Untruthful MPs, or those with damaging agendas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should also remind ourselves of our campaign inspiration:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Only the James Cameron buy-up? Is this still our country?

It’s not just the James Cameron buy-up…. Is this still our country?

 The contrast between two types of immigrants hit me recently – in relation to what is happening to us as a people.

In much of Europe, so-called ordinary citizens have no hope at all of ever owning their own homes, let alone a little bit of land. So one can empathise with the very real pleasure two Swiss immigrants, Theres and Hannes Krummenacher, are now feeling. Their beaming faces in the local paper, as they held up the wild mushrooms (those with great flavour and texture) which they are now growing and selling commercially, tell of hands-on hard work, and success.

In their home country of Switzerland, foraging for wild mushrooms in autumn is traditional. As it was one of the things they most missed, they set up growing their own, planting a small forest with specific trees selected, because different fungi grow on the roots of different trees. It’s a great story, and their deserved pride in what they have achieved reflects in their faces.

There’s a highly relevant lesson for New Zealanders here, in the fact that they tell how in Switzerland “it was a dream and a privilege to own a house, let alone some land. Most people live in apartments, so being able to buy 50 hectares and work toward a living from that land is a dream come true.”

When, not long ago, I was admiring the beautiful Swiss countryside, an expat friend living in Zürich pointed out that the farmland passes down from generation to generation within the families. The Swiss people themselves are happy to subsidise farmers to ensure the survival of small farms, and the well-being of the small herds of cows – regarded as a considerable asset – from the point of view of respecting the tradition of Switzerland, and assisting with the attraction the countryside has for tourists.

The notion of today allowing a wholesale wave of immigrants, such as the multi -millionaires to whom we are giving virtual carte blanche to enter New Zealand – and to buy up our farmlands and assets – would be considered unthinkable in Switzerland. In this small mountainous country at the crossroads of centuries of immigration from other countries pressing its borders, most people can only dream of owning their own house… As Hanne pointed out, most people have to rent apartments for themselves and their families for life. It is the same in Germany and elsewhere in continental Europe, where people are resigned to never being able to own their own house.

Aren’t we being pushed in the same direction? Our government, which is supposed to look after the interests of New Zealanders and is spectacularly failing to do so, has, through the OIO (Overseas Investment Office), set virtually no barriers at all to any multi-millionaire (without a criminal record – and some have still slipped through) entering this country and buying up whatever he or she pleases. Apparently they simply need to hire a skilled PR person to ensure that their application falls within the feel-good guidelines, promising this or that – although there is little evidence of the OIO ever following up on these undertakings.

We know, for example, that very wealthy Americans have, as individuals, been able to cherry-pick our scenic assets, with a single individual alone having hoovered up more than one iconic South Island high-country sheep station, plus a gathering of farms as well, and several houses. And what do New Zealanders feel about the film director James Cameron being able, since 2012, to buy at least 13 parcels of land worth tens of millions of dollars and totalling more than 15,000 hectares – according to a recent report in the Dominion Post?

Among his purchases – more recently a 129-year-old building in a heritage precinct which he has had converted into an organic food store – are included a Carterton walnut orchard, South Wairarapa’s Lake Pounui and a hemp plantation. Although his blockbuster film Avatar has reportedly strong themes of resistance to private ownership, like other multimillionaires, James Cameron is able to outbid most New Zealanders any day for their own land – having entered the country under the Immigration NZ’s Investment Plus category which offers prior entry to the super-rich…those investing more than $10 million.

But the question how much this prioritising of the enormously wealthy from overseas can very much disadvantage New Zealanders is conveniently ignored by our government. Moreover, the criteria for New Zealand residency, requiring those like Cameron to spend only 88 days in the country over two years, is extraordinarily generous. Some would regard it as merely equivalent to a long holiday, annually.

Many reasonable New Zealanders, seeing their own children saddled with student loans ; unable to afford their own home any reasonable time in the future; worrying about being able to afford to have a family – or about mothers with a baby or young children being forced out into the workforce far too soon, are asking what is happening to this country. And although Prime Minister John Key, apparently living in some fantasy land of his own, is actually denying there is a housing shortage in Auckland, the situation has become for many almost intolerable.

Factor in the growing exodus from Communist China, and super-wealthy Chinese in a far better position than New Zealanders themselves to outbid them for any available housing stock. Many now desperate New Zealanders, being consistently outbid at auctions by the Chinese super-wealthy (now targeted from overseas by NZ real estate agents) know that things are very wrong. Moreover, not only are these millionaire newcomers now buying themselves separatist settlements, but Chinese investors are forcing New Zealanders out of the buying market, by successfully bidding not for ownership of one, but of multiple properties…Some reportedly owning dozens of houses – and renting them to New Zealanders.

Neither John Key nor his Finance Minister Bill English wants to know about this. But we need to seriously take on board the fact that as with the Germans and Swiss, for example, who end up renting apartments – rather than owning a house – we’re heading in exactly the same direction.

Many New Zealanders who cannot afford houses are now in this position because of the culpable failure of this government to act to protect its own people – and because it is refusing to acknowledge the magnitude of this problem. We should be asking why this is the case.

Releasing more land for housing is not going to be nearly enough. The new waves of immigration which are now damaging the socio-economic fabric of this country are not only pricing our people out of owning our houses, but our farmland, our scenic and economic assets, our businesses – with the profits going overseas – not to New Zealanders themselves.

We have become more than a ripe plum ready for the picking. We have become like a tree whose roots in the land are being progressively severed.

Given that the Key government has no discernible intent to protect the interests of New Zealanders themselves… we are without any real limits to the sell-out of New Zealand.

And this will remain the case, until New Zealanders start demanding action from all our politicians, including, primarily, John Key’s government.                                                           

*

 © Amy Brooke – Convener – The 100Days – Claiming Back New Zealand. http://www.100days.co.nz

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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