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 And retention of the outdated Maori seats, giving special advantages to those with even the very smallest part-Maori, genetic inheritance (Why?)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.

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

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

Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

What taxes? The National Party’s stunning hypocrisy – versus Labour’s learning curve?

How many New Zealanders are aware of one of the National Party’s most damaging impositions on the country  – that in these three years since the 2008 election, it has imposed, or increased, reportedly 15 taxes, without prior warning?

Bill English increased GST from 12.5% to 15%. Remember ? John Key promised this wouldn’t happen. Any surprises here?

So let’s look at this list  – while National tries its best distraction tactic – pointing the finger at the Opposition.

However, among the National Party’s legacy?

Taxes were raised on KiwiSaver

Charges were increased for Internal Affairs – Births, deaths & Marriages

Student loan repayments increased from 10% to 12 %. Overseas-based New  Zealanders are also being charged interest on their loans

The average fee for tertiary education has also increased.

Passport charges increased from $135.00 to $180.00

Civil Aviation Authority fees rose

Road user charges increased

National slapped on an additional 9 % fuel tax increase

What about the large, reportedly unnecessary ACC levy increase?

Prescription charges increased by 66%

New online company filing fees were imposed on businesses

Revising of the scope of Fringe Benefit Taxes

National tried to tax car parks and plainclothes police uniforms

A lowering of Working for Families abatement threshold and the abatement   rate – taking money out of the pockets of families.

Imposing an incredible $900 Family Court fee

Descending to squeeze even children’s earning, by imposing what many consider a contemptible tax on the small earnings of paper delivery boys and girls.

Yes, Labour’s over-confident proposals to impose taxes did not go down with the electorate – any more than Gareth Morgan’s ill-thought proposal to apparently punish people who own their own homes. On the basis that people who rent pay for renting, Morgan apparently thinks it would be a wonderful idea if people owning their houses should also pay rent. The arguably unjust, even bizarre idea that this multimillionaire has come up with, completely ignores the fact that the equivalent of paying rent by home-owners has been the many years of paying off a mortgage. And of course they already pay an additional rent in the form of local government rates on their housing and land. Morgan makes no acknowledgement of the fact that those renting properties make no contribution to rates.

Jacinda Ardern obviously still has a lot to learn – at least she seems to have taken this on board. Just as well. Her hint that Labour might not tax the family home – but could tax the land underneath it  – is also weasel territory. It overlooks the fact that this land is already taxed by the rates that local government demands – constantly upping them, and always above the rate of inflation.

Between the extortions of central and local government, New Zealanders have been having a very hard time – and this doesn’t even take into account the best of our farmland and scenic reserves now being snapped up, under National’s too comfortable accommodation with the mega-wealthy – including, worryingly, Communist Chinese – and being priced inevitably out of the reach of New Zealanders. We are losing our land – at the same time that we have been incrementally losing our freedoms,   and if there is any more money to be squeezed out of us, National will not hesitate to do so.  Already another fuel tax by National is mooted.

In the past  three years, since the 2008 election, what National has basically been doing is scraping the barrel. We already know that their boast of the surplus they have achieved has been based on squeezing tight every single important service they could get their hands on – the hospitals constantly ordered to return more to the government; mental health services in shocking disarray; youth help and drug rehabilitation under-funded – no tax too mean-minded not to be imposed. Yes, Labour is still an unknown risk  – but National’s avaricious grab for any possible tax, its utter arrogance and lack of consultation with the country. make it too undeserving and too big a risk to vote back in.

However, apparently the media never learn. A too–often soppy-sounding  Dompost columnist, who has apparently stayed close to the political scene for too long, has attacked Labour’s consideration of the capital gains tax… (but doesn’t mention any of National’s taxation impositions, during its recent three year term. ) She describes Labour’s  airing of a  possible capital gains tax  as “cavalier and uncaring about the uncertainty it created among people whose financial future was tied up in property.” What an extraordinary statement!  – given her failure to recognise that one of the reasons the capital gains tax has been so often kicked out of the arena is that most MPs own multiple properties – they themselves, while cavalier about inflicting taxes on others – are not quite so keen when it comes to their own pockets being raided.

It is not just as Tracey Watkins blandly reports,  that “a capital gains tax has always been fraught electorally because of the kiwi love affair with property.”  What about our MPs love affair with multiple properties?  And her what of her inability to stand off and analyse the issues – without over-praising the politicians with whom she is constantly in touch ?  E.g. No guesses about  “probably two of the nicest people you will meet in politics. They are both supersmart, genuinely care, and have empathy and emotional and  intelligence in spades.”

Grief…what about a lot more  objectivity, Tracey – instead of what sounds like a failure to remain emotionally detached? Why fall for the smarm and charm offensive that is so crucial for politicians to dish out – around election time?  It doesn’t help if  female reporters gush like this – Watkins  apparently needs to toughen up. And she is still finding excuses to praise the evasive and slippery John Key – “ One of National’s most successful Prime Ministers, because he never let ideology  get too far ahead of pubic opinion.” Sheer nonsense, Tracey –  he had the gift of the gab, and is regarded as having had far too close an attraction to the Communist Chinese super-wealthy, who were keen to support  him  to get rid of the Union Jack  from our flag. They are still massively contributing to the National Party’s fund-raising efforts.  Is it really too much to wonder why?

Key opened the floodgates to unmanageable immigration, was basically responsible for all the sneaky tax increases National introduced this last term  – and he took no notice of the country when he wanted his way – the TPPA was a very good example of this… Many will argue he got out  – seeing the writing on the wall.

Let’s hope it’s also on the way for this damaging government – and that New Zealand First, the one party which has a chance of reining in the excesses that the two major parties consistently indulge in – is able to make its presence a formidable reality in the new period of government ahead.

 

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

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

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

Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

More pie in the sky from National and Labour. Winston’s last chance?

To many New Zealanders this election has become a farce, an American-style leaders’ standoff between a complacent, smug-looking Bill English and a young, unproven new Labour leader with the gift of the gab so necessary for a politician trading on charisma. This, eventually, as we have learned to our cost, is so often very damaging. The two major parties are vying to outdo each other with the pots of gold they are promising. But it is we New Zealanders who will have to face the consequences. And the realisation of the basic corruption of this process has increased the contempt with which many New Zealanders now regard politicians. Moreover, there’s widespread concern that the control of this country is passing out of our hands.

For example: The recent fundraising event at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel attracted hundreds of very wealthy, financially supportive Chinese, more than keen to see the National Party returned to power. We should be asking ourselves why? And  Ron Asher’s “In the Jaws of the Dragon”, produced by Tross  Publishing, is a must-read for New Zealanders concerned (and all New Zealanders should be very concerned) about how New Zealand’s  National government is bending over backwards “to accommodate the interests of Communist China at the expense of the prospects and interests of ordinary New Zealanders” .  There is little doubt that China’s ruthless and repressive government is intent on economically colonising and dominating our economy and key resources –  parallelling its build-up of armaments and  the intimidation of its neighbours.

Many worrying about voting carefully – and walking past the usual fringe candidates – will be thinking that although their civic responsibility requires them to take an interest, and indeed a real part, in the democratic process, this does not mean that they have to actually vote for any electorate candidate. Always compromising, by attempting to support the lesser of two evils, isn’t necessarily required of us – and is certainly not the best way to aim for what has now become essential. This is the reform of our institutions –  first of all of politics, including the hasty passing of inadequately thought-through laws and regulations  endlessly inflicted on the country –  with highly damaging consequences. 

Jacinda Ardern’s proposed new water tax is a very good example of just this – feel-good legislation which will hit dairy farmers, wine-growers, and those commercially growing vegetables and other foods for New Zealanders’ tables. Even more ominously, to allow the government to tax such water usage (overseas companies are another issue that urgently needs addressing)  will be, as far as our own people are concerned, wedging open the door of the vitally important understanding that water and air are not taxable  commodities for a government to pounce on, to take advantage of its people. Given the incremental creep of the State – with the knowledge that yet another tax lies within reach – the likelihood of this water tax eventually being extended to households is a very strong one.

Other aspects of Labour’s grab for power are equally dismaying.

How many are aware that its deputy leader, Kelvin Davis, has promised a most destructive piece of legislation with regard to an issue which the country has had enough of?  Winston Peter’s pledge to abolish the Maori seats has been met with relief nationwide – relief, because of the already damaging consequences of so much of the ongoing divisive and costly provisions which have too long haemorrhaged taxpayer funding away from much needed areas of real need.

Under the National Party’s ongoing neglect of this important reality in recent years, it is no surprise that OECD data has established that on a per capita basis, New Zealand’s housing issue is one of the worst in the world.  Only recently, with an election in its sights, has National faced up to what John Key acknowledged in 2007 – but then kept blatantly denying until late in his term of office – that Auckland in particular has a housing crisis. Moreover, the ongoing granting of often highly challengeable “compensation” funding to manipulative iwi has very much contributed to the squeeze on vital health and social services in all other areas of the economy. The billions of dollars accumulatively handed out to ensure preferential rights and privileges for those with even a smidgen of Maori inheritance has been more than questionable.  Markedly undemocratic in conception – it has been given with extraordinary largesse – not on the basis of need – nor of equal rights for all – but as some sort of reward or compensation for a minority of New Zealanders whose part-ancestors arrived before the colonial settlement of this country.  An accumulation of evidence also now shows that they were by no means the first to arrive.

Meanwhile, in every walk of life, in the professions, the trades and industry, in the factories, in farming and forestry, New Zealanders of part-Maori descent perform as individuals, without claiming superior rights or entitlements. Only the (part)-Maori MPs and the big players, the now wealthy and corporative iwi, continually pushing for self-advantage and employing their well-funded lawyers to squeeze every last ounce and more “entitlement” from the now corrupt treaty industry,  will  be supportive of the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party’s intent to entrench the Maori seats in parliament.

If this isn’t a racist move, what is?  Part–Maori MPs have long won places for themselves in exactly the same way as other New Zealanders – and the country is fed up with the race-based politics that Labour is now endorsing further – let alone the National Party’s forcing of local bodies to take on board unrepresentative and unelected “Maori” advisers, whose apparently superior insights will guide us all.  Only Winston is challenging this corruption of the democratic process, overwhelmingly supported in this stance by the majority of New Zealanders. And that Peters has already promised to put directly to the public any new, New Zealand First’s legislative proposals, post-election, not already covered in New Zealand First’s manifesto, brings his party closest to the democratic principles so conveniently abandoned in the past by  Labour and National – to all our cost.

Many New Zealanders will be feeling caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, given Labour’s lack of any real costing of its reform proposals – and the realisation of what the present National Party leader’s much vaunted economic prowess has cost the country. Contrary to his assertions, it has not come as the result of increased productivity – but by prioritising unprecedented and highly problematic levels of immigration – replacing a much-needed emphasis on developing our own industries. It has very much contributed to the extraordinary and continual squeeze on the hospitals, mental health care, and other  essential services, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation. There has long been a shocking reduction in areas that New Zealanders were once far more able to access. But the waiting lists for much-needed hospital operations are very much still with us. Emergency services are barely coping, and New Zealanders can now find themselves in beds in corridors – with wards too full to admit them. Moreover, we are now being forced to carry the costs of foreigners who access our hospitals and health services – but abscond without paying. This shouldn’t be happening. No visa should be granted for entry into New Zealand for those who do not carry health insurance to cover such costs. Why haven’t our governments enforced this?

The level of poverty in this country today is such that the Salvation Army reports that they have never seen such a level of homelessness – while this National government, bragging about its economic achievements, has allowed housing affordability to be placed beyond the reach of so many New Zealanders. In three months of this year alone, the government spent a record $12.6 million paying for short-term, seven day hotel stays for those in desperate need. Many thousands are on a waiting list for social housing. Moreover, the new education reform package which Bill English is highlighting has almost nothing whatever to do with the real crisis of education in this country because of its dumping down these last five decades. Education has become a political tool in this country,  with recent both Labour and National Ministers of Education showing minimal comprehension of what has gone wrong and why…and performing poorly with regard to holding the ministry responsible. To call their handling of their portfolios clueless is no exaggeration. 

Given the lack of any great enthusiasm for any for either of the major two parties – apart from the media’s love affair with Jacinda Ardern, which will undoubtedly carry over to increased Labour votes, this country is in trouble. The question facing so many is why they should vote for an electorate candidate they can’t trust – or who will put his/her party before the wishes of the electorate? Or why give a party vote to any of the major parties, given these recent years of prioritising their own interests and the behind-the-scenes trade-offs, and cover ups.  What of the Todd Barclay affair?  What of the extraordinary number of texts (reportedly over 450!)  English sent to his former electorate staff in the months leading up to her resignation.

 Who was telling the truth? And what of the fact that an increasing number of government departments seem seriously dysfunctional – or are leaking like sieves?  Who leaked to National the information about Winston Peter’s superannuation repayment? We’ve been here before, when it was revealed security intelligence staff were supplying politically damaging information to political operatives in the then prime minister John Key’s office.

Given  the apparently inevitable fracturing of New Zealand First, with its also internal party squabbling, poor organisation and lacklustre List candidates with sharp elbows – (and the apparent cold-shouldering of potential  well-qualified candidates which might have posed a threat to its inertia  and complacence)  there’s a question  many will face. Should they refrain from voting for a local candidate more wedded to the party than to his/her electorate, and simply give New Zealand First their List vote – to allow Winston his last chance? Those questioning his inability to ensure New Zealand First’s largely invisible List candidates have performed well in public – raising the question of whether it is  simply that largely they have been  a lacklustre lot – or whether Peters prefers to centre-stage –  may well be wavering. However, given the fact that the political world has always attracted prima donnas, and that this does not negate a commitment to standing firm on actual principles, many will think there are stil very good reasons, at least at this particular election, for supporting him.

One is that although there is every possibility that New Zealand First will implode after this electoral term, once Winston has moved on, he has made one enormously important pledge. While Labour is promising to entrench racial preference in his country, Winston has staked his electorate commitment on the opposite. And it is Winston who represents the views of the backbone of this country – the real New Zealanders working on the land, in small factories, in the trades and industries and professions. Everywhere one turns, New Zealanders now overwhelmingly swamped by more and more unwieldy unrealistic, and even ominous, compliance issues, have had enough.

How many are aware, for example that depositing $10,000 in the bank brings you to the attention of the police? Under the guise of checking for money-laundering, this state-spying move targets New Zealanders going about their business… selling a car, or quite legitimately indulging in what should be private transactions. Even more ominously, and to the considerable disquiet now of family lawyers, anyone giving even $1000 to be invested by a family solicitor now  has to be reported. There are lawyers objecting – as they should –  and discussing refusing to abide by such a demand. But every law firm in future will have to have a virtual government spy  – that is some within the firm to see that this compliance issue is enforced   – or the inevitable consequences will follow.

What has happened to the country is that basically, we have been losing it. Many will regard National as accelerating this process – given its quite shocking record of prioritising the interests of foreign, including Communist Chinese investors and buyers, over those of New Zealanders. However,  Labour’s deputy leader shows no sign of understanding the essence of democracy – with his own intent to prioritise the interest of those wedded to divisiveness in this country, rather than social cohesion and stability.

 Many will think that Winston still represents the hope of all New Zealanders – not for the Trojan Horse of “diversity” – but for an ability to live as one in the sense of sharing the hope of a future devoid of the outpouring of racist policies and funding in which National have been even worse than Labour – and which Bill English is still indulging in.

We can actually fight to claim back our country reform, protesting the whittling away of our democratic rights and freedoms, by withholding our electorate vote – unless we have an outstanding candidate we can trust.  Yet when, in recent years, has any Labour or National candidate, with the exception of the principled Damien O’Connor,  stood up against his political colleagues to challenge polices the country does not support? O’Connor  also reminds us that National, including Bill English, have  long been determined to avoid a much- needed investigation into why the Pike River mine tragedy was so shocking handled – and to oppose the cover-up which still attempts to prevent families having answers they deserve – and access to recovering the bodies of those they loved and lost.

There has been too much of a whiff of corruption around National’s term in government for many New Zealanders to want to see it remain in power. And if enough New Zealanders were to deliberately withhold an electorate vote, it would force much–needed public debate about what has gone wrong with this country – and how it can be rectified  – in order to restore integrity to the political system. Which is where the 100 Days movement, so successful on doing just this for the most successful democracy in the world – comes into its own.

Isn’t it time we grew up as a country, to insist that it’s the people who should be in charge of the important decision-making – not an arguably venal political class? It can be done – it is a movement well under way. And looking at what these electoral bribes are going to have cost us all – by next time around – our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand initiative has a very good chance of more than making its presence felt.  We are under way – join us to support us.

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

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

It helps a lot to SHARE or LIKE us through the social media network!
Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

 

 

 

Tired of our media’s witch-hunts, and their political favouritism?

Election year – and we’re ill-served by partisan media – like Fairfax. Given their love affair with the National Party, when do they ever comment, for example, on the fact that good old Bill English, following on from good old John Key, and so often the mouthpiece for his boss when it came to making unpopular statements, admitted that “the government may beef up the Overseas Investment Office to make it quicker for foreigners to get permission to buy New Zealand assets.” ** As for their hate affair with Donald Trump, when do we ever get analysis as good as this? https://thefederalist.com/2017/06/07/james-comeys-latest-statement-is-an-indictment-of-comey-not-trump/

and https://spectator.org/prosecute-comey/

Not from the talking heads of our second-rate media,  who for weeks now have been obsessed with peddling whatever anti-Trump venom they can gleefully get hold of. And their cartoonists defy convention by their sheer nastiness…rather than insightfulness.

When our journalist deify themselves as Seekers after Truth and Justice, it’s always rather amusing. As far back as November 2016, senior media individuals, editors, deputy editors, etc. of our dailies, particularly of Fairfax, signed a full-page advertisement in national newspapers. They were vigorously arguing that the Commerce Commission’s decision to refuse a merger of Fairfax media and NZME (New Zealand Media and Entertainment…although they didn’t bother to explain this) was wrong. Congratulating themselves on having 30 editors signing their names to this open letter, they castigated the Commerce Commission for not sticking to “the economic analysis” but straying “into intangibles such as the quality of journalism, and unquantified risks to editorial independence.” Hmm.

In appealing to the general public they would have been wiser not to boast too much about the quality of journalism in this country, pretty awful at best in daily newspapers (and this is even when ignoring gratuitous mistakes in grammar and syntax).  No suggestion of balance is evident in relation to issues such as the near hysteria over supposed man-made global warming (even though well-established science journals are now back-peddling on this extraordinary, politicised phenomenon, and some well-regarded scientists are saying we are on the brink of another mini-ice-age. http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/611111/Former-government-expert-disproves-climate-change-and-says-world-will-soon-cool-down

However, editorial bias – and gullibility – has become so flagrantly obvious, with these dissenting voices suppressed in our mainstream media.  Moreover, lack of any objectivity in most editorials (unsigned, of course, although this luxury is not given to correspondents) is matched by the widespread knowledge that many letters to the editor are now suppressed simply because they annoy the letters editor, who doesn’t agree…so doesn’t want them to see the light of day. So much for fair debate.

It’s not just the extraordinary venom of the anti-Trump phenomenon fanned by the virulent rhetoric of the Left, and financially supported by Clinton supporters. Shockingly the latter are attempting to overthrow a legitimate change of Government in the USA – the verdict of the American people at election time – by unconstitutional means – by the misinterpretation and fabrication of facts – and even by the not so covert encouragement of violence.

For weeks now my own local Fairfax daily has published quite appallingly slanted  editorials buying into every anti-Trump denouément  – without making any attempt to provide their  dismantling – readily available by first-class investigative journalists abroad – but not, of course, any in this country. The Washington Post  has long been infamous for its unacceptable bias and its peddling of leaked and quite wrong information, no doubt on the premise that if enough lies are told they’ll eventually achieve what the Post so badly wants – the indictment of a president, regardless of the fact that that thoroughly dreadful pair, the Clintons (read Nobody Left to Lie To, by Christopher Hitchens, himself a Democrat who simply couldn’t defend the  widespread corruption that surrounded Bill Clinton’s presidency – let along Hillary’s lies).

Top overseas commentators now argue with good reason that if truth and justice prevailed, Hillary Clinton would now be behind bars. She was an inferior candidate who deservedly lost an election – but the darling of The Beautiful People, the Hollywood actors – whoops – Stars! –  media sycophants  and pop music celebrities never slow to advance their superior opinions. Every socially and morally destabilising issue pushed by the bullies of the Left has found a listening in Hillary (as with Obama) – whether supporting the horror of “partial birth” abortions (removing the brain from a baby emerging into the world”… or whether the new fashion for identifying oneself as transgender on the basis of arguing that identity choice beats natural biology. In the name of “tolerance”, the bully boys and girls on the Left demand that those in conscience opposing these and other new and destructive social practices must be punished, silenced, or hauled before the courts for “discrimination”.

In its obsession with Trump, no doubt  making mistakes along the way, but apparently determined in principle to respect his reform programme of returning respect for the forgotten people of America, blue collar workers and families, our media let us down. Those targeted by the” liberal Left” even include Christians,  now demonised by the media (though it has been Christian values which  have underpinned and stabilized our democracy).  Their extreme partisanship shown towards our former PM – the glib and slippery John Key, for example – contrasts with the bile heaped upon New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, which has been quite blatant. Yet Peters speaks more than any other politician for backbone New Zealanders.

Returning to the signed letter to the Commerce Commission, we can only shake our heads when we read, “ensuring that a diversity of views, perspectives, experiences and issues are covered is an editor’s most fundamental task.”

There’s more:  “…we have never been swayed by political or commercial influence.’’ And, to the Commission, “You say that it is important that members of society – government, corporate and private citizens – are not able to influence one provider with the opportunities for differing views to be expressed.  We agree, and as gatekeepers as of many of the most august newsrooms and publications in the country would never let that happen.”

Oh no. Dearie me… August? And it reads as if they actually believe it.

 Let’s remember that they said this, that they actually put it this into writing. And it let’s insist that from now onwards they translate their flowery rhetoric into actual practice. Starting with examining the phenomenon of hate being deliberately fanned against Trump in the US, and in this country and sheeting it home to where it belongs,  would be a belated start. Just some effort, at least,  to provide objectivity on crucial issues would make a nice change.

**http://www.investigatemagazine.co.nz/Investigate/17341/amy-brooke-downplaying-the-very-real-threats-to-nz/?mc_cid=e632cab3ff&mc_eid=2eadea2444

**And for the important stories which are so relevant in election year,  check out

http://www.investigatemagazine.co.nz/Investigate/

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

© 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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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.

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.

 

A farcical flag sideshow & out-dated political system

The turning of the tide? Why we need the country run properly.

In spite of the spin Key enthusiasts are putting on it, the Prime Minister has well and truly lost on this sideshow, damaging his own credibility. Nor was it a close call – in contrast to the usual media-mouths’ claims. And what of TV’s Mike Hosking’s assurance that the proposed flag replacement would win, in a tight vote?  Out in the real world, the New Zealand flag romped home – well ahead of its uninspiring competition. And the Prime Minister’s pet project has cost him dearly, in terms of the recognition that leaders with an agenda tend to cost a country too much.

Not before time, some are arguing, looking at the lacklustre performance of his government – in spite of all the spin being put on issues – (a rock star economy?)- where it is not only failing to deliver – but is doing very poorly.  Catch-22 for most New Zealanders is that the prospect of once more simply replacing the party temporarily in power by an equally lacklustre Opposition has become just as unpalatable.

 Few would now claim to have any confidence in our perceivably out-dated political system. And although New Zealand First, its leader constantly demonised by the media,  far more accurately represents in its stated  aims New Zealanders’  own vision for our country –  http://nzfirst.org.nz/what-we-stand-for/fifteen-principles  – the political party game-playing as a whole is increasingly viewed as unsatisfactory. Change is in the air.

The very real anger of so many that even life-saving services have been cut to the bone – while the Prime Minister has prioritised $25 million  in all-out attempt to have his own way on the flag issue –  has brought home the fact that our political processes can be and have been hijacked by political junkies. We are now being confronted by career politicians in the sense that our MPs are perceived to be failing to represent their electorates in favour of toeing the party line, never stepping over it to risk their privileges and perks by voting against a leader’s damaging proposals.

 Why risk the rewards  parliamentarians have long contrived for themselves and their partners –  even after life in parliament  – ongoing benefits contrived at the expense of taxpayers, such as free international air travel for life – not on the basis of need, and not failing to advantage already very wealthy  individuals? And while in office, in addition to generous housing allowances, there are 20 free flights a year for partners MPs (30 for partners of ministers), as well as hotel and meal allowances.

Moreover, the ongoing farce of handpicking arguably over-paid individuals to review potential constitutional proposals – or to select the finalists from flag design competitions – has little to do with ensuring genuinely independent scrutineers. Members of the flag design committee, faced with criticism of the essential sameness of three of the flags featuring a fern leaf, have now admitted that what the Prime Minister personally wanted influenced their choice. Who’s surprised?

So what did the $25 million pay for? And why would this now cash-strapped country, where essential services such as  hospitals, the police force, sufficient refuges for the mentally ill, the drug-addicted  and women’s refuges are being cut to the bone where tight funding has caused CYF to cut beds from its youth justice residences, increasing their waiting-list and causing youngsters to end up in police cells until court…why would the Key government plan to divert  hundreds of millions of dollars to change, world-wide, the images of  our flag, in commissioning unnecessary  replacements, in reprinting specialist books,  new passports, every kind of information necessary  – in representations in embassies? This massively expensive and totally unnecessary enterprise did not originate with New Zealanders, but was pushed top-down by one individual with an agenda – precisely the opposite way democracies are meant to be run.

 The contrast between our own poorly performing one, and that of the Swiss people, who have so successfully rejected being ruled by politicians the way we habitually are, is shown by their MPs holding down day jobs as, for example, business or trades people, farmers or  professionals, housewives and so on, meeting only one day a week in parliament. In this far more successful country, being an MP is not a full-time job or a career, as here.  Moreover, as the Swiss people themselves fought for and won the right  the right to scrutinise all legislation passed by parliament, their politicians know better than to try to push their own agenda onto  the country  – as we saw happen in this country with the infamous  anti-smacking legislation.

Here,  Key arrogantly ignored the views of over 85% of the electorate to endorse  legislation originating from the far Left’s  Sue Bradford, and endorsed by the equally far Left Helen Clark – with her own suspect agenda. Legislation which has done nothing whatever to make any impact on the appalling rate of child abuse found predominantly in one section of the community has had, as foreseen, a destructive effect on the confidence of good, conservative parents using their own judgment when disciplining misbehaving children.  And from it has come the fear of police knocking at the door as a result of an ill-disposed neighbour, the teacher with an agenda. The consequences of this ill-thought legislation were very obvious – and very determinedly ignored. By the Prime Minister.

However, one of very welcome result of the collapse of John Key’s extraordinary personal push to get rid of the flag which means so much to the majority of New Zealanders, is that the question is being asked – why? Why did he constantly denigrate the historical significance of our flag, attacking it as “colonial” – when in fact both Euro-New Zealanders and those of Maori descent have profited enormously from the colonisation of this country? The constant cheap attacks on “colonisation” show not only a marked ignorance of the very real benefits that came with our ancestors (shared by part-Maori today – as there are no longer any full-blooded Maori). The success of the coexistence of both Maori and European of previous generations is shown by the willingness with which each have regarded intermarriage as the norm.

In fact it was not until the deliberate radicalisation of part-Maori by Marxist-indoctrinated, carefully selected Maori individuals in the 1960s – (some sent overseas to undergo a process of destructive Marxist indoctrination)  – groomed to return to beat the drum of resentment – that a climate of resentment among young Maori in particular  was deliberately fostered. And yet, while attacking our inaccurately described colonial flag, the Prime Minister has been extraordinarily accommodating towards the radicalised flag of Maori separatism – a concept roundly rejected by the Treaty of Waitangi…with its vision of One People, united under the Crown.

In contrast to Key’s attack on our flag, comes the comment of a correspondent stating what so many New Zealanders feel: “I value history and tradition, and I don’t think the change came from the community. It came from the Prime Minister.  I just feel it’s been a large waste of money.”

More and more New Zealanders are perturbed about not being consulted on vital issues of the day- such as the signing of the TPPA, the radicalised agenda being pushed onto schoolchildren and staff throughout the country in relation to prioritising notions of Maori separatism and privilege; a highly damaging sex education agenda; and the replacement of subjects of real value with trivia, under the umbrella of environmental fundamentalism. This, coupled with the increasing burden of a multiplication of unnecessary compliance issues being dumped onto the schools, the professions, and the trades are making life less and less attractive for ordinary New Zealanders just trying to get by. Add to this the fact that the country is now being disadvantaged  not only by  being excluded from the decisions being made on important issues – but that the job losses are ongoing , with many faced with not even being able to afford houses in areas where they need to live and work.

Moreover, the exodus from Auckland of well-heeled property buyers making a grab for land and housing in other locations throughout the country means that multiple-house buyers are having a detrimental effect on the housing market in these areas.

The John Key government is not answering to New Zealanders. And the certainty is growing that it is time for a change…but not the usual cosmetic change of replacing one political party with another, until it in turn is perceived as being equally damaging to the country.

It has been said that nothing is more successful than an idea whose time has come. And the time has undoubtedly come for a new political configuration, to replace the anachronistic and outworn system of simply temporarily exchanging the politburo at the top for the next one in turn. And as Barbara Tuchman reminds us in her intriguing assessment of the performance of MPs in history, “Governments get most issues wrong.”

We can do better.  We can elect to govern ourselves, as the Swiss people do. It is the last thing that our politicians want. What politicians do want is power.  And politicians holding onto power has nothing whatever to do with the country operating as a genuine democracy.

Switzerland is the only country in the world which has achieved what is so often derided by those who mostly fear it – government by the people themselves.  And it undoubtedly makes our politicians highly uncomfortable to face the fact that it is the Swiss people’s ability to control their own government which has made them the most successful and prosperous country in the world. Their government acknowledges this – and calls them, the people, sovereign.

How did they do this? Ultimately by one particular piece of legislation which enshrined their right to call a halt to any legislation passed by government, while they examined it themselves. What has too often happened here – late-night sittings of parliament to push legislation through before Christmas or before the Easter holiday would be a waste of time in Switzerland. Their 100 Days scrutiny period – for the country to say yes, or no – prevents the deal-making by political parties behind the scenes which our country has too often had inflicted on it. And most importantly, it prevents self-willed individuals like John Key essentially having his own way.

As politicians (and the very wealthy – whose agendas so often interplay)  will be implacably opposed to any notion of supporting our 100 Days initiative, to help make our country as democratic and successful as it should be, this movement needs your grassroots support. If all those  concerned about what is happening help to send  it around the country, we will reach a tipping point – not only because this is an idea whose time has well and truly come – but because more and more New Zealanders are fed up with being overruled by politicians, and seeing our country being sold out under our feet.

No only is this the most promising, in fact it is the only really practicable way we have to claim back our country. And you are very much needed to help.

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

“The greatest works are done by the ones. The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never. It is the units, the single individuals, that are the power and the might. Individual effort, is, after all, the grand thing.”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

© Amy Brooke, Convener. www.100days.co. NZ