Would you prefer a Nigel Farage or a John Key?

Would you sooner have a Nigel Farage, or a John Key?

I was delighted by the fact that when, as Convener of our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement, we first launched this democratic campaign – (the off-shoot of the Summer Sounds Symposium  (www.summersounds.co.nz) – one of the first names that appeared as a website subscriber was that of Nigel Farage. A shared a contact, a close UKIP supporter, had previously provided a weekly commentary on international affairs for the then Canterbury on Air, when I was providing a weekly round-up on national affairs.  The Australian  initiative, Give Us Back Our Country,  co-founded by the greatly respected Professor David Flint, with Jai Martinkovits, cites our 100 Days movement and my book, 100 Days Claiming Back New Zealand – what has gone wrong,  and how we can control our politicians, as its inspiration.  

A correlation has been drawn between the surge in Brexit support and Obama coming over to the UK with instructions on how to vote, including barely-veiled threats. The English don’t like being told what to do – possibly especially by Barack Obama. The reaction was considerable and immediate. Another little-known fact is that a senior campaign adviser to Cameron’s Conservative Party was Jim Messina, who was also Obama’s  campaign adviser, and heads the biggest pro-Hillary super PAC.  Crony capitalism no longer has a good press. Who believes the trickle-down theorizing any more? It has by no means resembled anything like a genuinely free market.

Many of us will have watched the Brexit outcome with special interest. One of the most heartening things about its victory, which so many of us here also hoped for, is that it has been a triumph of hope – and imagination.

In contrast, one of the most deplorable things has been the basic spite voiced against Nigel Farage by prominent figures here and overseas in the media in-groups. We are used to words like “populism” being used, deliberately designed to disparage ordinary people, those in whom the brilliant Christian writer GK Chesterton placed so much trust – when it comes to a showdown between their values and those of the moneyed establishment.

Uncharacteristically, given The Spectator’s support for the Leave campaign, its editor, Fraser Nelson wrote an unpleasant blog. He also got wrong the meaning of the word tangential.  We undoubtedly owe the Brexit campaign victory first of all to Nigel Farage, but Nelson attempts to diminish his legacy. E.g. “Nigel Farage has been a tangential figure in the Brexit campaign, but he’s the only one prepared to do a victory lap with the votes still being counted, so we see him on the TV. What he says is disgusting. ‘A victory for real people, a victory for decent people’ he says – and what about those who voted for Remain? One of the many advantages of a Brexit vote would be to put UKIP, and Farage, out of business.”

This is not only unfair but basically nasty. To attack Farage for pointing out that the majority of the people England and Wales stood up against the fear-mongering of the establishment, calling them real people, decent people, was a thing of the moment, praising them for their courage – which is hard enough to draw upon for so many in these politically correct times.

It also been a characteristic of the Left, in particular, to keep invoking a right-wing bogeyman against all those wanting Brexit  – which is just nonsense. On the whole, the venom has come from (of course, by no means all) Bremain spokesmen. We were treated to a very good example of this when Boris Johnson was booed when he emerged to speak, once the results were known. The point is that this mob waited outside his house to do just this. Hardly appropriate, let alone generous.

At home, from New Zealand Herald columnist Toby Manhire came, “And yet all three of them – Johnson, Cameron and Gove – have proved comfortably less outrageous, scaremongering and odious than Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, who produced a billboard with the words “Breaking Point”, showing, in what some saw as an echo of Nazi propaganda, a queue of refugees winding into Slovenia, and has pressed every available xenophobic button, playing to Britons’ basest fears.”

Ah, the word xenophobia,  designed like other clichés of the bien pensant among our commentators –  such as racism and homophobia –  to be thrown at those who are considered too incapable of doing their own thinking… The catch is that the so-called ordinary people did think through all this. And they thought that they had enough of their own freedom, independence, and the directions of the own country being wrested away from them.

While too many quasi-intellectuals among the journalists were vaporising  at the thought of “the odious” Nigel Farage, the majority of English and Welsh were celebrating …Cometh the hour, cometh the man – the individual who stands up to be counted, inspiring others – never the leaders – but other individuals – to rise and stand beside him – or her.

What is apparently too obvious for Toby Manhire to understand is that the view of refugees winding into Slovenia was a snapshot of reality. Reality often makes things uncomfortable for those not keen on facing it. The virtual invasion – by no means entirely of genuine refugees, but also of those (understandably) anxious to improve their lot in economic terms – (among whom are now estimated to be thousands of radical Islamists, many deliberately planted, and groomed for terrorist activities) is a huge threat to the stability of Europe. The sheer numbers who have poured in, and are still on the move, present an unprecedented threat to countries far from able to sustain such a demand on their economies, their housing, and their social services.

The EU has shown itself utterly incapable of providing a realistic solution to these mass migrations, which are essentially a grave threat to countries they are targeting.  When Manhire, without any attribution, calls Farage’s important warning “what some saw as an echo of Nazi propaganda,” – we should ask – Who saw? Where are your sources? Is this simply a piece of Manhire propaganda – or a quote from those, as ever, fearful of facing the truth?

In the UK itself, as the pundits; the pollsters; we-know-best-economists; the trust-us-we-are-the Establishment:  the I-know-best-Barack Obama: all were confounded by so-called ordinary men and women turning their backs. Instead, they listened to the man who inspired them with the courage to face up even to the fact that economic uncertainty would undoubtedly lie ahead – and might even disadvantage some of them.

And still, they stood up to be counted. In fact one of the most interesting aspects of the Brexit vote is that there would undoubtedly have been Remain voters who would like very much to have joined them, but who, in the face of all the scaremongering and the threats, were too worried about their jobs and financial futures – but who would otherwise have voted to go.

On the other hand, human nature being what it is, there is always jealousy – and this came not only from among the very supporters of Nigel Farage who would now like to take over to lead UKIP, saying their leader has  achieved what he wanted and it’s time for him to go. (Shades of the Conservative Party’s turning on Margaret Thatcher  – there are always Judases.) Just as un-edifying, among the breakaway Brexit supporters from the Conservative Party there was anger when Nigel Farage, instead of one of their own, was chosen to lead an important Brexit BBC debate – even though it is thanks above all to this one man that England has shaken off the shackles of an arrogant, virtually fascist EU.

Moreover, too much praise has been heaped on David Cameron, as if he heroically granted the people of Britain a referendum, to correct the situation in which the country has found itself – or, rather, in which their politicians had landed them.

On the contrary, Cameron did everything he could to avoid a referendum. As The Spectator illustrates, “Unable to make a positive case for staying in the EU, he instead tells us that Britain is trapped within it and that the penalties for leaving are too severe. His scare stories, peppered with made-up statistics, have served only to underline the emptiness of the case for remaining. It also represents a style of politics that many find repugnant. The warnings from the IMF and OECD and other acronyms have served only to reinforce the caricature of a globalised élite telling the governed what to think.  See http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/out-and-into-the-world-why-the-spectator-is-for-leave/ Moreover, according to The Sun, the reason why David Cameron is now primed to resign is that he is asking why he should “do all the hard **** for someone else, just handed over to them on a plate?”

The Spectator columnist Peter Orborne’s  May 28 article, “The new dodgy dossiers”, illustrated how “The Chancellor and PM are using every dirty trick in the Blairite book to win a Remain vote. “ His conclusion? That what Cameron and Osborne were doing was not only morally wrong; it was politically disastrous.”

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/05/why-osbornes-dodgy-dossiers-are-even-worse-than-blairs/

It would be good to be able to respect politicians more, both for their language – and for putting the interests of their country first. This was not happening under Cameron’s leadership, where his Chancellor, George Osborne, employed the sledgehammer of fear-mongering tactics so much the Bremain campaign resorted to concocting figures – such as “his now notorious claim that households would be 4300 British pounds worse off.” And still the people had courage to vote NO. Chesterton would have been proud of them.

Moreover, “Michael Gove revealed how, as a cabinet member, he regularly finds himself having to process edicts, rules and regulations that have been framed at European level. Laws that no one in Britain had asked for, and which no one elected to the House of Commons has the power to change. What we refer to as British government is increasingly no such thing. It involves the passing of laws written by people whom no one in Britain elected, no one can name and no one can remove.”

“Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s chief strategist for many years, gave an example of this institutional decay. A few months into his job in No. 10, he was dismayed to find his colleagues making slow progress, because they were all bogged down by paperwork that he didn’t recognise. He asked for an audit, and was shocked by the results: only a third of what the government was doing was related to its agenda. Just over half was processing orders from Brussels. To him, this was more than just a headache: it was an insidious and accelerating bureaucratic takeover.”

David Cameron basically did not want a referendum. But then, what leader ever does – except, as with John Key, because he thought he was popular enough to get his own way – removing our country’s flag?

There is one great lesson to be taken from this rebellion by the majority of the English and Welsh. (Scotland, which has received far more in the way of financial advantage from its association with England than it has returned, and which appears is due for a reality lesson, can be discounted here.) The lesson is the folly of allowing a country to be dominated by a leader and his or her cabal – which is what a too-obedient cabinet basically is. As is ours, in New Zealand.

The corollary – the importance of the individual standing up to be counted – as Nigel Farage as done – has its echoes right down throughout history.

It carries an important lesson for New Zealanders dismayed at John Key’s virtual takeover of the country, exercising apparently near-complete authority over his cabinet,  none of who whom are showing the moral courage to stand up to him.  However, the deterioration in hope on the part of so many New Zealanders who have seen the collapse of social standards and the lack of accountability for this from recent governments, means the anti-establishment tide is turning in this country, too.

The lamentable lack of any real action to make sure that New Zealanders are basically able to access affordable housing;  jobs which provide a decent living wage  – without mothers being forced to dump their babies in crèches to go out to work;  the influx of immigrants putting pressure on all social services – with no comprehensive action  at all by the government to prioritise the interest of New Zealanders over those moving to acquire our land, our farms, our most productive businesses and our housing stock? John Key has basically ignored the needs of so many. His tenure as Prime Minister has been highly damaging.

The Swiss know, as did the Roman Republic, the danger of letting one man retain power for more than a year. It is time to move towards annually rotating what should be basically the chairmanship of a political party in Parliament  – rather than retaining our present system of a dictatorial leadership digging in for the long haul.

These are now precedents for New Zealanders themselves to stand up to be counted. The Australians are already doing so, with their Give Us back our Country movement.

Every individual who supports us, helps to make this possible. And if there’s one thing that Brexit has taught us, it’s the importance of individuals.

It’s been said that  “One man with courage makes a majority.” Nigel Farage did.

© Amy Brooke

Our 100 Days movement needs individuals to contribute what they can – no donation is too small  – to help send our message right around the country.

We can count on no funding to assist coming from political or moneyed power groups with their own vested interests. But we can be proud of this!

Do visit us to see how you can help. Please let family, friends, colleagues know about our www.100days.co.nz.

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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.

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

New Post March 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

For an interesting and refreshing analysis, see:

Oklahoma college president talks about why Donald Trump…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This means each of us – for every individual counts.

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

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

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