Monthly Archive: November 2019

17 years old, and a candidate for parliament!

William Wood, a 17-year-old, has been selected as National’s candidate for Palmerston North.

Holy crap. This is so so cool. The man can’t even vote yet, but he’s already a candidate for parliament. He’s gone to show the world that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

It’s also not some cushy seat that was handed to him – Wood’s earnt his selection on merit. He defeated National’s 2017 candidate Adrienne Pierce, current list MP Jo Hayes, and Ava Neal to secure the nomination.

No small feat.

But while he’s earnt his nomination for Palmerston North, whether he is going to get into parliament is another matter altogether. Palmerston North is Labour territory, and Wood will not win it.

Realistically, Wood will only get into parliament via the list. Where he places on that will probably be the first thing I look for when National announce their 2020 party list.

However, given how he managed to beat the 2017 candidate and a current MP, I would not be surprised to see National place him high. He’s earnt it.

Wood, (if he isn’t already) should be an inspiration to young people everywhere. As a fellow young person, I’m so stoked and proud of him.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that my views of him are entirely positive. You see, as a young person who takes pride in being one of the more politically active young people, I’m feeling rather out-done at the moment.

(Ignore the fact that I gave up on following politics for the better part of a year)

A return to human rights

On Saturday, the government announced that they will be giving the right to vote to some prisoners, reversing the 2010 ban.

This is an excellent move. The Supreme Court ruled that ban violated NZ’s bill of rights, and the Waitangi Tribunal also has stated that the ban breaches the Treaty Of Waitangi.

Not to mention that the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to take part in free and fair elections.

Voting is also something that’s done outside of prison, so it can hence be part of rehabilitation to normal society – albeit a very small part.

Sadly, however, the ban is not lifted on all prisoners – just those that have committed offences resulting in a sentence less than three years. So this doesn’t go far enough. The next step needs to be giving all prisoners the right to vote.

However, it is a start. Good on the government.

Reprimanded for being a good samaritan

Zuhaib Bangash runs a kebab shop in Auckland and was feeding the homeless out of his own pocket. However, he was told to stop by the Glen Eden Business Association.

“They said they were not happy with what I was doing. They said all the homeless will come here and other businesses will go down,” Bangash said.

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This was the first time he’s officially opened his shop to feed the homeless, but he said he’s never turned anyone away who’s asked for food since he opened two years ago.

“They are not bad people, I know they have a bad reputation, but they just want to eat. They need food, I have food – this is $600 from my own pocket every week.

“Why am I being told to stop? I know they leave here very happy.”

Bangash said he chose Sunday evenings because Glenmall is usually quiet – most shops are closed, and there are very few people in the town centre.

The man is literally doing a public service for society’s most disadvantaged members. He’s also making sure it’s at the most convenient time for everyone.

Yet the association’s only concern is for the businesses – and ok, it is the Business Association – but at the same time, it’s saddening how all the concern is for those with jobs, not those on the street. And again, Zuhaib was doing it at the most convenient time for the nearby businesses, so the complaint doesn’t stack up.

The attitude of the Business Association is a disappointing reflection of societies view of the homeless – their much greater needs come after the needs of those who have homes, and have money.

Let Zuhaib continue, and give him a damn medal.

Unable to take criticism

NCEA’s level three English exam has come under fire from National MPs such as Amy Adams, for including a text that criticises NZ farmers.

For the record, here is the article itself:

This is from the Unfamiliar Texts paper – you don’t have to write an essay responding to the text, you’re asked how the author gets their point across. You’d have to try really hard to make your answer political. For reference, I did the level one equivalent of this a few weeks back.

It’s also incredibly disappointing to see a senior MP like Adams use hyperbole and mass hysteria like this – it’s an English paper of which students have to show understanding of how an author makes points. How the hell is state-sponsored bullying and brainwashing? If anything, it’s encouraging critical thinking.

The article in question isn’t even incredibly anti-farmer – but it does raise the point of the damage farming can have on the environment. But opposing viewpoints is something you have to deal with in life. Honestly, if the roles were reversed here and the article was on something close to the left, the right would be decrying how this generation is full of snowflakes.

But in any case scenario, if farmers don’t want a narrative about how they pollute our water, then they should not pollute our water.

State sponsored climate change is bad

Radical idea here guys, bear with me. Climate change is bad. Supporting the fossil fuel industry, the main reason why we have climate change is also bad. Because climate change is bad, it would be inconceivable to have a government agency supporting the fossil fuel industry. Right? Right?

Enter the ACC.

The ACC has 1 billion invested in the fossil fuel industry. For the record, that’s 1/40th of its entire investments. Yet the fund only has 778 million invested in Green energy. But in any case, the number of dollars going into the fossil fuel industry should be zero.

The ACC, by law, has to invest ethically, so it’s pretty disappointing to see it invest in the fossil fuel industry – the industry which is literally choking the planet. In my opinion, that’s not an ethical industry.

The good news is that Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has called ACC out on this issue. The bad news is that Finance Minister Grant Robertson has refused to use the Crown Entities Act to make the ACC divest from fossil fuels.

Jacinda Ardern said that climate change was her generations “nuclear-free moment.” Yet her government won’t even stop paying those responsible for climate change.

Should the state fund political parties?

As a result of the debacle surrounding NZ First’s dodgy donations, former prime minister Jim Bolger has called for the state funding of political parties.

The basic idea is that if political parties are paid for by the state, then the influence of big corporations and their donations will become obsolete, removing corruption.

I have to say, I really don’t know how to feel about this. On one hand, I do like the idea of political parties not needing to sell out to corporations. On the other, going full hyperbole here, if a nazi party started up in New Zealand, I wouldn’t want my tax dollars going towards that.

Getting rid of donations would remove the possibility of something like what is happening at NZ First at the moment from ever occurring.

On the other hand, removing the need for parties to get donations will further remove parties from the general populace. After all, if you are going to get money regardless, the incentive to focus on the needs of the supporters dissipates.

Not 100% sure of my beliefs in this area. From what I can tell, a mixed model would work best, and the good news is that Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has a members bill in the ballot that takes a step in the right direction.

Ghahraman’s bill would ban foreign donations, as well as forcing all donations above $1000 to be disclosed (as opposed to the current limit of $15000). Her bill would also put a limit of $35000 for donations to a party or candidate per year.

As long as that also extends to organizations, I’m down for this bill. Add a level of state funding for political parties and I think the system would be better.

That said, I’m still not 100% sure of my views on this topic, and I am open to being convinced otherwise. Drop your views in the comments.

Flat Bush!

The proposed changes to the boundaries of NZ’s electorates for the 2020 election have been released.

The big headline grabber is the creation of a new electorate in Auckland, which will be called Flat Bush.

And, Auckland, how you never fail to disappoint. I’m sorry, this isn’t the reaction that I should have, but I cannot get over the fact that a) Auckland has a suburb called Flat Bush, and b) that it’s going to be the name of an electorate that an MP will be elected from.

In all seriousness, Flat Bush will most likely be a National seat, if not a safe one. It takes parts from both the National voting Hunua and Papakura electorates, as well as the Labour voting Manurewa electorate.

Interestingly, Flat Bush will border the electorate of Botany, where there was a heated race from National to become the candidate for the seat. As such, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to guess that some of the potential candidates who ran in Botany will do the same in Flat Bush.

Uneducated guess: Agnes Loheni, current National list MP, and someone who tried to get the National nomination for Botany will become Flat Bush’s first MP.

It’s a move that makes sense – Loheni only became an MP following Chris Finlayson’s resignation and ran in the nearby electorate of Māngere in 2017, (not to mention her attempt at Botany), so she has local ties.

Elsewhere, the Port Hills electorate will be renamed to Banks Penisula after gaining that from Selwyn, making it a marginal seat. There’s also been some changes in and around Christchurch and Dunedin.

Four electorates have had name changes – Rodney to Whangaparāoa, Port Hills to Banks Penisula, Hunua to Port Waikato, and Rimutaka to Remutaka.

A full list of the changes is available in the scoop article I linked at the top.

Corrupt on one hand, corrupt on the other

I’m late to the party about whatever the hell is going on with the NZ First Foundation. But in the long of the short of it, no matter which way you look at it, dodgy stuff is almost certainly going on.

Last time I blogged about this, it appeared that the NZ First Foundation was only giving NZ First loans, meaning they just skirted around electoral laws. But as Graeme Edgeler states, nope, that doesn’t just skirt around electoral laws.

Edgeler says that if the foundation has been used to pay NZ First’s bills, those payments would be considered donations.

The loans were used to pay NZ First’s bills, such as advertising and payments to the IRD. Hence, donation. And these were all large donations over fifteen thousand dollars.

And there’s still confusion as to what the foundation is – is it part of the party? Is it separate? But regardless, it’s probably illegal. Again, Edgeler can state this far better than I, so I’ll let him.

“If the foundation and party are separate, it is likely a corrupt or illegal practice occurred because donations from the foundation were not declared,” he said.

“If the foundation is part of NZ First, then the party secretary has likely committed offenses around declaring donations or failing to keep records.

Just a reminder: NZ is supposed to be the second least corrupt nation on earth. This should not be acceptable here, this is not ok. Donations must be declared.

The good news is that the electoral commission is investigating. The better news is that police might do their own investigation, with Act MP and leader David Seymour stating that he may go to the police.

Worse news: silence from the Labour and the Greens. You can give them the benefit of the doubt and say they aren’t going to comment until after the results of the electoral commission investigation. But the sad fact is that they wouldn’t be in power without NZ First, and hence will most likely not comment because they need it to stay that way.

God, the results of the commission’s investigation can not come soon enough.

A terrible, terrible, idea

Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has refused to rule out a third presidential run, stating that she is under pressure from “many, many, many, people” to consider a third attempt.

People. Stop.

Clinton lost in 2016. The American people did not choose her, they chose Trump. Yes, Clinton won the popular vote, but the key people, those who live in Florida and Pennsylvania, did not choose her. What about her is going to make them change their minds? Fresh ideas are needed.

The Democratic field is crowded enough by candidates who’s supporters will turn salty when they don’t win already – like what happened with Sanders in 2016 – and they don’t need another. They’re trying to beat Trump, for god’s sake.

Also, she’d not even be entered into the ballot for some states. No matter what way you look at it, at this late, late, stage it makes zero sense for her to run.

A good start

1563 schools will not ask parents for donations come the new year, with a $150 dollar payment from the government per pupil coming in instead.

An excellent decision. Schools from decile one to seven have seen about a 90% adoption rate of the scheme, meaning the lowest-income families will be the ones that no longer have to pay the “optional” school donations. Education in general, but especially outside of the classroom education (which donations tend to cover) should not be something only for the wealthy.

That said, while a step in the right direction, there are still flaws to iron out. Decile eight to ten schools are not allowed to opt into the scheme, as those schools are generally from higher-income areas – but as National education spokesperson Nikki Kaye pointed out, there are still going to be lower-income kids that miss out:

“They have designed a very unfair system and as a result of this there is a group of disadvantaged kids that will miss out,” Kaye said.

“They went to the election and said they were going to offer this to every school in New Zealand and they haven’t done that.”

I don’t think universally getting rid of donations is the answer – there are plenty of rich folks out there that can afford it. But the decile 8 cut off should not be a hard cut off – from there, schools and the government should try and take it on a pupil by pupil basis, where parents that may not have the money to pay the donations can apply to have their child added to the scheme.

The case by case basis should also apply for schools – for instance, Lynmore School is the sole school in Rotorua that is not eligible to apply for the new system – something which is obviously going to hurt them a lot.

All in all however, this is a great step forward by the government.

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