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EXCLUSIVE: Matt McCarten – Time for real leadership for Maori in Labour?

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The Labour presidential race is hotting up. Some activists inside the party and other political players warn for Labour to remain government next year they must elect someone who has campaign experience, as well as the political street smarts that has been missing in their presidents since Mike Williams.   

Some in the press gallery have already anointed Labour relative-newcomer Habitat for Humanity CEO Claire Zsabo as the frontrunner. In contrast, Maori media commentators and senior union leaders promote vice president, Tane Phillips, as the only nominee with political campaign experience and the trust of blue-collar workers. 

Maori, including supporters of Phillips, gathered over the weekend and expressed their frustration with the lack of progress on Ihumatao, and what they described as the invisibility of true representation in the party’s upper echelons. Others expressed fears that without solid campaign experience at the top, the party would become increasingly vulnerable going into an election year.  

Current General Secretary Andre Anderson is a recent appointment and will take time to settle in. The other Vice President Tracey McLellan is standing down to run for the Port Hills seat. That means the Labour’s Head Office will have only Phillips in the central leadership who has any high-level general election campaign experience.

In his mid-50s, Phillips has held various positions within the party for years.  As previous chairman of the Waiariki Labour electorate organisation he was the only person in the leadership who believed that Labour could take out Te Uruoa Flavell, therefore removing National’s only viable partner and pathway to government.   Phillips is seen as a policy heavy weight by Maori in the party as their lead policy representative for Te Kaunihera Māori, the party’s Māori council.

I have known Phillips in the past as the head of the Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union in Kawerau. Phillips is the “blue-collar unionist” from central casting – tough, warm, humorous, quick witted with the working class oratory gene. He comes from the same cloth as the people who founded the Labour Party – and are still needed if the prime minister wants to keep her job.  

As importantly, Phillips in his day job, is a strong workers’ advocate  who fights for people in provincial New Zealand. He is already a proven leader in Maori, but has respect from union leaders and bosses alike. Having spent several years as part of the party leadership commuting to Wellington weekly I’m surprised he isn’t a shoo-in for the role. 

Zsabo is a quality candidate, and is well-known within the powerful Auckland Labour circles. But critics claim she is like the rest of the leadership, creatures of the cities. She doesn’t have Phillips’ extensive rural networks that Labour desperately need. Nor does she have the first-hand direct knowledge of the party’s complex internal dynamics – especially when it comes to navigating the complex relationship between the Maori Caucus and the wider Party.

Maori were dissed twice by Labour in our generation, and lost their seats to NZ First and then later to the Maori Party tossing Labour onto the opposition benches. 

The current term has not been an easy one for the party’s Māori caucus. Their MPs have faced pressure from their constituents over the Government’s handling of Ihumātao, and the uplifts of Māori children by Oranga Tamariki. There is increasing concern about whether their voices are being heard by the wider caucus. 

Phillips played a key role in Labour’s successful campaign to win all seven Māori seats back after 12 long years, whilst balancing the nuanced messaging for both the Māori and non-Māori constituencies. If he is elected president at the party’s conference he may be the first president who actually has serious fundraising experience. Union bosses are used to getting money off the rich, so he will be able to put that skill to use. 

As a union leader in a rural community, he is used to mobilising the community. None of his predecessors have had that ability. A senior union activist in the party tells me Phillips is the only person who can confidently carve out a more defined centre left position for the party and put workers’ rights back into the mainstream of the party. 

It’s ironic that opponents of Phillips say he has been tarnished because he served on the party’s Council during the alleged sexual assault of a female Labour volunteer. Given the alleged abuser was a parliamentary worker and a key aide to a senior cabinet minister I didn’t see any senior MPs who knew something was right take responsibility – which they should. They left it to the prime minister to burn up her capital for them instead. 

“Put Jacinda and Phillips together and you have a picture of a complementary balance. But put Jacinda and Zsabo together and you have two very similar well-educated Auckland middle-class liberal women. We don’t need clones, we need diversity and we need to be able to recognise ourselves in the mix,” said one party insider who did not wish to be named for obvious reasons of self-protection. Though they do have a point.

Much has been said about lip service about breaking the glass ceiling for women aspiring to leadership.  In my younger days I ruefully observed women were always the vice-presidents and deputy chairs. Thankfully that has changed. But diversity isn’t just about gender. Diversity is about when two candidates are competent to do the top job, then diversity should be a determining factor

There is deep irony when both Labour’s deputy and their vice-president are Maori. 

Labour now has the opportunity to support Maori having real leadership too, rather than  being the sidekick bought out for ceremonial occasions to create the illusion of equality, when it isn’t. 

Matt McCarten is a Unionist, former Labour Party Chief of Staff and Left Wing Political General. 

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Malcolm Evans – MFAT tweet

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Malcolm Evans – MFAT tweet

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E tū responds to Air NZ’s 787 engine problems

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E tū, the union for cabin crew says today’s announcement by Air New Zealand of the grounding of between two and five 787 Dreamliners is a major challenge for 787 cabin crew who are currently in wage negotiations.

The airline says the grounding is the result of ongoing engine maintenance problems with the Dreamliners’ Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

“Yet more problems with engines at Air New Zealand has implications for 787 cabin crew members,” says the union’s Head of Aviation, Savage.

“Fewer planes flying means less work and more network disruptions. There is also a risk of some redundancies if 787 crews cannot be redeployed to other fleets or if lease aircraft can’t be found to replace the Dreamliners,” he says.

“We will be doing what we can to ensure all other options to redeploy crew are used first”.

Savage says the news coincides with wage bargaining for 787 cabin crew.

“We have 650 787 Dreamliner cabin crew in negotiations for a new collective agreement right now and the engine problems have changed the parameters of what has been, at times, a very tense negotiation,” he says.

“Crew are not paid enough for the work they do, and this latest round of engine problems will almost certainly see the company looking to limit costs even more.

“Cabin crew are an under-appreciated group and disruptions to the airline’s performance caused by technical problems outside their control are yet another challenge for them.

“Crew have been through a lot in the two years since the first engine problems were discovered. They are dedicated professionals and they understand how the industry works. However, they do not want to see their working conditions and aviation standards decline even more than they already have.”

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One minute of your time for Palestine!

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Yes, just one minute of your time is needed to protest the outrageous tweet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 12 November.

What we want you to do right now:

Email the Prime Minister j.ardern@ministers.govt.nz to demand the government remove the racist tweet and condemn the political assassinations carried out by Israel which caused rockets to be launched from GAZA.

(Copy your email to Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters w.peters@ministers.govt.nz and your local member of parliament – no matter what party!)

(Copy your email to your local member of parliament – no matter what party!)

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU COULD SAY:

Kia ora Ms Ardern,

I am requesting you take action to remove the racist, misleading tweet sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 26 November.

This is a particularly vile and misleading message straight from the Israel propaganda sheet.

Anyone reading the tweet would think the rockets came as an unprovoked attack against the civilian population of Israel. They did not.

The rockets were fired in response to two political assassinations conducted by Israel when it simultaneously attacked the homes of two leaders of Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Syria, killing Bahaa Abu Al Ata and his wife in their house in Gaza, and the son of Akram al-Ajjouri in the al-Ajjouri house in Damascus.

These attacks are part of interim Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign to regain political power.

Whatever one thinks of the policies and actions of Islamic Jihad they are the micro issue. The macro issue is the brutal, racist behaviour of Israel which has terrorised the Palestinian population of Palestine and the wider Middle East for over 70 years.

But your government is ignoring the biggest crime and the biggest criminals and blaming Israel’s victims for the violence in GAZA. So far at least 34 Palestinians have been killed, including several children.

Why is your government condemning the firing of rockets into Israel but giving a nod and a wink when the Israeli government carries out political assassinations and then murders Palestinian children with impunity?

With this tweet you are standing with a brutal, racist oppressor and turning your back on the Palestinian victims.

We expect better from you as leader of our government.

We request you immediately remove the racist tweet and condemn the political assassinations carried out by Israeli and likewise condemn the resulting murder of Palestinian civilians.

Please respond urgently.

NAME

Another Example from Christchurch Teacher John Edmundson to the Prime Minister

Kia ora Ms Ardern,

As a teacher who had to manage a distressed group of school students in lock-down for several hours only a kilometer from the Linwood Mosque shooting, and who lost two longtime friends in the Deans Ave mosque (Haji Daoud Nabi and Junaid Ismail, whom I had known since he was 3 years old) I take the issue of Islamophobic racism very seriously. For this reason I am extremely concerned over the recent MFAT tweet condemning rocket fire into Israel. As has always been the case in the past with this conflict the death toll has been massively disproportionate and in favour of Israel, yet alarmingly, so has this government’s response. In the recent upsurge this week, no Israelis (zero) have died as a result of Palestinian actions but at least 34 Palestinians – women, children and men – have died at the hands of Israeli operatives and their lethal high tech arsenal.  Palestinians who oppose Israeli domination over their lives are meant to feel unsafe anywhere in the world and this threat is backed up with deadly force. So far this year, 98 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been killed, a ratio of almost 1 to 10, yet it is the actions of Palestinians, an occupied and oppressed people, that is focused on in the tweet. This year’s death toll is by no means atypical. Since 2008 5523 Palestinians (561 women and over 1200 children (989 boys and 245 girls) and 237 Israelis have died.

More Palestinian girls have been killed than the entire total of Israelis. Every single one of these children had a life cut short, leaves a grieving family to try to go on living in the open prison that is Gaza, every day wondering when the next family member will be taken. All these statistics from a United Nations body.

That some Palestinians then choose to retaliate by firing largely ineffective rockets back into Israel is not the real issue here, yet it is the act that drew this MFAT tweet. In the context of the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine, this one-sided response is clearly racist. I find myself compelled to ask, what value does this government put on those Palestinian lives when its official agency takes such a one sided stance? When since 2008, 23 times as many Palestinian have died and our government chooses to express how “deeply concerned” it is over the desperate acts of the oppressed, I truly wonder where our humanity lies and whether we have in fact come to see Israelis as ‘like ourselves’ and Palestinians as ‘other’. It is the equivalent of having singled out an act of resistance by the ANC while remaining quiet about daily aggression by the Apartheid South African regime, a parallel made starkly clear by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Such partisan treatment of the issue of Israel/Palestine, which conforms entirely to Israel (the occupying power)’s agenda can only give succour to Islamophobia in this country and internationally, since New Zealand is seen as a world leader in this area of international relations. The Christchurch shooter will, I am sure, be delighted to learn that our government is presenting interim Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu’s perspective as our own.

Nga mihi,

John Edmundson

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Why Universities who don’t protect free speech should lose public money 

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ACT wants to cut funding to universities that block free speech

David Seymour has withdrawn a Bill that would have repealed parts of the law which made insulting and offensive speech unlawful.

Instead, he’s drafting a new one which would force tertiary institutions to “take all reasonable steps to protect academic freedom and free speech” or face funding cuts, following a number of events being shut down over claims of health and safety fears.

“I think there’s a more urgent need now because it’s become clear that the most pressing threat to free expression in New Zealand is not our current laws,” Seymour told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

“Our current laws are not bad – I think they could be improved, and that’s what my previous Bill would have done. The most pressing threat is that some people are genuinely concerned about their health and safety obligations as a person conducting a business undertaking, and they are not sure if they can let people speak on their premises. Others are abusing it.”

Since 2018, Massey University has cancelled events, including a speech by former ACT leader Don Brash and the Feminism 2020 summit, on health and safety grounds. Dr Brash attracted protests over his views on race, and trans activists have accused the group behind Feminism 2020 – Speak Up For Women – of being bigots. 

Seymour instead hosted Feminism 2020 at Parliament on Friday, calling it a “delightfully informative and uneventful discussion”.

“It’s a ridiculous situation. An MP shouldn’t be giving sanctuary to feminists to have their views expressed at Parliament in 2019, but that’s what happened. 

“We need to clarify the obligations – particularly of the public sector – of health and safety versus freedom of expression,” he said, before launching an attack on Massey.

It is indeed insane that David Seymour had to offer a Feminism Conference sanctuary at Parliament because a University was too cowardly to hold it!

NZ Universities have a legally mandated obligation to be the social conscience of society and they uphold that obligation with academic free speech. Those obligations are to the wider society, and are part of their social contract with a liberal progressive democracy.

If a University refuses to fulfil this obligation to Society, then they shouldn’t get public funding!

They also have an obligation to provide a work environment and study environment that protects staff and students from physical harm and harassment. To conflate this obligation into a health and safety responsibility to protect staff and students from ideas that will trigger them however is intellectually dishonest.

A University doesn’t have an obligation to shield staff and students from ideas that might trigger them, that is the relationship between a parent and a child. A University has an obligation to challenge their staff and students and provide support that enables their ability to cope with that challenge.

What Massey have done is conflate the relationship between University and staff/students to that of a parent protecting their children from unpleasant content, that’s not their responsibility.

It is intellectual cowardice to circumvent their obligations as a critic of society by conflating health and safety issues to protect staff and students from being triggered. Massey’s job is to challenge and support their students and staff, not wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from thought crimes.

That’s what The Spinoff does, that’s not what a modern University does!

We all lose out when a University is prepared to self censor themselves in this manner and if Massey can’t live up to its mandated obligations as a critic of society, hand back all the public money and set up as a private club.

 

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Dr Liz Gordon: Sexual abuse and sexual violence

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Avid readers will have picked up last week that I am currently assisting Robyn Hewland, early woman psychiatrist, to write her memoirs. Last week I wrote about equality for women and the #MeToo movement. This week I want to look at sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Before I get shouted at, I want to confirm that most men enjoy loving, warm and consensual sex with partners, whether casual encounters or enduring relationships. The men I am referring to here are a small proportion of the population, although not small enough as they do significant damage.  They are ‘deviant’, if you like, although I do not like the term.

The issue arose in relation to the memoirs because Robyn was a part time psychiatrist for the Department of Social Welfare, including their Christchurch children’s homes, community homes, assessments of families etc in the 1970s to the early 1990s. 

We now know, due to the current Royal Commission, that sexual abuse by caregivers and staff was widespread at that time.  In my interviews with her, I have been asking “did you know?”, and then, with the first question answered “NO”, then “how did you not know?”.

The answers are complex, I guess, but boil down to basic naivety, perhaps a faith in authority figures and a belief that strangers were the only threat to children.  There was certainly the view that men would look after their families, not rape, beat or murder them. It was not until the 1980s that such behaviour was opened up to public view, due to organisations such as Rape Crisis and the Mental Health Foundation who first brought sexual abuse into the public view here.  

As I wrote last week, the #MeToo movement may not be doing much for equal pay and improving the position of women, but it has certainly brought to the fore the way that sex, power and control have affected, and still affect, women’s lives. While what is happening may shatter some illusions, in the longer term we could, as a society, prevent sexual abuse through education and support for victims.

I want to talk about the unnamed person (no, I don’t know why he has name suppression – the reason is also suppressed) on trial currently for killing Grace Millane. From the evidence presented to date, it seems that he has some extremely strange views about sex. 

I am talking here both about Grace, but more particularly about the witness who testified that he nearly choked her while she was giving him oral sex. Apart from the fact that the evidence suggested she barely escaped with her life, there is something particular creepy about his control of her body in that way. 

I think that her evidence, and also his next-day Tinder date where he ‘tried out’ his explanation of accidental death or manslaughter will prove important in the outcome.  I don’t want to say more at the moment as the trial is ongoing.

Robyn commented to me that she had never heard the term ‘enjoying rough sex’ before, and actually neither have I. Frankly, it sounds very much like an older view put forward by some that women like to be raped, or the even older one that no really means yes.  Because the protagonist, the violent one, will almost by necessity be the man, won’t it? The fact that it all seems to be about choking, which appears to be very much on the rise, is highly disturbing too. Perhaps I should say it out loud: choking people is dangerous and at least highly unpleasant.  No-one wants to be choked, ever.

The stories coming out of the Royal Commission justify the many calls there have been for this inquiry.  Hundreds, probably thousands, of women and men living today have been subjected to sexual abuse from the very institutions set up to help them.  

The pipeline from care to prison is peppered with the victims of abuse in care. First, the children were the victims.  Then, they were punished for their behaviour and inability to express their victimhood. Then, they were shoved into further institutional care – the prisons, the mental health facilities – where they were further blamed and punished for not being able to function adequately in society. Some of them became abusers themselves in the next generation. Some will never leave institutional care.

It appears we have an epidemic in New Zealand, largely hidden but going back two or three generations, with most perpetrators never coming to justice. Even now, only a tiny proportion of sex crimes ever get to court.

Whether all this current publicity about the convergence of sex, violence and power, and the silencing of victims through fear or even death, will lead to long-term change, remains to be seen. The Loves-Me-Not programme in schools, the brainchild of Lesley Elliott, aims to help senior students explore positive relationships and especially identify potentially abusive ones.  For example, it teaches that a boy might not be possessive out of caring, but because of the need to control. “Oh, isn’t he sweet, he never lets her out of his sight!” should be seen as a warning, not an expression of love. But that programme does not run in all schools.

We need to go for the gold standard: No more sexual abuse.  No more sexual violence. FFS… Choking is banned! Let’s make sure our learnings from current events make a difference for the future.

 

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.

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Media – do not self-censor – Julie’s message deserves to be heard across New Zealand

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Gaza-based New Zealand journalist, Julie-Webb-Pullman, who is visiting New Zealand before returning to Gaza next month, has condemned the hypocrisy of New Zealand government policy towards Palestine/Israel.

Julie says the racist response of the New Zealand government to Israeli political assassinations and the killing of Palestinian civilians – including several children – in the last few days

“rips off the veil so quickly donned after the Christchurch mosque killings to reveal the hypocrisy at the heart of current “even-handed” New Zealand foreign policy and practice towards Palestine”.

Julie’s blog is reprinted below but can be found here on The Daily Blog.

We urge media NOT to self-censor because they fear a backlash from the radical pro-Israeli lobby.

Julie’s message deserves to be heard across New Zealand.

Julie Webb-Pullman – MFAT and Gaza: Once Were (Rainbow) Warriors

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ tweet condemning rocket fire from Gaza, while failing to condemn the Israeli extrajudicial assassinations and civilian killings that generated Islamic Jihad’s rocket-fire response, rips off the veil so quickly donned after the Christchurch mosque killings to reveal the hypocrisy at the heart of current “even-handed” New Zealand foreign policy and practice towards Palestine.

The message of the MFAT tweet is clear – Palestinian lives do not matter to the current New Zealand government. The Gazan lives lost in the past week are somehow considered separate from the Muslim lives in Christchurch so rightly mourned and condemned throughout the country, and despite the positive PR mileage our Prime Minister garnered from around the world for her principled response to the terrorist attack by an individual.

State terrorism seems to be a different kettle of fish to this NZ government – but it wasn’t always so.

Norman Kirk’s Labour government took on the French government over atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific, not only in the International Court of Justice, but also by sending a navy frigate into the testing zone with a Cabinet Minister on board in 1973. France ceased atmospheric testing the following year.

Such warrior-like behaviour did have repercussions – in an act of state terrorism, the French government blew up Greenpeace protest ship The Rainbow Warrior in Auckland twelve years later, – but again, another New Zealand Labour government stood strong, exerted our right to an independent foreign policy even against some of our closest allies, and held France to account.

Twenty years later it was Israeli muscle most publicly and notably felt when in 2004, two Mossad agents, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, were caught attempting to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports with the aid of a local Jewish man, Tony Resnick (who fled the country).

These more recent gross violations of both New Zealand sovereignty and international law were met with both anger and diplomatic sanctions by then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, and with six-month jail sentences by the courts for the two captured agents.

“Cook the man some fucking eggs”

This week, far greater violations of international law and the right to life in Gaza have instead been met in New Zealand government circles with a response reminiscent of the friends witnessing the scene in Once Were Warriors, where Jake “The Muss” brutally beats Beth, and their intimidated  “friends” leave her to her fate.

It is an intimidation that almost every New Zealand broadcasting or media outlet informally reports having been subjected to by the Zionist lobby, in the form of endless vexatious, frivolous or trivial complaints designed to deter coverage of any and every Palestinian issue – let alone the attacks on potential political candidates or politicians supporting Palestinian self-determination, or criticising Israeli government policy or practice.

It is a brutality experienced daily by Palestinians going about their daily lives in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a brutality experienced weekly, if not more often, by every Gazan daring to resist.

And the scenes of terrified children cowering in the face of it are not just excerpts from a movie, but were played out in almost every Gazan home over the last three days.

With that tweet, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has shown he has egg all over his face.

It is now up to Jacinda to be a Beth.

Show us that donning the hijab after the Christchurch mosque attacks was not just “a senseless and theatrical gimmick.”

New Zealand and the world – but especially Gaza – deserve no less.

Julie Webb-Pullman is a Gaza-based New Zealand journalist visiting New Zealand. She is returning to GAZA in December.

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My train station will be closed for 4 years??? I hate Auckland in so many different ways

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Auckland one of the worst cities in the world for public transport, road taxes according to new data

Auckland has placed among the worst cities in the world for public transport and road taxes in a new global rankings index.

The meta-analysis also found the cost of parking in New Zealand’s biggest city is comparable to Los Angeles.

According to a new rankings index, it’s worse than Mongolia and Nigeria’s biggest cities. 

There are days that I awake and am deeply sad John Tamihere didn’t win the Auckland Mayoralty because one of John’s promises was to immediately sack every Board member of Auckland Transport.

I do my bit for this bloody city.

I don’t own a car and I don’t drive. I always take public transport, walk or ride share. I do what I’m supposed to do as a citizen of Auckland by not contributing to the endless traffic jams and I watch as fanatical car divers and arsehole militant cyclists wage pointless war over transport projects that only ever tinker rather than solve Auckland’s grotesque under investment in infrastructure.

This gutless hopeless SuperCity acquiesces to Wellington Bureaucrats with the ease of swingers wearing banana suits in a monkey brothel. Central Government opens the floodgates to migrant workers with no extra funding to the city that has to cope with that enormous inflow of students and workers. Bloated Swine Palaces (Cruise Ships) close off our waterfront 30% of the year and millions come into the International Airport terminal and gridlock that entire section of roading several times a week.

On top of the grotesque underfunding we have to tolerate the meaninglessness of the pitiful projects we do get. Based on the hopeless ability of every Transport agency under estimating how popular the services will be, The CRL which is causing so much disruption will reach capacity within 5 years of completion, even with the extra train station lengths, so imagine my pleasure and joy in finding out that my train station is going to be closed for 4 fucking years…

Four-year closure of Mt Eden train station during City Rail Link build

The busy Mt Eden Train Station will be closed for about four years to allow for work on Auckland’s City Rail Link.

…4 FUCKING YEARS!

WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT OF HAVING A TRAIN STATION AT ALL IF IT’S GOING TO BE CLOSED FOR FOUR FUCKING YEARS AND THEN DUE TO THE USUAL INCOMPETENCE AND UNDERFUNDING OF ANY TRANSPORT PROJECT REACH CAPACITY WITHIN 5 YEARS???

But don’t worry, here are some soothing bullshit words…

Commuters should have been told of Mt Eden Station closure earlier – AA

Yesterday it was announced the station would close for about four years to allow for work on the City Rail Link.

More than 200 people an hour get off at Mt Eden Station at peak time and they will now be forced to travel to neighbouring suburbs to commute into the CBD.

Barney Irvine from the AA said everyone understood there would be disruption, with major projects like the CRL.

But he said those in charge had not been fair to commuters.

“This has been the plan all along and the public’s only finding out about it now.

“We’re going to see a lot more of this sort of disruption right across our transport network, our roads, our rail system and our footpaths in the next few years and Auckland Transport is going to have to do a better job of managing its work programme.”

Mr Irvine said that included telling the public about future plans.

…that’s right, these fuckers knew that the Mt Eden Train Station would be closed for 4 fucking years and are only now alerting the public to it near the end of the year so it gets lost in the news wash.

As I get older and more cynical and more jaded with every passing second at the obscene incompetence and short sighted underfunded joke that is civil planning in my city, the black toxic splinter that remains of my heart feels only joy when I dream the architects of my misery suffer in an alternate reality where John Tamihere is Mayor and he tortures them daily with his never ending abuse.

A man can dream can’t he?

 

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Santa Claus represents privileged heteronormative white cis male patriarchy – that’s why Auckland City is really dumping him  

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Creepy Santa sacked: Auckland’s giant festive figure to be scrapped after six decades on Queen St

This Christmas will be the last for Auckland’s giant “creepy” Santa.

For about six decades, the 18-metre festive icon has towered over downtown Auckland each December.

But storing, maintaining and assembling Mr Claus cost too much – more than $200,000 per year – so Heart of the City said it was a “fitting time” for him to take a “well-earned rest”. 

What Heart of the City aren’t acknowledging is that they are actually responding to an Action Station petition promoted by The Spinoff to ban Santa from Auckland because he represents the privileged heteronormative white cis male patriarchy.

The petition reads,

“Santa is a colonial abuser who has exploited capitalism with slave elf labour using a work environment that lacks diversity. His patriarchal entitlement to land on any house he likes is an extension of male privilege and Christian bigotry. Mary Claus is also a victim.”

Santa has denied allegations against him from former female employees.

Action Station have called for an enormous festive naked Gaia to be erected on the side of Whitcoulls to celebrate non-binary female energy.

Heart of Auckland are considering costs.

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Political Caption Competition

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He scares the bejesus out of me.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Monday – 18th November 2019

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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MEDIA WATCH: If you are pissed about Afghan kids dying because of our military incompetence, wait until you realise we are training Iraqi soldiers who are killing their own citizens 

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Another brilliant piece of investigative journalism from Stuff Circuit, this time the possibility that undetonated weapons on a NZ firing range in Afghanistan killed 7 children…

Blast from New Zealand firing range ammunition kills Afghan children

Seven children were killed in an explosion caused by a device left behind on a New Zealand firing range in Afghanistan, a Stuff Circuit investigation has revealed.

The children are among 17 civilians killed or injured in incidents connected to unexploded ordnance on New Zealand’s firing ranges.

The previously unreported tragic legacy of New Zealand’s 10-year deployment to Afghanistan is the subject of a Stuff Circuit documentary, Life + Limb.

…the fact that we’ve agreed to spend $10m to clean up this toxic legacy suggests our NZDF know we are responsible despite their claims that it could be Russian or American munitions that exploded.

No one spends that kind of money unless they have to.

This is just the latest example of how this immoral deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq have stained the honour of our armed services.

We handed civilians over to known torture units, received information from torture, was involved in a friendly fire incident, desecrated bodies of the dead and of course we killed and wounded 21 civilians as part of a SAS revenge attack that went wrong.

On top of all of this, we now have a serious question over our training of Iraqi soldiers now that the Iraq Government have turned those soldiers against protesting civilians…

NZ soldiers have so far trained 46 000 Iraqi soldiers, the very same Iraqi soldiers who have this month opened fire on protesting Iraqi citizens…

Iraq protests: Death toll soars past 250 as violence continues, after ‘18 killed’ overnight in Karbala city

At least 18 people have been killed and 800 wounded in Iraq when masked security forces opened fire on protesters in the Shia holy city of Karbala on Tuesday, security officials have said.

…it is time for us to cut our losses here and leave these ill moral open ended war zones where our involvement is only exacerbating injustice not preventing it.

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Renter Rights FINALLY from a Government desperate to prove they’re doing something

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When Jacinda did her list of the things she had achieved in 2 minutes, the Planet swooned. Closer inspection of that list however showed how shallow the achievements truly were but it highlighted the fear the Government has about its voter base voter feeling that Jacinda hasn’t been transformational at all.

Gareth Hughes walking away from Parliament today because the Government hasn’t be transformative is proof of this deep seated resentment.

So Labour are now desperately scrambling to show the electorate who elected them that their vote hasn’t been wasted and lo and behold something meaningful policy on Renters Rights…

Government to ban rental bidding and end no-cause evictions

The Government will end no-cause evictions and ban rental bidding in an upcoming reset of rental laws.

It will also limit rent rises to once a year, up from the current limit of once every six months.

These changes will be made well over a year since then-Housing Minister Phil Twyford finished consulting on them in October 2018.

…it’s good to see this Government finally appreciating that if they don’t grow a spine and actually pass some meaningful legislation they are out at the next election.

If every Landlord actually went through with their threat to sell their rental property every time a basic tenants right was legislated we would have a housing price crash. ‘Ok boomer’ is the best response to these snowflake landlords

This change for Renters is long overdue and in truth doesn’t go far enough but after the disappointment of Kiwibuild, lack of implementation of Welfare reforms, lack of real climate change legislation (being Zero Carbon in 31 years isn’t real change), lack of a Capital Gains tax and going no where fast on suicide, inequality and social housing, we will take any crumb from the table.

This Government is a feast of famines.

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Loss of Gareth Hughes huge blow to Greens

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One of my favourite Green MPs, Gareth Hughes, is stepping down from Parliament at the next election.

I’ve known Gareth since his entry into NZ Politics, his intelligence, good nature and understanding of Parliamentary process is a huge blow to a Party that at times doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing.

His good nature, total lack of ego and willingness to work with others is a vast departure from the current newbie class of MPs who seem totally focused on them being the centre of everything the Greens do.

It is great to see him going out fighting

“Across my 10 years here, things have actually got worse. Emissions have increased, we are still losing a hundred million tons of topsoil every year – our most precious resource – homelessness is growing,” Hughes says.

“I don’t think the Government has been transformational. There’s been pockets of transformation, but you know, I don’t think historians are gonna look back at it and say ‘This was a turning point on the scale of the 1930s or 1980s’. And I think that’s desperately needed.”

“It’s a disappointment that we aren’t seeing the change I think we need. As a father, I’m desperately worried about the future of the world.”

…I love it when a Politician leaves and can finally be honest…

Hughes says New Zealand needs a change on the scale of those revolutions – the first Labour Government creating the welfare state and the fourth one tearing it apart.

“As I reflect across 20 years of activism I realise that I’ve spent 20 years winning campaigns, but each one’s kind of like chopping off the head of the hydra. There’s always another equally important campaign right behind it. I’ve spent 20 years fighting the symptoms, not the source.”

“I’ve grown up knowing nothing but the revolution of the early 1980s. This is this operating system which was uploaded in New Zealand and people have tried to install better policies or better programs, but if they don’t work with the system, they are crashing.”

Hughes thinks it is key that the Greens push the country towards a new economic system able to properly fight climate change, and it isn’t yet.

“Our ambitions have to match the scale of the emergency. We have to build a movement because if we are going to see the transformational change to save the planet from literally burning we have to do more than just sort of exhaustedly crossed the line at 5.01 per cent. We have to keep growing and growing and have strong ambitions.”

The Government’s main climate change law, the recently-passed Zero Carbon Act, is “scaffolding” – Hughes says. But the rubber hasn’t really hit the road yet, and he’s extremely disappointed that existing oil and gas permits are being extended.

…I always felt that the Greens never utilised Gareth as well as they should have and that his talents were never fully explored.

I wish him all the best, he’s a great talent and a real loss to the Greens.

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3 good things that happened last week

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Sometimes it feels like this Government is going no where fast, but last week was a  reminder that good progress can happen and is happening.

Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading: Making the process to give evidence in a sexual assault trial easier on the victims is a long overdue measure. If the Justice process is as demeaning and damaging as the injury itself, we have failed at justice. This is a great win for a more compassionate system that seeks to enable justice rather than prevent it.

Judge to hold the key to protected information for reviews into wrongful convictions: We desperately need better mechanisms put in place to release innocent people who have been falsely incarcerated. Currently the arrogance of the system refuses point blank to accept they ever make a mistake. I think it’s part of our cultural cringe over illegally stealing Māori land, it seeps into every facet of Government to never admit they have made a mistake. This move creates processes that can start to build in a check and balance to a system that refuses to accept it can ever be wrong.

Peter Ellis appeal derailed by legal curveball on possible tikanga Māori approach: Normally when  person dies, their legal claims pass with them. The Peter Ellis case was one of the worst miscarriages of justice ever and with his death the Supreme Court is asking if it should continue with his appeal. A curveball was thrown in when one of the Justices challenged this concept of a persons rights passing when they die because tikanga Māori doesn’t see it that way. The fact the Supreme Court is open to learning so thing from Māori culture which will also serve real justice to Peter Ellis is a wonderful moment of cultural growth and evolution.
We must never allow the perfect to defat the good and last week was a reminder of that.

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