The House has been sitting this week, so without further ado, here's a look at what's been happening in the political world.
Health hath fury
The reality of the Government’s underfunding of health was outlined at a summit convened by Andrew Little, Annette King and Grant Robertson on Monday. Speakers included Warren Lindberg from the Public Health Association, Julie Haggie from the Home and Community Health Association, Jenn Lawless from the NZ nurses organisation and Platform’s Marion Blake.
Islands in the $un
The foreign trust issue continued to rattle the Government this week, although the PM tried his damndest not to let on…until he lost it in the House and got thrown out on Wednesday. Here’s what he said at his post Cabinet press conference earlier this week:
“There will be opposition parties and some journalists and people like Nicky Hagar wanting to invent some tag that New Zealand is a tax haven; it’s not true and it’s not the way the international media see us. We have not been a major or dominant talking point when it’s come to the Panama papers.”
Here's how the international media isn’t seeing us:
Panama Papers goes online as NZ named “tax haven”
Panama Papers: New Zealand revealed as a tax haven
Panama papers in online debut; report call NZ top tax haven
New Zealand alleged to be prime place for rich to hide money
Panama Papers data to be released on ICIJ website as NZ links discovered
And here’s what Andrew had to say about the Government allowing some of the world’s richest people to hide their wealth in NZ so they don’t have to pay tax.
It might be ‘black Friday” tomorrow but May 13 is also an auspicious day in the Labour calendar. It was the day in 1947 that Labour MP Mabel Howard was appointed Minister of Health and Minister in charge of Child Welfare, becoming the first woman to serve as a Cabinet minister in a Commonwealth country. Those with a long memory will remember Mabel was also the first MP to wave a pair of knickers (two pairs of bloomers actually) in the House, after she raised the issue of standardised clothing sizes.
You can hear Mabel talking about growing up in Christchurch and walking the mile and a half to New Brighton School and back home every day even though it only cost a penny on the train “because my grandparents were Scottish”, here.
NZ Music Month rolls on and with it the reminiscing, though, as they say, if you remember it you probably weren’t there. One person who was, and does remember, is Grant Robertson. Dunedin was, of course, the place to be in music’s heyday and Grant was smack bang in the middle of it – managing a band presciently called (given the number of them in Labour’s caucus) Too Many Daves. Here’s a video from a 1993 live performance of Bollocks to the real world at the Empire Hotel. If you watch closely you’ll also see Grant doing his bit in the “mosh pit”.
Wellington has the country’s only sign language restaurant – in Cuba Street’s CQ Hotel. But it was the MPs who took to promoting our third official language this week, in recognition of NZ Sign Language Week. Here’s Phil Twyford taking a call in Tuesday’s debate.