Jacinda Ardern’s partner is not going to have it easy. Media /police activism.

Jacinda Ardern’s partner is not going to have it easy. Media and police activism.

 In the gossip circles of a basically close-knit mainstream media, it was reported some time back that unpleasant rumours were swirling about the Prime Minister’s partner. It was called “an unprecedented assault of baseless rumour and false innuendo.” Toxic gossip is not new in these circles. Who can forget the tragic case of the beautiful Charlotte Dawson, a media celebrity in New Zealand which she fled for Australia later, saying that she was “savaged” as a celebrity living in this country? “New Zealand is small and nasty and vindictive. It’s a tiny little village…a tiny country at the end of the year,” she said. Her death by suicide shocked so many – as it should have.

The relevant question is, was she right? Who would deny that the political scene is a toxic one with the jostling for power and ambition underpinning many of the rumours that surface – very often never reaching the public at large, but gaining currency in the media in-groups. The latter have now become equally as little respected – so much so that politicians and the mass media are near the bottom of the least-trusted occupations.  This is tough on those journalists who do try to write with integrity against the tide of the times, including some well worth respect. That they are apparently now in a minority makes it harder for them.

No doubt the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford will have a tough road ahead – even disregarding the media rumour mill. New Zealanders will wish her well, with the imminent arrival of her baby. However, paralleling the usual corresponding euphoria which surrounds any “progressive” celebrities, many New Zealanders have been troubled by Arden’s decision to prioritise her own career over what they see as the best interests of a baby…whose primary caregiver, for very good reason, has traditionally been regarded as its mother. By no means isolated comment also maintains she should have let the country know, before the election, that she was pregnant.

However, there is little doubt that Labour’s strategists would have known that if the country knew before the election that its leader was carrying a baby, many would have been concerned – wondering if a vote for her, in such a demanding job, was in the best interests of the child – let alone for the Prime Minister herself.

We cannot but be aware that many solo mothers have a far more demanding life than those with a husband to support them. Where a deliberate decision has been made for someone in Jacinda Arden’s position to not marry the father of her child, questions are asked. The liberal views of so many self-congratulatory but under-informed media are by no means, as so many journalists seem to take for granted, reflected back by the far more conservative country at large. Memories are surfacing of the younger political Ardern, steeped deep in socialist doctrine, choosing to use the word Comrade…as well as of socialists’ contempt for the family unit, regarding marriage contemptuously as a ”bourgeois” practice. But evidence overwhelmingly points to the presence of married parents, a mother and father, as in the best interests of the child.

Labour is very much a minority government, attracting only 37% of the vote.  It cannot claim to have a mandate for some of the ill-thought directions on which it has now embarked, including the foolish clampdown on any further gas and oil exploration – moving into typical ideologically-motivated, deep Green territory.  Disgracefully, vitally important decisions are being made behind the scenes by the coalition’s party hierarchy without even Cabinet involvement!  Buying lock stock and barrel into the now massively discredited global warming theory is costing the country hugely in economic terms. Little wonder there is rising concern about its decision-making.

The media reporting which has so obligingly avoided any of these issues of concern out in the wider community has been interesting.  Long-time journalist Barry Soper describes Clarke Gayford  “as being in the social pages long before he’d ever hooked up with Ardern – “he was a man about town.” It’s a curious, almost Edwardian description, whose meaning is not clear. But it does highlight the fact that Mr Gayford, handed the role of primary caregiver for their child, is being asked to make a considerable sacrifice, very much limiting his career and social activities – as any mother in the same position could tell him. And how demanding a role it will be for Ms Ardern, juggling her initial few weeks away from Parliament while expecting to be in constant touch with what is happening. The question still stands, whether this demanding scenario is likely to be in the best interests of the baby – let alone the mother, in those very early days.

Interesting, too, is Barry Soper’s casual mention of the fact that he texted Ardern, outlining the rumours, suggesting she or her partner should address them, and offering them a media platform to do it. His comment that, “The only reply came from her press secretary, insisting that the rumours were false and she wouldn’t be commenting on them” sounded almost miffed – as if he was expecting the Prime Minister to be personally responding to him.

This is an interesting point, because I recall journalist friends taking for granted the fact that they had Prime Minister Helen Clark’s cellphone number and could reach her for direct comment. Reportedly this worked two ways – Clark could leak to chosen media statements she wished to go further. However, whether the preferential, two-way access of selected media to the leader of the country is appropriate is another issue.

This political journalist did make one very valid point when he said that it was a mistake for Police Superintendent Mike Bush to become involved by approving the statement denying that Gayford had been the subject of a police enquiry, and saying he’d never been charged in relation to any matter.  In Soper’s words, “This simply stokes the rumour mill, and opens up the suggestion that the police have become politicised. It is unprecedented for the cops to become involved in what are unsubstantiated rumours. The question’s already been asked: Who requested the Police Commissioner’s involvement?”

Who indeed?

However, it’s over late in the day to wonder whether or not the police have become politicised and partisan in their activities when we have evidence this is already the case. Equally, we have evidence that mainstream media, with now strong liberal Left leanings, are not only highly selective when publishing what takes their fancy, but now routinely suppress letters to the editor from correspondents when the content challenges their thinking – and their bias.

I’m waiting still for a reply from the Press Council – now many weeks overdue, which this august body has not yet even acknowledged receiving – even though it promises receipt of a formal complaint within two days. A follow-up enquiry has also been ignored.  As I am familiar with two or three of the names on this council, I am not holding my breath in expectation of the response to which it is supposedly publicly committed.  However, if my third enquiry continues to be ignored, then it will be time to check to whom the Press Council itself is answerable.

The are serious issues, questions of accountability, and the suppression by the Nelson Mail of the letters below some weeks back – and a follow-up enquiry made to this newspaper – is an important matter  – because the content of these letters involves what Barry Soper is questioning  –  an arguably inappropriate police involvement in a highly politicised situation. Given the Fairfax media’s now quite blatant practice of featuring editorials and opinion pieces which allow no genuine consideration of those radicalised issues of the day which attack family values – and of refusing to publish letters legitimately expressing genuine concern, it is no wonder its newspapers are closing down all over the country.

“Dear Editor  “For the police to publicly favour the “lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex and questioning” movement now becoming confrontational and aggressive is quite shocking. Those warring with the biological fact of being born male are actively targeting and recruiting vulnerable children in schools, while demanding to share women’s and children’s toilets.

“Using the weasel excuse of “discrimination”, children are being prescribed pernicious “sex education” programmes detailing as perfectly acceptable what many consider abnormal – with the word “normal” now ridiculously regarded as “hate speech”.  “

Under the banner of that other weasel word, “diversity”, police marched in the Auckland Pride campaign with rainbow colours on a police car. Individuals’ free choice must always be respected. But Police Commissioner Mike Bush’s partisan policy stance, offering recruitment support, is inappropriate and unacceptable. When have the police ever marched in a parade supporting Christian values, or any other of those core values underpinning our society?

“Canadian psychology Professor Jordan Peterson’s courageous confrontation of this destructive counterculture war, and of the moral relativism now flooding the West, is attracting capacity crowds. Commissioner Bush should reflect on the fact that among the loudest support from Jordan’s young audiences is for his appeal for the sanctity of marriage, and child-rearing.”

Although this letter makes important points –they are not ones which the majority of today’s journalists wish to hear. The Editor of the Nelson Mail is apparently no exception. Churchill’s very important reminder to “Never, ever, ever quit,” is one that too many, deeply concerned about what is happening to New Zealand, seem to have forgotten.  Yet it is the key to winning back this country.

So I wrote again as below…although I by no means support the National Party – nor any political party for that matter, given the accumulative damage they have all caused to this country. Only by working toward what the clever Swiss have achieved, control of our politicians (www.100days.co.nz) so that New Zealanders themselves can make the decisions about our directions ahead, will we be able to mount an effective challenge to being ruled by today’s politburo. However, after a typically unbalanced editorial quite common now for this newspaper, I felt it was not good enough to walk away.  Hence this follow-up.

“Dear Editor

“The Nelson Mail’s increasingly “liberal” editorials apparently take for granted the majority of the community feels the same. For example, you noted the new leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges, voted against same-sex marriage and opposes euthanasia. You reported he goes to church and his father was a Baptist Minister  – (are we meant to recoil with horror?) – stating this puts him not only at odds with “the liberal faction”, but “potentially the momentum of popular opinion in this country and around the world”.

”It’s a leap too far. You offer no sound evidence to substantiate such an extravagant claim. Obviously the unpleasant targeting of those concerned about the worrying directions of the day – (particularly families and parents) – deters much feedback. So does the now common, bullying tactic of calling “homophobic” those who question abandoning the values so long stabilising our society.  Many will not agree with the partisan stance inappropriately shown by the police hierarchy marching in the LGBTQIA parade in Auckland – nor with schools now offering programmes which disturb many children, confusing them about their sexual identity.

“Apparently encouraging “diversity” doesn’t extend to supporting genuine debate?  And only extremist groups’ “cultural sensitivity” counts?”

Needless to say, this letter also did not get published.   However, there are  ways around this, and cancelling your support for any Stuff – Fairfax media publication to access local news and correspondence from other sources available  is a very good strategy.

These are increasingly important issues for us all – and what is equally as important is the fact that the police hierarchy felt it appropriate to take a stand which must have made many individual police deeply uncomfortable. It’s time Commissioner Bush was indeed called upon to explain his inappropriate, apparently personal partisanship in relation to an issue causing so much concern to the wider community.

What are our prospects ahead, if we have a corrupt democracy and corrupt media?  As Toby Young points out in a recent Spectator, “a lack of democratic accountability leads to the corruption of the political class”.

What democratic accountability do we have in this country, when, as West Coast MP Damien O’Connor recently stated, the decisions are made by the party hierarchy. Nick Smith also admitted, during the doggedly charming John Key’s tight-fisted control of his party that when the leader says  jump, he asks how high…

MPs are supposed to represent their electorates – nobody believes this any more. MPs now largely do as they’re told. The corruption of the political class is apparently well under way in New Zealand.

While party politics controls the country, instead of New Zealanders themselves  – the achievable way the Swiss have shown us – we’ll continue to pay a huge price for the basic incompetence and sheer ignorance underpinning so much of the decision-making we’ve been inflicted with is recent years. And look what it’s done to this country…

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

 

 

 

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

Perhaps in the end
they didn’t mind dying so much;
but wouldn’t you, just twenty-two?

You, worn out, sleeping only fitfully,
a trench bed of muddy clay and water,
soaked to the skin, propped up on sandbags –
pyjamas, man? You’ve worn the same clothes
for weeks, filthy, smelling, depressed
by dysentery, a fortnight’s rain on and off
and on…thinking before dawn of home…

longing in this surrealistic world
of dirt and damp and hunger, the horror
of good mates hanging over barbed wire,
a head joined only to a helmet…

to see them all once more, and say
the things you wished you’d said before.

You say them now, or scribble them down,
think their world might yet be saved
if enough, tough men like you are trying
hard to be, lie awake at night
and think of them, and fight and kill
others trapped like you – to keep them free.

You wanted once so much to live!

But now you say – For them – what’s meant to be…
for them and for theirs – things undone – forgive?
I fought for things enduring. Oh, remember me!

Amy Brooke

The Harvey Weinstein syndrome –the MeToo movement

As with most popular movements, what starts from good intentions frequently spirals out of control – or beyond what its originator intended. Many men, for example, already experience not only sexual harassment, but also physical abuse at the hands of women. And Western men, especially white males, have already long been under attack by fanatical feminists, weathering unwarranted abuse simply because of their gender. Those of us with sons, brother, husbands, friends who are far from being predatory males have reason to be concerned about the excesses the MeToo movement is likely to lead to. One of these is the clamour for very young children to be given much more explicit sex education – although studies have shown that this is far from being in the best interests of vulnerable children. The removal of innocence, and the arousing of sexual curiosity among the young, can be emotionally not only distracting, but damaging. 

Moreover, many conservative women have also long themselves been at the mercy of the sisterhood. What is too often overlooked is that what have been called the feminazi are equally and as nastily antagonistic to their sisters…to family women, to pro-life women in particular.  Every pro-abortion rally brings out the angry faces chanting “a woman’s right to her own body” when it is demonstrably not her own body, but that of an entirely different little human being, that of her own son or daughter,  that so many desperate women are encouraged to dispose of. That the so-called sexual revolution did neither men nor women any real favours is overdue for debate. 

Arguably, it certainly assisted what we can call the Harvey Weinstein Syndrome. But has the entitlement too many much-feted or wealthy men feel they have to expect sexual favours from women persisted  – because it has been allowed to? After all, it takes two to tango…

The now conveniently indignant Hollywood female glitterati, late banding together as a sisterhood to condemn Weinstein and Hollywood powerbrokers, have long been arguably derelict in acquiescing to the casting couch syndrome. Well-known as the place where sexual favours were demanded by powerful film producers or directors, it was first reported in the 1930s. All Hollywood was aware of it:  some fine actresses opposed it, warning others. Ambitious women may well have been aware of the probable consequences of resisting – or of speaking out. The real issue is the fact that so many did not – with prominent stars such as Meryl Streep now defending themselves against accusations that they stayed silent.

 It is not so much whether we are now a sick society – but whether its illness is terminal. Who could deny it has become sex-obsessed? The now, too-late recognised long march through our institutions, advocated by the Italian communist Gramsci as the best chance of white-anting the West, has achieved much of what it aimed for. The shocking targeting, even, of school children, not only down to new entrants, but even at kindergarten level, has reached fruition in the Safe Schools programme. Advocating homosexuality, transgenderism, queerism, and all the special demands from the radicalised agenda-driven, it has adopted the now tattered cloak of liberalism to conceal its increasingly extreme onslaughts against rational thinking.

The attack on basic human biology, on nature, on DNA, can well be argued to be a delusional form of thinking , in which individuals claim they can choose what sex they want to be – and that anyone who wants this current faddism objectively debated – or who objects to children being propagandised by the rainbow coalitions – is homophobic. Using the usual tactics of bullying, of harassment, the blacklisting of businesses or of court attacks on those claiming a legitimate right to obey their conscience, its success is considerable. It takes a great deal of courage to confront bullies…especially when the attack on free debate is punitively classified as “hate speech”, and, appallingly enough, even open to prosecution.

Is all this, including the nonsense of gay  “marriage”,  symptomatic of a civilisation in decline? Who could have foreseen the rapid flowering of the obnoxious, spoilt brats of an over-privileged class of those young enough to know everything – now dubbed the snowflakes? Too intellectually or morally fragile to endure debate about the truth of issues, they have mounted an attack on those basic democratic freedoms for which so many in the generations preceding ours gave their lives. Moreover, they have flourished largely in those very institutions – our universities – which were once proud of their commitment to freedom of speech and thought. Disgracefully, university management has in places knuckled under to the radicalised demands of the bully boys and girls, repudiating these very essential values. Their complicity is  shameful, as is the silence of today’s protestors about the issues that really do need addressing.

Given our now far-reaching social media, for example, how many of us can claim ignorance of today’s totalitarian governments still oppressing, imprisoning,  torturing and executing their own people – especially those brave enough to fight for the values we have so obligingly discarded?  That the West, with too long a spoon, sups with some of these appalling régimes,  turning a blind eye  to the inhumane practices inflicted, in male-dominated traditions, within such countries – in particular the appalling bullying of women and young  girls by forced marriages  and genital mutilation –  is an issue  well overdue for addressing.  

Nevertheless, the majority of the powerful, much admired stars of the Hollywood long operating in a moral vacuum having a great deal to do with the corruption of the West, have never lent their influence to speak for the oppressed women of Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. There,  girls as young as eleven years can be forced into marriage with middle-aged, or old men,  and males, encouraged by the fanatical religious, sexually obsessed Mutawas, all-powerful clerical police, can put to death their wives and daughters with no accountability…whether by officially drowning them, bound and gagged, in a family swimming pool or stoning  them to death. Such brave men, to first shackle these women, often the victims of male jealousy, such as their beauty, lest they escape…

All these appalling practices of today’s Arab world, given in the testimony of brave Arab women, such as in the Saudi Princess Sultana’s  “Princess”  first-hand account, have been highlighted in American writer Jean Sassoon’s world-wide best-seller.  And yet the constantly interviewed, glamorous Hollywood women, so conveniently now mounting their decades-late attack on the corrupt Hollywood culture, have failed to show any interest in the plight of so many women other than their own.

A survey of American students some time back revealed that the kind of films they preferred watching were those that did not embarrass them when others were present. However, with Hollywood’s influence now all-pervasive, warnings of graphic sex and violence are omnipresent. Topless actresses, and graphic depictions of sexual intercourse have progressed to shows like the Naked Attraction, where naked bodies of men in pods with sliding panels are gradually revealed from their genital areas upwards, until they are fully viewable – as, eventually, is the equally naked female choosing her preferred body – dismissing one male because of his “ginger pubes”. 

It’s legitimate to ask whether things can get much worse. Possibly yes, if Western society is determined to self-destruct through the fanaticism of a few, or the silence of so many.  

The great English columnist Bernard Levin warned us, that “the atrophy of moral judgment is the characteristic disease of our times – the inability to see evil, and the willingness to condone it “.  Whether or not we are eventually judged by our actions and inactions, how many of us would fail to respect the Australian woman who said simply that she “wanted to tell my grandchildren that I did try to help.” 

 

 

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

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Is Air New Zealand’s cost-cutting compromising its safety record?

One thing passengers don’t want to hear is that their flight has been delayed because of engineering problems.

It seems to be happening more frequently. Why? And is Air New Zealand massaging its safety record? Incidents which cause alarm to passengers are not being reported in the media.

Why so many engineering problems? Could the reason be partly due to the fact that, according to one long-time New Zealand engineer, the shifts were changed? Whereas three engineers worked eight-hour shifts each, now two engineers are rostered to work 12 hour shifts instead. As an engineer involved comments, the last three hours are when the mistakes happen. Understandably, given the extraordinary concentration needed by maintenance staff to keep these planes safe in the air.

It is almost incredible that Air New Zealand’s aeronautical engineers are being required to work 12 hour shifts when public safety is an issue – let alone the health and stress consequences for individuals.  An article in The CAA September/October 2002 journal points out there is probably no way to avoid the need for maintenance to be done at night. While arguing that this does not mean that fatigue levels can’t be managed, it concedes that almost all night-shift workers suffer from a lack of quality sleep.

Moreover “Australian research has shown that moderate sleep deprivation of the kind experienced by shift workers can produce effects very similar to those produced by alcohol.” Noting that “a relatively limited number of unsafe acts such as work-arounds, memory lapses and situational awareness errors typically occur in the context of problems such as unclear or poor procedures, lack of equipment or spares, communication breakdowns, time pressure and fatigue, the article concludes: “Unfortunately, advances in aviation technology have not necessarily matched by improvements in the way we organise the work of the people who maintain aircraft.”

Plus ça change? How much credibility should we give to the claim a twelve hour shift roster was given the support of 84% of hangar staff after a 12 month trial? What about the high degree of probability that qualified staff, anxious not to lose their jobs, would feel the necessity to agree to a situation which is overly-taxing, and clearly not optimum?

Feedback from readers in this area would be interesting. Some are reporting that on one particular busy route, a trouble-free flight is now an exception. Even allowing for possible exaggeration, these incidents are certainly regularly occurring.   And being required to remain penned on a plane sitting on the hot tarmac of Auckland airport for an extra hour and more in these high summer temperatures (a recent reported occurrence) is not only a worry for passengers who have no idea what the problem is – but adds to the stress of all who are suffering the effects of the heat while the plane is stationary.

When asked some time back why Air New Zealand causes alarm to passengers by telling them that their plane has an engineering problem, the answer came that the airline was required to do so, in the interests of freedom of information. However, when then asked why the passengers weren’t told exactly what the problem was  – the answer was that Air New Zealand isn’t required to do so.

Why not – in the interests of keeping passengers fully informed? And why aren’t passengers given the choice of leaving a plane which they have been told has engineering problems – to choose another plane? Not to allow passengers the choice of disembarking, if there are problems with the plane, seems entirely unreasonable.

Moreover, a number of incidents which should cause concern are not being reported in the media… such as a plane required to turn back to Auckland some little while ago – at the slowest possible speed manageable without stalling…

We need better answers from Air New Zealand – whose prices have also headed back up to about what they were before Jetstar came on the scene. As frequently noted,  it is usually more affordable for New Zealanders to fly to Australia than within our own country.  Grab-A-Seat offers have limited value only.  And we can rely on Air New Zealand’s prices shooting up around the times of special public holidays like the Christmas period, when families hope to visit one anther again. For many it is simply unaffordable.

Our pilots may be among the best in the world, our engineers, too. But isn’t it time we required more accountability from the usual suspects… from management, whose  first concern – as with so many of today’s corporations  – seems to be to increase returns to shareholders  – and to  CEOs?

 

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

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network! https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf

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

We need you to help get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz-  Thank you!

 

 

 

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

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network! https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf

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

We need you to help get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz-  Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AN UNPRECEDENTED 76% DISAPPROVAL ! …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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