Bloggreen: December 2004

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

What a fine Green year

So parliament has finally finished for the year (YAY YAY YAY) Friday afternon featured the traditional adjournment debate where all the party leaders traditionally stand up and indulge in some self indulging wank. It was slightly different in the fact that they got to pay tribute to the imminent departure of Jonathan Hunt. So firstly, I do want to acknowledge the man. He's pretty cool, and I always admire people with a commitment to process. I am looking forward to Margaret taking over but it does need to be ackowledged how solid (no pun intended) Jonathan has been as a Speaker. But now is a time for us to look at party achievements and it has been a great year for the Greens. Firstly the year started off with a bang with the success of killing Project Aqua. The Waitaki is one of the jewels in this nation's crown and damming it would have been a real tragedy. Acknowledgment must go to the community resistance to this project and to Jeanette for ensuring that legislation would prevent it going ahead. Energy will continue to be one of the biggest environmental issues facing this nation (indeed the whole planet) and until we can pull our heads in and start using energy eficiently we are setting ourselves up for some serious 'uncomfort' in the future. Another big issue we had to contend with this year was the school closure project. I think the government seriously didn't get the connection that they were closing schools at the same time and in the same place as they are building yet more prisons! While some schools marked for closure have indeed closed, many more haven't, again thanks to awesome community organisation backed up by support from the Greens. A big issue that the Greens have been alone (although it is the one issue we seem to have the National Front on side for *sigh*) on this year has been that of trade. I find it quite astounding that a Labour government is doing it's best to destroy what's left of our manufacturing industry by signing a free trade agreement with China. I just don't get that one. Everyone else is wandering around bleating 'free trade is good, free trade is good' like fucking clones, without looking at any of the evidence to the contrary. Pitching our manufacturing industry up against that of China which has one hell of a bad reputation when it ocmes to workers rights means NZ loses, workers lose more. No question. Thanks labour, looking more like the 1980s every day. Anyway onwards... The most significant achievement for the Greens this year was the principled stand against the Foreshore and Seabed Confiscation. For Maori, it was yet another confiscation, and also a time to learn from campaigns gone before as to what works and what doesn't. The hikoi certainly did. Not because it stopped the legislation but because it sent a clear message to the rest of this country that the indigenous people of this country will never be simply walked over. For some of us Pakeha, it was a tragic time. Some of us genuinely thought land confiscations were a thing of the past. Some of us genuinely thought that people in this country had gotten over Treaty breaches. Apparently not. One good thing about that bill however, was it gave us all a chance to see Metiria prove herself. Her ability to put up with the bullshit on select committee (which was well diaried too) and then come back to the house with an amazing speech made us all proud to be Greens. On ya Metiria, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for reprazenting! On to other matters.. We had local body elections which were significant due to the introduction of STV across a number of councils and all the DHBs. While the counting process was a complete shambles the outcome wasn't as bad as some people thought it would be. I look forward to the problems being ironed out in time for the next round of elections. All in all democracy was the winner! Of course we had momentous legislation pass and come into effect. The Civil Union Bill was probably the most high on the public agenda. It was brilliant to have an opportunity to confront the blatant homophobia that still simmers amongst the population at the Destiny rally. All though it was pretty frightening at the same time. Nandor's Clean Slate bill that got picked up by the Government was eventually passed and has now come into effect. Also the first sitting of the Supreme Court whose existence is thanks to the support of the Greens. The Supreme Court brought another exciting event, the release of Ahmed Zaoui which was a great day for Justice for sure! I hope he's having fun in the sun. And we'e had some damn fun protests this year!! So next year is election year and yet again we can look forward to campaigning on protecting local business, ending child poverty and student debt, improving transparency on our food and medicine regulations, a sustainable energy future, some real social justice, better public transport and all at the same time as we nurture our relationships, our communities, our planet and our own lives. This is probably my last post for 2004, so to those who have been reading regularly and for those who are new year, best wishes for the festive season. Please look after yourselves out there, this is a time when people get unneccessarily stressed and do dumb things like crash cars and get alcohol poisoning. Try slowing down and getting high on life. Arohanui

Monday, December 20, 2004

Quite depressing

Having received an email notifying me that destruction was beginning on Willis Street (aah technology) I nipped up the road for a look and a bit of a shout at the bastards. (I missed the earlier excitement.) I must say that it was pretty depressing to watch, I very nearly cried. But something I must share with you all. A friend of mine wrote this and gave his permission for it to be reproduced, so here goes... Oak park, Inverlochy, Abel Smith, Willis, Kensington, Tonks, Cuba, Arthur... It’s chopping down a tree to count the rings It’s holding a mirror’s gaze and telling it it looks fat It’s sub-dividing the family graveyard It’s feeding babies to the old people It’s selling the roots to buy leaves It’s trading love for money It’s trading money for love It’s giving away your hard truth It’s Just, But, and Should Selling the water for softdrinks Selling the land for glass-beads and dvds Selling the children to buy them a future It’s a life spent keeping score It’s every time you say sorry when someone beats you It’s chopping down a tree to count the rings Matthew Simcock Wellington December 2004

Friday, December 17, 2004


SATURDAY 18 DECEMBER AT 2 PM Meet in Left Bank, off Cuba Mall Bring kids, other noisemakers, friends, balloons etc. (and watch out for the Police if you happen to be carrying a camera)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's nearly over

Went to the Green Party function and Press Gallery bash tonight. Icky The Green Party gig was fun, especially seeing Rod in that green Santa suit.. But that press gallery gig was horrid. Too much standing around pretending you're having fun. Look out for Dave's analysis.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Go the Kangafront

Assume to see this action at the Australian High Commission over the weekend. Wish I was there! But seriously good work on raising the profile on some serious issues of racism that are not being addressed by our neighbours.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Accountability - Yeah Right

Some incredibly interesting things happened at Friday's anti-Bypass protest. I for one, have a number of questions. 1. Who instructed the Police to keep the protest out of Tonks Ave? 2. How come the Police gave the protestors no advice as to why they were not allowed in Tonks Ave and just chose to set up a barricade? 3. How come the Police are doing private security work for Transit? 4. How come the Police chose to push the media out of the way? 5. How come the only people arrested were members of the media? (The Police stament can be found here) 6. How come TV3 didn't show the footage on the news? They were given three sets of footage from different positions. 7. How come City Council staff are participating in law enforcement with no identification? 8. As a member of the public, what rights do I have to get these questions answered? There was obviously a strategy behind the Police response on Friday. They had made assumptions about what the protesters were going to do and took unneccesary heavy-handed action to prevent public opposition to this project. I want assurances that I can safely go out and demonstrate. There were more police than protestors on Friday and the majority of them had their identification covered up. For an organisation that is doing its damndest to increase public confidence at the moment, this is a crap way of going about it.

More statue porn

imgp08992.jpg From World of Wonder

Friday, December 10, 2004

Smash the state before it smashes you

Today I witnessed one of the most disgusting displays of police behaviour. I saw the police drag a TV3 camera man to the group, wrestle his $80,000 camera off him and proceed to assault him. Along with up to three other officers joining in. I saw another member of the media get arrested when he took photos of this going on. This makes me sick. Since when does the police get to interfere with media scrutiny of their action? Since when are the police the security guards for private companies. Watch it for yourself at the Green Party Stop the Wellington Bypass campaign page.

Can't wait to get to hell!

imgp0124_small.jpg Great photo whoever took it.



Thursday, December 09, 2004

It's through

The Civil Union Bill passed by 65 votes to 55. I'm off to party now.

Well done!

Ahmed Zaoui has just been granted bail. Faith in democratic process in this nation slowly being restored...

Third Reading

So it's started Tim Barnett just gave his speech and it was really lovely. He took the time to acknowledge not only the people this bill will effect but also the people for whom it is too late. For those who have gone before us. Thanks Tim for all your hard work on this bill. You have been a pillar of strength for the community that you represent. And you deserve a great party tonight! Thanks for starting the conversations people in this country don't want to have. Winston is on now and is ranting about referendum (again). That has been such an unwarranted distraction. We all know you can't have referendum on minority rights. It is not only undemocratic but can be a terribly painful process for those directly affected. More soon...

In other news

The Supreme Court retired shortly after midday to consider its decision in the Ahmed Zaoui case. Virdict expected about 4pm this afternoon. Odds are on bail being granted so he can go live with Dominican Friars. Yay what a great belated birthday present!


Shit that was fun. For those of you in Wellington with some free time, I suggest you go and join in on the picnic on the Parliamentary lawn. There are a whole lot of sombre looking christians doing their best to have a bad time. But on the plus side there are a whole lot of people smiling, dancing and having a generally good celebratory time! I must say though, playing "We are the Champions" by Queen was a bit 80s cliche... Looking forward to hearing the speeches. Final vote should happen sometime between 5 and 5.30.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

OK I'm bored

Cruising around and I discovered an aquaintance has his very own site. I must say, while I think Will is pretty much bonkers a lot of the time, these armbands are pretty spunky. Go Will, keep the faith bro.

in keeping with today's theme

A novice monk arrives at the monastery..... He is assigned to help the other monks copy by hand the old canons & laws of the church. But he notices that all the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So the novice monk goes to the head abbot about this, pointing out that if someone made even the smallest error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all subsequent copies. The head abbot replies "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, the head abbot goes into the caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript is held in a vault that's been locked for hundreds of years. Hours go by, and nobody sees him. Finally, the novice monk gets worried and goes downstairs to look for the head abbot. He finds him banging his head against the floor. His forehead is all bloody & bruised & he's crying uncontrollably. The younger man goes to the older & asks "what's wrong, father?" With a choking voice, the head abbot replies, "The word is 'celebrate'."

Grinding away...

They're now voting on the second part. This bit will take hours. Not much of excitement from this mornings speeches. Although Cullen made some cute comments while discussing the lobbying from the various churches about how funny it is having men in dresses giving us advice on our sexuality. Another thing to note is that Mr Richard 'watch me transform the legislation with my amazing SOP' Worth wasn't even bloody there! All that grandstanding for nothing. In fact the debate nearly shut down three quarters of an hour before it did because none of the opposition could get off their asses to take a call. 'Luckily' Paul Hutchison woke up in time... So the bells are ringing again, and will do all afternoon. More reports if anything exciting happens.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

And they're voting!

So the committee stages of the Civil Union Bill has been relatively uninteresting. Plenty of wank, not much spunk ;o) The highlight for me was Georgina Beyer getting a ruling that calling the Civil Unions 'marriage in drag' is offensive and is no longer allowed. This was after she was getting pulled up for using the word 'homophobe'. I'll throw up the transcript when I can get it. But the bells have just gone and they're in for the voting on all of the amendments. There are quite a lot of them so it will go for a while. And as it is a personal vote, quite a while means approxiamately 5 hours of voting on 75ish amendments.

Stop the Bypass

Construction has begun People are gathering at Aro Park at 4:00pm in Aro Street to begin resistance to the active construction of the bypass. People who want to get directly involved or who want to support those getting directly involved should get down there as soon as possible. Action will continue through the afternoon and evening, just follow the directions from the park. Update Indymedia has photos of yesterday's action.

Just in case you missed that stuff about Civil Unions...

The campaign site has their mass mailer back up so if you haven't already emailed MPs telling them to support the bill, do so NOW!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Latest on Ingrid - day 1017

For those of you who don't know about Ingrid Betancourt, read this first. Now that you've caught up, and for the rest of you, looks like she might get released before Christmas. Although, given her track record, she'll probably negotiate for others to be released first! I really hope she writes another book about her experiences in captivity. Her first book Until Death Do Us Part - My Struggle to Reclaim Columbia is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. Also, those people I know who attended the last Global Greens Conference in Canberra said Ingrid's speech left no eye dry. And (for those that can't get enough) here is a really good 30 minute interview.

Civil Unions - Second Reading

Sorry this is a bit late, my ISP dicked me round big time. Any recommendations for a good one that has an ability to deal with operating systems other than M*******t? So yay second reading went through and it's likely that the rest will go through too. Although, we will have to see what SOPs come up... Anyway, I was so so so impressed with this speech, I will reproduce it here in full. But I recommend that you listen to it (audio link below), as the delivery is pretty spectacular. 2 December 2004 ‘I have yet to see a MP fast to end usury’ Nandor Tanczos’ speech to the Second Reading of the Civil Union Bill The fight over the Civil Union Bill is less about who can hitch up with who than who we are as a nation. Are we a Christian nation or a pluralist state? Should law be based on morality or on rationality? Should the legislature respect equality and human rights or should we advantage some and disadvantage others? Submitters to the Select Committee were civil and respectful. However, some of the opposition to the Bill outside has been venomous and nasty. Civil Union supporters have been criticised for calling those opponents ‘homophobic’ but I think they miss the point. Maybe it isn’t about fear of ‘homos’ as much as fear of losing control. Because on the face of it, why would it upset anyone that two men or two women who love each other can make a public commitment and be recognised in law? Who does that diminish? If being privileged above others is what makes a relationship valuable, then it will suffer from the presence of anything closely equivalent But if its value is derived from its spiritual authority, the love that it embodies and from the virtue of its form, then its value remains unaffected by the proximity of others. I think that it is this genuine belief in the virtues of marriage that distinguishes Christians for Civil Unions from the predominantly Christian opposition. The Civil Union Bill will not devalue marriage. It is not gay people who love each other that devalue marriage, but such things as radio shows and Reality TV that offer a bride as a prize. Do opponents of the Bill secretly believe that heterosexual marriage is not intrinsically advantageous and that the presence of alternatives will make it less desirable? Do they think that good, straight kids will start entering gay unions because the law now says they can? Do they think being gay is more interesting? Or is it that they see their dominance of our social and political forms slipping away? The increasing plurality of our society is scary for those who have always paddled in the mainstream. They have not yet understood - there no longer is a mainstream. We have become a braided river. I don’t mean this unkindly. I am a man who has lived outside the mainstream for most of my life. A number of United Future MPs think that I should be disqualified from being an MP because of that, and they typify the view I am speaking of. I have an unshakeable faith which is different from theirs and which I am forbidden by law to fully practise. It would be wrong to demand that everyone else be bound by Rastafarian law. I am justified in demanding my own right to be Rasta. That is the proper relationship between faith and State. The State should be a protector, not persecutor, of religion. But it is not the State’s role to advantage one faith over another, or religion over any other philosophy. The job of legislators is not to privilege any particular cultural practise, but to protect human rights and cultural and ecological integrity. That does not include entrenching discrimination in the law. The law should support committed long-term relationships because they promote healthy, strong communities and more happiness. There is no rational basis for excluding people from that because they are gay. Even if it is true, as some assert, that gay and de-facto relationships are less stable, why wouldn’t we want to provide an opportunity for them to formally and publicly commit and have that commitment taken seriously by the law? As it stands, the law says that a same-sex couple may have casual sex, but may not have their long-term relationship recognised. I do not understand why some people see a moral imperative in maintaining that status quo. But then I’ve never really understood why oppressing other people is seen as a Christian value by some. The Bible does talk about homosexuality. It is a little unclear in places whether the problem is homosexuality per se, or promiscuity, but it certainly is condemned a few times. I haven’t counted, but probably about as many times as usury - the practise of lending money at interest. Usury is a genuinely iniquitous practise and avoidance of usury is one of the unique features of the Muslim banking system. Consider the percentage of the average person’s income spent servicing interest on debt. Interest on your mortgage (or your landlords mortgage if you pay rent), interest on bank loans to the businesses where you shop, interest on credit and on student loans. I have yet to see a MP fast to end usury. As far as I can see, homosexuality is of insignificant concern to the Biblical prophets and to the Christ compared with their overwhelming condemnation of economic injustice and oppression of the poor. Yet while it would be unfair to say that among Christians opposition to the Civil Union Bill is inversely proportional to concern over social justice, there seems to be a rough fit. Christianity was debased when it became the State religion of Rome and continues to debase itself when it tries to align its interests with those of the State. This is a pluralist society, with a democratic and secular Parliament. It is vital that we uphold and protect that. In that context it was a dangerous and unwise course taken by the Catholic bishops yesterday in attempting to direct Catholics how to vote. If the Catholic Church wants to return to its past of wielding direct political power, it will find modern society considerably less malleable. And if the Catholic Church wants to intervene in the political process, it may tempt politicians to intervene in the affairs of the church. I would like to finish by thanking the advisors to the committee and Tim Barnett for his excellent chairing. While his view has always been clear, he has made sure all sides had a go and all submitters were treated with respect. I contrast that with the chairing of his deputy, and I only make the point because of Mr Frank’s public and unjustified criticism of Mr Barnett and the committee. Mr Speaker, let us ensure that Aotearoa is a land that respects and values all its people. Let us pass this Bill. Audio of Nandor’s speech

Friday, December 03, 2004

From the reborn-semi-infamous-dept.

So apparently we read it here first. 'it' being the phenomena of blogging (Sorry I can't link to the referred article, you have to actually buy it). And the prediction has come true and blogging is now 'the thing' to do. No offence to Nigel cause a) I think he's a really nice guy and b) I see the very real need for a place within the comptuer magazine industry for old, just getting to know this new fangled technology readers but, duh! Anyway, bitting sarcasm aside, I humbly honoured to be listed as a blog worth printing in the last Netguide Magazine. I hope all you others that got a mention are as amused as I am at the general length of the link lists in that magazine. I mean, how cool a job is that? Spending a month cruising around the internet to collate the 'authorative' lists of websites by topic and product reviews. Oh when will that magazine die? Heard of Google?


How's this for space porn eh? Gotta love Cassini

In a splendid portrait created by light and gravity, Saturn's lonely moon Mimas is seen against the cool, blue-streaked backdrop of Saturn's northern hemisphere. Delicate shadows cast by the rings arc gracefully across the planet, fading into darkness on Saturn's night side.
From the NASA site.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

CUB update

Well, you've all been good haven't you? According to reports, MPs have been getting thousands of emails in support (sucks to be one of their secretaries today!). And for the first time, the pro emails are outnumbering the anti emails. Keep it up

Civil Unions

I have it under good authority that MPs got bombarded with emails yesterday from the anti CUB lobby and today it is the turn of the pro CUB lobby. There are literally thousands of emails going to MPs. So if you haven't done it already, now it's your turn.