Alternative Aotearoa – The Political Left Election 2020 Hui


A one-day seminar to provide solutions for the environmental, social and economic transformation of Aotearoa – Saturday 25 July, 8.30am Pipitea Marae, Wellington 

A defining moment in post-pandemic debate in New Zealand is planned for next Saturday, 25 July at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.

Representatives of a wide range of health, social justice and environmental organisations will speak at the seminar to propose an alternative approach to the “business as usual” proposals of mainstream politics.

We are delighted to have two marvellous New Zealanders, Justice Advocate Julia Whaipooti and 2020 New Zealander of the Year and President of Equity New Zealand Jennifer Ward-Lealand, to Co-chair this day which will be a defining moment in post-pandemic discussion in Aotearoa.

Keynote speakers who will set the kaupapa for the day are the Director of Action Station Laura O’Connell Rapira and Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor Efeso Collins.

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Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul and University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey will record and collate the presentations into a final report which will be available to the media and will be presented in person to each of the main political parties.

We are thrilled with the calibre and integrity of the organisations and presenters throughout the various panels. These groups and individuals are the change-agents New Zealand so desperately needs at this critical time.

The full agenda is pasted at the end of this media advisory.

The best opportunity for media to speak with the co-chairs and keynote speakers will be at the lunch break at 12 noon which will be set up as a media conference.

The event will be livestreamed in several places including



Our main political parties, heavily influenced by corporate priorities, are keen for New Zealand to return to “business as usual” as soon as possible whereby a smaller group of wealthier people can continue to enjoy the benefits of economic development at the expense of the rest of the country.

It was clear well before Covid 19 that “business as usual” had failed most of us. Despite the existential threat of climate change, for example, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise as policy decisions have favoured unsustainable economic growth over human welfare. Similar unacceptable failures are evident in biodiversity, fresh water, rivers and streams, poverty and inequality, health, education, housing, mental health, incarceration rates etc

If we go back to “business as usual” we will simply carry forward the myriad of social and economic problems from the pre-pandemic era, in particular the shocking levels of poverty and inequality which have disproportionately damaged Maori and Pasifika whanau and entire low-income communities.

We need a “new normal” in our economy which focuses on strengthening and empowering local communities to work towards a more sustainable future. That debate will be carried forward at the seminar.

Agenda updated to 17 July

  1. 30am Mihi Whakatau – speaker TBC


Co-chairs for the day:

Julia Whaipooti – Justice Advocate

Jennifer Ward-Lealand – 2020 New Zealander of the Year and President of Equity New Zealand


9am Keynote speakers (20 minutes each with time for questions)

Laura O’Connell Rapira – Director of Action Station

Efeso Collins – Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor


10am Health Solutions (10 minutes each speaker)

Teresa Wall – former deputy director-general of health

Dr Jude Ball – Public Health Association

Phil Bagshaw – Christchurch Charity Hospital

Jane Stevens – mental health services advocate

Ian Powell – former Executive Director of Assn of Salaried Medical Specialists


11am Workers’ Solutions (10 minutes each speaker)

Syd Keepa – Maori Vice President of the CTU

Yvette Taylor – Campaign Team leader E tū Union

Mike Treen – Director of Unite Union

Anu Kaloti – Migrant Workers Association


12noon Lunch (A vegan lunch will be provided – a koha would be appreciated)


12.30pm Youth Solutions (10 minutes each organisation)

Oli Morphew and Tara Watkins – School strike for Climate

Kalo Afeaki – Pacific Climate Warriors

Tiana Jakicevich – Te Ara Whatu


1.30pm Environmental Solutions (8 minutes each organisation)

Amanda Larsson – Greenpeace

Dr Mike Joy – Better Futures Forum

Eleanor West – Generation Zero

Haimana Hirini and Cally O’Neill – Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui a Tara

Kevin Hague – Forest & Bird

Aaron Packard – 350 Aotearoa


2.30pm Social Solutions (8 minutes each speaker)

Frank Hogan – Child Poverty Action Group

Kassie Hartendorp – Action Station

Liz Gordon – Quality Public Education Coalition

Dani Pickering – People Against Prisons Aotearoa

Brooke Fiafia – Auckland Action Against Poverty

Michael Sharp – State Housing Action Network

Anjum Rahman – Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono


4pm Afternoon tea


4.30pm Economic Solutions (10 minutes each speaker)

Tania Pouwhare – Social Intrapreneur at Auckland Council

Geoff Bertram – Economist with Victoria University

Susan St John – Economist with Child Poverty Action Group


5.30pm Summary of the day – Presentation of the solutions for the environmental, social and

economic transformation of Aotearoa

Tamatha Paul – Wellington City Councillor

Jane Kelsey – Law Professor University of Auckland


6pm Finish

Media will be invited to attend all day but a specific media conference will be organised for keynote speakers and a presentation of the final summary will be made to the media.

All political parties will be specifically invited to attend the Seminar and we will also be presenting the final report to the policy committees of the main political parties (National, Labour, Greens, New Zealand First etc) following the seminar.

The seminar will be live streamed in several places – one of these is on the Daily Blog website at



  1. The line-up is incredible, brilliant. This is the “Wake Up!” call that we all need, and is likely to be a defining moment of change, in the history of Aotearoa.

    • It will only be the wake-up call if the media reports it properly and if the politicians actually listen and make some changes, the latter is pretty doubtful, because they already think they know it all and gee if we gave poeple enough to live on business wouldn’t like it because then they might not have such a big choice of who to exploit. But I will be there keen to hear the brilliant line-up.

  2. I just want to say I want a good clean fight, no punching below the belt, protect yourselves at all times, and listen to all of my instructions.

  3. “CEAC National Lacks ‘A Greener Smarter Future’ Plan In Their $31B Transport Plan”
    Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre – Environmental press release. 18/7/20

    CEAC review of Judith Collins release of a National Party historic $31 billion Dollar Todd Muller’s ‘transport plan’ again lacks any policy of a ‘zero carbon’ “Greener Smarter Future” so we challenge Judith Collins to explain how building more highways can reduce our future to a ‘zero carbon future’?

    In our review we post the Todd Muller plan here as a ’refresher’.
    National Party “A Greener, Smarter Future”

    A Greener, Smarter Future
    Todd Muller;
    That third element is inextricably linked to the fourth element of National’s Plan to Get New Zealand Working: a greener, smarter future.

    New Zealanders want a greener future, and the world wants food, fibre and holidays that are green and sustainably produced. My commercial background is in agri-business, on the senior executive teams of Zespri and Fonterra and as CEO of Apata. But my political background has been mostly in climate change policy, negotiating the historic Zero Carbon Act with the Greens’ James Shaw, including bringing along some of the more sceptical voices in my own party.

    National commits to the Zero Carbon framework, and to cleaner lakes and rivers in provincial New Zealand – and a cleaner Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora here in Canterbury, and a cleaner Waitemata Harbour in Auckland. I do not see any conflict between the interests of agri-business and a greener future. I reject the Government’s demand on Tuesday that agriculture must be “transformed” rather than constantly evolve and improve by building on our status as the most productive and sustainable food-and-fibre producers in the world.

    New Zealand has the world’s best farmers, and New Zealand agricultural scientists. National launched the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which now involves nearly 60 countries working together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It is well within New Zealand’s capability to keep improving productivity while protecting and enhancing the natural environment from which we all draw our mauri as New Zealanders, and on which our economy is based. That in turn creates intellectual property for export.

    A greener, smarter future is about much more than tourism and agri-business. It is about technology and intellectual property across the board, which is clearly the future New Zealand must focus on whatever the industry – including the super-coders I mentioned for the video game industry, and in every area, from movies, to rocketry, to accounting software.”

    As well as the looming challenge of AI we also need to invest further in connectivity, as a major enabler of better services, better productivity and better lives, whether you are in Auckland or Akaroa. Where would New Zealand have been these past few months without Amy’s Ultra-Fast Broadband Network? We need to take it to the next level of its development. As we enter the 2020s, every New Zealander and every one of our businesses needs to know that the whole world is open to them in a way that other countries can only envy – and that’s what my Government will deliver.

    National’s vision is of a post-Covid economy that is greener, smarter and better than the one we had before.

    CEAC response here is; – Since Government’s recent data from (MBIE) of emissions inventory from road freight transport is not reducing but increasing, we now advocate for rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions and benefiting from reducing pollution ‘runoff’ from our roads into our waterways, lakes rives streams, aquifers, drinking water and poisoning us so what’s not to like here as this is real greener smarter future isn’t it?

    CEAC has long been advocating to clean up our waterways being daily polluted by other environmental contaminants not currently recognised, such as “road runoff” of vehicle emissions and toxic tyre dust pollution entering our steams alongside our highways and city roads.

    National Party has not even mentioned this looming issue yet?

    This has been documented in global scientific documents all over the world and was included in a 104 page report from the Ministry of Transport from as long back as 2002, and the report is entitled “Emissions factors for contaminants released from motor vehicles in NZ”
    “In New Zealand, emissions of key constituents from motor vehicles to air can be assessed using the Vehicle Fleet Emission Model. The user output from a run of this model is currently provided in the form of the user model NZ-TER (refer MoT 1998, MoT 2000, MonCrieff & Irving 2001).”

    Also found in this UK scientific report.

    These documents is evidence is the ‘elephant in the room’, as on pages you can see the tyre dust deposits left on a road is washed down our road drains and into our waterways and drinking water and causes cancer to humans and animals alike.

    CEAC has strongly always said that rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions finding ways to stop road runoff pollution washing off our roads into our waterways and entering our drinking water then poisoning us.

    CEAC has carefully reviewed this subject and now has strongly requested that rail with steel wheels and if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport pollution and climate change emissions.


  4. Valiant effort, but will it lead to change, no I cant see it happen. Take a lesson from Bernie Sander’s playbook. If you want change, you have to do it from within. Protests, meeting upon meeting and Hui’s will achieve little. You have to have a focused message, repeat it every day, every hour, 24/7. Meaningful change is achieved working in the system, not outside it. Lets take and example how one person has changed the political landscape in the US. He had the same message, consistent principles, repeated it now for 8 years and universal health care in the US is now an excepted concept. He encourages young people to join the Democratic party and to change it and its policy platform from within. Heaps of new progressive members joined, eg AOC. Biden will enter this election with one of the most progressive platforms in years. Why, the relentless effort of one man.

    Look at the BLM movement, they have protested and rioted for years and people still die, now more than ever. Spectators and protestors achieve nothing, To achieve change you have to join the system to beat the system. Local protests in support of the BLM did more harm than good for NZ progressive ideals and charity starts at home. To achieve real change, is not magic and achieved with a flick of a wand, but a slow process and you need to win the harts and minds of everyone, or you doomed to failure before you even started. Join the labor party, get rid of the handbrake element, ie NZF, get the Greens to to the line, set long term goals, don’t expect utopia in three years.

    If you go now with negative messaging, criticize the Labor for slow progress and make new policy suggestions which does not fit the voters frame of mind, you will only scare the middle block voter and see voter suppression and you could welcome a National government after September. Focus on getting rid of the stumbling blocks and handbrakes, if Labor gets a out right majority September, you will see things move a lot faster. Sell their achievements, encourage and support and you will destroy the negative messaging from the right. Negative messaging re Labor from the left will support the negative messaging from the right. Labor can not fight an election when being stabbed in the back by fellow progressives. Choose your battles carefully you don’t want to lose the war. And to win the latter you need the harts and minds of all Kiwi’s. (NZ already missing out on Light rail and a more progressive tax system). NZ needs a consolidated progressive voice with sound principles and policy with broad public support. Focus on unifiers, ie climate change, health and education and stay away from divisive stuff eg universal basic income, which scares many voters.

    You are now up against a consolidated focused conservative right wing message, diffuse splinter and confuse the progressive message and you will lose in September. Don’t scare, educate them, sell your ideas and then add it to a policy platform. Patience, consistency and discipline is crucial. New ideas or demands so close to an election is fatal. Please don’t muck this opportunity up, work to consolidate the progressive voice, make it positive, give people hope and the right wing deplorables will be defeated. John, you have what it takes to be NZ Bernie! go for it.

  5. Well, good luck with that Minto.
    As usual this line up indicates a complete disconnect from the real world where the direction of the country represents, more or less, the direction the voters as a whole want the country to travel in.
    No speaker personifies this disconnect than the person representing “People Against Prisons Aotearoa”.
    The reality is that the vast majority of New Zealanders are very pleased for Prisons to exist even if they are not perfect.
    You are as delusional as the right wing morons that call for the total dismantling of the social security safety net.
    Neither of you will ever be happy and not will you ever be effective because your policies (if you can call them that) represent the views of a vanishingly small proportion of the population.

    • “As usual this line up indicates a complete disconnect from the real world where the direction of the country represents, more or less, the direction the voters as a whole want the country to travel in”.

      The above happens because the public are never ever offered any alternative. TINA dominates the conversation. Mainly because the two two main parties have nothing between them.

      Take the prison issue, $100,000 a year for each prisoner. Don’t you think that if people were told constantly the cost and the alternative, people having to work in the community ‘doing good’.

        • Trevor that is a pretty dumb comment and I am sure you know it, people get locked up for the stupidest reasons. I have posted here numerous times about the situation that went on in one of the Nordic countries where they dramatically dropped the prison population, it wasn’t rocket science. We can and should do it here. The number of people who should be in prison in Aotearoa is well under 1000. If some person screws IRD why don’t they have to work for years for the city mission or something like that and before you make some other silly comment, I don’t mean doing their books.

          • Have you read the PAPA Web site. They want to do away with all prisons holding to the believe all that is needed is to be nice to everybody and they will be nice in return. Rehabilitation should be the aim and there are some good examples around the world . Your examples of the Nordic countries are a good start but you need to take in account they do not have a group suffering from colonization. This is a big hurdle that needs working on but many deal with it without commiting crime so it should not be an excuse

            • Trevor I am more than happy to do away with prisons as they are. Nowhere do I see that there is no need for some people to be detained humanely for societies and their own good. Repeat paedophiles.

              Prisons are totally inhumane, most people in there have serious mental health issues and are they dealt with in there NO!

              I agree of course about colonisation, but your final comment that some deal with it without committing crime not being used as an excuse for some does not stand. Different people have different abilities to cope with things – end of story.l

  6. Any farmer representation here? Anyone at all…?
    Hint? They create the foods we eat and earn the money we spend?
    They can be seen shuffling nervously as some Natzo in a paddock blathers on in their inimitably cynical way.
    Unite Union? Ever thought about approaching farmers and offering to bring them in to the fold, so to speak?
    That’d give you a bit of clout wouldn’t it?
    Ever ask yourselves why it is that the National Party is synonymous with agriculture?
    Ever wonder why the National Party hoardings go up first in paddocks?
    Why do you think that might be?
    If you, or anyone else doesn’t know the correct answer to those seemingly simple questions you should stand up, because it’ll be safe to assume you’ll be sitting on your arse, and leave because there are enough dumb people in politics already.
    All you guys can hop around bare foot while cultivating man buns or bead dreadlocks as you sing Kum Beya through the smoke of a smudge as much as you like but when you get hungry, shit gets real.
    It’s as real as the National Party know… They know, those who control agriculture/food production, will always be in control.
    You know how they know? ( Silly question. Of course you don’t.)
    It’s because Old National was, and no doubt still is, comprised of traitor one-time farmers.
    They simply figured out how to exploit their neighbours
    roger douglas
    bill fuck face english
    Big Jen shipley
    Jimbo bolger
    No doubt many producer board members too, who are in fact the ones who control our economy and many second, third and fourth generation lawyers, accountants, financiers and banksters who’ve been sent to good universities by mummy and daddy olde time famah dalings.
    Aye boys? Those huge mansions in Canterbury’s hinterlands? Those beautiful old homes in Dunedin?
    The entire city of Auckland?
    How do you think they got there? Tourism?

    • Yes we farmers need to be around the table here now, just ask any farmer if they have seen climate change impacts in the last 15 yrs as we have, as a Gisborne district farmer we ave now gone from a drought to the worst muddy winter in 500 years and this was highlighted this morning from HB farmers saying the same thing, so as we are now lambing the rain up Gisborne has been relentless for weeks now and the paddocks are now mud pools and our sheep and their new lambs are standing in mud so we are all up shit creek as the climate has impacted on us all this year from drought to too much constant rain.

    • Pretty unfair Country Boy – this is not a ‘this is wrong that is wrong’ hui it is about solutions and the last section about how the economy can be used to make those solutions viable.

      So tell me which of the headers for this hui would farmers fit into: Health, Youth, social, environment, workers, economic solutions.

      To be frank Country Boy farmers have endless coverage on TV and in the newspaper and plenty of it in parliament. Why would they need this platform as well.

      This is ‘solutions’ focussed and mostly I hear farmers moan that they are doing their best from an environmental aspect and that they care about their animals. Because farming / exporting dairy and meat is our big earner does not mean it needs to continue to be.

      There is no one from forestry there either, had you noted that, we already know the conditions under which the planters work are disgusting, and then we export raw logs to China great! No dumb!

      I watched country calendar last Sunday, I am always interested in alternative ways of farming and other interesting aspects of it. However I was absolutely horrified at the programme, the endless business of using animals to improve the stock is revolting, a bit like the bulls that are so over bred that they can never copulate naturally because they would crush the cow.

    • You clearly no little about Unite union when you can suggest that they take on the farmers as well. I never understand why Minto and Treen who have been at the forefront of trying to make change should come in for this sort of flack. These aren’t money making endeavours. Get of your arse and organise something yourself Country Boy, be sure to do it well and be really inclusive or you too will get flack.

  7. Certainly.
    Some good and practical suggestions will come from this seminar.

    No doubt about this.

    But: collecting concerns is not enough.
    But: collecting “wish-lists” is not enough.

    Critical Path Analysis “System Change. Now.”

    1. Socio-economic conditions and ecological parametric quantities urgently requiring public responses by civil society and academic institutions.

    2. Evolving role of civil society organizations, non-government organizations and critical academe to drive adequate local governance, effective climate resilience measures and sustainable system changes.

    3. Pathway(s) and envisaged milestones toward a society beyond the neo-liberal paradigm gradually imposed over planet Earth during the past 50 years.

    4. Potential contributions by respective CSOs, NGOs, scientific groups, public audience to build the prioritized pathway.

    5. Networking and organizational matters. Logistics and communications.

    +++ Important doctrine: rights-based not charities-based approaches.

    The present format gives the co-chairs and final summarizing and reporting a lot of space to maneuver the outcomes into any possible direction.

    This can be an advantage but also bears the risk that at the end of the day we will have not much more than the usual segmented “shopping-lists”. …Such would be a very shallow result.

    I sincerely hope that this is not going to happen.

    Good luck to all of us.
    Sounds of Maori spirit at cape Reinga

    • Manfred your answer is so much shit. I don’t know what you are doing for the earth Manfred and all the living things on it, but to dis this event in this way is truly disheartening. Do you really think the people who organised this and the people are speaking are stupid or something.

      But: collecting concerns is not enough.
      But: collecting “wish-lists” is not enough.
      I have seen the agenda and nowhere does it suggest that at this event they are going to ‘collect concerns’ not collect ‘wish lists’. I understand the whole event to be about Solutions, solutions, solutions. All of which the various economists will then explain how this could be done from an economic point of view.

      Neither the chairs nor those summarising the solutions can screw the pitch, it will all be on-line, every presentation etc.

      You have so many great ideas Manfred please organise an event so i can sit back and watch.

      • Kia ora @Micha,

        An itemization of ‘solutions’ remains a listing below potential value if the correlations and overall conclusions are not established (or not discussed and by among participants).

        Surely, we can agree on this?

        The specific ‘solutions’ that may pop up during the seminar will not be surprisingly new but will have been documented in literature and perhaps raised in the public since many years (probably).

        Naturally, there might be some exceptions. If so, good.

        From my point of view, the central perspective of the meeting is not to dig out the ‘perfect’ solution but to break the non-responsive status quo of the mainstream parties, especially related to climate change and exploitation of natural resources and human fellows.

        With all due respect, it is somehow naive to believe that a debriefing to the policy committees of the mainstream parties will make any real difference.

        Let me also use these lines to re-enforce the statements of Countryboy and Cleangreen above. It seems that the situation of farmers, the rural society, and required alternatives in agriculture, livestock raising, fisheries, are not sufficiently considered.

        Having said that, I am certainly looking forward to appreciate and support the outcomes of the seminar.

        Again, all the best, and good luck.

        • So who is actually saying that,
          a debriefing to the policy committees of the mainstream parties will make any real difference.

          yes it will happen but whether it makes any difference is a different matter. The point is that they need to be told face to face.

          Don’t you think the farmers et al have sufficient coverage on main stream media.

          Tell me which section you would put them under to speak?

          • G Day Michal,
            I understand that there are few organisations that represent Māori farmers. Tāhuri Whenua (National Māori Vegetable Growers Collective) researches and develops traditional crops, and Te Waka Kai Ora (Māori Organics Authority) promotes traditional, organic production methods.
            I do not know how active they are.
            If available on short notice I would suggest to place the reps under “economic solutions”.
            Best, ms

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