I went along to the Hamilton NZEI Stand up for Kids – Protect Our Schools rally & march yesterday, thinking it was the least I could do for the teachers who have educated my children, many of whom are still teaching at the same levels, long after my offspring have left their care.

I had the impression that Hamiltonians were not very ‘protesty’ people, and that the teachers might need every radical education policy lefty activist in the region to show up.

When I arrived at the rallying point, there was a huge crew of NZEI marshalls in yellow vests, handing out chant sheets and lovely round purple and red (double-sided) posters for marchers to hold.

They were surrounded by teachers, parents and children, and such a huge collection of banners from schools around the region, along with hand-made signs carried by resourceful marchers and children.
I caught up with a few local Greenies from the Hamilton Branch & the Campus Greens, and managed a short chat with Cath Delahunty before we all set off. Thanks to a young local friend, I have an estimate of around 400 people marching, which I was informed was a very good turnout for Hamilton; dire descriptions of events where the turnout totaled 20 brave bodies followed.

After about a fifteen minute walk, the crowd arrived at Steele Park in Hamilton East, where a stage-truck was set to provide sound amplification for the speakers, and an avid crew of NZEI volunteers sizzled sausages for hungry marchers. Credit was given to Anglican Action for providing the consumables to run the sausage sizzle.
There was much singing and chanting along the way; as you’d expect of teachers, there were very clearly written chant sheets, and a song sheet with waiata and karakia which were used at various points during the proceedings. Local kaumatua were on hand to lead those parts, and give a blessing to the efforts of the marchers.

Speakers included Professor Martin Thrupp, from Waikato University’s Faculty of Education, who spoke about his research into the dreaded National Standards which has pretty much been ignored by the Minister, along with a statement signed by 150 academics in the field of education research – a major feat in itself – which was sent to the Minister.
Green MP Cath Delahunty spoke, exhorting the crowd to ‘vote the Government out’ at the next elections if they want to see their schools maintained at the level of excellence that current standards allow. There was discussion of the effects of the ‘Charter Schools’ policies favoured by the Minister, and a general desire to retain trained, qualified teachers in our education system was expressed both in her speech and on placards held by marchers.
Labour MP Sue Maroney echoed Cath’s call to ‘vote them out’ and said to teachers, encourage parents at your schools to enroll and vote, it’s the strongest message parents can send to the Government.
Anglican Action’s director Karen Morrison-Hume spoke last, praising teachers who are at the pointy end of social welfare, funding breakfasts and even lunches in our decile 1 & 2 schools so that children living in poverty-stricken homes can have at least some chance of learning. She spoke of the parlous situation of charities, who have had donation cuts from big businesses who are less able in the current economic climate to donate food for social programs – alleviation of social distress that should be covered by MSD/WINZ, not teachers or supermarket owners with a conscience.

Coverage of marches around the country was spotty, although I’ve had these media reports brought to my attention (thanks, FB friends …) in Chrischurch, Auckland, and Wellington.

There may be pictures later, sorry folks my capacity for uploading the ones I took is limited; I’m borrowing a camera I don’t know quite how to sync with my desktop system (yet). There’s a work-around, but it’s cumbersome.
Guess I need some intensive re-education as well!

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So, summer is officially over and students are flocking back to universities all over Aotearoa/NZ. Well, unless you’ve been gated by one or more of the fresh new tertiary education policies pushed out by our Minister for Education, What-the-Hekia Parata, over the summer break. (see Holly’s excellent post on that here.)

I’m acclimatising to a new city and a new campus, and thus, here is an O-week post about the Greens on Campus Waikato. We’ve already met for some KOA action (of which others have posted much more than I this summer, so I won’t go over it again) and we’re just starting on the new “I’m in for the future” campaign to run through 2013.

They’re a keen bunch; Waikato holds the record for sustainability initiatives being put in place earlier than any other campus in Aotearoa/NZ, has some of the flashest recycling bins scattered around the campus I’ve seen anywhere, and environmental science/common sense is ingrained in the University administration.
Looky here, a whole page about the environment on the academic website!

So when campus Greens said they wanted to erect a geodesic dome, WSU said, “sure”.

Cath with the domebuilders

Cath with the domebuilders


From the inside

From the inside

The stall was not adjacent to the dome, which is made of recycled coreflute billboards from the 2011 election campaign, so there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing to keep checking on it and answering questions from bystanders.

Greens on Campus co-convenors Theresa and Amy had organised a really good stall kit, and as we set up at 9am, it all went up very quickly. ‘Many hands make light work’ was truly the order of the day as first the stall, then the geodesic dome were set up.

It was our privilege to have Green MP Cath Delahunty with us for the day, which flew by as we conversed with students, handed out stickers, leaflets and cake, and signed up new and old members to the club.

Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

stall_people

We even got photographed by the Uni marketing photographer, and this pic went up on the University of Waikato FB page in the ORI 2013 album.
Credit to Stephen Barker/Barker Photography.©The University of Waikato

Uni_PR_stall_team

I admit that my writing skills have been taking a back-seat as I have been doing a lot of running around lately.

The have been some excellent episodes of Back Benches, I’ve had a look at Court Report fronted by Linda Clark, and then there was that big Hikoi arriving in Wellington, and an ‘Aotearoa is not for sale’ march from Te Papa to Parliament, protesting against the proposed asset sales.

I made it to most of those, but due to other circumstances, won;’t be posting pix with this story. Meh, go search Facebook, there’ll be thousands of albums of pix of that march.

One more plug for TV7, and the episode of Back Benches airing this Wednesday 9th May. (If you’re in Welli, go down to the pub in Molesworth St, and join in, while you still can!)

Last week I went to my final episode, as I’m leaving town for a while. Wallace and Damian were very sweet about my apologies for not being able to attend the final show filming on 26th June; after letting me take a souvenir shot, they came back over a few minutes later and presented me with an impromptu gift.

So all those who have ever been even semi-regular – get down and watch the show, there will be goodies for people who have supported Back Benches over the years, and I’ll be sitting on the couch somewhere in Canterbury, looking to see what kind of bedlam ensues on the night.

So here’s this week’s line-up:
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Shane Jones, New Zealand First MP Brendan Horan and National MP Mark Mitchell.
There’s more info here.
Here’s Back Benches episode 11 from 26th April, and here’s episode 12 from last week, 2nd May.
And what the heck, here’s where to find Court Report.

There is a lot of talk about the Government’s plans to sell our remaining energy SOE’s. The Green Party are heavily opposed to this plan, and along with several other concerned groups, are collecting signatures this winter to petition the Government for a referendum on asset sales.
There’s a place to sign-up to help this campaign here, and an excellent frogblog post about it here.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while 😉

During a very interesting talk and film showing by Cath Delahunty last week, it was mentioned that the final date for submissions on the Mining Discussion document put out by MED is Wednesday, 26th May, 2010.

There will be a group presentation of submissions collected by Green party staffers so far on Tuesday 25th May at 12.30pm, at MED house, Bowen St, Wellington CBD.
You can get a copy of the discussion document from MED here, and a submission guide is available here.
Too complicated? Quick submission link here.
Any who would like to accompany the submission presenters are welcome; dressing up as a bird is optional (showing solidarity with the fauna who will be losing their habitat if the mining goes ahead).

The talk and discussion last Wednesday evening at St John’s, Willis St, was a great opportunity to view one of Vanguard Films early works, produced in the 80’s during the last great mining protests on the Coromandel – called “Prospect” – and despite a few moments of hilarity at the 80’s fluoro fashions, we sat soberly viewing protesters being arrested and removed from exactly the same sites that are under question again in the MED Discussion document.

Cath also showed a presentation of pictures from recent visits to sites of old mining claims in the Coromandel and near Reefton, visited by Co-leader Metiria Turei and herself over the past few weeks. The fact that even old tailings dams are still leaking toxic runoff gives no confidence to plans to increase the number of toxic sites in our country by allowing more mining to occur.

Cath finishing her talk with an appeal for more submissions.

Cath finishing her talk with an appeal for more submissions.

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