Converging on Parliament Grounds from 1:30pm – 2:00pm at Parliament lawn, Wellington.

Join students, MPs and the public to oppose ACT’s Bill to end universal membership of students’ associations, and push for a reasonable alternative to VSM.

Despite thousands of submissions and local and international evidence against it, National are still supporting ACT’s reckless Bill to end universal membership of students’ associations WHILE being irresponsible with how they implement it. They’re throwing student representation, advocacy and services into an unknown environment with a potential 100% loss of income for students’ associations, putting much of what students value and need at our universities and polytechnics at risk.

National should drop their support for this extreme Bill that undermines the student voice and will cut campus culture. They need to stop treating students like a political football every few years on this issue and instead come to a reasonable and enduring compromise on association membership.

Come hear from MPs opposing the Bill and support the reasonable alternatives that National has so far ignored. Be there on the day of the final vote on the Bill to tell them you still don’t want this Bill to pass.

[Re-posting from NZUSA source, onya NZUSA!]

There will be students from Massey Wellington and VUW coming from their respective campuses.

Update:
Here’s some pix from the rally at Parliament.

M@WSA banner, signed by students

M@WSA banner, signed by students


NZUSA co-pres David Do speaking to the crowd

NZUSA co-pres David Do speaking to the crowd


The placards were very witty

The placards were very witty


I particularly liked this one ...

I particularly liked this one ...


PSA pennants flying in support of student services

PSA pennants flying in support of student services


A forest of placards around the statue

A forest of placards around the statue


Gareth Hughes speaking, flanked by Green & Labour MP's

Gareth Hughes speaking, flanked by Green & Labour MP's


Hone Harawira signing the NZUSA letter

Hone Harawira signing the NZUSA letter


NZUSA letter signed by MP's from Green, Labour Maaori and Mana parties

NZUSA letter signed by MP's from Green, Labour Maaori and Mana parties

This was a big day for me, so I won’t make much comment apart from the captions. I did hear some of the closing debates on the final reading of this bill from the public gallery, which was crowded with students and NZUSA exec members, listening with faint horror as their future was sold down the river. Labour ministers made a strong showing against the Bill, National speakers revealing the depth of their antipathy towards education for the masses. Green, Maaori and Mana speeches to the Bill had all passed by the time I got there. If you’re a real keen bean, look them up on Hansard. You can search by date of debate, name of Bill, or keywords.

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Keith with Damian and Wallace

Keith with Damian and Wallace

Wednesday night at the Back Benches pub across from Parliament is turning into a bit of a regular affair for the youth wings of most of the parties – last night was no exception as Young Greens (and a few older folk) turned out to support Green MP Keith Locke, who is leaving Parliament at this election after twelve years of service as a Member. The panel consisted of Labour Deputy PM, the Hon Annette King, and National’s MP for Wairarapa, John Hayes, along with Keith. Minor cameo to Labour candidate for Wairarapa, civil liberties lawyer Michael Bott, who propped up the bar while enjoying John Hayes increasingly uninformative responses.

It’s been an interesting week in politics – Suffrage Day on Monday, 19th September got a mention, along with our figures for gender pay inequity; there is of course the rushing through of the Search and Surveillance Bill under urgency, which got quite a bit of time; and lest we forget, Rugby was a winner on the night too, especially for Tonga up in Northland Stadium. Sex education had been a hot topic over the weekend papers, so convicted paedophile Graham Capill’s former colleague from United Future party, now the leader of the Kiwi Party, was dragged in to discuss the ‘christian’ position on just how much adolescents going through puberty need to know about what the changes in their bodies mean. I wonder if he supports the concept that children should have the right to tell an adult not to sexually abuse them? Oh, that’s right, if they don’t know the words to use to name sexual acts, they can’t complain about them? Yeah right …. Young Labour supporters were sensible and coherent by comparison, speaking very well about what kind of sex education adolescents need.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor got his fifteen minutes to defend the illegal actions of Police officers, to the noisy disapproval of a large proportion of the crowd. Got very close to contempt of Court by criticising the Supreme Court decision, but then pulled himself up when asked for clarification by Damian Christie. Fascinating. The arrogance of sworn officers who maintain that their criminal activity is different to any other citizen’s criminal activity is mind-blowing.

But don’t take my word for it, feel free to watch the episode on TVNZ On-demand here.

Hollow Men film with Jan Logie

September 19, 2011

Sunday afternoon saw me leaving soggy Wellington on the train and heading up the line to Paekakariki for a showing of The Hollow Men run by Mana Greens as a fundraiser for Jan Logie’s campaign. The journey was made more pleasant by the fact of other greenies travelling out too, and the companionship of my son, who’d decided to join us.

Jan making a few policy announcements

Jan making a few policy announcements

The screening was held in a little church hall in Paekakariki, which was viscerally reminiscent of the small country church halls of my rural childhood – right down to the idiosyncratic placements of lighting switches which had half a dozen of us hunting for the main switch once the movie began to show.
In true small-town form, the first print of the dvd wouldn’t play, a back-up had to be quickly rounded up, and then it was decided to just project it onto the back wall rather than use the too-small screen.

Meanwhile the assembled crowd ate popcorn, handed out in paper bags by Jan’s support crew (made on the premises in the wee kitchen, so the hall smelt nicely of buttered popcorn when we all dribbled in…) and chatted amongst ourselves. There was a small cash bar, so most people had a glass or bottle or two while it all got under way. Plenty of Young Greens present too, including Jack McDonald, who is standing in the māori electorate of Te Tai Hauāuru, an enormous chunk of the west coast of the lower north island that he has been travelling around, giving speeches to various entities.

The movie is well-enough known, I think, that I don’t need to summarise too much, suffice to say that even though the main plot finishes just after the 2005 election, the events portrayed are seared into my mind from that time, and I remembered a lot of the footage. Vanguard Films adapted the script to follow the footage they could find through the Film Archive, TVNZ archives & TV3 archives, so much of it was cut’n’paste of the actual politicians and journalists talking about the events as they happened – so much of this scandal was actually on public record.

Nicky in full expositionary flight

Nicky in full expositionary flight

Afterwards, Nicky Hager took questions from the audience, and made a brief statement that he considered Dr Don Brash not to have substantially changed his core approach since 2005, so that many of the issues raised in the book and the film are still relevant in NZ politics during the current election campaign.
There was also some brief discussion of his latest book, “Other Peoples’ Wars”, which has just been published, covering some of the same period of time but looking at the Labour Government Ministers and NZDF chiefs involved in sending our SAS to Afghanistan and Iraq, which was of course the subject of much Green protest in 2002/3 (“There are no Just Wars, Just Peace” ring a bell with anyone?) and on through subsequent years, as this illegal war dragged on through a decade. Having just finished reading the book, I thoroughly recommend it, especially for those who weren’t involved in any of the anti-war movements and couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

Rahui Katene, Maamari Stephens and Anne Else after the launch

Rahui Katene, Mamari Stephens and Anne Else after the launch

Child Poverty Action Group launched their latest research report Left Further Behind last night, concurrently in Auckland and Wellington. I attended the Wellington launch, so my comments are specifically about the presenters there. I’m sure someone else will write about the Auckland Launch, I’ll link to that when I find it.

The launch was held at the Salmond Room of the Scool of Law, VUW, in Lambton Quay. For those, like myself, who got there after the 6pm internal door lockdown, it was a frustrating experience trying to locate a door into the building that actually got to the area where the launch was being held – not a failure on CPAG’s part, I might add, but on the part of a Faculty that is happy enough to book rooms to outside organisations, but then does not provide adequate access for those unfamiliar with the building. I had to ask a Law Librarian to swipe me through one set of doors, then climbed stairs and discovered that even those who work in the building can’t swipe through into some sectors, necessitating a trawl back down three floors to find a point of access to the back wing of the building, trailing those I’d met along the way.

Consequently, I arrived mid-way through Anne Elses’ opening speech, which drew heavily on facts and figures from the report. Here’s one phrase I will quote in its entirety:

The core message is very simple: ALL children, irrespective of the status and position of their parents or carers, are entitled to the best possible support from their parents and from the whole of New Zealand society. Together we share responsibility for ensuring that children are given that support.

She spoke about the popular notion that ‘relative poverty’ is not such a bad thing as ‘absolute poverty’, which we have seen much of in the media lately; well, those journalists who will blather on about there being no real poverty in NZ just haven’t bothered to do their research, or even to drive down the motorway into South Auckland and take a look firsthand – Middlemore Hospital is a great place to start, although Starship Hospital in central Auckland would have a decent whack of South Auckland children on any given day of the week, too.

One more quote from Anne:

Now here’s the really important part. The discussion in this report demonstrates that child poverty is not inevitable. It is the avoidable consequence of badly designed or inadequately considered policy.

Let me repeat that. Child Poverty is not inevitable. It is the avoidable consequence of badly designed or inadequately considered policy.

Mamari Stephens, a Lecturer in the School of Law, followed Anne, speaking with determination about the chapter she contributed to on The Whaanau Ora approach.
It was a very interesting commentary from someone who teaches welfare law, and admitted that she herself was daunted by the task of reviewing the programme’s implementation trials.
She concluded by saying that she considered that Whaanau Ora hadn’t done much for reducing benefit reliance (one of the key policy objectives), but that the trials did appear to show low income households making an improvement to their ability to cope on fixed low incomes.
Without an increase in jobs available, moving off benefits is problematic, to say the least.

We then heard from Lucie Trask, a final-year Law student, and a member of the Wellington Community Justice Project, who contributed to the chapter on Youth and Unemployment.
The group of law students contributing to this part of the research were present at the launch, and caucused together afterwards – it was great to see such keen young minds focused on this issue.
In her speech, Lucie quoted the figures for youth unemployment – 1 in 5 under 25 years is currently unemployed, a fact John Key does not acknowledge when claiming our statistics for unemployment are such a lot better than North American or European figures.
It gets worse when broken down by ethnicity and socio-demographic location, as the report shows.

Finally, our MC for the evening, Dr Nikki Turner, spoke about the chapter on Child Health and Poverty. This included some very grim facts for those who understood the epidemiological areas she discussed, and was sufficient to remind me of moments in the lives of my own children when access to medical care was precarious – although, being white, educated and slightly better housed when I was on the DPB, my children were not at great peril; not like the pre-schoolers who are admitted each winter to hospitals in Auckland with bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and other infectious conditions that become severe due to the cost or unavailability of access to a GP early in the illness. The figures for maaori and pasifika children are again much worse than those for paakeha children in the same demographic.

There was a brief question time before we broke for refreshments; Labour Deputy Annette King spoke briefly, as did the Green’s co-leader Russel Norman and the Maaori Party’s Rahui Katene in return, completing the round-up of influences at play on the night.
I did spot Brian Easton, whom I was not exactly surprised to see there, but I must say pleased to notice; and our hard-working new Wellington Central candidate James Shaw was also in evidence, networking afterwards with a policy analyst who shall remain nameless, as I went around catching up with my connections from the now-defunct Gender and Women’s Studies School, who were out in force to support CPAG on the night.

re-posting, on behalf of Auckland Women’s Center, whose press release this is:

Comedian remains a threat to children: picket organised for Auckland District Court on Monday

“The comedian who admitted sexually abusing his daughter and received no conviction and no treatment remains a threat to children” says Leonie Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children.

Judge Cunningham should have convicted the comedian and directed him to attend sexual offender treatment. Treatment through providers such as SAFE dramatically reduces the likelihood of reoffending.

To protest the decision, the Coalition is holding a picket outside the Auckland District Court at lunchtime on Monday from 12.30 to 1.30. Its purpose is to remind the judges and the public that sexual assault is unacceptable. Everyone who commits a sexual offence must be held accountable.

It is outrageous that the man’s profession as a comedian and his ability to ‘make people laugh’ contributed to Judge Cunningham’s decision.

The fact that he has got off scot-free with no legal consequences trivialises the important issue of child sexual abuse.

An Auckland study of child sexual abuse has found that
• 23.5% of Auckland women reported a history of child sexual abuse.
• The median age of victims at the time of the first sexual abuse was 9 years.
• In 50% of cases abuse occurred on multiple occasions.
• In the majority of cases perpetrators were male family members.
• Victims of child sexual abuse are twice as likely as non-victims to experience later intimate partner violence.
• The cost of child sexual abuse in New Zealand was estimated to be $2.6 billion per year.
• 91% of child sexual offences are not reported to the Police.

The outcome of this case sends the message that offenders can escape from the consequences of committing illegal and deplorable acts of sexual violence. It also demonstrates that the protection of our children is secondary to the continuation of an offender’s career.

This court decision undermines the work of the Government and the agencies who highlight that violence against girls and women is not okay and that alcohol is never an excuse for criminal behaviour.

The Auckland Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children was developed in 2006 to strategise and work toward achieving the ultimate goal of safety for women and children in Auckland.
We have undertaken a number of innovative activities including a competition for young people to make a video for you-tube on violence against young women and a community development programme involving small businesses making a commitment to speaking out against domestic violence.

Members:
• Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP
• Auckland Women’s Centre
• Blow the Whistle on Violence
• Homeworks Trust
• Inner City Women’s Group
• Mental Health Foundation
• Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd
• Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri
• SHINE Safer Homes in NZ Everyday
• Supportline Women’s Refuge
• Women’s Health Action Trust

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz

Big Nicky Hager and Bruce Ferguson interview on TV7 at 9pm

Rumoured to contain ‘startling’ revelations.

As I understand it, this pertains to information Nicky alluded to at the launch of his book “Other People’s Wars” last week.

Details here at Scoop, and here at Media7.

The actual episode is now available from TVNZ On-demand, here.

The charges are dropped.

September 6, 2011

Unconditional

Unconditional love, solidarity, freedom

It’s been a long, hard haul since October 15th, 2007.
State terrorists kidnapped my friends that day, and terrorised hundreds of ordinary residents going about their daily activities in the Bay of Plenty – not that we knew that initially here in Wellington.

The parents at Te Aro school were greeted by big black SUV’s parked up in the playground, here.
They were told they weren’t to speak of this to anyone, as their already cramped school had classrooms removed from teaching and pressed into service as the HQ for the special squad of Police in AOS and riot squad uniforms.

One of those parents spoke to me almost immediately about it – a former journalist, she was appalled that the Police so casually intimidated the entire parent body of their small, liberal community into silence.

So when the reports began to come through about the way in which the town of Ruatoki was shut down, and how travellers, school children and residents in the Bay of Plenty towns nearby were stopped and searched, I knew right away that our mostly white, mostly middle-class and mostly university-educated community had been treated completely differently.

When I finally had the opportunity to talk with my friends who were arrested, they confirmed that they were treated respectfully; no guns were held to their heads, no children were separated from their parents to sit in an old shed for hours with no water, food, fresh nappies for the babies, no access to them for their parents, aunts, uncles, granma’s … these are the facts I have carried in my head, to my shame, to the shame of all pakeha in this country, Aotearoa/New Zealand.

This shame has made me angry.
That anger at times was powerful, an energy that helped me carry on, attending meetings, participating in fundraisers to help cover legal fees and costs of travel and accommodation for the arrestees and their families.
When the anger ran out and I got tired, I wept with those others whose whanau were hurting; in marae and homes around the country, on various occasions, I listened as aunties, granmas and uncles spoke about the way their family members were coping or not coping, how the children were reacting to the memory of the raids, their fear of the Police returning again.

So now I issue this challenge: now that the Police case, Operation 8, has been found to be inadmissable, I want Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White removed from his post, and returned to the country he came from.
No more racist policing from him or his minions, thank-you very much.
The Anti-terror Unit has failed badly in it’s prosecution of Ahmed Zauoi, and it has failed again badly in this Operation 8. Flawed assumptions, failed communication; using a template for policing developed in another country, to address concerns not of our making, is a huge failure.

So ‘man up’, New Zealand Police. I call upon the Police Commissioner to take responsibility for the failures made by the ATU, by it’s commanding officer and by each member of that exclusive, elite team. This is not the future we want or need in New Zealand. And those guys have cost our country too much already, get rid of them before yet another piece of flawed reasoning creates another costly debacle.

Then there’s the issue of compensation for loss of employment, loss of enjoyment, and in the case of Tuhoe Lambert, loss of life. There’s the cost of incarceration, the legal fees, the vast and incomprehensible waste of time and money that has been Operation 8. That has already been commented on by Te Ururoa Flavell, here, and at the Hand Mirror by Maia, here.

Tonite, I’m celebrating the demise of this case. This afternoon, knowing the charges had been dropped, but not being able to articulate my feelings, I came home and cooked up a storm in the kitchen in my flat. Just as Sam Buchanan calmly put together a huge tray of apple pie in the kitchen at 128 on the afternoon of the raids, so I threw my energy into making a gluten-free apple pie, and a cassarole for dinner.
It was only as I dished up the meal that I remembered Sam’s epic foresight in preparing some comforting sustenance for those who would arrive at 128 during that day.
So yes, we’ve had our hakari here; but tonite has been a bitter celebration as I think of all that has happened in the intervening almost four years since the raids, all the pain and anger and fear and frustration expressed in our affinity circles.

Ka whaiwhai tonu maatou, ake ake ake. Arohatinonui a koutou katoa, nga anarkia me ngai Tuuhoe.

Tuhoe

Te Mana Motuhake o Tuuhoe

A quick update:
There has been a lot of media on this, and I missed a few pieces last night.
Honourable mention to the Otago Daily Times, one of our last fully-NZ-owned daily print newspapers, for this piece quoting Green MP Keith Locke, and Morning Report on Radio NZ National today came along with this, after broadcasting this earlier. TV3’s early news spoke with John Minto this morning as well, video link here. Another news article from TV3 here, posted Tuesday, profiling union activist Omar Hamed, arrested in Auckland.

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