is more plausible if you are living overseas, but in New Zealand skype is made too expensive by internet charges. I find ‘free internet’ a joke in New Zealand, because they act like data Nazis (especially the WCC) and only allow email and website access.

          • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.1.1.2

            You don’t need every branch member to have access to broadband.

            You need just one of them to have access to dialup, and know a few email addresses for members of other branches.

            This is not a huge ask to have a platform at the national meeting, and you should stop trying to blow it up into one.

            • Ant 6.1.1.1.2.1

              It creates unnecessary barriers for members to participate in their own party, as a change it privileges those with more resources (including time), who are also most likely those in already entrenched positions of power.

              • Colonial Viper

                This is the proven Labour Party pattern. Another thing which happens, based again on Labour Party experience, is that the rules (formal and informal) for getting a remit through become increasingly complex and hard for non party professionals to navigate.

                I take it however that party remits in the Greens are still binding on caucus and leaders: that is exceptional and must be kept (if it is true) as it keeps caucus in line with wishes of the party.

                • “..I take it however that party remits in the Greens are still binding on caucus and leaders: that is exceptional and must be kept (if it is true) as it keeps caucus in line with wishes of the party…”

                  um..!..no..!..not according to the body of the article..

                  ..they are not ‘binding’..

                  phillip ure..

                • The Fan Club

                  Also, again, wtf? The policy process in the NZLP is dominated by r&f. It’s just that you’re the exact kind of clownish incompetent that the system’s set up to keep out. Trust me, CV, it’s not the professionals that fuck you over, it’s other r&f who don’t want to put with your bullshit.

                  • weka

                    Charming. It’s that kind of interpersonal nastiness that sometimes makes me hope the Labour party eventually dies*. We desperately need people in the world of politics who have emotional and social intelligence.

                    *and frees up the rank and file to join another party where they can be productive and useful.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Since I know the names of a few of the MPs and paid staff who were targetting me, TFC’s claim is rather hilarious.

                      It’s just that you’re the exact kind of clownish incompetent that the system’s set up to keep out.

                      Apprently, along with a good chunk of the party’s own MPs and LECs. Fiendishly clever system Labour has got going on there.

                  • The Fan Club

                    Pfft name names CV, or stfu. Because I will be totally honest, and say that the people I talked to who wanted you (and the rest of the conspiracy theorists in these parts) to FOAD were not staffers. They were not MPs. They were members who wanted to win elections, not indulge in ego-trips.

                    More seriously, look, the point of the Labour Party is to change the world. It is not a plaything for the crochet-y, the swivel-eyed loons, and the otherwise unable to find a warm room on a Tuesday night. If you want a party driven by the membership, one of the follow-ons is that the membership needs to be a disciplined, effective body. Many of the foibles that we let go in the years that the membership didn’t matter can no longer be tolerated.

                    And the same goes for the Greens.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Because I will be totally honest

                      Meh. That’ll be a cold day in hell.

                      More seriously, look, the point of the Labour Party is to change the world.

                      Meh.

                      I will add, the authoritarian, born to rule perspective suits you to a tee.

                    • ghostrider888

                      FWIW, if i was to become a member of a political party it would be the NZLP, wart and all. They always get my votes anyway, Working Class Man and all that.

              • RedLogix

                It creates unnecessary barriers for members to participate in their own party

                I think it creates a necessary barrier for members to leap over internally before their ideas are going to become public domain.

                I think that’s pretty reasonable; if you are not willing to make this effort, an effort required to protect the party from hostile external attack, then you have to ask yourself exactly why you are a member and whose purposes you are serving.

                • weka

                  I can see both sides of it.

                  I agree that there are other ways for people to get involved if they don’t have or manage the internet well. I’m not sure how this would work at the local level. We’re not talking about individual members, we talking about a branch having to send a remit to other branches before going to the AGM. If any branch in NZ doesn’t have the ability to do that (as opposed to individuals), then I find it hard to imagine that the GP wouldn’t step up and help.

                  On the other hand, the idea that anyone with the internet can manage skype or google+ is sign of how out of touch some people are, and I’m not talking about those that struggle with online interactions. There are increasing numbers of people with access to technology (both hardware and skills to use it) who now fail to understand that not everyone else does and the fact that this disadvantages some people. I hope the GP doesn’t lose sight of this.

                  On the other other hand, we’re talking about political activism here. I agree with RL, some effort needs to be made, and I’m sure that support will be offered too.

                  • ghostrider888

                    article on te news suggests majority of New Zealanders do not understand the features of UFB.
                    btw, then there is the suggestion that VDSL-capability may, for some time at least, undermine the efficacy of the UFB roll-out. Go figure. (1.5 B).

    • Jenny 6.2

      At least the peer review process that’s now in place will reduce the number of frivolous remits.

      Oscar

      What is frivolous, and what is not. Is purely a subjective call.

      Oscar, will the leadership be required to release their grounds for rejecting member remits. Or indeed their reasons for favouring others. So the members can judge for themselves if these reasons are valid or not?

      Or do the leadership have cart blanche right to reject or approve member remits without any justification or explanation?

      I imagine this sort of behaviour could be very disheartening, especially if the members forwarding a remit had gone to the trouble to jump through all the new bureaucratic hoops and hurdles put in their way.

      Oscar as well as making it harder to present remits in the first place which you have mentioned. More worrying in my opinion is the new power given to the executive to either approve, or veto, all Green Party member remits even if they manage to pass the new higher threshold.

      A party that gives it’s leaders the power to veto, or pass on member’s remits as they see fit without explanation, can hardly be called democratic. Effectively reserving as their right the power to shape party policy.

      What checks and balances, if any, are in place?

      Are there any rights of appeal?

      Can the submitters ask for the grounds for the veto of their remit by the executive?

      Could a successful members petition circulated by email through the whole party membership overturn an executive veto?

  7. ghostrider888 7

    Here is a take on coalitions (including the Greens) from Matt Robson, over at The Daily Blog
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/06/08/now-dunne-is-done-lets-consider-the-not-so-grand-coalitions/

    • Jenny 7.1

      Matt Robson. Now there is a voice from the past. If anyone knows anything about cost of trading principle for cabinet positions it must be him. Matt Robson, to keep his cabinet posts traded his Alliance Party anti-war principles away, and ended up with neither cabinet post, or principles. Leaving him in the end with not even a party.

      • ghostrider888 7.1.1

        so, coalition insights gained from personal experience, being the bitterest form of learning.

        • Jenny 7.1.1.1

          Indeed.

          Wisdom is what we use to avoid making mistakes.

          We achieve wisdom by making mistakes.

  8. Armstrong should join the tea party here in the states, he has just the brain for it. Alternatively after 2014, when his party darlings are turfed out he can move to the UK and suck up to the Conservatives or Labour over there.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    Not being party to the Green’s inner workings, do they have some sort of policy group(say a branch) that signals the imtention of forming a policy in some area and asks all the other branches for their thoughts?, remits? and then gathers the remits all up into a pile to lay out into a tentative policy with not negotiable lines and nice to have things to go back to their conferences to vote on?

    I guess I’m thinking of some sort of crowd sourcing within the party by those who are interested in particular areas

    • This will undoubtedly happen under the new system. 🙂

    • Shane Gallagher 9.2

      Anyone in the party can submit a policy for debate. It then goes to the policy groups to develop. There is a lengthy process of consultation and analysis before it goes to the wider party. It is member driven and quite a robust process.

    • KJT 9.3

      Sort of correct.

      Green policy is developed by policy groups, under major policy headings, which any member can join. There is no barrier to members forming further policy groups if it is not already covered.

      The process is consensual and robust.

      It can be complicated and long winded, but that is democracy in action.
      Also has the advantage that pros and cons of any policy are very thoroughly covered.

    • weka 9.4

      Policy up for discussion also goes to the members direct via email. I got an email a few weeks ago with the latest policies needing feedback. There is a choice of website login, attending branch meetings, or emailing the policy networkers.

      • The Fan Club 9.4.1

        And then at some point the policy gets made up by some staffer in Russell Norman’s office?

        I mean really, if you want to claim NZPower went through channels, go ahead…

        • weka 9.4.1.1

          In what ways does NZPower not fit with existing GP policy?

          • The Fan Club 9.4.1.1.1

            That’s not enough: the claim is that Green Policy is democratically determined, not that parts of it are and then parts are merely consistent. NZPower isn’t, for that matter, consistent with the Greens energy policy, inasmuch as the previous policy clearly did not envisage such an intervention and neither endorses or discusses what form that intervention would take.

            NZPower was evidently not put to the party in any democratic means; nor, for that matter, was the Green response to KiwiBuild… KiwiPower wasn’t a “policy up for discussion [that went] to the members direct via email”. It’s just absurd to say the things you say about the policy process given the two most high profile recent policy announcements clearly didn’t happen that way.

            • weka 9.4.1.1.1.1

              Think you are getting lost in your own spin there dude. I didn’t say that.

              For some reason you think the GP should be absolutely pure in terms of process (god knows how you can sustain that view and still be political). As a member I’m keeping a quiet eye on what is going on, but I don’t feel particularly upset with the changes because I made my peace some years ago with the GP’s need to be pragmatic. It’s pretty bloody obvious why NZPower wasn’t discussed publicly ahead of time.

              It’s pretty weird to be lectured on democracy from someone deeply in the Labour Party, but of course the main reason you are here is to undermine your next coalition partner. Go figure.

  10. Green Viper 10

    Karol the debate was conducted behind closed with all media including Radio NZ excluded and no copies of the remit were made a valuable to media.There was nothing open about it. It was supported largely because the executive moved it and if anything there is still a massive groupthink in the party in support of the leadership. Dissent is ruthlessly weeded out and jumped on by the faithful. Metiria was quoted at one branch discussing the remit as seeing it as necessary preparation for government. At present the author of the Te Awa piece which criticised the changes is being hounded as the person who leaked the story to the Herald. He clearly had nothing to do with it but nevertheless is the victim of outraged posts on FB. All desperate and unpleasant as the Greens find themselves being outed as being undemocratic whilst professing to be the most democratic party in New Zealand.. You couldn’t make it up.

    • ghostrider888 10.1

      Have seen these days coming.

    • kiwicommie 10.2

      Greens find themselves being outed as being undemocratic whilst professing to be the most democratic party in New Zealand.

      It depends on whether you vote for them based on how ‘democratic’ they are, or their policies. Political parties are always going to be semi-democratic internally, whether it is ‘left’ or ‘right’ as obviously some policy/personal disagreements are going to force the leadership to act in an authoritarean manner, towards unruly party members.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Oh brilliant, a justification to put uppity party members back in their place so that the leadership can get on with business as they see fit.

        Once this attitude takes hold this party is on track to be taken over by cliques and special interests like every other party

        • RedLogix 10.2.1.1

          As you well know all organisations have a handful of “uppity” members who have extremist ideas or obnoxious, timewasting, behaviours. You cannot pretend they do not exist.

          Now in the interests of ‘democracy’ you can give them full reign to their destructive powers, or you can impose a measure of internal discipline. This is one of the essential features of all collective enterprises. Or to put it another way, I’d very interested if you are able to provide an example of any large scale, long-term successful organisation that has zero internal discipline.

          The Green Party membership has for very long time enjoyed a very high degree of personal liberty, and in my reading this relatively modest procedural change is a small step towards restoring a degree of collective responsibility. As with all things there is a requirement to achieve a balance.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.2.1.1.1

            The requirement that three branches agree is hardly onerous; the good ideas will still find support.

            • Saarbo 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Sounds like a good idea to me, I’ve seen some ridiculous remits go forward that should never see the light of day.

          • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1.2

            Possibly my personal experience as an “uppity member” whom some in the hierarchy tried to discipline has coloured my views somewhat.

            Nevertheless I accepted above that as these remits were largely constitutional in nature then there is no real problem and yes it does help the business of the AGM, so I see the points that you and Mr Gallagher above are making.

            • RedLogix 10.2.1.1.2.1

              Point granted CV. Here is one of life’s very strange ironies.

              The left while passionately believing in the power and virtue of collective enterprise and responsibility, as individuals tend to be rather poor at the personal political skills and astuteness required to succeed within them.

              By contrast, the right while constantly touting the virtues of personal achievement and responsibility are often the masters of the skills needed to game the system.

            • kiwicommie 10.2.1.1.2.2

              Possibly my personal experience as an “uppity member” whom some in the hierarchy tried to discipline has coloured my views somewhat.

              I doubt I could join any political party in New Zealand, without disagreeing a lot with their party platform. So I would end up being an ‘uppity member’ at odds with the leadership. Some people could cope with being under a party structure where you have to hold the party line somewhat, but not everyone can cope with that – safe to say such structures aren’t for me. Don’t mind helping, but I draw the line at being a party member.

              • KJT

                Well. I am rather an uppity member of the Greens myself. having joined because I agree with their goals. Not always with their way of getting there.

                I have found that on the whole diverse views within the party are treated with a lot more respect than they were within Labour.

                And. The Greens process of picking the party list has resulted in a large group of competent and principled MP’s, which is more than I can say for any other party in Parliament.

    • KS 10.3

      GreenViper, by closing the debate to the media, it was more open to our members to say exactly what they wanted with far less fear that they would become a media issue. The irony is that it would not have been as robust a debate, making it even more open to media speculation. Other parties AGMs have become just set media pieces, with the real decisions made elsewhere.

      Dissent is not “ruthlessly weeded out and jumped on by the faithful”. The person who wrote the Te Awa article is the same who put an ad in the Herald two years ago to complain about the list ranking process. What do you think a party should do with a member who takes out newspaper ads when he doesn’t get his way? He would have been thrown out of any other party, but he is still an active Green as you can see. Yes, people naturally asked if he was up to something. Others pointed out why it was not a leak.

      So people remember what he did previously and are suspicious – what would you expect? We’re a party full of humans and there will be issues of all sorts. We deal with them as best as we can within our rules and people get more than a fair shake.

      • The Fan Club 10.3.1

        Actually, this is nonsense. The last Labour Party Conference was held in full view of the media, as I’m pretty sure everyone here knows, and it wasn’t a stitch up, as I’m pretty sure most people remember.

        Likewise, the idea that Green policy is written by members and Labour policy by caucus is nonsense — the NZ Power call didn’t go through the usual channels in the Greens, did it? (At the same time the Green leadership are making up policy on the fly, the NZLP is writing a binding platform on regional conference floor.)

        • mickysavage 10.3.1.1

          When Trevor’s tweets are made public fan club you can then claim that everything was fair and above board.

          • The Fan Club 10.3.1.1.1

            Come on MS, there was blood on the conference floor in full view of the media. Of course you think it wasn’t particularly fair — in the long run you lost! But it was public, and it wasn’t a stitch up.

            • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.1.1.1

              It wasn’t a stitch up. But it was pre-prepared and well co-ordinated.

              But that’s history now, Shearer is doing well so there are no more questions that we have the right Leader in place for 2014.

              Of course you think it wasn’t particularly fair — in the long run you lost!

              My friend, you seem to have an odd idea of what the “long run” is.

        • KS 10.3.1.2

          NZPower is well within Green policy. No need to make up policy on the fly.

          Our MPs have always been bound by all Green policy. Labour’s process to create a manifesto will determine which party policies their MPs are bound to. They will still be able to ignore the rest.

          Didn’t mean to imply Labour’s conferences had become as bad as National’s. But will be very surprised if the next one is as open as the last.

          • The Fan Club 10.3.1.2.1

            It’s not true that the NZLP ignores announced policy, just as a point. They just used to ignore remits. Which is bad, and that’s why we got rid of remits and replaced them with systems that are fit-for-purpose.

            (I don’t think NZPower was within the Greens energy policy — look at http://www.greens.org.nz/policysummary/energy-policy-summary and point out where it fits in?)

            • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.2.1.1

              It’s not true that the NZLP ignores announced policy, just as a point. They just used to ignore remits.

              Of course.

              Caucus announces the policy they have agreed on (so why would they ignore their own policy?).

              Party conference policy remits/policy council proposals were, as you say, routinely ignored or bypassed by the parliamentary wing.

            • weka 10.3.1.2.1.2

              (I don’t think NZPower was within the Greens energy policy — look at http://www.greens.org.nz/policysummary/energy-policy-summary and point out where it fits in?) The Fan Club

              Norman’a announcement –


              “Under our Progressive Pricing policy, every household will get a block of low-cost electricity each month from the savings that NZ Power achieves. That will save each family $300 a year, while encouraging efficient use of power at the margins.

              “NZ Power will be explicitly mandated to prioritise renewables, energy efficiency, and resilience of our electricity system. For the first time, we will have a major player in the system that is committed to energy efficiency.

              “We welcome the fact that Labour’s search for a solution to unfair and unaffordable power prices has come to the same conclusion as the Greens have. A single buyer that works for the consumer, not to make profits, is the way forward.

              “For too long, the electricity system has been used to leech profits from Kiwi families and businesses. The Greens’ plan will mean lower power bills, helping Kiwi families to warm their homes. It will also reduce power costs to businesses, which will help them hire more workers,” said Dr Norman.

              http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens-reduce-power-bills

              The policy –

              Key Principles
              1. The scale and rate of energy use are both key markers of sustainability and both are subject to ecological limits.
              2. All New Zealanders should be able to access affordable energy services that meet essential needs and enable participation in society.
              3. Due to both resource depletion and climate change, we need to progressively reduce our use of fossil fuels to a very low level, eventually providing all energy services from renewable energy.
              4. To avoid social, economic, and environmental disruption, the reduction of fossil fuel use needs to be planned, the burden shared fairly, and replacement energy sources need to have a low environmental impact.
              5. Energy services, such as warm houses, food production and supply, and industrial processes, must be provided using much less energy than now, through both improvements in efficiency and changes in behaviour. This is necessary to minimise environmental impacts and ensure the ongoing availability of energy services.
              6. Planning, regulatory and market decision-making must be coordinated to deliver sustainable energy services and embody a precautionary approach, and be supported by good information.
              7. Individuals, communities and businesses need to be empowered to make decisions about energy and its use that enhance sustainability.
              8. Iwi and hapu rights under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to manage and develop their resources within the constraints of sustainability must be recognised and supported in the transition to a sustainable energy future.

              http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/energy-policy

          • The Fan Club 10.3.1.2.2

            Er, you just meant to say they “set pieces with the real decisions made elsewhere”, an evidently false claim? I mean ffs!

        • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.3

          The last Labour Party Conference was held in full view of the media, as I’m pretty sure everyone here knows, and it wasn’t a stitch up

          What I do remember were many Labour MPs using the media presence as a staging ground for internecine warfare.

          • Aotearoean 10.3.1.3.1

            Yep, my clear impression too. But I did not see Cunliffe do anything wrong.

  11. KS 11

    Remits are supposed to be mainly about constitutional changes. In the past, we’ve had remits get to the floor that were not, usually ending up failing and being passed onto the Executive for action. There usually isn’t enough AGM time during a weekend to allow for heaps of time to be wasted like this. Most members are pretty tired of it, so most supported the small change that two branches had to suppport the idea within a proposed remit before taking up AGM time. Yes, it makes it slightly harder. Yes, that what most felt was needed, as wasting precious AGM time is not good for grassroots democracy either.

    Remits do not address policy matters or the formation of a coalition. That will be done at a special general meeting after the election where the only votes cast are by electorate delegates, same as with the recent remit decision. The Green Party’s future is very much in the hands of our members. John Armstrong’s hatchet job was absolutely shameful.

  12. Green Viper 12

    The Greens for years have been sneering at Labour citing theirs as a far superior democratic processes. Facts are very different now. Any Labour member can rock up to their LEC and move a remit and if supported find it on the AGM agenda. Whereas the Greens new process is Kafkaesque in its complexity Isn’t that what flaxroots democracy is all about?

    • Jenny 12.1

      I am not as familiar with the right parties remit process. But I imagine that they are not that different to Labour’s. Leaving the Green Party the new title holder for least inner party democracy.

  13. Jenny 13

    Past elections have provenly seen Labour favour conservative coalition partners over more left ones. Even if this meant bypassing the electorate’s more popular choice to go straight to a proven right wing partner with less electoral mandate.

    New Zealand election results 2002

    So how will it all work out?

    Here is my best guess.

    The Greens will take up the offer to enter into the Labour Government tent. New Zealand First will be also be invited into the tent as well, to counter Greens influence. Much the same way that Key plays off the Maori Party against ACT.

    Peter Sharples, or Tuoroa Flavell, (which ever of them remains in parliament), will get Maori Affairs. (All mention of them being ‘haters and wreckers’ forgotten). Their eventual capitulation over the Seabed and Foreshore, (even though under National), will see them in the good stead with Labour.

    Hone Harawira will get nothing. (As expected) But this will not stop him. He will continue campaigning around the issues of child poverty and social justice and Maori issues as vigorously as ever.
    In a nightmare scenario for the Greens, the Mana Party may even start campaigning on environmental and Climate Change issues downplayed by them in the run up to get cabinet positions.

    Russel Norman will settle for some sort of associate finance position. Metiria Turei will get the Social Policy portfolio, she wants.

    The New Zealand First Leader will reprise his previous role of international jet setter and baubel abuser. Other New Zealand First gains could be, Associate Defence, and Police Portfolios. (Not even a madman would let them near immigration).

    As the global financial crisis and the global climate crisis continue to worsen.

    It is likely that at some point during this administration, the Greens will suffer some huge sort of public hair pulling implosion due to their compromises over the environment and climate change. (Worsened by Russel Norman’s complete failure to make any inroads at all to alleviate the effects of the economic crisis.)

    • ghostrider888 13.1

      more interesting reading. What about housework.

    • karol 13.2

      Jenny: It is likely that at some point during this administration, the Greens will suffer some huge sort of public hair pulling implosion due to their compromises over the environment and climate change. (Worsened by Russel Norman’s complete failure to make any inroads at all to alleviate the effects of the economic crisis.)

      I’ve always been a little skeptical about Norman’s (shifting ti the centre?) economic policies, and am more a supporter of Turei on social policies.

      However, I don’t see Norman being weak on climate change, if last week’s Green party conference on it is anything to go by. Kennedy Graham said, in his press release about the conference:

      “The resounding message after hearing the leading lights on climate change in New Zealand is that inaction is not an option,” said Green Party climate change spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham….
      \
      “It’s time for the Government to announce a serious binding reductions target and demonstrate how it will be reached. It’s time for the Government to sign up to the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

      In his conference key note speech, Norman said:

      To me it seems remarkable that a country so reliant on agriculture is actively investing in fossil fuel extraction and putting road blocks in the way of those who want to move towards a sustainable economy.

      The environment and economy are so interdependent, so entwined that thinking we can have one without the other is irrational….

      The National Government has not only killed any incentive for businesses to start transitioning to be less reliant on fossil fuels but has kept subsidising the very businesses that are adding to the problem.

      Not only that but National scrap environmental protections to make it easier to extract fossil fuels.

      It’s all so heartbreakingly short-term.

      The path towards sustainable energy is one best trod sooner no matter how tough it is. Lagging on this transition means losing opportunities. New Zealand is usually so light on its feet when it comes to picking up new technology and seeing which way the wind is blowing. Yet here we are ceding to the rest of the world the opportunities to be developing technology that will power new jobs and new industries.

      To have a vital economy and protect our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our farmlands and snowcapped peaks. We can’t be by-standers.

      As I indicated in my post, it’s a tricky thing for a party committed to democratic processes to negotiate working in a parliamentary system, which, is weighted towards top-down processes. There’s various conflicting tensions that need to be negotiated. At this stage I am not sure how successful the Greens will be. They are already coming under intense pressure from the media and right-wingers to be more MOR.

      However, they must surely see the Maori Party as a cautionary tale, and be trying to avoid the same fate. Remember how the Mp were once so strong for consulting with their members on anything?

      The majority of voters and the MSM seem to like a party with strong and decisive leaders, wile many on the left, including those who have given up on voting, want more democratic parties.

      All very tricky as far as I can see.

      • RedLogix 13.2.1

        And of course there was this event:

        When: Friday, June 7, 2013 – 9:00am – 4:30pm
        Where: Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament
        Kennedy Graham hosts a one-day climate change conference in Parliament on 7th June, with the aim of fostering cross-party and public dialogue on climate change.

        The threat is now urgent and we need to be working together to find common ground as well as debating our differences.

        The international community agrees that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions is needed, but New Zealand is failing to do its ‘fair share’. Scientists are warning of potential catastrophe if effective action is not taken, within this decade, to stop global warming beyond 2 degrees. New Zealand needs a climate change strategy and action plan, called for in a UN decision of 2010.

        The Government must act now, not some time in the future. We need an effective price signal to incentivise clean tech and innovation instead of subsidising pollution.

        http://www.greens.org.nz/events/climate-change-conference

        Note the date … this last Friday.

        • karol 13.2.1.1

          Yes, that’s the one I was referring to – I probably should have said “last Friday” not “last week”.

  14. Yes 14

    Finally finally finally…you have all come realise and starting to work out the greens are here to take over labour. Where is shearers backbone. Can’t even get a back page advert going.

    Greens took over alliance now labour…FFS labour get your arse into gear

  15. peterlepaysan 15

    The above comments have persuaded me that the only sensible thing I can do is to join the Civilian Party. The Civilian Party only needs 500 paid up members. It is currently recruiting.

  16. L 16

    This remit is a result of several poorly worded and out of scope remits originating from one branch and in particular one person who has been waging a war against the executive of the party. What the member fails to mention is that the remit will not stop his branch from bringing remits as it is a branch which contains three electorates so therefore will be considered three groups. Nothing to see here. Move on.

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    Tis the winter solstice! The shortest day and longest night of the year. The good news: we’re on our way back to summertime. Here’s another roundup of stories to brighten up your Friday. Our header image is from CRL and shows Waihorotiu Station lit up for Matariki 2024 The ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Friday, June 21
    Our economic momentum remains anaemic, and it’s possible the tiny increase in GDP was a ‘dead cat bounce’. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Per-capita GDP has fallen 4.3% from its peak over the last 21 months, which is more than it it fell in the Global Financial Crisis recession ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Futility of Punishment
    Hi,I was in Texas recently and couldn’t stop thinking about how in some parts of America they really like to kill their prisoners. As a society we tend to agree murder is wrong, but somewhere along the way Texas figured it’s fine if it’s after 6pm and the killing is ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • The new Beehive approach to the environment
    A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called “Scrutiny” week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies about their work and plans. The question has been simply what the environmental price might be if the country begins to accelerate its infrastructure building to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2024
    Open access notables Climate Change Is Leading to a Convergence of Global Climate Distribution, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters: The impact of changes in global temperatures and precipitation on climate distribution remains unclear. Taking the annual global average temperatures and precipitation as the origin, this study determined the climate distribution with the ...
    6 days ago
  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    2 weeks ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Scope of the Northland transmission tower failure review announced
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has today released the terms of reference for the Electricity Authority’s investigation into the Northland transmission tower failure that occurred on 20 June 2024, causing significant power outages in the region.“What happened in Northland last week was unacceptable, with tens of thousands of consumers left without ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    52 mins ago
  • Minister celebrates students’ space success
    Space Minister Judith Collins is applauding students from Canterbury University’s Aerospace Club on their success at the world’s largest inter-collegiate rocket engineering competition, the Spaceport America Cup. “More than 120 teams from 20 countries participated in Spaceport America Cup, with the team from Canterbury University winning in their ‘30,000 Foot’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Address – Commemoration of the 74th Anniversary of the Commencement of the Korean War
    Tena koutou.Ki nga kaumatua,Ki nga whanau,Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou. Greetings.To the elders,To the families,We will remember them. Firstly, a special welcome to all the veterans here this morning and their families.  I want to acknowledge the veterans who are marking this day but cannot be with us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • New WorkSafe board appointments to address a history of poor financial management
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden says three appointments to the WorkSafe board have been made to strengthen the organisation, ensuring it has the skills and expertise it needs to carry out its functions.  “WorkSafe has faced a number of recent challenges, including accumulating an almost $18 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Next phase of the Royal Commission into COVID-19
    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says this coalition Government is delivering on our commitment to expand the terms of reference for the independent Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons Learned. “There will be a second phase to the Royal Commission which features new commissioners and an expanded terms of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government introduces Three Strikes Bill
    The Government has introduced a Bill today to restore the Three Strikes sentencing law, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says. “New Zealanders are rightly concerned about violent crime. We are delivering on our commitment to introduce a revised Three Strikes law as one of our key law and order priorities.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • New support for agricultural emissions reduction
    The Government and the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) are together committing an additional $8 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Government actions strengthening Māori success
    Tākina Puanga. Ko Puanga kei runga. Ko Puanga e Rangi. Tākina mai te ara o Puanga nui o te rangi. Tākina ngā pou o te tau. Ki te whai ao ki te ao marama. Puanga or Rigel celebrations reflect a renewed energy across our communities – to acknowledge those who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
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