Beneficiary Bashing – Are NZ Voters Smart Enough To See Through It?

Paula Bennett’s press release this week has sparked fears that the elections will descend into a beneficiary-bashing fest.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to embrace a social welfare system and has always been well regarded internationally because of that. It is one of our greatest achievements, along with being the first to give women the vote and declaring our nation nuclear free.

The recognition that the state should not just be there in the case of unexpected misfortune, but actively promote the welfare of all citizens, was innovative and visionary. It is what defines New Zealand as a great place to live. It means that we are all equal. Everybody can participate in the things that we all enjoy. Continue reading

The TPP is like super glue: once we sign it we’re stuck with it

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) involves 11 countries, and if signed would affect all aspects of New Zealand life.

Like super glue, the TPP is binding for the indefinite future. We cannot get out of any part of it by voting out the government the way we usually do when we don’t like the direction the country is heading. Once we sign the TPP, we’re stuck with the TPP.

Yet “it is not in New Zealand’s best interests to confirm or comment on any issue that may be under negotiation,” according Trade Minister Tim Grosser. We simply have to trust the politicians and the corporate heads – yes that’s right corporate heads, all 600 of them – involved in the negotiations. Continue reading

Free GP Visits Should Be On The Agenda This Election

Hospitals are desperate to reduce costs and to free up space, time, and funding for urgent and serious cases. So moves are afoot to transfer more services to GPs.

Community-based health care is a sound policy in most respects. GPs are usually located much closer to where patients live, have the benefit of knowing their patients well, and waiting times for appointments are only a day or so.

However there is the problem of cost. Continue reading

No Place To Hide From Climate Change

“It’s official – 2050 is the point of no return for climate change,” according to Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn. Professor Flynn was speaking at an open lecture on climate change as part of the Alliance Party conference in Christchurch yesterday. Professor Flynn, who has been researching climate change for an upcoming book, painted a bleak picture. We need to get to zero emissions as soon as possible to avoid sea level rises as high as 12 metres by 2100, dwindling water resources, and an ever-increasing amount of non arable land. Continue reading

What Is So Scary About the Far Left?

Matt McCarten’s appointment as Chief of Staff to David Cunliffe has created quite a stir. Much has been made of his Alliance Party heritage. Pundits and politicians alike are fretting about his ‘far left’ credentials.

Taunts of ‘Loony Left’ are already coming through social media and from the lips of the odd right wing politician, who should know better.

Presumably, by far/loony left they mean the Alliance Party. Yet most of those people have probably never talked to anyone in the Alliance Party, never read our press releases, never visited our website or social media pages. Perhaps they’re afraid of what they might discover? Continue reading

Do We Want the Stability of Our Society to Be Dependent of the Random Generosity of a Few Mega-Rich?

Do we want the stability of our society to be dependent on the random generosity of a few mega-rich? This was the question posed in a letter to the editor in this week’s Otago Daily Times. It is an excellent question.

The Alliance Party would like to see it as the defining question in the 2014 election. Rather than the squabbling to date about such trivial things as which politician lives in the flashest house, and whether they should live there. That’s not important in the big picture. Continue reading