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Showing posts from February, 2016

Farming Children for Profit

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Due to various national roles I have, and the fact I live in Invercargill, I spend many hours flying. The negative factor is my carbon footprint, but the positive is that I have great conversations with people sitting beside me who often have interesting jobs and life experiences. It expands my world view and enables me to find out more from people who have first hand experiences of areas that I am not directly connected with.

I have just returned from the South Island Green Party policy conference in Nelson and on different legs of my journey I sat with two people who worked in the early childhood education (ECE) sector. One was a teacher nearing retirement and the other worked as an Early Intervention teacher and our conversations revealed some worrying trends.

The woman involved with early intervention spoke about the growing cohort of children heading through the system with delayed language development. The reason for this is that many young parents do not engage their children …

Damn the poll, the real future is Green!

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When I first became a member of the Green Party I was very sensitive to dropping polls and negative media. Within a year of joining Rod Donald died and the party had slumped to just over 5% in the 2005 election (losing 3 MPs). Political pundits were predicting a dire future for the party without Rod's charismatic leadership and the members were feeling a little battered and fragile.

Over ten years later the party is far more resilient. The predictions of doom and gloom did not eventuate and Rod's replacement, Russel Norman, while lacking in Rod's personable style forged his own legacy by giving the Greens greater economic credibility and helped to refine the Party's image and messaging. The Green Party became a serious political player and was even referred to as the "real opposition" when Labour struggled through a series of leadership changes.

Over the past three elections the Green party has more than doubled its votes (increasing numbers every time), bro…

Why we shouldn't sign the TPPA

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Tomorrow the initial signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will occur in Sky City, Auckland. It does seem appropriate that a gambling venue was chosen for the occasion as this Government is certainly gambling with our country's future by signing us up to this. There will be further protests around the country as we take another step on the journey to committing ourselves to this far reaching agreement.

I will be supporting a day long protest action in Invercargill tomorrow. We have already had a march, rallies and public meetings regarding the TPPA here, but the big problem continues to be getting information out to ordinary people. To this end I have put together a small flier and I am grateful for some useful input from Prof Jane Kelsey, Bill Rosenburg (Economist and Director of Policy for the CTU) and other TPPA activists.

I have attempted to summarise important information I have drawn from peer reviewed papers that have been written since the documents have been…