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


robson-on-politics Thu 16 Oct

robson-on-politics Thu 16 Oct

An early edition of robson-on-politics this week as this afternoon I go to Rimutaka prison for the opening of the new Faith-Based Unit, a joint venture between Corrections and Prison Fellowship New Zealand. Then on Friday to their conference at Waikanae. Kim Workman of PFNZ tells me that overseas experience is that prisoners who willingly join faith-based units have re-offending rates under 20% after they have served their sentence.


Genetic engineering and the NOOM Bill

The big news is that the Progressives voted against the third reading of the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill on Tuesday. The NOOM bill as it is called in Parliamentary jargon is about the release of genetically modified organisms into the human food chain, among other things. Earlier this year we reserved our position on the issue within the Cabinet process.

The moratorium came about because of the work of my former colleague Phillida Bunkle. We made it clear that we wanted scientific and economic considerations to influence the nation's planning and that the moratorium should only lift if a majority of the Parliament agreed. Last week we moved amendments, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to continue the moratorium. Jim Anderton speaking in Tuesday's debate said the Progressives are not convinced that the potential gains from releasing GM crops have been demonstrated conclusively enough to sufficiently outweigh the known benefits of being GE-free.

He went on to say he was disappointed not to be voting with our Labour colleagues today. It is not common for there to be a difference between us. Out of the hundreds of issues we consider each month since the election, we have differed on only a few - tertiary fee increases and pokie machine numbers come to mind.

We are pro-science and we agree with a rational evidence-based approach. That is why we support the provisions in the NOOM bill to streamline lab research.

See Jim Anderton's speech at:


Ahmed Zaoui

I wrote to 52 Labour MPs about this political refugee. I have received numerous letters in reply, including ones asking if I have talked to Ministers. Yes, I have told those MPs about my meetings, on several occasions, with Ministers about Mr Zaoui and also my meeting with Police Commissioner Rob Robinson. Good news that Mr Zaoui is being moved out of solitary confinement.


Supreme Court established

Also on Tuesday the Supreme Court bill was passed into law. What has happened is that we have replaced a London appeal court with a new one in New Zealand, more accessible to New Zealanders because it will cost nowhere near as much as an appeal to London. Also, there are now wider grounds to appeal. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act enshrines the fundamental right to go to our highest appeal court. This new step gives practical effect to that right.

I acknowledge that I have received more feedback on this issue than any other in robson-on-politics, and I accept that those views are sincerely held. Some of the MPs arguing against the Supreme Court forget that before 1972, appellants could only go to the equivalent of today's High Court. The Judicature Act 1972 brought the Court of Appeal into being, a constitutional change, and provided for appeals to the Privy Council.

And it is a step for our independence. Almost every other country which were British colonies broke the link with the Privy Council long ago, and New Zealand as a cautious nation is only now taking the step of establishing its own highest court. See: and Matt Robson's speeches are about to be posted on the site


Forestry must be a consistent employer

Jim Anderton said the forestry industry needs to stop shedding their workforce as a response to commodity cycles. At the Forest Owners Association conference this week he said they cannot expect partners - government and the community -to continue to support forestry if they are devastated on a regular basis. Bluntly, partnership is a two-way street.



More on all these issues at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What Triggered The Carnage In Gaza

At last count, 195 Palestinians have reportedly died in the latest round of violence, 55 of them children. Roughly ten times that number have been wounded, and thousands made homeless. On the Israeli side, 8 people have died from rockets fired from Gaza. The imbalance in casualties reflects the vast gap in weaponry between the two sides. The Israelis are carrying out air strikes with impunity on densely populated civilian neighbourhoods... More>>


Office Of The Speaker: 2021 Register Of Pecuniary And Other Specified Interests Presented

The 2021 Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament was presented to the House today. It contains a summary of members’ pecuniary and other specified interests as at 31 January 2021. The Speaker of the House, Rt Hon ... More>>

Budget 2021: Boosts Carbon Neutral Government Commitment

· Budget 2021 delivers $67.4 million to support the transition to a carbon neutral public sector by 2025 · State Sector Decarbonisation Fund receives significant boost to support more schools, hospitals and other government organisations to replace ... More>>

Government: To Rev Up Reductions In Transport Emissions

The Government is calling for feedback on a range of potential policies to eliminate emissions in the transport sector. Transport Minister Michael Wood today released Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi - Transport Emissions: Pathways to ... More>>

Child Poverty: Reports Highlight Need For Ongoing Action

The Government has released the first Annual Report for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the second Child Poverty Related Indicators (CPRI) Report, both of which highlight improvements in the lives of children as a result of actions of the Government, ... More>>


PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>





InfoPages News Channels