New Zealand Politics

Flag Referendum: Official 109-page correspondence of the Flag Consideration Panel

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I wanted to know the process and how the Flag Consideration Panel came to the conclusion of shortlisting the designs, so I made an Official Information Act request on the 8 of September for “all the official correspondence on the flag selection process and the minutes of the meetings held by the Flag Consideration Panel”. An extension was granted when the standard 20-working day period expired. Also note, I made the request before Red Peak had been added as an option. The request was answered on the 25 November 2015.

For those who are interested, I have also attached the 109-page email correspondence between the Flag Consideration Panel and the official letter in response to the request. The document is heavily redacted, which is unfortunate, but still interesting nonetheless. I have also attached the Letter that outlines the different reasons and sections for redaction [I didn’t bother removing my email address, that is already publicly available on my blog]. The quality of the embedded files are not great but you can download the PDF files below.

Download PDF: Official 109-page correspondence by the Flag Consideration Panel

Download PDF: Letter in Response to the Official Information Act Request

Official 109-page correspondence by the Flag Consideration Panel:

Letter in response to the Official Information Act Request:



Gay and Asian and a New Zealander

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I wrote the following piece which was published in New Zealand’s only LGBT-focused magazine, Gay Express, titled ‘Gay and Asian and a New Zealander‘.


Max Lin writes from his unique perspective as a gay Taiwanese migrant, on the issues the GLBT community must still address in order to become more inclusive.

Moving to New Zealand, at the age of six, was probably the single most life-changing moment in my life. People tend to underestimate the power that moving to a new country can transform someone. I cannot conceptualise who I would be. I probably wouldn’t be able to speak English, have the same opportunities, and I wonder if I would even be able to acknowledge that I am gay – to myself, my family, and to my friends. For this, I am grateful – one of the proudest moments is when I walked across the stage in the town hall and became a New Zealand citizen.

I love this country and I believe we can make it a better place.

Being ‘gay’ and ‘Asian’ while growing up in New Zealand has often required me to navigate the demands of multiple ‘identities’. However, I struggled as I tried to capture to complexity behind what it even means for someone just to be ‘gay’ or ‘Asian’ in New Zealand. I want to believe that my experience is not merely the product of reductive notions of each community. I wondered in what ways self-identification is an intrinsic part of who we are, or simply an insidious process of unconsciously trying to perform the expectations of those identities.

It might be easy to come to the conclusion then, that labels are meaningless – that somehow we are all individuals and equal. I wanted to believe that labels are just fictional constructs; that I am free to be who I am – but I know this is not true.

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Auckland Housing Crisis: Legal, Policy and Economic Factors

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This piece was written as part of the course LAWGENRL 438: Housing Law and Policy at the University of Auckland.


Question: What legal and economic factors have contributed to the Auckland Housing Crisis, why is it concerning, and what legal mechanisms (policy) can be adopted to address it?

I           Introduction

Auckland’s median house price rose 18% in 2014,[1] and less than a third of Aucklanders now own their homes.[2] The 2015 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranks Auckland as ‘severely unaffordable’, the seventh most unaffordable housing market in the developed world.[3] Both the Reserve Bank and the Treasury indicate that the housing situation in Auckland is a ‘bubble’, ‘unsustainable’ and a threat to New Zealand’s economic recovery.[4] Qualitative data also show that young New Zealanders are expressing anxiety about their ability to own a home.[5] Housing affordability in Auckland has become a significant social and economic problem (“Auckland housing crisis”).

This main issue in this legal opinion is what legal mechanisms can be implemented to address the Auckland housing crisis?

The analysis will be divided into three parts:

The first sub-issue sets out the context, why is housing affordability in Auckland a crisis and does the government have a moral or legal duty to intervene?

The second sub-issue looks at what legal and economic factors have contributed to the crisis and the effectiveness of existing policies and legal mechanisms,

The third sub-issue is forward looking by looking at how a capital gains tax can be effectively implemented by the government.

This opinion will analyse a combination of laws, policy documents and economic indicators.

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An analysis of the political rhetoric surrounding budget politics and austerity in New Zealand

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This is a piece that was produced for POLITICS 769 Advanced Research Skills at the University of Auckland

Abstract: Political parties and governments around the world, even those on the left, recently have converged on the standard of ‘fiscal responsibility’ and ‘austerity’ when it comes to public accounting and annual budgets. This piece analyses the rhetoric used and some of the politics behind this phenomenon in New Zealand.

Texts: Budget debate speeches of Party Leaders, Clark (2006),[1] Brash (2006),[2] Key (2015),[3] Little (2015),[4] Turei (2015).[5]


I           Introduction

‘Political language, is designed to make lies sound truthful, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind’.[6] This report examines how governments and opposition parties employ rhetoric to frame themselves as sound economic managers of New Zealand. The last two Governments have gone through a boom as well as the Global Financial Crisis (“the GFC”), and both Labour and National have deployed language to convince the public that they can manage the ‘good’ times as well as the ‘bad’, often in contrast to each other. The analysis explores whether the rhetoric employed is connected to existing ideological differences, how it shifts depending on the economic climate and whether it changes depending on whether the party is in opposition or in Government. To achieve this, this report analyses five budget debate speeches (“budget speeches”) by political leaders across these temporal and contextual distinctions. Speeches from the 2006 Budget and 2015 Budget are selected to elucidate this contrast between different Governments and the economic climate. This report will analyse and discuss the effect of language used to frame taxation and spending, and place it in the broader context of political branding, political niches and the wider trend of ‘austerity fever’ occurring around the world. The conclusion will demonstrate how rhetoric on responsible economic governance has diverged and converged based on these variables.

II         Research Question

How have political parties used ‘humanistic’, ‘responsible’ and ‘irresponsible’ rhetoric to portray themselves as possessing sound economic governance?

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