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Labour Leadership Virtual Hustings Meeting Questions – Full List Of Questions

Posted by on September 14th, 2013

Labour Leadership Virtual Hustings Meeting Questions – Full List

submitted by members – Sept 3rd to Sept 10th 2013

published 14 Sept, 2013

The questions below were submitted by New Zealand Labour Party members for the “Virtual Hustings Meeting” held by the party from September 10th to 14th 2013 and organised by Scoop Amplifier.

14 of these questions were selected and provided to candidates to answer with a 200 word limit. The Questions and Answers were then posted on the Scoop.co.nz and Red Alert ( blog.labour.org.nz ) websites. As this is published a discussion is taking place on the Red Alert site about the answers.

The questions and answers can be viewed at the links below:

1. Environment : What are your views on a clean green NZ?
2. Poverty : How would you ensure no one needs to live in poverty?
3. TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent?
4. Equal pay : What would you do about gender pay discrimination?
5. Peoples : How would bring Maori & Pakeha into a multi-ethnic future?
6. Justice : What is your view of the New Zealand justice system?
7. Disability Issues : Would you create a Ministry for Disability?
8. Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote?
9. Economy : How can we convince voters Labour’s economic policy will work?
10. Older New Zealanders : How would you advocate for older New Zealanders?
11. Party Leadership : What Labour values drive your work for New Zealand?
12. Party Unity : How would you unite the party as a whole?
13. Experience : What have you learned from failure & how would you apply it?
14. Winning : Why are you the one to take on and beat John Key?

CONTENTS

(click these links to jump to questions about each subject below)
Arts sector
Australia and international relations
Commerce
Constitution
Defence
Economy
Education
Employment
Environment
Green and sustainability
Health
Immigration
Income and Tax
Justice
Legislation
Older NZers
Labour Party
Regional issues
Winning edge

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Arts sector

What value do you place on the Arts and Creative Industries as contributors to our cultural health and wellbeing, our ability to achieve distinction, and our economic wellbeing?
John Smyth

Is it important to cultivate and sustain ‘the New Zealand voice’ and ‘the New Zealand story’ or is ‘cultural product’ just another item of trade, like a plastic spoon?
John Smyth

What are your thoughts on the Arts’ budget…….drama, orchestral, dance, etc and for the training, encouragement and support required?
(Margaret) Heather Grimwood

Will you look to create more opportunity for overseas movie houses to come to NZ to shoot films?
Christine Small

Lyndon Johnson said “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” Under the current government the arts have been abandoned and the people are perishing. What will you do to ensure the performing and visual arts will be actively supported in New Zealand to aid communication, express visions beyond words, and provide a medium for cultural enlightenment that enables the spirit of the people to flourish?
Helen Gaeta

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Australia and international relations

Would you personally engage with the Australian Prime Minister/Government in seeking to redress their current policies with regards to entitlements for ex-pat Kiwis?
Janet Phillips

Would you consider becoming less tied strategically to the U.S?
Jackie Steincamp

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Commerce

How will you stop private equity firms buying and owning media companies, especially in the Mediaworks and Channel 9 Australia’s situations?
Gary Wills

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Constitution

Would you consider policy that would lead to the appointment of our own Head of State, as in this day and age it seems ridiculous our sharing a Head of State, also a foreigner, with another nation. This would also presumably lead to our becoming a republic.
Murray Eggers

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Defence

I would like each candidate to outline under what circumstances would they send NZ troops into a war zone or peace making deployment, if they were the prime minister?
Julie Beriman

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Economy

Do you support a return to surplus as the priority for fiscal policy, and do you have a time-frame target for achieving this?
James Bews-Hair

Labour spends a lot of time in a deep hole called monetary policy. Last time it was moving from Opposition to Government it emerged from the hole with only a small and ultimately inconsequential change to policy settings. Is there anything decisive that can be done about monetary policy? If not shouldn’t more focus be on more direct efforts to change the structure of the economy?
Patrick Hine

Given the failure of ‘third way’ politics, what does a post-neoliberal New Zealand economy look like to you?
Damien Rogers

What are three major strands for an economic development strategy for New Zealand which the current Government has failed to consider?
Dolores Janiewski

The old (present) economic ideas seem to have failed for many. However the voting public will be sceptical about change (remember Labour and Rogernomics?) Also John Key will come out and say that any new Idea of Labour’s is unworkable. Labour will have to provide concrete proof that any change will work for the marginalised and poor. How can we get the voting public to believe that the present economic thinking has failed? and that Labour’s ideas will work for them?
Angie Croft

Would you consider reducing the high New Zealand dollar to improve international competitiveness?
Jackie Steincamp

Given the general failure of Simon Upton’s competitive CRI model to serve this country well, do you see a need to revert to something closer to the original cooperative DSIR model for the Labour Party?
Alan Mark

Until such time as free trade agreements are allowed to become ‘restricted trade agreements’ so that local production has a chance to flourish locally and then internationally, unemployment levels of 160,000 people will never disappear. My question to each of you is: Are you prepared to take this fight on to the IMF and the WTO and tell them these facts and that their neo-liberal template is causing huge, permanent unemployment in New Zealand and around the world and that we want to be able to decide our own economic, social and political destiny?
Adam Browne

Will you make the TPPA process transparent ?
Christine Small

What are your views on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement?
Vicki Bunch

Please outline your personal stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In particular: 1. If negotiations are not concluded before a change in government, would you as leader support your Trade Minister to continue negotiations? 2. If negotiations are concluded prior to a change in government, do you envision taking steps to extricate NZ from this agreement?
Natalie Arnold

What is your view on the TPPA?
Cushla Dillon

If you are elected do you intend to lead NZ into the TPPA agreement?
Cushla Dillon

With Kiwi build is there any provision for low income housing with a provision for income related rents?
Gerard Hill

What is your position on an immediate return to making contributions to the NZ Super fund?
James Bews-Hair

Would you consider implementing an Investment Reserve Fund in an effort to help protect the New Zealand economy against future recession? and if not, why not? (such as found in Sweden or Norway – Relevant article: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/projects/bpea/1982%201/1982a_bpea_taylor_baily_fischer.pdf Also detailed by Peter Katzenstein’s Small States in World Markets: Industrial Policy in Europe )”
Matthew Luke Weaver

Do you think it’s now time to seriously consider a robin hood tax on foreign transactions?
Christine Small

Will you be removing GST from basic food items?
Trevor Scott

If you are elected do you intend to lead NZ into the TPPA agreement?
Cushla Dillon

If you are elected how important will it be to you to discuss openly with NZers the impact the TPPA will have on many aspects of our lives, including trade, our environment, copyright laws and medicine prices.
Cushla Dillon

Do you see an end to the business as usual model and if so when?
Frank Cook

The labour party has said it is in favour of a capital gains tax. Would the gain be counted from when the good was purchased or from when the tax law was changed?
John Raven

What changes would you make to the laws governing home insurance to force insurance companies to pay out within a reasonable period of time?
John Raven

What action will you take to help people trying to get a fair deal from their insurance companies and/or EQC for earthquake damage?
John Raven

Will you make a change in the law that allows people with bare land to insure it?
John Raven

I have a question on housing policy – a possible contradiction as I see it. Labor has accused National of “tinkering arround the edges” of the housing affordability crisis. By this statement Labor have suggested that their initiatives are substantial and will make homes in Auckland/Christchurch and NZ more affordable (at a regions given wage structure). If we believe this, then does this mean that a New Zealand that you lead will encourage and plan for debt deflation? What consequences do you intend housing policy to have for the wider NZ economy.
Jeremy Adrian

I note come of the rhetoric in the media indicates a move to the left. That is fine but how far, Labour is a Centre Left Party, Helen Clark was no right winger but pragmatic. I am concerned that too far left will give Key the Centre and power. Undoing the changes to the latest Bill on Employment Relations is good but what else do the candidates suggest?
Peter Jamieson

Since the 1980′s NZ has been running trade deficits and borrowing abroad to fund our lifestyle. Most of our trading partners use trade restrictions against our exports and yet we generally allow them to have greater access to our market and so we get deeper and deeper in debt. Many of them also use currency manipulation which disadvantages our exporters. How will you level the playing field for our manufacturers and farmers who export and also those who face unfair competition in our domestic market from abroad? Why are we such weak traders, are trade deficits the only way we can reduce inflation?
Dave Wollman

Should the next Labour Goverment institurte a “NZ first” preference in all contracts for goods and services?
Jonathon Everist

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Education

Can you commit to bring back the very valuable Adult Community Education night classes which were killed by the Nats?
Clement Pinto

I believe ECE is the most necessary area of education funding. Will you ensure as a priority that all ECE staff are trained teachers?
(Margaret) Heather Grimwood

Do you think Te Reo Maori should be compulsory in all schools; if so, how will you implement it?
Anaru Ryall

The National Government has made it harder for kiwis to access tertiary education. (Capping numbers/restrictions to student loans/allowances etc). What would you do to improve kiwis’ abilities to further up skill and educate themselves?
Janet Phillips

What strategies would you wish to put in place to ensure no one needed to live in poverty?
Ken Hutchison

How will you reduce inequality in New Zealand?
Perce Harpham

Outline how you would like to see the reduction of inequality progressed in New Zealand, such as higher taxation for those on top incomes, through cost of living increases etc?
Jackie Steincamp

New Zealand has been “internationally regarded as a flagship in creating the necessary infrastructure of early childhood policy around issues of quality, qualifications, access and curriculum. … the undermining of these policies is dispiriting, and even embarrassing, as there is continuing worldwide interest”. (Carr, May & Smith, 2010) What do the leadership candidates plan to do to reverse the watering down of ECE quality? In particular would the candidates favour re-instituting funding for centres with 100% qualified staff?
Anne Smith

Is it possible to have universal free education?
Jonathon Everist

Should more “‘integrated’ schools’ be permitted?
Jonathon Everist

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Employment

What can we do to make sure that there is gainful employment available to suit the abilities and temperament of the least able and that it pays well enough to ensure that individual a reasonable standard of living and ability to participate fully in our society?
Gregg Sheehan

What concrete practical moves would you introduce to increase employment everywhere?
Jackie Steincamp

What support will you give to business owners/managers in daily operation of their business? Instead of watching workers, treating workers as “thick” and “simple”, utilization of workers e.g casual moves to part time, part time moves to full time position.
Gary Wills

What Concrete, practical moves would you promote to engage disaffected youth – and get them into paid employment?
Jackie Steincamp

Would you ensure that carers (Resthomes etc) receive the increases that the recent court hearing has decreed they should receive?
Jackie Steincamp

Gender pay discrimination in NZ is a reality. The recent ruling in the Kristine Bartlett/SFWU case gives some hope. How would your leadership promote progress on achieving equal pay for work of equal value?
Lesley Soper

Would you institute the increased Minimum Living wage across the board (not just Government organisations)?
Jackie Steincamp

Would you consider legislating a pay ratio such as 1:20 for minimum wage versus Maximum possible wage in all public or private organisations in the country in order to ensure better social fairness and social justice to help bridge the ever widening gap between the wealthy and the relatively poor?
Clement Pinto

Presently Support Staff in schools can and are being paid as little as $15.03 per hour to support the learning of quite often our most vulnerable children. What do you see as the labour party’s role in achieving a well resourced workforce in our schools, namely Support Staff?
Linda Jordan

What can we do to make sure that there is gainful employment available to suit the abilities and temperament of the least able and that it pays well enough to ensure that individual a reasonable standard of living and ability to participate fully in our society?
Gregg Sheehan

What concrete practical moves would you introduce to increase employment everywhere?
Jackie Steincamp

What support will you give to business owners/managers in daily operation of their business? Instead of watching workers, treating workers as “thick” and “simple”, utilization of workers e.g casual moves to part time, part time moves to full time position.
Gary Wills

What Concrete, practical moves would you promote to engage disaffected youth – and get them into paid employment?
Jackie Steincamp

Under the National Government there has been a disconnect between the government, in its communications and policy, and the teaching profession (including teachers, principals, boards of trustees and education experts). What would you like to see done to improve this relationship?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

I agree that all workers deserve a living wage, but, as a provincial Chartered Accountant, I see real difficulty in many small employers, for example in the retail sector, being able to afford $18.40 an hour. They have little opportunity to increase margins when already facing stiff competition from major retailers and online outlets. How do respond to this conundrum?
Bruce Ellis

What specific economic policies will you put in place to help job and wage growth?
John Raven

Do you acknowledge there is an unemployment/ under employment problem in New Zealand especially for those under 25 and over 50?
John Raven

What specific policies will you put in place to help the young and over 50s find work?
John Raven

Would you put in place a mechanism whereby someone can do an apprenticeship at any age?
John Raven

Would you alter the exceptional circumstances threshold for notifying a personal grievance outside the 90 day period?
Steven Zindel

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Environment

Given that the Puhipuhi plateau to the north of Whangarei is a vast storehouse of mostly locked up mercury , how do the candidates feel about the prospect of this area being sifted for minute quantities of gold and silver, thereby unlocking the mercury and allowing the possibility of environmental degradation from Puhipuhi to the Kaipara Harbour?
Jeff Saunders

What are your views on a clean green NZ?
Heather Mannix

What are your views on our one pure gold asset “water” and protecting our waterways?
Heather Mannix

Given that the Puhipuhi plateau to the north of Whangarei is a vast storehouse of mostly locked up mercury , how do the candidates feel about the prospect of this area being sifted for minute quantities of gold and silver, thereby unlocking the mercury and allowing the possibility of environmental degradation from Puhipuhi to the Kaipara Harbour?
Jeff Saunders

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in June 2013 that the planet is on a trajectory for a temperature rise around 4oC, well above the 2oC limit of the Copenhagen agreement. They have proposed a 4-for-2 policy to try to bring us back on course and talk of the need for political resolution. What measures, locally and globally, will you pursue to make the Copenhagen target technically feasible?
Frank Cook

Do you believe that global warming is a real and severe threat to our planet.. which includes New Zealand. If so (1) – do you support mining on the Denniston Plateau [which actually was categorically put aside when the Stockton Plateau was given the go-ahead? (2) do you support exploration/mining for oil in our EEZ seas? (3) - would you cancel the MacKay's to Peka Peka Expressway and replace it with the consented Western Link Road? (4) - can you work co-operatively with the Green Party to encourage a sustainable, greener economic policy?
Rochelle Wilson

What aspect of the RMA reforms passed by National would Labour repeal if returned to power?
John Raven

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Green and sustainability

Do you agree that NZ should diversify its primary industry base by developing its significant renewable resources (hydro, wind, solar and marine energy) both to supply the local energy market and to add value to primary products by local processing of energy intensive exports (wood, agriculture, fisheries, iron sands, freezing capability, Australian bauxite, nitrogen fertiliser, cement, glass, ceramics and hydrogen)?
John Irving

Given the economic environment and the benefits of having investment brought to New Zealand via our natural resources, Coal, Gold, and Silver etc. At present environment groups with the best of intentions are costing tax payers and companies money while safe in the knowledge that they will not have costs awarded against them. How do we maintain employment and income while looking after our other natural resources like our Rivers and Wildlife without having a long drawn out court battle like the one currently on-going over the Dennison Plateau between Bathurst and Forest and Bird? We need the employment and we need to keep New Zealand green, how do we do both?
John Adams

How do you intend as Leader to manage the conflicting priorities of economic development and environmental protection?
Lesley Soper

As the NZ Labour Party Leader will you be supporting solar energy within all new homes?
Heather Mannix

As the NZ Labour Party Leader will you be supporting solar energy within all new homes?
Heather Mannix

For Shane Jones: How does he reconcile his support for augmenting West Coast coal mining with the imperatives of reducing global warming by shunning fossil fuel trading and consumption?
Peter and Margaret Bartlett

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Health

What is your view on health? should dental care be subsidised? should primary health be fully funded? should residential facilities for the aged be adequately funded? Should there be one comprehensive hospital in Auckland or should each geographical area have a tertiary hospital?
Julie Berriman

We have a diabetes epidemic. This being caused by the lifestyle factor of being overfat. Overfat is created by eating too much energy to energy use. Not only does this affect people's physical health it impacts on social, mental, psychological and spiritual well being. What will you do, as leader, to tackle this excessively expensive and preventable lifestyle dis-ease which is now starting in early childhood and extending to old age?
Vivienne Shepherd

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to addressing the discrimination against certain impairment groups (such as adults with Aspergers) which means they are unable to access support through the current MoH’s NASC system?
Hilary Stace

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to demedicalising disability support services by creating a new Ministry for Disability Issues with a high-ranked minister in cabinet and a chief executive committed to the social model of disability and, preferably, lived experience of disability?
Hilary Stace

What will you do about the national disgrace of children living in poverty in New Zealand? And how soon will you do it?
Mary K Dearsley

WINZ staff need to improve their attitude to the beneficiaries are any of you willing to bring more positive model from the negative model done by current government?
David Maclure

Is it possible to have a universal dental health subsidy as we have for doctors?
Jonathon Everist

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Immigration

There is no point training more apprentices if we are only going to export them to Australia. Will your Government manage the rate of immigration to ensure that labour supply does not exceed demand as has been the practice introduced as a feature of Roger Douglas' neo liberal macro economic policy to ensure that wages in New Zealand were driven to rates less than in Australia?
Lou Yukich

Would you tighten up the immigration laws to push employers to train people already in New Zealand rather than just importing experienced people from abroad?
John Raven

If, like the Australians, you are faced with boatloads of refugees arriving, what will be your policy?
Alastair McKerchar

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Income and Tax

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime Income splitting for couples?
Peter Hutchinson

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime raising tax free income threshold to the minimum amount required to live? ..eg if an individual needs 15k P.A to meet the basic needs to survive. ..start taxing every dollar after that amount, not before
Peter Hutchinson

Would a government led by you consider phasing in overtime introduction of a "Guaranteed Minimum Income" or GMI of the like proposed by Gareth Morgan?
Peter Hutchinson

As a 53 yr old ex labourer, tradesman, factory supervisor and business owner. I feel bringing in a living wage will just cause higher inflation to the basics of living, and once again the people that need assistance the most will be on the losing end. John Key gave away 4 billion in tax cuts, what will you do to reverse those to truly put money back into the pockets of the workers of this country?
Peter Hutchinson

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Justice

Would each candidate outline their views on the justice system in NZ, do they endorse restorative justice or prefer the fill the prisons option?
John Berriman

What would you do about: a) lawyers not being allowed to act for many people involved in parenting disputes; b) most criminal defendants not being able to choose their lawyer on legal aid; and c) paying lawyers the same legal aid fixed fee per case, irrespective of the work done?
Steven Zindel

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Legislation

Why not make public drunkenness and disorder a crime – rather than fixating on closure hours of bars?
Jackie Steincamp

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to repealing the NZ Public Health and Disability Amendment Act (No 2) 2013?
Hilary Stace

Are you as a potential leader prepared to support Maryan Street's End of Life Choice Bill, and if you become leader of the Labour caucus and should you become leader of the govt, would you be prepared to support the EOLC Bill as a Govt Bill with a conscience vote?
Jack Havill

Labour did away with Knighthoods/ damehoods when last in power, but they were reinstated by National. Would you support their abolishment, as such awards are incompatible with Labour/Socialist principles.
Murray Eggers

Will you investigate the Governments selling Government owned real-estate to itself without going through public auction?
Christine Small

Will you look into revoking any Social welfare reforms initiated by this Government?
Christine Small

What is the candidates’ view of the recommendations from the Electoral Committee to ditch he ‘coat-tails’ clause for leaders of small parties and to lower the threshold to 4 percent? What action would they take as Prime Minister?
Jenny Pattrick

Considering the extremely high incidence of child abuse in NZ (seventh highest in OECD Countries!) what do you each consider about legislation fully covering Mandatory Reporting in Child Abuse in NZ and as modelled on all Australian States (except, I believe, Western Australia) who have each submitted positive reports to us thoroughly endorsing that legislation (refer to myself for copies or to Jacinda Adhern).??
Robert W Walker

Will your Government amend the Holidays Act S14 provision to return it to the provisions it had prior to the National Party amending it to the disadvantage of workers?
Lou Yukich

Will your Government reinstate the provisions of the Holidays Act that allowed all employees the right to determine when they took alternative days (lieu days)?
Lou Yukich

New Zealand has, along with Australia, the highest rate of teenage cannabis use in the world. We also have the world's highest arrest rate for cannabis offences. Why are we criminalising our young people in this way and what should we do to stop this insanity?
Phil Saxby

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Older NZers

Senior people (those 50+) represent 53% of NZ voters, currently. As an active Labour supporter for some 40 odd years, I have been seeking from the Labour party the policy which will bring this group to strongly support Labour in 2014. Are any of the leadership candidates able to state what he is prepared to advocate for us, Seniors?
Dean Chandler-Mills

Will your Government increase the qualifying age for National Superannuation?
Lou Yukich

Would you support Maryan Street's Member's bill [if " pulled from the hat"] re End-of Life choice for NZ citizens?
Rochelle Wilson

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Labour Party

Who would be your finance minister if you were PM?
Bob Davies

I know it is always possible that the other candidates would not be in the cabinet, but for the sake of argument let’s say they are. What portfolios would you allocate to your fellow candidates if you became the leader (prime minister)?.
Bruce Rogan

What would your Labour Party caucus members say about your leadership style, your leadership strengths, and your leadership weaknesses? What would their perspectives tell me about how you will be leading the Labour Party in the next 18 months?
Dalene Mactier

To ensure a victory in the 2014 election we need courageous leadership. Failure is part of courageous leadership. Tell us about a time that you failed as a leader. What did you learn from that experience and how would you apply your learning in the future?
Dalene Mactier

At times it seems as if politics and integrity is an oxymoron. Tell us about a time where the Labour party caucus direction was in conflict with your personal integrity. How did you manage it and how would you apply your learning in the future?
Dalene Mactier

Did you Vote for David Shearer for Leader at the Previous Caucus vote? if so what did you see in the Candidate that would have suggested he could have won the next Election for Labour, or did you simply see him as a Temporary Leader prepared to loose the next Election until someone better came along?
Geoff Silbery

Why did you join the Labour Party over other parties and what are the key Labour values and principles that drive your work for Labour and New Zealand?
Annalise Roache

What books are you currently reading? What have you read in the last 6 months that has influenced or guided your thinking?
Bryce Bartley

Tell us about a time when you led a group of people to achieve a positive outcome. What did you do and what was the result?
Bryce Bartley

When Labour is mentioned people often refer to the party as the PC patrol or returning to the nanny state, including John Key’s current rhetoric that any of your Leadership would take the party further to the left. What are your key messages to the public in response to charges of PC’ism?
Annalise Roache

Since the last term of the Clark government the Labour party seems to have lost its way and connection with everyday New Zealanders. What do you think lead to this, what can you learn from it and how will you remedy for the future?
Annalise Roache

Under your leadership would a Labour-led Government commit to actively encouraging disabled people onto winnable places in the party list?
Hilary Stace

I am a woman and have three grown daughters and now three granddaughters. Each and every one of us has been able with the right personal attributes, determination and education to achieve without any bias towards us on the basis of gender. Why is there such emphasis on the 50-50 split of male/female MPs for Labour?
Marilyn Geddes

The best government for New Zealand, I believe, is a Labour-Green coalition that tackles global warming and energy supply. What are Labour’s plans for forging an alliance with Greens?
Jocelyn Harris

If it came down to a coalition between NZ First or the Greens, which would you be inclined to go with?
Joss Debraceny

I am in my early 40’s, live in Auckland Central and my friends and I would be described as left/centrist. Less than a handful of people I know vote two ticks for Labour, these days the average urban person simply isn’t aligned to one party, unless it’s National. What do you think of this and as Leader how will you work more authentically and collaboratively with the Greens to be more representative of today’s voters?
Annalise Roache

if you were elected would you agree to formally sign an affirmation of the parties new Policy framework and if in Govt were going to take a decision which was contrary to that party policy be prepared to bring it back to the party for confirmation/ratification?
Edwin Daniel

Critics have said that Labour is divided. How will you unite the party behind you?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

As the candidate for the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party what qualities/initiatives can you bring to the party and within caucus and the rest of the membership within the country to unite the party as a whole?
Heather Mannix

Would the 2 losing candidates give there FULL support to the winning candidate, and get behind the new leader and party to win the next election?
Whakiao Hopmans

Will the 2 losing candidates tell those caucus members that supported them, that they should now unite, and have no divisions?
Whakiao Hopmans

Given your commitment to unifying the party, will you consider dismantling those branches of the NZLP which enshrine differences based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, so that we can become a party of equality and opportunity for all of New Zealand’s workforce, rather than a broad church hijacked by the special interest agenda?
Damien Rogers

Michael Joseph Savage left an enduring legacy on our Party and on New Zealand. In terms of principles, beliefs and views – how do you relate yourself to our first Labour Prime Minister?
Mark Byford

Undercurrents in the Labour party are compromising a Labour victory in 2014. What was your role in the past in the undercurrents and how will you build unity and synergy in the future?
Dalene Mactier

Our strength is often our weakness too. What do you see as a key strength that you will bring to the Labour leadership that could potentially become your weakness in the future? How will you manage it?
Dalene Mactier

As the Labour leader and prime minister, you will be required to steer the party and the government with a firm hand. How will you ensure that you maintain control, while allowing autonomy and encouraging innovation in younger MPs to ensure we continue to grow strong leaders in the Labour Party?
Dalene Mactier

All of you have identified the importance of Party Unity. What do you see as areas of disunity? How would you promote unity?
Bryce Bartley

I am a gay man in a relationship for the last 35 years. Acceptance has changed but I still find an occasional unexpected pocket of bigotry and abuse. Will NZ accept a gay prime minister?
Chris Brown
Leaders are good because they lead. Telephone canvassers, door knockers and letter box teams do the work on the ground. What difference will your leadership make to building the foot army required to win the 2014 election? Please base your answer on what you have already achieved in your local area.
Steve Farrow

If you were elected leader, would you be happy to work with either of the other two candidates as your deputy?
Lucy Marsden

We are not just electing a Labour leader. Equally importantly, we are electing the person we want to lead a Centre-Left government in 2014. Why do each of the candidates think they are the best suited to lead a campaign that will unite Labour, the Greens and NZ First into a confident, winning team? And how would they go about this vital task?
Phil Saxby

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Regional issues

What steps will you take as leader to support the people of Christchurch in the Eastern Suburbs who are still suffering due to EQC and the lack of transparency and information to support constituents moving forward with their lives?
Heather Mannix

As leader of the party what involvement/input will you have in choosing the by-election candidate for Christchurch East and will you listen to the local membership?
Heather Mannix

Bearing in mind the National Govt’s short-term ‘solutions’ [e.g. $30 million for the Tiwai situation, which only buys a 3-5 year breathing space for the 3200 local jobs at stake], what is your stance on economic development strategies for regions such as Invercargill/Southland? What would you do as Labour Leader to support regional development and jobs?
Lesley Soper

During early protests against the Kapiti Expressway Labour indicated it would stop work on this project and reinstate the two-lane internal western link road if the former had not progressed too far. It now seems unlikely that by the time of the election work on the Expressway will have progressed to the extent that any work could not be incorporated in a Western Link scheme. Would you support work stopping on the Expressway in favour of the hijacked Western Link Road?
Murray Eggers

Will your Government build a railway line from Kaitaia to the port of Whangarei?
Lou Yukich

Will your Government build a new production facility at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery to process New Zealand oil that is currently all exported for want of a processing facility capable of handling New Zealand oil?
Lou Yukich

As a supporter of all Kapiti residents who are “motorway refugees” orwill be stranded within 200 metres of the monster road, I would ask what you would do about the proposed road through Kapiti.
Graham Bathgate

Why should a Labour-led government not develope the collection and exportation, to a desperately thirsty world, of the hugely abundant and squandered volumes of fresh water that the main divide delivers through the West Coast into the Tasman Sea? (water mining!)
Peter and Margaret Bartlett

******

Winning edge

What methods will you engage in to bring about a large drop in the number of electors who do not bother to vote?
Graham Adams

“How can you as an individual help to get the voters – especially the young, who were disengaged in the last election to get out and vote this time?
Steve Cole

To win the next election we need to motivate people to vote and win some of the swing voters in the middle. Share one strategy that you think would be most effective in achieving this?
Dalene Mactier

What guarantee do we have that the leftward shift in rhetoric and policy doesn’t evaporate once Labour becomes the government and the status quo of more right orthodox policies set in?
Geoff Cartwright

It would be good to see Labour lift its game as a strong and passionate oppositional voice. How will you show strength and leadership in this area?
Bridget Dymock-Johnson

Leadership is about many things but the qualities that I have found missing in politicians since the late 70’s are the ability to share a vision for the future of NZ and the ability to inspire. Australians know they are building a nation; why can’t we?
Chris Rapson

I have voted Labour since 1978, and ever since then I have heard all the rhetoric, from all parties about the trickle down theory and stopping the gap between the haves and have nots. Well its not working because to me all politicians are either too scared, or don’t know how to address the situation. Instead we waste huge amounts of money and time on populist vote catching, eg alcohol ,driving laws, or crime. Are any of the candidates prepared to do something radical if voted, and not be another centre left puppet?
Peter Power

Looking back over the last 18 months, what was Labour’s biggest mistake? How will you do this differently in the next 18 months to ensure we have a Labour 2014 victory?
Dalene Mactier

Looking back over the last 18 months, what was your biggest mistake? How will you do this differently in the next 18 months to ensure we have a Labour 2014 victory?
Dalene Mactier

John Key seems to be made of Teflon, people love his down to earth way and the fact he is a self-made millionaire, what do you think is needed to take the shine off his unwavering popularity and why do you think you can be ‘the one’ to take him on and win the next election?
Annalise Roache

Do you believe that there are sufficient votes on the Left of the NZ political spectrum to get Labour into government in 2014, or do we need to frame policies which attract voters from the Centre, and quickly repudiate policies which will lose votes from the Centre?
Gordon Gandy

Wherever you come from, List or Electorate, how will your voting base translate into New Zealand wide voter-appeal?
Steve Farrow

The reality is that to send John Key to the Opposition benches will require a Labour/Green coalition. How do the candidates envisage working with the Greens to produce a public face on policy and co-operation that will maximise the Centre Left vote to reenergise those who didn’t vote in 2011 and to claw back the swinging votes from National.
Bruce Ellis

What do you think is the major reason for Labour’s poor performance in the polls (and last election) and what, under your leadership, will you do differently?
Fraser Newman

All three of the MPs have great ideas, but how are those ideas to be implemented and for those MPs that have the same ideas, why can you do it better than the other MPs (e.g. unifying the party)?
Emma Burke

If when you are in Government you believe that you are going to make a decision which goes against Party policy how will you deal with it?
Edwin Daniel

What do you plan to do to win back traditional labour voters who have become disillusioned with the party/ it’s leadership and have started voting Green?
Phillipa Mallinson

How will you make yourself and the party relevant to undecided/swing voters?
Phillipa Mallinson

While you say that Labour no longer (at last!) subscribes to the neo liberal “free” market economic perspective, Aotearoa is tied into this mode of global economics in several ways, not the least of which are the Trade Agreements (most of which were negotiated by Helen Clark) and we are threatened currently with becoming signatories to the TTP. Our Bill of Rights has virtually no teeth – not to mention religious/Church organisations being blatantly able too violate human rights in the name of Faith/Religion! We are looking at our Constitution to write it or not to write it. For me these three factors, amongst others are utterly inter-connected and any Government looking to bring about constructive change is faced with doing so within this context – which has to change for the dignity and welfare of all people and survival of our planet as a habitat for humans and other species alike. These are, as Grant acknowledges, moral as well as ethical, justice and, above all, spiritual issues. Until politicians recognise that all people are intrinsically of equal dignity and worth and that the above situation needs to be altered accordingly, no piecemeal tinkering with what has happened to this country will be adequately effective. Labour needs to set about systematically undoing what Geoffrey Palmer proclaimed labour would do, and succeeded in doing, that is, change the culture of this country from a perspective of service and respect to the profit motive and commodification of people. The machinery put in place to make the changes proclaimed was systematic and comprehensive and immoral. I remember it well, but then I am much older that you are. Furthermore, of even greater importance is our understanding of the place of the human in planet earth, the universe, the context in which I lives have any meaning. Our industrialised, technological society is damaging the earth, causing unprecedented numbers of species to become extinct and destroying the physical and mental health of people and whole peoples. It is essential that all institutions operate out of our relatively new understanding of our evolutionary development and what that means for how we behave in the inextricable relationship we have with all that exists – we have the knowledge from science – we are acting blindly if we do not teach, learn and understand and act out of what we now know. QUESTION: To what extent does what I have written have meaning for you and if it does how will it inform the way in which you wIll operate as Leader of Labour (Prime Minister) or as a member of caucus working in solidarity to take this country into the future in a comprehensive, wholistic manner?
M Clare Pierson

The Labour Party has a reputation amongst much of middle New Zealand as being a supporter of the “nanny state,” multi-generational welfare and minority politics. How do you propose counteracting that negative perception while still communicating Labour’s values in a compelling way?
Rachel Jones

What specific policies have you seen working in other countries that you think could be imported into the New Zealand context?
Rachel Jones

What policy ideas do you have to offer the party that might be considered fresh and innovative?
Rachel Jones

Many people are frustrated with adversarial politics. Where do you see scope for reaching across the floor?
Rachel Jones

ENDS


Herald gutless but suspect should out himself

Posted by on March 29th, 2012

The Herald this morning reports that a former National MP is under investigation for assault.

A former National MP allegedly punched another customer in the face as shocked tellers looked on at an inner-city Wellington bank after an argument over a parking space.

Wellington police yesterday confirmed receiving a complaint from a man alleging he had been assaulted by another man on Monday last week in Courtenay Place. They said the incident was still under investigation.

Westpac spokesman Chris Mirams said there was an incident in the bank’s Courtenay Place branch that day and said Westpac was co-operating with the police.

The Herald has spoken to the victim of the alleged assault who said the incident arose from a disputed car park outside the bank.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he had parked his car in a space outside the bank which another motorist had been intending to use. Words were exchanged, and while he was retrieving items from his car the other motorist, who had by that stage parked his vehicle elsewhere, tried to shut the car door on his legs.

Although “it didn’t really hurt at all”, the man said they exchanged further words when both were in the bank a few moments later.

However once the motorist completed his transaction “he just turned around and gave me a good old whack … a swinging right arm across the face”, the man said.

I’m not sure when former MPs deserve the protection that members of the public get while their cases are being investigated – but the problem with this story is that dozens of former MPs are implicated. While it is unlikely that Simon Power or Simon Upton were involved they are in that group of male former Nat MPs. I didn’t mention Don McKinnon because the suspect was driving and Don seems to be driven these days :)

The Herald should have named the suspect.

And if the suspect is on the Nat list John Key should get on the phone and tell him to do the decent thing.


Thought provoking visit to Arohata Prison

Posted by on July 18th, 2011

As Labour’s Women’s Affairs Spokesperson I visited Arohata Women’s Prison with my colleague, Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Charles Chauvel, this afternoon.  I have never been in any prison before in any capacity and I have to say the visit has really got me thinking.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but one thing I can say is that anyone who calls a prison a holiday camp or a luxury hotel has got it completely wrong.  The facilities were basic and functional.

After a warm Maori welcome we were shown around the prison.   The highlight was talking to a group of about twenty five women who are part of the prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU).  The DTU operates a therapeutic community model with a structured programme operating in a community environment with community expecations, community support and evalutions.  Charles and I asked the women to tell us the things that would reduce the chances of them reoffending when they go back into the community and what things might have stopped them offending in the first instance.

I  think the women were pleased and surprised to be asked these questions by MPs and  I was really impressed with the answers.  One area that stood out is that in Arohata the women have an opportunity to learn and to gain qualifications.  This is clearly valued by the women -this was stated by both the inmates and the staff.  They want to keep learning and to use that learning to get jobs and to help their children. 

What is also obvious is the strong desire of the group to deal with their addictions.  Arohata  is the only women’s prison that operates a DTU and so many of the women have had to move away from Christchurch and Auckland women’s prisons and proximity to their families to take part in the programme.   They clearly make the link between violence, drugs, alcohol and their offending. 

The women who spoke clearly want to move forward, to get jobs and to get their children back.  They want to be given a chance by employers.  They are also worried about what support there will be once they leave Arohata.

Some things that were reinforced for me were:

  • we need to focus on the causes of crime and not solely on punishment
  • we especially need to consider whether imprisonment is the best  response to all of the situations people are currently imprisoned for
  • the need for drug treatment programmes in all our prisons and in the community
  • the importance of life long learning opportunities, to name a few

Charles and I have committed to going back and continuing the conversation. We are intending to visit the other women’s prisons too.


Quinn on rape – he now says he didn’t hear the question – I say he did – twice

Posted by on May 27th, 2011


Chopper Key – it wasn’t the flight it was the cover-up

Posted by on May 5th, 2011

Chopper2

 

Chopper

 


My view is that Key is not going to be caught by the use of the helicopter but by the hamfisted attempt on his part and that of Bill English to cover it up.

They knew it looked awful as they were cutting expenditure and attempted to bury it.

Update: for those without broadband, the Hansard is below: (more…)


Tell the Government: Don’t Cut Our Future!

Posted by on April 27th, 2011

Flyer

t Cut Our Future


BNZ innovative in stopping crime

Posted by on March 16th, 2011

North ShoreBNZ

BNZ must be congratulated on becoming the first bank in the world to fully adopt SelectDNA spray technology.

As a member of the Law and Order Committee I am constantly looking at ways in which the police, organisations and individuals are combating crime and how citizens can be kept safe.

Employees and customers are put at risk when banks are robbed and I was interested to learn what banks are doing to ensure that their workers and customers are protected.

During a tour of a new concept BNZ branch on the North Shore last week I was impressed by a number of new security initiatives implemented by BNZ, especially the SelectDNA spraying system.

BNZ National Manager of Security and Fraud Owen Loeffellechner explained to me that the system works by spraying robbers with a DNA solution as they flee the bank. The liquid will remain on the skin for up to two weeks and on clothes for up to six months. The DNA solution then glows blue under ultra-violet light. Catching the robbers red, or blue, handed!

The SelectDNA system will be rolled out to all BNZ branches across the country, making BNZ the first bank in the world to fully adopt the policy.

The bank has taken a comprehensive approach to tackle bank robberies which Mr Loeffellechner said is a crime against “people and the community”. He assured me that BNZ views the safety of customers and staff as paramount and they will take every possible measure to prevent robberies.

Since 2006, bank robberies have more than doubled, with 2009/10 recording the highest level of robbery, extortion and related offences on banks since 1994/95.

This is a worrying trend. However I commend BNZ on rolling out the SelectDNA spraying system throughout all their branches. I’m sure this system will be critical in reducing the amount of bank robberies committed throughout the country.

I welcome feedback, ideas or suggestions on how banks can improve their security and ensure the safety of customers and staff. Do you think legislative means are needed to ensure a high industry standard?


It is time to think longer term on crime

Posted by on January 8th, 2011

The Standard’s piece earlier in the week has got me thinking on crime. The Nact government has failed to impact on trends:-

Crime Rate

Number of recorded crimes in year to July 2008: 426,690
Number unresolved: 226,301
Number of recorded crimes in year to July 2010: 441,960
Number unresolved: 229,399

So, not only more crimes (1.4% per capita) but more unsolved too. If Treasury’s optimistic outlook for lower unemployment turns out to be correct, we might expect crime to drop a little next year. But it won’t be due to anything the government has done.

Prisons

Number of people on prison sentence, Sept 2008: 6,231
Number of people on prison sentence, Sept 2010: 6,967

Locking more people up isn’t solving the problem

Law and order

Number of new police promised by Judith Collins and John Key: 600
Number delivered,
according Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard: 30

Number of new offences created by National government: more than we could count
Number of cars crushed thanks to Crusher Collins: zero

The danger is that in election year we all get caught up in a “lock them up” bidding war which at one level meets demand but at another just adds another generation to the problem. And building prisons is very very expensive. Money that otherwise be able to to be used for improving health or education or even for a tax system that had lower real marginal rates for middle income kiwi families.

But to do so requires at least a two party agreement. I wonder if Simon Power is up to it.


Law and Order Select Committee Refuses to Hold Inquiry into the Unacceptably High Rates of Recidivism

Posted by on December 23rd, 2010

Trust us we know what we are doing, was the message from the majority National and Act Party members of the Law and Order Select Committee in declining the request for an inquiry into the unacceptably high rates of recidivism in New Zealand. 

One of the benefits of MMP over the previous First Past the Post system was to be to slackening the shackles of the executive branch of government held over the select committee process facilitating more independence, more scrutiny and to enable the select committee’s to undertake inquiries.  The phrase Washminster was coined by Sir Geoffrey Palmer to reflect a mix of Washington and the Westminster systems, but this is an illusion as the management of the Law and Order select committee demonstrates. 

With no work of any significance next year planned other than the required financial reviews, no bills to scrutinise and ample time to undertake some fresh work, the government National and Act members have used their majority to squash the proposal to inquire into what might be done to reduce recidivism. 

Presumably they believe that either; the Government has all the ideas and we are going to lead the world in best practice with world best results, better than Ireland 39% rate of reoffending compared to New Zealand’s rate of 57%; or alternatively they are apprehensive that the Select Committee’s inquiry could show up their plans as inadequate, causing some embarrassment.

This is the same committee that by majority of National and Act parties refused to allow Labour to make minority report, censorship that a Soviet Presidium would have been proud of; refused Labour’s request to have Ministry of Justice officials advise on Paul Quinn’s bill changing electoral law, they were the experts, with disastrous results by drafting that was to allow serious offenders to vote, the exact opposite of what was intended; the committee regularly cuts down time for questioning officials restricting opposition questions and regularly rejects opposition questions as part of the financial review. 

Muldoonism is alive and well in this government.  

Members of Parliament are elected with the expectation that they use the resources and opportunities at hand to make better law and improve the administration of government activities.  With the second highest rate of incarceration and world leading rates of recidivism New Zealand has an intractable problem. Despite being faced with the obvious and an opportunity to canvas the best advice available, to engage with those who understand the issues and to bring this distilled knowledge and experience forward as much needed cross party plans for improvements to reduce reoffending, this government by majority has slammed the door on opportunity. 

This is not representative democracy in action.


Offending teachers names continue to be hidden – thanks to Key Power and Tolley

Posted by on December 18th, 2010

Last Saturday John Key, Simon Power and Anne Tolley voted against an amendment to the Education Act that would have moved to a presumption that teachers who are before the Teachers’ Council Disciplinary Tribunal would have their names published and the power to suppress victims names would be enhanced.

Some recent cases according to stuff :-

May: A married male teacher was deregistered after an 18-month sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female pupil.

June: A married male teacher who had an intimate relationship with a year 8 girl he called his “first true love” was deregistered.

August: A male teacher was deregistered after having a sexual relationship with a depressed 16-year-old female pupil.

October: A female teacher deregistered in Britain was censured in New Zealand for inappropriate sexual conduct with a male pupil and allowing pupils to drink in her home while she was employed in New Zealand.

I’m not sure that publishing names would stop a lot of abusive teachers but if it saves a kid or two then it must be a good thing.

I just don’t understand why the Nats didn’t support it. And as for Act – they have certainly changed since Coddington led the charge against suppression orders. Though we saw that with Rodney’s defence of Garrett.


Private Prisons- Serco

Posted by on December 15th, 2010

Further to Damien’s post on private prisons, the choice of Serco was sadly predictable. To be fair when it comes to private prison providers pickings are pretty bad, but Serco is right up there. Serco runs just about anything you care to think of- Light Rail, military support services, schools and health services. And the odd prison or two, in UK and Australia. Check out this video for a summary of their activities.

Several of the prisons are in the UK, where one in particular Ashfield Young Offenders Unit has been labelled the most violent prison in the UK. The Director-General of the UK Prisons Service said in 2002

I considered that the prison was unsafe for both staff and the young people
detained there and that urgent action was required.

Kilmarnock Prison is Scotland, also run by Serco was heavily criticised for its management, including the lack of basic education programmes. There have been reports of very poor treatment for patients, including a pregnant woman.

This of course follows on from the report last year that showed private prisons performing worse than public ones on a range of indicators.

In the end for me this is a matter of principle, but the experience overseas shows that far too often private prisons are associated with poor safety records, cutting corners and declining focus on programmes to aid rehabilitation.

In the course of writing this I came across this quote attributed to our Human Rights Commission. It bears repeating and sums up how I feel.

Punishment is a fundamental state power, carried out by government on behalf of the community. Such a central and significant power should be exercised wholly in the public interest taking into account the rights of all parties (victims, offenders etc) without regard to profit.


In defence of democracy

Posted by on December 9th, 2010

Last night Parliament took away the right to vote from a group of New Zealanders. They are a group of people you might not have much time for, those serving prison sentences of three years or less. Some of them will have done some awful things, some of them will have done a large number of minor things, some of them might well be innocent. All of them will return to our communities one day.

I can understand that there will be many people who will say, ‘good job’, and many who did not realise that there were any prisoners who could vote. But I believe that Parliament taking away their right to vote (actually their right to be on the electoral roll) on the basis of a poorly thought out private members bill, passed by a narrow margain is in my view one of the most shameful things I have witnessed in this Parliament.

There is not much that is more fundamental in a democracy than the right to vote, and it was whisked away last night with barely a justification from the government. A government who that very day had announced a constitutional review that had at its heart the need to only make changes to electoral law if there is a good reason and if there is a consensus.

To me accepting the right to vote for people who challenge our values is one of the greatest tests of being truly committed to democracy. Eliminating that right for some people we consider not worthy, as glibly as was done by the government, is to me an assault on democratic values. As the Bill of Rights Act assessment on this bill notes overriding that right to vote (which itself is part of the Act) requires a high test to be passed. That has not happened here.

Beyond that, the Bill is a cruel hoax on the victims of crime and their families. Not one piece of evidence was provided to show that passing this Bill would stop crimes, or reduce re-offending. It will not make New Zealand a safer place. It will not help rehabilitation or re-integration into society. It creates massive inconsistencies (e.g. people convicted of the same crime, one on home detention, the other in prison will have different rights) and it nearly, accidentally, gave the right to vote to the most serious offenders through a drafting error, until Prof Andrew Geddis, pointed out the mistake.

I try not to lose my temper, in Parliament or in life. But last night I was close to it. (My speech is here) Parliament took away a fundamental right from a group of New Zealanders with barely a word in justification, without a word from the Justice Minister or the Attorney General in the debate. The majority was provided by the ACT Party who gave us a 48 second contribution. Democracy, and those who have fought for it here and overseas, deserve better than that.


Where is Wong?

Posted by on November 23rd, 2010

Current rumour is that she is doing a fund raising trip for the Nats out of NZ.

Happy to be proven wrong.

Possibly getting it in before her passport is held by the court system.


Prisoner Voting UK Style

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010

As Parliament debates Paul Quinn’s ill-conceived private members bill on prisoner voting, the UK government is being forced to go in the other direction. The UK bans voting by all convicted prisoners. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the blanket ban on prisoner voting in place in the UK is discriminatory and breaches European human rights conventions.

Now its important to remember that in NZ the law as it stands says that if you are in prison for a conviction of more than three years you can not vote. So the arguments around murderers etc do not apply here. Paul Quinn’s bill would see that cover all prisoners in prison on the day of an election, including those on remand. (Actually the way it was re-drafted as Andrew Geddis has pointed out, the Bill actually gives the vote to anyone who is in prison before the Bill is enacted.)

The arguments being tossed around in the UK are of course similar tho those here. You can listen to a slightly odd interview on Morning Report (today, 8.48am) with the former prisoner who took the case to the European Court. Odd because he leaves the interview part way through to answer the door!

We will be back onto Paul Quinn’s Bill next Wednesday. Apart from the drafting stuff up, the bill is a waste of space. As said here before, It will do nothing to make our communities safer, it will not reduce our appalling imprisonment rate, it creates inequities between those on home detention and in prison, takes in people before they are convicted, and will do nothing to support rehabilitation or reintegration. People convicted of crimes of three years or less will be back in society, and we need to try to help them be part of society again, not exclude them from it.

Last word to Juliet Lyon from the Prison Reform Trust in the UK. She said ” people are sent to prison to lose their liberty not their identity.” That is a challenging notion for some people, but it is one that we need to remember if we want to start to reduce recidivism.


GST fraud foreign student gets home detention

Posted by on October 31st, 2010

Stuff reports :-

An Auckland student has been sentenced to five months home detention and ordered to pay reparation of $30,000 for GST fraud, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) said today.

In a statement the IRD said Bing Liu was caught using dummy companies.

He was sentenced in the Auckland District Court after admitting to 15 charges related to GST returns involving $44,350.

Liu, who is in New Zealand on a student visa, listed himself as a director for 10 companies registered with the Companies Office and filed GST returns for them

Seems weird to me – maybe the judge thought we would get some money back or there were circumstances not reported but I think this is a classic case for immediate deportation. Important to get message to students that they have no right to be here and any crime certainly one of this scale and complexity results in them being sent home.



Plea for help to the Police Minister

Posted by on October 8th, 2010

I was compelled to send a letter to Police Minister Judith Collins after being contacted by a Chinese constituent who lives in Glen Innes, Auckland, yesterday.

As a Chinese-New Zealander, this man may not look or sound like a Kiwi (according to former National Party Candidate Paul Henry’s summation) but his concerns are genuine and need to be addressed.

The constituent told me of his frustration with the police after having his home broken into eight times over the past three months.

The aftermath of a recent break-in

The aftermath of a recent break-in

During September his home was broken into twice in one week with the last break-in on October 1.

The constituent and his family are not only frustrated with the constant break-ins, but also by the response of the police.

On each occasion, the police have taken three and four days to respond and after taking fingerprints and doing a scene examination, no follow up has occurred.

The constituent is unemployed and every break-in adds to the financial pressure on the family. The man tells me that his family are living in a constant state of fear and anxiety.

The family has not only lost property through the burglaries but the house has suffered damage with broken windows, kicked in walls and graffiti occurring through the house.

As a New Zealander and Member of Parliament, I’m horrified that this situation is happening in our country. No one should have to live in a state of fear like this man and his family.

I seek a practical response from the Police Minister as to how she intends to deal with this situation.

It’s almost been two years since the NACT Government came into office on the back of a big law and order campaign – but what have they done to help ordinary Kiwis in that time?


National government = more murders

Posted by on October 2nd, 2010

Who can forget John Key, Judith Collins, Tony Ryall inter alia blaming Helen Clark for murder rates when Labour was in government.

It was of course nonsense, and I’m not going to suggest Key is personally responsible for each murder in New Zealand, and I’m not going to blame the Police as they did either.

But for the record there were 65 murders in the last financial year, didn’t break the record of 68 in 1996 (when National was in government) but well above average, and the highest figure since that 1996 peak.

Any apology John. Or are you going to take responsibility as you suggested Helen should?


National/ACT make Quinn prisoner voting law even worse

Posted by on September 19th, 2010

My good friend Andrew Geddis has delivered a devastating critique of the thoroughly misguided private members bill in the name of Paul Quinn to deny all prisoners a vote (as opposed to the current situation where those sentenced to three years or less can still vote). I have blogged about this before, and the bill was bad enough before it went to the Law and Order Select Committee. Now, amazingly the Bill has emerged from the Committee even worse than when it went in. I should note at the outset that Labour and the Greens are opposing the Bill, and have a minority report to that end.

Andrew is a level headed guy (and in the interests of fairness I should note he has expressed strong opposition to the earthquake legislation) who is not prone to hyperbole. So this paragraph should grab the attention

This proposal is downright wrong in its intent, outright stupid in its design and (if finally enacted) would be such an indelible stain on the parliamentary lawmaking process as to call into question that institution’s legitimacy to act as supreme lawmaker for our society.

As Andrew notes the Bill is against the advice of the Attorney General, and goes against decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee and courts in Canada, South Africa and Australia. It is a silly, hopeless piece of law that will do nothing to make New Zealand safer, and has the potential to make reintegration and rehabilitation more difficult.

But, amazingly, the National and ACT members of the Select Committee have combined to make the law worse. Andrew points out in his article that they are proposing to repeal the current legislative provisions regarding disqualification from voting and replace it with the following wording

“a person who is detained in a prison pursuant to a sentence of imprisonment imposed after the commencement of the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced 15 Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010:”

The effect of the repeal and a new clause only dealing with those imprisoned after the new law comes into force would seem to be that someone who is currently serving a term in prison of longer than three years (say Graeme Burton) could register to vote. I am sure National will now change this, but it really does typify what is a ridiculous bill.

There must be some in the National caucus who oppose this nonsense. Perhaps they should allow themselves a conscience vote and join Labour and the Greens in voting down this silliness?


Victims of Crime

Posted by on August 30th, 2010

A very interesting perspective piece in the Herald this morning on the recent debate surrounding meeting the real needs of victims of crime.  I am keen for feedback as I have been doing some serious thinking about this since I posted on the Chief Justice’s speech which raised this very issue.


So what are the DPS for ?

Posted by on August 29th, 2010

Hearing that Anne Tolley pleaded for the Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS) to intervene in the Invercargill creative writing exercise is almost impossible to believe.

These are some of New Zealand’s top cops. Their job is to protect the Governor General, the PM, international political visitors and diplomats when there is a security issue.

It is not their job to run down school kids.

But there is more of an issue with the Nats use of DPS.  And I want to make it clear I’m not criticising them.

It is just the vast numbers that the PM uses. Taking four to Hawaii. Having five escourting him around parliament. Using them as a battering ram around airports. And as personal servants holding his towel in the gym.

Helen had one or sometimes two round parliament. And when we were in UK at the same time she had one.

Of course the PM has to have Police support – but I think that he could do with half the number and real criminals could be caught if the rest of these top cops were turned loose on them.