Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Right before the Budget for 2010 is read

Speaker: "God, we humbly acknowledge our need for your guidance in all things"

Really? I would've hoped the Finance Minister could come up with a Budget himself, actually...

Monday, May 10, 2010


It's funny when something you've thought to be quite profound for ages turns out not to be.

I often get coffee from the bookshop at uni. Every time I go there I see a little piece of coloured paper on the wall with felt-tipped letters reading:


As someone who's rather fond of freedom I found this cool, albeit a little odd.

Today I picked up my coffee earlier than usual, and realised the sign is above a little basket of free newspapers (usually empty by the time I get there). It actually says "Free Dom", referring to the Dominion Post. Oops.

So it turns out I'm both extremely unobservant and read far too deeply in to things!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keep it 18

Today I was lucky enough to be able to make a brief statement at Keep it 18's Beehive press conference about some of the reasons Young Labour's opposed to raising the legal purchase age for alcohol, and what we think about some other parts of the Law Commission's report (along with friends from Young Nats, Young Greens and ACT on Campus). Here's what I said:

Young Labour is proud to be a part of the campaign to Keep it 18. We are not prepared to stand by and watch 140,000 eighteen and nineteen year olds have their adulthood marginalised by ineffective, lazy legislation while the harms alcohol causes to our society go unchanged.

New Zealand has a drinking problem. We should deal with that problem. Policy solutions must address Kiwis’ attitudes to alcohol. Changing our drinking culture rather than pinning the blame on one sector of society is the solution. Alcohol abuse is a social justice issue which affects everyone, and should always be approached in this light.

Sadly the Law Commission’s report to an extent seems to have resorted to the use of youth as an easy scapegoat. It recommends that although we have been deemed responsible enough to vote, get married and serve in the armed forces, we should not be allowed to purchase a glass of wine. It is unfair to perpetuate the stereotype that all young people regularly and unashamedly abuse alcohol when for the majority of us this is far from the truth. Furthermore, if the problem is (as the Law Commission argues) children under eighteen gaining access to alcohol, it is not fair to react to this by stopping all adults between eighteen and twenty from entering bars. From my relatively recent experience, children in this demographic most often gain access to alcohol through their parents rather than through older friends. Any law change should target those supplying minors with alcohol and penalise them, rather than arbitrarily punishing a group who by and large are not responsible for the problem. In the last year there were only twenty seven convictions for supplying alcohol to minors, which indicates that the current laws are not being enforced as stringently as they could we. We strongly suggest looking at this before any change to the law is considered.

Although we are strongly opposed to raising the purchase age, Young Labour does support some of the ideas in the report. Investment in education and restrictions on advertising are two areas we feel are worth looking in to as they seek to address the real issue: our drinking culture and our attitude towards alcohol. Penalties which more directly target those who cause harm also deserve consideration, however we must ensure that these are equitable. For example, while the idea of a “civil costs penalty” for those who cause damage while drunk appears logical, it is important to take in to account that socio-economic circumstance is often the root of alcohol problems, and question whether a fine would at all improve the situation of someone whose abuse is driven by poverty.

Young political leaders have a consensus on age and we’ve made it clear to our MPs that we’re keen to work with them to solve this problem. This is an issue that we as young people will inherit. Comprehensive change is needed, but respect for young adults is part of that change.

Please join the Facebook group here!!/keepit18?ref=ts

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is this who I think it is?

I found an old edition of the Evening Post from 1977 tonight. When I opened it I saw an ad for some televisions, and suddenly felt that I recognised the model in it from somewhere. Then it hit me - Anne Tolley! I'm sure that it's her!

TV model Tolley, 1977:

Minister of Education Tolley, 2009:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One of the things I love about Wellington

is that (in the central city at least) there's relatively little socio-economic divide across the suburbs. I like how you can't really tell how well-off somebody is based on where they live. It seems like something you can do relatively easily in places like Auckland.

Last night I realised that this is one of the few places in the world where I could be at a friend's party in a student flat, ten metres across the road from the Prime Minister's official residence.