Intimidated? Bullied? Time for NZers, too, to fight back?

Born during the years of the murderous dictator Stalin, the young Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko began to cast a fresh eye over the oppressive USSR of the 60s. He himself was a gifted athlete, with a geologist father, and with both parents descended from families of Russian nobility. His two grandfathers were arrested during Stalin’s purges as “enemies of the people”.  Yevtushenko’s own refusal to compromise over what he saw as the truth of things, and over the importance of good poetry (now largely suffocated in the Post-Poetry pretentiousness of our cultural decline) made him a target for the violent hostility of those settling for political dogmatism.  His challenging the Soviet distortions of historical facts, including the Nazi massacre of the Jewish population of Kiev in September 1941, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar was an act of conscience, although he always denied being brave. But he believed, like Shostakovich, in the importance of acting according to conscience. The result was his most famous poem, Babi Yar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar_in_poetry 

In 1957, he was expelled from the Literary Institute for “individualism”… (which brings echoes of today’s blacklisting in this country of individuals (I can vouch for this from personal experience) challenging our literary in-groups, particularly the politicisation of children’s writing. The blacklisting of those refusing to adhere to the required “themes” of “biculturalism”, political “relevance” and “national identity” – and the targeting of teachers objecting to the increasing and inappropriate racial grandstanding throughout our schools’ curricula today: all these bring to mind the PC mean-mindedness the late Charlotte Dawson sadly experienced in this country.

What particularly struck me, discovering, in my 20s, Yevtushenko’s poem “Talk”, was that while discounting the praise of those who called him a brave man, he ended with lines which have grown even more relevant for us now in the West, today white-anted by the new intolerance of free speech masquerading as “liberalism”.

“How sharply our children will be ashamed
taking at last their vengeance for these horrors
remembering how in so strange a time
common integrity could look like courage.”

http://thewonderingminstrels.blogspot.co.nz/2005/10/talk-yevgeny-yevtushenko.html

To those who in innocence protest that we are the West, surely, not the Soviet Russia of a Yevtushenko, a Sakharov or Solzhenitsyn – we would do well to take on board Solzhenitsyn’s warning that “the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive”. There is little doubt that  what the late great Times columnist Bernard Levin described as “the atrophy of moral judgment”,  calling it the characteristic disease of our times – is the inability to see what is in reality an evil  – and the willingness to condone it.

The reality is that in New Zealand now, too, we’re being culturally, politically and morally bullied in the name of “tolerance”. On flagship issues such as gay marriage – an obvious dead-end in biological terms, but now supported by the demand from the growingly strident LGTB (lesbian, gay, and transgender, bisexual) fraternity trumpeting the new fashion of transgender identity, what became a reasonable demand to respect the privacy of individuals in their own homes is being extended. The tolerance long offered to individuals in a free society to make their own choices is by no means being returned.

The real bullying throughout the West is now characterised by this aggressive intolerance and antagonism – now extending to an attack on those who object to vulnerable children being propagandised in schools, or to girls being exposed to transgender males invading toilets and changing rooms. Querying what is actually happening to a once family-stabilised society – where children were best protected as nature intended, by a biological father and mother – now meets with even vindictive opposition. In America (the Land of the Free…) those claiming the right for their own beliefs to be respected can now expect to be met with a wave of intolerance, aggression, vilification – even to be taken to court and sued on some anti-discrimination pretext.  Debate is a no-no…except for those drawing on the very courage which Solzhenitsyn called common integrity.

And yet, we have the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in honour of the Russian physicist and dissident, Andrei Sakharov – (who, together with his wife Yelena Bonner, faced state persecution while fighting for the necessity of freedom of speech). It is still awarded to individuals as brave as Raif Badawi http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20151215STO07590/Sakharov-Prize-Raif-Badawi-was-brave-enough-to-say-no-to-their-barbarity

The irony is considerable, given that public opinion and support for the European Union has plunged, due to the number of peremptory edicts continually coming from the unelected, unrepresentative body of the European Commission.

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8224/european-union-support  Its administrative bureaucracy has tirelessly worked to restrict the sovereignty of the 28 nation states comprising the European Union. There is little doubt that its proposed code of conduct, attempting to ban “hate speech”, is a direct attempt to impose politically correct thinking and behaviour on those within its ambit.

But how little different are we now? Universities were once regarded as fiercely independent bastions of freedom in debate, insisting on the right of individuals to fairly engage in intellectually defending their viewpoints. So I recall my then shock, three or four years ago, when Wellington’s Victoria University refused to allow a debate on that most extraordinary of global cults, the massively financially supported claim of man-made global warming and the supposed culpability of CO2.  In spite of the fact that an almost certainly natural, cyclical period of global warming ended approximately in 1998 – as well-qualified scientists – deliberately denied debating platforms in this country –  have well substantiated, there is now so much financial and career investment in buying into the global warming hysteria that credulous action groups have forgotten what Upton Sinclair pointed out:  “ It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” And so many university grants and positions now depend upon individuals endorsing the group-think which has become so characteristic of our times.

From Oxford and Cambridge, one-time flagships of intellectual freedom, come these reports of students refusing to even attend lectures, let alone to debate points of view, which challenge their highly programmedthinking.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/30/jesus-christ-would-be-banned-from-uk-universities-today-oxford-p/

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2014/11/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/

And in the US, the bastion of freedom? https://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/free-speech-is-under-attack-on-the-

How many New Zealanders would disagree with the reminder that it is better to debate a question without settling it – than to settle a question without debate?  Our parents’ generation and those preceding them unquestioningly accepted what most of us were brought up to acknowledge –  how important  it is in a free society to respect individuals’ beliefs, even if one doesn’t agree with them – and to be allowed to say so.

Well, we all once knew. But it isn’t happening any more.  Over a whole range of topics on important issues of the day, the individual brave enough to say, for example – I respect your right to believe what you do, but for my own part, I disagree with the current liberal thinking about gay “marriage” being a genuine marriage – and regard it as an obvious contradiction in biological terms – can now expect, as in America – to be met with a wave of intolerance, aggression, vilification – even to be taken to court and sued on some anti-discrimination pretext.  The very groups attacking the respect for the traditional family as the most important and stabilising unit of Western society, and trumpeting accusations of intolerance, are characterised now by that extraordinary intolerance of debate.

Yet debate is the bedrock of democracy in any culture or political system. It is a fundamental part of freedom of expression which is itself recognised world-wide as a basic human right. To realise the importance of debate we just have to look at the alternative. There are numerous examples in history of autocrats who demanded blind acceptance of their rule, brooked no criticism, stamped out dissent and locked up opponents. There still are. Countries particularly oppressive include Iran, Saudi Arabia, and, closer to home, and moving down the Pacific, Communist China. These all act as repressive societies. The results are governments that lack accountability and systems that breed corruption, resort to violence and today imprison their own Solzhenitsyn’s Sakharovs, Yevtushenkos.

Schools in many countries have debating societies. As Peter Millet, the British Ambassador to Libya reminds many of us: “At my school… we were encouraged by our teachers to tackle the most controversial subjects of the day. It taught us skills that have been invaluable in our working lives: about the importance of preparation, about setting out key points in a simple and logical way, and about anticipating the counter-arguments.

“We also learned that debating was not about winning the vote, but about getting to the heart of the matter. Yes, the vote was about which side presented their facts in the most effective way. But the purpose of the debate was to expose all the vital issues to public scrutiny. Truth was more important than victory.”

Apparently, what we in the West now need to be reminded of, when faced with the intolerance and intimidation now deliberately used as weapons to prevent us from challenging what is happening abroad, and in our schools  – is the importance of courage. Shouldn’t we be opposing the deliberate targeting of our children and what is now regarded as the worrying decadence transforming the West, with its move towards liberal-thinking totalitarianism?  To act according to conscience is no less important now than it was to Yevtusheno, when challenging the corruption of the former USSR.

In the words of another individual to whom we owe so much: “Intellectual freedom is essential — freedom to obtain and distribute information; freedom for open-minded and unhearing debate; and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship.” Andrei Sakharov.


© 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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AN UNPRECEDENTED 76% DISAPPROVAL ! …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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.

 

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.”

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*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.

 

OIO fob-off-Selling out NZ. Is John Key just thick?

The OIO fob off? Selling out NZ? Is John Key just thick?

There’s no doubt that this National government’s ignoring of the issues posed by an increasing flow of multimillionaires from what is now acknowledged to be a predatory and aggressive Communist country, is disadvantaging New Zealanders. Allowing them to outbid our people to own our land, houses and businesses can be argued to be possibly treasonous, given that in a democracy, the first duty of the State is to protect its citizens.

This is not a question of xenophobia. Over the decades, Chinese New Zealanders have long made this country their home, assimilated well, and contributed to its prosperity. Some are themselves now extremely concerned at what seems the almost incredible blindness of this National government to what is happening.

As Spectator columnist and classicist Peter Jones points out, the Roman statesman, Cicero, took the view that the country’s security and common interests are best served by laws whose first aim is to safeguard its citizens.

Who would dispute this? It isn’t happening here.

All across this country, concern has been expressed at New Zealanders becoming second-class citizens as a result of both government policy – e.g. via the obvious inadequacy of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) – and this National government’s fob-off of the crisis in Auckland’s housing market. Again and again we are told that this is simply a matter of not enough houses, and that more and more land needs to be freed up.

But this is not the whole answer, and dodges an equally important issue – apart from that of both central and local government’s incompetence in allowing this crisis to come about. What is being constantly ignored is the fact that the aim of building 30,000 new homes and apartments a year is grossly inadequate – if 70,000 new immigrants are now annually admitted. Moreover, if far wealthier immigrants from Communist China, now facing possibly its largest exodus in history, are able to outbid New Zealanders to confine them to the now also severely unaffordable renting market, then a great injustice is being done to the people of this country…who should be the government’s first priority.

This is an issue not only equally as important as the housing shortage, but even more so, given that we need to look at why this government is selling out New Zealanders.

John Key’s refusal to acknowledge that Auckland even has a housing crisis is extraordinary. First, because it suggests an apparent inability to face facts…He is denying what is demonstrably true. The question then: – would he peddle a blatant lie, if he knew this was the case? Surely not? Then is he being misled, deceived? Is no one telling him the truth? After all, the suspicion is growing (particularly in that the “Minister of Everything”, Steven Joyce, was more or less boasting recently of the hand he had in a pre-budget speech John Key delivered) – are these speeches simply supplied to the Prime Minister to deliver?

Is the real problem just that Key isn’t very bright? There has been no boasting about any academic record at school. He became a multi-millionaire by opting for a move into the money world. Currency trading requires a certain affinity with money-making, and arguably a gambling instinct. However, it does not necessarily equate to his being well-informed, well-read, well-grounded and well-educated – with the background knowledge of history, philosophy, and great literature which helps to produce a well-rounded, statesmanlike individual.

In fact, Key’s use of language is clumsy, ill-informed, even gauche. He can be cringemaking – as in his recent dodging the question of the name of the Islamic state leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews had the same problem, but adroitly dodged being cornered. Key, with his usual offhand deflection of questions he doesn’t like, is quoted as saying; “Ah look, I’ll get it wrong if I actually name his name. It’s al Jabiri something, but yeah, whatever.”

Yeah, whatever…”?

Why is National’s leader apparently unable to publicly acknowledge what’s happening in Auckland. Should we be necessarily discounting the possibility that he really is rather thick, ie. intellectually lightweight? For example, he thinks John Campbell’s nightly look at important current affairs should be “more entertaining”. Really- along the lines of Key’s named favourite TV programmes, which include Johnny English, and My Big Fat Gypsy wedding?

 The man who likes to dance on stage at “ gay” festivals, being smoodged by drag queens when he regularly attends the Big Day Out, which many conservative NZers, and even some homosexual and lesbians, deplore as crass and exhibitionistic. The man whose mouth appears to run away with him, or doesn’t seem to realise describing some women as “hot” is basically offensive to many women uses the sort of vocabulary one doesn’t expect from a Prime Minister.

We do know that Key has a disconcerting record of memory blackouts – or vagueness about what he knows and doesn’t know – or what he was told, or wasn’t told. Oh yes – and when…Some regard him as being less than rigorous with the truth of issues. However, as long as he feels “relaxed” and “comfortable” – as he regularly claims, then it appears we are meant to settle for what many regard as evasiveness.

So when Key claims there’s no housing shortage in Auckland, what are we meant to think?

Most desperate home-hunters aren’t going to be forgiving with regard to his nonsensical claims – not when the housing market is near crisis point – when the New Zealand Herald accurately reports that “first-home buyers are being hit by explosive price rises, bank lending restrictions and fierce competition amid a severe shortage of available properties…and that “the previous generation’s quarter-acre, three-bedroom dream is fast becoming unattainable for today’s house hunters”.

New Zealanders are not in the mood for being fobbed off any further. The question has to be faced fairly and squarely. Why are we being done over in our own country? Is it just a matter of more land being needed for housing; of reforming the RMA; of government culpability and its sheer incompetence with regard to making sure that affordable housing remained within the reach of New Zealanders at large?

Or has something totally new entered the equation during this last decade in particular which gravely disadvantages New Zealanders? The answer is yes, of course. And yes, too, to the fact that John Key’s government has apparently no intention of facing up to this other important issue. There is all-round silence from his National Party colleagues, who apparently couldn’t care less about the almost impossibly difficult, in many cases even sad or tragic outcomes for decent hard-working New Zealanders now losing their dream of ever owning a home.

And is this helped by the stampede of real estate agents going over to China to persuade Chinese buyers to buy our houses – even advertising in Mandarin and Cantonese? They themselves will of course hugely profit. But how much thought have they given to the fact that they are working against the interests of those most disadvantaged New Zealanders – those unable to afford a first home? Family people and others who have saved for years now know that they have no hope of achieving what was taken for granted a decade or so ago. Is this really the New Zealand we all want?

And is what the real estate agents doing actually fair to fellow New Zealanders (not just those selling expensive property at a considerable profit)? Does it even matter? Or is it now just dog eat dog – and every man for himself? If so, what has happened to this country?

It’s not just in Auckland, although the latest official figures show the average Auckland house price soared to $775,555 by January 31. Trade Me also reported very recently a 26.5% jump in prices for properties of one and two bedrooms over the past year.

Is it simply a matter of no concern to John Key and his silent colleagues that, attending a recent luxury property expo in Shanghai, realtor Bayleys Canterbury reportedly found buyers for $5.4m worth of homes in three days – and that they hope for even more sales at a similar event in Beijing in April? Bayleys’ general manager Pete Whalan described the buyers as “mega rich”. The five Shanghai deals included a block of six Pegasus townhouses sold for $2.7m to an investor, a West Melton lifestyle block bought for $1.2m by intending immigrants, and sales of houses in Christchurch’s north-western suburbs for more than $750,000.

There is a very valid point of view that any government which keeps ignoring one of the very important reasons for New Zealanders being priced out of their own homes, their own farms and land is in effect showing it doesn’t want to know. If so, this is basically a disgraceful state of affairs, and the blame for it can be laid to the feet of a government which, for all its pretence, is basically working against the interests of its own people.

With good reason, there has been a great deal of criticism in recent years about the fact that the Overseas Investment office (OIO) basically rubberstamps any application for ownership of our assets. The OIO representative whom I recently contacted for a clearer picture of what exactly is happening, and why, helpfully forwarded clarification with regard to the requirements for consent. What apparently seems to be regarded as efficiently stringent is mind-bogglingly inadequate – even farcically so.

What is apparently accepted as an important factor acting as a control on the oncoming flood of applications is that -“Applying for consent is a relatively costly process, meaning that applicants will want to be fairly sure of success proceeding with applications for consent.” Does anyone really believe that this is an adequate safeguard, given that those applying are described as not just wealthy, but mega-wealthy? These include the so-called princes of the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy, many now reading the writing on the wall for themselves and their families in China.

A similar guide to applications to acquire sensitive land stipulates that “there is likely a benefit to New Zealand. “ Likely”… only likely?!

The ways in which such a benefit can be dreamt up, drummed up, flossied up – but never eventuate – undoubtedly exist. The OIO apparently does no follow-up in subsequent years – and in fact seems to have no power to do anything about the results of undertakings which never eventuate. Moreover, throughout New Zealand there are instances of land which was once able to be accessed by the public but is closed off by foreign buyers, no longer accessible. So much for New Zealanders’ interests being safeguarded.

In reply to my specific question to the OIO whether there is a limit to the amount of New Zealand farmland that can be sold off e.g. 50%, 70% etc. the reply was basically no – there is no limit. The answer provided meaningless padding, such as -“It is a privilege for overseas persons to acquire sensitive New Zealand assets. Therefore, overseas persons who want to purchase ·New Zealand assets are required to a) meet the criteria for consent set out in the act, and b) may have conditions of consent imposed on them if consent is granted. “

And again; “However, if an overseas investor wants to acquire farmland that is more than 10 times the size of an average of average farm of that type”, the OIO “is directed that certain economic factors set out in the Act and Overseas Investment Regulations are of high relative importance”.

New Zealanders who are now accustomed to the flood of verbiage emitted by bureaucrats will know this for what it is – basically meaningless – and centring on the word “relative”. Money is already greasing the wheels when individuals with over $10 million to supposedly invest are more or less automatically allowed into this country (preferably, but apparently not necessarily, if they have no criminal record…recalling the controversy which has already accompanied some who were granted entry with just that).

China was the country’s biggest and fastest growing source of migrants last year. Shouldn’t we be concerned about this, given that New Zealand has no limits on foreign property ownership, except that sensitive land sales or deals worth more than $100m need official approval. Moreover, although China has relaxed its rules so the Chinese themselves can buy more global real estate, it bans the sale of its own land to foreigners…as do other countries from which immigrants are coming.

Then why is our government falling over itself to load the dice against our own people? Why do we have no real controls set in place so that New Zealanders do not become second-class citizens in our own country? Some argue it is already now well and truly happening.

The fact that the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Steven Joyce’s portfolio) has very recent stated that “it could not identify any welfare issues or find evidence of breaches of minimum employment standard law – in reply to Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard writing to it last August, is extraordinary. The issue is a highly serious one. Mallard asked for an investigation into whether Chinese workers dealing with asbestos were being paid far less than the minimum wage – even as little as three dollars an hour, and whether they were living in cramped conditions and did not have enough to eat.

The investigation has cleared the employer at the Hutt Railway workshops – although requested wage records were not released – on the grounds that because the Chinese employers of these labourers did not have a New Zealand presence, “the Labour Inspectorate was not able to require them to provide time and wage records. The Ministry had no idea how much the workers were paid.

Is this what we expect to see happening in this country – overseas employers -beyond the reach of our own law because they do not have “a New Zealand presence” whatever that means? Then why are they being allowed to operate in this country? If this isn’t a thumbing of the nose at our legal system and our sovereignty- let alone, if it is true, a straight-out abuse of the poor and the vulnerable, what is it?

This is now an enormously important issue, given the increased resentment of the worldwide disparity between the super-wealthy, cushioned by an all-too comfortable understanding across national barriers – and the equally dubious, barrier-penetrating golden handshakes given to and by these internationalists. Their fraternity and allegiances are now regarded as giving them a commonality they do not share with those fellow countrymen, who provide useful goods and services. Regarding now as having obtained their wealth basically by the manipulation of money –they are, en masse, a new phenomenon looking for safe havens to retreat or escape to.

Although their exodus is world-wide, enough of them are targeting New Zealand, overwhelmingly so from Communist China (and this includes those regarded as having obtained their wealth from the hierarchy and connections with the corrupt Chinese Party). And our Key-led government is only too willing to have them here.

Do we have a very real problem here, in that our multi-millionaire Prime Minister may tend to identify more with these equally super wealthy internationalists – rather than with his own countrymen?

From long-time sympathetic China-watcher, David Shambaugh, writing on The Coming Chinese Crack-up comes the warning. “First, China’s economic élites have one foot out the door, and they are ready to flee en masse if the system really begins to crumble. In 2014, Shanghai’s Hurun Research Institute, which studies China’s wealthy, found that 64% of the “high net worth individuals” whom it polled—393 millionaires and billionaires—were either emigrating or planning to do so. Rich Chinese are sending their children to study abroad in record numbers (in itself, an indictment of the quality of the Chinese higher-education system).

The best regional magazine of Pacific Affairs, the Australian News Weekly reports that “Mainland China has now overtaken the United Kingdom to become the largest source of immigrants in Australia since 2011…Widely-held concern that foreign purchases of houses, particularly from people born in China, are pushing up the price of housing in Australia, has prompted a federal parliamentary inquiry into foreign investment in residential real estate. There is no doubt that popular concern is driven by perceptions that Chinese buyers dominate the top end of the local property market. These perceptions have been fuelled by instances of Chinese buying multiple properties at recently-held auctions.”

The basic unfairness of New Zealanders being displaced in our own country, hopelessly outbid when faced with immensely rich Chinese house-buyers snapping up houses as fast as they come onto the market, to rent them back to New Zealanders, the renting costs alone pushed higher and higher by desperate competition from those needing somebody to live, has become a national scandal.

We are told that New Zealand has a rockstar economy, a quite simply unbelievable claim, given the noose tightening around so many of the essential services we use. Cash-strapped hospitals with insufficient nursing staff to cope, and unrealistic targets to meet; the police budget constantly being cut, so that 30 more police stations have closed, and the police stations have reduced their opening hours as police struggle to cope with yet another budget freeze. With resources stretched, responses to 111 calls are reportedly lengthening, falling below targets, and communications centres are struggling.

Everywhere over the country come the reports of businesses folding up, and shops closing down – as in Nelson, for example, where some commercial premises, even in the central shopping area, have had For Let signs up for many months – even some years, in some cases, with, one by one, other shops now closing down. In a shock to the local community, the region’s largest private logging company, Waimea Contract Carriers, with 80 trucks and employing 120 people, is now in voluntary administration.

Little by little, our industries are closing down. NZ Post plans to further layoff more than 2000 employees.

And the forecast budget surplus which John Key used as a campaign promise?

Did anyone really believe him?

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