Wasn’t it a pledge, Winston? And why scientists are fed up.

Before the election, Winston, you were reported as saying that if New Zealand First was part of the next government, you would let the public decide whether to abolish the Maori seats (and cut the number of MPs in Parliament to 100.)  According to Radio NZ and other authoritative sources, you said Maori seats send a terrible message (they do) and vowed to hold a mid-term binding referendum on the two matters.  “The fact is that Maori don’t need to be told that they are not good enough to be equal, or that somehow they should be handicapped, or that somehow they should be pigeonholed…When did you ever hear Buck Shelford say “Don’t tackle me too hard, I’m a Maori…. or all those women playing in our netball team or any other team … When have you ever heard them say, “Don’t hit me too hard, I’m a Maori? Maori don’t need the Maori seats. They don’t need any more tokenism.” 

Quite true. And what did you do about this, Winston? All those probably thousands of New Zealanders who voted for you because they are fed up with the thoroughly racist policies more and more incrementally introduced under the recent National governments, in particular, feel thoroughly let down. Is it true that you did not even bother to raise this matter with Labour or National? We’d like to know, because as one correspondent sees it, the people that supported New Zealand First’s policies feel utterly left down. And that’s putting it very politely.  He was far more direct… 

Removing the utterly unnecessary, race-based Maori seats (given that there are now 29 part-Maori MPs in total, spread across our political parties) has been rightly viewed as a first very important first step to take against the race-based preferences now invading every aspect of government policy-making. These are more and more being inappropriately forced on children in schools, on students throughout our universities – and in all other institutions. There are now very well-paid government apparatchiks whose jobs centre on constantly forcing on us – and extending – these racist policies – including a quite fake “Maori” language – which bears probably about 10% relationship to the genuine Maori language. For example, how do you say, “The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment” in Maori? We need to start contesting this farcical situation. 

But meantime, we want to know what happened. It is true that you looked thoroughly exhausted at the time of the election. Some are wondering if you are well. But you have had enough energy to now bring up the issue of “dirty politics,” filing charges against the Opposition leader Bill English and three of his lieutenants in relation to the apparently deliberate leaking of information about the mistakes in your superannuation payments which were turned into an election scandal. Mistakes are just that. However, few would doubt that what should have been a privacy issue within a government department was used in an attempt to discredit you and reduce the percentage of New Zealand First’s votes.

It very probably succeeded, as earlier polling showed much higher support. But whether New Zealand First will now survive at the next election – given the abandoning of your own bottom line undertaking to put the issue of the Maori seats to the public – is another matter.  The fact that your promise has apparently not been followed up will probably be the last straw for many who felt that you at least stood against the corruption of the political scene and its throwaway, pre-election undertakings. Public cynicism, if not disgust at the way politicians let themselves and the country down has probably never been greater. Time for NZers to claim back this country, indeed. We should have learned by now that nothing will ever change, otherwise!  

The media groupies whom the public similarly have little time for have, however, raised an interesting question. Given that you had been intending to file charges against members of the National Party hierarchy, did you intend at any stage to throw the support of New Zealand First behind National – or was all the drawn-out bargaining simply to get the best deal from the Labour Coalition? This may have been a clever tactic – but when was the issue of what we all understood to be your non-negotiable promise – the abolition of the Maori seats – actually raised?  If not, why not? 

What so many concerned New Zealanders have now realised is that the National government hasn’t given a hoot about the growing push towards actual separatism, very much encouraged by the long tenure of former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, viewed as highly sympathetic to smoothing the way for iwi and hapu making the usual, never-ending financial claims against all other New Zealanders. Moreover, letters to this Minister, and indeed the former Prime Minister  (both are long-time close friends) either get ignored or hit enough of a nerve,  in the case of Finlayson, to receive a tart reply. This is not good enough, given that the utterly fraudulent issue of the supposedly “partnership” between Maori and the Crown is increasingly pushed at us all. 

The importance of the undertaking you apparently reneged on is because abolishing the anachronistic Maori seats would have removed a focal point for that radical activism which seeks constant media attention – and financial gain. There are no longer any full-blooded Maori – many of those making most of the fuss are predominately European  – or Euro-Asian –  and how much of their constant centre-staging is due to an inordinate sense of self-importance  –or simply greed… for the gravy train to provide more –  certainly raises the issue of some sort of moral/spiritual crisis  among individuals who make a part of their ethnic inheritance the most important thing in their lives – and pass on the same dead-end thinking to their children. 

All this posturing is completely removed from the lives of most New Zealanders of part-Maori descent. Doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, lawyers pilots, builders, farmers, fishermen, plumbers, contractors, chefs, truck-drivers…individuals with part-Maori ancestry – right across the professions and trades –  are living fulfilling and worthwhile lives, without  the slightest interest in obsessively focusing on  a part-Maori inheritance.  Many based or travelling overseas are glad to be away from it all. Far more worthwhile issues centre on their families, their jobs, and the commitment of the majority of most NZers to serve this country – while faithful to the democratic principles of respect for all individuals – regardless of colour, gender, race or creed. 

However, the bureaucratic push to centre-stage the issues on which radically activist part-Maori are basing their agenda is spreading its tentacles throughout every possible area of our life in this country. It’s coming from a very determined minority pushing hard to influence policy-making within government, local councils and wherever it can cause damage to our social cohesion.  

If we follow the allocation of money we find particularly egregious and damaging examples –  apart from the clamour for the universities and schools to now show “cultural sensitivity” – that is to prove that they regard suposed part Maori concerns as needing to be prioritised above all others! 

For example , we all know that government attitudes to science funding and innovation have been more than parsimonious – they have long been below the level New Zealanders should be able to expect to help advance our country’s interests, and our contribution to today’s world of discovery. Science funding for this reason has become hotly contested – and scientists have been turned into quasi-businessmen, forced to skew research interests to submit funding applications that follow strictly PC and racist lines.  Where the universities once valued and acknowledged the importance of pure research,  and paid their scientists accordingly, now the latter largely have to generate their own funding through business interests – as well as satisfying radicalised iwi. Their demands have brought about the situation whereby their race-based interests come first.  

 However, imposing racist criteria on funding applications is a disgrace. Few would disagree with the notion that scientific research should apply to part-Maori no more – nor any less – than to any other population group in New Zealand. 

This explicit or implicit requirement is found right across areas of government grants.  Vision Matauranga is a very good example, or rather, a very bad example of the recent National government’s politicisation of these and capitulation to these areas. The Endeavour Foundation of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), distributing a total of $58 million, has a mission statement – “To support research science or technology or related activities with the potential to positively transfer New Zealand’s economic performance and sustainability and integrity of our environment to help strengthen our society (meaning?) and give effect to Vision Matauranga polices.  

The latter is spelt out in a jargon-ridden, 52 page, pompous doorstopper which not only prioritises supposed Maori interests but what are supposedly “authentic Maori voices”- whatever these are. On the face of it, “authentic” apparently means the views of those who wrote this tedious document.  What is simply inexcusable is now requiring ALL applications for research-funding from the MBIE to consider Vision Matauranga nonsense. Previously, apparently one was able to states that one’s research didn’t have such relevance. Now, chillingly, a scientist must” provide evidence if he/she thinks that Vision now Matauranga isn’t relevant!   E.g.” If you think Vision Mātauranga is not relevant to your research, you should test this assumption with independent advisors with relevant strategic Vision Mātauranga experience. You will need to provide evidence to explain why you consider Vision Mātauranga is not applicable.” 

As one scientist notes, the twisted logic of this requirement is so outrageous that it almost sounds as if it could be challenged legally. Given the threat to his or her job or position, what scientist  is going to have the courage to do so?  And this is just what whoever drew up this outrageous demand relies upon. We are now living in a country where so many, trying to survive in a highly competitive workplace feel it is too risky to speak up. We now have reached a valid comparison with the former USSR – where, as the Russian poet Yevtushenko told us, to simply speak the truth had become an act of courage. 

There are numerous examples now of this shockingly divisive move to push separatist and racist  policies on this country. Minister Chris Finlayson, for example, should answer to the public for getting it very wrong in relation to the foreshore and seabed legislation. Opening yet another can of worms, the National government has allowed “customary  title” and “customary rights” to be contested by iwi, either in a new high court process –  or through direct negotiations with the Crown. Yet we have already seen how much damage has been done where iwi, in other areas, have been able to avoid due court process to deal with apparently partisan  Crown negotiators. Well-based evidence from reputable researchers has been simply ignored by this past National government – in  favour of virtually rubber-stamping  various dubious claims which should have been put to far more rigorous investigations. 

To establish customary title, this apparently naive government assured the public that very few claims would be relevant – that iwi would need to meet a number of tests, but that few would be able to meet the criteria for seeking customary title as they would have to demonstrate uninterrupted occupancy of the area claimed.

Both John Key and Finlayson claimed that very few iwi would be able to meet this criteria – so very few claims would be relevant. Were they just naïve – or were we misled? What has happened, of course, is what most of the country thought would happen. These pseudo-tribes have now laid massive claims for all of the foreshore and seabed – right around the coast of New Zealand. Even worse, it has been estimated that mounting even a single objection to each claim “could cost the public some $60,000 in fees – to say nothing of any costs involved in having objections prepared.” And inexcusably (given that the Maori economy is now worth $50 billion, reportedly “each Maori claimant is being offered thousands of dollars to prepare and file a claim…rightly regarded as only grossly inappropriate and utterly unfair.” 

It is not the first time that iwi claims against all other New Zealanders have been compulsorily funded by the public.  This ongoing process has been well and truly supported by this National government – one reason why so many New Zealanders have been glad to see it forced into Opposition – even in the face of considerable misgivings about various Labour-Coalition policies. 

It is in the light of these flagrant examples of what can well be regarded as cultural bullying that so many regard Winston Peters as having let us all down with his failure to keep his word.

 

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

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Open Letter to Winston – Jacinda is way out of line

Dear Winston –Please don’t shift your ground on a promise you made – and yes – it wasn’t an If…or a Maybe. It was an unequivocal undertaking. So many have trusted you. That’s important. So, as you know, is your integrity. So is public perception.  To now reportedly hint that it would be fair enough to back off your pledge to abolish the divisive Maori seats in Parliament,  because the Maori Party failed to win any, this recent election, is imply not good enough. You will be well aware that as long as the provision for the Maori seats exist, in law, they can be contested again, in a coming election.

This is an open letter to tell you how dismayed, even betrayed, so many thousands of New Zealanders will now feel if you shift your stance on your pledge to call for a referendum on at last removing these anachronistic seats in parliament. You know they are racist.  You gave your pledge as a bottom line. And as far as so many of us are  concerned, you were  actually promising what was long recommended, so that the country can at last say – We are one – or at least strive for equality for all, under the law.

Remember the democratic principle so very conveniently sidelined in recent years – as the white-anting of our New Zealand society has undermined our foundations?  This was the founding concept of modern democracy – pledging fundamental and equal rights to all people in law, regardless of colour, race, gender, or creed.  Any whittling away at this fundamental principle of a genuine democracy diminishes us all.

Recent vote-buying governments, persuaded by now very wealthy and powerful iwi, have backed away from keeping their word – as National did, to its shame. This breaking of a social contract, a pledge given to voters by a party leader, was not only regarded as an act of betrayal. It also lessened even further the respect in which politicians would like to think they are held. Equally damagingly, it takes away from so many the hope that New Zealanders try to hold fast to – of a country in which they once more count, a stable, undivided, peaceful society, respecting the values of those who fought to make this a better country.

 But we’re going backwards – not forwards. And retention of the outdated Maori seats, giving special advantages to those with even the very smallest part-Maori, genetic inheritance (Why?) is contributing to a growing push now towards promoting anything touching on Maori as inherently superior. Again – Why? The whitewashing of the realities of pre-European settlement country, of never-ending internecine tribal wars, of the barbarities of a ruling priestly and warrior class inflicting the cruelties of slavery, barbaric practises and the horrors of cannibalism, are no reason for regarding it as desirable that throughout the country, local government and statutory boards should be forced to kowtow to the supposedly superior insights provided by any individuals with even a sixteenth or  a thirty-second genetic inheritance from  the past.

You will be aware that the Auckland Council is seeking a legislative change to make an elected Maori councillor role compulsory. Incredible!  Even though Auckland councillors themselves have voted 10 to five against introducing a Maori ward. As one commentator has noted, the council’s attitude now equates to (with deeply Orwellian logic…)We can’t trust the majority of the public to vote for what we want – even though we’ve relied on them voting for us – so we therefore will subvert the democratic process…”

All around the country, the opposition to forcing local bodies and government liaison committees to grant special voting rights to unelected individuals on the basis of a part-Maori inheritance has been overwhelmingly rejected, as you know. Yet not for a moment has this past National government taken any notice of the wishes of the majority.

New Zealanders are not fools, and we now have a total contradiction of democratic values and freedoms by an overbearing government, pressured by the now immensely wealthy iwi (the Maori economy now is estimated at about $50 billion dollars. Most of this has been successfully withheld by the rich tribal corporations, with their tax-free status – (Why?)  – from an underclass of their own people in desperate need.

Removing the Maori seats in Parliament is a hugely important move – the very first step towards dismantling the new apartheid we have created – by which some are now more equal than others. And because of this and the vested interest these extraordinarily wealthy iwi have in promoting their own position and influence, and obtaining even more economic advantage for themselves, you will be under considerable pressure to walk away from that promise you gave the public.

You will also be under pressure because the present Labour Leader, Jacinda Ardern, is trying to manipulate you into giving in to her ill-thought determination to ignore the wishes of the country and have her own way  – with regard to preserving the seats.

Her attitude is inexcusable, given that able Members of Parliament of part- Maori descent are now to be found across the spectrum of political parties in Parliament. Labour itself has part-Maori members, National others. There are reportedly now 29 part-Maori MPs in total – strong proof that there is no discrimination against individuals of Maori descent winning  a place  in the House. 

Your own credentials as leader of New Zealand First and of part-Maori descent, long recognising the damage being inflicted on the country by the retention of Maori-only seats, are considerably superior to those of Miss Ardern. She is compromising herself intellectually by refusing to acknowledge that, given a part Maori genetic inheritance is no barrier to becoming a member of Parliament, there is no possible excuse for maintaining the Maori seats. This is doubly so, given that, to date the interests of this racist party have been to wrest even more provisions from the majority of New Zealanders.

Jacinda needs to drop her born-to-rule assumption, and acknowledge that it is not up to her to decide whether or not the Maori seats should be abolished. We’ve had to put up this sort of high-handed attitude from our MPs for too long. The decision is one for the people of New Zealand – not a handful of her Labour Party insiders. It’s time for her to take that on board, not arrogantly refuse to acknowledge that the decision does not belong to a politically-motivated group completely out of touch with most New Zealanders’ objections to this racist provision.

I sincerely hope you yourself have been misreported. Because if you renege on your commitment to put the abolishing of the Maori seats to the public at large in a binding referendum, then so many New Zealanders who have put their trust in you on this issue will loathe you. They are fed up with politicians promising one thing and doing another. Moreover, your stated intention to do this will certainly have meant a rise in the number of voters looking to your party.

The feeling of anger at the maintaining of special privileges, special scholarships, special treatment given in nearly all our institutions to those with even a claimed smidgen of Maori genetic inheritance, is now widespread  – with good reason.

What you were reported as saying in the National Business Review at the time will have given heart to so many. I quote:  “The fact is, Maori don’t need to be told they are not good enough to be equal, or that somehow they should be handicapped, that somehow they should be pigeon-holed,” Mr Peters said.

New Zealanders have taken this to mean that this referendum will be put to the whole country. To confine it to Maori alone – as you then seemed to subsequently be considering, would hardly be logical. It would be like asking the fox to vote for the abolition of hens.

Furthermore, any move to confine the referendum to those claiming to be Maori could be challenged on legal grounds.

There is no longer any definition of Maori. The former logical definition was done away with in the mid-70s by those with their eyes to the main chance – i.e. their ability to  include others  in their number who were, and are, predominantly European (or of other descent) as “Maori”  – in order to show a greater numerical strength  – aware of the political pressure they could then wield.

But it is obviously legally possible to challenge the definition of “Maori” – when those with less than half a Maori genetic inheritance claim to be basically Maori although they obviously aren’t – by any scientific assessment.

Canadian Judge Thomas R Berger travelled around Alaska in the late 1980s to interview the people, Indians, and Inuit, who lived in the villages. When the ANCSA (Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act) was reviewed, the cut-off point for declaring oneself of aboriginal (native) descent was a generous one. One could still be considered aboriginal (Inuit or Indian) if one had a quarter (25%) genetic inheritance. Below this, one was regarded as being predominantly not aboriginal, and therefore unable to claim this.  So why are we allowing this farcical situation in New Zealand?

Many of the most vociferous claimants to disadvantage – (or, contrariwise, of superior insight) because of a purported Maori genetic inheritance – are in fact not even one-quarter Maori. Yet we have allowed them to queue up for special benefits, courtesy of the taxpayer – which is basically a rort. Moreover, the Anglican Church has been silly enough – as have others -to say that one is Maori – and is entitled to be regarded as Maori, simply- if one “feels Maori”.

This is a nonsense. If I were deranged I could possibly regard myself as an Arab – or an Australian aborigine…or even an animal of some sort. But any “feeling” I might have would be at odds with the reality that I’m none of these. .

If you change your mind, and kowtow to the present Labour leader’s claim that she will not allow the discussion in relation to your undertaking to put the future of the Maori seats to the public at large to decide (and the country had no doubt that you meant a referendum binding on all) to be part of any discussion concerning a possible coalition, then she is not only being very foolish – but you would be honour bound to reject her terms. Nor should any referendum be confined confined to Maori only. Such a proposal would face formidable legal challenges, given that there is no longer any actual definition of Maori – all of whom are now part-Maori only.

Furthermore – it is also not accurate to say that such a referendum would be relevant only to part-Maori.  All other New Zealanders have been required to contribute financially  to supporting the Maori seats – and so, too,  the Maori Party…a prime example of the cost to the country at large of this ongoing movement to give one sector of the community special rights – at the expense of the majority.

I’m sure you personally are well aware that prioritising identity politics has been destructive and divisive to New Zealand. The only ones to benefit from it are those well and truly milking the system – at the expense of us all.

I’m afraid, Winston, that if you do not want your integrity to be doubted by those who have long supported you – because of your much-respected commitment to a unified country, it will not do for you for you to renege upon, or equivocate about, your original promise to mount a binding referendum – to be put to all the country.

Many New Zealanders have consistently supported your stated aims and defended you against your detractors. They will not want to continue to do so, if you break your word. And you would deservedly lose the respect in which many hold you for your long stand against the inherent corruption of race-based politics. We must trust you on this.

Kind regards

Amy

 

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

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What taxes? The National Party’s stunning hypocrisy – versus Labour’s learning curve?

How many New Zealanders are aware of one of the National Party’s most damaging impositions on the country  – that in these three years since the 2008 election, it has imposed, or increased, reportedly 15 taxes, without prior warning?

Bill English increased GST from 12.5% to 15%. Remember ? John Key promised this wouldn’t happen. Any surprises here?

So let’s look at this list  – while National tries its best distraction tactic – pointing the finger at the Opposition.

However, among the National Party’s legacy?

Taxes were raised on KiwiSaver

Charges were increased for Internal Affairs – Births, deaths & Marriages

Student loan repayments increased from 10% to 12 %. Overseas-based New  Zealanders are also being charged interest on their loans

The average fee for tertiary education has also increased.

Passport charges increased from $135.00 to $180.00

Civil Aviation Authority fees rose

Road user charges increased

National slapped on an additional 9 % fuel tax increase

What about the large, reportedly unnecessary ACC levy increase?

Prescription charges increased by 66%

New online company filing fees were imposed on businesses

Revising of the scope of Fringe Benefit Taxes

National tried to tax car parks and plainclothes police uniforms

A lowering of Working for Families abatement threshold and the abatement   rate – taking money out of the pockets of families.

Imposing an incredible $900 Family Court fee

Descending to squeeze even children’s earning, by imposing what many consider a contemptible tax on the small earnings of paper delivery boys and girls.

Yes, Labour’s over-confident proposals to impose taxes did not go down with the electorate – any more than Gareth Morgan’s ill-thought proposal to apparently punish people who own their own homes. On the basis that people who rent pay for renting, Morgan apparently thinks it would be a wonderful idea if people owning their houses should also pay rent. The arguably unjust, even bizarre idea that this multimillionaire has come up with, completely ignores the fact that the equivalent of paying rent by home-owners has been the many years of paying off a mortgage. And of course they already pay an additional rent in the form of local government rates on their housing and land. Morgan makes no acknowledgement of the fact that those renting properties make no contribution to rates.

Jacinda Ardern obviously still has a lot to learn – at least she seems to have taken this on board. Just as well. Her hint that Labour might not tax the family home – but could tax the land underneath it  – is also weasel territory. It overlooks the fact that this land is already taxed by the rates that local government demands – constantly upping them, and always above the rate of inflation.

Between the extortions of central and local government, New Zealanders have been having a very hard time – and this doesn’t even take into account the best of our farmland and scenic reserves now being snapped up, under National’s too comfortable accommodation with the mega-wealthy – including, worryingly, Communist Chinese – and being priced inevitably out of the reach of New Zealanders. We are losing our land – at the same time that we have been incrementally losing our freedoms,   and if there is any more money to be squeezed out of us, National will not hesitate to do so.  Already another fuel tax by National is mooted.

In the past  three years, since the 2008 election, what National has basically been doing is scraping the barrel. We already know that their boast of the surplus they have achieved has been based on squeezing tight every single important service they could get their hands on – the hospitals constantly ordered to return more to the government; mental health services in shocking disarray; youth help and drug rehabilitation under-funded – no tax too mean-minded not to be imposed. Yes, Labour is still an unknown risk  – but National’s avaricious grab for any possible tax, its utter arrogance and lack of consultation with the country. make it too undeserving and too big a risk to vote back in.

However, apparently the media never learn. A too–often soppy-sounding  Dompost columnist, who has apparently stayed close to the political scene for too long, has attacked Labour’s consideration of the capital gains tax… (but doesn’t mention any of National’s taxation impositions, during its recent three year term. ) She describes Labour’s  airing of a  possible capital gains tax  as “cavalier and uncaring about the uncertainty it created among people whose financial future was tied up in property.” What an extraordinary statement!  – given her failure to recognise that one of the reasons the capital gains tax has been so often kicked out of the arena is that most MPs own multiple properties – they themselves, while cavalier about inflicting taxes on others – are not quite so keen when it comes to their own pockets being raided.

It is not just as Tracey Watkins blandly reports,  that “a capital gains tax has always been fraught electorally because of the kiwi love affair with property.”  What about our MPs love affair with multiple properties?  And her what of her inability to stand off and analyse the issues – without over-praising the politicians with whom she is constantly in touch ?  E.g. No guesses about  “probably two of the nicest people you will meet in politics. They are both supersmart, genuinely care, and have empathy and emotional and  intelligence in spades.”

Grief…what about a lot more  objectivity, Tracey – instead of what sounds like a failure to remain emotionally detached? Why fall for the smarm and charm offensive that is so crucial for politicians to dish out – around election time?  It doesn’t help if  female reporters gush like this – Watkins  apparently needs to toughen up. And she is still finding excuses to praise the evasive and slippery John Key – “ One of National’s most successful Prime Ministers, because he never let ideology  get too far ahead of pubic opinion.” Sheer nonsense, Tracey –  he had the gift of the gab, and is regarded as having had far too close an attraction to the Communist Chinese super-wealthy, who were keen to support  him  to get rid of the Union Jack  from our flag. They are still massively contributing to the National Party’s fund-raising efforts.  Is it really too much to wonder why?

Key opened the floodgates to unmanageable immigration, was basically responsible for all the sneaky tax increases National introduced this last term  – and he took no notice of the country when he wanted his way – the TPPA was a very good example of this… Many will argue he got out  – seeing the writing on the wall.

Let’s hope it’s also on the way for this damaging government – and that New Zealand First, the one party which has a chance of reining in the excesses that the two major parties consistently indulge in – is able to make its presence a formidable reality in the new period of government ahead.

 

© Amy Brooke Help us fight for the 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement!

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network! https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf

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More pie in the sky from National and Labour. Winston’s last chance?

To many New Zealanders this election has become a farce, an American-style leaders’ standoff between a complacent, smug-looking Bill English and a young, unproven new Labour leader with the gift of the gab so necessary for a politician trading on charisma. This, eventually, as we have learned to our cost, is so often very damaging. The two major parties are vying to outdo each other with the pots of gold they are promising. But it is we New Zealanders who will have to face the consequences. And the realisation of the basic corruption of this process has increased the contempt with which many New Zealanders now regard politicians. Moreover, there’s widespread concern that the control of this country is passing out of our hands.

For example: The recent fundraising event at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel attracted hundreds of very wealthy, financially supportive Chinese, more than keen to see the National Party returned to power. We should be asking ourselves why? And  Ron Asher’s “In the Jaws of the Dragon”, produced by Tross  Publishing, is a must-read for New Zealanders concerned (and all New Zealanders should be very concerned) about how New Zealand’s  National government is bending over backwards “to accommodate the interests of Communist China at the expense of the prospects and interests of ordinary New Zealanders” .  There is little doubt that China’s ruthless and repressive government is intent on economically colonising and dominating our economy and key resources –  parallelling its build-up of armaments and  the intimidation of its neighbours.

Many worrying about voting carefully – and walking past the usual fringe candidates – will be thinking that although their civic responsibility requires them to take an interest, and indeed a real part, in the democratic process, this does not mean that they have to actually vote for any electorate candidate. Always compromising, by attempting to support the lesser of two evils, isn’t necessarily required of us – and is certainly not the best way to aim for what has now become essential. This is the reform of our institutions –  first of all of politics, including the hasty passing of inadequately thought-through laws and regulations  endlessly inflicted on the country –  with highly damaging consequences. 

Jacinda Ardern’s proposed new water tax is a very good example of just this – feel-good legislation which will hit dairy farmers, wine-growers, and those commercially growing vegetables and other foods for New Zealanders’ tables. Even more ominously, to allow the government to tax such water usage (overseas companies are another issue that urgently needs addressing)  will be, as far as our own people are concerned, wedging open the door of the vitally important understanding that water and air are not taxable  commodities for a government to pounce on, to take advantage of its people. Given the incremental creep of the State – with the knowledge that yet another tax lies within reach – the likelihood of this water tax eventually being extended to households is a very strong one.

Other aspects of Labour’s grab for power are equally dismaying.

How many are aware that its deputy leader, Kelvin Davis, has promised a most destructive piece of legislation with regard to an issue which the country has had enough of?  Winston Peter’s pledge to abolish the Maori seats has been met with relief nationwide – relief, because of the already damaging consequences of so much of the ongoing divisive and costly provisions which have too long haemorrhaged taxpayer funding away from much needed areas of real need.

Under the National Party’s ongoing neglect of this important reality in recent years, it is no surprise that OECD data has established that on a per capita basis, New Zealand’s housing issue is one of the worst in the world.  Only recently, with an election in its sights, has National faced up to what John Key acknowledged in 2007 – but then kept blatantly denying until late in his term of office – that Auckland in particular has a housing crisis. Moreover, the ongoing granting of often highly challengeable “compensation” funding to manipulative iwi has very much contributed to the squeeze on vital health and social services in all other areas of the economy. The billions of dollars accumulatively handed out to ensure preferential rights and privileges for those with even a smidgen of Maori inheritance has been more than questionable.  Markedly undemocratic in conception – it has been given with extraordinary largesse – not on the basis of need – nor of equal rights for all – but as some sort of reward or compensation for a minority of New Zealanders whose part-ancestors arrived before the colonial settlement of this country.  An accumulation of evidence also now shows that they were by no means the first to arrive.

Meanwhile, in every walk of life, in the professions, the trades and industry, in the factories, in farming and forestry, New Zealanders of part-Maori descent perform as individuals, without claiming superior rights or entitlements. Only the (part)-Maori MPs and the big players, the now wealthy and corporative iwi, continually pushing for self-advantage and employing their well-funded lawyers to squeeze every last ounce and more “entitlement” from the now corrupt treaty industry,  will  be supportive of the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party’s intent to entrench the Maori seats in parliament.

If this isn’t a racist move, what is?  Part–Maori MPs have long won places for themselves in exactly the same way as other New Zealanders – and the country is fed up with the race-based politics that Labour is now endorsing further – let alone the National Party’s forcing of local bodies to take on board unrepresentative and unelected “Maori” advisers, whose apparently superior insights will guide us all.  Only Winston is challenging this corruption of the democratic process, overwhelmingly supported in this stance by the majority of New Zealanders. And that Peters has already promised to put directly to the public any new, New Zealand First’s legislative proposals, post-election, not already covered in New Zealand First’s manifesto, brings his party closest to the democratic principles so conveniently abandoned in the past by  Labour and National – to all our cost.

Many New Zealanders will be feeling caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, given Labour’s lack of any real costing of its reform proposals – and the realisation of what the present National Party leader’s much vaunted economic prowess has cost the country. Contrary to his assertions, it has not come as the result of increased productivity – but by prioritising unprecedented and highly problematic levels of immigration – replacing a much-needed emphasis on developing our own industries. It has very much contributed to the extraordinary and continual squeeze on the hospitals, mental health care, and other  essential services, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation. There has long been a shocking reduction in areas that New Zealanders were once far more able to access. But the waiting lists for much-needed hospital operations are very much still with us. Emergency services are barely coping, and New Zealanders can now find themselves in beds in corridors – with wards too full to admit them. Moreover, we are now being forced to carry the costs of foreigners who access our hospitals and health services – but abscond without paying. This shouldn’t be happening. No visa should be granted for entry into New Zealand for those who do not carry health insurance to cover such costs. Why haven’t our governments enforced this?

The level of poverty in this country today is such that the Salvation Army reports that they have never seen such a level of homelessness – while this National government, bragging about its economic achievements, has allowed housing affordability to be placed beyond the reach of so many New Zealanders. In three months of this year alone, the government spent a record $12.6 million paying for short-term, seven day hotel stays for those in desperate need. Many thousands are on a waiting list for social housing. Moreover, the new education reform package which Bill English is highlighting has almost nothing whatever to do with the real crisis of education in this country because of its dumping down these last five decades. Education has become a political tool in this country,  with recent both Labour and National Ministers of Education showing minimal comprehension of what has gone wrong and why…and performing poorly with regard to holding the ministry responsible. To call their handling of their portfolios clueless is no exaggeration. 

Given the lack of any great enthusiasm for any for either of the major two parties – apart from the media’s love affair with Jacinda Ardern, which will undoubtedly carry over to increased Labour votes, this country is in trouble. The question facing so many is why they should vote for an electorate candidate they can’t trust – or who will put his/her party before the wishes of the electorate? Or why give a party vote to any of the major parties, given these recent years of prioritising their own interests and the behind-the-scenes trade-offs, and cover ups.  What of the Todd Barclay affair?  What of the extraordinary number of texts (reportedly over 450!)  English sent to his former electorate staff in the months leading up to her resignation.

 Who was telling the truth? And what of the fact that an increasing number of government departments seem seriously dysfunctional – or are leaking like sieves?  Who leaked to National the information about Winston Peter’s superannuation repayment? We’ve been here before, when it was revealed security intelligence staff were supplying politically damaging information to political operatives in the then prime minister John Key’s office.

Given  the apparently inevitable fracturing of New Zealand First, with its also internal party squabbling, poor organisation and lacklustre List candidates with sharp elbows – (and the apparent cold-shouldering of potential  well-qualified candidates which might have posed a threat to its inertia  and complacence)  there’s a question  many will face. Should they refrain from voting for a local candidate more wedded to the party than to his/her electorate, and simply give New Zealand First their List vote – to allow Winston his last chance? Those questioning his inability to ensure New Zealand First’s largely invisible List candidates have performed well in public – raising the question of whether it is  simply that largely they have been  a lacklustre lot – or whether Peters prefers to centre-stage –  may well be wavering. However, given the fact that the political world has always attracted prima donnas, and that this does not negate a commitment to standing firm on actual principles, many will think there are stil very good reasons, at least at this particular election, for supporting him.

One is that although there is every possibility that New Zealand First will implode after this electoral term, once Winston has moved on, he has made one enormously important pledge. While Labour is promising to entrench racial preference in his country, Winston has staked his electorate commitment on the opposite. And it is Winston who represents the views of the backbone of this country – the real New Zealanders working on the land, in small factories, in the trades and industries and professions. Everywhere one turns, New Zealanders now overwhelmingly swamped by more and more unwieldy unrealistic, and even ominous, compliance issues, have had enough.

How many are aware, for example that depositing $10,000 in the bank brings you to the attention of the police? Under the guise of checking for money-laundering, this state-spying move targets New Zealanders going about their business… selling a car, or quite legitimately indulging in what should be private transactions. Even more ominously, and to the considerable disquiet now of family lawyers, anyone giving even $1000 to be invested by a family solicitor now  has to be reported. There are lawyers objecting – as they should –  and discussing refusing to abide by such a demand. But every law firm in future will have to have a virtual government spy  – that is some within the firm to see that this compliance issue is enforced   – or the inevitable consequences will follow.

What has happened to the country is that basically, we have been losing it. Many will regard National as accelerating this process – given its quite shocking record of prioritising the interests of foreign, including Communist Chinese investors and buyers, over those of New Zealanders. However,  Labour’s deputy leader shows no sign of understanding the essence of democracy – with his own intent to prioritise the interest of those wedded to divisiveness in this country, rather than social cohesion and stability.

 Many will think that Winston still represents the hope of all New Zealanders – not for the Trojan Horse of “diversity” – but for an ability to live as one in the sense of sharing the hope of a future devoid of the outpouring of racist policies and funding in which National have been even worse than Labour – and which Bill English is still indulging in.

We can actually fight to claim back our country reform, protesting the whittling away of our democratic rights and freedoms, by withholding our electorate vote – unless we have an outstanding candidate we can trust.  Yet when, in recent years, has any Labour or National candidate, with the exception of the principled Damien O’Connor,  stood up against his political colleagues to challenge polices the country does not support? O’Connor  also reminds us that National, including Bill English, have  long been determined to avoid a much- needed investigation into why the Pike River mine tragedy was so shocking handled – and to oppose the cover-up which still attempts to prevent families having answers they deserve – and access to recovering the bodies of those they loved and lost.

There has been too much of a whiff of corruption around National’s term in government for many New Zealanders to want to see it remain in power. And if enough New Zealanders were to deliberately withhold an electorate vote, it would force much–needed public debate about what has gone wrong with this country – and how it can be rectified  – in order to restore integrity to the political system. Which is where the 100 Days movement, so successful on doing just this for the most successful democracy in the world – comes into its own.

Isn’t it time we grew up as a country, to insist that it’s the people who should be in charge of the important decision-making – not an arguably venal political class? It can be done – it is a movement well under way. And looking at what these electoral bribes are going to have cost us all – by next time around – our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand initiative has a very good chance of more than making its presence felt.  We are under way – join us to support us.

Help us fight for the 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement!

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network!
Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

 

 

 

Recycling Bill English? Or we, the people…?

Are our supposedly superior, wise politicians costing us too much?

Should we keep regarding them as born to be in charge of us all? Or, lest we forget… is it time we grew up, as a people?

New Zealanders have understandably lost confidence in our politicians – not only to actually listen to New Zealanders – which they demonstrably don’t – but to even be competent.  Too many government policies no longer favour the public good. So we are joining other Western countries no longer impressed by being governed by political classes paying far too little attention to putting the interests of their own citizens first, and with far too much unwarranted confidence in their own decision-making.  Something so often happens to very ordinary people once they become politicians – and the public here – as in England and elsewhere  –  heartened by  Brexit’s stunning win,  is now questioning how our political system works, and how we can rein in our born-to-rule politicians. And yes – we do have a practicable solution within reach – The 100 Days  – see www.100days.co.nz . Or are we happy to still be led by the nose…?

In a recent massive throw-out from my study, I came across an old reply to me from Bill English.  I can’t say I’m surprised at its evasiveness, though, to be fair, it was written in 2002 – 15 years ago  – and found again only now. And certainly, people do grow up intellectually. However it’s well said that anyone can become a Prime Minister – as John Key, a supremely ambitious money trader proved – arguably causing a great deal of damage to the country – damage that that would horrify our parents and grandparents who fought in more than two World Wars, so many servicemen and women giving their lives to preserve New Zealand – and a freedom and way of life now fast being lost to us.

So what of our present Prime Minister, whose reply to me came when I wrote, finding (as with others) it almost incredible what he said when comparing one of the  Lord of the Rings films to Tolkien’s masterpiece. What he stated was that his “preference” was for the film. But, hmm,  well no – he hadn’t actually read the books. 

So how could there be any preference there? It won’t be lost on the reader that one can’t compare one thing to another …unless one is familiar with both.

But then, when did the reality that facts don’t line up ever bother a politician?  When also queried about his use of the word “elitist” in apparently a pejorative sense, a comment which might well raise doubts about whether he thought Tolkien’s books too high-powered intellectually to be accessible to the ordinary reader (or to him?)  – and reminded that bright children down at intermediate school level were reading them) –  he pulled a metaphorical rabbit from a hat.  With the kind of double-speak in which politicians excel, he replied, “The film is now definitive of the book – people will see Jackson’s Ents, (sic) Helms Deep is now Jackson’s Deep”.

Well no – it isn’t and his “definitive” means basically nothing. Moreover, as an English graduate,  our now Prime Minister should have been well aware that the printed word can convey nuances and subtleties which the visual version of a story cannot match. The omission of Tom Bombadil, for example, who represented important things central to the story (as Tolkien himself noted) but was left out of the film, was a disappointment to many readers of the trilogy.  In fact, any criticisms of Jackson’s film centres on his lack of much-needed editing, as well as his somewhat ham-fisted approach in areas that required more understatement. Even Weta Workshop’s brilliance was not enough to excuse the tedious, repetitious close-ups of the ugliness of the Orcs – and the loveliness of the land of the Elves was not successfully conveyed. Jackson does a better job with horror, than its opposite.

We’re accustomed to say that people are entitled to their opinion. But what sort of opinion rests upon no foundation?  Our present PM’s preference for a film -compared to a book which he had never read – is of course no preference at all. Ah, but politicians can bluster – as in his reply, when he added that,  “- well there are lots of books more challenging than Lord of the Rings.” But then, again, if he hadn’t actually read The Rings trilogy…to what “more challenging” books would he be capable of comparing it?

Coming again upon this correspondence, it struck me how far what the Irish call “the gift of the gab” can carry a politician. Add it to an ability to exude charisma – and a country is in danger. It has happened right throughout history and we never seem to learn from it, and to question why we are so foolish as to keep paying lip service to the notion that “leadership” is more important than the knowledge that any real democracy depends upon the genuine participation of so-called ordinary men and women, conducting their own lives, prioritising their families – but with a close eye on what their politicians are up to.

Yet we are aware that  the cult of leadership which grows around determined individuals has led to the greatest bloodbaths of all  –  and the  siren call of  highly destructive individuals  – the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, today’s  Kim Jong–un and so on whose indifference to what happens to their own people, sacrificed to their  leader’s ambitions,  should be a lesson to us. Wars in which scores of millions die pointlessly and needlessly are a twisted tribute to the danger of that concept of the importance of leadership which we are always being asked to defer to. And as a well-respected British journalist, under the pseudonym of Alpha of the Plough pointed out, “There is a large part of the public …which will believe anything because it hasn’t the faculty of judging anything but the size of the crowd, and will always follow the ass with the longest ears and the loudest bray.”

If it strikes some readers that this is a very apt description not only of some of our recent leaders –  but also now of the mainstream media, playing follow-the leader not only in their admiration for our recently departed  and disastrously charismatic Prime Minister –  very few of us would disagree. The now predominantly left-wing media have their favourite politicians, and coat-tail one another’s thinking with regard to the mis-called” liberal” and “progressive” issues of the day. Our mainstream commentators’ over-confident pronouncements have become inimical to quality thinking. Editors now routinely suppress letters from correspondents with whom they disagree. Nor is it a healthy sign that comments in response to unsigned editorialists and opinion-writers in some major New Zealand newspapers on-line have now been discontinued. In this respect, the NBR (National Business Review) deserves readers’ support for its healthy promotion of vigorous debate and feedback.

However, that silent majority which the politicians still fear, anxious lest they begin to realise their real power, can take heart. An excellent new monthly, Your Voice, edited by Mykeljon Winkel, available online or as  a print subscription, is doing a brilliant job of tackling some of the quite blatant untruths now being peddled in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi…as well as examining other relevant issues of today. It can be found at www.newzealand voice.co.nz. And although an interview with Judith Collins contains a politician’s very typical equivocations and evasiveness in response to direct questions put to her, there are interesting and relevant pieces throughout.  An article by John Ansell, in particular, in the February issue – not Race, Not Gender, Just New Zealander… The Reason for the Existence of the Treaty presents admirably concisely the reason that the Maori chiefs at the time had every good reason to welcome the treaty – and well understood that they were yielding sovereignty to the British Queen.

Other excellent articles in relation to our nation’s history throw more light on the truth of Maori European interaction than today’s media bother to attempt. The March edition includes Bruce Moon’s We Have Just One True History (“And so we come to the Rangiowhia affray, about which probably more flagrant lies have been touted than any event in our history”. Moon’s rigorous research reminds me of Alan Everton’s former excellent dismantling of  Ngai Tahu’s prevarications and the utter distortions, let alone falsehoods which it so successfully employed to squeeze a  third “full and final” settlement for this corporatised pseudo-iwi – one which, on the actual evidence, Parliament should never have awarded.

 But today, as we all know, too bad about actual evidence: it doesn’t count. Today’s deliberate muddying of the waters around treaty issues has basically been for the purpose of allowing conniving iwi on the make, (by no means representing the majority of part-Maori)  to gain more and more economic and totally undemocratic political advantage. And of course of there is always the much loved-microphone – or the newspaper headline , those sops to vanity and hubris obediently supplied by our compliant media, always keen to stir the pot…but not so keen to allow that very necessary debate which helps to arrive at the truth of issues. Yet we are well aware that, in a democracy, exclusive rights proposed in law, intended to be bestowed on any racial group, are simply untenable…and basically unconstitutional. This hasn’t stopped National from ignoring the wishes of the majority of us. Such a party has become a danger to the country and for this reason, David Rankin’s petition, in Change Org, deserves all our support.  https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-abolish-auckland-council-s-maori-statutory-board?recruiter=694585883&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

In a country like New Zealand we have had democratic safeguards to protect us (to some extent only) from the supremely ambitious individuals always there in our political cliques, some with honourable motives – others convinced that we must be inveigled into subscribing to the ideology to which they are wedded – as with the socialist Helen Clarks’ One World Government – and John Key’s attempt to remove the Union Jack from our flag.

The latter of course was line with the wishes of wealthy Communist Chinese working behind-the-scenes to facilitate this, And what of Key’s neglect of so much that badly needs addressing in this country, denying even the unprecedented housing crisis which now has so many New Zealanders impoverished, living in cars, in garages, on the streets? Bill English also showed himself totally ineffectual here…The damage caused by virtually unrestricted immigration, used to create the illusion of economic buoyancy…the sell-out of this country, our productive farms and businesses to Communist Chinese interests  – and the flogging off of our high country sheep stations  to the super-wealthy Americans and others seeking a bolthole – all of whom can buy out New Zealanders’ rights to our own land, our remaining productive industries, our housing stock? These are the legacy of our recent leaders, and the yes-men and-women who surround them in parliament. Sycophancy rules.

In all these destructive policies, at least publicly, our present Prime Minister, Bill English, has been complicit. How much can we rely upon his ability – a consummate yes-man, as John Key’s lieutenant, to face up honestly to what has happened to this country?  Most of us wouldn’t bet on it.  So why ever would we vote for him to be our new Prime Minister? And when the media kept boasting about Key, with his 30% or thereabouts rating as Prime Minister being so very popular, they were guilty of the fact that, looking objectively at the figures, we know that two thirds of the country did not want him there.  60 to 70% did not rate him. But in the eyes of a largely infatuated commentariat, subject to his switched-on charm and smarm; given special interviews; beaming eye contact; flattered by his attention: recipients of bottles of wine, Key could do little wrong – just as Trump can do no right. The lesson from Brexit has apparently been totally lost on our own media circles.

Can we now be called the Stupid Country? What of the then Finance Minister Bill English’s failure in our supposedly representative democracy, to actually represent the wishes of the country when polling made plain New Zealanders opposition to the potentially damaging TPP deal? Where is the actual evidence that he ever stood up to the seemingly folksy but basically autocratic John Key? Compared to other countries – even Australia, for example the ruling National party’s failure to acknowledge this – let alone to acknowledge the housing market disgrace was because if John Key didn’t want to, neither did any of the Nats. No Sir…

Why then of the theory of the wisdom of the crowds – rather than the conclusions of a select few? The ruling National government has apparently been unable to acknowledge the pitfalls in the TPP which have been very plain to the reasonable onlooker. The determination of government to ignore public opinion has perhaps been a tipping point to us all. Perhaps we are beginning to grow up as a people- in the same way as the English have , at last, reclaimed their country from its  EU stranglehold.  And we in this small country have been equally guilty of allowing to be forced on us every failed doctrine that has already caused so much damage in the UK.

Nowhere has the damage caused by obdurate politicians, convinced of their superior thinking and leadership skills, been more evident than recently, across all Europe . What we can fairly call the sheer stupidity of politicians like Angela Merkel –   far too late rethinking her arrogant, authoritarian rulings which have plunged Germany into such disarray  – needs to be recognised for what it was. Europe is now overrun by far more refugees than can be successfully assimilated   –  and among these Isis terrorists have been successfully smuggled in.  Merkel’s virtual bullying of other countries, wherever a Muslim population has now established a considerable and divisive presence, has lead there also to growing social destabilisation, violence and crime, the ill-treatment and raping of women, and mounting welfare bills. Even England is in trouble. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10190/islam-england-france

Diversity, multiculturalism – all the much-touted clichés have now been shown to be quite wrong directions for any country to move in.  The much maligned Enoch Powell’s warning in the 60s that mass immigration would preclude assimilation, and that such a large volume of foreign nationals inevitably concentrated in major cities would lead to ghettoisation, and Balkanisation, was genuinely prophetic, as Michael Davies points out in a recent Australian Spectator. It was the know-best politicians who pilloried him – aided by an always cooperative mass media. Again, it was so-called ordinary people who also warned against Britain yielding its independence and judicial separateness in important areas of national decision-making – such as allowing the judiciary to become subservient to the rulings of Brussels. So very few politicians,  with notable exceptions such as Powell and Margaret Thatcher, (who, loving their own country and its traditions “understood why immigrants would be reluctant to completely abandon theirs) foresaw what lay ahead.

And we in this country are now having to put up with the same sort of ill-thought nonsense emphasising “diversity” – i.e. the lack of assimilation, allowing in those large numbers of immigrants which too often lead to the clash of cultures, the attack on the stabilising values of the home country, the clamour for an undemocratic separateness, and the displacement, today, of our own people in the job market and housing. This, apart even from that fact we are losing our most productive farmland to the rapacious Communist Chinese’s self-serving interests – and the best of our high country sheep stations to those others plum-picking land now priced well beyond the reach of New Zealanders ourselves.

Every now and again we get trotted out Thomas Carlyle’s objection to democracy: as classicist Peter Jones recounts in the Spectator article Enemies of the People. “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance”. In other words, infinitely wise politician should tell the ignorant mob what to think, not vice versa.

What when we can say, with very good reason, that we do not believe in the collective wisdom of ignorant or self-serving politicians, led by the nose too often by vested interest groups  – and/or letting us down by their simple inability to devote time to the thorough research needed to establish the truth of issues?

Athenians invented direct democracy in 508BC, lasting until 323 BC, which handed to the “demos”, citizens in the assembly, the power to decide on policy. Objections were raised from the beginning by those who thought their thinking was superior… Plato thought a state could be well governed only by Platonic philosophers. Aristotle thought that monarchy would be the best of all – Catch-22 – if only someone of the required standard could be found. On went the objections, until as Jones points out, it was Plutarch, “a prolific Greek writer of the second century A.D. with a great admiration for Roman stability “– (a stability which the reader will recall didn’t last for very long after all ) … “who really put the boot in, describing the public as “animals… unreasoning, unruly volatile and degenerate”. Interestingly this description will strike the reader as fairly closely summing up our own politicians’ behaviour in the debating chamber. However, as “Plutarch dominated discussions in the West about the best form of government from the 16th till the 19th century, his idea that rule by the demos could be nothing but mob rule became the knee-jerk position, and still is.  Animals, obviously.”

Make no mistake – our politicians love to think this.  (Remember Helen Clark’s “feral” and “inbreds”?  And Hilary Clinton’s “A basket of deplorables.”)

But they’ve been proved wrong by the most free, successful,  and democratic country in the world – Switzerland. And there is absolutely no reason why we New Zealanders can’t turn our own minds to insist that we follow a system which really works – in contrast to the mess our political parties have made to our own country – where the pace is accelerating to destroy of so much of what we have left.

Peter Jones concludes, “In the howls about mob rule,  however, Switzerland, virtually a direct democracy for some 600 years, somehow never features.” Switzerland did even better than this – not content with being virtually a direct democracy, the Swiss people themselves decided they had had enough of being over-ruled by damaging leaders. Their brilliant solution was to fight for the 100 Days provision. They won this right about 160 years ago. It ensures any legislation passed by Parliament, no matter by what political party or by whatever coalition is currently in power in the country… every piece of legislation must wait for 100 Days before it can come into force. The Swiss people can themselves then decide whether or not they agree,  or whether they want to challenge it.

If the latter, before the end of the 100 Days period, if as few as 50,000 people (in a country double our population, call for a vote  – in New Zealand it would be proportionately about 26,000 ) then that’s enough. A vote is held – it’s called the Facultative Referendum, and whatever the people say is binding on the government.

So successful has this been that Swiss politicians are merely part-time. Meeting one day  only a week, they can hold down other jobs… as lawyers, teachers, doctors, housewives, tradesmen… and their Parliament needs to meet only four times a year. No Helen Clark or Bill English or John Key can dig in, clinging to virtually supreme power and dominating the ruling party. The Swiss make sure of this by allowing the President to stay in office for one year only. Their seven-only member cabinet, simply take turns to be President. It works very well.

 Why can’t we now fight for the same? Well, we can, and should. It is the best possible system to secure a real democracy. And to all the Big Names anxious to tell us it wouldn’t work, we can say – This is nonsense – it does. In fact it is working better than any other political system today.

As the last thing that politicians want is to lose their power, and we can count on a now thoroughly dumbed-down, but highly opiniated media to rubbish any concept that doesn’t send power to their left-wing cohorts, it is up to us, the real New Zealanders, remembering the hard work and sacrifices our own people have made for four generations, to do our own bit.

How? Email your MP. Mail the Prime Minister, the leader and members of the Opposition, the leaders of all the political parties, and ask them whether or not they are willing to hand back the decision-making to the people of New Zealand. Call your MPs….They will be very polite to you in election year…

This is a real test of whether or not our politicians believe in a democracy. But we know they don’t want a democracy – they want to rule us – and are now busy making all those hasty promises routinely made in election-year,  promising the reforms so conveniently held until then.

There are so many ways you can help. Tell others…You can send on to as many as you can the fact of our 100 days campaign…both on Facebook, and on- site – See 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand www.100days.co.nz  You can write letters to the paper. You can complain to the Press Council if the editor keeps rejecting them…You can talk about it on Talkback.  You can join us – support us, even a little financially, if you can.

 It means at least a little effort – not much time in busy people’s lives. But as we all have a moral responsibility, which reaches beyond us and our families towards the community, and towards our country, safeguarding what our parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts fought  and gave their lives for, it can be argued that we have no right at all to do nothing. We need to insist on the reshaping of our political and landscape. Will you help?

Help us fight for the 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement!

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through Kindle, www.copypress.co.nz or HATM Publishers.

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network!
Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

 

 

 

Would you prefer a Nigel Farage or a John Key?

Would you sooner have a Nigel Farage, or a John Key?

I was delighted by the fact that when, as Convener of our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement, we first launched this democratic campaign – (the off-shoot of the Summer Sounds Symposium  (www.summersounds.co.nz) – one of the first names that appeared as a website subscriber was that of Nigel Farage. A shared a contact, a close UKIP supporter, had previously provided a weekly commentary on international affairs for the then Canterbury on Air, when I was providing a weekly round-up on national affairs.  The Australian  initiative, Give Us Back Our Country,  co-founded by the greatly respected Professor David Flint, with Jai Martinkovits, cites our 100 Days movement and my book, 100 Days Claiming Back New Zealand – what has gone wrong,  and how we can control our politicians, as its inspiration.  

A correlation has been drawn between the surge in Brexit support and Obama coming over to the UK with instructions on how to vote, including barely-veiled threats. The English don’t like being told what to do – possibly especially by Barack Obama. The reaction was considerable and immediate. Another little-known fact is that a senior campaign adviser to Cameron’s Conservative Party was Jim Messina, who was also Obama’s  campaign adviser, and heads the biggest pro-Hillary super PAC.  Crony capitalism no longer has a good press. Who believes the trickle-down theorizing any more? It has by no means resembled anything like a genuinely free market.

Many of us will have watched the Brexit outcome with special interest. One of the most heartening things about its victory, which so many of us here also hoped for, is that it has been a triumph of hope – and imagination.

In contrast, one of the most deplorable things has been the basic spite voiced against Nigel Farage by prominent figures here and overseas in the media in-groups. We are used to words like “populism” being used, deliberately designed to disparage ordinary people, those in whom the brilliant Christian writer GK Chesterton placed so much trust – when it comes to a showdown between their values and those of the moneyed establishment.

Uncharacteristically, given The Spectator’s support for the Leave campaign, its editor, Fraser Nelson wrote an unpleasant blog. He also got wrong the meaning of the word tangential.  We undoubtedly owe the Brexit campaign victory first of all to Nigel Farage, but Nelson attempts to diminish his legacy. E.g. “Nigel Farage has been a tangential figure in the Brexit campaign, but he’s the only one prepared to do a victory lap with the votes still being counted, so we see him on the TV. What he says is disgusting. ‘A victory for real people, a victory for decent people’ he says – and what about those who voted for Remain? One of the many advantages of a Brexit vote would be to put UKIP, and Farage, out of business.”

This is not only unfair but basically nasty. To attack Farage for pointing out that the majority of the people England and Wales stood up against the fear-mongering of the establishment, calling them real people, decent people, was a thing of the moment, praising them for their courage – which is hard enough to draw upon for so many in these politically correct times.

It also been a characteristic of the Left, in particular, to keep invoking a right-wing bogeyman against all those wanting Brexit  – which is just nonsense. On the whole, the venom has come from (of course, by no means all) Bremain spokesmen. We were treated to a very good example of this when Boris Johnson was booed when he emerged to speak, once the results were known. The point is that this mob waited outside his house to do just this. Hardly appropriate, let alone generous.

At home, from New Zealand Herald columnist Toby Manhire came, “And yet all three of them – Johnson, Cameron and Gove – have proved comfortably less outrageous, scaremongering and odious than Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, who produced a billboard with the words “Breaking Point”, showing, in what some saw as an echo of Nazi propaganda, a queue of refugees winding into Slovenia, and has pressed every available xenophobic button, playing to Britons’ basest fears.”

Ah, the word xenophobia,  designed like other clichés of the bien pensant among our commentators –  such as racism and homophobia –  to be thrown at those who are considered too incapable of doing their own thinking… The catch is that the so-called ordinary people did think through all this. And they thought that they had enough of their own freedom, independence, and the directions of the own country being wrested away from them.

While too many quasi-intellectuals among the journalists were vaporising  at the thought of “the odious” Nigel Farage, the majority of English and Welsh were celebrating …Cometh the hour, cometh the man – the individual who stands up to be counted, inspiring others – never the leaders – but other individuals – to rise and stand beside him – or her.

What is apparently too obvious for Toby Manhire to understand is that the view of refugees winding into Slovenia was a snapshot of reality. Reality often makes things uncomfortable for those not keen on facing it. The virtual invasion – by no means entirely of genuine refugees, but also of those (understandably) anxious to improve their lot in economic terms – (among whom are now estimated to be thousands of radical Islamists, many deliberately planted, and groomed for terrorist activities) is a huge threat to the stability of Europe. The sheer numbers who have poured in, and are still on the move, present an unprecedented threat to countries far from able to sustain such a demand on their economies, their housing, and their social services.

The EU has shown itself utterly incapable of providing a realistic solution to these mass migrations, which are essentially a grave threat to countries they are targeting.  When Manhire, without any attribution, calls Farage’s important warning “what some saw as an echo of Nazi propaganda,” – we should ask – Who saw? Where are your sources? Is this simply a piece of Manhire propaganda – or a quote from those, as ever, fearful of facing the truth?

In the UK itself, as the pundits; the pollsters; we-know-best-economists; the trust-us-we-are-the Establishment:  the I-know-best-Barack Obama: all were confounded by so-called ordinary men and women turning their backs. Instead, they listened to the man who inspired them with the courage to face up even to the fact that economic uncertainty would undoubtedly lie ahead – and might even disadvantage some of them.

And still, they stood up to be counted. In fact one of the most interesting aspects of the Brexit vote is that there would undoubtedly have been Remain voters who would like very much to have joined them, but who, in the face of all the scaremongering and the threats, were too worried about their jobs and financial futures – but who would otherwise have voted to go.

On the other hand, human nature being what it is, there is always jealousy – and this came not only from among the very supporters of Nigel Farage who would now like to take over to lead UKIP, saying their leader has  achieved what he wanted and it’s time for him to go. (Shades of the Conservative Party’s turning on Margaret Thatcher  – there are always Judases.) Just as un-edifying, among the breakaway Brexit supporters from the Conservative Party there was anger when Nigel Farage, instead of one of their own, was chosen to lead an important Brexit BBC debate – even though it is thanks above all to this one man that England has shaken off the shackles of an arrogant, virtually fascist EU.

Moreover, too much praise has been heaped on David Cameron, as if he heroically granted the people of Britain a referendum, to correct the situation in which the country has found itself – or, rather, in which their politicians had landed them.

On the contrary, Cameron did everything he could to avoid a referendum. As The Spectator illustrates, “Unable to make a positive case for staying in the EU, he instead tells us that Britain is trapped within it and that the penalties for leaving are too severe. His scare stories, peppered with made-up statistics, have served only to underline the emptiness of the case for remaining. It also represents a style of politics that many find repugnant. The warnings from the IMF and OECD and other acronyms have served only to reinforce the caricature of a globalised élite telling the governed what to think.  See http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/out-and-into-the-world-why-the-spectator-is-for-leave/ Moreover, according to The Sun, the reason why David Cameron is now primed to resign is that he is asking why he should “do all the hard **** for someone else, just handed over to them on a plate?”

The Spectator columnist Peter Orborne’s  May 28 article, “The new dodgy dossiers”, illustrated how “The Chancellor and PM are using every dirty trick in the Blairite book to win a Remain vote. “ His conclusion? That what Cameron and Osborne were doing was not only morally wrong; it was politically disastrous.”

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/05/why-osbornes-dodgy-dossiers-are-even-worse-than-blairs/

It would be good to be able to respect politicians more, both for their language – and for putting the interests of their country first. This was not happening under Cameron’s leadership, where his Chancellor, George Osborne, employed the sledgehammer of fear-mongering tactics so much the Bremain campaign resorted to concocting figures – such as “his now notorious claim that households would be 4300 British pounds worse off.” And still the people had courage to vote NO. Chesterton would have been proud of them.

Moreover, “Michael Gove revealed how, as a cabinet member, he regularly finds himself having to process edicts, rules and regulations that have been framed at European level. Laws that no one in Britain had asked for, and which no one elected to the House of Commons has the power to change. What we refer to as British government is increasingly no such thing. It involves the passing of laws written by people whom no one in Britain elected, no one can name and no one can remove.”

“Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s chief strategist for many years, gave an example of this institutional decay. A few months into his job in No. 10, he was dismayed to find his colleagues making slow progress, because they were all bogged down by paperwork that he didn’t recognise. He asked for an audit, and was shocked by the results: only a third of what the government was doing was related to its agenda. Just over half was processing orders from Brussels. To him, this was more than just a headache: it was an insidious and accelerating bureaucratic takeover.”

David Cameron basically did not want a referendum. But then, what leader ever does – except, as with John Key, because he thought he was popular enough to get his own way – removing our country’s flag?

There is one great lesson to be taken from this rebellion by the majority of the English and Welsh. (Scotland, which has received far more in the way of financial advantage from its association with England than it has returned, and which appears is due for a reality lesson, can be discounted here.) The lesson is the folly of allowing a country to be dominated by a leader and his or her cabal – which is what a too-obedient cabinet basically is. As is ours, in New Zealand.

The corollary – the importance of the individual standing up to be counted – as Nigel Farage as done – has its echoes right down throughout history.

It carries an important lesson for New Zealanders dismayed at John Key’s virtual takeover of the country, exercising apparently near-complete authority over his cabinet,  none of who whom are showing the moral courage to stand up to him.  However, the deterioration in hope on the part of so many New Zealanders who have seen the collapse of social standards and the lack of accountability for this from recent governments, means the anti-establishment tide is turning in this country, too.

The lamentable lack of any real action to make sure that New Zealanders are basically able to access affordable housing;  jobs which provide a decent living wage  – without mothers being forced to dump their babies in crèches to go out to work;  the influx of immigrants putting pressure on all social services – with no comprehensive action  at all by the government to prioritise the interest of New Zealanders over those moving to acquire our land, our farms, our most productive businesses and our housing stock? John Key has basically ignored the needs of so many. His tenure as Prime Minister has been highly damaging.

The Swiss know, as did the Roman Republic, the danger of letting one man retain power for more than a year. It is time to move towards annually rotating what should be basically the chairmanship of a political party in Parliament  – rather than retaining our present system of a dictatorial leadership digging in for the long haul.

These are now precedents for New Zealanders themselves to stand up to be counted. The Australians are already doing so, with their Give Us back our Country movement.

Every individual who supports us, helps to make this possible. And if there’s one thing that Brexit has taught us, it’s the importance of individuals.

It’s been said that  “One man with courage makes a majority.” Nigel Farage did.

© Amy Brooke

Our 100 Days movement needs individuals to contribute what they can – no donation is too small  – to help send our message right around the country.

We can count on no funding to assist coming from political or moneyed power groups with their own vested interests. But we can be proud of this!

Do visit us to see how you can help. Please let family, friends, colleagues know about our www.100days.co.nz.

SHARE or LIKE on Facebook

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available on Kindle, or through www.copypress.co.nz and HATM Publishers.

Intimidated? Bullied? Time for NZers, too, to fight back?

Born during the years of the murderous dictator Stalin, the young Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko began to cast a fresh eye over the oppressive USSR of the 60s. He himself was a gifted athlete, with a geologist father, and with both parents descended from families of Russian nobility. His two grandfathers were arrested during Stalin’s purges as “enemies of the people”.  Yevtushenko’s own refusal to compromise over what he saw as the truth of things, and over the importance of good poetry (now largely suffocated in the Post-Poetry pretentiousness of our cultural decline) made him a target for the violent hostility of those settling for political dogmatism.  His challenging the Soviet distortions of historical facts, including the Nazi massacre of the Jewish population of Kiev in September 1941, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar was an act of conscience, although he always denied being brave. But he believed, like Shostakovich, in the importance of acting according to conscience. The result was his most famous poem, Babi Yar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar_in_poetry 

In 1957, he was expelled from the Literary Institute for “individualism”… (which brings echoes of today’s blacklisting in this country of individuals (I can vouch for this from personal experience) challenging our literary in-groups, particularly the politicisation of children’s writing. The blacklisting of those refusing to adhere to the required “themes” of “biculturalism”, political “relevance” and “national identity” – and the targeting of teachers objecting to the increasing and inappropriate racial grandstanding throughout our schools’ curricula today: all these bring to mind the PC mean-mindedness the late Charlotte Dawson sadly experienced in this country.

What particularly struck me, discovering, in my 20s, Yevtushenko’s poem “Talk”, was that while discounting the praise of those who called him a brave man, he ended with lines which have grown even more relevant for us now in the West, today white-anted by the new intolerance of free speech masquerading as “liberalism”.

“How sharply our children will be ashamed
taking at last their vengeance for these horrors
remembering how in so strange a time
common integrity could look like courage.”

http://thewonderingminstrels.blogspot.co.nz/2005/10/talk-yevgeny-yevtushenko.html

To those who in innocence protest that we are the West, surely, not the Soviet Russia of a Yevtushenko, a Sakharov or Solzhenitsyn – we would do well to take on board Solzhenitsyn’s warning that “the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive”. There is little doubt that  what the late great Times columnist Bernard Levin described as “the atrophy of moral judgment”,  calling it the characteristic disease of our times – is the inability to see what is in reality an evil  – and the willingness to condone it.

The reality is that in New Zealand now, too, we’re being culturally, politically and morally bullied in the name of “tolerance”. On flagship issues such as gay marriage – an obvious dead-end in biological terms, but now supported by the demand from the growingly strident LGTB (lesbian, gay, and transgender, bisexual) fraternity trumpeting the new fashion of transgender identity, what became a reasonable demand to respect the privacy of individuals in their own homes is being extended. The tolerance long offered to individuals in a free society to make their own choices is by no means being returned.

The real bullying throughout the West is now characterised by this aggressive intolerance and antagonism – now extending to an attack on those who object to vulnerable children being propagandised in schools, or to girls being exposed to transgender males invading toilets and changing rooms. Querying what is actually happening to a once family-stabilised society – where children were best protected as nature intended, by a biological father and mother – now meets with even vindictive opposition. In America (the Land of the Free…) those claiming the right for their own beliefs to be respected can now expect to be met with a wave of intolerance, aggression, vilification – even to be taken to court and sued on some anti-discrimination pretext.  Debate is a no-no…except for those drawing on the very courage which Solzhenitsyn called common integrity.

And yet, we have the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in honour of the Russian physicist and dissident, Andrei Sakharov – (who, together with his wife Yelena Bonner, faced state persecution while fighting for the necessity of freedom of speech). It is still awarded to individuals as brave as Raif Badawi http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20151215STO07590/Sakharov-Prize-Raif-Badawi-was-brave-enough-to-say-no-to-their-barbarity

The irony is considerable, given that public opinion and support for the European Union has plunged, due to the number of peremptory edicts continually coming from the unelected, unrepresentative body of the European Commission.

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8224/european-union-support  Its administrative bureaucracy has tirelessly worked to restrict the sovereignty of the 28 nation states comprising the European Union. There is little doubt that its proposed code of conduct, attempting to ban “hate speech”, is a direct attempt to impose politically correct thinking and behaviour on those within its ambit.

But how little different are we now? Universities were once regarded as fiercely independent bastions of freedom in debate, insisting on the right of individuals to fairly engage in intellectually defending their viewpoints. So I recall my then shock, three or four years ago, when Wellington’s Victoria University refused to allow a debate on that most extraordinary of global cults, the massively financially supported claim of man-made global warming and the supposed culpability of CO2.  In spite of the fact that an almost certainly natural, cyclical period of global warming ended approximately in 1998 – as well-qualified scientists – deliberately denied debating platforms in this country –  have well substantiated, there is now so much financial and career investment in buying into the global warming hysteria that credulous action groups have forgotten what Upton Sinclair pointed out:  “ It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” And so many university grants and positions now depend upon individuals endorsing the group-think which has become so characteristic of our times.

From Oxford and Cambridge, one-time flagships of intellectual freedom, come these reports of students refusing to even attend lectures, let alone to debate points of view, which challenge their highly programmedthinking.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/30/jesus-christ-would-be-banned-from-uk-universities-today-oxford-p/

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/11/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/

And in the US, the bastion of freedom? https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/free-speech-is-under-attack-on-the-

How many New Zealanders would disagree with the reminder that it is better to debate a question without settling it – than to settle a question without debate?  Our parents’ generation and those preceding them unquestioningly accepted what most of us were brought up to acknowledge –  how important  it is in a free society to respect individuals’ beliefs, even if one doesn’t agree with them – and to be allowed to say so.

Well, we all once knew. But it isn’t happening any more.  Over a whole range of topics on important issues of the day, the individual brave enough to say, for example – I respect your right to believe what you do, but for my own part, I disagree with the current liberal thinking about gay “marriage” being a genuine marriage – and regard it as an obvious contradiction in biological terms – can now expect, as in America – to be met with a wave of intolerance, aggression, vilification – even to be taken to court and sued on some anti-discrimination pretext.  The very groups attacking the respect for the traditional family as the most important and stabilising unit of Western society, and trumpeting accusations of intolerance, are characterised now by that extraordinary intolerance of debate.

Yet debate is the bedrock of democracy in any culture or political system. It is a fundamental part of freedom of expression which is itself recognised world-wide as a basic human right. To realise the importance of debate we just have to look at the alternative. There are numerous examples in history of autocrats who demanded blind acceptance of their rule, brooked no criticism, stamped out dissent and locked up opponents. There still are. Countries particularly oppressive include Iran, Saudi Arabia, and, closer to home, and moving down the Pacific, Communist China. These all act as repressive societies. The results are governments that lack accountability and systems that breed corruption, resort to violence and today imprison their own Solzhenitsyn’s Sakharovs, Yevtushenkos.

Schools in many countries have debating societies. As Peter Millet, the British Ambassador to Libya reminds many of us: “At my school… we were encouraged by our teachers to tackle the most controversial subjects of the day. It taught us skills that have been invaluable in our working lives: about the importance of preparation, about setting out key points in a simple and logical way, and about anticipating the counter-arguments.

“We also learned that debating was not about winning the vote, but about getting to the heart of the matter. Yes, the vote was about which side presented their facts in the most effective way. But the purpose of the debate was to expose all the vital issues to public scrutiny. Truth was more important than victory.”

Apparently, what we in the West now need to be reminded of, when faced with the intolerance and intimidation now deliberately used as weapons to prevent us from challenging what is happening abroad, and in our schools  – is the importance of courage. Shouldn’t we be opposing the deliberate targeting of our children and what is now regarded as the worrying decadence transforming the West, with its move towards liberal-thinking totalitarianism?  To act according to conscience is no less important now than it was to Yevtusheno, when challenging the corruption of the former USSR.

In the words of another individual to whom we owe so much: “Intellectual freedom is essential — freedom to obtain and distribute information; freedom for open-minded and unhearing debate; and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship.” Andrei Sakharov.


© Amy Brooke.

Our 100 Days movement needs individuals to contribute what they can – no donation is too small   – to help send our message right around the country. Will you?

We can count on no funding to assist coming from political or moneyed power groups with their own vested interests. But we can be proud of this!

Do visit us to see how you can help – www.100days.co.nz and SHARE on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available on Kindle, or through www.copypress.co.nz and HATM Publishers.