2016 local government endorsements

UPDATED: 27/9 with added fluoride!

It’s that time of the election season when various groups start putting out their naughty-or-nice lists of local government candidates. Because I’m the kind of nerd who likes this sort of thing, I figured it would be handy to at least get them all together in one place for people to refer to.

The list will be pinned to the top of the site and updated as regularly as new information allows. If you know of any other endorsement lists, let me know in the comments.

Candidates supporting Jobs That Count

These candidates have pledged to stand up for good jobs, strong communities and a clean environment.

Candidates supporting a Living Wage

The Living Wage Movement is calling on council candidates around the country to support a Living Wage for directly employed workers and for contracted workers delivering services on a regular and ongoing basis. 

Candidates supporting the environment

Generation Zero has put together comprehensive scorecards on a range of environmental issues and collated them on a nice little website.

Candidates supporting children

Tick for Kids is calling on all candidates nationwide to prioritise policies that will improve child wellbeing.

Candidates who love/hate your teeth

Fluoride Free NZ offers a massive spreadsheet of candidates’ responses on the question of fluoridating your drinking water.

Labour Party candidates

Green Party candidates

By far the most comprehensive list! Key campaigns are also being run in:

Auckland-specific

As part of their ongoing War for Auckland, The Spinoff have created an endorsement tool – click here!

Bike Auckland has a list of cycling-friendly candidates.

The Ratepayers Alliance (groan) endorses 25 candidates who pledge to keep average rates increases below 2%.

cersei eyeroll

Look, I said I’d link to rightwing endorsement lists, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

Wellington-specific

Wellingtonista’s local body survey is legendary. This year they’ve had just three responses – from Diane Calvert, Justin Lester and Troy Mihaka – based on a strategy of “we’re volunteers, we aren’t working ourselves to death to help you lot get good PR.” But they make for great reading, so check them out.

The Wellington branch of the Public Health Association have a scorecard for candidates running for Capital & Coast District Health Board.

Renters United surveyed and scored Wellington mayoral candidates on renting and homelessness.

Cycle Aware Wellington surveyed candidates for Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council on, obviously, cycling issue. The pro-Island Bay Cycleway group did their own rankings too.

Western Bay of Plenty-specific: Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap surveyed all candidates running in the Western Bay of Plenty district as an example of how to get information about local government elections.

Taranaki

E tū and Living Wage Aotearoa have surveyed local body candidates in Taranaki. PDF here.

Other online tools

Vote Local have produced an app which suggests voting preferences for folk in Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington based on a range of questions.

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Let me know in the comments if there are any other good endorsement sets out there! Yes, that means the rightwing ones too – Family First’s central government scorecards are always good for telling you who’s worth voting for, if not in the way they intend.

QOTD: Owen Jones on overcoming media bias

At the Guardian:

The left is bitterly accustomed to living with almost farcically hostile media in a country where the press is as much a sophisticated political lobbyist as a means of information. A natural response is to become grouchy, to shake fists angrily, or simply boycott the media altogether. It’s an approach that fires up some of the most dedicated leftwing activists, but it’s a strategic mistake. And both [Sadiq] Khan and Momentum show the left can rebut media hostility – and even thrive.

Go read the whole thing!

The Kermadecs and racist environmentalism

I did a bit of a tweetstorm earlier today, inspired by seeing friends embroiled in frustrating conversations like this one and the decided slant of articles like this about the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

My thoughts resonated with a bunch of people, so here they are in post form, but I’m going to stick up at the front something which I tweeted late in the piece: I’m just a Pākehā woman with a Twitter account and a reflexive critical analysis of political discourse. I’m not an expert in this area. I refer you to far wiser people like Morgan Godfery and the reportage of folk like Maiki Sherman at Newshub.

So. This week has been a revelation in the racist imperialism of mainstream (white) environmental organisations.

We’re not even arguing about meaningful consultation around establishing the Kermadec sanctuary, we’re talking about ZERO consultation by white politicians who assumed they knew best. National are literally in coalition with the Māori Party but didn’t even pick up the phone to give them a heads-up, probably because like every other Pākehā handwringer they just assumed they knew best about whether there’d be an issue.

That’s problem 1: Pākehā assuming they know everything about a complex historical/legal issue which gets really shallow coverage in the media and frequently is only lightly discussed in school, if ever.

Problem 2 is the (very Pākehā) environment lobby’s outrage that anyone might stand in the way of an ocean sanctuary. “Think of the planet!” they cry, which is appallingly arrogant coming from the ethnic group which has done the vast majority of screwing up the planet to start with.

But no, now we know better so let’s do things our way, it’s for the greater good after all!

This also brings in the horrible racist undertones of the Pākehā worldview being more ~sophisticated~ than Māori.

We have to take a hard look at how environmental organisations and Pākehā liberalism exploit indigenous culture. When it suits us, we happily draw on the notion of indigenous people being ~more in touch with the land~ and having a ~spiritual connection to nature~ and painting with all the goddamned colours of the wind. When it helps our agenda, we happily retweet the hashtags opposing oil pipelines and trumpet the importance of honouring the Treaty.

But scratch the surface and all the smug superiority is there. We know better; our thinking is more advanced because we care about ~the whole planet~.

It’s very easy to care about the whole planet when you’re on the team who took it by force.

The third problem I came to is broader than the current debate: it’s the hate-on Pākehā have for the idea that Māori dare to operate in a capitalist framework. Like, we came here, smashed their culture, took their land, tried to destroy their language, imposed capitalism on them, and when we offer a pittance in compensation for what they have lost, we get OUTRAGED when they set up “modern” business structures with it.

Do people have justified concerns about the decisions and operating practices of some Māori corporations? Probably. There are issues with every capitalist construct run for profit. But we treat Māori ones very differently – we treat everything Māori do differently (remember the foreshore and seabed? Remember how nobody seemed to have a problem with rich white people owning whole beaches and islands, but the idea of Māori just having the right to test ownership in court was the end of the world?)

We’ve put Māori in a catch-22: imposing Pākehā capitalism on them, but acting appalled whenever they dare use it to survive.

So this is how it goes. Pākehā make a decision to eradicate fishing rights without consulting Māori, because we know better. Then we decry them for not caring about the environment – which we stole from them and exploited for over a century – and imply they only care about money – which is a good thing if you’re in business but not if you’re brown.

And so we pat ourselves on the back for being More Enlightened About The Environment while literally confiscating land & resources from Māori again.

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A tangent on industrialization, climate change and the environment: let’s consider how all the “first world” “developed” nations got to where they are – by pillaging and strip-mining every piece of the planet we could get our hands on – but now we’ve hoarded all the money and resources and built “sophisticated” economies, suddenly we want to scold “less developed” nations for doing exactly the same thing.

Blade Runner and The Fifth Element knew exactly what they were doing when they showed the working classes living beneath the smog layer, is what I’m saying.

The other war of the polls

The Dominion Post has been given access to two polls telling slightly different stories about the Wellington mayoral race:

Two polls conducted in the past week have revealed Wellington’s mayoral race to be a three-way dogfight between Justin Lester, Nick Leggett and Jo Coughlan – but both polls tell different tales of how the election may play out.

Methodology nerds, sharpen your pencils, I guess?

Lester’s poll targeted “likely voters” – people who voted in the past two elections and would likely do so again this year. The poll commissioned by Leggett’s team quizzed eligible voters.

Leggett’s poll was conducted by Curia, David Farrar’s outfit. I’d assume they deliberately left the net wide to deliver the result their client wanted – I’ve eyerolled at more than enough of the surveys they’ve done for Family First, with questions quite clearly worded to deliver the kinds of “sex is terrible, gay people are evil, bring back draconian morality laws” headlines Bob McCoskrie likes to put on his press releases.

Lester’s poll could be equally flawe. But the ultimate conclusion – that it’s all going to come down to second and third preferences – means things are running as intended. That’s what I like about a preferential voting system. You don’t always get your perfect choice for candidate, but the collective, together, get the choice that pleases the most people overall.

Phil Goff probably wouldn’t be looking so secure of the Auckland mayoralty if Aucklanders weren’t burdened with good old First Past the Post – and because I’m a democrat, I have to say I think that would be a good thing, even though with the current field it would probably mean the Right would triumph with their stable of terrible, incoherent candidates.

If there’s a weakness in the current lineup of Wellington likelies, it’s that the odds seem stacked against outsiders. Practically everyone running for mayor is either currently on council or has been. The front-runners are the current Deputy Mayor, who has a major party behind him; a sitting Councillor, who unofficially has an even bigger political party behind her; and the Mayor of a neighbouring city, with a warchest big enough to have his face plastered onto every available surface in the CBD (though apparently not enough to get humble hoardings out to the northern suburbs?)

I long for a Chlöe Swarbrick kind of run – and in Wellington she’d have a much better shot. Maybe in 2019 …

Voting papers get delivered shortly. If you want to support some local campaigns that could make a real difference, might I suggest signing up to Our Democracy at together.org.nz?

Enjoy your salad, enjoy your burger

My very good friend Coley Tangerina has a splendid post up about bodies, food and fitness in the workplace:

We lean over our cubicles or bemoan across the kitchen how long it’s been since we went to the gym, or how badly we’ve been eating lately, or how we’re worried about gaining weight or how we shouldn’t have had that thing for lunch.

We start up conversations to feel camaraderie in our slog. The receptionist’s salad looks healthy. Your boss must have hollow legs. Thank goodness your analyst is eating for two. Gosh, your PR person must be hungry!

This talk is common place in offices and while it’s totally understandable, it’s bad for workplace welfare. Here’s why.

Go read the whole thing.

I had a great experience recently working with a new team. Maybe it was because we’d already been talking about wellness and empathy in a broad sense, maybe (probably) it was because I’d been That Person who deliberately set a boundary early in the process, saying “A lot of workplaces have a really damaging culture around food talk.” Either way, we found ourselves discussing food – but it wasn’t negative. It wasn’t judgemental, or normative. Someone had brought something delicious for lunch, which reminded someone of a thing they’d cooked for dinner the week before, and (because these things are inevitable) we somehow ended up discussing the great Vegemite/Marmite dichotomy.

Yet, in contrast to almost every other work-based conversation about food that I’ve ever been party too, it was just … fun. A nice positive chat before we got back down to business. Nobody walked away thinking their body or food choices had been judged and found wanting.

Imagine if that were the norm. It’d be pretty awesome.