The Jackal: April 2013

30 Apr 2013

Fight for the Reef - Bob Irwin

Government plans desecration

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

In reply to a question as to why some areas had not been included in the block offer, Bridges said two East Coast blocks had not been included due to consultation with local iwi over tapu sites.

However, he said those sites were being reduced and would eventually go ahead.

"The two blocks there have been reduced, but let me be very clear, where we have not included what was originally proposed we are merely deferring putting those into the block offer."

It's doubtful that people will ever accept oil and gas drilling on tapu sites. In fact wāhi tapu areas are of national importance, and are therefore protected under the Resource Management Act 1991 (PDF).

If the government wanted exploration in such areas, they would need to extensively change that act as well as the Historic Places Act 1993 (PDF), plus contend with the huge amount of public outcry against such an arrogant move.

Simon Bridges is effectively proving beyond all doubt that he's an idiot! It might please a group of oil barons to say they'll be able to desecrate tapu areas, but it won't please the majority of New Zealanders who respect these places of cultural and spiritual significance. It certainly won't please many within Ngāti Maniapoto, to which Simon Bridges is meant to belong.

However a public majority being against the governments plan wouldn't necessarily stop National from going ahead with desecrating wāhi tapu areas, and perhaps we should treat the Energy and Resources Minister's statement as a policy announcement.

After all, lots of National MPs have been displaying signs of going completely insane lately... Why should Simon Bridges be left out from the right wings psychosis?

29 Apr 2013

Freedom and other constitutional matters

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Would GCSB even have uncovered its unlawful behaviour if the court had not found that they had broken the law by illegally spying on Kim Dotcom? Similarly, it took 29 deaths before we had an inquiry into the regulation of mining in New Zealand. It took a wrongful disclosure of the private information of thousands of people by the EQC to raise questions about the fairness of its methodology concerning claims payments.

Any quality audit, finding errors of this kind, would conjecture that they are just the tip of the iceberg and as the government is 40 per cent of the economy, that should worry the rest of us who pay for that government. What other breaches are occurring that we never hear about?

It was only through a judge insisting that the rule of law be applied to the GCSB that the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was unearthed. Without the court requiring disclosure, we would be none the wiser. In turn we wouldn't have learnt that there's another 88 cases of the GCSB illegally spying on other New Zealand citizens.

Clearly cases like the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom are just the tip of the iceberg, therefore considering New Zealand to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world is just silly. The corruption has simply been very well hidden, not only because of the inherent secretiveness of corruption itself, but also because of the systemic dysfunction within our political system to uncover it in the first place.

One thing that could go some way in rectifying that inherent corruption within governmental departments is a formal constitution and in my opinion, that constitution should be based on New Zealands only founding document the Treaty of Waitangi. It should also incorporate other relevant legislation that outlines the fundamental rights to which every person is inherently entitled.

Unfortunately not everybody shares my egalitarian views. On Q+A last weekend, Michelle Boag said that we didn't actually need a formal constitution because some of the Treaty is already incorporated into government legislation anyway. The former National Party president also said that there's freedom of the press and New Zealand is perceived as a corruption free nation.

This is rather oxymoronic being that the press is often impeded from publishing information that's of public interest. Take for instance the teapot tape saga whereby Bradley Ambrose was dragged through the courts in order to try and stop publication, and it's pretty clear there's no real freedom of the press in New Zealand.

Couple that fact with multiple cases of government departments acting outside their mandates to encroach upon if not entirely ignore people's rights, and the claim that our country isn't corrupt along with Boag's argument against a formal constitution effectively evaporates into nothing.

Of course there's other opposition to the constitutional review... Here's what the racists over at the Centre for Political Research have to say:

The government's constitutional review is a major threat to New Zealand's democracy. A biased constitutional advisory panel and a consultation process that locks out non-Maori threatens to permanently put power and privilege into the hands of the tribal elite.

Clearly any constitution isn't going to "give the tribal elite supreme power in New Zealand" so we can basically ignore these nutters! I mean that's about as stupid as saying the "Maori grievance industry has gone too far and is now damaging the fabric of our society." That idiot Muriel Newman certainly has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, let's hope such racist sentiments aren't taken seriously and a comprehensive review process will result in a robust constitution that benefits all New Zealanders, irrespective of religious or political beliefs, ethnicity or financial circumstances. Let's also hope that it will curb the government breaching our existing human rights, because something certainly needs to done about that pronto.

28 Apr 2013

A good price?

Yesterday, there were a number of successful protests around the country against Nationals asset sales. Well done to all those who attended.

In my opinion, these protests shouldn't be required. This is because National should have already put a halt to their privatisation plans, not just because of the referendum, but because the government can no longer hope to attain a good price.

In June last year, the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Tony Ryall said:

Let me be quite clear here. If the government doesn’t get a good price, the government isn’t going to sell.

So will the government still get a good price after Labour and the Greens announced policy that will regulate the electricity market to ensure consumers aren't being ripped off? If you read some of the right wings reaction to NZ Power, you'd think that the economy was about to crash.

However NZ Power will only cause a potential 3 to 4.5% reduction in the value of dividends going to private shareholders from the five main power companies, and that's before you even factor in increased revenue. In 2012, they made nearly $10 billion, which is an increase of 18.6% on the previous year. That means there will be very little adverse affect on these hugely profitable companies.

It appears that National is simply blaming Labour and the Greens for their own financial mismanagement, because the price they hoped to attain was never good in the first place.

Despite National saying they wanted Kiwi mum and dad investors to buy shares, getting a good price is entirely dependent on large amounts of foreign investment. In fact with the profit margins already tight, National moved to increase foreign investment by doubling the commission on Mighty River Power shares sold to foreigners. They did this because so-called mum and dad investors in New Zealand don't actually have a lot of money to invest, all thanks to neoliberalism in the first place.

Clearly attaining enough foreign investment to make the float worthwhile is entirely dependent on how well foreign economies are performing. However most of our main trading partners have gone back into recession this year, meaning that there will be reduced investment. The success of the asset sales was dependent on these markets not declining. They have, therefore Nationals asset sales will not be financially successful.

That's the main reason why National should bite the bullet and put a halt to their asset sales... They can no longer hope to get a good price. Now is the best time for them to back down, because they can effectively spin the blame onto Labour and the Greens while claiming to be listening to public opinion. Over time the effectiveness of their propaganda against NZ Power will diminish and in my opinion, National should take this opportunity while it's available.

If they don’t accept that the asset sales agenda is a financial failure, National risks taking all the fallout for mismanaging the partial privatisation into a financial mess... Their business backers won't be pleased, especially when Labour and the Greens clean up in 2014 with most of the asset sales agenda still sitting in the to do box.

HALT: Asset Sales Protest. Auckland, NZ.

26 Apr 2013

Tim Groser - Asshole of the Week

Today, Stuff reported:

New Zealand' trade minister Tim Groser's bid to head the World Trade Organisation appears to have failed.

No real surprises there then... This is the same idiot who misled the House of Representatives last year by claiming New Zealand’s net emissions had decreased under a National government... In my opinion he's just another right wing liar!

Groser was a wild card entry for the job but despite being seen as an unlikely victor the Government has thrown tens of thousands of dollars supporting his bid. In recent months he has travelled overseas extensively lobbying for support.

The trade minister hit headlines last week when it emerged that he racked up travel expenses of almost $260,000 in the first three months of the year - nearly $3000 a day - as he lobbied for the WTO top job.

His spending was more than that of Foreign Minister Murray McCully ($130,000) and Prime Minister John Key ($100,000) combined.

Nearly $260,000 spent on trying to secure an overseas job for a National hack... What on earth for? Did Groser perhaps get wind of Nationals slide in the polls that don't look likely to improve and is simply the first rat to try and jump ship? Whatever the reason, it's a complete waste of taxpayer money.

But what makes this all the more reprehensible is that Groser has a history of wasting public money on his own self gratification... In 2010 he ran up a minibar bill of $466 during the Copenhagen Climate Change conference and charged at least $1469 against taxpayer-funded credit cards for alcohol purchases including five bottles of whisky worth $92 each. More recently he was found to have spent $33,494 on airfares for himself and an "aide" to fly from Kuala Lumpur to France and back to New Zealand again.

But despite that alcohol fuelled jet set lifestyle at taxpayer's expense, Key endorsed Groser for a job he assuredly wouldn't get:

Given Tim Groser’s experience in trade, and the blend of both technical and political skills he brings to the table, I believe he is well-placed to advance the complex and challenging issues facing the WTO. The organisation has a vital part to play in the global economy recovery.

What a load of rubbish! Groser obviously didn't have the support required, and so this was and is a total waste of public money. What Key should have been asking himself is how exactly will spending nearly $260,000 on trying to secure Tim Groser a job as Director-General of the WTO benefit New Zealand? The answer is it wouldn't be of any benefit to those footing the bill... The only benefited was for Tim Groser himself.

This excessive waste of money is unacceptable, especially at a time when National continues to justify cuts left right and centre because of tight fiscal constraints, economic uncertainty I might add that was brought about by Nationals tax cuts for the rich... I mean where the fuck do these tories get off?

Tim Groser is an asshole, of that there can be no doubt.

I'm with stupid

Devoy train crash

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Seventy-six per cent of responses gathered by TV3's The Vote on Wednesday night agreed with the proposition that New Zealand was racist.

The result prompted newly appointed Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy to say New Zealanders should feel "ashamed that they perceive themselves as a racist country".

"It's staggering. I think it just highlights the issues we are facing."

What on earth is Susan Devoy on about? Clearly people shouldn't feel ashamed for correctly perceiving the entrenched and widespread racism that plagues New Zealand... Instead, the racists should feel ashamed for causing that perception.

Devoy's statement was entirely inadequate when it's clearly not the perception of racism that's the problem; it's the racism itself.

This really gets to the crux of the matter, in that the Human Rights Commission more often than not determines cases of racial discrimination in favour of the racists. It's not enough for a perception of racism to exist for the commission to act, even if that perception is based on reality. It's also not enough to show that there has been unfair treatment that can only be explained by racial discrimination. There has to be hard irrefutable evidence of discrimination based on racism, and even then the commission often fails to uphold its mandate.

The way the Human Rights Commission determines whether racial discrimination has occurred is in my opinion flawed, and this is allowing racism to flourish like a toxic weed. Take for example the number of complaints that were recently upheld by the commission concerning media releases, only three since 2007.

Now put that in contrast with the almost weekly racially discriminatory releases from some of our main media outlets, and it's pretty easy to see why 76% of respondents believe New Zealand is a racist country. The commission entirely fails to act to curb that entrenched and widespread promotion of racism through our mainstream media.

Being that having racism so often published will justify in the bigots mind their discriminatory ways, the Human Rights Commission should be far more proactive in trying to reduce the promotion and dissemination of racist attitudes that infect our media outlets.

Couple these unaddressed issues with Susan Devoy's latest woeful public appearance described as a "train crash in slow motion" and it's pretty obvious that the Human Rights Commission won't help to reduce racism with Devoy at the helm, which is perhaps why she was appointed in the first place.

At first I thought Judith Collins making the unqualified Devoy head of the HRC was judged too harshly, and she should be given time to rise to the challenge. She has now proven herself beyond all doubt to be entirely incompetent... She should resign.

Citizen A with Dr Wayne Hope and Selwyn Manning

25 Apr 2013

Economic sabotage

It's been somewhat amusing to see the right wings response to the Labour/Greens policy announcement last week that will make power prices cheaper. In fact their reaction has been way over the top with claims that intervening in the "free" market that has obviously failed consumers will somehow be the end of the world.

Clearly level heads did not prevailed, with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce saying the policy was "nothing more than deliberate economic sabotage" and amounted to a "Polish shipyard approach". Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said the proposal was "reminiscent of Soviet communism" while Prime Minister John Key said it would result in power cuts and "leave families huddling around candles" for warmth.

But if that wasn't enough baseless rhetoric, Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said it amounted to "economic vandalism" while right wing propagandist Fran O’Sullivan said Labour was adopting a Hugo Chavez style of politics and likened them and the Greens to a "Mafia". Not that anybody really cares what he thinks, Libertarianz Party leader Richard McGrath said it "smacks of economic dyslexia" whatever that is?

Meanwhile John Banks claimed it would "destroy the incentive to invest and to use electricity efficiently" and was therefore a "return to Muldoonism" of all things. Not to be outdone, Cameron Slater said it was "wanton vandalism" and "economic terrorism" while David Farrar said it would cause "no new generation" to be built and lead to the government confiscating people's houses... You couldn't make this shit up.

Now stop laughing for a second and give their insane claims the credence they clearly don't deserve... Let's explore the concept of economic sabotage:

Economic Sabotage is the practice of undermining the economy of a nation. It is a tactic used to pressure governments. The power of the markets is such, that it may be wielded as a weapon to damage the stability a countries economy, raising food/fuel prices, interest rates on international debts and other factors important to an economy. Economic Sabotage can be used against a foreign government to undermine their standing, or by the ruling class to undermine left-wing governments.

So, economic sabotage is generally defined as raising prices for consumers, which would make NZ Power (PDF) the exact opposite of economic sabotage. An actual example of economic sabotage can be seen with Nationals huge increase in external government debt:

That's what real economic sabotage looks like folks.

23 Apr 2013

Keys track record

01 – I promise to always be honest.

02 – We’re not proposing to change the Employment Relations Act in a way that weakens unions.

03 – We are not going to sack public servants, the attrition rate will reduce costs.

04 – We are not going to cut working for families.

05 – I firmly believe in climate change and always have.

06 – We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. 50 by 50. We will write the target into law.

07 – National Ltd™ will provide a consistent incentive for both biofuel and biodiesel by exempting them from excise tax or road user charges.

08 – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics.

09 – If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it.

10 – I can’t remember my position on the 1981 Springbok Tour.

11 – Tranzrail shares.

12 – I did not mislead the House (1).

13 – Lord Ashcroft.

14 – National Ltd™ would not have sent troops into Iraq.

15 – Standard & Poors credit downgrade.

16 – The double-down grade doesn’t really matter and its only about private sector debt.

17 – I did not mislead the House (2).

18 – I didn’t say I want wages to drop.

19 – The real rate of inflation is 3.3 percent.

20 – The tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs.

21 – No I have never heard of Whitechapel.

22 – I won’t raise GST.

23 – People who are on the average wage and have a child are $48 a week better off after the rise in GST.

24 – The purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be limited to ten farms per purchase.

25 – The Pike River Mine was consented to under a Labour Government.

26 – No promises were made to get the remains of the miners out of the Pike River mine.

27 – I did not provide a view on the safety of the Pike River coalmine.

28 – I did not mislead the House (3).

29 – Capping, not cutting the public service.

30 – Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will cost 6000 jobs.

31 – North of $50 a week.

32 – Privatisation won’t significantly help the economy.

33 – Wave goodbye to higher taxes , not your loved ones.

35 – Tariana Turia is “totally fine” with the Tuhoe Treaty Claim deal.

36 – Kiwisaver.

37 – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector.

38 – Tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing.

39 – New Zealand does not have a debt problem.

41 – The wage gap between New Zealand and Australia has closed under my National Ltd™ government.

42 – It took 9 years for Labour to make a complete and utter mess of the economy.

43 – National Ltd™ has changed the Overseas Investment Act to include 19 different criteria.

44 – The price of goods and services has risen by 6 per cent since the last election, while the price has actually gone up by 16 per cent.

45 – No, although its a week ago and here I am being interviewed on television about them, I havn’t seen Gerry Brownlee’s comments regarding demolitions in Christchurch and which caused such outrage, but I can talk all about them.

46 – Our SAS soldiers were not involved in the Kabul Hotel gunfight.

47 – The use of the Vela brother’s helicopter was required so I could attend meetings relating to national/international security concerns.

49 – I did not mislead the House (4).

50 – Oh, maybe our SAS soldiers were in the Kabul hotel gun fight but they weren’t wounded by friendly fire.

51 – New Zealand has lost $12 billion from GDP due to the Christchurch earthquake . . . oh, it might actually be around $15 billion from GDP due to the Christchurch earthquake . . . Blinglish said what?

52 – 10,000 houses will have to be demolished in Christchurch due to the earthquake.

53 – 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast.

54 – Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally.

55 – We are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations.

56 – Any changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral.

57 – We [NZ] have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”.

58 – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract.

59 – We will be back in surplus by 2014-15.

60 – Nicky Hager’s book “Other People’s Wars” is a work of fiction.

61 – Unemployment is starting to fall.

62 – We have created 60,000 jobs.

63 – We have created 45,000 jobs.

64 – The 2011 Budget will create in the order of 170,000 jobs.

65 – I don’t know if I own a vineyard.

66 – No, I did not mislead the House (5).

67 – The Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport.

68 – The Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs.

69 – GCSB re Kim Dotcom x 3 (that we know about).

70 – I did not mislead the House (6).

71 – I voted to keep the drinking age at 20.

72 – New Zealand is 100% Pure.

73 – I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

74 – Baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support.

75 – The decision to buy brand new BMWs was made by the Department of Internal Affairs without reference either to their minister or to me.

76 – I didn’t have a clue that Ministerial Services, which I am in charge of, was going to buy brand new BMWs.

77 – Even though two of my ministers knew all about it, I didn’t have a clue that brand new BMWs were being bought.

78 – Even though my Chief of Staff met with officials to discuss purchase of the the brand new BMWs, I didn’t have a clue.

79 – Labour forced us into buying the brand new BMWs, its their fault.

80 – Ummm, look, sorry about that BMW thing , it was because I was so upset about the death of a New Zealand soldier and Julia Gillard was visit too.

81 – The public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit.

82 – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs.

83 – We have delivered 800 extra doctors in the public service.

84 – I did not mislead the House (7).

85 – I wasn’t working at Elders when the sham foreign exchange deals took place.

86 – I was starting School Certificate exams in 1978.

88 – Reducing barriers to property developers will increase the availability of affordable housing.

89 – Labour left the economy in poor shape.

90 – Forecasts show unemployment will fall.

91 – We have closed the wage gap with Australia by $27.

92 – Ngati Porou and Whanau Apanui are not opposed to mining.

93 – I have not had any meetings with Media Works.

94 – Our [NZ's] terms of trade remain high.

95 – The TPP is an example of democracy.

96 – National Ltd™ will use the proceeds of state asset sales to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals.

97 – New Zealand troops will be out of Afghanistan by April 2013.

98 – Overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own.

99 – Overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow.

100 – National Ltd™ will build 2000 houses over the next two years.

101 – There are only 4 New Zealand SAS soldiers in Bamiyan and all working in the area of logistics and planning only.

102 – Selling state assets will give cash equity to those companies.

103 – The Sky City deal doesn’t mean more pokies.

104 – There was nothing improper about the Sky City deal.

105 – My office has had no correspondence, no discussions, no involvement with the Sky City deal.

106 – SkyCity will only get "a few more" pokie machines at the margins.

107 – Any changes to gambling regulations will be subject to a full public submission process.

108 – Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land.

109 – The Auditor General has fully vindicated National over the Sky City deal.

110 – There’s a 50/50 chance the Hobbit is going off shore unless we do something.

111 – David Shearer has signed up for the purchase of shares in Mighty River.

112 – Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment.

113 – Fracking has been going safely on in Taranaki for the past 30 years without any issues.

114 – No front line positions will be lost at DoC.

115 – Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job.

116 – I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position.

118 – For 30 years, or three decades, I didn’t have any dinners or lunches or breakfasts with Ian Fletcher.

119 – I did not mislead the House (8).

121 – I paid for that lunch and I’ve got the credit card bill to prove it.

122 – I called directory service to get Ian Fletcher’s number.

123 – I did not mislead the house (9).

124 – I am honest and upfront.

125 – Cyber terrorists have attempted to gain access to information about weapons of mass destruction held on New Zealand computers.

126 – The illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident.

127 – New Zealand has an arrangement to have asylum seekers processed in Australiandetention camps.

128 – The law which says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders is not clear.

129 – The only way net new jobs can be created is by private investors putting their money into businesses in New Zealand.

130 – An increase in the number of people looking for work indicates that confidence is returning to the economy.

131 – The 10 percent of taxpayers in New Zealand who are the top earners pay 76 percent of all net personal tax.

132 – I did not mislead the House (10).

133 – The substantial wage growth under Labour was eroded by inflation.

134 – National Ltd™’s 2010 tax changes were fiscally neutral.

135 – I did not mislead the House (11).

137 – Pike River Coal did not put profits and its production ahead of the safety and lives of those 29 workers.

138 – Radio Live had sought advice from the Electoral Commission about my show just before the election.

139 – It is because of National Ltd™’s policies that the price of fresh fruit and vegetables has dropped.

140 – The length-of-the-country cycleway will create 4000 jobs.

141 – Police training for next year has not been cancelled.

142 – National Ltd™ has only cut back-office jobs in the health service.

143 – The Crown’s dividend stream from the Meridians, the Mighty Rivers of the world is large and there is no motivation to sell assets.


Defend the right to protest at sea

Bob wants higher power prices

It wasn't that long ago when New Zealand was one of the best places in the world to live, irrespective of a person's financial wealth. In fact financial wealth wasn't the be all and end all that it is now, with citizens enjoying full employment, a functioning state housing and welfare system amongst other socially beneficial provisions brought about by democracy.

How things have changed. Now we have high unemployment, low wages and expensive electricity so that many people on fixed incomes cannot afford to heat their homes properly in winter. We see the result of such energy poverty with increased hospitalisation and lower productivity, both of which cost the country dearly.

But the free-marketeer, let's call him Bob, doesn't care about any of that... Bob doesn't give a damn if a few thousand poor people each year become sick from cold damp housing because they cannot afford to pay for electricity. As long as Bob can make a few bucks from investing in power companies that had turnover of around $10 billion last year, Bob will be a happy little capitalist.

There's no doubt that increasing revenue from electricity sales comes at public and economic expense and that Kiwi households and businesses have been hit hard by a largely unregulated marketplace. No matter what the actual cost to generate electricity, the current system is designed to extract exorbitant amounts of money, and with the bulk of our electricity being generated at 1 cent per KWh from hydro dams that were built and paid for many years ago, most Kiwis understand that we're being ripped off big time.

Bob doesn't see it like that though... He thinks the rich having more money to invest balances out increased commodity prices and struggling businesses because of expensive electricity. It doesn't matter to Bob that he didn't invest in anything productive after the last round of tax cuts for the wealthy, and that's why New Zealands economy continues to stagnate. Bob doesn't seem to realise that investing in non-productive areas will detrimentally affect the economy, and therefore his long-term profit margins.

To justify the status quo of high power prices, the proponents of asset sales say that profits from that huge revenue stream are low, which averaged only 4.8% last year for the five main power companies. However that seemingly low return is because, along with top management being overly compensated and increased debt levels, National has demanded huge investment in the sector to build up infrastructure just before it's partially privatised. They're presently spending large amounts of public money to effectively increase future profits, 49% of which would then go to Bob under Nationals mixed ownership model.

There's no doubt that investors yield will increase faster with unchecked increases to your monthly bill, which is why people like Bob hate the concept of NZ Power so much. However the effect will be nominal, being that the policy only targets 7% of the $10 billion revenue stream, which grew by an average 18.6% last year.

Luckily, Bob and his neoliberal mates are in a very small minority group, with the majority of business owners and middle class workers wanting cheaper power prices. These people are more likely to vote for parties that actively work towards the social and economic benefits cheaper power prices (PDF) will bring, which will cause increased support for the Labour and Green's at the next election... Roll on November 2014.

Fight breaks out in EU parliament

22 Apr 2013

Just a coincidence?

Is it just a coincidence that after the Human Rights Commission decides to hold the (not so) Sensible Sentencing Trust to account, they have their funding cut?

Here's a report by Radio NZ from last Wednesday:

A lawyer for the Human Rights Commission has told a court the Sensible Sentencing Trust not only broke name suppression for a convicted paedophile, but breached his privacy by getting his private police record.

Then yesterday, National announces funding cuts for the Human Rights Commission:

Staff at another Government funded agency have an axe hovering over their heads.

Around 15 percent of jobs at the Human Rights Commission are going, thanks to a cash shortfall and a freeze on funding until 2020.

There is no question that the Sensible Sentencing Trust is politically affiliated with the right wing, and if funding decisions are being based on whom the Human Rights Commission decides to prosecute, then that amounts to economic sabotage!

We shouldn't be worrying about New Zealand turning a bit socialist with policy that gives people cheaper power prices, we should be concerned with New Zealand turning towards fascism!

The Human Rights Commission is an effective tool against the rise of fascism, and should therefore have its funding increased. This is especially the case when they're targeting organisations that promote racism, like the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

21 Apr 2013

What will Tau Henare do?

Just before the 2008 election, there was a report on 3 News about what Labour MPs would no longer be in parliament based on what the polls were showing.

So in light of that report, here's what National MPs will likely be gone from parliament based on the latest Roy Morgan poll, which states:

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a substantial fall in support for Prime Minister John Key’s National Party to 40.5% (down 3.5% since March 11-24, 2013). Support for Key’s Coalition partners shows the Maori Party 2% (down 0.5%), ACT NZ 0.5% (unchanged) and United Future 0.5% (down 0.5%).

Support for Labour is 35.5% (up 1%); Greens are 13.5% (up 0.5%), New Zealand First 5% (up 2%), Mana Party 0.5% (unchanged), Conservative Party of NZ 1.5% (up 0.5%) and Others 0.5% (up 0.5%).

If a National Election were held today this New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the Labour Party with minor party support would win an Election if held now.

With a slight swing in voting, these electorates would be won by Labour:

Waitakere - Paula Bennett - Ranking 15 - Majority 9
Christchurch Central - Nicky Wagner - Ranking 43 - Majority 47
Waimakariri - Kate Wilkinson - Ranking 18 - Majority 642
Auckland Central - Nikki Kaye - Ranking 34 - Majority 717.

However based on the actual 14.8% swing away from National since the last election (47.3% - 40.5% = 6.8% decline) in favour of Labour (35.5% - 27.5% = 8% increase), four more electorate seats would likely change from National to Labour:

Napier - Chris Tremain - Ranking 18 - Majority 3701
New Plymouth - Jonathan Young - Ranking 46 - Majority 4270
Hamilton West - Tim Macindoe - Ranking 51 - Majority 4418
Ōtaki - Nathan Guy - Ranking 21 - Majority 5231.

Unless National changes their rankings, these MPs would be gone from parliament:

List MP Aaron Gilmore ranked 55
List MP Cam Calder ranked 52
Tim Macindoe ranked 51
No real great loss there then... Furthermore, these National MPs will likely be gone as well:

Jonathan Young - Ranking 46
List MP Chris Auchinvole ranked 44
List MP Jackie Blue ranked 47
List MP Paul Goldsmith ranked 40
Nicky Wagner ranked 43
List MP Tau Henare ranked 41

What on earth will Tau Henare do with himself?

20 Apr 2013

Labour and Greens well ahead

You'd be excused for missing an article in the NZ Herald today about the latest Roy Morgan poll on voting intention. Relegated to a brief 100 words on page five, it fails to mention some important facts, with the online version not much better:

The latest Roy Morgan political survey shows the support for Labour and Greens has bumped up enough to give a Labour-Greens coalition the seats it would need to govern.

The Government has taken a major hit in the new poll, which shows National down 3.5 points to 40.5 per cent last month.

Support of Labour is up one point to 35.5 per cent and the Greens edged up slightly to 13.5 per cent.

The gap between the two major parties has tightened - the smallest since the 2008 election when Helen Clark's Labour Government lost the election and brought the current National Government, led by John Key.

Since Mr Key became leader of National in November 2006, the National vote has never dropped below 40.5 per cent and has not dipped below that mark since October 2006 when Don Brash was still leader of the party.

Gary Morgan states:

Today’s result is a clear boost to Opposition Leader David Shearer and comes as National faces a number of challenges that appear to have dented its support — the axing of 140 jobs by the Department of Conservation, the ongoing Novopay Payroll Issues, the bungled handling of the Kim Dotcom ‘affair’ and serious breaches of privacy by both the Ministry of Education and the Earthquake Commission.

The polling actually shows that a potential coalition government between the Labour party and the Greens is 8.5% ahead of National, and with NZ First they're a whopping 13.5% ahead. So why isn't this news being given more prominence by the MSM?

Contrast that lack of proper coverage with this article showing National up in the Herald Digipoll to 50.9% just before the last election. They subsequently won with 47.31% of the vote, showing just how much biased polling favours the right.

Below is an MMP seat allocation calculation based on the current Roy Morgan percentages. Some marginal electorate seats have also changed to reflect current polling percentages.

If this trend continues, Labour and the Greens look set to form a majority coalition government in 2014.

19 Apr 2013

Do the Math

Panic stations

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Labour leader David Shearer and Greens co-leader Russel Norman yesterday said that if they won next year's election they would establish a new agency called New Zealand Power which would act as a single buyer of wholesale electricity.

The agency would also have the power to set prices based on generators' operating costs and a fair return on capital. NZ Power would sell power to electricity retailers at prices lower than those on the current wholesale market and those savings would be passed on to consumers.

However, those savings would come at the expense of power companies.

The plan would cut the nation's power bills by up to $700 million a year and that money would come straight out of the revenue streams of power companies, including Mighty River and others earmarked for partial sale.

The power company's revenue for 2012 was $9961 million... $700 million of that is only 7%.

But despite that very small reduction:

Mr Bridges and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the plan amounted to nationalising the electricity industry.

"They may want to return to sort of United Soviet Socialist Republic of New Zealand days but National certainly doesn't," Mr Bridges said.

Joyce also put out a press release:

“This is truly wacky and desperate stuff obviously made up in the last minute in the Koru Lounge between comrades Norman and Shearer,” Mr Joyce says.

“Their crazy idea to have both a single national purchaser of electricity and to exempt Government-owned companies from both company tax and dividends would effectively demolish private investment in the electricity industry overnight. It would also raise real questions as to why any individual or company would want to invest in businesses in New Zealand.

“Even the idea of it is economic vandalism of the highest order, with the timing designed to try and disrupt the mixed-ownership company floats. What we are seeing here is a desperate Opposition that is prepared to sacrifice economic development in New Zealand on the altar of political opportunism.

We're talking about a 7% reduction in power company's revenue profiteering, which hardly amounts to economic vandalism.

What Labour and the Greens policy will actually do is reduce people's power bills effectively putting more money in consumers back pockets. That will give average Kiwi families more expendable money to purchase items they require, save for a rainy day or invest in more productive sectors of the economy.

So why is the government, instead of adopting this policy themselves, acting like a bunch of freaked out clowns? Clearly the National party only represents the interests of big business and not the people of New Zealand, who will likely support the Greens and Labours policy changes at the next election.

18 Apr 2013

Global Wealth Inequality

Two victories!

It's not often that left wing MPs manage to get their bills passed through parliament these days. Usually it's the right wing ramming through socially detrimental legislation that passes with slimmest of majorities.

Sometimes there isn't even any select committee or public input into the process, which is somewhat demoralizing and puts into question whether we still have a functioning democracy in New Zealand?

However yesterday the left had two significant victories: the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, both passing despite strong opposition inside and outside parliament.

David Clark's Holiday Bill passed by only one vote, with the Maori Party and Peter Dunne switching allegiance to vote in favour of the worthwhile legislative changes. In my opinion, they should be commended for supporting left wing principles.

The Marriage Bill passed by 77 votes to 44, with many right wing MPs siding with the bills sponsor, Labour MP Louisa Wall. Even John Banks voted for the law change to allow same sex marriages, which is sure to get under the skin of most Act party supporters.

This is pretty big news around the world, with The Guardian reporting:

New Zealand's parliament has voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, prompting cheers, applause and the singing of a traditional Maori celebratory song from the public gallery.

Seventy-seven of 121 members voted in favour of amending the 1955 Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to wed, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

"Two-thirds of parliament have endorsed marriage equality," said Louisa Wall, a gay opposition Labour party MP who campaigned in favour of the bill. "It shows that we are building on our human rights as a country."

The bill was widely expected to pass, given similar support for the change in a preliminary vote held last month. It is likely to come into effect in August.

New Zealand becomes the 13th country to legalise same-sex marriages, after Uruguay passed the law last week. Australia rejected a similar proposal last year.

So an excellent result, and one that has assuredly reduce discrimination. In fact the public discussion surrounding the process has likely helped to change some people's perceptions for the better.

Now on to the next victory!

17 Apr 2013

Mothers of Fukushima

16 Apr 2013

Show me the WMD John Key?

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Prime Minister John Key yesterday revealed intelligence agencies have detected attempts by hackers to steal New Zealand technology that could be used to create weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Key made the claim to reinforce the need for law changes to allow electronic eavesdropping on New Zealanders by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

While the terrorism threat in New Zealand had remained low there were people within the country with links to offshore terrorist groups.

Other threats to national security had continued to intensify, he said.

"There have been covert attempts to acquire New Zealand science and technology for programmes relating to weapons of mass destruction or weapons delivery systems ... I can't detail the success or otherwise of those incursions."

Now let's pretend that John Key's statement is for real; that there are in fact New Zealand citizens who have aided and abetted terrorist organizations... If that's the case, why hasn't anybody been arrested?

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (PDF) strictly prohibits New Zealanders funding Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), so why are the known (according to Key) perpetrators not being prosecuted?

The other question I would like answered is why do we have "science and technology for projects involving weapons of mass destruction" that could be hacked in the first place?

New Zealand is a nuclear free country, which is legislated for in the form of the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 (PDF). We also ratified the international Convention on Chemical Weapons in 1996, with the government passing the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996 (PDF), which prohibits their development, production, stockpiling and use. Later they also passed the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 (PDF), which targets people who participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts.

Having plans for developing chemical weapons is therefore against the law in New Zealand, as it would be seen as part of the planning or preparation process to developing these weapons. The crown and its agencies aren't exempt from the laws defined in these Acts, so should not be retaining such information online for hackers to steal.

But perhaps a more pertinent question to ask is that if New Zealanders have actually been involved in undertaking terrorist attacks as John Key claims, who are these people? As far as I'm aware there hasn't been any New Zealanders associated with so-called "terrorist" attacks since Neil Roberts tried to blow up the Wanganui computer in 1982. Roberts was the only person killed, the computer system was undamaged.

However there was also the Wellington Trades Hall bombing in 1984, which was obviously undertaken to send a message to the Trade Unions. That terrorist act unfortunately killed the building's caretaker, Ernie Abbott. The police strangely never found the perpetrator, even though the officers responsible for preventing and investigating such crimes were headquartered in the building across the street from the crime scene.

Those isolated and historic cases certainly don't justify extending the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

In my opinion, surveillance on Kiwis shouldn't be increased just because the rogue agency has been found to be acting unlawfully by spying on 88 New Zealand citizens, especially when there's currently such an obvious lack of any proper oversight to ensure compliance with the law.

It's that lack of oversight that Rebecca Kitteridge highlighted in her damning report (PDF) into the GCSB's misconduct. Somebody should inform Key that saying "legislative clarification would be desirable" isn't advocating for the increase of state powers... She's simply saying that the GCSB should be aware of and adhere to the law.

So let's stop pretending Key is telling the truth... Clearly there's no terrorism threat concerning weapons of mass destruction here in New Zealand or the potential for hackers to steal information relating to such weapons... There's just a very deluded and dishonest Prime Minister trying to degrade our civil liberties and further undermine the publics right to privacy.

15 Apr 2013

When will Thatcherism truly die?

Yesterday, an article by Maria Golovnina was reported by Stuff:

Only about 200 people turned up for a "party" in central London to celebrate the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a mass protest predicted by some failed to materialise.

Except the party in central London was far larger than Golovnina is reporting... The number of vehement critics of the “Iron Lady” who braved cold conditions to attend celebrations in Trafalgar Square was at least ten times that amount, with The Guardian reporting:

About 3,000 people gathered in the rain in Trafalgar Square on Saturday night to "celebrate" the demise of Margaret Thatcher. A few people chanted obscenities and at least two bottles were thrown at police, with the call of "Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead" ringing out intermittently.

Here's a video that confirms thousands of people attended:

Of course this hasn't stopped the right wing propagandist Cameron Slater regurgitating Golovnina's inaccurate article, also claiming that:

She really has had the last laugh, even in death she has defeated the pinkos.

Saying that Thatcher "has had the last laugh" is akin to rejoicing in the harm she has and continues to cause Great Britain... It's about as funny as Paula Bennett thinking child poverty is a laughing matter.

With decreased production, growing inequality, high unemployment and one of the worst poverty rates in Europe, it's pretty self-evident that even with the iron lady's demise, Thatcherism lives on. Those damning social indicators make me wonder why, with it totally failing in Great Britain, are we making the same mistakes here in New Zealand?

Thatcher's libertarianism caused untold social damage that adversely affected millions of British people, and no amount of disinformation from idiots like Slater and Golovnina is going to change that fact. There is no doubt that Britain is the worse for wear after Thatchers administration, which makes me wonder if Thatcherism, both there and abroad, will ever truly die?

Teachers bring out the G.E.R.M.icide in A14 Protest

Inciting the bigots

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

A complaint about an anti-gay marriage brochure, criticised as being "extraordinarily offensive", has been dismissed by the country's advertising watchdog on the grounds of freedom of speech.

Family First's "21 great reasons to keep marriage as is" pamphlet equates same-sex marriage with incest and paedophilia, denigrates children of same-sex couples and is hurtful to single-parent families, the Advertising Standards Authority heard.

The complainant said the brochure was "inflammatory, largely incorrect and was filled with biases". It was "extraordinarily offensive".

I have to agree; the pamphlet is highly offensive and filled with numerous inaccuracies... This quote from Metiria Turei for instance is a complete fabrication:

METIRIA TUREI (Green): "Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. ...This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage." 1st Reading Civil Union Bill

Here's what Turei actually said:

Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. Contrary to the beliefs of some, this institution is not universal but stems out of a particular Christian tradition. That is nothing to be ashamed of. I encourage those who try to claim that marriage is universal to embrace the particular historical and cultural tradition from which marriage was born.


Others have tried to explain how the bill will undermine the institution of marriage. I have not found any single compelling argument as to how allowing some to solemnise their relationship through a civil union, which then entitles them to recognition under the law, will undermine the institution of marriage. This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage. Those who consider marriage a divine responsibility of God will know that human law cannot disturb divine law, so therefore nothing that we do in this Chamber will undermine the divinity of marriage.

They've misquoted the Green party co-leader, cherry picking various parts of her speech to misrepresent what she said... Therefore the complaint should have been upheld.

It's one thing to have a robust expression of belief or opinion, but it's quite another to totally misrepresent what an MP has said.

That level of dishonesty clearly displays why the anti marriage equality brigade are fundamentally wrong! They're not even being honest about what people say, so how can we expect them to be honest about anything else?

Annoyingly their pamphlet is copy protected... Here it is anyway:

21 great reasons to keep marriage as is.

1. MARRIAGE IS FOUNDATIONAL Throughout history and in virtually all human societies, marriage has always been a union between men and women. Marriage predates both the organised church and the state.The State should not presume to re-engineer a natural human institution.

2. BIOLOGY NOT BIGOTRY Marriage combines the complementary characteristics of men and women as defined by nature. Nature is exclusive and discriminatory in that only the union of a man and a woman can produce another life. It makes sense to treat something so unique in a unique way.

3. FOR MARRIAGE, NOT AGAINST PEOPLE This debate is not a discussion about whether homosexuals are good people or not. Every human being should be treated with dignity and respect. However, many people in the homosexual community also do not agree with same-sex marriage. They are not 'homophobic' or 'bigoted'. Everyone has a right to love whom they choose, but nobody has a right to redefine marriage.

Everyone has a right to love whom they choose, but nobody has a right to redefine marriage.

The issue is one of definition, not discrimination.

4. DEFINITION, NOT DISCRIMINATION It is perfectly possible to support natural marriage while also recognising and respecting the rights of others. Changing the law so that marriage includes same-sex unions would be a massive change to what marriage means. The issue is one of definition, not discrimination.

5. EQUALITY IS NOT SAMENESS Equality is not sameness, and difference is not inequality. As popular NZ Herald columnist Jim Hopkins wrote: "(Discrimination) happens all the time. If equality was Parliament's objective, there'd be no minimum drinking age, no ban on bigamy or specified drugs, no requirement to pass a test to get a driver's licence and no Maori seats either."

6. THE 'RIGHT' TO MARRY? Marriage rightly discriminates. A 14-year-old cannot get married. Three or four people cannot get married to each other. A person who is currently married cannot marry another person. A father cannot marry his adult daughter. A mother cannot marry her adult son. Even those wanting 'equality' believe there should be restrictions—which shows that even they believe that marriage is not an absolute right for everybody or every type of romantic relationship.

7. SPECIAL RIGHTS? In 2004, the government introduced civil unions and changed over 150 pieces of legislation to provide legal recognition and protection for same-sex relationships in NZ. There is currently no discrimination in the law against same-sex couples. Why do we now need to provide special rights?

8. WHAT ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS? For many, marriage is more than just a legal agreement or social contract. We must consider the rights of people who have deliberately chosen marriage because of its historical, cultural or religious meaning and value. By changing its meaning, we would be trampling on the rights of most New Zealanders who hold such views and ideals.

9. HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR MARIAGE? We need to be concerned with more than what merely affects us personally. This bill isn't just a simple change in the wording of a current law. It is proposing the complete redefinition of an institution as it has existed for thousands of years.

10. DEFINITIONS MATTER Changing the definition of something changes the way society and future generations view it and the important role it plays. We would not accept a law that changes the definition of a father to include mothers. By doing so, we would cover up reality. Definitions matter.

11. MUM AND DAD MATTER Marriage between a man and a woman says to a child that mum and dad who made you will also be there to love and raise you. Although death and divorce may prevent it, the evidence shows that children do best with their biological mother and father who are married. The differences between men and women - mothers and fathers - really do matter.

12. GENDER MATTERS One of the outcomes of redefining marriage is that same-sex couples will be able to adopt non-related babies and children. Two men might individually be good fathers, but neither can be a mum. Two women might individually be good mothers, but neither can be a dad. While a compassionate society should always come to the aid of motherless and fatherless families, a wise and loving society should never intentionally create fatherless or motherless families. Deliberately depriving a child of a loving mum or a dad is not in the child's best interests.

13. JURY STILL OUT ON SAME-SEX PARENTING There are many many large, scientifically strong studies from the past four decades and earlier showing children do better with their married biological mother and father compared with any other type of family structure. As prominent Irish homosexual and political commentator Richard Waghorn says, this is not to cast aspersions on other families, but it does underscore the importance of marriage as an institution. Studies said to show that children of homosexuals do just as well as other children are - so far - methodologically weak, and thus scientifically inconclusive. They certainly can't be used to justify a wholesale change to the definition of marriage or adoption laws.

14. AN IDEOLOGY FORCED ON ALL If marriage is redefined, everyone would be subject to the new definition. Anyone who disagrees with it would be at odds with the law. This will directly affect ministers, faith-based organisat ions and schools, and marriage celebrants, amongst others. If same-sex marriage is seen as a fundamental human right, then all will be forced to recognise it. You can't be selective about which groups will recognise fundamental human rights. The author of the bill, Labour M P Louisa Wall, promised that the bill did not require any person or church to carry out a marriage if it does not fit with the beliefs of the celebrant or the religious interpretation a church has. This assurance is now being seriously questioned by legal experts including the NZ Law Society and members of the Victoria University law faculty.

Encourage others to sign the petition. Online signatures are preferred so direct them To obtain written signatures, petition forms can also be downloaded from our website.

15. WARNINGS FROM OVERSEAS EXPERIENCE The alarming examples of what happens when attempts are made to redefine marriage are endless.

In Australia, tennis great Margaret Court came under attack when she expressed opposition to same-sex marriage early in 2012. Court was accused by same-sex marriage activists of spreading "hateful comments" and "inciting the bigots out there";

In 2011, a respected Canadian sports anchor was fired after expressing support for the traditional definition of marriage on hisTwitter account;

In 2011, dual gold-medallist Peter Vidmar was chosen to be chef de mission for the United States team at the 2012 London Olympics but was pressured to resign simply because he had supported Proposition 8, the measure which defined marriage as between a man and a woman in California;

In Canada, Saskatchewan's highest court ruled that marriage commissioners who are public servants cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples, whatever their personal conviction; 
In Maine, USA, where recently a referendum allowed same-sex marriage, any notary public who performs marriages may not refuse to perform a same-sex "marriage" for any reason, otherwise they will be charged with a human rights violation; 
In Denmark, same-sex couples have won the right to get married in any church they choose, even though nearly one third of the country's priests have said they will refuse to carry out the ceremonies;

In New Jersey, USA, a judge ruled against a United Methodist retreat house which refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises;

In Israel, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered the owners of an Israeli reception hall to pay $25,000 damages to a lesbian couple after refusing to host their same-sex wedding on the grounds of their religious beliefs;

In the UK, a housing trust worker lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40%, and was given a final written warning after posting on his personal (and private) Facebook account that hosting gay weddings in churches was "an equality too far"; 
And UK primary school teachers could face the sack for refusing to promote gay marriage if same-sex unions become law. An education minister refused to rule out the possibility that teachers, even in faith schools, could face disciplinary action for objecting on grounds of conscience. Labour MP Louisa Wall recently suggested that integrated faith-based schools in New Zealand receiving government funding should not be promoting a traditional view of marriage.

16. BANNING 'MOTHER' FATHER"HUSBAND' WIFE' The health department in the US state of Washington is to remove the words "husband" and "wife" from marriage and divorce certificates, after same-sex marriage was approved in a recent referendum. The UK Government has said the words "husband" and "wife" will have to be removed from official documents if marriage is redefined. In France, the words "mother" and "father" are set to be stripped from official documents, under its plans to redefine marriage. In Spain, terms such as "mother" and "father" have become "Progenitor A" and "Progenitor B" on birth certificates.

17. WHAT NEXT? If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined again? Allowing only same-sex marriage on the basis of love and commitment would then open the door for polygamous, polyamory (group), and consensual adult incest-type marriages. Why would discrimination against these loving adults be ok?They may be illegal now, but it wasn't that long ago that same-sex marriage was illegal also.

18. SAME AS BANNING INTER-RACIAL MARRIAGE? No - these bans were unjust, and were designed to keep races apart. Marriage is grounded in bringing the genders together. Overturning the ban on inter-racial marriage did not mean a redefinition of marriage but an affirmation of it.

UK primary school teachers could face the sack for refusing to promote gay marriage if same-sex unions become law.

If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined again?

19. BUT NOT ALL COUPLES HAVE CHILDREN We agree, not all married couples have children - but every child ever born has a mum and a dad. Having babies is not a requirement for marriage - but it is a natural outcome. Marriage is a unique union that can lead to procreation. It is for this reason that the State became interested in marriage in the first place. We do not disqualify couples from marrying based on exceptions. Older people marrying is the except ion also, not the norm. Every man and woman who marry are capable of giving any child they create (or adopt) a mother and a father.

20. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE COULD STRENGTHEN THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE? Marriage does not thrive under the inclusive banner of "the more the merrier." A marriage culture, which is essential to a healthy society, is nourished when we are faithful to, and honour, its time-tested definition, and understand its important purpose. Extending the definition of marriage to include polygamy and group marriage would also not strengthen marriage just because more people could get married.

21. WE AGREE WITH THE POLITICIANS During the civil union debate, NZ politicians (including gay politicians) argued that the Civil Union Bill was an acceptable alternative, and that marriage should only be for heterosexuals. We agree. Nothing has changed since then.

HELEN CLARK (Labour): "Marriage is only for heterosexuals. The Government is not -- underline -- not, changing the Marriage Act. That will remain as an option only for heterosexual couples." NZ Herald June 21 2004

TIM BARNETT (Labour): "The Civil Union Bill is an acceptable alternative; marriage can remain untouched." 1st Reading Civil Union Bill

METIRIA TUREI (Green): "Marriage as understood in our society, and as formalised in law, is a specific culturally and historically bound institution. ...This bill does not affect the Marriage Act. It does not change in any way the structure, the validity, of the institution of marriage." 1st Reading Civil Union Bill

JOHN KEY (National): "Marriage is an institution of the church, I don't think it is necessary to have that label put on every relationship." 2006 "I don't think there's a real need to change the current legislation or to adopt new legislation." 2008
What can I do?

"I reject the suggestion of marriage equality Marriage equality has been a slogan; it has been a campaign. The claim to equality ignores the widely accepted fact that marriage is an institution that has a long and well-accepted definition — a definition that is heavily laden with cultural meaning and values crafted by custom and by law over the years." GaySenator Dean Smith — Parliament ofAustralia (during the Marriage debate in Australia, Sep 2012)

If you agree with the sentiment and urgency of this publication, please take a moment and contact your local elected and list MP's - either by phone, making an appointment to see them at their electorate office, writing a letter, or sending an email. You can find out who your local MP is and their email address at our website

Marriage is too important to stay silent.

That last sentence I agree with; marriage is too important to stay silent... Therefore I look forward to the marriage equality bill passing to increase equality for all New Zealanders, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Discrimination isn't justifiable just because it's been around for a long time... Besides, the research indicates that gay parents are more committed to their children than straight parents, which puts a pretty large spanner in Family First's propaganda.