Destiny Church demands access to prisons, Ministers respond

Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church had a rally at Parliament demanding access to prisons with two programmes they have developed, but Tamaki has been told to go through the normal channels and make a formal application, and Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis has made pointed response.

RNZ: Destiny Church rallies at Parliament for access to prisons

An estimated 2000 Destiny Church supporters rallied at Parliament this afternoon demanding access to prisons for their rehabilitation programmes, and millions of dollars in funding.

The leader of the church, Brian Tamaki, says his Man Up and Legacy programmes have helped hundreds of people turn their lives around, many of whom have spent years in the criminal justice system.

Man Up’s website describes the 15-week programme as a link to a ‘brotherhood’, which helps men identify and understand issues in their lives, and work through them for a more stable future.

The Corrections Department said it had never received a formal application from Destiny Church to deliver Man Up or Legacy in prisons.

The Justice Minister Andrew Little said the church had also never applied for funding.

“I’m not trying to point the finger of blame here, let’s just understand what it is that the issues are for [Mr Tamaki] and his Man Up programme and let’s see if we can pull something together which helps the government achieve its objectives which is reducing family violence and reducing the number of folks going to prison.”

The Employment Minister Willie Jackson said if the Destiny Church went through the proper channels then they could be able to get into prisons and get the funding they needed.

“I think that’s the problem here is that they actually haven’t gone through a formal process in terms of applications, so let’s see what they come up with.”

Brian Tamaki however appeared unwilling to play ball.

“Go through the channels? Well how come the Prime Minister can assign $30 million without even consulting to the Papua New Guinean Government and they misused it, and they have billions of dollars for pine trees and I’m talking about just a little bit of money for people.”

“I’ve been waiting for 20 years and I’m doing the business without taxpayers’ money.”

I guess tithing is different to taxing.

Kelvin Davis responded:

Tamaki says that not allowing his programmes to be used in prisons is a breach of human rights and a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. He insists he has applied to have them be used.

 

TPPA protests struggle without party promotions

In February 2016 there were large anti-TPPA protests around the country. Green and Labour MPs were prominently involved. One of the organisers was Barry Coates, who became a Green MP when he replaced Kevin Hague as next on the party list.

With the revised CPTPP without the USA about to be signed in Chile there are protests around the country. Coates is still involved in organising – at 10 on the Green list he lost his place in parliament last year after Green support slipped significantly.

But the protests are struggling to get exposure and support. Labour and the Greens are far less interested or involved.

A protest rally was held in Nelson yesterday, and more will be held around the country today and next week. They are promoting along similar lines as TPPA – It’s Our Future! Don’t Sign! Auckland Rally

Speakers and performers include; Moana Maniapoto, Bryan Bruce, Laila Harre, Jane Kelsey, Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiiard, Mikey Brenndorfer, and Peter Whitmore.

Our government is set to sign the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) along with 10 other nations in Chile on the 8th March.

Following the collapse of the TPPA in the wake of the US withdrawal, the election of the new Government put a spring in the step of many. The Labour Party, New Zealand First and the Green Party had all said they would not support ratification of the TPPA. During the parliamentary examination of the text, Labour cited concerns about sovereignty, secrecy and inadequate economic modelling leading to uncertainty in projected outcomes; the Greens added that the TPPA is “inimical to the imperative of sustainability”; and New Zealand First focused on the anticipated dangers of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

What on earth happened? Labour has done a full U-turn, New Zealand First has joined in on the spin, and the Greens are very lukewarm in their disagreement.

What’s different?
Let’s be crystal clear. The “new” text is exactly the same, the only change being that 22 of the 1,000-plus original provisions have been suspended. These 22 provisions – mainly concerning intellectual property – have not been removed so that they can be revived if and when the United States comes back on board, as the Trump administration has indicated it is willing to do. When pushed on this point, the Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said that New Zealand could veto any attempt by the United States to join if that would compromise the Labour Party’sfive bottom lines. That, of course, would not stop a different government from giving up important aspects of New Zealand’s sovereignty simply to reduce tariffs for a trifling increase in GDP. And what was the Minister’s response to that serious concern? “Time will tell.”

Even now, in fact, Labour’s bottom lines have not been met. The so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) contains all of the core investor protections that are predicted to restrict the ability of Parliament to make laws in the interests of New Zealanders. As far as we know, has been no health impact assessment or analysis of the economic costs and benefits, as the governing parties called for when they were in opposition. The Crown has not discussed how it intends to strengthen protections for Māori, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal. And it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to call climate change her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”, but that sort of rhetoric would be undercut by signing up to an agreement that prevents action on environmental concerns by empowering foreign investors to sue, for example, if the Government sought to close coal mines and roll back permits to prospect for offshore petroleum.

The TPPA contains the wrong rules for New Zealand’s future. It threatens to place a frightening price tag on pursuing the policies we need to get out of last century’s fossil-fuelled economy, while at the same time preventing public oversight of this century’s data – driven economy by empowering the private corporations that control intellectual property and the global tech infrastructure while avoiding their fair share of tax. All at the expense of the worker and the patient and the taxpayer and the environment.

Since the TPPA is still not the deal that we want for our country, we are encouraging everyone to show strong opposition to our government signing the TPPA. We will be holding a Nationwide Day of Action on Sunday the 4th of March, please tell your family, friends and colleagues, get together and head along to your closest family friendly action, to send a strong message to the government not to sign the TPPA!.

On Thursday the 8th of March (signing day), we invite you to join us outside of Parliament at lunchtime to send a strong resounding message to the government that we do not want the TPPA or any similar trade deals in the future. It’s our future – the future of our children, we want truly progressive trade deals!

Links to events around the country;

Whangarei: https://www.facebook.com/events/571225906585646/

Auckland:
https://www.facebook.com/events/805505526324341/

Waihi:
https://www.facebook.com/events/155211191848613/

New Plymouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1804674232898957/

Wellington:
https://www.facebook.com/events/161873691200281/

Nelson:
https://www.facebook.com/events/143815816431911/

Christchurch:
https://www.facebook.com/events/218094512072247/

Dunedin:
https://www.facebook.com/events/577900969251483/

The numbers signed up as attending on Facebook are quite low:

  • Nelson 18 went (yesterday), 26 interested
  • Auckland 98 going, 247 interested
  • New Plymouth 22 going, 37 interested
  • Dunedin 18 going, 35 interested
  • Christchurch 8 going, 32 interested
  • Wellington (Thursday) 60 going, 125 interested

The Standard and The Daily Blog seem to have virtually given up on protesting the TPPA.

Metiria Turei: ‘system broken’

At a modest ‘poverty’ rally yesterday Metiria Turei said that the welfare system was broken. But before the Greens fix it do they have to fix themselves? The Green bubble appears to be broken.

A fairly green Standard posted Rally Against Poverty – join Metiria Turei and Marama Davidson yesterday morning…

Saturday 16 Sept 2.30pm, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland. Let’s all come together to rally for our communities that have been at the forefront on the fight to end poverty.

…that prompted a very lukewarm 11 comments (to date).

Carolyn_nth commented after the event:

It was great to be at the rally, and hear from people dealing with those who are homeless and on benefits.

A tweet from a guy I don’t know with some images from the event.

And the event was a corrective for anyone still thinking the Green Party is solely of and for white middle class folk.

When I arrived at Otara Town Centre, there was a group of young brown women with Green Party, and “I stand with Metiria” placards, out on the corner of the main road.

There was an array of speakers, poets and a singer or two.

Metiria sounded like she hasn’t missed a beat since standing down from GP leadership. She got a strong positive and loud response. And talks like she will be keeping up the struggle to end poverty for a very long time.

RNZ reports: Turei tells Green’s poverty rally welfare system broken

About 150 people gathered at the Otara Town Centre to hear from the Green Party about eliminating poverty in the country.

That’s a very modest number at a rally.

Green Party list candidate Marama Davidson said the party would raise benefits by 20 percent – including student allowances and all core living payments – if elected.

Ms Davidson said that alone would raise every family above the poverty line within a year.

“We are sending a clear, clear message that we will not accept poverty anymore and that we will do everything we can to end it,” she said.

“The voices of people who are on the front line and experiencing poverty need to be heard and need to be supported.”

The opportunity of being heard at a Green political rally doesn’t seem to have inspired many people.

Metiria Turei, who resigned as co-leader of the Green Party last month after admitting she committed benefit fraud, also spoke.

She thanked supporters for their compassion and kindness towards her when she confessed to lying to WINZ about her circumstances so she could receive more money for herself and her young daughter.

“We have a welfare system in this country that is broken … and it punishes people simply because they need some help,” Mrs Turei said.

And she said the Green Party was the only party which was taking poverty seriously.

Unfortunately for the Greens, far less seriously since Turei tried to justify her benefit fraud.

There’s certainly flaws with our welfare system, and there are significant problems with ‘poverty’, with people struggling, with people living in genuine deprivation, with kids getting a poor start to life.

But ‘eliminating poverty’ is a vague ideal. Simply giving a lot of people a lot more money, and giving them a nice house for life – and probably increasing the country’s debt levels significantly – are not solutions to complex societal problems.

There isn’t a magic bullet for ‘fixing’ our welfare system, nor is there green bullet for eliminating financial hardship.

The collapse in Green support in the polls, and the very modest amount of support for a political rally featuring Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei, suggests that the Greens have to do some soul searching to find a way of promoting their reforms.

Davidson became an MP only two years ago (November 2015), and has been lauded as a social justice warrior, and has been fast tracked up the Green pecking order to number 2 on their current list.

She looks like replacing Turei as their social policy champion, as Turei seems destined to drop out of Parliament after her poverty power play turned to custard.

Remember that a genuine battler for the battlers in our society, Sue Bradford, resigned from Parliament when Turei beat her in a leadership contest in 2009.

Turei managed the transition from Jeannette Fitzsimon’s leadership very well, and should be credited with playing a part in Green growth for the 2011 election.

But there were warning signs when Green optimism in 2014 was dashed by a slight drop in their percentage support.

The following year a jaded and disillusioned Russel Norman, a strong advocate for environmental issues and financial credibility, gave up his parliamentary fight, to be replaced by Davidson.

In July Turei led a major gamble in revealing her benefit fraud. This initially seemed to be successful, with a surge in Green support evident in the polls. But the story fell apart, as did Green support, with a double whammy when a Jacinda Ardern led resurgence of Labour (precipitated by the Green rise before they fell).

Turei has been noticeably knocked by what happened, and what will happen to her political career. She promised to continue her fight against poverty and against am awful welfare system. Davidson was promoted to number 2 and given a senior role as anti poverty advocate.

That both Davidson and Turei could only attract a modest crowd a week before the election suggest that the Green welfare campaign system is broken.

They have allowed themselves to be fooled in their self made self righteous bubble.

Before the Greens can fix the welfare system and before they can fix poverty – if either are actually possible – they need to fix their own systems of understanding.

They effectively want a socialist society where the state equalises everyone’s money. This is supposed to equalise standards of living. It has never been a successful political approach for a country in the modern world.

They say that to fix the environment you first have to fix poverty, fix society. That’s bollocks.

Rising standards of living tends to lead to rising levels of consumption and rising urbanisation and rising consumerisation. This has raised the problems with pollution, not reduced them.

Turei may come back into politics, but when she has a break maybe she can reassess what is required to transform our society so that most people do have a decent chance of having a decent life.

In the 21st century socialist revolution has been sidelined on the fanatical fringe. If the Greens continue to put too much emphasis on state imposed equality they risk becoming a fanatical fringe party.

It appears that Turei may have always been too tinged with fanatical fringe to lead them to their first real election victory.

It appears that the Green system is breaking apart.

Can Turei change? Can the Greens change? Or are they destined to never actually change our society much?