Showing posts from September, 2014

Homelessness Hidden, Ignored and Punished

Homelessness is generally associated with people who are suffering from mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse. Wellington's infamous Blanket Man was an example of a stereotypical homeless person who made a personal choice to live rough despite offers of accommodation. Homelessness is also regarded to be a feature of large urban centres and not likely to occur in places like Invercargill. While I am sure there are homeless people who still live on the streets because of a personal choice to do so, New Zealand is experiencing growing numbers of homeless people who hadn't planned to live this way, but have limited choices.

To me it seems inconceivable that a country with a relatively small population, and as resource rich as New Zealand, should struggle to house those desperate for shelter. But times have changed and housing is no longer considered a human right and homeless shelters and emergency accommodation are being closed in many centres despite the demand.

The tw…

Greens Immediately Become the Opposition.

I admit that I was disappointed and slightly gutted that I wasn't part of the new Green Caucus this week, the way we were polling the week before it looked as though I had a real chance. It never happened and the celebratory feeling at the beginning of our election night party slowly morphed into a that of a wake when we realized that the 10% wasn't going to grow.

I actually ended up grieving, not for myself, but for our party. We had put together an amazing team of people to lead our campaign and fundraising and we had worked extremely hard since 2011 in becoming prepared to govern. Our aspirational policies had been shaped into practical first steps of a transition to a cleaner, fairer, smarter future. We were the only party to have a clearly expressed economic vision that was independently reviewed. Our 6000 volunteers, door knocked, phone called, leaflet dropped and put up more billboards than ever before. Our online campaign was impressive and we easily out interneted th…


This election campaign was a roller-coaster of unexpected revelations and controversy. For the Greens this meant our strategy of running a clean campaign, sticking to a clear plan and releasing properly costed, practical policies never made the impression it should have.

We never actually put a foot wrong, our leaders always conducted themselves well in all debates and media, and were widely praised by political commentators for their performances. Our television advertising was professional and appealing and, while some of our billboards may have been a little obtuse for many, we didn't get the same level of vandalism that others received. We were able to mobilize 6,000 volunteers and our door knocking and phone calling was at the level of a major party. In Invercargill the scrutineers we placed in our most significant booths were often sitting alone.

There will be a detailed analysis of the campaign by our review team in time but I thought I would record my initial views and co…

2014 Party Gender Balance

Out of interest I have looked at each party's list rankings and worked the ratio and percentage of women who would be elected if they got the best possible vote. I compared the parties on the so called 'left' and 'right' of the political spectrum and those that consider themselves in the centre.


ACT                             1/5                20%            

Conservatives              2/5                40%

National                       17/60            27%


United Future              0/1                 0%  

Maori Party                 2/5                 40%

New Zealand First      2/10               20%


Labour                       21/40              52.5%

Greens                        9/20               45% (it was 50% before Holly Walker withdrew)

Internet Mana             2/5                 40%

Some time ago I wrote a blog post on the importance of gender balance in governance situations.

Complicit, Compliant and Corrupt


Ten Reasons for Voting Green

Obviously as a Green candidate I have a strong loyalty for my own party, but I do follow the media and I do have an insider's advantage of knowing how my party operates. The Green Party has never been so strong and we have spent the last few years preparing ourselves to be fit to govern.

Here are ten reasons, in no particular order, why Party Voting Green is a wise choice:

1) Strong and Stable Leadership. The combined thirteen years of leadership experience (Russel eight, Metiria five) has meant that the Greens have rarely been embarrassed by the the sort of gaffes over policy and discipline that many other parties have suffered. Our leaders have come away from debates and interviews with high praise from the media. Even Mike Hosking praises Russel Norman for his statesman like presence and Metiria impresses with her sharp mind and good humour. The Greens have the most detailed and properly costed policies of any party and our leadership have rarely faltered in promoting it.

2) Cap…

Whale Oil and Tolley Attacked Principals and Myself

Dirty Politics keeps giving and giving and the latest revelation is a possible link between Anne Tolley and Cameron Slater. Anne Tolley was Education Minister when National Standards were first introduced and, as with all education changes under this government, there was no real consultation and the concerns of the profession were ignored. Teachers wanted the system to be trailled first and there was a nationwide protest when this commonsense request was ignored. The National Government legislated the Standards into law which made any refusal to implement the Standards illegal and Tolley threatened to sack boards and principals who did not comply.

Just like Novopay the Standards were introduced half baked while Education Ministry staff desperately tried to create the system as it was in operation. Teachers were forced to attend professional development where the material being presented by facilitators had already been superseded by the constantly changing information online.

Some o…