Showing posts from 2019

The muddied waters of the winter grazing debate

The winter grazing issue is becoming a highly-sensitised one that I hope will not become so politicised that it delays solutions and results in the suicides of some very stressed farmers. Winter grazing has hit the headlines after a  determined campaign, including the release of a video  of some very common scenes around the country at this time of year. It recorded many examples of poorly managed grazing causing discomfort and stress to stock and graphically demonstrating the environmental degradation that this method causes. The campaign helped to motivate the Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor into announcing the formation of a task force to respond to the issues around the practice. There has been some politically questionable responses to the campaign and the Minister's announcement and most especially from Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker. He described the taskforce as "more money down the drain" and unfortunately related the conditions of  winter

Green Party's tranparency questioned

The Green Part has been accused of lack of transparency in two recent situations. The first was the claimed media lockdown during Green's annual conference and the second was Julie Ann Genter's refusal to release a letter she had sent to Phil Twyford. I do get frustrated when journalist's succumb to emotive reporting and do not apply due diligence to ensure balance and logic. The majority of the 2019 conference was dominated by the Party's Annual General Meeting, this involved some substantial remits and election of officers, including all leadership positions. I have attended Green Party AGM's for the last fourteen years and can't remember one that allowed a media presence. This was not an unprecedented "lock down" but standard practice, as it is for many other organisations that enforce member only restrictions. James Shaw's concerns about balanced reporting of our conferences are completely valid from my experience. I have noted that

The Teacher Strikes and the Fiscal Cap

The teacher strike has a back story that should not be dismissed or ignored. This is much more than two of our larger unions (NZEI and PPTA) flexing their collective muscles just to get a pay rise. As a retired teacher and past member of NZEI's Executive I know how much it takes to push our teachers into strike action, in its 136 year history this has occurred only a handful of times. I recently left teaching myself after over 30 years of service in a range of roles that included special needs and five years as a deputy principal. Lack of resourcing, little government recognition, very long hours (60-70 per week) and stress caused me to pursue political solutions. The steady decay of our world-leading public education system began with the neoliberal Tomorrow's Schools model and culminated with relentless attacks from the last National Government. I listed much that has been inflicted on our education system over the past decade in this widely viewed and circulated  blog

Highway to Hell!

(fire, California) Some time ago Jeanette Fitzsimons described our action on climate change like a car driving rapidly to a precipice while the occupants argue about whether they should maybe change down a gear. If we are to continue with this analogy I would say that the cliff edge is now very visible, the car is still in top gear and we have only a slight chance of stopping in time if we hit the brakes now. named itself after the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that was considered a safe level. At the time the organisation was formed in 2008 that level had not been reached, but five years later we passed 400 ppm . It's not as though we haven't had ample warning, there has been scientific consensus for decades and even Margaret Thatcher was making speeches on climate change thirty years ago. The evidence of rapid climate change is constantly in our faces. We are globally experiencing extreme weather events on a far more regular basis and t he

NZ dilemma as US empire disintegrates and China dominates.

The United States of America is undergoing a a gradual decline as the leading developed nation. It once dominated the world with its culture, global franchises and political and military interventions, however, fewer now wish to emulate the ultimate consumer society and celebration of capitalism. Greed has proved to be an unsustainable vision and the wheels are falling off. The so called "Champion of the Free World" is finding itself increasingly isolated as the free world moves on without it. The multilateral systems that the US often dominated to support its own interests (Nato, the United Nations and free trade agreements) are being abandoned for the pursuit of simple nationalism. The US no longer provides leadership for two major issues that currently confront the world, climate change and the increasing numbers of displaced people (there are currently around 20 million refugees  - the most since World War Two). President Donald Trump's rejection of climate scie

A Green New Deal for Aotearoa

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has caused much angst amongst many conservative republicans in the US by promoting a Green New Deal (GND) . The deal is attractive to progressives and those on the left because it is a package or political manifesto that encapsulates the environmental and social goals that many feel are essential to shift to a sustainable and fair economy. Republicans have labeled it a "Socialist Manifesto"  and emotively suggest that it will destroy America. The key elements of the GND are: A ten year mobilisation plan. Building resiliency against climate change-related disasters. Meeting energy demands with clean, renewable zero-emission energy sources. Expanding energy efficiency and access to power. working with farmers to cut emissions. Overhaul the transport sector with electric vehicles, public transportation and high-speed rail. Planting forests to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Fair pay and improved working conditions. Universal,