Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Mana Party’

Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 24 March 2014

.

- Politics on Nine To Noon -

.

- Monday 24 March 2014 -

.

- Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams -

.

Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Will The Mana party and The Internet party form an alliance?

.

radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

.

Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (25′ 54″ )

  • Mana Party
  • Internet Party
  • Hone Harawira
  • Kim Dotcom
  • The Alliance
  • Sue Bradford
  • Roy Morgan Poll
  • Shane Jones, Winston Peters, NZ First, The Green Parrot Restaurant
  • Hekia Parata, Kohanga Reo National Trust, performance pay for teachers
  • Ernst Young, Serious Fraud Office, PISA Education Ratings
  • Judith Collins, Oravida
  • John Key, China, Fran O’Sullivan, Rod Oram
  • Labour Party, Forestry policy, Red Stag Timber, government procurement

.

= fs =

Anti-Deep Sea Drilling Wellingtonians Take To The Streets (part rua)

1 February 2014 1 comment

.

Continued from: Anti-Deep Sea Drilling Wellingtonians Take To The Streets (part tahi)

.

One day son al this will be yours

.

NZ, Wellington, 24 January 2014 – As Wellington basked in a fine, warm summer day, over two hundred people gathered at Midland Park, in Lambton Quay, in the city’s CBD.

The message from Wellingtonians was simple; don’t mess with our environment;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The media filmed and recorded, as speakers addressed the crowd, and Wellingtonians lined up to sign the Trespass Notice;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Oil Free Wellington organiser, James Barber, on the bullhorn;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014-21.jpg

.

TV1 and TV3 camera crews, with Radio NZ’s reporter off-picture;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The protest march took off along Lambton Quay, toward the offices of Anadarko, several city-blocks away;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Strangely, the police insisted that protesters keep to the footpath instead of the road.  Which proved more of an inconvenience to other pedestrians than potential  inconvenience to vehicle traffic, of which there was little on the road;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

When some of the protesters spilled onto the edge of the road, this police officer took a strong response to force them back on the footpath – despite the road being closed to  vehicular traffic. There was a momentary face-to-face confrontation between James and this policeman;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

It seemed rather unnecessary, as most  protesters were good natured, middle class Kiwis, rather than “hard-core-fanatical-extremists-hellbent-on-the-destruction-of-Western-Capitalism”.

The marchers moved along Hunter Street, crossing a road. Next stop, Anadarko!

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

There was support from by-standers and passers-by, such as this worker who stood across the road from the marchers, expressing her obvious approval by clapping;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The protestors arrived at the Todd Building, where Anadarko  is headquartered. At this point, the crowd numbers had swelled to nearly 300 (approx);

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The open courtyard quickly filled;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The Mana Party was well represented at the protest;

.

anti-anadarko protest - midland park - wellington - NZ - 24 January 2014

.

Meanwhile, as pointed out in the previous part of this blog report – the Labour Party was conspicuous by it’s absence.

Oil Free Wellington organiser and spokesperson, Fi Gibson (in background, with loudspeaker), addressed the crowd and explained that the Trespass Notice would be delivered to Anadarko, who would be urged to pack up and leave New Zealand;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Ursula and Ruby had their own message for Anadarko;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

An unusually heavy police presence (at least three other policemen off-camera) at a peaceful, low-key protest;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Had someone from the Beehive given instructions that Anadarko’s offices and representatives were to be protected at all costs? With oil licences worth billions at stake, it’s not unlikely that such instructions were issued from “on high”.

These three young women are members of a coalition of environmentalist student activists from Wellington High School and Wellington East Girls College. From left-to-right, Rheilli, Courtney, and Anna;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Spokesperson Anna had this to say on the problem posed by deep-sea drilling;

“We’re a coalition between Wellington East Girls College and Wellington High School. We are Oil Free Wellington for Schools…

… We support support Greenpeace,  Green Party,  Oil Free Wellington and any other grass roots or NGO groups in the area, to stop deep sea drilling of our coast. Particularly in the Pegasus Bay area because it’s right where we live and we love the ocean. We want to protect the ocean not only for  us, as children, but for our children and their children, the future generations of New Zealand.”

I asked what they saw as the top concerns around deep sea drilling. Anna replied,

“Well, I’m definitely concerned about the spill risk which is huge. There is no way that this is an environmentally viable solution.

But my main  concern is that we’ll all  be contributing to global warming.

Already out of the 3,000 available giga-tonnes of carbon fuel-reserves we can only afford to burn another 500 of those [giga-tonnes]. Those are the ones we already have. We have no business digging up more.

We can’t raise the temperature above 2 degrees, otherwise it could mean mean catastrophic climate change [and] out  of control situations.”

I was mightily impressed by Anna, and her friend’s knowledge and dedication to environmental issues. If the young people of New Zealand are of the intelligence and passion of these three young people, then the future of this country is a bright one indeed! (No, not John Key’s “vision” of “bright”.) They’ll have to be – our generation will be leaving our children and grand-children a hell of a mess to clean up.

Before dispersing, people were invited to leave messages for Anadarko on the courtyard floor and footpath (in removable chalk);

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The messages varied,

“Solar energy is the way”

“Go home Anadarko”

“Frack off”

“[peace sign] world peace”

“Stop killing our oceans”

“Keep out greed”

“No deep sea oil”

“We’re better than oil”

“Leave our sacred land”

“Enough is enough”

“You’re on the wrong side”

“Leave the sea alone”

“No future in oil mate”

“Don’t drill just chill”

“How do you sleep at night?”

“Blood is on your hands”

“Fuck John Key”

“Deep sea drilling is a criminal act”

“We [heart] this planet”

.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

.

On the issue of Labour’s visible absence; if the Labour Party wants to set itself apart from the Left – as well as general mainstream, middle-class Kiwi society – by supporting the phenomenally risky practice of deep sea drilling, as well as adding to greenhouse gases – then the Labour leadership should not be surprised if they find their fortunes falling in the polls. Whilst at the same time, unsurprisingly, the Greens will be the rising star.

I was intrigued by the make-up of the crowd who protested. Most seemed to be ‘ordinary’ New Zealanders – the sort who would be working in offices; shopping in malls; taking their kids to school; etc. And a large majority were women.

I believe that the leadership of the two main Parties have mis-read the concerns of the public on this matter.

I believe it will become an election issue.

And I believe the Green Party (with perhaps Mana) will stand to gain from their more cautious, common sense approach to this unpopular practice.

I would also offer a word of caution to the Labour leadership; if between now and the election we suffer another major oil spill of our shores, do they really want to be ‘tarred’ by the same oil-brush that National will inevitably be?

Another oil spill will spell the doom of this National government for the next decade at least. Labour would find itself dragged down with the Nats – because they have placed themselves on the wrong side of history.

The protest on 24 January through the streets of Wellington may have been small. But the constituency of the marchers reflected the greater constituency of the country as a whole.

Just in case any Labour and National MPs reading this are in doubt, they should look a little closer at the faces of the people in the pictures in this blog-report.

They are the faces of New Zealanders.

New Zealanders who vote.

.

NZ is prepared for an oil spill

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 January 2014.

.

.

*

.

References

Oil Free Wellington | website

Oil Free Wellington | Facebook

NZ Herald: NZ not 100% pure but aspires to be, says Govt

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Oil Free Wellington is requested.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

= fs =

Anti-Deep Sea Drilling Wellingtonians Take To The Streets (part tahi)

.

One day son al this will be yours

.

NZ, Wellington, 24 January 2014 – Summer arrived just in time for a gathering of Wellingtonians protesting at deep-sea oil drilling and Anadarko’s presence in New Zealand.

It was a mild, warm day with a light breeze, as protesters gathered at Midland Park in Lambton Quay, down-town Wellington, and mingled with office workers having their lunch on the grass; concrete steps; and nearby Astoria Cafe;

.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

.

People came with printed banners;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Others made their own;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Regardless of style and provenance, the message was crystal clear;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

“Expect resistance” – Kiwi style – which will be demonstrated at the ballot box, later this year;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Political parties, that ignore public concerns at the dangerous practice of deep sea drilling, do so at their peril.

Some came dressed for the part, like this “sea gull”;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Aya (center) and two fellow Young socialists – the next generation of leaders on the Left. They will be leading the charge against irresponsible corporate, government, and capitalist activity which threatens our planet’s environment;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

The message for all politicians, whether from the Left or Right;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Wellingtonians were invited to sign a Trespass Notice, to be delivered  in person to Anadarko;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Many in the crowd who did not take part in the protest were still eager to add their name to the Trespass Notice;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

A simple message, delivered in a clever way;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

So when did the notion of clean water; un-polluted seas; and respect for the environment become a “radical” thing? Isn’t New Zealand supposed to be proud of it’s “100% Pure” and “Clean and Green” reputation? Or, as National suggested,  are those “aspirational goals” only?

Young Arlo, standing behind his dad, Green MP Gareth Hughes, as he addressed the protest rally,

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Gareth spoke without a prepared speech, and said that this was about protecting the environment for children “like my son, Arlo”. His sentiments were well recieved by the crowd.

Arlo,  holding his simple message for what it’s all about;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Gareth was followed by Wellington Regional Councillor and environmentalist, Paul Bruce;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Paul gave the science behind global warming and said that with  humans continuing to load up the atmosphere with CO2 and seas continuing to warm, it was time to call a halt.

After Paul, Mana Party member and campaigner, Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati took the loudspeaker;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Ariana began by repeating the simple truth; “Aotearoa is not for sale!” She said that deep sea drilling was part of the neo-liberal agenda to “mine it, drill, frack it”.

Ariana said that neo-liberalism was a failed economic system that exploited our resourtces for the benefit of the One Percent. She said bluntly,

No one has the right to prostitute our land!”

Arians expressed her disappointment that Labour had not ruled out deep sea drilling and urged Labour supporters “to work on their Labour MPs“.

Many New Zealanders  will not accept dangerous decisions from politicians who, after all, are only seeking short-term gain and solutions to complex problems. When ‘ordinary’, middle class New Zealanders are expressing opposition to deep sea drilling and all the risks entailed, politicians who ignore their concerns run the risk of being tossed out of office.

Voting is resistance;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Green MP, Gareth Hughes, interviewed by a TV1 news team;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

Kevin Hackwell, representing one of New Zealand’s most formidible and credible environmental protection organisations, Forest & Bird,  speaking to  members of the public;

.

anti-anadarko-protest-midland-park-wellington-nz-24-january-2014

.

In fact, only one group was conspicuous with it’s total absence: the Labour Party.

And I think we know why.

Continued at: Anti-Deep Sea Drilling Wellingtonians Take To The Streets (part rua)

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 January 2014.

.

*

.

References

Oil Free Wellington | website

Oil Free Wellington | Facebook

NZ Herald: NZ not 100% pure but aspires to be, says Govt

TV3 News: Oil companies welcome Labour backing

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Oil Free Wellington is requested.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: Is Key losing the plot over Hone Harawira?!

17 December 2013 2 comments

.

 

 

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

.

Another letter to the ed, on this issue…

 

.

FROM:    "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:39:08 +1300
TO:      NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>

.

The Editor
NZ HERALD
.

John Key must be losing the plot to be making outrageous,
vile comments like this,  condemning Hone Harawira's
decision to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral,

"This is a guy that went to South Africa on a jolly and
shouldn't be billing the taxpayer for it. The bottom line is
we took a delegation - whether he likes it or not - that
represented, in our view, the right mix. I personally don't
believe there was a role for him to go to South Africa."

If anyone had a right to attend Mandela's funeral, it was
Hone Harawira - one of the leading figures in the 1981
anti-Tour movement. Not two ex-National ministers who
supported the Tour (Bolger and McKinnon).

Certainly Harawira had more right to attend than John Key.
At least Harawira could remember which side of the Tour he
was on.

Shame on you, Mr Key, for indulging in childish, petty,
political point-scoring, before Mandela was even laid to
rest.

Shame!

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

.

*

.

References

Radio NZ: Key criticises Harawaira for tax-funded trip for Mandela funeral

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the Editor: More arrogance from an increasingly authoritarian PM!

17 December 2013 Leave a comment

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

.

FROM:     "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:      Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:02:11 +1300
TO:     "the listener <letters@listener.co.nz>

.

The Editor
The Listener

.
What is it with the Prime Minister?

Firstly he casually and arrogantly dismissed the recent
asset sales referendum;

"Well, the numbers don’t look like they’re that
significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around
about 40 per cent.     That’s not absolutely amazing,
it’s not overwhelmingly opposed."

Then he launches into an unprovoked, nasty,  diatribe against Hone
Harawira for attending Mandela's funeral;

"This is a guy that went to South Africa on a jolly and
shouldn't be billing the taxpayer for it. The bottom line is
we took a delegation - whether he likes it or not - that
represented, in our view, the right mix. I personally don't
believe there was a role for him to go to South Africa."

Despite the fact that Harawira was one of the leaders in the
1981  anti-tour movement?

Unlike Jim Bolger and Don McKinnon who both supported it.

At least Harawira remembered which side he was on, unlike
our amnesia-afflicted prime minister.

It seems that as we get closer to next year's election, Key
is showing signs of stress and outbursts of anger.

Just as well Key  said he will resign as National's leader
if they lost the election. He is  clearly losing the plot.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)

.

*

.

References

Radio NZ: Key criticises Harawaira for tax-funded trip for Mandela funeral

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: Key’s arrogance shines through

.

.

= fs =

Mana enters the Wellington Regional Council race!

Disclosure.

Ariana's MANA PARTY leaflet

.

NZ, Wellington, 10 AugustAriana Paretutanganui-Tamati, political and community activist, today launched her candidacy for the up-coming Wellington Regional Council local body elections. Ariana will be standing under the Mana Party banner – a Party she has supported since it’s inception.

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana’s campaign platform was based on the issue of free water for domestic users, and opposed metering and charging. Her policy postion stated,

  • domestic water use should remain a public service,
  • she supported increasing water conservation and collection,
  • making increasing leak repair of the public water system  priority,
  • and opposed water and water-related assets being used for private profit-making.

Ariana’s other concerns were also emblazoned on her placards, dotted around the marquis which her campaign team had set up adjacent to the water fountain;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana spoke to the crowd on the problematic issue of allowing Anadarko – which had been involved in the disastrous 2010  Gulf of Mexico oil spill – to prospect-drill of the Wellington coast.

Ariana said New Zealand had no means by which to contain an oil spill-disaster along the magnitude of  the Deepwater Horizon event in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The thing is,   that they didn’t actually clean it up. The oil is still at the bottom of the ocean. They used a toxic chemical to sink the oil down so it was out of sight, out of mind.”

The coastal areas were still polluted, Ariana said, and this was affecting sealife in the region as well as  people’s health.

“We must not allow Anadarko to drill of the south coast of Wellington!”

There were cries of “Hear, hear!” from some in the crowd at that point.

In between speaking, Marama Te Kira  entertained  the crowd and passers-by with her music and singing,

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana, and her Campaign Manager, Warwick, talking to a member of the public. The woman listened attentatively and said she agreed with a great deal of Ariana’s policies. Another vote, hopefully?

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana talking to two well-wishers who had heard about her campaign launch on social media, and decided to attend,

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013-4.jpg

.

Ariana made a clear  distinction between herself and Fran Wilde, who supported user-pays with water;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

With a crowd forming around Ariana, who carefully explained Mana’s policy to keep water in public ownership for the benefit of all, she offered people water from two containers. One was free, the other cost money.

Everyone took the free water;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana talking to another member of the public;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

A message to the public that, despite a lingering recession, a tiny minority are doing very well – while everyone else either struggles or is just getting by;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

More of Mana’s messages to the public;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana, surrounded by supporters and members of the public, fielding questions about her candidacy;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Totally relaxed with the public. Perhaps people sensed her honesty and lack of underlying secret political agendas;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Even left-wing, anti-establishment, pro-people activists have to “press the flesh” with potential voters. These two had a good natter on Ariana’s policies;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana’s campaign manager, Warwick, explaining Mana Party policy to a member of the public,

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Another vote for Ariana from this young chap,

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Brochures given out to passers-by (see image at top of page for detail),

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

Addressing the crowd and passers-by;

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

Ariana tlold the public that a government advisory group, Chaired by Wellington Regional Council chair Fran Wilde, advocated local bodies adopt a user-pays policy for drinking and waste water. She said this would involve compulsory water metering for every household in the Wellington region.

“Water is a right. Water is a right of citizenship, and should come out of public funds. Everybody should have the right to clean water.”

Ariana said there were other ways to reduce water usage such as education and fixing up the various leaks around the city; “We fundamentally and strongly oppose any privatisation of water.” She added, “this is part of a bigger agenda to commercialise our essential services.”

Ariana reminded people that this had already happened with our electricity supply and our power bills had skyrocketed since the 1990s.

Ariana compared the rise in water costs over the same period, saying it had risen by only 17% saying,  “So this is what happens when you start to commercialise essential services. We need to ensure to ensure that these services are publicly managed for the public good, not for profit.”

Ariana said that selling off essential services had only contributed to people’s hardship and many were struggling to pay for their power bills. She said the same would eventually happen for water,

“If we start selling  of our water, making  people pay, then people on low incomes and who are poor, are going to be forced to make decisions about whether or not they give  their children  a bath… or   whether or not  they can put on the power to warm their house.

This is disgusting!

We have to make sure Councils are run for the public good – not for profits!”

Ariana said she would “work her butt off” to keep water free for every household.”

Ariana directed a simple question at these young men who had been listening intently; do you think water should be kept in public ownership or privatised?

.

arianas-campaign-launch-cuba-mall-wellington-10-8-2013

.

All three laughed and answered, “keep it public!”

Who said that young folk don’t understand or care about the issues?

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 August 2013.

.

*

.

Disclosure

This blogger supports and endorses Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati for her candidacy in the forthcoming local body elections. (see: Ariana for Wellington Regional Council – Campaign Launch)

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

* Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
* Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested (or a donation to Ariana’s campaign fund).
* At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
* Acknowledgement of source is requested.

See also

Wall Street Journal – Judge Rules BP, Anadarko Liable in Gulf Spill

Radio NZ: Gear to cap oil rig has to be shipped from

The Daily Green: The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill by the Numbers

Scoop Media:  Fran Wilde’s advisory group tells councils to start charging ratepayers for water

NZ Herald:  The 30-year power price hike

Mana Party

Ariana’s Facebook Page

Electoral Commission: Enrol or check your enrolment details

Electoral Commission: Local Elections 2013

.

.

= fs =

Beware of unstable government!

27 June 2013 3 comments

.

John Key - Peter Dunne - John Banks

.

In case anyone has missed it, Dear Leader and his Ministers have been consistantly spreading the message,  warning us about the potential perils of a Labour-Green-Mana(-NZ First?) coalition government.

.

Only National can provide a strong stable Government that keeps debt down and delivers on jobs. The alternative is big spending, big borrowing, and huge uncertainty.  Any way you look at it – a Labour-led Government would owe our future.” – Steven Joyce, 22 November 2011

.

If anyone thinks Labour and the Greens are going to deliver stable government, they’d better think again.” – John Key, 19 July 2012

.

The sharemarket value of Contact Energy, Trust Power and Infratil shares alone fell by more than NZ$300 million yesterday afternoon. That value was taken out of the pockets of hard-working KiwiSavers, the New Zealand Super Fund and small shareholders across New Zealand. If Labour and the Greens could do that in just a few hours, imagine what they would do if they ever got near being in government.” – Steven Joyce, 19 April 2013

.

There is not going to be a difference between centre left and centre right; it’s going to be a Labour government dominated by the Greens.

This would be the issue of 2014 and voters needed to be aware of the differences.

All of those differences between Labour and the Greens will need to be reconciled by Election Day.

If there is to be no Transmission Gully if a Labour/Green’s Government gets in then we need to understand that; they won’t be able to fudge that.” – John Key, May, 2013

.

Normally, elections are fought between the centre left and the centre right. That is not what’s going to take place next year. David Shearer has cut his cloth and it is wrapped around Russel Norman … that now becomes an election between the centre right and the far left.” – John Key, 28 May 2013

.

Well, we’ve seen “unstability” since November 2011.

One of National’s coalition Ministers was investigated by the Police for electoral fraud, and is now before the courts facing a private prosecution, charged with filing a false electoral return.

Another coalition Minister has just resigned his portfolios after allegations that he leaked document(s) to a journalist.

And National’s other coalition partner, the  Maori Party, seems unsure how many co-leaders it has;

.

Three co-leaders of the Maori Party

.

I think from now on, Key and his ministerial cronies may lie low a bit and keep comments of “unstable government” to themselves.

Instability? We’re seeing it now, in spades.

This blogger is picking an early general election – this year.

After that, this country can settle down to a coalition government of stability. One that doesn’t include Key, Banks, Dunne, et al.

About bloody time.

.

The Nationalmobile

.

*

.

References

National.co.nz:  Labour plus Greens equals billions more debt (22 November 2011 )

Dominion Post:  Key’s game is ripping into Greens (19 July 2012)

Interest.co.nz:  National’s Steven Joyce dismisses Labour-Greens power policy as ‘bumper sticker politics at its most destructive’ (19 April 2013)

FW:  Key fires warning shot over ‘green-dominated’ labour (May, 2013)

ODT: And so it begins (28 May 2013)

.

.

= fs =

National dragged kicking and screaming to the breakfast table

.

 

6a00d83451d75d69e20177429bce0c970d-800wi

.

We all instinctively know that hungry kids aren’t happy and healthy kids.  I want this to be the first of many schools and businesses that we put together.  I’m interested in what works and I am humbled by the support this idea has received already.  We are going to put together the package while in Opposition. We are not waiting to be in Government, because all our kids deserve better.”  John Key, 4 February 2007

Mounting pressure on National has finally yielded results; Prime Minister Key today announced that funding would be provided for some food in schools.

It’s a limited programme;

  1. Increasing the ‘KickStart’ School breakfast programmes from two to five days a week
  2. $9.5 million over five years from the State
  3. A further $9.5 million to be sought from Fonterra and Sanitarium
  4. $1.5 million to Kidscan over three years to provide clothes, health and hygiene products to children from poor families
  5. Targetting  schools with decile rating 1-4. (“Higher decile schools that want and need it, can opt in during 2014“, says Paula Bennett. see:  Breakfast programme part of the solution)

It’s a basic breakfast, weetbix and milk. But it’s a damn sight better than nothing. Anything that gives hungry children a better chance at some basic nutrition and a better chance at learning, has to be welcomed.

Never mind National’s core-support naysayers. They most likely never had to endure any degree of hunger (except maybe getting home late to a dinner of salmon, courgettes, greek-style salad, with a decent pinot gris).

The only thing that worries me is that this $19 million programme relies heavily on support from private companies; Fonterra and Sanitarium. Either one of those companies could pull the plug, citing commercial reasons; shareholder dissatisfaction;  or no particular reasons at all.

This happened in mid 2011, when the Countdown Supermarket chain withdrew it’s support from a Red Cross-operated programme. As the Herald report on 27 May 2011;

Child poverty campaigners want the Government to take over feeding hungry children in low-income schools after the supermarket chain Countdown torpedoed a Red Cross breakfast programme.

[...]

Countdown spokesman Luke Schepen said the supermarket chain gave more than $1 million in food and other help to the Red Cross breakfast programme from its start in 2007 until the end of last year.

It advised the schools to apply to the Kickstart programme run by Fonterra and Sanitarium, which provides milk and cereal to more than 400 schools twice a week.

Acknowledgment – NZ Herald – Govt urged to take over school food programme

It’s interesting that Countdown began it’s assistance in 2007. That was the year that then-leader of the Opposition, John Key, launched National’s own Food in Schools  initiative;

.

National launches its Food in Schools programme

Acknowledgment – Scoop – National launches its Food in Schools programme

Two years after Key released the policy statement above, Countdown withdrew from the programme. A cynic might suggest that Countdown had fulfilled it’s bargain with National and could safely walk away.

Is that what we’ll see with Fonterra and/or Sanitarium? That, after a couple of years, when the issue of hungry kids has faded from public consciousness, Fonterra and/or Sanitarium will announce their withdrawal from the ‘KickStart’ programme?

Considering that Fonterra is a farmers co-op and the rural community have traditionally voted National; and considering that the Seventh Day Adventist church is a conservative religious group, whose members most likely also vote National – these are natural allies to the Tories.

Let’s hope that this is not a cunning trick by National to down-play this problem and  create a false assurance to the public that the government is “doing something”. That really would be cynical.

Some final points…

The Polls

Of all the reassuring events recently, two polls on TV1 and TV3 reconfirmed my faith in the generosity of most New zealanders. Both  showed over-whelming support for introducing food in schools;

TV1

In favour: 70%

Opposed: 26%

Undecided: 4%

TV3

In favour: 74%

Opposed: 23%

Undecided: 3%

Most surprisingly, Patrick Gower revealed that 66% of National voters were in favour of a Food In Schools programmes, with only a “hard core” of one third opposing it.

Well done those 66%. You folk still have a soul and a heart.

The Naysayers

Your naked selfishness and utter  lack of empathy verges on the  sociopathic. You would condemn innocent children to hunger simply because of some twisted, perverted desire to punish  parents who don’t measure up to your own precious ‘standards’.

Really, go fuck yourselves.

The Public

As Hone Harawire pointed out yesterday (27 May) on TV3, it was public pressure that forced National to pay attention to this growing problem in our society, and to come up with something – anything! – as a solution.

It is inconceivable that we  cannot do something for the children of the poorest families in our own country. Especially when Sweden, the UK, Canada, etc, already offer this most basic service.

Why do we call New Zealand “Godzone” if not to practice what we preach in terms of egalitarianism and helping one another.

This achievement was the result of  a broad people’s movement. Whether it was Bryan Bruce and his incredible  documentary, “Inside Child Poverty“- or individual citizens such as this Facebook user wrote,

The simplest way to address this would be to increase the minimum wage, my wife teaches in a decile 1 school many parents who are working are struggling. Living in the eastern bay of plenty average incomes here are the lowest in NZ. Parents working as pickets or packers in the kiwifruit industry earn bugger all. The myth that those struggling to feed their kids are on the dole is exacting that, many are working long hours , but if you are on the minimum hourly rate in NZ, you only need a doctors bill, or. Car repairs and your family budget is negatively impacted. The concentration of wealth in New Zealand was never better illustrated, than when recently it was revealed that, the CEO of solid energy NZ was suspended on indefinite leave on full pay at home gardening on $5,000 a week. Contrast that with people working 40 hours plus a week and end up with less that $350.00. Lift the minimum hourly rate so working parents don’t have to struggle to put food in the table…” – Alex Dobie

- Thousands of New Zealanders put unrelenting pressure on National and sent one, simple, message to John Key; do the right thing.

The Message

.

from:     Frank M <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to:     Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date:     Tue, May 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM
subject:     Letters to the editor

.

The Editor
SUNDAY STAR TIMES
.

Sir/madam,

National’s “food in schools” programme relies heavily on the private sector (Sanitarium, Fonterra, etc) to provide breakfasts in schools.

The problem with this policy is that a private business offering charity can walk away any time it decides, leaving the programme unsupported.

Prime Minister Key says,

“This is something that corporates do because they have a corporate social responsibility. So I’d imagine there are situations where they could walk away but they’re pretty unlikely to because it’s pretty good for their brand – because it’s genuinely a nice thing that they’re doing.” (28 May)

“Pretty unlikely”? Really?

That is precisely what happened in mid-2011 when the Countdown supermarket chain withdrew contributing to the Red Cross’s food in school programme.

Let’s hope we don’t see a replay of that event.

On a related note, it is appropriate for Sanitarium to be contributing to a Food in Schools programme. Being owned by the Seventh Day Adventist church, Sanitarium pays little or  no taxes because it’s owner (the church) has charity status.

At least now Sanitarium can put something back into the community.

-Frank Macskasy

(address and phone number supplied)

.

The Children

Whatever reservations I might have on National’s motivation and long-term agenda, the main thing here is that more children will  be fed at schools. That is a positive step, and one to be encouraged.

Until a Labour-Greens-Mana coalition can implement Hone Harawira’s Food In Schools Bill, National’s programme is better than nothing.

At least it will put nutrition into young, empty bellies. And really, that is what counts.

.

15915c9e-198a-4b23-b54c-109b896f43bf_popup

“Please, Mr Key, sir, may I have some more?”

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 May 2013.

.

*

Previous related blogposts

National on Child Poverty?!

On child poverty, to the Sunday Star Times…

Budget 2013: Suffer the little children… to starve

Budget 2013: Child poverty, food in schools, and National’s response

References

Scoop:  National launches its Food in Schools programme  (

NZ Herald: Govt urged to take over school food programme (27 May 2011)

Beehive: Breakfast programme part of the solution (28 May 2013)

Dominion Post:  Key: Food in schools here to stay  (28 May 2013)

NZ Herald:  Schools gets $9.5m breakfast funding boost (28 May 2013)

Radio NZ:  Govt gives $9.5m to expand food in schools programme (28 May 2013)

Dominion Post: Govt rolls out expanded food in schools (28 May 2013)

.

.

= fs =

Westpac, Peter Dunne, & Edward Snowden…

23 June 2013 5 comments

.

Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

Acknowledgement: Huffington Post -  Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

.

Are we  witnessing the first green buds of the Earth Spring?  All over the world, the winds of change are blowing harder and harder.

The Arab Spring was first, and people rose up against dictators in Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. In Syria, a similar popular uprising  turned into a bloody sectarian war, claiming nearly a hundred thousand lives. Dictator Assad will not give up power easily.

In the West, the Occupation movement flowered for a brief moment, but has become dormant again… for a while.

In Turkey and Brazil, people have come out onto the streets to oppose their  governments. Even democratically elected governments are feeling the brunt of popular discontent.

In the US, even as a once great symbol of freedom devolves into a police surveillance state, individuals are risking personal safety and rebelling.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are two such men.

Manning was arrested in May 2010, and is currently facing a military trial (and we know how that will turn out).

Now, Edward Snowden is the latest whistleblower to be charged by an American system that is becoming more and more despotic.

When a government fears it’s own people, it is well past it’s Use By date.

Bradley and Snowden: history books will be kinder to them than the politicians who persecuted them.

.

.

*

.

Dunne hasn't made up mind about GCSB bill

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ -  Dunne hasn’t made up mind about GCSB bill

.

Edward Snowden made public information that revealed that US intelligence agencies were spying on citizens in countries around the world. He revealed that no one’s privacy  was safe.

Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, the National led government is rushing a Bill through Parliament that would permit the GCSB to do precisely that; spy on New Zealanders.

We have moved from a nation that barely tolerated the State from prying into our lives – to one that is surveilling us; storing vast quantities of data on us; and now wants more power to spy on us.

There is barely a murmur in response.

Even the Right Wing – the political spectrum that is  (supposedly) the most intolerant and suspicious of  the growth of  State power – seems to be practically comatose. Though in reality that may be because National is proposing the law-change, and not Labour. If it were a Labour government…

Peter Dunne, fresh from  resigning his ministerial portfolios for allegely leaking the Kitteridge Report (or, more accurately, breaking an embargo, since it was one week away from being released anyway), has yesterday  announced that he might not support National’s  Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill.

Whilst I’m not about to look a gift-moa in the mouth and happily support Dunne on this – it does raise a few questions.

Questions like… why?!?! Up till now he has been  the obedient lap-cat of the National Party, so why all of a sudden has the Coiffured One grown a pair, and practically thrown his lot in with the Snowdens and Mannings of this world?

Martyn Bradbury on The Daily Blog has been speculating on Dunne’s motivations in his part of the GCSB Affair in a series called The Dunne & Vance Theory.

Whatever is going on – I hope Dunne votes against the Bill. We don’t need to empower our spy agencies any more than they are already. We need to remember that the State is our servant – not the other way around.

We don’t need to be constantly surveilled, in case one of us happens to nick a pen or spray-paints ‘Key Sucks’ on the footpaths outside Parliament.

Up until the 21st century, the State pursued crooks after they committed wrong-doing. Now, the State seems intent on watching us all – in case someone, somewhere, is naughty.

Isn’t that… Big Brother?

I support Dunne on this dire issue. It is time to call a halt to the rise of the Surveillance State.

Dunne may well be the man to do it.

.

.

*

.

Govt move to tender banking gets Green approval

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Govt move to tender banking gets Green approval

.

I’ve always wondered…

Why have successive governments (Labour as well as National)  used Australian-owned Westpac Bank to hold government accounts – known as the ‘Master Banking Contract’?   The Master Banking Contract has been held by  Westpac for 23 years despite never  being tendered out.  It covers all government departments (except  Crown entities and  SOEs).

According to Alex Tarrant,

  • In the late 1980s, Treasury undertook an open tender to select one bank to provide the Crown’s domestic banking services. Westpac was selected to provide these services and a deed entered into in January 1989.
  • A new master agreement was signed in November 2004 and, since 2005, the Crown has negotiated ongoing contractual price reductions for contract services.
  • The contract covers only the core banking services associated with operating Government departments’ bank accounts for processing domestic receipt and payment transaction banking business in New Zealand.
  • An increasing array of banking services have developed over time that are not covered by the master banking agreement with Westpac. Banking services that are not covered by the contract are regularly tendered by the departments concerned.
  • The contract applies only to Government departments, not Crown Entities or SOEs.
  • The Treasury regularly consults with key departments over pricing and service levels relating to the contract, including the possibility of conducting a future tender of the Crown’s banking arrangements.
  • The contract has not been re-tendered to date because the costs of doing so outweigh the expected benefits given the complexity of arrangements with departments and the price reductions negotiated under the existing contract.  Departments do, however, tender for a range of supplementary banking services not covered by the master banking agreement with Westpac.
  • The fee arrangements between the Crown and Westpac are commercially sensitive and are not made public.

Acknowledgement: Interest.co.nz – Government considers future of Westpac’s key 21 year-old banking deal

.

Here are two further points to consider,

  1. Last year Westpac NZ  reported   $707 million in after-tax profit  -  a 22 %  increase from 2011. (See: Westpac profit rises 22pc to $707m )
  2. In October 2009, the IRD won a lawsuit against Westpac which had been  taken to Court for tax avoidance. Not only did Westpace lose, but it ended up owing $961 million in back taxes and accrued interest. (See: Westpac loses massive tax case on all counts)

So, Mr Key or Mr English – just remind us again why the NZ Government still has a Master Contract for State banking, with a convicted tax avoider, that actively conspired to scam the tax-payer for nearly one billion dollars?!

How is that being a Good Corporate Citizen?

Perhaps we should just let the Russian Mafia tender for our banking services – the result would be the same.

So not only is Westpace making huge profits – $707 in 2012 alone – but they’re screwing us by not paying their share of tax, as the law demands.

Have I left anything out?

Screw the tender process.

Just give the Master Contract to Kiwi Bank. The benefits would be obvious to all but the most strident, dogmatic  right winger;

  1. No more tax avoidance – the Crown-appointed Board  (with Ministerial over-sight) would see to that,
  2. Kiwibank would make bigger profits and therefore pay a bigger dividend to the government,
  3. All profits remain in New Zealand and not shipped of overseas (to Australia in Westpac’s case)
  4. Less profits remitted overseas will help of balance of payments

Win/win/win/win.

I’m just gobsmacked that no politician – whether Labour or National – has ever seen the blindingly obvious nature of this commercial cock-up.

And strangely enough, it’s left-wing parties – Mana and the Greens – thay have to point this out to the more capitalist-minded Nats?!

Though the reasons why the Nats have stayed ‘sweet’ with Westpac seem to be less than commercially sensible and more to do with a good night out…

.

Greens say govt must tender master banking contract with Westpac after Ministers reveal corporate hospitality accepted from the bank

Acknowledgement: Interest.co.nz – Greens say govt must tender master banking contract with Westpac after Ministers reveal corporate hospitality accepted from the bank

.

Just to remind folks: New Zealand is the “least corrupt nation” on Earth. And government ministers are not corrupt, nor easily bought off by corporate parasites.

I can’t say otherwise.

Otherwise I’d be sued for telling the truth.

.

.

.

= fs =

Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/06/21/surveillance-laws-strikebreaking-subversive-groups/#sthash.ky4ZiKiZ.dpuf

Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

11 June 2013 3 comments

.

Free Milk - Auckland School Children 1939c free milk 1937-1967 ATL

.

1. We’ve had the ‘chat’

We should all know the facts and stats by now;

In 2006/07 230,000, or 22 percent, of New Zealand children were still living in poverty. That is, in households with incomes below the 60 percent median income poverty line, after taking housing costs into account. This is more than the entire population of North Shore City (205,605) or the Manawatu-Wanganui region (222,423) and means one adult and one child were living on $430 a week before housing costs. (see:  Brief Statistics on Child Poverty in New Zealand 2004-2008)

By 2011/12, approximately 270,000, or 25%, of New Zealand children were living in poverty. (see: Solutions to Child Poverty)

A recent UNICEF report placed New Zealand amongst the worst in developed countries for child wellbeing, ranking us 25th out of 34 developed countries.  We are  now behind Australia and Britain also for homicide rates, child health, and safety.  (See: NZ ranked poorly on child welfare)

The same UNICEF report rated our country  third for clean air and fourth for children’s education outcomes in reading, maths, science and literacy. I’m sure clean air and high achievements in readin’, writin’, ‘n ‘rithmetic, will mean a lot to young chldren going to school with empty bellies… (Note sarcasm.)

In 2011, Dennis McKinlay, executive director at Unicef New Zealand, said,

New Zealand currently spends US$14,600 ($17,500) per child whilst, in comparison, Scandinavian countries spend US$50,000 per child under six. Other countries, like the Netherlands, spend less but have better outcomes. The stark reality is that poor outcomes for children are costing New Zealand $6 billion per year in areas such as health, welfare services, crime and justice.

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Study: Quarter of NZ kids in poverty

McKinlay was 100% on the mark when he said spending  on children should not be considered as a social cost but as an economic investment for the future of the country.

We have lost our moral compass when we demand tax cuts ahead of good policies that benefit our children.

The situation is so dire for many families that their households are often empty of food. After rent, power, and other fixed costs are  taken out of their meagre incomes, there is simply not much left for discretionary spending on things  like food, medication, clothing, etc.

As a blogger, “Burnt out Teacher” (Amanda Kennedy),  recently wrote on The Daily Blog,

You have $440 dollars after tax from your minimum wage job. $290 of it goes on your rent. You have $150 left. You pay $198 towards your power bill. Your car needs registering at a cost of $290.97. You owe Watercare $58.20 for last month. You need at least $15 of petrol to get to the doctor and back (the doctor will cost another $20 per child) because your children have asthma and your house is damp and cold. Both kids need new shoes for winter. Your boyfriend just beat you up. You are crying. How much debt are you in, and what are your kids going to eat today?

Acknowledgement:  The Daily Blog – Hungry Kids Annoy Frazzled Lobby Group Director

To those who care enough, I encourage you to read “Burnt out Teacher’s” full blogpost. It makes for sobering reading.

2. More ‘chat’?

On 7 May, Children’s Commissioner, Dr  Russell Wills, wrote an op-ed piece for the Dominion Post;

.

Time for a chat on food in schools

Acknowledgement: The Dominion Post – Time for a chat on food in schools

.

As Dr Wills said,

We need solutions that recognise the many complex causes of child hunger and poverty if we are to use the limited resources we have to make a real difference to children’s education and health outcomes.

Blaming parents is unhelpful and simplistic.

So far, so good.

However, in the next sentence from Dr Wills gave cause for concern,

I am not a fan of overseas models of fully state-funded school cafeterias. They tend to provide poor food, assume state responsibility for a parent’s role, create dependence, cost a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere, take up school management time, and provide no role for parents, business or community organisations.

Dr Wills may or may not realise that by  issuing the statement that “fully state-funded school cafeterias… tend to provide poor food, assume state responsibility for a parent’s role, create dependence…” – he is perpetuating several unhealthy prejudices which the politically rightwing and conservative religious groups use to oppose food in schools for children.

Namely the extremist neo-conservative group, the so-called “Family First”, which also stated,

It also creates a dependence on a service which may not always be able to be provided…

[...]

It also creates a dependence on a service which may not always be able to be provided.

Acknowledgement: “Family First’: Food In Schools Will Feed The Problem

Hopefully it is a mere coincidence that Dr Wills’ comments seem to mirror the extremist views of “Family First”.

Where Dr Wills’ op-ed piece falls down is his proposals for how to provide food in schools. Dr Wills proposed that schools be responsible for growing their own food, and to operate in partnerships with businesses. He promoted philanthropy rather than state intervention.

I asked for feedback from the principals of  two low decile schools, and from Bryan Bruce, documentary-maker,  child poverty campaigner,  and producer of  the documentary, “Inside Child Poverty“, on Dr Wills’ proposals.

I first asked all three;  having read Dr Wills’ op-ed piece, “Time for a chat on food in schools”, what was their overall view on the points he had made?

Ruth O’Neill
Principal, Cannons Creek School

The points he makes are quite valid. I think he is right that we do need a different approach to the way cafeteria type models run overseas.  NZ general has its main meal in the evening – however in saying that these children often only eat what they are given at school and don’t eat much in the evening. To form a group to look into the best way to supply food is a good idea.

Mike Fackney
Principal, Taita Central School

 

Overall, his comments are generally valid and his suggested solutions have merit – but only if you regard the solutions as short-term solutions. The real solution to child poverty is for structural changes to NZ society and changed government policies, particularly ensuring a decent living income for all. With this approach, all families would be able to afford the food, afford the time to put into their kids (not working 2 jobs, or working early morning shifts, etc). Education for parents to help with budgeting, cooking, etc would also fill a gap. Without this approach, the proposed solutions rely on businesses, charities, and schools.

I then asked, what was their view on Dr Wills’ suggestions that,

I am not a fan of overseas models of fully state-funded school cafeterias. They tend to provide poor food, assume state responsibility for a parent’s role, create dependence, cost a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere, take up school management time, and provide no role for parents, business or community organisations.

Ruth O’Neill
 

I think he is right.  We need to look for a nutritious alternative that does not take school time – we are there to provide education not food.  The food needs to be provided by an independent source that is reliable.

Mike Fackney
 

I worked in UK schools for 4 years from 1999-2002, and saw the ‘school dinners’ (lunches) programme in operation. I don’t know about the cost to the authorities, but I don’t think it took up much school management time. The food quality was variable, but this is easily changed with the right will, as showed by Jamie Oliver’s crusade to make school dinners healthy.

Bryan Bruce
Documentary Producer

You can find good and bad examples of state funded cafeterias. So we know how bad it could be – let’s regulate the process from the start and model ourselves on the best ones – like the one I visited in Sweden . It is in a migrant area and the food was nutritious, tasty and much enjoyed by the kids .

My next point;  Dr Wills suggested that, “in some schools parents and whanau are encouraged to help garden, harvest veges, cook and serve the food. This teaches gardening and cooking skills, and helps build relationships between parents, whanau and teachers

Ruth O’Neill
 

This is a glorious hope – but it wont work in the long term.  Yes it is great to grow veges and encourage parents to be involved but this won’t supply the lunches everyday. The parents are not reliable enough to turn up everyday and make lunch – for it to work properly it needs to be a commercial venture.  Schools have to have a fully guaranteed liunch programme everyday that they don’t need to worry about.

Mike Fackney
 

Great if it works. Problems include vandalism to gardens, and difficulty to have parents regularly available. Yes it may help with relationships but not necessarily – relationship are better built over students’ education.

Bryan Bruce
 

While I think its a very good idea to teach kids how to grow food, but the idea of sustaining a school food programme on a grow your own basis would take up most of the playing fields and leave the kids with little time for anything else .

I then asked, is this practical practical in the short term? Long term? Would gardening, harvesting veges, cooking and serving the food be more time consuming than the provision of fully state-funded school meals?  Where would vegetables be cooked?

Ruth O’Neill
 

I have no idea where the food would be cooked on a large scale.  You have to employ people who have the skills to provide food on a large scale everyday.  We would have nowhere at present that you could cook or eat on a large scale.

Mike Fackney
 

I believe it would be [more time consuming than the provision of fully state-funded school meals].

With the UK school dinners, the schools have commercial kitchens. This school [Taita Central School] certain doesn’t have the necessary kitchen facilities.

Bryan Bruce
 

Food is a fundamental health need. Let’s put in the Swedish model – full time caterers and school restaurants. This will create jobs, ( for chefs, cooks, builders) which will stimulate our economy, reduce our health spend on crisis care for obese, diabetic and future adults with dodgy hearts.

Dr Wills further claimed that,  “teachers involve students in the growing, harvesting and preparation of the food, so the programme is linked to learning goals. In many cases NGOs partner schools and businesses to provide the programme.”

Is a Public Private Partnership a desirable proposal? Or reliance on a a current ideological fad?

Does reliance on “teachers involve students in the growing, harvesting and preparation of the food” take students away from an already packed curriculum and place more demands on teachers and other staff?

Ruth O’Neill
 

Teachers do not have time to do this on the scale that is needed to feed the whole school.  Being out in the sunshine gardening is lovely – but what about winter!!!  We won’t get to National Standards in Reading, Writing, and Maths if we are out gardening all day.  To have small class gardens that we have where children grow vegetables and take them home is great and teaches the skills of growing food but this won’t work on an everyday basis to feed everyone.

Mike Fackney
 

To Dr Wills suggestion that  “teachers involve students in the growing, harvesting and preparation of the food, so the programme is linked to learning goals. In many cases NGOs partner schools and businesses to provide the programme” – Mike Fackney responded,

This is fine, but not something which can really continue on an on-going basis, particularly with all the other expectations the government has on schools.

And when asked “Is a Public Private Partnership a desirable proposal? Or reliance on a a current ideological fad?” – he replied,

It’s never really a desirable proposal for schools to rely on private support.

Bryan Bruce
 

Bryan Bruce was even less enthusiastic at Dr Wills’ proposals,

We seem to be going back to the 19th Century idea of relying on charities and volunteers to look after the poor. Haven’t we learned anything ?

In my view it’s like this – teachers are not hired to be caterers. They are doing it out of compassion. Are we now asking them to be full time gardeners as well.

Dr Wills also said ; “In many cases NGOs partner schools and businesses to provide the programme… It gives businesses an opportunity to give back to their communities, the cost to the taxpayer is reduced and the food is nutritious. Notice that these models leave responsibility for running and funding programmes with communities.”

He also states,

However, I think there could be two potential roles for government funding. First, there is a place for a co-ordination role to bring together schools and businesses, and manage the programme and the workload for principals and business owners.

Second, there is an argument to match government funding to philanthropy on a sliding scale.

For example, $3 for every $1 raised in a decile 1 school, decreasing for better-off schools.

Matched funding like this encourages communities to build and own their own solutions, and incentivises businesses to give to their communities rather than replacing philanthropy with taxpayer funding, which has the opposite effect. Funding could be made available only to programmes that adhere to agreed standards, raising the quality of programmes. None of this requires legislative change.”

Dr Wills appears to be promoting a State/Philantropy Partnership policy. Is this a practical means by which to promote food in schools, or is it an abrogation of duties which should be the State’s responsibility on this issue?

What happens where businesses or private philantropy is not forthcoming – especially in poorer areas with high unemployment and few businesses? And would private businesses expect a quid pro quo, ie, advertising on school grounds?

.

Upper Hutt School

Photograph:  Upper Hutt School, Upper Hutt

.

Ruth O’Neill
 

This again puts pressure on schools to spend time on activities other than teaching children!!  There is no money in the community. $10 is alot of money in Cannons Creek.  We do not charge more that $2 or $3 for a school trip and subsidise the rest with school money. We have no school fees and provide such things as sunhats, beanies, shoes, socks, etc ourselves.  I think there needs to be further investigation into how poor is poor.  It may only be small groups of decile 1 schools that need this support.

 

Mike Fackney
 

To Dr Wills’s comment that  “in many cases NGOs partner schools and businesses to provide the programme… It gives businesses an opportunity to give back to their communities, the cost to the taxpayer is reduced and the food is nutritious. Notice that these models leave responsibility for running and funding programmes with communities.”

Mike  replies,

A far easier way is that it’s organised through the taxation system (i.e. a fairer taxation system) and provided by government – as schools are.

As for the rest of Dr Wills’ comments above, Mike says,

All of this sounds like an organisation nightmare.

Bryan Bruce
 

If we want to rebuild a fair an equitable society where every child gets a fair go you can’t have kids in poor schools gardening to grow their dinner while kids in rich schools get their lunch provided and spend their school time doing maths and reading. If the public school system does not treat every child equally (and it already isn’t) then watch the gap between the rich and the poor get bigger and bigger.

Dr Wills also suggests that ,  “ … we need a small project to bring together schools, NGOs, officials and experts to reach a consensus on what food in schools done well looks like. From there we could develop guidelines and standards for food in schools programmes.
Is this a viable, necessary step? Or a case of “talking heads around a table” whilst the problem of hungry children goes unaddressed?

Ruth O’Neill
 

This sounds like a great idea – count me in. If this is going to be addressed properly and a long term healthy solution found then it needs a focused approach. With the right people and funding it could move quite quickly.

When I asked, can we afford Dr Wills’  suggestion “Maybe it’s time for a cup of tea on food in schools?“, Bryan Bruce was less than impressed,

Bryan Bruce

 

Forget the cup of tea and the charity and poor kids being constant gardeners – let’s get on and feed our kids properly so the teachers are freed to do their job and our kids can learn the 21 st Century skills they will need to earn money, pay their taxes and grow our economy.

Ruth also offered her thoughts on  matters arising  from Dr Wills’ ideas.
Questons such as; who cares and tends to the gardens during school holidays? Are school staff expected to tend to garden plots during holidays?

Ruth O’Neill

I can tell you that the class gardens all go to seed over the xmas break and then it takes all of term 1 when the soil is rock hard to get them up and running again.  Then in the winter they are like a bog!!! On any given weekend people will come into the grounds and trash them, throw alcohol and broken glass bottles in them. Urinate in them – would you want your child doing the gardening?? Or people steal the veges.

What about schools that have little or no spare land for gardens?

 Exactly??? Or who have high vandalism.

I then asked how much food can be grown to sustain anywhere from thirty to a few hundred school children in any given school? The respone from Ruth was fairly predictable,

You could not grow enough food to maintain the whole programme. It is also a question of having the right veges on the right day to make the soup or the sandwiches. You need lettuces and tomatoes everyday!!

And of course the also-obvious question which I put to Ruth -  what do children eat whilst crops are growing?

Exactly – totally impractical unless it is on a massive commercial scale for a big group of schools and the funding to buy in produce when needed to supplement supplies.

 

And is a “chat”  really necessary – or is it time to Just Do It; to get on with feeding our children and leave the “conversation” to some other time? (It’s easy for middle class professionals to want to engage in public debate. Especially on a full belly.)

Ruth O’Neill

It needs addressing and in a timely manner – the chat would need to lead to actions and funding.

Mike Fackney

All of the above are very valid concerns.

This blogger concurs with Bryan, Ruth, and Mike; Dr Wills has suggested some positive ideas – but the prospect of turning our schools into vast agricultural plots to feed hungry child is simply not practical.

Children go to school, first and foremost, to learn.

Those children from low-income or impoverished families should not be made to become mini-farmers.

Teachers go to school, first and foremost, to teach.

They do not expect to add Farm Manager to their C.V.

Child poverty is here, in our country. Whilst right wing conservatives  ‘tut-tut’ and wag their judgemental fingers at the problem (I refuse point-blank to call it an “issue”), children through no fault of their own are going hungry and their  learning experience is diminished.

As a nation, it is almost as if we have embarked on a deliberate course of increasing poverty and ensuring the advent of the next generation of impoverished New Zealanders.

If that is our aim, then we are exceeding all expectations. The UNICEF report referred to above proves that poverty is a growth industry in this country.

The time for “chat” is over.

3. “Feed The Kids” Bill in Parliament – Chat with MPs

The Mana Party in Parliament has a Bill before the House. The bill is designed to fund nutritional breakfasts and lunches to all their students in decile 1 and 2 schools.

For more info, see: Feed the Kids Bill

As their website points out,

  • Feeding the kids should be our first priority as a nation.
  • The Bill aims to set up government funded breakfast and lunch programmes in all decile 1-2 schools.
  • It’s a simple, easy and immediate way to address growing levels of child poverty in Aotearoa and has been a key recommendation of leading organisations such as the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.
  • The Bill is expected to come before Parliament for its first reading on Wednesday 5 June. So far Labour, Greens, Maori Party, NZ First, and Independent MP Brendan Horan have agreed to support it.
  • We need one more vote to get it passed and to a select committee for further consideration.

One more vote.

That’s all it will take.

Accordingly, Documentary-maker and child poverty campaigner, Bryan Bruce, is encouraging people to write to all MPs, asking that they vote for the Bill. As Bryan wrote on his Facebook Page,

You’re 7 years old. It’s winter. You haven’t had breakfast and you’re hungry. What do you want to hear?

“Why doesn’t your Mum feed you in the morning? I hope you’re not going to grow up to be a bad parent like her?”

OR

“Hey! Here’s some Milo. There’s toast over there and weetbix , milk and fruit on the table. Help yourself.”

We can’t change tomorrow if we don’t do the right thing today.

Please contact your local MP and ask them to support the Feed The Kids Bill. You will find their email addresses here:

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs

Bryan even suggests a pre-formatted letter to send,

Dear [or Kia ora]  (name of MP)

My name is…………. I live in your electorate . I urge you to commit to cross- party talks on how to end Child Poverty in New Zealand.

Please begin by agreeing to Cross-Party discussions on how we can implement a policy of supplying healthy meals in schools and show good faith by supporting the Feed The Kids Bill as a first step.

Yours faithfully………

Even something as simple as,

Dear [or Kia ora]  (name of MP)

Please support the Feed the Kids Bill. Nothing is as important as ensuring that all children have a decent chance in life.

Yours faithfully………

Or,

Dear [or Kia ora]  (name of MP)

Please support the Feed the Kids Bill. This is so important to me that I’ll be basing my vote at the next election for those candidates/parties who support this Bill.

Yours faithfully………

The MPs email addresses,

.

Adams, Amy National Party, Selwyn
Ardern, Jacinda Labour Party, List
Ardern, Shane National Party, Taranaki-King Country
Auchinvole, Chris National Party, List
Bakshi, Kanwaljit Singh National Party, List
Banks, John ACT New Zealand, Epsom
Barry, Maggie National Party, North Shore
Beaumont, Carol Labour Party, List
Bennett, David National Party, Hamilton East
Bennett, Paula National Party, Waitakere
Blue, Jackie National Party, List
Borrows, Chester National Party, Whanganui
Bridges, Simon National Party, Tauranga
Browning, Steffan Green Party, List
Brownlee, Gerry National Party, Ilam
Calder, Cam National Party, List
Carter, David National Party, List
Clark, David Labour Party, Dunedin North
Clendon, David Green Party, List
Coleman, Jonathan National Party, Northcote
Collins, Judith National Party, Papakura
Cosgrove, Clayton Labour Party, List
Cunliffe, David Labour Party, New Lynn
Curran, Clare Labour Party, Dunedin South
Dalziel, Lianne Labour Party, Christchurch East
Dean, Jacqui National Party, Waitaki
Delahunty, Catherine Green Party, List
Dunne, Peter United Future, Ohariu
Dyson, Ruth Labour Party, Port Hills
English, Bill National Party, Clutha-Southland
Faafoi, Kris Labour Party, Mana
Fenton, Darien Labour Party, List
Finlayson, Christopher National Party, List
Flavell, Te Ururoa Maori Party, Waiariki
Foss, Craig National Party, Tukituki
Genter, Julie Anne Green Party, List
Gilmore, Aaron National Party, List
Goff, Phil Labour Party, Mt Roskill
Goldsmith, Paul National Party, List
Goodhew, Jo National Party, Rangitata
Graham, Kennedy Green Party, List
Groser, Tim National Party, List
Guy, Nathan National Party, Otaki
Hague, Kevin Green Party, List
Harawira, Hone Mana, Te Tai Tokerau
Hayes, John National Party, Wairarapa
Heatley, Phil National Party, Whangarei
Henare, Tau National Party, List
Hipkins, Chris Labour Party, Rimutaka
Horan, Brendan Independent, List
Hughes, Gareth Green Party, List
Huo, Raymond Labour Party, List
Hutchison, Paul National Party, Hunua
Jones, Shane Labour Party, List
Joyce, Steven National Party, List
Kaye, Nikki National Party, Auckland Central
Key, John National Party, Helensville
King, Annette Labour Party, Rongotai
King, Colin National Party, Kaikoura
Lee, Melissa National Party, List
Lees-Galloway, Iain Labour Party, Palmerston North
Little, Andrew Labour Party, List
Logie, Jan Green Party, List
Lole-Taylor, Asenati NZ First, List
Lotu-Iiga, Peseta Sam National Party, Maungakiekie
Macindoe, Tim National Party, Hamilton West
Mackey, Moana Labour Party, List
Mahuta, Nanaia Labour Party, Hauraki-Waikato
Mallard, Trevor Labour Party, Hutt South
Martin, Tracey NZ First, List
Mathers, Mojo Green Party, List
McClay, Todd National Party, Rotorua
McCully, Murray National Party, East Coast Bays
McKelvie, Ian National Party, Rangitikei
Mitchell, Mark National Party, Rodney
Moroney, Sue Labour Party, List
Ngaro, Alfred National Party, List
Norman, Russel Green Party, List
O’Connor, Damien Labour Party, West Coast-Tasman
O’Connor, Simon National Party, Tamaki
O’Rourke, Denis NZ First, List
Parata, Hekia National Party, List
Parker, David Labour Party, List
Peters, Winston NZ First, List
Prasad, Rajen Labour Party, List
Prosser, Richard NZ First, List
Robertson, Grant Labour Party, Wellington Central
Robertson, Ross Labour Party, Manukau East
Roche, Denise Green Party, List
Ross, Jami-Lee National Party, Botany
Roy, Eric National Party, Invercargill
Ryall, Tony National Party, Bay of Plenty
Sabin, Mike National Party, Northland
Sage, Eugenie Green Party, List
Shanks, Katrina National Party, List
Sharples, Pita Maori Party, Tamaki Makaurau
Shearer, David Labour Party, Mt Albert
Simpson, Scott National Party, Coromandel
Sio, Su’a William Labour Party, Mangere
Smith, Nick National Party, Nelson
Stewart, Barbara NZ First, List
Street, Maryan Labour Party, List
Tirikatene, Rino Labour Party, Te Tai Tonga
Tisch, Lindsay National Party, Waikato
Tolley, Anne National Party, East Coast
Tremain, Chris National Party, Napier
Turei, Metiria Green Party, List
Turia, Tariana Maori Party, Te Tai Hauauru
Twyford, Phil Labour Party, Te Atatu
Upston, Louise National Party, Taupo
Wagner, Nicky National Party, Christchurch Central
Walker, Holly Green Party, List
Wall, Louisa Labour Party, Manurewa
Wilkinson, Kate National Party, Waimakariri
Williams, Andrew NZ First, List
Williamson, Maurice National Party, Pakuranga
Woodhouse, Michael National Party, List
Woods, Megan Labour Party, Wigram
Yang, Jian National Party, List
Young, Jonathan National Party, New Plymouth

.

I leave the final word to Bryan, from his Facebook page,

OK, let’s get some things straight about providing free healthy meals in schools.

1. First of all let’s decide on the principle before arguing about the detail.

Let’s admit there is a significant problem of children turning up to school hungry and that a lot of kids are eating low cost foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat , causing obesity , diabetes and long term health problems.

And at least get the Feed The Kids Bill to Parliamentary Select Committee. You can argue all you want about how it should be funded or what’s going to be on the menu there.

If you don’t think we have a community responsibility to feed children and/or educate their palates to healthy eating habits – then read no further it will only make you angry.

2. It doesn’t fill a hungry kids tummy to point at their parents and shout “Your problem is you have bad parents”. This page takes the view that kids don’t get to choose their parents and we have a community responsibility to ALL our kids to make sure they grow up healthy. And if that means feeding them for free- then that’s what we do.

3. No one is going to force feed any child food they don’t want to eat or is culturally inappropriate. If you watch the video below which I filmed in Sweden for the documentary you will see children from multi -cultural backgrounds CHOOSING their food. And Yes children with allergies are catered for and Yes children can still bring their own lunch prepared by the parents .

4.Free healthy school meals can be paid for without raising taxes. We just choose to re-distribute the existing pool of tax payer money and give up on some other things. Here are some suggestions, I’m sure you can think of other ways we could spend smarter.

(a) We could fund school meals out of the Health vote rather than the Education vote. In a document released under the Official Information Act I revealed that children under 14 receive 10% of the money set aside for health care. But children under 14 represent 20% of our population. So we could fund some of it – if not all of it – by giving kids their fair share.

(b )It is a well accepted health statistic that for every $1 we spend on preventing disease we save $4 in expensive hospital cure. So within a few years the scheme will fund itself out of what we save. If we DON’T do it, taxpayers will be spending much more than they are now on the Health budget in the future.

(c) We could make children a spending priority. National plans to spend a billion a year on Roads of National Significance over the next 10 years. What about Children? – aren’t they of National Significance? I’d much rather feed our kids than be able to by – pass small towns while driving to Auckland .

(d) We could pay the pension to people when they actually stop working and not just because they reach 65.

(e) We could spend more energy making sure people paid their taxes . Last year the IRD detected about a Billion dollars worth of tax evasion mostly by businesses. It’s estimated that the real tax evasion in NZ is between 4 and 5 Billion.


If you pay PAYE you can’t cheat your taxes. So we could easily pay for free school meals if more adults played fair.

Let’s impose greater penalties for tax evasion, and let’s stop thinking of tax as a bad thing. Tax is a good thing – it’s giving to ourselves. That’s how we can have schools and hospitals and yes even Roads Of National significance. Tax is the price of civilisation. Get over it.

Now whether you agree with some of the above, all of the above or none of the above , let’s at least agree that The Feed The Kids Bill should at least go to Select Committee after its First Reading so the issue can be properly debated.

Please contact your local MP today and urge them to support the Feed The Kids Bill.

You can find their contact details here, just click on their name :

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs

Thank you,
Bryan

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 May 2013.

.

.

 

*

.

Acknowledgement

My sincerest appreciation and thanks go  to Bryan Bruce, Mike Fackney, and  Ruth O’Neill for taking time out of their busy schedules to respond to my questions.

Other Blog Posts

The Daily Blog: Hungry Kids Annoy Frazzled Lobby Group Director

References

NZ Herald: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key (17 Feb 2011)

Scoop: Government Policy Impacting Child Poverty Levels   (30 May 2012)

NZ Herald: Poverty not only reason for suicide spike, says Key (30 Oct 2012)

Fairfax Media: Time for a chat on food in schools (7 May 2013)

Additional

Mana Party: Feed the Kids #fact sheet

Feed The Kids

Facebook: Community Campaign for Food in Schools – NZ

Ten Myths About Welfare

The Children’s Social Health Monitor: Child Poverty and Living Standards

Other blogposts

The Pundit: Children’s Commissioner fronts for Nats on food in schools: Corporate agenda rules

And from the nasty side of Conservative Rightwing politics

“Family First’: Food In Schools Will Feed The Problem

.

.

= fs =

Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

.

feed the kids

.

The Mana Party currently has a bill before Parliament, which, if passed, will fund school meals for children in Decile One and Two schools. These are schools in the poorest parts of our country.

Because as many of you readers know (or SHOULD know), child poverty has been steadily increasing over the last decades. Whether caused by low wages; inadequate welfare payments for unemployed; high house rentals and electricity tariffs; dysfunctional parents; or whatever – about 270,000 children now live in abject poverty.

Many are going to school without breakfast or lunch.

We can blame the parents or the system or whatever. But we can’t blame the kids – they don’t vote. Nor can they speak up or act for themselves (unless, through hunger, they steal food from somewhere). Nor do children choose which family to be born into.

The Mana Party’s “Feed the Kids” Bill is designed to alleviate this growing cancer in our society and to give children a chance for a decent start in life. Food in their bellies will help improve their attention in school and help them focus and learn. Because as we all know (or SHOULD know) – without an education, these children will remain trapped in poverty.

From the Website, Feedthekids.org.nz,

  • Feeding the kids should be our first priority as a nation.
  • The Bill aims to set up government funded breakfast and lunch programmes in all decile 1-2 schools.
  • It’s a simple, easy and immediate way to address growing levels of child poverty in Aotearoa and has been a key recommendation of leading organisations such as the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.
  • The Bill is expected to come before Parliament for its first reading on Wednesday 5 June. So far Labour, Greens, Maori Party, NZ First, and Independent MP Brendan Horan have agreed to support it. We need one more vote to get it passed and to a select committee for further consideration.

“We need one more vote to get it passed and to a select committee for further consideration“,  trumpets the appeal.

Unfortunately, that one vote will not be coming from Peter Dunne.

From the blogsite, YourNZ, run by Peter Dunne supporter, Pete George,

Peter Dunne’s vote would be the one that makes the difference to get this bill passed on the first vote. I asked him if he would support it. Dunne responded:

I fully understand what is intended by this essentially laudable proposals, but I think it is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons.

Of course, there is a significant number of children who go to school to hungry, because they have not been properly fed at home, and of course poor nutrition has an adverse effect on learning and the subsequent development of the child. That is not the issue – rather, the question is what is the best way of addressing this problem.

At one level, the idea of meals in schools is superficially attractive, but it is essentially palliative, and does little to deal with the circumstances of these children on a long term basis.

Then there is the question of which group of children should we be focusing on. After all, not all children in schools will come from the same socio-economic backgrounds. So, should such a programme be applied universally, which would be as expensive as it would be impractical, or should it be more tightly targeted?

And if so, how? Should, for example, it just apply in low decile schools, even though there will children in those schools from a higher socio-economic status who would not need such a programme?

In that event, what about low-income household children in higher decile schools? Or, to get around income definition problems, should the children of beneficiaries be the only ones eligible?

Whatever way one looks at the issue, the definitional problems are massive, and strongly suggest that such a programme would not only be unsustainable, but also impractical, and in a number of cases potentially inequitable.

That is why I take the view that a much more realistic and workable approach is to target directly, through early identification by community agencies, at risk families and to work with them to help them  get the support they need to properly feed their children.

That support could take any number of forms, depending on individual circumstances, including direct assistance with the provision of food, at one end of the scale, through to such things as life skills advice on cooking, for example, and proper budget advice at the other end of the scale.

Such a targeted approach is far more likely to succeed in the long term, and benefit directly at-risk children, and would have my full support.

Acknowledgment: YourNZ – Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

Blah, blah, blah – it is vile sophistry to justify doing precisely nothing.

Dunne sez,

That is why I take the view that a much more realistic and workable approach is to target directly, through early identification by community agencies, at risk families and to work with them to help them  get the support they need to properly feed their children.

That support could take any number of forms, depending on individual circumstances, including direct assistance with the provision of food, at one end of the scale, through to such things as life skills advice on cooking, for example, and proper budget advice at the other end of the scale.

Not only is that not happening – but social welfare services are being wound back by National, and assistance is getting harder and harder to access;

.

National to push 46,000 off welfare

Acknowledgment:  Fairfax Media – National to push 46,000 off welfare

.

The consequences for increasing poverty, and the effects on children,  are inevitable;

.

Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

Acknowledgment: Fairfax Media – Hungry kids scavenge pig slops

.

So why is a reasonably intelligent, well-educated man who is socially progressive, so thoroughly opposed to feeding  our hungry children?

After all, Dunne’s track record on social issues seems to be encouragingly positive;

So what’s up with Peter Dunne and his awful, cold-hearted response to the crisis of child poverty afflicting this country? One could imagine ACT and National MPs voting against the “Feed The Kids” Bill – those people either have freezer coolant in their veins, or are ideologically wedded to rugged Individualism and Personal Responsibility (except when National is held to account for it’s stuff-ups and policy failures) that includes perpetuating poverty on a nationwide scale.

Why has Dunne fobbed off meals in schools when he knows full well that it is a successful programme that is cost-effective; helps families in need; and alleviates hunger in our children? Dunne knows full well that food in schools has been a normal feature of Scandinavia and British schools for decades.

The pay-off is kids who can focus on classes and succeed in education. As Bryan Bruce said recently,

let’s get on and feed our kids properly so the teachers are freed to do their job and our kids can learn the 21 st Century skills they will need to earn money, pay their taxes and grow our economy.

See: The Daily Blog – Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

So why has Dunne adopted a miserly attitude that would gladden the dead heart of Scrooge? Why, when he admits that hungry, under-fed children is a very real problem,

Of course, there is a significant number of children who go to school to hungry, because they have not been properly fed at home, and of course poor nutrition has an adverse effect on learning and the subsequent development of the child.

I submit to the reader that Dunne’s mealy-mouthed words about why we can’t feed hungry children is indicated in his following words,

So, should such a programme be applied universally, which would be as expensive ...

So this isn’t about whether or not child poverty and hunger exists – Dunne concedes that it does.

This is about money.

And Peter Dunne, as we know, is Minister of Revenue.

Just recently, Dunne attempted to tax carparks as part of an extended Fringe Benefit tax. Last year, Finance Minister Bill English announced that a rebate for children earning pocket money (paper delivery boys and girls, etc), would be eliminated. And Gerry Brownlee announced 9 cents per litre increase in petrol taxes over a three year period.

Quite simply, after two unaffordable tax cuts – funded by offshore borrowings – National has found itself in a fiscal hole, of a shortfall of at  least two billion dollars per year.

After Dunne’s fiasco over his failed car-park proposal – which was so unpopular with trade unions and businesses alike – his National colleagues distanced themselves  from the policy, and it was finally dropped by Dear Leader on 18 March.

A day later, Key dumped another proposal by Peter Dunne to  extend tax on cellphones and computer laptops.

As Minister of Revenue, Dunne is in a bind. He is cash-strapped to fund National’s budgetted policies.

It also means he is loathe to support new initiatives which will incur additional spending.

Especially if it puts more pressure on him to find the money to pay for said initiatives.

As Dunne pointed out,  about feeding decile 1 and 2 school-children;

“…should such a programme be applied universally, [it] would be …  expensive

How else to explain his bizarre statement,

“...the question is what is the best way of addressing this problem.  At one level, the idea of meals in schools is superficially attractive, but it is essentially palliative…”

Feeding hungry children is… ‘superficially attractive’?

Feeding hungry children is ‘palliative’??

If Dunne is opposed to feeding hungry children from this nation’s poorest families,  because he would find it difficult to reconcile extra expenditure with revenue, he should at least have the intestinal fortitude to publicly admit it. Tell us, straight up.

Hiding behind faux excuses is obscene. Especially when, with every word he writes, there are children with empty bellies turning up at our schools.

Peter Dunne writes,

That is why I take the view that a much more realistic and workable approach is to target directly, through early identification by community agencies, at risk families and to work with them to help them  get the support they need to properly feed their children.”

So. What has he done to achieve this?

Because all I can see is a cleverly-worded fob-off.

To the people of Ohariu – this is your MP. Is this what you voted for?

.

child poverty

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 May 2013, before Peter Dunne resigned as Minister of Revenue.
For a full follow-up debate that followed this blogpost on The Daily Blog, click here.

*

.

References

Feed The Kids

The Daily Blog:  Hungry Kids Annoy Frazzled Lobby Group Director

The Daily Blog:  Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

The Pundit: Children’s Commissioner fronts for Nats on food in schools: Corporate agenda rules

.

.

= fs =

Budget 2013: State Housing and the War on Poor

.

state housing new zealand

.

Housing NZ Current waiting list

As at 30 April 2013 there were 4,568 people on the waiting list. Of this:

  • 1,172 were Priority Eligible – A

  • 2,207 were Priority Eligible – B

  • 728 were C (assessed before 30 June 2011)

  • 461 were D (assessed before 30 June 2011)

Acknowledgment: Housing NZ – Waiting list

Some facts;

  1. As at 30 April this year, Housing NZ had 3,379 people on it’s Category A and B waiting lists (Categories C and D are so low priority that their chances of getting into a state house are next to nil). (see:  IBID)
  2. According to Housing NZ, they had 69,400 properties in the 2011/12 financial year (see: HNZ -Addressing housing demand).  This has probably reduced significantly as many rental properties – such as in Pomare, Lower Hutt – were demolished in June 2011 (see: Pomare housing demolition begins).
  3. Child poverty in New Zealand has increased;
    In 2006/07 230,000, or 22 percent, of New Zealand children were still living in poverty. That is, in households with incomes below the 60 percent median income poverty line, after taking housing costs into account. This is more than the entire population of North Shore City (205,605) or the Manawatu-Wanganui region (222,423) and means one adult and one child were living on $430 a week before housing costs. (see:  Brief Statistics on Child Poverty in New Zealand 2004-2008)By 2011/12, approximately 270,000, or 25%, of New Zealand children were living in poverty. (see: Solutions to Child Poverty)
  4.  A recent UNICEF report placed New Zealand amongst the worst in developed countries for child wellbeing, ranking us 25th out of 34 developed countries.  We are  now behind Australia and Britain also for homicide rates, child health, and safety.  (See: NZ ranked poorly on child welfare)

In the past, one of the principle means by which  New Zealand has attempted to ameliorate the  destructive effects of poverty is for the provision of State housing, where tenants pay 25% of their household’s net income (See:  HNZ -Income-related rent)

For thousand of low-income New Zealanders, this has meant the difference between this,

.

state house new zealand nz

Acknowledgment: NZ History Online – Inside a state house

.

Or this,

.

homelessWoman

.

Unfortunately, too many New Zealanders have a narrow view of life and society in general, and cannot accept that in a civilised society there is a dire need for the State to provide housing for those who cannot manage, or, have fallen on hard times – especially during the Global Financial Crisis. But that need exists, and it is the price we pay for living in a decent society where beggars do not line the streets.

Even those who grudingly admit that social housing is a necessity still  hold to the belief that State housing is for “short term emergencies”, and not for any longer period.

This writer thoroughly disagrees and disputes that notion.

The principle of  housing is not just to provide a roof  over people’s heads and give them warm shelter from cold and rain.

Social housing – as the name ‘social‘ implies – is  where those on the lower socio-economic scale (ie, the poor)  can  create communities; offer mutual support; perhaps grow food for themselves in their backyards; and where children can put down roots and attend their local school on a steady, uninterupted basis.

The last thing we need now is those on low incomes (or vulnerable in other ways) being evicted from their state homes and  forced into a life of transience – or trapped in high-cost rental accomodation, leaving little aside for food, medicines, clothing, etc.

This is precisely what National appears to be planning;

.

State tenants face 'high need' review

Acknowledgment: State tenants face ‘high need’ review

.

National’s 2013 Budget proposes;

Reviews of state housing tenants will be phased in from next year. Housing New Zealand estimates the reviews will lead to 1000 tenants moving out of state houses in 2015-16 and a further 2000 in 2016-17. About 10,000 tenants are already subject to reviews, if they signed an agreement after July 2011.

Assessment for housing will also be carried out by the Ministry of Social Development and integrated with other services.

Acknowledgment: IBID

Bill English described it with words that belied the misery that such a policy could create,

It can become a trap for those whose circumstances could improve.  We want to ensure people are in the most appropriate houses for them.

We will be looking at when tenants’ circumstances change and when they no longer have higher needs and will help to move them into other housing.”

Acknowledgment: Budget 2013: All state house tenancies to be reviewed

Only a Tory who has never know deprivation, hunger, and hopelessness could call a decent chance for a warm home as a “trap”.

It’s the same weasel words that National uses for welfare payments that can put food in unemployed person’s belly.

It’s not a “trap” – it’s a lifeline for survival.

English refers to “moving tenants into other housing“.

What housing? There is a critical shortage of low-cost rental housing in this country.

Moving a tenant on a low or fixed income into a $300-$400/week rental will achieve nothing except push the poor further into poverty.

It will also inevitably  increase transience, as tenants fall behind in market rents and have to move on a regular basis. This uproots children from their school.

And it eventually leads to shocking incidents like this;

.

child poverty - social housing

Acknowledgment:  CYF lost track of neglected children

.

Welfare minister, Paula Bennett acknowledged the obvious,

Because of the family’s transience, living in a number of regions, I am unable to give detailed information and an actual number [of social worker visits] at this time.

What I can say is there has been previous Child, Youth and Family involvement and notifications over many years, but Child, Youth and Family was unaware that they were at that [Lower Hutt] residence until January 4, when the police were involved.”

Acknowledgment: IBID

So, let’s be clear about this: forcing low income people from their homes is a pointless excercise in futility that achieves nothing except exacerbate poverty.

It creates unnecessary stress in already stressed families.

We will see ghastly consequences of families pushed further into poverty and unable to cope with financial pressures.

And, as usual, it will be the children who suffer the most.

All for what? What possible purpose or benefit is there in pushing people out of their homes and out of their local community?

Remember the stats above?

As at 30 April 2013 there were 4,568 people on the waiting list. Of this:

  • 1,172 were Priority Eligible – A

  • 2,207 were Priority Eligible – B

National has never been a Party to promote  socially proactive programmes. At best they tolerate what Labour governments have built up over decades (like social housing).

The waiting list – 3,379 people on it’s Category A and B waiting lists – is obviously an embarressment to National ministers.

But instead of building an extra 3,400 houses or flats (which is doable), National has tackled the waiting list in a novel way; displace existing tenants into private accomodation, and re-tenant with those 3,379 in Caregories A and B.

It is a cynical manipulation of people’s lives so National ministers can, at next year’s election, claim that they have “eliminated” the state housing waiting list.

A “revolving door” of poor tenants is National’s cunning plan to solve the state housing shortage.

In the meantime, we will see more and more stories like this in our media,

The parents, a 25-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, have pleaded guilty to failing to provide medical care, food and nutrition to the children, aged 4, 3, 2, and 7 months.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said in Parliament yesterday that her staff had been aware of the family for many years, but the agency lost track of them when they moved from Whanganui towards the end of last year.

Acknowledgment: CYF lost track of neglected children

A Message to John Key & other National clowns

In an op-ed piece in the Dominion Post on  17 May, former-Labour President, Mike Williams wrote that National policies – especially relating to poverty and housing – would hand “the Labour Party a golden opportunity to win the general election next year“. (see  Budget: Stirring state house voters)

Williams further stated,

Budget 2013 gives a very large group who don’t turn out to vote on a regular basis a very good reason to cast their ballots next year. These are state house tenants.

What we all know is that there are just under 70,000 state rental houses in this country. What Labour discovered in 2004 was that there are between three and four enrolled voters per household and that a large majority of these potential electors do not bother to cast a ballot on a regular basis.

The threat to state house tenants planned for election year by National is a gift to Labour in a tight contest. Nearly everyone in a state house will have their tenancy reviewed and 10 per cent of these people will be moved on. That nice Mr Key has grown teeth.

On September 17, 2005, Don Brash was denied victory at the last moment by increased participation in South and West Auckland, north Wellington and east Christchurch – just where you find lots of state houses.

Acknowledgment: IBID

A bit of simple arithmetic: nearly 70,000 state homes times three or four enrolled voters per household equals 210,000 voters (conservative estimate).

Considering that the 2011 election yielded the following voting results,

National: 1,058,638

Labour: 614,936

Greens: 247,370

Add 200,000 votes to Labour and the Greens – and National will be  out of office. And Key is out of a job.

Make no mistake, Mr Key; Labour, the Greens, and Mana will work in concert to target every single state house and flat  at the next election.  Every person will be made aware of National’s intentions. Every single state house tenant will be warned that their continuing tenancy will depend on National being voted out of office.

National has just made 200,000 new enemies.

Nicely done, Mr English – a political suicide note dressed up as a “budget”.

.

*

.

References

Fairfax Media: Parents accused of neglecting kids (11 Jan 2013)

Fairfax Media: Neglected kids back home in days (15 May 2013)

Fairfax Media: CYF lost track of neglected children (16 May 2013)

NZ Herald:  Budget 2013: All state house tenancies to be reviewed (16 May 2013)

Dominion Post: State tenants face ‘high need’ review (17 May 2013)

Dominion Post: Budget: Stirring state house voters (17 May 2013)

Additional

Previous related blogposts

.

.

= fs =

National on Child Poverty?!

.

Poverty among Budget targets

Acknowledgment: Dominion Post – Poverty among Budget targets

.

At first glance, it appears that National has recognised that a crisis exists in our country; a crisis involving 275,000 children living in poverty.

Without doubt, this problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) hit the public’s collective consciousness on 22 November 2011, when Bryan Bruce’s sobering documentary,”Inside Child Poverty” hit our television screens (see:  Strong reaction to damning TV child poverty doco).

Since then, the problem has become a major concern concern throughout the country.

More and more organisations, schools, political groups, etc, are adding their voice to a growing clamour for action. Most New Zealanders – those with eyes to see; ears to listen; and a mind to understand – want action. They want kids fed, so that they can attend their schools and learn and get a decent chance at life.

This is what Bryan Bruce, the documentary-maker of Inside Child Poverty wrote on his Facebook page;

.

OK, let’s get some things straight about providing free healthy meals in schools.

1. First of all let’s decide on the principle before arguing about the detail.

Let’s admit there is a significant problem of children turning up to school hungry and that a lot of kids are eating low cost foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat , causing obesity , diabetes and long term health problems.

And at least get the Feed The Kids Bill to Parliamentary Select Committee. You can argue all you want about how it should be funded or what’s going to be on the menu there.

If you don’t think we have a community responsibility to feed children and/or educate their palates to healthy eating habits – then read no further it will only make you angry.

2. It doesn’t fill a hungry kids tummy to point at their parents and shout “Your problem is you have bad parents”. This page takes the view that kids don’t get to choose their parents and we have a community responsibility to ALL our kids to make sure they grow up healthy. And if that means feeding them for free- then that’s what we do.

3. No one is going to force feed any child food they don’t want to eat or is culturally inappropriate. If you watch the video below which I filmed in Sweden for the documentary you will see children from multi -cultural backgrounds CHOOSING their food. And Yes children with allergies are catered for and Yes children can still bring their own lunch prepared by the parents .

4.Free healthy school meals can be paid for without raising taxes. We just choose to re-distribute the existing pool of tax payer money and give up on some other things. Here are some suggestions, I’m sure you can think of other ways we could spend smarter.

(a) We could fund school meals out of the Health vote rather than the Education vote. In a document released under the Official Information Act I revealed that children under 14 receive 10% of the money set aside for health care. But children under 14 represent 20% of our population. So we could fund some of it – if not all of it – by giving kids their fair share.

(b )It is a well accepted health statistic that for every $1 we spend on preventing disease we save $4 in expensive hospital cure. So within a few years the scheme will fund itself out of what we save. If we DON’T do it, taxpayers will be spending much more than they are now on the Health budget in the future.

(c) We could make children a spending priority. National plans to spend a billion a year on Roads of National Significance over the next 10 years. What about Children? – aren’t they of National Signifcance? I’d much rather feed our kids than be able to by – pass small towns while driving to Auckland .

(d) We could pay the pension to people when they actually stop working and not just because they reach 65.

(e) We could spend more energy making sure people paid their taxes . Last year the IRD detected about a Billion dollars worth of tax evasion mostly by businesses. It’s estimated that the real tax evasion in NZ is between 4 and 5 Billion.
If you pay PAYE you can’t cheat your taxes. So we could easily pay for free school meals if more adults played fair.

Let’s impose greater penalties for tax evasion, and let’s stop thinking of tax as a bad thing. Tax is a good thing – it’s giving to ourselves. That’s how we can have schools and hospitals and yes even Roads Of National significance. Tax is the price of civilisation. Get over it.

Now whether you agree with some of the above, all of the above or none of the above , let’s at least agree that The Feed The Kids Bill should at least go to Select Committee after its First Reading so the issue can be properly debated.

Please contact your local MP today and urge them to support the Feed The Kids Bill.

You can find their contact details here, just click on their name :

http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs

Thank you
Bryan

Inside Child Poverty New Zealand

.

(Please give Brian support by going to his Page and “liking” it. The bigger the numbers, the more ‘clout’ he has.)

It’s fairly obvious to all by the most stubborn-minded that a malnourished child is not well pre-desposed to learning well. A child who cannot focus on his or her lessons and falls behind, eventually becomes alienated and disenchanted. The cycle of poverty, hopelessness, and anger perpetuates.

The Mana Party introduced a “Feed The Kids” Bill – aka the Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment Bill – into Parliament last year, on 8 November 2012. The Bill is scheduled to come before Parliament for its first reading on 5 June this year.

With pressure coming hard and fast on Key and his increasingly shakey,  poll-driven,  ‘government’, their strategists are planning to end National’s destructive austerity Budgets and begin spending on essential social services that are critical to the well-being of our communities.

Part of this is Key’s stated intention;

Children who aren’t fed become victims and the Government has to deal with that, Prime Minister John Key says.

His comments come as action on child poverty is tipped to be the surprise package in Finance Minister Bill English’s fifth Budget on Thursday.

“The vast overwhelming bulk are [fed] in New Zealand, but if a child isn’t fed then actually they become a victim and whatever we think of that we need to try and deal with that issue.”

Acknowledgment: IBID

At his regular press conference,  Key was coy at whether National would  rule in or out a  food in schools programme – but was more candid in ruling out support for  Mana’s “Feed the Kids” member’s bill.

So. What we have is;

  1. A firm “no” by National to Mana’s initiative
  2. A firm “no” by Peter Dunne to Mana’s initiative  (Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”)
  3. A vague committment;  “The vast overwhelming bulk are [fed] in New Zealand, but if a child isn’t fed then actually they become a victim and whatever we think of that we need to try and deal with that issue.”

Now, call me a cynic if you like, but National has a fairly poor track record on dealing with social matters, whether it be unemployment, solo-mothers, worker’s rights and conditions, etc.

To give an example; our high unemployment.

Unemployment is high.

Jobs are scarce.

National’s ‘solution’; “reform” social welfare and make it harder for the unemployed to access welfare support, or to retain it. Additional ‘solution’; demonise the unemployed and infer that that are bludging. Ditto for solo-mothers.

That was National’s ‘solution’; force people off welfare and make the numbers look good. (see: Bennett trumpets 5000 fewer on DPB, see: 5000 beneficiaries quit dole rather than reapply, see: Welfare rules force people to struggle on without benefits)

I hope I’m wrong, but my gut feeling is that the Nats plan to pull a “swiftie”. We’re going to see something along these lines;

  1. A WINZ-based “targetted” approach where families that cannot afford to buy adequate food will have an increase in their food grants – but will probably have to re-pay it from their weekly welfare assistance.
  2. A reliance on some form of “PPP”-style programme, such as Fonterra’s milk-in-schools programme. There will be nothing concrete – just a “promise” to “investigate possible options”.
  3. A commision of enquiry of some description.
  4. An increase for school budgets to buy food, but which will be limited; capped; and money will be taken from elsewhere in Vote:Education to fund this.
  5. No increase in welfare assistance; no food in schools; but a form of food vouchers making up a portion of a beneficiaries overall entitlement.
  6. A limited “trial” food-in-schools programme – for a handful of schools only.

Far from addressing this crisis, National, ACT, and Peter Dunne will apply a band-aid “solution” and present it to the public of New Zealand as “Mission: Accomplished”.

It will be nothing of the sort.

Only one thing will begin to address this problem – a change of government.

.

References

NZ Herald: Strong reaction to damning TV child poverty doco (23 Nov 2011)

Feed The Kids website

Previous related blogpost

Why Peter Dunne won’t “Feed the Kids”

Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: Hungry Kids Annoy Frazzled Lobby Group Director

.

.

= fs =

Still someone else’s country

10 February 2013 6 comments

.

someone-elses-country

.

Wellington, Newtown, 9 February 2013 – As the issue of state asset sales and other New Right policies are on National’s impending  agenda, the Newtown-branch of the Mana Party considered it worthwhile taking the time to look back at recent history. The events of today are firmly rooted in the past.

The New Right had taken power in Britain with the election of Margaret Thatcher in May 1979, and in the United States, with the election of Ronald Reagan in November 1980. Our turn came in July 1984, with the snap election called by an inebriated Rob Muldoon. (Intoxication on power and alcohol – not a very healthy mix.)

The Labour government that was swept to power (see: New Zealand general election, 1984) was not the Labour Party that people thought they were voting for. In total secrecy, Labour had been captured by a cabal of fanatical neo-liberal reformers. It was a government firmly under the control of  what we know today, as the ACT Party.

Twenty nine years later…

Mana’s Newtown Branch decided to hold a public screening of Alister Barry’s hard-hitting, insightful, 1996 documentary, “Someone elses’s country“. The story told within that hour-and-a-half documentary is as valid today as it was three decades ago. (In fact, watch “Someone elses’s country” and then watch Bryan Bruce’s 2011 documentary, “Inside Child Poverty in New Zealand” – and the linkages of the radical transformation of our country is all but complete.)

Prior to the screening, the audience was welcomed by Mana Newtown organisor, Ariana, who gave a brief rundown of the content and it’s impact on our society,

.

Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party

.

Many in the audience were young people who either had not been born in the 1980s, or were too young to remember the calamitous events that were unfolding. To these people, the events we now understand as Rogernomics and Ruthenasia would have been like the 1951 Waterfront Lockout dispute that rocked the nation.

Following Ariana, a brief introduction to the film was made by sitting Wellington Councillor, Bryan Pepperell,

.

Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party

.

Pepperell said,

It’s getting into it’s final stages where the agenda to actually get democracy out of the way of business is actually  now reaching a high-point.There’s an awful lot of window-dressing and democracy in New Zealand context has become that,  substantially window dressing…”

He then  shared with the audience when his first disquiet over the election of the Lange Government came to him,

When David Lange actually said on national television – and I remember the day when I sat and I watched it and I thought I can’t believe what I’m hearing – ‘from now on business is going to make the major decisions’. And that was actually a fairly startling thing as far as I was concerned… unfortunately poor old David probably got quite into something that was bigger than him, and here we are today with the consequences of those early decisions.  And of course the National Party is utterly committed to helping it’s friends further the direction that we started in.”

.

The introduction completed, the screening began,

.

Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking  blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Someone elses's country - public screening - 9 february 2013 - Mana Party

.

For many of us who lived through the period, memories of the time came flooding back. In some instances, several people in the audience even recognisedthemselves – with much younger faces – in stills and video footage of protest actions.

It is also worth recalling that despite calls from throughout the country,  TVNZ’s Board rejected calls for widespread broadcasting claiming it it “too political”.

“Too political”?!?!

Of course it was bloody political!

It was so damn political that TVNZ’s boardmembers would have  soiled their panties at the thought of upsetting their Ministerial masters in the Beehive.

As the doco’s producer, Alister Barry , said in November 2009,

It was no accident that Someone Else’s Country wasn’t screened on TVNZ when it was completed in 1996.

It wasn’t that the Business Roundtable needed to actually tell the TV programmers not to screen it. Television executives knew perfectly well where their salaries came from and that TVNZ was being readied for sale.

Fourteen or fifteen minutes of every television hour – the very limit of viewers’ tolerance – was filled with messages carefully and expensively constructed to reach into their fears and appetites. Clutches of advertisements urged New Zealanders to “buy”, to think and feel like frustrated consumers. Airing a documentary which led viewers to think of themselves less as consumers and more as citizens capable of taking political action was not in the interests of the big corporations controlling the advertising dollar.”

See: Someone Else’s Screen

It was not until 2003 that TVNZ finally mustered the courage to air  “Someone elses’s country” – on a Sunday afternoon. Hardly peak viewing time.

Barry also had this pointed insight to make,

It had been anticipated by New Zealand’s New Right revolutionaries, that by the early 2000s our values would have changed and we would have come to think like them, accepting poverty and extreme wealth as both normal and necessary. To pursue personal advantage and to care less about our neighbours. But studies show that in fact our values haven’t changed much from those of our parents and grandparents.
 
What is happening though, is that we are forgetting how things used to be and who changed them. Even as the human and environmental costs of the neoliberal experiment increase, we are finding it harder and harder to imagine how things could be better.

I hope you will find this film a useful antidote to forgetfulness.”

See: IBID

Which is what this country so desperately needs – an antidote to the collective amnesia which so many of our countrymen and woman so often succumb to.

As this blogger noted above; imagine the disquiet and anger that would result if  “Someone elses’s country” was broadcast at prime-time, on a major tv channel – and then followed by Bryan Bruce’s, “Inside Child Poverty in New Zealand“…

Addendum 1

The neo-liberal agenda continues. National plans to partially-privatise three power companies; a mining company; and Air New Zealand (which was privatised once before on 17 April 1989).

National is implementing a privatised form of education via “Charter Schools”.

And the economy is to be further “de-regulated”  and made the rights of foreign corporations extended.

Addendum 2

In a society run along neo-liberal lines, it becomes dangerous to upsets one’s masters investors,

.

Hollywood gets heavy over Hobbit

Full story

.

And shame upon shame to Jackson and his mates for aiding and abetting Hollywood’s Heavies.

What are they hiding?

*

.

Additional Info

Mana Party

Mana Party – Feed the Kids

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Anti asset sale rally – this Wednesday 13 February

.

frank kitts park no to asset sales 13 feb

Source

.

.

= fs =

Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Rua)

.

Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking   No Asset Sales Wellington 14 July http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com Aotearoa is not for sale

.

Continued from:  Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Tahi)

.

What we do now, will impact on her future. Asset sales for this generation’s ‘benefit’ will affect how following generations live and work in our country.  This is unfair and  is little more than a form of inter-generational theft.

What will this young lady think of us when she’s older?

.

.

The link between impending asset sales and the secret Trans Pacific Partnership  Agreement (TPPA) cannot be underestimated. The Agreement will be the vehicle through which our State Assets – currently own by all New Zealanders – will eventually end up in foreign ownership.

The Free Trade Agreement with China has already resulted in the sale of 16 Crafar farms to Chinese investors.

Dear Leader said that he would not like to see New Zealanders as “tenants in our own country” – yet that is precisely the road that he is driving New Zealand down on,

.

.

Citizens young and old, listened to speakers who addressed the crowd,

.

.

CTU Economist and Director of Policy, Bill Rosenberg, addressing the rally, and explaining why asset sales is a really, really bad idea,

.

.

Mother and children… she must’ve been wondering what sort of future we will be leaving  our kids,

.

.

A sign that has appeared in over 16 towns and cities, on a nationwide day of action,

.

.

The crowd gave koha to cover the costs of organising and setting up the Protest rally. Some gave gold coins, others slipped $20 dollars into the jar,

.

.

.

Entertainment provided by musician, Billy Naylor,

.

.

Onlookers looking at someone who appears on the scene,

.

.

.

“John Key” broke in to Kris Faafoi’s speech to tell the crowd he had made a wheelbarrow full of money by selling every third or fourth word from our national anthem,

.

.

“John Key” proceeded to sing the “new, revised” anthem,

Download: tumblr_m775z00vlZ1rbqecu

There was mixed reaction  when “John Key” announced he had sold the trademark name “New Zealand” and henceforth we’d be calling our country “Aotearoa”.

“John Key” then happily pushed  his wheelbarrow of  “billions of  dollars” – the dirty proceeds from  dirty little deal-making,

.

.

.

Blogger, Alistair, distracting “John Key” with a bit of boogey-dancing, whilst the people took back the loot from Key’s wheel-barrow of ill-gotten gains,

.

.

Alastair was interviewed by the Radio NZ journo, who asked him,

* why I was there?

I said that I was concerned about the sale of what is effectively a natural monopoly.

* Asked about the main reason why people in general are so concerned?

I said that people have been burned before, citing Telecom as an example of us being ripped off during the years when technological limitations meant that it remained a natural monopoly.

* I was challenged with the idea that the power companies could be run more efficiently in private hands (or words to that effect)?

I pointed out that the power companies are current well run and wouldn’t have sufficient capital value to sell if they weren’t. I also noted foreign investors’ tendency to starve capital investment, with the result being a loss of productivity within the organisation.

* I told the reporter that higher power prices were my main concern, not so much because of the immediate effect of paying more, but because of the downstream effects of low income people having no spare capacity in their budgets.

Well said, Alastair! Excellent responses!

.

.

“No Deal” – a fitting response to John Key’s “Deal or No Deal”. In this case, however, John Key is playing with assets that belong to us, the people,

.

.

The crowd seemed to grow as the afternoon progressed. Passers-by stopped; watched; and many signed the petition,

.

.

Another of the Convenors, Aroha Priest, Mana whenua from Atiawa, addressing the crowd and reminding them of the cultural history and heritage of  our beautiful country,

.

.

Ms Priest introduced 8-year old Jireh Pirihi, who in turn  gave a brief talk to the rally. A very courageous young lad – perhaps a future Prime Minister?

.

.

Which was followed by an emotion-laden  dance by  Ms Priest, Jireh, and others,

.

.

.

.

Marama Te Kira,  using here amazingly beautiful voice with some lovely singing,

.

.

And finally,  Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati thanking everyone for attending the Rally and encouraging everyone to keep fighting National’s asset-sales programme,

.

.

All up, it was a peaceful, dignified protest. In fact, there was no police presence at all (which was quite surprising).   The media gave brief, limited  coverage on TV1, but otherwise it will be up to the internet and social media to report the event fully.

The message continues tgo be sheeted home to John Key and National; our state assets belong to us, and we demand that the privatisation programme be scrapped. Quite simply, Aotearoa/New Zealand is not for sale!

.

*

.

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Important Links

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Occupy Savvy

.

.

= fs =

Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Tahi)

.

.

Despite a cold, wet afternoon, with intermittant drizzle drenching the city, about 200 hundred people of all ages, race, etc, gathered in Cuba Mall on 14 July.

We were ‘greeted’ by this chap, who had his own ‘beef’ with John Key and a somewhat odious aspect of the recent 2012  Budget,

.

.

This blogger chatted briefly with the gentleman, who was passing out leaflets on this particular issue. In fact, he has a fairly strong point; taxing paperboys and girls for what tiny amounts they happen to earn  reeks of a miserly desperation from  National.

At the same time, the main beneficiaries of the 2009 and 2010 taxcuts were the richest 10% of New Zealanders.

For some reason, taxing children whilst giving more money to the wealthy constitutes “fairness” in the minds of John Key and Bill English…

Approaching the main protest rally, by the Bucket Fountain, we saw this young man. The sign he was holding seemed more than appropriate,

.

.

Signs stuck to park benches in the Mall. One sez, ” We are the average mum and dad and we don’t want our assets sold off “.

I disagree with this sign; there’s nothing average about the good folk who attended this protest. They are each outstanding in their own way, and love their country very much. Definitely above-average, patriotic  folk!

.

.

The message was clear and simple, WE DON’T WANT OUR ASSETS SOLD!!

.

.

One of the organisers of the Protest,

.

.

Bronwyn, from the Labour Party. Where ever there is a just cause to fight, Bronwyn will stand up and be counted. We just need another 4,399,999 like her – and John Key is going downnnn,

.

.

“Zombie economics” – a valid description. Zombies stagger along; oblivious to everything; obsessed; and a menace to everyone. Hmmm, I think we’ve just described John Key and the National Party.

But unlike zombies, we’re not allowed to shoot them. (That’s still a no-no.)

We can, however, vote them out. Much better than shooting them. (And less messy.)

.

.

People were queueing up to sign the petition calling for a Citizens Initiated Referenda to put a halt to asset sales. There simply didn’t seem to be enough clipboards to go around,

.

.

.

TV1 News and Radio NZ were present to report the event. Sadly there was no sign of TV3 or any other media,

.

.

Members of the public chatted and shared their views on issues,

.

.

Interestingly, there was no police presence at any time during the Protest rally.  Similar past events have all been peaceful, and no doubt our police had better things to do with their time. Like catching crooks.

Don’t forget John Key and his accomplices, Constable…

.

.

Labour’s, Kris Faafoi, was the only Member of Parliament present, and we chatted on issues surrounding state assets and how they might be protected from future National governments,

.

.

Aroha Priest, one of the Convenors of the rally, addressed the crowd. Other speakers and entertainers included Koro Alex, who opened with a mihi and karakia;  Terry Shore (musician); John Maynard (People’s Power Ohariu); Howard  Philips (Rail & Maritime Union); Labour’s Kris Faafoi; and others.

.

.

Someone who obviously understood economic and fiscal issues, and how their impact on other nations serve as a dire  warning for us,

.

.

Obviously a cold, wet afternoon – but folk were not deterred,

.

.

.

.

The ones who will be most affected by John Key and his crazy plans for privatisation; our children.  If National’s right wing agenda succeeds, what kind of  society will our youngsters grow up in?

.

.

Many folk realise the close connection between state asset sales and the secretly-negotiated, extremely-dodgy, Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. Both have implications for our society that we can only begin to guess at,

.

.

A presence from the Maritime Union  was good to see. Considering the  vicious attack mounted against Maritime workers  by the POAL board and management, and various right wing reactionaries, it is reassuring to have these gutsy guys standing alongside us,

.

.

Alastair (in blue jacket) – a well-known People’s Journalist, who reports many of these events on his Facebook page,

.

.

This image shows the wide range of ages of New Zealanders who are staunchly opposed to the sale of our State assets. This is not an issue for “young radicals” or “Grey Power” – this issue cuts across age, gender, incomes, race, etc. Quite simply, these are our assets that Key and his cronies are about to flog off,

.

.

A simple enough message for Dear Leader,

.

.

Continued at:  Wellington sez Aotearoa is Not for Sale! (Rua)

.

*

.

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

Important Links

Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Occupy Savvy

.

.

= fs =

Veteran Activist hospitalised during removal of state houses

|

The Mana Party has hit out at the destruction of a community in Glen Innes, which saw a veteran activist hospitalised, as he was protesting the removal of state houses in the area.

The elderly activist Jimmy O’Dea, was injured this afternoon and taken to hospital. Mr O’Dea’s ankle was crushed whilst blockading a removal truck a few hours ago in Glen Innes.

|

Jimmy O’Dea

|

Jimmy is a diamond of a man who put himself in harm’s way in front of the house removal truck to try and protect the state houses of low-income residents of Glen Innes” says MANA Vice President John Minto. “Contracting companies are being used as the front line of attack against a community desperately trying to save their state houses. The government is selling state houses and the land beneath them to private developers for luxury housing on the high ground on the north side of Glen Innes. State house numbers will be reduced and the residents moved into soon-to-be slums in central Glen Innes”.

Comrade Jimmy O Dea has been taken to hospital- his ankle was crushed whilst blockading a removal truck an hour ago in Glen Innes. People are mobilising to defend the community now and tonight. Get out there.

Houses under immediate threat are at 25 Silverton St and 6 Melling Streets.

There are currently Mana supporters on site and coordinating support for the community and opposition to the removals. Protests are planned throughout the night.

 

|

Acknowledgement

Reprinted with kind permission. Originally published by TangataWhenua.com.

 

|

* * *

Housing redevelopment project

Updated at 10:09 am 3 April 2012, Radio New Zealand

A housing group in the Auckland suburb of Glenn Innes says a redevelopment project is tearing the community apart.

Housing New Zealand has begun an urban renewal programme by removing the first of dozens of vacant state houses in the area.

About 40 state houses will be removed over the next two months.

The agency is redeveloping more than 150 properties to create at least 260 new homes in northern Glen Innes.

It says the state houses have been attracting crime and anti-social behaviour and it is removing them to improve safety.

But the Tamaki Action Housing Group says Housing New Zealand is ruining lives and families are being dislocated from the community.

Source

Listen to more on Radio NZ Morning Report

 

 

|
|

= fs =

Inside Child Poverty – Bryan Bruce asks…

3 April 2012 1 comment

|

Fathers in Sweden enjoying 9 months parental leave to look after their daughters.

|

“…  Here’s my challenge I will be sending to Housing New Zealand this week .

They own 70,000 properties. Why don’t they bulk buy electricity for those 70,000 properties so that the occupants can get cheaper power? It’s a win win situation.

Drier homes means better health for young kids. Means people won’t huddle together in one room to keep warm.. but it also means a dry house won’t rot and HNZ won’t have such a huge maintenance bill cause by mould and dampness.

I’ll let you know what CEO Lesley Mc Turk and the Minister for Housing Phil Heatley have to say.” – Bryan Bruce, Inside Child Poverty, 3 April 2012

Why not, indeed? If Comalco at Bluff could negotiate an absurdly low tariff for the power that they use to make aluminium, why can’t we – as a nation – do the same for low-income families?

|

Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian in secret deal

The highly profitable Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian Energy have signed the country’s biggest power contract, in a secret deal thought to be worth more than $5 billion over almost 20 years…

… Latest Companies Office reports show smelter company Rio Tinto Aluminium New Zealand made a $277 million profit last year, more than double the previous year’s gain.

… The new contract – understood to be about 4.7c a unit, about a quarter of the cost to the average home – covers the price New Zealand Aluminium Smelters will pay Meridian from the start of 2013 to the end of 2030, and will involve about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s power. ” – Source

|

It is not unusual for many other companies to negotiate bulk-buying deals. From Meridian Energy,

|

Rural co-operatives

We’re proud to be associated with New Zealand’s leading rural co-operatives.

We work closely with these groups to establish pricing, services and terms that specifically suit their members. If you belong to one of these co-operatives, you really need to be with us.

CRT

CRT Co-operative exists for one simple reason – to use the collective power of its shareholders to negotiate better deals and improve their individual profitability across all forms of agriculture.

The co-operative has a significant presence in the rural market with more than 25,000 shareholders who transact over $1 billion worth of business through the co-operative annually.

Meridian Mates Rates Pack

If you’re a member of CRT, you’re eligible for our Mates Rates Pack. This special deal includes an increased prompt payment discount of 12 percent (our standard discount is 10 percent) and a choice of variable or fixed term plans. We’ll also work with you to help find ways to reduce your electricity overheads. Source

|

As Bryan states, we’d be saving money in the long run, both in house maintenance, and fewer people with cold/damp-related diseases.

Considering how much profit powercos extract from every household and business in the country, we have no excuse not to do this.

|

Full Story

|

Making vast profits on the backs of society’s poorest is obscene.  This will have to be an issue for the incoming Labour-led government, post2014 (if not earlier). It will be a ‘litmus test’ as to how much Labour is really in touch with the under-class of New Zealand,

|

Full Story

|

If not, the Greens and Mana Party are waiting in the wings to assume that role. One way or another, this must be done.  Damp homes and sick children cannot be the face of New Zealand in the 21st Century. Not unless our long-term goal is to be the newest addition to the world’s  Third World Club.

|

Child with respiratory illness in Wellington Hospital. More than 25,000 NZ Kids are hospitalized year for chest infections spread by overcrowding and damp unhealthy housing.

|

|

* * *

|

Additional

Inside Child Poverty

Children Against Poverty

|

|

= fs =

Ratbags, Rightwingers, and other assorted Rogues!

12 March 2012 1 comment

|

POAL playing monopoly with lives

|

This morning, Auckland Mayor Len Brown; Maritime Union National President, Gary Parsloe; and Ports of Auckland chairman, Richard Pearson were interviewed (separately) on TV1′s Q+A.  The following are transcripts of those interviews,

|

Q+A: Transcript of Paul Holmes interviews Gary Parsloe and Richard Pearson

|

PAUL This week the long-running labour dispute on the Auckland wharves came to a head with the Ports of Auckland making almost 300 workers, mostly stevedores, redundant. The Ports of Auckland claims it has to increase productivity to be competitive and deliver the required returns; only contractors can help them do that and provide exporters and importers with reliable service in an increasingly difficult world. The workers say Auckland’s already a profitable port, for heaven’s sake, and the contract on offer would have meant no guaranteed work each week and no ability to plan family time. And they even made an ad featuring workers’ families to ram the message home. So with me in the studio this morning are the Maritime Union head Gary Parsloe and the Ports of Auckland chairman, Richard Pearson. Now, both men will speak separately. So to you first, Mr Parsloe, what is this- at fundamental bottom, what is this dispute about?

GARY PARSLOE – Maritime Union

The dispute is about we just want a collective employment agreement that covers our members, one with some form of security so that people know when they go to work, when they don’t go to work, know what family time they’ve got.

PAUL Or is it about the amount of wages paid for downtime that the Ports of Auckland are worried about? They say it’s unsustainable; they don’t want to pay people when they’re not working.

GARY Well, they offered us 10% wages, and we declined it for 2.5%, and I don’t think it’s about money. We’ve never claimed money.

PAUL No, but, you see, they say there’s too much downtime and you’re still being paid. They want to pay you for when you work. What is wrong with that, Garry?

GARY Well, we’re quite willing to go through those things. In the mediation, we addressed those things. We gave up 18 points at the last mediation, that were going to address the flexibility, the downtime, we would continue. 18 points were put at the mediation, that’s right.

PAUL Look, I know, I mean, I was studying what the Ports of Auckland have come at you with over the last six months. They do not seem to have been madly ungenerous. I wonder if the strikes were an intelligent strategy. Even Mike Lee says going on strike was a grave error; that the Ports would turn on you, which is what they’ve done, of course.

GARY Well, of course, workers don’t have a lot of things in their power. The only time we can take strike action is in pursuit of a collective, and we waited to do that because we want a collective that covers our members. It gives them some form of job security.

PAUL But you were going to get a collective.

GARY Oh, I don’t know about that.

PAUL Come on, September 7 and 6 last year they came to you. The very first offer they were going to roll over the collective agreement was the 2.5% pay increase every year for three years. Now, why did you reject that?

GARY Because there was the fish hooks in the collective they wanted us to sign – the new one they gave us that took away all of our conditions, our security and was all the flexible hours-

PAUL Took away you having the right to roster, is that right?

GARY No, they took away a lot of things. Took away many many things. And, I mean, at that time you want to talk that they wanted a collective, well, I don’t believe they ever did. We got their strategy paper-

PAUL Why would they offer you a collective if they didn’t want a collective?

GARY We got a strategy paper last August, and in that strategy paper, they had $9 million of people’s money of Auckland. It’s on our website to get rid of the unions and get rid of them.

PAUL So go back to that September 6 and 7 offer – that they were going to roll over the collective agreement, 2.5% increase for three years every year. What were you going to lose exactly?

GARY Would have lost- There was nothing in there that defined times when people would go to work and not go to work and you couldn’t take the kid to the beach, couldn’t take your wife shopping, you had to sit by the phone all day wondering when you were next going to go to work.

PAUL Meaning they were going to do the roster, not the union?

GARY They were going to do the roster. They still do the rostering today. For goodness sake, they ring us up when to come to work.

PAUL Then you’ve been offered 10% wage- Then they came at you with a 10% wage offer, 20% productivity bonus offer, guaranteed 160 hours a month with the rosters sent out two months ahead. What in God’s name is wrong with that?

GARY Well, we tried to get some definitive about the rosters. We said, ‘What would they be? Would you do 160 in one week and get nothing for the next week, next week and next week?’ We wanted some form across the board where people knew what they were doing.

PAUL 160 hours a month. They’re not going to get you to do 160 in a week.

GARY Of course, but they’re packed up into whatever at one time.

PAUL But fours into 160 goes 40.

GARY Yeah, but you don’t get 40. Other ports work like that. You don’t get 40. They work you when they want you, and they leave you want they don’t want you.

PAUL In the end, also the union objects to the company contracting out. This has been a big sore point for the union, right?

GARY Yes.

PAUL I don’t understand this, because in the collective agreement you’ve had for the past few years, the Ports of Auckland can contract out, and they do so. Why are you so adamant they should be denied that?

GARY They can contract out, but the clause in the document doesn’t say they can contract out. The clause in the document talks about what happens when they contract out. It’s all about contingent liability, how they pay out people their redundancy payments and their payments. It’s formula for how it happens if it happens.

PAUL Do you believe this whole thing is about trying to reduce the amount of wages paid to the workers on the Ports of Auckland?

GARY Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure what they’re after. It’s very hard to know what they’re after.

PAUL Well, for six months you might have found out, mightn’t you?

GARY Well, we’ve been in mediation for all that time trying to find out. And while we’ve been in mediation, they’ve been advertising our jobs in Australia. While we’ve been in mediation, they’re now making our people redundant-

PAUL You’ve been on 12 strikes.

GARY I wouldn’t call that good-faith bargaining.

PAUL Well, Gary, nor perhaps would people call 12 strikes good-faith bargaining either.

GARY The 12 strikes were because we’ve got to protect our members, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

PAUL Okay, but they weren’t going to lay anyone off; they’re just changing the conditions, weren’t they?

GARY Yes, they were changing the conditions for employment.

PAUL You want the mayor- I think you said yesterday you want the mayor of Auckland to get off his jacksie and do a bit more.

GARY Yeah, I would like that.

PAUL Do you think he’s being remiss?

GARY I think, well, the people of Auckland own the port, and the mayor is the mayor looking after the interests of the people of Auckland, and we believe he should do a little bit more than he’s doing. We believe there’s still a deal there, and maybe if people step and be a bit more helpful, there is a deal.

PAUL Thank you, Mr Parsloe. Now, I shall put that to the mayor when he comes along. Now, very quickly, are you expecting is this the- is this all over?

GARY No, this is only the start of it. We had- you said 3000, but there’s about 5000 of the community marching down Queen Street.

PAUL Do you expect international action, international support?

GARY The international have this under the microscope. They most certainly have. And those 5000 people don’t like the way that the people, that the workers of Auckland are being bashed around, and there’s a message in that. Because there’s only 300 of us, and yet 5000 people took to the streets yesterday.

PAUL Mm. Gary Parsloe, president of the Maritime Union of New Zealand, thank you very much for your time. Richard Pearson, you are the chairman of Ports of Auckland. Have you been bashing up the workers?

RICHARD PEARSON – Ports of Auckland Ltd

Absolutely not, Paul.

PAUL Why have you failed to reach an agreement after six months of this?

RICHARD Paul, it’s longer than six months. We started this process at the beginning of last year – all the consultation, all the negotiations that were going on. The collective came to its end in September. We started negotiating the collective in August. We’ve been through a hundred hours plus of negotiation, mediation, and we’ve got absolutely nowhere. The problem is-

PAUL But isn’t-?

RICHARD We just were not delivered the changes that we required, Paul.

PAUL Isn’t it a truism, in a way, of industrial relations that if you’re nowhere in a negotiation after six months, it’s a plague on both your houses?

RICHARD Well, from my perspective, Paul, I came into this situation, and I’ve been 37 years in the container port business and ports all around the world. I have never seen such a waste of resource going on here. I have never seen a situation where you pay someone for 43 hours and they work 26. I’ve never seen a situation where ships wait to come in to start waiting for the start of a shift. You know, that’s like aeroplanes flying around waiting for-

PAUL That average-26-hours business – have you had that audited?

RICHARD Absolutely.

PAUL By who?

RICHARD Ernest & Young.

PAUL Right, Ernst & Young. Do you want that union off the port? Was that the game all along?

RICHARD Not at all. We like unions. We’ve got unions already working on the port. In the outsourced model that we have with the stevedore contractors, they will have unions working for them.

PAUL So can you sit here this morning and say to us that you’ve negotiated in good faith?

RICHARD Absolutely, and I’ll give you good evidence of that-

PAUL Well, Mr Parsloe said you had fish hooks everywhere.

RICHARD No, if we had- if we were not negotiating in good faith, Paul, we would’ve actually introduced the whole outsourcing stevedoring subcontracting model before the end of the collective. During that time, the union would not have been able to strike. In good faith, we waited until the end of the discussions to give them a good chance to, and unfortunately it went over the time of the expiry of the collective. That gave them the right to strike, so I stand absolutely firm when I say to you we have abided by all rules, regulations and fairness.

PAUL Mr Pearson, how do you know that if you contract your stevedoring that’s going to improve productivity? You see, Auckland does no worse than any of the other ports in Australasia. Nowhere is madly more productive than Auckland.

RICHARD Pau l-

PAUL The Australian ports are all contracted out.

RICHARDPaul -

PAUL Melbourne does 3.1% return on equity.

RICHARD Paul, Australasia’s not the benchmark for good container-port operations around the world, with all due respect, okay? As I’ve said to you, I have never seen such a potential asset like we’ve got at Auckland that could actually run better. You know, today we’re running- Now, that port, without the MUNZ union, we’re were the IEAs, which unfortunately people are calling scabs, which I find derogatory – that port is now running at 25% faster than it was before. We have made no other change other than having people that come to work who want to work with the right attitude. That’s what I think people in Auckland want to see.

PAUL And the perception of people in Auckland might be that contracted-out stevedoring could mean worse pay and conditions for the wharfies.

RICHARD Again-

PAUL Otherwise, why would you do it, Mr Pearson?

RICHARD Paul, we’ve got them going. They’re working. 25 years Tauranga’s been working on this model, and it’s been working well. And during that time, we’ve lost 12% of our market to Tauranga. We can’t wait. We have to make this change now, and we have to make it quickly.

PAUL Now, the council wants that 12% return off the ports in five years, yes?

RICHARD That’s correct.

PAUL Is that what’s driving this?

RICHARD Not at all. That is an aspirational target, and you’ve mentioned the fact that it will be over 12 years, and it will be-

PAUL No, five years.

RICHARD Five, yes, correct, and it will be. It’s not a dividend return; it’s an equity return.

PAUL That’s right. Can you do it? Can you do 12%?

RICHARD Yes, we can.

PAUL Right. The unions call you anti-family. Have you had second thoughts about this?

RICHARD Paul, that is absolute nonsense. People talk about waiting by the phone, etc. Ships are on schedules. 90% of all the ships that come into the port are on their schedule, on their slot, within one hour of ETA. We know months ahead. We can actually plan shifts weeks and weeks ahead. It is absolute nonsense to say that, and all I could also say is talk to the people at Tauranga. They’re quite happy. Everything works well.

PAUL Right, a couple of quickies. Is it all over bar the shouting?

RICHARD It is all over. We’ve made the decision. We’re now into implementation. We’ve appointed the contractor, and my wish would be this: get our workers, please, workers that are on strike, come and apply for job. Don’t wait. Don’t let the people that are stopping you, and there’s a sinister little group of people down there – that’s a subject for another Q A at another time – that have been stopping these people applying for jobs. I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s unfair.

PAUL All right, just very quickly – are you worried about the ship in Sydney that the wharfies over there aren’t handling?

RICHARD No, that’ll all be covered by law.

PAUL Mr Richard Pearson, chairman of Ports of Auckland, I thank you. Gary Parsloe, I thank you again.

RICHARD Thank you very much.

Source: TVNZ Q+A

|

Analysis?

Firstly, not having seen/heard the actual interview this morning, I can only go by the transcripts.  The interview between Paul Holmes and Gary Parsloe seems to have been held in a completely different manner to that between Holmes and Richard Pearson.

1. In his opening introduction, Holmes starts of with,  “So with me in the studio this morning are the Maritime Union head Gary Parsloe and the Ports of Auckland chairman, Richard Pearson“. Note that Holmes refers to Richard Pearson as the “Ports of Auckland Chairman” – Pearson’s correct title.

2. He does not offer the same courtesy to  Gary Parsloe, and refers to him as “the Maritime Union head” – instead of Parsloe’s correct title; National President. The stage is set for an imbalanced encounter.

3. Interviewing Gary Parsloe involved in-depth questions and numerous follow-up questions, which probed Parsloe’s responses.

4. Interviewing Richard Pearson involved questions such as;

Why have you failed to reach an agreement after six months of this?”

Pearson responds. No follow-up probing.

Isn’t it a truism, in a way, of industrial relations that if you’re nowhere in a negotiation after six months, it’s a plague on both your houses?

Pearson responds. Again, no follow up probing.

That average-26-hours business – have you had that audited?”

Pearson responds with one word; “Absolutely”.

Holmes askes a follow-up question; “By who?”

Pearson answeers, simply, “Ernest & Young

Holmes’ response; “Right, Ernst & Young.

Pardon? Holmes accepts the response with an affirmation, as if Pearson answered a quizz problem correctly? (The only thing missing was a “Well done, old chap!”!!

Then, next question, “Right, Ernst & Young. Do you want that union off the port? Was that the game all along? “

Pearson responds with an astonishing, “Not at all. We like unions. We’ve got unions already working on the port. In the outsourced model that we have with the stevedore contractors, they will have unions working for them. “

Pearson “likes unions”?!  At this stage, Holmes should have followed up with a question seeking clarification as to how Pearson can “like” unions when his Board has failed to come to a negotiated settlement;  sacked 300 workers; and paid tens of thousands of dollars in full-page newspaper advertising.

But Pearson major slip was, “…we have with the stevedore contractors, they will have unions working for them. ” Unions do not “work for” companies or contractors – unions work for their members.

The following exchange also seemed to be little more than “patsy” questions,

PAUL So can you sit here this morning and say to us that you’ve negotiated in good faith?

RICHARD Absolutely, and I’ll give you good evidence of that-

PAUL Well, Mr Parsloe said you had fish hooks everywhere.

Pearson replied with a glib answer stating that “we have abided by all rules, regulations and fairness”.

Again, no follow up question.

At this point, Holmes should have questioned Pearson about the leaked memo from POAL which outlined, months in advance,  POAL’s agenda to oust Union presence on Auckland’s wharves.  Holmes made no reference to that damning document, and instead went off on a tangeant about productivity levels on other ports.

Towards the end of the “interview”,  Pearson again slips up, when he states,

Paul, that is absolute nonsense. People talk about waiting by the phone, etc. Ships are on schedules. 90% of all the ships that come into the port are on their schedule, on their slot, within one hour of ETA. We know months ahead. We can actually plan shifts weeks and weeks ahead. It is absolute nonsense to say that, and all I could also say is talk to the people at Tauranga. They’re quite happy. Everything works well. “

That statement is a flat-out contradiction of Pearson’s earlier assertion, at the beginning of the interview, where he makes the claim that,

Well, from my perspective, Paul, I came into this situation, and I’ve been 37 years in the container port business and ports all around the world. I have never seen such a waste of resource going on here. I have never seen a situation where you pay someone for 43 hours and they work 26. I’ve never seen a situation where ships wait to come in to start waiting for the start of a shift. You know, that’s like aeroplanes flying around waiting for- “

On the one hand, Pearson claims that “I have never seen a situation where you pay someone for 43 hours and they work 26. I’ve never seen a situation where ships wait to come in to start waiting for the start of a shift” – and then goes on to contradict that claim by stating that “Ships are on schedules. 90% of all the ships that come into the port are on their schedule, on their slot, within one hour of ETA. We know months ahead. We can actually plan shifts weeks and weeks ahead“.

5. I think we know where Holmes’ allegiance lies.

Then we had the interview with Auckland Mayor, Len Brown, which seemed to ask more probing questions than with Pearson, and delved deeply into the Mayor’s motivations. Which is ironic really, as Pearson would have had more to do with, and deeper  insights into, the dispute than Brown would have.

Holmes was asking the wrong person the hard questions…

|

Q+A: Transcript of Paul Holmes interview with Len Brown

|

Auckland Mayor Len Brown

PAUL How much responsibility for these redundancies at the Ports of Auckland lies with the mayor and

the council?  Ports of Auckland is owned by the council via its investment company, Auckland Council Investments Ltd, and the council’s told the port to double its dividend from 6% to 12% over the next five years.  The Maritime Union says the mayor should step in as mediator.  You heard Gary Parsloe say that.  Labour, Mana and the Greens have also called on the mayor to take a stand.  Len Brown, the mayor of Auckland, is with us this morning.  Good morning.

LEN BROWN – Auckland Mayor

Morning, Paul.

PAUL Is it your fault 300 men have been made redundant?

LEN  No, but I certainly can’t be accused of not making a stand.  Over the last eight months, I’ve been working within the framework that I can.  I won’t run the port out of my office, but I have been dealing with both parties during the course of this discussion.

PAUL Well, can I say the perception is you’ve been doing nothing?

LEN  Well, you know, as I say, there are some things that I can do and I will not run the port out of my office.  I will say to you, though, for the last eight months, I have been giving direction, giving my view in terms of where they should be, and I wanted to see the resolution out of a collective.  They have not got there.  I’m not happy with that outcome.  What I am here to say is that-
 
PAUL I heard you say to me- Did you say-?  Could the union have settled earlier, do you believe?
 
LEN  Of course.

PAUL Yeah.

LEN Absolutely.  They could’ve settled on the first offer.

PAUL Yes. 

LEN  And that’s past in history.  What is now possible is my view is I am happy to continue to be in the position of providing mediation if both parties agree.
 
PAUL Well, it hasn’t worked so far, has it?
 
LEN  No, but-

PAUL Why hasn’t it?

LEN  But that offer-
 
PAUL Why hasn’t it?

LEN  Because-
 
PAUL Why hasn’t mediation worked?
 
LEN  Every time they sat down, their view to me- both parties’ view is we’re really close.  In fact, Gary was saying to me, ‘On Thursday we think that we are going to deal with this and finish it.’  So every step of the way, the indication had been was that they were going to resolve.

PAUL Whose side are you on?

LEN  I’m on Auckland’s side.
 
PAUL Yes, but-

LEN  And by that, I mean that we are the 1.5 million Aucklanders, we own the shares, and as a consequence of that, I’m looking after their interests.  I want that port to be successful.  I certainly want a greater return on our investment-
 
PAUL Let’s talk about that shortly, but I wondered about your position because you have said and I quote you, ‘We deserve a port that’s competitive, a decent return for ratepayers and a settlement that is sustainable.’  That sounds like the port’s position, Mr Mayor.
 
LEN  No, it sounds like our position – our position, the council’s position and the position of any Aucklanders.  Look, my commitment during the campaign was not selling the ports; we will hold the port shares.  Secondly, we wanted the ports to be more commercial and present a much better return for ratepayers.

PAUL And that return, of course, the figure that you’ve come up with is you want an increase from 6.3% I think it is at the moment.

LEN  Yeah.
 
PAUL After tax.

LEN  12% over five years in terms of return on investment.
 
PAUL Where did you get the 12% from?  Pluck it out of the air?
 
LEN  No-

PAUL There’s not a port in Australasia, Mr Brown, making 12%.

LEN  So our view was, though, that the port was not performing as well as it was.  Now, you’ve heard Mr Pearson say it’s an aspirational target.  What we’re saying to the port is this is our view.  We believe as a consequence of the assessments that we’ve done within the  council-
 
PAUL Well, how firm are you on this?  Have you laid down the law on the 12%?

LEN  We have given it to them in our statement of corporate intent.  Right at the start of the year, I went down to the port, met all the workers and the employees and the company directors down there and said, ‘Right, this is what we’re expecting from the port.’  And we had an hour’s Q & A-
 
PAUL This is what we’re expecting.  Is this-?  I mean, were you laying the law about the return you want in five years – 12%?
 
LEN  We were laying down the law in terms of what we expected from the port in terms of its return and in terms of its performance generally.

PAUL Where did you get the 12%?

LEN  So, the 12% was an estimate, a view that certainly I’ve been working on for right through the last sort of 18 months, two years.  It was view that was discussed our own table with the officers, with our own council-
 
PAUL So it’s a guess?  It’s a good guess?

LEN  No, it’s an estimate.
 
PAUL (laughs)
 
LEN  This is what we think we should be aiming to achieve.  And so we went back to the company and said, ‘Okay, this where we think you should be.  What is your advice back to us?’  Their advice was, ‘Give us five years and we believe that we can receive that.’

PAUL Well, excuse me, look at this.  Okay, 12%, that’s your estimate – guesstimate.  Tauranga returns 6.8%, Lyttelton 8.6%, Sydney 6.7%, Melbourne 3.1%, Auckland 6% — 6.3% after tax.

LEN  So not just about return either-
 
PAUL Where’s the 12% being made anywhere?

LEN  It’s about competitiveness against other ports.  So we are losing share against Tauranga.  We are competing flat out against Brisbane, in particular, and Sydney.  It was our desire that we wanted the port to be much much stronger in terms of its-
 
PAUL Do you endorse what Mr Pearson was saying about he cannot believe the waste of resource at the Ports of Auckland?
 
LEN  Look, there’s a whole lots of things that we cannot believe about the performance of the Ports of Auckland, so it just was not about-

PAUL Can I just say to you again-?

LEN  a stronger return on investment.
 
PAUL Can I just say to you again there is a perception that you’ve abnegated leadership, that you’ve been a do-nothing mayor?  For God’s sake, you are the mayor of Auckland, Ports of Auckland is owned by the people of Auckland, you are the boss.  Harry Truman – you might remember the story – had a little thing on his desk that said ‘the buck stops here’.  Why don’t it stop with you?

LEN  The buck does stop here, but I’m also the mayor of the city.  I’m not the prime minister.  I don’t have sovereign power, so I’m operating within a statutory framework, and I’m doing the very best that I can within that statutory framework.
 
PAUL And very quick, Mr Mayor, is it all over bar the shouting?
 
LEN  No.  What I’ve said to you today is that my offer today is that I’m happy to sit with both parties in agreement in a mediator process if they are prepared to continue to meet and deal with the-

PAUL He says it’s all over bar the shouting – Mr Pearson.

LEN  Mr Pearson is the chair of the board; this is my offer right here in front of you.
 
PAUL Mr Len Brown, mayor of Auckland, thank you very much for your time.

LEN  A pleasure speaking to you today.

Source: TVNZ Q+A

|

The Maritime Union has welcomed Len Brown’s offer of mediation, as stated on ‘Scoop‘,

|

The Maritime Union has warmly welcomed an offer of mediation from the Mayor of Auckland Len Brown, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, made publicly over the last two days.

Today on current affairs programme Q+A the Mayor said he wanted to step in to the dispute between the parties to find a solution.

“The Mayor’s offer in particular is extremely important as the Council is the owner of the Ports, and we believe it is now being wrecked by the Ports board,” said Garry Parsloe, Maritime Union of New Zealand National President.

“We will meet any time any day with any decent offer to get this issue resolved”.

On Friday Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Auckland offered their leadership in a spirit of reconciliation to help resolve the dispute.

The bishops said they were concerned for the welfare of workers and their families, and for the future of the waterfront industry, and that they were willing also to work with city leaders to find a solution.

Garry Parsloe said the bishops’ offer was a generous one.

“We’ll warmly welcome the help of the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops,” he said.

“They have demonstrated they understand that at its core, this dispute is about people and their lives.”

“Our deep concern during these negotiations has been the impact the proposed changes from Ports management would have on our members’ job security and their ability to prioritise time with their families and other commitments outside work.”

“It is in the interests of everyone in Auckland to resolve this dispute in a way that protects secure jobs and ensures a sustainable and successful Ports of Auckland.”

“We hope Ports management will take kindly to the offer also, and respect the role of the Council as the owners of the Ports and the importance of the offer from the Mayor,” Garry Parsloe said.

Source: Scoop.co.nz

|

Unfortunately, the Board of POAL – which now seems to be a rogue entity and a power unto itself, has flat out rejected Brown’s offer of mediation,

|

But Ports of Auckland chairperson Richard Pearson says it is too late for that.

He says the decision to outsource the stevedoring contractors has already been made and implemented.

“They are already appointed and we cannot go back on that, that is irrevocable”, he says.

Mr Pearson says he would like the mayor instead to persuade the workers to apply for the new roles.

Source: Radio NZ

|

WTF?!?! What did we just hear???

Did Richard Pearson just tell his boss, Len Brown, “No, I’m not doing it”?!

This in a bizarre state of affairs; the Chairman of the Board of POAL has just told the Mayor of Auckland – which owns POAL – to naff off !!!

As I have maintained in previous blogposts, POAL is out of control.

I think we now have the proof we need.

Auckland City Council must take firm action at an upcoming meeting on Thursday,  which I am informed by someone closely connected to events – will have a decisive outcome to events.

Crunchtime: 15 March.

|

Additional

Ports of Auckland Labour Strategy (leaked memo)

|

|

= fs =

10 March – Today was a True Labour Day!

11 March 2012 7 comments

|

|

Yesterday, thousands of ordinary folk -  many from overseas – marched through the streets of Auckland in protest at unfair treatment, and in support of maritime workers. The numbers ranged from 2,000 to  3,000  to 5,000 to simply  ‘thousands‘ – but regardless how many took to the streets, it was a grand effort,

|

Workers, families and supporters of Auckland's port workers who are currently striking over working conditions, make their way along the waterfront in protest at being made redundant by the company.

|

The March was a testament to the sense of fairplay and support for the underdog, that many New Zealanders hold dear and cherish as a value.

And it will continue to grow.  When citizens discover the raw power that they wield, they use it to stunning effect. Just ask any dictator in the Middle East , or former leaders from Soviet-era Eastern Europe.

This industrial bonfire has been sparked by a Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) Board and CEO, Tony Gibson, who have engaged in dishonest tactics; unprofessional behaviour; a sham negotiation process; and are now wasting tens of thousands of ratepayers’ dollars on full page ads in the Herald  (which are nothing more than one-sided propaganda).

But it’s hardly surprising really, that Gibson is trying to destroy the Maritime Union and de-unionise the port. A de-unionised workforce is cheaper and more readily exploited for port companies and shipping lines – shipping lines like Maersk, which have been playing off Auckland and Tauranga Ports against each other.

Maersk – the shipping company  Tony Gibson used to work for,

|

Source

|

No divided loyalities or conflict of interest there, I hope, Mr Gibson?

|

* * *

|

Meanwhile, true loyalties were expressed when local Auckland councillors, Community Board members, Members of Parliament, and  unionists came from around the world to support port workers and their families.

Photos courtesy of various good people who were fortunate to attend the March (I am so incredibly envious!!!) and presented in no particular sequential order,

|

Greg Presland, Denise Yates, chair of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Patricia M Reade, Julie Fairey, Michael Wood and Leau Peter Skelton. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Labour Party; Moira Coatsworth, Darien Fenton, Phil Twyford, David Cunliffe, Sua William Sio, Moana Mackey, Charles Chauvel, and Megan Woods. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

10 March - Aucklanders support port workers. (No acknowledgement details available)

|

Denise Roche, David Shearer, Sally Wilson, Moira Coatsworth, Darien Fenton, Phil Twyford, David Cunliffe, Sua William Sio, Jacinda Ardern, Moana Mackey, Andrew Little, Charles Chauvel, Megan Woods and Louisa Wall Labour Manurewa. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

David Shearer, Labour Leader, speaking on the mound. In front of him, a crowd of thousands gathers to support MUNZ workers. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

CTU President, Helen Kelly (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

The tide has turned and it is sad - Michael Wood and Enzo Giordani. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Mana Party's flag (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Garry Parsloe, President of MUNZ. We're in this for the long haul- oh yes we are. With Carol Beaumont, Helen Kelly, David Shearer, Moira Coatsworth, and Darien Fenton. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Thousands march!(Acknowledgement for photo: save our ports.com)

|

Labour's Sunny Kaushal, Charles Chauvel, David Cunliffe and Carmel Sepuloni. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Really happy to be supporting MUNZ workers. Really upset at the Mayor I campaigned for. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

The Workers' Haka! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Helen Kelly, President of the Council of Trade Unions, makes her point. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

An Auckland Citizen making her feelings known! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Nga Ringa Tota - Len Richards and Jill Ovens. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

With Anahila Lose Suisuiki and Josephine Bartley. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Somewhat to the point, I believe. A call from the people that their leader should lead! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

With Kate Sutton and Richard Hills at 10 March rally for workers. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Meat Workers do the Haka. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Fighting for our children - this is what it's all about! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

With Kymberley Inu at the march. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Is it me.. or does David Cunliffe look like that bloke from "Gladiator"? Quick, someone give him a sword, shield, and Union Agreement and send him into POAL's Boardroom! There - sorted!! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

Supporting Auckland port workers - 10 March (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Solidarity with Port Workers! David Cunliffe second from right. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

"mum and dad" New Zealanders who demand better treatment for our fellow workers - before everyone buggers off to Australia! (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Speakers at the March to support Auckland Port workers - Denise Roach in green. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

ACT's representation on the March! (No acknowledgement details available)

|

With Tele'a Andrews at the march. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Community Board representatives, Leau Peter Skelton and Tafafuna'i Tasi Lauese; Labour MP Louisa Wall (at back); and Labour MP, Sua William Sio. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

With Anahila Lose Suisuiki, Josephine Bartley, Moana Mackey, Megan Woods and Richard Hills. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

With Green Party MP, Denise Roche and Ray Familathe, International Transport Workers Federation representative. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Labour MPs Ross Robertson, Louisa Wall Labour Manurewa and Sua William Sio. (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

With Megan Woods and Moana Mackey. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Folks are p----d off, and they ain't going to take it no more! (Acknowledgement for photo: Greg Presland)

|

New Zealanders who've had a gutsful at the way we treat our fellow workers. (Acknowledgement for photo: Gina Giordani)

|

Those at the center of this dispute; workers and their families. (Acknowledgement for photo: Save Our Port.Com)

|

- Roll Call of Honour -

.

Members of Parliament

Jacinda Ardern, MP, Labour

Charles Chauvel, MP, Labour

David Cunliffe, MP, Labour

Darien Fenton,  MP, Labour

Hone Harawira, MP, Mana Party leader

Parekura Horomia, MP, Labour

Andrew Little, MP, Labour

Moana Mackey, MP, Labour

Nanaia Mahuta, MP, Labour

Sue Moroney, MP, Labour

Ross Robertson, MP, Labour

Denise Roche, MP, Green Party

David Shearer, MP, Labour leader

Sua William Sio, MP, Labour

Rino Tirakatene, MP, Labour

Phil Twyford, MP, Labour

Louisa Wall, MP, Labour

Megan Woods, MP, Labour

Auckland City Councillors

Cathy Casey

Sandra Coney

Mike Lee

Community Board Members

Josephine Bartley, Tamaki Subdivision of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board

Leila Boyle, Tamaki Subdivision of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board

Shale Chambers, Waitemata Local Board

Christopher Dempsey, Waitemata Local Board

Julie Fairey,  Puketapapa Local Board

Graeme Easte, Albert-Eden Local Board

Catherine Farmer, Whau Local Board

Grant Gillon, Kaipatiki Local Board

Peter Haynes,  Albert-Eden Local Board

Richard Hills, Kaipatiki Local Board

Vivienne Keohane, Kaipatiki Local Board

Tafafuna’i Tasi Lauese, Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board

Simon Mitchell, Albert-Eden Local Board

Greg Presland, Waitakere Ranges Local Board

Patricia M Reade, Waitemata Local Board

Leau Peter Skelton, Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board

Lydia Sosene,  Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board

Michael Wood,  Puketapapa Local Board

Denise Yates, chair of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board

International Trade Unionists

Ray Familathe, International Transport Workers Federation representative

Mauro Viera, Sydney stevedore

& many others!

Young Activist Heroes!

NZ First Youth

And last, and most important,

The People of Auckland who Marched!

|

* * *

|

Additional

Fairfax: Thousands march in support of port workers

TV3:  John Campbell interviews Auckland Mayor Len Brown

TV3: Unions band together against ‘vicious employers’

TV3:  Mana, Greens, Labour join ports rally

TVNZ: Thousands rally for sacked Ports workers

TVNZ: Port dispute ‘causing ripples’ overseas

TVNZ: Port’s growth target questioned

TVNZ: Q+A: Transcript of Paul Holmes interview with Len Brown

Metro: Every Storm in the Port

Matt McCarten/NZ Herald: Mayor’s leadership feeling the strain

Brian Rudman/NZ Herald: Mayor’s paralysis in port dispute leaves role of leader vacant

Auckland Now:  Shipping firm quits port amid protest

NZ Herald:  Auckland, Tauranga ports ‘cutting each other’s throats’ – Mike Lee

NZ Herald: Noisy march gives heart to wharfies

NZ Herald:  C-words that don’t help anyone except bosses

 

|

Other Blog Reports

Dimpost: Destroying the village to make it more efficient

Dimpost:  ‘We’re going on a journey . . .’

The Jackalman: Richard Pearson – Asshole of the Week

Tumeke:  In defense (and immediate criticism) of Mayor Scab Brown

Tumeke:  What was said on the protest march

Bowalley Road: Frightening The Government

Waitakere News: Len Brown and POAL – Its your time Len

Waitakere News: Is Auckland’s Port’s labour costs cheaper than Tauranga’s?

|

|

1 March – No Rest for Striking Workers!

.

Full Story

.

Source

.

Contrary to the Radio NZ report this morning, the numbers attending the striker’s picket in Upper Hutt would have numbered at least double what was reported.

Despite on-off heavy rain, between 75 – 100 people stood on the side of Fergusson Drive, putting their case for a liveable wage,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Only last year,  John Key promised New Zealanders that the “driving goal of my Government is to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy with less debt, more jobs and higher incomes” and we took him at his word.

Ordinary, hard-working New Zealanders who want nothing more than a decent wage so they can put food on their tables, and provide the best possible home for their children,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Some of the striking workers stood on the opposite side of the road,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Judging by the constant tooting of horns from passing vehicles, the picketing workers had considerable public support. On occassion, the car-tooting was non-stop, making talking almost impossible.

A wage of $13.61 an hour is simply not a credible income to live on. Should the government be worried? I’d say, “yes – definitely”.

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Green MPs  Catherine Delahunty (L) and Denise Roche (R), addressing workers. They voiced their Party’s support for workers to be paid a reasonable, liveable wage,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Labour MP, Kris Faafoi, voicing Labour’s support for striking workers,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Service & Food Workers Union sector-secretary, Alastair Duncan, telling workers that they were dedicated to their profession and deserved to be adequately remunerated,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Despite the sporadic heavy rain, the picket numbers swelled as more people joined in,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Rimutaka Labour MP, Chris Hipkins, joining the picket in solidarity with workers,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

The signs said it all,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

A “Fair Deal” – what could be more reasonable than that?

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

An indication of the heavy rain that picketers put up with. It did not deter them, and more joined the protest-line to support workers,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

This sign, I believe, summed it up very well,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

TV1 news camera covered the workers’ protest,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

More media,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea.

Interviewing one of the striking workers,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Interviewing another striking worker,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Striking for a better wage, to to put on the table for  families, and to ensure that their children get the best possible start in life,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

The Mana Party showed it’s  presence and support,

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

Green MP, Denise Roche (L) and Green activist, Conor (R),

.

1 march 2012 - striking rest home workers - SFWU - Nurses Organisation - Upper Hutt - Elderslea

.

The overall feeling of the workers was upbeat and positive. Public support was noisy, with constant car-horn tooting.  The message to employers and to the National government was crystal clear: ” pay us a decent, liveable wage“!

.

***

.

Media reporting

  • TV1 News: yes
  • TV3 News: tba
  • Radio NZ: yes
  • Dominion Post: yes

.

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

Additional

Service & Food Workers Union

NZ Nurses Organisation

Labour Party

Green Party

Mana Party

.

.

February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Rua)

16 February 2012 2 comments

Continued from February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Tahi).

.

Long time socialist and Alliance stalwart, Larry Hannah, made a firm point about the folly of selling public assets,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The media finally arrived and started filming,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Occupy Wellington unfurled their banner,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

About two dozen protestors crowded around the front of TPK’s entrance,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Below; Roimata (L) and Joyce (R) had joined the protest for their own reasons,

“I’m just concerned for my mokopuna”, said Roimata.

“I’m here for the important issues that affect maoridom,” added Joyce.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Benjamin, at the doors to TPK,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Dr Peter Love, from the Tenths Trust, and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, made his way to TPK,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

By 3pm, there were about 26 protesters and three police. By 3.05, two more Police arrived,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The newly arrived policeman had a quiet chat with Benjamin, for a few minutes,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Ian, from the Workers Party, addressed passers-by, and on-lookers. He started out by explaining that “we are here today, against asset sales.” He added, “we want to see these assets run for public benefit, not private profit.”

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The media filmed Ian on the loudhailer, as he continued to make his case against asset sales, and honouring Treaty committments,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

John then took the loudhailer,   and said,

This is not consultation, this is bullshit. We cannot afford to give away our country to foreign corporations! Instead of sitting on our arses, let’s show [them] this country is not for sale!”

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Across the intersection, two more police officers were watching events,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

They seemed bemused by the protest – unlike their colleagues who were moving freely amongst the protestors, and chatting amicably.

By 3.13pm, the number of Maori Wardens increased to eight; police numbers went up to five; and at least one Diplomatic Protection Squad plainclothesman was present,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

The body language of the police (above) seemed in  stark contrast to the laid back, quiet nature of the protesters,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Warwick gave his views on state asset sales – none complimentary to the government,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

TPK Regional Leader, Te Huia (Bill) Hamilton, stopped for a friendly Kiaora and  brief chat with this blogger, before proceeding on his way,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

At 3.30, Hone Harawira arrived, and was well-recieved by people present,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/rise-of-the-terminator-keybot/

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

A chat with a journo,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Hone was given the loudspeaker and he gave a brief address to the crowd,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Hone spoke well, addressing the issue of state asset sales, and the relevance of the Treaty.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

Hone’s speech*,

Tena koe! Talofa lava!

That’s exactly what they expect to happen with these shares, and it is our duty; it is our obligation as citizens of Aotearoa, whether we are Maori or whatever, to do our best to stop this government from pushing this door open.  Because once open, these assets will be sold on the open market and our shareholdings, so-called 51%, is simply going to be a majority shareholding in a company whose primary interest is generating profit.

Nothing at all to do with the public good, only the generating of profit.  And any investor – doesn’t matter what sort of investor they are – they don’t put money into these sort of exercises because they love you and I. They put money in because they expect to get a lot of money back. And they get they money back in two ways; cutting costs, as they sack staff – or what are we doing outside Te Puni Kokiri?

The other way they do it is by raising prices! Now who’s going to pay for those higher prices in electricity? Ordinary New Zealand citizens! And who’s going to bear  the most price? The poor ones! Poor pakeha, poor pacifica, poor everybody else, poor maori. So we have an obligation to ensure that those assets are retained in the hands of the New Zealand government as trustee on behalf of the nation as a whole.

I’d like to thank the Courts for their decision today, to say to the government to put a stop to the sal of the Crafar farms. Not necessarily because they were being sold to the Chinese, but because they are New Zealand land being sold out of the hands of New Zealand citizens.

The more and more people we can bring to support this kaupapa, the greater will be our own sense of our sovereignty  and our ability to change the world. Life is not about sitting around and letting other people do to us what we wouldn’t allow to be done to anybody else. We have an obligation to our children, and our grandchildren,  to take up this stand today, here in Wellington  and thanks to [traffic noise] all of us, all around the country who’ve attended the Hui so far, and from what I understand an 88% rejection of the government’s plans to sell of these state assets.

Well, if there’s 88%, there must be a pretty low percentage in some of the other Huis because the three  Huis I attended was  a hundred percent opposition! One hundred percent!

Maori see the Treaty as a way of stopping these assets being sold on the open market until their Treaty claims are properly settled. New Zealanders should support Maori in these efforts because the Treaty exists  in this particular instance to benefit all New Zealanders…

… Tena koutou, tena koutou.”

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

At about 3.40, Hone entered Te Puni Kokiri’s building and Seann advised the group that all  protesters were invited to accompany him. It was agreed that all banners, placards, and loud-hailers would be left at the doorway-entrance. People were asked to behave in a respectful manner.

Maori wardens would watch over their gear, while they attended the Hui.

Mana Party member and protest organisor, Seann had said earlier  that a more radical approach to attending the Hui would be to ask polite, but firm,  questions of the politician present – and insist on straight answers. He believed it would be more productive using this approach, than yelling at English and Ryall.

One of the police constables who had stood by TPK’s door said later to this blogger that he was satisfied with the way the protestors had conducted themselves. He said, “everyone has the right to protest peacefully, and I wouldn’t want to see us become like other countries where protest was forbidden“.

His relaxed demeanour indicated that he was sincere in his views.

All in all, this was a peaceful and relaxed (not a “John Key relaxed”) protest.

Note: this Blogger did not attend the Hui because of another prior engagement. Additional commentary from attendees will be welcomed.

.

***

Media reporting

  • TV1 News: nil
  • TV3 News: nil
  • Radio NZ: nil
  • Dominion Post: nil


.

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

* Recorded and transcribed mostly verbatim.

.

.

February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Tahi)

16 February 2012 3 comments

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

At around 2pm, 15 February, members of the Mana Party, Labour, Alliance, Occupy Movement, and other groupings and individuals assembled outside Te Puni Kokiri, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Stout Street.

The protest was organised primarily by the Newtown Branch of the Mana Party, to coincide with a hui at the TPK offices.

The Hui was one of a series throughout the country called by the government;   facilitated by Wiri Gardner; and attended by  Ministers Bill English and Tony Ryall. English and Ryall  were expected to attend to listen to peoples’ concerns about Treaty implications regarding state asset (partial-)sales, and Section 9 of the SOE Act 1986.

John Key has suggested that Section 9 – which states simply, “Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the  – might be deleted from the SOE Act 1986. Many view such a move as a retrograde step, setting Crown-Maori relations back by decades.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Above; Darren Kemp (L) from the Mana Party; Cedric, (center) and  Jonathan Elliot (R). Darren and Jonathan were the first to arrive and take up placards opposing the sale of state assets.

Below, John (L) and Warwick (R), arived soon after. Warwick is a long-time supporter of the Alliance Party,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Jonathan (L) and Ian (center) from the Workers Party, handing out leaflets to passers-by,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

More people soon arrived to join the protest,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Donna was one who joined the protest. She said that “only a couple of people had been rude” to her as she handed out leaflets.  Donna was more concerned at “the apathy I find distressing. At least they should care for their children‘s future“,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Seann (holding sign), said that there should be more focus on Peter Dunne’s role in asset sales. He said that whilst it “might be a long shot“, Dunne was vulnerable because of his slim majority in Ohariu,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Ariana, from the Newtown Branch of Mana Party. Ariana said that Hone Harawira would be arriving at the Hui and would present a submission on Treaty issues surrounding state asset sales.

Ariana said that asset sales “makes this country  vulnerable to overseas corporatisation” and added that “selling our children’s assets was shameful “,

She questioned the  outcome of the Hui, “what will they do with the final consultation report?” Ariana did not seem confident that much notice would be taken of peoples’ concerns.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

More people arrived, and took up placards – including some other familiar faces from the Alliance,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Seann, Donna (center), and Freda,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Buses and cars honked their support every few minutes. We noticed bus drivers especially seemed very supportive of the protest, judging by their horn-honking as they went past,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The protest group was low-key, which perhaps explained only two police office and six Maori Wardens stationed nearby. Protestors, Wardens, TPK staff, and Police mingled and chatted amicably.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The signs said it all, and elicited support from drivers in their cars, and their drove past. Even if pedestrians did not stop and take a leaflet, I suspect that the protestor’s message of higher power prices would not be lost on them.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Bronwyn, a Labour Party member, chatting with Cedric (from TPK?),

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Mike, from the Alliance Party,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Bronwyn, with a very pertinent message to the government: does a one seat majority give them a mandate to pursue unpopular policies? Especially if this government is only one by-election away from faling.

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Darren (L), Mike, and Len Arthur (R).

Len was visiting family, from  Cardiff, Wales. He is a supporter of Occupy Cardiff; a member of the UK Labour Party; and decided to join the protest after hearing about it from Socialist Aotearoa,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The message is simple and to the point; No asset sales and  privatisation will inevitably lead to higher power prices,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Benjamin, who describes himself as a “political busker”, held the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Warwick, Larry (background), ?, and Darren,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

During the first 30 to 45 minutes,  the laid-back situation still required the presence of only two constables. A couple of Occupy Wellington supporters had arrived, to join the protest,

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

.

As the protest rally got larger, the msm arrived – as did more Police.   Word also got around that Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira would be arriving shortly…

To be continued Part Rua (so as not to overload this page with too many images).

.

.

February 7 (Part Toru)

8 February 2012 6 comments

.

Continued from February 7 (Part Rua).

.

With the main Party speakers finished, others from the rally had an opportunity to make their views known. It was open, transparent and democratic (take note, National Government),

.

february 7 protest at planned SOE sales

.

Madd Hatter spoke of the danger to the environment caused by fracking – including contamination of underground water-tables which has caused extensive pollution in the United States,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

And the thing is? She’s 100% right. Fracking uses toxic chemicals which contaminates water tables – water which people use for drinking, cooking, feeding to farm stock, etc. Doesn’t it strike governments as somewhat daft that we’re poisoning ourselves?

Hell, why not just cut out the middle-men (oil drilling companies) and  issue every citizen with a litre of  disulphides, benzene, xylenes, methane,  and naphthalene to drink?

Meanwhile, the crowd listened, continuing to  hold signs that expressed our collective disgust at what this shabby government was intending to foist upon us,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

And the media continued to record the event,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

The protest continued,  making their point peacefully,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

A sentiment 99% of us would whole-heartedly agree with,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Mana’s flag flew proudly in the chill breeze,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

The red and black Tino Rangatiratanga flag flew proudly as well. This flag is quickly becoming the de facto syymbol for the poor, the dis-possesed, and the alienated in our society. It is the flag of resistance that corporate interests and their political cronies do not want to see,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Dawn Shapira came from Huntly specifically to join the Rally. She rode all the way on the back of a motorbike – and says that she felt it. (Her return trip will be done in better comfort, in a bus.)  That’s dedication. That’s committment. And 80% of New Zealanders share her anger at John Key’s planned asset sales,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

(L) Dawn Shapira and (R) Tania Tewiata

.

Finally, the most important folk at this protest were not the politicians; nor the media; nor the organisers. Instead, the VIPs were the children – they are the ones who will inherit the society that we build (or sell off) for them. Will we leave them a mess, or success?

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

***

.

Media reporting

  • Radio NZ reported 30 to 40 people in their audio report, but increasing the number to 60 on their website. This is a somewhat conservative estimate, and I put the number somewhere around 100 to 150.

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

.

.

February 7 (Part Rua)

8 February 2012 6 comments

.

Continued from February 7 (Part Tahi).

A security guard from a private security firm had attempted to stop me from photographing the protest rally from a vantage point that was near other media personnel. I explained I was a blogger; was merely taking photos to record the event; and that I had a right to be standing where I was.

The guard refused to step out of my way, and blocked me from the rally. I became vocal, and insisted that he step out of my way; let me do my job; and then I would return to the crowd.

The media took an immediate interest in what seemed to be an escalating fracas, and started filming us.

At that point, the security guard’s superviser intervened. He demanded I leave. I insisted on my right to stand peacefully in a spot shared by other media. I gestured at the cameras pointed at us and reiterated; “let me take my photos, and I will leave peacefully. You do not want to make a ‘scene’ in front of  all these  cameras“.

Some in the crowd began shouting, “Leave him alone!” and “Let him take his photos!

Obviously I was not carrying weapons of mass destruction (or even light destruction)(maybe an unbent paper-clip in my pocket), and he agreed to allow me to proceed. I thanked him, and the security guard (who was only doing his job).

It seems a sign of the times that here in New Zealand, a small crowd of (mostly) middle-aged protestors required the presence of  security guards;  barriers; and half a dozen police to contain the situation.

What are our elected representatives so afraid of?

With the situation de-fused, the media returned their attention to the actual protest rally,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Some of the signs held aloft by ordinary folk who have no desire to see our public assets sold off. This one has an “air of truth” about it,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Possibly because it reminds me of this, from the late 1990s,

.

Max Bradford

The Promise of cheaper power...

.

Back to the rally,  and one of our best known activists and expert on our energy industry, attended the protest,

.

Molly Melhuish february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

Molly Melhuish, Energy Campaigner

.

This gentleman insisted he was not a member or supporter of NZ First – but still shared the sentiment expressed on the placard,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

This photo, to me, speaks volumes. These two elderly gentlemen represent an age from when New Zealanders worked hard to build the state assets which we now enjoy. It must grieve them to see their foolish children auction them off, so casually, without considering the true worth of what is being  given away.

To me, it feels akin to a betrayal of what our parents and grandparents left us,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Amazing isn’t it – that ordinary kiwis understand the true ramifications of asset sales. Our elected representatives (or rather, some of them) seem to take us for fools. But we understand economic realities only too well,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

This image alone, should wipe the smirk of John Key’s face.  Contrary to his little “teapot chat” with John Banks, elderly voters are not “dying off”. In fact, I think they’ve postponed any impending “coach-tour to the Pearly Gates”, so as to vote in 2014. They have a “date” with the ballot box in three years hence, and have no intention on missing it.

Take note, Mr Key; you are annoying the voters,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Perhaps one of the guttsiest people at the rally had to be ” Madd Hatter “, who convened the Rally. Make no mistake about the weather – it was wet and cold. Yet, covered in “oil” (a mixture of  mollasses and other stuff ) she braved the Wellington weather to make a point about fracking and deep-sea oil drilling of our coastline.

With the cost of the ‘Rena‘ clean-up now estimated at $130 million, it seems that some of our elected representatives are still entertaining lunatic notions that could result in the  polluting of  our underground water-table (“fracking“) or endanger our coastline with deep-sea drilling. (See previous blog-piece here, on this issue.)

Cheers, “Madd Hatter” – you deserve to be in Parliament. (And I say that in a nice way.)

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

"Madd Hatter"

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

And addressing the rally,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Jonathan then advised us that various Party leaders would address the Rally,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

From the Labour Party, Charles Chauvel (L) and Deputy Leader, Grant Robertson (R). Note the media-scrum around them, and successive Parliamentary speakers,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman. For some unfathomable reason, Norman attracted derisory calls from one (possibly two?) individuals in the crowd. Like, who can possibly dislike the Greens? (As our mums kept reminding us; Greens are good for us! Very wise, our mums!)

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Hone Harawira recieved the loudest applause – and not without good reason. Leaving the Maori Party – that is now so closely wedded to  National – has  cemented his credentials as an opponant of Right Wing ideology. In these times of myriad shades of gray and ambiguity, I think it fair to say that we know where Hone stands,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

When it came Winston Peter’s turn to speak, there was a briref, two-minute vocal exchange between him And Jonathan Elliott. Regardless of who was in the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, we need to remember that the media will report on such ‘exchanges’ rather than the full message of the protest rally,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Sometimes, we just need to bite our collective tongues, and  on message. Otherwise, certain folk on the Ninth Floor will simply rub their hands with glee at our dis-unity. When Peters spoke, it was… vintage Winston,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

(Damn, I wish I had his hair.)

Following the main political speakers, came Katherine Raue, from Transparency nz. It is unfortunate that as Katherine took the microphone, the media pack melted away,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Despite losing the interest of the media (who can be seen in the background, interviewing one of the politicians – Winston Peters, I believe), Katherine spoke eloquently on John Key’s broken promises – especially the impact broken promises has had on the families of the Pike River miner’s families.

Katherine made a strong, impassioned plea for Key to honour his promises to recover the bodies of the 29 dead miners. As we can all recall, John Key was highly prominent on the West Coast soon after the disaster. He made reassuring noises, promises, and committments – saying all the things that the dead miners’ families wanted to hear.

None of which came to pass.

In case anyone thinks that this protest-rally was “side lined by irrelevent issues” – think again. The committments that our elected representatives make – whether  to recover dead miners, or create jobs, or to make government transparent – is something that impacts on us all.

Even if we believe that something that government does doesn’t affect us – it does. Well done, Katherine – we need more Kiwis like you,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Katherine was followed by Green MPs Catherine Delahunty and Gareth Huges. Both spoke well, though again, the media pack had deserted the area,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

.

Then it was Molly’s turn. Molly Melhuish is a long-time energy campaigner. She has seen decades of change, from the Muldoon era of the Electricity Department – to post-Rogernomics electricity corporatidsation. What  she doesn’t know about the industry probably isn’t worth knowing,

.

february 7 protest against SOE privatisation

From L to R; Peter Redfern, Molly Melhuish, and Betty Redfern

.

Greypower, more than any other group of New Zealanders understand only too well the severe impact that privatisation of our electricity will have on our elderly. For many, the price of electricity is a matter of life and death.

Note the policemen in the background. They were posted to guard the steps of Parliament in case Greypower decided to storm the House of Representatives. Good show, chaps – democracy is safe.

.

To be continued Part Toru

.

.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 594 other followers