Moroney jumps ahead of Labour list release

Sue Moroney is quitting before she is effectively dumped by Labour after being given an ‘unelectable’  party list position and being told that  “she had lost support from the party’s ruling council”. Ouch.

She must also not rate her chances of winning an electorate.

RNZ: Labour to release party list

A party list ranks MPs and it dictates who will get a seat in Parliament, depending on the result of the party vote at the election.

Labour’s moderating committee has to follow party rules, including ranking the list to make sure half of the caucus are women.

That has to be balanced against the leader Andrew Little’s promise to give Willie Jackson a high list position, and the fact that Mr Little and the senior MP Trevor Mallard are also list-only candidates.

David Parker is also a list MP, and is the only Labour MP with experience as a minister in government.

There’s already been one casualty, with MP Sue Moroney announcing she will stand down, after failing to get an electable position.

She said she was told last night she had lost support from the party’s ruling council.

But pre-empting this: Moroney to quit politics after lower list ranking

She said she made the decision after she was not ranked high enough on the party list.

Ms Moroney has been an MP since 2005 and was the party’s chief whip while David Cunliffe was leader in 2013 and 2014.

There’s already been one casualty, with MP Sue Moroney announcing she will stand down, after failing to get an electable position.

She said she was told last night she had lost support from the party’s ruling council.

Labour leader Andrew Little said he understood her reasons for standing down and that her contribution to the Labour caucus would be missed.

Moroney is currently ranked 16 by Labour but apart from Trevor Mallard (at 24) all the other MPs below her are electorate MPs.

Her record:

  • 1996 contested Karapiro, 31 on list (unsuccessful)
  • 2005 contested Piako, 42 on list, became a list MP
  • 2008 contested Hamilton East (lost by 8,820), 22 on list
  • 2011 promoted to front bench by Phil Goff
  • 2011 10 on list
  • 2013 appointed Chief Whip by David Cunliffe
  • 2014 10 on list

She was not rated as highly by Little when he became party leader, and has now been told to bugger off by the Labour council.

It will be interesting to see the Labour list, with a party requirement to have a reasonable gender balance.

This may have been tricky with Little, Parker and Mallard relying on the list as well as an apparent promise of a winnable list position for Willie Jackson.

Currently 12 of Labour’s 31 MPs are female, with Moroney and Annette King not standing again.

 

More on Domestic Violence – Victim Protection Bill

There are two very good things about the progress of Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence – Victim Protection Bill – it is an Opposition MP’s genuine attempt to make a difference in the battle against the scourge of domestic violence, and it is an excellent example of how MPs from all parties can work together on a common worthy cause.

The first two speeches:

Introductions and parts of the rest of the First Reading speeches:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE—VICTIMS’ PROTECTION BILL

First Reading

POTO WILLIAMS (Labour—Christchurch East):

I have to first acknowledge my dear colleague Jan Logie, who is an absolute champion for women, and I have to say, Minister Amy Adams, I am actually rather taken aback by the emotion you expressed at the end of that speech.

I have to say for many women in the House, this is a very personal issue. I just want to tautoko my daughters and granddaughter in the gallery. Heaven forbid that anything that happens to many of the women in our country happen to those beautiful children up in the gallery.

I must acknowledge Heather Hēnare, champion of this particular cause and supporter of many victims of domestic violence. Your work will go on and you will continue to be recognised for the amazing work that you do.

What this bill, I believe, attempts to do is to really start to normalise the conversations that we must be having in each and every workplace about domestic violence. It must bring it down to the point where we stop being scared of opening the door and shining the light on what is going on in many of the families that we occupy—that we live in.

Each of our families is touched in some way by the abhorrence of domestic violence: whether we are impacted personally, whether our children experience it, and whether we are supporting our sisters and our brothers through difficult times.

This legislation is saying: “You know what? It happens.” Let us own it. Let us get real about this everybody. Because it happens, and because we are good employers, we are going to allow people the time that they need to address those issues. Ten days is not much but, you know what, it is a heck of a lot more than we used to get, and it is a good start. It actually says “Yep. We have a responsibility here. We have a responsibility as employers to support our employees through this, and you know why? Because they are good employees and we want to keep them and it actually adds to our bottom line at the end of the day.” Let us get real; it is all about the cost benefit for the employer…

SARAH DOWIE (National—Invercargill):

I too join in the line-up of people here today who are very pleased to be speaking in support of this bill, the Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill, in its first reading, to see it through to the select committee stage to have some honest conversation about how we move we forward in protecting women, the majority of women who are subject to domestic violence, and those men the workplace.

I am pleased that Jan Logie has referred this bill to the Justice and Electoral Committee. I think that our committee is up for the challenge to have these discussions, and, as I said before, I am very pleased to be part of this movement right now that has unanimous support in the House.

I do want to pay tribute to Jan Logie, because, contrary to popular belief, MPs do speak to each other outside this house, and I can also report that I had a conversation with Jan Logie just before we came into the house here tonight and I could see her genuine excitement that

(a) her bill had been pulled from the ballot and
(b) that she would receive unanimous support to see this bill through to the select committee phase.

So, well done, Jan, for championing this, and well done for that achievement.

CLAYTON MITCHELL (NZ First):

It gives me great pleasure to stand on behalf of New Zealand First to, first of all, acknowledge you, Jan Logie, for bringing this bill to the House. With tongue in cheek and with serious sincerity, I think divine intervention has played a little part in this.

Being International Women’s Day today says a lot, and the only time I have seen that happen again was with Sue Moroney’s bill when it was to do with paid parental leave. It was just again that the stars aligned, so well done and great courage. It just goes to show that the passion that you have for resolving this comes through with your speech and you speak very, very eloquently of that.

I would also like to acknowledge the Minister for her words and her sincere thoughts, along with all other members who have spoken here today, and it gives me great pleasure as a male to stand up and speak to this.

The fact is that New Zealand First wholly supports this. We certainly would encourage the conversation to continue in select committee. I think there are some potential drafting issues but that is not here nor there. We would like to hear from small and medium sized businesses to see what their take is with regards to the period of time, the 10 days, that has been allocated for people who are suffering at the hands of domestic violence…

JONO NAYLOR (National):

There is no doubt that domestic violence is an absolute scourge on our society. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, firstly, we need to do absolutely everything we can to eliminate it to ensure that we do not have victims of domestic violence in New Zealand but also that, secondly, we as a society need to do everything that we can in the meantime to support victims of domestic violence….

…I also just want to acknowledge the delegation of people who I had come through my office door in Palmerston North a couple of weeks ago, the local representatives from the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

They came to me and said: “Jono, we’d really, really like you to support this bill, at least to the first reading stage, to ensure that this very, very important conversation gets on the table in Parliament and is debated, so we can work through all those different sort of nuances”—as I referred to before—”to ensure that we get the very best legislation we can.”

I am really happy to support this, at least at this stage, to ensure that we have that very positive discussion, because, as I said when I opened this speech, it is clearly incredibly important that we not only eliminate domestic violence from our communities but do everything we can to support the victims of it, and I commend this bill to the House.

SUE MORONEY (Labour):

At the outset, can I first of all acknowledge that this is International Women’s Day. What better day to be debating this bill than International Women’s Day, which is a day when we all stand in solidarity with women right across the world in order to, yes, celebrate how far we have come, but also pause and think about what we have yet to do. This bill clearly falls into the latter bracket. I want to congratulate the member Jan Logie on her foresight in bringing this bill forward…It is the ballot goddess at work again to make sure that this got debated on International Women’s Day, because, sadly, this is an issue that does affect women, in more numbers than it does men. In fact, what we would wish is that it affected nobody.

I agree with the last speaker, Jono Naylor, in that all of us would want to not be dealing with this end of domestic violence.

All of us would want to be putting our energy into preventing it from happening, and that is the world we really want to live in: where there are respectful relationships and people can deal with the pressures in life and the stresses in life without battering the people closest to them, the people who should be able to rely on the love and support of family members, but instead are hurt and have violence meted out against them from the people whom they should have the most trust and warmth and understanding from.

Sadly, that is not the world we live in, and I will not rest until we actually address the front end of this, and actually stop that domestic violence from happening in the first place. But it does happen, and so this bill is going to be something that will be a huge relief for those people, predominantly women, whom this happens to.

CHRIS BISHOP (National):

Can I firstly acknowledge the sponsor of the bill, Jan Logie. I was not privileged enough to see her first reading speech, but I understand it was quite a remarkable speech, and I want to pay tribute to you, Ms Logie, for your sterling work in bringing this bill to the House.

…one of the things I have been very privileged to have done since I became an MP just over 2 years ago is to go and spend time with our women’s refuge in the Hutt and to deliberately get out there into the community, to some of our marae and to some of those community organisations that are dealing with the front end and the hard edge of this issue.

One of the things—I suppose the biggest lesson—that I have taken away from those visits and those conversations is that the size of the problem is truly remarkable. You know, it is just almost unfathomable, the extent of violence—almost always by men against women—in our communities.

As Minister Amy Adams said in her excellent speech, which I watched in my office, it is not just going to take the Government to do something about this problem; it is a whole-of-society issue that we need to address.

The Government will do its bit and we will lead on this, and I hope, actually, that we will look back on the 2014 to 2017 Parliament and people will say that that was the Parliament—the 51st Parliament—when the New Zealand Government and elected representatives got serious about family violence.

IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Labour—Palmerston North):

I would like to start where others have started, by congratulating the member in charge of this bill, Jan Logie. She was very humble in her first reading speech, by recognising that the work—as is always the case with these things—started outside Parliament with Women’s Refuge, with unions bargaining for changes through collective bargaining, and with all the other groups that, I am sure, have worked closely with Jan Logie on formulating this bill.

But the truth is it does actually take someone in this Parliament to put the bill into the ballot, and then, when it comes out of the ballot, to actually champion it, to have the negotiations and to work with colleagues around the House, especially the hard work to get to the point where it appears we will have unanimity when we come to the vote on this first reading.

So I want to acknowledge that work by Jan Logie. We all like to be humble in this place, but we have a job to do, and when those opportunities come up—when that bill comes out of the ballot—it does take a lot of work to get to the position that this bill has got to. So congratulations to Jan on doing that.

I also want to acknowledge the Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, for her leadership, because—I will say this gently, and like the previous member, Chris Bishop, I do not want to be party political—the Government’s initial response was negative.

I think it’s reasonable for Lees-Galloway to bring this up but god of him to say it ‘gently’ in the context of general cooperation on this Bill.

The Government’s initial response was that this would cost too much, and Michael Woodhouse, as the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, stated that on the record.

Clearly, some conversations have gone on within the National Government, aided, I am sure, by the lobbying from the member in charge of the bill, and it is pleasing to see that Amy Adams’ leadership has won through and the Government has decided that this is a worthy piece of legislation to at least take to a select committee, where we can have the conversation.

MAUREEN PUGH (National):

I too stand in support tonight of the Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill, in the name of Green Party MP Jan Logie, and I add my congratulations to Miss Logie on her initiative in writing this bill and also on her good fortune of having it pulled from the ballot. I did hear her speech tonight. It was an impassioned speech, and I congratulate you, Miss Logie, on your dedication to this cause.

In my own conversations with NGOs that work with victims of domestic violence, there is a clear need to support women at work who have fallen victim of domestic violence. For women who work in front-line roles where they must interact with the public, it is essential for them to have their privacy protected, especially if a woman bears the marks, the bruises, the impacts from a domestic violence episode.

Also at work an abuser makes it very easy for a woman to be trapped, to be captured in her workplace, and to become yet a further target for abuse. The most effective way that an abuser does that is through violent or abusive phone calls or emails. But also it becomes a risk for others in the workplace, and thereto lies the impact for employers making their workplace a safe workplace.

JAN LOGIE (Green):

It gives me hope to stand up tonight, after having listened to all the speeches in the House. I could think of it as personally gratifying that this bill, with the community we have brought to the House, has support. But mostly what I am feeling is the message that you are sending to survivors in the country, that we are, together, committed to making their lives better. We have heard their experiences and we are committed to making their lives better in every way that we can. I think that, for me, at least is a moment to mark in time.

I have heard really clear support for wanting to eradicate domestic violence, for us to use what tools we can as a country to do that, and to support the victims and survivors in the meantime. I have also heard a very clear articulation from all members in the House that yes, this is not just the business of Parliament or Government. All of us have a role to play in that, and that part of being a good employer is caring for your staff, and that this is one way to do that, and it will pay off for businesses.

I have heard mention that there needs to be some work around the drafting of the bill. I am really happy to acknowledge that. Part of the reality of it was that I had different legal opinions on the current status of the law in relation to flexible working hours, but particularly in relation to the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the extent to which it covered domestic violence.

What we have drafted is something—it is quite hard to get something right, when you are not actually sure of the status of the existing law. I really do see it as an offering for us to be able to work together to come up with the best solution. When we are all on the same page about the outcome, then that gives me hope that this process is going to get the result that we need. I will say it again—it is a result that could save lives, so it is absolutely worth hanging on to.

I did appreciate the comments that maybe we could loosen up a little bit. It is not something that people usually suggest to me. The flexible working arrangements and the need for the domestic violence documents in here were based on some legislation from overseas, in the UK. But yes, we do not want to make it more difficult. We want to clarify that flexible working arrangements should be used and should be available, and that that needs to be visible, I believe, to be able to have that intent realised. But we do not want to make it more difficult.

Somebody did mention the point about the fact that perhaps this would be too onerous for small businesses, and I thank the member Iain Lees-Galloway for asking businesses to come with solutions, if that is a concern for them. But I am going to push quite hard on this, because the international research—in Australia 1.6 million workers are already covered by these provisions, and for most of them, although the provisions are there they do not take them. It is very rare. They will take some. They take what they need. It is not a mandatory 10 days. It is up to 10 days, and you use it when you need it. The experience overseas as well as in businesses here is that people do not exploit that. It is a relationship of trust that is working. I would want to put people’s minds at rest on that point.

In the final few seconds—just for all those people who have been fighting for this for so long, and for those women who went back because they had no other choice or felt that they could not get out, I hope tonight gives you some courage. Kia ora.

Bill read a first time.

Bill referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

Full draft transcript.

Easter Sunday trading

Despite some very vocal opposition Parliament today passed a bill that gives local councils the power to allow trading on Easter Sunday.

This will sort of allow tidying up a messy situation where tourist towns Queenstown and Taupo can currently open on Easter Sunday but nearby tourist towns like Wanaka and Rotorua can’t.

I understand that religious people don’t want to go shopping in Easter Sunday but why should that prevent those who do want to trade and shop to do so?

It was ugly in Parliament today.

Stuff: Nod for Easter Sunday trading law gives councils power to decide

The Government has handed councils the power to decide if shops can open on Easter Sunday ending a decades-long parliamentary impasse and after a dozen previous attempts.

After an insult-laden debate in the house, in which one MP was kicked out, the bill passed by a narrow majority of 62 votes to 59. 

National MPs opted to back the bill along party lines, leading to impassioned pleas from the opposition for them to ignore orders and cross the floor to vote according to their conscience. 

Labour MP Sue Moroney was booted out of the house, for the first time, for calling Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse “gutless”.

She said National MPs were “hypocritical”, attending church in their electorates, only to come to the House and vote the other way. 

Speaker David Carter asked Moroney to withdraw her comments, which she did, only to reiterate her point.

So she ignored a warning and defied the Speaker.

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway backed Moroney in a fiery speech, calling upon National MPs to “get some guts”.

“The Government … is passing the buck on an issue, which is fundamental to the role of the New Zealand Parliament.

“This legislation is shambolic, it is going to create inconsistencies around the country,” Lees-Galloway said. 

But National MPs said the law would “give power back to the local community”.

Jami-Lee Ross said it was “a process issue that should be given to local authorities”.

Ross accused Labour of “awful tactics”, using ethnic and religious rhetoric in their protest against the bill. 

Some of the attempted religious coercion that I heard was awful tactics.

Like Saturday trading and Sunday trading I think this will be largely forgotten in a year or two.

Hard hearted Bill vetos parental leave bill vetoed

Bill English has followed through with threats to veto the Paid Parental Leave Bill that would have increased paid parental leave from the current 18 weeks to 26 weeks.

The bill was supported by a majority in Parliament, the Bill was not.

I’m disappointed by this. The Paid Parental Leave Bill was introduced to Parliament via the Members’ ballot and passed through all it’s stages under our democratic process, but was discarded by English under his power of ‘certificate of financial veto’.

There would have been a cost with a fiscal impact but not a significant one in the whole scheme of things.

There is overwhelming evidence that the first months and years of a child’s life are of fundamental importance to their well being, so if any stage of their lives deserves Government support it is the first six months.

It is also important that mothers in particular (and fathers as well) are supported during the most difficult, the most time consuming and the most important stage of parenthood.

Yes there would have been an added cost but the benefits are likely to have paid this back.

This makes English look petty, penny pinching and mean. Ditto the National Party.

Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party, NZ First and UnitedFuture all supported the bill.

Labour MP Sue Moroney introduced and strongly promoted the bill:

…said she was “frustrated and disappointed” by the veto.

“It’s a difficult thing to command parliamentary majority from opposition…and it’s the right thing to do.

Peter Dunne…

… said the veto was “unfortunate”, given the Government’s previous claims about its focus on children.

“I think it’s a delicious irony in that yesterday [the] Government was saying that putting children at the centre of policy was a priority – today they ban a bill on paid parental leave.”

Labour leader Andrew Little…

…said it was “deeply disappointing”.

Parliament clearly supports it … the Government does have the right of veto and in the end they’ll be accountable to New Zealander’s for that”.

Spokeswoman for the coalition 26 for Babies…

…said the “unaffordability” argument didn’t stack up.

“This decision is about this Governments priorities,” Rebecca Matthews-Heron said.

It is hard work to get a sensible Opposition bill with majority support for it. It is hard work being a parent, particularly in the first 6 months of a child’s life.

It was easy for English to veto this bill, but it was hard nosed, hard hearted and contrary to Government claims about putting a priority on early childhood.

Flag symbol of class warfare

Not long ago Chris Trotter wrote hopefully that protest against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was symbol of an uprising of class warfare that would build into revolution.

The TPPA protest has fizzled away, so Trotter has turned his attention to the flag referendum, and more specifically to Sue Moroney’s snarky tweet that caused a bit of a fluff last week.

Trotter asks Was Class The Decisive Factor In Determining The Flag Referendum’s Outcome?

FOR THE BEST PART OF A WEEK, the Labour MP, Sue Moroney, has been on the receiving end of a vicious media caning. Her crime? Tweeting a photograph of a handsome Waihi Beach property flying the Silver Fern Flag, accompanied by the incendiary caption: “Just because you own a flash beach house doesn’t mean you get to decide our flag.”

He works his way to…

At the core of Ms Moroney’s tweet is the unmistakeable whiff of class warfare. Her generous parliamentary salary notwithstanding, she clearly reacted with visceral working-class fury to the visual cues of the Silver Fern Flag and a “flash beach house”.

Her ownership of four properties including a holiday home also withstanding – Moroney is an unlikely flag bearer for the working class.

Something in her personality (and in the personalities of tens-of-thousands of her fellow New Zealanders) linked together wealth, power, the proposal to change the flag, and the Prime Minister, in a causal chain of extraordinary emotive strength.

In a peculiar, largely unacknowledged way, voting to retain the flag became, for many Kiwis, a small but satisfying gesture of class defiance.

For many Kiwis? How does Trotter measure that? There’s a range of reasons that people voted against flag change, a prominent one being the colonial class who wanted to t=retain the Union Jack symbol of the United Kingdom.

Perhaps this explains why Ms Moroney’s tweet has elicited such an angry response from those who, in one way or another, contrived to carry the Prime Minister’s flag. Her bitter caption clearly stung them in ways many found difficult to explain. It implied that at least some members of the punditocracy had behaved discreditably; lined up with the wrong people; backed the wrong cause.

At the very least, Ms Moroney’s “class warfare” tweet has cast the indisputable class divide separating those who voted for the present flag from those who voted against it, in a new and disquieting light.

About the only disquieting thing about Moroney’s tweet was her lack of awareness about how a petty attack on some peoeple and their holiday home might be perceived. It was not a good look for an MP or for the Labour Party, as Andrew Little acknowledged.

But I think it’s extremely unlikely that Sue Moroney will become an inadvertent flag bearer for a Kiwi uprising into class warfare.

For most people the flag referendum faded quickly into Easter.

Trotter will have to look harder for his revolutionary leader, and hope for another divisive issue to tear New Zealand apart.

Maybe a few weeks after Helen Clark’s successful or failed bid for the lead position of the UN he will see some fissure in the fabric of our society in that.

In the meantime I guess he can continue scouring Twitter for hidden signs of his revolution.

Or maybe he could flag searching in futility for his Comrade Kiwi king.

Moroney baloney

Labour MP Sue Moroney managed to capture most of the post-flag atention yesterday with an ill-advised tweet and a lame apology after a rebuke from her leader Andrew Little.

Her tweet:

There really really doesn’t look much in that, snarky for sure, but not just an off the cuff remark as it included a photo which wasn’t a good idea. There was a critical response on Twitter.

And also from Little:

Little not impressed with flag tweet

“I thought it was ill-judged and inappropriate, and I’ve told her that,” Mr Little said.

“It was brought to my attention this morning. I just didn’t think it was a good look, and I’ve told her that.”

Moroney tweeted an apology:

Apology for any offence caused by my tweet yesterday – none intended. I regret it & can see how it could be misinterpreted. Of course everyone has the right to have a view on the flag.

Not surprisingly that was hammered as a Clayton’s apology – an attempted apology that isn’t an apology.

Moroney had dug herself into a bigger hole trying to explain, and then refusing to explain:

Moroney said her comments had been misinterpreted “in several different ways”.

“I just apologise for it and move on, because I’ve come to Parliament to debate issues of real relevance and so it’s a side issue, I don’t want it to overshadow all of the important issues that we’ve got in front of us.”

However, Moroney would not explain how exactly her comments had been misinterpreted, or the original intent of her tweet.

“Oh look, no, I’ve apologised for it, I regret it, and I’ve got no further comment apart from that.”

She did not plan to delete the tweet, but would be happy to do so if people asked.

“I’m one of those people who believes that you own your tweets, I’ve owned it, I’ve apologised for it, and if people do want me to delete it, I’m happy to do that, but it’s Twitter – that’s what it is.”

That’s from ‘Flash beach house’ owners targeted by Labour MP’s flag attack speak out, in which the beach house owners had a say:

A family member of the beach house’s owners, who did not want to be named, said Moroney’s comments had upset them.

“We are shocked by her comments vilifying us for owning a beach house and….suggesting that because we are apparently ‘rich’, this does not give us the right to have an opinion on our national flag.

“Her judgements came across badly and we did not appreciate having photos of our property published online simply, because we had a different opinion on the flag choice.”

The woman had contacted Little to share her concerns, and her family had since received a personal apology from Moroney, who deleted the post as requested.

But that horse has well and truly bolted, the original tweet has been replicated all over media and social media.

Also spread around social media:

Ms Moroney jointly owns four properties. According to the Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament: Summary of annual returns as at 31 January 2015 she owns:

Family home (jointly owned), Waikato
Rental property (jointly owned), Waikato
Apartment (jointly owned), Wellington
Holiday home (jointly owned), Coromandel

So she has interests in several properties, including her own holiday home, and obviously thinks she is qualified to single out and criticise a property owner.

This was on the first day back in Parliament after the flag referendum, where Labour could have  been expected to try to score some points on the ‘no change’ result.

Little tried to capitalise in Question Time but I didn’t see that reported at all. The Moroney baloney dominated the flag discussion for the day – see Andrew Little on referendum spending

 

 

 

 

 

Labour, protest, trade

Labour mostly kept a distance from the TPPA protests in Auckland yesterday. They have also tried to keep a distance between anti-TPPA and anti-trade. But not everyone in Labour is on the same page.

Andrew Little and Labour dabbled with the TPPA signing and protests but from a distance. They tried to portray their anti-TPPA stance as a principled stand on sovereignty in the same league as New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance:

On this day in 1985 the then Labour Government stood up for the rights of New Zealanders. It refused entry to the USS Buchanan after the US Government would neither confirm nor deny the warship had nuclear capability. Fast forward 31 years and today the Labour Opposition is again standing up for New Zealand sovereignty which the TPPA undermines.

LabourTPPAAgainst

I’m not sure they are onto a winner with this approach, it’s just one of many mixed and muddled messages on the TPPA and is unlikely to get much traction with the TPPA protest movement, nor those who see trade agreements as a necessity.

Little also put out a media release: TPP signing highlights divisions in NZ

The stage-managed signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement at a casino in Auckland today highlights the divisions National’s handling of the deal has caused in New Zealand, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“The Government’s whole management of the agreement has been botched, from the total secrecy to ramming it down people’s throats.

“This has caused a deep divide, and inviting international leaders to sign it just two days before Waitangi – our national day – has added salt to that wound.

“Labour is a pro-free trade party but the TPP goes further than other agreements in undermining our democracy. We shouldn’t need a permission slip from foreign corporations to pass our own laws. That’s why Labour cannot support the agreement in its current form.

“Other countries such as Australia and Malaysia are able to ban foreigners from buying their homes. New Zealand cannot under this deal. That’s just not right.

“Open and transparent debate is crucial to a healthy democracy but the TPP process and John Key’s handling of the deal after it was signed has damaged that.

“Today’s protests are a public sign of the deep discomfort many New Zealanders feel about what is happening in this country. The Government must now seek ways to heal that wound,” Andrew Little says.

This is odd from Little, in particular “John Key’s handling of the deal after it was signed”. The TPPA was only signed yesterday, about the same time this statement seems to have been posted, so dissing Key’s post-signing handling is unjustified.

Litle also did a live chat about the TPPA on Stuff.

If Labour opposes the TPPA why wasn’t the Labour Party more involved with the anti-TPPA protest today?

We’re opposed to the TPPA in its current form because compromises to New Zealand’s sovereignty are not justified by the meagre economic gains. A number of Labour people are involved in today’s protests, including MPs who’ve spoken at rallies around the country.

But Labour involvement with the protest was low profile, especially with Labour’s front bench MPs.

Grant Robertson was at the Wellington protest but wasn’t prominent in Stuff’s: Protesters in Wellington join calls against TPPA signing

Opposition politicians and union members were among those in attendance, with several sharing their concerns about the deal.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said the TPPA was not a normal trade agreement and required New Zealand to sacrifice too much.

“This is an agreement [where] New Zealand is having to give away the right to make laws and policies in our interests, and that is wrong and we cannot accept that.”

Robertson said the issue was “far from over”, and Kiwis opposed to the deal needed to continue their protests.

“This is not over: as New Zealanders, we have to stand together [and] stand up for our rights to make laws in our own interests.”

Standard Labour talking points on the TPPA. Nothing from Robertson about it on his Facebook page.

Jacinda Ardern seems to have kept her distance from the Auckland protest, and obviously Phil Goff and David Shearer would not be seen supporting the protest.

Meka Whaitiri was there, interesting for Labour’s Associate Primary Industries Spokesperson to be against a trade agreement that will benefit primary industries.

Labour’s trade spokesperson David Clark doesn’t seem to have associated with any protests.

Phil Twyford was at the Auckland protest as this photo with Whaitiri on his Facebook page shows.

TPPATwyfordWhaitiri

Note the US branded jacket with a Labour logo
– with a ‘Corporate Traitor’ sign in the background (hat tip Iceberg)

As Spokesperson for Auckland Issues and Associate Spokesperson for Transport (Auckland and Ports) Twyford could be out of step with Auckland business and export interests there.

Sue Moroney showed her and Labour’s presence via Facebook:

TPPAMoroney

Duncan Garner spotted David Cunliffe:

Cunliffe also posted on his Facebook page with some loyal party lines:

Today, I joined thousands of Kiwis in protest against provisions in the TPPA that would undermine our sovereignty. Great to see people from all walks of life engaged and expressing their views peacefully and thoughtfully.

The New Zealand Labour Party has always stood for free trade and always will – just not at the expense of our sovereignty.

TPPACunliffe

Miriam Bookman Hi David,

I am very disappointed in seeing Labour supporters marching alongside an anti semitic banner, and that you think it appropriate to re-post this image. This is not the Labour I wish to support.

It may be hard to choose your neighbours in a protest march but choice of publicity photos can be an issue.

‪#‎TPPANoWay‬ March down Queen Street Auckland .

Taranaki would presumably cover New Plymouth where Andrew Little has stood twice for Parliament (unsuccessfully, he’s a List MP).

Taranaki-King Country Labour flew a flag for their party:

TPPATaranakiTrade1

The sign in the background appears to be welcoming, but it’s the opposite, as Taranaki-King Country Labour show in another shot.

TPPATaranakiTrade2

That may not be a problem, the Trade Ministers of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, USA or Vietnam may never need to deal with Taranaki-King Country Labour.

 

Where are the journalists going?

There are continuing concerns about journalists being gradually culled from major media organisations. NZ herald is one of the latest to show some the door.

This exchange on Twitter commented on some of that and asked lamented the thinning ranks of journalists.

Deeply concerned about right tilt in media. Now Campbell, Rudman, Drinnan gone and Weldon running Mediaworks.

Campbell has gone to a better place and… my god you’re not suggesting Drinnan is a leftie?!

@DavidCunliffeMP

He is at least an independent and critical voice re media – how thin the critical media voices now are!

To an extent that is a concern, but a signs of rapidly changing times. However there was an interesting response.

Well, you should stop bloody poaching them. Ihaka, Faafoi, Moroney ..

Sarah Stuart, Phil Twyford, Danya Levy and a little bit of David Cohen….. you have quite the Press Room.

He was making the point that political parties poach quite a few journalists.This not only reduces media experience but it pits poached experience against the reporters.

Going through those names – these three are MPs:

Kris Faafoi:

Kris lives in Titahi Bay, Porirua and was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mana in November 2010 following more than a decade working as a journalist at both TVNZ and the BBC – giving him a strong commitment to public service broadcasting. – Labour website.

Sue Moroney:

Has been an MP since 2005. Sue is a mum, a former journalist and a proud Hamiltonian and so she is a champion for early intervention and strong regional development plans. – Labour website.

Phil Twyford:

New voices: Sam Lotu-Iiga, Phil Twyford and David Garrett

MP for Te Atatu. Formerly a journalist at the now defunct Auckland Star and Sunday Star, and a union organiser, before starting his career at Oxfam as its NZ division’s founding CEO.

And ex-journalists in the Labour staff:

Jodi Ihaka:

Ihaka takes up Senior Communications Advisor role

Putting Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forefront of important New Zealand politics is Jodi Ihaka’s plan, as she was recently appointed the Labour Party’s new Senior Communications Advisor (Māori).

“I’m really excited to use my communication skills in such an important Māori advisory capacity.  I have loved my time at Whakaata Māori (Māori Television) and have nothing but respect for the Māori journalists on Te Kāea and Native Affairs,” says Ihaka.

The position sees Ihaka take on a key advisory role to Labour leader, Andrew Little as well as Māori MPs including Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri, Nanaia Mahuta and Adrian Rurawhe.

Sarah Stuart:

Former Woman’s Weekly editor is Labour’s new chief spin doctor

Labour leader Andrew Little has appointed a former editor of the Woman’s Weekly Sarah Stuart as his chief press secretary and head of media and communications.

Stuart, whose other former roles include deputy editor of the Herald On Sunday and the Sunday Star Times and head of APN’s regional and daily community newspapers, has also worked in Sydney as a journalist.

Danya Levy:

Former political journo turned Labour Party press secretary. @danyalevy  (ex Dominion Post)

David Cohen is a freelance journalist who has done some work for Labour and Andrew Little:

Little under fire for unpaid workerFreelance journalist David Cohen was called into work on Mr Little’s campaign for the Labour leadership in October. His role was to distil Mr Little’s ideas

He did the job, sent an invoice, but nothing. So Mr Cohen complained in print in the latest National Business Review.

And David Cunliffe should know a bit about the journalist drift into politics.

Cunliffe appoints Cunliffe as chief press secretary

Labour leader David Cunliffe has appointed journalist Simon Cunliffe as his chief press secretary and media director.

Simon Cunliffe has been a deputy editor of the Otago Daily Times and a deputy editor of The Press in Christchurch.

That’s just for Labour.

National MP Paul Goldsmith may not have been a journalist but was a press secretary for and speech writer for Phil Goff (Labour), Simon Upton (National) and John Banks (National).

Does anyone know of any other ex journos in Parliament as MPs or working for parties?

Paid Parental Bill praised but opposed by National

Sue Moroney and her second Paid Parental Leave bill were praised but opposed by National and ACT MPs, but it still passed it’s first reading last night by 61-60. UnitedFuture support paid parental leave so voted for this bill, along with Labour, Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party.

Most interesting was praise from National MPs and David Seymour, even though they opposed the bill.

SARAH DOWIE (National—Invercargill)

Although I do rise in opposition to this bill I am not ungracious to not acknowledge the work of Ms Sue Moroney in championing this topic. It is a very valid topic to bring to the House and I think it is a worthwhile debate.

 There are several published and documented outcomes on the benefits of paid parental leave. Of course, some of those include increased breastfeeding opportunities and all the health benefits that are associated with that.

As we are aware, breastmilk is a perfect food source for baby. It is made up of a correct compound of vitamins and proteins, and because of that extra time bonding it is easily digestible for baby and it helps prevent infections from bacteria and viruses.

That is one of the benefits of paid parental leave. I touched on it before—this time gives parents and mums that valued quality time to bond with baby.

Dowie goes on to praise other aspects of Paid Parental Leave, and concludes:

The intent of this bill and the spirit of this bill are good—I acknowledge that.

But she voted against it.

BRETT HUDSON (National):

 I rise in opposition to this bill, but before I might canvass the reasons why we will oppose the bill I would like to reiterate some comments that my colleague Sarah Dowie made. I would like to acknowledge what I think is a very, very clear, absolutely honest, and fundamentally based in integrity the position the member sponsoring this bill Sue Moroney has.

He concludes:

We will oppose this bill but I do commend Ms Moroney for her obviously deeply held views on this matter.

Anti-bill but not wanting to sound anti-mother and anti-baby perhaps.

The bill has passed it’s first reading and stands a good chance of successfully passing, but National have said they will use their power of veto based on cost.

Moroney had her first Paid Parental Leave Bill failed to pass but succeeded in pressuring National into increasing Parental Leave to a lesser extent, from 14 to 18 weeks.

ACT MP David Seymour has also played in negotiating increased paid leave for parents with high need babies, for example premature babies, but opposed this bill

All InTheHouse videos: Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment

Paid parental leave bill drawn again

Sue Moroney has been twice lucky with her Paid Parental leave Bill being drawn from yesterday’s Member’s Bill ballot.

A similar bill was drawn, debated and voted on last term as well – it also sought six months paid parental leave. The Government opposed it and put forward a watered down version, with incremental increases from fourteen to sixteen weeks, and a further increase to eighteen weeks is due next year.

Last term’s bill extended into this term and was finally voted down this February by National and Act. Since then National have lost a vote due to their loss in Northland, so unless there are further changes to MPs this bill could go against their wishes.

NZ Herald reports: Labour’s paid parental leave bill back on the agenda

Ms Moroney said she did believe she had enough support.

Her bill would lift leave to 26 weeks and allow them to work for up to 156 hours during that period without losing leave payments.

Last term, Finance Minister Bill English said the Government would use its financial veto to overrule any such measure if it passed because of the cost to the Government. On July 1 the Government increased paid parental leave from 14 to 16 weeks. A further lift to 18 weeks is due next year.

So the Government could threat to veto again if the bill passes this term. Financial conditions may be a factor in justification.

Per haps the Government will respond by incrementing it up another few weeks.