What’s in Labour’s Medical Cannabis bill?

Labour promised to something about medical cannabis in Taking action in our first 100 days:

  • Introduce legislation to make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain

And there is also the promises to Labour stalwart Helen Kelly to honour as well, after she openly admitted using cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of the cancer as she died.

Medical Cannabis New Zealand worries about ” “a sense of dread in the patient community that Labour’s bill will be more tinkering around the edges”:


What’s in Labour’s Medical Cannabis bill?

With the looming introduction of a bill by Labour for Medical Cannabis, the patient community is sceptical, and bordering on pre-emptively hostile due to the lack of consultation, and the comments from Jacinda Ardern about pharmaceutical grade Cannabis Based Products. Considering the lack of information coming out, we wish to publish our bottom line positions. These positions were promulgated to David Clark and other MPs with Health portfolios pre election, and represent what we feel is the minimum that needs to be done to drastically improve health and legal outcomes for patients.

“There is a sense of dread in the patient community that Labour’s bill will be more tinkering around the edges”.

“While I am pessimistic, we hope that a majority of our redlines are met, and that there is an engagement and commitment toundertake further reform, particularly around licensed production, which doesn’t lend itself easily to the hundred day fix”.

“It is concerning also that there has been zero consultation with the patient community on the bill being put forward, and that any briefings or BIMs David Clark has had on this topic are being refused release”.

“To enable something rapid for patients, the only affordable option is home growing, despite this being undesirable from a medical perspective, any imported products are still going to be unobtainable by the patients who need them most, sickness beneficiaries and ACC Claimants.” Says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.

MCANZ Redlines

  • Medical necessity must be a legal defence. Due to the postcode lottery of medical specialists, a legal defence needs to be in place for those stuck in the backwaters or with backwards-thinking doctors. This would force police to more carefully consider the public interest. The police have demonstrated a fixation on cultivation and are prosecuting patients with severe medical needs, an amendment to the crimes act to include this defence is needed.
  • A non-smoking provision. In the age of the portable vaporizer, there is absolutely no need to smoke cannabis, and no one should. Any Politician citing excuses around smoking being bad for health should be soundly ignored, as no one is credibly arguing to smoke a medicine, This is already in line with the theoretical acceptability of Bedrocan, a standardized, granulated raw cannabis product, which MOH officials have said would be covered under the smoke free laws anyway.
  • GPs to prescribe. Schedule 22 of the current Misuse of Drugs Act needs changing so that all cannabis-based products can be prescribedby GPs. THC has a far better safety profile than other GP prescribed options such as Fentanyl, Diazepam, Methadone etc. This would also greatly reduces the barrier to access for patients, and would allow Cannabis to be prescribed as freely as Medicinal Cocaine. (theoretical, it’s on the books but no one prescribes it).
  • Notifiable prescribing. Instead of seeking Ministry approval to use Medical Cannabis, GPs should have a simple form to notify MOH of the prescribing, so MOH can gather data and look for unusual prescribing patterns. There is potential for this to become a survey of sorts and become part of the clinical data going forward – if there are several N=1 trials for a condition such as fibromyalgia for instance, the collective data may be used to measure benefit and even go as far as findings published in a medical journal article.
  • Made in NZ. It is important that the law is changed to allow Medical Cannabis to be grown for commercialized product. Our current law requires trials and facilities that could end up costing well over $20 million, for no ability to sell a finished, trialled product. Cultivation for trials has been legal since 1977 – yet it would be commercial suicide to undertake it in New Zealand.
  • A concerted medical education campaign. Many doctors are poorly informed when they talk to their patients about the benefits versus risks, and some try to avoid even prescribing Sativex to the point of misinforming the public. Even former NZMA chair Stephen Childs has made inaccurate statements on TV about the purity of the Botanically Derived Solution (BDS) that goes into Sativex. We note that the UICbranded symposiums held in Australia every year are hugely successful in bringing world-leading experts on Medical Cannabis to speak and generate conversation, piggy-backing off those efforts and mirroring that in New Zealand would go some way to addressing the barriers posed by senior Medical Staff.

– Shane le Brun, MZANZ Coordinator

Judge rules no copyright issue but fraud valid for extradition in Dotcom case

A judge has ruled in favour if Kim Dotcom on there being no equivalent “copyright” crime in New Zealand, but also ruled that Dotcom could be extradited on fraud charges.

NZH: Kim Dotcom legal saga: Extradition to US over Megaupload still on cards but he claims court ruling is a ‘major victory’

This latest legal milestone is this afternoon’s ruling from Justice Murray Gilbert who had been asked to overturn a decision that Dotcom was eligible for extradition to face criminal charges in the United States.

After five months of deliberation, Gilbert found that Dotcom remained eligible for extradition to the US – but not on copyright charges.

The judge found in favour of arguments put by Dotcom’s legal team, led by Ron Mansfield, that there was no equivalent “copyright” crime in New Zealand that would activate the extradition treaty.

However, the ruling also saw Justice Gilbert finding in favour of the US argument that Dotcom – and his three co-accused – could be extradited because it was at essence a “fraud” case and there was such a crime in the extradition treaty.

Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato face decades in a US prison after a 2012 raid brought down the Megaupload file-sharing super-site Megaupload they set up and ran.

In an interview with the Herald, Dotcom said the ruling was a “major victory” because it ruled that there was no New Zealand equivalent to the US criminal charges of copyright violation.

“The major part of this litigation has been won by this judgment – that copyright is not extraditable.

It may be a major battle win, but the war against extradition could still be lost.

The ruling today has created an unusual bureaucratic contradiction – the warrant which was served on Dotcom when he was arrested on January 20, 2012, stated he was being charged with “copyright” offences.

Likewise, the charges Dotcom will face in the US are founded in an alleged act of criminal copyright violation.

Mansfield also claimed victory, saying the case was no longer the “largest criminal copyright case”.

“As we have said all along, there is no such offence under our Copyright Act. We were right.

“To win the major plank of the case but to get that outcome is extremely disappointing. It is hard to accept the logic that, if the conduct that all accept at its heart relates to assertions of breach of copyright … how it can nonetheless be massaged into a general fraud offence.”

Lawyers acting for the US began referring to the case as one of “fraud” after months of hearings.

By the time of the extradition hearing in late 2015, it was a main plank of the case with the lawyer acting for the US, Christine Gordon QC, telling Judge Nevin Dawson: “When distractions are stripped away, the evidence boils down to a central scheme of fraud. The scale of that fraud and the way it was conducted might indeed be novel. This is mainly as a result of the reach of the internet and the behaviour of mass audiences.

“Yet the dishonesty at the core of Megaupload’s operation can be expressed in straight-forward terms. The basic features do not differ significantly from earlier cases of fraud against copyright owners.

“The respondents were part of a conspiracy. They deliberately attracted copyright infringing material to their website. They deliberately preserved it, deliberately took steps to profit from that material and made vast sums of money which they applied to various purposes knowing it had been unlawfully acquired.”

Both sides are expected to challenge aspects of the ruling before the Court of Appeal – and eventually the Supreme Court, if it accepts the case.

If the Supreme Court upholds the decisions of the District and High Court, the Minister of Justice is then able to sign the extradition order – which itself can be challenged in the courts.

On that basis, there are at least two years of Dotcom hearings yet to run.

It was five years ago, in 2012, that Dotcom and his associates were arrested in an over the top raid on his ‘mansion’.

 

Questions asked of Digital Advisory Group

Minister of Broadcasting Clare Curran is setting up a Digital Advisory group that will be consider 11 questions:

  1. What is the current state of the ICT sector and ICT capability throughout the economy, society, and government?
  2. What are the possible future scenarios and their relative merits?
  3. What would be required to achieve an optimal future state?
  4. What should a Blueprint for digital inclusion and digital enablement look like?
  5. How might we most effectively work together to build our digital economy, improve productivity and increase the economic benefits of the internet?
  6. How might we better understand the ‘digital divides’ between people who can have access to the internet and can use digital tools, and those who do not?
  7. What would it take to eliminate digital divides by 2020?
  8. How might we identify develop the skill sets needed for the work of the future?
  9. Do we need to take steps to accelerate/optimise infrastructure rollouts such as UFBl/2/2+, RBl2 and 5G? If so, what steps could and should we take?
  10. How should Government evolve its own ICT use in sectors where it plays a prominent role, such as health, education and justice?
  11. What would be needed for New Zealand to:
    1. Increase its position relative to other countries in measures like the Networked Readiness index
    2. Increase the amount that ICT contributes to GDP so that it is the second largest contributor to the economy by 2025?

Digital advisory group to be established

A new advisory group is to be set up to advise the Government on how it can build the digital economy and reduce digital divides.

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Government Digital Services Minister, Clare Curran, called for expressions of interest today.

“I’m committed to reducing the gap between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. This group will help us achieve that,” Ms Curran says.

“Digital technology is changing the way Kiwis live their lives, affecting the way we do business, work, and interact with each other and our communities. Given the pace at which our world is changing, we need to ensure no-one is left behind.

“The advisory group will bring immediate focus and a plan to ensure all Kiwis have affordable access to digital services, and the motivation, skills and trust to fully participate in our digital world.”

Its first task will be to provide advice to the Government on the development of a Blueprint for digital inclusion and digital enablement.

“I’m also keen for the group to consider possible future scenarios and identify what’s needed from government to enable everyone – businesses and individuals – to take advantage of the opportunities provided by digital technology,” Ms Curran says.

“There’ll be up to 15 people in the group, with the ability to bring in additional members or expertise to address particular issues. I’m particularly keen for it to reflect New Zealand’s diverse communities and to include all age groups and ethnicities, including perspectives from Māori.

“Genuine collaboration is needed if we are serious about increasing productivity, growing the digital economy and reducing the digital divides. That’s why I haven’t pre-determined the group’s membership and am seeking the best thinkers across the community.

“I want to harness the enthusiasm and great work that’s already happening across the country, and to see what we can deliver together for New Zealanders,” Ms Curran says.

Expressions of interest close on 31 January 2018. Terms of Reference and an application form is available at: : http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/science-innovation/digital-economy/dedimag

Note for Editors:

In her first scene setting speech at Nethui on 9 November the Minister set out her priorities which involved:

  • Setting up this advisory group and two others in three main portfolios areas to look at Broadcasting & Digital Media; ICT/ Communications; and Open Government. The brief for each is to build a consensus view of the current state of its sector, to pose scenarios of possible future states, and to state what would be required from Government to achieve the optimal future state. 
  • Laying the ground work for establishing the position of a ‘Chief Technology Officer for NZ’ with responsibility for preparing and overseeing a ‘National Digital Architecture’ or roadmap for the next 5-10 years.
  • A blueprint for digital inclusion
  • Setting the framework for the establishment of RNZ+ as the centre-piece for a full non-commercial, public media service for all New Zealanders.
  • Establishing a process for the pro-active release of government information
  • A framework for strengthening citizens’ rights in the digital environment

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/address-nethui-2017-aotea-centre-auckland

Slashing corporate tax “a Trillion-Dollar Blunder’

Corporate tax rates and rates of tax for the rich have long been argued about.

In New Zealand major changes in the 1980s were supposed to result in ‘trickle down’ and benefit everyone, with more jobs and more pay. Instead it delivered more profits and more inequality and more hardship for many.

The tax rate argument is raging in the US right now with Donald Trump’s massive tax shift progressing through the Republican led Congress and Senate.

Michael Bloomberg writes: This Tax Bill Is a Trillion-Dollar Blunder

CEOs aren’t waiting on a tax cut to “jump-start the economy” — a favorite phrase of politicians who have never run a company — or to hand out raises. It’s pure fantasy to think that the tax bill will lead to significantly higher wages and growth, as Republicans have promised. Had Congress actually listened to executives, or economists who study these issues carefully, it might have realized that.

Instead, Congress did what it always does: It put politics first. After spending the first nine months of the year trying to jam through a repeal of Obamacare without holding hearings, heeding independent analysis or seeking Democratic input, Republicans took the same approach to tax “reform” — and it shows.

The largest economic challenges we face include a skills crisis that our public schools are not addressing, crumbling infrastructure that imperils our global competitiveness, wage stagnation coupled with growing wealth inequality, and rising deficits that will worsen as more baby boomers retire.

The tax bill does nothing to address these challenges. In fact, it makes each of them worse.

The bill’s cost — $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion — makes it more difficult for taxpayers to afford Medicare and Social Security for the baby boom generation, which is now hitting retirement.

In effect, the tax bill achieves four main things:

  • It takes money away from schools and students.
  • It restricts our ability to invest in infrastructure.
  • It does nothing to boost real wages while making health insurance more expensive.
  • It makes it harder to control the costs of Medicare and Social Security without cutting defense and other spending — or further exploding the deficit.

To what end? To hand corporations big tax cuts they don’t need, while lowering the tax rate paid by those of us in the top bracket, and allowing the wealthy to shelter more of their estates.

Republicans in Congress will have to take responsibility for the bill’s harmful effects, but blame also falls on its cheerleader-in-chief, President Trump.

The tax bill is an economically indefensible blunder that will harm our future. The Republicans in Congress who must surely know it — and who have bucked party leaders before — should vote no.

A harsh critique.

 

USA gutting net neutrality

There is world wide concern over the potential effects of the 3-2 vote by the US Federal Communications Commission to overturn net-neutrality rules that have required Internet service providers to treat all online communications equally.

The Nation: Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to eliminate “the First Amendment of the Internet,” and in so doing it delivered the Trump administration’s most brutal blow yet to democracy in America.

Despite overwhelming public support for a free and open Internet, the CFC’s Trump-aligned majority engineered a 3-2 vote to overturn net-neutrality rules that have required Internet service providers to treat all online communications equally—and, in a related move, the commission majority rejected the authority of the FCC to protect a free and open Internet. Commission chair Ajit Pai, the telecommunications-industry lawyer who has done Donald Trump’s bidding in debates on a host of media and democracy issues, has cleared the way for service providers to establish information superhighways for political and corporate elites, while consigning communications from grassroots activists to digital dirt roads.

Addressing the American people on the day when the FCC dismissed millions of appeals on behalf of net neutrality, dissenting Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said Thursday: “What saddens me is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is abandoning you.”

That’s the words of one of the Commissioners.

Pai and his associates have moved to create what former FCC commissioner Michael Copps refers to as “a gatekeeper’s paradise,” where “our civic dialogue—the news and information upon which a successful self-governing society depends upon—would be further eroded.”

“Telecom and media consolidation have wreaked havoc with investigative journalism and turned political campaigns into a crass reality show and our ‘news’ into bottom-feeding infotainment,” warns Copps, who now works with Common Cause on media and democracy issues.

I don’t believe democracy can survive on such thin gruel. Throw in [the fact] that we, the people, will be paying ever-more exorbitant prices for this constricted future and you will understand why so many millions of people all across the land have contacted the FCC and Congress telling them to preserve our current net-neutrality rules.

I don’t know whether this will affect us here in New Zealand – it must to an extent. We are already suffering from a media rush to bland, populist click bait trivia.

Much of the debate about overturning net neutrality has been focused on the damage the move will do to consumers, and there can be no question that clearing the way for unprecedented profiteering by telecommunications corporations barters off our digital future to the same grifters who have turned broadcast- and cable-media platforms into vast wastelands of commercial excess.

But the biggest cost of eliminating net neutrality will be to the American experiment in citizen-driven dialogue, discourse, and decision making. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says:

The internet makes it easier for people to get organized and amplify their voices. Ending Net Neutrality will make it harder for the people to fight powerful interests.

That assessment was confirmed by activists who rallied outside the FCC headquarters Thursday. “You don’t have the modern day anti-police violence movement without the open Internet,” said editor and cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux.

“Saving the Net is a civil rights issue that effects Asian Americans across the US,” said Deepa Iyer, a senior fellow with the Center for Social Inclusion.

Symone Sanders, who served as press secretary for the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and is now a CNN commentator, said: “There is no resistance without a free and open Internet.”

Big business and profit motives are essential parts of modern society, but they need to have controls and limitations or they will have too much control and influence over our society.

Somewhat ironically Trump uses Twitter to bypass big media companies and speak straight to the people.

Both dissenting FCC commissioners, Clyburn and Rosenworcel, used their statements prior to Thursday’s vote to encourage resistance.

“I’m not going to give up—and neither should you,” says Rosenworcel.

If the arc of history is long, we are going to bend this toward a more just outcome. In the courts. In Congress. Wherever we need to go to ensure that Net Neutrality stays the law of the land. Because if you are conservative or progressive, you benefit from internet openness. If you come from a small town or big city, you benefit from Internet openness. If you are a company or non-profit, you benefit from Internet openness. If you are a start-up or an established business, you benefit from Internet openness. If you are a consumer or a creator, you benefit from Internet openness. If you believe in democracy, you benefit from Internet openness.

On a disappointing day for the defenders of democracy, the commissioner concluded by assuring them that this struggle is far from finished.

“So let’s persist. Let’s fight. Let’s not stop here or now,” declared Rosenworcel. “It’s too important. The future depends on it.”

The fight for freedom and neutrality on the Internet is not over, but it will be difficult.

There was some merit in ‘draining the swamp’ of bureaucratic control, but handing control over to big business may be a frying pan to fire sort of movement.

More views:

A new era of post baby boomer politics

Jacinda Ardern’s rapid rise to the top in politics this year has perhaps signalled the beginning of a new era in New Zealand politics, where there is a sudden surge in influence of politicians who weren’t born in the fifties or sixties (of last century).

Other politicians on the rise in Government, like Grant Robertson, James Shaw, David Clark, Megan Woods, Chris Hipkins, Tracey Martin and Julie Anne Genter are all new age MPs.

The odd one out of course is Winston Peters, but surely his career is just about over.

If old school National MPs slip away this term, as some of them should (like Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce)  then that will leave the way for younger MPs like Simon Bridges, Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop to wave the baby boomers goodbye and take over.

While many baby boomers may like to be given choices over their end of life if they are unfortunate enough to face an awful death, it is the influence of younger MPs who are leading the push to get the bill passed.

In his closing speech in the first reading of the bill – End of Life Choice Bill first reading – David Seymour rebuttal – David Seymour said:

I felt when I was listening to Bill English’s contribution that we were talking at each other from different ages. The age that a blanket prohibition on all end of life is required as the cornerstone of our law may have been a good argument in 1995. It may have even been a good argument in 2003.

It is not a good argument today because, as Chris Bishop so ably outlined, we now have almost a dozen jurisdictions around the world that have designed a law that does give choice to those who want it and protects those who want nothing to do with it whatsoever.

We are like ships in the night: one speaking from 1995; the other speaking from 2017 when so much of history has moved on.

The baby boomer ship hasn’t sunk yet, but it is sailing into the political sunset.

The sudden generational change is in part fortuitous – Seymour’s bill was drawn from the Members’ Bill ballot. But that was necessary because old school politicians and parties wouldn’t risk promoting it – Andrew Little deemed Maryan Street’s End of Life Choice bill “not a priority” and dumped it, so Seymour picked it up.

Little was also instrumental in the rise of Ardern, stepping aside as Labour was listing badly.

Old and middle aged are becoming dirty terms in some quarters. The dismissing of experienced opinions as now worthless is perhaps understandable but is often over the top and unwarranted.

But there is now doubt the influence of baby boomers dropped significantly over the last six months, and is likely to continue to fade.

I’m happy to see a new generation of ideas, enthusiasm and governance largely take over. The younger politicians have an opportunity to make a mark, and make New Zealand a better country in the modern era. They will no doubt have challenges but I think we will be in good hands.

However as a baby boomer I am not digging my grave yet, despite supporting an enlightened approach to euthanasia.

I will still give my two bobs’ worth of  opinions for a while (that’s showing my age). I’m not exactly a technophobe, I have grown up in the age of computers, having worked with them for over forty years (I wrote my first program on punch card in 1972), printing a conversion chart from Fahrenheit to Celsius – that also ages me a bit, but y memory isn’t shot, I still remember the calculation of minus 32, times 9 divided by 5.

But this is just baby boomer reminiscing about an era that is now becoming history, last century history.

I’ll keep chugging away here for a while yet, but if any youngsters want to contribute here with their two hundred dollars worth of opinion I’ll welcome a new era of ideas and angles.

And that’s what we are going to get in Parliament over this term and beyond – a new generation in politics. Revitalisation and different approaches in dealing with difficult issues are an essential part of a thriving country.

It won’t be that long until we have MPs who born in this millennium – it is possible next year, or next election. Chloe Swarbrick was born in 1994. I hope I don’t need to make an end of life choice before I see that happen.

 

Politicians for better or worse in 2017

It’s that time of year when pundits give their picks on the best and worst, and winners and losers in politics for the year.

For 2017, unsurprisingly, Jacinda Ardern is as the most successful and most influential. She was instrumental in a remarkable turn around in Labour’s fortunes leading into the election campaign, was responsible for perhaps a doubling of their support, and despite still trailing National by a significant margin she negotiated Labour into Government and herself into the role of Prime Minister.

Next year Ardern will be judged on her success or failure to manage a challenging three party coalition and prove some financial credibility.

Also in the positive lists are Winston Peters, James Shaw, Bill English and Trevor Mallard.

English also features in the failures, as and Metiria Turei and the Maori Party.

English made a decent job of Prime Minister when he took over from John Key a year ago, and had a decent campaign apart from allowing the possibly disastrous fiscal hole ploy by Steven Joyce. While he and National failed to retain their place in the Beehive that may have been an impossible task given Winston’s decisive position, and may be a longer term blessing for National if the new Government fails.

While Peters will be happy enough with the end result, negotiating his and NZ First’s way into Government and the Deputy Prime Minister role, he had been aiming much higher – at one stage he openly claimed NZ First could beat Labour and was hinting of a vote in the twenties or thirties, so 7% and now slipping in the polls is far less successful than he would have liked.

Ditto Shaw, but his party’s wobbles weren’t all his doing. Greens were confident of beating NZ First and competing head to head with Labour three months out from the election, until Turei’s terrible gamble turned to custard. The Greens were at real risk of missing the threshold, but a lot of hard work from Shaw in particular got them over the line and then into Government. Not being in Cabinet may be seen by some as a failure, but as their first experience in government it is probably the safest position to be in as they gain experience in partial power.

The Maori Party totally failed, and now have some hard work to do repairing the damage and finding a way back into Parliament. They have a mess to sort out, and may still rely on Labour’s record this term if they are to stand a chance of returning.

Trevor Mallard is getting some mentions. He was virtually invisible for most of the year, until he scored his dream job as Speaker.  His efforts to improve debate and behaviour in Parliament have been praised (including by me) but it will be an ongoing battle against old habits and petulance and barking madness.

David Parker also gets a mention or two. He is the most experienced Minister and has stepped up in his roles, although not everyone is happy with his efforts on trade and the CPTPP – the left don’t like it.

Most Ministers are finding their way.

I think Tracey Martin deserves a mention, she looks to be promising, sensible and willing to work with others.

Grant Robertson is in a prominent position in the Finance portfolio, but it’s too soon to tell whether he is up to it or not. Managing to contain the pressures to spend by Ministers wanting to make a mark, and dealing with outside financial influences will be a challenge.

Chris Hipkins has a lot of responsibilities and has stumbled a bit in the House, and and has rushed into education reform which may or may not turn out well.

Simon Bridges has also had some difficulty with his antics in Parliament and needs to get his balance right.

Kelvin Davis looked uncomfortable in a leadership role.

David Seymour succeeded in getting back into Epsom, failed in getting his party to improve, and then succeeded in getting his End Of Life Choices Bill past it’s first reading in Parliament so has ended on a positive.

Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell are significant ex-MPs. Dunne jumped before he was pushed by voters (with Labour’s resurgence under Ardern that looked inevitable). Flavell failed to keep his seat and failed to keep his party in Parliament.

Hone Harawira failed to make an impact on his attempted return.

Gareth Morgan did very well with his TOP Party in some respects, and did poorly in some of his communications and interactions online, so failed, getting less than half way to the threshold.

Todd Barclay fell from grace badly.

While not an MP Matt McCarten proved again why he is more of a liability than a political asset.

New Zealand survived the year in fairly good shape financially, with enough money available (possibly) to address problems faced by the less fortunate and less well off in our society. So prospects look good unless you want to get into the housing market and don’t have much money.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Media watch – Saturday

16 December 2017

MediaWatch

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.

Open Forum – Saturday

16 December 2017

Forum

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. 

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Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

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.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria.

Free speech is an important principle here but some people who might pose a risk to the site will have to keep going through moderation due to abuses by a small number of malicious people.