Some members more equal than others

September 24, 2010

Labour is selecting its Dunedin North candidate this weekend.

Three people have been nominated to replace retiring MP Pete Hodgson, who has held the seat for four terms, are  New Zealand Nurses Organisation national adviser Glenda Alexander. current electorate committee chair and warden of Selwyn College, David Clark ; and former electorate chair Simon Wilson.

Taking part in the selection process will be three Labour Party council representatives appointed by head office, including a Dunedin-based representative; two Labour Electorate Committee representatives, selected on the day; one panel member elected by members attending; and the “popular vote” from members, which will count as one vote.

That gives six panel members and a vote from the floor.

In some selections, Labour’s head office officials have stacked the panel to ensure their preferred candidate is selected.

However, it is unlikely the head office appointees will go against the wishes of Dunedin North members.

The last time that happened, Labour lost the seat to National candidate Richard Walls, in 1975.

What’s the difference between Labour Party members in Dunedin North and those in Mana where unions out-voted members?

Big News has the story of that selection  which is confirmed by this comment from Alex in the North  at Kiwiblog.

If all Labour members are equal, those in Dunedin North must be more equal than their comrades in Mana.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog has more on this.


Another march for democracy

November 21, 2009

While assorted groups marched for democracy in Auckland, people were marching in Oamaru for a similar cause:

They were part of the street parade in the Victorian Heritage Celebrations.

Waitaki Mayor, Alec Fmailton, Mayoress Heather, the Queen of Victorian Oamaru and celebration committee chair, Sally Hope travelled by horse drawn carriage:

Also on parade, though not necessarily in support of votes for women were foot soldiers of Alf’s Imperial Army:

Emergency services were represented with an ambulance . . .

. . . a fire engine  . . .

. . . and a policeman:

There was steam power . . .

. . . and pedal power:

And if Donna Demente’s car was a few decades ahead of the Victorian era, what it lacked in historical authenticity was more than compensated for by its artistry:


10 reasons why women should have the vote

September 19, 2009

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah has a list of 10 reasons why the women of New Zealand should have the vote.

They came from a leaflet published by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and include:

4. Because women are less accessible than men to most of the debasing influences now brought to bear upon elections, and by doubling the number of electors to be dealt with, women would make bribery and corruption less effective, as well as more difficult.

5. Because in the quietude of home women are less liable than men to be swayed by mere party feeling, and are inclined to attach great value to uprightness and rectitude of life in a candidate.

6. Because the presence of women at the polling-booth would have a refining and purifying effect.

7. Because the votes of women would add weight and power to the more settled and responsible communities.

8. Because women are endowed with a more constant solicitude for the welfare of the rising generations, thus giving them a more far-reaching concern for something beyond the present moment.

9. Because the admitted physical weakness of women disposes them to exercise more habitual caution, and to feel a deeper interest in the constant preservation of peace, law, and order, and especially in the supremacy of right over might.

How could you argue with that?


Women’s Suffrage Day

September 19, 2009

We’ve come a long way since September 19, 1993 1893 when Governor Glasgow signed the Electoral Bill  giving women the right to vote.

                                                 


In praise of democracy

August 24, 2009

Last week was the the first time, New Zealand’s Prime Minister and the next four in Cabinet were out of the country at the same time. That left the fifth ranked minister, Tony Ryall in charge.

Life, and government, continued as normal.

Democracy worked.

Let’s not take that for granted when at the same time, at least 26 people in Afghanistan were killed in election-related violence.


Happy birthday GBS

July 26, 2009

Some quotes in honour of Geroge Bernard Shaw’s birthday:

* A fasion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

* A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.

* A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

* Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.

* Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

*A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

*England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

* Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

* A little learning is a dangerous thing, but we must take that risk because a little is as much as our biggest heads can hold.

* Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich–something for nothing.

* If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

* A veteran journalist has never had time to think twice before he writes.

* If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

* Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?

* Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

* Lack of money is the root of all evil.

* Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

* The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.


Some public servants toy with OIA requests

December 2, 2008

The free flow of information is one of the foundation stones of democracy, that’s why we have an Official Information Act.

But  some public servants are playing games with OIA requests.

The Office of the Ombudsmen is concerned some parts of the public service have been deliberately delaying responses to Official Information requests.

In the office’s Annual Report to Parliament, Chief Ombudsmen Beverley Wakem says the practice is unacceptable and subverts the purpose of the legislation.

Beverley Wakem says the Office has observed an increasing tendency by a few government departments and Ministerial offices to ignore the provisions of the Official Information Act over the timing of responses to requesters.

“While in some cases this was clearly a misunderstanding of their obligations, there is also a regrettable tendency to game the system and delay responses until the complainants’ interest in the matter had passed,” she says.

Ignorance is no excuse and it appears that some of the delays are a deliberate attempt to hide information.

New Zealand has a proud record of being relatively free of corruption.  This sort of game playing by the previous administration and their staff threatens that so I hope John Key makes it clear to his cabinet that their obligation is to ensure they and staff in ministries and departments make information freely available unless there is a very, very good reason for not doing so.

Kiwblog suggests that departments and offices which have been playing games be named and shamed.

Roarprawn gives an example of an answer to an OIA request being edited.

goNZofreakpower links this to the ACC blowout and lists the major offenders.


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