Little bill to enable Pike River re-entry

After visiting the Pike River picket line today Andrew Little said he would table a bill in Parliament that would remove an obstacle to re-entry into the Pike River mine.

RNZ: Labour would remove liability for Pike River re-entry

Labour leader Andrew Little plans to table a bill in Parliament removing liability from the directors of Solid Energy so that the Pike River Mine can be re-entered.

He said the government claimed the mine could not be re-entered because of the liability risk, so on the first day of the new parliamentary year he would seek leave to table his bill.

That would exonerate Solid Energy’s directors from being held liable for any harm to people taking part in the mine re-entry, he said.

Mr Little said the victims’ families were promised everything that could be done to recover their loved ones’ bodies would be done, and the government needed to follow through on that.

This doesn’t guarantee re-entry, it would just remove one obstacle.

Little had earlier said that he supported an independent investigation to see if mine re-entry was safe enough to attempt.

He said that if the Government did not allow his bill to proceed he would add it to the Members’ ballot.

NZH: Labour leader Andrew Little proposes health and safety exemption for Solid Energy

During a visit to Greymouth today, Little said he had a solution.

“We can actually deal with that threat of liability for the [Solid Energy] directors by legislating to prevent that happening in this particular case.

“What I pledged to the families is that on the first day of Parliament I will seek leave to table a bill that does just that.”

He added: “It removes any risk of liability for the directors of Solid Energy in relation to any attempt at re-entry for the purpose of recovering remains or any bodies in the drift leading to the mine.

“And I’m working on that bill now, I’ll have that ready to go on the 6th of February.”

He won’t be tabling the bill on February 6, that’s a Monday and also a public holiday (Waitangi Day).

Speaking in Parliament last year, English said Pike River was the “most dangerous workplace in New Zealand“, and approving a re-entry would go against the very health and safety laws passed by Parliament in response to the disaster.

English said Little himself had lobbied for the safety changes.

“The member should understand the legislation which he advocated for, which brings together judgement about safety and legal responsibility for anyone in that workplace,” he said.

“So whatever any independent expert says, someone who is responsible for anyone who might go into that mine are legally responsibly for their lives.”

So Little is proposing an exception to the safety laws he lobbied for.

 

Should Te Reo be compulsory?

A language activist from Catalonia suggests making Te Reo compulsory.

Maori Television: Catalan Experts – Make te reo Māori compulsory

Last year Native Affairs spoke with Catalan language advocates who encouraged Aotearoa to follow the example of Catalonia by making te reo Māori compulsory here.

Catalonia is an autonomous province in Spain that includes the major city of Barcelona. It’s unique in Europe, governed by both Catalonia and Spain, with dual laws ruling the lives of those who live there.

In 1983 the Catalan government made the Catalan language compulsory in all public administrations, including schools and universities.

Now, over 4 million people speak Catalan, half the region’s population. And the language has been widely embraced throughout Catalonia.

Cristina Fons is a language activist who has been teaching Catalan for the past 25 years.

“I think that Catalan is very important, first because it is the language of the territory, of our ancestors, our tradition, and furthermore because we have a very rich history,” she says.

Cristina believes Aotearoa should follow the example of Catalonia by making te reo Māori compulsory.

And:

Humberto Burcet , a Catalan language teacher, speaks nine languages and has a PhD in te reo Māori and Samoan.

He was taken aback that te reo Māori was not more widely spoken here when he visited New Zealand.

“I went to Aotearoa to learn the Māori language, Te Reo, and for me it was surprising when I see my kids here learning Catalan….”

Like Cristina, Humberto thinks there’s every reason te reo Māori should be compulsory in Aotearoa.

“I think this is a good point to make te reo Māori available to all people who want to learn it and to make it possible to use it outside the school.”

I don’t see why te reo shouldn’t be a standard subject at school. I wouldn’t have minded learning it, it would have been more interesting and useful than the French I did.

I don’t think making it compulsory in public administrations and it shouldn’t be compulsory at University level, but it would be good if all kids became proficient.

 

Oxfam slams ‘neo-liberalism’

I’m somewhat sceptical about this.

I think this is highly misleading at best.

Trump, Putin, prostitutes and polls

I’m not sure that Putin accusing others of being “worse than prostitutes” in a defence of Donald Trump is a great idea.

NZ Herald: Vladimir Putin: People who spread fake allegations about Donald Trump are ‘worse than prostitutes’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the outgoing US administration of trying to undermine President-elect Donald Trump by spreading fake allegations.

Putin described a dossier on Trump as part of efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to “undermine the legitimacy of the president-elect” despite his “convincing” victory.

Here Putin has made allegations that are not substantiated.

Putin and Trump seem to be increasingly speaking the same sort of language.

Asked about the bombshell dossier which details Trump’s alleged sexual activities at a Moscow hotel, Putin dismissed it as “fake” and charged that people who ordered it are “worse than prostitutes.”

Republican opponents of Trump ordered the dossier, and it was later taken over by Democrats.

Putin also claimed that some now want to “stage a Maidan in Washington,” in reference to the alleged US role in organising protests in the main square of the Ukrainian capital, which chased the nation’s Russia-friendly president from power in 2014.

More unsubstantiated claims (as far as I’m aware).

Meanwhile another poll shows that Trump will start his presidency with awful approval ratings.

Trump will take office this week with an approval rating of 40 per cent, sharply lower than any incoming US president in recent history, a new poll shows.

The CNN/ORC poll showed Trump lagging more than 20 points behind the ratings of his three most recent predecessors and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama as he prepared to enter the Oval Office in 2009, CNN said.

In comparison, Obama had an 84 per cent approval rating ahead of his inauguration, Bill Clinton scored 67 per cent approval in late December 1992 and 61 per cent approved of George W. Bush’s transition in poll figures from January 2001, CNN said.

Trump brushes this off.

More unsubstantiated claims. Trump claimed the election itself was rigged until it turned around after James Comey’s intervention, which of course he didn’t claim was rigging.

There may be some great plan to revolutionise international relations with unprecedented co-operation between the Us and Russia – Russia has asked the US to attend at Syrian peace talks. And it may work, to an extent at least.

Can Trump pull a rabbit out of a ushanka?

Little: “there’s not a great deal more”

While Labour and the Greens are ramping up their co-campaigning, announcing they will have a joint ‘state of the nation’ speech at the end of the month and will tour the country with a joint policy statement, Andrew Little has oddly said that “In terms of big, headline stuff there’s not a great deal more. There will be maybe one possibly two more.”.

That is quite vague as we head into election year.

The union between Labour and Greens seems to be Labour’s headline campaign strategy.

NZ Herald: Expect join Labour-Green policies in the lead-up to the election

Leader Andrew Little told media that his party had one, maybe two, big policy announcements to make in election year, but would mostly focus on existing messages around key issues including housing affordability, crime, education and health.

“In terms of big, headline stuff there’s not a great deal more. There will be maybe one possibly two more. There will be some rules about fiscal discipline that we are working on at the moment so people will have a clear understanding about what our priorities are when it comes to government spending and taxing.”

This lack of preparedness at this stage of the term is remarkable – Labour always seem to be working on policy at the moment, and with “not a great deal more” to announce I wonder what they are going to base their campaign on.

Little said he would not announce new policy on January 29.

That’s his best shot at being noticed in setting out Labour’s campaign plans and he’s not announcing any policy? Remarkable.

“You can expect to see one or two joint policy announcements in the next few months between Labour and the Greens.

“There are plans to do that in different sort of ways. One of them is to get around the country with a joint policy statement – talk to a collection of audiences right across the country on a policy area that we have common ground on. People will see that as the year wears on.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Greens seems to have been a flop. When it was announced there was a lot of hope expressed on the left that it would lift poll numbers, but that didn’t happen. If anything Labour looks more precarious.

Yesterday in Labour leader Andrew Little to stand as a list candidate, leaving Rongotai open Little acknowledged Labour’s poll problems:

“I have to lead a party that starts from 2014 at a 25 per cent vote, polling at the moment at late 20s, 30 per cent sort of mark.

So we have a lot of work to do, and I don’t underestimate that.”

The biggest emphasis from Little seems to be on what Labour and Greens have in common and how they can work together on. This seems a very risky strategy, and one that can’t be undone or diverted from easily.

It looks like Labour are putting Green eggs in one election basket.

Or is it the other way round?

redeggsgreenbasket

Is there not a great deal more than this for Labour?

Theresa May’s Brexit plan

Missy has detailed the main points in Theresa May’s speech setting out plans for implementing Brexit (leaving the European Union Single Market):


The Main points are:

  • A final deal on Britain’s exit from the EU will be put to a vote of both Houses of Parliament
  • Ireland will have a common travel area between UK and Irish republic, ‘which will protect the security of UK’
  • May wants to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in Britain, and Britons living in Europe, as soon as possible.
  • Britain will leave the single market. The Government will seek ‘the greatest possible access with a fully-reciprocal free trade deal’. May indicated that Britain could pay if necessary, but would stop making the contributions it makes now.
  • May wants to see ‘a phased process of implementation of new arrangements outside the EU’ from 2019
  • Theresa May prefers ‘no deal’ than a ‘bad deal’, telling EU leaders punishing Britain would be “an act of calamitous self-harm”

The 12 point plan is below:

  1.  Provide certainty about the process of leaving the EU
  2. Control of our own laws
  3. Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom
  4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
  5. Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe
  6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU
  7. Protect workers’ rights
  8. Free trade with European markets through a free trade agreement
  9. New trade agreements with other countries
  10. The best place for science and innovation
  11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
  12. A smooth, orderly Brexit

She has talked tough on this, from my perspective I think the most important things to note is that she is willing to walk away from making any deal if the EU tries to punish Britain for leaving, this will go down well with a lot of leavers (and some Remainers) if she follows through – Cameron had similar rhetoric last January when he tried to negotiate a deal with the EU prior to the referendum saying that if he didn’t get what he wanted then he would campaign to leave.

The EU didn’t give him what he wanted, and he still campaigned to remain, trying to sing the pitiful deal he got as some sort of win.

May also issued a warning to the EU, saying that the EU needs to reform or its ‘vice-like grip’ on its members will shatter into tiny pieces. She said that there are two ways to deal with differences, to try and hold things together by force, or respect the difference and reform so that it deals better with the diversity of its member states. This in my opinion is more than a warning, it is a rebuke to the EU for trying to force greater integration.

No more plans will be made public until Article 50 is triggered, so for those that want more information they will be left disappointed.

Time will tell what the EU reaction will be, there has been some reaction on twitter, and the French Foreign Minister apparently referred to her Brexit plan as improvised – before she even gave her speech.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/17/theresa-may-brexit-12-point-plan-live/

Media watch – Wednesday

18 January 2017

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 for 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 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.

Open Forum – Wednesday

18 January 2017

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 for 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 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.

Beggar’s belief

Bob Jones has created controversy again, this time with comments criticising beggars on Newstalk ZB.

NZ Herald has more details: Sir Bob Jones labels homeless people a ‘disgrace to society’

“They’re a bloody disgrace, they’re an eyesore, it’s a disgrace in a modern society that fat people – that fat Maoris as they mostly are – are lying on our streets of our city begging.” he told Chris Lynch  on NewstalkZB.

He said begging should be made illegal.

“I was in the city yesterday, in Wellington, and one bugger was standing there, he had a message, this Maori bloke, ‘I’m not on welfare’ – and this apparently was an achievement – ‘so give me money.”

“It baffles me when people say, ‘Oh leave them alone’.  They should be ashamed of people begging on the streets… I’m ashamed of these people. They’re a disgrace to the human race.”

“If they want to degrade themselves, let them do it in private. We shouldn’t be subject to that.”

He said New Zealand has a welfare system and there’s a shortage in the country’s workforce so there’s no need for people to beg.

“We’re having to import labour for manual work ’cause that’s all these people could do, they’re obviously not lawyers and things, and doctors.”

Not surprisingly there has been quite a reaction to that, especially “it’s a disgrace in a modern society that fat people – that fat Maoris as they mostly are – are lying on our streets of our city begging.”

Coincidentally today, from Stuff: West Auckland beggar says his gig is up:

West Auckland beggar Conrad has learnt his first lesson in personal finance – never share your income.

Stuff published a story on Conrad on January 16 where he claimed he was making up to $150 a day from begging at Henderson’s Lincoln North Plaza. He also said that he was not homeless, and used the money for drugs.

westaucklandbeggar

He says the publicity has cost him dearly and says now “no-one is being nice to me”.

That’s not surprising.

Conrad claimed there was a begging “syndicate” operating in the area. A retailer also says a syndicate operates in the area and there is “a leader of the ring”.

I can guess that some of his fellow beggars are not very happy.

Henderson Community Constable Martyn Spear says the man has been issued with a trespass notice from Lincoln North Plaza for begging.

The community constable says drugs and alcohol addiction are the reason behind begging “without exception”.

All the beggars he has dealt with at the plaza are not homeless, have social support and are on the benefit, he says.

Spear recommends not giving money to beggars.

The poor people problem is not an easy one to fix.

Neither is Bob Jones’ propensity to say things as he sees them.

 

Global sea ice at record low

 

They keep putting out stories like this.

New Scientist: Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded

It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years.

The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year (bright red trace in the graph below).

picture1

In the Arctic, the low in sea ice coverage is a result of both global warming and unusual weather events probably influenced by global warming.

But in the Antarctic, the current low in seasonal sea ice could just be a result of natural variability.

The extent of Arctic sea ice should be growing rapidly during the northern hemisphere winter. But not only has the Arctic been warming rapidly, this winter repeated incursions of warm air have pushed temperatures even further above average.

Yep, there’s been cold weather in the US and European winters, and we have had an unusually cool summer here, but these are regional and short term variations. In contrast to here Australia has been hot.

And at the bottom of the world there is news of another large ice shelf crack developing: British Antarctic Survey abandons polar base as worrying crack grows in ice

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey are abandoning their research station for the first time ever this winter after a new worrying crack developed in the ice sheet.

The renowned Halley VI ice base, from which the hole in the ozone layer was first detected, was already scheduled to be relocated 14 miles across the Brunt Ice Shelf because of an encroaching fissure in the ice.

But a new crack has been steadily growing to the north of the base, and computer modelling suggests that it could cause a large iceberg to calve away from the sheet, which could destabalise the area.

It is the latest problem to beset the base.   In 2012, satellite monitoring of the ice shelf revealed the first signs of movement in the chasm that had lain dormant for at least 35 years and, by 2013, it began opening at an alarming pace of one mile per year.  If the base does not move, it could be in danger of tumbling into the chasm by 2020.

To make matters more time critical, in October, a new crack emerged 10 miles to the north of the research station across the route sometimes used to resupply the base.

The base is crucial to studies into global issues such as the impact of extreme space weather events, climate change, and atmospheric phenomena.

That’s a bit ironic, whether the accelerating cracking is coincidental or not.