Anti-free speech litigation versus anti-free speech petition

Last week Bob Jones included some inflammatory comments in an NBR article. As a result of reaction NBR pulled the column and said they would no longer publish columns from Jones.

In reaction Renae Maihi started a petition asking that the Prime Minister strip Jones of his knighthood, calling the column ‘a vile racist rant’.

Stuff: Tens of thousands sign petition to strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood

Acclaimed film-maker Renae Maihi started the petition on Thursday morning. “There is public support for this, somebody can’t get away with hate speech like that and not be held to account,” she said.

Maihi is upset by what Jones wrote in his regular National Business Review column last week, under the title ‘Time for a Troll’. He said a new public holiday should be introduced called Māori Gratitude Day instead of Waitangi Day.

“I have in mind a public holiday where Maoris bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash & polish our cars & so on, out of gratitude for existing.” Jones also commented on children, blood quantum and suicide.

“I think he went beyond trolling, it’s hate speech,” Maihi said.

Maihi admits it’s unlikely Jones will lose his knighthood but will continue to collect signatures and approach the Prime Minister formally at a later date.

“He’s been honoured amongst a group of people that are meant to inspire and I just don’t think he’s very inspirational at all with those extreme racist comments. I just don’t think he deserves to be called a Sir anymore.”

Obviously Maihi had a right to criticise Jones, but I criticised her attempt to punish Jones for exercising his right to free speech. See Anti-Jones petition worse than inflammatory column.

Now Jones is threatening to punish Maihi for what she said about him through the courts.

Newshub: Sir Bob Jones threatens legal action against anti-racist petition

Sir Bob Jones has threatened legal action against filmmaker Renae Maihi, after she started a petition to have him stripped of his knighthood.

Sir Bob told RadioLIVE’s Ryan Bridge that his column was clearly satirical and he would sue Ms Maihi for defamation.

“For God’s sake, if anyone can take that literally, they’ve got serious problems,” he said. “It’s basically a mickey-take on issues of the day.

“I will be issuing proceedings against this woman for defamation, because I take particular exception when she uses the word ‘hate’. I don’t hate anyone.”

That seems like a heavy handed anti-free speech act that only someone with a lot of money could afford to do.

An over the top reaction to an over the top petition in reaction to over the top comments in a column.

Maihi remains staunch – for now: Film-maker stands her ground over petition against Sir Bob Jones

The woman behind a petition to strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood is standing her ground, despite the threat of being sued by the property magnate.

In a statement, Maihi told Fairfax she would not be taking down the petition, which had received more than 49,700 signatures by 5.40pm today.

“People like Bob Jones need to understand that the privilege they have in society also comes with a responsibility, and at a bare minimum that includes not writing flagrant hate speech in the media,” the statement reads.

Just yesterday she wrote on her Facebook page that she welcomed further support.

“Support welcome, I’ll need it – clearly he’s one of the wealthiest men in this country and I am not,” the post reads.

“I will always stand up for the mana of our children.”

A later update on the Facebook page showed she had been offered assistance from lawyers.

Sir Bob told One News earlier this week that the column was a “p*sstake” and that he took exception to it being called hate speech.

“I won’t sue her for a lot because that would seem like I’m bullying her,” he said.

Both he and Maihi are taking excessive action in response to the speech of others.

Perhaps Jones’ threat is just another piss-take.

Anti-Jones petition worse than inflammatory column

Bob Jones wrote a racially inflammatory column for NBR, which was pased by at least one editor who added a subheading ‘Time for a Troll’.

There was an uproar on social media, and NBR likely received some scathing criticism directly. So the column was taken down from the NBR sitre and they decided to dispense with any Jones’ writings, as they have a right to choose to do.

See ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated.

But it hasn’t ended there. Someone has started a petition demanding that Jones be stripped of his knighthood.  Strip racist “Sir” Bob Jones of his Knighthood – Read his vile rant here.

Renae Maihi started this petition to Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern

On Waitangi Day 2018 the NBR published a vile racist rant by “Sir” Bob Jones on their website. You can read it for yourself below. This pitiful & severely uneducated attack is not to be tolerated in New Zealand, Aotearoa: a country founded on a partnership between 2 peoples. We are better than that. I know we are.

Bob Jones no longer deserves to carry the title of “Sir.” He does not represent us. Our children do not need to read or hear such things. Times up Dinosaur. You are the minority.

In signing this petition we urge you, our Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern to take his Knighthood away from him. It is in your power. Set a precedent for the country & a message that this will not be tolerated & hate speech of this type is not welcome here.  Kia kaha tātou.

Jones’ ‘rant’ was then quoted in full.

What Maihi has done, along those indignant protesters on social media who revived and circulated his column after NBR took it down, is give it a far bigger audience than it would have had with just the NBR paying audience. It went from a limited paywalled audience to anyone who wanted to be offended. It made the six o’clock news via the petition.

Petitions are simple to set up online, you only need to type and click (unless you’re Labour or the Greens or National who set up petitions as a means of harvesting contact information). As a result there are a multitude of pointless petitions. Despite offering the opportunity to run a petition I doubt many of any change much if anything.

The petition comments were people having their say.Like:

Horrible man inciting racism.

Fair enough. But some were at least as bad as what Jones wrote.

Free speech does not give you the right to spew hate. Strip this awful man of whatever honours this country bestowed on him in error. Hes scum!

People like this do not deserve to live in this country…. or at all #OnlyAmericaIsRacist

I don’t feel any affinity for the title, but I’m sure it would piss BJ off immensely to be stripped of it, so let’s make it happen.

bob is an egg. Who is he anyway..??.does he pay his fair share of tax… he is a bigot and probably going senile, at least his pic makes him look 100+. I might start a petition to legalise involuntary euthenasia to deal with these demented types…who are a threat to society….put them out their misery…clearly i jest. He likely has some Maori rellies…they should rally together and go rough him up a bit…just enough to give him a stroke and then he can live out the rest of his amazing life as a cucumber…for now he should remove the one thats deeply wedged up his arse and thank his lucky stars that his ancestors were blessed enough to avoid the buffet …back in the day when much of Polynesia had a penchant for pickled pakeha and missionary mornay…tastes like chicken I hear.

This is an absolute disgrace & should not be tolerated!

There is growing intolerance of people saying controversial things.

This petition is worse than futile – it is another example of an insidious trend, to punish people who say things that others don’t like.

Jones was free to write something inflammatory and stupid. NBR was free to publish it, as they were free to unpublish the online version. And anyone that didn’t like it was free to criticise it and heap scorn on Jones.

But trying to punish Jones by stripping him of his knighthood is worse than writing something stupid, much worse. It is anti-free speech, and deserves scorn and condemnation.

If course Maihi was free to express herself via the petition. I disagree with her aim, strongly, even though I can’t understand why Jones got a knighthood in the first place, that deserves scorn as well. Knighthoods seem to be a dime a dozen for rich people.

This is disgusting. Someone who promotes such abhorrent discrimination should never hold a title that warrants such respect and prestige.

I disagree in part, I don’t think titles hold much respect or prestige.

I might start a petition to call for a ban on stupid petitions. Especially insidious anti-free speech petitions.

He is not a knight or role model for our tamariki, mokopuna from Aotearoa. Go back to where ever you came from.

As far as I know Jones comes from New Zealand, just like Bridget. At least he doesn’t (as far as I know) tell people to piss off out of the country if he disagrees with them.

Nikki is unwittingly contradictory:

I really hope my daughter didn’t read this. I hope this is not the reason she decided to stay home all day on Waitangi Day. All children deserve to live in a world without prejudice, a world where all people feel accepted, where rave, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and any other reason that makes up a human bi, is not used to exclude. We should be practising inclusiveness. Sir belongs to someone who is honourable and honours our country. It doesn’t belong to him.

Inclusiveness surely means accepting that some people should be able to say things you don’t like.

I suspect there is a typo – “a world where all people feel accepted, where rave…is not used to exclude”.

Who has raved and tried to exclude the most – Jones or the petitioners?

Petition to ‘save’ road of ‘national importance’

The Opposition has started early this year with two National MPs launching a petition in a purported “bid to save road of national significance”.

The Greens especially and also Labour used petitions as an Opposition tactic last term.

Press release from the National Party: MPs launch bid to save road of national significance

National MPs Todd Muller, MP for Bay of Plenty and Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel have today launched a campaign to ensure the Katikati to Tauranga four-lane Road of National Significance proceeds as planned by the previous National Government.

“The previous National-led Government had committed to a large number of important regional highway projects right around New Zealand, including the delivery of not only the Tauranga Northern Link (TNL) and the Katikati bypass, but also a full four-lane motorway from Tauranga to Katikati,” Mr Simpson says.
“These projects would greatly improve safety and travel times, better connect our regions and boost regional economic growth. However, the new Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, has now indicated a number of these projects are under review.

“The by-pass of Katikati was warmly welcomed locally and this critical investment must go ahead with construction of the TNL beginning this year as planned. The road must also go all the way to Tauranga because that stretch of highway is currently one of the most dangerous in the country.”

“The Road of National Significance that includes the TNL would see a continuous four-lane State Highway with wide lanes, grade separated intersections and other safety measures stretching from Tauranga to Katikati,” Mr Muller says.

“I am particularly focused on ensuring our Omokoroa community is provided with a grade separated connection onto State Highway 2, and the work has to start immediately.
“This investment is critically important for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region and the Government has wrongly thrown the project into uncertainty.
“Our local National team will be pushing the Government to commit to the project and we encourage the public to show their support and ensure our region’s voice is heard loud and clear through signing this petition.”

The petition can be found here.

The petition states:

Support the Katikati to Tauranga Road of National Significance

The Katikati to Tauranga Road of National Significance is needed to greatly improve safety, shorten travel times, better connect our regions and boost economic development.

State Highway 2 is one of the most dangerous stretched of road in the country, however the new Transport Minister is failing to commit to the project.

Add your name, and let Phil Twyford know that he needs to back our regions.

Twyford is the new Minister of Transport.

Like Green and Labour ‘petitions’ this one seems to be an attempt to harvest contact information. It insists on email address, first and last name, and also prompts for Mobile phone number, and defaults to ticking ‘Send me text message updates’.

Most people are likely to have there things on things other than Katikati to Tauranga roading at this time of year.

It’s debatable whether the road being petitioned for is of ‘national importance’ but it is of National (Party, the Opposition) importance.

I’m not sure how much political petitions have had on public opinion, opinion polls or elections, but I doubt if it’s much.


National-Green government?

There has been a lot of suggestions that National and Greens should at least consider a governing arrangement.

This would provide an alternative to NZ First calling all the shots, but it won’t happen because too many Greens supporters would rather not do anything about the climate, the rivers or inequality rather than try to achieve something with National. So they are left hoping for to pick up crumbs from a Labour-NZ First arrangement, or get nothing.

Talk of Greens working with National seems to have touched a few raw nerves, because their is a lot of defensiveness and angst expressed when it comes up.

This hastn’t stoped it being talked about.

Stuff Editorial: Grand opportunity for Greens to grow

…would the Greens be happy to remain hidden in the dense, verdant bush of the foothills or should they instead push on to the rarefied air of the government benches?

There are reasons why they might not: political militancy operates like muscle memory within the party and green and blue do not appear to mix as well as green and red.

But there are also good reasons why National and the Greens getting together makes sense – for both parties.

The latter only just survived this election, but their brand was damaged, not helped by their continual denial of Turei’s role in their near-downfall.

They have three years to rebuild. Those three years might be spent in relative obscurity on the opposition benches waiting for the tide to turn red in 2020. Or they could be three years on the front foot, implementing an agenda that has so far been kept at a safe political distance by others.

A Green Party with the environment portfolio and a few runs on the board might not only survive but thrive ahead of the next election, picking up the people who deserted them in the previous cycle, and potentially others who have toyed with support in the past but ultimately been turned off by their lack of pragmatism and inability to compromise.

Lance Wiggs:  John – the real issue here is results, not dance partners

John Hart has written a series of tweets about why a Blue Green coalition wold not work.

That saddens me. It’s the politics of can’t, or lack of hope. A smart party would be working all sides of a deal to find the bet path forward for their policies.

Eric Crampton (Offsetting Behaviour): For a teal coalition

So. All of Left-Twitter figures that anyone wanting a blue-green coalition are either shills for National who want to destroy the Greens, because coalition would destroy the Greens, or useful idiots for those shills.

Count me as one of the idiots then, because some of the objections just aren’t making sense to me – or if they are right, they perhaps don’t work in the way that’s being suggested.

Received Wisdom from Twitter-Left is that if James Shaw were to bring a substantive environmental policy offer to his party’s members for approval, the act of doing so would destroy the Greens by bringing to the fore an internal schism between the Greens’ social and economic left, and the Greens’ environmentalists.

Count me as one of the honest idiots in this mess. It’s all wheels within wheels, and the whole thing has a bit of a tar-baby feel to it: “No, National, please don’t make us a very sound policy offer with lots of environmental concessions in it. That’s the last thing we’d want! It would destroy us if you did it. Please don’t do it!” And where Shaw has spent the last few years developing an immunity to Iocane powder, who knows what level anybody’s playing this game at.

If an offer to the Greens skews things against a coalition with Winston, that makes things more complicated – though I don’t know why he should be the only one able to play both sides. Leaving that to one side, I still think National should offer a sincere strong environmental policy bundle to the Greens.

And for what it’s worth, this is not the first time such a coalition has here been proposed:

And here’s an old TVHE post arguing for the same thing.

It’s an idea that has long been suggested, and devoutly ruled out by the Greens who are too afraid of failing to try something with National.

They would rather have a 100% of bugger all rather than trying for 10-15% of Government.

A petition has been started: Show your support for the idea of a National/Green govt.

That current has 3,752 supporters (one of whom is me).

Water petition

Petition have been frequently used to promote or oppose various issues, and many seem to have been organised by the same activist group or groups.

But this one is coming from a different angle – like most of the others it’s unlikely to make much if any difference, but it’s an interesting shift in target for a politicallu motivated petition.


We don’t support your water tax because:

  1. You can’t tell us what the impact of the tax will be on food producers, jobs, communities & food prices
  2. You are only taxing some users of water – you need to treat all commercial users the same
  3. Our least swimmable rivers will receive minimal funding
  4. You don’t know how much of the tax will actually go to rivers
  5. You don’t have a plan showing how you will spend the tax or how it will help rivers
  6. The tax will divide communities – when we all need to work together to make our rivers ‘swimmable’
This petition will be delivered to:

  • New Zealand Labour Party
    Jacinda Ardern – Labour Party Leader

Hosking should moderate election debates

I’m not a fan of Mike Hosking. I rarely watch or listen to him or read his opinion pieces.

He has been named as moderator for the 1 News Debates and some on the left are trying to kick up a storm and get him kicked off the debates. For this reason, trying to demand who shouldn’t be involved, I think Hosking should remain as moderator.

In any case he did a good job of moderating debates last election. The opposition to him moderating is just another example of social media pettiness.

Jacinda Ardern has said she doesn’t care who the moderator will be, she will be focussed on her opponent, Bill English. As she should be.

1 News:  TVNZ’s election leaders debate dates and coverage team for September’s vote revealed

Newstalk ZB and Seven Sharp host Mike Hosking will be the moderator for the three televised leaders debates while Breakfast host Jack Tame will lead the Young Voters Debate.

The leaders debates between National Party’s Bill English and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern will take place on August 31 and September 20 at 7pm.

A multi-party debate on September 8 will bring together the potential coalition partners of the major parties, while the young voters debate will take place on September 14.

Action Station have started yet another lame petition:  Replace Mike Hosking as Election Debate Presenter

Please replace Mike Hosking as the host for the upcoming election debates on August 31, September 14 and September 20. Hosking is well known for his aggressively right wing views in his segments as a political commentator. As such, Hosking cannot be trusted to present each candidate fairly in a moderated debate.

Section 4(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 requires broadcasters to maintain standards consistent with the principle that when controversial issues of public importance are discussed, reasonable efforts are made, or reasonable opportunities are given, to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.

I’m not aware of any evidence or record that should rule Hosking out.

Why is this important?

It is vital that the nationally broadcasted election debates offer an unbiased opportunity for candidates representing their political parties to debate on policies. Mike Hosking’s socially irresponsible style of presenting has led to public campaigns for his removal, notably his comments on Andrew Judd in 2016. Hosking is an inappropriate choice to present the election debates in a fair, unbiased manner.

It’s important that activist groups do not get to dictate who should moderate debates.

This petition is ridiculous. It will probably get a similar number of signatures (actually clicks online) that all the other organised Action Station petitions get.

Parliamentary report on medically assisted dying

In June 2015 a petition was presented to Parliament from then MP Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others requesting:

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

Parliament’s Health Committee has just released their report on this. It looks in detail into many aspects of assisted dying and euthanasia.

This is a separate process to the Private Members’ Bill of David Seymour that was drawn from the ballot earlier this year, which hasn’t had it’s First Reading in Parliament yet (unlikely before the election).

Report on the petition of Hon Maryan Street presented

During its consideration of the petition, more than 21,000 individuals and organisations submitted their views to the committee. Over 108 hours, 944 people took the opportunity to share their opinions.

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


The Health Committee has considered Petition 2014/18 of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974
others and recommends that the House take note of its report.

This report gives us the opportunity to summarise, for the benefit of the House and the
public, what we heard and considered during our review of more than 21,000 submissions from the petitio extremely contentious. We therefore encourage everyone with an interest in the subject to read the report in full, and to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence presented in it.


The petitioner, Hon Maryan Street, was a member of Parliament between 2005 and 2014.
While a member, she sought to introduce the End of Life Options Bill as a member’s bill.
The purpose of this bill was to provide individuals with a choice about how they end their life and allow them to receive assistance from a medical practitioner to die under certain circumstances. The petition originated with the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand (VES) before being adopted formally by Hon Maryan Street. Since leaving
Parliament, Ms Street has become the President of VES.

There have been two first reading debates in Parliament on similar bills. Both were
unsuccessful. In 1995, members voted 61 to 29 against Michael Laws’ Death with Dignity
Bill. In 2003, members voted 60 to 58 against Peter Brown’s Death with Dignity Bill.
The petitioner’s bill was formally removed from the members’ bill ballot in December

Full report here


We thank the petitioner for bringing this petition before the committee and encouraging us to ascertain the views of New Zealanders on ending one’s life in this country. We appreciate that people come from a range of backgrounds and that this is a subject on which people hold strong views. We believe that the written submission and oral hearing process has provided a platform for people to share these views and discuss the issues with us. This report gives us an opportunity to summarise what we heard for the benefit of the House and the public.

Eighty percent of submitters were opposed to a change in legislation that would allow assisted dying and euthanasia. Submitters primarily argued that the public would be endangered. They cited concern for vulnerable people, such as the elderly and the disabled, those with mental illnesses, and those susceptible to coercion. Others argued that life has an innate value and that introducing assisted dying and euthanasia would explicitly undermine that idea. To do so would suggest that some lives are worth more than others. There were also concerns that, once introduced, eligibility for assisted dying would rapidly expand well beyond what was first intended.

Supporters of assisted dying feared their loss of dignity, independence, and physical and mental capacity. Submitters also spoke about the fear of pain and of having to watch loved ones suffer from a painful death. Supporters stressed their personal autonomy and that they should have the choice as to when to end their life.

Many submitters discussed their experiences of palliative care. We commend the service
given by palliative care providers and hospices. However, we were concerned to hear that there is a lack of awareness about the role of palliative care, that access to it is unequal, and that there are concerns about the sustainability of the workforce. We urge the Government to consider ways in which it can better communicate the excellent services that palliative carers provide, address the unequal access, consider how palliative care is funded, and address the workforce shortages.

The relationship between assisted dying and suicide was a common concern for submitters. Some believe that assisted dying should not be considered until New Zealand’s high suicide rate is reduced. Others believe that the lack of assisted dying legislation means that people are more likely to suicide.

We recognise that a lot of work and investment has gone into suicide prevention programmes and support services. However, we were concerned to hear that people feel that there is a lack of grief counselling. We therefore encourage the Government to investigate improving access to these services.

We have not made any recommendations about introducing assisted dying legislation. We understand that decisions on issues like this are generally a conscience vote.

The petitioner asked us to investigate attitudes towards the introduction of legislation that would permit assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable. However, some submitters thought that the criteria would or should be broader than terminal illness or an irreversible condition. This has made it difficult for us to consider what the safeguards should be. We were particularly concerned about protecting vulnerable people, such as individuals with dementia or reduced capacity. Some of us remain unconvinced that the models seen overseas provide adequate protection for vulnerable people.

We would like to thank all of the submitters for sharing their stories with us and for the
respect submitters showed for opposing views when they appeared before the committee.

This issue is clearly very complicated, very divisive, and extremely contentious.

We therefore encourage everyone with an interest in the subject to read the report in full and to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence we have presented.

New Zealand First minority view

New Zealand First congratulates the petitioner for bringing this issue before the Select Committee. Medically-assisted dying is a serious matter and is so serious that it is not one that should be taken by temporarily empowered politicians. New Zealand First cannot support such a fundamental change without a clear sign that this is the will of most New Zealanders. That would be achieved by either a binding Citizens’ Initiated Referendum, or a Government Initiated Referendum held with a future General Election thus allowing for a period of informed debate.

Public broadcaster funding

At a time when private media is being severely squeezed by shrinking advertising revenue, and they react by sacking journalists and dumbing down the news, there may be more need for publicly funded news and current affairs.

Radio New Zealand has had it’s funding frozen for ‘at least 8 years’. Should more funding boost what they can do?

I have tried breakfast television and largely given up on both TV and TV3. Too bland and padded with pap. So I know listen to RNZ from 6 am, they are much more informative.

I’m not a fan of everything RNZ does – I listen to a bit of John Campbell while driving in the afternoon and while he covers some interesting things he can be over the top with his advocacy and delivery – but I think they are an essential part of New Zealand’s media mix.

A peition that has been running over the last year is being given another push leading up to May’s budget.

Increase funding for Radio New Zealand in this year’s Budget. (Petition still going)

Radio New Zealand Limited, New Zealand’s only public service broadcaster. It delivers high-quality, impartial, journalism and a wide variety of content, including coverage of issues in the Pacific region. This organisation has had its funding frozen for at least eight years.

RNZ deserves a funding increase in this year’s Budget because it needs to be properly resourced, not just this year, but in future years so that it can continue to deliver on its charter and provide the same standard of content that has given RNZ its fine reputation.

Please sign this petition if you care about the future of RNZ and share it with your networks.

Labour’s health petition whopper

This week’s petition from Labour is aimed at fixing our tax system. Perhaps Labour should aim at on fixing their honesty, or their research or maths.

Sign this petition

To the New Zealand Government

Fund our health system properly so New Zealanders can get the treatment they need.

That’s hopelessly vague. More detail:

Sign the petition to fix our health system

In just six years, National has cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system.

Every day we hear stories of how these cuts are impacting Kiwis’ lives. Stories of struggling to pay for the GP; missing out on the medicines they need; and health professionals who are exhausted and overstretched. It’s not right and we have to fix it.

To fix our system, we need to make sure Kiwis know this is a vital issue and they need to vote to change the Government at the election next year.

To make sure health is an election issue, we need to build a massive campaign calling on the Government to ensure the health system can provide the services Kiwis need. A huge petition can’t be ignored and together we can make sure health gets the attention it needs.

A petition this vague, huge or otherwise, will be easily ignored. Health funding is a big issue but this won’t do anything to help our health system.

Plus there is nothing from Labour about how they might ‘fix’ our health system.

Has the Government cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system?

The Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2016 (BEFU) published on 26 May 2016, health spending from Treasury’s Core Crown Expense Table (billions):

  • 2011 – $13.753
  • 2012 – $14.160
  • 2013 – $14.498
  • 2014 – $14.898
  • 2015 – $15.058
  • 2016 – $15.635
  • Forecast for 2017 – $16.214

That’s an increase of $2.461 billion, not a decrease of $1.7 billion as claimed in the petition.

Perhaps Labour is using some different numbers, but with no details it’s impossible to tell how they have come up with a whopping reduction.

It looks more like a whopper of a lie.

Medicinal cannabis petition presented

A medicinal cannabis petition was presented to parliament today.

RNZ: Alex Renton’s mum presents reform petition to Parliament

A woman whose son died of severe epilepsy has presented a petition with more than 15,000 signatures to Parliament, urging the government to make medicinal cannabis more readily available.

Rose Renton’s 19-year-old son Alex Renton died in Wellington Hospital last year, after suffering from status epilepticus – an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure.

Part of his treatment before his death was medicinal cannabis, which Mrs Renton said provided him with some relief, but was given to him too late.

A report by Wellington Hospital specialists said the oil had no effect on his underlying seizures, and medical staff never saw any improvement.

There’s a range of products becoming available and it was a gamble that the one chosen may make a difference. There was no time nor any easy ability to try alternatives.

But Mrs Renton said Alex had died peacefully.

“A lot of those drugs that were so heavily layered over the months leading up to his death were taken off and drastically reduced and the [cannabis] oil doses were increased.”

The process to acquire the oil and get approval to use it was drawn out and far from easy, Mrs Renton said.

Medicinal cannabis was only granted after a long battle with medical staff for backing, and after 43 other drugs had failed.

Keeping pressure on Parliament, along with overseas moves to more freedom to use medicinal cannabis overseas, may eventually get our Government to move with the times and for the needs of people who suffer.