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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump, a braggart: Clinton a proven liar: John Key?

New Post March 20, 2016

Trump, a loudmouthed braggart: Clinton a proven liar: And is John Key an asset to this country? The born to rule mentality…

“Liberty cannot be preserved without knowledge among the people…of the character and conduct of their rulers. “John Adams

Hillary Clinton has a proven record as a liar, and anyone reading Christopher Hitchens’-  No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family –  an assessment of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s stay in the White House, is left in no doubt that Httchens was sickened by the corruption he recorded – this, by a writer whose natural sympathies lay with the Democratic, rather than the Republican Party. Similarly, that Donald Trump (who has openly boasted that he paid the Clintons to attend his wedding – his practice is to operate with an eye to possible pay-back in the future) may possibly become President of the United States, inevitably makes so many wonder what has happened to that country. On record as praising Princess Diana’s beauty (he attempted to woo her after her marriage failed) he has said he would have slept with her “Without even hesitation”.

Immoral, arrogant, narcissistic, and megalomaniac all seem to be routine descriptions of the man the Republican Party are saddled with. However, On January 26, President Everett Piper, an Oklahoma College president, in a blog titled “Trumping Morality” explained why he would not be inviting Trump to the university. One doesn’t have to be overly religious, or agree with all his analysis, to recognise that among the accusations Piper makes about Trump are his disregard for the fundamental values that keep a democracy stable, respected and strong…that these basically Christian values should bring home to us the fact that, irrespective of our personal beliefs, it is these which have so long safeguarded Western society. Nietzsche, the virulently anti-Christian German philosopher, although he deplored Western civilization’s underpinning by Christianity, arguing that there is no essential morality that governs all of us…nevertheless admitted that “Christianity is the light of the West”.

What if that light is under ever-increasing, even virulent attack? What does Donald Trump represent? And what about the whole flawed concept of the importance of “ leadership” now taking precedence over the far superior one of every individual being responsible for his her actions – particularly when our leaders – far from commanding respect – need challenging?

For an interesting and refreshing analysis, see:

Oklahoma college president talks about why Donald Trump…

kfor.com/2016/01/…/oklahoma-college-president-talks-about-why-donal…

“Anyone who is pro-abortion is not on my side. Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.

Piper ended his blog saying that he will not sell his soul “to a political process that values victory more than virtue.”

There are lessons here. The consensus is that Trump’s enormous popularity comes from people’s anger at a dug-in political establishment with a born-to-rule mentality. The public is rejecting professional politicians, and America is not alone. All around the world, differently framed according to different customs, the background and history of people, the political establishments are being challenged. So what about closer to home?

In this country, is it also time to take a closer look at a leader whose inappropriate antics, pilloried overseas, have made him a national embarrassment? And while we note that “Second-placed Senator Ted Cruz has raised Jane Kelsey-ian concerns over the TPPA’s potential to undermine sovereignty,” we should be asking John Key why his government is ignoring the same potential threat to undermine our sovereignty – by pretending it doesn’t exist. Moreover, as a Lyttleton correspondent reminds us, “Six years ago, our Prime Minister dismissed the notion of investor-state dispute provisions in trade agreements as “far-fetched”. Now we find that in becoming a party to the TPPA, we are (according to Alan Morrison Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law at George Washington University Law School) agreeing to submit the validity of our laws to 3 private arbitrators whose decisions are not subject to appeal.”

So who still maintains a belief in John Key, regarded as highly evasive when he doesn’t like the questions, and who has openly admitted that National deliberately withholds, as long as possible, information required to be given under the Official Information Act “if it is in its best interest to do so” ? His government is legally obliged to respond to OIA requests within 20 days. However, Radio New Zealand reported it took 17 months for the government to release official advice on child poverty which RNZ had requested.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our media asked the PM the hard questions for a change – and pressed him for less evasive answers? For example, Key’s government is playing, as ever, Follow the Leader – so that not even one brave dissenting voice speaks up, to represent New Zealanders’ concerns. Key has ignored concerns that New Zealand, under provisions of the TPPA, would not be able to establish protections for our farmland, our countryside and our housing stock – in other words, he has not prioritised New Zealanders ‘interests. Moreover, another wide-awake correspondent notes that “in what’s already been signed in the TPPA, NZ has already given away its sovereign right to restrict foreign, non-resident ownership of land and property. “Apparently “Australia, Singapore and another nation were granted exemptions from this section of the TPPA, which means those countries still have the authority to create laws to restrict foreign ownership, if they decide it’s in their respective country’s best interests.” But New Zealand didn’t even ask for an exemption.

Why not? This correspondent suspects it’s because those running the present government don’t care about ordinary people, our land and our future. “They seem to care only about trade, taking care of their moneyed mates” and prioritising the interests of big business. Certainly there is now a well-established perception that the government favours the interests of foreign investors, particularly from Communist China, over those of New Zealanders. We now know, for example, that multinational companies in this country are avoiding paying tax on a massive scale. “ A major Herald investigation by Matt Nippert, has found that the 20 multinational corporations most aggressive in shifting profits out of New Zealand overall paid virtually no income tax,despite recording nearly $10 billion in annual sales to Kiwi consumers.

“The analysis of financial information of more than 100 multinational corporations and their New Zealand subsidiaries showed that, had the New Zealand branches of these 20 firms reported profits at the same healthy rate as their parents, their combined income tax bill would have been nearly $490 million.” Instead, New Zealanders must reach into their own pockets, to compensate for this lost revenue.

The anti-establishment backlash is now well and truly here. And has John Key’s squandering of scores of millions of dollars on a vanity wish to change the flag – which would deprive New Zealanders of hundreds of millions more if he succeeded – helped bring about a tipping point in this country? It increasingly looks as if this is the case, and there is no doubt that something is stirring in the West when two such utterly unsuitable candidates as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now virtually neck and neck vying for the presidency of the United States. The question has to be asked – how suitable, too, is John Key as a Prime Minister who should first of all be safeguarding and prioritising the interests of New Zealanders? There are now more than a few questioning what is happening to this country, and what is behind it all.

Why the “rockstar economy” nonsense – when Finance Minister Bill English is now seemingly trying to remove the distinction between a government surplus and a government deficit? As reported in late January, he signalled before Christmas that “with tax revenue under pressure from low inflation and slower growth” (let alone multinational corporations being allowed to evade tax due) “a more flexible approach to budget surpluses is to be preferred – a sort of – close enough is good enough’ attitude that does not distinguish between a small surplus and a small deficit.” No doubt this is highly convenient for a Minister of Finance, when our cash-strapped economy has begun to be an embarrassment to the government. Moreover, according to a Dominion Post commentator, the Labour Party‘s analysis of the budget last year showed that health had taken a 1.7 billion cut since 2010. This puts huge pressure on DHBs, means longer waiting times for treatment, and doesn’t give Pharmac enough money to fund some treatments already available to people in countries with stronger public health systems.”

I have a good friend very much respected in the community, holding a high academic position – one of those now increasingly rare academics who refuses to tread a PC line as iwi money starts pushing on all our institutions what are basically racist demands for preferential treatment. By now, we all know someone with a similar story to what he recently experienced. Having broken his hip in a cycling accident and being rescued by ambulance staff, he was scheduled for emergency surgery. However, he had to wait six hours at the hospital (people are now stacked up in corridors) before he even got a bed. And until he got the bed, he was allowed no pain relief, because he had no ward allocation.

He was finally operated on late at night, but others in his ward with broken hips had been waiting 2 to 3 days before they undergo surgery. And, as he said, each time he has had a follow-up appointment to hospital, he has had to wait up to three hours to be seen. “The surgeons are in such sort short supply they have to race off to do emergency operations and then come back to the patients like me who have fixed appointments. Sometimes people aren’t seen at all. They are told they have to come back next day and wait again, because no doctors are available. It’s unbelievable. It’s like the Third World. To waste $26 million on a flag referendum is completely irresponsible, and shows that Key is completely out of touch with the real problems facing this country.”

A recent newspaper report told of Colleen Beaton, who has spent three years unable to use her left arm, battling with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB ) to prove she was in enough agony to receive the surgery she had been referred for. With her left knee now deteriorating, it is the third time Mrs Beaton has been denied surgery, although arthritis has affected most of her joints and her right knee is deteriorating. The elderly in Christchurch city warn that a human scandal is looming, with hundreds being refused elective surgery and the CDHB struggling to cope with them. New Zealanders are now not even being assessed, let alone treated.

So what is the government prioritising instead? Key’s vanity project and iwi settlements now not only increasingly dubious, as they are unable to be challenged in court, but are now being perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being rubberstamped by a Minister of Treaty Negotiation over-close to iwi litigants.

The public is more and more seeing too much of what is happening in this country as political correctness gone mad, as with the government starving the health budget – while it squanders scores of millions of dollars elsewhere – not on only on the inexcusable flag referendum and the ongoing iwi gravy train settlements of more than doubtful validity. The Waitangi Tribunal has long thoroughly discredited itself by endorsing claims and making recommendations to government which have brought it into disrepute. From the beginning it was set up as a highly flawed institution, with input allowed only from Maori – not from those challenging what are now in many cases carefully massaged claims. It’s been common knowledge for some time, for example, that reputable researchers have been told they wouldn’t get paid unless they removed from their findings facts which showed that various claims weren’t sustainable. Yet such is the degree of corruption in this country – and corruption it is – that the tribunal has not been disbanded – and that both Parliament and the media too often basically endorse its findings without properly scrutinising them.

When I read a columnist claiming that the Arab spring could never happen here, it’s obvious that he has no real idea that for many New Zealanders things are close to the tipping point. They don’t want to vote National, but they despair of Labour performing as even a halfway decent Opposition. The Greens, though useful in some areas as the conscience of Parliament, are too far to the left to be more than a fringe party. And New Zealand First, running the most effective opposition to National has its leader thoroughly blacklisted by the mass media.

It would be hard to find anybody who regards the Present Prime Minister as a well-educated, statesmanlike leader with a strong knowledge of history and a determination to do the best for New Zealanders. On the contrary, the apparent prioritisation of foreign interests over those of New Zealanders themselves has provoked not only a deep unease, but a growing anger throughout the country. Whereas a decent Opposition would offer some hope, Labour’s feebleness has instead removed from so many any prospect that things are going to get better.

And in a deeper layer even than that of the overtly political establishment, the question has to be: who else is running the country? And why has there been such a prolonged attack on the best of our institutions, a long determination to close them down, or to minimise funding to those genuinely helping people? The Salvation Army, in a recent damning report, claims that government agencies are inventing new numbers and changing the definitions of targets to make their performance seem better. Apparently they are under pressure from the government to come up with favourable results, and previous calls for greater transparency have been met with a “quite disingenuous “government response.

Why, for example, was the former Queen Mary Hospital in Hamner Springs, doing such excellent work in helping to rehabilitate alcoholics, closed down, in the face of stiff opposition from those pointing out there was really nothing with which to replace it? What about the shockingly inadequate number of facilities available throughout the country for the mentally ill – or those trying to wean themselves off drugs?

A visitor to a unit for the mentally ill in Nelson reports that faces all day stare at television screens or a wall, although, the PC boast has long been that returning people to a (often non-existent) community is more humane. However, the former Ngawhatu hospital “provided park-like surroundings. There were large amounts of free space outside in the ‘beautiful gardens’ for patients to do activities such as golf, tennis and croquet. These park-like surroundings Ngawhatu offered are not seen at the NMHU (Nelson Mental Health Unit) now – but patients are in residence for a much shorter time. The NMHU offers a small outdoor space with a tiny amount of grass to roam around on and a water feature in the middle.” However, for all the politically correct vilifying of “institutions” and the undoubted abuses that too often occurred, many mentally isolated or disturbed individuals do not get the choice to live with the close companionship and feeling of safety, coupled with privacy, that they would prefer to being thrust out into an unwelcoming city environment.

And this is progress? The Save the Children shops all over the country are now being closed down, even though they have not been running at a loss. It seems that those making the decisions think that more money can be made this way – although the shops themselves, staffed by dedicated volunteers, were popular and served as a useful reminder of the work done by the organisation. I recall, too, that when Labour Minister Richard Prebble closed down all over the country the post offices in small towns, that the social costs were considerable. These small, valuable post shops were so often the heart of the community, and towns died with their loss. Prebble admitted, when questioned, that even those making a profit were among those closed.

What about the frightened women and children at the now increasingly cash-strapped women’s refuges? And as a very important attack on our institutions, what about the deliberate dumbing down for five decades now of the teaching of children – so that most New Zealanders have never even studied history at school – or been encouraged towards academically challenging course – let even other basic competencies such as writing and speaking well? No fault of theirs, largely. The attack on education, as with our other institutions – including the medical schools, teacher training colleges, the nursing establishments and universities – has been very much part of the long planned “March through the institutions” which the Italian communist Gramsci encouraged his followers to take on – as the best possible way to undermine the West – and bring down its democracies. Some would argue they are succeeding only too well.

Ah, but we have guardians of society, the media – scrutinising the actions of government and those in high places, ready to analyse wrong directions, to investigate possible corruption and the undue influence of big business and wealth, – recognised as buying the more attentive ear of politicians. The media are supposed to be the Fourth Estate, keeping an objective eye on what the politicians are up to, on behalf of the public at large. However, the trouble is that individual media spokespersons with a highly public profile are far from non-partisan. Nor are they particularly bright, or even well educated and knowledgeable -so very many of them – but they tend to regard themselves as experts in the line of media coverage they’re assigned to. As a result we encounter the flagrant bias, the badmouthing of politicians who challenge them – as we see with the extraordinary witchhunt that mainstream media commentators direct at the New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, ignoring the fact that New Zealand First’s stated aims on its website are not only completely unobjectionable but mirror the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders – one law for all – and no special deals on behalf of race.

People trust politicians even less than they ever did, and that there is a restlessness abroad which is looking for a new political configuration to control the power of politicians who represent their own interests – rather than the country at large. People also no longer trust “experts” – and the global warming cargo cult is a very good example of how it is very hard to argue so-called experts out of a mindset upon which their salary depends. How many of us would disagree with an Australian Spectator article pointing out that “Experts talk a lot of junk, and the more famous they, are the more hooey they talk. “As John F Kennedy (or more probably his speechwriter) pointed out, “too many have the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”.

Given that neither our politicians nor our experts can be relied upon to respect the wishes of the people – which is basically what democracy is all about – then it is high time for people to realise that they can individually flex their own political muscles, and insist on being heard – even insist on themselves making the decisions about which directions the country should take.

This is the 100 Days movement, gradually reaching around the country as people begin to realise its potential. Its insistence is on a 100 day period for any legislation passed by Parliament to come to a halt – so that the voting public can scrutinise it and either accept or challenge it. The Swiss have used it so successfully that they have become the most prosperous of all democratic countries. It is the people of the country saying yes or no to their politicians which has made Switzerland so successful that its Parliament refers to the Swiss people as sovereign – and abides by their decision.

For more information on how this genuinely democratic system works, and for its potential for New Zealanders to control our politicians – check out our 100 Days movement at www.100days.co.nz – and support us. We will succeed if each of us reaches out to and tells family, colleagues, neighbours, friends, so that we become a tipping point to effectively challenge our autocratic government – and to reclaim this country.

This means each of us – for every individual counts.

© Amy Brooke,  Convenor. See my book: The 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.

Available from Howling at the Moon Publishing; http://www.copypress.co.nz –or at http://www.wheelers.co.nz/books/9780987657381-100-days-the-claiming-back-new-zealand/?page or able to be ordered through any good bookshop.

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