Supporting Will Flavell

Today the New Zealand Labour Party announced the two candidates for Tāmaki Makaurau. One is the former GM of Maori TV from TVNZ. Shane Taurima.

 

The Candidate I know and fully support is Will Flavell.

 

Will encapsulates a passion for Youth and Maori issues with kindness, intelligence and a strong sense of justice. He is humble and courteous, but will disagree with people, though always with compassion.

 

My support for Will is total and complete. He is the sort of person who would deal with the Opposition benches with courtesy whilst his intelligence would be liable to have them on the ropes.

 

I would be grateful if everyone can share this and get a groundswell of support going for Will. He is not part of the hierarchy. He is one of us. Gras roots, working as a teacher, and passionate about our people in New Zealand.

 

Good luck Will!

Candidate Speech for Upper Harbour

This is my Candidate Speech given this evening…

About six months ago, I attended the first Candidate’s College here in Auckland. Whilst there, we were asked to prepare a two minute stump speech to engage our audience, explain who we are, and to ask for three key things, usually votes, money, and support, not necessarily in that order.

 

In my stump speech, I spoke about how Judith Collins apparently advocated for the rape of an Autistic boy in prison when the matter was before the Courts.

 

This young man was a client of mine at the time.

 

People approached me afterwards to say that this was pretty compelling stuff.

 

However, there is something even more important than a National Government Minister breaking the rules and advocating rape on someone who was innocent, when the matter was before the Courts.

 

Something more important than Collins apparently advocating such a horrendous crime?

 

I want to draw you a verbal picture of self-interest, power and lack of concern.

 

This is the story of a country that does not let all their citizens vote freely. They have taken a sizable proportion of their population, and made sure that they will not get out and vote.

 

These people are too unpredictable. Feeble minded. Easily excitable.

 

They are delicate and need protecting.

 

The people who make these decisions know what is best for them. After all, these people are so much weaker, as everyone knows. It stands to reason that they shouldn’t vote!

 

During one election, many of these citizens did not have access to candidate information. Not that it mattered, as this group is not represented in most of the political Parties anyway.

 

Some end up locked away, and even when they get a chance to vote, the officials make sure that they still can’t by placing unreasonable restrictions on them.

 

The country is New Zealand, and the time is today.

 

On the eve of the election this year, it will be 121 years since, on 19 September 1893, New Zealand broke with the rest of the World.

 

We allowed what many saw as “unpredictable, feeble minded and easily excitable” people to vote.

 

Us males now know what we needed to be told over 100 years ago.

 

That women and men are equal. We are, and I believe that with my dying breath.

 

However, since then we have sat back, and not ensured suffrage for all our people.

 

Today, there is another group in desperate need of emancipation. A group who has been denied the vote because of accident or birth.

 

On election day, many people will not vote. Not because they do not want to, but because they can’t.

 

Because even in the Labour Party we have only relatively recently stepped up to allow them to vote.

 

What is so sad is that these people tend to be our people.

 

Progressive Left supporters.

 

People who have every reason to hate John Key, and especially Paula Bennett.

 

These people are not our sisters who fought so hard to get the vote – The 51% of the population.

 

We, and I am one of them, are only 20% of New Zealand society.

 

We are people with disabilities.

 

We are generally so battered down by the system that when we are

 

-      fighting for our very survival,

 

-      fighting for our carer family members to get paid despite a Government that makes legislation to stop this,

 

-      fighting to find work when 60% of us are unemployed,

 

voting tends to become a low priority.

 

For myself, I have been looking for a full time job now for 6 years.

 

I am a beneficiary though I work part time as a Lawyer, fully disclosed to Work and Income.

 

The cost to New Zealand from people like me, who so desperately want to work is apparently $11.7 billion dollars.

 

What a waste of money.

 

That is $11.7 billion in a bribe to stop us voting for a progressive left wing, Labour lead Government.

 

The work I have been doing as a Lawyer has been varied and rewarding.

 

Supporting those who do not work at all so that they can survive.

 

Writing letters as Paula Bennett has insisted that mothers who cannot name the father of their children need to see a Lawyer to get a letter to explain why not.

 

Let’s be clear here. A lawyer’s letter has no more legal standing than telling a Case Manager, but it costs $200 a time.

 

Ask any beneficiary to cough up $200 for a letter. I am willing to bet that there will be no problem cancelling our overseas holidays to do that!

 

It is not just these section 70A letters.

 

Every year, I support Auckland Action Against Poverty with their Action days.

 

Three days where we work from a WINZ office to ensure that beneficiaries can get the support they need.

 

Like the single mum with two young babies living out of a garage with hot water, heating and cooking being by way of a single kettle.

 

Or the woman who had $20 per week deducted for over 10 years because she was raped and WINZ asked her to prove it.

 

As she couldn’t, she lost $20 per week for 500 weeks. She lost $10,000 for being a victim.

 

There are so many more cases like these.

 

Last year I was asked to take part in the Big Sleepout alongside various Labour and Green friends to support raising funds for the homeless, and have been asked to take part again this year.

 

It seems appropriate as when I was a teen, I was homeless on the streets of London as a direct result of Thatcher’s policies.

 

These events raise the profile of those in need, as well as the Party profile when our MPs and supporters attend.

 

If we tell people we care, they do not necessarily believe us. We need to show them we care.

 

Homelessness, along with WINZ representation, is all too often a disability issue as well, as we are so over-represented in these statistics.

 

Over the last six months, with help from Phil Twyford and the Te Atatu LEC, David Cunliffe and my own New Lynn LEC, and many others, I have managed to get the Auckland Branch of the Kirk or disability Sector going.

 

We are due to have another meeting on Saturday 10 May in Howick, and we would love to see you there. If you want more details, Speak to me afterwards.

 

We now come to the Upper Harbour Electorate.

 

Whoever is selected will be up against Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Development, and Christine Rankin, the former CEO of Work and Income.

 

Both are formidable opponents, and have been chosen to take a light blue electorate and paint it dark blue.

 

Whether the neoliberal blue of National, or the conspiracy blue of Conservative, it will be a tough call to paint the electorate red.

 

However, this is not an impossible call, and we need to ensure that we get the Party vote for Labour.

 

I can do this on their terms.

 

Bennett and Rankin have sold themselves based upon beneficiary bashing.

 

They have made their respective names from misery and holding people down below the poverty line.

 

As a result, the poverty line has shifted.

 

It now lies squarely with middle New Zealand income earners.

 

With new families with children to feed and mortgages to service who are going hungry to feed their children because of the failed promises.

 

Promises of economic wealth by those who now make excuses about global recession whilst contradicting this with claims of a rock star economy.

 

This economy is rock star.

 

Addled, on drugs, drunk, and on the verge of collapse.

 

Who better to fight this tissue of lies than someone who lives below the poverty line day after day, year after year, with no hope of redemption?

 

I have political experience and skills dating all the way back to standing for local Council in the UK, and trying for Parliamentary selection there when so much younger.

 

I have corporate experience, including representing Manukau City Council on the Local Government Management Challenge with SOLGM, where, one person down, we came second in New Zealand.

 

I have two University degrees, one an Honours degree from the University of Sussex, and the other a Law degree from Waikato.

 

I can talk the talk when it comes to middle New Zealand.

 

There are many facets of my lived experience.

 

Homeless.

Unemployed.

Disabled.

 

Living a life of poverty as a result of broken political promises from a Government that doesn’t care.

 

Standing up for those with no voice, whilst having Housing New Zealand evict me illegally on 48 hours notice.

 

Dealing with ORRS (Special Educational Needs) funding for a daughter who is also on the Autistic Spectrum, from a Government that does not see her as cost effective.

 

We do not live in a democratically representative country any more.

 

We live in a corporate New Zealand where we are unproductive units that need to have as few resources as possible allocated to them.

 

Who better to challenge these corporate drones who seek to carry on spreading their propaganda and lies?

 

This is only half the story. I have spoken of my experiences that will help as a candidate, but so what?

 

What about your experiences as Upper Harbour residents?

 

It is all very well for us to stand here telling you what we will do, but if we do not listen to you, then we are no different.

 

With this in mind I have brought a supply of pens and paper.

 

What I would like you to do, if you wish, is to take a pen and some paper, and tell me what YOUR concerns are.

 

I promise that I will read each and every one, and if you want me to get back to you, I will if you include your details.

 

We are in this together. We need to work together to take these issues and concerns, and tell

Bennett and Rankin,

Key and Craig.

National and the neoliberal right,

that we have had enough!

 

No more.

 

We need someone with lived experience.

 

We need someone with compassion, but also with fire in their belly.

 

I have that fire in my belly, and it is burning.

 

It is burning bright, it’s burning hot and it is burning red.

 

Please cast your vote for change.

 

Cast your vote for Simon Buckingham.

 

 

Politics and opinion polls

Stuff has me laughing today.

 

“Departure screams Party crisis” shouts the opinion piece, next to the poll -

“Is Shane Jones’ departure a crisis for Labour?

 

Guess what Stuff.co.nz – This is called biased reporting. You tell people there is a crisis and then ask if there is a crisis. You then take your so called ‘poll’ to show that Labour is in crisis. If it were not so clear that you were in National’s pockets, it would be funny it is so bad.

 

Guess what? As a member of the Party, and pretty active, I can emphatically tell you that I have seen no sign whatsoever of crisis. We are debating the pros and cons, but there is no crisis whatsoever. Campaigning continues. We carry on supporting each other. We continue to listen to New Zealanders and what they want. We will misss Shane, but that is what happens.

 

Telling people there is a crisis means that you need to tell people that there is a complete breakdown in National. 15 MPs are resigning. We have one. If we compare that in percentages:

25% of National Party MPs are resigning.

3% of Labour MPs are resigning

 

Where is the crisis? Is Labour in crisis? Not as much as National are in total disarray if Stuff is to be believed.

(S)election

simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

I am now on the campaign trail! This is so exciting! I am now formally trying to raise funds to ensure that our democratic processes are followed through. I am actually doing it!

My first trip is next week to Te Awamutu. I will meet Party activists as well as fellow candidates, and hopefully will also meet some of the locals. Whilst the Taranaki-King Country Electorate, where I am standing as a candidate, is mainly farming communities and therefore a blue stronghold, people need to have the opportunity to choose from a list of candidates in any election. Therefore, it is not just about winning (though this would be terrific), but also of giving the people of King Country a choice of who they want to represent them in Parliament. However, whilst last election we lost by a large margin, there is no such thing as an unwinnable seat. With your help, we can show New Zealand that heartland New Zealanders want their Country back from those who would sell it to the highest corporate bidder.

Also, we want to mobilise the Party Vote for Labour, so that we can govern this year.

As such, I have written the following on Facebook, which I will now paste here for this blog:

_______________________________

Fundraising Update

Hey all.

This is such an exciting time. We see Labour as a Government in waiting, ready to reverse the damage of the last six years, and bring New Zealand back into the black economically through sound fiscal policies. We will have a Prime Minister who is an Economist and not a stock trader. Who knows how Kiwi businesses work, and who is out to make New Zealand society affluent and fiscally independent.

To do this, we need good Candidates for Parliament. As you are on my Facebook page, you either are a friend, or support my work in this area. As such, I am sending the first request for financial support.

I have a pre-campaign meeting in Te Awamutu for selection in the Taranaki – King Country Electorate. Once that has been approved, we have hustings for selection.

Some of our neo-liberal politicians seem to have issues with declaring election funds and expenses. This is wrong, and shows a lack of commitment to the democratic process which we have come to expect from the fat cats. As such, I will have my funds always itemised on a spreadsheet on Facebook and available to anyone. Labour is committed to open governance, and the elections are an essential part of our democracy. Therefore, I am copying what I understand President Barack Obama did for his campaign.

I will list what I need expenses for. I will itemise the costs, down to cups of coffee, and so you know what your hard earned money has gone on. If you do not want to be named, that is fine. However, I will give you a code for each donation if anonymous, so you can still see where your money was spent. I will even provide the receipts to show where expenses have gone. (I am minded to use dropbox for this).

If the reason for expenditure changes, then we will put any donation towards a similar expense. For example, if the meeting this week is cancelled, then any funds raised will go towards hustings in March. Any leftover cash can then be returned to the Electoral Committee for use next election, but I do not anticipate having much left over.

So. My first trip on election business. This does not come under the Electoral Act to my knowledge, as I am not yet selected. However, I will still declare it all to be sure.

Next week – Monday 24 February (to be confirmed).

Titirangi to Te Awamutu to meet the people in the Electorate and other possible candidates

Distance – 163 km each way.

Cost – $40 each way

Total – $80

___________________________
Hustings Trip:

Loan of a tent

Following petrol donations:

Auckland to Te Kuiti – 200 km at 25c per KM = $50

Te Kuiti to Otorohanga – 75km at 25c per km = $18.75

Otorohanga to Te Awamutu – 75km at 25c per km = $18.75

Te Awamutu to Auckland – 165km at 25c per km = $41.25

(Total transport – $128.75)

Five meals at $10 each – $50

Four hot drinks at $5 each – $20

If you can afford $5, that is a coffee to keep me going. $10 is a meal, and $20 is a section of the journey.

Also, $200 is the entire weekend (excluding camping fees), $280 is the next two trips in total, and $30,000 is the entire campaign!

If anyone can donate $30,000, if I get in, I will host you to a guided tour day in Parliament, including meals, flights and anything else practical (and legal and moral).

Campaign Launch

Today I launched my part of the campaign for the 2014 General Election:

We really do need your help. I really need your help!

What I would ask you to do if you want to see a change in Government in New Zealand is read the above article. If you do not have Facebook, I will paste the article below.

Then sign up for the Labour Party “I’m In” campaign by clicking this link.

Even if you do not agree with Labour, but want to help me as a candidate, please join me by e-mailing simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

Any help and support you can give would be greatly appreciated. I will keep you in the loop as to what is happening, and what you may be able to do to help. Also, I would be keen to hear your views as a prospective Candidate.

 

New Zealand Labour Party 2014 General Election Campaign

4 February 2014 at 16:22

We need your help.

This year is an election year, and with it comes the once in three year opportunity to build a better Country for us all. In the last six years, povery has been on the increase, not just for those of us on the lowest incomes, but for all but the richest in New Zealand. We have seen Christchurch left to die after the earthquake, whilst more and more roads are built here in Auckland. Our children and elderly are mistreated and neglected due to lack of support, whilst tax cuts are given to the most wealthy.

Whilst unemployment has dropped statistically, we now see a situation where the Twenty percent of New Zealanders with disabilities who are unemployed (Sixty percent of us) far exceeds the official unemployed figures for everyone. Proof that we are being manipulated with numbers.

As hospital services are run down, ACC make it harder for injured people to claim, waiting lists for operations grow longer as people are refused treatment, and our children go hungry and without adequate shelter or clothing, we are being told that life has never been better and everything is wonderful in Aotearoa.

Do you believe this?

Labour needs your help and support over the next year so that we can work together to remedy these issues.

I need your help.

I am standing for Parliament on the List, and may also be standing in an Electorate in the heart of the North Island, pending final selection. This is not an effort on my part alone, but something that we need to do together.

If you want to support Labour with rebuilding New Zealand, then please join the Labour 2014 campaign and say that YOU are in by clicking this link:

http://action.labour.org.nz/?recruiter_id=16459

If you want to be part of my campaign for electorate and List, the I really would love to hear from you. I have set up a dedicated e-mail address to keep you up to date and so that you know what is happening at simon.for.parliament@gmail.com. Please e-mail me to join our campaign. I also have a dedicated Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/610588395640547/

There are many things we can do together to ensure that Labour gets in. We need the supporters to help us in all areas of the campaign, including campiagn managers, local supporters, fundraisers, telephone canvassers and many more! Whether you can help with one hour a month, or 12 hours a day, we would love to hear from you!

E-mail me now so that we can have a good start to ensure a better New Zealand for ourselves, and most importantly, our children.

Also, please feel free to share this around. The more support we can get, the better!

simon.for.parliament@gmail.com

Domestic Violence Clarified

Over the years, I have had so many fierce VERBAL fights over domestic violence that it is not funny. I greatly appreciate the white ribbon campaign here in New Zealand, but equally hate the emphasis that it is men against women. However, this morning I took a step back, looked at the labels and entrenched views, and came up with points that maybe clarify the matter. I would like to share them here on the hope that this blog lays to rest some of the miscommunication that is occurring around issues of rape and domestic violence that is in turn making the whole issue not one we can unite to stamp out, but one that is causing an even bigger gender divide.

Before I begin, my qualifications to speak on this. As a teen I was raped by another man. I am open about this and am secure in myself that it was not my fault, that I am still me, but that the trauma and feelings around this are intensely damaging. However, if I can use this experience to help others through the same, then I am happy. Whilst at Law School, I managed a men’s refuge in Manurewa. I make no secret that the Trustees (with two exceptions) were mysoginistic, women hating chauvenists, as bad as the man hating extremist feminists, and that I was at odds with them as I believe in a holistic family based approach to resolving issues of DV.  Since then, I have done some DV work as a Lawyer, and I think I have some ideas as to the issues.

So. My perspectives:

Violence is wrong.

Violence can happen from anyone to anyone.

It is generally agreed that MaF (Male Assaulting Female) violence tends to be more physical and FaM (Female Assaulting Male) more psychological.

MaF is more likely to end up with more severe immediate physical consequences than FaM.

Other areas of DV (Domestic Violence) are not considered as they should be, and stats are not collected hollistically around the issue of DV.

Gender affects the probable outcomes and types of DV to a significant degree, but this is a trend as opposed to a cast iron prediction.

What some people are saying is that DV is a gender issue, I believe because gender significantly affects the outcomes statistically.

What others are saying is that by focussing on gender, men are being victimised with no credible recourse as it is a ‘women’s issue’ and so there is a belief that men are never the victims of DV.

Some are also saying that by not focussing on women, DV is somehow watered down in seriousness.

I do not agree with the last point at all. DV is wrong and we all know this. Gender distinctions do not make it less wrong or more wrong, and do not excuse or mitigate DV in themselves.

Social conditioning has a view that men who are victims of DV are somehow less male, with terms like “weak”, “wimp” and worse, and with the attitude of “toughen up” from society.

My point is that until we get ALL the demographic and situational statistics around DV in NZ, we cannot look at the issue without a personal agenda.

People with disabilities are concerned about abuse against people with disabilities.

The senior communities are worried about elderly abuse.

Women are very active against DV towards women.

All of these issues need to be considered.

Men have no real group that supports their views, and so many men feel, quite validly, that their DV issues are ignored.

Many people active in their specific areas are so converned about their area that they forget to look at DV holistically, or feel that to do so will negate their work.

With all of this in mind, my contention is that until we take a holistic approach, beginning with neutrally defining Domestic Violence, and then identifying who statistically the victims and perpetrators are, and then tackle the issues from an individual AND family group perspective, the issue will continue to remain unresolved.

So as a conclusion and clarification to my view here:

I advocate collecting information and statistics.

I also suggest that the law and society victimise women in the very wording and emphasis of DV. Rape for example is specifically a man PIV raping a woman.

MaF in the Crimes Act or in the social conscience does not allow for tough strong women assaulting vulnerable males. It makes women into victims and men into monsters.

I hate with a passion DV. I have been the victim of sexual assault in the past, and violence without very good cause is wrong.

I respect people, women and men, with equal passion and sincerity.

If a woman has been raped, I am concerned and there for her. Same as if a man has been raped, though legally this is not possible which is a complete joke.

For me, my passion is high on the subject, but I really do think I am coming at the issue from a gender aware but gender neutral perspective.

Being gender aware means being aware that gender affects the issue. Being gende rneutral is accepting that DV can happen to anyone irrespective of gender.

Psychological violence can and often is far more damaging than physical violence, though that does not in any way detract from the severe trauma of physical violence.

Psychological violence is usually not spotted as there are no obvious symptoms, until the person basically cracks under the pressure.

As such, FaM can often be a lot more insidious and damaging in many ways.

Whatever one’s thoughts on this though, the over-riding issue is clear and I think we can all agree on:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS WRONG.

With all this in mind, to speak up against DV from a different angle such as disability or elderly abuse, or from a male rape perspective is not in any way negating or minimising the impact or severity of more traditional views of DV. Far from mitigating violence, to know the issue more comprehensively is giving those fighting it more tools and knowledge to effectively combat DV permanently. As such, rather than having a politically correct view that DV is always males beating up their poor weak little wifey, which in itself is a patronising and degrading image of women, I am advocating for a neutral, holistic and complete collection of all data, demographics and factors of DV victims and perpetrators, along with reasons and background dynamics, so that a clear picture can be established to show what generally causes DV to be initiated, and what drives it along for years sometimes without the matter being resolved. We all need to leave our agendas at the door in the name of fixing the issue.

This post is on an emotive subject, and if people are not reasoned and are offensive, I will either delete their comments, or even worse, publish them to show how unreasonable that person is. I believe in free speech, but with respect and sensitivity. Please show such respect and remember that I am trying to find why this issue has caused so much disharmony between genders, and to see if some of that can be removed for the sake of once and for all getting rid of DV issues from our society.

PS. Please excuse spelling errors. WordPress does not have a spellcheck!

Thank you!

Parachute, Families and Disabilities – A person’s eye view

I am hoping to attend Parachute next weekend by invitation to write a number of articles here and elsewhere. My proposals are around how the Parachute event organisers and workers are reaching out to the communities in NZ, especially families and people with disabilities. I have attended twice now, and the services and support is amazing. However, we need to see what is happening in a much more rounded way. As such, I am hoping to attend and assess froma  media perspective what is on offer, what can be done, and how things work in practice. I also want to guage some of the Artist’s views on families and people with disabilities attending and appreciating their work.

If I succeed with my application, watch this space. It is an exciting time, and we need to know how such large events cater for us in specific terms. Exciting!

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