Green Minister criticised for ‘rubber stamping’ foreign purchases of land

Green MP and Minister of Land Information Eugenie Sage is under fire again, this time for approving 21 applications to sell land to ‘foreigners’.

I think this illustrates the contrast between the ideals when in opposition and the reality of Government responsibilities – “I’m bound by the law, and as a minister, I implement the law.”

RNZ:  Green MP Eugenie Sage accused of ‘rubber-stamping’ land sales to foreigners

Eugenie Sage is being accused of continuing National’s practice of “rubber-stamping” the sale of sensitive land to foreigners.

New figures reveal the land information minister and Green MP has approved nearly every application to cross her desk over nine months, rejecting just 30 hectares out of almost 60,000 hectares.

Between 1 November and 26 July, Ms Sage approved 21 applications covering about 55,957 hectares. She turned down two requests relating to 30 hectares.

But Ms Sage said most of approved land – roughly 40,000 hectares – related to the sale of Mount White Station, a sheep and beef farm in Canterbury.

In that case, the Czech buyer already had permanent residency and his wife and children were New Zealand citizens.

“There was very limited opportunity for discretion because … it had only been triggered as an application under the Overseas Investment Act because he was out of the country for a period.

“I’m bound by the law, and as a minister, I implement the law.”

Many of the other applications related to forestry which was a government priority area, she said.

“We need more investment in forestry to meet the billion trees’ commitment to ensure that we are sequestering enough carbon to meet our climate change objectives.”

There appears to be a clash of policy priorities here – something common in Government, especially when several parties want different things done.

But I think that Labour and NZ First had both campaigned against foreign purchases of land, so all three parties seem to have taken different positions on this once in power.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford is warning the news will stir up more disquiet among the party’s supporters after an earlier backlash over Ms Sage’s decision to allow a Chinese water bottling giant to expand.

“Her role is meaningless. The party’s role is meaningless,” Ms Bradford told RNZ.

She was shocked Ms Sage approved the sale of so much land to overseas people.

“It’s virtually just rubber-stamping.

“You’d think that either [the Greens would] move their person out of the role or they’d negotiate a damn sight harder with their coalition partners about changing policy on it.”

Bradford has never experienced being in Government.

Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa spokesperson Murray Horton said the approval rate made a “mockery” of the government’s promises to curb foreign investment.

“The Greens need to be a bit bolder, frankly. They’re in government for the first time ever.

“They have a mandate from their members and the people who vote for them to actually establish a point of difference.”

A mandate from 6% of voters is hardly a mandate to make bold changes.

It could also be argued that there is no mandate for Labour+NZ First+Greens to slash foreign purchases because that was never put to the voters as a joint policy.

However some changes have been made, and it is subject to one of the many reviews initiated by the current Government:

The government extended the Overseas Investment Office’s oversight in November and banned house sales to most foreigners in August.

Ministers also directed officials to review the Overseas Investment Act with changes expected by 2020.

Perhaps they can jointly seek a mandate in the next election for stopping foreign purchases.


More pressure on Sage: Minister challenged over Mackenzie greening (Newshub)

Crown decisions are allowing greater agricultural intensification in the Mackenzie Basin, new research has found.

The academic research, published last week in the Journal of NZ Grasslands, and funded by the business ministry, reveals two-thirds of intensive development in the Mackenzie since 2003 has been on Crown-owned land or land freeholded through tenure review. (Tenure review is a voluntary process which allows farmers to buy a portion of a Crown-owned pastoral lease, with the balance added to the conservation estate.) That reversed the trend before 2003, when almost two-thirds of intensification was on land that was already privately owned.

A big factor in the increase in farm developments was discretionary consents issued by the Commissioner of Crown Lands on pastoral leases.

Given Eugenie Sage is minister of both Land Information and Conservation, the article says it’s clear who has the power to make enduring and effective changes, to protect vulnerable land. “It is the Crown itself that can change its patterns of decisions to alter the trends in intensification. The choice and the power reside with the Minister of Land Information.”

Being a Minister can be a tough job.

Ghahraman reveals domestic violence, gets abused

In an interview Green MP Golriz Gahraman has revealed she has been the victim of domestic abuse – ‘I got strangled’ – and has again been the victim of reprehensible abuse on Twitter.

In an interview with Vice, the Green MP discussed the disproportionate amount of threatening messages she receives online – more, she says, than politicians much more powerful than her.

She said she’s had first-hand experience with how verbal abuse can quickly spiral into physical violence because she was once in a deeply unhealthy relationship.

“I’d go out with my friends, there’d always be a massive fight,” she said.

“I couldn’t turn on my phone because every time I’d turn it on I’d just get a barrage of messages that would just be something like, ‘slut-slut-slut-slut-slut,’ or ‘bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch’. And I’d just be like, ‘oh well I’ve got to turn my phone off’.”

The relationship got worse and worse, to the point where her partner began hurting her.

“Eventually, it got really physical. It was just like pushing and shaking and whatever. And then it got to a point where a couple of times I got strangled.”

This is awful, but if you follow court news in New Zealand you will know that this sort of abuse and violence is not uncommon (and gets worse than as described here).

Here is the full interview:

Some of the responses:

It wasn’t just on Twitter. SB at Whale Oil: Great News: Social Justice Warrior & virtue signaller extraordinaire may quit

It seems that the Green list MP we love to hate for her mistruths, incompetence, general stupidity and activism has finally seen the writing on the wall. However, given this nobody list MP’s penchant for the limelight I suspect that she has zero intention of actually quitting. 

In the article, the criticism and the facts revealed by critics were dismissed as baseless trolling likely fueled by racism. Golriz is portrayed as a poor widdle immigrant who just wants to be loved. A  fragile figure, who needs protection from the harsh reality of life and who seems astounded that her words and actions have consequences in the real world. Why can’t everyone just be nice?

The article also reveals another reason why we should be sympathetic towards a woman who spent her time as an intern helping defending violent and murderous men. One of her previous relationships was with a violent man and she is a survivor of domestic violence.

Atkins quotes the Vice account of the domestic abuse she has been subjected to and responds:

Her lying by omission and the role the Green party played in the deception is explained.

Given how much ‘lying by omission’ and deception Slater et al have been involved in this is hypocritical, and also sick.

And highly ironic given his recent post playing the victim and seeking sympathy and donations.

In comments, Nige:

She describes anyone who asks her about her past as a right wing troll.

Given Nige’s prominence in supporting and promoting Whale Oil as  self described ‘super-blog’ and still claiming to be ‘the fastest-growing media organisation in New Zealand’ perhaps it’s time to starting asking questions about his past.

There are a number of typically nasty comments, with blog manager Spanish Bride joining in (in reaction to “Is she predicting the Greens will be wiped out at the next election?”):

If she and her fellow Gunts keep up with the economy wreaking and activist behaviour it just might happen ( fingers crossed).

She is deeply involved in an activist blog often intent on political career ‘wreaking’ (sic). There are a few fingers crossed that Whale Oil may be wiped out before the next election (I think it may survive in some form).

The Whale Oil post became a part of the Twitter attack on Ghahraman:

This is a crappy indictment on social media and political blogging in New Zealand, albeit just an extreme portion of it.

I expected some nasty comments on Kiwiblog, but there are no posts and no comments I can see in General Debate – perhaps David Farrar is moderating on this topic. If so, good on him, it should happen more there.

I’ve been critical of Ghahraman as an MP, and I have my doubts she will succeed in politics unless she learns from her mistakes and improves somewhat.

But I think there is no excuse for the levels of abuse (the latest being just more of the same old crap that has been thrown at her) that she has inflicted on her.

Domestic abuse is a huge problem in New Zealand. There are many victims scattered across all demographics. Abusing people who publicly reveal the abuse they have suffered is despicable, and with an MP it is dirty, dirty politics.

It is difficult to stop individual cretins using via social media (confronting and standing up to them is one way that may help).

‘Media organisations’ and blogs that join the fray – and lead the baying bullshit – should also be confronted for their crappy behaviour and their promoting of crappy behaviour.

 

Marama Davidson running for Green co-leadership

Nominations opened for the Green party co-leadership on Friday (and close next Friday).

First to announce their bid: Marama Davidson announces run Green Party co-leader

Green MP Marama Davidson has officially announced her bid to be the new co-leader of the Green Party.

The position has been vacant since Metiria Turei resigned in August, but the party’s constitution mandates that there must be a male and female co-leader.

Davidson is the first contender out the gate and picked by many as the favourite. Nominations opened on Friday and will close next Friday.

This is unlikely to surprise anyone, it was well signalled. While Davidson only became an MP in 2015 (filling the list gap left when Russel Normal resigned) she rapidly rose to be #2 on the Green list in last year’s election. She is seen as the MP closest to Turei in politics, as well as being female and Maori.

“I’ve decided to stand for Co-leader of the Green Party because I am the best placed to build a strong, cohesive and diverse movement to bring about transformative social, environmental and economic change,” she said.

“To deliver on all of the Green Party visions and policies that our people and our environment so desperately need, we must return to Parliament in 2020 with much greater numbers and as an even stronger and more significant part of the next Government.”

“It’s unfortunate that any of us get stuck into one little corner. But it’s also something I’m not scared of being framed as,” Davidson said.

“I’m certainly proud of my connections to the very communities who have borne the brunt of all the economic and social failures that this country has seen over decades.”

Said she was comfortable with being seen as the left-wing candidate in the race – that means very left wing, it’s likely all candidates (like all Green MPs) will be left wing-ish at least.

Election timeline:

Fri Feb 2 – Nominations open – all female current Green Party members are eligible to run

Fri Feb 9 – Nominations close

Mon Feb 12 – Full list of nominations announced, however candidates can individually announce their candidacy any time after nominations have opened and they’ve filed their paperwork

Sat Mar 3 – Co-leader candidate session at Green Party policy conference in Napier (open to media, details to be advised closer to the time)

Sun Mar 25 – All delegates Zoom (video) call with Co-leader candidates.  This will be a virtual version of what normally happens at AGM with co-leader candidates giving speeches and answering questions from delegates

Mon Mar 26 – End of official campaigning

Mon Mar 26 to Sat Apr 7 – branch consultation and delegates cast their ballots

Sat Apr 7 – Balloting closes

Sun Apr 8 – Ballot counting and winner announced

On Chloe Swarbrick’s maiden speech

The youngest MP in Parliament is Green Chloe Swarbrick.It is very early days in her political career, she has a lot to learn and perhaps a lot to achieve.

Here is her maiden speech in Parliament.

Transcript: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1711/S00099/chloe-swarbrick-maiden-speech.htm

Some responses to this from Reddit, which includes references to Golriz Ghahraman.

ProVagrant:

The message I took was more like “I want to change politicians’ awareness of people” – or something along that vein. Have I misread?

I found the speech meandered quite a bit. Too many unconnected anecdotes. I have kids in intermediate school so I’m familiar with this style of writing being the designated proofreader 🙂

It will be interesting to see how she will influence parliament, and vice-versa.

The Zizekiest:

To be fair the speech itself was a little bit too over the place to have a clear, coherent, single message.

I think the take away is this:

  1. Politicians are too distanced from the reality of issues they deal with
  2. This needs to change
  3. The way to change this is for ordinary people to get more involved in politics
  4. To get more people involved in politics we need to change their perception of what politics is

So, in a way, the speech was saying “we need to change people’s awareness of what politics is, so that we can change politicians’ awareness of people.”

IDK, all I can say is I hope the Green party don’t pay for speech writers.

burgercake:

cool if you could point out the examples of progressive policy change where New Zealand has led or followed fast (universal suffrage, recognition of indigenous rights, legalisation of homosexuality, marriage equality being good examples) have progressed without some level of discomfort particularly from the swathes of people who turn out to oppose them I’ll be waiting, but I suspect I’ll be waiting for a while

scatteringlargesse:

What is awful is her statement that “we’ve been ahead of the policy curve – leading where all others eventually follow”.

Even apart from the sadly typical “holier than thou” Green attitude it’s just wrong. I don’t see everyone following their policy to outlaw and not even consider GM foods. I don’t see everyone following their policy to not regulate alternative medicine. I don’t see everyone following their policy to impose tourism levies. I don’t see everyone following their policies to impose capital gains tax.

xxihostile:

Watched her entire speech, it was incredibly moving and she is such an eloquent person. So glad that she is in parliament.

burnt_out_dude:

I must be one of the few people that isn’t really a fan of Chloe or Golriz. Both seem to be stereotypical social justice warriors that are out of touch with reality. Rather than focus on real problems in NZ Golriz seems obsessed with Manus Island – there are hundreds of millions of people around the world in much worse situations than them.

Also does she ever open her mouth without playing up the refugee angle. Apparently her parents were middle class Iranians – certainly not persecuted dissidents or refugees struggling to survive. When they fled to NZ the war with Iraq had already been over for several years.

Chloe used to make more sense with her focus on actual issues – now she is all over the place complaining about white male privilege etc. If white male privilege exists I’m still waiting to benefit from it. Next time I’m living out of my car I hope white male privilege helps me get a good night’s sleep.

Seriously why are there so many wackos on the left and right. I’d settle for some politicians that focused on real problems in NZ with some decent evidence based policies. (Sadly it seems like Gareth Morgan is not going to be that person).

AristocratesSR:

She’s not saying that all men are better off than all woman. It’s a topic of averages, and the simple fact is that on average women face more discrimination for their gender than men. The wage-gap, sexual assault – even look at our female leaders. How many times is Jacinda Ardern called a horse? Paula Bennett, a pig? Helen Clark a number of things all pertaining to a looks, which men rarely suffer from.

Primus81:

You got any links/source on the white male privliege thing? I’m curious because I haven’t seen those arguments been made.

I’ve found her complaining seen middle/old white men being over represented in parliament, which I don’t think anyone would disagree with somewhat

although myself I think part of that issue is because of the ‘age’ and the ‘male’ demographic, since younger people and females are under represented. With other ethnicities besides Maori having only grown significantly in the last 20 or 30 years and being made up alot by recent immigrants, you can’t expect them to all have representation as fast as they immigratel. it also has the issue if these ethnicities are only located in very few city electorates, and not widespread around the country it’s hard to sell to the public for voting, that they represent NZ.

chajman:

Last year Chloe Swarbrick was running for mayor in Auckland. She had a number of sound policies (that she developed in collaboration with various experts and ordinary Aucklanders), including a reform of the rating system and several other proposals that were capable of attracting people from across the wider political spectrum. She focused on uniting, rather than dividing people.

It is a bit disappointing to see that over the last year she has become much more of a partisan social justice warrior and a walking megaphone shouting empty or polarising slogans than someone interested in building bridges, stimulating calm debates and proposing reason-based solutions.

She used to propose real reforms. Today she runs much more murky crusades, fights (via empty slogans) against “white privilege”, “patriarchy” etc. Maybe her voters like this kind of stuff, but it’s pretty clear (at least to me) that her strength and attractiveness during the mayoral campaign was in policies that went beyond these polarising ideological battles.

justpeachy42:

i mean they’ve literally joined a political party for the purpose of trying to put in place workable solutions to solve real problems facing nzers – whether you agree with their politics or not, you cannot deny that the green party has not, in the past, passed and assisted to pass a large amount of legislation that has done exactly that. now they’re a part of that, so what exactly is your issue?

they’re legislators now, does it get any better than for actually being able to create systemic change for nzers? what would you rather they spent their time doing if you hate them being in parliament so much but still insist that they come up with workable solutions to change nzers lives?

also, maiden speeches are not policy speeches – they’re to introduce yourself to parliament and to nz. it’s common practice that you talk about yourself and your life, and what motivated you to get into politics so that people get a feel for who you are. nobody uses their maiden speech to set out their plan for their next members bill in detail.

There are a lot more comments than that, this is just a bunch of discussion prompters.

Swarbrick may be a new generation politician – a different generation even to Jacinda Ardern, but she has to learn how to work in Parliament, with with her constituency and with MPs from other parties.

Golriz Ghahraman’s refugee past

New MP Golriz Ghahraman is described on the Green website:

Middle Eastern feminism, Green activism and work in international justice have instilled a deep commitment to defending democracy for the most vulnerable.

Golriz is an Iranian-Kiwi refugee, lucky to escape war and persecution as a child.

At 35 she is also relatively young for an MP, immigrating here from Iran with her family as a 9 year old in 1990.

Golriz is promoted as “the first MP to have entered New Zealand as a refugee”, and this is covered in a profile at The Wireless.

She has become widely known as the first former refugee to run for New Zealand Parliament and, at only 35 years old, has made a name for herself as an Oxford graduate and human rights lawyer, working on high-profile cases such as this recent family carers case.

Ghahraman and her parents came to New Zealand as asylum seekers, as opposed to quota refugees. Where quota refugees often have their status as refugees determined before they reach their destination, asylum seekers must first travel to their destination and go through a legal process in order to be able to gain refugee status.

“Basically,” Ghahraman says, “the standard for refugee status is that you have to prove that you have a well-founded fear of persecution, based on one of the grounds in the Refugee Convention, [some of which are] nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, or political belief. So it’s actually quite limited and the standard is really high in terms of persecution, like, it can’t just be discrimination or something like that, it has to be that you’re facing torture or death or imprisonment.”

It was the “political belief” ground on which Ghahraman’s family sought refugee status. They had been opposed to the regime in a rather vocal way, which had ended up becoming dangerous for the family. Ghahraman tells a story about her mother, who had studied psychology, applying for jobs but refusing to sit the religious exam, and being vocal about it being an unethical requirement for work.

“All I remember growing up is people talking about how we needed to get out, and how our phones were tapped. The repression was really quite real… My parents were in the revolution trying to overturn the previous regime, and then they ended up with this far more oppressive regime.

So it’s kind of a tragic situation having this entire population or generation of people who are really engaged with democracy issues, and then suddenly the lid is really violently put on their movement.”

There have been and are tragic political and social situations all over the world. Accepting victims of them as refugees is something we should welcome and accept in New Zealand, where we are lucky to enjoy political and religious freedoms that billions of people don’t.

Golriz is a welcome (by me) addition to the diversity in New Zealand parliament. It won’t be easy, like any new MP she has a lot to learn. I hope she learns well and does well.

Green unsolicited text

I received this text yesterday:

Peter can Greens count on your party vote 23 Sept?
Reply Yes/Maybe/No?

Auth G Shaw 1/17 Gerrett St Wgtn,
Opt-out reply STOP.

I have no idea how they got my phone number.

I am not going to reply my voting inclination or to opt out, because that may result in more political spam.

The  Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 and DIA Common questions about spam complaints states that spam is illegal if commercial, so political spam may not apply.

So I’ll just put this down to political intrusiveness.

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?

Metiria Turei’s AGM speech

Metiria Turei’s keynote speech to the 2016 Green AGM/conference in which she announces a  clean river policy (Greens have campaigned on cleaning up rivers for years but there must be something new in this).

“I am the River, and the River is me”
Metiria Turei
Speech to Green Party AGM, 5 June 2016

Tenei au e tu whakaiti nei, i raro i a Ranginui i runga i a Papatuanuku, e titiro ki nga maunga whakahi me nga tini uri of Tane

Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, e te ti, e te ta, tena koutou katoa.

Ki ngā iwi me ngā hapū katoa o te rohe, mihi atu ki a koutou e pupuri tonu ana ki te mana o te whenua nei.

A ka huri au ki te hunga Kākāriki – anei tātou kei mua I nga kaupapa o te ra nei, anei taku mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa.

E rere kau mai te Awa nui
Mai i te Kāhui Maunga ki Tangaroa
Ko au te Awa, ko te Awa ko au

The Great River flows
From the Mountains to the Sea
I am the River, and the River is me

This whakataukī speaks of the awa, the river, as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea, its tributaries and all its physical and spiritual elements. It speaks of the indivisible connection that we have as people, all people, to the life that comes from water.

Ko Tararua te maunga, Ko Ruamahunga te awa, Ko Metiria Turei ahau.

One of my rivers, my awa, is the Ruamahanga which flows from the beautiful Tararua Ranges, down through the Wairarapa lowlands. It winds lazily down to Lake Onoke before it meets Raukawa Moana and then Te Moana nui a Kiwa.

And I say it is worth saving.

The Green Party says it is worth saving.

My awa is a stunningly beautiful river. In the old days the abundant tuna, longfin eels, were a taonga for my tupuna and they still are. The Ruamahanga was the lifeblood of the rohe, its beating heart.

But now its lifeblood is diminished – and that’s why we need to Change the Government.

When my dad and his brothers and sisters were growing up, the river was their playground. They learned to catch tuna off its banks.

But in recent years, our river has been treated badly. She leaves the ranges pristine, but then she meets Masterton, where for decades, sewage was dumped into the river.

She passes by farms where farmers have taken water from her to grow their crops and filled her with nitrogen run-off. She has been tampered with so she no longer flows into Lake Wairarapa.

Sediment washes into her, which clogs her up like someone with a bad cold. By the time she reaches Lake Onoke, the pristine water from the ranges is unrecognisable, as is the river itself.

This is the same story that’s repeated throughout the country. Rivers so poisoned by pollution they’re not safe enough for kids’ to swim in, let alone drink from.

National likes to say this is just the way it is.

And they’re right, this is the way it is when you choose to defend polluters, rather than to protect our rivers.

This is the way it is if you ignore the risk to our environment, to our society, and yes, to our economy.

But our rivers don’t need to continue their decline.

That’s why we need to Change the Government.

Because the alternative, is that if we clean up our rivers, we bring them back to life again. And the good news is we can. Aotearoa has the resources, and we have the know-how to clean up our rivers and protect the wild places that we love.

We just need a Government prepared to make it happen.

So next year, when are in Government – with the Labour Party – the Green Party will set out to save New Zealand’s rivers. I’m pledging today that we will make our rivers clean enough to swim in again.

We’ll save our rivers because it is the right thing to do.

We’ll save our rivers because we believe it’s time for New Zealand to be the cleaner and fairer place that all Kiwis want. Our rivers, like our kids, can’t afford to wait any longer.

We will show what’s possible and in so doing we’ll annihilate one of the lies of this National Government: the lie that our rivers are beyond hope, and that the best we can get is water clean enough to wade through.

We know it will take a strong Government committed to protecting our environment and working alongside every community to save our rivers. And the Greens are ready to do just that.

So we have identified 10 precious and loved rivers to highlight how bad government has injured them and how good government can help fix them.

• The Wairua
• The Kaipātiki/Lucas Creek
• The Waikato
• The Tarawera
• The Waitara
• The Tukituki
• The Ruamāhanga
• The Manawatū
• The Waikirikiri/Selwyn
• The Mataura

From the Mataura in the South, to the Wairua in the North, we will be touring each of these rivers, looking at all the things that threaten them – from over-intensified dairy farms to sewerage to industrial pollution.

And we will look at all the solutions people in our communities are coming up with, the solutions that will clean them up and protect our rivers from pollution.

We will work with iwi and communities who are already champions for these rivers and help build even more support through a Swimmable not Wadeable rivers petition.

We will inspire and be inspired by the amazing work of thousands of New Zealanders who every day are protecting the birthright of our kids by protecting our rivers and our environment.

I want all of us in this room, and all of our members and supporters, to get in behind this campaign.

I want you to talk to as many people as possible about it.

To ask them if they think our rivers should be swimmable.

And to ask them to sign the petition to make that goal a reality.

Lots of us are out campaigning at the moment for the Local Body Elections. That campaign is a great opportunity for the Greens to be talking about the importance of rivers. And the rivers campaign is a great opportunity to build our Local Body campaign.

Because I know that New Zealanders everywhere care deeply about water. It’s a great way to connect with people about Green values.

Because I know that the Green Party is leading the way on solutions and others are taking notice.

National is taking notice – and believe me it knows its weak response to pollution and to giving our water away for free is hurting it.

When people are standing up and saying no, National notices.

When more and more farmers are getting behind environmental initiatives, National notices.

When even Dairy NZ is beginning to say that less intensive farms, organic farms, with added value are more profitable than a high volume, high impact approach – National notices.

National is getting its wake up call on this issue. But National will continue to do as little as they can, for as long as they can.

That’s why we need to Change the Government.

In Government the Green Party will do all we can to limit the amount of pollution going into rivers so that they are safe for our kids to swim in.

The Green Party will put a moratorium on new dairy conversions, support land based sewage solutions, put filters on stormwater drains, and plant and fence land around waterways.

We will put a price on the commercial use of water and use that for water restoration projects by hapu and communities. The Ashburton people have our full support.

Our National Environmental Standard (NES) for water quality will require councils to ensure that our rivers are clean enough for swimming.

This will support the National Policy Statement on water and help bring it into effect. We would make sure it set maximum levels for nitrate, phosphorus, zinc, cadmium and other pollutants allowed in our rivers.

And we support Maori as kaitiaki of water.

This is just the start. There is so much more.

Already, people like you, all around the country are working to clean up their rivers. You’ve already started showing the National Government what can be done, and you’ve already started making New Zealand the cleaner and fairer place that all Kiwis want. You’re doing what’s right, what’s needed, to protect the precious places that we love.

And for that hard work I think the Government should have your back.

That’s why we need to Change the Government.

Because the National Government honestly doesn’t care if you and I go without the things we treasure, like clean air and water, if its friends can get further ahead.

John Key thinks our rivers are in pretty good shape. That tells me that the so called brighter future that National promised is really only for its chosen few, and it’s costing the rest of us our way of life.

In last week’s Budget we learned that you and I are subsidising industries that are belching out climate damaging carbon, to the tune of $2 billion.

We’re effectively paying those industries to pollute. Meanwhile, we’re having to subsidise them by putting more and more public money into cleaning up the rivers they’re polluting.

The $100 million promised in the Budget by the Government is only $10 million a year, and the money doesn’t kick in for years. That isn’t enough to clean up our waterways, and doesn’t address the causes of pollution like intensive dairying.

The supposed Freshwater Improvement Fund of just $10 million a year is a drop in the bucket of what is needed to make our rivers safe for swimming.

And on top of that the Fund can be used for irrigation!

That’s right, like a cow pooing in the creek, the fund is already so fouled it can be used to further pollute the waterways.

This is typical National Party, talk big, do bugger all.

Thankfully for my awa, the Ruamahunga, there are lots of people who are working hard to restore her health – my hapu, Ngati Moe, are planting native shrubs at the edge of the river to soak up nitrogen run off and are working to restore fat and healthy tuna and other native fish and Wairarapa farmers committed to protecting the river from nutrients. There are changes being made to the sewerage system, working groups listening to the community about what they want for the river, and volunteers getting kids interested in replenishing her with tuna too.

Yes, you can still swim in the upper reaches of the Ruamahanga, and many do. It’s glorious up there, before it hits the towns. And yes, there are still some tuna, but they need help getting down to the sea on their once-in-a-lifetime journey to breed.

And yes, I agree, water is necessary to grow crops and keep livestock healthy.
But what the National Government doesn’t appreciate is that water – like the rest of nature – is never free.

When National gives water away and allows businesses to pump their pollution into our air and waterways for free, the rest of us bear the cost.

We always bear the cost.

You and I know, that if we really want clean rivers, if we want a fair country that’s as good as it can be, we need to change the Government.

By backing those who’re already well ahead, National is denying young families the chance to buy a warm, safe home for their kids to grow up in, it’s robbing us of the rivers we love to swim in, and it’s costing New Zealand the opportunity to make the transition to a cleaner, more prosperous future.

The Green Party understands that in order to have the best country possible, we need to take care of ourselves, of each other and the rivers and wild places that we love.

We think it’s time for New Zealand to be the cleaner and fairer place that all Kiwis want. But for it to happen we need a Government prepared to do all it can rather than as little as it can get away with.

To do what’s right, not just what’s easy.

Aotearoa New Zealand can have clean rivers, we can have warm houses and we can have meaningful jobs that pay enough for families to thrive, if we make good changes now.

Our ten rivers campaign shows what’s possible, with a Government prepared to do all that it can.

We can make rivers clean enough to swim in again.

So let’s get started and let’s CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT!

Green versus glitz

Metiria Turei was interviewed on The Nation this morning, it was slogan overload with an absence of substance or reality. I’ll post examples when the transcript is available.

Imagery illustrates a major problem for Green appeal.

Turei (photo posted by Greens on Twitter):

Previous co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons:

Green versus glitz.

We didn’t have the green thing back then

This is being sharedon Facebook, a responses to “Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. 
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a r azor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

‘My generaton’ – or my parent’s generation, was certainly much different.

We didn’t have Farmers’ Markets, we grew out own fruit and vegetables and shared them around the neighbourhood.

We had a lot of hand-me down clothes.

My mother darned socks. She knitted jerseys – I often helped her recycle wool by unpicking old jerseys and knitting new ones.

We didn’t have bedroom heating. I used a hot water bottle, and then someone older would grab it when I had gone to sleep and use it.

But…

My parents changed. I changed. The world changed. New Zealand changed. A lot.