Peters promises to fix medicinal cannabis bill ‘defects’…

…sort of. He only agreed that Parliament would make it better, vaguely.

The medical cannabis bill currently being considered by Parliament hit a stalemate in the Health Committee that could not reach agreement so couldn’t recommend it. Final report (Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill) [PDF 595k]


The Health Committee has examined the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill. We have been unable to reach agreement and therefore cannot recommend that the bill proceed.

Winston Peters was asked about this on Q & A last night:

Corrin Dann: Can you put party politics aside and for the chronic pain sufferers out there tonight, give them an assurance that you will try and make a bill that is better than Labour’s, and maybe a bit of a halfway house? Will you do something?

Winston Peters: Well on two counts. We’ve put party politics aside more than any other party. That’s why we argued for a long time for the referendum. And we were on our own on that score.

But on this matter, I mean it’s a bit rich for Mr bridges to be saying that when his former minister [Peter Dunne] said that he’d been trying to do that, that’s what he’s talking about now, for the last nine years and he’d been blocked by his colleagues.

Corrin Dann: I get that it’s cynical, it’s a stunt, call it what you will…

Winston Peters: …and wearing a green tie doesn’t cut it.

Corrin Dann: For the people at home who are chronic suffers, under Labour’s bill you effectively have to be terminal, don’t you, in order to be able to get access to the cannabis.

Winston Peters: Well not quite like that, but let me just say…

Corrin Dann: …Will you go further though?

Winston Peters: Well I’ve made it very clear, and I’m certain it goes for a whole lot of people in Parliament as well, that they want to put politics aside. They don’t like these sort of tactics, and in the full committee of the House we’ll have a real chance to make any appropriate changes if we can.

But these people [chronic pain sufferers] can’t wait.

But the National Party bill for example would not have helped Helen Kelly. So if there are defects on both sides of the proposals, let’s fix them up. I agree with you.

Corrin Dann: You’ll make it better?

Winston Peters: Yes.

Peters saying he will make things very clear is no guarantee he will do that. Often the opposite. And he was not veery clear about what he will do, or can do.

And Peters blaming others for playing politics is a tad hypocritical,

Nevertheless, Peters may be an important factor in fixing a flawed bill.

Q+A: Winston Peters

From NZ Q and A last night: acting Prime Minister Winston Peters ‘having the time of his life’

1 News: Winston Peters tells Q+A’s Corin Dann Jacinda Ardern likely to take back reigns as PM this Thursday

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will likely be back on deck in the top job this Thursday, after nearly six weeks of maternity leave following the birth of baby Neve.

Acting PM Winston Peters told TVNZ’s Q+A last night he will be leaving the country on Thursday to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Jacinda Ardern, yes on Thursday, as the plane leaves the ground,” Mr Peters said of Ms Ardern returning

Hehir: ‘he didn’t give much of an answer about anything’

No Q and A today

There is no Q+A today. It’s tonight instead. They have moved it from Sunday morning to Sunday night at 9:30 pm. They are promoting it as a great move to prime time.

That isn’t prime time for me. A 9:30 pm start means a 10:30 pm finish. I’m unlikely to join them.

And it means they they don’t have their evening news maker.

So far I can’t even see what tonight’s interviews will be.


Q+A: piles of recycling problems

On Q+A today:

Coming up at 9am: New Zealanders are rubbish at recycling and now that China is refusing to take the waste we do recycle, piles of plastic are building up all over the country. Corin will ask Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage what the Government will do.

And former Labour MP Georgina Beyer has been invited to speak at the Oxford Union in England later this year – what will she tell the famous debating society?

Plus, last week New Zealand sent a delegation to the UN in Geneva to report on the progress we’ve been making on eliminating discrimination against women. Dr Jackie Blue, NZ’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, explains why NZ still gets low marks for our domestic violence record.

Our panel: Josie Pagani, Kaapua Smith and Ashley Church.

This is the last time Q+A wil pay on a Sunday morning. Next week they shift to 9:30 pm on Sunday – I’m less likely to watch it then.

Q+A today – business and trade

On Q+A this morning:

Why is business feeling so gloomy? Surveys show business confidence has been persistently low since the Labour led Government took office. Corin Dann talks to Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Plus, what could an NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement mean for you? And will European farmers give up some of the subsidies that make trade harder for our food producers? European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom joins us.

Is synthetic food going to be safe?

There’s growing interest in things like fake meet – laboratory concocted food. It is seen as potentially a better alternative to meat to feed a growing world population.

But is is safe? I think it’s too soon to tell.

There was an interesting item about this in Q&A this morning.

The general rule is that the less processed food is the better it is for us. Our digestive systems have slowly evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, and are used to diverse diets of plants and meats.

The rapid change to processed foods is leading to problems like obesity and the proliferation of diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

A sudden switch to super processed foods would be very risky. It will take many years, perhaps decades, to prove whether it is safe and whether it is healthy.

And there’s this.

I presume she is alluding to patent protection of methods of food processing.  This raises serious issues about the potential control of food production by large multi-national companies.

What if companies suppress adverse information to protect their products and markets? That’s been done before (and is still being done).

What if large companies push their products via marketing to a gullible public when it could cause major health problems.

That’s being done already as well.

This probably won’t be much of a problem for me – I can keep running a few sheep, and other meats are likely to be available for yonks, as long as the Greens don’t take over the Government.

But the health of future generations may have some big things to deal with with food supply. The future of human existence could be at stake.

Back to the headline question – is synthetic food going to be safe? I don’t think anyone can answer that with anything close to certainty.

Q+A – interview with Jacinda Ardern

Ardern says they ‘will be’ the transformative government they promised.

It’s mostly a fairly general discussion with little of note revealed.

Ardern says that if a Labour Minister scandal comes up while Peters is acting PM she will handle any own party discipline.

Q+A: Minister of Health David Clark

On Q+A this morning Corin Dann will be interviewing Health Minister David Clark.

I hope there are things of substance to answer questions on. Some health issues have been deferred to committees, like the Mental Health Inquiry.

And while key spending decisions have probably been made they won’t be revealed until the budget in mid-May, unless Clark has been allowed to feed some information in advance (National used to pre-release a lot of budget information).

Clark will likely be asked about conflicting claims from Clark on the condition of Middlemore Hospital buildings, but is likely to be prepared with explanations, evasions or diversions.

The first segment was on general health delivery and funding. Apart from the announcement of new DHB board chairs replacing people moved on bt Clark it was all vague ‘wait-and-see’ as has become the norm for ministers pre-budget, with gentle indications that all promises may not be delivered on.

An a lot of parroted slogans.

Middlemore was glossed over.

The second segment is on mental health. When asked ‘when?’ he talks in generalities again. Wait for the inquiry to report back, again.

Asked if they can deliver on policies – “we will continue to roll out that policy” but more “that will be revealed in the budget”.

A lot of comments like “grappling with issues” and “seeking good advice” and “working through a process”.

Dunedin Hospital rebuild? An announcement is pending.  Perhaps it is imminent this time, but there has been quite a few deferred announcements on this. I’ve heard that something is indeed imminent, but until it goes public we will just have to remain sceptical.

Ardern interview on Russia

From an interview of Jacinda Ardern on Q & A:

Was it Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: Corin, I’ve been very clear in avoiding saying it was Russia.

But that doesn’t…will you actually say that Russia is responsible?

Jacinda Ardern: We are in exactly the same position as our allies, we stood up in the Hague and avoided saying it was Russia. We have been clear in our statements on this that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia. We’ve made sure the UK is clear on our position as well that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia.

Will you consider sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: That’s something that we’re avoiding saying.

So you’re not ruling out the possibility of sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: This is the purpose of why we’re staying in touch. We’re not ruling anything in or out. We are unequivocally equivocal.

If you consider Russia is responsible, why are you talking about a free trade deal?

Jacinda Ardern: We talk a lot. All the time. Many conversations.

So are we not doing a free trade deal with them? Winston says we are.

Jacinda Ardern: As I’ve pointed out in recent times and as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named himself says, we’re avoiding saying we’re not doing a free trade deal with them and hinting that we will in the future.

So because of the attack you will not now do a free trade deal with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: We’ll avoid saying that we won’t and hint that we will in the future.

Why was a Russia deal even in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I’ll blither a bit and end it by avoiding saying it was Russia. Ask another question.

You said that Values were going to be a driving force in how you make your decisions. Why’d you put Russia in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: We’re still going to obey the letter of the sanctions. We can just work around them.

The point is that that’s not the same as taking a principled stand. The Nats wanted an FTA – it didn’t want to put it on hold but it did, because of the whole principled stand and Values thing. You on the other hand agreed in the coalition agreement to put it back on the table.

Jacinda Ardern: I have to correct you there. They put the FTA on ice and applied travel sanctions but there was still trade. No-one has said that we would not apply the sanctions, but we’ll do the still trading bit and put the FTA back in the oven. The coalition agreement says “striving towards”. Here this means we’re sort-of not really maybe reheating it. Because we stand alongside our partners.

So you’re not saying they’re completely off the table? Or maybe you are saying that? It’s got me fucked.

Jacinda Ardern: Right now, I’m avoiding saying either way. Or both ways.

You would have heard the UK going WTF? Which is it?

Jacinda Ardern: The only point that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named made is one that I will now describe as immaterial. I am here to make the point that I am avoiding saying it was Russia.

Are we prepared to sacrifice EU/UK trade deals to flirt with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: I’ve consistently said that we say we prioritise the EU agreement but we don’t name them in the coalition agreement. Just Russia. Who we’re avoiding saying an FTA is off the table with. When we named Russia in the coalition agreement, and didn’t name the EU in that agreement we were not thinking at all about Russia. We were totally focused on the EU. We had not officially resumed FTA talks with Russia, just unofficially. And now I’m telling you we will hint about resuming them in the indeterminate future.

Have you spoken to Winston Peters ever about why he’s pumping for a Russia FTA? Especially when he always votes against FTAs? Did you ask? It seems very odd that Russia is specifically singled out as the one to spoon.

Jacinda Ardern: I’m very clear on the fact that he didn’t tell me a thing and in fact we haven’t even spoken at all in the past week so I’ll talk about fairness. Of course, I’ll avoid saying it was Russia.

Who sets foreign policy in your government?

Jacinda Ardern: Aah..errr…Wi..thee…Us! Collectively! Of course both of he-who-shall-not-be-named have a role to play. And myself. I’m playing a role now.

Winston’s staying all sorts of stuff that’s completely out of sync with you lot.

Jacinda Ardern: I would dispute that. The language has all involved double meanings so we can interpret it in a way that suits us and the Values we work around. Rather like the phrase “flying Emirates”. We have all consistently avoided saying Russia did it.

Winston’s been less hinty that it was the Russians than you.

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I would like to hint some more, without actually saying the Russians did it. That’s a simple statement of fact. Hope this clarifies.

From Full interview: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sits down with Corin Dann after a challenging week for her leadership – by Oligosomanigripnata, headed “A bit of paraphrasing” (as should have quickly become obvious).

Q+A – new poll plus Colmar Brunton interview

Q+A this morning will have the first Colmar brunton polls results since the election, plus an interview on Colmar’ Brunton’s changed methodology (which may make poll comparisons difficult):

We’ll have the results of our Colmar Brunton political poll – which political party will get an early Christmas present?

Jessica Mutch will also interview Jason Shoebridge – the CEO of Kantar Insights, the parent company of Colmar Brunton. He’ll talk about why Colmar Brunton has changed its methodology for its TVNZ political polling.

Colmar Brunton are now polling 50% mobile phones.

The poll with have some curiosity value.

  • National 46% (election 44.4%)
  • Labour 39% (election 36.9%)
  • NZ First 5% (election 7.2%)
  • Greens 7% (election 6.3%)
  • TOP 1% (election 2.4%)
  • Maori Party 1% (election 1.2%)
  • ACT NR (election 0.5%)

So an unusual situation where the leading party in Government remains the second most popular party by a clear margin.

NZ First should be concerned to see their support slipping.

They are rounded to the nearest % (more detailed results are usually published a few days later), hence no result for ACT here.

Is New Zealand heading in the right direction?

  • Right direction 51%
  • Wrong direction 26%
  • Don’t know 27%

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 37%
  • Bill English 28%
  • Winston Peters 5%

Not surprising to see Ardern ahead there. She was already doing well, and has been getting more media coverage.