Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Protect prisoners rights in so-called working prisons...

English: Concertina razor wire at a prison
English: Concertina razor wire at a prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More prisoners will have to work under the government's corrections policy and the Greens say their rights must be protected.

Prisoners' rights must be protected under the government's policy to make more of them work while they're serving their sentences, the Greens say.

Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday told parliament part of the government's 2013 corrections agenda was turning more prisons into working prisons.

All the inmates in those prisons would be "engaged in a structured 40-hour week of employment and rehabilitation activities", he said.

The Green's corrections spokesman, David Clendon, says their rights must be protected.
"We must make sure that work is not treated as a compulsory or punitive measure," he said.

"Prisoners must be paid for the work they do, and this money could be saved for their release to help with their reintegration into wider society."

Mr Clendon says private businesses shouldn't be undermined by the scheme.

"Goods and services produced for sale outside of prisons by prisoners should be costed at market rates so as not to unfairly disadvantage businesses with overheads that prisoners do not have."

We have to make sure that the prisons are not the beneficiaries of prison work - just how do we do that in private prisons?

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A blank page to recognise John Key's achievements as prime minister of NZ for the last four and a bit years...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

David Shearer promises clear policy initiatives...

English: Phil Goff Jacinda Ardern and Carol Be...
English: Phil Goff Jacinda Ardern and Carol Beaumont at the anti mining march Auckland New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Billboards for the New Zealand 2009 M...
English: Billboards for the New Zealand 2009 Mt Albert by-election. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Labour leader David Shearer is promising to spell out clear policies this year ahead of the next election.

Labour leader David Shearer is promising there will be no airy fairy concepts in policy his party is developing this year ahead of the election in 2014.
He signalled a hands-on approach by a Labour Party preparing to govern in a speech at the Wainuiomata Rugby Football Club on Sunday that contained no new policy initiatives.
"Jobs are our number one priority. We have concrete ideas that will help, including creating thousands of jobs and training opportunities through our plan to put 100,000 families into affordable first homes," he said.
He says the party will develop a clear plan to diversify the economy and will roll out the previously announced KiwiBuild scheme to build affordable houses from "day one when we take office".
"On education, we'll work to improve the transition from school to further training and high-skill jobs. Too many young Kiwis are dropping out or just drifting. We want every child to go through school with a purpose and a plan of where they'll end up."
He said Jacinda Ardern, Labour's social development spokesperson, would produce an alternative white paper setting out ways to lift children out of poverty.
"I can tell you that today I'm refreshed, I'm fired up, and I'm raring to go," Mr Shearer said.
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

David Shearer back in Ratana for a second day - Labour back in from the cold...

New Zealand Green MP Metiria Turei at the Knox...
New Zealand Green MP Metiria Turei at the Knox Church election forum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Billboards for the New Zealand 2009 M...
English: Billboards for the New Zealand 2009 Mt Albert by-election. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Ratana church at Te Hapua, Northland,...
English: Ratana church at Te Hapua, Northland, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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David Shearer is back in Ratana for a second day to attend a church service, highlighting how the party's relationship with Ratana has improved

A day after securing the endorsement of a senior Ratana figure, Labour leader David Shearer will take the unusual step of returning to the marae for a second day.
He was one of a number of political leaders - alongside Prime Minister John Key, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei and NZ First leader Winston Peters - who made the pilgrimage to Ratana Pa, near Whanganui, on Thursday, for an annual day of political speeches.
But when Mr Shearer returns on Friday, he'll attend a church service marking the official birthday of Ratana Church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana alongside church faithful - an event politicians usually choose to skip.
It's a show of the rejuvenation of the relationship between Labour and Ratana, which dates back to 1936, but has strained in recent years over issues like the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, which saw the movement swing its support toward the Maori Party.
On Thursday, during a powhiri to welcome Labour to Ratana Pa, senior Ratana Church spokesman Ruia Aperahama said he is hopeful of a Labour win at the 2014 election - the strongest signal of support Labour has received from Ratana in recent years.
"It would seem the writing is written on the wall, that Labour stands to be the next government," Mr Aperahama said.
"Mr Shearer, I hope that in 12 months' time that you and your government will be successful with a strong coalition that represents the various and varied viewpoints of Maoridom."
Prime Minister John Key gave a strong speech on the marae on Thursday, touting the benefits National governments have delivered for the Ratana people throughout history, including building state houses in the area, along with an insulation programme and Treaty settlements within the last four years.
"They can turn up here at Ratana and tell you they love you, but they didn't love you enough to fix up your 113 houses. They didn't love you enough to do that," he said.
Off the marae, he said he was unfazed by Ratana's renewed ties with Labour, which Mr Shearer has made a priority of his leadership.

Acknowledgements:  NZN
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Did National knowingly commit economic sabotage post 2008...

Sabotage (Black Sabbath album) cover by Black ...
Sabotage (Black Sabbath album) cover by Black Sabbath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From Frankly Speaking:

Did National knowingly commit economic sabotage post 2008...

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Labour pledges to re-open Gisborne rail line...

English: Kiwirail subsidiary Ontrack performin...
English: Kiwirail subsidiary Ontrack performing maintenance (replacing wooden sleepers with concrete ones) at Blueskin Bay, Otago, New Zealand. Closest machine is a Plasser and Theurer DGS 62 N dynamic track stabilizer, number ETM 513. Second is a SSP 300 Regulator, number ETM 323, third a Plasser 09-16 CAT Continuous Action Tamper, number ETM 255. Further along is vehicle number ETM 404. News report (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KiwiRail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Labour in government will re-open the Gisborne-Napier rail line due to be closed under National, the party’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.
An independent report by economic consultants BERL casts doubt on the analysis used by KiwiRail to justify the mothballing of the line.
"KiwiRail’s business case for the closure is utterly inadequate and falls way short of a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, something a Labour government would carry out and which I am confident would justify the line’s re-opening," Phil Twyford said.
"National doesn’t give a damn about the affected communities, and is content to sit on its hands while Gisborne loses a vital economic lifeline.
"It is wasting billions of dollars on its ‘motorways of madness’ but cannot find $4 million to fix slip damage to this rail line.
"Shutting the line is typical of the short-termism National demonstrated with the closure and sale of the Hillside rail workshops. The BERL report shows that National is blind to the wider economic costs and benefits, just as it was at Hillside.
"The line should be reinstated now for $4 million. It will never be cheaper. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it will be to re-open it.
"This whole issue demonstrates National’s double standard when it comes to road and rail: KiwiRail’s inadequate business case justifying the line closure falls well short of the benefit cost analysis required of roading projects. On the other hand, if the Government applied the same narrow financial analysis to half the country’s roads they would be mothballed too."
Mr Twyford said the BERL report noted annual freight volumes only needed to reach 180-200,000 tonnes per year for the line to be profitable. Current volumes of 44,000 tonnes showed that growth from local horticulture and forestry would bring the target within reach and this would justify future re-opening.

The Christchurch - Dunedin rail link is another that should be given real consideratio too.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kiwis support labour's savings policy - National doesn't have one...


David Parker |
New Zealanders overwhelmingly support universal KiwiSaver, which is yet another part of Labour’s economic policy favoured by Kiwis, says Finance spokesperson David Parker.
“Over 59 per cent of Kiwis support universal KiwiSaver, a key Labour policy, with just 16 per cent against it. That’s overwhelming support.
“New Zealanders are taking the economy seriously. They know that as a country we are spending more than we earn and we need to start saving as a nation. Universal KiwiSaver will create a national savings account meaning we don’t need to borrow so much from overseas or sell our land, assets and companies.
“New Zealanders overwhelmingly support several key Labour economic policies. Not only do 60 per cent support universal KiwiSaver, 70 per cent also support our KiwiBuild policy to build 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years, over 60 per cent back Labour’s policy of steadily raising the retirement age to 67, and over 60 per cent agree with Labour that we shouldn’t sell our assets.
“On the economy Labour’s views are Kiwis’ views
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