Pride in the TPPA

John Key says that New Zealanders should feel proud of being a part of the TPPA we have been one of the primary forces behind the deal).

NZ Herald: TPP Signing: Historic signing gives Kiwis a chance to feel proud – Key

New Zealanders should feel immensely proud of being part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Prime Minister John Key said ahead of today’s historic signing in Auckland by 12 countries.

Mr Key said people had opposed the China free trade agreement in 2008 and the closer economic relations (CER) agreement with Australia in the 1980s and opponents of both had been proven totally wrong.

“In the end, for all the bluff and bluster and misinformation, TPP is no more than a free trade agreement with the first and third largest economies in the world,” he said, referring to the United States and Japan.

“I think people should feel immensely proud of TPP and actually excited by the opportunity it presents.”

Today’s programme

 9am Ministers welcomed to SkyCity with mihi whakatau (cut-down powhiri with no karanga)
 9.30am Ministers meet privately, chaired by NZ Trade Minister Todd McClay
 11.30am Signing of TPP documents 
• Noon Press conference.

The Herald editorial also promotes the pride angle: NZ can take pride in TPP deal on trade

Looking back, it is hard to recall a greater diplomatic achievement than the comprehensive trade and investment agreement that will be signed by representatives of 12 countries in Auckland today. The post-war creation of the United Nations in which New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser played a role may be as proud for those who remember it. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is directly in that tradition.

It represents another advance on the principles of the World Trade Organisation, formerly the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) that was one of the multi-lateral institutions formed by nations seeking world peace and prosperity after two devastating wars.

The TPP became hard work once the United States was in and, more recently Japan. New Zealand’s hopes that agricultural tariffs and subsidies might be swept away in a “gold standard” agreement were dashed in dealing between the big two, along with Canada’s protection of its farmers.

But the fears of many in New Zealand that pharmaceutical purchasing and ICT innovation would be sacrificed for a deal did not eventuate.

The protesters who will be out in force today ought to acknowledge this even if they really think the US will be able to impose unacceptable conditions before the deal is ratified.

The protesters are protesters, not balanced evaluators.

Their over-riding concern remains that the TPP gives investors the right to sue governments for damages before international tribunals. But this is not a one-way street. New Zealand companies would have the same rights against capricious government actions in countries whose politics are a lot less reliable for investment than New Zealand’s. The rights are designed to encourage the international investment that spreads wealth in the world

The deal being signed in Auckland today embraces 40 per cent of the global economy and covers much more than trade. It covers the range of business rules and governing principles that the WTO has been trying to establish.

It is an agreement of historic global significance and New Zealand is hosting the signing in recognition of the role it has played. It might also bid to host a permanent secretariat if one is established. The drive for global prosperity could not be in better care.

It is an agreement of historic global significance, with New Zealand the current focal point.


New Zealand as a republic?

Many Australian political leaders have signed up in support of Australia becoming a republic.

The BBC reported Australia republic move: Leaders begin push

Almost all of Australia’s state and territory leaders have signed a document in support of the country becoming a republic.

The only leader who declined to sign, Western Australia’s Colin Barnett, said he was supportive of a republic but believed now was not the right time.

Australians voted against becoming a republic in a 1999 referendum.

Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the republican movement at that time.

The referendum:

A proposed law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament

  • Yes 45.13%
  • No 54.87%

But since coming to power, Mr Turnbull has said no change should occur until the reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends.

The state premiers of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and the chief ministers of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, signed the document in favour of replacing the Queen as head of state.

What about New Zealand? We are currently getting a choice on our flag but there’s no significant action on our constitution. After the way the alternative flag selection was politicised and argued I think a constitution would be too complex and contentious for us.

Newstalk ZB has asked What would a Republic of New Zealand look like?

Recently, a number of Australian politicians urged the transition away from the tradition of the British monarch and towards becoming a Republic. Here in New Zealand, different parties are taking various positions: National want a new flag but without a new constitution, while Labour want to keep the current flag but with discussion on the Republican question.

So how is the campaign for a New Zealand Republic faring? Andrew Dickens is joined by Savage, chair of the Head of State NZ group.

The interview is here.

New Zealand Republic website

From Wikipedia:

In 2001, Green Party MP Keith Locke drafted a member’s bill named the Head of State Referenda Bill,[16] which was drawn from the members’ ballot on 14 October 2009. It would have brought about a referendum on the question of a New Zealand republic. Three choices would be put to the public:

  • A republic with direct election of the head of state;
  • A republic with indirect election of the head of state by a three-quarters majority Parliament; and
  • The status quo.

If no model gained a majority, a second run-off referendum would be held. If one of the two republican options were supported by the public, New Zealand would become a Parliamentary republic (as opposed to a presidential republic), with a head of state with the same powers to the Governor-General of New Zealand and serving for one five-year term. In May 2007, the Republican Movement agreed to support the bill to Select Committee stage. The Bill was defeated on 21 April 2010 68 – 53.

Poll from March 2014 by Curia Research, commissioned by New Zealand Republic.:

The question asked was What is your preference for New Zealand’s next Head of State out of the following three options?
1. The next British Monarch becomes King of New Zealand.
2. New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State elected by a two thirds majority in Parliament.
3. New Zealand has a New Zealander as Head of State who is elected by the popular vote.

  • Next Head of State British Monarch 477 46%

  • Appointed HoS 118 11%

  • Elected HoS 338 33%

  • Total HoS 456 44%

  • Unsure/refuse 105 10%



MPs split on flag choices

If voters are as split on flag choices as MPs the referendum result could be close and difficult to predict a winner.


NZ Herald has asked MPs which flag they will vote for. Those who indicated a choice have done so along largely along party lines, except for some National MPs against changing the flag.

  • Current flag: 42
  • Silver fern flag: 50
  • Will not say: 10
  • Undecided: 11
  • Will not vote: 3
  • Did not respond: 5

They name each of the MPs:

Most National MPs are backing change (or Key), Labour are almost all against change (or Key), all NZ First MPs have fallen in behind Winston Peters while at least the Greens are allowed to think for themselves.

Interesting that both Maori Party MPs support change.

First DHB funded Sativex

A post from MZaNZ:

BREAKING NEWS: First Patient in NZ Successfully funded for Sativex by DHB

A woman who may have otherwise died from her regular severe seizures has been granted approval for medical marijuana funding.

Alisha Butt, 20, has the mentality of a toddler and is unable to speak.

Her seizures had presented a huge problem for specialists who were unable to adequately treat her, leading to the possibility she could end up in a coma from one and die.

But thanks to medicinal marijuana extract Sativex, Alisha is able to live a more comfortable life.

“Since being on Sativex for over 4 months, she has shown a great improvement,” mum Sushila Butt said.

“Her seizures have decreased immensely and now, after long last, Alisha has been able to enjoy a better quality of life without the disturbance of erratic and continuous prolonged seizures.”

A big relief to see a significant improvement.

Then, in September, Alisha was approved by the minister of Health to receive Sativex – which contains Cannabidiol with Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis – but the family had to fund the $1000-a-month treatment themselves.

It wasn’t until January 22 that the Government agreed to fund the medicinal marijuana as a prescription.

“It’s completely covered now,” Sushila said. “It will be fully funded for my daughter.

A funding breakthrough. Until now Sativex wasn’t funded and was costing something like $1000 per month, too much for many parents.

Full post at MCaNZ:

Flag ‘wrong colour’ complaint

The alternative (Lockwood) flag has been flying alongside the current flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge for a week or so. I’d noticed that colour of it was lighter than I thought it should be.

Someone has complained about this via the Herald – ‘Wrong colour’ on potential new flag flying on Auckland Harbour Bridge.

An Auckland resident is enraged a potential new flag flying alongside the current New Zealand one is the wrong shade of blue.

The flag is flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

It is a lighter blue than the correct darker blue.

North Shore resident Rob Harpur said it was “totally unacceptable”.

“It’s not the flag they voted for in the referendum.

“If people are going to make a decision on the flag, they should be shown the correct one.”

He predicted the supplier of the flag got the shade wrong but the New Zealand Transport Agency should have “picked up on it”. He admitted the flag “bugged” him every time he looked at it.


(Photo from Herald, flipped)

If you compare the colour to what’s on the flags on the Your NZ header the Lockwood blue certainly looks lighter, and the black looks lighter too so it could be very light material.  And the current flag looks darker.

New Zealand flag consideration project communications manager Suzanne Stephenson said the alternative flag flying on the Auckland Harbour Bridge was made to the specifications developed with the designer, Kyle Lockwood.

Ms Stephenson said large flags, such as this one could give the illusion of “varying colours in different light levels”.

She said it was typical for flags to appear to be slightly different colours because of the range of fabrics and printing techniques used.

Not just on real flags. I have two monitors and the colours look slightly different on each.

At least someone has noticed the flag flying on the harbour bridge.


Euthanasia submissions due 1 February

Today’s Herald on Sunday editorial focusses on Lecretia Seales and euthanasia, and it points out that Health select committee public submissions on euthanasia close in a week.

New Zealanders have just a week left to voice their opinions on voluntary euthanasia and whether it should be considered under law.

It is not an easy subject. The very term we use to understand the process is altered – and sometimes manipulated – to serve a purpose. Euthanasia, assisted dying, suicide.

It is one of the most difficult questions of our age but one that needs to be asked and considered.

Public feedback to Parliament’s health select committee closes on February 1. In a little over a week, the chance to have a say will be gone.

Regardless of the opinion – or the outcome – it would be to our shame to choose not to contribute to that debate.

 Herald on Sunday

It is a difficult and important issue, covering an individual’s right to choose how they may end their life versus protection of vulnerable people.

The Herald shows how out of date they can be by not providing links to the submission page.

The Parliament website for the Health Committee isn’t helpful either. Business before the Health Committee doesn’t mention it, and if I follow it’s Submissions link I get:

Server Error

Oops – there has been an error. This error has been automatically emailed to our website team and we will endeavour to fix it as soon as possible.

But there is a page:

Petition of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others

Public submissions are now being invited on the Petition of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others.

The closing date for submissions is Monday, 1 February 2016

The Health Select Committee has received a petition requesting “That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.” The petition asks for a change to existing law. Therefore the committee will undertake an investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand. In order to fully understand public attitudes the committee will consider all the various aspects of the issue, including the social, legal, medical, cultural, financial, ethical, and philosophical implications. The Committee will investigate: 1. The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life. 2. The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives. 3. The attitudes of New Zealanders towards the ending of one’s life and the current legal situation. 4. International experiences. The committee will seek to hear from all interested groups and individuals.

The committee requires 2 copies of each submission if made in writing. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. To assist with administration please supply your postcode and an email address if you have one.

Further guidance on making a submission can be found from the Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee link in the `Related documents´ panel.

There’s a much more helpful site – Lecretia’s Choice


The Health Select Committee is taking public submissions on assisted dying and suicide.  They want to hear from New Zealanders about their beliefs and concerns about end of life choices.  It is your chance to tell our politicians how you feel about end of life care and the choices you want to have.

The Parliament website has a helpful guide that explains the Select Committee Process (PDF) and how it affects Parliamentary decision-making. They also have a longer guide on how to make a submission, the key points of which are covered at the end of this page.

The original petition was “That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.”

We are not happy with the terms of reference created by the Health Select Committee in response to this, as they imply that someone seeking assisted dying wants to die, which couldn’t be further from the truth. They have also brought the issue of suicide into scope, even though this wasn’t part of the request of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society petition. However it is not possible for the terms to be changed at this point, so it is not worth debating this as part of your submission. It is best to focus on the terms as written. The terms of reference are:

      • The factors that contribute to the desire to end one’s life.
      • The effectiveness of services and support available to those who desire to end their own lives.
      • The attitudes of New Zealanders towards the ending of one’s life and the current legal situation.
      • International experiences.

The Committee intends to consider “all the various aspects of the issue, including the social, legal medical, cultural, financial, ethical and philosophical implications.”

More details at:

Lecretia’s Choice

Who’s country?

If we had a New Zealand flag that showed us as belonged by someone how would it look?

This flag was adopted as our flag about halfway through the period when Great Britain dominated here, setting New Zealand up as a colony and sending many immigrants from the other side of the world. They dumped us in the 1970s but we have retained their Union Jack on our flag.



If you listen to some of the opponents of the TPPA, US ship visits and many other things involving the US we are effectively owned and ruled by the United States.


If you listen to Phil Twyford and Winston Peters New Zealand is in danger of being owned by China if we don’t stop immigration and foreign land purchases and investments.


Tino Rangatiratanga is officially recognised as the national Māori flag. Some Maori would like to take charge of New Zealand on their own but the Tino Rangatiratanga flag won’t be affected if we change our flag.


This could be Maorified more by replacing the Southern Cross with Matariki.


One of the flag change submissions comprised of just Matariki on a blue background.



It’s designer described it:

The Maori new year is Matariki. It is represented by The Seven Sisters (The Pleiedes) and is, amomgst other things, a symbol of renewal. The red, white and blue colours remind of Britain and the red and white stars of the old flag and New Zealand. I like my design because it represents us all and I like its simplicity and, I hope, its elegance. It’s also “flaggy” and not a logo.

But it is a logo. Matariki/Seven Sisters/Pleiedes is has been known as Mutsuraboshi (“six stars”) in Japan, and also and Subaru, meaning ‘unite’.



Best we stick with a logo that’s more exclusively used by New Zealand interests.


New Zealand drone views

Some cool views of New Zealand (South Island) taken by drone care of Emirates and Qantas:

Welcome to the View from Above! A series where we take you on a Journey to some of the most beautiful places on earth!


Explore New Zealand from a bird eye view. This video shows some beautiful spots around Rotorua, New Zealand. Filmed with a drone on different locations we want to show you how beautiful the area is. 

Hamurana Springs, Redwoods & Maori Center

There’s quite a bit of drone footage on Facebook.


Both flags to fly on Harbour Bridge

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has approved the Flag Consideration Panel’s request to fly the Lockwood fern/Southern Cross flag alongside the current flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge from Friday 22 January to March 24 when the referendum voting closes.

I think this is a good decision, we should get as much opportunity as possible to compare the two flags to be voted on.

The Lockwood flag will be replaced on Waitangi Day by the Tino Rangatiratanga flag as it has done in past years.

Some people have grizzled about the pair of flags flying but they don’t want change and apparently don’t want a fair contest.

CBB 1904 750x202 Ref Two

I hope they get flown together in many other locations.


Vague poll on US ship visits

NZ Herald has a vague poll on US ship visits to New Zealand, under a misleading headline:

Kiwis torn on US ship visits

I don’t know whether Audrey Young wrote the headline or not but the article doesn’t support the ‘Kiwis torn’ claim at all.  Kiwis are probably more torn over whether to take the Herald’s silly sensationalist headlines seriously.

I doubt that many New Zealanders think much or care much about US ship visits any more. It’s 30 years since our nuclear ship ban.

The Navy has invited the US Navy, among others in the world, to its 75th birthday celebrations in November and the Pentagon is considering it.

But an acceptance would run counter to the most significant remaining reprisal against New Zealand’s anti-nuclear laws.

The US Navy has boycotted NZ ports since 1986 when New Zealand was effectively expelled from the Anzus security pact with the US and Australia.

Reprisals have eased only in recent years. The ban on the US exercising with NZ was lifted only in 2010. But even then the Kiwis were not allowed to dock in naval facilities at Pearl Harbour but had to dock at a civilian wharf. President Barack Obama overturned that particular oddity for the 2014 Rimpac exercise.

Under New Zealand law, ships may visit only if the Prime Minister is satisfied they are not carrying nuclear weapons.

So under our law there is very little risk of a nuclear ship visit. So there doesn’t seem to be any actual problem.

Prime Minister John Key believes resuming ship visits would be a positive step and extend markedly improved relations between the nations.

“Most New Zealanders can see the relationship with the United States has dramatically improved in recent times,” he told the Herald. “A ship visit that is within NZ law would be a positive step.”

The poll results:

29.4 per cent don’t want a ship to visit at all

50.2 per cent think it would be a positive move

16 per cent displayed a sense of triumphalism by preferring to think it would be a victory for New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy

No details are given of the number of people polled or method of polling.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the 50.2 per cent confirmed that people wanted NZ to have a good relationship with the US. “It is important that we do have a good relationship with them. But what is equally important to New Zealanders is our non-nuclear status. It has defined us as a nation for the past 30 years.”

That implies that Little would have no problem with a ship visit under our current no-nuclear laws.

About 30% don’t want a a US ship visit but about 66% are either positive about a visit or ‘displayed a sense of triumphalism’. Little:

He said the three options were not exclusive and there might be people who thought a ship visit was positive, but might doubt an assurance.

He’s right, the questions (as phrased by Young) are not clear cut and there is probably overlapping sentiments. And they exclude other reasons for and against supporting visits.

Mr Little believed the almost 30 per cent who did not want the US to visit would be those who, despite any assurances from the Prime Minister, would have doubts about whether any visiting US ship was actually non-nuclear.

There’s likely to be a number of reasons for the 30% against visits, including people who are simply anti US or anti military. From the polls results given it’s difficult to determine much.

The poll suggests that most people won’t have a problem with a US navy return to New Zealand.

There will probably be a small number who are stridently against any visit and we may get symbolic protests, but my guess is that most Kiwis aren’t ‘torn’ won’t care much if at all.


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