Key, the Artful Dodger? TPPA: Taxation without representation?
Fact or faction? The Trans-Pacific Partnership: will this be a case of “economic enslavement”? How can New Zealanders tell, when unforgivably, highly relevant vital information is being withheld from the country and taxpayers are being treated like children? And where are our supposedly “investigative journalists” when they are needed? Apparently, largely reading over one another’s shoulders.
What neither our National government nor our mainstream media is making plain is what exactly the TPPA means for New Zealanders at large. It’s being left to independent researchers and apparently better informed bloggers to attempt do just this, while the government, i.e. John Key’s handpicked inner circle of ministers (we all now know the remaining National Party MPs have very little, if any, say in the decisions ultimately made by the Prime Minister and his tight clique), say “Trust us!
Trust the State – Trust a government? The Swiss people would be incredulous at the suggestion they themselves would be excluded from knowing what is taking place in negotiations…essentially being fobbed off by politicians.
Why should we be so foolish? And why have we been tolerating this state of affairs for far too long? As Thomas Jefferson, the prescient and arch-champion of liberty warned us, “Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”.
In other words, power corrupts – and we can legitimately maintain that power has corrupted our government.
So where should we look to see the country’s best interests protected, for New Zealanders to have a full say in the decision-making that affects us all? And what position are we now in?
In essence, what we now have is taxation without representation. We should certainly now be well aware that we do not have that inclusive form of government called democracy. Our political parties, both this present National and the previous Labour one, on the actual evidence, now play follow the leader to carry out their wishes, once in Parliament. Both major parties have gradually distanced themselves from power-sharing, from operating in consultation with party membership throughout the country – in order to consolidate central power – that of their party oligarchy.
One of the most dismaying facts about our country slowly sinking into a state of quasi-serfdom, where our political masters are simply doing as they please (once the triennial wooing and manipulation of the public to achieve their carte blanche is over), is that the country is being infantilized. Adult new Zealanders now have decisions enforced on them – in spite of all the evidence that the majority of the population has made it plain it does not want them. We are being led by the nose.
John Key, so very skilled at charming journalists, with his I-really-like-you big grin and unswerving eye contact, recently said on NewstalkZB that, “You have to take the country with you”…implying that he does.
So very untruthful. But of course he was not challenged on this utter fabrication. How does one challenge a populist politician’s smarm and charm?
Any decent journalist could do so. Taking the country with him? Where does the country stand on assets sales? Where did it stand on the Marine and Coastal Area apartheid-type legislation? On the rip-off of the Emissions Trading Scheme? On being spied upon by government agencies? On good parents now being intimidated and reported if they smack a naughty child; on hospitals so very cash-strapped for funding that patients are told to go home in the small hours of the morning, and mothers are prematurely discharged after giving birth? On hard-working and effective aid agencies which care for destitute mothers and families, but are now sinking under the burden of no well-deserved state support? On none given to those voluntary community groups which save desperate mothers and babies from the killing fields of abortion, and a life-time’s regret?
What of the fact that, as Coroner Ian Smith recently pointed out, a woman last year released from a mental health unit, who drowned a week later, was let down by there being nowhere within the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board area for an older person diagnosed with mental health issues to be assisted – as this district health board prefers patients “to be living in the community”? What “community”? Why is there now nowhere to go for mentally ill patients, blithely discharged into this non-existent community? We know that, in response to an inappropriate ideology inflicted on New Zealanders, against nationwide opposition from those deeply concerned, institutional care was inappropriately removed as a refuge even from those who have nowhere to go.
How does this equate with Key personally boasting of handing over $200 million – let’s spell that out …two hundred millions dollars to one northern “tribe” alone on Waitangi Day 2013? Yet on Waitangi Day this year, another northern tribal conglomerate announced it was claiming $500 million. The Top of the South Island tribes have recently been paid off with a ridiculous $300 million for land claims.
However, is this a question of government double-dealing? These same tribes previously claimed that the ‘90s Ngai Tahu “compensation” should never have been given to Ngai Tahu for this upper South Island land, as they had no genuine claim to it. Have Ngai Tahu been required to pay back this proportion of their “compensation”? And are we going to have yet another round of claims from this consummately manipulative and, (according to the historical evidence) highly untruthful neo-tribal corporation, since their settlement was left open-ended? Still consistently bent on self-advantage, Ngai Tahu was greatly assisted at the time by then lawyer Chris Finlayson, the present Minister of Treaty Negotiations, much-loved by the liberal Left media, but whose suitability for his present position is highly questionable.
What has happened to this country that taxpayers essentially have been ignored? They have had no say at all in what well-respected researchers have fairly described as historically unjustifiable payments advanced by well-rewarded lawyers on board a highly lucrative gravy train. While fair-minded New Zealanders have always thought that genuine grievances should be addressed, the fact that it is recognised that iwi have pressured researchers to omit from massive claims on the taxpayer facts which would weaken their claim has caused the country to say Enough is enough.
Nor, as a balancing factor, is it ever emphasised what considerable benefits Maori (all now part-Maori only) have received as a result of European colonisation. The question is legitimately asked: Whatever happened to the principle of no taxation without representation – when the short-sighted Geoffrey Palmer established a Waitangi Tribunal to make recommendations to government – but with any balancing input from the majority of New Zealanders, who have been excluded?
Nor have had any questioning at all from a media which simply reports these claims and payouts – no necessary investigating. No hard questions are, or have been asked by supposedly professional journalists, even although it is obvious that for self-advantage, the “tribes” are now self-fracturing into smaller and smaller units, each with their own “tribal compensation” claim. Apparently forty tribal representatives signed the treaty. Yet, to date, 69 deeds of settlement have been signed, with many more still to come.
Why? What has been happening? Why are hundreds of millions of dollars continuing to be lavished on highly skilled, well-funded iwi now putting forward historically untrue and even fraudulent claims? These taxpayer handouts, taken without due consultation, are obligingly donated by this present government – headed by John Key and facilitated by the unelected Chris Finlayson, shockingly dismissing as “clowns” or “nutters” those raising highly relevant questions. Inevitably, questions are in return being raised about what to do about “rogue” MPs who reject all notions of accountability, show what many think is obvious bias, and are seemingly unable to be held accountable – or even to be required to supply answers to taxpayers’ urgent questions.
Too bad about the truth of issues? The current treaty industry machinations and its now fraudulent claims are shocking many, in view of what they are costing our cash-strapped country.
What of the nonsense of “a rock star economy…” while many retailers are struggling and small businesses continue to be forced to closed down, throwing good people with mortgages and families out of work – partly as a result of priority being given by government and private corporations to inferior goods from overseas, destroying our own industries. What of the closure of the valuable hillside railway workshops in Dunedin where generations of families had worked? The decision was made to buy instead inferior trains made in China, trains which have been plagued by problems, regularly breaking down ever since they were imported. These are now found to contain asbestos – although the contract to buy them specifically excluded this.
This pattern of closing down our own businesses, ignoring the social consequences and the displacement of families, has taken place all around New Zealand since the far Right ideology of the former New Zealand Business Roundtable achieved such mileage, politically, with the promise of what could be the reward, after parliamentary death, for those cooperating.
The result? The impoverishment of the country. Shops stay untenanted in busy shopping areas; the management of our housing market is almost incredibly incompetent; young families now can barely manage on even two salaries – with mothers prevented from looking after their children – instead, being forced out to work; the very wealthy are transferred straight up to the front of the immigration queue; and the Overseas Investment Office, incredibly enough, has no mandate at all (who among our “investigative” media are asking why government has specifically ruled this out? ) to consider the downsides to NZers of the foreign ownership buy-up?
What of the political scandal arising from US pressure being applied in an attempt to extradite Kim Dotcom? What of the attempt to ensure that Dotcom’s legal team were denied access to the information planned to be used against him? Moreover, what when the Government Communications Security Bureau’s systems deliberately deletes evidence relevant to Dotcom’s $6 million compensation case – well aware of it looming, yet claim this evidence has simply been “aged off”. Why the evasive jargon – including John’s Key’s assertion that his “raw intelligence” (meaning?) would be no longer relevant.
To go to the heart of the matter: Who believes them? And what a disgraceful business this is, particularly in that the GSSB is refusing to say when this information was destroyed, or for how long it is usually retained.
This extraordinary state of affairs is compounded by Prime Minister Key stating, last year, stating that “This is a spy agency. We don’t delete things. We archive them.” The adroit Key insists he still stands by the statement. And the question why the GCSB cannot retrieve the files from cloud storage facilities has not been answered.
What is actually happening to this country when Parliament no longer responds to the concerns of the electorate, and when it is no longer even remotely representative of ordinary people? Parliament has brought itself into disrepute.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, well protected by her journalist fans flattered by their direct line through to her, earned the label Teflon. Is Prime Minister Key the Artful Dodger? Dickens’s pick-pocket character in Oliver Twist was named for his skill and cunning in that respect.
Taxpayers can now claim with some legitimacy that their own pockets are being picked by government when they are forced to contribute to legislation without proper representation. Not only do we now have government without consent , but there is no doubt that the folksy John Key is, in reality, a highly skilful and cunning operator, a populist politician par excellence, who apparently is “relaxed”, “not bothered,’ “and comfortable about ” issues with which he should be bothered. The country certainly is.
What when governments ignore 5 successive referenda…but this Prime Minister dreams up the prospect of a totally unnecessary one in election year, a supposed change of our national flag, to waste all our time and distract NZers from what’s actually happening to this country? What when this Prime Minister is regarded as “dodgy on issues”, boasts of his drinking prowess, likes to show off, and is at times a national embarrassment. The British Press called him “a galloping colonial clot”, which did not come altogether as a surprise – even if we have to ignore the “colonial” condescension!).
We are well overdue to be asking what has happened to the question of government and ministerial responsibility. What of Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee stating he hadn’t yet had a chance to read new figures relating to the Christchurch rebuild – although it was pointed out his name was on the joint press statement which outlined these?
Central to all these issues, and at such a vital time for the country, shouldn’t we be demanding to be fully informed of the details of such an important proposal as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement when these are deliberately withheld from those it will affect – New Zealanders themselves? Its critics point out that there is a very real risk to New Zealand of virtual economic enslavement, given that “the TPPA apparently has the potential to give litigious US investors new rights to demand compensation for lost profits when our government acts in the public interest”.
Yet we, the people of this country, are now regarded as being of such little significance, in democratic terms, that this immensely important proposed treaty between New Zealand, United States, and 10 other countries can be ratified without even the New Zealand Parliament having any say in this matter!
As we see has been increasingly the case, the treaty will be signed and ratified by the Cabinet – directly contradicting the unelected (but Minister of Everything?), List-only MP Steven Joyce’s claim that Parliament itself would do so. The parliamentary select committee has now become basically irrelevant, a mere distraction from the fact we need to keep in mind…that our small country is now being controlled by a very small group of individuals, owing allegiance to their virtual master, a current leader.
Moreover, operating behind the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are corporate entities which can now inappropriately challenge the independent decision-making which should be the prerogative of the healthy, representative parliament we no longer have. While the Australian and British governments are rethinking their involvement in the TPPA as its fishhooks become more apparent – in the light of advice that the risks are too high, with the costs not outweighing benefits – our TPPA proponents are still not presenting the facts to New Zealanders.
What does it say about us that we have not sufficiently guarded those democratic rights which our forebears risked their live to defend – that we have been so careless as to walk past the fact that a democracy, once claimed, needs to be safeguarded by every generation?
What has happened to us when local governments are also now granting rights, on racist grounds only, to those unelected individuals demanding special representation? What has happened when Green eco-fascists have also taken to themselves far too much power, so that, for example, even an elderly, environmentally friendly couple who have spent their lives creating and maintaining bush reserves near Otaki, can be taken to court for hiring an arborist to clean up “a mass of tangled and broken branches, dead, diseased and dangerous trees” and face a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, or a fine of $300,000?
And what of the “official” polls that we now have good reason to doubt?
John Key’s democracy is no democracy at all – and the Labour alternative promises no better.
Given Agenda 21, the One World Government move to bring all countries under the controlling authority of an essentially fascist entity, working hand in hand with corporatisation – those immensely powerful and potentially destructive organisations underpinned by immense wealth – it is no coincidence that we are being led from crisis to crisis, with the resulting, by no means accidental, destabilising of our country.
We know from the evidence that we cannot look for help to our now deeply compromised and unrepresentative central government – very much part of the problem.
Our only solution is to remind individuals that essentially it is they, who in the end, determine what will happen to a country. Switzerland, a much smarter country, long ago came to this conclusion with the Swiss people themselves forcing their government to constitutionally embrace the 100 Days provision which is New Zealanders’ only real chance of claiming back this country.
Its brilliant simplicity lies in the fact that, regardless of whatever political party is in power; regardless of whatever political party deals are stitched up behind closed doors; regardless of the breaking of electoral promises… all power in the end is held by the Swiss people themselves. They fought for the right to insist on all legislation passed by Parliament to be halted for 100 days so that the people, individually – not the politicians – can decide whether or not it will actually become law.
Again there come to mind the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
“The greatest works are done by the ones. … It is the units, the single individuals that are the power and the might. Individual effort is, after all, the grand thing.”
All credit to those independent researchers and bloggers with the courage to highlight what is happening to the country on so many fronts today. When the mainstream media fails to do so, we owe a great deal to those who do.
Those who claim that they have a right to opt out, given that they “are not interested in politics”… could not be more wrong. As has been said elsewhere, unfortunately, politics is certainly interested in them.
You can help, as individuals, to win back this country by supporting us – by leaving your email address for our mailouts; by letting others, as many as you can, know about this movement whose time has come.
“If you are able to state a problem, it can be solved.” Edwin H Land.
Can you help by donating – any amount at all – see our 100 Days webpage – www.100days.co.nz – to assist us to advertise more widely, leading up to the election, to let others know this is a genuinely apolitical, inclusive movement?
It is action, not inaction, which has the only real chance against our now relentlessly intrusive State. And it all depends on each of us – yes, you, too!
© Amy Brooke