Archive for September, 2008

Water won’t wait

Baybuzz has posted on the Dompost’s editorial on water. I’ve added a comment about the issue in relation to National’s RMA policy launched yesterday. I commented:

Sticking to the water topic of this post, quietly hidden in National’s RMA policy launch yesterday was a plan to halt the NPS on freshwater quality, and set up a Scandinavian-type ‘collaborative governance‘ model. It may be useful, but what about the urgent and very real water crisis in the meantime?

As Green Co-leader Russel Norman said, “National’s proposal to replace the water programme with collaborative governance – a process that may take years – would only help solve our water pollution crisis if accompanied by a moratorium on new discharge consents and water takes in sensitive catchments.”

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Smoking out credit where credit’s due

Having criticised the HB National MPs recently on some environmental issues (incidentally with no commitment from them to protect the rainforest or to protect the $1billion fund to support Bay households’ home heating), I have to give credit to Tukituki National MP Craig Foss today.

Foss presented a petition to Parliament on behalf of the Hawke’s Bay Smokefree Youth Ambassadors supporting a complete ban on the visual display of tobacco products. This, and a sister 20,000 signature petition, has resulted in the Health Select Committee recommending tobacco and cigarette displays be kept out of sight in retail stores around New Zealand.

The Green’s Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley MP (who chairs the Health Select Committee) welcomed the recommendation on behalf of the Green Party.

Here’s a video interview with ambassador Sarah Pulford from HBTV:

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A sea of blue, enough to give you the blues!

The National Party has been spending thousands on election hoardings in the Hawkes Bay. Not only did Craig Foss have some up weeks before elsewhere in the country, but they’ve spared no expense to smother the Bay’s highways with blue. However, the feedback I have got is that the Greens hoardings win on quality, hands down.

In terms of the blue message, I thought this post on frogblog contrasts some of the internal contradictions in National that I alluded to in an early statement about biofuels and palm kernel.

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Does NZ have a violence problem?

In the words of Stellar*, could it be that societies’ “nihilistic tendancies are making [us] violent”?

There will be a Law and Order (not the TV drama) in Napier hosted by the Sensible Sentencing Trust soon. I look forward to presenting the Green Party’s solutions to violence in our society.

Thur 16 October, 7:30-9:30pm, Century Theatre, Napier.

Meanwhile, today…

Hastings Mayor Gathers Community Leaders After Flaxmere Fight

Press Release by Hastings District Council at 9:42 am, 24 Sep 2008

Hastings Mayor, Lawrence Yule has called an urgent meeting to discuss an incident at Flaxmere Skate Bowl yesterday after school.

Around 200 students gathered to watch a fight between a number of boys and a large team of police were called to break up the brawl.

A constable was injured while the students were being dispersed and seven students, aged between 13 and 15-years-old, were arrested.

Initial investigations show students were from Flaxmere College and Hastings Boys’ High School.

Mayor Yule has asked the principals of both schools to attend this morning’s meeting, as well as Flaxmere councillors Keriana Poulain and Henare O’Keefe, WINZ East Coast Commissioner Lindsay Scott, Inspector Kevin Kalff, Hastings Police and representatives from the Hastings offices of local MP’s Rick Barker and Craig Foss.

Mayor Yule says it’s frustrating to see an incident like this occur when so much is being done to curb violence in the Hastings suburb.

ENDS

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A speech to NZEI

I was not able actually attend this meeting, but had the following speech delivered. It concluded:

The Greens recognise the power of education: that the long-term future sustainability of our society, economy and environment is in the hands of our children. That is why we have prioritised environmental education. It is no coincidence that our election hoardings feature children, thinking and playing, and say: “Vote for me” and “Vote for us”. Children represent the hope for a sustainable and fair future. The Green Party represents that future, and represents children.

We also recognise that the ability of our children to have a sustainable future is in our hands today. If the world we leave them is trashed, and if we do not adequately equip them for the future, then their future is bleak. The contemporary realities of climate change, the end of cheap oil, the pollution of our rivers, declining biodiversity, unaffordable unsafe and unhealthy food, and the continuation of child poverty in New Zealand – these are our issues, today, and the responsibility to address them is also ours. That’s what the Greens will do.

As a friend said to me this week: “If you think telling your kids there’s no Santa is hard, try telling them there’s no North Pole”.

For a future worth teaching for, Party Vote Green.

NZEI Havelock North speech

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$1 off-peak bus fares for Napier & Hastings

The Green Party’s Public Transport Package launched yesterday by co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons in Wellington contains policies that will revolutionise transport choices in Napier and Hastings, including off-peak fares for just $1.

“Smart Green transport solutions will make getting around easier, cheaper and safer in our cities”, said Green Party Napier and Tukituki candidates Brett Stansfield and Quentin Duthie.

“First, the Greens would introduce a $1 off-peak bus fare for anywhere within either city for 2 hours. You’d be able to bus from Hastings to Havelock North and back for just a gold coin! We expect this to be very popular, filling up otherwise empty buses and therefore paying for itself.”

“Second, the Greens will remove the gross unfairness whereby the Government fully funds new major roads, but forces ratepayers and passengers to cover the cost of public transport. The Greens’ policy would allow the Government to fund the Napier-Hastings commuter bus service rather than the local ratepayer. A Central Hawkes Bay commuter service would also be eligible.”

“Third, the Greens want to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and children safe. We would reduce the speed limit to 40km/h in the city centres and around schools so those who choose to leave the car at home, and children walking or cycling to school, can get around safer.”

Read the full Statement on $1 bus fares

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Emissions Trading on Baybuzz

Recently, Baybuzz blog featured a short piece I wrote explaining why the Green Party supports the Emissions Trading Scheme. Here’s an excerpt:

Climate change will not just impact on others; it will impact on us locally. MAF forecasts that agriculture in Hawkes Bay will suffer more drought, for example. A key messages to come out of the public meeting [with Sue Bradford in Hastings in August] was that the community itself must take the initiative and prepare itself, rather than just relying on an ETS or Government funding. It was pleasing to hear of many initiatives in Hawkes Bay doing just this: from Flaxmere’s community garden to the new commuter bus service.

The Baybuzz post and the full article can be read here: http://www.baybuzz.co.nz/archives/1142

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