Cannabis law reform alive overseas, dead as a cold turkey here

Cannabis law changes are happening around the world, including in some US states. But the chances of anything happening on it here in the foreseeable future look slim.

The use and abuse of cannabis and the associated legal and criminal issues surrounding cannabis in New Zealand are substantial, but politicians don’t want to go there.

National are not likely to consider let alone allow any relaxing of the laws related to cultivation and use of cannabis.

David Cunliffe has said Labour are not interested in doing anything.

“They can put on the table what they want to put on the table, but Labour’s policy is not to decriminalise cannabis,” says Mr Cunliffe.

‘They’ is the Greens but they don’t seem very interested. From Labour, Greens crack over cannabis views:

If the Green Party had its way it would immediately allow for medicinal marijuana and legal action for violent offences would be prioritised over possession.

The next step is decriminalisation with a legal age limit of 18.

For one party it’s the only issue, and before joining the Greens Ms Turei was a member of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

“It won’t be one of our major priorities, but it is our policy and we’re not ashamed of that,” she says.

And when interviewed on The Nation last week Russel Norman also sounded less than enthusiastic.

And that could include carrying on fracking, now decriminalisation of cannabis. We had Colin Craig on here, he spoke to Simon a few weeks ago – we asked him this, have you ever smoked a joint? Have you ever smoked a joint?

Yeah, yeah, of course I’ve smoked a joint.

Yeah, so decriminalisation of cannabis, that’s a Green party policy, it’s been a Green party policy down the ages. Will you pursue that in a Labour/Green government?

It’s still part of our policy and so whether it’s part of the priorities – so what we do is before each election is we announce our ten point priority list, right? And we did it last time and we’ll do it again this time and so in any post-election negotiations, you’ll know the what are the key areas we’re going to prioritise. So, I doubt –

So where will that be?

Yeah, yes. So I doubt – we haven’t decided it, right? But I doubt that decriminalisation will be one of the top ten. But, that’s up to the party to decide, but I doubt that will be.

Sure, ok. So, decriminalisation, you’re not into it really. But the TPP -

Well, no Paddy. You can paraphrase it like that, but it doesn’t mean that we -

But let’s move on…

Not a priority and Norman virtually ruled it out of any coalition negotiations where Greens would have most chance of making something happen.

With none of the three largest parties interested in initiating anything on cannabis law reform, and no sign of any small parties being interested, the chances if anything happening look as alive as a cold turkey.


Who would Greens want as deputy PM?

If Greens get to form the next government with Labour they would presumably be pushing for a high position for one of their co-leaders., especially going by the latest poll result that has them up 3.3 to 13% while Labour are down 5.9 to 29.5%.

These results aren’t promising for a left leaning coalition, and NZ First are in the danger zone at 3.6% (down 0.3), but if support rose in similar proportions to this result Labour would have a little more than double the number of MPs to the Greens. That would make a good case for scoring a deputy PM position.

Who would the Greens put forward as their top choice?

Yesterday Greens released their ‘initial party list’ for the upcoming election. While the list positions are subject to possible member initiated change…

“The list we are releasing today is by no means final. It is just a useful guide for members all over the country to use when making their own personal selection.”

The initial list is put together by delegates and candidates who attended the party’s February candidate conference. Delegates were able to put candidates through their paces and evaluate their performance. The initial list now goes to party members nation-wide to vote on. The Green Party uses STV voting.

the current pecking order is:

The list:

1 Turei, Metiria

2 Norman, Russel

Would Greens use the final list position to determine who was promoted for a top Government position? They could try to get co-deputy PM spots but that may be difficult to negotiate, it means Greens would hold two of the top three government positions.

The latest NZ Herald Digipoll ranks the Green leaders differently. Obviously it polls across the spectrum.

Preferred PM:

  • Russel Norman 5.2% (up 2.2)
  • Metiria Turei 0.7% (down 0.1%)

There’s a clear public preference for Norman over Turei.

Deputy PM will be acting PM at times when the Prime Minister is out of the country.

There is nothing in the Green Party constitution about how they would negotiate coalition government positions.

Constitution of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 4 June 2012.pdf



Fundraising for defamation case – Green on Green

A letter by Russel Norman on the Green Party website asking for donations to defend himself against the defamation action being taken against him by by Colin Craig.

Donate to defend free speech


Kia ora,

All New Zealanders should be treated equally and with respect.

A few weeks ago I spoke at the Big Gay Out and in my speech I made some remarks about the Conservative Party leader Colin Craig’s views about women and gay people.

Now Mr Craig is taking me to court for defamation.

I am proud of the comments I made, and I stand by them.

I am proud of the record my party has advancing the rights of women and gay people.

And I believe it is vital to democracy that political leaders are able to challenge and scrutinise each others views – this robust debate is vital to a healthy democracy.

Donate to our legal fund to defend a healthy democracy – a democracy that allows the Greens and other political parties to champion the rights of all New Zealanders..

Don’t allow Mr Craig, a millionaire, to silence the Green Party and anyone else who speaks up against his party’s 1950s mind-set.

It’s not the first time Mr Craig has taken legal action to silence those that speak up against his party’s views. Our democracy is threatened by this litigious approach to silencing dissent and debate.

We need to raise $70,000. Please make a donation today.

If you want us to keep speaking up for a fairer and more compassionate New Zealand then any donation you can make will help.

By making a donation to our legal fund you’ll be part of something big – fighting for our freedom of speech.

I hope you’ll stand with me to ensure that we are not silenced by those with deep pockets and divisive agendas.

For every dollar you give, you are helping us to take an important stand.

Russel Norman

* You should know that any funds not used in the court case will go towards the Green Party’s work to create a smarter, cleaner, more compassionate New Zealand for all of us.

Metiria Turei has posted a link on Facebook and commented:

Standing up for the rights of women and the right to free speech is essential for a genuinely progressive country. If you agree, please add your name and some dollars to this defence fund. Mx

Green Party member Alan Bell responds.

Totally misguided and somewhat deceitful. Nothing to do with free speech. Russel could well have spoken about Green policy without referring to Craig.

Does the Green party so underestimate our intelligence as to infer we are unable to evaluate Craig for ourselves? Do the Greens plan to repeal the Defamation Act? Will the Greens introduce policy that means access to the courts is available to all rather than only the wealthy? Russel made his bed and should lie in it – his political stunt backfired.

As a paid up member of the Green party I expect my representatives to stand up for the rights of all NZers including women and homosexuals and respect my ability to gauge for myself the policies of other parties. Craig has a right to defend himself against defamation – I despise the man and hope his case falls over.

But I also think positing this as a defence of free speech and LGBT and womens’ rights is a load of bollocks and a stain on the integrity of the party.

MPs are are on far more than “middle income” (as Cunliffe should know) so you lot can pay for it.

Solar power surge

Solar power generating capacity is set to increase by 20.9% this year after a similar surge of 20.3% last year. In 2012 the growth was only 4.4%.

Solar developers around the world will install record capacity this year as a thriving Chinese market drives growth, a Bloomberg survey showed as manufacturers in the $102 billion industry began to return to profit.

About 44.5 gigawatts will be added globally, a 20.9 percent increase on last year’s new installations, according to the average estimate of nine analysts and companies. That’s equal to the output of about 10 atomic reactors. Last year new capacity rose by 20.3 percent, after a 4.4 percent gain in 2012.

See: Chinese Solar Growth to Underpin Record Global Expansion in 2014

This states the increase equates to about 44.4 gigawatts which is the equivalent of about ten atomic reactors. This would appear to mean power plants with multiple reactors – according to the table of power stations here reactors seem to average around 1,000 MW but most have multiple reactors with a total plant capacity ranging up to Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant with seven reactors for a total capacity of 7.9 GW.

More important for reducing emissions is replacing the need for oil and coal fired power. That the increase in solar power capacity is being driven by China reflects both it’s manufacturing dominance and also it’s need for cleaner energy.

China’s industrial growth has resulted in major smog problems – see SMOG HELPED GIVE SMAUG HUGE OPENING IN CHINA.

I picked up the link to Chinese Solar Growth from a tweet from Metiria Turei. This is good news for her party’s green energy aspirations and adds weight to the usefulness of their solar energy policy announced recently – Green Party launches Solar Homes policy.

Increasing volume production of solar generators will encourage technological improvements and will help bring prices down which will make home installations a more cost effective and attractive option.

Greens see red over dissent

David Hay split the Green watermelon and the leadership saw red over the comments and actions of the dissenting party member and have suspended his party membership for a year “while he reflects on what it means to work as part of a team”.

This has been called code for “learn to STFU and support the leaders!”

The Report to Green Party Executive from the panel to investigate the membership of David Hay recommends that:

We believe it is important to take some action to indicate that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated but that he could be a valuable member of the party in the future if he changes his attitude. Therefore we recommend the following:

  1. The executive write a letter of censure to David, pointing out that his behaviour with regard to the press releases and release of documents was totally unacceptable, and suspending his membership of the Green Party for a year while he reflects on what it means to work as part of a team. The letter needs to make explicit that there is a firm expectation that he will accept and observe the disciplines for raising differences within the Greens’ channels of debate if he chooses to resume his membership following his suspension.

The clamp down on a dissenting voice has been strongly criticised. David Farrar says at Kiwiblog:

Suspending a member is very rare. Unless the member does something such as stand for another party, it is rare for disciplinary action to reach this level.

Hay says he will not rejoin the party under the current leadership.

The Green bubble is unique in politics. Inside the party the leaders are praised, lauded, virtually worshipped.

There is plenty of criticism from outside the bubble but Greens tend to be so convinced of and supported in their righteousness (or lefteousness) that they shrug this off as unfair and invalid. An internal critic has been seen as a class traitor.

The boy who pointed out the co-emperors clothes were a bit shabby has been sent to the naughty corner.

Kiwi in America comments:

The left’s true colours are revealed. This is being done for no other reason than stifling dissent – the Greens admit as much. Heck demote him from senior office, reduce his list ranking, send him to Coventry – that’s how most parties discipline someone who makes serious trouble.

An outright suspension of membership is a very serious matter and you can count on the fingers of one hand party members actually expelled by National and Labour – Winston Peters for the former and John A Lee for the latter. Heck even Labour readmitted John Tamahere after he called the sisterhood front bums!

Of course in true Orwellian doublespeak this is not an expulsion but a suspension with reinstatement after Hay admits he now loves Big Brother!

This is Norman’s personal thin skin added to the socialists natural tendency to suppress dissent. People forget the Greens are watermelons and this is the red on the inside showing itself. Lenin would be proud.

Harsh but it does look a bit like that. He adds:

David Hay challenged Norman and Turei for the leadership because he felt the Greens under representation and lack of effort in greater Auckland (effectively almost 1/3 of NZ’s population) was holding the party back. That sounds like the kind of robust debate that all DEMOCRATIC parties have internally.

For his achievement of more than doubling of the Green PARTY vote (you know the one that helps them get more MPS into Parliament) in Epsom, he was accused of spending too much time building the Green electorate vote there.

His real crime was taking the shine off dear co-Leaders and allowing negative media coverage of said virginal pure leaders.

The Greens have sold themselves as above the fray of grubby party politics, of a fresh new democratic way. Their meetings, literature and website all preach inclusion and their tortuous processes are supposed to be so transparent and democratic.

The reality is that democracy was far from Norman and Turei’s minds as was transparency.

Rather than have the internal debate (like Labour had) and allow the Green party membership to assess the merits of Mr Hay’s challenge, he was kicked out of the party with the ‘suggestion’ he go get some re-education which is code for: learn to STFU and support the leaders!

The Norman/Turei Greens certainly seem more high and mighty and less down to earth than the Fitzsimons/Donald version.

Turei on ‘rogue poll’

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has commented on the latest poll result to Radio NZ - Greens play down latest poll.

The Green Party is playing down the significance of the latest political poll, saying it’s too soon to know whether it’s real change or just an anomaly.

The One News Colmar Brunton Poll has the Greens on eight percent support, down from 13 percent in the same poll in October.

The Greens haven’t scored that low since 2011.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says she’s not concerned.

“The polls are going to jump around like mad in the beginning of this year. We’ve been polling on average about 12 percent since last election.

“So this is quite an unusual rogue poll, whether it is pattern we are yet to see.”

Unlike other claims of ‘rogue poll’ this is a fair call from Turei. I’m sure Turei and the Greens have some concerns but this could be a rogue poll for Greens.

Other recent polls had  Greens at 12 (Roy Morgan) and 10 (Fairfax). The margin of error at this level is about +/- 2 so 8% could be outside the margins of  recent polls, but there’s always a one in 20 chance of this happening in polls.

So we have to wait for more polls to see if this is an unusual variation, a temporary drop  or a downward movement to be concerned about.

Greens should hope it’s a rogue and results will return to recent ranges. The next Roy Morgan poll due out next week will give us a better idea.


Greens want in on Key-Cunliffe debates

Radio NZ reports that the Greens have asked TV1 and TV3 to include them in the main leaders debates in this year’s leadership debate.

The Green Party wants television networks to include one of its party leaders in the main leaders’ debates in the lead-up to the election – alongside John Key and David Cunliffe.

The Greens have made a formal request to TV One and TV3 for a co-leader to join the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition, rather than take part in the minor parties debate – which has been the typical election format.

The Greens say their 12 percent polling position puts them in a different league to the other smaller parties which are polling around 5 percent or less.

The timing isn’t the best for the poll claim, today’s One News/Colmar Brunton poll has greens down from 14 to 8%. That may be a one-off aberration or temporary, although they might not bounce right back up.

But that’s a side issue.

Should Turei or Norman join in with the main leader’s debates? There’s some justification. While Greens are polling about 1/3 of Labour levels they have been as active in opposition, probably more active. And Greens have ambitions of being a major player.

But there are things against this too, including:

  • Media like the presidential two opponent format.
  • If they let the Greens step up to the big time in debates Winston Peters is certain to claim a right as well.

But perhaps the biggest issue that requires some careful thought – it would effectively mean that Key was up against double barrelled opponents of Cunliffe plus either Turei or Norman.

Would two against one be a fair contest?

How Green is ActionStation?

Here’s some interesting links to a new “non-party political” action group.

Green Party leader Metiria Turei commented on her Facebook page “Jobs like this are rare, closes Friday” and shared this photo:

Action Station advertThis had been posted by Megan Salole who is the Executive Director of ActionStation. Salole also has obvious links to Generation Zero as per her cover pic.

“Generation Zero is made of up of young New Zealanders working together to secure a thriving zero carbon Aotearoa.”

About Generation Zero:

Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and young people are the inheritors of humanity’s response to climate change.

For that reason – Generation Zero, a youth-led organisation, was founded with the central purpose of providing solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels.

Salole was National Campaign Manager for the Green Party in the 2011 election – see her Linked in Overview, Past:

  • Design Strategy at Conscious Consumers
  • National Campaign Manager at Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Social Innovator at Intersect Trust and Network for purposeful young professionals at Intersect
  • Chair at Sustainability Trust

The ActionStation advertisement leads to job details:

National Campaign Director

Our ambitious, not-for-profit enterprise seeks dynamic, multi-talented National Director to lead the organisation and revitalise progressive campaigning in Aotearoa New Zealand.

As National Director you will lead this exciting not-for-profit from its launch, shaping its day-to-day operations and overall direction as a major new presence in New Zealand progressive politics through the next election and beyond its launch to financial sustainability.

We will be going on to recruit the roles of Campaign Director, Technical Director and Membership manager.

It’s interesting to see what appears to be a well funded political activist campaign.

Action Station’s current campaigns are:

  • Fuel Poverty
  • Keep Our Assets
  • Paid Parental Leave

The job description:

Action Station Job description

And it includes a summary of ActionStation:

Action Station AboutAS is about people power, not party politics – “preserving complete independence from any political party”.

ActionStation party membershipSo ActionStation are trying to portray themselves as non-party political.

They just happen to have people and policies that are closely aligned to the Green Party and are promoted by a Green Party leader.

More on Metiria Turei, racism, elitism and politicians

Very good follow-ups to the Metiria Turei jacket/racist/elitist issue.

Bryce Edwards summaries: The political minefield of race relations

Discussion, debate and reporting on race relations in New Zealand is a political minefield. There’s passion, anger, and polarised thinking, which all leads to sensitivities and potential explosiveness and hurt. This is especially the case with Waitangi Day commemorations, celebrations, and protests, which are inseparable from important issues relating to the Treaty, racism, and inequality. The many diverse arguments and perspectives about these are worth exploring.

And links to a leftwing view:

For a more trenchant leftwing critique of Metiria Turei’s allegations, see John Moore’s blogpost, The Elite politician that cried racism. He argues that Turei’s defence of her ‘opulent’ clothes reflects her integration into Establishment politics, and that her claims of racism demean real experience of racism in New Zealand.

Previous post: Metiria doth protest too much methinks

National “deliberately keep them” poor

I asked Metiria Turei for a clarification from a question put to her on Campbell Live:

@metiria Not clear from @CampbellLiveNZ - do you think National willfully neglect children and deliberately keep people poor?

Her response:

@PeteDGeorge @CampbellLiveNZ I think they deliberately keep them (min wage, benefits) The burden is borne by the kids.

This is similar to the implication from a recent question to John Key in Parliament:

Metiria Turei: When will the Prime Minister drop his inequality denial and admit that his policies are creating a growing class of people who sit at the bottom of the most unequal education system in the developed world?

I hear similar to this this often, to the extent that National and John Key hate the poor and hate kids.

How National’s rich mates are going to get richer by keeping everyone else poor has never been explained to me.

There will always be a political battle between encouraging business growth which will (hopefully) result in more jobs and better paying  jobs versus transferring wealth from the middle class and the rich to the poor.

We already do both, the argument is on what balance will work best.

National, like Labour, have an orthodox approach. Greens have a much more socialist ambition – Turei has talked about “equality recently in Turei on kids and inequality:

To have every citizen be deeply free – our institutions, economic, political, social need to be purposefully built to deliver equality.

Just making little tweaks in a band aid response to inequality is not good enough for our kids.

And if you suggest that this approach may be flawed and tweaks to the current approach might be less risky or less flawed you can get accused of hating the kids and hating the poor.

It’s going to be an interesting election year.

And if Labour, Greens and Mana (who are socialist as the Greens) get to form the next Government New Zealand could be in for an interesting experiment.

I hope we don’t end up like Greece. We may have to learn to say “oh σκατά!”


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