The GCSB: John Key rules, ok? MPs versus the democratic process.

 The GCSB. John Key rules, ok? MPs versus the democratic process.

A recent letter in the Nelson Mail makes points relevant to the hijacking of our parliamentary democracy by the Party system. As correspondent Ian Davey states, it is the Party system which now controls the votes, voices and actions of Members of Parliament, as well is its machinery.

The implications?

Mr Davey refers readers to the booklet Your Will Be Done, written by Arthur Chresby, a specialist in Constitutional Law and former Member of the Queensland Parliament, to inform voters and expose what has now become an obvious mockery of the democratic process.

Chresby gives two High Court examples to show that by voting on strict party lines, an MP is in serious breach of the law and contempt of court, and, if censured, the penalty is removal from office.

“The judge states ‘that coercion or restraint (on an MP) destroys or imperils that function of freedom of advice which is fundamental to the very constitution of Parliament – the keystone of our political system.’ “As ‘party leaders and controllers demand absolute loyalty to the party and insist on voting being on party lines’ (Chresby) Ian Davey asks …”Surely this renders many of our laws passed by the New Zealand government invalid? “

Ian Davey includes in this category the anti-smacking legislation which troubled many National Party MPs  – as did the Emissions Trading Scheme; the Coastal and Marine Area legislation; the (partial) sale of state assets; the SkyCity  deal providing for seven years  protection from taxes – and a licence to operate until 2048 – a 27 year extension. And now the recent GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) legislation- where we have typically had John Key’s domination of party machinery to ensure that National Party MPs vote as directed. We have no reason to doubt that the Labour Party hierarchy demands exactly the same obedience to the party leader – and the abandonment of individual conscience.

The question Davey asks: “Is this not treason?”

It is time we all reflected on this. If a country claims to be a democracy, what right has one determined Party leader to ignore the wishes of the majority of its people, because he wants his own way – and makes this quite plain to his MPs?

And what about when he does so consistently?

What right have our supposedly representative Members of Parliament, voted in to carry forward the wishes of their electorate, to completely ignore these, on highly important issues, in order to avoid offending a party leader ?

 These are utterly crucial questions for any democracy – if it is to survive.

Has ours? Demonstrably not.

When is it going to be time for our supposedly representative MPs to answer to those who elected them?

As this is not happening, it is more than time that New Zealanders took steps to address this – as we will with our 100 Days strategic planning to work towards pulling our politicians back into line – before the next election presents us with the usual facade of democratic choices.

It is no exaggeration, but a plain statement of fact, that today’s National Party MPs essentially do as they are told,  in order to preserve their own positions and chances of promotion (to which the Party whips draw their attention). They have long abandoned their duty to act as representatives of their electorate’s wishes – if these do not reflect those of the Prime Minister. So we are left with no other conclusion than that they are disenfranchising New Zealanders…whose country this is – or should be – as it once was.

Moreover, in 2008, as incoming Prime Minister, John Key blatantly handpicked the selecting of the first 50 List MPs,  the prerogative of the electorate membership, to surround himself by those he personally wanted in Parliament. As local MP Nick Smith says – when his leader tells him to jump, he asks how high.

This is notan appropriate response for a representative MP – and illustrates how far we’ve moved from the days when Keith Holyoake opposed his own Party, in his maiden speech, to represent the interests of his own constituents.

The democratic process has declined from when vigorous parliamentary debate, combined with a sense of honour, had individuals refusing to give way on matters of principle.  The contrast is stark, when reinstated Minister Nick Smith so famously stated his case for instant obedience, because, he maintains,  this is the way political party systems must operate.

He is wrong, of course. But what it very graphically if inadvertently highlights is that Smith himself at least, although he periodically refers to this country as a democracy, is there to do his leader’s bidding – a sell-out of the democratic process.

The result? With List members answerable only to the Party leader – having passed no electorate scrutiny – and with supposedly representative MPs ignoring the wishes of those who voted for them when these clash with the autocratic diktats of this  leader – a claim that we are any longer a genuine democracy can’t be sustained.

What then are we? This question is answered when we look squarely at the fact that John Key ignored the wishes of over 74% of the country to ratify the highly damaging anti-smacking legislation – because he was determined to have his own way. The consequences? Disturbed,  conservative parents report ominous, chilling consequences of parental intimidation; of divisions between husbands and wives; of manipulative,  naughty children now threatening parents; of untruthful or exaggerated accusations when marriages break down;  of onlookers or neighbours intent on prying, following up grudges – all denied of course,  with the airy and untruthful claim that this legislation is working well…but with shocked, decent parents receiving mandatory visits from police. The damage this legislation is causing is immensely destructive. But John Key says it isn’t, and John Key thinks he knows best…

This over-liberal leader has been to many a national embarrassment with his camp on-stage modelling; his over-enthusiastic support of exhibitionistic gay activists, inappropriately dancing and, even smooching with them on stage; boasting about fancying Liz Hurley (hot) and now “really proud” of his daughter whose provocative, “saucy”, near-naked web photos in the name of Art might well trouble a more reflective father, and raise worrying questions.

But not today’s liberal man of the moment?  Certainly The Prime  Minister made his wishes very clear  in relation to the deeply unpopular gay “marriage” legislation (opposed by  far the majority of New Zealanders, although  some highly suspect  polling managed to produce an apparently  contrary result). Moreover, his domineering personality has pushed though asset sales legislation that even his Minister of Finance admitted makes no sense financially long term, and will even cost the country… Against this we have Key’s own exuberant claim that it will attract “billions and billions.”

And now, are we reaching the end of a paper chase of apparent obfuscation laid down by the Prime Minister? In a kiss-of-death move he long avoided, he has attacked media whose questions of accountability annoyed him to the point of refusing to answer question.

Key’s memory lapses are described as becoming legendary.  Although he is on record as asserting, in relation to the Aaron Gilmore resignation, that “to make a contribution, you have to have integrity, and to have integrity there has to be a directness and fullness in your answers, “as a commentator has noted, the Prime Minister “… forgot about calling Mr Fletcher about the GCSB vacancy; he did not remember how many TranzRail shares he owned. He was unsure about being briefed by the GCSB about Kim Dotcom. He forgot how he voted on the drinking age; he couldn’t even remember which side he was on over the 1981 Springbok tour.” And he had in fact seen in advance the newly-bought ministerial cars…which he also forgot at the time.

Now this seemingly vague individual is undoubtedly forcing the GCSB legislation onto the country, in the face of a nationwide virtual opposition, which he manages to avoid actually seeing – belittles, and even denies. Yet, as one columnist has noted, “It must surely have come as a shock, even to his supporters, that John Key seems not to understand some of the basic principles of democratic government. In particular he seems to see no distinction between his own personal assurances and the law of the land.”

If this deeply undemocratic Prime Minister is arguably acting once again against the wishes of the majority of country, can or cannot this legitimately be called coercion – and render any decision-making questionably undemocratic…fundamentally invalid?

No-one who has read Vikram Kumar’s excellent NBR analysis of the implications of the TICS Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill and his response to Minister Amy Adams, can be left in any doubt of the potential of this bill to allow spying on New Zealanders at large, at the whim of a Prime Minister, or to oblige another country wishing to gain a surveillance of New Zealand citizens’ supposedly private communications.

As Kumar illustrates, the government has failed to explain the Bill in detail, and to engage in debate, both in media releases and in the House. “From the outside it looks as if the government has been very deliberate in trying to engineer the very thing that it is now accusing people of – a lack of information and understanding.

“There was zero consultation with service providers…{The Bill} means to provide surveillance agencies with secret direct access to the whole of a network’s traffic in real time, bypassing normal security and access requirements…Furthermore, the Bill provides for Cabinet to allow any government departments to join the SIS, GCSB and New Zealand police in undertaking lawful interception.“

In his apparent view of his position as ruler of this country, the Prime Minister has assured us that New Zealanders’ rights are safe in his hands. However, when he was recently grilled by a journalist on the GCSB Bill, particularly with regard to his disagreement with, and airy dismissal of, experts’ concerns, definitions of web metadata, and how this may be captured by the Bill, he was annoyed and walked out, immediately cutting short his press conference.

Moreover, for all his obfuscation, Key has had to admit, as journalist Audrey Young elicited, that “occasionally” foreigners “attacked” New Zealand computers, and this would be the type of instance under which the content of citizen’s computer might be accessed. Contrariwise, his claim that he himself would not let the GCSB look at the content of communications is facile. It ignores the fact that he only temporarily holds office. And we are well aware of the potential and temptation of governments to constantly encroach on the rights of citizens, and their privacy.

I am reminded that in July organisers in the UK told academics and others wanting to raise questions at a seminar for officials from China’s notorious Ministry of Public Security, then due to be held this August at Cambridge University, that they were barred from raising questions about human rights abuses, and well-documented accusations of torture, illegal detention, routine brutality and the denial of legal rights in China – as well as cyber espionage.

“Concerns have been raised by MPs in the UK about alleged links between the Chinese government and the telecommunications giant Huawei, which provides technology to BT and others. “ Moreover, this company has been described in the US a national security threat, and its activities curtailed in Australia. But it has been welcomed by our New Zealand government and is now supplying broadband networks, telecommunications technology and services.

The implications for New Zealanders are considerable.

I was also reminded of why the glib Tony Blair was eventually so profoundly distrusted by the British when he recently jesuistically claimed that “democracy is a way to decide who the decision-makers will be, not a substitute for making decisions.”

The profoundly democratic Swiss would not give him the time of day – and it was their fight to themselves make the decisions – not “to decide who the decision-makers will be” –  which made them the most successful and prosperous, genuine democracy in the world. By learning from their brilliant move, and insisting that New Zealanders are able to claim the same right, we, too, can achieve this.

What does it tell us about John Key’s lack of respect for anything approaching a genuinely democratic process that he assumes that, in so many areas since he has been Prime Minister, it is up to him to virtually rule the country – no matter that the majority of New Zealanders do not agree with him?

This former currency trader apparently has no conception of the fact that it should not be up to him, personally, to set up a structure that can in the future so easily able to be hijacked by individuals with an inimical agenda – or by the rise of powerful factions from the far Left of the Far right – both of whom have already caused considerable damage to this country.

Why is Key being allowed to virtually rule New Zealand?

The virtual bullying of New Zealander has now reached near scandalous proportions.  The only good result is that it should be being brought home more and more to us all that we have lost a democracy.

“As has been noted, the world of moral equivocation has translated so easily into this 21st century…” and into MPs  abandoning democratic standards to kowtow to the State – in the person of autocratic Party leaders.

Author John Le Carré ‘s special focus is on this same moral equivocation found underpinning political establishments…the trade-offs, the competing ambitions, the  inevitable “ corruption, cover-up and criminal deceit” wherever too much power is concentrated in the hands of too few individuals…the secret blurring of public and private interests highlighting relentless ambition – and moral cowardice.”

We have no reasonable grounds for asserting that this does not, and could not, occur in this country. Moreover, Le Carré’s depiction of the deep State – the inner core of the establishment as the real enemy of individual decency”… encompasses the “amoral, plausible, only half-educated individual,” often able to wield both charm and fluency…but craving money power and respect…” thriving where power lies.

One can reflect, too, that it was when Helen Clark was recently visiting Nelson  that  her Nelson-based rainbow coalition friend, Maryann Street, lined up to push the decent David Shearer out of his long white-anted Party leadership.

Who said…”There is no such thing as a coincidence…”

In Britain, the Conservative Party vice-chairman, Michael Fabricant, has been  “disturbed” to hear of ministerial aides warning backbenchers that their careers would be dented if they failed to support the government, even though Cameron ostensibly gave his party a free vote on the gay marriage legislation. Does anyone doubt that the same warning takes place here in relation to the passing of legislation along party lines which troubles individual MPs?

A Dominion Post correspondent has claimed that, similarly, although MPs were “granted” a conscience or free vote on the Sky City Convention Centre deal, John Key promised that National MPs who voted against it would lose their chances of promotion. Is this in fact the case? If so, the conscience vote was a con… “as a conscience vote would surely be done in secret.” He has a point.

The party system, including the retention of MMP, has proved so profoundly undemocratic that there is no excuse for retaining it.

As well as an autocratic Prime Minister who appears on good evidence to be virtually ruling the country, we have non-elected, and therefore profoundly undemocratic ministers, for whom nobody voted,  lso inflicting their damaging decisions on us. The notably arrogant and rude Chris Finlayson, a List-only MP made Minister of Treaty Negotiations, who previously shockingly suggested that radicalized iwi bypass the courts to strike deals directly with him, appears profoundly ignorant of the fact that some of the “compensation claims” he has been supporting, and which have impoverished the country, were not only unproven, but more than dubious.

Can Finlayson possibly be unaware that one highly reputable historian, Professor John Robinson, admitted that when hired to represent iwi, he subsequently removed (under threat of non-payment) ,  at the insistence of the taxpayer-funded Crown Forestry Rental Trust  (whose client was the Treaty of Waitangi Unit at the now scandalously politicized Victoria University)  research which would have contradicted dubious and contestable claims? And What of Judge Edward Durie’s warning about the dishonesty of iwi faking these claims?  There is plenty of evidence, for example, that the Ngai Tahu’s third full and final settlement of 1991 (which of course has been nothing of the sort, so manipulative is this powerful tribe) was well described as basically “a swindle”.   

We are now seeing cash-strapped hospitals constantly having to reduce very basic services to find extra funding — while literally hundreds of millions of dollars continue to be thrown at iwi claimants, even given their historically unproven, arguably highly imaginative, if not fraudulent, assertions.

While Finlayson snaps at critics to read the history books, his actions show either a profound ignorance of the insubstantial basis of these hugely costly and opportunistic claims…or what can only be a politicised agenda costing us all dearly. This includes conservative Maori families, fleeing to Australia and elsewhere to avoid tribal and family pressures, and to keep their families free from the inevitable backlash of fed-up New Zealanders.

Even granted all its flaws, a democracy that is governed by the majority of the people has historically been judged to be the most stable and desirable system of government for a country.

However, in New Zealand, we have reached the stage where powerful and determined individuals, together with minorities – both parliamentary and ethnic minorities in particular – can and do – as black writer Thomas Sowell has warned us –  routinely succeed in opposing the wishes of the majority.

As we move closer to the election, our 100 Days website – will advise on strategies to be used towards claiming back this country.

In the meantime, please let others know, too, of the publication of “The 100 Days, Claiming Back New Zealand… What has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians”. Tracing the infiltration of all our institutions, our schools, training colleges and universities, our socio-political, economic, religious and cultural organisations…(by no means excluding our intellectual,  poetry  and art  areas)… in order to undermine this country by neo-Marxism’s “long march through the institutions”  this book  has been described as essential reading.”

It carries the reminder of the BBC Reith lecturer, Niall Ferguson, that “reform (of our institutions, laws, regulations, and politics) must come from outside the realm of public institutions. It must come from us, the citizens”.

Available through Whitcoulls, Paper Plus, Take Note, or any good bookshop, it can also be accessed through direct link with the publisher, HATM. 

To be a truly democratic movement, your individual help is essential, both spreading the word about this important movement, and helping to provide financial support for nationwide advertising. Every little bit really counts…Thank you 🙂

Please also tell at least one other… And ask them to tell one other… to tell one other…outreaching.. Every new subscription to the mailouts on our websites also very much helps to let others know.

There is nothing in the minds of men and women more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

And, equally relevant? ”The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Dante Alighieri…Which translates into – doing nothing at all is not a real option

It is not enough to claim a country. It must be held. It must be held and made secure in every generation.”             


 © Amy Brooke, Convener – The 100 Days…Claiming Back New Zealand.