Chart of the Day 2: Comparison of United States Presidential Bid Speeches

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‘Chart of the Day’ is a series where I produce and post an original graph from data I found interesting without comment.

Disclaimer: The ‘analysis’ is conducted using qualitative analysis software NVivo by analysing the word frequency (themes) of each candidate’s presidential announcement speech. This is not rigorous qualitative analysis, it’s just a bit of fun. I still found the results interesting, but draw your own conclusions from the data.

Democrat: Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Data Source: Time Magazine, presidential bid announcement speech transcript

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Chart of the Day 1: Attitudes toward homosexuality in New Zealand

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‘Chart of the Day’ is a series where I produce and post an original graph from data I found interesting without comment.

Disclaimer: Correlation does not entail causation. Please note that some of the subcategories can have relatively few respondents that the result may no longer be considered statistically significant.

What is the level of support for same-sex relationships within different self-identified political affiliations in New Zealand?

same-sex relationship and political affiliation

Data Source: New Zealand ISSP 2008 – Religion III Survey, total number of respondents = 1027.

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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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Debate: Should the Queer Movement Break Up?

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Gay Protest

This is a short debate written for Craccum Magazine of the University of Auckland published on 25 August, 2014. The piece is written to satisfy the format of a debate, and do not completely reflect my current views. I argued for the Affirmative in the motion, and Tessa Naden, the Queer Rights Officer of AUSA of 2015 argued for the Negative.

The Motion is “This House Believes It Is Time For The LGBTI Movement To Break Up”

Affirmative. Let us get one thing clear: to say the LGBTIA movement should break up is not the same as saying there are no more gains to be made for LGBTIA people. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is to say that each identity is better at advancing those gains for themselves if they were to pursue them separately.

When you conflate all of these diverse groups into one movement, you risk the dominant narratives appropriating what is already scarce political capital at the expense of others.

While we would like to think that we are one happy family all pursuing the amorphous goal of “equality”, each group is now speaking irreconcilable interpretations on what equality entails. While the marriage of these groups catalysed from facing the same oppression from society, now the challenges and solutions for each group are not just different, they have become antithetical to one another.

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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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Linshui Protests: China’s Paradoxical Approach to Protest Coverage

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This piece is written about the protests that are currently unfolding in Linshui, China.


Chinese police clashing with protesters. Source: Weibo

A violent protest erupted in China yesterday following the demonstration of thousands of people at the displeasure of the government’s decision not to build a high speed rail through the city of Linshui that would have been key to its development. Despite the lack of media coverage, I thought I would write my thoughts. The response of the Chinese government warrants special attention as China in the past year has not hesitated to express its own ‘concern’ about the protests that exploded in Baltimore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Chinese residents were seen hurling rocks at swathes of police, foreign journalists were assaulted and detained, and Chinese SWAT teams were deployed to ‘maintain order’. The pictures and videos show a backdrop of half-completed concrete buildings, and the squads of armoured police evokes a comparison to what is currently happening in disaffected parts of the United States.

The Linshui protest is interesting, because it is a ‘pro-development’ instead of an ‘anti-development’ protest. The largest protests in recent Chinese history have so far been against the fast pace of growth and the associated environmental degradation. However, this time it was sparked by the  decision to build a shorter but cheaper high speed rail around the city instead of through it. This is a superpower which has so far maintained domestic order primarily by trading civil rights for economic development, and the promise of that is being challenged here.

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