Back Benches Redux

June 25, 2013

So, here’s another post about Back Benches!
[yes, I’m pasting info directly from Prime’s PR – but why change perfectly good material when you don’t have to?]

This week’s Back Benches panel in Wellington is Labour MP Phil Goff, National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Green Party MP Kevin Hague.

THIS WEEK ON PRIME TV’s “BACK BENCHES”: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

WHO SHOULD GET THE PILLS?: Pharmac—the Government’s drug-buying agency wants your input on their funding policies? Who should be getting the pills? Where should our priorities lie? Should they put more money extending the lives of the elderly? Or should they prioritise medicines that would improve the lives of younger people? What about the poor—are they more deserving of help than rich people? Should the future earning potential of children be considered? Focusing on preventable diseases vs. genetic?

SPY BILL—IS IT SAFETY vs. PRIVACY?: The Law Society has made their opinion over the GCSB law changes proposals known. They hate it. They say the changes would mean the GCSB would go from a foreign intelligence agency to a domestic one. So, would the new powers be too broad? Why would New Zealanders need to watched? In order to gain safety—is a loss of privacy the price to pay?

There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 26th of June at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Update:
I’ve missed my weekly fix of fun at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St, but during a flying visit, managed to squeeze in an evening with old mates.
The renovated pub layout is rather swish, I do approve of the changes – it’s been a bit hard to see how it all fitted together from the Prime footage I’ve watched. Up close, there was a lot to enjoy, not the least of which was the new puppets, which I hadn’t seen for myself before.
This weeks episode was full of rather good quotes – if you didn’t manage to watch it on Prime, catch it on i-Sky’s on-demand section, Prime shows are free-2-watch for a fortnight after transmission.

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Tomorrow (wed) on

Back Benches

– Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie makes his debut (Nat), with Kris Faafoi (Lab) & Gareth Hughes (Green).

The C-word..Casualisation, civilianisation of workforces, MFAT and other job cuts, and school discrimination of those with disabilities. Come for a pint 8.30 pm

Update:

Due to another piece of direct activism conducted during the day, I didn’t actually make it to Back Benches this week.
However, Gareth and the crew did, so looky here to see how they handled the topics of the week.
Fun times spotting greenie regulars in the crowd. Green MP Stefan Browning makes an appearance in the crowd, midway through his tour of organic producer regions discussing the up-coming Food Bill.

Brooklynne opening the panel discussion and welcoming participants

Brooklynne opening the panel discussion and welcoming participants


St Andrews on the Terrace was the venue for an oversubscribed panel discussion (don’t worry, more chairs were poached from another room) on Friday evening, organised by Brooklynne Kennedy with help from many who attended.

The hall filled up very quickly, and after each panelist had spoken about their reasons for being part of the event, a lot of very interesting discussion ensued between panelists and audience members.

The panel comprised Brooklynne Kennedy, Nicole Skews, Joseph Hapgood and Griffin, and covered many aspects of the offense that Germain Greer, currently in Wellington for Writer’s and Readers’ week events, has caused to members of the Trans* community over the years. Feminists of many stripes attended and contributed to the discussion, as well as members of the trans* and intersex communities.

This is not the only event being held around issues of transphobia during the week, so if you missed this panel discussion, do try attending Gender Trouble, a Queer Avengers discussion group, to be held at Anvil House, Wakefield Street this Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm.

There’s a facebook event here, with info like a reading list of links if you’re keen.

Back Benches roundup

March 5, 2012

Haven’t done a post about Back Benches for a while. Not because I haven’t been attending (I have had the soggy overcoat to prove my dedication) but because other things going on in my life have interfered with writing posts for a while.

So here’s a compendium of reviews of the past two shows and a plug for the next one.

The first one (22nd Feb) was very busy, the bar was crowded and the topic in hand was the Christchurch earthquake anniversary. Christchurch MP’s were on the panel – Liane Dalziel (L), Nicky Wagner (N), Kennedy Graham (G) and Denis O’Rourke (NZ1). They had all been at commemoration events during the day in Christchurch, then flown to Wellington to be on the show, so kudos for that. The media coverage of the days events was pretty much wall-to-wall, and the MP’s referred to where they’d been under the assumption that non of the audience could possibly have missed seeing footage.

The following week was ‘leap day’, 29th Feb, and a re-shoot of the Hamilton show that didn’t get broadcast during the summer tour. The pub was barely filled, and I was surprised to be invited, with my young companion (a friend’s son) to move to another, closer table so that the cameras had some audience to film. So we did, and ended up sitting right next to National MP David Bennett’s wife and daughter, who both got spots speaking with Damian Christie. Other MP’s on the panel were Cath Delahunty (G), Sue Maroney (L) and Richard Prosser (NZ1). Students with or without jobs got a fair bit of airtime, especially given recent announcements by the Minister for Social Development during that week’s press on welfare reforms.

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

Pre-show shot of the panel with Damian and Wallace

This week 7th March, the line-up is Labour MP Rino Tirikatene, Dr. Cam Calder (Nat) and Denise Roche (Green) – still from 8pm if you want to get a drink beforehand, at the Back Bencher pub, opposite Parliament in Molesworth St, Wellington.
There’s been some good young Green crews along in the past, now that Orientation is on again, might be nice to get some more yoof down to the pub for a bit of a laff, eh?

Update
That was a very good night out, episode here and here’s a quick pic from before filming began showing all the panellists.

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

Panel being readied by production crew, March 7th

There’s still time to email TVNZ about saving TV7, have a look here.

Before filming commenced

oops obscured the ACT candidate behind Wallace Chapman's head....

Last night was a very busy show.

Hutt South is well-supplied with candidates, and so we heard from six (count’em, six!) political parties, although only five could fit along the bench, with Trevor Mallard and Paul Quinn very closely placed elbow-to-elbow. Holly Walker, our fabulous feminist Green candidate was next along the row, and she was bookended by Rob Eaddy of United Future, and finally Alex Spiers from ACT. The round-up was completed by Graham Coupland from the re-branded Conservatives, which those of us who are older may recognise as the Christian Heritage party of yore.

Damian and Wallace were contending with a very packed house, and then an unexpected and seemingly unwelcome (and, some considered, very rude) interruption by a small but vocal group from Occupy Wellington, who chanted over the top of the presenters while Wallace was quizzing the panel on a policy issue.

There was the usual amount of banner and placard waving, ALCP managed a bit of screen-time for one of theirs, and the campaign against MMP had their placard removed by the producer after some overly aggressive behaviour.

Got you interested yet? View the whole episode here on TV7’s on-demand link, and while you’re paying attention, support the retention of TV7 here.

MP's and candidates at the bus terminal

MP's and candidates at the bus terminal

Today’s Wellington launch of the ‘Green is for go’ transport policy saw a bus full of Green Party volunteers, candidates and MP’s touring the route of the proposed light rail link from Wellington Bus Station, stopping outside Kirkcaldie & Stains department store, then through to Courtney Place and on to Wellington Hospital in Newtown.

Green Co-leader Russel Norman launching the policy

Green Co-leader Russel Norman launching the policy

At each stop, there was an opportunity for media to catch interviews with the candidates and MP’s, and for volunteers to hand out leaflets detailing the new transport policy to passersby. You can read the gist of the transport plan here, and read MP Gareth Hughes’ press release here.

Hutt candidates Holly Walker and Tane Woodley

Hutt candidates Holly Walker and Tane Woodley

While the bus was in transit, the passengers heard from MP Gareth Hughes (Ohariu) and candidates Holly Walker (Hutt South), Zach Dorner (YG ‘Victoria University candidate’), Jan Logie (Mana), Tāne Woodley (Rimutaka), and our own James Shaw (Wellington Central). Each spoke about the public transport challenges faced by their respective electorates, and the value of added funding for buses, trains and light rail. Jan Logie spoke of the enormous community opposition to the Kapiti Expressway, which has galvanised local residents, and James Shaw took his stand just as the bus rounded basin reserve, describing the extent to which the proposed flyover would overshadow the historic Basin cricket grounds, as well as cutting off Newtown, Berhampore and Island Bay access into the Te Aro/CBD area.

James Shaw as the bus rounds the Basin Reserve

James Shaw as the bus rounds the Basin Reserve

Ladies in the House!

November 9, 2011

The Wellington Young Feminists Collective ran a very well-attended candidates forum last night, held in the mezzanine meeting room at Wellington Public Library, titled “Ladies in the House”.

“Come and hear what your candidates are planning to do for local women and ask them the questions that matter… like why there only two female Wellington Central candidates. Or why abortion is still in the Crimes Act. Or why after the 2008 election only 27% of electorate MPs were women.

Women’s issues are everyone’s issues. Let’s make them election issues.”

So, who was there? Candidates invited were:
Paul Foster-Bell (National Party Candidate for Wellington Central)
Jordan Carter (Labour Party List Candidate)
Stephen Whittington (ACT Party Candidate for Wellington Central)
Holly Walker (Green Party Candidate for Hutt South)
Jan Logie (Green Party Candidate for Mana)
Ben Craven (NZ First Candidate for Wellington Central)

and they were ably MC’d by Bryony Skillington.

There were indeed questions put about the Crimes Act, abortion law in general, health policy, domestic violence, how to get more women elected, whether parties would keep the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, poverty in general and child poverty in particular, and since my notes from the hour and a half ran to seven pages, I’m not going to detail all the answers that were given, suffice to say that Ben Craven was clearly well out of his depth, and not any kind of asset to his party affiliation in his ineptitude, which gave a lot of unintentional humour.
Paul Foster-Bell read out his set-piece answers very coherently, but you could see the gloved hand controlling the puppet.
Stephen Whittington, to his credit, gave some very unpopular answers but at least stuck honestly to his own, well-known beliefs. Prolly not gonna help ACT get any more women voters, but then they don’t seem to want a world where women are enfranchised and empowered, so I guess they’ll take as long as they need to come to grips with 21st C realities.
Now to the two women candidates – our own Green party women, Holly Walker and Jan Logie. Both spoke strongly on policy platforms, and gave well-considered answers to questions asked by the audience. Holly handled gender pay gap and child poverty issues, while Jan spoke mostly about gender violence.

Linky roundup: Radio NZ here, Wellington Access Radio here, Jan Logie’s speech here.

Update: Wellingtonista did a far better review of the guts of the forum here, which proves my personal point that I can afford to be lazy every now and then when I know someone else has got my back 😉 Big ups to the Wellingtonista team.

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