Showing posts from August, 2014

The Greens Are Deep In Dirty Politics

I have a confession, as a Green candidate I too have been involved in some dirty politics and it has been filthier than many would expect.

I had someone contact me recently because of his concern about poor service from an SOE but in the resulting conversation he revealed that he worked as a drain and tile layer on farms. As far as he was concerned riparian planting was a cosmetic joke because the drainage systems he was putting in place  just funneled effluent directly into our streams and rivers.

I recently spent a day getting down and dirty with a bunch of 'Bluffies' cleaning up the roadside between Invercargill and our southernmost port. We filled heaps of sacks with rubbish chucked from cars and trucks. It was a pleasure to help Joyce Kolk who has led many teams to clean up our beaches and public places.

Today I spent an afternoon delivering Green Party leaflets and chatting to people as I caught them gardening or cleaning cars in the Spring sunshine. I happened to come …

Green Election Policy Highly Sophisticated.

As each new election policy is released by the Greens I am impressed by the depth of thinking, costing and multiple benefits that come with them. We have made a convincing impression this election that we are ready to govern and are easily holding our own against the other parties with highly relevant and practical policies.

National's policies look like as if they are just throwing money around where they think they will get some traction, but with no long term vision. Their regional road spending and the building of Auckland schools just look like stuff that they should be doing anyway dressed up to look like new spending and lacking consultation. The carrot of tax cuts is also being dangled in front of voters by Key despite English's reservations that the money exists to do this.

The Green Party are offering tax cuts through our carbon tax policy, we know where the money is coming from because we have generated it first. This policy will future proof our economy by shiftin…

Primary Teachers Rise Up!

I have been a primary teacher for 35 years and for over half of that time I have been an active member of the New Zealand Educational Institute, New Zealand's largest education union. NZEI Te Riu Roa represents 50,000 members, including primary teachers and principals, early childhood teachers, special education professionals and support staff in schools. Around three quarters of the membership are female and a large proportion of the work of the union has a professional focus. When the Institute was first formed in 1883 its sole focus was professional but when employment agreements needed to be negotiated it took on this role.

The current Government likes to dismiss the Institute as 'just a union' and implies that any opposition to government policy is based on industrial concerns and self interest. The truth is very different, over its 131 year history NZEI has only resorted to strike action twice and agreement negotiations are approached in good faith and supported by …

Government Fails Special Needs

A headline on the front page of The Southland Times on Saturday was Schools 'fail' special needs. The article (under a less emotive heading on Stuff) described how parents of special needs children were leaving Southland because they felt their children were not being well served by Invercargill schools and teachers. One mother claimed that her 7 year old son was also being deliberately excluded. While the article did suggest more training and resourcing for schools was needed from the Ministry the implication was that it was the schools and teachers in Invercargill that were failing the children.

I have already written a number of posts describing how this Government has deliberately favoured private schools with extra funding and under-resourced low decile schools. I angers me when yet again schools and teachers have the finger pointed at them when doing their best in an under-resourced environment where the profession no longer has an influence on Government policy. Teache…

Dirty Politics and Cleaning the House

I tried to get a copy of Nicky Hager's latest book Dirty Politics, but Invercargill had sold out by early afternoon and I was put on a waiting list for the next shipment.

Obviously I have yet to read the book but I own and have read most of Hager's earlier five books and they follow a very reliable pattern. Although he stood for the Values Party in his younger years and his books tend to support environmental causes or challenge the politics of the right, his research is impeccable. His last book, Other People's Wars, contained 73 pages of referencing. He is the only New Zealand member of the International Consortium of Investigative journalists and those whom he has exposed in his books have not disproved his facts or even attempted legal action against him.

Most criticisms of Hager's research are around his conclusions. With Dirty Politics, Key, and all others implicated, are not disputing directly what is in the book but are generally attacking the writer and his m…

Greens Riding Above Stormy Seas

As the weeks rapidly rush towards September 20 the campaign is heating up. There is a sense of desperation coming from many parties, especially the smaller ones on the right. ACT is only managing to stand 16 candidates in electorates and United Future has only 11 (when I last checked on Wikipedia), both are unable to get much above 1% in polls. The Maori Party is also struggling with the retirement of their iconic leaders and Te Ururoa Flavell is still trying to establish himself in the leadership role.

The strongest minor party on the right in terms of candidates and organisation is the Conservative Party. Colin Craig is largely financing the party himself and the party has managed to cover 36 electorates with candidates, which makes them the fourth largest party based on numbers. Despite the Conservatives having the most potential on the right, John Key is determined to designate them as the last cab on the rank for any possible coalition. New Zealand is becoming an increasingly li…

National and the Poverty Deniers

Not only is National the party of preference for those who reject the science behind human induced climate change, it is also the party for poverty deniers. For them real poverty only happens in Africa and in New Zealand poor kids are just the result of bad parents.

Poverty deniers are also adamant that the 'relative' poverty that may exist has been flatlining for some time and the best way of stopping poverty is just getting people into work. They ignore the fact that 40% of children living in poverty have at least one parent in full-time employment. The latest census revealed that our poorest communities have become even poorer since 2006. The median income for the Mangere-Otahuhu local board area dropped by 16% in real terms and is a pitiful $19,700.

Poverty deniers get very defensive when people express concern about the growing wealth of our richest New Zealanders. They claim it is just envy and that our rich have worked hard for their wealth and earned every cent. It is…