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

Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

A disengaged government? Arrogant, biased media?

That our supposed democracy is not in a healthy state is common knowledge. A country whose young families have no hope of saving enough for a future house, and where so many can’t even afford basic accommodation expenses,  is in a very bad way. Undeniably, it is recent incompetent governments, both former Labour and today’s National Parties, which have brought about this inexcusable state of affairs. In many crucial areas we have become a nation in decline.

 A new study commissioned by Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) has found that New Zealanders have little trust in government, and that trust has decreased over the last three years.” Not surprisingly, to those increasingly fed up with a biased, exclusionary media, lazy in analysis, but condescending to readers and viewers, both TV and the print media tied with the government in attracting a low 8% of respect by those polled – compared to 56% for doctors, the highest-polling profession.

No wonder, with a basically new phenomenon emerging. This is the sheer arrogance and creeping nastiness which has become entrenched in much of the media. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the inexcusably snide comments from both editorial writers – (hiding behind their cloak of anonymity) – and trendy, but ignorant and condescending columnists sniping at the individual whose courage, initiative and foresight has contributed so much to the people of Britain claiming back their country.

It’s fair to maintain that Nigel Farage is a great man. He has even been called a great British hero. At those exceptional moments in history, when the tide of events has turned because of the courage, intelligence and vision of one individual,  a traditional King James Bible verse (an excerpt of John 4:23.) has been used to recognise and pay tribute to the one who has stood up to be counted  – “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”.

The disparaging comments of liberal-left media, contrasting with the justified tributes paid to Farage, are a good indication of how out of touch are our supercilious commentariat – as well as the government – with so-called ordinary New Zealanders – what we can well call real New Zealanders. His extraordinary achievement when heading UKIP led to the referendum the ruling class in Britain would far rather have avoided. But in it, the majority of the people showed they repudiated the never-ending diktats of the EU  leading to the loss of sovereignty and independent decision-making in their own country. Farage has said, quite accurately, that his aim was for his countrymen to get their own country back – to no longer have the edicts of Brussels interfering right across the socio-political, economic spectrum. And now he wants his own life back.

But oh, the baying that then ensured, with an NBR columnist basically calling Farage a quitter because he has now stood aside – because he has not been so hooked on power that he wanted to stay on as leader of a political movement which triumphed over the political establishment.  Why the unnecessary, unpleasant disparaging of a man with integrity?  The democratic Romans would have revered him. They were rightly so suspicious of the individual who clings onto power (and the damage he or she then causes – we only have to look at a Helen Clark and a John Key to see this in action) that, in the days of the republic, they would not allow their consuls (two at a time, each with the ability to veto the actions of the other) to rule for more than year.

Both then had to step down and were sent to the provinces, partly to remove them from the temptations of power in Rome. This NBR columnist (which, to give the journal its due, mounts an excellent forum for discussion and debate) had probably never heard of Cincinnatus – the great general historically respected for just this. Given supreme power for six months, to win a desperately needed battle, Cincinnatus then laid aside his command and went back to his farm – to reclaim his own life.  No historical parallels there?  But right on cue came Gwynne Dyer, too, sniping away in a column that sounded as if he was a Bremain poor loser:  “For comic relief Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party also quit, saying that he wanted his life back. “Comic relief? This sniping from the sidelines is now a feature of today’s condescending media.|

Given the lack of objective analysis now being offered by too many New Zealand commentators on the issues of the day, where  throwaway, lightweight, even malicious comments are now  common, I’m increasingly reminded of poor Charlotte Dawson’s only too accurate statement that “New Zealand is small and nasty and vindictive.” This certainly doesn’t apply to New Zealanders as a whole, whose generosity of spirit is well known. However, the constant snideness from media commentators certainly contributes to the reason the media are listed very low on New Zealanders’ lists of occupations they admire.

NZ Initiative’s Oliver Hartwich has accurately identified the fact that it was the political union first and foremost the British people voted against.  He pointed out that “Neither is Britain the most Euroskeptic country in the EU, by a long shot. ‘The problem,’ says Mr Hartwich, “is that Brussels doesn’t seem to have understood what just happened.

” ‘It isn’t clear Brussels has taken the right lesson from this. Their immediate response was to ask for deeper integration into Europe and proceed with the project. But that was exactly the kind of attitude that was rejected by Britain,” Mr Hartwich pointed out. He added that ‘The EU is going to need massive reform, and most of its countries actually want the trade and market access, not strictly the political union. So the question as to what might happen to the bloc in the future is far from clear.”

Moreover, some of Britain’s richest people were prepared to possibly lose a great deal of their personal fortunes in voting for Brexit – (including construction equipment magnate Anthony Bamford, inventor James Dyson, and Peter Hargreaves, cofounder of Hargreaves-Lansdown, the UK’s largest retail broker) – in contrast to Richard Branson, Li Ka-shing and George Soros urging the county to vote Bremain.

However, what distinguished so much of the almost vindictive reaction of our media to the Brexit victory is typified by a Nelson Mail editorial, with its writer conveniently un-named. In an example of today’s trashy commentaries, with its over-the top language, and marked lack of objectivity, its writer had ranted: “The case for Brexit is being stoked by racism and sinister ‘little Britainism’ ” Really, sinister? That the people of Britain turned against a governing establishment that was not listening to their very real concerns about what was happening to the country is hardly sinister.

There is no doubt that the British concern at the lack of proper border controls and ill-thought, immigration permissiveness causing damage to the infrastructure of the country, is perfectly reasonable and well-justified. The  Brexit vote was far from being basically a question of racism or xenophobia, as other media writers promptly bayed. Oh, those useful words wielded like bludgeons by the Right-Thinking… xenophobia – racism – homophobia – all too often deliberately designed to inhibit genuine debate, and wielded with an unsustainable certainty that those scattering them through their writing are providing superior analysis  – even when they are demonstrably wrong.

 This same Nelson Mail editorial writer’s claim before the event, “that Britain has become hysterical about the issue of possible exit from the European Union” was also a silly exaggeration.  It has been on the whole a younger generation, ignorant of the issues underpinning the damaging power–grab of the European Union, which has complained the loudest. The only potentially “sinister” issue arises from the failure of some of these Remain supporters who appear to have no idea about how democracy works, and have demanded their own way, calling for another referendum in the hope of having it. This farcical stance has become unhealthy in the way they have turned against a far more informed older generation which looks back on two world wars where German ambition led to a continent in turmoil, the needless deaths of scores of millions of innocent people, and Britain and the Commonwealth, for a major part of this war, making a stand alone against the troublemaker of Europe.

And predictably, a rather muddled Der Spiegel editorial lamented the triumph of democracy, instanced by the Brexit vote, in the predictably autocratic German fashion of the country whose hierarchy has too often assumed a born -to-rule authority. Its editorialist lamented that “Brexit sheds light on the problems created when direct democracy is abused,” Really?  He argues that “In our complex 21st century world, we have no choice but to delegate authority for decision-making to our elected representatives.”

Fortunately, he couldn’t be more wrong, and this horse has well and truly bolted, dragging with it the theorising that governments know best, and that politicians have special insights which justify their ignoring the concerns and the voices of the majority. He no doubt found it very convenient to overlook the fact that Switzerland is the most successful and direct of all democracies – because the Swiss fought for that 100 Day check on any legislation its parliamentarians passed – which our own movement is backing here. 

It is ironic, then that once again Germany as a powerhouse is in league with the France she invaded in our parents’ lifetimes, and now dominating the EU, while at the same time Angela Merkel’s unbalanced and ill-judged thinking is causing extraordinary damage to German society. There must now  be many of the older generation wondering why so many British and Commonwealth soldiers died defending France, given what is today seen, ironically, as its  unholy alliance with the country for whose freedom so many British and Commonwealth soldiers die.

But back to the word sinister, so beloved by the same Nelson mail editorialist, in full swing, pontificating “Brexit, however is as much about politics and economics, and the politics of it are sinister. European xenophobia and anti-refugee hysteria is again in full swing and nowhere more than in Britain.” And “Brexit won’t make Britain great again, or free it from the dead hand of Brussels.”

Another editorial, no doubt from the same writer, given its familiar-sounding tones, where the writer had to face to the fact that Brexit won, began:  “The shockwaves from Brexit will shake the world for a long time. Few of the effects will be good. Some of the symbolism is rank, even repulsive… It’s ‘Independence Day’ for Britain declares the English demagogue Nigel Farage. His vision of Britain is of a reactionary white enclave of frightened xenophobes. Farage crows at the prospect: most of the world weeps.”

On he rants.  And this un-identified editorialist has obviously interviewed most of the world, judging by the strength of his conviction?

Such basic drivel has no place in a reputable newspaper. But the Nelson Mail is not alone in its increasingly biased rejection of viewpoints with which its under-educated staff grapple (judging by the poor standard of grammar and syntax, let alone, apparently, any genuine understanding of the issues involved, and the history underpinning them). But it’s interesting that he/she rails about Brexit being (partly) underpinned by racism and working class “conservatism”.

There we have a definite agenda – that of today’s neo-liberal permissiveness attacking the thoughtful conservatism which once protected family values,  and stabilised our society. “Conservatism” has become a target in the eyes of the ignorant, especially those too young to have any real understanding of what is at stake. In their eyes, those who do, an older generation (who have learnt through experience the lessons of the history that younger New Zealanders saw deliberately removed from the schools’ curricula) should be barred from voting. It’s interesting that the views of the “working class” are now distasteful to the we-know-best… the self-appointed elite.

A quick overview of other dailies had more lightweight columnists, as in Tracy Watkins’s Political Week, stating on no evidence whatsoever that the Brexit vote is bad news for us down here. Inevitably, she lumps “far Right leader Nigel Farage” as, in reality one of the anti-politicians “no different to any of their rivals…in it for the power, which is all any politician is in it for.”’

So that’s it, is it? We’ve been told – let’s hope we know our place. The fact that Farage has indeed thankfully resigned from Brexit, laying down that power in order to get his own life back seems to have escaped her also.  In his own words: “During the referendum campaign I said I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back, and it begins now,” he said.

 While our official commentators fell over themselves with tedious, uninformed accusations of racism and xenophobia, pseudo-experts in full cry, the commonsense of the British, closer by far to the Islamification of Germany, Sweden, and other EU countries, contrasts with Angela Merkel’s folly. Her too long uncontrolled immigration policy has allowed many hundreds of thousands of Muslim people into European countries with no infrastructure to support them  – people whose preponderance of angry young men with no jobs, no income and an ingrained antagonism to the West has caused a dramatic rise in the crime rates and the under-reported raping of young Western girls http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7557/germany-rape-migrants-crisis  Isis terrorists boast  they are well represented in these numbers. To chastise the British, calling them xenophobic for their reluctance to have this scenario repeated, is ridiculous.

This sort of sheer arrogance is combined with the anachronism that newspapers still allow their editorial writers to hide behind their nameless pronouncements, which they absurdly claim is “the voice of the newspaper”. In fact, an editorial  is only the voice of one individual reporter or feature writer bestowing his or her own, all too often biased and under-informed opinion on the public –  one opinion only – one very possibly quite at odds with the opinions held by other writing staff.

It is this sort of unbalanced writing which is causing newspapers to lose subscriptions and readership. Moreover, it is a deliberately contrived imbalance of power where the writer of the editorial claims the right to remain anonymous, while today’s correspondents are required to give full details of their names, addresses, etc.  It’s not so long ago that letter writers themselves could use pseudonyms, often for very good reasons.  And there is no doubt that requiring the public to sign letters has inhibited debate – often because correspondents writing in good faith find it distasteful and objectionable to then be personally attacked by those unable to engage in courteous debate…especially when they have a ”liberal’ axe to grind, and specialise in the racist, homophobic, etc. name-calling.

Moreover, that some sections of the media, including Radio New Zealand, are no longer allowing comments on their websites, in spite of the fact they have admitted that some of these are valuable, is also a bad democratic outcome. The National Business Review, on the other hand, is valuable in providing the opportunity for public feedback, much-needed comment and debate, with or without a pseudonym.

Contrast this with the media power-play of those daily newspapers, which, (reasonably enough, for space requirements) set a 200 word limit on letters to the editor, but then insist on retaining their ”right” to interfere with what a correspondent has actually said  – even though it will appear over the latter’s name. Well-educated writers have strong reason to object to subliterate, semi-educated staff rewriting sections of a letter, then subsequently publishing it over the correspondent’s own name – thereby bringing him/her into possible disrepute in the eyes of an educated public.

The editorial “right” to alter and amend, or abridge a letter is uncalled for -unless it is abusive, actionable, or defamatory.  Provided a correspondent keeps to the requirement of 200 words (with none of the above) it’s time that the daily newspapers dropped such unreasonable demands. The imbalance of power is obvious.  The public’s best response is to no longer subscribe – and to make it known why. Unfortunately, in the print media, this entails no longer having access to the letters to the editor – often far more informed and better written than the editorials, and the writing of the regular columnists..

What has happened with Brexit has been described as a sea change in British politics, a move away from representative democracy to something more direct. It was the working class regions, northern England, the East Midlands, the Black Country and the Welsh valleys identical with the Chartist movement’s stronghold’s years ago which once more rebelled against what was seen as establishment corruption.  But which of our opinionated columnists have even heard of the Chartist movement?

 As the Spectator’s irrepressible Taki has pointed out, in illustrating how “the technocratic dictatorship of Brussels has already enslaved my country (Greece) – “Freedom is freedom and there are no other words to replace it.” That the ordinary man and woman voted for Brexit, supporting Nigel Farage, the man who stood to be counted again the tide of the times, he likens to the example of the legendary Leonidas. But which of our uneducated graduates with degrees in economics, in business, in media studies, in law and so on have even heard of the hero who held the pass at Thermopylae –  the story of famous 300 against the Persian Xerxes and his army of over a million – until a traitor showed the Persians a back way in.

Taki rightly dismisses ”the Greek chorus of women” (and not just women) “announcing doom and gloom” and invoking “populism” as a Bad Thing – when really they are talking about democracy.   Some of them may also be distorting the truth. Going on the record of the media’s inventiveness and fabrications,  we have no real evidence that Andrea Leadsom, a former candidate for the Conservative party leadership, actually did say that Theresa May should not become prime minister because she has no children. This report was strongly rejected, with Leadsom herself saying that she was repeatedly asked about her children, and made it clear that she did not want this to be a feature of the campaign…that she was in fact disgusted at the way this has been presented. No surprises here.

What has been a dismaying feature of women commentators for some time now is the use of crude language, deterioration in standards more marked than that of the men. Typical is Fran O’Sullivan’s invoking of “a pissing contest” between the Prime Minister and Reserve Bank Governor. Why the crudeness?  – when, with good reason, women were long respected because they set the standards of civilised behaviour and restraint in the use of language. The still-there, Rosemary McLeod, with a possible record of longevity among columnists,  has long employed an  off-putting, also basically crude use of language and sexist imagery, discussing women politicians’ legs, “something to flaunt”… a bitch-slapping…May was slagged for not using her uterus like a proper woman…boasting that her mating tackle had delivered offspring”.  This basically vulgar writing is distasteful to women who still do set store on standards.  Moreover, it is now these women commentators, more than  the men, who scatter around words like pissing, arse, boobs, tits, fu**ing – with no apparent thought of the example they are failing to set for the young – and the lack of respect felt for them by other women and the men  – except perhaps those of the same ilk.

If we have a big problem in this country in the form of a government now disengaged from the realities of life for so many New Zealanders, one moreover, now employing genuinely racist policies of Maori separatism and preference –  (another whole topic)  – we have an equally large problem in the print media, now habitually under-performing in areas of objectivity and analysis.

Accurate? Objective? Independent? Emeritus Professor David Flint, a member of the Order Of Australia, who has written widely on such matters as the media, international economic law and the constitution, including in his prophetic Twilight of the Elites, examines in his excellent book, Malice in Media Land, how campaigning journalists have become unelected and unaccountable participants in the political process, requisitioning the airwaves of public broadcasters as well as the columns of once great newspapers. He illustrates how we now have “an élite media, with certain honourable exceptions, not so much reporting the news as campaigning vigorously…at the same time as the standing of journalists among the general public could not be lower…While in individual instances this is of course unfair, it is quite true that the news media is regarded as a tainted institution…so much so that if it were any other institution, the media would be calling for it to be dismantled, or at least radically reformed with the mass resignation of the incumbents.”

David Flint’s own co-authored book, Give Us Back Our Country reflects the same wish of Australians at large that found fulfilment in Brexit’s victory. In it, he pays tribute to our own prior movement, as set out in the web link www.100days.co.nz and in my book The 100 Days – claiming back New Zealand… What has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.

All over the world, people have learnt the lesson of hope which Brexit has given. It is time for New Zealanders too, to claim back our own country – from both our agenda-drive government -and from the unacceptable bias of much of the mass media.

© Amy Brooke

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.

A donation, no matter how small, very much helps us to send out this message of political reform more widely! Thank you J

 

 

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.

Houston, we have a problem. It’s John Key.

Houston, we have a problem. It’s John Key.

It is well understood that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. And our self-willed Prime Minister apparently knows no history. Nor do most New Zealanders – the education politiburo saw to that, when it deliberately removed this essential subject from our schools curricula. However, to understand what’s happening to this country, the story of the Persian Wars, and the spread of Greek adventurers into the hilly islands of the blue Aegean, is as relevant today as it was then – to the Greeks themselves. Some of these new island kingdoms inevitably had problematic kings. So the Greeks, not a people to put up with oppression, threw them out sooner or later, sometimes deciding to do without a king at all.

In The Lion in the Gateway, historian Mary Renault reminds us that in some states the men who had risen to the top met to pass the laws – this they called an oligarchy – meaning the rule of the few. Others called all the citizens together, and all the free men (no doubt the wives had plenty to say behind the scenes!) had a genuine say in what was done, by vote or acclamation. These states called themselves “people-ruled cities”, the Greek word for democracies. In New Zealand today, the few at the top meet throughout most of the year, constantly passing laws which we are required to obey.  In, considerable contrast to the Swiss, who fought for and won a genuine democracy (their 100 Days provision stops all government legislation in its tracks, while the people vet it – (see and help us at http://www.100days.co.nz )  – we quite obviously today have an oligarchy – not a democracy.

John Key, Bill English, Steven Joyce – Chris Finlayson (the latter virtually rubberstamping the never-ending, opportunistic iwi claims without  insisting they be tested in the courts… the National Party hierarchy of a tight, controlling group, now virtually rules the country. Most ordinary National MPs have very little influence. When they show disquiet about the directions of their hierarchy – for example John Key’s personal antagonism to our traditional flag – they’re quite simply overruled. Who among them shows enough integrity to show put their heads up above the ramparts – as once MPs did  – even to make a stand against their own party – as Conservative MPs are doing in Britain today – saying enough is enough to the overbearing bureaucracy of the European Union?

When we get basically ignorant politicians running the country – arguably a John Key, with no apparent expertise in anything except currency trading, i.e. making money – but with little appreciation of the real value of what is most important to our society, to survive…then, if those New Zealanders with a very real appreciation of the increasingly slippery slope ahead do not say Stop here! to our government, we will lose far more than our parents or grandparents would ever have dreamt of. In fact, we will lose the country. The process has already started.

The Prime Minister himself is now being seen as very much part of the trouble we are in today. The recent budget is notable for what it didn’t address, rather than what it did. There were the usual handouts here and there, with an unfortunately smug-looking Minister of Finance now looking increasingly like His Master’s Voice – for those who remember the classic gramophone label – (Check with Google) – now seemingly very much part of the problem.

What’s wrong with John Key? He has basically thumbed his nose at the country, taking no realistic measures to address the crisis in housing which now has Auckland investors (with an undoubtedly high proportion of Communist Chinese – including those involved in land-banking) dominating nearly half of the property market – with its obvious damaging consequences as far as ordinary New Zealanders are concerned.

If there is indeed a housing crisis, we’re being fobbed off with John Key denying this – as he has done for a very long time. Nothing like this has ever happened in New Zealand before. Either a huge majority in the country is wrong, and Key is right, or we have to ask ourselves whether he is simply incompetent –   or what he is up to. And when 76% of the country is disagreeing with his denial that we have a housing crisis, then his typical blarneying carries no weight at all. Only a third of the country, approximately 36.7 %,   backs the National government on this one. Or as sourced,

AN UNPRECEDENTED 76% DISAPPROVAL ! …

 OPINION: JOHN KEYS GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED NEW ZEALAND ON HOUSING … NEWSHUB – TV3

Not that this will faze our born-to-rule Prime Minister – ( who is very good at being relaxed” or “comfortable” when he doesn’t want to know something) – claiming a mandate for actions he wants this government to take – even when the country at large disagrees with him. His claim, after the last election, to have a mandate for asset sales, was breath-takingly wrong.  National ended up as the government in power because of the Dotcom factor, and the jumble of opposition parties. However, as a DominionPost correspondent pointed out at the time, only 33% of the potential voting public actually voted for National, compared to 36% who voted for other parties. In other words, the majority of New Zealanders did not vote for a National Party government. Apparently 31 percent of registered voters were too disillusioned to vote for any party.  National, in fact, has no mandate from the country for any of the Prime Minister’s pet projects. His personally-pushed and costly changing the flag referendum is a very good illustration of the fact.

Most New Zealanders know well that something very untoward is happening to the country. Anne Gibson, property editor of the New Zealand Herald, has been keeping a close watch on the distortions of the Auckland housing market. As recently as May 25, 2016, she reported that a house in Beach Haven jumped $187.000 in price in two months, selling for $1.08 million after it was first purchased in March for $905,000. In a scenario that we are now very used to, it was reportedly sold over the phone to an individual in China. The house is empty.  Similar sales happen all the time, said the Barfoot and Thompson agent who sold it, noting that the buyer is Chinese because the seller is Chinese. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/anne-gibson/news/article.cfm?a_id=39&objectid=11644044

A comment from another involved in this area is that Chinese buyers are playing a very large part in this phenomenon. “With Chinese speculators it’s happening all the time. The average price in this suburb three years ago was $500,000 dollars.”

An article dated May 27 shows that property investors are back in force in Auckland, with the latest data from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ illustrating that Auckland investors increased their share of mortgages to 46% in April.  In other words, in nearly half of the property market, those desperate to own their own homes will inevitably be out-bid by those with a lot more money in their pockets – very many of them overseas investors – because the government has taken no real steps to stop this happening.

In spite of the typically mindless name-calling of some, this is not a question of xenophobia. And the backlash will not be fair to New Zealand Chinese who are themselves viewing what is happening with misgivings – particularly in regard to Communist China stirring the pot. As we all know that nothing like this has ever happened in New Zealand before, the important question is exactly is happening, and why? And what about the question of basic fairness?

Is it actually fair to New Zealanders that they are now being encouraged to up stakes in a city where they may have family and friends – all the supportive contacts we build up over our working lives – with the suggestion they head off elsewhere – simply because the government has allowed Auckland to be taken over by property speculators, with foreigners buying up and banking land? Paula Bennett’s $5000 will be nowhere near enough to compensate a family for the financial costs, the risks and social upheaval of moving elsewhere.  And one of the unfortunate results of those who buy multiple houses to rent being also faced with such high prices in Auckland is that they, too,  moving into other areas of the country, and doing the same thing, are now  making it harder for those living elsewhere to be able to look forward to buying their first house. Greed unleashed is like a river in flood – and that’s pretty much what we are being faced with.

An on-the-ground report from a South Islander with no choice but to move to Auckland, given the phasing out of the Christchurch rebuild, reads as follows.  “Not much news to report, other than I think Auckland weather is truly appalling! Albany isn’t NZ, it’s mini-China! I’ve seen shopping complexes down Rosedale Road that are entirely Asian, complete with Asian signage, and there are more Asian supermarkets than I’ve ever seen in my life. I visited a Chinese supermarket, tried to ask the staff member I found if they sold turmeric, but alas, he couldn’t help, as he didn’t speak a word of English. Then two young women banged into me and spoke to me in Mandarin! Often I feel as though Kiwis are the minority, as I look around and see mainly Indians and other Asians. It’s a scary thing. I feel as if the NZ I grew up in has been completely taken over.  I don’t mind them being here, but it would be nice if the tap could be adjusted to a trickle instead of a roaring Niagara Falls!”

Her experience parallels that of so many others who are by no means antipathetic to individual Chinese, but point out that, as New Zealanders, we have had no consultation whatsoever on what is happening to the country.  Any claim that we are still a democracy is simply untrue. Our so-called democratic rights are now  limited to eventually throwing out a political party because of the damage it has done to the country, with no real hope that its replacement – previously thrown out for the same reason – is going to be any better. An oligarchy of the top few now rules us – no matter what political party is rotated into power.

One thing we can do more than guess at is that in the case of almost all politicians, they will act in their own interest. At this stage, so worrying is the situation for the country, – and so determined is John Key to say that there’s no such thing as a housing crisis in Auckland – that we are due to question whether his own interests are actually at odds with those of the country at large. This is a very serious question – but if in fact what is happening to the country is not in New Zealanders’ best interests, it is a legitimate one.

We do not have to put up with this – nor should we. Again come the lessons from the Greeks and Persians…If we grow soft as some city states did – and as Britain did in recent years, allowing the EU to whittle away its national independence – we will be trying in vain to crawl back up that slippery slope.  As Dionysius of Phocaea said to an Athenian on the run…“Isn’t it worth a little sweat to save your cities?”  Whereupon the ships were made ready for war. But it was too little, too late…

It is not too much of an exaggeration to maintain that what has happened to this country now can be regarded to be a form of war. We have certainly now come to the stage where we have government versus the people, not representing the people.  It is looking more and more like the sell-out of our country. And in this case, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves whose decision-making is underpinning what is happening? It can only come from the very top, from our Prime Minister, whose behaviour in this area has been more than odd. In fact it can be regarded as culpable, if one of the three main duties of government is the defence of the realm – and this isn’t happening.

 We should be very wary of the fact that Communist China is pushing its interests further and further into the country, its tentacles reaching out. We now have a Bank of China New Zealand funding Chinese New Zealand connections, ostensibly to boost trade. But in fact the concentration is on our land, with 55 of this bank’s Chinese company clients meeting with 120 New Zealand agricultural businesses – ostensibly to build trade. Can this also equate to – for their clients to get their hands on as much in the way of productive New Zealand farmland and business related companies as possible? Certainly, the Australian government has recognised this as happening in Australia.

An extraordinary naiveté is being shown by our own Key-led government – either this – or those eminences grises behind the scenes are using Lenin’s “useful fools” – the naïve, the ignorant, the under-educated, and the historically under-informed. The latter now comprise probably most Zealanders, with the teaching of history so deliberately sidelined for several decades now. In fact, what is known as cultural Marxism, i.e. Communism’s war against the West – (long planned by the Italian communist Gramsci as a march through our institutions, to undermine Western society, its democratic institutions –and, particularly, to white-ant its Christian foundations) – has been under way for a very long time. When we get basically ignorant politicians running the country, the result is as we see.

A particularly staggering government initiative recently (while 700 jobs are to go from our own defence force) is the government signing up last October to a military defence agreement with Communist China!  What our parents and grandparents would have felt was unimaginable and inexcusable, is now formalised, with  Gerry Brownlee fronting up on this extraordinary pact between a country deeply antipathy to the West – (in spite of all its posturing over trade deals) – and to democracy itself.  Brownlee’s speech hailed “the creation of a five-year engagement plan between the New Zealand Defence Force and the People’s Liberation Army as the first agreed between China and a Western military, demonstrating the unique nature of our relationship.”

Let’s not be naive. Gerry Brownlee would not have had the authority to sign such a shocking pact on his own. John Key’s fingers are in this agreement and it is an abdication of the media’s responsibility to not have properly scrutinised such an important, counterintuitive agreement.

We need to remind ourselves that China has a well-documented history of interfering in countries where it has investments. Prime Minister David Cameron recently explicitly stated (The Spectator September 16, 2016) his intent “to refresh British foreign policy to make it much more focused on the commercial”.  He meant with China.  His Chancellor, George Osborne, has undertaken what has been described as “the longest kowtow in diplomatic history.” This came after he and Cameron annoyed Communist Chinese leaders by recognising the visit of the Dalai Lama three years ago. In return, they have been humiliated by the bullying Chinese, cancelling a planned official trip to Britain and instructing Cameron “to stop conniving at and supporting separatist attempts to achieve Tibetan independence.” We are reminded of China’s expressed displeasure at the presence of the Falun Gong in this country.

In the interests of trade we will no doubt continue to avert our eyes from China’s appalling human rights record and the oppression, torture and imprisonment of its own citizens – including now a record number of media. George Osborne went so far as to claim that Britain and China were two countries whose cultures have done more to shape the world than almost anyone else – a novel theory indeed, as columnist Fraser Nelson notes. As this columnist illustrates, the grovelling apologies to Beijing have never stopped, Osborne even offering China a splurge of British government money (much of it of course borrowed from China) for various arts and other projects.

The British government’s most extraordinary decision to allow the Chinese to build and operate a nuclear power station in Britain is distinguished by the fact that China is not renowned for its expertise in this area. All of which baffles the American government, wondering why Britain would allow the Chinese anywhere near a nuclear power station in their own country.  America spends much of its time guarding against Communist Chinese- sponsored computer hacking. As pointed out, a cyber attack on a nuclear power station would be an unthinkable disaster.

With China engaged in industrial-scale hacking, we should be in no doubt that Communist Chinese-backed hackers are also spying on this country and attempting- very possibly succeeding – to break into our own computer systems. We may envisage ourselves as small fish, but to an aggressive country on the march, intent on taking over as much productive land as possible and siphoning up as many productive businesses – (no doubt now with the added possibility of bringing its warships into New Zealand ports (given this shocking military defence alliance) we are, in very important areas, being gradually taken over, incrementally.

The hour is late to remind ourselves that right throughout history – and New Zealand cannot possibly be an exception – the natural affinity of oligarchs, which is what our Prime Minister apparently is –  is with those of wealth and power. Is this why John Key is so determinedly turning a blind eye to what is actually happening to this country?

For some reason, the Prime Minister is marching to a different drum than by far the majority of New Zealanders.

It has become more important than ever for individuals to show they care, by standing up to be counted. Help us, do, to enable New Zealanders to fight back through civic protest, and to work for the one political initiative which we can and must win for this country – for the sake of our children and their children… Nor should we ever forget all those New Zealanders who laid down their lives so that we can live in freedom. What is now happening is not what they fought for.

*

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.