Open Letter to Winston – Jacinda is way out of line

Dear Winston –Please don’t shift your ground on a promise you made – and yes – it wasn’t an If…or a Maybe. It was an unequivocal undertaking. So many have trusted you. That’s important. So, as you know, is your integrity. So is public perception.  To now reportedly hint that it would be fair enough to back off your pledge to abolish the divisive Maori seats in Parliament,  because the Maori Party failed to win any, this recent election, is imply not good enough. You will be well aware that as long as the provision for the Maori seats exist, in law, they can be contested again, in a coming election.

This is an open letter to tell you how dismayed, even betrayed, so many thousands of New Zealanders will now feel if you shift your stance on your pledge to call for a referendum on at last removing these anachronistic seats in parliament. You know they are racist.  You gave your pledge as a bottom line. And as far as so many of us are  concerned, you were  actually promising what was long recommended, so that the country can at last say – We are one – or at least strive for equality for all, under the law.

Remember the democratic principle so very conveniently sidelined in recent years – as the white-anting of our New Zealand society has undermined our foundations?  This was the founding concept of modern democracy – pledging fundamental and equal rights to all people in law, regardless of colour, race, gender, or creed.  Any whittling away at this fundamental principle of a genuine democracy diminishes us all.

Recent vote-buying governments, persuaded by now very wealthy and powerful iwi, have backed away from keeping their word – as National did, to its shame. This breaking of a social contract, a pledge given to voters by a party leader, was not only regarded as an act of betrayal. It also lessened even further the respect in which politicians would like to think they are held. Equally damagingly, it takes away from so many the hope that New Zealanders try to hold fast to – of a country in which they once more count, a stable, undivided, peaceful society, respecting the values of those who fought to make this a better country.

 But we’re going backwards – not forwards. And retention of the outdated Maori seats, giving special advantages to those with even the very smallest part-Maori, genetic inheritance (Why?) is contributing to a growing push now towards promoting anything touching on Maori as inherently superior. Again – Why? The whitewashing of the realities of pre-European settlement country, of never-ending internecine tribal wars, of the barbarities of a ruling priestly and warrior class inflicting the cruelties of slavery, barbaric practises and the horrors of cannibalism, are no reason for regarding it as desirable that throughout the country, local government and statutory boards should be forced to kowtow to the supposedly superior insights provided by any individuals with even a sixteenth or  a thirty-second genetic inheritance from  the past.

You will be aware that the Auckland Council is seeking a legislative change to make an elected Maori councillor role compulsory. Incredible!  Even though Auckland councillors themselves have voted 10 to five against introducing a Maori ward. As one commentator has noted, the council’s attitude now equates to (with deeply Orwellian logic…)We can’t trust the majority of the public to vote for what we want – even though we’ve relied on them voting for us – so we therefore will subvert the democratic process…”

All around the country, the opposition to forcing local bodies and government liaison committees to grant special voting rights to unelected individuals on the basis of a part-Maori inheritance has been overwhelmingly rejected, as you know. Yet not for a moment has this past National government taken any notice of the wishes of the majority.

New Zealanders are not fools, and we now have a total contradiction of democratic values and freedoms by an overbearing government, pressured by the now immensely wealthy iwi (the Maori economy now is estimated at about $50 billion dollars. Most of this has been successfully withheld by the rich tribal corporations, with their tax-free status – (Why?)  – from an underclass of their own people in desperate need.

Removing the Maori seats in Parliament is a hugely important move – the very first step towards dismantling the new apartheid we have created – by which some are now more equal than others. And because of this and the vested interest these extraordinarily wealthy iwi have in promoting their own position and influence, and obtaining even more economic advantage for themselves, you will be under considerable pressure to walk away from that promise you gave the public.

You will also be under pressure because the present Labour Leader, Jacinda Ardern, is trying to manipulate you into giving in to her ill-thought determination to ignore the wishes of the country and have her own way  – with regard to preserving the seats.

Her attitude is inexcusable, given that able Members of Parliament of part- Maori descent are now to be found across the spectrum of political parties in Parliament. Labour itself has part-Maori members, National others. There are reportedly now 29 part-Maori MPs in total – strong proof that there is no discrimination against individuals of Maori descent winning  a place  in the House. 

Your own credentials as leader of New Zealand First and of part-Maori descent, long recognising the damage being inflicted on the country by the retention of Maori-only seats, are considerably superior to those of Miss Ardern. She is compromising herself intellectually by refusing to acknowledge that, given a part Maori genetic inheritance is no barrier to becoming a member of Parliament, there is no possible excuse for maintaining the Maori seats. This is doubly so, given that, to date the interests of this racist party have been to wrest even more provisions from the majority of New Zealanders.

Jacinda needs to drop her born-to-rule assumption, and acknowledge that it is not up to her to decide whether or not the Maori seats should be abolished. We’ve had to put up this sort of high-handed attitude from our MPs for too long. The decision is one for the people of New Zealand – not a handful of her Labour Party insiders. It’s time for her to take that on board, not arrogantly refuse to acknowledge that the decision does not belong to a politically-motivated group completely out of touch with most New Zealanders’ objections to this racist provision.

I sincerely hope you yourself have been misreported. Because if you renege on your commitment to put the abolishing of the Maori seats to the public at large in a binding referendum, then so many New Zealanders who have put their trust in you on this issue will loathe you. They are fed up with politicians promising one thing and doing another. Moreover, your stated intention to do this will certainly have meant a rise in the number of voters looking to your party.

The feeling of anger at the maintaining of special privileges, special scholarships, special treatment given in nearly all our institutions to those with even a claimed smidgen of Maori genetic inheritance, is now widespread  – with good reason.

What you were reported as saying in the National Business Review at the time will have given heart to so many. I quote:  “The fact is, Maori don’t need to be told they are not good enough to be equal, or that somehow they should be handicapped, that somehow they should be pigeon-holed,” Mr Peters said.

New Zealanders have taken this to mean that this referendum will be put to the whole country. To confine it to Maori alone – as you then seemed to subsequently be considering, would hardly be logical. It would be like asking the fox to vote for the abolition of hens.

Furthermore, any move to confine the referendum to those claiming to be Maori could be challenged on legal grounds.

There is no longer any definition of Maori. The former logical definition was done away with in the mid-70s by those with their eyes to the main chance – i.e. their ability to  include others  in their number who were, and are, predominantly European (or of other descent) as “Maori”  – in order to show a greater numerical strength  – aware of the political pressure they could then wield.

But it is obviously legally possible to challenge the definition of “Maori” – when those with less than half a Maori genetic inheritance claim to be basically Maori although they obviously aren’t – by any scientific assessment.

Canadian Judge Thomas R Berger travelled around Alaska in the late 1980s to interview the people, Indians, and Inuit, who lived in the villages. When the ANCSA (Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act) was reviewed, the cut-off point for declaring oneself of aboriginal (native) descent was a generous one. One could still be considered aboriginal (Inuit or Indian) if one had a quarter (25%) genetic inheritance. Below this, one was regarded as being predominantly not aboriginal, and therefore unable to claim this.  So why are we allowing this farcical situation in New Zealand?

Many of the most vociferous claimants to disadvantage – (or, contrariwise, of superior insight) because of a purported Maori genetic inheritance – are in fact not even one-quarter Maori. Yet we have allowed them to queue up for special benefits, courtesy of the taxpayer – which is basically a rort. Moreover, the Anglican Church has been silly enough – as have others -to say that one is Maori – and is entitled to be regarded as Maori, simply- if one “feels Maori”.

This is a nonsense. If I were deranged I could possibly regard myself as an Arab – or an Australian aborigine…or even an animal of some sort. But any “feeling” I might have would be at odds with the reality that I’m none of these. .

If you change your mind, and kowtow to the present Labour leader’s claim that she will not allow the discussion in relation to your undertaking to put the future of the Maori seats to the public at large to decide (and the country had no doubt that you meant a referendum binding on all) to be part of any discussion concerning a possible coalition, then she is not only being very foolish – but you would be honour bound to reject her terms. Nor should any referendum be confined confined to Maori only. Such a proposal would face formidable legal challenges, given that there is no longer any actual definition of Maori – all of whom are now part-Maori only.

Furthermore – it is also not accurate to say that such a referendum would be relevant only to part-Maori.  All other New Zealanders have been required to contribute financially  to supporting the Maori seats – and so, too,  the Maori Party…a prime example of the cost to the country at large of this ongoing movement to give one sector of the community special rights – at the expense of the majority.

I’m sure you personally are well aware that prioritising identity politics has been destructive and divisive to New Zealand. The only ones to benefit from it are those well and truly milking the system – at the expense of us all.

I’m afraid, Winston, that if you do not want your integrity to be doubted by those who have long supported you – because of your much-respected commitment to a unified country, it will not do for you for you to renege upon, or equivocate about, your original promise to mount a binding referendum – to be put to all the country.

Many New Zealanders have consistently supported your stated aims and defended you against your detractors. They will not want to continue to do so, if you break your word. And you would deservedly lose the respect in which many hold you for your long stand against the inherent corruption of race-based politics. We must trust you on this.

Kind regards

Amy

 

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

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A disengaged government? Arrogant, biased media?

That our supposed democracy is not in a healthy state is common knowledge. A country whose young families have no hope of saving enough for a future house, and where so many can’t even afford basic accommodation expenses,  is in a very bad way. Undeniably, it is recent incompetent governments, both former Labour and today’s National Parties, which have brought about this inexcusable state of affairs. In many crucial areas we have become a nation in decline.

 A new study commissioned by Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies (IGPS) has found that New Zealanders have little trust in government, and that trust has decreased over the last three years.” Not surprisingly, to those increasingly fed up with a biased, exclusionary media, lazy in analysis, but condescending to readers and viewers, both TV and the print media tied with the government in attracting a low 8% of respect by those polled – compared to 56% for doctors, the highest-polling profession.

No wonder, with a basically new phenomenon emerging. This is the sheer arrogance and creeping nastiness which has become entrenched in much of the media. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the inexcusably snide comments from both editorial writers – (hiding behind their cloak of anonymity) – and trendy, but ignorant and condescending columnists sniping at the individual whose courage, initiative and foresight has contributed so much to the people of Britain claiming back their country.

It’s fair to maintain that Nigel Farage is a great man. He has even been called a great British hero. At those exceptional moments in history, when the tide of events has turned because of the courage, intelligence and vision of one individual,  a traditional King James Bible verse (an excerpt of John 4:23.) has been used to recognise and pay tribute to the one who has stood up to be counted  – “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”.

The disparaging comments of liberal-left media, contrasting with the justified tributes paid to Farage, are a good indication of how out of touch are our supercilious commentariat – as well as the government – with so-called ordinary New Zealanders – what we can well call real New Zealanders. His extraordinary achievement when heading UKIP led to the referendum the ruling class in Britain would far rather have avoided. But in it, the majority of the people showed they repudiated the never-ending diktats of the EU  leading to the loss of sovereignty and independent decision-making in their own country. Farage has said, quite accurately, that his aim was for his countrymen to get their own country back – to no longer have the edicts of Brussels interfering right across the socio-political, economic spectrum. And now he wants his own life back.

But oh, the baying that then ensured, with an NBR columnist basically calling Farage a quitter because he has now stood aside – because he has not been so hooked on power that he wanted to stay on as leader of a political movement which triumphed over the political establishment.  Why the unnecessary, unpleasant disparaging of a man with integrity?  The democratic Romans would have revered him. They were rightly so suspicious of the individual who clings onto power (and the damage he or she then causes – we only have to look at a Helen Clark and a John Key to see this in action) that, in the days of the republic, they would not allow their consuls (two at a time, each with the ability to veto the actions of the other) to rule for more than year.

Both then had to step down and were sent to the provinces, partly to remove them from the temptations of power in Rome. This NBR columnist (which, to give the journal its due, mounts an excellent forum for discussion and debate) had probably never heard of Cincinnatus – the great general historically respected for just this. Given supreme power for six months, to win a desperately needed battle, Cincinnatus then laid aside his command and went back to his farm – to reclaim his own life.  No historical parallels there?  But right on cue came Gwynne Dyer, too, sniping away in a column that sounded as if he was a Bremain poor loser:  “For comic relief Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party also quit, saying that he wanted his life back. “Comic relief? This sniping from the sidelines is now a feature of today’s condescending media.|

Given the lack of objective analysis now being offered by too many New Zealand commentators on the issues of the day, where  throwaway, lightweight, even malicious comments are now  common, I’m increasingly reminded of poor Charlotte Dawson’s only too accurate statement that “New Zealand is small and nasty and vindictive.” This certainly doesn’t apply to New Zealanders as a whole, whose generosity of spirit is well known. However, the constant snideness from media commentators certainly contributes to the reason the media are listed very low on New Zealanders’ lists of occupations they admire.

NZ Initiative’s Oliver Hartwich has accurately identified the fact that it was the political union first and foremost the British people voted against.  He pointed out that “Neither is Britain the most Euroskeptic country in the EU, by a long shot. ‘The problem,’ says Mr Hartwich, “is that Brussels doesn’t seem to have understood what just happened.

” ‘It isn’t clear Brussels has taken the right lesson from this. Their immediate response was to ask for deeper integration into Europe and proceed with the project. But that was exactly the kind of attitude that was rejected by Britain,” Mr Hartwich pointed out. He added that ‘The EU is going to need massive reform, and most of its countries actually want the trade and market access, not strictly the political union. So the question as to what might happen to the bloc in the future is far from clear.”

Moreover, some of Britain’s richest people were prepared to possibly lose a great deal of their personal fortunes in voting for Brexit – (including construction equipment magnate Anthony Bamford, inventor James Dyson, and Peter Hargreaves, cofounder of Hargreaves-Lansdown, the UK’s largest retail broker) – in contrast to Richard Branson, Li Ka-shing and George Soros urging the county to vote Bremain.

However, what distinguished so much of the almost vindictive reaction of our media to the Brexit victory is typified by a Nelson Mail editorial, with its writer conveniently un-named. In an example of today’s trashy commentaries, with its over-the top language, and marked lack of objectivity, its writer had ranted: “The case for Brexit is being stoked by racism and sinister ‘little Britainism’ ” Really, sinister? That the people of Britain turned against a governing establishment that was not listening to their very real concerns about what was happening to the country is hardly sinister.

There is no doubt that the British concern at the lack of proper border controls and ill-thought, immigration permissiveness causing damage to the infrastructure of the country, is perfectly reasonable and well-justified. The  Brexit vote was far from being basically a question of racism or xenophobia, as other media writers promptly bayed. Oh, those useful words wielded like bludgeons by the Right-Thinking… xenophobia – racism – homophobia – all too often deliberately designed to inhibit genuine debate, and wielded with an unsustainable certainty that those scattering them through their writing are providing superior analysis  – even when they are demonstrably wrong.

 This same Nelson Mail editorial writer’s claim before the event, “that Britain has become hysterical about the issue of possible exit from the European Union” was also a silly exaggeration.  It has been on the whole a younger generation, ignorant of the issues underpinning the damaging power–grab of the European Union, which has complained the loudest. The only potentially “sinister” issue arises from the failure of some of these Remain supporters who appear to have no idea about how democracy works, and have demanded their own way, calling for another referendum in the hope of having it. This farcical stance has become unhealthy in the way they have turned against a far more informed older generation which looks back on two world wars where German ambition led to a continent in turmoil, the needless deaths of scores of millions of innocent people, and Britain and the Commonwealth, for a major part of this war, making a stand alone against the troublemaker of Europe.

And predictably, a rather muddled Der Spiegel editorial lamented the triumph of democracy, instanced by the Brexit vote, in the predictably autocratic German fashion of the country whose hierarchy has too often assumed a born -to-rule authority. Its editorialist lamented that “Brexit sheds light on the problems created when direct democracy is abused,” Really?  He argues that “In our complex 21st century world, we have no choice but to delegate authority for decision-making to our elected representatives.”

Fortunately, he couldn’t be more wrong, and this horse has well and truly bolted, dragging with it the theorising that governments know best, and that politicians have special insights which justify their ignoring the concerns and the voices of the majority. He no doubt found it very convenient to overlook the fact that Switzerland is the most successful and direct of all democracies – because the Swiss fought for that 100 Day check on any legislation its parliamentarians passed – which our own movement is backing here. 

It is ironic, then that once again Germany as a powerhouse is in league with the France she invaded in our parents’ lifetimes, and now dominating the EU, while at the same time Angela Merkel’s unbalanced and ill-judged thinking is causing extraordinary damage to German society. There must now  be many of the older generation wondering why so many British and Commonwealth soldiers died defending France, given what is today seen, ironically, as its  unholy alliance with the country for whose freedom so many British and Commonwealth soldiers die.

But back to the word sinister, so beloved by the same Nelson mail editorialist, in full swing, pontificating “Brexit, however is as much about politics and economics, and the politics of it are sinister. European xenophobia and anti-refugee hysteria is again in full swing and nowhere more than in Britain.” And “Brexit won’t make Britain great again, or free it from the dead hand of Brussels.”

Another editorial, no doubt from the same writer, given its familiar-sounding tones, where the writer had to face to the fact that Brexit won, began:  “The shockwaves from Brexit will shake the world for a long time. Few of the effects will be good. Some of the symbolism is rank, even repulsive… It’s ‘Independence Day’ for Britain declares the English demagogue Nigel Farage. His vision of Britain is of a reactionary white enclave of frightened xenophobes. Farage crows at the prospect: most of the world weeps.”

On he rants.  And this un-identified editorialist has obviously interviewed most of the world, judging by the strength of his conviction?

Such basic drivel has no place in a reputable newspaper. But the Nelson Mail is not alone in its increasingly biased rejection of viewpoints with which its under-educated staff grapple (judging by the poor standard of grammar and syntax, let alone, apparently, any genuine understanding of the issues involved, and the history underpinning them). But it’s interesting that he/she rails about Brexit being (partly) underpinned by racism and working class “conservatism”.

There we have a definite agenda – that of today’s neo-liberal permissiveness attacking the thoughtful conservatism which once protected family values,  and stabilised our society. “Conservatism” has become a target in the eyes of the ignorant, especially those too young to have any real understanding of what is at stake. In their eyes, those who do, an older generation (who have learnt through experience the lessons of the history that younger New Zealanders saw deliberately removed from the schools’ curricula) should be barred from voting. It’s interesting that the views of the “working class” are now distasteful to the we-know-best… the self-appointed elite.

A quick overview of other dailies had more lightweight columnists, as in Tracy Watkins’s Political Week, stating on no evidence whatsoever that the Brexit vote is bad news for us down here. Inevitably, she lumps “far Right leader Nigel Farage” as, in reality one of the anti-politicians “no different to any of their rivals…in it for the power, which is all any politician is in it for.”’

So that’s it, is it? We’ve been told – let’s hope we know our place. The fact that Farage has indeed thankfully resigned from Brexit, laying down that power in order to get his own life back seems to have escaped her also.  In his own words: “During the referendum campaign I said I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back, and it begins now,” he said.

 While our official commentators fell over themselves with tedious, uninformed accusations of racism and xenophobia, pseudo-experts in full cry, the commonsense of the British, closer by far to the Islamification of Germany, Sweden, and other EU countries, contrasts with Angela Merkel’s folly. Her too long uncontrolled immigration policy has allowed many hundreds of thousands of Muslim people into European countries with no infrastructure to support them  – people whose preponderance of angry young men with no jobs, no income and an ingrained antagonism to the West has caused a dramatic rise in the crime rates and the under-reported raping of young Western girls http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7557/germany-rape-migrants-crisis  Isis terrorists boast  they are well represented in these numbers. To chastise the British, calling them xenophobic for their reluctance to have this scenario repeated, is ridiculous.

This sort of sheer arrogance is combined with the anachronism that newspapers still allow their editorial writers to hide behind their nameless pronouncements, which they absurdly claim is “the voice of the newspaper”. In fact, an editorial  is only the voice of one individual reporter or feature writer bestowing his or her own, all too often biased and under-informed opinion on the public –  one opinion only – one very possibly quite at odds with the opinions held by other writing staff.

It is this sort of unbalanced writing which is causing newspapers to lose subscriptions and readership. Moreover, it is a deliberately contrived imbalance of power where the writer of the editorial claims the right to remain anonymous, while today’s correspondents are required to give full details of their names, addresses, etc.  It’s not so long ago that letter writers themselves could use pseudonyms, often for very good reasons.  And there is no doubt that requiring the public to sign letters has inhibited debate – often because correspondents writing in good faith find it distasteful and objectionable to then be personally attacked by those unable to engage in courteous debate…especially when they have a ”liberal’ axe to grind, and specialise in the racist, homophobic, etc. name-calling.

Moreover, that some sections of the media, including Radio New Zealand, are no longer allowing comments on their websites, in spite of the fact they have admitted that some of these are valuable, is also a bad democratic outcome. The National Business Review, on the other hand, is valuable in providing the opportunity for public feedback, much-needed comment and debate, with or without a pseudonym.

Contrast this with the media power-play of those daily newspapers, which, (reasonably enough, for space requirements) set a 200 word limit on letters to the editor, but then insist on retaining their ”right” to interfere with what a correspondent has actually said  – even though it will appear over the latter’s name. Well-educated writers have strong reason to object to subliterate, semi-educated staff rewriting sections of a letter, then subsequently publishing it over the correspondent’s own name – thereby bringing him/her into possible disrepute in the eyes of an educated public.

The editorial “right” to alter and amend, or abridge a letter is uncalled for -unless it is abusive, actionable, or defamatory.  Provided a correspondent keeps to the requirement of 200 words (with none of the above) it’s time that the daily newspapers dropped such unreasonable demands. The imbalance of power is obvious.  The public’s best response is to no longer subscribe – and to make it known why. Unfortunately, in the print media, this entails no longer having access to the letters to the editor – often far more informed and better written than the editorials, and the writing of the regular columnists..

What has happened with Brexit has been described as a sea change in British politics, a move away from representative democracy to something more direct. It was the working class regions, northern England, the East Midlands, the Black Country and the Welsh valleys identical with the Chartist movement’s stronghold’s years ago which once more rebelled against what was seen as establishment corruption.  But which of our opinionated columnists have even heard of the Chartist movement?

 As the Spectator’s irrepressible Taki has pointed out, in illustrating how “the technocratic dictatorship of Brussels has already enslaved my country (Greece) – “Freedom is freedom and there are no other words to replace it.” That the ordinary man and woman voted for Brexit, supporting Nigel Farage, the man who stood to be counted again the tide of the times, he likens to the example of the legendary Leonidas. But which of our uneducated graduates with degrees in economics, in business, in media studies, in law and so on have even heard of the hero who held the pass at Thermopylae –  the story of famous 300 against the Persian Xerxes and his army of over a million – until a traitor showed the Persians a back way in.

Taki rightly dismisses ”the Greek chorus of women” (and not just women) “announcing doom and gloom” and invoking “populism” as a Bad Thing – when really they are talking about democracy.   Some of them may also be distorting the truth. Going on the record of the media’s inventiveness and fabrications,  we have no real evidence that Andrea Leadsom, a former candidate for the Conservative party leadership, actually did say that Theresa May should not become prime minister because she has no children. This report was strongly rejected, with Leadsom herself saying that she was repeatedly asked about her children, and made it clear that she did not want this to be a feature of the campaign…that she was in fact disgusted at the way this has been presented. No surprises here.

What has been a dismaying feature of women commentators for some time now is the use of crude language, deterioration in standards more marked than that of the men. Typical is Fran O’Sullivan’s invoking of “a pissing contest” between the Prime Minister and Reserve Bank Governor. Why the crudeness?  – when, with good reason, women were long respected because they set the standards of civilised behaviour and restraint in the use of language. The still-there, Rosemary McLeod, with a possible record of longevity among columnists,  has long employed an  off-putting, also basically crude use of language and sexist imagery, discussing women politicians’ legs, “something to flaunt”… a bitch-slapping…May was slagged for not using her uterus like a proper woman…boasting that her mating tackle had delivered offspring”.  This basically vulgar writing is distasteful to women who still do set store on standards.  Moreover, it is now these women commentators, more than  the men, who scatter around words like pissing, arse, boobs, tits, fu**ing – with no apparent thought of the example they are failing to set for the young – and the lack of respect felt for them by other women and the men  – except perhaps those of the same ilk.

If we have a big problem in this country in the form of a government now disengaged from the realities of life for so many New Zealanders, one moreover, now employing genuinely racist policies of Maori separatism and preference –  (another whole topic)  – we have an equally large problem in the print media, now habitually under-performing in areas of objectivity and analysis.

Accurate? Objective? Independent? Emeritus Professor David Flint, a member of the Order Of Australia, who has written widely on such matters as the media, international economic law and the constitution, including in his prophetic Twilight of the Elites, examines in his excellent book, Malice in Media Land, how campaigning journalists have become unelected and unaccountable participants in the political process, requisitioning the airwaves of public broadcasters as well as the columns of once great newspapers. He illustrates how we now have “an élite media, with certain honourable exceptions, not so much reporting the news as campaigning vigorously…at the same time as the standing of journalists among the general public could not be lower…While in individual instances this is of course unfair, it is quite true that the news media is regarded as a tainted institution…so much so that if it were any other institution, the media would be calling for it to be dismantled, or at least radically reformed with the mass resignation of the incumbents.”

David Flint’s own co-authored book, Give Us Back Our Country reflects the same wish of Australians at large that found fulfilment in Brexit’s victory. In it, he pays tribute to our own prior movement, as set out in the web link www.100days.co.nz and in my book The 100 Days – claiming back New Zealand… What has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.

All over the world, people have learnt the lesson of hope which Brexit has given. It is time for New Zealanders too, to claim back our own country – from both our agenda-drive government -and from the unacceptable bias of much of the mass media.

© Amy Brooke

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

A donation, no matter how small, very much helps us to send out this message of political reform more widely! Thank you J

 

 

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.

SHARE or LIKE on Facebook

© 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.

Putting up with a John Key or a Helen Clark? The Swiss wouldn’t

Putting up with a John Key or a Helen Clark? The Swiss wouldn’t. We need the 100 Days stop on our own politicians.

The recent railing of the otherwise often excellent Spectator columnist Rod Liddle  against the public being graciously “allowed” to contribute towards the decision-making facing the UK was out of character. It seems to have been inspired by his objection to the British at last having the chance to tell the basically fascist European Union to butt out of dominating their once much freer country. However, former London Mayor Boris Johnson -(together with UKIP’s Nigel Farage and some high-ranking Conservatives) -is turning on Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing concern felt nationwide by the people of this once proudly independent country. http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/669468/Boris-Johnson-David-Cameron-immigration-Brexit-Vote-Leave-EU-referendum

Few would discount the fact that uncontrolled immigration is threatening Britain. Moreover, the cost of propping up an organisation run by power-hungry bureaucrats, attempting more and more to remove the independence of the countries within its grip, is quite extraordinary. The actual cost to Britain of propping up the EU is estimated to be just under £250 million a week. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who negotiated a rebate, this is $100 million less than it would otherwise be paying. http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/669690/EU-referendum-row-David-Cameron-Nigel-Farage-ITV-debate-Vote-Leave-Boris-Johnson

So, two cheers for those from the Tory hierarchy rebelling against the independence of the UK’s economic, political and judicial decision-making being held in straitjackets by the EU’s unelected and petty bureaucracy, infamous for its sea of petty restrictions and regulations. (Among the better known is European Commission Regulation Number 1677/88.  “Class 1” and “Extra class” cucumbers are allowed a bend of 10 mm per 10 cm of length.  “Class II” cucumbers can bend twice as much. Any cucumbers that are curvier may not be bought or sold.”)

But only two cheers, because disgracefully, as so often happens when the power groups band together, the Conservative MPs from the “Leave EU” movement have  been doing their best  to exclude the one man who led the move to ask the British to speak up for themselves as a people. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36273499  There is no doubt of the debt owed to Nigel Farage with his courageous challenging of the Establishment. And the mean-mindedness of attempts to exclude the man who is owed most should bring home to us the lesson of the corruption of power. Moreover, as we well know, NZ’s power groups also band together.

While it is heartening to see happening in the UK what is well overdue to still come in this country – a revolt among right-wing politicians taking on our now own widely distrusted leader  – in other words, standing up to be counted on important issues of the day – we should be asking why we never see this happening in New Zealand. Why does the bunch of yes-men-women who fall into line behind John Key (described by commentator Matthew Hooton as a “serial bullshitter”)  never stand up to represent their own constituents – and the whole country?  Why no opposition from any at all of the members of a National Party  – which once represented the freedom of the individual, rather than state control – against a lightweight, narcissistic PM who is not regarded as prioritising the interests of New Zealanders over those of the money-men with their eye on this country?

Rod Liddle’s article, with its silly title “Whoever invented the referendum deserves a kicking” is challenged by correspondents, including those below.

“Maic: In the matter of referendums I believe that the Swiss have got it right. I’m a little weary of the patronising comments from some self appointed experts that would have you believe that the peasants (that’s us) are too stupid or indifferent to be able to make rational choices affecting the governance of their country.

“The left in particular seem to regard Direct Democracy with horror. They claim to represent the people, to have the support of the people, but shy away from letting the people make some decisions on social and political matters.

“Interestingly enough, you hear loud comments on how the country has a really great progressive education system. One would have thought that the graduates of such a good system would have the intelligence and judgment to at least have an influence on how the country is governed.

“My own country (New Zealand) has only one House of Representatives purportedly representing the citizens, but seemingly more focused on advancing the interests and survival of the major political parties. Deals are done to consolidate power.

“Policies never put to the people are nevertheless imposed on them.
The cry goes up that many citizens are not interested or engaged in politics and that the level of voting when we do have elections is not that great.
Well, why should anyone be surprised?

“I say it is possible to enact a system of Direct Democracy which makes politicians more accountable and at the same time prevents frivolous attempts to undermine the system.”

It’s a pity that this correspondent, making some good points, does not seem to know that our 100 Days – Claiming Back – New Zealand movement is already well underway to produce just this  – what the Swiss got right  – as he notes. Their great achievement was to insist that a stop for a period of 100 Days was put on all legislation passed by their parliament, during which period of time the country can assess what is happening. This simple, but brilliant, provision enables the Swiss people themselves to control their politicians. It also prevents the kind of legislation deliberately pushed through late at night in this country – on the eve of public holidays such as Easter or Christmas – in the hope New Zealanders will be too busy to object.

Of all the reforms the Swiss undertook to achieve a genuine democracy, this one was the most crucial. Their government understands this, and refers to the people as “sovereign.” Members of their Cabinet of only seven members!  (in a country with a population double ours) simply take a turn for a year at being President, before stepping down. For very good reason, as we have learned to appreciate, the Swiss would simply not put up with a John Key or a Helen Clark constantly, and for a period of several years, digging in to dominate the decision-making that affects all New Zealanders.

The contrast between this highly successful country, whose own MPs hold down day jobs (attending parliament only one day a week) and our cash-strapped economy with our government continually passing new legislation – and taking good care to exclude New Zealanders from behind-the-scenes decision-making – such as ill-thought asset sales, and the signing of the TPPA (without consultation with the country) – would scandalise the Swiss. They must wonder why we put up with it.  Why do we?

Another Spectator commentator, also disagreeing with Liddle, expresses the hope “for NZ…that the anti-establishment wave sweeping the Western world will boost new parties like NZF into power”.

There is no doubt about the power of individuals, when they have had enough, standing up to the power-groups of the politicians, the bankers, the bureaucrats – and the overpaid CEOs of the corporate world.

 GK Chesterton’s belief that – “All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it” – should help us to stop short, and think.

 It brings home to us that fact that our political hierarchy in this country, which apparently fancies itself far more qualified, better informed, even (heaven forbid) more intelligent than the people of New Zealand, is well overdue to be reformed. The secret of Donald Trump’s success in the US is widely recognised as the anger of “the ordinary people” against their well-funded and well-entrenched political establishment.

There are obvious lessons for us here. We are overdue to make our own stand against the right-to-rule assumption of whatever political party currently governs the country. None of them can be trusted, although there is no doubt that one, New Zealand First, has constantly repudiated the racist directions in which our country is now heading – with now preferential “rights” disgracefully based on a watered-down ethnicity. NZFirst pledges to not pass any non-mandated legislation without consulting the country.

It’s a first step – but not enough. What we need to be aiming for is to embed the 100 Days requirement in legislation so that this country can begin to work again towards its full potential, and so that New Zealanders themselves, not our political bureaucracy, will be able, like the clever Swiss, to make the decisions that count.

 This is undeniably an idea whose time has come. See www.100days.co.nz  All it needs is for you to help. We need you.

Quite simply, it’s just up to us. So why would we let New Zealand and its future down? 

From Chesterton again, “Everyone on the earth should believe that he has something to give to the world which otherwise cannot be given.”

*

*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. Will you?

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 – www.100days.co.nz and SHARE on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf

© 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.

The flag referendum farce – for sheer gall, John Key?

 We should hand it to John Key? No, not our own flag, with its highly relevant cross watching over our skies, far more relevant to our history, traditions and intellectual heritage than a piece of plant. We all know how strangely keen our Prime Minister has been to get rid of our flag, with all its important symbols, its link to so many of our fine colonial antecedents, and to our democratic and Christian traditions.

So keen, that with areas of the economy in desperate need of funding; people removed from hospital waiting lists; our iconic Starship Children’s Hospital having to beg for funds from the community; our apparent inability to afford cancer drugs available in England and Australia even…with the job losses multiplying and shops closing down all over the country – nothing, apparently, has been so important to Key as getting rid of this flag…irrespective of the initial-only, $25 million cost.

Why? He has in almost unseemly fashion shown himself more than willing to accept any other design – provided it’s not our flag, which has historically meant so much to New Zealanders worldwide. And, ironically, the flag which finally “won” the recent referendum to go up against our own flag, wasn’t even the one which got most votes! It was only because of the distortions of preferential voting that the flag which was placed second eventually beat the one the majority voted for.

In a way, this says it all. We have now become a country where the views of the majority have become sidelined. Our political circuses and strong interest groups with the ear of government indulge in inappropriate deal-making – as with the now all-powerful iwi corporations – inappropriately called tribes – which do not represent majority part-Maori, but scramble for self-advantage. Inevitably, this works against the interests of all other New Zealanders.

Too close to this National Party government, they are being allowed to bypass the courts to deal with (in the view of informed commentators) a highly problematic Minister of Treaty Negotiations, when advancing multi-million dollar “compensation” claims. They are also successfully contriving for themselves utterly undemocratic prior “rights” in direct contradiction to the written, and well understood, provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi. That virtual control of the water in this country should be given to these now immensely wealthy corporations of part-Maori descent – often highly attenuated – is not only incredible – but democratically utterly illegitimate. That hasn’t stopped the Key government from proposing this.

So what is happening? And why what some see as the sell-out of our country, both to internal and external, powerful and monied vested interests? Somehow, John Key’s personal dogged determination to get rid of our New Zealand flag symbolises to many something essentially ominous. Are they right?

There’s certainly little doubt that Key is pulling all stops out to try to influence a future flag change when the recent second choice (defeating the one most voted for) will get put up – with its banal, sombre imagery (not yet more black inflicted on NZers!) – against our real flag. His comments on National Radio when the results were announced were pretty much sort of thing we’ve come to expect from a PM who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of inappropriate – or presumptuous. Reportedly, he commented to the effect that when the flag changes, “everyone will wonder what the fuss was about”.

Well, we all know who started to fuss. And not only is his comment arguably inappropriate and presumptuous…it is tarred with a degree of arrogance, twinned with evasiveness, with which we have become very familiar. And the result has been unfortunate. As New Zealanders are almost certain to vote to retain a much-loved flag, his claim has aroused a degree of suspicion about whether or not the result would be able to be rigged. And interestingly enough, some with no interest at all in a flag change voted in this initial referendum simply to make sure that the flag perceived as most politically loaded and divisive, the Koru design, did not get chosen.

The estimated 43% of the electorate who enrolled and voted is not a mandate for change. Moreover, some deliberately voted informally to send a protest message. And that the winning flag attracted only 574, 364 votes does not justify the Prime Minister’s rah-rah attitude.

The downsides to the silver fern choice are obvious. Some countries perceive it as a feather. And not only do several others also have the silver fern, used by our sporting teams, but more relevantly – or ominously – it has a Chinese Communist association. Silver Fern Farms, the now Chinese/New Zealand Milk company, with its new majority shareholder, Shanghai Maling, has not only also acquired the land that sits under the Silver Fern’s plants, but is chasing 50 percent of New Zealand’s biggest meat company. As a start. And it is not irrelevant that under the terms of the TTPA, according to some reports, New Zealanders will be unable to prevent the sell-out of even more of our farmland, housing stock and strategic assets to foreign buyers.

Moreover, the Chinese-owned buyer of Canterbury dairy farms is reporting it got a huge bargain, at $41 million less than they were worth. Milk New Zealand Holdings owned by wealthy Chinese businessman Zhaobai Jiang, through his company Shanghai Pengxin, bought 15 dairy farms around Ashburton in its takeover of Synlait Farms. That’s apparently just fine by the Key-dominated government.

Let’s face it. Given that our ill-spoken, egoistical PM, who has in many respects been a national embarrassment, thinks that because he himself wants a new flag, everybody else should be made to pay the probably hundreds of millions of dollars eventually such a move would cost – (so that he can have his own way) – there’s one potential choice which it might have been relevant to see put up against our real flag.

So that we can remember him, after he has chosen his next career move, and remember how he presided over the selling out of our country…that our farmland was gradually bought up, hectare by hectare by foreign buyers; that our children could no longer look forward to one day being able to afford their own houses; that multimillionaires from around the world – with this Prime Minister’s connivance – snapped up our best scenic assets as boltholes, so that New Zealanders became second-rate citizens in our own country – it might have been arguably relevant to have had a potential flag design of an outsize black key, centred on a gold background, representing what, in the eyes of many, New Zealand is being sold out for – and the politician who has allowed this to happen.

And from Australia, where they are predicting a landslide win by New Zealanders voting to retain our own proud flag – rather than a new mere branding image – see the December 12 piece on https://www.facebook.com/acmnorepublic/ arguing that the process has been shoddy indeed.

A fair dinkum comment.

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© Amy Brooke – Convenor, http://www.100days. co.nz – author of The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians –  available on Kindle or through any good bookstore.

 

Can you get much lower than this, John Key?

It wasn’t just undergraduate – many would have found it basically disgusting.  And we’re stuck with this man as leader of the country…

So what’s it all about? According to yesterday’s afternoon mailout of the New Zealand Herald, headlined “The question John Key refused to answer”, our Prime Minister appeared on its morning radio show, Hauraki Breakfast, playing a round of a game called, ‘Thank You For Your Honesty”.  He couldn’t have been ignorant of its basic format as, apparently, “in the regular segment, hosts Matt Heath, Jeremy Wells and Laura McGoldrick grill participants with a series of 10 silly, often rude, questions, which they then have to answer truthfully”.

These questions weren’t just rude and silly – they were degrading. And for any media outlet to think that it’s all good clean fun, shows a now extraordinary division between New Zealanders who still have standards – and increasingly foul-mouthed media show-offs who apparently bask in a narcissistic world which the Prime Minister also thoroughly enjoys. That some of the media women are now equally part of it all is perhaps the saddest thing.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/front-page-top-stories/news/article.cfm?c_id=698&objectid=11529713&ref=newsl_afternoonnewsdirect_J20080609_142008_1716_1129_825738151

This was the result – Key grunting away at the beginning of the interview, pretending he didn’t have a choice – but then we now know that our PM loves to show off, to perform. We’ve formerly had his camping down the sidewalk; being smooged by gays at the exhibitionistic Big Day Out; Key calling women “hot” and, at the time, fooling around, claiming he envied Shane Warne his relationship with Liz Hurley. We’ve known of the tormenting of the little waitress by persisting in pulling her ponytail, and ignoring her objections.

You may think the interview above is more than degrading, for a man in the Prime Minister’s position. Certainly what it tells us about John Key will make many New Zealanders hold him in contempt – rather than in respect.

Categorically declaring the Virgin Mary was no virgin; using “Jesus Christ!” as an automatic exclamation…allowing himself to be trapped into answering questions which were not just undergraduate, but utterly unacceptable… For example?  “Key replied to he had never pashed a man, did not “trim his downstairs” and had never sent a “dick pic”. But he said he had “done wees in the shower” and admitted he found Wendy Petrie attractive.  “However Key refused to answer the rather rude question Wells put to him of whether he had ‘fed the chickens’ in the last month. ‘Jesus Christ, I’ve got to take the fifth,’ he protested, saying he didn’t want to answer in case his wife sued him.”

Just unbecomingly undergraduate? Or worse? In the view of many dismayed New Zealanders, this wasn’t all just juvenile –  it was basically disgusting.

We should be able to offer better things to young New Zealanders, to our sons and daughters, than the lack of values and basic unacceptable crudeness of shows such as this. But what does it say about a Prime Minister who apparently thinks it’s all just fun?

Amy Brooke. http://www.100days.co.nz – Claiming back New Zealand.