Thursday, July 31, 2014

Top 10 #nzpol tweets this week - July 31, 2014

This week was the last sitting week of Parliament before the election. 50th Parliament is now officially done. Jamie Whyte, leader of ACT made some pretty outrageous comments. If you were as horrified as I was go read this by Carrie Stoddart-Smith (@ellipsister). Also I myself went through his stupid little book and got out some choice quotes which you can read on twitter under the #JamieWhyteThoughts. Moving on. Top tweets this week:

Election is coming up close. It's already August in New Zealand today! I feel this way too :(


No but seriously though... has National announced any policy at all?


THIS. But then again, what promises has he kept?

Hmmm... interesting thought..not sure where I stand on that. But superannuation policy is an area ripe for public debate!

There's been some talk of "electoral deals" because of Colin Craig but not nearly as there was last time with the Epsom Cup of Tea incident. I think there should be a concerted campaign by the left to elect Paul Goldsmith for no other reason than - it would be funny. Also it would give ACT to get itself together and see if they can be a proper libertarian party in the future sometime.

I think this has been the new normal pretty much since before the 2011 election. Remember that Labour did not make it to 30% in 2011 under Phil Goff. I wasn't really that vested in the Labour leadership contest (I definitely did not want Shane Jones though) but I was hoping that DC or Grant Robertson would do a better job this year. Maybe Labour supporters think that this is a trend towards a more favourable poll showing. I don't know. There are a lot more parties on the left and so I don't see Labour really going back to 2002 and 2005 numbers in the near future. Nor do I see them being able to run a stable government on current numbers. Something has got to give!

Yes well...

Look at this tweet. Look at it! "Removing racial discrimination" against who? White people? When people don't educate themselves on history and how policies are developed and why they are developed we get ignorant comments like this. This kind of attitude is what's worrying.

Top 10 #nzpol tweets - July 25, 2014

Last week was a pretty active week in #nzpol. Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori kicked off, Green's launched their "Love NZ" campaign, Gerry Brownlee offered his resignation, Labour picked a fight with TVNZ, John Key photo shopped himself with the All Blacks and yet another National MP chose not to stand in this year's election. (Internationally the tragic events continued so once again I chose to stay away from highlighting #nzpol tweets. The lifeless faces of children in Gaza was just too traumatizing). But here are my picks from last week:

This tweet highlights how GST disproportionately affects those on low income. If you make 6 figures, these make up a small percentage of your income. Not if you make minimum wage though. When ACT goes on and one about flat tax what I hear is that they do not get arithmetic. It makes them sound fiscally and socially irresponsible.


To be honest, initially I was going to devote this weeks tweets to all of the Te Reo ones, however, there were hardly any that specifically talked about politics. Next year I'd like to see politicians talking about politics and policy in Te Reo on social media. I think it would be cool and interesting.

I love this tweet simply because I love Kim Hill. I'd love to see her interview John Key. That incredulous tone she takes when people say ridiculous things is my favorite!

Ha ha! To true!

I found that photoshopping into All Blacks kind of tacking. Maybe it would be more acceptable if it had been an actual photo he actually took with the team. I don't know. Also Captain Key? What was that? The whole thing was weird and the magazines explanation was also weird. But this right here is funny!

I don't know if I want to see that.

I agree with No Right Turn here. I don't like the phrase as much as I like the photos. Granted they are "negative" compared to previous Greens campaigns. But actually "Not our future" is kinda cool though it would be feeding into National's "Brighter Future" narrative, which seems to be gone. How come? Answers we will never know...

Ha ha ha ha ha... oh dear.

Yeah his pronunciation leaves much to be desired. He needs lessons with Lockwood Smiths but good for him to show leadership. There needs to be more Te Reo in the political sphere.  

Top 10 #nzpol tweets - July 18, 2014

The events in the last 3 weeks have left me pretty distraught and sad about the state of the world. I figured the silliness that can sometimes be New Zealand Pols can maybe take a break. But that doesn't mean I haven't been watching and collecting. Here are the tweets from about 3 weeks ago that I thought were great. News has changed a lot in those weeks, so maybe treat these as a look back. These are posted without comment.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Before you comment on the Israel-Palestine issue...

1. Know the difference between a state and an ethnic group of people. Israel is a state, the Jewish people are an ethnic group that exists outside of Israel all over the world and Israelis can be Arabs or Jews that belong to the nation-state of Israel (or Palestine) who may or may not have a defined state. Israel is taking action on behalf of a large number of Jewish people. However, many Israelis do not support this action. Many Jews around the world also do not support this action. Your opposition should be directed at the state and its political leadership not the Jewish people. 

 2. Once again, to reiterate, the state of Israel is responsible for the offensive in Gaza and atrocities against Palestinians. The state of Israel does not equal all Jews. If you see Jewish people making terrible comments or writing/sharing hateful comments on social media, it does not mean they represent all Jews. It doesn’t even mean they represent all Israeli Jews. Some Jewish people out there are responsible for saying offensive/racist things just like every other group of people. 

3. If you have a problem with what the state of Israel is doing, great. Let’s talk about how the state of Israel is breaking International Law. How it is exacerbating a volatile situation. Do not go around talking about how Jewish people are scum or deserve to die. There are many oppressive governments all around the world that have done/are doing exactly the same thing as Israelis. The current Bangladeshi government is arguably corrupt and has engaged in extrajudicial killings of Bangladeshi citizens, so do many Arab countries, and many countries in Africa. Governments do illegal and inhumane things in the name of and on behalf of their citizens. Most of the time citizens have no control over those actions even if they have voted for that government. 

 4. If you have to invoke Hitler, you are uninformed. You are losing your argument and most importantly you are no different than what Israel is doing right now. What happened during the Holocaust was a stain on humanity. It is something all of us as humans should be collectively ashamed of. How can a state kill 6 million people based on their race and the world just stand by and let it happen? It was unacceptable and it will always be unacceptable (I cannot believe I have to actually write this out). Under no circumstances will Hitler’s actions EVER be justified. And neither are Israel’s actions now. They are two separate incidents occurring at two different times. Don’t conflate the two just because one situation contributed to the current situation. 

 5. Palestine was a British Colony and Jews emigrated there to flee persecution in Europe (which as you all know included the Holocaust). Palestine did not have a choice or say in the matter when the UK devised this plan to relocate a group of people who were clearly in need of assistance at the time. Since that relocation, indigenous Palestinians have been forced to leave their homeland or become refugees in their own land and face continuous institutional discrimination from the newly created Jewish state of Israel. Israel has locked them in small pockets, illegally occupied their land, extended Jewish settlements in places that legitimately belong to Palestinians and used the might of their military to oppress the very people who opened up their country to them. 

 6. How did Israel do this? They have the support of most of the international community including the very powerful UK and US. They receive economic and military aid including weapons and technology. They are guaranteed the US veto in the Security Council whenever the international community attempts to hold them to account  for their illegal actions. Their oppressive and illegal actions have led Palestinians to fight back and that action has been branded “terrorism” (which in some cases it is). However, Palestinian terrorism is not the same at terrorism in other parts of the Middle East and Asia. This is not related to religion. This is in response to occupation, oppression, and appropriation of land (all of this is a breach of international law which goes unpunished). And militant groups in Palestine is not limited to Hamas. Every group has their own agenda and like the Israeli government, most Palestinian citizens do not get to dictate how these militant groups behave. 

7. This is a very cursory overview of the conflict but the point of this is to say – stop directing your hate towards an ethnic group. Atrocities are committed on orders from the top. In this case it is the Israeli leadership with support from the international community (this includes US, UK, Arab countries and other Europeans countries). This is not the first time an ethnic minority has been oppressed and murdered for their resources. This is our collective human history. Your protests should be directed towards Israel. Speak up. Write. Share your protest photos online. Demand action from your own government. Educate yourself on the history. Educate those who are spreading hate on the internet via social media. Verify facts. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The top 10 #nzpol tweets of this week - July 10, 2014

Another week passes us by as September 20 seems to be edging closer and closer. John Armstrong makes yet another prediction for Labour's annihilation at the polls and John Key actually invokes #notallmen. Perhaps the biggest news story of this week broke last week when David Cunliffe "apologised" for being a man. So we had our NZ version of #yesallwomen as many women on Twitter (and a whole bunch of men as well) attempted to explain why Cunliffe's apology is important. I myself wrote about why this was the least a man could do. In any case, House wasn't sitting and not a lot of policy was discussed. Labour launched it's education policy over the weekend during Congress as well as a hashtag or two. There's been a lot of hashtag discussions on Twitter and I think the "Twitterati" are in agreement that you cannot dictate hashtags from the top. (More on that below) Let's get onto the top tweets this week! 

I've been wondering this since I was like 14 and someone explained libertarianism to me. I don't get why you would believe we shouldn't have government still want to be in government.  

I still can't get over the nonchalant way this whole thing has been handled!  

Wow.. this pic. Not a good call. 

Ha! Some days I feel this way too. Some days I can't articulate what I want a government to actually do. I rarely hear anything that makes me sit up and go - this is exciting! 

This really suprised me! Normally major political parties want to stay away from 5 topics. They are abortion, euthanasia, marriage equality, decriminalization of marijuana, and prostitution. To see a Labour candidate do so before even being elected is interesting. I suspect Tamati gets a certain amount of freedom that other candidates do not.  

Ok this. I could do a blog on this but this makes me so angry. If you do not know about Sarah Wilson and her fights with WINZ, you've been living under a rock. The fact that she had horrifying health news from the doctor but going to the WINZ is more scary means our welfare system does not work for the people. People who have to access this system are often the most vulnerable and we treat them like dirt when we should have empathy. Nobody wants to be in this situation willingly. I can't even believe I have to write this out. Sort yourself out NZ - this is completely unacceptable. We are a better nation. Let's not try to be like America. [End rant, not really, I will rant about this again] 

Ha! I love love love dinosaurs so maybe this will only be funny to me. And gifs on Twitter! Yes!  

I don't even. No. I have to walk away. This post can only handle one rant.  

Ok, so I mentioned hashtags above. I really like this hashtag. I will be using it. Dictated hashtags do not work but hilarious, creative hashtags do!  

10 Rules of Top 10
1. Tweets must be funny or thoughtful or informative or display critical analysis 
2. What is funny or thoughtful or informative or display critical analysis is subjective and determined by me.
3. I may provide commentary on the tweet if it particularly strikes my fancy
4. They are not ranked from 1-10
5. Disclosure: I *am* particularly looking to highlight gender and racial minority voices
6. If you want to point me to the direction of a good tweet, please do it!
7. Using the #nzpol/#nzqt/#nzvotes is helpful but not required
8. I hope to get better about this as the weeks progress
9. I am a big fan of correct spelling and grammar (but I know mistakes happen too!)
10. Let's try to use social media for good and raise the level of debate! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Apologizing is the least you can do

Labour has released it's policy to provide for "$60 million over 4 years for family and sexual violence to support front-line services, primary prevention and education". So it's going to be $15 million per year. Hopefully it will go some ways to addressing the horrifying domestic violence situation in New Zealand. Just today it was reported that New Zealand is one of the worst countries for domestic violence in the OECD. But of course the focus isn't on that. David Cunliffe has rightly pointed out that family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children. 

What did David Cunliffe say? 

"I'm sorry for being a man right now, family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children. It cannot continue that women and children are the victims of this kind of awful madness."

What did the media report? 

That Cunliffe apologised for being a man. I have screenshots of many of the tweets that went out below. Queue #notAllmen malarkey. Including the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister actually responded with essentially - well not all men. How absolutely disgraceful.

After the #yesallwomen movement on Twitter, one would have thought, that our eyes and minds would have somewhat opened to the real situation plaguing women everywhere. We are not safe anywhere at anytime. It is not about dark allies after midnight. It is happening in our homes by our families - the very place where we are supposed to be the safest, in the company of the very people (men) we should, trust the most. But it is an election year and David Cunliffe is our favorite person to hate. 

An apology? 

To the men - yes, you should be sorry. All of you. 
  • How many times did you hear women being degraded by your friends and have said nothing? 
  • How many times did you see women being abused and said nothing? 
  • How many times did you see that article "35 practical steps men can take to support women" on your social media and you read it? Shared it? 
  • How many times have you felt "entitled" to physical intimacy with a woman or to her body because you took her out on a date? Because you bought her a drink? Because of whatever reason?
  • How many times have you worried about the pay disparity? About the effects of childbirth?
  • How many times have you treated your daughter dating a guy differently to your son dating a girl? How many times did you warn your daughter about young guys "because I was once a young guy"?  
  • How many times have you wondered whether you got a job just because you were a man? 
  • How many times have you trivialized a woman's opinion? Talked over a woman in a discussion? 
  • How many times have you called your friend a "pussy" or accused him of doing something "like a girl"? 
  • How many times have you taken emotional responsibility in a relationship? 
  • How many times have you used PMS-ing as an insult? 

This is not even a comprehensive list. In every way, men have controlled every aspect of women's lives. Their public lives, their private lives, their body, their autonomy and in exercising that power they have enjoyed a privilege in society that will never be compensated for. 

So yes, you should apologize. And no it isn't for being a man - it is for the things you have stood by and allowed as a man. It isn't for something other men have done. It is for things that you are responsible for. Men are part of our society and part of the culture. Saying 'not all men' does not mean you get to abrogate that responsibility.  

This right here is a disgrace. The media actively and collectively decided to take the conversation there and not where it should have been. Disappointed, sad, and angry. 

The top 10 #nzpol tweets this week - July 3, 2014

Another riveting week in New Zealand politics. The MFAT's mishandling of diplomat accused of committing a crime dominated the news, the results of #TeamKey made international headlines, an MP's electorate office got shot at (yes, you read that right, SHOT AT), and last but not least there was the whole Moa situation - I honestly can't roll my eyes hard enough at this point. In any case, let's get started.

I don't have a lot of institutional knowledge of the NZ Parliament. I moved around the world as a child and really didn't take an interest in New Zealand politics until very late into my undergrad. So everything I know, I know because people have told me or I read about it. But I was working at Parliament through 2011 and 2012 and there were certainly some very 'animated' days in during Question Time. I myself have been frustrated by the then Speaker's rulings but I really don't think it was ever as bad as it has been recently and that was an election year too! Speaker Carter seems to be really inconsistent in his ruling and very partisan (my opinion, maybe someone can do an empirical analysis for a Masters thesis).

Ah yeah. THIS tweet right here. Universal, not just #NZPOL.

National's talk of tax cuts irks me to no end. This government has cut so many programs over the last 6 budgets just to get us to this sliver of surplus. Instead of going some way to restoring some of those very crucial programs, they are once again up to their old antics. I just don't understand the economic or policy justification for this. I simply do not get it.

Earlier this week, National announced that they were going to tackle domestic violence. They tweeted a much talked about image that is circulating twitter (They can't seem to control their content at all). But once again they failed to incorporate the important aspect. The crucial piece.

John Key actually said GCSB were protecting us in response to a child poverty question.

The more I try to get away from covering Colin Craig, the more I get sucked in.

And finally, this did not make much news this week. Pretty serious. Back in '09 someone threw something in John Key's electorate office in the wee hours of the morning, and I remember it made news all day long with reporters on location. Of course he is the PM so technically more important. It is important for us to have robust political debated and to be passionate about what we believe in and to be angry about our opponents too but this is so many steps too far. It is very important that other Parliamentary leaders are quick to condemn this kind of behaviour. I didn't see that this week, I expected that from John Key.

10 Rules of Top 10
1. Tweets must be funny or thoughtful or informative or display critical analysis 
2. What is funny or thoughtful or informative or display critical analysis is subjective and determined by me.
3. I may provide commentary on the tweet if it particularly strikes my fancy
4. They are not ranked from 1-10
5. Disclosure: I *am* particularly looking to highlight gender and racial minority voices
6. If you want to point me to the direction of a good tweet, please do it!
7. Using the #nzpol/#nzqt/#nzvotes is helpful but not required
8. I hope to get better about this as the weeks progress
9. I am a big fan of correct spelling and grammar (but I know mistakes happen too!)
10. Let's try to use social media for good and raise the level of debate!