Posts

Climate Change Just Got Personal

Image
Over ten years ago (2007) I organised a symposium on climate change to support a Climate Change Tour being conducted by the Green Co-leaders at the time, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Russel Norman. It was Norman who fronted at the Invercargill meeting and he was supported by his young staff member Gareth Hughes. We had over 40 attendees, including representatives from local councils and a scientist from NIWA, who also spoke. For many of those attending, the information they received was largely new to them.

At that time the reality of climate change and its human causes were still being debated in homes around the country. Nothing substantial was really being done ten years ago, but the fifth Labour Government had passed the Climate Change Response Act in 2002 to provide a legal framework for ratifying the Kyoto agreement and to meet obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2008, just before the end of their term, the Labour Government established th…

Golriz Ghahraman and Post Truth

Image
Golriz Ghahraman is another potential casualty of the 'Post Truth' era of mainstream media reporting and the dirty, ignorant politics behind it.

Chris Trotter and Bryce Edwards have accused the Greens of being politically naive and being caught misrepresenting the facts. Similar accusations occurred after Metiria Turei's speech where she admitted minor benefit fraud to expose the realities of being a beneficiary. I feel the real issues and problems are being ignored and there is a good deal of hypocrisy at play.

The political environment is a rough one and any politician needs a thick skin to survive, however, it is not a level playing field and Brian Gould was able to explain this well when he compared the difference in treatment of the previous Prime Minister and Turei. Surely we should be more concerned about unethical, ill-informed reporting and deliberate misinformation coming from our mainstream news outlets. When comparing the treatment of Ghahraman to that of John …

Coalition Talks Myth Busting

Image
As we all wait for the results of the special votes to determine the final numbers for the 2017 election, there is a good deal of noise coming from media and political commentators. Much of the commentary is misleading, not based on fact or is just pure political spin.

Sadly writers and publications that should know better are buying into fabricated myths about MMP and conservative, ill-informed views of how coalitions should be progressed. Even the editorial in the latest Listener encourages the continuation of First Past the Post (FPP) thinking.

I would like to respond to the nonsense.
MMP IS FAILING
The reason MMP was supported in the first place was to stop the unfair outcomes of the previous FPP system when a party could substantially lose the popular vote but, through electorate wins, capture large majorities. 
FPP created what was essentially a two party system, there was little diversity in parliament and many large and important communities were not represented. In 1993 (the …

Post Truth Politics works for National

Image
New Zealand is a land of Bullies. While many New Zealanders are good caring people it is a bullying culture that leads and governs us. The evidence for this came out strongly in the recent Unicef report. We have the 2nd highest rate of bullying in schools out of 51 countries and if anyone disputes this they can try and explain why we have the highest levels of youth suicide in the world.

Bullying is a learned behaviour and the fact that it exists so strongly in our schools is just a reflection of what has been taught within the environment our children live in. National Standards in Education (narrowing teaching to literacy and numeracy), has stifled the teaching of a rich curriculum and reduced the importance of teaching values. Strict uniform rules and demanding compliance has also become increasingly important in some schools and civics education has a low priority. The focus has been on educating to be work ready rather than supporting our students to be fully active citizens in …

What vote will deliver the change we need...?

Image
This has probably been the most dramatic election campaign that I have experienced in almost 40 years of voting. As with most elections, the media focusses on the drama rather than the substance and there is very little real analysis of the policies and what would really be in the best interests of our country.

After nine years in power National has created an opportunist, boom and bust economy that has served property investors, banks, corporate interests and intensive dairying well. At the same time we have seen damaging under-investments in social welfare, housing, education and health. The lowest income quintile of New Zealanders have suffered most and we now have the highest percentage in the developed world of homelessness and the worst statistics for child health and welfare. Our environment has suffered hugely and we have one of the weakest responses in the world to climate change.

To hold on to power National has resorted to wild scaremongering as it has seen its comfortable…

Paddy Gower makes stuff up again.

Image
John Campbell was a thorn in the side of right wing politics, many of his stories revolved around ordinary New Zealanders and their struggles. His continuous interviews with poorly treated home owners and school communities after the Christchurch earthquakes exposed huge gaps and issues with the recovery processes. His stories have since been validated by both the Ombudsman and Treasury. Campbell was duly removed and his slot was replaced by lighter shows. While he is still inflicting damage to the National Government with his stories on our failing health system (from his new Radio New Zealand home), he does not have the same reach (most RNZ listeners probably vote Labour/Green).

With Campbell gone three opinionated men, with clear right wing bias, now dominate the political narratives coming out of Media Works' NewsHub and TV 1 during peak viewing times. While more measured commentary and interviews exist through the weekend early morning shows (The Nation and Q+A),  it is Dun…

Secrecy, Conflict and Corruption in New Zealand Elections

Image
Green Party leader James Shaw is advocating for greater transparency around political donations and wanting to expose potential conflicts of interest. Some years ago Metiria Turei managed to open MP expenses to public scrutiny and it is likely that this has saved the country millions when the spotlight was shifted to the use of public funds by our elected representatives. The Sunday Times has revealed that the two major parties manage to keep the names of around 80% of their major donors secret and New Zealand First refuses to reveal any of theirs.

It is generally understood that the United States political system has been corrupted by money. Few candidates for any elected position can run a successful campaign without significant funding and major donors generally expect a return on their investment. The influence of big donors and corporate funds enables legislation that often impacts negatively on the wider population. This system has led to processed tomato sauce being regarded a…