Free Trade Deals – Wake Up And Smell The Arsenic

Free trade deals are poison. Ask El Salvador.

Oceania Gold, a New Zealand listed company, is suing the El Salvadorian government to tune of US$300 million in the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a tribunal linked with the World Bank, for lost profits. El Salvador, a water-impoverished nation, refuses to grant them water rights to their main river to use and contaminate with the likes of cyanide and arsenic as part of a gold mining operation they have planned. Continue reading

What Exactly Is Our Housing Problem?

Does New Zealand have a housing problem that is caused by too many people and not enough houses? Dunedin Methodist Mission CEO Laura Black sees it differently. She sees our problem not as a shortage of houses but as a mismatch between where the affordable houses are and where the people wanting a house live. Continue reading

Another Free Trade Deal – Big Deal!

The free trade deal with South Korea is hardly earth shattering news. Yet it is being seriously hyped up by the government and those industries that might benefit eventually – the deal takes a full 15 years to take effect and doesn’t include some fairly big ticket items like frozen deer velvet.

Is this overexcitement a cynical PR stunt, an attempt to quell rising opposition to free trade deals? Certainly there were those who were displeased with the large turnouts to the nationwide day of action protesting the TransPacific Partnership ‘trade’ agreement. There is even talk now of big businesses launching a pro-TPP fighting fund. Continue reading

Give Peace A Chance; The Greens Are Right, NZ should stay away from IS

It is a sad day for New Zealand when someone standing up for peace and freedom is lambasted as sounding as if she had just dropped in from San Francisco circa 1967. The throwaway comment from one journalist was “doesn’t everyone?” Well, no!

The arms trade was worth at least $395 billion dollars in 2012 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) with 86% of the trade coming from United States based companies. A similar amount is spent most years. Clearly some people and organizations do quite nicely out of armed conflicts and are no doubt very happy for them to continue ad infinitum. Continue reading

The War on Terror is a War We Cannot Win

Getting our military involved in the fight against the Islamic State would be a mistake. It will simply perpetuate the mistakes that have been ongoing since Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. All US foreign policy failures that New Zealand has bought into for no other reason than we seem to feel that where the US goes we should follow. Continue reading

We Don’t Need Another Hero

The Labour Party leadership contest is hotting up. Far be it from the Alliance to give Labour advice on choosing leaders. However, the Centre/Left is coming off a crushing election defeat, and crushing election defeats are something the Alliance does know a thing or two about, unfortunately. We have been crushed by Left, Right, and Centre over the past decade.

We believe now is a golden opportunity to take stock and perhaps change direction. One thing that has emerged from the election is that the Centre/Left needs to work together, or at least work out ways to rub along – not try to run each other into the ground. Trying to get enough votes to govern alone is counter-productive. Continue reading