The Nation – male suicide, housing and US politics

On The Nation this morning…

Auckland housing again:

Has the Government done enough to tackle Auckland’s housing crisis? Newshub’s political editor Patrick Gower asks Housing Minister Nick Smith.

Same old.

Smith says he can’t force private landowners to build.

Smith says the best way to fight land banking is to create a competitive market … cites Chch as an example.

Last year Smith wrote to four developers to ask them to contact the Council with a time frame for development.

Smith sticks by his previous comments that he wants a house price to income multiple of 4.

MBIE figures show it’ll be 2030 before Auckland’s housing shortfall will be met.

Male suicide (‘the silent epidemic’):

Last year 428 New Zealand men took their own lives. Three times more men die by suicide than women, leading some experts to call male suicide a silent epidemic

This week The Nation investigates what causes men to take this step and what can be done to prevent it.

takes a look at a new prevention programme.

NOTE: If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0508 828 865

And US politics:

And Paddy also talks Trump with Philip Rucker, a Washington Post political correspondent.

says the Trump campaign is “flailing”.

Māori political play looks credible

Māori political interests are becoming clearer and look like they are aiming for real gains – and it doesn’t look favourable for the Labour Party, who appears to be losing it’s connection with yet another pew from it’s once broad church.

Maiki Sherman has an in depth and fascinating analysis of Māori political manoeuvrings at Newshub – Opinion: Māori politics now a Game of Thrones.

In short, the Kīngitanga movement appears to be teaming up with the Māori Party, and they are working towards an alliance with Hone Harawira and the Mana Party.

The person at the centre of this is Tuku Morgan, ex NZ First MP and now a closer adviser to Kīngi Tuheitia and president of the Māori Party.

If this works it could put a strong bloc of Māori in a strong political position, competing with NZ First for holding possible balance of power after next year’s election.

And it will either sideline Labour from power, or it have a powerful influence over a Labour led coalition.

National could be the main benefactors – apart from Māori.

As next year’s election looms closer, the power plays have begun.

And right at the centre of it is the King himself – Kīngi Tuheitia, the Māori Monarch. His movement, the Kīngitanga, is reasserting its relevance.

The King’s annual address is the only time he speaks publicly.

Over the years, his speeches have included the personal criticisms faced by the King and the overwhelming need to reaffirm the relevance of the King Movement.

Of equal importance, and intrinsically tied to the two points just mentioned, are the ever-increasing political themes seen in the King’s yearly speech.

Māori water rights, Kōhanga Reo, a Treaty of Waitangi claim to greater Auckland, and the question of sovereignty.

All of these issues have been part of an attempt to assert the power of the Kīngitanga.  

However, the King Movement does not command the same power it once had with the Government of the time.

The movement itself, as noted by the King in his annual addresses, has had to work on rebuilding its support amongst the Māori people.    

A king with fractured support from his own tribes is a king whose power is also fractured, leaving cracks for any government to divide and conquer.

Securing major concessions such as shared sovereignty then would be an uphill battle.

And so, politically at least, a strategy is needed to strengthen the King’s hand in the realm of Parliament.

Cue the King’s speech of 2016 that attacked Labour.

It was claimed the King went off script this year. But this is not the case.

Labour leader Andrew Little was set up – he was sitting front and centre moments before the King’s address was delivered.

The King said he would not be voting for Labour again and criticised the leader for his unwillingness to work with the Māori Party.

He then went on to back the Māori Party, with a nod also to Hone Harawira’s Mana Movement.  

The King’s Hand – Tukoroirangi Morgan

Tukoroirangi Morgan has been the King’s Hand – the King’s closest adviser – for many years.

And Morgan now has another job – he was recently appointed President of the Māori Party.

He is expected to be a game-changer for the Māori Party. The latest developments with the Kīngitanga support is a clear sign of this.

Morgan’s strategy and game plan will be well thought out.

The first move was to extend an olive branch to the Mana Movement. Breakfast with Hone Harawira.

And the backing of both the Māori Party and Mana Movement by the King in his annual address was anything but a coincidence.  

The Marriage of Convenience – Mana Party

A Maori Party-Mana alliance is the ultimate marriage of convenience in the Seven Kingdoms.

The seed was already sown following the meeting between Tukoroirangi Morgan and Hone Harawira.

A formal merger is highly unlikely. But a marriage of convenience is very much on the cards. A deal is almost certain to be struck in the Seven Kingdoms.

The King’s endorsement of Mana though has served more reasons than one. It would be a hard sell to say the Kīngitanga was backing an independent Māori voice without acknowledging Mana.

The Political Pawn – Māori Party

The real power-play here is the King’s endorsement of the Māori Party and setting up its alliance with Mana.

In order to strengthen the Kīngitanga’s political relevancy, they need to secure more concessions from the Government.

The King and his office are well and truly  aware of the benefits of sitting at the Government table.

Unlike other political parties, the Māori Party is not tied to the greater party needs and wants. Māori aspirations come first.

And so the King is taking over the Māori Party –  a movement capable of doing the Kīngitanga’s bidding at the Government table. And sitting across from John Key will be none other than Tukoroirangi Morgan.

The Māori Party has been hijacked by the Kīngitanga – they just don’t know it yet.

Perhaps they are willing parties to this power play – they will have been well aware of the significance of appointing Morgan as their party president.

The Princess – Nanaia Mahuta

So, where does Nanaia Mahuta sit in all of this? The Hauraki-Waikato MP has been the political princess of the Kīngitanga for two decades.

Questions have been swirling for a while about whether Mahuta will contest the next election. While she has confirmed she intends to stand, inside sources reveal that is not the case. The King’s attack on Labour all but confirm this. It is no longer a question of if, but simply when Mahuta will step down.

The King’s criticism and its inferred message for voters to ditch Labour now makes it far too awkward for Mahuta to stand at the next election. Hauraki-Waikato are block voters. They have backed Mahuta over the years, much of it based on loyalty.

And loyalty should not be underestimated when it comes to Māori politics. When Labour announced its reshuffle in December 2015, Mahuta was demoted down the list. This caused outrage among Hauraki-Waikato constituents and the Kīngitanga. The King’s spokesman Tuku Morgan came out firing saying Little would regret it and the snub would come back to bite the party in the backside. The Kīngitanga has delivered on that promise.      

Labour has now been outcast by the Māori King, and therefore, the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

Expect the Māori Party to win this seat at next year’s election.

The Outcast – Andrew Little

Labour has now been outcast by the Māori King, and therefore, the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

However, with at least another year out from the election, expect further moves to take place in the interim.

As the old saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Labour have tended to use their Māori support rather than deliver what it has wanted. No are we seeing some utu?

The Gatekeeper – John Key

According to a media advisor in the King’s office, John Key and Kīngi Tuheitia have had at least three meetings in the past six months.

A stronger Māori Party could also be another saviour for National in that it may not have to rely on the Kingmaker – Winston Peters.

The Māori King could save Key from Winston the Kingmaker.

Yet, as they say – a year is a long time in politics. Anything could happen.

But one thing is certain – the Māori politics Game of Thrones is well and truly underway.

Yes, a lot could happen in the next year.

But what Sherman illustrates here is credible, and it looks like a well thought through plan. That could succeed.

The biggest unknown is who will lead the next Government, National or Labour. This plan appears to favour National. But above all it could put the Māori Party, the Māori King and the Mana movement into a very powerful position – and there may be little the rest of us can do about it.

What would provide a strong Māori bloc in Parliament with the most benefits?

A Labour led coalition, where Labour is keen to make up for nine years out of power, the Green Party is keen to launch their long planned ideals, possible NZ First are also in the mix, with the Māori Party making up the numbers?

Or the Māori Party building on their relationship with National, possibly providing National with a path back to power without needing to rely on Winston Peters, and holding on their own a decisive vote?

Where would Mana fit in if Harawira wins his seat back? He has vowed never to team up with National. But he could still team up with the Māori Party, who apart for Confidence and Supply have voted against the Government more than for it.

The next year in politics could be much more interesting than the same old ‘Winston holds the balance of power’.


Religious terrorism aims to divide and recruit

Terrorism aims to divide. Religious based terrorism aims to divide religions, to divide people with different religious beliefs.

They aim to disrupt societies.

By alienating one group from another, by provoking animosity and fear of each other, they think they will bolster their aim of being a superior religion.

And they aim to appeal to the disaffected of their religion, those who bear the brunt of division and animosity, because that is where they get new recruits.

Al Jazeera: Don’t let ISIL divide us

We are not united in our misery – alas, it is dividing us, for that is terror’s aim.

These terrible, daily realities are bad enough – but what makes it so much worse is the division and polarisation that such acts of terror have created. Pointless, destructive debates over the “right to offend” rage across Europe’s media landscape. So, too, do attempts to downplay or ignore the realities of either Islamophobia or anti-Semitism, as though the existence of both at the same time cannot be comprehended.

ISIL’s horrendous killing spree in Libya has prompted renewed calls for military intervention – stepping up existing bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria, putting boots (though it is not clear whose boots) on the ground.

It is as though the endless war on terror and the horrors it unleashed – ISIL being one of them – have taught us nothing, have not instilled even the basic realisation that ideologies cannot be bombed away; that air strikes are no substitute for political so

Guardian: I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes

As a proud Frenchman I am as distressed as anyone about the events in Paris. But I am not shocked or incredulous. I know Islamic State. I spent 10 months as an Isis hostage, and I know for sure that our pain, our grief, our hopes, our lives do not touch them. Theirs is a world apart.

Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.

At the moment there is no political road map and no plan to engage the Arab Sunni community. Isis will collapse, but politics will make that happen. In the meantime there is much we can achieve in the aftermath of this atrocity, and the key is strong hearts and resilience, for that is what they fear. I know them: bombing they expect. What they fear is unity.

ABC News: Paris attacks: What Islamic State is trying to achieve

If Islamist extremists can strike at will at the heart of Paris then, it seems, none of us are safe. And, of course, we all sympathise deeply with the victims of the attacks.

But while we and our allies work ourselves into another moral outrage, tighten already restrictive security provisions, and drop yet more bombs on distant targets, we seem to be missing the point.

And that point is that terrorism is, and always has been, designed to provoke exactly such a backlash. We and our allies are singing from the terrorist’s song-book.

The first aim of terrorism – and often warfare – is simple enough. It is to strike at one’s enemies, real or perceived, to punish them for their crimes. We and our allies hurt people – sometimes innocent people – where they live. IS in turn appears to have decided to hurt ‘us’ back where we live.

The second aim of terrorism is to attack specific targets, often individuals, who are seen as representing or being a leader of an enemy.

The third aim of terrorism, which is the most important, is to engender a backlash in order to bring to one’s side those who are not yet committed to the cause. The US-led invasion of Iraq created an extremist Islamist response where one had previously not existed.

This attack is intended to produce a similar backlash, to turn non-Muslim Europeans against Muslims both in Europe and elsewhere, legitimising the claim that there is war between the West and Islam. Europe’s xenophobic right-wing will be strengthened in the process, and the greatest long-term victims will be those people who have been fleeing just such terror in the Middle East.

A further aim of such terrorism is to prove that the terrorists are a force to be reckoned with and that, as such, the West will turn on itself and ultimately divide and weaken itself over its confused responses.

There are no simple answers to terrorism, and in particular this type of Islamist ideology. It is a struggle which, very likely, will be with us for decades.

However, buying into a pre-arranged narrative and responding exactly as intended is perhaps the first thing we, as a collective of nations, should not do.

If we fight amongst each other, if we fight over what sort of response is needed, if we divide along religious lines and fight, the religious terrorists are achieving their aims.

Court rules burkini ban illegal

France’s highest court the State Council has ruled that a ban on wearing burkinis in one French resort town is illegal. This has inflamed debate – something that ISIS is probably happy to see.

The Telegraph: Burkini ban ruled illegal in France – prompting right-wing backlash and vow from towns to ignore it

Burkini bans in French resorts are illegal, France’s highest administrative court ruled on Friday in a landmark judgement that comes amid heated debate about the place of Islam.

The State Council upheld a challenge by human rights groups which argued that the ban in the Riviera resort of Villeneuve-sur-Loubet infringed personal freedoms in a ruling that is likely to set a legal precedent for 29 other towns that have banned the garment.

The ban “constituted a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of fundamental liberties, ” the State Council said in its judgement.

That doesn’t surprise me at all. It was a ridiculous reactionary way to try and deal with a big issue – Islam related terrorism – with a measure that impinged on the rights of innocent people.

Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the Human Rights League, said the decision to “suspend” the ban would also apply to the other 29 French towns.

But the problem looks set to continue.

The mayor of Sisco, in Corsica, vowed to defy the State Council’s ruling and maintain the ban in his town.

“This judgement does not affect us here because we had a fight over it (the burkini),” said Ange-Pierre Vivoni, referring to a brawl on a beach in Sisco on August 13 which preceded the ban. 

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former conservative president, demanded a nationwide burkini ban as he placed Islam, immigration and security at the heart of his campaign to win back power from the Socialists in elections next year.

The Socialist prime minister, Manuel Valls, backed the bans, describing the burkini as a symbol of the “enslavement of women”, but stopped short of calling for a national ban.

Opponents of the bans said they fuelled a racist political agenda as the election campaign kicks off.

So it is a political as well as a religious football – a toxic football.

However, with France on edge after a series of Islamist attacks, a poll suggested that two-thirds of French people support burkini bans.

That doesn’t make it right or fair for a minority.

Many politicians argued that the burkini could not be tolerated under France’s secular constitution because it was a symbol of the oppression of women.

Forcing women to undress in public is oppressive.

What if the women are exercising their right to their own choice? I doubt there is any evidence that women are being forced against their will to wear burkinis.

Religion and public life are strictly separated in France, which was the first European country to ban the Islamic full-face veil in 2010.

This problem has been festering for decades.

France and the veil – the dark side of the law

In 2004, France introduced the law on “secularity and conspicious religious symbols in schools” which banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public primary and secondary schools. Its supporters argued that this was keeping with the long-established principle of laïcité – the separation of Church and State – but it was clear to all that Muslim girls were the principal target of the law.

Jean Baubérot, a historian and an expert in the sociology of religion, is the only member of the Commission Stasi who abstained from the vote recommending a ban. He remembers the isolated case that sparked the scarf controversy in 1989, when three girls were suspended for refusing to remove their scarves in class in Creil.

“Then,” he says, “the Conseil d’Etat issued a judgment ruling that proselytism didn’t lie in someone’s clothing but in someone’s behaviour. I didn’t agree with the shift It essentialises religion and prevents thinking. Based on the way a person dresses we peremptorily imagine the way she lives. To me, this seemed naïve and even obscurantist.”

This latest court ruling is unlikely to calm down a very divisive issue. Terrorists aim to create division and ignite animosity.




Social chat – Saturday

A post for social chat to keep it separate from posts that discuss issues. You can still chat socially on other posts if it happens in relation to other discussions but if you simply want a bit of social chat try this.

The usual guidelines apply as to respecting others, behaviour and avoiding legal exposure. An emphasis on ‘social’, not ‘anti-social’.

Media watch – Saturday

27 August 2016


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders. Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.

Sometimes other blogs get irate if their material is highlighted elsewhere but the Internet is specifically designed to share and repeat information and anyone who comments or puts anything into a public forum should be aware that it could be republished elsewhere (but attribution is essential).

Open Forum – Saturday

27 August 2016

Facebook: NZ politics/media+

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is to encourage you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised unless obviously malicious, from anyone breaching site protocols  or spam.

‘Right to Life’ versus right to an opinion

An interesting ruling by the Press Council after Right to Life New Zealand complained that a column in The New Zealand Herald by Lizzie Marvelly on abortion breached a Press Council Principle  on Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.

I agree that Marvelly has a right to express her opinion. ‘Right to Life’ is confusing facts with differing opinions.


  1. Right to Life New Zealand complained that a column in The New Zealand Herald by Lizzie Marvelly, “It’s her body, it should be her choice”, breached Press Council Principle 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.


2. On May 28 The New Zealand Herald published a column by Lizzie Marvelly, “It’s her body, it should be her choice”, which presented her views on abortion.

3. Abortion is technically an offence in New Zealand under the Crimes Act (1961). The article outlined the process women have to go through as a result to get an abortion, including referral by a GP or Family Planning, and consultations with two certifying doctors.

4. Ms Marvelly wrote that although we are protective of individual freedoms, in the eyes of the law the decision as to whether an abortion can go ahead is not made by women by the doctors who care for them.

5. In practice, she said, the most commonly used justification is that continuing a pregnancy would cause serious danger to the mental health of the woman.

6. “In our modern, developed world, to have to claim mental suffering to two consultants in order to obtain an abortion is frankly paternalistic and patronising,” she said.

7. Ms Marvelly argued that a woman should not have to speak to a counsellor or wait for an enforced period between appointments to think about her decision, particularly when she may have to travel great distances.

8. She said women in New Zealand should have access to abortion services regardless of where they live.

9. She maintained it was a basic medical procedure, safer than childbirth itself, but stigmatised even today.

10. The column also outlined the current situation with regard to abortion in other countries, specifically the United States and Britain, and criticised the actions of groups which publish emotionally charged newspaper ads, erect “condescending” billboards, create websites and crisis hotlines advertising their apparently neutral pregnancy services for women.

11. Ms Marvelly wrote that this results in an environment in which women are made to feel ashamed or judged for exercising a human right “that has been affirmed by the United Nations”.

The Complaint

12. Right to Life secretary Ken Orr complained that Lizzie Marvelly’s column breached Principle 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance. He also referred to Principle 4, Comment and Fact, and 5, Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters.

13. He said the article lacked balance because there was no comment from those opposed to abortion.

14. The main thrust of Mr Orr’s complaint appears to be what he considers are factual inaccuracies in Ms Marvelly’s column. These include:

      1. The writer said “pregnancy does not discriminate between the prepared and the utterly unsuspecting, it just happens”. Mr Orr said, “Pregnancy does not just happen, it can be prevented by avoiding sexual intercourse”.
      2. The writer claimed women have to plead grave mental suffering in order to gain an abortion. Mr Orr said that was not correct as abortion is “available on demand in New Zealand”.
      3. By saying a woman shouldn’t need to justify her decision to anyone, least of all the Crown and its agents, Mr Orr said the writer fails to recognise the human rights of the child in the womb.
      4. When the writer claimed women should have access to abortion services regardless of where they live, she failed to acknowledge that abortions are not available in some areas because doctors in those areas refuse to perform them.
      5. The writer claimed abortions were a safe medical procedure, but failed to recognise that “abortion is not safe for the child who is violently dismembered in the mother’s womb”.
      6. The writer stated that obstetricians and gynaecologists in the US are being shot, clinics bombed, and vulnerable women harassed, but failed to recognise that the violence at abortion clinics happened inside the clinic.
      7. Mr Orr said the writer’s suggestion that the pro-life movement was responsible for the crimes committed in the US was “scandalous”. The pro-life movement is “emphatically opposed to violence against women and their unborn, as well as murder of abortionists and violence against abortion clinics and staff”.
      8. Ms Marvelly’s wrote that amending the Care of Children Act 2004 making it mandatory for doctors to notify parents when under 16-year-olds seek an abortion would endanger vulnerable young women who seek an abortion as a result of incest or sexual violence and undermine the trust they have in their physicians. Mr Orr described her belief as “absurd”.
      9. He challenged the writer’s claim that the United Nations has affirmed that abortion is a human right, quoting Article 3 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to life”.

The Response

15. New Zealand Herald Weekends Editor Miriyana Alexander denied that the column by Lizzie Marvelly breached Press Council Principle 1.

16. She said the column is an opinion piece, clearly labelled with the writer’s name on the print and online versions. Ms Marvelly was employed to write a weekly column to share her views with readers. The newspaper did not expect everyone to agree with her, but “freedom of expression is a principle we hold dear at the Herald”.

17. The editor said she did not intend to respond to the parts of the complaint which are simply views Right To Life holds in opposition to Ms Marvelly. “It is not Right to Life’s place to tell Ms Marvelly that she should hold the same view as theirs.”

18. On the allegation that the statement “the United Nations has affirmed than an abortion is a human right” is untrue because there is no UN Convention that recognises this “human right” the editor rebutted Mr Orr’s claim. Ms Marvelly did not say there was a UN Convention, she simply said that woman were “exercising a human right that has been affirmed by the United Nations”.

19. The editor provided several links to examples of the UN’s position on abortion in which it ruled that denying women abortions was a violation of human rights.

The Decision

20. Lizzie Marvelly is a regular columnist for the New Zealand Herald and her June 28 column on abortion was clearly an opinion piece on a subject that has for many years inflamed public debate.

21. By their very nature, opinion pieces are frequently provocative, offensive or controversial in subject and tone, but they are exempt from many of the rules which apply to news reports, as long as it is clear that they are the writer’s opinion. Principles 4, Comment and Fact, and 5 Columns, Blogs, Opinion and Letters, both require that material facts on which an opinion is based should be accurate, with Principle 5 stating that with opinion pieces, balance is not essential.

22. It is clear to the Press Council that the inaccuracies Mr Orr alleges are in fact the views of the writer, which differ markedly from those held by Right to Life. Rather than attempting to prove the writer’s statements are incorrect, Mr Orr has simply countered them with the responses that his organisation routinely uses on this topic.

23. Ms Marvelly’s opinion may well be unpalatable to many, but that does not make it wrong. We agree with the editor when she says: “It is not Right to Life’s place to tell Ms Marvelly that she should hold the same view as theirs.”

24. As an opinion piece, the column was not required to provide balance and the Press Council finds no breach of Principle 1 in terms of fairness or accuracy.

25. The complaint is not upheld.

Friday night Woodstock


Choosing a pig-like mayor?

Chinese born former Labour MP Raymond Huo (2008-2014) tweeted:


Is this real? “Not afraid of divine opponents but a mayor like a pig. Choose wisely…” (Not a verbatim translation)


Keith Ng picked up on this and did some further translating.

Keith Ng Retweeted Raymond Huo

More verbatim translation: “Not afraid of a god-like opponent, most afraid of choosing a pig-like mayor make a smart choice; vote mayor, vote John Palino”

There’s not really any room for misinterpretation on the “god-like opponent” or “pig-like mayor”.

I don’t see how you can accidentally mistranslate something into god-like or pig-like.

I suspect he has a Chinese copywriter with very weird ideas, or a fairly weird sense of humour.

Weird for sure.


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