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April 16, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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Political Round Up

Marama Davidson’s Landslide Co-Leadership Victory

Marama Davidson won a landslide victory for Co-leader of the Green Party in an announcement on 8 April.

The Green List MP won a monumental victory against fellow candidate Julie Anne Genter at 110 votes to 34. She fills the vacant female Co-leader seat that was left behind by Metiria Turei, who resigned from politics at the end of last year after details of her benefit fraud became public.

In her victory speech, Davidson thanked the party for their continued faith in her. She also stated that she wanted the party to shift focus to the less fortunate communities in New Zealand.

“In order to be a genuine and relevant voice for modern Aotearoa, we need to reflect its diverse reality. We need more members from all backgrounds and communities.”

Davidson says her number one priority as Co-leader will be to not let the Greens fall beneath the radar in the coalition Government. Not holding a ministerial portfolio, Davidson says she will be able to focus on the party without being limited by involvement in executive decision making.

Eugenie Sage’s EPA Meeting

Green MP and Associate Health Minister Eugenie Sage has altered her recollection about allegations of ministerial interference.

In March, Sage was accused of interfering with the business of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), an independent body from the Government. She denied that she acted unprofessionally with EPA bosses regarding concerns about their chief scientist. Sage met with EPA chief executive Allan Freeth to discuss the scientist, referring to the ongoing trust issues which were also raised at the Ministry for the Environment.

On 5 April 2018, Sage changed her story, saying that it was a lapse in memory that failed her recollection of the meeting. She retracted her entire story, saying that she did not meet with the chief executive or discuss the controversial chief scientist.

“I was relying on my memory, and when we checked it was actually a meeting with the Ministry for the Environment — not with the EPA, so when I raised that (Dr Rowarth’s behaviour) it was with the chief executive of the MfE.”

It is the second time in a manner of weeks that members of the executive interfering with independent bodies have come to light. Two weeks ago, Clare Curran — Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Government Digital Services, was accused of interfering with state broadcaster Radio New Zealand.

Government Announces Plan to Address NZ Transportation Issues

The Government is in the process of planning a transport safety overhaul, with a focus on making highways safer throughout provincial areas of New Zealand.

On the 3 April 2018, the Government announced a proposal for a fuel tax of between 9 and 12 cents per litre for motorists around the country. They say the increase in costs will go towards major increases in safety aspects of highways in New Zealand.

Local roads and existing highways would also receive major increases in funding. The proposal sparked heated debate in Parliament, with National saying that it would affect many of their constituencies, which have been neglected by the Government’s policy.

Labour policy documents showed that over the next 10 years Labour plans to spend 4.6 billion per year on transport, 650 million dollars more than National’s policy. In 2017, National also considered raising duty on fuel to fund nine new highways if it returned to power.

Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Transport Phil Twyford said that National would also need to increase taxation if it was to pay for any upgrades. “To now suggest a National government wouldn’t have raised this duty is fantasy.”

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