Recycling Bill English? Or we, the people…?

Are our supposedly superior, wise politicians costing us too much?

Should we keep regarding them as born to be in charge of us all? Or, lest we forget… is it time we grew up, as a people?

New Zealanders have understandably lost confidence in our politicians – not only to actually listen to New Zealanders – which they demonstrably don’t – but to even be competent.  Too many government policies no longer favour the public good. So we are joining other Western countries no longer impressed by being governed by political classes paying far too little attention to putting the interests of their own citizens first, and with far too much unwarranted confidence in their own decision-making.  Something so often happens to very ordinary people once they become politicians – and the public here – as in England and elsewhere  –  heartened by  Brexit’s stunning win,  is now questioning how our political system works, and how we can rein in our born-to-rule politicians. And yes – we do have a practicable solution within reach – The 100 Days  – see www.100days.co.nz . Or are we happy to still be led by the nose…?

In a recent massive throw-out from my study, I came across an old reply to me from Bill English.  I can’t say I’m surprised at its evasiveness, though, to be fair, it was written in 2002 – 15 years ago  – and found again only now. And certainly, people do grow up intellectually. However it’s well said that anyone can become a Prime Minister – as John Key, a supremely ambitious money trader proved – arguably causing a great deal of damage to the country – damage that that would horrify our parents and grandparents who fought in more than two World Wars, so many servicemen and women giving their lives to preserve New Zealand – and a freedom and way of life now fast being lost to us.

So what of our present Prime Minister, whose reply to me came when I wrote, finding (as with others) it almost incredible what he said when comparing one of the  Lord of the Rings films to Tolkien’s masterpiece. What he stated was that his “preference” was for the film. But, hmm,  well no – he hadn’t actually read the books. 

So how could there be any preference there? It won’t be lost on the reader that one can’t compare one thing to another …unless one is familiar with both.

But then, when did the reality that facts don’t line up ever bother a politician?  When also queried about his use of the word “elitist” in apparently a pejorative sense, a comment which might well raise doubts about whether he thought Tolkien’s books too high-powered intellectually to be accessible to the ordinary reader (or to him?)  – and reminded that bright children down at intermediate school level were reading them) –  he pulled a metaphorical rabbit from a hat.  With the kind of double-speak in which politicians excel, he replied, “The film is now definitive of the book – people will see Jackson’s Ents, (sic) Helms Deep is now Jackson’s Deep”.

Well no – it isn’t and his “definitive” means basically nothing. Moreover, as an English graduate,  our now Prime Minister should have been well aware that the printed word can convey nuances and subtleties which the visual version of a story cannot match. The omission of Tom Bombadil, for example, who represented important things central to the story (as Tolkien himself noted) but was left out of the film, was a disappointment to many readers of the trilogy.  In fact, any criticisms of Jackson’s film centres on his lack of much-needed editing, as well as his somewhat ham-fisted approach in areas that required more understatement. Even Weta Workshop’s brilliance was not enough to excuse the tedious, repetitious close-ups of the ugliness of the Orcs – and the loveliness of the land of the Elves was not successfully conveyed. Jackson does a better job with horror, than its opposite.

We’re accustomed to say that people are entitled to their opinion. But what sort of opinion rests upon no foundation?  Our present PM’s preference for a film -compared to a book which he had never read – is of course no preference at all. Ah, but politicians can bluster – as in his reply, when he added that,  “- well there are lots of books more challenging than Lord of the Rings.” But then, again, if he hadn’t actually read The Rings trilogy…to what “more challenging” books would he be capable of comparing it?

Coming again upon this correspondence, it struck me how far what the Irish call “the gift of the gab” can carry a politician. Add it to an ability to exude charisma – and a country is in danger. It has happened right throughout history and we never seem to learn from it, and to question why we are so foolish as to keep paying lip service to the notion that “leadership” is more important than the knowledge that any real democracy depends upon the genuine participation of so-called ordinary men and women, conducting their own lives, prioritising their families – but with a close eye on what their politicians are up to.

Yet we are aware that  the cult of leadership which grows around determined individuals has led to the greatest bloodbaths of all  –  and the  siren call of  highly destructive individuals  – the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, today’s  Kim Jong–un and so on whose indifference to what happens to their own people, sacrificed to their  leader’s ambitions,  should be a lesson to us. Wars in which scores of millions die pointlessly and needlessly are a twisted tribute to the danger of that concept of the importance of leadership which we are always being asked to defer to. And as a well-respected British journalist, under the pseudonym of Alpha of the Plough pointed out, “There is a large part of the public …which will believe anything because it hasn’t the faculty of judging anything but the size of the crowd, and will always follow the ass with the longest ears and the loudest bray.”

If it strikes some readers that this is a very apt description not only of some of our recent leaders –  but also now of the mainstream media, playing follow-the leader not only in their admiration for our recently departed  and disastrously charismatic Prime Minister –  very few of us would disagree. The now predominantly left-wing media have their favourite politicians, and coat-tail one another’s thinking with regard to the mis-called” liberal” and “progressive” issues of the day. Our mainstream commentators’ over-confident pronouncements have become inimical to quality thinking. Editors now routinely suppress letters from correspondents with whom they disagree. Nor is it a healthy sign that comments in response to unsigned editorialists and opinion-writers in some major New Zealand newspapers on-line have now been discontinued. In this respect, the NBR (National Business Review) deserves readers’ support for its healthy promotion of vigorous debate and feedback.

However, that silent majority which the politicians still fear, anxious lest they begin to realise their real power, can take heart. An excellent new monthly, Your Voice, edited by Mykeljon Winkel, available online or as  a print subscription, is doing a brilliant job of tackling some of the quite blatant untruths now being peddled in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi…as well as examining other relevant issues of today. It can be found at www.newzealand voice.co.nz. And although an interview with Judith Collins contains a politician’s very typical equivocations and evasiveness in response to direct questions put to her, there are interesting and relevant pieces throughout.  An article by John Ansell, in particular, in the February issue – not Race, Not Gender, Just New Zealander… The Reason for the Existence of the Treaty presents admirably concisely the reason that the Maori chiefs at the time had every good reason to welcome the treaty – and well understood that they were yielding sovereignty to the British Queen.

Other excellent articles in relation to our nation’s history throw more light on the truth of Maori European interaction than today’s media bother to attempt. The March edition includes Bruce Moon’s We Have Just One True History (“And so we come to the Rangiowhia affray, about which probably more flagrant lies have been touted than any event in our history”. Moon’s rigorous research reminds me of Alan Everton’s former excellent dismantling of  Ngai Tahu’s prevarications and the utter distortions, let alone falsehoods which it so successfully employed to squeeze a  third “full and final” settlement for this corporatised pseudo-iwi – one which, on the actual evidence, Parliament should never have awarded.

 But today, as we all know, too bad about actual evidence: it doesn’t count. Today’s deliberate muddying of the waters around treaty issues has basically been for the purpose of allowing conniving iwi on the make, (by no means representing the majority of part-Maori)  to gain more and more economic and totally undemocratic political advantage. And of course of there is always the much loved-microphone – or the newspaper headline , those sops to vanity and hubris obediently supplied by our compliant media, always keen to stir the pot…but not so keen to allow that very necessary debate which helps to arrive at the truth of issues. Yet we are well aware that, in a democracy, exclusive rights proposed in law, intended to be bestowed on any racial group, are simply untenable…and basically unconstitutional. This hasn’t stopped National from ignoring the wishes of the majority of us. Such a party has become a danger to the country and for this reason, David Rankin’s petition, in Change Org, deserves all our support.  https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-abolish-auckland-council-s-maori-statutory-board?recruiter=694585883&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

In a country like New Zealand we have had democratic safeguards to protect us (to some extent only) from the supremely ambitious individuals always there in our political cliques, some with honourable motives – others convinced that we must be inveigled into subscribing to the ideology to which they are wedded – as with the socialist Helen Clarks’ One World Government – and John Key’s attempt to remove the Union Jack from our flag.

The latter of course was line with the wishes of wealthy Communist Chinese working behind-the-scenes to facilitate this, And what of Key’s neglect of so much that badly needs addressing in this country, denying even the unprecedented housing crisis which now has so many New Zealanders impoverished, living in cars, in garages, on the streets? Bill English also showed himself totally ineffectual here…The damage caused by virtually unrestricted immigration, used to create the illusion of economic buoyancy…the sell-out of this country, our productive farms and businesses to Communist Chinese interests  – and the flogging off of our high country sheep stations  to the super-wealthy Americans and others seeking a bolthole – all of whom can buy out New Zealanders’ rights to our own land, our remaining productive industries, our housing stock? These are the legacy of our recent leaders, and the yes-men and-women who surround them in parliament. Sycophancy rules.

In all these destructive policies, at least publicly, our present Prime Minister, Bill English, has been complicit. How much can we rely upon his ability – a consummate yes-man, as John Key’s lieutenant, to face up honestly to what has happened to this country?  Most of us wouldn’t bet on it.  So why ever would we vote for him to be our new Prime Minister? And when the media kept boasting about Key, with his 30% or thereabouts rating as Prime Minister being so very popular, they were guilty of the fact that, looking objectively at the figures, we know that two thirds of the country did not want him there.  60 to 70% did not rate him. But in the eyes of a largely infatuated commentariat, subject to his switched-on charm and smarm; given special interviews; beaming eye contact; flattered by his attention: recipients of bottles of wine, Key could do little wrong – just as Trump can do no right. The lesson from Brexit has apparently been totally lost on our own media circles.

Can we now be called the Stupid Country? What of the then Finance Minister Bill English’s failure in our supposedly representative democracy, to actually represent the wishes of the country when polling made plain New Zealanders opposition to the potentially damaging TPP deal? Where is the actual evidence that he ever stood up to the seemingly folksy but basically autocratic John Key? Compared to other countries – even Australia, for example the ruling National party’s failure to acknowledge this – let alone to acknowledge the housing market disgrace was because if John Key didn’t want to, neither did any of the Nats. No Sir…

Why then of the theory of the wisdom of the crowds – rather than the conclusions of a select few? The ruling National government has apparently been unable to acknowledge the pitfalls in the TPP which have been very plain to the reasonable onlooker. The determination of government to ignore public opinion has perhaps been a tipping point to us all. Perhaps we are beginning to grow up as a people- in the same way as the English have , at last, reclaimed their country from its  EU stranglehold.  And we in this small country have been equally guilty of allowing to be forced on us every failed doctrine that has already caused so much damage in the UK.

Nowhere has the damage caused by obdurate politicians, convinced of their superior thinking and leadership skills, been more evident than recently, across all Europe . What we can fairly call the sheer stupidity of politicians like Angela Merkel –   far too late rethinking her arrogant, authoritarian rulings which have plunged Germany into such disarray  – needs to be recognised for what it was. Europe is now overrun by far more refugees than can be successfully assimilated   –  and among these Isis terrorists have been successfully smuggled in.  Merkel’s virtual bullying of other countries, wherever a Muslim population has now established a considerable and divisive presence, has lead there also to growing social destabilisation, violence and crime, the ill-treatment and raping of women, and mounting welfare bills. Even England is in trouble. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10190/islam-england-france

Diversity, multiculturalism – all the much-touted clichés have now been shown to be quite wrong directions for any country to move in.  The much maligned Enoch Powell’s warning in the 60s that mass immigration would preclude assimilation, and that such a large volume of foreign nationals inevitably concentrated in major cities would lead to ghettoisation, and Balkanisation, was genuinely prophetic, as Michael Davies points out in a recent Australian Spectator. It was the know-best politicians who pilloried him – aided by an always cooperative mass media. Again, it was so-called ordinary people who also warned against Britain yielding its independence and judicial separateness in important areas of national decision-making – such as allowing the judiciary to become subservient to the rulings of Brussels. So very few politicians,  with notable exceptions such as Powell and Margaret Thatcher, (who, loving their own country and its traditions “understood why immigrants would be reluctant to completely abandon theirs) foresaw what lay ahead.

And we in this country are now having to put up with the same sort of ill-thought nonsense emphasising “diversity” – i.e. the lack of assimilation, allowing in those large numbers of immigrants which too often lead to the clash of cultures, the attack on the stabilising values of the home country, the clamour for an undemocratic separateness, and the displacement, today, of our own people in the job market and housing. This, apart even from that fact we are losing our most productive farmland to the rapacious Communist Chinese’s self-serving interests – and the best of our high country sheep stations to those others plum-picking land now priced well beyond the reach of New Zealanders ourselves.

Every now and again we get trotted out Thomas Carlyle’s objection to democracy: as classicist Peter Jones recounts in the Spectator article Enemies of the People. “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance”. In other words, infinitely wise politician should tell the ignorant mob what to think, not vice versa.

What when we can say, with very good reason, that we do not believe in the collective wisdom of ignorant or self-serving politicians, led by the nose too often by vested interest groups  – and/or letting us down by their simple inability to devote time to the thorough research needed to establish the truth of issues?

Athenians invented direct democracy in 508BC, lasting until 323 BC, which handed to the “demos”, citizens in the assembly, the power to decide on policy. Objections were raised from the beginning by those who thought their thinking was superior… Plato thought a state could be well governed only by Platonic philosophers. Aristotle thought that monarchy would be the best of all – Catch-22 – if only someone of the required standard could be found. On went the objections, until as Jones points out, it was Plutarch, “a prolific Greek writer of the second century A.D. with a great admiration for Roman stability “– (a stability which the reader will recall didn’t last for very long after all ) … “who really put the boot in, describing the public as “animals… unreasoning, unruly volatile and degenerate”. Interestingly this description will strike the reader as fairly closely summing up our own politicians’ behaviour in the debating chamber. However, as “Plutarch dominated discussions in the West about the best form of government from the 16th till the 19th century, his idea that rule by the demos could be nothing but mob rule became the knee-jerk position, and still is.  Animals, obviously.”

Make no mistake – our politicians love to think this.  (Remember Helen Clark’s “feral” and “inbreds”?  And Hilary Clinton’s “A basket of deplorables.”)

But they’ve been proved wrong by the most free, successful,  and democratic country in the world – Switzerland. And there is absolutely no reason why we New Zealanders can’t turn our own minds to insist that we follow a system which really works – in contrast to the mess our political parties have made to our own country – where the pace is accelerating to destroy of so much of what we have left.

Peter Jones concludes, “In the howls about mob rule,  however, Switzerland, virtually a direct democracy for some 600 years, somehow never features.” Switzerland did even better than this – not content with being virtually a direct democracy, the Swiss people themselves decided they had had enough of being over-ruled by damaging leaders. Their brilliant solution was to fight for the 100 Days provision. They won this right about 160 years ago. It ensures any legislation passed by Parliament, no matter by what political party or by whatever coalition is currently in power in the country… every piece of legislation must wait for 100 Days before it can come into force. The Swiss people can themselves then decide whether or not they agree,  or whether they want to challenge it.

If the latter, before the end of the 100 Days period, if as few as 50,000 people (in a country double our population, call for a vote  – in New Zealand it would be proportionately about 26,000 ) then that’s enough. A vote is held – it’s called the Facultative Referendum, and whatever the people say is binding on the government.

So successful has this been that Swiss politicians are merely part-time. Meeting one day  only a week, they can hold down other jobs… as lawyers, teachers, doctors, housewives, tradesmen… and their Parliament needs to meet only four times a year. No Helen Clark or Bill English or John Key can dig in, clinging to virtually supreme power and dominating the ruling party. The Swiss make sure of this by allowing the President to stay in office for one year only. Their seven-only member cabinet, simply take turns to be President. It works very well.

 Why can’t we now fight for the same? Well, we can, and should. It is the best possible system to secure a real democracy. And to all the Big Names anxious to tell us it wouldn’t work, we can say – This is nonsense – it does. In fact it is working better than any other political system today.

As the last thing that politicians want is to lose their power, and we can count on a now thoroughly dumbed-down, but highly opiniated media to rubbish any concept that doesn’t send power to their left-wing cohorts, it is up to us, the real New Zealanders, remembering the hard work and sacrifices our own people have made for four generations, to do our own bit.

How? Email your MP. Mail the Prime Minister, the leader and members of the Opposition, the leaders of all the political parties, and ask them whether or not they are willing to hand back the decision-making to the people of New Zealand. Call your MPs….They will be very polite to you in election year…

This is a real test of whether or not our politicians believe in a democracy. But we know they don’t want a democracy – they want to rule us – and are now busy making all those hasty promises routinely made in election-year,  promising the reforms so conveniently held until then.

There are so many ways you can help. Tell others…You can send on to as many as you can the fact of our 100 days campaign…both on Facebook, and on- site – See 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand www.100days.co.nz  You can write letters to the paper. You can complain to the Press Council if the editor keeps rejecting them…You can talk about it on Talkback.  You can join us – support us, even a little financially, if you can.

 It means at least a little effort – not much time in busy people’s lives. But as we all have a moral responsibility, which reaches beyond us and our families towards the community, and towards our country, safeguarding what our parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts fought  and gave their lives for, it can be argued that we have no right at all to do nothing. We need to insist on the reshaping of our political and landscape. Will you help?

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 Kindle, www.copypress.co.nz or HATM Publishers.

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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.

 

They’re dying,while the wily John Key has us arguing

We’ve all seen the pictures. The little three year old boy, drowned, lying on the sand…A mother in an agony of loss, her two much-loved little daughters dead. They are ordinary family people, just like us – fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands. They are dying, starving, destitute, losing hope – and scores of thousands are already dead.

They are dying, and desperate – while John Key has us arguing about his vanity flag project.

They are posing an enormous challenge to the countries to which they are fleeing from the butchery in the Middle East. Hey, but we’re busy, aren’t we, arguing about the colours on a possible (though highly unlikely) new flag for this country?

However, according to the Herald, although John Key has long resisted requests to increase New Zealand’s refugee quota, there are signs that he may be softening his stance. He has now announced that “we’re not ruling out doing more”.

Who are we? John Key, who now virtually rules this once far more democratic country? And apparently, changing the flag that commemorates our forefathers, to turn it into a mere branding image, is a number one priority for our lightweight Prime Minister, who likes to disparagingly use the word “colonial” to rubbish a great heritage left to us . This centres on the values and traditions of the centuries-old fight for democracy, and the Christian underpinning of the West. However, in our increasingly secularised and fragmenting society, as these values come more and more under attack, it may be time to face the fact that when we lose them, we will have lost what turned us into a civilisation – even if one that is now gradually disintegrating.

Our present flag and that of our Australian friends are not a purposeless assemblage of design gimmicks. They can remind us that the “three crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick acknowledge the principles and ideals flowing from the British heritage of European settlers; including parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.”

And meanwhile, the Australians are laughing at us. No wonder. It was a New Zealander who submitted one of the five almost identical designs that was adopted as the Australian flag, which carries a fifth star within the Southern Cross, and one larger star, that of Federation.

A silver fern, a piece of (green) plant which has been adopted, little by little (and by no means without a gradually implemented, radicalized agenda) as an emblem on sporting teams representing New Zealand) doesn’t carry the same weight. Nor do any of the four slick (three repetitively similar) designs now selected to challenge the flag of those who came before us.

And from the site of Facebook https://www.facebook.com/acmnorepublic: Here’s the short list for the best NZ beach towel. The comments on these are overwhelmingly negative. And “In the meantime Karl Puschmann reveals in the New Zealand Herald that the ” whole ‘Change the Flag’ debate was just a big Government distraction to take attention away from the real scandal going on right under our noses.”

Which scandal, though? That of our country being sold out piece by piece to the highest bidders? A country where our farmland is being priced out of the reach of the people of this country. A country where political decisions and a mismanaged economy have produced the unthinkable – a situation where many New Zealanders can no longer even hope to buy a house of their own.

John Key apparently has a very strong ego which justifies, in his thinking, the $26 million estimated as the cost of the two referenda which he has planned, in order to get rid of our flag. But this will be a mere drop in the bottomless bucket of the many more, million of dollars – if his personal push succeeds – to change all the flags, the atlases, the textbooks, the insignia on buildings, the passports. We can probably factor in hundreds of millions of dollars if one determined individual, bent on getting his own way, succeeds – now cuddling up to sporting heroes like Richie McCaw, to assist him – to the disappointment of many who will feel that McCaw should not have allowed himself to be part of the PM’s propaganda campaign on this issue.

So, while desperate individuals flee from the carnage of the Middle East, and the reversals to barbarism of Central Africa, New Zealanders have been inveigled into arguing about which beach towel design they could opt for.

Too bad that our cash-strapped hospitals are now even removing patients from their waiting lists; that there are New Zealanders with life-threatening diseases requiring expensive medication having this withheld, because the country apparently can’t afford it. Too bad that Starship Children’s Hospital has to send out begging letters to raise the money to buy the equipment needed to treat children to the best of their ability. Too bad that the police are being constantly badgered to reduce even further their already inadequate budget. If John Key wants to prioritise his wish for a new flag, apparently this takes precedence.

That our flag is similar to that of Australia is a very minor quibble. All around the world variations of tricolour flags are genuinely confusing, whereas it takes only a glance to tell the difference between our flag and that of our Commonwealth neighbour. Moreover, we are both Anzacs. Our people, New Zealanders and Australians, fought and died together – and apart from our very reasonable dislike for the unsporting antics of the Australian cricket team, we rub along pretty well.

We may have a money-man for PM this side of the ditch – but we need to show him that a county’s flag isn’t just about making money – isn’t just an export brand. And that prioritizing his wants, while people are dying, forced to flee their own homes, their country, their own people– let alone downplaying or dismissing the very real problems facing this country, shames him – and us all.

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

 

Utterly awful, Amy…not what my father fought for…

“It is utterly awful, Amy. It is not what my father fought for in 1939-45.”

What is this “bright line” nonsense? This extraordinarily un-kiwi phraseology is foreign to New Zealanders, much more like the kind of language the Chinese employ in descriptive writing. We could more accurately describe this disastrous Prime Minister’s decision (much too little, and far too late) to apply a very minimal check on the buying up of New Zealand’s housing stock – Auckland’s in particular – with a concept familiar to New Zealanders – that the horse has bolted.

The reaction above – “It is not what my father fought for in 1939 to 1945” – which reached me from one of New Zealand’s most outstanding apolitical lawyers, a much-respected QC of integrity and international stature, reflects the incredulity of so many New Zealanders from all walks of life. We all now know that the country is being sold out from under our feet – and that, on the evidence, obvious for some time now, John Key and his National government apparently couldn’t care less. Hence the too little, too late, temporary-only dampener put on foreign investors who are neither New Zealand citizens nor New Zealand residents, but are entering this country in unprecedented numbers, and are buying us out.

And yes – this is not what New Zealanders – our fathers, our uncles, both men and women of a preceding generation, whom we honour with “Lest We Forget”… gave up six years of their lives for – if not their whole lives – in the Second World War alone – to preserve this country and other democracies. It was above all for our own land that they fought – the land we walk on and work on – for our own people. They did it for their own generation – their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters… for their children, and for their children’s children.  And it is we, their children and their children’s children who now – (either through the utter negligence or deliberate agenda of this culpable government) – are being out shut from what they left us. We are and more prevented from owning what should be our farms, our housing stock – our businesses – and our strategic assets. In other words, we are well and truly facing the sell-out of New Zealand.

We should make no mistake: this is an unprecedented and extraordinary happening. And we are losing this country. Given our depressed economy, given the way Bill English is borrowing to beat all previous records, we know very well that most New Zealanders can be, and are now being outbid for our country by foreigners with far deeper pockets. 

The OIO admits there is no limit on how much land can be sold under our feet… No ceiling of 25%, 50%, 80%…? – or as much as the increasing exodus from other countries worldwide will contrive to snatch up – the mega-wealthy seeing New Zealand as a safe haven from the social unrest and instability throughout Europe, and most other parts of the world.

Remember how John Key has consistently denied there’s even a problem with the housing market in Auckland? But then this Prime Minister apparently has a problem with the truth of issues – as noted by journalists on more than one occasion. Having denied there is a housing problem – which has already done enormous damage to the Auckland housing market and disadvantaged so many New Zealanders, unable to compete with the intrusion of the super-rich into this country (particularly those from communist China seeking a bolthole from a country now facing its own economic downturn), Key now claims he himself suggested the tax to Inland Revenue around five years ago. He states it was opposed to the idea and only recently changed its mind about it.

However, apparently the IRD’s suggestion was for a 10 year period, to rein in foreign investment. Key’s settling on a 2 year one instead suggests his preference is not to represent New Zealanders on this issue – but, rather, for it to impact as little as possible on foreign investors. And who’s telling the truth – particularly given that one wonders why the PM would have suggested a solution to a problem he has denied exists – and also given that the Greens claim that the IRD and Treasury have both supported a capital gains tax in the past?

However, it seems John Key likes to be thought of as Number One. There’s an interesting parallel here, with Prince Harry, on his recent visit, being presented with a gift of greenstone (pounamu.) It was given to him by the Governor-General. But the garrulous Key immediately confided to the media the information that he himself was looking into giving the Prince a greenstone treasure – it was just that Sir Jerry Mateparae got in first.

On went our charismatic PM, indulging once more in a bit of centre-staging:   “I know Prince Harry really wants some pounamu. He admired it when we were at Gallipoli [for the Anzac Centenary commemoration]…I was standing next to him at Chunuk Bair and we were watching a kapa haka group perform, and Prince Harry made a special mention of the greenstone necklaces the group were wearing…He said they looked really beautiful, and he asked where he might be able to buy one. I told him it was pounamu and you don’t buy it: you must be gifted it.”

The latter, of course, is completely untrue. Greenstone jewellery and artefacts can be bought all over the country…But is it any more untrue than our Prime Minister’s claim, prior to the last election, that the government’s budget was in surplus – when, in fact, this Thursday will now be the seventh – or is it the eighth year in a row that we are facing a budget deficit because of this government’s mishandling of the economy? The fact that Key and his National Party are thought as being successful financial managers must be one of the most successful deceptions being practised on New Zealanders in recent years – with far too little scrutiny by the media.

But to abbreviate Key’s strangely elaborate claim of “I thought of it first…(with his “ I” suddenly becoming “we”…”So, we looked into gifting him a beautiful piece as a memento of his trip here, but the Governor-General said he would be giving him something. I know Prince Harry will treasure it…” etc. We get the picture. Our Prime Minister is The One Who Thinks of Things First – as with the” bright line” jargon? But most importantly, this totally inadequate proposal is going to do very little to address the rapacious swoop on the Auckland housing market by foreign investors – greatly aided by those New Zealand real estate agencies which went to Communist China to recruit them, bragging about the fact that they could keep on buying and keep renting to NZ tenants, who can’t afford to buy the houses themselves…and informing them how easy it was to not pay tax here. We have been basically sold as a pushover – which few would dispute.

But why has this been the case for so long? And why, after 2 years can the same foreign buyers still now sell, and avoid this new tax? Key’s oddly named “bright line” is going to do very little to solve what is happening. It simply prevents anyone buying a house to on-sell it with a view to making a non-taxable capital gain, being able to do so within two years. After that it’s open slather, as usual.

This proposal does nothing whatever to prevent those foreign investors – the majority markedly from communist China – buying up multiple houses and renting them to New Zealanders. The Reserve Bank seems to have overlooked the fact that in making it harder for New Zealanders to invest in buying property, by increasing the amount of deposit needed before a mortgage can be granted, it has made it even easier for foreign buyers, capital-rich, to crowd out our own people from the market. And is this supposed to be an improvement?

The only possibly productive part of this too-little-too-late proposal from the PM, and apparently only because of the government being leaned on to do its part, is the requirement that buyers will now (why only now! An eye on-the-ball, competent government, acting on behalf of New Zealanders, would have seen to this long ago) be required to register with the IRD, and open bank accounts in this country.

Once again New Zealand first leader Winston Peters is the only politician representing those New Zealanders who do not belong to the moneyed class controlling most of the investments in this country (apart from Labour’s Stuart Nash, making highly relevant comments in the NBR – but we’ll come to this – about National’s scandalous transfer of $7.45 million dollars of New Zealanders’ money to a foreign-owned farm in Saudi Arabia).

Peters points out that this new policy – not even due to come into force until October 1 – is “but a pittance” and completely ignores the issue of offshore purchases of New Zealand land. and massive immigration.  He accurately labels the tax as a “weak attempt to deal with a major problem”. He is not wrong, when “The tax still allows offshore land banking and offshore purchasing of homes to rent, and does not affect the “past rash” of offshore buying of homes and farms prior to October 1.”

Peters has also predicted the Companies Office will “receive a torrent of applications from new property companies all in the name of virtually anonymous offshore property investors”.

Moreover, as Key pointed out in a candid moment some months ago, the wealthy know how to structure their affairs to arrange paying minimal, if any, tax. He appears to be helping here, by structuring his new proposal to make it game, set and match as usual for those anxious to afford to help New Zealanders become” tenants in their own country” – a position he once famously invoked – and since has done nothing about. As he now says, his proposed curb “is quite different from an investor buying with a long-term view of renting their property to tenants.” Apparently it’s business as usual, in this respect.

And while the government, in an apparent attempt to deflect the media and the country’s attention from the gobbling up of our farmland, businesses, assets and housing, keeps focusing its statements on the need to free up more land and build more housing – (housing which cannot possibly keep pace with the record number of immigrants) this appears to be a useful ploy to distract attention from the fact that it has done nothing to curb the record immigration numbers of more than 56,000 people per year, which is adding to the pressure of the Auckland housing market.

Moreover, it would be interesting to see how many supposed New Zealand companies are actually owned by New Zealanders. Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon, for example, is not owned by New Zealanders, but by Malaysians.

The New Zealand First leader may also not be wrong, when he said in a recent interview, “There’s a day of reckoning coming for us, sad to say. A lot of people in Auckland are about to lose their equity in their homes as they did in 2007 and 2008 when the market collapsed…Now, a wise government would step in and try and stabilise things, cut back on demand, stop offshore buying. The second thing is cut back on this massive immigration – which is not about production, remember this: it’s about consumption.”

His last statement is completely accurate. It is not surprising that even the downturn in the dairy industry will not stop foreign buyers grabbing our land. In fact there are all the signs that we are going to be increasingly dispossessed in our own country. Given the dairy downturn, farmers with their backs to the wall are being forced to borrow at exorbitant, quite shocking rates of interest. Those who don’t make it will be more likely to have their farms bought by foreigners, particularly Communist Chinese investors. Is this going to contribute to social stability in this country – and to New Zealanders feeling that the country is still ours?

Overseas analysts are writing well on these new phenomena – firstly on this fact that the super-rich are looking for places in our country and others as a bolthole – and because of the increase in social instability worldwide. And secondly, because today’s exodus from Communist China is unparalleled in its or our history – and New Zealanders are looked upon as a ripe plum ready for the picking.

But there’s no decent investigation being taken up in this country. And yet it affects us all. Already, a former American and long-time New Zealand resident, a hard-working owner of a small business argues that it is now too late for us. Is he right?

 These questions need answering…but, unfortunately, too many of today’s better journalists are kept too busy meeting deadlines to undertake this. But it needs to be done – with urgency – particularly given that our cock-a-hoop Prime Minister has become an arguable liability to this country- with the National Party falling in line behind him…also managing not to see what’s right in front of us all. As National Minister Nick Smith so famously said, when his leader tells him to jump, he asks how high…

The issue that Labour’s Stuart Nash has raised in the NBR is almost incredible, the revelation that “National is spending over $7 million supplying mostly undisclosed goods and services to a privately-owned farm in Saudi Arabia whose owners will retain ownership of the taxpayer-funded assets.

“About $6 million has been allocated to contract Hawke’s Bay company Brownrigg Agriculture to develop a consortium of New Zealand companies to deliver unspecified goods and services for a New Zealand agri-business demonstration farm being constructed near Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The government has also spent an additional $1.45 million on airfreighting 900 pregnant ewes from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia for a pilot research breeding programme – even though the profits from the future progeny of those ewes will be pocketed by the Saudi landowner.

“In addition, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) is refusing to confirm that no more New Zealand taxpayer money will be invested into the demonstration farm, which is owned and managed by Saudi Arabia’s largest livestock trading company, the Al Khalaf Group. Co-owner Hamood Al Khalaf, in partnership with George Assaf, reportedly owns three other farms in the wealthy Hawkes Bay area… Swedish investors now apparently own 8 NZ farms. Chinese, German, Russian and American buy-ups of our land – in some cases several by the same buyer – do not equate to what our fathers, uncles and grandfathers fought for, gave up their lives for, in the hope that they were making this country safer for future generations of New Zealanders.

Make no mistake; the pace of the sell-out of this country is accelerating. And only a fundamentally democratic movement supported by New Zealanders and challenging all the political parties, can now save it, at this late hour.

It can be done – the Swiss did it, to rein in their own government – and for themselves to claim the right to make the decisions concerning the country’s directions. The fact they succeeded with just one small but crucial provision, has made them the most successful and prosperous democracy in the world –  as we detail in our 100 Days website!

We need you to help. Join us at www.100days.co.nz and please donate on our website -to help us spread our essential movement as widely as possible to New Zealanders everywhere.

© Amy Brooke – Convener, and author of the essential reading (available on Kindle, or any good bookstore) The 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.

For further background information – http://www.amybrooke.co.nz