Categories
government green party politics poverty

Activist-politician

Jan Logie

Can we afford policies to address child poverty? First, Yes. Second, Can we afford not to?

Jan Logie is a Green MP. Before becoming an MP Jan worked widely in New Zealand social and human rights organisations. She is Greens spokesperson for Income Support, Immigration, Women, Pacific Island Affairs, Ethnic Affairs, Human Rights, Rainbow Issues, Overseas Development Aid and Associate for Housing. We begin by asking if there is a common thread running through all those areas.

Talking points:

A lot of what is going wrong in our society is around unbalanced power. That’s around people access to things and it’s also around treatment of the planet.

I’ve always been bemused by people making social justice separate from environmental issues – it seems to me that the people messing up our planet are the same people with the wealth and the resources. They are able to do both of those things because they have too much power – an uneven share of power.

Go out and listen to people, rather than tell.

I really want everyone to be able to live up to their potential and live free lives. Domestic and sexual violence are massive barriers to that in New Zealand…epidemic rates…1 in 3 women likely to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. In terms of sexual violence, the figures for girls are around 1 in 4, and for boys between 1 in 6 and 1 in 10 are likely to be sexually abused in this country… that’s horrific.

For some people the silence around these issues and the blame around these issues, will mean that they won’t get the help that they need…the consequences of that violence will be really compounded.

We need to make this a priority for us to deal with as a country.

We had a bit of a spate of taking it seriously politically, and then it went off the agenda, it’s almost like “oh we tried…there’s nothing more we can can do”. We’re starting to get another wave of a response, of people saying “this is ridiculous”. It doesn’t have to be like this, we need the systems responses, government departments to actually do what they need to do in response. And they’re not. The systems have been breaking down terribly.

It is absolutely a result of decisions made around the Cabinet table. Womens Refuges have had their baseline funding reduced over the last six years.

(On banknotes getting $80M but sexual violence advocates struggling) It’s just skewy values.

The women’s vote can swing an election.

What is primarily (but not exclusively) male violence against women is founded on a sense of entitlement…and that is founded on women having a lesser place in society.

Trickle down has been so thoroughly discredited, yet we hear it all the time….(To see how it doesn’t work)…you only have to look at how productivity has increased so much more than wages.

Child poverty is outrageous. A quarter of our children living in poverty. Numbers are disputed, but it was about 10% in the 1980s, and now it is around a quarter. And the levels of severe deprivation have increased.

They aren’t getting enough food, they don’t have warm houses, their houses are damp, they don’t have proper clothing, or shoes without holes.

Houses full of nothingness.

We’re taking out all of the things that help our children and young people grow and learn and thrive – they’ve just been sucked out of their lives by government policies.

Think about how important the first seven years are to someone’s entire life – and what we are doing to them, and as a consequence to all of us. It will require much more expensive interventions later, and it’ll never be an even playing.

To make inter-generational changes: start. Go beyond piecemeal.

Claims that you just need to be out working, shows a lack of understanding of the complexity of people’s lives and what we consider work. There’s also not enough jobs. And what about people with disabilities…are we saying that they’re not deserving to participate in society? And the value of parenting? And because levels of social harm haven’t been fully addressed…and not everyone is going to fit into our ultra-efficient high performing world. Some people fit into that and some people don’t – are we saying that they don’t deserve to be able to live a decent life?

There’s a really strong interaction between income support and work policies, we need to make people help make those links. It is in most of our interests to drive towards a high wage economy, where part of that economy is a decent social security system.

I’m getting a sense that there is a cultural shift away from individualism.

A meritocracy, deserving/undeserving poor concept rests on an individualistic approach. I’m sensing a cultural shift towards recognising our interdependence and the links between us.

The world, sadly, is proving our policies right. (would you like to be wrong on some of them?) Absolutely.

That’s the biggest question facing any movement for social change. How do we get there? The policies are clear, but it’s how do we bring people to the idea that those policies might actually work, that we all have something to gain from these policies.

There’s too big a gap between parliament and our social movements.

I see amazing people doing amazing things, and think this is really exciting, how do we create the tipping point of cultural understanding?

New Zealand has had a really vibrant civic society, that has characterised our society…the weakening of that it a huge lose to our society.

In my heart I’m an activist. But maybe I’m too deeply compromised as a politician…I like to think I’m an activist-politician.

The whole world feels a better place if you are active and trying to create the world you want.

(Miracle question) If everyone suddenly got that we’re all in this together.

Resources:
Bryan Bruce’s survey of political parties on child poverty.

Patricia Widener who discussed the role of activism and social movements.

Categories
government green party politics transport

Changing transport win:win

Julie Anne Genter

I realised that there’s not much you can do to improve things (in urban planning) if you don’t address transport…it affects many of the public spaces between the buildings, it impacts on the energy we have to use to get from place to place, and it also has a big impact on household expenses.

Julie Anne Genter is a Member of Parliament for the Green Party. Amongst other roles, she is spokesperson for Transport.

Talking points

Transport is the easy win:win the thing we can change that would have a positive economic impact, positive impacts for society, and very positive impacts for the environment

How can walking, cycling and public transport possibly be more expensive than every household being utterly dependent on two or more cars?

“No blood for oil”…I was 12,and that made perfect sense to me, we shouldn’t be going to war, and certainly not for oil.

It would be useful to have more critical training. In politics there’s a lot of logical fallacies being used and they’re repeated in the mainstream media. It’s not that hard to pick it apart with training in critical thinking, but if people haven’t had that training there’s no reason people should be able to innately do it.

(On the argumentative theory of reason) Most people are quite bad at abstract reasoning…reason isn’t something that people use individually, it’s something that functions in a collective, it works through argument.. .people are really good at arguing their case, they’ve already got a position and they’re really good at finding arguments to support their position – whether they are logical or not – so reason operates as part of a group, we argue and debate, it is the wisdom of the crowds that sorts out which argument is best and makes the right decision.

Maybe what we need is critical thinking, but on the other hand maybe what we need is to be less afraid of having open debates…maybe that’s what’s missing in our democracy is having more people engaging in debate.

(one of the four values of the Green Party charter) appropriate decision making…decisions will be made at the lowest level at which they affect people…it’s important for all of the different points of view to be represented in political debate and that we have to be willing and open minded about listening to each other in order for us to make good decisions as a society…that doesn’t happen in parliament, the political parties already have their positions decided and most of the debate is just for show.

We’re not really listening, it’s like one party gets in power and they do whatever they want, then another party gets in power and does something different, but aren’t collectively having a debate and making decisions based on the information that’s available to all the different citizens of New Zealand, and I think we’d make better decisions if we were able to do that.

Spending almost half the entire transport budget on 4% of vehicle trips is a huge opportunity cost – those projects aren’t going to substantially reduce transport costs for households or business, they’re not going to reduce congestion in the medium or even short term…dumping more cars onto congested local roads…and it’s so crazy…spending this much money on new highways when we know highways don’t reduce congestion, they don’t increase economic productivity…what we could buy with 12 billion dollars to invest in the rail network, in public transport, in walking and cycling in towns and cities…we could have a much more balanced transport system.

It’s very strange that the rail network is expected to be funded by the profit from a rail company while we’re dumping billions of dollars on the state highway network.

the government treats them as two separate things…despite there being obvious benefits for the road network from improvements in the rail network.

Very few people benefit from the status quo

Getting more people onto public transport, walking and cycling is great for freeing up the roads for people who need to drive, including the truck drivers.

It’s a huge opportunity, it’s going to be so easy to do things smarter because we’re doing them so stupidly at the moment. What a win:win, we could spend the same amount of money on transport from a government perspective but spend a lot less in terms of vehicles and fuel, get massive health benefits…

When you look at the benefits of reducing vehicle dependency, it can be justified on economic grounds alone on the money your save, but also there’s the health benefits, benefits in terms of reducing air pollution and water pollution, benefits in terms of using land more efficiently, safety benefits…

(do we have the population density?) We had high functioning rail network and public transport before when we had a smaller population, more spread out…being a long skinny (country) lends itself to rail

Our system is built now for the car, and that has spread things out.

We don’t have to keep doing it…if we invest in the alternatives, people will still be able to drive but some people will have the option to walk, cycle or take public transport, and move their goods by rail or coastal shipping, and that will make the roads function better and people will make different location decisions.

We’re not talking about replacing the car, about replacing every car trip people make now with a public transport trip or a bicycle trip, it’s about getting it from 8 or 9 out of 10 to maybe 5 or 6 out of 10 – an incremental process. But that incremental change of getting back in balance requires a total revolution in funding and policy because otherwise we’re going to keep going in the car dependent direction.

People everywhere systematically overestimate the importance of car parking and car access to their businesses

It’s either a vicious or virtuous cycle and we can quite easily break the vicious cycle of car dependence because we’re the ones who started it….transport and planning bureaucrats who made the decision to do everything around cars

Electric vehicles solves the fuel problem but not everything else

(about the response to banners on the beach protesters being dismissed because they drove their car there) their argument is that you can’t argue for things to be different inf you are living in the world as it currently is – I don’t think that is a good argument, it says ‘if you want things to be different then you should somehow make the different’, but that’s what people are trying to do. I don’t blame people from using a car because we’ve created an environment where it is pretty difficult to do anything but use a car. That’s why I’m advocating for government to change its funding and policies to make it easier for more people not to rely on a car.

People are saying they want other choices, but they can’t go and live in a cave somewhere and change the world.

The only place where people call the Greens crazy is the National Party in parliament..they repeat this point over and over again in order not to have to engage in a proper debate with us, it somewhat works but it’s starting to make them look bad – for example over the climate plan…they called us “off the planet crazy” but they haven’t got a real argument.

I’m not anti-car and there’s nothing anti-car about our policies, this is going to be good for people that need to drive… we plan to increase road maintenance, increase the programme of road safety works, have a more ambitious road safety target…

Resources
Green Charter
Green’s Climate protection plan

Categories
government labour politics

Regional development

GrantRobertson-01

Pillaging the planet for every last ounce of resource in the hope that we can continue to live our lives exactly as we’ve always done is not sustainable growth.

Grant Robertson is the MP for Wellington Central. He is Shadow Leader of the House, he is Labour Spokesperson for Economic Development, Spokesperson for Employment, Skills and Training and Associate spokesperson for tertiary education, the SIS and Arts, Culture and Heritage. He grew up in Dunedin and was student president at University of Otago. He was visiting Dunedin wearing his Regional Development cap.

Talking points:

I think the legacy of this government will end up being around cronyism

No politician should ever feel that they are above the law

Willful blindness is not acceptable

I think I’ve got a good sense of right and wrong, and when I see something that is wrong I don’t like sitting by

(on Labour introducing student fees in the late 1980s as part of neo-liberal reforms) I wasn’t a member of the 4th Labour Party then and I wouldn’t have voted for them either – those things took New Zealand in the wrong direction…The Labour Party of today – and indeed the Labour Party of the Helen Clark government – is very very different. I recognise that we do have to re-earn the trust of those people, but I’m from a different generation. I opposed those things, I marched against them and I’ve done my best to undo them.

(Why don’t students protest so much now?) I think it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, education has become very commodified, the people that can afford to be there are there and the people that can’t afford to be there aren’t. Students are trying to get through in the shortest amount of time possible to incur the least amount of debt.

(As a staffer in Helen Clark’s government) Interest free student loans made a huge difference…
I felt a real emotional sense of having wound something back, we were able to bring it back to something better.

(On student allowances) We’re moving to everyone getting an allowance.

20 cuts to loans and allowances in this government, the most insidious cut is the cutting of post-graduate allowances… New Zealand needs more people doing post-grad study not less…mad!

We’ve created a situation where 37% of our population lives in Auckland, projected to get as high as 45%, there is no capital city or large city in the developed world that has that level of the country’s population. It’s not good for country, we’re seeing the problems today and they’ll just get worse.

we desperately need regional economic development…we need a spread across New Zealand in the way in which jobs are created.

Dunedin is an example of a city with huge potential and opportunity, it just needs some support to catalyse that.

The strategic advantages for Dunedin are education, ICT and health.

When you’ve got a regional development policy with a government as an active partner, then you’ll start to solve some of the problems.

(Coal on the West Coast) The Labour Party knows that we have to transition off fossil fuels…we have to go there, the world’s gone there already, its about timing and about phasing, it’s about saying how do we use the resources that we have available to us…we have to have a plan for transition, while the resources are there the Labour Party believes that we should use them but is has to be part of a planned transition.

(On differences with Greens) Resolvable tensions

I’m both cautious and doubtful about oil and gas…it’s being promoted as an amazing silver bullet…but they haven’t found anything. That’s because now they are having to desperately drill in places they never would have thought of drilling, depths they never would have thought of drilling because we’ve reached peak oil.

New Zealand needs to think very carefully about (oil and gas), we don’t have the response capability, and while accidents are uncommon, they are catastrophic. I’m not comfortable unless we have stronger regulation…a regime more similar to the RMA…improve the response capability…health and safety…with all of those changes it it possible for it to be done, but it’s by no means a blanket agreement that it should be. Seismically, areas around the east coast of New Zealand are not appropriate, maybe it is OK over in the Taranaki Basin. But I’m very cautious and very doubtful and it’s certainly not where I think the future of New Zealand lies.

Growth is possible but we have to rethink what growth means

Pillaging the planet for every last ounce of resource in the hope that we can continue to live our lives exactly as we’ve always done is not sustainable growth.

It is growth, but it’s not unfettered growth.

We can’t grow the economy on dairy alone. Paul Callaghan calculated that to keep out standard of living now based on growth in dairy alone, we would have to quadruple our dairy output – well we’re not going to do that we’d destroy our country if we did that. Primary industries have got a place, they’re very important to us, but he future well-being of New Zealanders is in other sorts of industries that are added value, that are lighter on the planet.

We can do so much better to capture value.

There’s a core to me, fairness, opportunity and spreading the benefits of economic development more fairly, more evenly in society…giving all people opportunity regardless of their financial or family background.

At the UN the principle of fairness was key…with the caveat of the Security Council…it is one country one vote, on the floor of the General Assembly Swaziland is as important as the United States – I like that.

It’s quite clear to me that Labour and the Greens will be able to work well together. The Greens have taken a different attitude this time around, they want to be in government…a big call for them but we know there is scope for negotition.

75% of voters who gave their electorate vote to the Maori Party gave their party vote to Labour. I have no idea what the Maori Party is doing on the right – they haven’t got much out of it, I think they’re part of a government that has potentially damaged Maori and Maori aspirations.

(on the Green’s Carbon tax versus Labour’s support for the ETS) I don’t think they are major differences, both of them are aimed at reducing emissions, both set a price on carbon, one’s a market based mechanism, the other is a tax…in end we can talk that through. we both want to do something, we both know that we urgently need to do something.

The current government has utterly undermined the ETS – failed to include the sectors that we needed to include to make it a real scheme…done terrible things to the forestry sector. we need a proper functioning ETS, but we can work on a climate tax.

Other differences (Labour and Greens) resource extraction issues – manageable but quite different policies, minor differences around taxation, but the spirit is OK, and I think the values of the party are ones that the Greens can look at, and say ‘we can work with these’, we are different parties…we work work with the people, more often than not we’re working closely with them, every day.

It’s coopertition, we are cooperating, but we’re also putting our own platforms forward and asking people to vote for them.

(On people not voting) We have to make politics relevant and making our campaign positive, our biggest problem in 2011 was we told people what we were against, not what we were for…we’re talking about the kind of country we want to be.

Non-voting is a global trend and it comes back to the nature of how we do politics…

Social media…is a conversation…it’s hard for politicians to make the time…but I’m keen for it to be me, not someone pretending to be me

The younger generation are interested in issues as opposed to parties (political!)…if you give young people issues that they care about, they’ll get involved.

Activist: Yes.

Challenges: child poverty, economic challenges around sustainable growth and jobs in the regions

Advice: Vote. It does matter.

Resources
Labour’s Policy Platform

Categories
labour politics

Dr David Clark MP

When Sustainable Lens first talked with David Clark he was an aspiring politician. Now just over a year into his first term, the Labour MP for Dunedin North comes back to tell of his “interesting year”. We talk social justice, environment, debating, and values. We ask him for the best, the worst and the most difficult of 2012.

Categories
green party waste

Denise Roche MP

Denise Roche is an NZ Green MP. She is, among other things, the Green spokesperson on waste issues. The key, she says, is seeing waste as a behaviour problem, not a transport problem. We ask how she became an activist and how she became “enraged by injustice”. While many of our guests shirk from being described as an “activist”, Denise wears this badge proudly. The biggest challenge we face is disengaged citizens (note: pointedly not “voter apathy”). She entered parliament a year ago, wanting to take part in political debates “like they matter” – we ask how’s that going? what she’s learnt, and who on the ‘other side’ is doing a good job.

Categories
climate change green party

Dr Kennedy Graham MP

Dr Kennedy Graham is a Green MP. After a distinguished diplomatic and academic career he is now Green spokesperson for lots of things (I summarise here as global issues).

Dr Graham describes his personal journey of working the diplomatic circles while the “people’s environmental movement” progressed from local to global concerns. The “crunch that is going to come” precipitated a move to a move activist role. The perfect storm of a massive increase in population, increasing individual consumption, and a social system entirely dependent on fossil fuels combine to mean we need to engender a massive change to how we live.

The nature of the challenge is unfortunately not reflected in public statements Dr Graham heard at the Rio 20 conference. He is disappointed by the ‘more of the same’ approach promoted by New Zealand’s Amy Adams. He is critical of the approach he describes at tinkering at the edges of a system that is fundamentally wrong. Indeed NZ’s formal position is one of no paradigm change.

Despite – or perhaps because of – a career in the diplomatic service, Dr Graham is critical of the structural dysfunctionality in the United Nations. Our global overshoot is a global problem, he says, “but we are attempting to solve it with 193 squabbling independent nation states all seeking to maximise their natural advantage against each other”. This “competitive pursuit guarantees ecological overshoot”.

We are, Graham says, in a “twilight zone that is part denial, part Gallic shrug of indifference, part catatonic fear”. We need to change how our species lives and our global machinery. We need to change our individual consumption.

Shane’s number of the week: 96%. That’s a 96% reduction in the use of supermarket plastic bags in Wales with the introduction of a small charge and the plastic bag becoming a social no no.

Shane’s other number of the week: 3215. That’s the number of records for the daily maximum temperature in the US in June.

Categories
green party politics

Steffan Browning MP

Steffan Browning holds the agriculture portfolio for the Greens in the New Zealand parliament. He tells us of his passion and experience of running an organic greenhouse business. Local food production, he argues, is vital to constructing a more resilient society. He tells us of his experiences on the Primary Production Select Committee -asking hard questions from people who previously wouldn’t have granted him an interview.

Shane’s number of the week: 3.5. That’s a 3.5% reduction on 1990 emissions in an inventory report on net C02 from Ministry of Environment. BUT the methodology has changed – primarily how forests are counted. Net emissions have increased and are continuing to increase.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Prompted by the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, Sam talks about imagery of sustainability. The Worldwatch report describes a path to sustainability that sees green growth in developing countries matched by degrowth in overdeveloped counties.

Categories
green party politics

Holly Walker MP

Holly Walker is a new Green MP, or perhaps it should be “an MP for the Green Party”.  She is spokesperson for Housing, Electoral Reform, Children, Open Government, Arts Culture & Heritage, Youth & Students. Befitting these wide ranging areas we have a wide ranging discussion:

  • Is it easy being green?
  • Does being in parliament change being an activist?
  • Who does not agree that “inequality is good for no-one”?
  • Who has she enjoyed meeting from across the house?
  • Why does parliament play up its combative image?
  • How are future generations represented in decision making
  • Will we ever get past a growth paradigm when the very idea of constraints are an anathema to many?
  • Will we ever see progress on alternative progress indicators?
  • How can we better engage young people in parliament?
  • What could parties be doing better in social media?
  • Why are we encouraged to digest the “pull yourself up” meme?

Shane’s number of the week: 51. That is 51% – we have had 51% increase in hospital admissions from infectious diseases in the past 20 years which is out of line with developed countries and one which is incidentally costing New Zealand millions of dollars a year. (more from NZ Herald).

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: “Realising value proposition” is the catchphrase of the capstone projects in Information Technology Sam runs at Otago Polytechnic. We talk about successes in the sustainable space of previous years: myGreenFeat; Arai te Uru; Housing Stars; EducatingCambodia.com; SmartAid; PestWeb; Farmwise, and eHeritage. Several new projects include citizen science; peace foundation; farm environmental accreditation, and plant identification. To these projects we can variously add smartphone, processing, participation, gamification and entrepreneurial.  Going be a busy year – will keep you posted.

Trainspotting:  Anton describes David Clark as so old-fashioned he’s fashionable.  Sam says the words “tear down paradise put up a parking lot”.

Categories
politics

Vote sustainably

Over the past four weeks the Sustainable Lens team has hosted four political forums. Fifteen candidates have spent eight hours exploring the issues of the election through the lens of sustainability. While most get it, some are a very long way from understanding a holistic view of sustainability.

We have distilled the four shows down to this one-hour super special. Even after the election we believe it will be useful as a resource. It clearly reflects differing understandings across the political spectrum, both the issues we face, and the approaches to solving them.

Dunedin South: Joanne Hayes (National), Warren Voight (Democrats for Social Credit), Clare Curran (Labour), Shane Gallagher (Greens).

Dunedin List: Alex Kruize, Victor Billot.

Te Tai Tonga: Rāhui Kātene (Maori), Dora Roimata Langsbury (Greens), Rino Tirikatene (Labour), James Gluck (representing Clinton Dearlove – Mana).

Dunedin North: Metiria Turei (Greens), Pete George (United Future), Guy McCallum (ACT), Michael Woodhouse (National), David Clark (Labour).

The election specials were produced by Samuel Mann and Otago Access Radio’s Lesley Paris. We extend our heartfelt thanks to sound engineer Geoff Barkman, and our hosts and sponsors Otago Polytechnic.

Categories
politics

Dunedin North

SustainableLens Dunedin North

What is a sustainable economy? Candidates for Dunedin North discussed the basis of their party’s positions, as well as their personal thoughts on economics, growth and the environment. The Sustainable Lens on Radio forum format allowed the candidates space to be able to expound their philosophies as well as give specific policy examples on fishing, transport, climate change and extractive industries in the South. The evening was a great opportunity to see where the differences between the parties lie.

Candidates (from left) Metiria Turei (Greens), Pete George (United Future), Guy McCallum (ACT), Michael Woodhouse (National), David Clark (Labour), (Greens Dunedin South candidate Shane Gallagher was back-up for Metiria).

Hosts: Anton Angelo and Samuel Mann

Sound: Geoff Barkman and Louise Gizzie.

Producers: Samuel Mann and Lesley Paris

Categories
politics

Dunedin list

The Alliance (Victor Billot) the Greens (Alex Kruize) represent the the hard end of the spectrum with their own policies. A rare chance to hear some supporters of the minor parties discuss politics – these are the non-spin doctored party faithful: those who really believe. This discussion was a fascinating insight to what makes their policies tick: what underlies their policies for economic and environmental sustainability.

Candidates (from left) Alex Kruize, Victor Billot. (Labour apologised at the last minute, ACT promised but didn’t show. National were invited but chose not to be represented).

Hosts: Anton Angelo and Samuel Mann

Producers: Samuel Mann and Lesley Paris

Sound: Geoff Barkman

Categories
maori politics

Te Tai Tonga

Sustainable Lens Te Tai Tonga forum.  From left: Rāhui Kātene (Maori), Dora Roimata Langsbury (Greens), Rino Tirikatene (Labour), James Gluck (representing Clinton Dearlove - Mana)

The Sustainable Lens Dunedin South Election Forum, 3rd November 2011

The Sustainable Lens team hosted a discussion with candidates for New Zealand’s largest electorate, Te Tai Tonga. Topics covered included jobs, education, Te Reo, Maori management of Maori resources, and of course, the environment, with robust criticism and defense of the performance of the incumbent Maori Party over the last three years. The atmosphere was congenial, but that didn’t stop people from disagreeing with each other!

Candidates (from left in image above): Rāhui Kātene (Maori), Dora Roimata Langsbury (Greens), Rino Tirikatene (Labour), James Gluck (representing Clinton Dearlove – Mana)

Hosts: Anton Angelo, Khyla Russell, Samuel Mann

Producer: Samuel Mann and Lesley Paris

Sound: Geoff Barkman

Categories
politics

Dunedin South

 

In what panellists, audience and candidates described as a successful and enlightening discussion, Sustainable Lens on Radio’s first Election Forum ranged from the global to the very local. Dunedin South’s challenges are of course unique, but the electorate straddles urban poor, suburban wealthy and rural populations. This gave the candidates scope to discuss sustainability and growth, from their own personal perspectives.

The Sustainable Lens Dunedin South Election Forum, 27th October 2011

 

Candidates (from right in image above):  Joanne Hayes (National), Warren Voight (Democrats for Social Credit), Clare Curran (Labour), Shane Gallagher (Greens).

Hosts: Anton Angelo and Samuel Mann

Producer: Samuel Mann and Lesley Paris

Sound: Geoff Barkman

Categories
green party politics

Gareth Hughes MP

Gareth Hughes is the Green Party’s spokesperson on climate change, housing, ICT, libraries and archives, oceans, transport, and youth. After growing up in Gisborne, Gareth studied religious studies, history and politics at Victoria University of Wellington. He worked for Greenpeace in Australia and New Zealand from 2000–2005, and then worked for the Green Party on climate change issues.

Instead of a summary, imagine this is a wordcloud of our discussion: (that would be cool, I should make one)…
roads, driving, mainstream choices, farebox ratio, subsidy of roading transport, telecommuting.
non-violent direct action, social media, activism, poverty, not living in a stratified society,
compromising positions, politics not being a dirty world but integral to making a real change,
richer New Zealand, biological politics, open transparent politics, rational debate, open government, farming, RMA reforms, ETS, community decision making, ecologically concious decision making, aquaculture, rivers, mmp, oil drilling, charter principles, not being the annoying guy, maturing, transformation, connect construct contribute, quality accommodation, capital gains, economic growth, steady state.

Shane’s number of the week: 2 million kilometre square hole in the ozone over the Arctic.

Sam’s joined up thinking: Deep Ecology: The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life have value in themselves (synonyms: intrinsic value, inherent worth). These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes. (read more).

Categories
green party politics

Dr Russel Norman MP

Dr Russel Norman is the Green Party’s male Co-leader. In this interview we talk about the potential for a green economy. Russel says the green economy is good for business, but maybe not all business – there are sectors of our economy that are deeply unsustainable. We need to find ways to overcome barriers to a cultural transformation.

We ask if he feel like he is pushing uphill? Do other parties in parliament get it? Russel has great insights on why things happen that seem to fly in the face of rational thought. The obsession with motorways comes from a perception that we have to catch up with the rest of the world – even if everyone else has moved onto rail. Structural changes are needed – rail and ports have to make a profit but roads are a loss making service – in effect a massive subsidy for trucking companies.

Note: this interview was recorded earlier in the week before the Government released the New Zealand Energy Strategy and the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. The Greens describe the strategies as a “missed opportunity“.

Categories
labour politics

Clare Curran MP

Clare Curran is the MP for Dunedin South. She tells us that Labour has a core set of values that sees the people and the planet as intertwined.

An important part of her value set is the role of strong communities – geographical and communities of interest. How a country relates to communities determines what sort of country it is – looking at us as a set of businesses is a very dehumanising approach as it looks at work only in terms of how much profit it makes rather than the value of the interaction in your whole life. This whole life approach isn’t about business, it’s about how we live.

In addition to food, shelter, education and health she includes access to the internet as an essential service. The internet is seen as an enormous leveller but she points to 100,000 homes in NZ where kids don’t have access to a computer – their ability to participate in society as children is already compromised. She fears an entrenching of the digital divide – “digital apartheid” in its effect – determining access by wealth could be one of the worst decisions of the next 50 years. If the kids without computers get to high school without reliable access then their futures are seriously compromised. She describes collective responses to this challenge.

The role and responsibilities of big business, both state owned and commercial sector – and the different implications of monopolies within them. The state owned monopolies are there for a purpose because as a society we’ve decided that either the sector isn’t big enough to support competing interests or it has an essential nature. She says TVNZ isn’t a public broadcaster any more.

In a wide ranging interview we talk about: weightless exports; the prospects for open transparent government; investing in rail and increasing emphasis on public transport; procurement policies that account for long term effects, labour cost and environmental effects; open source. We discuss the digital copyright act. In an advance on a policy annoucement Clare tells us that Labour will not only repeal the termination clause, but review the whole fraught are of intellectual property with a view to enable access rather than prevent it.

Clare is the Labour Party spokesperson for Broadcasting, Communications and Information Technology. She trained as a journalist and has worked for companies such as Social Change Media, and Essential Media Communications. She has served on the board of Greenpeace.

Shane’s number of the week: 9.1% is the rise in the cost of living for a solo parent according the Salvation Army’s low income CPI.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: 550 mostly students filled the St David’s St lecture theatre for Generation Zero‘s “Cheer Up Bob” event. Professor Bob Lloyd gave a depressing lecture (peak oil has happened; it is linked with climate change which is already having impacts; coal is rampant but it too will peak; the underlying problem is an irrational obsession with growth). Jeanette Fitzsimons responded via Skype with an inspiring message of hope and positive action.

Categories
government green party politics

Metiria Turei MP

A Green MP since 2002, Metiria was elected Green Party Co-leader in 2009.

In a wide ranging and fascinating interview we talk to Metiria about her father, green politics, rude politicians, poverty, what a sustainable economy would look like and whether she would like to be the first co-Prime Minister of New Zealand Aotearoa.

Metiria’s focus is policy work that helps build a more fair society, as well as electoral law reform and children’s issues. She’s previously led campaigns to save our National Parks from mining, protect the Mokihinui River, and has fought for greater protection of marine animals and the marine environment. Metiria also advocates for implementation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, restorative justice, and a quality public education system. With a law degree from Auckland, Metiria has previously worked as a lawyer at Simpson Grierson and as an advocate for the unemployed and beneficiaries.

When able to escape the world of politics, Metiria spends time with her family in Dunedin.

 

Shane’s number of the week:  90%

– there is a 90% increase in the risk of psychological illness when you experience food insecurity in New Zealand.

Sam’s joined up thinking:  Earth Day – “mother earth is having her human rights recognised” but we’re a long way off an understanding of what this means (read more>>).