Monday, March 23, 2009

Home Insulation

An old Dunedin wooden house in a snowstorm

Please Sign the Petition:

And tell your story, if you have one, of living in a cold home!

There are some comments there about cold Dunedin student flats. Ah Dunedin, where the frost forms on the inside of the windowpane...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drinking Liberally Dunedin Chapter

Drinking Liberally is the name of a worldwide phenomenon that as of two weeks ago, has now reached Dunedin.

Two important aspects to Drinking Liberally are covered by the name really: these are meetings of a left wing character, and they're held on licensed premises.

Here are the Dunedin Chapter details:

When? Every other Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm
Where? Velvet Underground, 11 The Octagon (Underneath Velvet Burger off the Octagon on Stuart St).

The next Drinking Liberally will be at the same place, same time, March 17.

Speaker is Dr Chris Rudd of the University of Otago Politics Department, who may perform, live, an autopsy of the 2008 election. Bring your masks.

I was at the first meeting a fortnight ago, to hear Green MP Keith Locke speak about the surveillance carried out on him since childhood. No laughing matter, apparently.

Come along and join in the left wing conviviality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


(from the Left) Katherine and Helen, the newly elected Secretary and Chair of Dunedin South Women's Branch.

The first Annual General Meeting of this entirely new Branch was held last Monday the 2nd of March at the Labour Party's Bill Fraser Lounge in South Dunedin.

An enthusiastic group of about 20 of us formed this new branch halfway through last year and were very actively involved in the successful Dunedin South campaign which returned an impressive Labour Party and personal vote result for our electorate candidate Clare Curran.

We plan to meet on the first Monday of every month and occasionally at other convenient times as we plan events, talks and fundraisers. We're keen to pick up new members, address important local issues, and have fun too.

We don't have a cent to our name as yet, in fact I'm sure somebody should be reimbursed for the purchase of stamps and envelopes, so our next meeting (Monday April 6) will be a Quiz Night (click to see the details) in the Lounge Bar at Heff's Hotel, King Edward Street, South Dunedin.




DATE: Monday 6 April

VENUE: Heffs Hotel Lounge Bar, South Dunedin

TIME: 7.00pm – to check in with team name,
be seated and buy drinks.

7.30pm – Questions start

TEAMS: Teams of 4 only

$5.00 per person or $20 per team

Please register your team by Friday April 3.


For the Scrap Book

Unfortunately the ODT report on our Women's Day walk doesn't seem to have made it into the online version of the newspaper, so here's a steam-powered 'link' to the item.

Anyone who wants a copy of this or any of the other photos taken by ODT staff photographer Jane Dawber, can look at the proof sheets and buy any you like at the ODT office on Lower Stuart Street.

Clare Curran's IWD Press Release

5 March 2009 Media Statement
International Women’s Day

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran sees International Women’s Day this Sunday, 8 March, as an opportunity to bring women together to develop a collective voice.

The recent National Government decision to stop the investigations into pay equity for workers such as social workers and school support staff highlights this even more,” she said.

“Women should not have to shoulder an unfair burden from the looming economic crisis.

"The National Minister of Women's Affairs Pansy Wong has accepted as ‘inevitable’ that New Zealand women will be hugely affected by the recession and that large percentages of women in the workforce are employed in areas that are likely to be hit hardest,"

Pansy Wong has accepted this outcome as being "inevitable" at a time when she should be working on strategies to prevent this from happening.

"She has allowed the National Government to pull the plug on pay and employment equity investigations for social workers and school support staff. She clearly has no intention of addressing the gender pay gap in New Zealand,” Clare Curran said.

"It is particularly important in these tough economic times that women are not consigned to being second-class citizens at work.

Labour has called on Pansy Wong to tell the women of New Zealand what her involvement was in the decision to scrap the public service equity investigations when they were just months away from completion.

"Was she consulted by the Minister of State Services before he made this decision or was she completely ignored in the exercise?”

The gender pay gap stands at 12% in New Zealand and strong advocacy is required to shift that.

“It is crucial that women stand together and support each other, particularly at this time of economic instability.” Clare Curran said.

Ms Curran is encouraging the women of Dunedin to celebrate International Women’s Day by participating in a Walk and Picnic up (and down) Harbour Cone, this Sunday March 8 beginning at 11am.

[Archived on SCOOP]

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hitting the headlines

Our IWD event had a good write-up in the local paper today, complete with an excellent picture taken by staff photographer Jane Dawber. The photo showed a group of intrepid women at the foot of the mountain, smiling and waving as they resolutely set out to achieve their goal.

Here's the headline and the caption (can't find a link to this report on the ODT web site yet):

Curran leads Women's Day walk

Labour Dunedin South Women's Branch members walk up Harbour Cone, in Dunedin, on International Women's Day yesterday to celebrate the gains of women, while also acknowledging the challenges they would face in the tough times of an economic recession. Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, seen here holding aloft a bunch of flowers, led the walk. Ms Curran said she particularly wanted to highlight the gender pay disparity in New Zealand, as women on average earned 12% less than men.

Otago Daily Times Monday, March 9 2009 (page 5)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Clare Curran, Dunedin South's first woman MP, holds a symbolic bunch of red roses high at the summit of Harbour Cone on the Otago Peninsula, as part of the International Women's Day event organised by Dunedin South Labour Women's Branch.

Women with Altitude

The weather was stunning for our celebration of International Women's Day. The brief was simple enough: climb to the top of Harbour Cone on the Otago Peninsula (it's steeper than it looks), leave a bouquet of red roses there to honour the struggles and successes of women past, present and future, then come back down and have a picnic. Because it's not always a picnic.

There were some laughs as we compared notes about our different nicknames for the appropriately breast-shaped distinctive landmark of Harbour Cone. I've always called it 'Nipple Hill', and wasn't surprised to hear a popular name is 'Tit Mountain'.

Not every one made it all the way up to the summit, but for those who couldn't manage the climb, or weren't able to join us on the day, watch this space for the link to the you tube video.

Amanda was the youngest climber - first up, and the first to arrive back - running - at the picnic site.

Then she had to wait for the others to meander down the track.
Fortunately there was a picturesque historical stone wall to sit on.

There was plenty of wine. Jackie and Heather raised a toast with a fizzy pink drink.

There were the obligatory photo sessions.

We had a very pleasant picnic - and later as happens, a group of us sat around and talked politics. Well of course we would get serious, being stroppy Labour women. The topic of the moment was pay equity. There were some wise and wonderful women at this gathering, including the first woman Member of Parliament to be elected in Dunedin South, to seasoned activists and union organisers, to one of the first women professors in NZ.

A great day. And not until we were packing up did the weather completely turn to custard!

International Women's Day

Today, Sunday March 8th, marks International Women's Day around the world. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

In some countries (eg Russia, China, Vietnam and Bulgaria), IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD was held in 1911. At that time IWD was a powerful tool for campaigning for equality of rights for women. Millions of men and women marched and protested against the inequalities that seem incomprehensible to us now.

In more recent years the day has been more one of celebration for all that has been achieved for women. Most of us can vote, we can raise a family as well as hold a job, and we have choices our grandmothers never had.

The official International Women's Day website has links and information about issues still of concern for women. It also lists nearly a thousand IWD events scheduled all around the world.

We didn't get the Dunedin Labour Women's event listed there this year - maybe next time.

It's interesting to see that we aren't the only Kiwi group to plan to climb up a hill to celebrate IWD day. Auckland Regional Migrant Services invited women of all ethnicities to climb to the top of Mt Eden for a 'Women on the Summit' celebration. Apparently they had to reschedule to an indoor event because of bad weather. Here in Dunedin we had a beautiful day for the climb but there was a weather change later and we had to move our picnic site from the windy side of the hill to a more sheltered back yard. And just as we were clearing up the rain started.

Red Rose Sisters

Welcome to the community blog for the women of the Dunedin South Women's Branch. We are a new branch of the Labour Party and we have decided to keep a blog for news and views and to list and report on our meetings and our events and fundraising.

We also want to keep in touch with what's going on in the wider community, and keep up with what other women's and left wing groups are saying and doing.

Disclaimer: this is not an official Labour Party web site. We have links to the official New Zealand Labour Party sites in the sidebar to the left of this column. We also have links to other progressive and feminist blogs.

Today as part of our celebrations for International Women's Day, a group of women from the wider Dunedin area made the steep climb to the top of Harbour Cone, where our newly elected Labour Member of Parliament, Clare Curran - the first woman MP for Dunedin South - gave a speech and laid a bouquet of red roses at the summit of the hill.

Later in the afternoon, as we were discussing starting this blog, the name 'Red Rose Sisters' came to us. It'll be good for us to remember the feminists of the past that we honour and thank today, and to identify with them as we realise that we can never be complacent about the gains made so far in ensuring equality of rights and conditions for girls and women.