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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

A farcical flag sideshow & out-dated political system

The turning of the tide? Why we need the country run properly.

In spite of the spin Key enthusiasts are putting on it, the Prime Minister has well and truly lost on this sideshow, damaging his own credibility. Nor was it a close call – in contrast to the usual media-mouths’ claims. And what of TV’s Mike Hosking’s assurance that the proposed flag replacement would win, in a tight vote?  Out in the real world, the New Zealand flag romped home – well ahead of its uninspiring competition. And the Prime Minister’s pet project has cost him dearly, in terms of the recognition that leaders with an agenda tend to cost a country too much.

Not before time, some are arguing, looking at the lacklustre performance of his government – in spite of all the spin being put on issues – (a rock star economy?)- where it is not only failing to deliver – but is doing very poorly.  Catch-22 for most New Zealanders is that the prospect of once more simply replacing the party temporarily in power by an equally lacklustre Opposition has become just as unpalatable.

 Few would now claim to have any confidence in our perceivably out-dated political system. And although New Zealand First, its leader constantly demonised by the media,  far more accurately represents in its stated  aims New Zealanders’  own vision for our country –  http://nzfirst.org.nz/what-we-stand-for/fifteen-principles  – the political party game-playing as a whole is increasingly viewed as unsatisfactory. Change is in the air.

The very real anger of so many that even life-saving services have been cut to the bone – while the Prime Minister has prioritised $25 million  in all-out attempt to have his own way on the flag issue –  has brought home the fact that our political processes can be and have been hijacked by political junkies. We are now being confronted by career politicians in the sense that our MPs are perceived to be failing to represent their electorates in favour of toeing the party line, never stepping over it to risk their privileges and perks by voting against a leader’s damaging proposals.

 Why risk the rewards  parliamentarians have long contrived for themselves and their partners –  even after life in parliament  – ongoing benefits contrived at the expense of taxpayers, such as free international air travel for life – not on the basis of need, and not failing to advantage already very wealthy  individuals? And while in office, in addition to generous housing allowances, there are 20 free flights a year for partners MPs (30 for partners of ministers), as well as hotel and meal allowances.

Moreover, the ongoing farce of handpicking arguably over-paid individuals to review potential constitutional proposals – or to select the finalists from flag design competitions – has little to do with ensuring genuinely independent scrutineers. Members of the flag design committee, faced with criticism of the essential sameness of three of the flags featuring a fern leaf, have now admitted that what the Prime Minister personally wanted influenced their choice. Who’s surprised?

So what did the $25 million pay for? And why would this now cash-strapped country, where essential services such as  hospitals, the police force, sufficient refuges for the mentally ill, the drug-addicted  and women’s refuges are being cut to the bone where tight funding has caused CYF to cut beds from its youth justice residences, increasing their waiting-list and causing youngsters to end up in police cells until court…why would the Key government plan to divert  hundreds of millions of dollars to change, world-wide, the images of  our flag, in commissioning unnecessary  replacements, in reprinting specialist books,  new passports, every kind of information necessary  – in representations in embassies? This massively expensive and totally unnecessary enterprise did not originate with New Zealanders, but was pushed top-down by one individual with an agenda – precisely the opposite way democracies are meant to be run.

 The contrast between our own poorly performing one, and that of the Swiss people, who have so successfully rejected being ruled by politicians the way we habitually are, is shown by their MPs holding down day jobs as, for example, business or trades people, farmers or  professionals, housewives and so on, meeting only one day a week in parliament. In this far more successful country, being an MP is not a full-time job or a career, as here.  Moreover, as the Swiss people themselves fought for and won the right  the right to scrutinise all legislation passed by parliament, their politicians know better than to try to push their own agenda onto  the country  – as we saw happen in this country with the infamous  anti-smacking legislation.

Here,  Key arrogantly ignored the views of over 85% of the electorate to endorse  legislation originating from the far Left’s  Sue Bradford, and endorsed by the equally far Left Helen Clark – with her own suspect agenda. Legislation which has done nothing whatever to make any impact on the appalling rate of child abuse found predominantly in one section of the community has had, as foreseen, a destructive effect on the confidence of good, conservative parents using their own judgment when disciplining misbehaving children.  And from it has come the fear of police knocking at the door as a result of an ill-disposed neighbour, the teacher with an agenda. The consequences of this ill-thought legislation were very obvious – and very determinedly ignored. By the Prime Minister.

However, one of very welcome result of the collapse of John Key’s extraordinary personal push to get rid of the flag which means so much to the majority of New Zealanders, is that the question is being asked – why? Why did he constantly denigrate the historical significance of our flag, attacking it as “colonial” – when in fact both Euro-New Zealanders and those of Maori descent have profited enormously from the colonisation of this country? The constant cheap attacks on “colonisation” show not only a marked ignorance of the very real benefits that came with our ancestors (shared by part-Maori today – as there are no longer any full-blooded Maori). The success of the coexistence of both Maori and European of previous generations is shown by the willingness with which each have regarded intermarriage as the norm.

In fact it was not until the deliberate radicalisation of part-Maori by Marxist-indoctrinated, carefully selected Maori individuals in the 1960s – (some sent overseas to undergo a process of destructive Marxist indoctrination)  – groomed to return to beat the drum of resentment – that a climate of resentment among young Maori in particular  was deliberately fostered. And yet, while attacking our inaccurately described colonial flag, the Prime Minister has been extraordinarily accommodating towards the radicalised flag of Maori separatism – a concept roundly rejected by the Treaty of Waitangi…with its vision of One People, united under the Crown.

In contrast to Key’s attack on our flag, comes the comment of a correspondent stating what so many New Zealanders feel: “I value history and tradition, and I don’t think the change came from the community. It came from the Prime Minister.  I just feel it’s been a large waste of money.”

More and more New Zealanders are perturbed about not being consulted on vital issues of the day- such as the signing of the TPPA, the radicalised agenda being pushed onto schoolchildren and staff throughout the country in relation to prioritising notions of Maori separatism and privilege; a highly damaging sex education agenda; and the replacement of subjects of real value with trivia, under the umbrella of environmental fundamentalism. This, coupled with the increasing burden of a multiplication of unnecessary compliance issues being dumped onto the schools, the professions, and the trades are making life less and less attractive for ordinary New Zealanders just trying to get by. Add to this the fact that the country is now being disadvantaged  not only by  being excluded from the decisions being made on important issues – but that the job losses are ongoing , with many faced with not even being able to afford houses in areas where they need to live and work.

Moreover, the exodus from Auckland of well-heeled property buyers making a grab for land and housing in other locations throughout the country means that multiple-house buyers are having a detrimental effect on the housing market in these areas.

The John Key government is not answering to New Zealanders. And the certainty is growing that it is time for a change…but not the usual cosmetic change of replacing one political party with another, until it in turn is perceived as being equally damaging to the country.

It has been said that nothing is more successful than an idea whose time has come. And the time has undoubtedly come for a new political configuration, to replace the anachronistic and outworn system of simply temporarily exchanging the politburo at the top for the next one in turn. And as Barbara Tuchman reminds us in her intriguing assessment of the performance of MPs in history, “Governments get most issues wrong.”

We can do better.  We can elect to govern ourselves, as the Swiss people do. It is the last thing that our politicians want. What politicians do want is power.  And politicians holding onto power has nothing whatever to do with the country operating as a genuine democracy.

Switzerland is the only country in the world which has achieved what is so often derided by those who mostly fear it – government by the people themselves.  And it undoubtedly makes our politicians highly uncomfortable to face the fact that it is the Swiss people’s ability to control their own government which has made them the most successful and prosperous country in the world. Their government acknowledges this – and calls them, the people, sovereign.

How did they do this? Ultimately by one particular piece of legislation which enshrined their right to call a halt to any legislation passed by government, while they examined it themselves. What has too often happened here – late-night sittings of parliament to push legislation through before Christmas or before the Easter holiday would be a waste of time in Switzerland. Their 100 Days scrutiny period – for the country to say yes, or no – prevents the deal-making by political parties behind the scenes which our country has too often had inflicted on it. And most importantly, it prevents self-willed individuals like John Key essentially having his own way.

As politicians (and the very wealthy – whose agendas so often interplay)  will be implacably opposed to any notion of supporting our 100 Days initiative, to help make our country as democratic and successful as it should be, this movement needs your grassroots support. If all those  concerned about what is happening help to send  it around the country, we will reach a tipping point – not only because this is an idea whose time has well and truly come – but because more and more New Zealanders are fed up with being overruled by politicians, and seeing our country being sold out under our feet.

No only is this the most promising, in fact it is the only really practicable way we have to claim back our country. And you are very much needed to help.

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

“The greatest works are done by the ones. The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never. It is the units, the single individuals, that are the power and the might. Individual effort, is, after all, the grand thing.”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

© Amy Brooke, Convener. www.100days.co. NZ

 

John Key – the Flag? The TPPA? Safeguarding New Zealand?

The passing of a great man, whose principled stand puts too many of our own politicians and judiciary to shame, should help make us think more deeply about what has happened to this country. If it doesn’t bring home to us how far our political world has slid down the slippery slope of a basically corrupt form of liberalism, then nothing will. But if we care, then to stand by and do nothing make us answerable…makes us part of the problem, doesn’t it?

Don’t miss the tribute paid here to Antonin Scalia, RIP, by the brilliant and brave Australian commentator Bill Muehlenberg  http://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/02/14/antonin-scalia-rip/

They say that comparisons are odious. But sometimes they’re very useful. And when saluting this US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man of enormous integrity when it came to confronting the symptoms of a civilisation in crisis – including the steadily continuing breakdown of the essential structures of civil society – the contrast is considerable. What when we honour such individuals of intellectual and moral stature – but compare them to those claiming the right to overrule New Zealanders, subverting democratic principles, because they are politicians?

We all know our cohesion as a country is under attack, not only by radicalised activists; by compromised iwi on the make; and by savants fous. The latter include superficially learned – but essentially blinkered lawyers/politicians/ judges et ilk, pontificating that the Treaty of Waitangi is “a living document”…when it manifestly isn’t. It can only legitimately be regarded as saying what it did – no more, and no less – both to those who wrote it, and those who agreed to abide by it.

Scalia had no patience with activist judges who have created “rights” not in the American Constitution – like a right to abortion – by interpreting the Constitution as a “living document” that adapts to changing values. His dismissal of the “living document” propaganda can be seen at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/justice-scalia-on-the-record .  We have had (and have,) judges similarly inclined in this country, and the damage they have caused is not inconsiderable.

We’re also now losing our country to the richest buyers, both from within New Zealand – and by the increasing gap between the very rich and the majority modestly getting by – just. Ally this to the unprecedented push by super-wealthy foreign individuals and companies, and to the fact that we have become a bolthole for those wishing to escape the growing unrest throughout Europe and elsewhere, or even those wishing to evade closer scrutiny. The latter are very possibly among those gradually acquiring our most beautiful scenic assets. Moreover, those seeking to immigrate into this country include those from blatantly anti-Western, undemocratic countries with appalling records in relation to the oppression, imprisonment, torture and execution of their own citizens – while our government make no public protest whatever. Never.

That tough times are ahead is disputed by few. How tough is the question. Again, few would argue with Labour MP Damien O’Connor’s contention that “No matter how John Key spins the TPPA, the deal offers almost nothing for the dairy industry now. Farmers need facts, not fiction, and the banks that are now starting to knock on doors need to be reminded about the billions of dollars taken from farmers in profits over the last few years.

“The only people who can afford to buy into the dairy industry at current land prices, and current payouts, are foreign investors who have access to cheap capital. The threat of major increases in foreign control of our dairy industry is very real, under the current tough conditions. The National Government has a responsibility to ensure New Zealand retains control over our largest and most successful export sector and it may now require some honest advice and analysis from every stakeholder.”

Moreover, what John Key does not include in his typical spin about the advantages of the TPPA, as he blithely dismisses protests coming from all around the country, is that the fact that we apparently will have no defence at all against the ongoing sell-out of our productive farms, our land, our scenic resources – and our housing stock. The media should not be allowing Key to evade questions to which the public want urgent answers. But the love affair between the mainstream media and our ponytail-pulling Prime Minister shows little sign of cooling.

It takes very little research to be aware of what Justice Scalia would have made of the continual intrusion of the State into the affairs of New Zealanders, including the misuse of language such as “racist”, “homophobic”, “xenophobic” as a tool to bully and intimidate those with very real concerns. Questions are not being answered about what is happening to the country. Scalia’s belief in the constitutional principle of free speech is in direct opposition to language now being wielded here as a politically correct weapon.

If a democratic government’s first duty is the protection of the realm, which includes prioritising its responsibility to first take care of the needs, rights and responsibilities of its own citizens, then this National government is performing disgracefully. Its parliamentarians, reduced by a sycophantic obedience to the all controlling principle of “party politics”, are now held tightly in the velvet-gloved fist of our Prime Minister. Nobody doubts who controls the caucus…

 New Zealanders are now no better, in fact arguably worse off even than under the previous Labour Party government. It, too, was controlled by a highly ambitious party leader apparently subscribing to an ideology opposed to safeguarding the democratic independence of this country. The push for One World Government opposes the sovereignty of a democratic country. New Zealand’s embracing of the much-vaunted TPPA, its negotiations conducted in secret by John Key’s hand-picked ministers, has provided no genuine accountability to the New Zealand public that it is genuinely committed to putting New Zealanders first.

The constant very real downgrading of our country’s defence capabilities under the Clark régime –( I use the word régime intentionally) – which included her disgraceful, costly attack on our air force combat capability, has now been even bettered. How many New Zealanders even know that one of John Key’s tight inner circle, Gerry Brownlee, obviously by no means acting on his own initiative, has now, incredibly and disgracefully, committed New Zealanders to a military alliance with Communist China?

Yes, with Communist China – this increasingly aggressive, war-like country intentionally increasing its naval fleet, while moving down the Pacific, controversially reclaiming disputed land, building deepwater ports, and commandeering as much in the way of productive land and resources as it can. Our over-compliant government, by no means in ignorance of the steps Australia is now belatedly taking to control a Chinese takeover of its natural resources, its best productive farmland, resources, and housing, shows no inclination to become aware of the very real threat represented by this Asian giant’s perceivedly paranoid governing party.

The question we should be asking is: why not? Why is John Key determinedly avoiding taking any steps to observe the first principle of safeguarding the rights of New Zealanders? As he is known for his evasive and glib comments on issues that trouble the country (you’ll recall, for example, Key’s long-stated, unacceptable denial of any housing crisis in Auckland), many New Zealanders are concerned, puzzled and uneasy about where we are heading.

Why, for example, is it important for this Prime Minister to disparage our country’s links with our democratic past, which embraces our constitutional safeguards? Why does he refer disparagingly to our “colonial” forefathers (while deferring to today’s highly sanitised version of a pre-colonial, often murderous Maori culture)? What agenda underpins his push to get rid of our flag, with its important symbolism?

What would Judge Scalia have thought of John Key’s enthusiastic endorsement of the glamorising of aggressive gay activism, already determinedly intruding into our schools and preying on our vulnerable children? The notion of Antonin Scalia dancing on the stage with Gays at their Big Day Out is impossible to contemplate. Would this statesman-like individual of considerable intellect have been supportive of the over-hasty political intrigue (supported by our always “liberal”, good-Kiwi-joker-Prime-Minister) advancing the biological contradiction of gay “marriage” in this country?

Ostensibly supported by polls which certainly did not reflect the view of majority New Zealanders, this nonsensical concept has placed NZers in the forefront of countries accelerating the weakening of family life – in essence, an attack on one of the most important structures underpinning any stable society. What can we say about the polls supposedly in favour, when TV3 front-man John Campbell found out, to his apparent consternation, that his own station’s poll presented the unanticipated result of approximately 73% of the country in fact repudiating, not supporting, the heavily politicised push for this radical move? While individuals’ right to chose, even to chose wrongly, must be respected, the lack of tolerance shown to those concerned about the power of ill-thought legislation has been marked.

So what is happening? There’s more – including a virtual abortion-on-demand situation where a supervisory panel seems to think its job is to facilitate the killing of unborn children in this country, funded, of course, by our successive governments (i.e. by reluctant taxpayers). There is far too little challenge offered to a strident feminist minority’s blatant claim that ” a woman has a right to her own body” when we know very well that is not a woman’s “own body” , but that of another tiny, growing human being – undisputedly her own baby son or daughter – being killed and removed from her own body.

A culture of political activism inevitably involves a culture of deception, even of dedicated political lying, as parties connive in suppressing the conscience of their individual members to the will of the party. The latter in fact is basically the will of its leader, supported by a tight few and politicized management hierarchy intent on holding on to power and advantage. The result is not only a profoundly undemocratic one, it makes a mockery of the notion of government accountability. It will also apparently be accelerated by the important TPPA agreement, in relation to which we as New Zealanders were not consulted…apparently regarded as superfluous.

All fine by you? Daddy Government knows best? All okay – that the democratic process is apparently the last thing that genuinely counts any more in this country?

Isn’t it time for a new political configuration, so that New Zealanders really count, when it comes to decision-making? We certainly count for very little now, with party politics ensuring today’s do-as you-are-told control of the country by whatever oligarchy currently runs the country.

Do we really believe in democracy, in government of the people, by the people and for the people? If so, why are we not insisting that our government take instructions from us to act in the best interests of New Zealanders?

Or are we content to have reached the stage where with minimal – if in fact any – genuine consultation with the public – our political class basically treats us as serfs, our democratic freedoms more and more encroached upon?

There is something we can all do. We can support this movement – The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand www.100days.co.nz – to insist upon all government legislation being stopped in its tracks for 100 days, while New Zealanders themselves have the chance to scrutinise it – and to say yes, or no – our decision to be as binding as the one the Swiss people themselves insisted their government observe.

This apolitical movement makes no distinction between major or minor parties. It does not require allegiance to any political party, or that individuals should abandon any allegiance they may have. It simply offers the chance to all New Zealanders to insist that our governments are made to come clean about what they are up to. It would put a stop to the late night sittings of Parliament when the public is distracted by national holidays, a favourite time for the party in power to ram through legislation inflicted upon the country.

 Check out our www.100days.co.nz – and join us to help New Zealanders claim back this country from the politburo which has hijacked it…

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 © Amy Brooke, convenor, author of The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand – What has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians. See BOOKs – www.amybrooke.co.nz

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Utterly awful, Amy…not what my father fought for…

“It is utterly awful, Amy. It is not what my father fought for in 1939-45.”

What is this “bright line” nonsense? This extraordinarily un-kiwi phraseology is foreign to New Zealanders, much more like the kind of language the Chinese employ in descriptive writing. We could more accurately describe this disastrous Prime Minister’s decision (much too little, and far too late) to apply a very minimal check on the buying up of New Zealand’s housing stock – Auckland’s in particular – with a concept familiar to New Zealanders – that the horse has bolted.

The reaction above – “It is not what my father fought for in 1939 to 1945” – which reached me from one of New Zealand’s most outstanding apolitical lawyers, a much-respected QC of integrity and international stature, reflects the incredulity of so many New Zealanders from all walks of life. We all now know that the country is being sold out from under our feet – and that, on the evidence, obvious for some time now, John Key and his National government apparently couldn’t care less. Hence the too little, too late, temporary-only dampener put on foreign investors who are neither New Zealand citizens nor New Zealand residents, but are entering this country in unprecedented numbers, and are buying us out.

And yes – this is not what New Zealanders – our fathers, our uncles, both men and women of a preceding generation, whom we honour with “Lest We Forget”… gave up six years of their lives for – if not their whole lives – in the Second World War alone – to preserve this country and other democracies. It was above all for our own land that they fought – the land we walk on and work on – for our own people. They did it for their own generation – their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters… for their children, and for their children’s children.  And it is we, their children and their children’s children who now – (either through the utter negligence or deliberate agenda of this culpable government) – are being out shut from what they left us. We are and more prevented from owning what should be our farms, our housing stock – our businesses – and our strategic assets. In other words, we are well and truly facing the sell-out of New Zealand.

We should make no mistake: this is an unprecedented and extraordinary happening. And we are losing this country. Given our depressed economy, given the way Bill English is borrowing to beat all previous records, we know very well that most New Zealanders can be, and are now being outbid for our country by foreigners with far deeper pockets. 

The OIO admits there is no limit on how much land can be sold under our feet… No ceiling of 25%, 50%, 80%…? – or as much as the increasing exodus from other countries worldwide will contrive to snatch up – the mega-wealthy seeing New Zealand as a safe haven from the social unrest and instability throughout Europe, and most other parts of the world.

Remember how John Key has consistently denied there’s even a problem with the housing market in Auckland? But then this Prime Minister apparently has a problem with the truth of issues – as noted by journalists on more than one occasion. Having denied there is a housing problem – which has already done enormous damage to the Auckland housing market and disadvantaged so many New Zealanders, unable to compete with the intrusion of the super-rich into this country (particularly those from communist China seeking a bolthole from a country now facing its own economic downturn), Key now claims he himself suggested the tax to Inland Revenue around five years ago. He states it was opposed to the idea and only recently changed its mind about it.

However, apparently the IRD’s suggestion was for a 10 year period, to rein in foreign investment. Key’s settling on a 2 year one instead suggests his preference is not to represent New Zealanders on this issue – but, rather, for it to impact as little as possible on foreign investors. And who’s telling the truth – particularly given that one wonders why the PM would have suggested a solution to a problem he has denied exists – and also given that the Greens claim that the IRD and Treasury have both supported a capital gains tax in the past?

However, it seems John Key likes to be thought of as Number One. There’s an interesting parallel here, with Prince Harry, on his recent visit, being presented with a gift of greenstone (pounamu.) It was given to him by the Governor-General. But the garrulous Key immediately confided to the media the information that he himself was looking into giving the Prince a greenstone treasure – it was just that Sir Jerry Mateparae got in first.

On went our charismatic PM, indulging once more in a bit of centre-staging:   “I know Prince Harry really wants some pounamu. He admired it when we were at Gallipoli [for the Anzac Centenary commemoration]…I was standing next to him at Chunuk Bair and we were watching a kapa haka group perform, and Prince Harry made a special mention of the greenstone necklaces the group were wearing…He said they looked really beautiful, and he asked where he might be able to buy one. I told him it was pounamu and you don’t buy it: you must be gifted it.”

The latter, of course, is completely untrue. Greenstone jewellery and artefacts can be bought all over the country…But is it any more untrue than our Prime Minister’s claim, prior to the last election, that the government’s budget was in surplus – when, in fact, this Thursday will now be the seventh – or is it the eighth year in a row that we are facing a budget deficit because of this government’s mishandling of the economy? The fact that Key and his National Party are thought as being successful financial managers must be one of the most successful deceptions being practised on New Zealanders in recent years – with far too little scrutiny by the media.

But to abbreviate Key’s strangely elaborate claim of “I thought of it first…(with his “ I” suddenly becoming “we”…”So, we looked into gifting him a beautiful piece as a memento of his trip here, but the Governor-General said he would be giving him something. I know Prince Harry will treasure it…” etc. We get the picture. Our Prime Minister is The One Who Thinks of Things First – as with the” bright line” jargon? But most importantly, this totally inadequate proposal is going to do very little to address the rapacious swoop on the Auckland housing market by foreign investors – greatly aided by those New Zealand real estate agencies which went to Communist China to recruit them, bragging about the fact that they could keep on buying and keep renting to NZ tenants, who can’t afford to buy the houses themselves…and informing them how easy it was to not pay tax here. We have been basically sold as a pushover – which few would dispute.

But why has this been the case for so long? And why, after 2 years can the same foreign buyers still now sell, and avoid this new tax? Key’s oddly named “bright line” is going to do very little to solve what is happening. It simply prevents anyone buying a house to on-sell it with a view to making a non-taxable capital gain, being able to do so within two years. After that it’s open slather, as usual.

This proposal does nothing whatever to prevent those foreign investors – the majority markedly from communist China – buying up multiple houses and renting them to New Zealanders. The Reserve Bank seems to have overlooked the fact that in making it harder for New Zealanders to invest in buying property, by increasing the amount of deposit needed before a mortgage can be granted, it has made it even easier for foreign buyers, capital-rich, to crowd out our own people from the market. And is this supposed to be an improvement?

The only possibly productive part of this too-little-too-late proposal from the PM, and apparently only because of the government being leaned on to do its part, is the requirement that buyers will now (why only now! An eye on-the-ball, competent government, acting on behalf of New Zealanders, would have seen to this long ago) be required to register with the IRD, and open bank accounts in this country.

Once again New Zealand first leader Winston Peters is the only politician representing those New Zealanders who do not belong to the moneyed class controlling most of the investments in this country (apart from Labour’s Stuart Nash, making highly relevant comments in the NBR – but we’ll come to this – about National’s scandalous transfer of $7.45 million dollars of New Zealanders’ money to a foreign-owned farm in Saudi Arabia).

Peters points out that this new policy – not even due to come into force until October 1 – is “but a pittance” and completely ignores the issue of offshore purchases of New Zealand land. and massive immigration.  He accurately labels the tax as a “weak attempt to deal with a major problem”. He is not wrong, when “The tax still allows offshore land banking and offshore purchasing of homes to rent, and does not affect the “past rash” of offshore buying of homes and farms prior to October 1.”

Peters has also predicted the Companies Office will “receive a torrent of applications from new property companies all in the name of virtually anonymous offshore property investors”.

Moreover, as Key pointed out in a candid moment some months ago, the wealthy know how to structure their affairs to arrange paying minimal, if any, tax. He appears to be helping here, by structuring his new proposal to make it game, set and match as usual for those anxious to afford to help New Zealanders become” tenants in their own country” – a position he once famously invoked – and since has done nothing about. As he now says, his proposed curb “is quite different from an investor buying with a long-term view of renting their property to tenants.” Apparently it’s business as usual, in this respect.

And while the government, in an apparent attempt to deflect the media and the country’s attention from the gobbling up of our farmland, businesses, assets and housing, keeps focusing its statements on the need to free up more land and build more housing – (housing which cannot possibly keep pace with the record number of immigrants) this appears to be a useful ploy to distract attention from the fact that it has done nothing to curb the record immigration numbers of more than 56,000 people per year, which is adding to the pressure of the Auckland housing market.

Moreover, it would be interesting to see how many supposed New Zealand companies are actually owned by New Zealanders. Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon, for example, is not owned by New Zealanders, but by Malaysians.

The New Zealand First leader may also not be wrong, when he said in a recent interview, “There’s a day of reckoning coming for us, sad to say. A lot of people in Auckland are about to lose their equity in their homes as they did in 2007 and 2008 when the market collapsed…Now, a wise government would step in and try and stabilise things, cut back on demand, stop offshore buying. The second thing is cut back on this massive immigration – which is not about production, remember this: it’s about consumption.”

His last statement is completely accurate. It is not surprising that even the downturn in the dairy industry will not stop foreign buyers grabbing our land. In fact there are all the signs that we are going to be increasingly dispossessed in our own country. Given the dairy downturn, farmers with their backs to the wall are being forced to borrow at exorbitant, quite shocking rates of interest. Those who don’t make it will be more likely to have their farms bought by foreigners, particularly Communist Chinese investors. Is this going to contribute to social stability in this country – and to New Zealanders feeling that the country is still ours?

Overseas analysts are writing well on these new phenomena – firstly on this fact that the super-rich are looking for places in our country and others as a bolthole – and because of the increase in social instability worldwide. And secondly, because today’s exodus from Communist China is unparalleled in its or our history – and New Zealanders are looked upon as a ripe plum ready for the picking.

But there’s no decent investigation being taken up in this country. And yet it affects us all. Already, a former American and long-time New Zealand resident, a hard-working owner of a small business argues that it is now too late for us. Is he right?

 These questions need answering…but, unfortunately, too many of today’s better journalists are kept too busy meeting deadlines to undertake this. But it needs to be done – with urgency – particularly given that our cock-a-hoop Prime Minister has become an arguable liability to this country- with the National Party falling in line behind him…also managing not to see what’s right in front of us all. As National Minister Nick Smith so famously said, when his leader tells him to jump, he asks how high…

The issue that Labour’s Stuart Nash has raised in the NBR is almost incredible, the revelation that “National is spending over $7 million supplying mostly undisclosed goods and services to a privately-owned farm in Saudi Arabia whose owners will retain ownership of the taxpayer-funded assets.

“About $6 million has been allocated to contract Hawke’s Bay company Brownrigg Agriculture to develop a consortium of New Zealand companies to deliver unspecified goods and services for a New Zealand agri-business demonstration farm being constructed near Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The government has also spent an additional $1.45 million on airfreighting 900 pregnant ewes from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia for a pilot research breeding programme – even though the profits from the future progeny of those ewes will be pocketed by the Saudi landowner.

“In addition, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) is refusing to confirm that no more New Zealand taxpayer money will be invested into the demonstration farm, which is owned and managed by Saudi Arabia’s largest livestock trading company, the Al Khalaf Group. Co-owner Hamood Al Khalaf, in partnership with George Assaf, reportedly owns three other farms in the wealthy Hawkes Bay area… Swedish investors now apparently own 8 NZ farms. Chinese, German, Russian and American buy-ups of our land – in some cases several by the same buyer – do not equate to what our fathers, uncles and grandfathers fought for, gave up their lives for, in the hope that they were making this country safer for future generations of New Zealanders.

Make no mistake; the pace of the sell-out of this country is accelerating. And only a fundamentally democratic movement supported by New Zealanders and challenging all the political parties, can now save it, at this late hour.

It can be done – the Swiss did it, to rein in their own government – and for themselves to claim the right to make the decisions concerning the country’s directions. The fact they succeeded with just one small but crucial provision, has made them the most successful and prosperous democracy in the world –  as we detail in our 100 Days website!

We need you to help. Join us at www.100days.co.nz and please donate on our website -to help us spread our essential movement as widely as possible to New Zealanders everywhere.

© Amy Brooke – Convener, and author of the essential reading (available on Kindle, or any good bookstore) The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.

For further background information – http://www.amybrooke.co.nz

From Northland? Thumbs down to “the virtuoso of slick”.

 

The message from Northland – thumbs down to “the virtuoso of slick”.

The Northland rout must have been a shock to the National Party government, which has been acting as if it has the right to virtually rule New Zealanders. And many will have watched with amusement, well flavoured with schadenfreude, the recent sudden encounter with reality John Key himself underwent. Described by the Dominion Post as “the virtuoso of slick”, Key’s initial, arrogant dismissing of Winston Peter’s chances as “absolutely zero” and his later stating with what many would viewed as political sour grapes, let alone discourtesy, that he wouldn’t pick up the phone if his candidate lost, was accompanied by National Party threats and bribery.

Suddenly everything changed. Surprise, surprise: It was going to be a close thing after all. So bridges were going to be widened, ultra-fast broadband access prioritised. The limousines with ministerial presences – were, with a lamentable lack of judgment – sent to impress the proletariat. And with a possibly even greater lack of judgment, Key himself – damned if he did and damned if he didn’t – bestowed himself on a less than grateful electorate…very possibly the kiss of death to National’s chances.

We can contrast’s Key’s boorish behaviour with Winston’s Peters’ basic kindness in the post- election exchange with Mark Osborne, an apparently thoroughly decent man. When Osborne called him “very generously” to concede, Winston in turn told him not to take the loss to heart, that “he was in the most impossible position of trying to make up decades of neglect and it wasn’t his fault – and he wanted his wife and family to know that”.

Moreover, (as a former politician confides) Osborne, “as a newbie, would be listened to even less than the tea lady. One thing that has become abundantly clear is that the current National government is totalitarian-minded in its decision-making process. A few chosen ones at the top, notably Key, English and Joyce, apparently make all the policy…The rest are primarily ballast to provide numbers in the house. Outside Parliament, they are essentially {marketing paraphernalia} for the government.

As columnist Jane Bowron describes it, Key’s “swaggering boast” at the beginning of the by-election (that Peters was on a hiding to nothing) contrasted markedly with his about-face, and “only made an overlooked electorate more determined to back a man who was born and bred in Northland, knew them in their bones and had bones in their land”.

The significance of National losing the “safe” seat it held for more than 50 years has been recognised by most New Zealanders – as much as this government downplays it. But then the gurus of the mass media, long out of touch with the respect with which Winston is held by heartland New Zealand, apparently predicted (as on Q + A, with their usual misplaced sangfroid) that National would win the seat.

Describing Winston as “mythologized as the hero of heartland”, Bowron shares the lack of awareness of most media mouths who have seemingly been programmed to ignore or disparage Peters’ achievements while in government. There is also an airily dismissing of the fact that of all New Zealand’s politicians, Peters is widely regarded as apparently the only one with a sufficient knowledge of history, and a sense of the significance of what is happening in the Pacific…for example, of the threat to New Zealanders by an undoubtedly predatory Communist Chinese government – and of the loss, little by little, but accelerating – of our land, our companies, the threat to our strategic assets – and the buying up of our housing market – with its grave implications. The ridiculous media baying of xenophobia, as a fob-off, does not impress New Zealanders at large.

Like other media who tend to echo the current opinions of the mass media commentariat, Tracy Watkins was also quite wrong in recently stating that it was only six months ago that “National was carried back into power by that huge wave of political support “ in the November elections. There was no huge wave of political support. National actually lost one seat. And it apparently can’t be repeated enough that the party is estimated to have gained approximately 36% of the total votes – compared to those who voted for other parties – and that, factoring in the number of registered voters who didn’t vote, National gained only 33% of the votes of the country…less than those who voted for other parties.

John Key’s similar claim to the effect that it was a landslide victory could be charitably described as overly imaginative. The reason why National squeaked home (and anything less than 50% of the country’s votes is not a mandate to claim majority support, as is Key’s practice) is that the vote of the opposing parties amounted to a dog’s breakfast, more or less – a right mess of unprecedentedly different factions.

Make no mistake: a government which thumbs its nose at the expressed will of the people – as John Key’s government did from the beginning – is not regarded as democratically representing majority New Zealanders. What are increasingly now viewed as National Party patsies all fell into line from the very beginning, when Key took it upon himself to forbid conservative parents to decide when it would be legitimate and helpful for a disruptive child to receive a well-deserved smack. The pattern became established of John Key knows best. And when National’s leader pushed through the utterly unnecessary and costly Emissions Trading Scheme – and the disturbingly undemocratic Marine and Coastal Area legislation – (in the face of considerable concern from within his own party) then it became plain that the country no longer operates as a democracy.

As many commentators are now pointing out, it is now a virtual dictatorship – or at least governed by an oligarchy – in which political power and control rests in the hands of a very few people. In this case, those ensconced in the inner sanctum of the National Party hierarchy have to date been able to be relied upon to be the fall guys, or can-carriers, for their leader.

The shift towards governing with presidential type power, however, began even before the National Party’s more recent governing terms. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark exercised exactly the same sort of control over Labour Party politicians, to such an extent that MPs such as Phil Goff dodged its consequences with regard to the anti-smacking prohibition which has seen a marked increase in the number of disobedient, disrespectful, disruptive and assertive children, who know their “rights” – and of frustrated and fearful parents. The forcing through of this legislation has not assisted with the real issue of child abuse in the country – (which has nothing to do with an occasional much-needed smack) and has helped those who determinedly avert their eyes from that sector of the community where most family violence occurs.

It has also added to the list of prohibitions which increasingly has New Zealanders concerned that in speaking out – essential for the healthy functioning of any genuine democracy – they are going to be vilified by determinedly abusive, politicized factions with manipulative cries of racism, xenophobia, homophobia. Yet very few would argue that driving dissent underground, and inhibiting thoughtful assessment of the directions of the day, is a plus for us as a people. And many feel concern about what is regarded as a general social, even moral deterioration in this country, viewed as once more stable, crime-free and unified.

So, too, with one issue about which Winston Peter apparently has a far more statesmanlike appreciation than Key himself – and our other parliamentary representatives. This is the question of exactly what is Communist China’s interest in intruding into the Pacific. If the usual feel-good, think-bad advocates of a mindless “diversity” could be persuaded to actually engage their minds on this issue, even they might come to a conclusion, no matter how reluctantly, that it is more than time that we had a politician who represents New Zealanders’ interests – rather than those wealthy enough to buy their way into our country – and then buy New Zealanders out of owning it.

On the China front we hear no protest at all – ever – from our government about the continuing and increasing pattern of repression, cruelty, even torture and imprisonment of those Chinese brave enough to confront the CCP – Chinese’s ruling and corrupt Communist hierarchy. John Key voices no public concern, reportedly because he does not want to create an awkward situation when functions are held at Wellington’s Chinese embassy.

National’s leaders are seemingly quite happy about the fact that the country is operating in a moral vacuum, with regard to foreign policy. The National Party seems to have come to the conclusion that the country is going to ignore what it does not even bother to deny – that the GCSB has been scandalously misusing its powers to spy on those competing with Trade Minister Tim Groser in his quest for a lucrative overseas position. The fact that he did not win it does rather raise the question about whether there was, in turn, any productive spying (from those backing overseas candidates) into Groser’s own political career, which may not have been to his own advantage – an irony which will not be lost on those concerned about the rampant intrusion of the State into what should be fellow democracies.

Nor is New Zealand, with its see-no-evil approach, joining other countries voicing their concern about the Islamic targeting and murder of Christian groups and individuals overseas. There is not a squeak from our government about the appalling crimes being committed against women – their total subjugation in the Muslim world; their stoning to death for any perceived or invented transgression; their sexual mutilation to be forced to conform to Muslim practices.

We are exhibiting no concern that the US’s apparently rogue president has now manoeuvred a more than dubious deal with Iran – without even the minimum quid pro quo of insisting Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist. This, when the fact that Iran has been close to facing economic collapse, means the potential to achieve a far better result has been squandered. It has been left to the Arab nations themselves to express their concern about what they see as a weak American president whose problem in fact may not be weakness at all – but a dubious personal agenda, and a determination to get his own way….cost what it may.

In short, New Zealand is failing to publicly protest on a number of issues where not to do so can be argued as morally derelict – as is the case with China’s repression and even torture of dissidents – increasingly so, even – and, in the case of  Raif Badawi – shockingly and inhumanely sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for risking his life and freedom for questioning disturbing aspects of life in Saudi Arabia – including the domination and oppressive role of religion.

NZers are on the whole very decent people, and most would prefer to see this country’s politicians publicly raise concern over issues such as these. What have they got to lose? It would be hard to see the media dissent – e.g. about the arrest and persecution of fellow reporters overseas.

It is rather late, too, for an American expert on China itself to be having a rethink. A recent article by David Shambaugh confesses to his now having second thoughts about what he has argued for years – that China is reforming to become “a responsible stakeholder”. Heaven protect us from those experts who belatedly come to the realisation of what commonsense has long brought home to the people of a country – and in this case it is that Communist China cannot be trusted…and never could. That the Chinese practice of keeping friends close, but enemies even closer has served it well – that, faced with the lack of understanding, the ignorance, the self-serving thinking, or even the simple stupidity of our politicians. Shambaugh is now expressing concern that China isn’t joining the rest of the world, but turning into a predator.

There is no question of “turning into”- as his epiphany suggests. China’s Communist politburo has long regarded the West as its enemy. But will his belated acknowledgement that President Xi Jinping is a despot cause our own government to dampen down its excessive enthusiasm for deals between our two countries? After all, if our National Party government shows no interest in admitting that “Xi’s regime has stopped almost every experiment with better governance”, and that China’s multimillionaires are fleeing the country, then it is answerable to New Zealanders for its lack of oversight in allowing the buying up of so much of this country by Communist Chinese investors. The Americans, for example, are critical of Britain’s agreement to join a bank set up by China to fund Asian developments, as “they see this correctly as a means to protect Chinese power without the tiresome scruples of existing institutions” – and have persuaded Japan, Australia and South Korea to stay out.

What New Zealanders basically want to know is what is happening in this part of the world. The realisation has belatedly come that financial capitalism has now superseded Adam Smith’s concept of the free exchange of goods and services operating in a moral environment.

Financial capitalism basically involves corporations and individuals making money out of making money – basically what John Key did as a currency trader. It produces no basic goods or services. It appears to operate very much in the kind of moral vacuum which profits, for example by on-selling debts which others cannot pay, and in contriving extraordinarily complicated financial arrangements almost beyond comprehension by the public at large – but hugely profiting those who deal in the manipulation of money. However, it brought about the 2008 collapse, which had the Queen herself asking why the economists had not seen this coming.

We can repeat her question, charging it to our politicians. Why have they not foreseen the inevitable consequences of a policy of lending to institutions, individuals or countries – as China is doing in the Pacific with its multi-million-dollar loans to small Pacific countries which have no hope of repaying them? What is China’s agenda in so doing?

Our government is also apparently not keen to look squarely at the problem of far wealthier overseas investors in foreign owned companies making bigger profits as the economy grows, and helping to push up the current account deficit, reportedly from $175 million to $2.6 billion for the December quarter. Imports grew faster than exports, and Finance Minister Bill English appears, as ever, to obligingly act as his master’s voice, deflecting criticism of the fact that the deficit is expected to worsen this year with overseas companies earning more from their investments in this country than New Zealanders are earning from the overseas investments.

Most New Zealanders have no problem appreciating what this government avoids acknowledging, that selling off our assets to foreign-owned companies which pay virtually no tax in this country, but take their profits offshore, reduces the amount of taxation available in this country to pay for essential goods and services. No need to guess who will make up the shortfall. It certainly won’t be very wealthy New Zealanders, able, as John Key has acknowledged, to structure their financial affairs to minimise their payable tax.

What has been very much brought home to New Zealanders is that this National-led government does not represent the interests of the country at large. The Northland by-election has shown the rest of the country the way. But what we still have to take on board is the fact that the routine exchanging of one political party for another – simply to eventually throw each out in turn as the excesses and arrogance become too great for the country to stomach – is not enough. And it certainly does not ensure that New Zealanders have any genuine say in the decision-making that is imposed on us.

What we urgently need is a reconfiguration of our political system… so that it is New Zealanders themselves – as in the case of Switzerland, the most successful and democratic country in the world – who have the final say on all parliamentary legislation – and on all issues affecting the well-being of the country.

We need the initiative of the 100Days – Claiming back New Zealand movement – and we need the information about its very real potential as an apolitical, grass-roots movement to be passed right around this country.

And we need heartland New Zealanders on board to help – and to pass this on.

Will you? See www.100days.co.nz to come aboard and support us to claim back our country!

Amy Brooke – Convener –The 100 days – Claiming Back New Zealand