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Trump gives best speech of his presidency – let’s hope it isn’t enough for him to win

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I stayed up and watched Trump’s speech from Mt Rushmore live on Fox News last night.

It was probably the ‘best’ speech of his Presidency in that it appealed broadly to Republicans and Independents.

His zeroing in on culture war was clever…

“Make no mistake: this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence, and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.”

“Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”

“Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.”

“Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.”

…many Americans may have agreed with the anger and outrage of Black Lives Matter after the brutal killing of George Floyd, and they may have agreed with the pulling down of Confederate Statues, but when the very woke want to start pulling down statues of treasured founding fathers, many Americans might recoil.

Trump was desperately trying to appeal to that audience and it was a very good speech playing to those culture war fears.

However.

My reading is that many Americans have had negative interactions with Police and that there is a genuine sense that the Cops have become a law unto themselves and require urgent reform combined with Trump’s spectacular failure with Covid meaning that Trump and the Republicans are looking at one of the great defeats in American Political History.

The way Covid is carving through Republican territory right now, Trump has forgotten the first responsibility of the State, to protect the people and ‘his’ people are the ones suffering.

The only way Trump wins now, will be by suppressing the vote in such an enormous way, (because of Covid restrictions), that he just attempts to gerrymander the vote outright.

I think Mt Rushmore is the last gasp of a toxic President who was always Intellectually out of his depth and whose ignorance damaged the Presidency almost beyond repair.

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Cannabis Referendum’s Volatile Polls Show Every Vote Will Count – As Scientologists and Uncle SAM Exposed Behind Bob’s “Nope” Campaign

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With no public education campaign and widespread confusion over what the referendum will do, it is perhaps unsurprising to see such volatility in opinion polls. What is perhaps more surprising is that the cannabis referendum result could be decided by the least powerful and most disenfranchised members of society. And what should horrify everyone is that foreign interests and religious charlatans are actively working for the Nope campaign fronted by Family First.

Two cannabis referendum polls were released this week, with one putting Yes in the lead and the other showing the opposite, but both showing support for Yes tracking upwards.

Last Monday a poll released by Horizon had the Yes campaign in the lead, at 56 per cent intending to vote Yes compared to 42 per cent voting No. But TVNZ’s Colmar Brunton poll, released the same day, had Yes trailing at 40 per cent versus 49 per cent for No.

Crucially however, both polls had the Yes campaign tracking upwards. The trend is on our side.

The Horizon poll found stronger support from women compared to men, and young compared to Boomers. Green Party and ACT voters were most likely to vote Yes.

The Horizon poll also showed especially strong support for reform among Maori. This makes sense, as Maori have traditionally borne the worst of overzealous drug law enforcement and can also see the economic opportunities a positive referendum result would generate.

My reading of both polls is that, if anything, TVNZ’s Colmar poll is conservatively worded and may tend to produce a more conservative result. The opposite may be the case with Horizon’s poll, conducted for Helius Therapeutics, which holds a medicinal cannabis licence.

It is important to remember that neither poll asked the question that will be asked in the referendum (which will be: “Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?”). They asked their own, rather different, questions.

If we average both polls, we are dead even. It’s a 50:50 split.

Every vote will count.

As I’ve been saying to anyone who would listen, whether or not you vote could make the difference. With polls evenly split, this gives folk stuck on the bottom, who tend to not vote, more power and influence than ever before.

My hunch is many non-voters would tend to vote Yes, if they voted this time. I suspect the Nope campaign knows this too. So watch out for provocateurs discouraging voting – “a waste of time”, “they’ll never do it”, “they’re so corrupt”, etc – and question who the act of not voting really helps.

In this case, at this election, with this referendum, deciding to not vote can only help the prohibitionists working for the No campaign.

With support among intending voters tied, not voting effectively means casting a vote for No.

Not voting increases the likelihood that prohibition will remain the law; that young and disadvantaged people will be unfairly targeted; that youth will be blighted by criminal convictions; that criminal justice approach will win over a health-based approach; that police will keep arresting thousands of New Zealanders. For ever.

That is the aim of those purveyors of spite, misinformation, and revisionist propaganda, the Say Nope to Dope campaign.

Say Nope to Uncle SAM and Religious Weirdos

Fronted by Family First’s Bob McCroskie, it turns out the Nope campaign is actually backed by well-funded US lobbyists and the Church of Scientology.

The Daily Blog’s Martyn Bradbury has the story here (Cough, cough – like TDB pointed out, American Christian Right funding NZ referendum). I had been hearing the rumours all year.

TVNZ then reported our Government is rightfully concerned about foreign influence in our election process – namely, Uncle Sam telling Kiwis how to vote in the cannabis referendum.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (or SAM) has been behind most of the unsuccessful US campaigns fighting cannabis law reform and trying to lock states into futilely continuing prohibition.

It turns out they are also behind the Say Nope to Dope campaign fronted by the awful Bob McCroskie.

Even National’s Shane Reti said he is “not enthusiastic for foreign interests to be interfering in domestic policy”.

It gets worse. Russell Brown has since discovered their Nope campaign is also backed by the Church of Scientology. Not just casual support – they are actively involved. Their front organisation’s website, Drug Free World Aotearoa-NZ, encourages visitors to book explanatory sessions with their counsellors / mind-control fanatics.

And even worse. Russell Brown also discovered former National Party drugs spokesperson Paula Bennett had called a public meeting in Auckland to discuss “drug reform” in February this year at which she handed out Scientology pamphlets to the audience. While Minister under the previous National Government, Paula Bennett also approved giving public money to Drug Free Ambassadors, another Scientology front, for 130,000 copies of an anti-drugs brainwashing booklet they distributed to New Zealand schools.

While officially denying any funding from overseas, it is obvious Say Nope has a large enough budget to run nationwide billboards for the past year, widespread internet ads, full page newspaper ads, and so on. I wish the Yes campaign had their level of funding!

These revelations came out after the two polls above were conducted, so the impact on support for Nope is not yet known. I’d be surprised if many people would knowingly associate with this lot now.

Awareness leads to support

We have become aware that the more people know about the referendum’s proposed Bill, the more likely they are to vote Yes. If they do not know much about it, they are more likely to vote No.

Messages that resonate especially well with fence-sitters tend to emphasis the controls built into the referendum’s Bill. These include the R20 age limit, the ban on advertising and marketing, the controls on potency and produce types, limiting use to private spaces not in public, and that drug-driving will still be prohibited. Employers want assurance workplace safety issues won’t be affected (they won’t).

People also appreciate that medicinal access will be easier and cheaper when cannabis is properly legal, and that NZ’s version of legalisation will benefit local communities and promote participation by non-profits and social enterprises. There will be no Big Cannabis in New Zealand.

Our main task, therefore, is to simply increase awareness and understanding of the Bill and what it does, without needing to go hard convincing people it is right. They will come to that decision on their own.

You can help by talking to your family and friends – have that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off – and try setting a goal of getting at least one non-voter to enrol and vote Yes in the referendum. Remind them they can just vote for the referendum and don’t have to vote in the election too, if that’s what turns them off.

If we all convince at least one non-voter to vote Yes, we’ll win this comfortably.

Enrol at vote.nz. From this coming election, anyone aged over 18 can now enrol and vote right up to voting day, and on voting day itself. Voting booths will also be in places like Supermarkets, so it has never been easier to vote – and every vote will make a difference!

If you want to help more, make a donation to Make It Legal at Givealittle, and help the NZ Drug Foundation’s Yes On Our Terms campaign by making a donation here. They have just successfully fought off 50 complaints organised by Bob’s Nopers and now need your support to keep the Yes campaign ads running.

Chris Fowlie is the CEO of Zeacann Limited, a medicinal cannabis producer; co-founder of the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council; president of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws NZ Inc; developer of the CHOISE model for cannabis social equity; co-founder of The Hempstore Aotearoa; resident expert for Marijuana Media on 95bFM; cannabis blogger for The Daily Blog, and court-recognised independent expert witness for cannabis. The opinions expressed here are his own.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The Real Economy

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When should we loosen the Covid-19 restrictions at our border That’s a big question so let’s ask a couple of slightly smaller ones.

Is your health more important than money?

My answer to that is Yes. You can’t have a lifestyle if you don’t have a life, so for me the border entry issue is primarily a public health decision.

In this regard I have great confidence in Dr Ashley Bloomfield to make the right call on our behalf and former Health Minister David Clark , in my view, has rightly paid the price for undermining his authority instead of publicly standing by him.

Yes, but what about the damage to our economy?

Well, our pre-covid 19 economy was driven by a neoliberal approach to immigration, education and tourism .

High immigration meant a high demand for goods and services but it also put a strain on our housing market and helped push up house prices so that many of us earning our money in the domestic economy could not afford a place of our own.

The commodification of education by neoliberal economics has made money, especially the sums earned from overseas students, the driving motive behind the running of our universities ,whereas once they were places we funded for our own young people to learn, debate and examine ideas for free.

Why? Because we realized by doing so it would deliver things of long term value to our community and enrich our culture.

As for tourism – do you remember all those pre-covid news items about the damage to our environment and how DOC couldn’t cope with visitor numbers, lack of toilet facilities and freedom campers spoiling parking areas? As we reopen our borders to tourists again we need to do some better planning.

I think the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to look at the internal drivers of our own domestic economy and re-evaluate the external forces we have allowed to influence our way of life.

If you have a vested interest in the way things were in our pre-covid econoy I guess you are not going to be very happy with the ideas I have just expressed.

But like it or not the pre-covid economy has gone and as we consider opening our borders I think we should be opening our minds to the even larger question– What kind of Aotearoa/ New Zealand do we want and how can we use our domestic economy (and not overseas money and influences) to pay for it?

It’s with those thoughts in mind I’ll be considering the policies of the various political parties who want to occupy the treasury benches at the upcoming election.

How about you ?

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

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Dr Liz Gordon – Border games

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When the National Government appointed Peter Gluckman as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, it could not have known that the position would be for life.  That Gluckman would become the Putin of Science Advice, popping up here, there and everywhere to give his views as if he were still, and forever, Chief Science Advisor.

And Helen Clark still Prime Minister. And Rob Fyfe still head of an airline.  Of course, what I am referring to is the document issued under the names of all three via the think tank Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures, which is based at the University of Auckland.  Reading online it is clear to see that the think tank is Peter Gluckman, transported from his previous role, and indeed his previous, previous role, into a new research centre (read: cost centre for raising research funds).

Peter Gluckman is the epitome of an academic patriarch. Wherever one spots him, he has a little group of people around him, listening to him.  He is NOT a conversationalist, but an expounder of knowledge.  Sometimes I agree with him, other times not. But that is not the point, is it? The point is that he looks to influence by hurling thunderbolts of brilliance at agencies.

There have been moments of brilliance. Some people did great research raising significant questions about Housing New Zealand’s policies on methamphetamine contamination in state housing. As Chief Science Advisor, Gluckman parlayed this research into an excellent report which led to a crucial change in policy and practice. But it was mostly all about him. Although he set up a network of science advisors in government agencies, that network lacked leadership and was undeveloped until recently.

The new Chief Science Advisor is a very different sort of person. Professor Juliet Gerrard is a behind-the-scenes organiser who speaks softly and takes her responsibilities very seriously, especially in relation to marshalling advice on the pandemic. The CSA website notes: “Juliet’s vision for the role centres around four qualities: rigour, inclusivity, transparency and accessibility.  She aims to create a trusted bridge between science, society and government.”

Anyway, back to the document which is the topic of this blog. Do not be confused by the title of this document as a “conversation piece”. It may have emerged from a conversation between the three authors but it neither opens up a conversation nor provides much in the way of solutions. It expounds.

It is not a research-based piece either. There are no references.  It came out of the heads of the three people. It was said to be ‘peer-reviewed’ by David Skegg.  But it wasn’t. Peer review relates to a process of understanding a research piece within the context of a field of research.  As I said, it was not a research piece so peer review was not possible.

Is it a brilliant piece? The answer is no.  There is nothing much new in it.  The basic thesis is that closing down our borders is much easier than opening them up again. But open them up we must, at some stage.  If I had written this piece for The Daily Blog, you would barely have blinked.  This is all about the authors, not the content.

I am sure that the Government’s science advice networks, researchers and contractors are heavily into working through the scenarios for re-opening.  I am also certain that, for the time being, people want to stay in New Zealand’s Covid-free bubble.

The trouble with this paper is threefold.  One, it purports to be a research paper from a think tank, but is not.  Second, it appears to have literally come out of a conversation between the three authors, perhaps over a power lunch or something, but uses their names, not the quality of their thought, to give it prominence.  

Finally, as I keep saying, the Covid is a highly political pandemic, and this is a highly political think piece.  The battle over re-opening, the economic versus the health, will be played out on the election field. This piece has given ammunition for National to critique the government’s approach.  You can hear Mr Whitebread now, telling the electorate that even Helen Clark, guru of the Labour movement, is urging the government to hurry up and find ways to re-open the borders.

I sometimes use this blog to report research findings.  When I do so I am always clear to separate my opinions from research.  I was therefore shocked to read about the Gluckman et al piece, shockeder (one needs a neologism now and again) to read it and realise it was just an opinion piece, not a research report and absolutely kerfuffled that these authors would dump this piece onto the media, who would lap it up as if God said it. In my view, this report is practically an abuse of power, and certainly a slap in the face for the Government.

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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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Sunday – 5th July 2020

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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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Colorado Has Just Banned Caged Eggs – New Zealand Should Be Next – SAFE

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Colorado’s cage ban will free six million hens from a lifetime of confinement in cages. The State’s Governor signed the bill into law yesterday. Colorado joins Washington, Oregon, Michigan and California as the fifth state in the United States to ban cages.

SAFE Corporate Campaigns Coordinator Jessica Chambers said New Zealand’s political leaders need to follow suit.

“Colorado has nearly double the number of hens that New Zealand has. If they can ban cages then we can too.”

There are an estimated 3,941,000 hens used for egg laying in New Zealand, of which, approximately 2,735,000 spend their lifetime in cages so small, they cannot stretch their wings.

The Labour and Green parties have previously committed to banning the caging of hens. “We want all parties to commit to this goal by this year’s election,” says Chambers. “Hens deserve a life worth living.”

Battery cages will be illegal in New Zealand from 2023. Colony cages will remain legal despite three-quarters of Kiwis wanting to see hens freed from cages.

***

  • On 1 January, 2023 – battery cages will be illegal in New Zealand and will be replaced by colony cages.
  • A 2020 Colmar Brunton poll found 76% of New Zealanders were opposed to colony cages.
  • In 2014 the Labour Party committed to banning the caging of layer hens. The Green Party’s current policy is to phase out intensive farming, which includes the caging of hens.
  • Colony cages are already being phased out in parts of Europe, including Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, the Walloon Region of Belgium and Austria. Some US states including Washington, Oregon, Michigan, California and Colorado in the United States, have legal bans on the sale and production of cage eggs and farms are changing to cage-free systems.
  • SAFE’s cage-free campaign work will lead to over two thousand business locations no longer purchasing cage eggs. Over the next five to seven years we will see 650+ supermarket locations, 200+ café locations, 350+ hotels, 800+ restaurant locations, three leading foodservice groups and 300+ sites including rest homes, schools and university dorms ditch cage eggs. Some have already met their commitments.
  • The Open Wing Alliance has collectively secured cage-free policies from around 2,000 companies from around the world.
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‘This Is The Last Straw’ – Maori Leaders Demand Dismissals

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Wāhine Māori are calling for the immediate sacking of Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Ms Grainne Moss and the Minister Tracey Martin following more damning media reports about Oranga Tamariki.

Dame Naida Glavich, Chair of the Governance Group for the Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki, Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Dame June Mariu, Lady Tureiti Moxon and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait are “demanding immediate dismissals”.

“The Chief Executive and the Minister must go immediately so we call on the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern to act swiftly to address a Ministry that is out of control,” says Dame Tariana.

“We’re all Mothers, Aunties and Grandmothers who love our babies deeply, so to be confronted with yet another reminder of the systemic dysfunction of Oranga Tamariki is heartbreaking. Enough is enough, it’s time for a total rehaul if we value our children in this country,” says Dame Naida.

Dame Iritana agrees, “This is an absolute indictment on the Ministry.”

Their response follows two robust and well researched investigations by newsroom published on 26 June and 1 July that have unearthed a fresh litany of disturbing facts about the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry itself and the Government’s own processes.

“The evidence in both news items impugns the integrity of the organisation, the leadership, and the Ministry, as it evidences the dark shadow of Oranga Tamariki,” says Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

“How many more condemning reports need to come to light before the Government swiftly acts?”

“We have no trust, faith and confidence in the Ministry, the leadership and the Government processes whatsoever.”

“This organisation not only fails tamariki and whānau, it fails its own social workers, and ultimately it has failed our nation – for years and this is totally unacceptable.”

“This damage cannot go on. It is time for fundamental change. Our babies lives matter.”

The group say that when leaders who are bestowed with power do not choose to operate by principles, the principled way of operating fails.

The leaders are calling for a full investigation by an independent body given the mounting evidence of misrepresentation, unethical conduct and abuse of power that has been fueled by a Government sanctioned $1.1Billion budget.

“We know from the overwhelming evidence in our own national inquiry that Oranga Tamariki has repeatedly abused it’s power by inflicting trauma on tamariki.”

The same issues were recently echoed by Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft reporting that “the child welfare system is dangerous, brutal and racist.”

“It comes as no surprise to know it all starts at the top then insidiously has trickled down infecting the entire organisation which serves no-one, least of all the most vulnerable of our next generation.”

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Family Lawyers Critical At Early Stages Of Care Disputes – NZ Bar Association

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The New Zealand Bar Association welcomes the re-establishment of access to lawyers at the start of disputes about the care of children. From 1 July 2020, parties will be able to get legal advice at the beginning of the process. The Bar Association believes that this will reduce delays for families in resolving their disputes.

The move rewinds the clock on reforms that were introduced in 2014, which meant that parties could not get legal representation from the start of care disputes. This resulted in a surge in without notice applications being filed in court. Instead of improving the system, the Family Court was overwhelmed, and the process became more stressful for families and children, resulting in long delays and uncertainty.

The Minister of Justice and Courts, Hon. Andrew Little, acknowledged that the 2020 changes will improve the resolution of care of children disputes. He said that they “… will ensure that parents and whānau are well-supported and kept safe during Family Court proceedings, will help address delays in the Family Court.”

Bar Association President, Kate Davenport QC, notes that at the time that the 2014 changes were introduced, the Bar Association’s strong view was that removing access to early legal advice would make matters worse. “Family lawyers are experienced in taking the heat out of matters and often resolve issues early in the dispute,” says Ms Davenport. “They ensure that parties understand the process before they become involved in court proceedings and have realistic expectations of the likely outcomes.”

The Association also welcomes the Minister’s announcement that the Government is increasing remuneration lawyers for the child to incentivise the recruitment and retention of skilled practitioners. “The last increase was in 1996. Over the twenty-four years since then, the monetary value of the work has decreased to the point where family practitioners are almost doing the work partly pro bono,” says Ms Davenport. “Their work needs to be recognised.”.

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Māori Party Announce Policy To Uphold Māori Freshwater Rights And Interests – The Maori Party

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Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has today announced her party’s policy on freshwater that will uphold Māori rights and interests and protect and restore waterways from pollution and overallocation.

“The Māori Party will protect and restore freshwater and ensure that the rangatira and kaitiaki rights and interests of tangata whenua are upheld and implemented,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“The whakapapa connection between tangata whenua and wai Māori is intrinsic and inextricable. This connection can be legally expressed as proprietary rights, customary rights, and decision-making rights, or put more simply, ownership.

“Successive governments have failed to acknowledge the proprietary rights and interests of whānau, hapū and iwi Māori over freshwater. Rather, they have adopted positions that extinguish those rights and have pursued policies that instead entrench the use rights of commercial industry, who pay little or nothing for the freshwater they use.

“Our priority is to restart negotiations between the Government and hapū and iwi to develop a policy framework on how Māori rights and interests are implemented.

“The Māori Party has also long been concerned about the degradation of freshwater and freshwater habitat, the impact this is having on the health and wellbeing of freshwater taonga species, and the effects this has on tangata whenua and communities in an era of increasing water shortages and the climate crisis.

“We will support the efforts of whānau, hapū and iwi to protect and restore catchments and aquifers by increasing funding, putting a moratorium on new water bottling plants, and developing a commercial user pays policy,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

In summary, the policy will:

  1. Overturn the Crown’s position that “everyone owns water” and instead adopt a position that acknowledges Māori proprietary, customary, and decision-making rights and interests to freshwater – nō tātou te wai
  2. Acknowledge the intrinsic whakapapa of freshwater, and support hapū and iwi to negotiate for those whakapapa rights to be acknowledged in law – te kāwai ki te wai
  3. Develop a policy framework on how Māori rights and interests are implemented in freshwater management and allocation – te mana whakahaere i te wai
  4. Substantially increase funding to the Te Mana o te Wai fund to support the efforts of whānau, hapū and iwi to protect and restore catchments and aquifers – te mana o te wai
  5. Put a moratorium on new consents for water bottling plants, until a new allocation system has been developed – te whakatika i te whakahaere i te wai
  6. Develop a commercial user pays policy to help ensure fair allocation and support with tangata whenua-led catchment restoration – te mauri whakaora
  7. Develop an allocation system and undertake significant reform of the RMA to ensure that Māori rights and interests in water are addressed in RMA processes, including decisions on water takes and discharges – te whakaū i te whakatika i te whakahaere i te wai
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New Research Reveals Large Number Of Kiwis Are Experiencing Unequal Pay – Human Rights Commission

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Many New Zealanders have reported being paid less for doing the same job as another person, according to new research released today by the Human Rights Commission.

The report “Opinions and Experiences of Unequal Pay and Pay Transparency” reveals when workers experienced lower pay it was sometimes believed to be due to discriminatory reasons such as age, gender, ethnicity, race, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

“Nearly 44 percent of respondents have experienced being paid less than someone else in the same role during their working career, with women, Pacific people, those aged 18-24, and those earning less than $80,000 most likely to fall in this category,” said Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo.

Most of the respondents reported a negative impact on this experience, such as feeling that they were treated unfairly or discriminated against said the experience made them feel demotivated and discriminated against.

“What also concerns me is that many workers chose not to formally complain because they were worried about losing their jobs. This is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on fairness.”

“Now with the impact of COVID 19, I fear people will be too afraid to complain. So, we urgently need our government to step up and legislate to end pay secrecy and ensure equality and fairness for all New Zealander workers.”

Many workers, including disabled New Zealanders, also reported being held back in their job or missing out on career advancement opportunities without good reason.

“This research validates commonly held beliefs that unequal pay is prevalent in New Zealand, and the secrecy around pay and career progression exacerbates it. Sharing the experiences of ordinary Kiwis is crucial to understanding the impacts of unequal pay on the lives of workers, their whānau and communities,” added Sumeo.

“Making pay visible will help job seekers market their talent, indicate a business that values fairness, and help to identify and address unconscious bias and discrimination in our workplaces. Workers need to know that it’s okay and safe to formally complain if they are experiencing unequal treatment.”

The research shows strong support for some pay transparency mechanisms to be legislated, especially from Pacific, Asians, and women who are also more likely to be experiencing unequal pay. For example, 62% of respondents agreed that all employers should be required by law to include the pay rate in their job advertisements.

“Employer anxiety around dealing with questions from workers about fairness and equality over pay and promotional opportunities is not a reason to keep pay scales hidden and locked under legal clauses. Handling conflict well is a sign of good leadership. Courage is needed,” said Sumeo.

The Human Rights Commission has been advocating for the introduction of a pay transparency mechanism to ensure that the Government meets its human rights obligations and that businesses uphold their employment law obligations and human rights commitments.

“The Government, unions, and employers have the opportunity during this crisis to set new rules and provide an environment that truly upholds and protects the dignity and rights of ordinary Kiwis. One’s earnings are significant to enable these rights to be realised”.

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Māori Party Co-leader Calls On The PM To Sack Tracey Martin And Grainne Moss – The Maori Party

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The Māori Party is calling on the Prime Minister to sack Minister of Children, Tracey Martin, and instruct a new minister to replace CEO of Oranga Tamariki, Grainne Moss, in light of the most recent reports about their incompetence in leading the organisation charged with the care of tamariki.

“Our people have been calling for the Minister and CEO to go for over a year – it’s time the Prime Minister stepped up and replaced them with people who will act competently and with compassion in their roles,” said Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“Report after report has come out detailing many instances of gross incompetence at Oranga Tamariki. The latest reports have exposed a culture of bullying and stifling of dissent.

“The CEO has presided over a string of failures, and the Minister has had enough time and opportunities to fix things – it’s time for the Prime Minister to put other people in charge.

“Minister Martin’s comments to the media today were outrageous – she focused almost entirely on the personal feelings of the CEO rather than the huge impact OT is having on tamariki who need care and protection. She is deflecting blame for their failures on to those who are rightly speaking up and challenging them.

“Our paramount concern is for the wellbeing of our tamariki Māori who need care and protection, there’s nothing more important than that.

“The Māori Party position is to disestablish Oranga Tamariki following negotiation and agreement between the Crown and tangata whenua of kaupapa Māori based processes and structures for child protection within whānau, hāpu and iwi.

“However, in the meantime while those negotiations continue, it’s critical that there is competent and culturally-responsive leadership at the helm of Oranga Tamariki, that Māori have a role in appointing – the Minister and CEO need to go,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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LGNZ Recovery Fund To Sponsor New Sector Development Initiative – Local Government NZ

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Local Government New Zealand’s National Council has announced the creation of an LGNZ Covid Recovery Fund, which will be used to deliver free digital training to support mayors, chairs and elected members in their post-Covid decision-making.

The Covid crisis has had a significant impact on local government, affecting every area of operations, from the provision of essential lifeline services such as drinking, waste and stormwater, rubbish and recycling, to the upkeep and maintenance of local roads, recreation facilities, libraries, and everything that makes our towns and cities the places communities love.

With reduced funding streams, councils are under increased pressure to reduce spending and lower rates, but at the same time have been tasked by central government to lead an infrastructure-based economic recovery and other initiatives.

In partnership with EquiP, the Recovery Fund aims to provide an ongoing resource that will further assist councils and leave a lasting legacy of deep institutional knowledge. To make this happen, LGNZ will sponsor the first 12 months of the new platform, making a wide range of digital training modules and webinars free for elected members over that period, from next week.

LGNZ President Dave Cull highlighted that now more than ever, professional development and guidance is essential.

“Experience tells us that in times of economic hardship, training budgets and professional development are among the first items to be cut, but ironically it is during times of crisis that councils really rely on the skills and knowledge they gain from training.”

Councils are making hard decisions about spending right now, which means it makes sense for us to utilise some of LGNZ’s financial reserves, and find a way to reach elected members digitally. Good governance doesn’t just happen, it comes from education and improvement, and we want to champion that.”

To help EquiP target the most pressing areas of need and guidance, a sector advisory group will be formed, comprising elected members, officials from rural, provincial, metro and regional sectors, and Te Maruata, community board and Young Elected Member (YEM) representatives. The resources will be available on a new revamped, easy to use and interactive digital platform.

“Under this new model, every month elected members can expect to receive access to new, substantive content that tackles the biggest issues and governance topics facing the local government sector. Having this content and the viewpoints of some of New Zealand’s leading experts streamed directly to our members will provide real benefit to councils and communities.”

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Block of Flats – Can I come out of lockdown with a better grip on my finances

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Can I come out of lockdown with a better grip on my finances?

For those wanting to come out of the other end of self-isolation with a little bit more money in their pocket, or at the very least a better understanding of where their money is going each month, here are a few short tips that may just help you on your way. 

 

Get to know your spending

Those that get a surprise when opening their bank balance should start by sitting down in front of their payslips and bank statements, and working through it all to figure out what’s going where and why. Try to consolidate all of your bills and subscriptions into one day (as close to your regular pay day as possible), and once you’ve subtracted the necessary evils, you should have a more realistic figure to set expectations and work with. Remember, the amount you see on your payslip isn’t the amount that you can splash on whatever you like.

 

Cut down on unnecessary spending

It’s a hard time for everyone financially at the moment, with many on a furloughed wage, and some without work entirely. However, for those that are staying at home and lucky enough to be continuing work, you may have noticed a bit of extra cash accumulating in your bank, that typically would have gone on expenses like food, travel, and drinks here and there. Reflecting on this influx of cash at the end of the month might make your realise that you spend more on pointless things that you previously may have thought, and urge you to reconsider the next time you think about splashing out.

Tip – Being stuck indoors is the best time to figure out whether you’re actually getting enough usage out of that streaming service subscription you’ve had forever, and so if you haven’t been picking up the remote enough to justify the cost, then do yourself a favour and trim the fat. That outgoing payment that you don’t even consider can add up to be quite pricey over a year or two, and the money could instead be siphoned into a saving fund or a holiday plan.

 

Build your financial future

Not enough of us have savings in our accounts, or money built up to last far into the future. Beyond having just an emergency pot, or rainy day fund for when the money dries up here and there, it might be time to start thinking about building a sustainable portfolio, that will last you far into the future and support you and your family for years to come.

Example – If you have the right amount of capital available, an investment in property can be a fantastic, long-term and secure investment strategy to last for a while. RWinvest is one of the many companies offering forward-thinking buy to let investment properties. A buy to let investment specifically is one that many opt for, as you can make a consistent return through rental payments. Something like this could form the basis of strong investment portfolio, and there are a ton of guides out there if you think it’s time to get started before lockdown is lifted.

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EPA Gains New Enforcement Powers – Environmental Protection Authority

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Changes to the Resource Management Act which allow the EPA to provide greater support to local councils in RMA enforcement actions come into effect today.

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is New Zealand’s main piece of legislation that sets out how we should manage our environment. Most decisions on resource management are made by local government (councils).

The Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Authority, Dr Allan Freeth, says “The EPA now has the statutory power to assist in an enforcement action taken by a local council, and if necessary directly enforce the requirements of the RMA. It will always be our intention to work in partnership with local authorities.

“These changes allow the EPA to complement local authority compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions. For example, this could mean interviewing witnesses in relation to an incident; peer reviewing investigation files; or supporting councils in their enforcement decision making.

“These powers will enable the EPA to build stronger partnerships with local government, and support an increase in compliance, monitoring and enforcement activities under the RMA.”

Councils can request our support in investigating non-compliance with the RMA.

It is also possible for individuals to raise concerns with us, although they should contact their local council in the first instance.

Find out about the EPA’s RMA enforcement powers

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Labour’s rank amateur cancel culture red flag for Gerry’s Intelligence Unit

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The stank from Labour’s rank amateurism just offends the nostrils doesn’t it?

Labour sacks candidate for old anti-Islamic tweets

A candidate has been removed from the Labour’s Party list following anti-Islamic tweets he made seven years ago.

Firstly, dumping a candidate for a 7 year old tweet is the very definition of petty cancel culture. The candidates silly comment at the time were weak and pathetic, but as adults we can all agree a person has the capacity to learn and grow in 7 years. Cancelling someone like Labour have for a 7 year old tweet is shameful and childish.

But it’s also really dangerous.

Labour have set a very very very very low threshold here and Gerry Brownlee’s intelligence Unit will be sweeping every candidates social media feeds now to catch another example and force Labour to sack them as well, and once you’ve got one, you can find another and you start a story narrative you could have avoided if you hadn’t cancelled in the first place.

‘Another Labour Candidate haunted by tweets’ will scream Tova O’Brien while Hooton will advise Todd Muller to launch a culture war argument about left wing culture purges.

The irony of course is that Labour’s previous President, Nigel Haworth, would never have walked into a trap like this, but of course, Nigel was forced to reign over a false sex assault printed in The Spinoff and propagated by feminist journalists at Fairfax so watching Labour walk into another cancel culture trap is hilarious.

Labour have handed National the rod with which National will beat them with.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice going into this pandemic and 2020 election – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media.

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