Showing posts from June, 2015

The Real Axis of Evil?

Within the Global Green community New Zealand is a leading nation. Our Values Party was the first Green Party to contest a national election in 1972 and the 1975 Values manifesto 'Beyond Tomorrow'  is still considered to be a foundation document for all Greens. In terms of political influence at a national level the New Zealand Green Party is a success story. Most political systems around the world are not proportional systems like ours, many are very corrupt and most are designed to allow a select group to remain in power (for us to have 14 MPs is the stuff of dreams for other Green Parties). The UK Greens only managed to get one MP despite winning 1.1 million votes ( proportionally they deserved 25 ). Over twenty countries in the Asia Pacific region have Green Parties and around half of those were represented at the  Asia Pacific Green Federation  (APGF) congress near Wellington two weeks ago. During my time talking with delegates from Taiwan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea

Mr and Mrs Nimby make a stand!

"This house will be installed over my dead body!" exclaimed Mr Norris Nimby this morning with Mrs Noreen Nimby nodding in agreement beside him. A prefabricated home was about to be shifted onto a section in the exclusive Aurora Country Estate that day and local residents had barricaded the street with their Porches, BMWs and Bentleys to stop the truck and house from entering. " We have a special covenant on this estate to maintain minimum standards and this house breaches it in multiple ways," stated Mr Nimby emphatically. "The house that they are trying to shift here has three bedrooms, only two bathrooms and a corrugated iron roof. Its very presence in our lovely neighbourhood will lower value of our properties by up to $100,000." "No properties here are valued at less than $2 million and it is frighteningly possible that having this house on our estate will push the neighbouring houses beneath that," Nimby explained. "It is a hu

Southern DHB sacked for not delivering the impossible.

We now have legal consultant Kathy Grant , who has no experience in the health sector, as the newly installed commissioner who will be replacing the sacked Southern District Health Board. It will be interesting to see what essential services she will cut to keep within the budget. Here is my letter that was published in the Southland Times last week: It appears that our Southern DHB will soon be governed by a commissioner because it failed to provide core services within an unrealistic and arbitrarily designed funding system.   Relationships Aotearoa submitted its concerns to the Government about the inflexibility of the contract system to meet complex needs and the lack of appreciation for the true costs of quality services. RA has had to close its doors without a proper transition plan in place or replacement services established. Many vulnerable people will suffer as a consequence and place more expensive demands on our already stretched social services and health and j

New Zealand, the Banana Republic of the Pacific

The high salaries paid to CEOs in New Zealand are actually indefensible for a small Pacific nation. Our government sector heads earn much higher salaries than many equivalent sized institutions overseas and our CEOs of private companies and SOEs also do extraordinarily well. CEO pay increases averaged over 10% over the past year while workers were lucky to receive 3%.  Our PM earns the equivalent of $280,000 US which makes his salary  only $120,000 less than the US President  and more than that of Cameron in the UK, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe of Japan. The Mayor of Auckland receives $180,000 US while the Mayor of New York (pop. 8 million) receives only $40,000 more. The US Secretary of the Treasury  earns $191,000 US  a year while our  NZ Secretary of the Treasury  earns $431,000 US. Nestle’s Revenue is ten times that of Fonterra’s and the salary of Nestles’ CEO is $9 million. If  Theo Spierings’ salary  was revenue based, he would only be earning aro

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Cameron Slater was about to eat his breakfast when he heard a clucking noise outside his back door. Investigation revealed a little chicken called Ben  standing on the other side. "Fuck off!" shouted Slater, waving his meaty hands and calloused fingertips at the cheeky feathered interloper. The bird immediately excreted a steaming soft bundle onto his porch before exiting in a flurry of feathers and excited squawks. "Shit!" said Slater. Murray McCully was sitting in his favourite armchair enjoying a particularly nice single malt (after returning from another luxurious visit to Saudi) when an exotic Arab chicken  fluttered into the room and perched behind him. He shortly became aware of a smelly mass dribbling down the front of his Savile Row suit. "Shit!" said McCully. Judith Collins leaned back in a chair on the deck of her home and looked out across the Auckland Harbour. The city lights were starting to be reflected in the water as the eveni

James Shaw, Greens Move Forward

The Green Party AGM and three day conference finished today and a single word dominated the conference screens for most of the time:  Forward . The word successfully summed up the content, deliberations and decisions that came out of the meeting. While we did celebrate our beginnings in 1990 (twenty five years ago) our real focus was on the development of a new strategic plan, launching  two new campaigns  and electing a new male leader. The Green Party does leadership change with less collateral damage than most other parties but that doesn't mean that the process isn't intense or emotionally bruising for the candidates and their supporters. We had four incredibly talented and competent men put themselves forward. As they presented themselves in a range of forums, both together and individually, appreciation for their abilities was enhanced rather than real weaknesses being revealed.  As someone who has been involved with the party at a leadership level for some ti