Sunday, June 22, 2008

Government needs to act now on oil replacement

Oil prices keep rising at an ever increasing rate, causing hardship amongst those who can least afford it.

The rate of discovery has been falling since 1964. Other replacements such as oil shale are not up filling the gap of cheap oil. Many claim there is no shortage, meanwhile demand from newly industrialised countries such as East Asia is increasing rapidly outstripping supply.

Time is running out for planned change to renewable and sustainable energy sources, soon we will have restrictions on growth forced upon us. This means working people will likely go without essentials of food and transport, some countries may experience large scale hunger. We saw in the 1970s oil shocks, and the recession that followed. Thatcher Regan and Douglas' answers were to put the blow torch to the belly of the workers, forcing wages down to reinvigorate bosses profits. Prices of oil came down in the 80s and 90s, but wages never returned to their previous highs. Now Bollard is suggesting that workers again take a cut in their standard of living to save the failing oil based economy. But this time they aren't so lucky and there's no return to $10 a barrel of the 1990s, the current thinking in the west that oil will be in plentiful supply until the year 2050 is a pipe dream, the government fiddles while the world burns "

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What the Immigration Service needs is honesty not more power

The Immigration Service is in the news again today, the latest allegations of corners cut when considering applications because of stand over tactics by NZIS management. This is hard on the heals of scandals around former Service Head Mary Anne Thompson.

Some seem to suggest that the answer to nepotism and corruption is to give the Immigration Service more powers and greater secrecy! Only 9 MPs voted against the recent introduction of the Immigration Bill. This bill includes greater powers of search, entry, and detention. Immigration officials will be able to detain people without warrant for up to 4 hours, and, without a warrant of commitment, for up to 96 hours.

Alongside this is the use of secret evidence such as all sorts of gossip and hearsay, without the poor refugee even knowing what its about. This is not natural justice.

In the Lie in Unison affair, the Ombudsman Mr Smith couldn't get the truth and he wanted a review into processes for handling requests for official information under the Official Information Act. This obviously hasn't been addressed.

The Immigration Service has failed to demonstrate its impartiality in even the most routine matters. With these powers its only a matter of time before things go seriously wrong.

What Immigrants and Refugees need is more honesty from government. The Alliance policy on refugees rejects mandatory detention, protects the rights of refugees, and will promote resettlement programmes for migrants.

This week I have been enrolling migrants to vote, with some success. One person didn't know how to enroll to vote even after several years in NZ. Many are struggling to learn English with the assistance of programmes such as ESOL home tutors, of which I am a volunteer tutor.

The Immigration Service should be an agency to assist people with these things, co-ordinating the services of relevant state agencies and community bodies. Instead it is becoming an alienating institution to our immigrants.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

100 years ago today Orchard workers plead for more pay!

100 years ago on Saturday June 14th 2008, the Hawkes Bay Today tells us that more than 200 workers employed as orchard workers are the lowest paid of any labourers in the Industrial district of Wellington.

It would seem that 100 years of National and Labour policy has done little to improve the lot of the workers in the Bay. Instead of implementing policy to protect workers rights, casual and seasonal workers are sill getting a raw deal.

The Hawkes Bay Today goes on to say that the workers 100 years ago were discontented, as Government grants to fruit growers were not being passed on to the workers.

Government which has a hand in funding services and industry, such as our schools and aged care facilities, or gives hand outs to growers, should ensure that the workers are getting a fair share. Unfortunately this is not the case. I hope we can do better in the next 100 years.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Welcome and Kia Ora
to the Alliance Tukituki electorate in Hastings.
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Sincerely Yours
Thomas O'Neill