Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Heather Roy's Diary

Heather Roy's Diary


I experienced my first trip to Waitangi last weekend and my first Waitangi Day ceremonies and celebrations at the site where the Treaty was signed 166 years ago. The weather was great, the scenery magical with the frigate Te Mana anchored in the harbour, the people friendly and the atmosphere peaceful and carnival like. My previous impressions - mostly from television coverage - were of protests throughout the weekend by angry Maori. Undoubtedly this was a good year at Waitangi but I saw none of that. Tariana Turia told me to expect a great carnival and she was right. The general consensus was that the protestors are now in parliament. Maori have their own independent voice. The ACT caucus looks forward to working with the Maori Party in the areas where we have commonality - property rights and devolution of social spending but especially in tackling Welfarism. If this is a sign of future race relations in New Zealand we should feel very encouraged. The message from the kiwis Rodney and I met at Waitangi was "thanks for coming". It was our pleasure.

The Danish Cartoons and Free Speech

In September last year Denmark's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, printed twelve cartoons of the prophet Muhammed in various poses. The newspaper's stated issue was self censorship; a Danish author had written a children's book on the life of Muhammed but was unable to find an illustrator. Most Muslims believe it is offensive to depict the Prophet and the artists feared retribution from Muslim zealots. The fact that the artists were imposing censorship on themselves because of fear, worried the Jyllands-Posten who asked 40 Danish arists to submit a likeness. Only twelve responded and those were the cartoons that were published. They were of variable quality and some were offensive.

Given that most Westerners have never heard of Jyllands-Posten and very few speak Danish the matter would have been quickly forgotten had it not been for an hystrical reaction in Muslim countries. The Danish embassy was burned down in Lebanon and in Afghanistan a British Army contingent had to go to the aid of a beseiged Nordic Unit. As usual there have been anti-American riots although the USA is not involved.

As a result the cartoons have been big news and many papers including The Dominion Post and The Press have reproduced them. Websites featuring the cartoons have had many visitors. I find that nothing makes me want to read something more than being told I'm not allowed to. The only reason I bought "Spycatcher" was because the British government banned it.

Helen Cark's response has been to say that she believes in "free speech but……" Readers may recall Helen Clark's vitriolic attacks on the Exclusive Bretheren at election time when she declared them a "weird cult". Labour Minister David Parker likened them to the Taliban. Quite why it is OK to make very disparaging comments about a small group of law abiding, tax paying citizens who may have different religious beliefs to most New Zealanders but not about a huge religion when there might be trade implications is not clear. While the Prime Minister preaches tolerance she practices selective tolerance. The controversy surrounding the cartoons is an issue of "Freedom of Speech" but to have real freedom of speech there must be no conditions beyond the bounds of the law - equality before the law. Information should be readily available so that each of us can form our own opinions. For this reason we should be grateful to the editor of the Dominion Post for his courage in reproducing the cartoons.

Apples and Core Issues

It's not quite official but a proposal by FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) will mean that foods cannot be labelled and advertised as healthy if one serve contains more than 16 grams of sugar. This cuts out big apples and big bananas will also be maligned. The future for cherries is uncertain. They are "sweet" but the number of cherries in one serve and therefore the exact amount of sugar per serve is, as yet, undetermined. To the best of my knowledge apples and bananas are still good for you and 5+ a day (the recommended 5 servings of fruit and veg) is the basis of a healthy diet. In typical 'big government' fashion there is already talk of an amendment to the proposed regulation - natural sugars may be given an exemption. My suggestion is that government should forget about giving dietary advice and stick to core issues. Issues like providing defence and security for its citizens or tax cuts - that would be a real treat. For more detail on "An apple a day is bad for you?" as published in The Rural News on 7 February 2006, go to http://www.act.org.nz/news-article.aspx?id=27512.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news