Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


Leave a comment

Maori Language: “But the debate it’s over. We already had it.”

I am white. I grew, and will continue to grow, up with the privilege of being white. People will learn my name no matter how I write it or how many unnecessary vowels I add, simply because my skin tone is a few shades lighter and my family came from Europe. I grew up learning simple te reo in class as a means of communication. Around year 4/5 it stopped. And now I struggle with something that I wish I knew so easily, a language that belongs in the tongues of those that live here. If you move to France you are expected to learn French, if you move to Spain you are expected to learn Spanish. Why is it different for New Zealand? Canada does it so easily, no second guessing no questions. French and English. Simple. It would be so easy to have followed in Canada’s footsteps, but no, we had to remove Maori from every day life.

One debate is that “it’s an outdated language” and I have two counterpoints. 1) so is latin but schools continue to quote that sh*t relentlessly. 2) there’s a reason it’s outdated and it’s you. Funny how Spanish isn’t outdated in Spain, and French is still in effect in France. Why aren’t they outdated languages? We know that answer – because they’re still “european” languages….

If white people can name their child “T9c” and “KVIIIlyn”, then you can damn well learn someone’s name. It’s not even a race thing, it’s a respect thing. You know who’s names I don’t learn? The people I don’t care for. If you care enough and respect them enough you will learn their name. But we know that’s the issue. You don’t respect them or care for them – that’s when it becomes a race issue.

I want my kids to learn Maori. I want them to be more fluent than I ever was. I want them to be able to say the colours in both English and Maori, then I want them to be able to hold a simple conversation in Maori. As an ‘NZ/European’ I want these things for my children because I owe it to them. If I’m going to raise them in New Zealand, it is my duty to teach them about the land they live on and among. It’s my job as their mother to teach them about how language is a beautiful thing. Because it’s so much more than just a language. It’s another reason to shun someone from the prestigious seats we claim are hard earned but are really just pure luck for being born the ‘right’ colour. We say it’s New Zealand so they should speak English, but that’s not true. It’s New Zealand/Aotearoa so we should learn to speak foundation Maori. It’s our duty to preserve the culture we so rudely stole and exploited. That was our promise and we have severely broken it.

It’s not that hard to get your head out of your ass and learn. I’m not even going to lie, it makes me mad. It makes me so upset to think these people believe that this is their land. But as Kanoa Lloyd said “I know this is not gonna be some big wake up call moment for people that think this way. The Brash’s and Witherow’s and Gallagher’s of the world are not gonna wake up tomorrow and go “Oh I’ve been a bit bigoty” and then go and sign up for a te reo Maori class next week.” – They’re not. But what she does mention is that we don’t need to create a movement because there already is one. And it’s true. I see it in the early childcare centres, the curriculum incorporates te reo. You have these young children ready to take on the world and they have no internalised thoughts and prejudices to the language. And these are the kids that are going to lead us into the next generation. These kids will fight for te reo in primary schools, and in high schools – these kids will move mountains and remind us that it’s okay to celebrate that land on which we live. They will prove that there is nothing wrong with learning a language that belongs to this nation and it’s people.

In all honesty, I’m vowing that if I ever hear someone tell me they aren’t going to pronounce someone’s name correctly because it’s Maori, I’ll butcher their name in the most ridiculous way and refuse to stop until they realise how idiotic their understanding is. Some final words from Kanoa, “I actually felt a bit sorry for these guys. Like sorry the world is moving too fast for you my bros.”

Advertisements


Leave a comment

If I Were Prime Minister…

A look into what life would be like if I were to ever become prime minister of New Zealand. I’m going to tell you now – there will be no building of god damned roads because there are far bigger things that need tending to…

I would have medicinal cannabis available without scrutiny – people would not be looked down upon for treating their illness with medicine. Recreational use would be available to people with a limit on how much can be carried on a person. Only certified vendors can sell the cannabis and each store would be equipped with state of the art security to ensure no one is injured. Those in jail for cannabis related charges would be released on their own recognisance – depending on the type of charge. Those that are jailed for other charges such as violence would still keep those charges, but those jailed for carrying weed or selling weed would be released with the notion they will comply with the new laws.

It would be illegal to sell caged eggs. Only free range eggs will be able to be sold. And I would ensure free range is where the chickens are able to roam and they lay their eggs and they are treated with respect, dignity, and care. They aren’t given additional hormones to up their output, they are feed properly, and are not clipped. Those selling caged eggs would recieve a $750,000 fine for a first offence, a second offence would result in the persons being imprisoned.

Out of country buyers would need to provide proof they are going to be moving to New Zealand in three months before they are able to buy a home. This will weed out those buying houses to rent from overseas. Rentals will undergo new rules where they must receive an official “stamp” that certifies it is rental ready. This will mean there is no mould or mildew, no cracks in the seals of windows and doors, and that all promised amenities are working. Rentals would undergo these examinations annually to keep renters held accountable. I would build 300 new three bedroom houses spread across the major cities and 150 new three bedroom houses in non-major cities. These houses would be sold for no more than 400,000 dollars but the aim would be for them to sell at 350,000$.

Child poverty would undergo a huge investigation. Main factors would be found and fixed. Those living in poverty would be given highest priority for jobs and receive free childcare hours for under 5’s. This ensures they can attend their job and earn money that doesn’t go straight to childcare. Rentals/state housing would be supplied for free or at a low cost with subsidies to gas and electricity bills. Schools with lower deciles – which are typically known to have children from low income families – would receive free morning teas and lunches. These schools would have their own gardens with fruit and veges and chickens on site supplying eggs. This would lower the cost of providing lunches but also teaches children about the food process and involves them in the process too.

Mental health professionals would be trained efficiently and the rules for inpatient facilities would be looked at for change. Schools would have trained mental health professionals on site to help those with worries and stresses. Schools with higher mental health issues would have blocks of “calming time” with activities like yoga, outside reading, naps, or group talks to help with the stress of school. Local GP practices would have mental health professionals on site and working within the building. Small towns would have greater access to mental health facilities and people. Online services will be available too as some people may find it easier to talk not face to face. Online services would begin with an initial face to face interview, then continue online with face to face meetings when desired by the client. Mental Health programmes would be set up in schools to allow students to understand what depression is, what anxiety is, what bipolar, schizophrenia, and personality disorders are. In the likeness of Harold the Giraffe, it would be taught at every school and students will be reminded that it is okay to ask for help.

NCEA would drastically change. Schools would be encouraged to teach the children about things, not how to pass tests. They would be scored on their passion and understanding not their memory and ability to write fast in 30seconds. External testing would be brought down to a few exceptions as internal testing is much better for students’ stress levels. All/most testing would be open book – a pamphlet may be given out containing basic information that would then be used to test their understanding and knowledge. In the case of mathematics it may be the equation/how to work it out, but they must be able to apply it to different equations. In today’s society, calculators are there, phones are connected to the internet, and knowledge is abundant. Making students have to memorise information rather than interpret it hinders their ability to process information and interpret it in the greater world. Memorising information is no longer a test to knowledge and ability.

I would also make te reo a compulsory lesson in school. In primary and intermediates it will be a lesson that is compulsory. In secondary school; year 9 would have it compulsory, and the following years will have the option of taking it up. It is our duty as New Zealand citizens to keep the language of this land alive. We owe it to the Maori that we hurt when Europeans came to New Zealand. If we have it as a second language, why is it not compulsory? In Canada packaging has both english and french – here I would make it that New Zealand grown and made products have both english and te reo. Eventually pushing for total duo-lingual packaging.

WINZ services would pay livable wages not minimum wages. Mothers will not have to disclose the fathers name if he is not living on site with them/not sharing custody. If sharing custody, a name will not have to be given so long as the days of custody are given. Those working in WINZ will be given a zero tolerance of discrimination and if any case of discrimination is sought upon, action will be taken. They will be inclusive and welcoming to everyone regardless of what the situation is. No one WANTS to depend on the government, but sometimes it’s the only option.

I would make abortion an medical procedure and not a criminal act. Moving it from criminal acts into a medical procedure will mean those considering and having abortions will not face the inner turmoil of performing a “criminal act” in an already had time. This isn’t to promote abortions as many believe. If Christians (and other) have the right to choose NOT to have an abortion, then why don’t other woman get the right to choose what happens to their body? I would take away the signing by two doctors and would make it available to anyone seeking it. I would have caring people in the procedure room who are non-judgmental and understand what a hard decision it is. No one wants an abortion. It’s not a want like you want ice cream for dinner, it’s a want like you want to rip out the tooth that’s decaying in your mouth.

This is my “100 day plan” if I were to ever be prime minister for NZ. As a prime minister I would be as hands on as possible. Helping out in the community and in times of need. I would also ensure that when debating laws that involve other parties (Maori, trans, etc) I would have their opinion heard and work alongside them to create the best plan for them. Being prime minister is not about being in control, and proving powerful among the masses. It is about working alongside the nation to create a world and community we are proud of. To do that, you have to involve the community.


Leave a comment

Metiria Turei Situation – Careful NZ, your discrimination against poor people is showing

Other than a nuclear war threat to the US and the escalation made by Trumpet-man, the worst thing to happen today was the resignation made by Metiria Turei. I understand her reasoning behind handing it in, but I resent the reasoning for why she had to even do such a thing.

When she came out with the truth, I honestly thought “finally! Someone is finally saying the flaws with the beneficiary system!” It seems the majority of New Zealand didn’t feel the same way. They wanted her resignation from the day she spoke, but she knew she had to fight – it wasn’t her life anymore but it was still thousands upon thousands of New Zealanders lives. It’s not just the beneficiary system either – the way New Zealand citizens view poor people, single mothers, and disabled people is inhumane. They are treated like a plague we don’t want to catch, but who’s own fault it is that they caught it themselves.

As a member of the New Zealand community, I want my tax paying money to be spent appropriately. I don’t want it to contribute to spending millions on police forces that are refusing to allow those on antidepressants work, or millions on a stall in a foreign show in hopes to attract international produce buyers. I want my tax dollars to pay for the mothers scared they won’t be able to put food on the table each night, I want my tax dollars to ensure that these people on a benefit are treated like humans – not like the underground of society; the uncle we don’t mention at family gatherings. As members of NZ, it is our job to keep each other above water. We aren’t meant to watch rich end on dry land, and poor tread water for too long they drown – but we do.

The media focused on the wrong thing and now beneficiaries that are struggling have no light shed on their situation via news media. There was a whole hashtag on twitter “IAmMetiria” and “#IStandWithMetiria” and yet did you see a news report on the thousands of New Zealanders telling their stories of being on the benefit and struggling to get by, or being treated like nothing but an annoyance? Did they bring in other beneficiaries to say “you know what, the system IS flawed and it DOES need fixing”? No. They just played with fire to create a reality show fit for TV and computer screens.

The main point of the story wasn’t that a young mother lied many years back, but that she had to – that a system was so flawed that to survive she had to rig the system. What would you have rather happened? Her and her daughter die from starvation or from health issues? Then you would be complaining that she should’ve tried harder to get more money…at some point you have to stop fighting it and realise that our perfect country isn’t so perfect. That we may treat our people like kings and queens- as long as they’re rich and look the part.

What about Todd Barclay and Bill English? Why did that only last three days in the media? That was far worse than anything Metiria did. Bill English even claimed more than $900 per week (twice what is eligible for an MP), and now owes $32,000…and that was for a house. Metiria owed $7800, for trying to put food on her table for her kid…New Zealand has the wrong priorities and I am so mad that we are willing to let a rich man slide for something done while in parliament for nothing but a luxury, but punish someone who couldn’t get by and couldn’t survive before entering parliament. It is a sad day for my faith in New Zealand today. I have never felt more alone and in this fight on my own than now.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Leave a comment

Smacking, Not Our Future

In 2009 the New Zealand government enforced the Anti-Smacking Law. Around 30 countries in the world have banned physical punishment towards children in any setting, inclusive of the family home. The ban is not used to criminalise behaviour such as a parent smacking a child, but used to educate and raise awareness on the parenting “tactic”.

The reason smacking is such a bad form of punishment or discipline is that it doesn’t work, kids aren’t given a reason to why their behaviour is bad and so the parent has to continue escalating the smacking. This is why smacking is so dangerous. Parents need to understand that good discipline that works will never be quick. It takes time for a child’s brain to fully understand the issue and takes about three tries of good discipline for a child to learn that the behaviour is not good. Parents don’t always have that kind of patience and understanding and that’s why we have smacking. Hitting when angry, or frustrated, shows children that as long as they are angry enough, and big enough, they too can hit says Grace Malonai. When you smack a child, you teach them that violence is okay. You dismiss this as “not that bad” of a hit, but that’s the same excuse abusers use when their spouse or child winds up with bruises and broken bones. “Oh it wasn’t that hard!”, “It wasn’t that bad!” It is that bad. The idea that you WANT to hit your child is beyond me. The idea that you do hit your child is unfathomable.

Children who are smacked tend to take to violence and anger as a natural reaction. They rarely remain calm in situations and they are what is known as ‘hot blooded’. Other than physical injuries, multiple studies have shown that punishment such as smacking and other means of causing pain can lead to increase of aggression, antisocial behaviours, and mental health problems for children. All of which continue into adulthood. Children who are smacked are more likely to use hitting as a way to solve their conflicts with their friends and siblings – according to a study published in “Child Abuse and Neglect” 2011. A study found that children smacked by their mothers had fewer cognitive skills (Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention) in comparison to other children not smacked. Research suggests this may be due to the fact that those smacked don’t learn to properly control their own behaviour. Another study done in 2013 shows that children smacked by their fathers were more likely to have problems with vocabulary and language. This same study found that children who are smacked are more likely to act defiantly in their behaviour. Malonai also notes that smacking a child can be damaging to the relationship shared between the parent and the child. Spanking can, instead of teaching good behaviour, teach a child to fear the parent. This can reduce the trust and sense of safety for the child. The negative effects are not always seen right away. Smacking changes the way a brain thinks and feels and therefore the effects are usually seen in adolescence and early adulthood.

Parents say that sometimes the behaviour is so bad that the only way to teach a child what is ‘right and wrong’. But Grace Maloni tells us this isn’t true. “In general, punishment has a very low effectiveness rate”. If we are wanting to correct ill behaviours in our children, smacking is clearly not effective, and the argument void.

When you smack a child, you aren’t telling them why the activity is bad, you aren’t telling them what they did wrong. And they will do it again. When they finally don’t do it again, it isn’t because they understand “oh if I am mean to my brother it will make him upset”, they simply stop because “if I’m mean to my brother my mum will hit me”. They begin to fear their parents, fear making decisions. Graham-Bermann says that physical punishment will only work for a moment, and only because they fear being hit.

The most effective form of discipline is to explain why it’s bad. Tell them the effects it has on them, and those around them. Teach them that it matters how others feel, how they will feel once the deed is done. eg. if they hurt their sibling, they might feel bad after too. A huge factor of parenting is remembering that these are children. They don’t know right from wrong and we need to teach it to them. They aren’t always understanding of their actions.

If you have a child that’s aged four and under, the best means to stop a situation is to explain it, tell them the effects, but keep in mind that they are most likely too young to understand. It is so important to explain it anyway. Then distract. I saw this amazing “time out” DIY that is perfect for young children. It gives them a distraction and it looks amazing! If they’re having a tantrum, it can calm them down too. When they are old enough to comprehend your words, it’s then about explaining, and patience. When explaining a situation, always relate it back to them. If they’ve taken a toy of another child, say “That wasn’t very nice. Look they’re upset. You get upset when someone takes your toy. You don’t like it when your toys are taken and neither do they.” Kids are very narcissistic (I kid) and tend to understand things better when they can relate it to themselves and how they feel. It creates a more empathetic child, and ultimately a more empathetic adult. This is where patience is key. Children don’t learn right away – if your child does, count those blessings! So it will take a few tries of explaining before they will actually understand and “listen”. Realise they are listening the whole time, even if it doesn’t feel like it, but they don’t always process it correctly or they don’t understand it sufficiently to continue the good behaviour. Patience. Patience. Patience.

And finally, a very important quote from Elizabeth Gershoff, “I can just about count on one hand the studies that have found anything positive about physical punishment and hundreds that have been negative.” – Just because some good things may come from it, it doesn’t mean the good are able to outweigh the bad. If we want functional children who grow to be functional adults – including emotionally – then we need to learn different means of discipline. We need to stop thinking it’s okay to hit our children. If you aren’t going to be able to have a child draw on your wall three times before they learn the lesson then you might want to rethink your parenting dreams. Parenting requires patience. These children rely on you for protection and proper learning – and you cannot betray that by hitting them and not allowing their brains to function properly. A lot of people believe you have to have kids, and therefore those that aren’t emotionally capable to handle being a parent end up losing patience, which results in smacking and violent discipline.


Leave a comment

Pro-Choice /= Pro-Abortion

It’s 2017, why is this even a blog post I am writing? This debate has been going on for decades and it’s the most ridiculous thing to exist. How I got to be so understanding and have the compassion that “pro-lifers” seem to lack is beyond me, but here we are.

I’m not pro-abortion. I believe you have the right to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideals. By keeping abortion illegal and by making it a criminal offense, you are taking away other people’s right to make decisions based off their beliefs and ideals. You are taking away the same right you have – to choose not to have an abortion – from another person. My belief is that if you do not want the pregnancy, you can terminate it. Say you fall pregnant and maybe you don’t want it but you’re against abortion so you have it anyway – I could realistically come in and say well no, you have to have an abortion. My belief is that people should be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Does it sound completely unfair and definitely unjust? Welcome to compassion and understanding.

Religion. This is a huge part of why abortion is illegal. Church should not find itself in the Government. It is a separate entity and should be treated as such. How come other religions don’t get to be included in the Government? What makes Christians so special? I believe in God. And I also believe that other people deserve the right to choose. I choose to believe in God, I choose to do these things. Why shouldn’t others get that same opportunity? Why should I be any different and special so as to be the only one who gets to make a choice? My God does not care if you kill some cells. He has a soul up in heaven waiting for you and if He cannot bring it to you through your own body He will find a way. After all he is a miracle worker. If when my times comes, and I’m called before God and He tells me that He did in fact oppose abortion, I know I would still be welcomed into His kingdom because it was not my place to pass judgement. It was not my place to force another of His children into my beliefs.

Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion and I’m willing to bet there is no one pro-abortion. People have somehow confused the two and begun to see pro-choice as if it were pro-abortion. What I am asking for – and what every other sane human being is  asking and promoting – is the right for people to have the choice.

Scenario I – My friend and I walk into an ice cream shop. My friend picks chocolate flavour, but I don’t like that flavour. I tell her no. She has to have vanilla. Here I am telling my friend that she cannot have chocolate ice cream for no reason other than because I don’t like it. Am I going to be eating her ice cream? No. Am I going to even be affected by her chocolate ice cream? No. Is the person behind the counter going to be affected by her choice? No. Do you see what is happening here?

Scenario II – My friend and I walk into a pet store, she’s looking for a dog. I don’t like dogs (I do, but for the sake of the scenario I don’t) and so I tell her that I don’t like dogs. She tells me “okay, don’t buy a dog.” I don’t buy a dog. When she gets to the counter to pay I say nothing and I walk out with her. Was this wrong? Yes. Why? Because I forgot to remind her to get dog food. Other than the lack of nutrition, there is no reason why my friend cannot buy herself a dog if she wants one. It’s her choice. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, she can choose to buy a dog if she wants because she’s allowed to make her own decisions. Remember how they tell you that about 100 times in primary school? It doesn’t change…or it shouldn’t.

I am not promoting abortions, I am not pro-abortion. I am human and I realise that people who fall pregnant and don’t want to be/cannot be are going to find a way to terminate that foetus. I would rather they have the option of it being done safely by a professional. No one wants an abortion. Not like you want an ice cream truck or a bouncy castle. You want an abortion the way you want to get a filling done. You don’t (unless you have a filling procedure fetish?) want to do it but you have to before it gets worse.

One more time for the people in the back – pro-choice /= pro-abortion.


If you live in NZ – or are just a good human being and understand that everyone has the right to choose – please sign this petition to get abortions decriminalised in New Zealand. At present, although you can get an abortion, it is still classed as a crime to have an abortion. It’s got to change.

>SIGN THIS PETITION<


Leave a comment

Old vs. New: Why Raising the Retirement Age Shouldn’t Be A Topic…

If you’re even remotely up-to-date with New Zealand news, you’ll know there has been talk about raising the superannuation age. It currently sits at 65, but one party wants to raise it to 67 by 2040.

National leader Bill English confirmed on that if National were to be re-elected they would indeed raise the superannuation age to 67. Other leaders have come out in opposition and said they would not raise the age above the already standing 65 years.

Why is it a bad idea to raise the retirement age? Shouldn’t we promote continued working among those healthy enough to do so? Yes we should. We already do. The superannuation is available to those 65+, meaning those that are healthy and willing to work past 65 years can. But that those who are in pain, worn out, or just don’t want to work into their old age can retire. Raising the age would mean that people are staying in their jobs. We already have an issue with youth unemployment, mostly due to lack of job opportunities. If we don’t take out what we are putting in (i.e, we add workers without any leaving) then we end up with no job openings for those entering the fields. A reason our youth find it so hard to get a job is because their are no openings because the older generations are having to work longer to meet requirements of the superannuation. The reason Bill English doesn’t see this as an issue is because he believes youth are high on the job drug users unable to pass drug tests. He claims the youth are druggies at fault for the unemployment rates. He refuses to acknowledge that the elderly having to wait longer (67 years) to be eligible for the superannuation will have hazardous effects on the youth employment.

Yes our average life span is increasing, but he’s forgetting that the youth are what see the life increase. If we can’t provide New Zealand youth with steady employment, how are they meant to pay for groceries? How are they meant to afford medications they need to stay healthy? While our life span may be the highest it’s been, it can fall too. It’s not ever a set-in-stone age. If we don’t nurture and protect our youth then they won’t be around as long as today’s generation. We have children in poverty – New Zealand is notorious for it’s high poverty among first world countries. We have taken care of our elderly, we need to begin to take care of our children. Raising the superannuation age will not benefit our children and youth at all – in fact it will hinder them most. No longer will their grandparents be able to look after them and spent time with the kids, they will be too busy having to work. Kids won’t be able to spend an afternoon at Nan’s because she’ll be in the office.

Bill English (and National) are very much like my parents – they believe that the youth are lazy and the reason they don’t get a job or can’t buy a house is because they’re too lazy. Forgetting that they did not have to pay for tertiary study. Forgetting that they did not have the housing market of 2017…a house that would have cost them 350,000$ in 1999, will now cost anywhere upwards of 500,000$. They live in a very bubble world where everything is exactly how it was back then. I get that they worked hard and have done enough, but what on earth does raising the superannuation have to do with them working hard? If that was your argument wouldn’t you want to lower it? Let them have more time relaxing in retirement?

Give our youth  the employment opportunities you’re so ready to give to the elderly. They have had a good run, a long run. Pretend, for a moment, you give a damn about our children and their futures.