They’re dying,while the wily John Key has us arguing

We’ve all seen the pictures. The little three year old boy, drowned, lying on the sand…A mother in an agony of loss, her two much-loved little daughters dead. They are ordinary family people, just like us – fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands. They are dying, starving, destitute, losing hope – and scores of thousands are already dead.

They are dying, and desperate – while John Key has us arguing about his vanity flag project.

They are posing an enormous challenge to the countries to which they are fleeing from the butchery in the Middle East. Hey, but we’re busy, aren’t we, arguing about the colours on a possible (though highly unlikely) new flag for this country?

However, according to the Herald, although John Key has long resisted requests to increase New Zealand’s refugee quota, there are signs that he may be softening his stance. He has now announced that “we’re not ruling out doing more”.

Who are we? John Key, who now virtually rules this once far more democratic country? And apparently, changing the flag that commemorates our forefathers, to turn it into a mere branding image, is a number one priority for our lightweight Prime Minister, who likes to disparagingly use the word “colonial” to rubbish a great heritage left to us . This centres on the values and traditions of the centuries-old fight for democracy, and the Christian underpinning of the West. However, in our increasingly secularised and fragmenting society, as these values come more and more under attack, it may be time to face the fact that when we lose them, we will have lost what turned us into a civilisation – even if one that is now gradually disintegrating.

Our present flag and that of our Australian friends are not a purposeless assemblage of design gimmicks. They can remind us that the “three crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick acknowledge the principles and ideals flowing from the British heritage of European settlers; including parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.”

And meanwhile, the Australians are laughing at us. No wonder. It was a New Zealander who submitted one of the five almost identical designs that was adopted as the Australian flag, which carries a fifth star within the Southern Cross, and one larger star, that of Federation.

A silver fern, a piece of (green) plant which has been adopted, little by little (and by no means without a gradually implemented, radicalized agenda) as an emblem on sporting teams representing New Zealand) doesn’t carry the same weight. Nor do any of the four slick (three repetitively similar) designs now selected to challenge the flag of those who came before us.

And from the site of Facebook Here’s the short list for the best NZ beach towel. The comments on these are overwhelmingly negative. And “In the meantime Karl Puschmann reveals in the New Zealand Herald that the ” whole ‘Change the Flag’ debate was just a big Government distraction to take attention away from the real scandal going on right under our noses.”

Which scandal, though? That of our country being sold out piece by piece to the highest bidders? A country where our farmland is being priced out of the reach of the people of this country. A country where political decisions and a mismanaged economy have produced the unthinkable – a situation where many New Zealanders can no longer even hope to buy a house of their own.

John Key apparently has a very strong ego which justifies, in his thinking, the $26 million estimated as the cost of the two referenda which he has planned, in order to get rid of our flag. But this will be a mere drop in the bottomless bucket of the many more, million of dollars – if his personal push succeeds – to change all the flags, the atlases, the textbooks, the insignia on buildings, the passports. We can probably factor in hundreds of millions of dollars if one determined individual, bent on getting his own way, succeeds – now cuddling up to sporting heroes like Richie McCaw, to assist him – to the disappointment of many who will feel that McCaw should not have allowed himself to be part of the PM’s propaganda campaign on this issue.

So, while desperate individuals flee from the carnage of the Middle East, and the reversals to barbarism of Central Africa, New Zealanders have been inveigled into arguing about which beach towel design they could opt for.

Too bad that our cash-strapped hospitals are now even removing patients from their waiting lists; that there are New Zealanders with life-threatening diseases requiring expensive medication having this withheld, because the country apparently can’t afford it. Too bad that Starship Children’s Hospital has to send out begging letters to raise the money to buy the equipment needed to treat children to the best of their ability. Too bad that the police are being constantly badgered to reduce even further their already inadequate budget. If John Key wants to prioritise his wish for a new flag, apparently this takes precedence.

That our flag is similar to that of Australia is a very minor quibble. All around the world variations of tricolour flags are genuinely confusing, whereas it takes only a glance to tell the difference between our flag and that of our Commonwealth neighbour. Moreover, we are both Anzacs. Our people, New Zealanders and Australians, fought and died together – and apart from our very reasonable dislike for the unsporting antics of the Australian cricket team, we rub along pretty well.

We may have a money-man for PM this side of the ditch – but we need to show him that a county’s flag isn’t just about making money – isn’t just an export brand. And that prioritizing his wants, while people are dying, forced to flee their own homes, their country, their own people– let alone downplaying or dismissing the very real problems facing this country, shames him – and us all.

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


Repression, arrest and death, today’s Communist China

Repression, arrest and death – today’s Communist Party’s China.

Well, John Key?

NEWSFLASH: The Chinese police arrested ten women in Beijing on March 8, the International Women’s Day. Their crime? Distributing anti-sexual harassment leaflets!

The Chinese Communist Party leadership has adopted an absolute “zero tolerance” policy on any public action.

This super police state, with its deep pocket of money, is now exerting a great deal of influence outside its boundaries. A million Chinese are reportedly now in Africa; Chinese interests have been buying up the Bordeaux vineyards. And closer to home, why is our Key-led government so determined to avert its eyes from what is happening – and why –   with the unprecedented largesse China is lavishing on our Pacific neighbours – and with the buy-up of New Zealand?

Among the immigrants to our country in the late 18th and early 19th century, none were more hard-working than those Chinese who came here, slaving away in horrendous conditions – in freezing cold and close to starvation – to mine the gold fields and send money back to their people in China. Their descendants, with the same unequalled work ethic today – (which puts to shame that of many iwi constantly claiming special importance and clamouring for special recognition – simply as a result of prior arrival) set up market gardens and shops, with parents, children, and grandparents all contributing. Their loyalty to family meant all worked towards helping any family member with the potential to become a doctor, a teacher, or any other professional – pooling their resources and financial contributions. Too often discriminated against at the time, they remain among the New Zealanders we can be most proud of.

They were followed by other immigrant Chinese, highly intelligent and equally hard-working. Some of these today are now very concerned at New Zealand’s over-close accommodation with the country from which they may have fled. There are publicised cases of individuals targeted for victimisation if they wish to return to this Communist Party-controlled country in order to visit aged parents or relatives. With considerable courage, and, in some cases, with name changes to protect a family, they very much keep in touch with what is happening in China.

It has been a privilege to know one very highly educated Chinese individual who protested as a young man at Tiananmen Square, before he worked at prestigious universities in England and the US, and settled in New Zealand.

We all know that the Key government has been making no effective public protest at all in recent years about the continuing abuse by the Communist Chinese Party of so-called ordinary Chinese who have had the courage to make a stand against oppression.   Ai Weiwei, China’s most renowned international artist, formerly imprisoned for his own criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s oppression, states “Right now, in China, we are living in conditions that no other generation has ever experienced – of great economic growth and expansion, but also great oppression of freedom of speech and human rights.”

The current president Xi Jinping, with whom John Key apparently feels “comfortable”, is very much part of that oppression. According to The Guardian and other sources, China’s repression of political activists, writers, independent journalists, artists and religious groups who potentially challenge the party’s monopoly of power has intensified since Xi took office nearly two years ago. Moreover, the persecution of Christians is now well underway, with the CCP reportedly feeling unsettled by the fact that there are now more Christians in China than there are actual members of the party.

An article in the Australian News Weekly, RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION – Beijing fury as Christians outnumber communist in China – see 56808 – details how several Catholic bishops are under house arrest for rejecting the authority of the Chinese Patriotically Catholic Association (PCA), a front organisation set up by the Chinese Communist Party to monitor and control Catholics. These include the Bishop of Shanghai, the right Rev Thaddeus Ma, who has been under house arrest at the Shehan seminary for over two years. Bishop Ma used his ordination Mass to announce that he was resigning from the PCA. His announcement was greeted by the 1000 member congregation with thunderous applause, which is not surprising, given how much the Catholic faithful despise that organisation.

And this is all fine with Prime Minister John Key, and his National Party yes-men– and women?

However, mainstream New Zealanders want to know why we are making no protest at all about China’s repression of those who dissent from the ruling party line.

And why has there shamefully been no report in Western media of the recent death in prison of Shi En Xiang, a Vatican appointed Bishop who has died in prison at the age of 94. A report from a Chinese language website only reached me from the former protester at Tiananmen Square. Headed “The Death of a Martyr” if has reported that “Shi En Xiang, a Vatican-appointed bishop, died in prison at 94.”

 During his long life, he spent altogether 53 years in Communist China’s prison or a hard labour camp because of his Catholic faith.

He was arrested in 1954 as he refused to sever links with Vatican and join the Communist Party-sponsored “Patriotic Catholic Church”.

“Released in 1980, he was secretly appointed bishop of Yi Xian in Hebei Province in 1982. He was immediately harassed by the police, until Easter in 2001, when he was arrested and was never seen again.

“On 1 February his family was informed by the authorities of his death and told to get ready to collect his body. But nothing has happened after that.

“The following link is to Radio France International.  So far all the information has been in the Chinese language.”

“Though an atheist”, says this brave, former protestor at Tiananmen Square, “I take off my hat to this great human being for his resistance to bowing to an evil power.”

He also recently wrote, with regard to my concerned comment on what is happening to this country, given Prime Minister John Key’s airy dismissal of the concern of New Zealanders – (now felt right thought this country) – about what is regarded as a sell-out of our birthright, our land and heritage, our housing, and much else.

“I agree with your sobering assessment. As a footnote to what you’ve said, the Pope may have decided to keep mum over Shi’s death. The death may come at an inconvenient moment for the Vatican as it’s engaged in “negotiation” with Beijing. Alas! ”

I am by no means the only New Zealander shocked at the Key government’s amoral kowtowing to such a brutal régime. Its culpable silence lets down the “ordinary” Chinese people, and those brave souls who stand up to oppose it – who are then bulldozed by the brutality of the CCP.

Extracts from the following exchange between this former youthful protestor and a friend of his in the US (names withheld from concern for their and their family’s safety) cast light on the plight of the Chinese people as a whole. It is not they, but the immensely wealthy “princes” of the CCP – or those connected with it – who are buying up our country – while the Key government decides to look the other way.

“I totally blame our naive leaders in my country – Kissinger, Nixon, Clinton, etc.  The list is long.”

“You know why? Mainly because you Americans allowed China so much in the way of trade surpluses for decades, turning a blind eye to its unashamed, mercantile export-led trade policy. Have the grand men who promoted Globalization as a holy article of faith foreseen such a day?

Let’s see if the Pope takes note of his death.  His life and death are just one example of a human being standing up to the CCP. There are many more like him, and I count you among those who have sacrificed much.

“I am always trying to figure out what might make the CCP really change track, but it seems little does.  Millions of people have died at its hands. and yet it still stands strong.  I feel the CCP is now at the point of no return, and that there is nothing that can stop them.  There is actually nothing to stop them.  The only thing that could stop them is the people of China themselves, if ever they all rise up together, but again, the CCP has put all the stopgaps in place to prevent such an incident.

”The US alone cannot do anything to the CCP, and anything it does would hurt the average Chinese person.   I don’t see any big changes except for the Chinese model gaining more ground – since it is frankly easier for governments to operate that way than democratically – UNLESS the world unites against the CCP after Russia and Iran come to their senses, and the pressure builds within China for change.

“That is the only hope. Stephen Hawking maintained recently that aggression is the world’s worst enemy and I see how the CCP is the kingpin of our demise.”

The question now facing New Zealanders is whether or not, in the face of government indifference, the CCP, underpinning supposedly private Chinese investment on this country, and gathering more and more momentum, is also going to be the kingpin of our demise.

 © Amy Brooke. Convener – the 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand –   Join us to help win back this country…














John Key – prioritising Communist Chinese interests?

Is John Key prioritising Communist Chinese interests – rather than those of New Zealanders?

 a) Why is the Overseas Investment Office basically powerless?

b) Is there any point at which no more New Zealand land and housing, etc.  can be sold to far wealthier foreigners – a stop put at say, at 25%… 50… at 70%…or at nothing? Or do we have no realistic protection at all against the theoretically possible, near sell-out of this country?

(I’m still waiting for the promised reply from the OIO on this query.)

c) And what about our National-led government’s morally bankrupt silence as China imprisons and kills its own – including targeting Christians? What about a long-imprisoned, 94 year old Catholic Cardinal – regarded as  a saint – recently dying, unacknowledged – having spent 53 years locked up in a Communist Chinese prison? (See more details in a soon-to-come journal entry.)

Isn’t it high time that John Key’s apparent preference for favouring Chinese interests over those of New Zealanders was questioned? Isn’t it also high time that what can be regarded as an over-close, if not fawning association with an essentially repressive Communist country, which tolerates no dissent or opposition from its own citizens, is seen for what it is – a morally bankrupt move on our Key-dominated government’s behalf?

The Nelson Mail’s recent editorial (March 2, 2015) Foreign land register sensible move – did a very good job of stating what the Prime Minister obdurately refuses to recognise – what this is costing us. The Mail highlighted the open slather land sales to offshore speculators; the fact that Kiwis are being shoved off the first rung of the housing ladder by far wealthier overseas buyers – especially those from Communist China; and to its credit, it noted New Zealand First leader Winston Peters’ describing the Overseas Investment Office as a rubber stamping machine, with all 189 applications for overseas ownership of New Zealand lands having been approved in the last two years. It pointed out an obvious first step for this country is to establish a foreign land register, and that with current technologies, this should not be an overly taxing task.

Across the Tasman, the Australian government is implementing or planning measures in response to Australians’ foreign ownership concerns. Yet nothing is being done in New Zealand, although “New Zealand farms are being snapped up by the world’s super-rich as boltholes to escape anger over rising financial inequality.” One of the world’s leading fund managers, Robert Johnson, who heads the Institute of New Economic Thinking, was reported in the Dominion Post as telling a standing- room-only session in Switzerland that our farms, homes, and land are being bought so the rich can flee here in the event of uprisings. In other words, we are a soft touch. His claim was backed by Stewart Wallis, Executive Director of The New Economics Foundation…”getaway cars, the airstrips in New Zealand and all that sort of thing… I think the rich are worried.”

The one point that the Nelson Mail skirted over was the question why, “For all of his populist instincts, Prime Minister John Key appears curiously out of touch with the public on land ownership by foreign investors.” Why indeed?

However, John Key’s “populist instincts” appear largely to consist of his constantly smiling refusal to address the concerns of more aware New Zealanders, dismissing them when he states he feels “relaxed”or “comfortable”. And in the majority of instances, this is enough for too many journalists to back off querying how really relevant is the fact that this former money-trader feels “comfortable”?

As an obviously highly determined individual, our present Prime Minister must have learnt early the value of projecting charisma, constantly presenting himself as unfazed to a fan-following among those media cheerleaders who undertake no hard thinking… as to why his former colleagues called him “the smiling assassin”. But then, as Henry Ford famously noted, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” And the fact that some of our highly self- regarding media commentators very obviously fail to engage in hard thinking can reasonably be regarded as contributing to the continuing lack of in-depth assessment of what our politicians are up to. Yet this is a very necessary safeguard for any democracy to survive.

However, the word democracy, as applied to New Zealand, is rather an optimistic description of what this country has become in recent years, in the hands of ideologically programmed Prime Ministers and ministers bent on getting their own way.

It can well be argued that Key’s victory, as a very astute politician, is to present himself as middle of the road, and moderate…when in reality, far from being moderate – or guided by the views of the majority – John Key is a very tough, determined individual who has, on issues that count, simply inflicted his own point of view on his Cabinet and on the country.

The infamous anti-smacking legislation? John Key ignored an over 85% warning from the rest of the country – and did as he pleased. The costly and utterly unnecessary Emissions Trading Scheme – also opposed by many in his own cabinet? – as was the discriminatory Coastal and Marine Area legislation, and the short-sighted asset sales, which will also cost taxpayers more in years to come. We can include the basically racist preferments and special provisions made to prioritise those of part Maori-descent (no matter how attenuated their genetic inheritance) over that of the majority of New Zealanders – even when these flie in the face of the unbeatable democratic principle of equal rights for all.

And now New Zealanders are to pay probably scores of millions of dollars in promotion and advertising because John Key has decided he wants the flag changed. And what John Key wants, apparently John Key gets… although he has very probably bitten off more than he had planned to chew on this one issue, at least.

It is highly doubtful that the Prime Minister is, as the Nelson Mail ponders, simply “curiously out of touch with the public on the question of land ownership by foreign investors”. Rather, it appears to be another issue where John Key once again wants his own way. What we should be asking is why – why is he not prioritising the interests of New Zealanders themselves and protecting this country from the worrying land and housing grabs – and the commercial colonisation of this small country by far wealthier overseas buyers gaining far too easy access to our assets?

In essence, why is the Key government refusing to implement any effective controls to safeguard us from the predatory moves to which we are being subjected? Again, why?

It’s not as if the Overseas Investment Office is against protecting New Zealanders interests. Reading between the lines of the OIO’s own website, * it seems as if it has long waited in vain for the opportunity to do just this, but is hamstrung by the obdurate refusal of our own government to take any genuine notice of New Zealanders’ concerns in this area.

“Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is not currently doing any work to investigate or create a register of foreign-owned land in New Zealand.  We have, however, done some preliminary work following interest over recent years.  This included looking simply at what might be required if the government were to consider implementing such a register. There was no directive from Ministers, and no expectation to report back.  We will continue to monitor developments around the world in terms of land and property registers. – See more at:

In other words, the ball is very definitely in the government’s court, and we are being fobbed off. If the Australian government can propose a check on foreign property buyers, a register of foreign land and property ownership, tougher rules for purchases of rural land – and stricter penalties for those who break the rules – we need to demand better answers from our government than to be fobbed off by John Key feeling “comfortable” – and Bill English, his tediously-compliant lieutenant, badmouthing as “xenophobic” those who raise concerns about why Key’s government is so set on doing nothing.

In this regard, the issue has been raised that building an accurate picture of the level of foreign ownership of land and houses could breach the Privacy Act and Bill of Rights. Sheer nonsense, as the whole point of reasonable laws is to accommodate common sense – and if the Australian government can manage the restrictions it intends to propose, there is no valid reason why this would not be possible here. Yes, buyers could structure ownership to hide nationality – and undoubtedly are already doing so. However, a competent government is able to take measures to prevent obfuscation and to require transparency in areas of national interest. Why does Bill English say we can’t have a register of foreign buyers – when Australia can manage just this?

What are the things the government doesn’t want to know? What about the recently reported item that wealthy Chinese-based buyers are paying big money for Canterbury homes…that local real estate agents are travelling to China to cash in on its global property-spending boom…? Why are both New Zealand and Chinese New Zealand land agents advertising on specialist foreign websites, with “Bayley’s general manager Pete Whelan describing the buyers as mega rich”?

What about our housing shortage, with those unable to afford to buy a home of their own now facing rising rents of up to 10%? Why is immigration reaching record levels, argued to be “explosive and huge” when Auckland’s house prices are already going “gang-busters” – as reported by Dominion Post columnist James Weir?  The torrent of migration hitting a new record high of 58,000 to the end of January will more than obviously swamp the number of new houses being built – and the government doesn’t want to know about this? “Auckland will not be able to cope” says NZIER principal economist, Shamubeel Eaqub, with “rental auctions, homes leased to the highest bidders”.

Moreover, the banks themselves are warning that “significant deals done at ridiculous” prices for New Zealand property could spell disaster…and that the high praise prices foreigners are paying for New Zealand property – including housing, commercial buildings and farms – are worrying bank executives, as the KPMG annual survey of banks and other finance institutions has found” – reported by columnist Rob Stock. The banks themselves are acknowledging the fact which the typically relaxed John Key apparently doesn’t want to know… that “the risk for New Zealand is that while all this money comes flooding in and creates over-inflated prices, New Zealanders are forced to buy at these over inflated prices”.  This leads leading to a sense of hopelessness among some young people about ever owning a home. Moreover, “New Zealand’s debt to the rest of the world remains high, leaving it vulnerable to global funding shocks”.

New Zealanders are hurting. The Minister of Finance should know that it is unpardonable and insulting to us as a people to dismiss these hugely important concerns as xenophobia – as he has. He should also know that “an International Monetary Fund report in 2013 showed that New Zealand and Norway had the greatest deviation in house price to income ratios from historical trends among several advanced economies… more than 60% above the normal rate.”

Is the Key-led government simply incompetent? Or is there a personal agenda at work here? It would not be the first time that an apparently folksy, charismatic, but basically very determined government leader has over-ruled those asking well-overdue questions. Moreover, in spite of his repeated assertions, Key’s National Party did not increase its overall showing in the last election. If the number of both registered voters and those who did not register are factored in, National gained the support of only 31% of the country – something that should not be forgotten whenever the Prime Minister blithely claims that the country has given him a mandate to govern.

New Zealanders who want to claim back our country because of the deterioration in genuine democratic participation–due to pressures from a dominating government – know it is not enough to grumble – then crumble…

In this age of the electronic possibilities for protesting, or for insisting on democratic participation, it takes very little time and energy to send an e-mail to a political representative, to a government department, to a minister and Prime Minister – to ring up a talkback show, or write a letter to the newspaper.

 To do nothing, when the issue is so important, is the inexcusable option.                                                            *

© Amy Brooke. Convener – the 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand –