Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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What you should know, what you get

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What you should know, what you get

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The future…

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The future…

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Peaceful protests in Turkey – and you wonder why people are getting angry

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Peaceful protests in Turkey – and you wonder why people are getting angry

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More Cartoons

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More Cartoons

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Purple Hay

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Purple Hay

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Face TV listings Monday 3rd June

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AM
8.00 In Focus
8.45 Classic serial
9.00 Bloomberg
10.00 Made in Germany
10.30 Popxport/Kino
11.00 euronews

PM
12.00pm Let’s Talk
12.30 T News
1.00 Korean News
1.30 euronews
2.00 NHK Newsline
2.30 Chilean news
3.00 German news
3.30 French news
4.00 Flemish news
4.30 J-Melo
5.00 Euromaxx
5.30 DW Journal
6.00 Aljazeera News
7.00 In Conversation
7.30 Art in Scotland
7.45 Gay Talk TV [PG]
8.00 Eat, Play & Stay
8.30 Outside the Square: Cuban Missile Crisis
9.00 Australia News
9.30 Classic Film: Rashomon (1950) [PG]
11.00 Aljazeera News
11.30 Hollywood Legends: Tom Brown’s School Days (1940) [PG]

Face TV broadcasts on Sky 83 & Auckland UHF

Face TV Twitter
Face TV Facebook

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The last tree or the final straw?

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Source: Greenpeace NZ – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: The last tree or the final straw?

Our office in Istanbul has been under siege. It is in the heart Taksim, an area in which a brutal police clampdown has been trying to end the peaceful protest over the planned destruction of the small, and historic, Gezi Park by Taksim Square. The protest has grown to involve tens of thousands of people and drawn the support of people from all over the world.

Greenpeace Condemns Brutal Police Clampdown On Peaceful Gezi Park Protest There is a little calm in the storm now as police have withdrawn from Gezi Park and the tear gas is dissipating. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, remains bullish about the plans to trash the park. He remains stern in his rejection of the peaceful protests but has conceded that the police may have over reacted. This is far from over.

In the past 24 hours, tear gas canisters have been thrown by police at the entrance of our building and on to our roof. We are not a threat, we are non-violent and we are offering medical assistance to injured peaceful protestors or the heavily armored police should they need it.

People are travelling from all over Turkey to Taksim, people are gathering elsewhere in the country and around the world in solidarity to say “I am in Gezi” and to say “we are watching and we are horrified by the brutality”.

It is no longer about a handful of trees in a tiny park or the plans to cover it with a shopping mall. But, make no mistake, the fundamental human need for natural spaces over the inexorable march of shopping malls remains an important factor.

The brutal government clampdown in which heavily armored police unleashed a fog of tear gas, a volley of rubber bullets injuring and hospitalising peaceful protestors has reminded people of Tahrir and Occupy Wall Street. Perversely, perhaps, it has also emboldened them, hardened them and brought into sharp focus that this is now a struggle for the quality of Turkish democracy. It is a struggle for the right to peaceful protest; a struggle to say people and nature come before the business interests of powerful elites and their insatiable greed for profit.

#OccupyGezi

Many other issues and concerns over Prime Minister Erdogan’s constant erosion of civil liberties and environmental protections are being masked by the ‘fog of war’, the vast clouds of tear-gas wafting across Taksim.

Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly are sacred principles, without which democracy cannot prevail. These principles must be respected by the Turkish authorities. The violence against protestors must stop!

Regular updates from my colleagues in our Greenpeace office in Istanbul are a cause of great concern and of pride. Our staff, supporters and volunteers stand in solidarity with those who demand the protection of the park. They stand in solidarity with those demanding an end to the police brutality and all violence.

Our office is located on Istiklal Street, the main avenue leading to Taksim square. Only 1 km from it. The protests have spread along the street and police officers have been confronting demonstrators directly under the office, using tear gas and water cannons. Access to the office has been impossible at times and the air is acid.

Greenpeace Condemns Brutal Police Clampdown On Peaceful Gezi Park Protest

Our office has remained opened throughout the night and will remain open as long as is needed. We are taking in injured and exhausted protestors. We are offering respite from the storm, first aid to the injured. A number of doctors and medics have joined us to provide triage for those in need. The atmosphere is tense but our activists are resolute in their determination.

I am alarmed by the inability of the media channels in Turkey to fully cover what is happening – for years they have been subject to government oppression and censorship. But across social media, citizen to citizen, peer to peer, the news is being heard and seen. The authorities are being watched and condemned. Photos, videos and tweets have been flooding the net. Hundreds of offices and business places in Istanbul have been opening their wifi networks for public access – making a mockery of the notion that news can be controlled – to make up for the phone data network being shut down trying to prevent people from reporting what they are seeing. Our teams in Turkey are regularly updating our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

We hope all of our staff, supporters and volunteers stay safe but we also support the risk they are taking! In these trying times, we embrace our core values of peace and non-violence, of bearing witness and taking action.

To Prime Minister Erdogan I say stop the violence, end the brutality and open up the media to allow a full debate of the issues. The world is watching. We have heard the prime minister rightfully call for peace elsewhere in the Middle East. He must now walk that talk at home. We appeal to him not to repeat the tear-gassing and brutality of the last days, we ask for him to stay the rubber bullets and batons. Violence serves no ones interest.

Our thoughts, our hearts and our solidarity are with the people of Istanbul and the people of Turkey. Please, everyone pay attention, seek out news of what is happening and add your voice to the clarion call for the violence to stop, for the park to remain and for the right to peaceful protest to be upheld.

The claims and opinions made in this statement are those of the release organisation and are not necessarily endorsed by, and are not necessarily those of, The Daily Blog. Also in no event shall The Daily Blog be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the above release content.

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RadioLive’s Sunday Panel Debate: Wallace Chapman, Selwyn Manning & Rodney Hide

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Recorded Live on 2/06/13.

RadioLive’s Sunday Panel Debate: Wallace Chapman is joined by Selwyn Manning & Rodney Hide to debate: National’s factional wars and the Simon Lusk factor; food in schools; watering down the Resource Management Act; the Auckland Unitary Plan…

This audio is courtesy of RadioLive.co.nz and can be accessed on RadioLive here.

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Healthy kids ready to learn

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Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Healthy kids ready to learn



Our policy takes the health care to where it is most needed and where it is most easily accessed – low decile schools.

The Green Party has announced a plan to put nurses into every low decile primary and intermediate school in New Zealand.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei announced the plan at the party’s AGM in Christchurch today. The policy is part of the Green Party’s strategy for both eliminating child poverty and dealing with the symptoms of poverty that too many Kiwi children face every day.

The $30 million a year proposal is for dedicated public health nurses to work in every decile one to three primary and intermediate school in New Zealand, opening up access for around 112,000 kiwi kids to basic health care services at their school.

“We know that poverty, ill health and educational underachievement go hand in hand,” said Mrs Turei.

“Kids in the lowest decile schools are the least likely to get the medical attention that they need to stay well and do their best at school.

“Children in the most deprived neighbourhoods are three times as likely to be admitted to hospital for preventable illnesses than children from the least deprived neighbourhoods.

“Our policy takes the health care to where it is most needed and where it is most easily accessed – low decile schools.

“This proposal on its own does not solve child poverty, but helps to mitigate one of its symptoms and gives kids a better opportunity to escape intergenerational poverty through education.

“School nurses are a practical solution that will ensure children and families who need basic medical care can get it. They are not a replacement for doctors, but a first port of call and a gateway to further health care.

“Education was my route out of poverty and it can be for others. But too often children are too sick, or too hungry to learn.

“Nurses in schools can help with sore throats, skin infections, and asthma before these turn into huge problems for the child – problems that can seriously impact on their education and their chance at a good life.

“A nurse in every school was a key recommendation of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation in its submission to the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children and is a sensible step to improving education outcomes for our most vulnerable children.

“Nurses already do a fantastic job in low decile secondary schools and some primary schools. But schools shouldn’t have to dip into their operations grants to fund this service.

“Our proposal is for a formal national framework for school nursing where every child from a lower decile school can be guaranteed a basic level of care from a nurse that is not funded out from schools operations budget.

“We propose engaging the profession to establish a scope of practice and model of care specific to primary school nursing, said Metiria Turei.

The claims and opinions made in this statement are those of the release organisation and are not necessarily endorsed by, and are not necessarily those of, The Daily Blog. Also in no event shall The Daily Blog be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the above release content.

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Using ‘Freedom of Speech’ to defend racist cartoons is a joke minus the punchline

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The latest defense by racism deniers desperately defending Al Nisbet’s cartoons is, ‘There’s fair skinned redheads in the cartoon, you’re the ones projecting racism’.

Yeah we who are calling Al Nisbet on the racism in his cartoons is the problem here.

The denial by some NZers regarding racism truly knows no bounds! Even if Nisbet drew the cartoons while wearing Ku Klux Klan robes, some would argue it was laundry day.

I’m not suggesting the mass censorship of society, I’m not suggesting media and news should come under a new Orwellian Ministry of Truth, I’m suggesting that those elements within Society that propagate racism like these cartoons should be boycotted by those NZers who find such gutter tactic beneath contempt.

Boycott the Marlborough Express, that’s what I’m suggesting, so don’t dare hide behind ‘freedom of speech’ and all the dire concerns facing society if such racism is silenced. Satire mocks the powerful not the vulnerable. The only ‘debate’ these cartoons provoke is ‘how racist do you want to be, a little or a lot’

Using Freedom of Speech as a defense is a giant mountain those who are too cowardly to confront hard questions hide behind. I’m not questioning your ability to spout racist bullshit NZ, I’m demanding that you are held responsible for spouting it.

I love how it’s ‘free speech’ to publish racist cartoons but it’s not ‘free speech’ to criticise those racist cartoons. If you have the ‘freedom’ to vomit up racist stereotypes, then I have the ‘freedom’ to use my speech to denounce that for the sewer dredging social cancer it is.

And it’s not just the racism, the classism is despicable as well. The bennie bashing hatred we have for the weakest members of society is sick for a country that invented the welfare state.

Oh and one more thing for those defending these cartoons on the grounds that criticizing them is ‘PCness gone mad’.

Dear NZ – there’s no such thing as political correctness. It’s a war cry from the ignorant used whenever they feel intellectually insecure.

The most glaring example however of double standards is the NZ Press Council itself. They came out with their mouthpiece on TV last week telling all who would listen that while the cartoons may be offensive, it was the role of cartoonists to provoke debate and to offend.

Sounds principled doesn’t it? Except for 2003 that is, when the NZ Herald sacked Malcolm Evans for drawing a cartoon that Israel found offensive. In that case the NZ Press Council NOT ONLY defended the sacking of Evans, they also defended the NZ Herald not printing any letter criticizing that sacking.

When the cartoons offend Maori and Pacific Islanders, the NZ Press Council are all about ‘freedom of speech and the right for cartoonists to offend’, when the cartoon offends Israel however, the NZ Press Council endorses that sacking AND censorship of the decision.

Funny how quick the NZ Press council’s ‘freedom of speech’ turns based on who has been offended.

We are a nation of garden variety bigotry, a casual racism if you like. What these cartoons revealed is just how hard that casual racism is. When Seven Sharp is the new threshold for journalist integrity, there are no strong voices remaining in the media to denounce this. What this pus filled episode of hate really exposes is what happens when we don’t have responsible public broadcasting to counter the lesser angels of our nature.

We are lessoned by this debate, not empowered by it.

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TV Review: Inspired by the first terrorist Jihadist live stand-up interview/press conference at the scene of killing in the UK .

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‘Drummer Lee Rigby’
(to Eleanor Rigby by Lennon-McCartney)

Drummer Lee Rigby, stabbed in the street where he worked as a killer for the Queen, was it obscene?
Filmed on a mobile, the black muslim man with a knife in his hand had his say: Afghanistan for a day.

All the liberal people,
where does the war come from?
All the British people,
their wars will all come home.

Drummer Lee Rigby, his family cries for the TV news, they quote official views.
Martyred in Woolwich, the world knows his rank and his name, Afghans can’t say the same.

All the liberal people,
how was that viral fright?
All the British people,
will they face a war tonight?

Another ‘Raggie’, he’s in the wrong place, at the wrong time – so it’s not a war crime.
Young Prince Harry, said that killing is like a video game, medals hide the shame.

All the liberal people,
why do you fight abroad?
All the British people
You are not the world’s landlord.

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I’ve had a gutsful of low-life bludgers

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I’ve had a gutsful of bludgers and their low-life ways. They take, take, take, from the rest of us but are nowhere to be seen when it’s time to do their bit. You could describe them as parasites or boils on the backside of the community – take your pick – either description is accurate.

It’s been going on for a long time. They abuse our tolerance and accuse others of loafing but it’s just a cover. They don’t play by the rules that apply to the rest of us – they’re so arrogant they think they should have their own rules to play by. They are never there when it’s time to pull their weight.

It’s time to call them out, get them working and expect them to do their bit. We shouldn’t take no for an answer.

I’m talking about the wealthiest group of New Zealanders who control over $50 million in wealth each but pay bugger-all tax.

It was good to see yesterday’s Herald spelling out their deceitful ways. The paper reported in a story How super-rich kiwis dodge tax that 107 out of 193 of what the Inland Revenue Department calls “high-wealth individuals” do not even declare income of $70,000 so these rich pricks don’t even pay the top tax rate.

Bludging bastards.

Wage and salary earners pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend but these layabouts hide their money in trusts, overseas bank accounts and tax havens of all kinds and leave the rest of us to keep the country running. Most of them have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Miserable pricks.
And the excuses they give have to be seen to be believed. The paper reports “tax-lawyer” (aka bludgers’ assistant) Andrew Ryan as saying “these high-net-wealth individuals will most probably be paying more GST than most individuals”. Pull the other one Andrew – it’s a pathetic comment. More than anyone he should know that the poorest 10% of New Zealanders pay 14% of their income on GST but those in the richest 10% pay less than 5% of their income on GST. These 193 individuals would probably pay less than 1% of their income on GST.

That’s why GST has to go – it’s a tax on the poor and lets rich bludgers off the hook. These ne’er do wells are a worldwide menace. The Herald story repeats estimates that around the globe up to $36 trillion (that’s $36 thousand billion) is hidden in tax havens. Yet we never hear Prime Minister John Key attack these corporate good-for-nothings because they are his mates, his political kith and kin. And we can forget about Revenue Minister Peter Dunne. He has both eyes shut and is more worried about losing his parliamentary funding after his party was deregistered than he is in hauling in revenue from the unearned wealth of these armchair arseholes.

As someone wrote to me the other day “if someone gets paid for an hour without working then someone else worked an hour without being paid”.

These corporate bludgers owe us big. It’s time we collected.

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Speech: Protecting our democracy from crony capitalism

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Speech by Dr Russel Norman at AGM Green Party 2013

Introduction

I give greetings to the mana whenua, Ngāi Tahu and Waitaha. We acknowledge your guardianship of this place and your ancestors buried in this land.

I acknowledge Rod Donald, also buried here, a short distance from Christchurch at Little River.

Tēnā koutou.

I acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the founding document of our nation.

I greet the whenua – Aoraki and the Southern Alps, the magnificent Canterbury plains. And the awa – Waimakariri, Rakaia, Rangitata, Hurunui – great braided rivers connecting the mountains to the sea.

Tēnā koutou.

Last time I spoke to you at a Green Party AGM in Christchurch there was an undamaged cathedral standing at the heart of this city. We talked about the water wars you fought so fiercely, defending the last of our wilderness.

I know the years since then have been very tough. Your fight has been for lives, for homes, for schools and to be treated with human decency by insurance companies and government departments. But the heart of Canterbury beats on. And I stand up with you seeking fair treatment in your hour of need.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics

Fair treatment. To be equal before the law. To fight our fights on an even playing field. This is democracy. And today I want to talk to you about our democracy.

Kiwis don’t agree on everything. We argue around the dinner table, at the pub, in the media, in the courts and in parliament.

Some of us love it and some don’t but we all agree that everyone should get their day in court; we all agree that people should be equal before the law; we all agree that the courts and the government should be blind to the size of our wallets; we all agree that there should be an even playing field on which the contest of ideas takes place.

But do we all agree?

I’m starting to think that not everyone does think we are all equal before the law.

I’m starting to think that something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

Something is rotting in the Beehive.

Our democracy is being eaten away by a Government that persistently undermines our basic democratic rights and institutions to give special treatment to its special friends.

Democracy in Canterbury

But I hardly need to tell this to the people of Canterbury.

Because in Canterbury the National Party abolished your democracy. National abolished your democracy in order to force through more environmentally destructive irrigation projects.

That is the disturbing bald truth of the matter.

Your elected representatives on the Regional Council were removed by the National Party because those elected representatives were beginning to draw a line in the sand on environmentally destructive irrigation; irrigation promoted by the National Party’s friends and donors.

And who wrote the report justifying the destruction of democracy in Canterbury? It was the former National Party Minister and one time director of a dairy corporation, Wyatt Creech.

The legislation that took democracy away from Canterbury was forced through late at night under urgency. Aside from abolishing elections it also gave the government the right to determine by decree what the Resource Management law actually was at any time regardless of what was written in the books. This is called a Henry the Eighth clause – rule by decree.

This law was described by Canterbury University law professor Philip Joseph as ‘constitutionally repugnant’, as containing ‘elements of subterfuge and as a ‘constitutional affront’.

Under National’s crony capitalism, National’s friends get the profits from intensive corporate dairying and the people of Canterbury literally get cow faeces in their water. And if you don’t like it then tough, because National removed your right of appeal to the Environment Court as well.

This is how crony capitalism works. This is why the divisive National Party destroyed democracy in Canterbury.

We have studied the source of the contamination of the water on the Canterbury Plains and can now confirm it can be traced back to the ninth floor of the Beehive.

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

Carers law

And if this all sounds strangely familiar that’s because just last month Otago University law professor Andrew Geddis described yet another piece of law from this National Party Government as a constitutional outrage. That was the law that took away from the family carers of disabled people the right to challenge the lawfulness of government policies in the courts.

That’s right, after the Budget, Parliament was put into urgency to rush through a piece of legislation specifically designed to stop these family carers from going to court to test whether the Government was acting lawfully.

Just think about that for a second.

Parliament didn’t go into urgency to pass legislation to deal with the huge debt burden the country’s facing under National’s economic plan, no.

But we did use the full force of the government and the parliament to remove the rights of family carers of disabled people to have their day in court.

So who are these people who so threaten the friendly Mr Key that he forces through special laws to stop them going to the courts.

Let me tell you a little about Cliff Robinson.

Cliff Robinson is 75 years old and has two adult children living at home with him. They are both intellectually disabled and both require care to see them through their everyday lives. Cliff has devoted most of his adult life to raising his two children who are today in their early forties and still reliant on their father.

If Cliff wasn’t their father he would’ve been paid to look after them, but successive governments have said that you won’t get paid if you are family.

So Cliff and a group of other carers went to court to fight this discrimination. And won. Court after court found that the Government was acting unlawfully in discriminating against Cliff and the other carers.

It was reason to feel proud to live in a nation governed by rule of law enforced by the courts.

So the friend-to-all Mr John Key decided he’d had enough of Cliff Robinson and the nuisance courts and the Bill of Rights, and the National Party passed legislation under urgency that takes away Cliff Robinson’s constitutional right to have his day in court.

Just like that, Mr Key got the little room down the end of the hall that he keeps for making laws to take away the right of Cliff Robinson to go to the courts to seek a ruling as to whether the government was acting lawfully.

It took National less than a day to pass a law that took away Cliff Robinson’s right to his day in court

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

Without fail, Cliff Robinson will still get up every morning to look after his children – he will do it out of love and respect.

I know New Zealanders are moved by this love. We’re moved by it because we know what it is to love and be loved. It rests on our shared humanity, and it is our greatest hope.

The National Party wants Cliff’s fight for justice to end the night they passed their draconian law. National are hoping that they can take away Cliff’s power, take away his voice and his right to his day in court.

But on behalf of the Greens I promise you that John Key hasn’t intimidated us. The people of New Zealand have seen off bullies before and we’ll see them off again.

New Zealand will take back the power and Cliff and other carers will have their rights restored.

Crony capitalism – SkyCity

But in truth it’s about more than Cliff, because this is not the first time this happened.

John Key believes that he should not be answerable to the courts. He believes he should be allowed to do whatever he damn well pleases.

And if you think this is just about victimising vulnerable families think again.

Let me tell you the story of SkyCity.

Earlier last month, John Key’s Government signed a deal to give SkyCity thirty-five years of untouchable freedom to expand their gambling profits in exchange for a convention centre.

To get this contract SkyCity won a tender process, as is common for large government contracts. At our suggestion, the Auditor-General investigated this tender process and found that, and I quote, “it was not even-handed and it was not transparent”.

Here’s what the Auditor-General found: National sought expressions of interest to build a convention centre. Five expressions were received. Officials rated the five proposals and SkyCity was rated last. Gerry Brownlee and officials then met with SkyCity throughout a year to help them amend their bid and National introduced a new criterion to judge the bids. The Auditor-General found that the Government did not tell the other bidders about the additional criterion. And then lo and behold the bids were reassessed and SkyCity won the contract.

This is crony capitalism in action. It’s not what you know, it’s who has dinner with the PM.

In a deeply Orwellian moment, when John Key was confronted by this Auditor-General report he said that it vindicated the Government. When I asked the Auditor-General at select committee if her report vindicated the Government, she politely but firmly disagreed.

It is no wonder that one of the other bidders asked for a refund for their spending on their bid given that the National Party had already made their decision before they began the tendering process. The other bidders no doubt have not spoken out because they don’t want to offend National for fear that they will miss out on future government contracts.

That is how crony capitalism works in the smiling John Key Government in New Zealand in 2013.

But just for good measure Key added a further anti-democratic twist to the deal.

He bound future Governments for 35 years with contractual clauses that, should any future government do anything to affect the deal to the detriment of SkyCity, such as controls on problem gambling, those governments will pay SkyCity unquantified damages. This would be the equivalent of Robert Muldoon in 1978 guaranteeing the profits of tobacco companies for 35 years – we would still have smoking in the workplace.

So not only is John Key trying to block the courts from reviewing the legality of his policies he is trying to stop future governments from ever changing his policy.

Well we’ve got news for SkyCity: unlike other political parties we didn’t take your campaign donations and we didn’t go to your corporate box at the rugby; your tools of crony capitalism don’t work with us because we work for the people of New Zealand and if the people of New Zealand tell us to turn off the tap on your blood money, then we bloody well will.

The story of SkyCity happened also with Warner Brothers and it is happening again with the public private partnerships National is proposing to build new motorways and charter schools. This is the world of crony capitalism where taxpayer funded money and benefits are showered on those who have the ear of the minister.

In each and every case, New Zealanders are being bound by deals that have prohibitively expensive escape clauses.

This is not a smart way to run a government or an economy.

It sends the signal to businesses everywhere that the real money to be made in this economy is through lobbying government for sweet deals, not by the much more uncertain route of investing in research and development, employing new talent, and exporting high value added products all over the world.

Productive business thrives when the rules are clear and everyone is treated the same.

This divisive National Government is rewarding those with good lobbyists and connections while smart green manufacturers are left to hang.

Is it any wonder that New Zealand now spends ten billion dollars a year more than it earns in the world and covers the difference by borrowing? Where is the incentive to take a risk and generate real wealth when the serious money is in cushy crony deals?

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

Crony capitalism – Bathurst coal mining

But crony capitalism isn’t just about government tendering, it’s also about government decisions to give our natural resources to mining companies.

As a nation, we are endowed with natural assets that are the envy of the earth. Aotearoa New Zealand has some of the most wild, beautiful places left in the world. It’s why we are proud to live here. It’s who we are.

So when overseas owned Bathurst mining said they wanted to dig up the conservation estate on the Denniston Plateau many New Zealanders were upset.

The Denniston Plateau isn’t just any old piece of the conservation estate. It’s sandstone plateau ecosystem is home to bonsai gardens of rata, tussock, and pigmy pine; home to great spotted kiwi, carnivorous giant snails, and green geckos.

The only other place remotely like it in the world was the Stockton Plateau—a place destroyed forever from decades of opencast mining.

The Department of Conservation and the Conservation Minister were considering Bathurst’s application to dig up the Plateau for coal. They were supposed to make an independent decision based on conservation rationale.

While this ‘independent’ decision making process was underway, the Prime Minister decided to open Bathurst Resources’ new corporate head office located conveniently not far from the backdoor of the Beehive. The PM spoke openly in support of this particular company making it abundantly clear to anyone who chose to hear that he expected the application to be approved.

In considering the application, DoC recorded their view that the mine would cause irreversible and irreplaceable damage to these unique ecosystems. Yet somehow the Minister of Conservation approved the application. Given Nick Smith’s recent disgrace as ACC Minister he was hardly in any position to decline the PM’s favourite mining company.

And the deal to destroy Denniston forever was sealed one day before new laws came into effect that would have required full public consultation of the decision.

What a difference a day makes when National is in power.

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

Stopping free speech at sea

Of course, as far as the environment is concerned, it doesn’t end there.

John Key has now banned protest at sea.

To ensure nothing stands in the way of the oil profits of other big foreign multinationals, the Government has passed new laws under urgency to ensure those who stand up to defend our oceans and beaches from a devastating oil spill will go to jail or face a heavy fine.

He did this after Steven Joyce met with Shell Oil and Shell complained about protesters.

Overnight, National took away our constitutional right to freedom of speech.

Will this be a defining moment of what it means to be a New Zealander? No, but I can think of some other defining moments that Key would try to outlaw.

Can you imagine the difference it would have made to our history had there not been a single boat out on the harbour the day the nuclear powered USS Texas, USS Truxtun, or USS Long Beach ‘steamed’ into our harbours?

Thousands of ordinary New Zealanders, in boats of all shapes and sizes, took to the sea to protest the American challenge to our hope to live in a country free of nuclear weapons. They were not criminals. They were us. And when we stand for something, we inspire the world.

Would we be anti-nuclear today without the inspired actions of those protestors?

Is it any wonder that a Prime Minister who can’t remember whether he was for or against apartheid doesn’t understand how peaceful protest helped to create our identity and he wants to ban it.

Peter Williams QC has described National’s law changes as “anti-New Zealander”.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the World Wildlife Fund, the Royal Forest & Bird Society, Dame Anne Salmond, Rikirangi Gage of Te Whanau-a-Apanui, the Council of Trade Unions, peace flotilla founder George Armstrong, and Amnesty International have all spoken out against National’s move to strip New Zealanders of their rights to free speech.

Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand politics.

MMP

And then we come to MMP. Rod Donald was passionate about MMP. A fairer voting system was his gift to New Zealand.

We were gratified that the people of New Zealand voted to keep MMP at the 2011 referendum with some minor amendments to make it even fairer.

The independent umpire, the Electoral Commission, was given the job of coming up with those amendments in consultation with the public.

They proposed getting rid of coat tailing, the one seat exemption to the threshold, and lowering the threshold.

National didn’t like those amendments as it doesn’t suit John Banks or Peter Dunne so they blocked the process.

They have, in the words of Andrew Geddis, acted in “manifest bad faith regarding electoral reform”.

Acting in pure self-interest, National has decided to leave MMP unchanged in the hope that New Zealand will forget the very high price of a cup of tea.

A traditional National Party government

The truth is that I could go on with example after example of National’s attacks on democracy and National’s crony capitalism.

There is something rotten in the Beehive.

It is a Government that gives special favours to their friends and donors.

It is a Government that blocks New Zealand citizens from having their day in court.

It is the rotten heart of a divisive Government that daily vilifies anyone who dares to disagree and like a schoolyard bully invites us to denigrate whomever the Prime Minister is attacking today.

It is a Government that cannot bear to hear dissent so criminalises protest at sea at the behest of Shell Oil.

It is a Government that wants to give itself even more police state powers to listen into our phone calls, read our emails, break into and bug our houses.

It is a rotten Government that picks SkyCity casino as its favourite and rigs the tendering processes to suit SkyCity.

The National Government is undermining democracy, tilting the playing field, and stacking the deck. Crony capitalism is rearing its ugly head, and the backrooms may not be smoky but they are certainly worth a visit if you can pay the fee to the smiling doorman at the entrance to the Beehive.

But we have seen this all before, this is what a traditional National Party government does. Robert Muldoon would recognise this Government as one after his own heart, but with better spin doctors and a smilier disposition.

John Key came to office with a message of unity and inclusiveness. He worked with the Māori Party, he worked with the Greens. But John Key has now become a divisive and corrosive figure in New Zealand politics, hostile to rational debate, intolerant of opposition, irritated if we are not all grateful for him generously agreeing to be PM. He may not look like Muldoon but he sure as hell is acting like Muldoon.

So next time you see John Key smiling, remember he’s not smiling because he likes you, he’s smiling because he’s giving favours to his mates while undermining your democracy.

The Green Party will fight for democracy

This matters because democracy and human rights matter. But it also matters because democracy is at the heart of every other economic, environmental and social debate we face as a nation.

We need clean politics to help achieve a fairer society. We need clean politics to help protect the natural world that we love. We need clean politics to help make the transition to a smart green economy that can get us out from under the huge pile of debt that National has built up.

Greens believe that the special interest lobbyists should be exposed to the sterilising effect of sunlight.

And we will let the sun shine in.

Greens believe that ordinary people should be the decision makers in this country. Ordinary people should have the power.

And we will fight to restore that power.

Greens believe that collective dignity comes from working together to make the world a better place.

And we will fight to restore that dignity.

We believe that in spite of everything that is wrong in the world, in spite of the chaos and madness we see on the news every night, that in our little corner of the south west Pacific we live in a society which is far from perfect but where justice can prevail.

And we will fight to restore that justice and restore your right to your day in court.

Greens believe that together we can create a better New Zealand.

And with the support of New Zealanders that is exactly what we will do.

And Canterbury let me promise you this, the Greens will restore your democracy, as well as your beautiful rivers.

Kia kaha.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Crony capitalism takes root in the Beehive

0
Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Crony capitalism takes root in the Beehive



The National Government is undermining our democracy by giving special treatment to its special friends, the Green Party said today.

In his key-note AGM speech, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman took aim at the National Government’s crony capitalism and attacks on democracy.

“John Key’s National Government is arrogant and divisive, and only looking out for their mates,” said Dr Norman.

“If you want to be Prime Minister of this country you have got to work for everybody, not just for some.

“Under National, New Zealand is a country of crony capitalism where public money and benefits are showered on those who have the ear of the relevant minister.

“National abolished democracy in Canterbury to enable big dairy to increase pollution of rivers and aquifers. National rigged the tender process, handing SkyCity a sweet deal to build a national convention centre. National stopped protest at sea, after Shell Oil complained about protesters.

“Crony capitalism is not a smart way to run a Government or an economy. It sends the signal to businesses everywhere that the real money to be made in this economy is through lobbying Government for sweet deals, not by honest, hard work.

“This erosion of democracy and human rights matters. But it also matters because it is at the heart of every other economic, environmental and social debate we face as a nation.

“The Green Party believes that ordinary people should have a say in decision making in this country – ordinary people should have power.

“That’s why the Green Party will fight to restore our democracy.

“In Government, the Green Party will immediately restore democracy to Canterbury. We will close the door to lobbyists and special interests. We will keep politics honest by restoring public input to law making.

“National wants to take from us our collective belief that together we can create a better New Zealand, but we will not let them,” Dr Norman said.

The claims and opinions made in this statement are those of the release organisation and are not necessarily endorsed by, and are not necessarily those of, The Daily Blog. Also in no event shall The Daily Blog be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the above release content.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Crony capitalism takes root in the Beehive

0
Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Crony capitalism takes root in the Beehive



The National Government is undermining our democracy by giving special treatment to its special friends, the Green Party said today.

In his key-note AGM speech, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman took aim at the National Government’s crony capitalism and attacks on democracy.

“John Key’s National Government is arrogant and divisive, and only looking out for their mates,” said Dr Norman.

“If you want to be Prime Minister of this country you have got to work for everybody, not just for some.

“Under National, New Zealand is a country of crony capitalism where public money and benefits are showered on those who have the ear of the relevant minister.

“National abolished democracy in Canterbury to enable big dairy to increase pollution of rivers and aquifers. National rigged the tender process, handing SkyCity a sweet deal to build a national convention centre. National stopped protest at sea, after Shell Oil complained about protesters.

“Crony capitalism is not a smart way to run a Government or an economy. It sends the signal to businesses everywhere that the real money to be made in this economy is through lobbying Government for sweet deals, not by honest, hard work.

“This erosion of democracy and human rights matters. But it also matters because it is at the heart of every other economic, environmental and social debate we face as a nation.

“The Green Party believes that ordinary people should have a say in decision making in this country – ordinary people should have power.

“That’s why the Green Party will fight to restore our democracy.

“In Government, the Green Party will immediately restore democracy to Canterbury. We will close the door to lobbyists and special interests. We will keep politics honest by restoring public input to law making.

“National wants to take from us our collective belief that together we can create a better New Zealand, but we will not let them,” Dr Norman said.

The claims and opinions made in this statement are those of the release organisation and are not necessarily endorsed by, and are not necessarily those of, The Daily Blog. Also in no event shall The Daily Blog be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the above release content.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

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