• Consumers deserve a clear steer

    Consumers deserve a clear steer

    Under food industry pressure, the Government is dragging its feet over mandatory 'traffic light' labelling.   All around the world a fierce debate is raging about whether food manufacturers should be required to display a symbol on a food label that would indicate to consumers, at a glance, whether food is healthy or not.

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  • Renovate the House with new Speaker

    Renovate the House with new Speaker

    The worst-kept secret in Parliament is that the present Speaker, Dr Lockwood Smith, is retiring at the end of the year and heading to London to become our high commissioner there. The assumption is that the new Speaker will be a National Party MP, because for some odd reason it has been an accepted convention that the Speaker should come from the ranks of the party that is in government. And so far all the names mentioned as possible candidates for the next Speaker are National Party MPs - Tau Henare, David Carter and Maurice Williamson.

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  • New strategy confines animals to cruelty

    New strategy confines animals to cruelty

    It always pays to read a Cabinet paper if you want to work out the real agenda behind a new government initiative. The Government's recently released animal welfare strategy, and proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act, are a case in point. The strategy is full of phrases such as "it matters how animals are treated – it matters to the animals and it matters to us". So it would be easy to assume that the Government has had a change of heart around animal welfare.

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  • Gillard speech on sexism lauded

    Gillard speech on sexism lauded

    Women in Parliament have to endure a torrent of abuse. Australia is always being held up as an example for New Zealand to follow. But who could admire the toxic way they do politics in Australia, or the way politics is covered in the Australian media? Australian politicians have to put up with a level of abuse and vitriol in their media that is fortunately not yet common over here - such as radio personality Alan Jones saying on air that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard should be put in a chaff bag and taken out to sea.

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  • It's no wonder we don't trust MPs

    It's no wonder we don't trust MPs

    I seldom watch Question Time in Parliament these days. I sometimes wonder who does, other than the press gallery, parliamentary staff, lobbyists and those with a masochistic streak. It's supposed to be the high point of the parliamentary day - a time when the opposition can grill the government and hold it to account. But more often than not it's a low point - an hour when MPs let off steam by shouting, jeering, point scoring, hurling abuse and bickering with each other.

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  • Beware GM heavyweights visiting New Zealand

    Beware GM heavyweights visiting New Zealand

    Some of the leading figures in the global campaign to get genetically modified crops accepted around the world, have been in New Zealand this week. They were keynote speakers at the International Conference for Agricultural Biotechnology, which Dr William Rolleston, Vice President of Federated Farmers, claims is the 'biotechnology equivalent of the Rugby World Cup.' I am sure they all took the opportunity, while here in New Zealand, to lobby the government and key industry and farming figures, about GM technology, and why New Zealand should embrace it.

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