Stupid Waitangi Marae Committee forced PM into decision

Another build up to Waitangi Day has led to another example of stupidity all round.

Bill English, the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, has decided to distance himself from the Waitangi Day celebrations after he was told he wouldn’t be able to speak at the treaty grounds. Before we go any further, I want you to keep in mind what I said in the latter part of that sentence.

When questioned by the media today, English defended his decision, saying that New Zealanders “cringe” at the prospect of protests. English went a step further and said he didn’t think it was appropriate that the Prime Minister, himself, wasn’t allowed to speak at such an occasion.

The Waitangi Day celebrations have always been volatile affairs for the Government. Anyone who says that the same protests won’t occur in 2017 are kidding themselves.

Can we really deny what English says? The Prime Minister was right on the mark with his comments. Of course it isn’t appropriate, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion.

We are talking about the Prime Minister of New Zealand here, and it’s time people came to terms with that. Waitangi is not the place for protest, at least that wasn’t what was intended. It has become that because of those who’ve come after history, those who feel entitled, and ultimately, those who have no respect for the traditions of a day that celebrates what New Zealand is.

That last point is key in this blog, the lack of respect and the timing is why you see the Prime Minister pulling out.

Like in 2016, the Prime Minister’s speaking rights were cut off. Nobody in their right mind could blame John Key for turning his back on it last year, and nor should they blame English. Let’s not forget that English specifically reached out to Waitangi officials to ask about the conditions of his attendance, to which English was told that the committee had decided her couldn’t speak on “their” Marae.

Apparently it’s their Marae, remember that. And people say that English is being disrespectful to the history of Waitangi Day?

Straight out of the oppositions’ playbook, Labour leader Andrew Little labelled the Prime Minister’s decision as a “black mark” on his leadership. This is entirely incorrect, and English not attending Waitangi will have absolutely zero impact on the 2017 General Election. The Leader of the Opposition doesn’t fully back his claims either, but the announcement today gave him an opportunity to criticise.

So as we head into Waitangi Day in 2017, it is clear that those certain people, so-called officials, are still very much on that hypocritical high horse. That is a big shame, for New Zealand.

Josh Perry eyes Government with Enabling NZ

One of New Zealand’s most vocal disability advocates has launched a political party that has some big goals to make New Zealand a more inclusive and fair society.

Enabling NZ has been formed, and Perry hopes to see more individualised disability funding, increased accessible housing, as well as better accessible public transport and inclusive education systems.

The decision to launch his own political party comes after Perry missed out on a seat on the Dunedin City Council during this years Local Elections.  Continue reading Josh Perry eyes Government with Enabling NZ

Cigarette Tax and Plain Packaging could be “hit and miss”

Taxes on cigarettes in New Zealand will likely increase, with a rise in price of around $10 per year.

Cigarette packaging will now be plain, with boxes and packets set to feature more health warnings and remove all advertising.

Destined to be a massive sucker-punch to big tobacco companies, this is a clear move to get cigarettes out of the hands of young people in particular and it will be a good aid to the already decreasing rate of young smokers.

In order to be effective, the announcement that cigarette boxes will now be available in plain packaging was easy to expect, but last weeks announcement of a tax increase certainly wasn’t. With a tax increase, prices for cigarettes off the shelf will likely rise, but wether this will make New Zealand “completely” smoke free remains to be seen, and in fact, it could still be a long shot hope for the Government.  Continue reading Cigarette Tax and Plain Packaging could be “hit and miss”

Cancellation of 2018 Disability Survey leads to uproar

The government is set to cancel the 2018 Disability Survey, leaving a lot of people and organisations furious.

The Disability Survey is usually conducted every five years and was last done in 2013.

The survey counts the number of disabled people in New Zealand and identifies what their individual needs are. CCS Disability Action say that the information is valuable to the government, and considering this, the move to cancel the 2018 survey has to raise a lot of alarm bells.

It is feared that disabled people in New Zealand could become invisible if the survey is cancelled.

The disabled population is increasing in this country, couple this with the big change the industry is experiencing with a new model of funding usage, this latest cancellation by the government seriously questions their serious commitment to taking a look at how these changes are actually affecting the disabled community.

Does the government just plan on making all these changes and not evaluating their success? Doesn’t feedback matter?

The loss of the survey will also affect New Zealand’s ability to report back to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

The survey will provide clear, updated, and in depth information to future proof the disability industry and improve the lives of disabled people, why the government is cancelling the 208 survey is beyond a lot of people.