Untruthful MPs, or those with damaging agendas?

Why vote for untruthful MPs, or those with damaging agendas?

We have reason to recently reflect how very relevant was Mahatma Gandhi’s gentle reminder that, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

It’s a challenge to individuals like each of us that many extraordinarily brave men and women all over the world are being imprisoned, beaten, publicly whipped – and tormented. Men, women, even adolescents are being tortured and finally often executed – simply for being the change they have wished to see in the world. Iran, Saudi Arabia, ISIS-occupied countries such as Syria, even Communist China (shockingly enough, New Zealand’s new military defence partner!) may be most prominent in the appallingly cruel treatment handed out to what their leaders regard as dissidents – those calling for democratic freedom, and to live their lives as Christians – according to the golden rule. Or in Muslim-dominated countries, for women to be no longer regarded as the property of men, to be burnt alive, or pushed into holes in the ground and stoned to death.

Saudia Arabia, for instance, is reportedly about to behead a 21-year-old man and then crucify his body in public. This same country was just chosen to heed a UN Human Rights panel. Organisations have drawn attention to the staggering hypocrisy involved, and apparently mounting public pressure from France and the UK are calling for the execution to be stopped. But not New Zealand – recently intent on bestowing taxpayers’ money on an unlikely-sounding sheep venture in this “friendly” country, ruled by a tyrannical and barbarous regime which arbitrarily mutilates and executes its own citizens.

All around the world human beings are being abused on a daily basis, and our shameful government never utters a public word of protest. And now, radicalized Islam is well on target to Islamify and destroy the West. Moreover, we are foolish indeed if we think that we in New Zealand will be exempt from the now worldwide push. Yes, there are good, moderate Muslims living among us – but there is no benign Islam – regardless of what these individuals may believe. Often they are the very first to be attacked by the fanatics from among their own people.

But to reflect on this issue: what should one be doing to basically live like a decent person, aware not only of one’s responsibility to one’s family, and to the larger community – but also to one’s country? And, observing what is happening all over the world – do we have a right to remain silent in the face of the appalling treatment meted out to so many?

The problem is at least twofold – in that powerful leaders and politicians, as ever, throughout history, represent the biggest threat to people living their lives in peace and freedom. And when I receive calls or e-mails from worried individuals, including those holding positions of responsibility within the National Party organisational hierarchy, reluctant to vote for other parties, but repelled by what National has become under its current leader – and its heads-down, unrepresentative MPs – then it’s obvious that the times are changing.

I recall, too, that two now prominent National Party Ministers had no problem at all blatantly lying to me when I was formerly organising the annual SummerSounds Symposium – its fine speakers coming from right across the political spectrum, both within New Zealand and overseas, to debate the important issues of the day see – www.summersounds.co.nz

One now current National minister who was there, while in Opposition, to speak on a particular socio-political portfolio, having delivered a rather lackadaisical address, and receiving feedback more critically challenging than he obviously expected, apparently took umbrage – and I’d like to emphasise that the debates were always amicable – one of our ground rules. It was later discovered that, seemingly miffed, he then rang a colleague due to fly over from Wellington to give his own keynote address, to tell him not to bother coming – crudely name-calling the gathering. However, following that phone call to (or from) his colleague, we were told at the time that the latter had missed the plane, as Air New Zealand had not issued a boarding call, and he could therefore now not arrive in time for his featured address.

Why would we not have believed him – but he was telling a lie. Not only was this insulting to fine individuals present, but his apparent petulance cost us. A highly intelligent audience, some of whom had come a considerable distance to hear featured speakers, now lacked one due to speak on an important issue.

Thanks to the generosity of those present, another speaker was substituted. And it was only when I subsequently rang Air New Zealand to find out why a boarding call had not been issued, that I discovered the truth. Several boarding calls had been issued – and they were on record. The MP concerned, after the call from his colleague, simply apparently failed to show up at the airport. Moreover, two prominent attendees later confirmed that on their own arrival at Wellington airport after the weekend symposium they had co-incidentally met up with the now minister who boasted that he’d put his colleague off.

So much for integrity. So yes – why would one vote for someone damagingly untruthful? Why, in fact, are New Zealanders faced with voting for individuals who apparently do not have the best interests of this country at heart? It cannot be any accident that are there insufficient controls on the sell-out of our most important assets, our productive farmland; our prime scenic assets, our housing stock; that New Zealand companies are in an apparently never-ending process of laying off scores, if not hundreds of workers.

Labour MP Damien O’Connor braves the usual shrill cries of xenophobia by pointing out that “Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest meat company, is now effectively controlled by a Chinese company with growing influence across the Kiwi farming scene…This deal leaves the Chinese shareholders in a corporate enterprise dictating the crucial decisions in what was a farmer cooperative …which will have long term ramifications for farmers across New Zealand.” O’Connor reminds us that we are now falling back into the bad old days of foreign control across the meat industry with an ability to minimise payments to farmers {but} to maximise profits for retailers in other countries. “Moreover, the taxpayer subsidy to trace and brand their meat now benefits an astute Chinese company who own an invaluable supply chain from the largest meat company in the best country in the world.” As this MP pointed out, “What a bargain – but not to the farmers!”

Prime Minster John Key blithely presides over what is happening to this country, having apparently hoped to distract the population with the debate over his own pet project – getting rid of our history-laden national flag to plump for a corporate and sporting branding image. Whether Key has any idea of the important values that underpin our flag is another matter. He does not have a reputation for any deep understanding of the issues of the day.

Meanwhile, immigration levels are going to put even more stress on our infrastructures, our houses and services. There are reportedly 900 on the waiting list for MRI scans in Wellington. Patients are being removed from waiting lists, instead of being been treated – and that Starship Children’s Hospital has to solicit for donations from the public to afford important equipment is an indictment on this National and previous governments. We are far from being a rockstar economy, and as the Christchurch rebuild phrases downwards, this is going to hit home more than ever. Our apparent recent budget surplus is arguably a sham, contrived at the expense of the downsizing of essential public services, even targeting the most vulnerable. The reducing of funds available to kindergartens, and prematurely forcing mothers with toddlers out into the workforce is going to have obvious social consequences.

From a fellow New Zealander, a former young Chinese who protested at the butchery in Tiananmen Square, before fleeing to the West, comes this comment about the inhibiting of debate. “Public discussion of an upsurge of Chinese immigrants and their buying up of NZ farms and choice properties is definitely discouraged.” And, “New Zealand has not yet sunk so low, but the trend is here too. It’s mind-boggling that the Swedes ban public discussion of rapes committed by Islamic immigrants.”

Close to home, for example, xenophobia is the bully-word now used to inhibit genuine feedback on what is legitimately concerning New Zealanders as the sell-out of our country. So too, the manipulative “racist” is the favoured accusation with which to target those brave enough to challenge the whittling away of the principle of equality, of equal rights for all under the law, regardless of colour, race, gender, or creed. The radicalised penetration of all our institutions – our Ministry of Education, our schools, our universities, our medical and nursing professions – and the tedious centre-staging of supposed Maori practices parallels a reinvented language bearing little relation to that of genuine Maori which is now being foisted off on every possible occasion – with the inevitable backlash promoting social unrest.

What is happening in this country, and what we can do about it, will be a highly important topic in forthcoming journal entries. Because we, as New Zealanders, can indeed win the back control of our own country from what has become a virtual ruling class of politicians who are causing us a great deal of damage. ( See www.100days.co.nz ) Although we can be grateful that our remoteness from Europe has so far spared us from what is becoming a democratic collapse in major countries overseas, we are faced with our own challenges causing us considerable damage in not only socio-economic areas – but right across a morally challenging spectrum.

What of the catastrophic happening overseas – and why is our own media failing to report what is actually happening, as the tsunami of genuine refugees, swelled by economic migrants, and now ISIS infiltrators, washes over Europe? By the end of 2017, it is estimated that 3 million immigrants, mostly Muslim, by no means loathe to bully and intimidate an existing Christian population, will have changed the face of Germany – let alone other European countries.

For example : http://atimes.com/2015/10/more-horrible-than-rape/

“The body of a 20-year-old Syrian woman, “Rokstan M.,” was unearthed from a shallow grave in the small Saxon town of Dessau last week. Her father and brothers stabbed her to death on her mother’s orders, after she was gang-raped by three men. The rape left her “unclean” and the mother allegedly demanded the killing to restore the family’s honor. German police are seeking the father and brothers. That by itself is not newsworthy; what is newsworthy is the news itself, which appeared in not one of Germany’s major daily newspapers or websites. The tabloid Bild-Zeitung ran the story, along with the regional press, while the arbiters of enlightened opinion buried it. Der Spiegel, the country’s biggest news site, and the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, the newspaper of record, made no mention.

“The case of Rokstan M. is heart-rending. She had found work in Germany as a translator for the government, but she knew her family would track her down and kill her. “I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die,” she had written on a social media profile. Her story deserves a line or two in the quality press. But it’s one of many that German leaders want to ignore.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ill-conceived move to open Germany’s borders to all comers has produced disastrous results. And across Europe, the stable doors are being closed – many argue, too late: the horses have bolted. The damage done by one no-doubt well-meaning, but ill-thinking, leader has become only too obvious. And it has become a prime example of how damaging a determined leader can be to a country.

New Zealanders are little by little taking on board the fact that we ourselves do not need to be ruled by politicians – to be ignored, condescended to, and even vilified. Minister Chris Finlayson’s “clowns” and “nutters” is an example of an arrogant minister disliking being held to account by well-informed commentators in his treaty negotiations portfolio. Some raise the question of whether he can actually be considered impartial, of whether he truly represents all New Zealanders – as he is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as leaning toward iwi claims – some now highly contestable.

For example, this minister’s Wikipedia entry states,”I used to love going to the office in the morning when we were suing the Crown”, Finlayson said in a speech in 2009. “Ngai Tahu mastered the art of aggressive litigation, whether it was suing the Waitangi Tribunal and [National Treaty negotiations minister] Doug Graham or the Director-General of Conservation. It was take no prisoners and it resulted in a good settlement.”

Certainly, good for Ngai Tahu, but, some argue, a settlement made in the face of evidence backing up the claims of those arguing ( as in historian’s Alan Everton’s excellent thesis) that it should never have been made at all. Crown lawyers even later admitted they were simply not up to the task of examining the historical evidence. In addition, respected media commentator Brian Priestley, invited at the time to be present at Waitangi Tribunal hearings, commented to the effect that he had never seen a body less designed to get to the truth of issues. The problematic Ngai Tahu settlement, was one where, undoubtedly, Chris Finlayson’s own “aggressive litigation” contributed to the outcome.

However, some would regard it as a fair question to ask whether or not Finlayson is still locked in a time warp, basically enjoying virtually “suing the Crown” rather than representing the interests of all New Zealanders.

 His Wikipedia entry also claims “Since his appointment as Attorney General, Finlayson has been successful in reaching an unprecedented number of financial Waitangi Treaty settlements with many Maori iwi he had represented in private practice.”

The man in the street might regard this as an astonishing statement. And one can well ask what has happened to this country when the findings of reputable researchers are ignored by this former lawyer who represented NgaiTahu in achieving their highly lucrative settlement in respect to the same claim previously rejected by a Maori Affairs Select Committee – (with apparently very good reason) – and moreover, one where the Crown negotiators later admitted they were simply not up to the task?

To the surprise of many, this tart-tongued minister – (never elected to Parliament, merely arriving as a List MP) –  having been  appointed by Prime Minister Key as Attorney–General, reportedly elevated himself to the position of QC.

Finlayson has now followed up his earlier suggestion that iwi issuing multi-million-dollar claims against New Zealands’ taxpayers should negotiate directly with him, rather than take their cases to court, where the taxpayer can be properly represented. And although it can be argued that if the Crown’s representatives decide that they have negotiated a settlement that is proper, under whatever legislation is relevant, it would be vexatious of them to bring the case to court… it can be equally well argued the public no longer has much faith in the negotiating competence of the Crown representatives in. this area. Claims properly contested in court under cross-examination offer an arguably more transparent outcome.

A very much concerned public, in fact, has long felt let down. It sees the treaty gravy train rumbling on forever, well past the date at which all claims were to have been settled, with new ones loaded on board in opportunistic fashion.

What New Zealanders are coming to increasingly admit is that they have had enough of their lives being controlled by politicians. What may need to be increasingly taken on board is the truth of that old aphorism. “ If someone deceives you once – shame on them. If someone deceives you twice – shame on you.”

There is an obvious solution, and it is to look for answers from the most successful democracy in the world, that of Switzerland, whose people control the politicians – not the other way around. They did this by fighting for the 100 Days provision to be adopted by their parliament so that the passing of any legislation has to wait for a 100 day scrutiny period, for the country to think about it, and finally decide to accept it- or reject it. And the people’s decision is final. See www.100days.co.nz

As Emeritus Professor David Flint reminds us, “The result is a wonderfully well-run and well defended country without an elitist political class or judicial oligarchy.” In Switzerland “the keys to the constitution are not with the judges. They’re with the people.”

The only realistic way for us to win back control of this country is to insist on coming of age, in the political sense – by claiming the right to determine our own directions. And yes it can be done – by each of us spreading the word about the 100 Days around this country, to friends, relatives, by talking about it in the workplace, in our pubs, our cafes – anywhere people gather to relax and chat.

Every individual counts, helping to work towards achieving a tipping point of consensus that we, the people of New Zealand, should also be in control of the decisions affecting our country.

We need financial support to help make this happen. See the Donations page on our website – where very $10.00 or $20.00 is well-used. And each contribution is very much appreciated

We should also remind ourselves of our campaign inspiration:

New ideas pass through three periods: It can’t be done…

It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing…

I knew it was a good idea all along!” Arthur C. Clarke.

We can claim back New Zealand.  All it needs is New Zealanders.  And that means each of us.


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

Downplaying the very real threats to New Zealand?

The very real threats to New Zealand?

It’s not as if they aren’t substantial. And this Key-led government is causing considerable concern, perhaps not to a prattling commentariat, but to the country at large. Away from the political and media areas with their self-absorbed interactions, New Zealanders want to know what’s going on…why our country is being sold out to the highest bidders. And what precautions are being taken to guard against the rise of the same militant Islam that is proving so very damaging to other Western democracies.

Arguing for a silver fern branding to replace a time-honoured flag which carries significant meaning to most New Zealanders is a shortfall in thinking. The John Key–instigated extravaganza is pushing for this. However, if yet another Chinese investor now gains a controlling share in New Zealand’s largest meat company, called Silver Fern Farms, this will rather muddy the waters. To whom will the silver fern emblem belong – to New Zealanders? Or to another in the list of super-wealthy buyers from Communist China hoovering up our land and our assets – while the government apparently couldn’t care less.

On the contrary, Bill English apparently wants to help them. This time Winston Peters is not the only politician speaking out on behalf of New Zealanders. Labour leader Andrew Little has charged the Overseas Investment Office with doing too little monitoring after investments have been okayed, and warning that there is always a risk with this government that they will water down the tighter controls and check and balances {needed} to preserve and protect our strategic interests and industries”.

Little is walking right past the fact that these checks and balances are already manifestly inadequate. At the same time, the Finance Minister, Bill English, so often the mouthpiece for his boss, John Key, when it comes to making unpopular statements, is admitting that “the government may beef up the Overseas Investment Office to make it quicker for foreigners to get permission to buy New Zealand assets.”

Of course. And this is the government which still hasn’t answered why, when the Crafar Farms were originally sold, any New Zealanders interested in acquiring them were told they could bid only for the job lot, as it were. This of course put the farms out of the reach of our own countrymen. However, they were advertised in Asia as being able to be bought individually.

This is known as loading the dice. What the National-led government has not been successfully charged with, thanks to an over-compliant media, is selling out New Zealanders in favour of foreign investors…

Yet the oligarchy now ruling this country can’t be ignorant of the fact that, as a 60 Minute programme recently highlighted, Communist China is intent on taking over and controlling all aspects of productive land here and elsewhere, worldwide, that it can – what it produces; how it is marketed and transported – not for the benefit of the countries it is commercially invading – but for its own purposes. In Australia, vast amounts of productive land are now falling into Communist hands with farmers forced off farms that have been for generations in the same family. The banks on which farmers relied are now apparently only too happy to take cash, and to stand by, while this is happening.

Oh, but, Bill English assures us…” The government won’t dilute strict laws that set out conditions for foreign buyers.” This is basically poppycock. Any clever lawyer well able to be afforded by the multimillionaires muscling their way into this country can run rings around these “strict laws”. Money counts… And what it is saying to New Zealanders is – Goodbye to your own country.

While English is mouthing about the legislation not being watered down, he’s averting his eyes from the fact that it is already far too accommodating to foreign buyers – at the expense of New Zealanders. He has the nerve to say that “people who are going through the process often complain about it, and that we have to point out to them that the intent of the process is that it is difficult and it’s pretty challenging.” Really? He rather gives the show away, doesn’t he, when he admits, “all I’m saying is that we get complaints and we are listening to those.”

Well, no news here. This Key-led government, now widely regarded as selling out the country, has very obviously long been listening to big money talking. We can recall how Prime Minister Key quite blatantly , in face of all the evidence, refused to admit that there was even a housing problem in Auckland! And among other foreign buyers of our already snapped-up assets, the red flag of Communist China is stretching across our farmland, our important companies, our housing stock, as we become more and more virtually colonised by this aggressive and increasingly predatory country.

Farmer shareholders and New Zealand First have raised much-needed opposition to Silver Ferns Farms, New Zealand’s largest meat company falling into Chinese hands. Not that today’s National government could care less. English suggests that farmers put their money where their mouth is…regardless of the fact that the vagaries of farming ensure that very often farmers are not in a position, even collectively, to raise the sort of money needed to protect their own industries. And given we are now relatively poor, a reality which can only be attributed to the incompetence of successive governments mismanaging the assets of a country rich in natural resources, we can now guarantee we will be outbid by mega-wealthy investors regarding us as a ripe plum ready for the picking. The rush is on. Moreover, our newly-lowered interest rates for borrowing are to make it even easier for the buyers.

This is not just a question of a reality check, of an investment being a positive thing for the primary sector, as Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy likes to present it. It’s also become a question of New Zealand selling out its most productive assets, and so being deprived of a tax intake – which in future will increase the taxation burden on ordinary New Zealanders. As John Key has already blithely acknowledged, the wealthy can structure their financial affairs to avoid paying any significant tax at all… and who doubts this?

What of the other looming threat to New Zealand posed by focusing on Muslim-only refugee rescue packages? Why are we aiming to take in only Syrians? What about the Christian communities being systematically butchered by ISIS in the Middle East and in Africa?

Worldwide now, those Christian values which underpinned and stabilised the West as cornerstones of our democracies, standing strongly for the rights, responsibilities and the importance of the individual, are coming under attack – not only in Communist China – where far more today declare themselves as Christian than as belonging to the CCP- but in Obama’s America, presided over what many now regard as a rogue President in a country so undermined by the ultra-liberalism of Hollywood’s attack on these values, that here, too, Christians are now being targeted, vilified, and taken to court – particularly as a result of the intolerance and aggressiveness of the new gay propagandist movement, and its bullying tactics.

Every country’s first duty is to its own citizens. And the fact that so many hundreds of thousands, even, estimatedly, millions are now fleeing from the oppression and the barbarity of their fellow citizens, and that we arguably have a moral obligation to do what we can manage, to help the most vulnerable of these, does not mean that we should not be very clear-headed about what we are doing.

But first with the head – then with the heart…Both need to be on board. Knee-jerk reactions targeting civilian refugees can neglect the fact that as brilliant Australian commentator Bill Muehlenberg poinst out, political Islam and creeping Sharia are a very real threat accompanying Muslim immigration. And countries such as the UK, France, Denmark and Holland are now paying dearly for the way they so uncritically embraced the flawed ideology of multiculturalism – rather than insisting upon the need for new immigrants to assimilate into an already existing democratic community, and to pledge allegiance to democratic values. The quite wrong claim that all ethnic cultures are equal in value, even those which are inherently antagonistic to the West, which subjugate and abuse their women, and which claim the right to import separatist practices which undermine our hard-won democratic rights and values, should be utterly rejected. But it may well be too late now for much of Europe to make a stand against being undermined from within.

What we cannot afford to ignore is the excellent analysis of the situation centring on the Syrian refugees in Bill’s excellent, clear-headed article on the Syrian refugees. See http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/09/07/on-the-syrian-refugees/

As he points out, our natural wish to help genuine refugees must not be divorced from thinking critically. Each nation has the right to defend its borders, and to determine what is a feasible number of genuine refugees or asylum seekers which can be accepted. Isis is already threatening to flood Europe with half a million immigrants in a psychological attack against the West. Isis also boasts that thousands of its operatives are already in place in Europe, disguised as refugees. “Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees at all, arguing that doing so would open them to the risk of terrorism… And although the oil-rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.”

In other words, while “Muslim nations are admitting that Muslim refugees pose a genuine terrorist threat, the West is supposed to throw its doors wide open, with no questions asked. That is a recipe for national suicide.” With good reason, Islamic groups believe that refugees from Syria and other countries will spread Sharia, which is the main goal of jihad.”

In the same article, English commentator Peter Hitchens offers some sober thinking, including the fact that many so-called refugees are, rather, economic immigrants, and that a Muslim dominated government is foreseen as coming to pass in France about seven years from now, ushered into power by the French Tory and Labour partieswith the aim of wanting France to disappear – to be integrated into European Federation.

Given the very real radical Muslim threat to the West, and that multiculturalism is very much a failed policy, we must take steps to ensure that those coming here conduct themselves as genuine refugees, pledging their allegiance to this country.

For example, every new immigrant should be required to take an oath of loyalty to New Zealand as a Constitutional Monarch, and every immigrant child should be required to study and be tested in the national curriculum in schools – even if attending a special church school, as Catholic children often do in this country.

We must reserve the right to expel any immigrants – to send them back to their own country – if they break the law. Women should not be allowed to conceal their faces, nor should they be allowed to be subjected to cultural and sexual bullying, according to the customs of some Muslim males. And other immigrants intent on following their own religious practices, such as turban-wearing Sikhs claiming the right to carry carrying ceremonial daggers on aircraft, should be obliged instead to prioritise our democratic customs, not only for reasons of security, but as a courtesy to the country that has accepted them.

Moreover, as Switzerland has done, we must object to minarets being erected so that the call of the muezzin can be broadcast over towns and cities – a form of noisy cultural bullying in a country that is not Muslim. The Swiss people stood up to their government, voting to prevent any more being erected.

There is an argument that the young men fleeing to the West should stay in their own country and fight back. However, although mothers, babies and children should undoubtedly take precedence as refugees, to stay would mean certain death for many others, particularly where they have no way of successfully fighting back.

Rather than permitting enclaves of particular nationalities to be set up, the suggestion of every town taking in a refugee family offers a far more successful chance of genuine integration.

We’ve done very badly in the West. Our governments conned us for a long time by maintaining, in response to radicalized pressure groups, that assimilation was not the answer, and that all cultures are equal in value. And quite deliberately fomented racism – to which we’ve been long been subjected, with special rights, privilege, funding given to those of part-Maori descent – (without even a definition of who or what is predominantly genetically Maori) – has had the effect of destabilizing society, and continually raiding the pockets of taxpayers. The result has been hugely divisive, with opportunistic iwi, too close to the ear of government, now perceived as being motivated largely by greed, and cultural centre-staging.

There is no argument that migration has in many ways been a powerful and positive contributor to the growth of this country – from the arrival of the first colonists onwards. They made New Zealand what it is today, a country whose forebears were English, Scottish, Irish, Polish, Dalmation, German, French, Italian, Jewish, Yugoslav, people of many different backgrounds who, over the generations with intermarriage with Maori (our previous immigrants) made integration the norm. The result was a remarkably stable mixture of the descendants of all these peoples.

Whether we are on track for a quite different and far more damaging period ahead will very much depend on claiming back our country, as New Zealanders, from a succession of governments which have made very bad decisions, costing us all – and which are apparently determined to carry on doing so. Already the winds of change have flown in birds of ill omen, with the threat to this country now coming both from outside, and from within our own borders.

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

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 https://www.facebook.com/acmnorepublic: 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.


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


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 http://www.newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id= 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 – www.100days.co.nz   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: http://www.linz.govt.nz/news/2014-12/overseas-ownership-land#sthash.zzrbxXaY.dpuf

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 – www100days.co.nz

Which New Zealand is John Key fantasising about?

What did John Key actually not tell David Cameron… And is there an important reason why New Zealanders are being blatantly disadvantaged, when it comes to owning their own houses?

Isn’t it time we asked where exactly John Key’s loyalties lie, if it isn’t to New Zealanders? More than once our Prime Minister has been accused of either “telling porkies” (why the euphemism?) or of “being economical with the truth”. If so, shouldn’t this matter?

Remember Jason Eade? Remember when, wonderfully enough, our evasive Prime Minister told Parliament that his “black ops” senior adviser Jason Eade, had not worked for him “in his capacity as Prime Minister”.

With what was seen as decidedly bizarre logic, the difference was explained. Eade was merely giving communications advice “to the Prime Minister as leader of the National Party.” Hmm.

Although being Prime Minister must underpin all of his other roles (as, while he is Prime Minister, he remains in fact just that) – apparently the different hats he puts off and on come in very useful when Key decides he’s actually not acting as Prime Minister. Oh well. Good to have that sorted out. But it’s interesting to find on the web a list of evasions, if not contradictions of the truth of things by some keen eyed observers – quite a long one.

Some are more important than others, and two claims recently made by our Prime Minister as reported in the London Times need examining. The first, “that voters, who gave him an increased majority last year, had accepted that ‘immigration was a barometer of the health of the country…Although immigration is seen positively by New Zealanders they know we could stop it if we wanted to.’ ”

Increased majority-really? And “seen positively”? Which New Zealand is John Key is fantasising about? What imagined country does he have in mind? National’s share of the party vote alone, for example, fell in the last election from 48.06 to 47.04%

Is the PM really completely ignorant about the fact that most New Zealanders, contrary to what he is claiming, are very concerned about why our farmlands, our scenic assets, our homes, and our businesses – let alone our strategic assets – are being taken from us? Does he simply not know  -implausible as this is? Or is he dodging an issue he wants to avoid – something he is very good at? This is not a question of xenophobia – but of New Zealanders themselves being dispossessed in their own country.

The argument by some farmers – (keen to personally profit) – that they should be allowed to sell their farms to whomever they please is short-sighted, and self-serving. Any property rights should also involve the recognition that we are the caretakers of the land for this generation only. More land cannot be invented, or conjured up. And if there is a land grab under way, as there undisputedly is, by those who can well and truly afford to outbid New Zealanders, it is perfectly logical to ask whether or not New Zealanders are becoming second-class citizens in their own country… and if there is a moral responsibility in being involved in this taking place – but turning a blind eye to what is actually happening?

The exodus from Communist China is increasing – as is what has been described as our commercial colonisation by stealth. What about its consequences?

What is at present virtually unrestricted immigration from this Communist country is not only deeply concerning New Zealanders: it is disadvantaging us in our own land. This simply can’t be disputed.

When we are at the stage that a real estate agent can worriedly report that every house on Auckland’s attractive North Shore is being sold to Chinese far more able to outbid New Zealanders looking for a home, or hoping to pass on the family farm, then we are in trouble… (See the 100 Days previous important entry.www.100days.co.nz)

As the highly experienced Hugh Pavletich, author of the respected Annual Demographia Affordability Survey states, “…there are not adequate controls on this flood of offshore buying.” By far the majority of New Zealanders would agree with him, but not for the first time, our PM apparently doesn’t intend to take any notice of the majority. Whatever else this is, it is certainly a corruption of the democratic process.

New Zealanders certainly do not, as John Key so very brashly and typically claims now see immigration as a largely positive thing. They see that they themselves, as families and individuals, have an ever-decreasing chance of affording their own homes, their own farms, their own businesses -given the level of sales to far wealthier Communist Chinese. And what is John Key going to do about it? Obviously nothing. It’s a problem our slippery leader apparently doesn’t want to know about.

It is good enough? NZ Herald columnist Anne Gibson details a big marketing drive which is going to compound the problem of our becoming tenants in our own country. With 10,000 copies being printed of a new guide to buying in New Zealand, real estate moguls are now expecting a huge upswing. A New Zealand China Trade Association page in a bi-annual magazine has a prominent explanation of how to immigrate to New Zealand – as well as a page showing John Key meeting Chinese Premier President Xi Jinping in November.

But how long a spoon does it take to sup with such a ruthless individual whose record of imprisoning dissenters in his own country, and suppressing legitimate media opposition, is so much at odds with respect for individual human beings – and for the truth of things?

Why are no controls being put in place to safeguard the interests of our own people? For example, in Australia, “foreign non-residents or short-term visa holders can invest in Australian real estate only if the investment adds to the housing stock… Non-resident foreign investors cannot buy established dwellings or as homes.’’

Why is our OIO being so constrained by the government that it is unable to implement much-needed restrictions on New Zealanders gradually being priced out of own houses and farmlands? Is Key’s personal affinity with Chinese executives – coupled with his highly personalised campaign to get rid of the flag which honours New Zealand’s link with the majority of our forebears from Great Britain – (who established equal rights for all, Maori and non-Maori} – underpinning his actions?

Whatever… Key is apparently determined to have his own way, having already pledged millions on promoting what he personally wants – to get rid of our flag. As he is answerable to the country for this waste of taxpayers’ money, given our cash-strapped economy, we can be sure that many millions more will be spent on promotion and advertising this as a virtually done deal, to not-so-subtly pressure the country to get what he wants. Moreover, what is the explanation for his planning two referenda?

The first is apparently for New Zealanders to decide which of the supposedly new flags they would vote for. The next referendum is for them to vote for either this new flag – or our own flag.

Some maintain that this is not only unnecessarily costly but devious, that if there is to be a referendum which the country at large has not requested, our own flag should feature alongside any replacement suggestions – in one only referendum.

They have a good case. Why has Key initiated a much more costly, time-consuming process?

It’s not hard to work out why. So this first referendum should be effectively boycotted – the most telling message of all to John Key and his National Party of yes-men (and women) that it is not up to them to attempt to rule from the top – but rather – that an end needs to be put to this present practice: they should be listening to New Zealanders themselves.

Above all, because its consequences are so important for this country, the immigration phenomenon needs to be open for very public debate – instead of John Key claiming he has a mandate for everything he wants… Moreover his assertion to David Cameron that voters gave him an increased majority last year is challengeable. Most media commentators recognise that the return of the National Party was by no means an overwhelming mandate to govern: it was the result of the fracturing and disarray among opposition parties.

Our PM Key would do well to remember, as has been pointed out, “When those who aren’t enrolled or didn’t vote are factored in, National received the support of 33% of the voting public – compared to 36% who voted for other parties.” In other words, only a minority voted to reinstall Key’s government. Most New Zealanders did not want National back.”

This inaccurate presentation of voting participation at the recent election should be corrected. National certainly does not have the mandate for unilateral action that John Key likes to continually claim – not that he emphasised this to David Cameron, as reported, for example, with regard to asset sales…or immigration…or other important issues where he has blithely ignored the wishes of the majority.

How much is this wilful Prime Minister costing us? And we should make no mistake”: we are facing a very big problem in the rapidly growing exodus from Communist China…

Why do mainstream media so rarely follow through issues of enormous importance to most New Zealanders? – Why do they constantly let us down – as long as John Key keeps up the smiling, being “relaxed” about things that with very good reason worry the country?

In other words, who is there to protect the interests of this and the future generation of New Zealanders, when John Key apparently wants to have his own way, and when most media analysts are lamentably failing in their duty to squarely confront what is happening?

Shouldn’t John Key stop claiming he has a mandate for – apparently almost anything he wants? Or should we all stop fretting about the fact that while we are doing nothing about it, New Zealanders are in the process of losing New Zealand?

©Amy Brooke.