Thursday, December 15, 2011

the rain came

Golden Bay/Mohua, here at the top of the south is a most amazing area. But today, after the rain there are slips and people who have had water streaming through their houses, there have been evacuations and roads cut. The road to town has a massive hole in it and is impassable and probably will be for a few days.

Takaka township recorded 423mm of rain in a 24 hours period, making it "well in excess of a one in 100 year event", Civil Defence said. The previous 24 hour rainfall high was 256mm in August 1990.
Small communities have had their infrastructure lost and the cleanup has not even started yet.  I haven't heard of anyone hurt so that is good. A massive disruption just before the festive season. Yet on the world stage it wouldn't even rate a mention. Interesting to consider the macro and the micro - how a significant event for an individual is just that, same for a community too. When it all goes bad we will have each other, we will have community and connection and we will have to get on with the job, together. So we help pull people out of trouble - thanks mate, and we open our homes to people that need shelter, and we check up on people and make sure they are okay. We open up the marae and we hear about the people that have suffered loss and we prepare to help them. We are community.

We know about weather events related to global warming - they will become more severe, more random and more destructive. At every scale we will be going through more trials and tribulations and there is nothing we can do about that because the cycles and momentum of earthly change on ponderous scales have already started and they won't stop. But we can prepare and a big part of that is building community and connection. No doubt in calamitous times we are forced together but the more we practice, when we can, the better and we can learn from other communities about what works and what doesn't. Ultimately when it all hits the fan we do what we have to do to survive - we are all in this together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

back to reality

A year and a half ago I decided to take up fulltime extramural study. Just got my latest results back and I am pleased to say that I passed all of the last semester papers. Whew! I’ve completed 12 papers now, focused on Māori studies, and I have learnt a heck of a lot. Over summer I am going back to a job that I used to do and I am amazed that it has happened. There are some areas that are so special and tapu, unique and pristine, wild and untamed, so natural that it fills the heart to be allowed to interact with them. Farewell Spit is such a place. This nature reserve is known as Onetahua (heaped up sand) and as you can see from the map it looks like the head of a kiwi.

There are two companies that take tours out to the lighthouse on Farewell Spit and I will be working for one of them. It is a good role for me as I enjoy meeting people, being in nature and interpreting what we are seeing and experiencing so that the interconnections become apparent. As you can imagine over a full 6 hour tour a lot of information can be covered, but it is maximising the enjoyment of the guest experience, not regurgitation of facts, which is the key. Everyone can connect with the spit in some way because we all have interests, and the subtle identification of those connections is part of the experience. So if you get to Golden Bay and want to do a tour, send me an email and we'll sort it out. It will be fun I assure you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

doing as a doomer

John Michael Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and his blog The Archdruid Report is essential reading for anyone interested in the ramifications of peak oil and our society. His weekly postings lead the reader through layers of complexity via delightful writing. He weaves his narrative over many interrelated subjects and he doesn't flinch from the truth..As you can tell I am a fan.

His latest post really opened my mind to the interconnections of so many areas. This is the last paragraph - to see how this paragraph ties the whole post together please read the full post here.
I have begun to suspect that this will turn out to be one of the most crucial downsides of the arrival of peak oil. If the industrial economy, as I’ve suggested, was basically an arbitrage scheme profiting off the difference in cost between energy from fossil fuels and energy from human laborers, the rising cost of fossil fuels and other inputs needed to run an industrial economy will sooner or later collide with the declining cost of labor in an impoverished and overcrowded society. As we get closer to that point, it seems to me that we may begin to see the entire industrial project unravel, as the profits needed to make industrialism make sense dry up. If that’s the unspoken subtext behind the widening spiral of economic dysfunction that seems to be gripping so much of the industrial world today, then what we’ve seen so far of what peak oil looks like may be a prologue to a series of wrenching economic transformations that will leave few lives untouched.

I suppose i am a doomer. I do believe that peak oil has occured and the effects as the Archdruid explains, will affect us all. I also believe that climate change is happening and is having and will continue to have accerlating negative worldwide effects. I see Fukishima is still putting highly radioactive material into the sea - anyway the list of portents is endless. I do beieve we are heading for a major downgrade but i don't think it is a cliff necessarily. I enjoy the Archdruid's discussions on the topic because he is focused on the real issue and that is how it will affect people and communities. His viewpoint is very considered and compassionate. Whatever happens connecting people will be the best solution, building relationships and cooperation, building communities and looking after each other. And the time to start is now.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Discussing a book and the Mana Party

I have just finished rereading a book that I really enjoy - Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. I’ve read it a few times now and it’s a good swashbuckling fictional (yet based on historical truth) account of the early life of Miyamoto Musashi. As wikipediasays
The long epic (over 900 pages, abridged, in the English version) comprises seven "books" detailing the exploits of Miyamoto Musashi, beginning just after the battle of Sekigahara, following his journeys and the many people who become important in his life, and leading up to his climactic duel with Sasaki Kojiro on Ganryujima (Ganryu or Funa Island). Musashi becomes famous during the course of the novel as he searches for both perfection in swordsmanship and in consciousness. Innovating Japanese swordsmanship, he invents the style of simultaneously wielding both the katana and the wakizashi, something unheard of at that time in Japanese history.
many of the important events depicted in Yoshikawa Eiji's famous novel Musashi have a basis in reality, to include his battle with the Yoshioka School, his defeat of the noted spearman Inei (chief priest of the Hôzô-in), and his duel in 1612 with Sasaki Kojiro, another famed swordsman.
This type of historical fiction is enjoyable reading and considering what we know about the past is as likely to be close to the truth as not. I spent some time learning the way of the sword in the past and I feel a great affinity for Musashi. I remember seeing a demonstration of cutting from a famed swordsman – it is impossible to describe the power, the mana involved to cut cleanly, with focus, to be in a place of oneness with the act, the action, and the intent.

Musashi was born around 1568 and fought his first duel at age 13. That is a wee while ago and his story has been recounted many times as befits the legend. Would he recognise his own story? Does it matter? The story in the book describes a man looking for his answers and not just with the sword – to perfect himself was to perfect every aspect of life and the arts were as important as anything – painting, poetry, calligraphy, the tea ceremony – these were the expressions of self, as much as the katana. The Japanese revere Musashi and his story is their story now. How does all this fit with us here and now?

How many of our famous stories are unknown to the general population I wonder. How many Māori heroes who worked to perfect themselves and help their people. How many famed warriors who developed their own techniques and pursued perfection. The general public sees very little of this and the little they do get is often interpreted for them by non-Māori. Don’t be under any illusions, the stories and histories are there, but they are kept safe because the environment is dangerous for them. The environment won’t be safe until we have true equality for Māori. When that happens imagine a great industry around telling the stories, film, television, plays, graphic novels, the list is endless and they would be our stories and they would bind us together.

Musashi’s story in the book is wider than just him of course, it covers many aspects of culture and human interactions. It discusses politics, leadership, friendship, honour, whakapapa, forgiveness, and love. It looks at a changing society and the breakdown of traditional values. It speaks to our times as it flows over the past. The Mana Party and Hone have a kaupapa that must be delivered, despite distractions and the disastrous direction this country has decided upon. They must be as steadfast and true to their vision and values as Musashi, and I believe they will be. They must cultivate all aspects of the way, not just the sword. As Musashi often kept his opponents waiting before the clash to unsettle and disturb them, so must Hone and the Mana Party hold the space and make them wait. Let us choose the site and time of the battle not them. Musashi often fought against multiple opponents at the same time and he developed a two sword technique not seen before but very effective. He stated that once you have learnt to win against one then you can win against ten. Mana can win against multiple opponents it just has to develop a two sword technique that cuts through the dross and I believe they can and will do it.

the deluded and the deranged

Danyl at The DimPost cuts to the core with this post about the revised treasury forecast. Already their unrealistic pre-election forecasts have been revised downwards - apparently they have decided to factor in the european economic crisis. As danyl notes the major parties fought the election with these unrealistic projections and that shows the value of all of their promises - vacuous and a waste of time.

Right. So just to recap: Treasury made these very optimistic growth predictions in the 2011 budget, and everyone said they were delusional. But Treasury stood by their forecasts, and a month out from the election they repeated their insanely optimistic outlook in the PREFU.
The government and opposition parties based all of their fiscal policies on the Treasury forecasts. Both main parties claimed they’d get the country back into surplus in a few years, because of all the additional revenue from all that economic growth. Jobs weren’t a big topic of debate in this election, because Treasury promised us that all the growth would create 170,000 new jobs!
Now here we are, just over a week after the election and whaddya know? Treasury has announced they were too optimistic. Growth is going to be less than they said it would a month ago – even though nothing substantive has changed since then. The European crisis didn’t just emerge on Sunday the 27th.
 All very true and this is what john keys says

'Forecasts are wonderful things and they are a prediction of what may or may not occur. We are the government and so we will get on and run the operation as best we can ... yup, it might all go to hell in a handbasket and if it does we'll manage it. ''But at the moment we are more confident than others.'' The Government is committed to getting the books back to surplus in 2014/15.
''If there is some catastrophe in Europe and the place melts down, that changes the global economic outlook, there are always things that are beyond our control. But we are totally committed to trying to get back to surplus,'' he said.
How exactly key will manage everything going to hell in a handbasket is not known, probably the same way he deals with everything else - smile and spin. Same with dealing with the catastrophe of the global economic collapse - she'll be right mate - have a beer. Is this responsible government? Is this what we want or need? Apparently the answer is yes, based on the election. This really is the deluded leading the deranged.

Hattip - DimPost

Monday, December 5, 2011

adversity binds us together

I have not really been too interested in who the next leader of the labour party will be – shearer of cunliffe. Both too similar for me but it has been interesting watching the twisting and turning I suppose, following the memes and the propaganda. The leadership of the Māori Party is also under review – who would have thought so soon after the voters have just spoken. It makes a mockery of the whole process and shows the personal issues relating to Hone’s departure because just who do you think would have won between Hone and Te Ururoa. Tim at Tumeke is of the same view. The coyness of Te Ururoa is not needed – he is the only other party MP who isn’t the co-leader – who does he think is going to get the role? So he will get to play with the big boys as a minister outside cabinet, but what will Pita do? The Māori Party say they are bringing out the new faces but I can’t see it and Tariana will retire this term too. So a heavy load for Te Ururoa to carry – I don’t wish him ill-will but I am not confident that the burden is carryable, still good luck to him.

I think Mana is in a good position to build the kaupapa and support. Hone is in parliament and can raise issues. The issues will have supporters from most parties and from the community. As the situation for people becomes much worse than it is now, they will look for someone with solutions to their real problems and Hone and Mana will be offering solutions and talking about the real issues. On one hand I feel sad about the hardships to come and on the other I feel optimism. Adversity binds people together. And we will need to bind together, as whānau, as communities, as people to ensure everyone is looked after.

I am looking forward to seeing the Greens make an impact. There are major environmental issues that the gnats want to go hard on, including mining and exploitation of our resources. The Greens will be holding the line and I wish them well. We need them to be strong and true.

Winston will be very annoying for the gnats and that will be good although I can never really trust or like him. And for the gnats and john key – a bit of a honeymoon period of congratulations, and then back into their agenda. This election has set this country on a dangerous course.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

underreported struggles 56

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinetal Cry this month.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial "land swap" bill giving the UK-Australia mining giant Rio Tinto direct access to places considered sacred by the Apache and other Indigenous Peoples in southeastern Arizona. In exchange for the U.S. House of Representatives' "gift", Rio Tinto will hand over some other land that isn't mineral rich. That is, land to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

The World Bank is preparing to steamroll ahead with a new funding program that would virtually eliminate 26 of the Bank's safeguard policies, including those meant for Indigenous Peoples, Environmental Assessments, Physical and Cultural Resources, Forests, Natural Habitats, and Involuntary Resettlement. At this point, the World Bank has not consulted any Indigenous Peoples about the proposed "Program for Results (P4R)" - and it likely will not do so, unless the international community can pressure them into it.

An alliance of the Unist'ot'en (People of the Headwaters) and the Likhts'amisyu (Hereditary Chiefs) of the Wet'suwet'en Nation have evicted a group of pipeline drillers from their traditional territory, sending a clear message to Enbridge, Pacific Trails and the entire oil industry: "We cannot and will not permit any pipelines through our territory."

With the Wixarika People continuing to struggle against the threat of mining within their sacred landscape in the Mexican region known as Wirikuta, another area considered sacred by the Wixarika has been licensed out in concessions by the government. According to the Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), approximately 250 acres of beachfront property including the sacred area of Tatéi Haramara will now be developed for tourism.

The Tribal Council of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians has passed a resolution that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" on the North Dakota reservation. The resolution also calls for the council to protect "Mother Earth from any pollutants that may cause harm to its citizens, land, water, and air."

At least four Saami communities are standing up to mining companies that want to exploit their customary reindeer grazing lands in Northern Sweden. Last week, two communities warned that the British mining company Beowulf is in breach of its own ethical guidelines for failing to engage them meaningfully, while it pursues a new iron mine on the grazing lands. Meanwhile, two other communities continue speaking out against Scandinavian Resources' (SCR's) proposed iron mines in the Kalix River Valley, less than 200km away from Beowulf's proposed project.

Visit Intercontinetal Cry to read about these issues and many others. There is much connection between all of our struggles.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a ramble on asset sales and Iwi

There are many people that oppose the sale of state assets, partial or otherwise. National have been elected and are forming the government and that government will be pushing the asset sale agenda. Iwi are beginning to come out with their views and Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere of Ngāi Tahu has stated the iwi position. I am opposed to the sale of any state assets and I also have doubts about Iwi buying into state assets. This post outlines some of my reasons for those doubts, please note it is a bit of a ramble and some of the thoughts need polishing.

Mark Solomon says that Ngāi Tahu have never advocated for the outright sale of state assets. And he explains that at a meeting in Feb 2009 with John Key and Bill English when Iwi leaders were told that the government books were rough and ‘cash strapped’ he suggested at that meeting, “When it comes to the settlements have you ever considered a shareholding in some of the SOE’s as part of settlement packages.” Solomon then says that “the government said that they would not consider it in their first term but they would put it up as a question leading into the next election, and have come back with their model of selling off 49% of the asset.”

My opposition to selling these state assets is that - they are already owned by the citizens, and that they are strategic assets which should never be sold, and that the price they think they’ll get is wildly overrated, and that they have already factored in the price they think they will get, and that overseas ownership is inevitable in this type of scenario, and that it leads to higher prices, and that it leads to further privatisation and commodification of natural resources which is designed to increase profit for shareholders, and that profit comes largely from price, but cost cutting is also there. So selling assets just doesn’t stack up, it doesn’t make sense. But that won’t stop national or their support parties.

Buying shares in these companies is an investment decision. As noted by Mark Solomon, “the returns – simple business decisions – good long term investments and allowing us to invest in our own country.”  At no meeting that Solomon has attended has their been any mention of Iwi having preferential shares. No added benefits to Māori like lower power prices because as Solomon says they would be buying a shareholding in a company and they would be a minority shareholder. It is a business deal. As a minority shareholder Iwi won’t be able to influence pricing decisions – or profit. They will reap the rewards and spread that reward amongst their beneficiaries, even though they are the same people that have paid the higher price to get the profit.

The argument is always put that if iwi don’t get into it, someone else will or why shouldn’t Iwi participate. My answer is of course it is up to Iwi to make their own decisions. And those decisions must be made after full discussion, with all points of view noted. For instance – if the benefits to Iwi members are just around the shareholding, why do it? why should generational striving for justice, paid out as a small percentage of the loss, be used to buy shares in companies, could it not be used in better ways. how is tino rangatiratanga advanced when we buy into the system and its values and place profit at a premium.

Māori should own the assets of this country, from within a Māori worldview and through the front door not the back door - through partnership not fakery and tokenism. Iwi that buy state assets will be minority shareholders and as more state assets are sold the more Iwi will dissipate their power, to ensure they have shares in those assets. This will bleed the power of Iwi and dilute their ability to do anything other than sit there and take their profits. They could sell but who to? Whoever has the money is the answer. There are other ways of growing the pūtea – the rebuild of Christchurch being one, anyway the investment team will decide – based on their objectives. I’d like to see the arguments framed around tikanga and illustrating the lessons from our ancestors and highlighting the benefits to the people and alignment with our values, not just the balance sheet.

If the decisions are investment decisions then that is how it will be assessed, no sense in trying to dress it up differently – there is no preferential treatment in allocation of shares or advantage for Māori in their power bills. There is nothing other than an investment decision – to my mind this is a pivotal point because the investment decision may disadvantage the overall group and therefore would be in conflict with our values. If you invest in a company that gets profit from a basic service like power, and if the price is raised then there is more profit but that profit comes from the higher prices paid by the consumers. They are worse off. The overall group has been disadvantaged. The investment decision assumes a position of dominance to the strengthening of the collective. Anything that assumes dominance against the benefits of the group is rejected, at least in my view. The counter is that the profit goes back to the collective but that profit has to come from somewhere and it comes from the collective itself. Another view is that it will happen anyway so at least some profit is made but that is defeatist IMO because it is giving away our power.

It may be that the Iwi has considered the small points I am making - it just seems to me that the debate must be widened. My opposition to Iwi investment is that the overall benefits to Iwi members cannot be guaranteed and that the decision is just a straight investment decision where other considerations relating to te Āo Māori do not impinge and because of that there is a dominance that does not align with our value of protecting and strengthening the collective, the community. When those reasons are added to the long list of other reasons for opposing asset sales, the case for selling and buying them thins out even more.

Now just to be clear I am a proud member of Ngāi Tahu whānui and I know that there are no clear right and wrong answers much as we would like them. I am not disrespecting the efforts to date to secure mana for the Iwi. I am simply putting up some counter views, constructively, so that wider points can be considered.

Everyone sees things differently, these are just some of my thoughts and I realise they may not attract much support but they come from an iwi member who cares.

Hattip - Pip and Maui St

Sunday, November 27, 2011

some right some wrong

Well the people have spoken

My predictions and how they turned out

My pick

What happened
ACT gone
Banks elected in Epsom, 1.2% Party vote
1 MP
United Future gone
Dunne elected, below 1% Party vote
1 MP
NZF and Winston back 6%
6.8% Party vote
8 MP’s
Greens 13%
Mostly correct
10.6% Party vote
13 MP’s
Labour 28%
27.1% Party vote
34 MP’s
National 47%
48% Party vote
60 MP’s
Maori 2% (3 electorate)
1.4% Party vote
3 MP’s
Mana 4% (2 electorate)
1% Party vote
1 MP

So I picked part of the mood but overestimated how much influence Mana could exert for a brand new political movement.

The fact that goff didn’t resign on the night says everything about him – still in denial, still delusional. All of the deadwood Labour caucus should resign and give the party a chance to rebuild and get some credibility.

Key has got enough to govern and it doesn’t matter if the Māori Party vote with him or not – but they will.

I am very happy for the Greens – 13 MP’s that is amazing and will really make a difference – but the numbers are against them and we must remember that the agenda of National is very destructive indeed.

Go after beneficiaries and solo parents
Sell our assets
Mine and exploit our land and water

And so much more – I’m afraid we are in for a very bad time, a horrible time and 48% of people that voted, voted for it.

What to do?

What we always do, rebuild our strength and then go forth into the battle to fight for the rights of the oppressed and disadvantaged, to fight for equality and fairness, to fight for community and cooperation. That we will fight is a given – rest now friends, for your strength will be soon enough be called upon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

holding the heat

I've talked about my voting intentions before - I am going to give both my votes to Mana and I'll also be voting for MMP. It may sound strange but I don't really care what happens at the election - whatever the result - that is what we will deal with. If people vote for john key and the right wing policies - it won't surprise me, after all I live in this colonised country and I know the mentality of the people - that is why i blog.

So I'm not too attached to the result - the type of policies that I want take time to bring to fruition and they are resisted by the powers that be at every turn - ho hum - that is the reality.

My prediction

ACT gone
United Future gone
NZF and Winston back 6%
Greens 13%
Labour 28%
National 47%
Maori 2% (3 electorate)
Mana 4% (2 electorate)

who governs is anyones guess but it will be interesting to watch the machinations as that poisoned chalice bounces around like a hot potato.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

their swords are sharp

Maps has some awesome posts up at the moment and this one which outlines a discussion between Labour candidate Carmel Sepuloni and Maps, was especially interesting.
Carmel, who had parked a car emblazoned with campaign slogans beside the cafe, was initially very friendly, asking me about myself and about my voting intentions. When I went beyond pleasantries, though, and began to ask some questions about Labour's policies and election strategy, she quickly became defensive. Although Carmel talked with me for five or so minutes, she asked me not to repeat some of the things she said. This request seemed to me very odd: we were talking, after all, about the details of a general election campaign, not about some sensational murder trial or international spy ring.
and for some humour Rob Guyton is constantly exercising his wicked sense of that quality and this post from him, entitled "this man suffers from worms" is a good example. His blog is aways interesting and offers strong green perspectives - plus that sense of humour.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

song in my head

I woke this morning with this song in my head - don't know why. After checking out some videos and discarding the Hole version, which I quite like, I decided to put up this one by Julie Driscoll. The video is beyond cool and there are many super funny aspects - like the massive solo and very quiet moments. Julie can sing, although i am concerned about her coat and, well, the dancing - it is difficult to dance in front of the camera like that I am sure so I'll not be too harsh. Great video and great song.

Monday, November 21, 2011

representing us

It could be argued that Hone Harawira, Mana Party leader ripping into Phil Goff the labour leader is a bit of a waste of time, but when Labour are contesting seats against Mana, it is fair and necessary and the points Hone has raised are the same ones I have wondered about.

"... many people remembered Phil Goff being a willing participant in the days when Labour was selling state assets and introducing GST "and I think that lack of credibility is coming back to haunt him now"
I know that goff has said he made a mistake dah dee dah - he did and it was a very, very big one IMO - selling those assets - apology and all made up now? - no! because the tenor of goff has not changed. Sure he may have regrets about this issue but he is still of the same mindset regarding many things. Hone relates it like this
"An old lady from down south told me that 'MANA is where Labour should be'" said Mr Harawira "and a lot of Labour voters are coming to MANA now because they don't see Phil Goff as the one to stand up to National"
Yep - look at the Mana lineup
"Annette Sykes - the best Maori rights lawyer in the country, John Minto - the 1981 anti-apartheid leader and worker's rights advocate, and Sue Bradford - the country's most well-known beneficiaries activist" "I'd put my crew up against any other team in the house, especially on the issues of Maori rights, human rights, workers rights and the rights of the poor"
and Hone sums up well with

Mr Harawira said that the choice was simple "the Labour leader who is leaving town or the MANA team, fresh for the battle and with the experience and the courage to do the business"
The courage to do the business and what is the business?
to oppose the National / Act / Maori Party government selling off state assets, and slashing funding in health, education and welfare.
It's a family business, a whānau business - everyone's welcome - join the waka.

past actions more important than future promises

We know that the gnats want to sell our assets and the weasel words about mixed ownership and so on are just smokescreens. Pita Sharples has clarified the position of the Māori Party

Dr Sharples issued a statement this morning saying the party did not support any asset sales at all.
there you go - quite clear - but what's this?
"While our party position is that we oppose the sales of assets, we are also placed with the responsibility of advancing the best position for our constituency - and unlike other parties - that means we need to listen and respond to the proposals our constituents put forward to Parliament."
Listen and respond - sadly I cannot take Pita seriously because when it came down to it last time over the Foreshore and Seabed the 'listening' was not there, not even slightly. In fact the evidence was there that most Māori opposed the solution but they still rammed it through. So i don't trust your assertions Pita and I don't trust that you would hold the line in any meaningful way.

i am a son of my mother

I've been away for a few days driving trucks down country. The highlight was catching up with mum, cooking her a big pot of dahl, discussing the election and hearing that Mana will be getting two ticks from her in South Dunedin.

like mother like son

Thursday, November 17, 2011

leaders leading

I watched most of the minor leaders debate tonight and it was good - in terms of the fakery of politics and the media anyway. Hone was superb - what a rangatira he is, I am very proud to support Hone and Mana - they are our hope. Winston was good too, at his rousing best with the best steely glint in the business. Tariana was pretty good and spoke well but got a bit rattled by Hone. I was interested to hear her say that they wouldn't go into coalition with Act - but then r0b on the standard clarified that she means they aren't in one now, even though both Act and the Māori Party are in coalition with National - go figure.

Big realisation for me - i am still angry at tariana for what has happened and i know this because when i watch her it is like watching a loved relative. I am angry because i still care but my anger is my stuff and it's heart stuff and disappointment stuff.

The election is 10 days away - get people enrolled and make sure you are - we have a new political movement to get into the house.

underreported struggles 55

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinetal Cry this month.

In an historical event, the Tanzania government has offered a traditional land certificate to the Hadzabe, an Indigenous People that even now, some believe to be extinct. The move, hailed by the villagers and supporting organizations, will ensure land tenure for the nomadic tribe. This is the first time in Tanzania's history the government has provided a land certificate to a "minority tribe".

The Elder "Mamos" or Spiritual leaders of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, have expressed profound concern over plans to build a new seven-star hotel on their ancestral land within the Tayrona National Park in northern Colombia. The Mamos warn that the site for the proposed hotel is located on sacred lands that are supposed to be held inviolate.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), a massive iron ore mining company based in Australia, is trying to get out of a state order that forces the company to protect any burial sites they encounter on Yindjibarndi lands in Western Australia's Pilbara region. The company also wants to avoid its legal obligation to consult the Yindjibarndi. "There are 250 [sites] or more in this country, some very important places for our religious ceremonies," says Michael Woodley, chief executive of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC). Any number of those sites could be at risk.

Visit Intercontinetal Cry to read about these issues and many others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the keycup runneth over

I thought the teacup incident would die down as the spin merchants made it about privacy rights but I was wrong - this is now the big election angle for the left. The latest walkout by key will not go down well I think, his smarmy lies are not believed as easily, he has lost some of his political lustre as his true qualities come to the fore. key apparently said some smartarse comments about brash and the elderly and all of the opposition parties sense blood. They sense it because it is there - they hung everything on key but the forgot one thing - the man himself.

goff has a real opportunity now to assist key in losing it on camera at the last leaders debate. Forget economics and all of the bullshit and focus on credibility, needle him, provoke him and laugh at him and then watch the fireworks - they may not come but it will be fun anyway and what have you got to lose goff - not much.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

flailing banks

Epsom - well that is a big joke now isn't it, now that key has had his cup of tea with banks. it doesn't matter if it is called strategic or tactical voting there is something not quite right about it. Perhaps I wouldn't be so down on it if Hone and Pita had sorted out some of the same. I cannot understand anyone taking ACT seriously i mean, come on, look at them - brash, banks WTF - sorry I just cannot take them seriously but maybe banks will get in and his brand of nastiness will once again enter parliament - remember he has been a cabinet minister, a senior minister and then look at this -

it shows what sort of person banks is and he is the type of person who generalises about ethnicities to create fear and score political points - a racist and lowlife.

Hattip The Standard

Thursday, November 3, 2011

comfortably numbers

I watched the 'leaders' debate last night with four friends aged 16, 25, 36 and 41. Unsurprisingly there was some humour but we all came away saying - "what about the real issues" What about the environment, what about clean water and air, what about people. Key and Goff are deep within the dominant paradigm of 'economic growth', economic this and that and they concentrate around this area because it is safe for them, it is numbers - they don't want to talk about real issues - hell that might make the debate messy. So goff got the hits in and key got the hits in and the adversial system was the winner on the day. You a liar! No, you a liar! - guess what - they are both liars and one of them will be the figurehead for this country, the so-called leader and that made us all wish for a better world. 

If we don't stand up and fight for a better world, for people, then we are doomed to more of their useless lines and dismal future.

Time to go in a different direction.

Hat tip for video - Tumeke

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Papatūānuku - not for sale, never for sale!

Asset sales are a classic area where The Mana and Māori parties differ and disagree and thank goodness for that!

In its election manifesto, the Maori Party does not support asset sales, but during the minor parties leaders' debate this morning on TVNZ programme Q+A, co-leader Pita Sharples said he would support the proposal if shares could not be overseas-owned.
He would not say if that would be a bottom-line for any post-election coalition negotiations.
Hone and Mana don't muck around with those types of statements

"New Zealanders should absolutely be in charge of our core services, in terms of housing, in terms of water, in terms of electricity."
He said the private sector would make the companies worse.
"Ordinary New Zealanders care, because we already bloody own them ... Why on earth are we selling assets that we already own back to ourselves? There's something seriously wrong with that policy."
The comments highlight differences between the parties and emphasise one of the reasons why Mr Harawira quit the Maori Party - because he said the Maori Party were working for corporate Maori and iwi, at the expense of everyday Maori.
At the expense of everyday Māori! Selling assets are not part of any kaupapa - it is what our Tūpuna fought against and what we still fight against. Papatūānuku is not for sale to anyone - this is non-negotiable for me.

the shame of blame

National have now said what they are going to do about welfare and as expected they will treat people on benefits poorly. Their belief is that it is the fault of those people, they haven't tried hard enough and the gnats will incentivise them to get out there and find the non-existant jobs. The gnats say

National yesterday said it would scrap the benefit system and replace it with three new benefits. Under the policy, the majority of beneficiaries would go on to the Jobseeker benefit and be expected to work, at least part-time unless they are found to be temporarily exempt.
The Supported Living Payment would replace the invalid's benefit for those who are permanently and severely disabled, severely mentally ill or terminally ill, while those currently on a sickness benefit would be classed as jobseekers. Solo parents whose youngest child is under 14 would go on Sole Parent Support, while those whose youngest child is older than five would be expected to work part-time.
The catch comes for those beneficiaries who had a subsequent child while on a benefit. They would be required to look for work once their youngest child was 12 months old, if their previous children were over five.
Yes you read it right - look for work after 12 months! I totally oppose these ideas - they are nasty, idiotic and will be devestating for many Māori.

The Maori Party is refusing to say whether the National's welfare policy would be a deal-breaker if the two parties were to form a coalition after the election.
That isn't good enough for me - that is weak and part of the reason The Mana Party has formed - and why I support them.

If you cannot support and protect the members of our society that need it most then you have no place in the people's hearts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can Māori represent non-Māori

One of the reasons I have decided to keep on blogging is that I cannot find hardly any site discussing the election from a non labour/gnat viewpoint - notwithstanding the greens of course. The usually interesting Standard site is now overrun by newbie labour supporters barking every nanosecond about how great labours new campaign is, how goff won the debate by losing it and so on. I don't even bother with the right blogs. I'm looking forward to some of our great Māori blogs offering up some good debate and insight - we need it and we want it. 

The question raised by the post before this one is important - can non-Māori represent Māori? Does it matter? Can Māori represent non-Māori - may be an even better way to frame it. The Mana Party represents both Māori and non-Māori - the Māori Party says that they only represent Māori. Do they really? What about the F&S Act - did they represent Māori then?

What do you think and why do you think it?  

Thanks Jacque for getting me thinking about this issue.

Monday, October 31, 2011

sharples desperate

Sharples the Maori Party co-leader has told supporters at the party's campaign launch at the weekend that Mana only purported to stand for Maori. 

"Rubbish. How can John Minto speak for you? Sue Bradford, how can she speak for kaupapa Maori?," he asked.

What he fails to understand that HE doesn't speak for Māori, as evidenced by the Foreshore and Seabed Repeal. Turia already saying she will not stand again and may not even make it through the next term. Hey Pita you should have taken my advice and retired but too late now and all downhill for you and your party. You supported key and all of the sick things he has done to denigrate Māori, like make it harder for whānau, making jokes about Tuhoe, drilling and exploiting our land and sea for money - you stood at his side while he did all these things and no one is going to forget it.  

Remember "we will listen to our people" well you didn't listen but in a few weeks you will hear.

Sue Bradford states it well
Mana was a "Maori-led, Maori-focused political movement", she said. It was led by Hone Harawira and Maori lawyer Annette Sykes and stood on a principle of upholding the Treaty of Waitangi as the constitutional basis for New Zealand. "Mana also invites anyone to join Mana or to support it or to vote for it." Mana wanted every New Zealander to have access to education, good health care and the things that made life full and valuable, Bradford said. "No one should miss out because they are not rich or white or lucky. "Everyone deserves a chance and Mana is there for everyone and that's why I'm in Mana," she said.
Sharples - I voted for your party last time and this time Mana gets both my votes.

hey - what about us?

A lot has been said about the respective approaches that National and Labour have taken to their opening addresses and I agree with it. I listened to them both on the radio and they were a stark contrast indeed. What a bunch of overconfident gnats we have, resting everything on the key. He hasn't got it, he never had it and it is all starting to go crock for them. Good on labour for making a go of it with their historical approach - hell it may even snag some of those 'middle' voters both partys crave so much. It was glaring obvious from them both that tangata whenua were invisible. I have posted about the retirement age inequality and labour have shown their true colours over that - they don't care about the inequality. Well frankly i don't care about them, or the gnats. They are interchangable and the problem. The promises are coming thick and fast now and tangata whenua have heard it all before, as have many thinking people. The minor parties are where I am focused. The Mana Party is where my votes, support and energy are going. 

I agree with everything Andrew Geddis says in this post on Pundit.
That point is "John Key is National, and National is John Key". I can't recall him once mentioning anyone else in his Government in the entire 20 minutes. But I guess when you've got such a winner on your hands,
I also agree with QoT on this guestpost on The Standard
those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power.
The whole goff 'we've got the balls' line is foul and deliberately contrived - you can bet Māori will be used too, if they think they can get votes from it. The election is on and heating up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the wall hit

I'm sorry but I have hit the wall with blogging. As an older student the financial stress is overwhelming and with trying to be there for my family, just isn't working well for me.

I'm not sure when I will be back maybe tomorrow, maybe never.

So after 1429 posts since March 2009 I'm hanging my keyboard up for a while.

I think...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a video on our occupy

There has been good debate about the Occupy movement around the internet. On The Standard Bill has posted a provocative piece on Occupy Dunedin with pete george popping up a bit with his personal vendetta. 

Ana has posted up this video and it is awesome and really speaks the truth. I am in total agreement with Marama.

Marama Davidson a member of Te Wharepora Hou

and I must add these great blogs in too.


Hat tip Ana at Whenua, Fenua, Enua, Vanua

Friday, October 21, 2011

good call from Mana

An awesome Press Release from the Mana Party on oil exploitation and the gnats, entitled "National: The Party of Irresponsibility and Greed" summed up by Mana Party Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Tawhai McClutchie, who is calling for a complete cancellation on oil and gas development in New Zealand. I agree and support this call and for all the reasons listed by Tawhai

what we have iis the irresponsible behaviour of National tendering to the highest bidder for more ways to compromise our environment. Their greed is insatiable.
The people of Ikaroa Rawhiti should be concerned with the evidence in Tauranga. We see a Maritime Authority sorely unprepared to deal with oil spills. A government proving that they don’t know how to prevent a spill don’t know how to stop a spill and don’t know how to clean up a spill. And yet they’re planning to sell more oil permits?
Tauranga Moana needs to be a wake-up call. Our country should be developing more widespread, community-based sustainable energy alternatives. Not only does it behove this country’s clean, green image, such sustainable energy alternatives help break our habit of oil dependence, puts power back into our people’s hands, and it is healthier for the environment and wildlife. All future oil operations must stop!
Yes the arguements for further exploitation are based on selfishness and greed and the myth of unending growth, which is false and illusory - it just isn't going to happen - peak oil and the effects of climate change are happening now and the world as we have known it is changing, drastically.  Community and connection are the only answer to their lies and this Press Release is part of the solution to the problems many refuse to acknowledge.

visual poem - sitting infinity

Shards of sand merge
into a softness felt
in your belly
Sitting infinity 
you are relaxed.

Are tarapunga discrete?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the twist of hate

TV3 are shocking with their completely misleading headline saying, "Harawira: Hang Rena captain - or Steven Joyce" They say
Controversial MP Hone Harawira's calling for the captain of the stricken vessel the Rena to be hanged over the environmental disaster the ship has caused in the Bay of Plenty.
This is what Hone actually said
Mana Party leader Mr Harawira wants a strong punishment for the Rena's captain. "Hanging the poor bugger might sound a bit harsh, but somebody should pay," he said. "Maybe we can send the Rena captain home with a stern warning and put [Transport Minister] Steven Joyce up on the gallows in his place."
As Rob on The Standard notes
Clearly is Harawira is joking.  He’s angry (we all are) – but he’s taking the piss.
Of course he is and it is obvious but TV3 have for some reason decided to go the inciting racial hatred way. Expect more of this as the election looms closer.

Hat tip The Standard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lower the Māori retirement age

This post will outline the point of my latest essay.

There are some stark facts that jump out at when you investigate how retirement and Māori interact. These facts show inequity for Māori at every level of the debate and retirement reality. Let’s just lay them out:

Non-Māori males life expectancy at birth is around 79.0 years, and for male Māori, 70.4 years. Female non-Māori 83.0 years compared to female Māori of 75.1 years. So Māori can expect on average to live shorter lives than non-Māori – that’s a fact, and although life expectancy is increasing for everyone, the gain for Māori was less than for non-Māori when compared between, 1985 – 1987 and 2005 – 2007.

Okay what about leading up to retirement – what’s the story there?

Māori on average earn less than non-Māori and even when the qualifications were similar, the median incomes were still lower for Māori.

The are a number of measures of Māori participation in employment and the current information shows that the labour force participation rate for all people, in the year ending June 2011, was 68.3% compared to 66.1% for Māori. The unemployment rate for the same period for all people was 6.5% against 13.5% for Māori. They are facts, Māori earn less and a higher number are unemployed and that means disadvantage in the ability to save for retirement but other factors also need to be mentioned.

Māori are also a younger population, with higher birth rates, more dependants and less disposable income. Any surplus is often directed towards the younger generation which reduces again, the opportunities to save.

All of these facts result in a higher percentage of Māori indicating NZSuper as their sole income. The crucial years of saving from around 50 upwards, for many of the population, is when the mortgage is paid off, the kids have left home. But the facts show that 67% of Māori have achieved home ownership, with or without a mortgage, by the age of 65, which contrasts with non-Māori at 81%.

Every part of the retirement debate ignores the cultural interactions and responsibilities that come for many older Māori and these often begin well before retirement and they incur a financial cost for older Māori. A cost that is not applicable to non-Māori, and after retirement the inequality is just as apparent, and not just in longevity.

The ‘Living standards of older Māori’ study (2002 reported that 15% of older Māori, compared with 10% of non-Māori, face some financial difficulties with a further 20% of older Māori facing severe difficulties, in stark contrast to a further 6% for the older population generally. Added to this is the knowledge that single older Māori tend to be in a worse situation financially, often the death of a spouse is a major contributor to this, with older Māori women being particularly vulnerable.

Within a whānau, older Māori support, and are supported, with 78% of respondents providing care for their whānau and most saying they received care from whānau. (Waldon, 2004). I am not going to go into iwi initiatives to support and help older Māori because I’m looking at the structural inequalities and as the facts show there is no equality for Māori.

I blame the Government and their abuse of Māori in not actualising the Treaty of Waitangi, specifically Article 2 and 3. Even today scant regard is paid to tangata whenua and their specific circumstances. It is not good enough to treat Māori as a sub-group of the general population, the facts burn the eyes, yet the powers that be, refuse to see. They prefer Māori to be disadvantaged, it is deliberate. The facts are known, they are the Governments own facts FFS.

There are other aspects I could describe like the relationship between financial literacy, self determination and the management of iwi pūtea – the management outsourced for most, to non-iwi members.

These inequities are wrong and shameful for this country and our Government yesterday, and today, and show one of the reasons tino rangatiratanga is needed – there is no alternative. Māori should have fairness and equality throughout life and that all needs to be fixed. One small but significant step that Government could do to really help Māori today, is that the payment for NZSuper should kick in earlier for Māori, the retirement age for Māori should be lowered.

There should be an equal partnership between the Crown and Māori, and the role of older Māori, as kaumātua and custodians of knowledge should be exalted. Not all Māori wish to or are able to fulfil that role, but many are involved with their whānau and knowledge is being imparted. Reducing the retirement age for kaumātua would allow them to fulfil their cultural function and responsibilities without the current financial cost, and dismantling that barrier to participation for older Māori could create an upsurge in marae activity and show an honest movement from the Government towards equality for Māori. This would actualise the treaty and the partnership inherent within that document.

This aligns with tino rangatiratanga and provides even more opportunities and responsibilities culturally for older Māori, leading to richer more rewarding lives. in later life for them, including better health outcomes.

Reducing the retirement age for Māori would alleviate some of the stressors for older Māori and add real benefits for the individual retirees, their whānau, hapū and iwi, the Māori Nation and the country as a whole.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Māori representation and tino rangatiratanga

Phew! I have finished 2 essays and 1 research project over recent days and one of the best aspects of writing essays is it really gets you thinking.

One essay I entitled “The Mana Party and self determination: a journey and a destination.” As you might expect I am quite keen on The Mana Party and I wanted to assess how the party moves tino rangatiratanga forward.

To do that required a bit of analysis of Effective Māori Representation (EMR) and whether the Māori Party had achieved that, because as we know the Mana Party has formed out of that party. This post offers my view of that area.

Supporters of The Māori Party believe that being in Government and therefore in power, is the best way to achieve incremental gains for Māori self determination and this view ties into EMR, described by the Electoral System report (1986) as, “effective and fair representation of Māori and Māori views”, and represented within the MMP system by the number of Māori MP’s, their political leverage in terms of advancing Māori self determination, the cultural improvements to parliament itself by having more Māori MP’s, and the actual ability of Māori MP’s to influence and lead improvements for Māori.

There can be no doubt that the Māori Party have sat at the table but the key term within EMR is representation and when we look at the flagship policy of the Māori Party, namely repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act we can see that they did not represent the views of the vast majority of Māori who submitted in opposition to their solution, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act (2011).

Foucault analysed the relationships between power, rights and truth and how the discourses generated hide the true intention of the dominant partner in the relationship, which is to reinforce the dominance. Foucault’s idea of a ‘right’ is that it is given by those in power seemingly as a positive development but actually reaffirming the power dynamic of the dominant relationship. (Foucault, 1976)

The National Government has bestowed a ‘right’ to Māori by repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and on one level it was fulfilling its obligation to its coalition partner the Māori Party, but at a deeper level it was reinforcing authority and the ability to bestow ‘rights’. The idea of a truth from Foucault is a discourse from those with power that supports the normalising of the dominance, which is similar to Gramsci’s idea of ‘common sense’ where the discourse is designed to normalise the dominant relationship and behaviours.

The Māori Party have created a discourse where their ‘truth’ is that they have achieved the goal of repeal and that is what they promised. Certainly the repeal was the impetus for the formation of the Māori Party and it has been completed, but the gains for Māori self determination are non-evident. The National Government have described the repeal and new Act as “recognising the rights of all New Zealanders in the common marine and coastal area” and this view is not consistent with tino rangatiratanga.

The Māori Party discourses have allied with the National Government discourses and their truths are presented as ‘common sense’ and this legitimises the declared truths supporting the continued dominance. The repeal and new Act have reinforced the unequal power relationship between Māori and the Government and offers no advances to Māori self determination.

The Mana Party and its supporters reject these discourses and oppose the power relationship where the Government is dominant. Gramsci’s analysis suggests that the way to overcome the common sense discourses from the dominators is to develop counter discourses that take away the dominant groups spiritual prestige and power. The Mana Party dismisses the hegemony of the dominating group and instead forms part of a counter hegemony where the right of Māori to self determination is accepted as normal.

Obviously the essay has a bit more to it than this précis, for instance I looked at the aspect of silencing.

The attempted silencing of Hone Harawira by the Māori Party suggests aspects of Freire’s ‘culture of silence’ concept where a dependent/object society (Māori) is silent in the face of the metropolis/director society (NZ) and often echos the dominant society, because as Freire notes, “The silence of the object society in relation to the director society is repeated in the relationships within the object society itself. Its power elites, silent in the face of the metropolis, silence there own people in turn.”

So my conclusion was clear, EMR has not occurred from the Māori Party, which is why the Mana Party has formed. There have been some discussions recently on The Mana party and what it is all about and my final word is dedicated to that.

The Mana Party has momentum, and the potential to advance Māori self determination because everything within The Mana Party endorses tino rangatiratanga and it is a perquisite for membership. You cannot support The Mana Party and oppose tino rangatiratanga and when equality is welded to social justice issues, which negatively affect many Māori, you have a potent force for change. This force for change is inclusive and The Mana Party offers representation to Māori and non-Māori.

I’ll post about my other essay soon because it relates to this essay and was all about Māori and retirement and the inequity facing Māori throughout their working life, as they get close to retirement and after retirement. This inequity manifests in income, employment, and longevity and offers good evidence for lowering the retirement age for Māori to create equality.