the republican

1 May 2013

Internet sensation or internet clown?

In the campaign for homosexual marriage the ACT party, National, Labour, the Greens and libertarians and Marxists outside of parliament found a common cause.  It was an extraordinary political consensus which confirms secular liberalism as the unchallenged ideology of the New Zealand state.

The characteristic feature of secular liberalism is that it chooses not to make distinctions between men and women, children and adults, homosexuals and heterosexuals, capitalists and workers, or, quite frequently, between good and evil.   The dairy industry and the sex "industry", the metal industry and the gambling "industry", the forest industry and the liquor industry are all  equal in the sight of liberal economics, just as men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals are deemed to be "equal" in liberal sociology.

Liberalism regards the refusal to make distinctions as being its great strength and raison d'etre, but that refusal to discriminate is also a fundamental weakness....  Internet clown - click here to read more

20 April 2013

A political Governor-General

Governors-General, and for that matter Brigadier-Generals, and Director-Generals of the GCSB are all supposed to be "non-political".   That means that their positions are of such crucial political importance that they cannot afford to be involved in the struggles for power within different factions of the political establishment, and generally speaking they manage to avoid the appearance of political partisanship.   However the military, the security services and the Governor-General share a common connection to the imperial powers to which the New Zealand state has entrusted its fate since the middle of the nineteenth century.  Officers in the New Zealand military and the security services want to fight wars abroad on the side of Britain and the United States.  They don't even have to think about that.   It come naturally from their heritage, their training and their oath of allegiance to the British crown.  In the wind down to New Zealand military intervention in Afghanistan Governor-General/Brigadier General Jerry Mateparae has made blatantly political remarks to the effect that the joining the US and Britain in Aghanistan was the right thing for New Zealand to do.   As he would.   The media coverage of the event would have done credit to any dictatorial regime.   After having its knuckles rapped for attaching a disclaimer to an earlier report that it "was compiled subject to military security restrictions", the state broadcaster Radio New Zealand introduced a military sponsored programme as being  "the legacy of our involvement in Bamiyan .. a wonderful, wonderful story..." with no disclaimer to be heard, although by this stage the military were dictating, rather than merely restricting, what Radio New Zealand was to broadcast.    The other side of the "wonderful, wonderful story" is that 30 Afghan interpreters and their families have been relocated to New Zealand to "ensure their safety" in anticipation of a Taleban victory, or more correctly, to secure their silence about what went on while the New Zealand force was garrisoned in Bamiyan.

Christchurch Marxist group gulled by Iranian exile?

A while back I became interested in the the Christchurch Marxist group "redline collective", two of whose leading lights are Don Franks, a cleaner and Philip Ferguson, a Marxist academic.  Franks writes appealing, down to earth and often humorous pieces on the redline website.   Ferguson is an uncompromising revolutionary who produces trenchant criticisms of other left-wing groups, particularly the New Zealand Labour Party.   He also has a particular hostility to religion, which means that while I agree with much of his analysis, there is a potential for conflict.  Lately redline has been campaigning against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which Ferguson characterises as "murderous, corrupt and repressive". Christchurch Marxists - click here to read more ...

Love wins?

"Love wins - love always wins" was Mark Jessum's triumphant message when parliament voted to sanctify homosexual "marriage".   However, "love" is a word that has to be taken in context.   There is indiscriminate love for all of God's creation, including Christian and Muslim, capitalist and communist, rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, proud and meek, heterosexual and homosexual.   There is the love which a man has for his brother and a woman has  for her sister.    There is love of self, love of money, love of alcohol and love of danger.  Then there is homosexual love, which may be real, but to say that it is real is also to say that it is not love in the abstract.  It is not universal, and it is not absolute.  It is a very narrow, and very specific form of love  that is associated with the practice of sodomy, oral-genital sex and related acts.   Parliament has embraced and sanctified that love, but it would be wrong to expect parliament to now adopt a Christ-like love of all.  The sneering, disparagement and sarcasm directed towards "fundamentalists" and "Christian bigots" in the course of the parliamentary debate will not go away.    Having enjoyed an almost unbroken series of victories over the fundamentalists, the secularists will be emboldened to carry their anti-religious campaign as far as it can go.   The Honourable Members for Greed, Selfishness and Spite will not depart the chamber on the day that the Member for Sodom makes his entry.   Rather, they will settle more comfortably into their seats.

It is no surprise that the New Zealand parliament voted to sanctify homosexual "marriage".  The political establishment and the mass media have long accepted that sodomy is an acceptable form of sexual behaviour, and it is only another small step to say that sodomy is a sacred act fit to be performed within holy matrimony.

Despite a four hundred year history, during which it has had ample time to make the choice, the Anglican Church in New Zealand has declared that it needs "more time" to formulate a doctrine on homosexual marriage.  No one can seriously believe the disingenuous words of the Anglican archbishops.  The church has tacitly supported homosexual marriage by declining to take a position until after parliament had finished its "deliberations".   It will now claim that it is faced with a fait accompli which it cannot change, even if it wished.   Sodomy has long been legal in New Zealand.  When the Head of State, Elizabeth Windsor, who is also Head of the Church, allows the royal assent it will  have been formally sanctified by both church and state.   That is an important distinction, equivalent to the difference, say, between merely legalising prostitution and giving knighthoods to brothel owners for "services to the sex industry".

As well as legalising prostitution, the New Zealand state has turned gambling into another "growth industry".  It has created a culture of drug taking by allowing the sale of alcohol twenty four hours of the day in retail outlets from the supermarket to the corner dairy.   All these "reforms" have as their aim increased revenue for the state, and take no serious account of the suffering they cause among the population.  The New Zealand state has joined the imperial powers in a series of brutal wars where they have tortured, murdered, and slaughtered the innocent.  It has encouraged usury and greed which have  destroyed the assets of the elderly and blighted the hopes of the young.  In all this the Christian churches have been either silent or complicit.

The Biblical story of Sodom is prophecy as much as history, and it is more nuanced and relevant to our situation than many Christians or non-Christians appreciate.   In their moral ambivalence the churches are like the family of Lot, unwilling and unable to separate themselves from a grossly offensive civil order.   Some may naively believe that moral anomy will bring universal love and understanding, just as they believed that the new economic order would usher in an era of universal prosperity and the end of privilege.   They are gravely mistaken now as they were then,.   Economic reform, initiated by politicians from the left and supported by all those on the right, has been calamitous.   Who can seriously believe that the sexual "reforms" of the past thirty years have created a more loving and caring society?  Yet many naively hope that this most recent "reform" will bring an outpouring of love for all.   The homosexuals have demonstrated that they have no love for the adherents of traditional religion (why would they?), and little consideration for anyone but themselves.   The homosexual model of marriage will become one more brick in the wall of egoism, spite and dissimulation by which the forces of iniquity have sought to divide and conquer the people.  The self-interested mendacity which has characterised the campaign for "marriage equality" will remain the norm for New Zealand politicians in years to come.

11 March 2013

A Critique of Articles by Dr Stephen Rainbow in the "New Zealand Herald"

The New Zealand Herald has given considerable space to  Dr Stephen Rainbow, a homosexual activist who incidentally argues that homosexuals are in some respects at least superior to the "straight" population.  Rainbow says that homosexuals are "the kind of people who have ..the creativity and ingenuity our economy needs", that they "make a disproportionate contribution to the places where they live" and are "the canaries in the mine" of the creative economy that successful global cities depend on for their prosperity and success".   "It makes sense to attract gay people to Auckland " Rainbow concludes

Rainbow featured again recently under the headline "Anti-gay diatribe just as hurtful" (as a Member of Parliament's proposition that all Muslims are potential terrorists, should not be allowed to board aircraft along with other New Zealanders and should go back to "Wogistan").  Stephen Rainbow - click here to read more ...

4 March 2013

The truth - one drop at a time

From  August  throught to  October last year this website discussed the collapse in morale among New Zealand troops in Afghanistan, and the measures being taken by John Key's government to conceal the gravity of the situation from the New Zealand public.   The mass media has aided and abetted the regime by concealing what information it has, and sidelining Jon Stephenson, the only Radio New Zealand reporter who had the courage and integrity to report what was really happening in Afghanistan.  However, the truth will out.   The inquiry into the "self-inflicted" death of Corporal Douglas Hughes has been suppressed, but the full facts of this incident will become public, if not this year or next year, then sometime within the next five or ten years.   Meanwhile, former Defence Minister Phil Goff has confessed that the troops were "exhausted" - a regime euphemism for "disaffected to the point of mutiny".

Homosexual scandal in the Scottish Catholic Church

It has been revealed that the Catholic cardinal of Scotland Keith O'Brien made homosexual advances to a at least four fellow priests over the years, and this may just be the tip of the iceberg of his offending.   O'Brien was also strongly opposed to homosexual marriage.   If  his case is typical it would confirm what critics of homosexuality have always argued, namely  that homosexuals tend to deceit and promiscuity, and have little real interest in "stable committed relationships" akin to marriage.   It is not clear whether the Catholic church itself was must take a share of the blame in this case.  If the church was unaware of O'Brien's homosexuality then it must be exonerated.   If not, it must explain why it allowed him to remain in office.

3 February 2013

 Further correspondence from Mark Jessum
(Updated 3 March 2013.  A Christian correspondent writes in support of homosexuality)
 Further correspondence from Lewis Holden
(Updated 3 March 2013  The chair of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand comments on checks and balances in the monarchy and a republic)

27 January 2013

 Correspondence with Lewis Holden, chair of RMANZ
(The chair of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand comments on freedom of debate within RMANZ)

The "homosexual marriage" debate

3 March 2013

Social consequences of homosexual marriage

One of the most insistent demands made upon the opponents of homosexual marriage is that we should spell out "what can go wrong" as a result.   A National Party Member of Parliament has challenged us, saying "What can possibly go wrong? The sky won't fall in".  Another National Party MP asked rhetorically "How can this have any affect upon me and my marriage?"  For good reasons, we are reluctant to answer the challenge.  Social Consequences - click here to read more

9 February 2013

In praise of homophobia: the republican rallies to the defence of Kim Hill and Radio New Zealand

Dear Kim
I was shocked to hear Radio New Zealand listeners criticising you for being homophobic.  Don't they realise that homophobia is a perfectly natural form of behaviour which is found in all cultures and throughout all historical epochs?   All of us have the potential to be homophobic, and many of us, especially boys, are homophobic from a very early age.   Yet homophobes are made to feel ashamed of their feelings, and are harassed to the point where they are forced to deny their homophobia.  Why cannot they be allowed to be true to themselves?   Instead of being condemned, homophobia should be celebrated.   It is part ot the rich diversity of New Zealand life.  And please, would you mind calling us by the name that we use to describe ourselves which is "trev"?   By coming out as a trev you can help to create a more tolerant and inclusive society, and at the same time inspire many other trevs to finally come out of the closet.

26 January 2013

Parliamentary Select Committee hearings

What the public have been allowed to see and hear through the mass media leaves the impression that the parliamentary select committee hearings on the Marriage Amendment Bill have been more akin to a Star Chamber court process or a Stalinist show trial than a polite, sober and impartial investigation into the merits of the case.   The homosexuals have challenged their opponents to show what adverse social effects could possibly arise from state-sanctioned homosexual "marriage".   Yet when Garth McVicar did so before the committee he was scorned  by the politicians and the media.   Then Bob McCroskie asked why the law could not be redefined to include incestuous relationships if it could be redefined to include the homosexual act.  Moana Mackie MP's fatuous reply that  "illegal acts such as incest cannot be compared" (to sodomy) was hailed by the state broadcaster Radio New Zealand while McCroskie's measured and considered criticisms of the bill were relegated to the late news bulletin.

The standard ploy of homosexual politicians, and their media allies, has been to depict every criticism of state-sanctioned homosexual marriage as a personal insult and affront.   They have studiously avoided any serious discussion of the issue.   Radio New Zealand's concept of "balance" was to place Michelle Boag (in favour of state-sanctioned homosexual marriage who believes that opponents should get over it) against Brian Edwards (also in favour of state-sanctioned homosexual marriage but who believes that the opposition should not to be dismissed out-of-hand).  I do not think that Radio New Zealand has made a conscious decision not to air the opinions of the bill's opponents.  The state broadcaster, and the media generally, do not bring forward serious critics of the bill because the media operates in such a narrow social compass that it is really only conscious of the case for  homosexuality, and the only spokespeople it knows are those who more or less strongly promote the homosexual cause.    Radio New Zealand in particular is incarcerated within the ideology of the secular state and hence is institutionally incapable of providing an objective analysis or serving as a vehicle for the expression of the full range of opinion.

Because they dominate the mass media, the homosexuals themselves see no advantage in debating the issue in unofficial forums, one exception being Mark Jessum, who to his credit did join in debate, but eventually withdrew well short of having proved his contention that there are "so many simple errors in your aguments (sic) that really its laughable how bad your arguments are. Real C minus stuff In fact, I might drop them into the Philosophy department so they can use them as example in the ''common fallacies' handout they give to all the first year students."  Jessum did establish that the law of New Zealand and the usage of the English language had changed  in ways which were favorable to the homosexual cause over the past three decades, a good point which I was happy to acknowledge.

Another correspondent, Savage, was rather more circumspect than Jessum. Savage belongs to the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (RMANZ), along with National Party strategist David Farrar and constitutional lawyer Dean Knight, both of whom are outspoken supporters of homosexual marriage and homosexuality in general.   Within RMANZ Savage, Knight, Farrar and their leader Lewis Holden censor republican sentiments which are at odds with their own preference for a republic deprived of checks and balances on the power of the executive, and they are just as fearful of open debate over the issue of homosexuality.   While finding time to suggest  "Your attitude to gay marriage undermines your credibility as a thinker and a writer" Savage declared "I don't have time to respond to your writing on gay marriage as I am busy and your website is not a priority.  Explaining how the arguments against gay marriage are examples of common fallacies and poor logic would take too much time".

On present showings it might take a very long time indeed.   There is no shortage of homosexual activists to claim that they could invalidate our arguments (if they did not have other "priorities"), but so far none capable of actually doing the business.  Instead the homosexuals, the politicians and the media have relied on black propaganda, political intimidation, emotional blackmail, equivocation, casuistry and deceit.  That may enable them to achieve their immediate political goals, but it will not assure the ultimate future of the homosexual state.

16 December 2012

Constitutional implications of changes to the Marriage Act.

Marriage is an institution in which the concerns of church and state meet and overlap.  In its origins, marriage is a religious institution, and the marriage law was religious law, administered through the ecclesiastical courts.  In the course of the evolution of the British state, which New Zealand essentially follows, the churches turned over the administration of the marriage laws to the state, on the tacit understanding that the state would do so in a manner consistent with the consensus of opinion within the established, dissenting and non-conformist churches as a whole.  This tacit understanding was reinforced by the dual role of the monarch as Head of State and Head of the Church.

Over the past century, the role of the state has expanded, the influence of the church has declined, and the role of the monarch has become purely symbolic -  in practice the Queen is the creature of the politicians.  It is now generally accepted that as Head of the Church and Head of State she provides no independent leadership in the crucial matters of war and peace or wealth and poverty.  She is reduced to being an exemplar of family values, and, significantly, an upholder of the institution of marriage.

The state is now proposing to proceed beyond where the churches as a whole are prepared to go, by incorporating homosexual relationships into the institution of marriage.  This move threatens the tacit understanding between churches and state, because the churches are at best deeply divided over the issue.  It also puts the position of the Queen, as Head of State and Head of the Church, in jeopardy, because the royal assent to homosexual relations within marriage will discredit the last remaining argument for retaining the British monarch as the Head of State and Head of the Church. The Queen will be exposed as the pliable tool of politicians who are devoid of religious principle, and her titles of Head of the Church and Defender of the Faith will be revealed as empty words.

Homosexual marriage involves more than state sanctification of homosexual acts.  It undermines the historic tacit understanding which has regulated the relations between church and state in the British system of government.   Even though the influence of the  churches has waned as the power of the state has waxed, that understanding remains important to the stability of societies constructed on the British model.  When it has gone there will be a vacuum which may be filled by other religio-political systems, such as Islam and Sharia law, or Judaism and the Torah, in which the religion and the law have retained a close relationship.

Economic and demographic implications of homosexual marriage

The question has been asked "Where will the next generation come from if same-sex marriage becomes the norm?".   The immediate response would be that same-sex marriage will never be the norm, as the number of heterosexual relationships will still greatly exceed the number of homosexual relationships.  However the cross-party support for homosexuality is associated with a number of key economic and demographic policies, which tend to discourage natural procreation within New Zealand, and to encourage immigration as a more cost-effective alternative.   Replacing the labour force by natural means involves taking women, or sometimes men, out of work for a period of years, and requires large investments in the health and education of mothers and children.  When immigration is used to replace the labour force, no one needs to be taken out of work, and, if the system works as it should, there are no up-front health or education costs.  Thus, since the nineteen eighties the New Zealand state has actively encouraged immigration, and tacitly discouraged natural reproduction.   The abolition of the family benefit and child and spousal tax exemptions, and the provision of family planning, contraception and abortion have all been designed to lower the birthrate and the consequent costs to the economy.   The promotion  of homosexuality and lesbianism complements these policies by further altering the public perception of what constitutes a normal marriage.   Just as it is no longer economic to build television receivers, cars or railway wagons in New Zealand, so it is no longer cost-effective to raise families, and the "husband and wife with children" family model is no longer appropriate to the needs of the economy.    Homosexual and lesbian relationships provide an economically desirable alternative, and also directly assist the immigration process - homosexuals and lesbians in civil unions bring non-resident partners into the country at twice the rate of heterosexual couples in normal marriage relationships.  So the answer to Walter's question is that immigration will be employed to supply any shortfall in the next generation of workers, not so much because of the direct impact of homosexual and lesbian marriages, but more because the traditional institution of the family has become redundant, and indeed an impediment to, the workings of the western economies.   Manufacturing production has shifted to Asian nations such as India and China, and reproduction will go the same way.   I expect that there will be be very few "gay marriages" registered in New Zealand, but the gay marriage model (two workers, two incomes, two conspicuous consumers, no children) will become the norm.

Fraudulent homosexual marriages: A problem for the courts

Because marriage is associated with certain legal privileges - such as access to state benefits, and rights to obtain permanent residence - there are legal measures in place to rule on whether marriages have been entered into primarily in order to access those privileges and can therefore be deemed to be fraudulent and invalid.  In ecclesiastical law, a marriage followed by sexual intercourse (consummation), is deemed to be a complete and bona fide marriage.   However there is no ecclesiastical law relating to the bona fides of same-sex marriages, no precedents by which a same-sex marriage can be deemed fraudulent, and no equivalent act to the act of sexual intercourse which could be used as a test of authenticity.   Are the courts to decide that a homosexual marriage will necessarily involve sodomy, or will some other act of a sexual nature suffice?  The courts will be non-plussed, and parliament will give them no direction.   Parliamentarians will shy away from prescribing sodomy as a necessary condition of homosexual marriage, and will not be able to come to grips with the alternatives within the vast range of homosexual practice.   The matter will be left hanging in the air, and there will be no prosecutions for fraudulent same-sex marriage, while fraudulent opposite-sex marriages continue to be prosecuted.   That in itself should be sufficient give the lie to the greater public fraud of "marriage equality".

'Poster boys': "We are better than Scott Watson"

"John Joliff and Des Smith, the first couple to register for a civil union ... said 'Scott Watson, a convicted murderer got married in prison shortly before our ceremony.. Are we less acceptable in New Zealand than a murderer?' "

Joliff and Smith have no compunction about judging themselves to be "good people" or about judging Scott Watson to be evil.  But Smith and Joliff's claim to moral superiority is not valid because decent people do not seek to raise their own moral status by comparing themselves to others who have no right of reply, and it is not relevant, because the argument over homosexual marriage is not a contest of virtue.  There has been much sanctimonious self-righteous claptrap from homosexuals who go out of their way to show, or suggest, that they are more committed, devoted, and loyal than "many" heterosexual couples.  No one can, or for that matter would want to challenge such assertions, but the  fact that the homosexuals are resorting to such dubious tactics is evidence of the fundamental weakness of their arguments for homosexual marriage.

The fate of the "Star"

In 1991 the editor of the "Auckland Star", Frank Haden, apparently incurred the wrath of the homosexual community by criticising the tactics and objects of the "gay liberation" movement.  The movement responded by calling on advertisers to withdraw their business from the "Star", and took credit for the fact that the paper subsequently became unprofitable and was closed down by its owners.  If we wonder why the media of today is reluctant to analyse or criticise the case for homosexual marriage, we probably do not need to look any further than the lesson learned in the case of the "Auckland Star".  Homosexual activists played a key role in reducing the New Zealand press to the national duopoly and regional monopolies which dare not challenge, criticise or analyse the fraudulent claims of the homosexual movement.

6 January 2013  Too important to debate - click here to read

26 December 2012  The political implications of homosexual marriage- click here to read

25 December 2012  The Meanings of Words - click here to read

24 December 2012  The Story of Sodom - click here to read   (revised 21 January 2013)

24 December 2012  Correspondence with Mark Jessum 24 December  - click here to read

22 December 2012  Critique of David Farrar's submission to the parliamentary select committee - click here to read

6 December 2012  Correspondence with Mark Jessum - click here to read

6 December 2012  24 Questions and Answers on "homosexual marriage" - click here to read

6 December 2012  The Voice of the Blood of Abel - click here to read

19 November 2012  Liberal bigotry - click here to read

21 June 2012  The Marriage Act and "homosexual marriage" - click here to read

6 December 2012

Only their purpose is mad?

One of Bruce Jesson's last works on New Zealand political economy was the book of that title (without the question mark) , in which he argued that while the managers of the capitalist economy used a rational methodology in their decision making, their objective - profit or return on capital -  resulted in economic chaos and social dysfunction.

It would seem now that Bruce's view of New Zealand capitalism was altogether too sanguine.  Bruce had been impressed by  the skills of certain business managers, among them Mark Ford, who coincidentally shared with me a background in the forestry industry.  Mark and I were of course poles apart in terms of status.  I was a sawmill worker cum forest labourer, while Mark was a senior manager.   But I made it my business to learn as much as possible about the occupation in which I was engaged, including its management systems, methods of financial analysis and evaluation and so on.   After ten years of study I could claim to understand those systems as well as anyone in the senior ranks of the industry, to the point where I was able to come up with a mathematical resolution of an apparent paradox in the method of discounted cash flow analysis (the paradox of multiple internal rates of return) which had troubled economists for more than a century.   My paper on the subject was rejected by forest economists on the basis that as a forest labourer I had no academic standing.  However I published my findings on the internet some years before a US economist independently came to essentially the same conclusion, and was able to have his work published in an academic journal.

My work on multiple IRRs would actually have enhanced the standing of the discounted cash flow methodology, because I was able to show that an apparent anomaly in the method was not at all anomalous.  However it also became evident to me that the fundamental weakness of the method, despite the considerable efforts made to address the problem, was the need to anticipate the costs of future inputs, and revenues to be derived from future outputs, and to appropriately weigh up risks in a changing and uncertain world .  In the end, complicated econometric studies and mathematical analysis could not make up for deficiencies in the most commonsense judgements and the decision-makers - the managers of the New Zealand economy - proved to be woefully inept at making commonsense judgements.  It was not just a matter of incompetence.   The problem was exacerbated by the climate of fear and greed in which New Zealand capitalism operated.  The decision-makers were not motivated by fear of the things that one should rightly fear - biological risk taking leading to economic disaster, structural collapses or social degeneration - but by fear of their own jobs, fear of the bankers, and fear of the consequences of failing to provide a high enough rate of return on capital.

These attitudes have lead to a string of disasters across the New Zealand economy.  They were a key element in collapse of virtually every New Zealand finance company.   More tragically, they have cost hundreds of lives.   A mine blows up on the West Coast, killing 29 workers, because its owners believe that they can increase the rate of profit by cutting back on basic safety measures.  A building collapses in Christchurch, killing scores, because a developer believes he can save on a few thousand dollars worth of reinforcing steel. The multi-billion dollar gold kiwifruit industry is destroyed because a grower decides to save a few hundred dollars by importing pollen collected in China or Italy.  These are not rational decisions.  They are crazy decisions and in each case both the individual capitalists responsible for the irrational decisions, and entire industries have suffered long-term or permanent damage.

Such bad decisions are also symptomatic of the fundamental evil of the colonial regime.  Because New Zealand's rulers - the politicians and the captains of industry - have no allegiance to New Zealand they are careless of the lives, livelihoods and property of its people. Serious concern for the welfare of others provides good protection against bad decision making.  Self-interest encourages dangerous risk-taking  and when everything turns to custard the decision-makers can turn their backs on New Zealand, to enjoy the good life in Hawaii, New York, Sydney, London or Zurich. The purposes of colonial capitalism are not so much mad as an unmitigated evil.  Its decision-making systems are not so much rational, as methodically mad.   Left to its own devices, it will destroy the productive capacities of our land and seas, it will destroy our livelihoods, and eventually it will destroy our people.

Within the New Zealand political establishment those on the right maintain that it is a good thing that the sovereign authority in New Zealand is the British monarch, while those on the left believe that if it is not a good thing, at least it is no bad thing.  Yet human and economic catastrophes such as the Christchurch CTV buildiing collapse, the Pike River mine explosion, kiwifruit PSA disease, and indeede the leaky building crisis could not occur in a nation where the political leadership believed that it has a genuine obligation to serve the interests of its own people, rather than a feigned (or in some cases real) allegiance  to a foreign monarch.  People are dying, and livelihoods are being destroyed, because of the abject treachery of the New Zealand parliament.  It is that simple.

14 October 2012

John Key's dilemma

Over the past year Prime Minister John Key, who once carried the moniker "Teflon John", has received less sympathetic treatment from journalists and broadcasters.   At the same time he is coming under more intense attack from the parties of the left, in particular the Green Party, and for the first time in years he is looking politically vulnerable.  Yet John Key has not changed.  The flaws in his character and his political judgement are nothing new.  The difference is that instead of being overlooked or at least glossed over, those flaws are now being exposed to public view.

One of the causes, perhaps the fundamental cause, of this sea-change in New Zealand politics is the looming political confrontation between the United States and the People's Republic of China.   India and, perhaps surprisingly Australia, are  joining the United States in an attempt to "contain" China, politically, economically and militarily.  In New Zealand the National Party has sought to maintain a strained neutrality, supporting the United States politically and, to a minimal extent militarily, while working to improve economic relations with China.   From the perspective of New Zealand capitalism, the National Party strategy makes good sense.  The United States has political and military clout, but New Zealand's economic hopes are pinned on China.  As a client state of the US New Zealand would face a grim future of one-sided trade agreements and a hostile American farm lobby.   It does not feel that it can do without the US, but neither can it afford to abandon the Chinese connection.

For National there is the additional party political consideration that the overwhelming majority of Chinese New Zealanders vote National, while the great majority of Indian New Zealanders vote Labour.  The rivalries between the two Asian giants therefore play out in New Zealand's domestic politics, with the Labour and Green Parties firmly attached to the US/Australian  and therefore Indian camp, while the National Party continues to sit on the fence, for good economic reasons, and out of understandable concern for preserving its electoral support from the New Zealand Chinese.

It is doubtful whether the New Zealand (i.e. National Party) policy is sustainable in the longterm, and the US and its close allies are determined that it shall not be.   John Key, who has a closet full of skeletons,  will not survive in the face of US pressure, expressed in issues such as the Huawei affair,  hostile Australian-owned press and broadcasting networks, and key state agencies, including the military and the intelligence services, which are absolutely committed to the US/Australian relationship.   But the problem is bigger than John Key.  By stepping back from China New Zealand capitalism will sacrifice its best hope for economic security in the twenty-first century.   The left's alternative proposition - "quantitative easing" on the American model - may draw New Zealand closer to the American camp in the short-term but will not provide a long-term solution.

10 October 2012

The farm dog solution to the Afghan interpreter problem

It is not uncommon for a New Zealand farm dog which has reached the end of its working life to be humanely despatched with a shot to the head.  It is a simple and cost effective solution which appeals to the pragmatic unsentimental character of the typical Kiwi farmer.

The question of what to do with the Afghan interpreters who have worked with the New Zealand forces in Afghanistan poses a similar problem, but with the added complication that the Afghan interpreters are privy to knowledge which the New Zealand government does not wish to be publicly disseminated.

The farm dog solution would be the most practical way of dealing with the situation but it would also be morally abhorrent, even to a regime which has had no scruples about sacrificing the lives of its own citizens in the "great game" of global economic and military hegemony.  Leaving the interpreters behind to be executed as traitors by their Afghan compatriots would be one way of avoiding the moral approbrium attaching to the farm dog solution, except for the fact there can be no guarantee that the Taliban would execute any, let alone all, of their number.

Bringing the translators back to New Zealand is the only humane way to deal with the situation.  It is also the solution which would best allay the understandable fears of the New Zealand government.   As foreign nationals resident in New Zealand the translators' silence might be obtained by the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the inducement of permanent residency, a home and a job for life on the other.

The John Key government has now decided to bring the currently employed interpreters back to New Zealand in 2013.   However no offer has been made to those who were employed by the New Zealand forces prior to the last half of this 2012 year.   Why the distinction?  Surely those who served the New Zealnd forces up to June 2012 are no less at risk of being condemned for treason against their own country than those who still served in September 2012?    The one disitinguishing difference is that those who served in the earlier period did not directly witness the collapse of morale and discipline within the Bamian PRT in the latter half of 2012.   If it is not humanitarian concerns that are driving policy in this matter, what is it?   I would suggest nothing but a futile attempt to buy the silence of those who have seen and heard things which the Key government would rather keep out of the public domain.

6 October 2012

The tinseltown diversion.

While the New Zealand media is lavishing attention on Prime Minister John Key's trip to Hollywood, the events taking place within the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the  Bamiyan province of Afghanistan are receiving no press at all.

Open expressions of disaffection among New Zealand troops have not been investigated.  The incongruity of four "logistics experts" being despatched to Bamiyan, ostensibly to deal with an intelligence problem, has gone unchallenged. Defence Minister Jonathon Coleman's  urgent and hush-hush trip to Afghanistan was unreported.  Bamiyan has become off-limits to New Zealand journalists.  Out of the public view, the situation is viewed so seriously that even the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has become involved.  The military hierarchy is in such a state of alarm that when a New Zealand soldier dies in an armed standoff at Linton Military Camp, they immediately and spontaneously declare that there is no connection with events in Afghanistan.

Past New Zealand governments have had to deal with more serious cases of disaffection than the refusal of a few soldiers to go on patrol.   But this situation is still serious, because it points to the fundamental weakness in the New Zealand government's policy of blind support for the Anglo-American occupation of Afghanistan.   The New Zealand troops they have been sent to sacrifice their lives in a war which their own government has always known to be unjust and unwinnable.   They have been denied resources and equipment by the New Zealand government, and by the United States government whose interests they ultimately serve.  They believe they are being used as pawns.  They have had enough and they want out.   Governments, as the saying goes, can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Another factor not lost upon the New Zealand military command is the problem which arises when troops are given humanitarian objectives while helping to enforce a brutal military occupation.   The conflicting objectives eventually lead to psychological breakdown or a more generalised collapse of morale and discipline.   The New Zealand forces are not at this point yet, but they may be not far off it.

21 September 2012

John Key: Stupid, but not that stupid.

The pundits are ruminating over New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's decision to send four army logistics officers to track down the insurgents responsible for the deaths of five New Zealand army soldiers in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, former Defence Minister Phil Goff has criticised Key for "blowing the cover" of these logistics officers and allegedly placing their lives in jeopardy.  The New Zealand public, for their part, must be wondering how a logistics expert or four could be of any earthly  use in tracking down Afghan insurgents.  What, for that matter could realistically be achieved by four, or even forty, New Zealand military intelligence experts in such a hostile environment?  The answer in both cases would be precious little at all, unless they happened to be very, very lucky.

So what gives?   There is no close connection between military intelligence and logistics, but there is a close connection between logistics and morale.   Low morale is a political problem to which, as often as not, there is a logistic solution.  Reinforcements and better quarters, transport, clothing, provisions and ordnance can provide at least a partial remedy to disaffection and loss of morale in any fighting force.  The New Zealand force in Afghanistan is disaffected with the New Zealand government.  That is why it is being brought home early.  In the interim, Key is despatching four logistics officers in an effort to shore up morale over the remaining six months of the Bamiyan PRT tour of duty.  These officers will not be chasing the Taliban.  Prime Minister Key has not put their lives at greater risk.  Although he has told the nation - and the forces in Afghanistan - that they are going to exact vengeance on the Taliban, he himself knows that is not true and Phil Goff almost certainly knows it is not true.  However the two politicians both hope that their statements will serve to confirm the false impression that the Taliban are the problem occupying their minds, and not the strained loyalty of the New Zealand forces themselves.

John Key is not so stupid as to send logistics officers on a practically impossible intelligence mission, but he is stupid enough to lie to the New Zealand public about what he is doing and why.  It would have been better for him to say nothing at all.

21 August 2012

More New Zealand lives wasted in Afghanistan

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key refuses to withdraw his troops from Afghanistan, saying that the New Zealand lives already lost would be wasted if he pulls the troops out now.

The simple, undeniable truth however is that lives lost in an unwinnable war, fought for ignoble purposes and from which no good lessons have been learned are wasted lives.

It is all very well for John Key, David Shearer and the Editor of the New Zealand Herald to say  "we must not cut and run".  They themselves have nothing to run from.  There are no IEDs in their comfortable offices, no snipers waiting to pick them off as they walk the corridor to Bellamy's bar.  They want other younger New Zealanders and their families to bear the full personal cost of this ill-fated endeavour.

Yet they have no workable military strategy.  The suggestions that the SAS should be sent back to gather intelligence on the Afghan resistance in Bamian province, and that the "Provincial Reconstruction Team" should go out in pursuit of the "bombmakers" are laughable.  Without local operatives in place the SAS cannot provide any intelligence, and without major reinforcements the PRT is in no position to take the fight to the enemy.

The politicians are merely concerned with bamboozling the New Zealand public and have no serious expectation of  "winning" this war.   They are bent on "cutting and running" just as soon as they can - which means as soon as the United States military will allow.  This decision to withdraw "sooner rather than later" is not, as some speculate, a direct consequence of the ten deaths the New Zealand military has sustained in Afghanistan.   Compared with  the nine deaths in the Fox Glacier sky diving tragedy,  the 29 deaths at Pike River coal mine, and the 200 deaths in the Christchurch earthquake which can all be laid at the door of a regime that has become careless of the lives of its citizens, ten military deaths in ten years is not very significant.   John Key evidently feels so, because he chose to attend a baseball match rather than the funerals of his "fallen heros".

The real problem for John Key, and the regime as a whole is rather more serious.  He has stretched the loyalty of his troops to breaking point.  The mood within the rank and file of the military is very different to what we saw at the end of the Vietnam war.  The soldiers of the regime came back from that conflict broken, their bodies ravaged by drugs, their minds destroyed by the horrors that they had seen and perpetrated.   The soldiers returning from Afghanistan are confused, but they are also angry with John Key personally, and they are angry that they were sent to kill and die in a conflict which the politicians themselves - Helen Clark, Phil Goff and John Key -  always knew was a doomed cause.    These politicians had calculated that ten or twenty New Zealand lives was a price worth paying to keep the New Zealand government on side with the US administration.   That may count as one of the most serious political miscalculations of the past decade.

1 August 2012.

Friday 13 July 2012

The Urewera Four

The republican website was set up in the aftermath the invasion of Tuhoe lands in the Urewera by armed units of the New Zealand Police: the event now known as the Urewera raids.

The first posting to the republican declared the fundamental human right of a people to bear arms in defence of their lives and property, coupled with the obligation to use those arms in a considered and responsible manner.

That has not changed.  However four of our people, Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey and  have been charged and convicted of unlawful possession of firearms in a crown court operating under British law.  Iti and Kemara have been sentenced to spend two and a half years in the prison system, and Bailey and Signer have been sentenced to house arrest.  The Urewera Four - click here to read more ...

10 June 2012

Brian Rudman and the Queen's Birthday Honours List

The fifth Labour government, led by Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, now Sir Michael Cullen,  abolished knighthoods in New Zealand. Thus New Zealand Herald columnist Brian Rudman was surprised and dismayed when Cullen accepted a knighthood from John Key's National Party administration in the Queen's Birthday honours list. ("Title reveals Cullen's true colours" New Zealand Herald 6 June 2012)

The dismay is understandable, but Rudman should not have been surprised. Michael Cullen is a politician who leans whichever way the wind blows.  In the nineteen eighties he abandoned Keynesian economics and supported the extreme right wing programme of privatisation being pursued by the New Zealand Treasury.  Then, at the turn of the century, as the tide of opinion turned, he swiftly reverted to more traditional Labour Party social democratic policies.

Cullen has also shifted his ground on constitutional issues.  At one time he hinted at republican sympathies, only to later affirm himself a monarchist.  In the end, all that can be said of Michael Cullen is that he is devoid of political principle.  His jibes at John Key ("a rich prick") and Douglas Don McKinnon ("a born-to-rule prick") may suggest to some that he has a radical egalitarian streak.  However what those coarse comments actually reveal is a man of mean character who resents in others and desires for himself the trappings of wealth and privilege.  He is arrogant in victory ("We won, you lost, eat that" were his infamous words to the National Party on assuming the Treasury benches), but promptly took his leave of Labour when the party fell on harder times. He has subsequently ingratiated himself with the National Party, and received a  knighthood for his troubles.

So why would Brian Rudman suggest that New Zealand should take up Cullen's "modest proposal" for a "do-little" approach to constitutional reform? Should it not be obvious that the present system is in need of more than a little modest reform from above?  Rudman believes that those who want thorough-going reform are burdened with "constitutional baggage".  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is the nation which is burdened with the constitutional baggage of two centuries of colonial rule, and that burden has been a permanent handicap to  New Zealand's social and economic development.  Radical constitutional reform is no mere indulgence for political theorists.  It is the only way in which New Zealand can be saved from social and economic disintegration.  The "modest proposals" of a man like Michael Cullen simply will not cut it.

To give Rudman his due, he is one of the more intelligent, and least egotistical members of the Herald's stable of columnists.  His concern for the public good is genuinely held and ably expressed.  However his penchant for moderate rather than radical reform is untenable in the circumstances facing our nation.  Like the fifth Labour government itself, Rudman believes it should be possible to have an honours system that is "specific to New Zealand".  The uncomfortable truth is that the problem lies not just with the royal honours system, but with honours systems in general.  Honours are just one of the devices which states employ to manipulate public opinion, and they are employed by all manner of regimes.  In the Soviet Union hard working labourers, innovative technologists, creative artists and exemplary mothers were all accorded honoured status, along with a broad swathe of party apparatchiks, Marxist ideologists, and sociopathic murderers from the NKVD.  The cynical purpose of the Soviet honours system was to associate the entire structure of a degenerate and morally bankrupt state with the great and the good of all social classes.

The New Zealand honours system serves the same purpose.  The Queen's birthday list honoured Roderick Deane (author of the system of Rogernomics, which destroyed the egalitarian ethos of New Zealand society and entrenched deep class divisions) Peter Jackson (the film producer who conspired with Prime Minister John Key to upset New Zealand employment law in order to advance his own commercial interests), Phillip Duke of Edinburgh (a racist of royal blood who has little if any interest in New Zealand) Margaret Bazley (the apparatchik who was appointed commissar of Canterbury Regional Council when the results of a democratic election were overturned by the state), opera singer Malvina Major (who alone among that august company has apparently done nothing to tear apart the fabric of New Zealand society) and a host of rugby players, artists and various persons of lower rank who are there to provide an aura of public service for the high and mighty of the colonial aristocracy.  In general, the highest honours go to those who "served the state" out of their own self-interest, the lowest to those who "served the community" out of altruism.  In other words the royal honours system in New Zealand functions in the same way as the honours system in the former Soviet Union.  Its purpose is to envelop the colonial regime in a false aura of sanctity and legitimacy.

Brian Rudman is a genuine egalitarian.  He should follow the logic of his own convictions, and recognise that all honours systems are pernicious institutions which have no place in our nation.

23 May 2012

Where will David Shearer take the Labour Party?

The new Labour Party leader David Shearer has adopted the outsider's approach to politics in New Zealand.  He has staked out the moral high ground by being reasonable, measured, considered and collaborative.  At the same time he is careful to make few moral judgements, endeavours to work with all political factions, and seeks pragmatic solutions to practical problems. David Shearer - click here to read more

20 May 2012

The state and the solo mum: a dysfunctional relationship.

The New Zealand state has long been a provider of last resort for widowed women, women who had left their men, and women who had been abandoned by their husbands.  Latterly, it has become the default provider for the needs of women in such circumstances through the "Dependent Persons Benefit" or DPB.

As principal provider to these women and their children, the state also became a defacto husband of sorts.  Of course the state is not a sexual partner, but we should not assume (as western culture increasingly tends to) that the marriage or defacto  relationship can be adequately defined simply in terms of sexual relations.  Marriage with children, or the prospect of children, has an additional dimension in which the traditional role of "husband" as provider and defender is significant. However uncomfortably it may sit with modern thinking, the traditional husband provided moral direction and leadership to the family at the same time as he provided for and defended it against natural or human threats.

In New Zealand the institution of marriage began to change its character when women ceased to believe that a husband was necessary to provide for and defend the family, when a significant proportion of men were no longer willing or able to do so, and when there was an alternative actor who did claim the will and the ability to provide for and support a woman and her children.  That actor was the New Zealand state, which assumed the role of de-facto husband through the DPB.

As in most such relationships, all was well and good for a while.  The state, being unable to naturally conceive children of its own, was happy to foster the children of others.  After all children were perceived as bringing future benefits to the state and the mothers were grateful for a home, food on the table and the basic necessities of life.  Before too long however, the problem of sex reared its head.  The state manifestly failed to satisfy the sexual desires of its defacto spouses, some of whom entered into clandestine relationships with other men - in many cases their former husbands.  The state initially resented this entirely predictable development, for reasons which were not completely divorced from the ancient human emotion of sexual jealousy.  However reason eventually prevailed over emotion, and the state turned a blind eye to these relationships on the condition that they did not create a scandal by cohabiting.

At the same time, the state was becoming rather grumpy towards its spouses.  It came to believe, or at least to argue, that it was being used and exploited, and that the spouses were wanton, feckless, thriftless, and lazy.  Some of the spouses, for their part, began carping that they were not being given enough on which to live and raise the children in a decent manner.  The state responded by declaring itself sick and tired of paying for the upkeep of the brats conceived by the spouses ex-husbands or clandestine lovers.  The women must go to work.  They must not conceive more children.  The state no longer much cared who the spouses slept with, just so long as the state didn't incur the expense of bringing up someone else's children.  Just use contraception for God's sake, and if necessary the state will pay to have you rendered sterile for a few years.

In short, the relationship between the state and its DP beneficiaries is now as fraught with tension and as  dysfunctional as the natural relationships which it superseded.  The state is a grudging provider to a beneficiary who is in many cases resentful and disaffected.  The same problems which caused the breakdown of many natural relationships - a husband's inability to provide coupled with a wholesale abandonment of the concept of moral obligation, and an attempt to circumscribe the woman's natural desire to raise children - now infect the state's relationship with its defacto spouses.

The moral is: the Zealand state is no longer a credible solution to the problems of New Zealand society. The state becomes an expression of the predominant values of a society. Not necessarily the majority values, and certainly not the highest values, but the dominant values which in the present case are not up to the task of saving the nation.  If not the problem in itself, the state is now a major part of the New Zealand problem.

8 April 2012

The Wisdom of Diogenes

The University of Auckland Student Magazine Craccum, Issue 5 2012 quotes a story from the life of the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes in which a young courtier says to Diogenes "If you flattered the powerful you would not be obliged to live on cabbage".

Rather than immediately recounting Diogenes powerful retort, let me move to an article written by one Paul Holmes and published in the New Zealand Herald (Saturday April 7) on the character of the present monarch of the realm of New Zealand, Elizabeth Windsor. Holmes enthuses "She is a wonderful story in her own extraordinary person.. sixty years on the throne and not a foot wrong.. She was beautiful .. she had a tiny waist".

With words such as these it is easy to see why Paul Holmes is not obliged to live on cabbage.  But those of us who do live on cabbage understand very well that if Elizabeth "never puts a foot wrong" it is because her every word is scripted.  If she has any truly personal feelings, beliefs, political convictions or moral principles, they have not been not made apparent to us.  Where she has not been instructed as to how she must speak, she remains silent.  She was silent over the murder, the torture, the deceits and the atrocities committed in her name in Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland and Libya.  She is silent over the way in which the quality of life of the ordinary people in Britain, and throughout her other realms have been continually degraded to allow for the enrichment of a feckless, reckless and incompetent financial class.  She is silent over the way in which the political classes have corrupted and destroyed the democratic process throughout her dominions.

I do not blame Elizabeth personally for her political and moral failings.  She is a creature of the system which she personifies. Her lack of moral and political accountability for the actions committed in her name is characteristic of that system as a whole.  Like every soldier, every bureaucrat, and, in these times, every politician, she is "just doing a job" for which she  acknowledges no personal moral responsibility.   This "extraordinary person.. who has never put a foot wrong" is only extraordinary because she has been constitutionally deprived of the normal human right, and obligation, to hold, express and defend her own personal opinions.

If we are to lay blame for the political amorality of New Zealand's head of state, it should be laid at the doors of the courtiers - those extravagantly rewarded propagandists of a corrupt regime such as Paul Holmes and Paul Henry, to name but a couple.  Yet when we look closer into the character of these so-called  "media celebrities" we see that their circumstances are just as tragic, and their characters just as degraded, as those of the monarch herself.

The professional sycophant is consumed with a contradictory combination of vanity and self-loathing.  For example, in his broadcasts Paul Henry constantly makes ingratiating references to Sky City casino and its Chief Executive Nigel Morrison, who incidentally provides a top up to Henry's lucrative earnings from the Mediaworks network.  It is precisely because he must toady to the rich and powerful that Henry takes particular delight in denigrating and demeaning others on account of their race, their appearance, or their assumed intellectual inadequacies.  Holmes comes from the same mould.  His racism and his references to "cheeky darkies" are the sad expression of a subconscious and arguably futile search for some other human beings who would rank lower on the moral scale than he himself.  In his New Zealand Herald column Holmes moves directly from unwarranted and extravagant praise of the reigning monarch to gratuitous vilification of the deposed monarch, Edward VIII whom he labels "a pathetic half-child king.. he wrote letters in baby talk.. Stanley Baldwin concluded the man had no moral sense whatsoever".  With respect to Wallis Simpson, Holmes writes "both she and Edward were solipsistic.. she may well have been a waist and huge hands.. she may not have had all the female organs.. for his part the king's girlfriends called him the little man..".

Holmes himself no doubt believes that his ability to engage in vile innuendo against a former and deposed king, while singing the praises of the reigning monarch, demonstrates his courage to utter opinions "without fear or favour".  However who can help but notice that with the Henrys and Holmes of this world, it is always the deposed public figure, the man or woman whose star is descending, that becomes the object of their contempt and ridicule?  For those who have wealth or who exercise power in the moment, they have nothing but the most extravagant praise in keeping with their own extravagant salaries.

So let us leave the subject of these sad defenders of a corrupt colonial regime, and return to the more edifying words of  Diogenes.  His reply to the courtier?  "If you lived on cabbage, you would not be obliged to flatter the powerful".  The meaning is that those among us who are content with a modest living, and who have no pretensions to the worldly wealth of a Paul Holmes or a Paul Henry, can afford to be people of integrity.  They can have pride.  They can show compassion. They can be all the things that politicians and media celebrities can never be.  They can be free to speak the truth.  Look among your friends and whanau, those who live a simple life, tending their own farms and gardens, craving none of the dubious pleasures of the corrupt colonial order, and what do you see?  You will see men and women to whom the flattery and the slanders of European politics are equally foreign.  Let us give thanks to God that so many of our people are content to live on cabbage.

14 March 2012

Desecration or repatriation?

The desecration of New Zealand war graves in the Libyan town of Benghazi provoked a call for the remains of New Zealand soldiers to be brought home, and the emphatic response from the New Zealand government that "Commonwealth War Graves Commission policy is that bodies should be buried as close as possible to where they fell".

This is a case where the "policy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission" is at odds with the custom of our people, and indeed of peoples all over the world.  Our people always endeavour to bring the remains of the dead home to their whenua, iwi, hapu and whanau, and will go to great trouble and expense to do so, even when the time of death is long past.

So why does the "Commonwealth War Graves Commission" and the New Zealand government see things so differently?  The answer is in the very name of the organisation.  It is a "Commonwealth" institution and not a national institution.  The Commonwealth - a softer incarnation of the British empire - wants the bodies of New Zealand soldiers to lie where they fell in the former (and present) colonial possessions of Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt so that there may be a lingering sense that the British crown has "paid for" these lands.  The English poet-soldier Rupert Brooke famously expressed this sentiment in the lines "If I should die, think only this of me:. that there is some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England".   By the same token many New Zealanders believe that the Gallipoli Peninsula, where so many of our dead lie, in some sense belongs to us, whereas the simple truth is that Gallipoli belongs to its tangata whenua, the people of Turkey.   Having been deprived of sovereign rights in our own country through one hundred and seventy two years of colonial rule, we have taken up the pretence fostered by successive colonial governments that we have earned, in return, some claim over the lands of others. We have been deceived into believing that the British empire  has "bought" the Muslim lands with the blood of New Zealanders, and thereby has earned a right to bomb their people, and seize their oil.  It is a situation in which the desecration of New Zealand war graves is only to be expected, and the one surprise is that the local Muslim people have until now been so willing to respect and protect the graves of New Zealand soldiers.

There is another reason why the government is reluctant to bring home the bodies of our dead.  That is because the interment of thousands of New Zealand soldiers in their own rohe would raise afresh the troubling questions of why they died, to what purpose, and in whose interests?  To save the British empire?  To help maintain Britain as a world power, and to ensure that the British colonial territories in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific remained firmly under British rule?  If so these soldiers died in vain.  Their lives were sacrificed in a wrong and doomed cause.

Now their bodies should be returned to their people as a sign that the land of the fallen is this land of Aotearoa, and no other.  This was their home, this is where they belong, and this is land which we must redeem as the common property of all our  people, the living and the dead and the yet to be born.

22 February 2012

Is it censorship?

In common with most people who access political websites, I did not read the "fine print" of the rules by which the committee of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (RMANZ) governs its website  These Terms of Access include the following statement

"•we reserve the right to take any actions we deem appropriate to ensure these forums are not disrupted or abused in any way.
•We reserve the right to ban anyone who wilfully violates the website rules, as access to our website is a privilege and not a right.
•We shall be the sole arbitrator deciding the violations of these rules; our decisions are final."

These are rights which any person or organisation may assume in the management of their own affairs.  They are the means by which intellectual and moral standards may be upheld, and they are exercised by all manner of people in all sorts of situations.  The head of a family determines what may be said at the dinner table, the editor of a newspaper decides what may be published in his paper, and the sovereign authority in a state decides what words may be spoken or images may be displayed within its jurisdiction.

Controls on blasphemy, obscenity, libel, slander, defamation, racial, religious or gender denigration are common ground for the family, the mass media, and the state.  While variations are observed (for example secular states tolerate blasphemy and liberal states tolerate what would be regarded as obscenity in a more conservative environment) generally speaking, families, states, and publishers who have different standards in these matters "agree to differ" on what should or should not be allowed. We know that crude jokes about the immaculate conception will not be published in a Catholic periodical, and that one cannot denigrate the prophet Muhammad in an Islamic state.

Most of us adjust to these controls, and learn to work within the confines of whatever censorship regime is in place in a given situation.  However if such systems of control are to be respected they must be exercised in a manner which is transparent, consistent, fair and dispassionate.  People need to know what the rules are, and there should be no scope for arbitrary decisions based on personal prejudices.

In the case of the RMANZ website, the powers claimed by the executive are broad ranging to the point of being absolute.  These include the right to "take any actions we deem appropriate" and to be "the sole arbitrator" of disputes.  To emphasise the point, the RMANZ executive avows that "our decisions are final".  These are not exceptional powers.  Any publisher or broadcaster might make similar claims.  The issue is whether those powers are exercised consistently, fairly, transparently and prudently.  For these conditions to be met there must be a set of rules.

RMANZ does in fact have certain specific rules which forbid "insulting posts, personal attacks, "flames" or purposeless inflammatory posts, advertising, spamming and trolling, posts or links that are sexual in nature or violate community standards".    In a rule-based system the rules cannot be applied arbitrarily.  They require some person or persons to make objective, dispassionate judgements as to whether a comment is "insulting", "offensive" or "a violation of community standards" and so on.

In the case of RMANZ control is exercised by the executive, although it appears that authority is largely delegated to the Chair, Lewis Holden, who effectively controls who posts what on the website.  He has the power to block particular posts (whether directly or by use of a spam-blocker algorithm) and to ban persons from posting to the website.  RMANZ is an organisation largely of his own creation, the membership has given him a mandate to lead, and so it is natural that he should want to retain control over the organisation's political direction.    However as an outsider one can still question the wisdom with which he exercises the powers that the membership and the executive have vested in him.

Ideally, the person who acts as censor will be objective and dispassionate, and it is very difficult to be objective and dispassionate when one is a participant in the debate. Thus when Lewis Holden posts that another's contribution to the debate is "nonsense on stilts" (a favorite phrase) he would not consider his comment to be "intentionally inflammatory".  To him it is just a statement of fact.  Yet when another contributor suggests that one particular RMANZ policy is "misguided ... and doomed to fail" Holden finds that constitutes a breach of the rule banning "deliberately inflammatory posts"

Both these examples illustrate the pitfalls of an approach which depends on the subjective determination of a person who is  certainly not neutral, and arguably neither objective nor dispassionate.

The problem is complicated by the fact that the RMANZ rules depend on the element of "intent".  RMANZ is right to stress the importance of intent. Immanuel Kant observed that "The only thing that is truly good is a good will".  In the common law, a good intent is a defence against criminal charges, and in the spiritual realm anyone who acts with a good intent, regardless of the consequences of their action, is to be forgiven.  So there is no doubt as to the importance of intent.  However there must be a process for determining intent. It is dangerous to assume malicious intent, and a travesty of justice to do so without giving the alleged offender the opportunity to explain his or her intent.  Yet this is what Holden, acting on behalf of the RMANZ executive, has done.   He does not inquire into the intention behind comments which are critical of his strategies. He simply assumes that they have been made out of malice and uses his absolute powers accordingly.

In common law  cases of this type  ("intentionally" inflammatory posts), it would be necessary to prove first that people were inflamed by the expression of opinion and second that the person expressing the opinion did so with the intention of causing outrage.  The judge would not allow his personal emotional responses to influence  his decision.  Instead he would rely upon evidence of the "normal" responses of   "reasonable" people.  Despite his considerable intellectual abilities, Holden is arguably incapable of achieving the  degree of detachment necessary to make an objective judgement as to what does, or does not, breach the rules of his own organisation.

RMANZ has further muddied the waters for itself by using a "spam blocker algorithm" to control what is posted to the website.  Holden has stated that posts may be blocked when
"The comments are posted anonomously (sic) (i.e. the user hasn't signed in to the  website under their account name);
The comments include links to other website;
The comments exceed the length of the original post.
The comments are made on posts which are more than 7 days old."
There is obviously some logic to each of these considerations, but it is equally obvious that there are circumstances in which a legitimate post would contain links to other websites (providing factual references) or exceed the length of the original post (a detailed analysis of a sweeping generalisation) or be made in response to a post which is more than seven days old (the poster has taken time to reflect and research before responding).  The one condition which does have some clear merit - the restriction on anonymous posts - seems hardly to figure, since many comments are posted anonymously, or where the name given is obviously a pseudonym. Speaking from personal experience, many of my contributions which violated none of the stated conditions have been blocked by the RMANZ "spam blocker" algorithm. So if the spam blocker is responsible, there is more to the algorithm that Holden has revealed.  But in the final analysis, if an organisation such as RMANZ uses an algorithm to control what content may be posted to its discussion forum, responsibility still lies with real people, in this case, the Committee and the Chair.  They cannot absolve themselves by saying "the algorithm did it".  They write the algorithm.

The moral is that censorship/editorial discretion/setting of standards, call it what you will, should be the responsibility of a person who is neutral, dispassionate, and guided by explicit and specific rules.  If the roles of advocate and censor must for whatever reason inhere in the same individual, then that individual must be particularly careful to detach himself emotionally from the debate before he begins to censor the opinions of others.  If RMANZ does not understand these basic constitutional principles then it is not fit to tell New Zealanders what system of government they should have.  Holden maintains that the website is an "open constitutional forum", and that is how it appears to the public.  Yet it is not truly open, it is not free, and it is not transparent.  Too much arbitrary power - the power to censor critical opinion - is vested in one individual who has an intensely personal perspective upon the republican movement, and who tends to see any disagreement as a direct personal challenge motivated by hostility or malice.

3 March 2012

My personal involvement with RMANZ is now effectively at an end.  I joined the organisation by invitation, with both myself and the RMANZ executive being aware that our common political ground was essentially confined to the question of whether the New Zealand monarchy - that is, the British monarchy in New Zealand - should be replaced by an independent republic of some sort.  Because RMANZ portrayed itself as a "broad church" of republican thought, the differences over ways and means and detailed ends should not have been a cause of irreconciliable political incompatibility.   Those differences became insurmountable because the RMANZ executive or Chair decided that my views were "damaging" to the organisation and would not be allowed public expression.  As a matter of fact, my opinions do not conflict with the stated aims of RMANZ, which are quite restricted in scope.   They do however conflict with the unstated aims of the dominant group within RMANZ who have very clear ideas on what a New Zealand republic would look like, and how it might be achieved.

The republic envisaged by Holden and his colleagues would not look very different to the present monarchist state.   It would be a minimalist, or as they describe it a "soft", republic in which the role of the monarch would be assumed by the Governor-General, or, to put it another way, the office of Governor-General would transform into head of state.  The supporters of minimalist change clearly see no fundamental, historic socio-economic and political weaknesses in the structure of New Zealand society which require changing.   They believe that an independent republic will  endorse, rather than challenge, the totality of political and social values of New Zealand society.   In my view, the New Zealand reality is rather more complex than that, and the solutions are rather less simple.   Certainly, in  my own view there are positive values in New Zealand society, which are rooted in our history.  To me those positive values come from Maoritanga, the heritage of those of our pakeha ancestors who  worked as agricultural labourers, farmers, miners, engineers and mariners, the hahi and the chapel, and the socio-economic egalitarianism to which those influences gave rise.  On the other side I see the malign influence of the New Zealand Company, the land speculators, the imperialists and the militarists, and I see those negative influences as being very much present in, and sheltered by, the existing political structures.   To RMANZ, the British monarchy in New Zealand is an  anomaly.  To myself it is the logical expression of one hundred and seventy years of colonialism and contrived divisions of class and race, which will endure so long as imperialist attitudes and socio-economic distinctions remain important elements of the social order.

That is why I am wary of, though not absolutely opposed to, the idea that a republic can be instituted simply by vesting the sovereign powers of the monarch in the office of Governor-General.  I am also critical of the argument that RMANZ only supports the office of Governor-General, and does not have any particular view on the political worth of its incumbents.   When Lieutenant-General Mateparae was appointed Governor-General,  an enthusiastic, even sychophantic, tribute was posted on the RMANZ website.   That may have been just one person's expression of opinion, but as it was posted by the Chair, on behalf of its author, and as not all expressions of opinion are tolerated on, one can assume a certain sympathy for the Lieutenant-General exists within the RMANZ hierarchy.   This assumption is supported by the curious "poll" conducted by RMANZ prior to Mateparae's appointment which showed a clear majority in favour of Mateparae as the next Governor-General, and which RMANZ hailed as proof of the New Zealand public's ability to make "sound political judgements".   In fact the "poll" had no validity at all.   It was wide open to manipulation, and in all probability was rigged by the forces pushing for Mateparae's appointment.   By endorsing the "poll results" Lewis Holden actually revealed  nothing about the public's political judgement, but did tell us something about where the political sympathies of the RMANZ executive lie.

In any case, the distinction between the "office" and the "person" of Governor-General is not as absolute as RMANZ would contend.  The method of selection and appointment has a major influence upon the type of person who is appointed to office.   In other words, a certain type of person becomes Governor-General.  Mateparae would not be Governor-General if he had not first been a military commander and head of the intelligence services.   Other Governors-General have entered the office on the basis of their careers in the judiciary, the National Party, the Labour Party, or the Anglican church.     I personally have more sympathy for some parts of the political establishment than others.   For example I have a certain respect for the Anglican church, and for its Archbishop Paul Reeves who used his time as Governor-General to challenge as much as to endorse the values of the New Zealand state.  However, the fact remains that in supporting the "office" of Governor-General, one is supporting a particular type of person, who, in general, will be a pillar of the monarchist establishment.   In early years  the office of Governor-General was filled by persons who consciously reinforced the connection between the colony of New Zealand and the British empire.  In latter years it has come more to represent the judicial, political and military institutions of the New Zealand state itself.  There is therefore, a need for some clarity.   While all are institutions of state, there is a significant difference between the kinds of people, and the kinds of thinking, that one finds in the judiciary and the military for example.  RMANZ cannot be indiscriminate in this matter (and in fact it is not).  If it is going to support the office of Governor-General, it should come out and say whether that office should be judicial, political, military, or for that matter religious (on the grounds that the Paul Reeves tenure of office was not anomalous), whether it should be rotated between those institutions of state, or whatever.

Finally, the immediate cause of my banning was that  I had criticised the RMANZ policy of supporting avowedly republican parliamentarians who never-the-less pledge allegiance to the British monarchy.   Moral and political problems arise out of this particular policy.   The moral problem is that if one condones a false oath for reasons of political expediency, one's own integrity becomes suspect.  The political problem is that generally speaking politicians behave in ways calculated to maximise their electoral support.  They will therefore respond positively to the demands of special interest groups which are large, vocal, and insistent.  However, if they find that they can placate, or gain the support of an organised group merely by a  token gesture of sympathy they will do that for the obvious reason that they can then have their cake and eat it, or to use another metaphor, run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.  Politicians who can manage to stay onside with both the republicans and the monarchists by taking a "flexible" position on the monarchy will not push the republican cause.  Thus if RMANZ genuinely desires a republic, it was politically naive to suppress a minority view within the organisation which wanted to take a tougher line on the ambivalence of so-called "republican" parliamentarians. The parliamentarians now know that they are off the hook as far as RMANZ is concerned, and that no matter how far they go in compromising their principles, RMANZ will continue to support them.   For all the intellect and erudition that is assembled under the auspices of RMANZ, it seems to me to that the organisation has spectacularly failed to think through the moral and political ramifications of its policies.

30 January 2012

Union by stealth

There is no political party in New Zealand which has gone to the electorate arguing for political union with Australia and there has never been a New Zealand government which has had a declared policy of seeking such a union.   Yet both National and Labour-led governments have deliberately and inexorably taken the country in that direction.

In a normal state, a covert attempt by political figures to surrender national sovereignty would count as treason.  That goes some way to explaining why the New Zealand government repealed the law against treason.  When the political establishment is working to undermine the basis of national sovereignty, a law against treason is a serious hindrance and potential source of great embarrassment.

The means being employed by the politicians are as obvious as they are extraordinary. The first step - "Closer Economic Relations" or CER seemed unexceptional.  However there is no economic rationale for seeking a uniquely close trading relationship with one particular nation.  CER was politically motivated by the desire to cement the political and military relationship which had developed between Australia and New Zealand from the time of the Boer war.  New Zealand, or more particularly the colonial political establishment in New Zealand, began to move closer to Australia after the New Zealand's imperial ties to Britain became strained and loosened by Britain's move into Europe in the nineteen-sixties and seventies.  The colonial establishment needed an Anglo-Saxon big brother to fill the void left by Mother England, and Australia fitted the bill.

Thus Australian-New Zealand military connections receive just as much attention as economic relations.  New Zealand invariably joins in Australian military adventures (including, initially, the Iraq war) and has never gone into a conflict independently of Australia.  The New Zealand government is now moving to tighten the  links between the New Zealand and Australian military by means of joint procurement systems.

In the civil sphere the Australian government is being given authority over which pharmaceuticals are to be permitted in New Zealand, and the right to access the personal records of New Zealand citizens held by New Zealand government departments.   "Joint cabinet meetings" have become a regular occurrence, and the Australian Prime Minister would have been given the extraordinary privilege of addressing the New Zealand parliament, but for the blocking vote of the parliamentary Green Party.

"Joint cabinet meetings" give Australian politicians knowledge of and influence over the decisions of the New Zealand government which is denied to the New Zealand public and New Zealand politicians, including even those government politicians who are not themselves members of cabinet.  Thus they compromise Parliament's claim to exercise sovereign authority on behalf of the Queen.   The proposal to give the Australian Prime Minister the right to address the New Zealand Parliament was equally extraordinary, because it would have given to a foreign citizen a privilege which is denied to any New Zealand citizen of equivalent standing.

The clamour of concern over the "pay gap" with Australia is another initiative which only makes sense in the context of a determination to eventually dissolve New Zealand's national identity into the Commonwealth of Australia.  A nationalist government would have no reason to seek pay parity with Australia.   It would set its own goals, which might equate to a lesser or greater median income than is the cse in Australia.   The goal of parity, on the other hand, can only be achieved through state and statistical union with Australia.

Prime Minister John Key's latest call for Australia to grant welfare benefits to New Zealand citizens is, on the face of it, a reasonable request aimed at protecting the welfare of New Zealand citizens, but on closer scrutiny it is revealed as an admission by the Key government that it will not, or cannot, look after the interest of New Zealand citizens, and would prefer the Commonwealth of Australia to assume that responsibility.  Key is implicitly telling New Zealanders that they would be better off as Australian citizens.

The covert movement towards union with Australia is not driven by economic necessity or inevitability as some would argue.   It has its genesis in two simple political realities.

The first is that the colonial establishment, both political and commercial, has no loyalty to the land and people of New Zealand.  New Zealand politicians still pledge allegiance to the British monarch, and this is unlikely to change while the political establishment remains wedded to a colonialist mentality, whether they look to Britain, Australia, the United States or any other state system for their political direction.

The second is that the colonial establishment has demonstrably failed to create a balanced and resilient domestic economy.  It has relied on foreign capital and foreign markets to drive the economy, and it has been been an essential accessory to the pillage of national resources by foreign and domestic capital.  This second factor is not unrelated to their political allegiance to a foreign power.   The managers of the New Zealand economy have failed to build a strong domestic economy because that has never been their purpose.  After their own personal interests, their first allegiance has always been to the interests of foreign powers and foreign capital.  Their failure is the result of their own political choices.

The colonial project has failed.   It's last desperate hope was "the free market", but in the context of a colonial society  a "free market" can only result in pillage and destruction.  That is exactly what has taken place.  Now the colonialists have no options left except the cession of sovereignty to a foreign power.

The mere fact that this process is being conducted covertly, without a popular mandate, is telling evidence of its political illegitimacy.   Neither the Parliament which pledges allegiance to the British crown, nor the House of Windsor itself, is sovereign in these islands.  Sovereignty resides with the people of Aotearoa and it is inalienable.  We will remain a free and independent people, regardless of the machinations of a failed colonial regime.

29 January 2012

More on Lewis Holden and RMANZ.

I was surprised to find that my article "Lewis Holden and RMANZ" (see below) appearing on the RMANZ website under the heading "Submitted by GeoffFischer (sic) on 27 January, 2012 -13:51".  I did not and could not post that the article to the RMANZ website.  One can only surmise that the article was submitted by Holden himself, assuming my name, which would be fresh evidence of just how damaging the"false oath" doctrine has been to general standards of honesty within RMANZ.

Holden may have felt it was necessary to respond to my comments somewhere, and may have decided that the RMANZ website, where he exercises total control over content, and can block any response from myself, would be the best place for him to do so.

In his response Holden

1. Accuses me of a "swipe at Savage's name".   That is ridiculous, and disingenuous.  I criticised Savage for his dishonesty.  My only reference to Savage's name was "Savage (who uses only one name)".  Savage uses only one name.  My  purpose was to indicate that I was not discourteously omitting Savage's first name (or last name as the case may be).

2. Claims he does not "regularly" delete comments.   Many comments have disappeared from the website, for which Holden has blamed system failures.   I myself have had many posts rejected by theRMANZ "system" on the specious grounds that they are  "Spam", and the number of these rejected comments alone would justify the use of the word "regularly".  The fact remains that Holden does admit to deleting comments based on his own judgement of their political merits, and he believes that he should delete comments which he regards as "politically damaging".   That is really all we need to know about the matter.  The word "regularly" was superfluous, and I will withdraw it.

3. Says "I'm not intolerant of criticism.  I'm intolerant of individuals who having lost an argument try to relitigate them through different means, wasting time and energy to achieve the same result".  In a free society political differences are not subject to litigation.  All Holden has done here is confirm his presumptuous claim to be the final judge of any political argument.

4. Claims "There is no link between the Republican Movement and the New Zealand military - intelligence service axis".  Actually there is.  The Republican Movement, or at least Holden himself, acting as the public face of the Republican Movement, lobbied for Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae to become Governor-General, and has since enthusiastically promoted Mateparae as a de-facto substitute for, rather than representative of,  the monarch.    Mateparae, it must be remembered,  occupied the two most senior posts in both the New Zealand military and the intelligence services.  The link is there for all to see.  There is nothing in RMANZ principles to require, or even justify, Holden's decision to support a particular individual as the Queen's personal representative.  Holden supports Mateparae because he supports what I describe as "the New Zealand military - intelligence service axis".

The monarchists do not expect that every republican who swears allegiance to the Queen will become a devoted royalist, and that is not their purpose in demanding an oath of allegiance.  Their purpose is to ensure that the republican opposition will be politically compromised and morally corrupted.   In the case of RMANZ, they have succceeded in that purpose.  RMANZ practices what it preaches: a policy of deceit and duplicity.   The RMANZ hierarchy have added to that a quasi-Stalinist determination to eliminate all politically incorrect or "damaging" ideas by cracking down on open public debate.

We have had one hundred and seventy-two years of political censorship and lies courtesy of the British monarchy, and we do not need any more of the same from RMANZ.  The Republic of Aotearoa must stand on the hallowed republican principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity.  Nothing less will suffice.

23 January 2012

Lewis Holden and RMANZ.

The Republican Movement of Aotearoa-New Zealand, RMANZ, is ostensibly a broad based republican organisation comprised of individuals who hold to a range of political beliefs.  The organisation comprises people from the political right such as blogger David Farrar, former communist and Green Party MP Keith Locke from the left, and United Future Party leader Peter Dunne from the "centre" of the political spectrum.  There is also a certain level of support from self-proclaimed libertarians such as Matt Wilkinson.

The putatively "broad church" approach requires that the organisation restrict itself to quite limited objectives.  The RMANZ vision is for a "soft republic", in which the Queen would be replaced by a Head of State elected either directly by the public, or by a "super majority" in parliament.  Nothing else would change.  The New Zealand flag, with Union Jack in the top right quarter, would be retained.  New Zealand would remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Treaty of Waitangi would retain its present status in law.  There would be no new constitution, and no change to the existing legal, economic or social order.  The powers of the monarch would devolve upon the Governor-General cum President.  The RMANZ plan is therefore a far cry from the radical transformation and de-colonisation of New Zealand proposed by the late Bruce Jesson, who championed the cause of a New Zealand republic in the late twentieth century.

RMANZ could be described as a fundamentally conservative organisation, even if its key objective, the establishment of a republic, has radical implications.  It is probably fair to say that it is dominated by those from the political right, who may be uncomfortable with the political beliefs of republicans of the Bruce Jesson persuasion.  However right-wing republicans, like those on the left, are handicapped by the fact that there is no widespread support for a republic within the political class as a whole.  On both the left and the right the dominant attitude is that a republic is "inevitable", that it might even be a welcome change, but that it is "not a priority" and should not be actively promoted.  RMANZ, therefore, feels obliged to seek, or at least accept, the support of leftwingers such as Keith Locke, in order to broaden its appeal among the general public.  Locke's involvement in the organisation is unproblematic, arguably because he is a political moderate who is, or has been, an integral part of the current system, and who has no radical political agenda of his own.

Even so, tensions do arise within RMANZ, if not over objectives, then over the tactics used to achieve those objectives.  RMANZ could allow those tensions to be worked out through internal debates, but instead the Chair, Lewis Holden, has opted to try to ensure that such debates are kept "out of bounds" for members of the organisation.  Holden censors comments posted on the public discussion forum of the RMANZ website   He removes or blocks comment which he judges to be "damaging" to the republican cause, or which originates from individuals who he judges to be monarchist  "trolls" or "plants" .  In practice, any comments which criticise or question RMANZ core strategy are deemed to be "damaging" to the republican cause.

Although not explicitly stated in organisational documents, the core RMANZ strategy is to work for change through the actions  of sitting members of parliament who are sympathetic to republicanism, while attempting to increase the level of public support for a republican system of government.

Late last year I posted on the RMANZ website a comment criticising republican parliamentarians who make false oaths of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth.   Holden took exception to this comment, but was uncharacteristically slow to delete it from the website.   He then wrote to me directly stating "I was going to delete your comment but then realised the damage was done" and went on to say "I'm not so surprised by the content of your comment. You've been pushing this line for some time....If you don't like any aspect of our strategy, please contact myself.   Don't post your complaints in a public forum where anyone, monarchists included, can read them".

As Holden himself points out, he has long known of, and rejected, my criticism of false oaths.  His mind is made up on the matter.  By then  insisting that I should address my criticisms to himself alone, he is really saying that I should not express an opinion at all.

Holden continued "In fact the way you've gone about this makes me wonder if you're not actually a monarchist plant" and "You've gone out of your way to attack RMANZ policy in a public forum..".

The problem is that RMANZ has only one forum for debate, which is the public website.  The website is not "out of the way".  It is the only place one can go if one wishes to criticise, or support, RMANZ policy. There is no other forum for internal debate, so once again Holden is effectively saying that I should not have expressed an opinion in any circumstances.  He has now blocked any further comment coming from my normal email address.

Unsurprisingly, none of the website censorship which goes on behind the scenes at is apparent to the casual visitor.  In fact, Holden's colleague Savage (who uses only one name) strives to maintain the fiction that the website is an open forum for the expression of republican opinion.  Thus the duplicity and deceit involved in the swearing of false oaths by RMANZ aligned parliamentarians also becomes evident in the general conduct of the organisation.

The activities of RMANZ illustrate the dangers which would be posed to the people of New Zealand by any "soft republic" contrived by parliamentarians in allliance with conservative political forces which are intolerant of criticism and  possessed of a sense of entitlement to the instruments of power. The danger is exacerbated by connections which have been formed between the leading group in RMANZ and the New Zealand military-intelligence service axis.  Incongruous as it may be for an avowedly republican organisation to take a hand in choosing the Queen's personal representative in New Zealand, RMANZ was closely involved in promoting the successful bid by Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae for the office of  Governor-General, and sources within RMANZ have openly suggested that Mateparae should become "the last Governor-General and first President" of a New Zealand republic.

It is apparent that the rather misnamed "soft republic" promoted by Holden's RMANZ could easily degenerate into a Bonapartist state which would have  little respect for the rights and freedoms for which our people have struggled over the decades.  A "soft republic" would actually strengthen the forces which underpin the present monarchist regime, and it must therefore be countered by a popular movement for a radical republic as envisaged by Bruce Jesson, whether in the form of a unitary state or confederation of iwi.

26 November 2011

State asset sales - why they are opposed, and why they will not influence voting behaviour.

Prime Minister John Key has said that he will sell a share in New Zealand state assets to "Kiwi mums and dads", but will do no such thing.   While there are precedents for targeting state benefits towards those who have produced children (that is "mums and dads") there is no serious possibility that a Key government would favour those New Zealanders who have children over those who are childless.

It is also highly unlikely that he would exclude institutions - which are incapable by any definition of being "mums and dads" -  from joining in the share purchase.   Thus the promise that the sale will be restricted to "Kiwis" is also an empty one.  The initial public offering may be restricted to New Zealand citizens and residents, but restrictions on the right to onsell those shares to overseas interests would conflict with National Party principles, be contrary to normal practice, and, in any event, be unenforceable.

The public knows all this.  They know that the "kiwi mums and dads" slogan is a deceit. They know that most shares will end up in the hands of local financial institutions, the 10% of New Zealanders who already control 50% of the nation's wealth, and foreign investors.   They know that the immediate beneficiaries of a sale will be foreign brokers and bankers, and they know that the long term effects upon the government accounts will be negative, reducing the capability of the state to provide social services such as health, education, and welfare.  Therefore when asked, they will say that they do not approve of asset sales.

Yet many will vote for John Key and the National Party regardless.  They will not vote for the Phil Goff and the Labour Party which pledges to "Stop asset sales".  The are reasons for this apparently contradictory behaviour have to do with the changed reality of state enterprises, and changing perceptions of the role of government.

Thirty years ago state departments such as the Post and Telegraph, New Zealand Railways, the Electricity Department and the State Forest Service were representative of a certain culture.  They were not remarkably efficient or transparent.  They did not pay particularly high wages at any level in the hierarchy, and they provided goods and services to the public and industry which were either modestly priced or, in some cases, given gratis.  Perhaps most importantly, individuals knew that if the worst came to the worst, they or their offspring could find a job in the public service which would provide a modest living and on the job training which might lead to better things later.   Business people particularly in small communities saw the Ministry of Works, the Forest Service, the Railways, the Post and Telegraph and the Mines Department as a government investment in, and safety net for, small provincial and rural economies.

That is no longer the case.  Those among the working class who can't find a job have a much better chance at McDonalds than they would have in, say, Genesis Power, Air New Zealand or TVNZ.   The remaining SOEs are linked to an elitist culture, with extravagantly paid managers, often foreign nationals.   They are as often as not inherently socially irresponsible (TVNZ being  a classic case) and they charge whatever fees the market will bear.

From a practical point of view, the mass of voters no longer see any potential personal advantage in the retention of state owned assets.  They see no jobs, no training, no affordable services, no egalitarian culture and no promotion of social values.   They realise that the loss of state assets from the government accounts may mean reduced social services in the future, but they have no confidence in the ability or willingness of the political system to deliver those benefits in any case.   Therefore, they will maintain  that state asset sales are not in the public interest, even while effectively voting for their introduction.

Very few New Zealanders have a vested interest in retaining state assets.  Even the employees of the state owned enterprises can see no personal advantage in remaining under state control.   While the asset sales programme may be contrived, misguided, and deceitful,   "Stop asset sales" will not wash as a flagship policy.  Consequently the Labour Party is on a hiding to nothing.  Like the pledge to remove GST on fresh fruit and vegetables - items which the poor cannot afford, and which they could not afford even if 15% cheaper - the asset sales policy is evidence that the party has little connection with the present reality of life in New Zealand.

17 October 2011

A realm on the reef: the failure of government.

Last century the state regimes of the Soviet bloc vainly attempted to maintain their power over the people of eastern Europe through covert surveillance in homes and workplaces, an unaccountable police force, a docile legislature, an emasculated judiciary, and a totalitarian government.

Let's look at some of the things that the New Zealand government has been doing over the past couple of years.... A Realm on the Reef.. click here to read more

12 October 2011

Will capitalism survive this crisis?

Will the political institutions of capitalism survive the current economic crisis?  That is the question which many of us are being asked. The simple answer is that those institutions (states or governing parties)  which preside over social systems in which wealth is evenly distributed are best fitted to survive, while those which preside over divided, unequal societies face extinction.

So where does New Zealand stand?...   Will capitalism survive this crisis? ... click here to read more

18 September 2011

What is wrong with the left?

Not a lot of people know that one Vince Seamer has been sentenced to prison for publicly revealing some of the background facts to the regime's persecution of the "Urewera 15".  The reason why so few people are aware of Seamer's predicament is that all facts of the case has been suppressed by the regime's mass media organisations - press, radio, and television.  But what may seem particularly surprising is that the left, which is the most immediate beneficiary of Seamer's commitment to transparency, has been complicit in the regime's attempts to keep the case out of the public eye.

Seamer's cause is a just one, from the normal leftwing perspective, but he has two problems.  He is a politically active and he is not a conventional leftist.  The left is happy to support its own (although even there the support often amounts to no more than lip service) when they are victimised by the state and in similar circumstances it will also support apolitical individuals, particularly those who can be categorised as "working class", homosexual, female or belonging to an ethnic group.  But when a politically vocal person who is not of the left  is victimised the left falls silent and even becomes complicit in oppression.

The left has been infected with this meanness of spirit by the colonial regime which in the final analysis it supports.  Mean-spiritedness goes hand in hand with the left's fundamental stance of subordination to the regime.

Those who perceive the left as constantly complaining to government, the political parties, and the organisations of capital might fail to see how the left can be classed as subordinate to the colonial regime.  Yet the evidence is actually there in the left's standard mode of action, which is to continually nag the regime to make changes, concessions, or compromises which will advance the political interests of the left and its constituency.   The left in general lacks the rigorous independence of thought and action which is necessary to make fundamental social changes, let alone a revolution.  On the "centre left" the Labour Party depends  upon the state and the organisations of capital to implement its political programme, and on the "far left"  various socialist parties and groups effectively rely upon the Labour Party to implement their own slightly more radical policies.  This lack of independence, and the spirit of subordination which it engenders, reduces the left to a motley crew of "naggers", "complainers" and "losers" - pretty much as they are characterised by their antagonists on the right.

Ideologically, the left's subordination to the colonial regime takes its justification from the philosophical doctrine of pragmatism, which is closely linked to secularism.   Leftists are often under the illusion that their fundamental beliefs are "Marxist" or "Socialist", but their conduct reveals that it is actually secular pragmatism which has driven the politics of the broad left, from the Social Democrats to the Bolsheviks and Maoists, through the last century.   The left will have no serious impact upon the political direction of this country until it forsakes pragmatism and  subordination to the colonial regime, in favour of moral principle, independence and self-actualisation.  When, or if, the left is able to create a revolution within its own ranks, it will then be able to create a revolution in  the nation, and, incidentally to give people like Vince Seamer the support that they deserve.

4 September 2011

State broadcaster as Ministry of Truth?
How Radio New Zealand massages the news.

In the past week two instances of news reporting on Radio New Zealand  demonstrated how far the organisation has moved from the standards of journalism that are the norm in most other nations.

The first had no immediate political implications, but was none the less disturbing because it showed how Radio New Zealand has adopted a cavalier attitude to the truth when the interests of New Zealanders are involved.  New Zealander Valerie Adams, the network told its listeners, had equalled the world shot put record at a world championship event.  The broadcaster then went on to gratuitously observe that the existing world record was "set in the nineteen eighties when doping was rife", thus insinuating that the previous record was fraudulently set.  Apparently Radio New Zealand had no evidence to support this insinuation, and was careless of besmirching the reputation of the world record holder in a despicably dishonest attempt at national self-aggrandizement.

The second instance arose out of the release of Nicky Hager's book "Other People's Wars", where the political interests of the regime are more directly involved.  Radio New Zealand reported "former defence chiefs rubbish claims in Nicky Hager's book" and "defence chief flatly denies claims".  The truth is that the Hager claims were not "rubbished".  In the common parlance, to "rubbish" is to provide evidence to discredit or refute a claim.  Yet the defence chiefs have provided no such evidence.  They have not even categorically denied the allegations.  Their reponses have been along the lines of "I was not aware.." or "to the best of my knowledge", words which deliberately fall short of a "flat denial".

Similarly, the Governor-General, Lieutenant General Mateparae, responded to the suggestion that military officers may have subverted government policy by saying that the notion was "abhorrent".  Again, Mateparae was not issuing a denial. He was just implying that the allegation should not have been put to him.

Radio New Zealand, however, has set out to create the impression of a "flat denial" and claims that have been "rubbished", thus making making itself a willing accessory to the regime's longstanding campaign to obscure the activities of New Zealand troops in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

This was also the week in which disgraced Labour MP Chris Carter was appointed to head a United Nations "anti-corruption" team in the Afghan capital of Kabul.  We are told that "It takes a thief to catch a thief" and that "reformed poachers make the best gamekeepers" but this appointment beggars belief.  Above all, it is a gross insult to the people of Afghanistan, who already have enough corrupt politicians of their own.  They do not need one of ours to swell the numbers.

12 August 2011

12 things we should know about imperialism, and how it affects our people.  Including How did New Zealand become associated with imperialism? Is imperialism racist?What is the connection between imperialism and democracy?  Under what conditions will a democracy transform into an empire? Don't empires encourage global commerce?Don't empires keep the peace between peoples?  click here to read more

27 July 2011

Slaughter on the left.

New Zealand and Norway have much in common.  Both are small monarchies in the European tradition, both are an integral part of the western military alliance, both have been active participants in the modern day western crusade against Islam, and both  both have in the past supported strong social-democratic Labour movements.   Therefore it is unsurprising that the New Zealand Labour Party should be publicly mourning the massacre of so many young members of their fraternal Labour party in Norway.

However, it is remarkable that the NZLP has apparently failed to analyse the circumstances of the massacre.   Labour Parties in both countries have flirted with the mainstream right.  They have honoured its institutions, accepted its ideology, and joined in its crusades.   They have turned a blind eye to its excesses, its mendacity, and its geo-political obscurantism, but they have done so without real conviction, and they have tried to balance their involvement in the brutal western onslaught upon the Muslim world with a compassionate approach towards individual Muslims of a "moderate" persuasion.

This "moderation", "appeasement" and "compromise" has in turn aroused the ire of those on the extreme right who are deceived by the propaganda of the mainstream right, but who, for various reasons, remain outside its control.   Thus in the United States there are koran burnings and throughout the world there have been many random acts of violence against Muslims and Muslim sympathizers, often perpetrated by lone gunmen.

The powers that be do not welcome or in any way sanction these acts of random violence.   They are a complicating factor with which the political authorities would rather not have to deal, but they are an inevitable consequence of the programmes of deceit and the institutional violence which mainstream parties - including the Social Democratic Labour Parties - have unleashed throughout the world.

Religiously motivated extremists take the logic of the western crusade to its conclusion, and their anger has turned against the secular liberals from their own communities who they see as being "soft on Islam". The idea that one can run with the left wing hare and hunt with the hounds of the right is the common fallacy of Social democrats around the world.  It lead to the slaughter of social democracy in Germany, in Indonesia, in Chile and every other nation where this fatal strategy has been adopted.  In New Zealand, which does not possess Norway's strong neo-Nazi tradition, or the over-powerful military establishments that were the nemesis of the left in Germany, Indonesia and Chile,  it may lead to nothing worse than the electoral slaughter of the Labour Party.  In the final analysis that may be a very good thing.  Social democracy  in alliance with the extreme right is a not only a danger to itself.  It is a threat to all those other innocents who may get caught up in the bloodletting.

26 July 2011

Timothy O'Donnell

The "findings" of the New Zealand Defence Forces "investigation" into the death of Timothy O'Donnell  - that New Zealand troops need more training in :"handling foreign weapons", "driving foreign vehicles" and "calling in air support (from foreign forces)" -  had nothing to do with the causes of  O'Donnell's death.    The Chief of Defence Forces,  Richard  Rhys Jones, has cynically used the death of a soldier under his command to advance a treasonous political agenda. of closer integration between the military forces of  New Zealand and the United States.   O'Donnell was sent to die in an unjust war which his political and military masters have always known would end in defeat.   His death was therefore a great and criminal waste of a young life.  That is the only finding into the death of Timothy O'Donnell which would have been honest and to the point.

21 July 2011

 Replies to The Way Ahead - click here

19 July 2011

The Way Ahead

Tuesday 2 August, when the New Zealand Parliament resumes sitting in Wellington, will be a defining moment in our nation's history, even if it goes relatively unnoticed.   Hone Harawira, elected representative of Tai Tokerau, will confront Lockwood Smith, the Speaker of Parliament, over the requirement for an oath of allegiance to the British crown.

If both men stand their ground, Hone would not be permitted to take up his seat in parliament at this time, but the final outcome would be different.   Eventually parliament would be forced to accept representatives of the people who are not in allegiance to the British crown.  It would only take the refusal of one elected member to have the requirement of allegiance to the Crown finally repealed from New Zealand law, for the simple reason that this is a regime which claims to honour freedom of opinion, democratic process, and cultural diversity.  If the regime does not allow the people of Tai Tokerau to send it a representative whose allegiance is to his own people, it would sacrifice the moral ground on which it bases its claim to political legitimacy.  Sooner or later - probably within six months, almost certainly within three years - the regime would remove the test of allegiance to the British Queen as a requirement for citizenship and political office.  It would be obliged to do so because with every day of delay its claim to legitimacy would be slowly and surely eroded.

If Hone stands firm, and Smith allows him to do so, the way would be opened to small but significant reform of the political institutions of the New Zealand state and the regime would be able to assert its claims to inclusiveness, tolerance and respect with rather more credibility than it can at this present moment.  That would be the politically simple and sensible way for the regime to move forward.

The third and most widely anticipated possibility is that Hone Harawira submits to the demands of Lockwood Smith.  For those in the regime with seriously impaired and short range vision (perhaps the majority) this is also the preferred option, because it would seem to finally settle the matter on the basis of the status quo.  Smith would have his authority upheld.  Harawira would lose mana.  However it is not only Harawira's mana that would suffer.  The mana of the regime would decline with it, as the people of Tai Tokerau, and the people of the motu as a whole, would lose faith in the pretensions of the regime to be diverse, inclusive, democratic and tolerant of political differences.   Denied a voice in the formal institutions of democracy, the people will  find their political voice in institutions and organisations of their own making.  The point of view expressed by Hone Harawira when he last met with Lockwood Smith would not go away.  It would go underground.  That much should be apparent to even the most myopic regime.

17 July 2011

Will Hone stand firm?

Hone Harawira has gone further than any other politician in refusing to submit to the demand of Parliament's Speaker, Lockwood Smith, that he give his allegiance to the British queen, Elizabeth Windsor.

Smith hides behind the claim that Hone must "follow the law of the land", which is to say the law made by Smith himself and others of his ilk.  In fact, Smith's demand that Maori Members of Parliament give allegiance to the British Queen is a blatant attempt to re-assert British racial dominance.

The story of the Swiss struggle for independence from Austria recounts how the Austrian tyrant Gesler placed his hat on a pole in the market place and demanded that the people of Switzerland bow before before it.  After the patriot William Tell refused to bow to a hat on a pole he was seized by Gesler's troops and ordered to shoot an arrow into an apple which Gesler had placed on the head of Tell's son.  This story may be apochryphal but it contains at least two important truths.  The first is the importance of symbols in a people's struggle for freedom.  The second is that freedom is always hard won, and the struggle for freedom brings with it sacrifice and risks for those dearest to our hearts.

For one hundred and seventy years British monarchs have placed their Crown on a pole, and demanded that the people of Aotearoa pledge allegiance to it.  When in 1860 the tangata whenua of Tuakau peacefully refused to do so, they were driven out of their homes and off their land by British troops.

Now Lockwood Smith says that Hone Harawira must pledge allegiance to the British Queen, or suffer the consequences.  He says it is "the law of the land".  It is not the law of the land.  It is the law of the British crown, and it is sheer wickedness.   No human being should be bound in allegiance to any other.  Our duty as a people is not to the British Crown, but to truth, justice, and human dignity. If Hone decides to stand his ground in two weeks time, he must not stand alone.

What is the "law of the land"?

In English jurisprudence the phrase originated in the Magna Carta, which established the rights of the English citizen against the Norman kings.  The literal meaning of "law of the land" is the "law of the people of the land" that is the English common law which had existed for centuries  prior to the Norman invasion.  In later centuries, royal courtiers argued, for their own purposes, that the phrase "law of the land" included statute laws made under the authority of the king. However this claim  does not stand up to scrutiny.  The context of the Magna Carta, and the words themselves, make it clear that the "law of the land" is the common law, the law of the people,  distinct from, and frequently in opposition to, laws made under the authority of the monarch.

Here in Aotearoa the phrase  "law of the land" can only refer to the customs, traditions, and rules of the people of the land, the tangata whenua.  When Lockwood Smith invokes the "law of the land" to justify excluding Hone Harawira from his seat in parliament he is perpetrating a falsehood.  There is nothing in the customs of the tangata whenua to justify excluding a rangatira from a congress of tribes on the basis of his tribal affiliations or loyalties and nothing which require a member of one tribe to give formal allegiance to the leader of another tribe.  Lockwood Smith's requirement for an oath of allegiance to the British Queen is therefore strictly opposed to the "the law of the land" as it actually exists in Aotearoa.

29 June 2011

The BBC Connection

The New Zealand state broadcaster, Radio New Zealand National, relies on foreign broadcasting services, particularly the British Broadcasting Corporation, for much of its news and comment.  The common explanation for RNZ's dependence upon the BBC is that New Zealand lacks the financial resources to produce its own news reports and commentary. The "limited resources" argument strains credibility when the internet is filled with New Zealanders offering all manner of political comment, and some actual reportage, free and gratis.  But even if financial limitations provided an explanation for the dependence upon the BBC, the question must arise "Why the BBC?  Why not, say, Al Jazeera?".

The common response to that question would be that the BBC is a credible, objective source of news, where other providers have a bias, are openly partisan, or are mere instruments of propaganda.  The two fold problem with this defence is that, first, agencies such as Al Jazeera are now widely recognised as being objective, credible suppliers of news, and second that the BBC has become more a propaganda instrument of the British government, receiving a portion of its funding from the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifically to promote the state interests of the United Kingdom in the rest of the world.

The political agenda of the BBC is particularly evident in BBC reports of Middle Eastern affairs re-broadcast by Radio New Zealand.  For example the BBC has provided New Zealand with extensive  coverage of the British war against Libya and of Colonel Gaddafi's arraignment before the International Court of Criminal Justice.  There is no mention of the fact that identical crimes are currently being perpetrated by the pro-British regime in Bahrein.  There is no consideration of the fact that Colonel Gaddafi's crimes were never "discovered" while he was a close ally of Britain, just as New Zealanders were kept in the dark aboput the crimes of Saddam Hussein while he also was a staunch British ally.

British propaganda, like all propaganda, has become recognisable as much by its style as by its content.  There is a certain low, slow manner of speaking, a hushed solemnity which we once associated with reports of royal and state occasions, but which is now distinctly associated with BBC reports of the alleged crimes of foreign states with which Britain happens to be at odds, or at war.  We first noticed this in the solemn tones of Orla Guerin reporting on the Israel/Palestine conflict.  We then realized that other reporters were using the same intonation in their reporting of other theatres of war, or serious political dispute which directly involved British interests.

To give credit to the BBC, it was effective.  The low, measured tones gave an impression of authenticity,  veracity, and reliability.  But now this contrived style of speech has become a give-away, even something of a joke.  New Zealanders instantly recognise it as an indication that they are not being told the whole unvarnished truth.  The recognise it for what it is - an attempt to convey the impression of truthfulness while avoiding its substance.

So why does the New Zealand state broadcaster persist with this nonsense?  For the same reason that the New Zealand persists with the nonsense of the British monarchy; because the interests of a certain class of New Zealanders remain bound to the interests of the British state, through the social and political institutions of the colonial regime in New Zealand.

24 June 2011

Pike River and Canterbury revisited.

On 29 November 2010 I commented "In the weeks to come New Zealanders will be hearing much about the heroism of the Pike River miners, and much less about the incompetence, greed and recklessness of their managers.   There will be talk of how the disaster has brought New Zealanders closer together, and taught lessons for the future.  But ..there will be no accountability for the disaster"   I think I can say that I fairly judged the response of the politicians and the media.   Since both the major political parties were complicit in the decisions which lead to the 29 deaths, there has been a concerted effort to conceal the true facts from the public.  But the truth will out, and yesterday the state broadcaster was in the unfortunate position of having to lash out in  anger against workers representatives for revealing what the media had assiduously attempted to conceal.

The Royal Commission is a key part of the Pike River coverup.  Its purpose is to provide a pretext for suppressing any public discussion of the causes of the tragedy until the event has faded from public memory, and an excuse for taking no immediate action to avert future disasters.   Unfortunately for the regime, the people of the west coast already know  that their menfolk were sacrificed in the interests of a supposedly "business-friendly" economic environment which in truth is anything but.   "New Zealand Inc's" economic environment is only "friendly" to cynical charlatans and callous crooks.  The small business people of Christchurch have had their noses rubbed rubbed in the wreckage of their lives.   New Zealanders as a whole, both workers and business people, have been remarkably quiescent in the face of the outrageous hypocrisy of the regime, but their patience and their forebearance has its limits.  On boths sides of the Alps we have seen acts of defiance.

On the eastern side of the main divide, the agony of the people of Canterbury drags on, with no serious response from the government.   The unspoken government policy since 4 September 2010 has been "self-evacuation" - in other words, waiting for the survivors to become so desperate that pack up and they leave.   Even now, the state's "best offer" is to position itself as a middleman between earthquake victims and their insurers - assuming that they have one.   In a truly civilised society, the state would accept a duty to re-establish devastated communities, and to provide homes, jobs, schools and medical facilities, and all the necessities of life.   But the colonial regime has tacitly decreed that New Zealanders must shift for themselves.   To add insult to injury, it trotted out that privileged child of the House of Windsor,  Prince William, to placate the Pike River families, and console the people of Canterbury, or, more bluntly, to be there and to do nothing - an apt symbol of the colonial regime..

So what can we do?  We can take up the challenge of the regime.   We can provide for ourselves the necessities of life.   We can see to our own safety, and provide our own security in our communities, homes, and places of work.  We can take upon ourselves the responsibilities abdicated by the state.

On Sovereignty

2 June 2011

The conflict between the monarchy and the republic in Aotearoa centres on the concept of sovereignty, yet sovereignty is rarely the issue of debate. Instead of talking about sovereignty, we talk about democracy, nationhood and national identity which are all subjects that touch on the issue of sovereignty, without getting to the heart of the matter.   This is understandable, because sovereignty is a rather abstruse concept, and it is also fraught with political peril in New Zealand because of the Maori claim to sovereignty or tino rangatiratanga.  So instead of talking about sovereignty, which is the ultimate source of authority in the state, and therefore the basis of its claim to legitimacy, we talk about the mechanics of the state and its institutions, and the way in which we believe that the various state office holders should be selected.   On Sovereignty - click here to read more ...

13 May 2011

The Left and the  Mana Party

I was critical of moves by the radical left to associate themselves with the political fortunes of Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, and I was also  sceptical that Hone would want to embrace the support of the radical left.   I was, apparently, very wrong on the second count.  Veteran left activist Mike Treen reports that sharing the platform with Hone at the launch of the Mana Movement were  "John Minto (leader of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s and spokesperson for Global Peace and Justice Auckland) and Sue Bradford (unemployed workers rights leader in the 1980s and 1990s and former Green Party MP)".  He adds that "most groups that describe themselves as socialist, such as Socialist Aotearoa, the Workers Party, Socialist Worker and the International Socialist Organisation, have also generally greeted the emergence of this new party positively".

That is enough for me to acknowledge that my prediction that Hone would not be particularaly interested in support from the pakeha left was plain wrong, but I do not withdraw my criticism of the decision by some leading leftists to shack up with Hone.

It is not so many years ago that in quite similar circumstances the left rallied about Sydenham MP Jim Anderton to form a new left political party, New Labour, which later became the Alliance. That marriage ended in a messy divorce even though Anderton, a traditional left-Labour politician, was arguably a better match for the radical left than Hone Harawira.  It is said that second marriages represent the triumph of hope over experience.  The Harawira connection is actually the third time in as many decades that the left has entered into political matrimony with an eligible parliamentarian.  After the messy dissolution of the marriage to Anderton, the left jumped into bed with the Green Party.  That relationship ended more or less amicably only during the current term of parliament, and now the left is looking to build a future with Hone Harawira.

Despite the vicious press he receives, Harawira is no worse than any other parliamentarian.  He is upfront, he represents his constituency, and he keeps close to his people.  I never considered Russel Norman to be a likeable character, but I do like Hone.  The problem for the left is that he is a Maori nationalist with left leanings rather than a socialist with sympathy for Maori nationalism.  When he was prevented from speaking at Auckland University Law School yesterday, he blamed "pakeha students".   He may be right, but in choosing to blame "pakeha students", rather than "a group of bigoted students" or "a few prejudiced students", he does nothing to close the racial divide in this country.

These early days of Harawira's honeymoon with the left leaves me thinking that it may all end in tears again.  However, it is possible that this problematic match between Maori nationalism and pakeha radicalism could produce a marvelous offspring which will lead our peoples out of the shadow of privilege and colonialism and into the light of nationhood and social egalitarianism.  Let's hope so.

29 April 2011

The Royal wedding

The imminent marriage of Prince William, second in line to the throne of New Zealand, to Miss Kate Middleton has set the state broadcasting service and the privately owned media empires into a frenzy of excitement.   The coverage by the New Zealand media has been remarkable for the virtual absence of social context and historical memory.

There has been no mention of the monarchy's association with social privilege and deprivation, no mention of its essentially racial character, and no mention of the connection between the British monarchy, Anglo-American militarism and the imperial wars currently being fought throughout Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.   The critical social and political context is simply ignored by the colonial regime.

Neither has there been any serious reference to historical parallels - most obviously the marriage of William's father, Charles, to Lady Diana Spencer.   Charles of course is out somewhat out of favour with the monarchist political establishment, which does not want to remind us that at the time of his own first marriage he was hailed by the monarchists as the "Prince Charming" and "future king" who was marrying "the world's most beautiful woman".   The eulogies offered up for Charles at the time were every bit as extravagant as those now being made in honour of his son and heir, William.   Charles, however, is now derided as  a silly old git, an eccentric environmentalist, a stick in the mud traditionalist, and a tragi-comic adulterer.   His real problem, however,  is that he no longer fits the profile of one who would act as the figure head for a revanchist Anglo-American imperialist new world order.  William, with his token service in the British military, and his apparent freedom from the restrictions of strange moral principles, is considered a better prospect for the job.   However there is no saying how William himself may end up in two or three decades.  While he is unlikely to follow in the mindtracks of his father, there is no reason to assume that he will distinguish himself as a head of state.   More probably he will end up like his grandfather Phillip - a usually irrelevant, sometimes embarrassing denizen of the royal houses and estates.   History does not always repeat itself, but it does follow patterns, and there are no good grounds for supposing that William will significantly depart from the past history of the heads of the House of Windsor.

The unvarnished truth is that William is an unremarkable young man.    He has given no indication of great intellect, political insight, moral courage, or religious sensibility.   More particularly, he knows little of New Zealand or its history.   He can do nothing to help resolve economic problems, restore social equity, or ease race tensions in this country.    He is simply not qualified to provide the kind of leadership that one would expect from a head of state, and he has never demonstrated any potential in that direction.   The courtiers and courtesans of the monarchist regime are reduced to asserting that his very ordinariness is an extraordinary virtue, sufficient to make him a worthy head of state.   Jane Clifton, in the normal course no one's fool, took three pages worth of the "New Zealand Listener" to advance this strange argument.   She presumably did so  because she was obliged or compelled to join the regime's "united front" in defence of the institution of the monarchy.

This artificially induced wave of monarchist sentiment is actually a sign of an understandable crisis of confidence within the colonial regime.   Over its one hundred and seventy year history, the British colonial regime in New Zealand has re-invented itself a number of times, on each occasion adopting a more egalitarian stance domestically, and a more independent posture internationally.   The first major change came under the Liberal government at the turn of the nineteenth century, the second under Labour before the Second World War, and the third began, haltingly, under the administrations of David Lange and Jim Bolger, with the adoption of a more independent foreign policy, the end of knighthoods for New Zealand citizens, removal of the right of appeal to the British Privy Council and tentative moves towards the eventual formation of a republic.

The third re-invention of the New Zealand state has now stalled under the bland administration of John Key.  Key has faltered on the road to national independence because the regime recognises that the problems facing New Zealand are now very serious indeed.   The grounds for optimism which were present in the earlier and mid twentieth century no longer exist, and the instinctive response of the regime is to retreat back upon its colonial past.    In many ways, the regime has become a victim of its own ideology.   It has become increasingly sychophantic in its relations to external powers, superficial in its analysis of domestic circumstances, unable to find a way out of never-ending ethnic divisions,  and unable to adequately address structural problems in the economy or growing social inequality.   Much of this can be put down to the monarchy which has encouraged craven attitudes to power, moral anomie, and the abandonment of critical intelligence and political principle.

The overarching role of the British monarchy in New Zealand has given rise to a sense that the nation itself is incapable of providing its own leadership and solving its own problems, up to the point that the perception has become the reality.   "Official" society in New Zealand has been reduced to a hollow shell by centuries of colonialism.  It is a scenario whichd bodes ill for the longterm survival of the regime, yet is not without hope for the future of our people.   The future of this country does not belong with those who are fawning over the future king, Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, an unremarkable couple whose capacity to lead our people is not even on a par with that of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.   The future lies with those who have abandoned the ideology and institutions of the colonial regime, and are getting on with the job of building an independent nation.

11 March 2011

A military Governor-General   The appointment of Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae as Governor-General of New Zealand is an interesting departure from the normal practice of appointing a member of the judiciary to act as the personal representative of the monarch.  Among western nations there has been a longstanding reluctance to involve military personnel in the business of government.  The convention has been that the military should be subordinate to the civil authority, and not the other way around... A military Governor-General - click here to read more..

3 March 2011

The February 22 earthquake  has tragically demonstrated that the much admired colonial structures of Christchurch could not withstand the geological stresses encountered in Aotearoa.   The political structures of colonialism face a similar fate, and the earthquake itself may serve as a catalyst for the eventual collapse of the colonial administration.  The New Zealand economy, always fragile, has sustained a series of blows in recent years (see Pike River and other disasters below), but the Christchurch earthquake is a magnitude of order greater than any single event that has gone before.  There has been damage to property in the order of $20 billion and tens of thousands have been left with no jobs, no houses and no schools, in an event which has directly and savagely impacted on one tenth of the population of New Zealand.

Some are pointing to the so-called "Giuliani effect" according to which a society in crisis rallies behind those who have authority.   They suggest that this particular crisis may actually strengthen the state, and in particular increase the popularity and political influence of its present administration.  That is an optimistic view.  The "Giuliani effect" only works in favour of a state which has the strength, resilience, and resources to mitigate and restore the damage from war or natural disaster. States which lack the capacity to quickly restore normalcy, or suffer from fundamental inherent contradictions of their own, are more commonly brought down by economic or social catastrophes.     At this point in its history the New Zealand state belongs in the latter category.   There have been too many shocks, both man-made and "natural",  for the state and society to easily sustain.

People working together will replace the political structures of colonialism with those of their own making - less ornate, not so grand, low to the ground, but strong and resilient.   While politicians are solemnly addressing the television cameras, and carefully choosing the right words for the assembled microphones, the people of Christchurch are giving material help to their neighbours, providing the necessities of life and beginning the work of repair and restoration.  Once the dust has settled on Christchurch, it will be instructive to compare the standing of the Student Volunteer Army with that of the Office of  Earthquake Recovery.

Pike River and other disasters

29 November 2010

While trying to cope with the fallout from the financial collapse, the "Leaky houses" crisis, and the Canterbury earthquake, New Zealand has been hit in quick succession by the Southland snowfall, the PSA crisis in the kiwifruit industry, and now the Pike River coal mine disaster.   With the exception of the earthquake, the common themes in this catalogue of disasters are greed, recklessness and incompetence causing disaster, timidity and procrastination in addressing the consequences, and a total lack of public candour in the aftermath.   The most obvious responses have aimed to protect and enhance the powers of the very institutions which have been responsible for the disaster.  On past performance, we can expect greater powers and privileges to be granted to the mining corporations as a direct result of the Pike River tragedy.
 Pike River - click here to read more

22 October 2010

The Hobbit and Aussie rules.   Deputy Prime Minister Gerry Brownlee jumped into the Peter Jackson/Actors Equity row over "The Hobbit" film project by attacking the alleged intervention of "Aussie unions" in New Zealand industrial relations.   It would be strange indeed if Australian labour organisations did not have some interest in industrial relations in this country.   Australian capital controls the mass media, retail trade, finance, banking  and steel production in New Zealand, and has significant interests in transport, commercial property and manufacturing.    Australian labour will follow where Australian capital has gone, even if only to protect its own interests.   If Australian capital can employ New Zealanders on lower wages, capital will cross the Tasman to New Zealand, thus undermining the wages and conditions of Australian workers, and Australian unions can be expected to respond to protect their own interests.

In criticising the intervention of  "Aussie unions" while accepting the dominant role of Australian capital in the New Zealand economy, Brownlee is standing on shaky ground.   It is difficult for him to employ the charge of "xenophobia" against those who attack foreign capital, at the same time that he is attacking labour organisations on the ground that they are domiciled in Australia.   It also becomes difficult for the National government to pursue its stated objective of obtaining "wage equality" between New Zealand and  Australia while resisting the efforts of Australian unions to enforce trans-Tasman parity of wages and conditions.

Brownlee's problem is that the regime has no coherent and workable political strategy.   To achieve pay equity with Australia, it will need to allow Australian style industrial relations.   But if it has Australian style industrial relations it won't attract Australian capital.   To reassure Australian investors it needs to keep a lid on anti-Australian sentiment, yet crude xenophobia is the only weapon it has to deal with the "threat" from Australian unions.

Thirty five years ago, another New Zealand Prime Minister, Robert David Muldoon, was berating "British unionists" with "Clydeside accents" who he claimed were inflaming industrial relations and disrupting the New Zealand economy.   At the time Muldoon was engaged in a last ditch effort to defend the privileged and  dominant position of British capital in New Zealand.  He needed to convince British investors that New Zealand offered all the advantages of Britain, without the drawback of militant British unionism.   That was not the case, and could not be the case, because New Zealand had recruited large numbers of skilled (or not so-skilled) British migrants to work within the enterprises established by British capital.   These workers naturally and predictably brought with them the attitudes and practices of British trade unionism.   That was the conundrum faced by Muldoon, and the same dilemma now presents itself to the Key-Brownlee government.   Even if indigenous New Zealanders can be induced to accept inferior terms and conditions of employment under the rule of foreigh capital, the huge numbers of recently recruited foreign workers will not, and foreign labour organisations will support them in the struggle for equity.

The only economic strategy the colonial regime has ever had is based on a continual influx of foreign capital, whether in the form of state or private borrowing from  foreign capital markets, or direct foreign investment.   When the sources of foreign capital start to run dry, that strategy falls apart, and the regime is forced into adopting contradictory and self-defeating political positions.   The Paul Henry/Anand Satyanand incident, the Crafar-farms/Natural-Dairy debate, and John Key's protestation that "New Zealanders should not be tenants in their own country" are evidence of how the regime's commitment to the principles of economic globalism is being undermined as it is forced to resort to populism and racism in a doomed attempt to shore up the political support which has been steadily eroded by failures in the economic realm.    Because he has the support of privileged classes and the mass media, Brownlee thinks he is on to a winner.   In fact he is on a hiding to nowhere.   If he succeeds in arousing public anger against "Aussie unions", he will,. despite himself, strengthen the case against Australian capital, at the same time that  he undermines his own regime's (rather silly) objective of "pay equity with Australia".  On the other hand, every time he flirts with nationalist and populist sentiment, he inadvertently opens up the possibility of a truly radical, nationalist and popular reform of the New Zealand state and society.

The regime's position is rich with irony.   After accusing "Aussie unions" of intervening in New Zealand industrial relations, Brownlee now proposes to change New Zealand employment law to suit the demands of the United States film studio Warner Brothers.   The man that Brownlee champions, knight of the realm, "Sir" Peter Jackson, is a New Zealander who directs puerile Hollywood movies.  His work embodies on celluloid the values of a crass and degenerate colonial regime.   Unlike Gaylene Preston, Taika Waititi, or Vincent Ward he has not directed a single move which reflects the New Zealand condition.  He has not directed a single good movie.   Jackson's departure would be no loss to this country.  There would be more immediate cause for concern if he was allowed to remain in New Zealand on the basis of exemptions from New Zealand tax and employment law being demanded by Warner Brothers.   In that eventuality however, the regime would suffer a further loss of credibility.   In the longer run, the colonial regime has nowhere to go.   With every action it digs the ground away from under its own feet.

12 October 2010

The Right Honourable John Key and Paul Henry: the remaining questions.

Why was the Prime Minister "taken aback" by Paul Henry's racist remarks?  Why did he not immediately dissociate himself from them?   Why did he not want to see Henry sacked?  Why does he now insist that the affair is "closed"?

John Key would not have been taken aback if Henry's comments had been completely unexpected.   He would have responded by criticising Henry's assumptions.   And Henry would not have made the comments if he had anticipated a hostile reaction from the Prime Minister.

The explanation for the comments and the reaction is that both Key and Henry knew that the question of a replacement for Anand Satyanand would be raised in the TVNZ "Breakfast" programme.    Both Key and Henry knew that Key would respond by giving notice that the next Governor-General would be someone more representative of "typical" or "mainstream"  New Zealanders.

But Henry got it wrong by crossing the line between nationalism and racism.   Key was then "taken aback" because the question came in a form  for which his mentally prepared response would have been inappropriate.   Normally Key could have handled a question from left field while standing on his head.   On this occasion he was caught flat-footed because he was facing the wrong direction.  He was expecting the ball to come from another quarter, and was unable to turn himself around fast enough to respond as he should have.

Once the damage was done, Key was obliged to stand behind Henry as a matter of honour.  Henry had got it badly wrong, but Henry had been serving the political interests of the Prime Minister.   Therefore Key continued to insist that Henry was still the right man to run the Breakfast show.    He now wants the matter to find early closure, because anyone digging deeper may discover that Key's role in the affair was rather greater than appears on the surface.

The office of Governor-General has always been an instrument of race (and gender) politics in New Zealand.   Through most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it was a way of asserting the right to rule of the British aristocracy.   In 1977 the appointment process was used to anoint New Zealanders of British descent, in the person of Keith Holyoake, as the heirs and successors of the British aristocrats.   Then in 1985 it was used to signify the inclusion of Maori in the person of Paul Reeves, and in 2006 as a mark of political respect to the Indian community in the person of Anand Satyanand.   Paul Henry's mistake, and his undoing, was that he did not gloss over the matter with the requisite degree of finesse.    The appointment of a Governor-General is all about race, but one of the rules of the game is that race must not be mentioned.

8 October 2010

The Struggle for the Raj

The row over Paul Henry's disparaging attitude towards Indian immigrants is a reflection on the particular way in which people of Indian descent have been incorporated into New Zealand society.   Aside from those who work in the retail trade, banking and engineering, a significant number of Indians have been employed in central and local government. . Anand Satyanand as Governor-General, and Rajen Prasad as Race Relations Commissioner are the most prominent examples, but they are the tip of a small iceberg of Indians who help fill the lower ranks of the state service. Indians have made their way into government because they are familiar with the English language and the principles of British law, and they are generally comfortable with the political systems which British imposed throughout the empire.  As the inheritors of the British raj, they are well-positioned  to take a place within the very similar governmental structures which exist in New Zealand.

However this has given rise to resentment among some European New Zealanders.   TVNZ was almost right to claim that Paul Henry's outburst simply expresses what many New Zealanders have been thinking, but were afraid to say.  Until the end of the twentieth century, the political system operated on the simple principle that the British ruled, and other races - including Maori - were treated in ways which the ruling race considered to be fair and reasonable.  In the twenty first century, New Zealand society remains race-based, and racial minorities are demanding a part in government, and a share in the spoils of power.  The most obvious consequence has been the rise of the Maori Party.  That has been accompanied by the increasing influence of ethnic Indians within the New Zealand Labour Party, and will probably be followed at some time in the not too distant future by the formation of a Chinese political party.  All these developments, while natural and even unavoidable within the context of the present constitution, are actually destabilizing.

It is no answer to say that this is a time of change, and that eventually European New Zealanders will get used to the idea of an Asian Governor-General, Asians occupying senior positions within the state service, and ethnic parties which can have a decisive influence over government policy.  New Zealanders, and not just European New Zealanders, are feeling insecure.  They have largely forsaken the spirit of egalitarianism, the Christian faith, and the comforting notion of a benevolent state, along with the confidence that came from being an integral part of the British empire.  Those structures which have been retained, such as the Treaty of Waitangi,  have no relevance to relations with Chinese, Indian and other ethnicities, and do little to maintain good relations between Maori and Pakeha.  New Zealand society is becoming confused and unstable as the ties which once bound contending races and classes together are progressively relaxed, leaving social and ethnic  "diversity" as the  defining characteristic of New Zealand society.

In a nation state which is comprised of contending tribes the power of the state will be appropriated to the interests of individual tribes, and "tolerance" will not withstand the ensuing social tensions.   Paul Henry's racism is symptomatic of the collapse of social tolerance in the face of "diversity" within the institutions of a state which has lost its way.   This was the pattern of Rwanda and Yugoslavia, where radio and television "shock jocks" lead the way to anarchy and genocide.   More pertinently it is the pattern followed by many small "ethnically diverse" societies created under the British empire - for example Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, Palestine and Malaya - where failed attempts to "manage" ethnic diversity culminated in ethnic violence which has left still unresolved problems.   "Diversity" and "tolerance" is not enough to assure the survival of a social order.   More positive values, and unifying principles, are required.   The tragedy is that the New Zealand state has largely abandoned those positive values - such as egalitarianism and commitment to the common good - which provided a solid social foundation for the tolerance of diversity.

What makes a New Zealander?

Because I don't usually watch television, I was unaware of the close and mutually beneficial partnership between Prime Minister John Key and television presenter Paul Henry.  That,special relationship, and the way in which Key responded to Henry's racist remarks, raises suspicion as to whether  Key knew of  what Henry intended to say before he said it.  Henry is not a maverick individual who "stepped over the line".  He continues to be protected by people in high places.  He was immediately suspended without pay for two weeks, not as a punishment, but  so that he could not subsequently be sacked under the rule against double jeopardy.   The TVNZ PR machine has rallied around him, TV1 has run another one of its spurious phone polls which falsely implied overwhelming public support for Henry, and Prime Minister Key continues to defend him as an appropriate person to represent the values of the New Zealand state.

I could not argue with that.  Henry is an appropriate representative for the monarchist state.  Apart from being a staunch monarchist and urepentant racist, he is shallow and silly.  Rating a person on the basis of how he or she "looks" and "sounds" is what one might expect from the superficial  world of media personalities and monarchist politicians.  But the Prime Minister, ingenuously suggesting that a New Zealander is "anyone who loves New Zealand", does not much better.  Rating a person by how much they "love New Zealand" is what  one would expect from the spoilt and self-indulgent.  If you own a mansion in Parnell and a lifestyle block on the Kaipara, you naturally "love New Zealand".   If you are confined to a poky New Lynn apartment, or a live in a rundown house in Ford block, you might not love New Zealand in quite the same way, because the New Zealand of your experience will be different to the New Zealand of John Key's experience.

So how should one decide who is a real "New Zealander"?   The answer is "One shouldn't bother".  Honour courage, wisdom, honesty and compassion in any human being.  Accidents of birth, good looks and good fortune do not come into it.

Regime shows its racist colours

In the course of an interview with Prime Minister John Key on the state television network TVNZ, presenter Paul Henry, a self-confessed monarchist, remarked that Governor-General Anand Satyanand "doesn't look or sound like a New Zealander".   Key allowed Henry's racist  remark to pass.   One reason for Key's failure to respond appropriately is that Satyanand, of Indian ethnic origin,  was appointed on the recommendation of the previous Labour government, and the Indian population of New Zealand is generally supportive of the Labour Party.   Another is that Key himself has been courting European racial sentiment.  His suggestion that "New Zealanders should not be tenants in their own country" in the context of the Crafar farms sale was designed to stoke European fears of large-scale Chinese ownership farms, forests, and residential accommodation in this country .   There is no evidence that Key is concerned for the millions of New Zealanders who right now are "tenants" of European landlords, corporate farmers  or forestry companies.

Satyanand was appointed because of his ethnicity.  But his ethnicity is no ground on which to judge him.  Satyanand is a man of evident personal integrity who has allowed himself to become the  instrument of a corrupt regime.   He has no democratic credentials, no popular support, and no moral authority.   He has no right to rule over us.   He has no right to make laws through Orders-In-Council.

So why has the regime that he serves so viciously turned against him?  The nub of the matter is the extraordinary powers which parliament has granted to the executive through the Canterbury Earthquake Act.   As it rules by decree, the regime wants to be represented by a person who "looks and sounds like a New Zealander".   Expect John Key to follow Paul Henry's suggestion by appointing a European or Maori with some public standing as the next Governor-General.

21 September

The very model of a modern Governor-General.  A striking departure from tradition and convention occurred in 1977, when National Party Prime Minister Robert Muldoon recommended the appointment of former National Party Prime Minister Keith Holyoake to the post of Governor-General.  Although he managed to sound like one, Holyoake was not a British aristocrat, as most previous Governors-General had been, and neither was he New Zealand-born but British-resident, like some of his more recent predecessors.   He was a New Zealand-born New Zealand-resident, New Zealand citizen whose entire career had been spent in farming and politics in New Zealand.   After Holyoake, all Governors-General would be New Zealand citizens, and most would be New Zealand-born.  Governors-General - click here to read more

Stephen Wilce, appointed Chief Scientist to the New Zealand Defence force, "told people that he had served in the Royal Marines and had worked for the British secret services MI5 and MI6" and that he "had been in the British Olympic team" .    Wilce has now been exposed as an imposter.    It is not the first time  the New Zealand Defence Forces and the New Zealand government  have been taken in by a fraudster claiming connections with the British military or intelligence services.   Other foreign nationals face fairly rigorous investigations  into their background and loyalties, but "Brits" continue to be accepted into the highest echelons of the New Zealand military and intelligence community without even the most cursory vetting.   As with Nigerian internet scams, one cannot help but think that the victims of this particular fraud are as much to blame for their predicament as the perpetrator.  Corruption in the military

17 September 2010

The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act  On the evening of Tuesday September 14 the New Zealand Parliament voted unanimously in favour of a bill (The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill) which gave the administration the right to suspend all New Zealand law with the exception of the Bill of Rights and the Electoral Act.   The purported justification was to provide the means to promote reconstruction in the province of Canterbury which had been struck by a major earthquake on the morning of Saturday September 4, causing much damage to property and infrastructure, but no loss of life and few injuries.   During this experience order has been maintained, and the immediate needs of the public have been met through a variety of institutions.  So why did the government feel it necessary to give itself the power to suspend the rule of law in this situation, and why did the parliament agree? click here to read more

26 August 2010

A republic by evolution?  The call for an elected Governor-General The Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (RMANZ) has proposed that the Governor-General of New Zealand should henceforth be elected by a three quarters majority of parliament. At present the Governor General is the British monarch's personal representative in New Zealand, appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The post of Governor-General was established in the early colonial era because the British Crown wanted  to control the colonial administration through an official who was answerable to neither natives nor colonists. Circumstances have changed.  The British Crown no longer seeks to govern New  Zealand.  So the Governor-General is practically redundant, but is retained to carry out the ceremonial duties of a head of state while serving as a permanent reminder of New Zealand's continuing association with the British crown.

The RMANZ proposal implies that the office of Governor General could, by stages, transform into the office of President of an independent republic.  The RMANZ proposal is a gradualist approach to the establishment of a republic, which would easily fit into the conventional New Zealand way of doing things.  No drama, no barricades and no blood in the streets.  If at some future time, it was deemed that the Governor-General-cum-President-cum-Tumuaki should be the representative of the nation, rather than the representative of the monarch, then New Zealanders could wake up one day to find that they were living in a fully fledged independent republic... A republic by evolution? click here to read more...

16 August 2010

The Empire Strikes back: Arguments in favour of the monarchy.

Noel Cox, Chairperson of Monarchy New Zealand, is a lawyer by trade, and so could be expected to produce some cogent arguments in favour of retaining the monarchy.  In an interview on the website of the Victoria University student newspaper "Salient" he asserts that the primary advantage of the monarchy is "political stability and political neutrality".   That argument is inherently contradictory.  If the monarchy promotes political stability, then it is a conservative political force.  If it is politically conservative, then it cannot be politically neutral. The Empire Strikes Back - click here to read more ...

1 August 2010

"Our dairy farms".

Political rhetoric frequently employs the first person plural ( "we" and "our")  to imply a social, ethnic, local, or national community of interest.  When Green Party politicians speak of "our national parks" they are implying that the people of New Zealand have the rights and responsibilities of ownership of parklands, including the right to use and enjoy, and the responsibility to protect and maintain.   Strictly speaking the institution of the state holds title to the national parks, and the state exercises those responsibilities through its various agencies such as the Department of Conservation, but there is a common expectation that the state acts on behalf of the people, and cannot use, or dispose of the national parks in ways which conflict with the popular will.   Our dairy farms... click here to read more ...

30 July 2010

Crafar farms

The dodgy background of the Chinese prospective buyers, and the eminent status of the  New Zealanders who they have employed to argue their case, namely former National Party Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, and former broadcasting chief  Bill Ralston, are interesting features of the Chinese "Natural Dairy" bid for the Crafar farms .

If New Zealanders are concerned that "their" most productive dairy farms might be sold to the Chinese, should they not be even more worried when "their" politicians and media personalities are for sale to the highest bidder?

It is people like the Crafars, Jenny Shipley and Bill Ralston who constitute the real problem for New Zealanders - not the Chinese, or any other foreign investors.   Foreign control has become endemic thanks to the greed, stupidity, and corruption of the colonial regime.   The Crafar farms saga - click here to read a previous post...

Afghan war.

Labour  Prime Minister Helen Clark had a raft of reasons for taking the country to war against the Afghan Taleban.    She wanted to show solidarity with New Zealand's traditional allies, Britain and the United States of America, at a time when Tony Blair's Labour Party held power in Westminster while her own New Zealand Labour  Party sat on the Treasury benches in Wellington.   As a staunch feminist and secularist,  she was also ideologically committed to the Afghan war.   She perceived the Taleban to be religious fundamentalists, male chauvinists and social reactionaries.   As such they were anathema to Clark and the feminist/homosexual wing of the Labour Party.    The right-wing of the party, represented by current leader Phil Goff were, was equally enthusiastic.   Goff proudly announced that a member of his family was serving in the US forces in Afghanistan.   Even the Green Party, which is generally to the left of the Labour Party on matters of war and peace, was equivocal in its approach to the conflict, being critical of US actions, while maintaining that "our" (meaning the regime's) forces were doing a "good job".   Only a small segment of the left - such as John Minto's Global Peace and Justice Association, and the Ploughshares group of Waihopai fame - opposed the war on principle.

But now the Afghan war is inexorably drawing to a bloody conclusion.    In the shock of eminent defeat, troops sent to "save Afghan women from the tyranny of the Taleban" are machine-gunning Afghan village girls in cold-blooded reprisals for Taleban attacks, while the architect of New Zealand involvement, Helen Clark, after declaring that she would have the top job in New Zealand or none at all, absconded to New York where she now enjoys a lucrative career as a United Nations bureaucrat.  Secular feminism, as represented by Clark, has been debased by its association with the monarchist regime, to the point where it only functions to excuse the personal ambition and selfishness of a privileged elite, while the Taleban, who know too well the meaning of humility and self-sacrifice are gaining support amongst all sections of Afghan society.    The score in this last round of the West's "great game" will be Secular feminism 0, Islamic fundamentalism 1.

22 July 2010

Corruption in the military.

Following disclosures that New Zealand military personnel had corruptly misappropriated United Nations funds,  New Zealand's Minister of Defence has publicly admitted that corruption is a "cultural problem" in the armed forces of the Realm.   He is not far off the mark.   Corruption has taken root in the New Zealand Defence Forces  for much the same reason that it has become firmly established within the Immigration Service, whose role is to administer immigration policies under which New Zealand citizenship is effectively on sale to the highest bidders, no questions asked.   It is a situation designed to undermine the integrity of any person who takes up a career in the Immigration Service.   The role of the military is to support and assist corrupt foreign governments like that of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, and New Zealand troops will almosts inevitably  be corrupted by the very nature of the job.    Where will it end?   Watch this space...

20 July 2010

Claim of right

The "provocation" and "claim of right" controversies are part of a wider trend within the regime as it seeks to limit accountability in some areas of society, to impose ever greater restrictions in others, and to reduce the role of the judicial system as arbiter and judge.  Proposed changes to employment law remove a crucial area of employment relations from the jurisdiction of the courts, and make employers unaccountable for their actions.   click here to read more...

19 July 2010


Over the years I have disagreed with the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand on a number of issues, and those differences persist.  However I must now acknowledge the willingness of the present editor of the Republican Newsletter to give space to my opinions in the latest issue.    The decision of the editor, Savage, to open his columns to contrary opinion is in the best tradition of New Zealand  republicanism.

My recent experience is that Savage does not give carte blanche to contributors, but works pro-actively to ensure that any case is as clearly reasoned  and succinctly expressed as possible.   I commend his editorial approach to others.   It augurs well for the progress of the republican movement.

RMANZ confines its political aspirations to the abolition of the monarchy in order to achieve the broadest possible political backing,  which means that the organisation can only have an indirect influence upon the detailed design of a future republic.  But  that indirect influence, when used to foster vigorous  intellectual debate combined with a spirit of  friendship towards those of contrary opinion, can put heart and soul into the Republic of Aotearoa.

14 July 2010

The Crafar Farms saga

The Green Party is publicly proclaiming that "highly productive" land in New Zealand should not be sold to foreign buyers.  Statements by Green Party leader Russel Norman come hard on the heels of his tussle with Chinese security men on the steps of parliament, and were made in the context of the proposed sale of the "Crafar" dairy farms to the Chinese company "Natural Dairy".   It would appear that Norman is particularly concerned by the prospect of Chinese ownership of New Zealand farms, and particularly concerned by the sale of "highly productive"  (read "dairy") land....   The Crafar farms saga - click here to read more...

21 June 2010

Russel Norman’s protest on behalf of Tibet

When political activists become Members of Parliament, they change their way of doing things.   They are expected to act with more decorum than the typical radical activist.   They issue press statements, where in a previous life they might have joined in rowdy demonstrations or acts of civil disobedience.   They avoid activities which may lead to physical confrontation, or risk arrest for some real or alleged breach of the law...   click here to read more...

22 April 2010

The regime's retreat from democracy.

It comes as no surprise that Keith Locke's  Head of State Referenda Bill, which would have given New Zealanders the right to vote on whether the British monarch should remain as Head of State in New Zealand, was voted down at its first reading in the New Zealand Parliament.     This is one sign of the regime's increasing unease with democratic institutions.  Among the others: In Auckland, democratically elected local governments have been abolished to make way for a larger, more powerful regional government which has been modelled along the lines of the fascist Italian corporate state.   And in Canterbury, central government has sacked the elected members of the regional council, and replaced them with its own appointees, headed by Dame Margaret Bazley, who not only boasts a royal honour, but pleads the same moral justification as the Queen for her "right to rule" over the people of Canterbury.

Bazley states that she is "just doing a job" and therefore should be allowed "to get on with it".   Like most committed fascists, Bazley sincerely believes in her own vision, political prowess, right to rule and personal destiny.   She believes that she is good for New Zealand.   But the need to keep power and authority in the hands of  unelected leaders like Elizabeth Windsor and Margaret Bazley exposes the fundamental weakness of the regime.   Despite controlling the mass media and all the machinery of government, it has been unable to exert effective control over the political attitudes of ordinary folk.   Its response has been to retreat from democratic process.   As that retreat progresses, the regime will be left with no solid political ground upon which to make a final stand..

The non-binding declaration on indigenous rights.

There are some New Zealanders who believe that words only have value when they are used to express a truth.   And there are others who believe that words can be used formally, in ways which have no association with the truth, as a shibboleth to open the way to a personal or political promised land.

The Maori Party pledges allegiance to the Queen for reasons that have little to do with loyalty to the institution of the British monarchy.   The National Party government signs the non-binding declaration on indigenous rights for reasons which have nothing to do with giving or restoring rights to Maori.  No one makes any serious attempt to either expose or obfuscate these sham declarations.   The National Party is content that the Maori Party have made a false oath of allegiance to the Queen, and the Maori Party is content that the National Party has made a false commitment to indigenous rights.

The regime is not only in retreat from democracy.  It is also in retreat from the truth.

31 March 2010

The Waihopai verdict: a blow for the regime.

A Wellington jury's decision to acquit Adrian Leason, Peter Murnane and Sam Land on charges of burglary and wilful damage, arising out of their attack on the Waihopai spy base, has sent shock waves through the regime.   From the verdict, we may  safely infer that the jury accepted that the three accused genuinely believed that their action would help to save the lives of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.   And it is not unreasonable to infer that the jury must have had some sympathy with the defendants and their professions of faith in order to find them credible.   It also follows that the jury must have doubts about the justification for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the regime's military alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The panel of twelve jurors was selected more or less at random from the population of Wellington city, which is the heart of government in New Zealand.   And all twelve jurors would have agreed to the verdict.  That extraordinary result provoked a storm of impotent fury from the regime's mass media organisations and from sources that speak for the United States government.    It also lead to mutterings within the regime that the freedom of juries to convict or acquit as they see fit may be curtailed.  But such moves to limit popular influence within judicial or political processes would be self-defeating.   The regime is clearly out of step with the people.  It will not be able to impose its will in perpetuity.

The APN vendetta against Brian Tamaki.

The APN media empire is currently devoting considerable resources to a vendetta against the Destiny Church and Bishop Brian Tamaki.   As National Radio's Mediawatch has observed, in the normal course a newspaper or any other journal of record will report, comment upon, and analyse events of public significance.    But in the present case, there is no recent news event which APN can use to justify its anti-Tamaki campaign.  There have been no surprising revelations, no fresh scandal, and no allegations of criminal wrong doing by either Brian Tamaki or the Destiny Church.

Brian Tamaki has been particularly criticised for requiring a personal oath of allegiance to himself as Bishop of the Destiny Church, and a tithing system.   But the regime itself demands an oath of personal allegiance to the monarch, Queen Elizabeth.    And where Tamaki persuades his followers to pay tithes, the state compels even its poorest subjects to hand over a much higher proportion of their income in taxes.  Tamaki has also been reviled on account of his ambition and perceived vanity.   Yet  material ambition and the cult of celebrity are among the core values of the colonial regime, which is in no position to claim the moral high ground over the likes of Brian Tamaki.

In these circumstances it is fair to ask "What motivates APN?"   The similarity between the current campaign against  Brian Tamaki  and the equally baseless 2008 vendetta against  Winston Peters  is suggestive.   Tamaki and Peters are both charismatic and socially conservative Maori whose appeal and  aspirations extend beyond the boundaries of Maoridom.   They are challenging the political establishment for the hearts and minds of the population as a whole, and enjoying a fair measure of success, in contrast to more or less exclusively ethnic organisations like the Maori Party or the Ratana Church, which can be effectively incorporated as a "minor support party" or "ethnic religious movement" within the existing power structures.   APN is worried by the implications of Tamaki's religious fundamentalism, just as it was worried by the implications of Winston Peters' economic nationalism.   To be specific, APN is worried that their respective movements may not be successfully contained within marginal population groups, and safely directed along paths that are acceptable to the regime.

And they have reason to be concerned.  Since the days of imperial Rome,  nationalism and religious fundamentalism have been the two most potent forces undermining the foundations of  empire.   The same phenomenon brought the Soviet empire to its knees, presently threatens the integrity of the Peoples Republic of China, and is wreaking havoc for the Anglo-American empire throughout central Asia.   The Iranian revolution and the ongoing insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan has demonstrated that the combination of nationalism and religious fundamentalism constitutes a more intractable threat to western imperialism than any secular ideology.

To this point Tamaki has not challenged New Zealand's political subordination to Anglo-American imperialism. He accepts the argument that New Zealand should remain in a military alliance with the United States of America, and that the British monarch should remain as New Zealand's head of state.  But the Tamaki/Peters  attempt to blend social conservatism, economic nationalism and imperialist politics will be unsustainable in the longer term.  Economic and cultural nationalism will eventually and inevitably find expression in authentic political nationalism, and the chances are that religious fundamentalism in New Zealand will take a radical turn, as it already has throughout the margins of the Anglo-American empire..

The Destiny Church is a relatively easy target, reflecting the human weaknesses of its founder.  But the regime should be careful what it wishes for.   It remains on relatively safe ground with a man like Brian Tamaki who palpaby enjoys his good suits, comfortable house, and his luxury yacht.   A truly ascetic and charismatic religious leader, in the mould of Mullah Omar or Ruhollah Khomeini, would bring the fire of revolution.   And that is something which the regime can do without.

1 March 2010

Gareth Hughes is a Green Party list Member of Parliament who has pledged allegiance to a royal family which he himself describes as comprising "an old lady and her quirky kids who live on the other side of the world".   On his own admission he has done so in order "take my seat in the House of Representatives".  Right now it suits Gareth to make a show of allegiance to "an old lady and her quirky kids".   At some future time, he suggests, it may suit him even better to make an oath of allegiance to "the people of New Zealand".   But why would any one believe his profession of allegiance then, if they cannot take him at his word now?  to read Gareth's statement click here...

10 February 2010

Why is the Australian-owned APN media empire all of  a sudden telling us that New Zealand needs a new national flag which would signal  the end of the colonial relationship with Great Britain?  ... The flag debate - click here to read more ...

12 November 2009

Two prominent Maori - Bishop Brian Tamaki and Hone Harawira MP for Tai Tokerau -  have stirred up media storms in recent weeks.   Tamaki had the temerity to require an oath of allegiance from members of the Destiny Church which he heads, while Harawira gave offence by his use of profane language in an email in which he criticised "white people" for "raping" the land.   The regime's mass media organisations have made a meal out of these events.   But while Tamaki and Harawira are both deserving of criticism, the regime's response amounts to an  extraordinary display of hypocrisy.    Tamaki and Harawira - click here to read more...

21 October 2009.  Nandor Tanczos writes in the Waikato Times
"I would love us to become a republic
Watching some historical films about the English monarchy and the parasites that surround them has re-inspired a powerful republican sentiment in me.
It is not that I dislike the Windsors, but they are the result of more than a thousand years of in-breeding and (sometimes fatally) hostile family dynamics.
Who on earth would want them as our Head of State?"   to read more from Nandor Tanczos click here

24 September 2009.  Lizards.
From So long and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams:
'No' said Ford '...On its world the people are people.  The leaders are lizards.  The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.'
'Odd,' said Arthur, 'I thought you said it was a democracy.'
'I did,' said Ford.  'It is.'
'So,' said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, 'why don't people get rid of the lizards?'
'It honestly doesn't occur to them,' said Ford.  'They've all got the vote, so they can all pretty much assume the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.'
'You mean they actually vote for the lizards?'
'Oh yes,' said Ford with a shrug, "of course.'
'But,' said Arthur, going for the big one again, 'why?'
'Because if they didn't vote for a lizard,' said Ford, 'the wrong lizard might get in.  Got any gin?'

11 August 2009.   SAS deployment to Afghanistan- in a brief diversion from the dispute in Rotorua, in which I am pretty well fully engaged at present, I address the issue of the deployment of New Zealand SAS forces to Afghanistan.   Looking beyond Afghanistan to the end of colonial rule in New Zealand, a republican constitution for Aotearoa will have to specify that the military forces of the state shall  never be deployed beyond the shores of these islands. ...
 SAS deployment to Afghanistan - click here to read the text

23 July 2009.   the republican is going into recess for an indefinite period, during which time I will be in Rotorua, where the District Council is in the process of building a new international airport and is claiming the right to destroy the trees on my half acre of land at Te Ngae without compensation or restitution, so as to allow larger  commercial airliners to fly at low altitudes over the eastern suburbs.  Reports on the dispute will appear on the website (all lower case).

The Iranian presidential election.  The republican normally has little to say about the domestic politics of foreign states.   However I make an exception for the "disputed" Iranian election  both for personal reasons (I  spent a couple of months seconded to the Iranian Jihad e Sazandegi in 1998) and because the fate of the Islamic Republic of Iran has implications for republicanism everywhere...  The Iranian election - click here to read more

Richard Worth MP is on the way out of parliamentary politics.  It is now evident that Worth  sought sexual connections with female Asian immigrants in exchange for providing them with jobs on government boards.   His is a pathetic case, about which one would not normally give a second thought except for the fact that it exposes how cynically New Zealand political parties exploit ethnic minorities... Richard Worth - click here to read more

Honour Bound:  How the honours system is used as a method of social control.  Most New Zealand politicians approach the "honours system" with circumspection.  Or, to be blunt, they beat around the bush.   Labour Party leader Helen Clark abolished knighthoods because they were reminiscent of an English class society which New Zealanders had chosen to leave behind them.   National Party leader John Key reinstated knighthoods for the same reason... Honour Bound - click here to read more ...

“The War on P”   By all accounts, both statistical and anecdotal, New Zealanders rank high among the world users of mind-altering drugs.  At the present time crystal methamphetamine, or “P” is a particular worry because of its association with extreme and unpredictable acts of violence.   There is also concern about other illicit drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, and licit drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco.  But does the public discourse address the real issues behind drug use?......... The war on P - click here to read more ...

Is Melissa a Racist?  When the National Party list Member of Parliament Melissa Lee blurted that the State Highway 20 motorway would stop “criminals from South Auckland” targeting homes in Mount Albert, she was making a claim that was at best contentious, and at worst silly.    But was it racist?  ..... Is Melissa a Racist? click here to read more ...

The “Siege of Napier” : It’s just anthropology. Young males roam in packs.   Older males settle down and become territorial.    Successful societies develop effective ways of sublimating or containing these instinctual behaviours, but in dysfunctional societies they become a source of violence and social instability.   Jan Molenaar was one of the young men whom the New Zealand state enlisted into its military forces and  trained to use firearms. ...  The Siege of Napier - click here to read more

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance was an anti-democratic means to an anti-democratic end.  The “three wise men” of the Commission have proposed a major centralisation of government in the Auckland region which will concentrate power in fewer hands, and greatly increase the political influence of the mass media, large corporations and centralised business organisations.   It is a change which will have repercussions not only for the  working classes of Auckland (who are already severely marginalised politically) but also for the multitude of local lawyers, accountants, doctors, small business people and other worthies of the regime who have traditionally enjoyed the status and responsibilities of local government office click here to read the full text

A letter to the Queen of the Realm of New Zealand, Elizabeth Windsor  "..... I address you now as the Queen of the Realm of New Zealand, as a fellow human being, and a person of  conscience.   The New Zealand Oaths and Declarations Act is an evil which has been designed to prolong your unpopular rule...." click here to read the full text

A letter to the Governor-General of New Zealand, Anand Satyanand.    ...the House of Windsor will not be able to permanently entrench itself at the head of the Realm of New Zealand by such a crude legal device.....I suggest that it is in your interests to capitulate as swiftly and as gracefully as you are able.  If the Crown continues to restrict membership of the House of Representatives in ways which violate the sensibilities of moral and patriotic New Zealanders, then it will forfeit any claim to legitimacy and will be deposed all the sooner...."  click here to read the full text

A Blast from the Past.    From the republican archives dated November 1996, five years before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, six years before the Anglo-American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and before the Arabic word "Al Qaeda" became familiar to the mass of westerners, comes the warning:  "When a new millennium dawns .... we shall see the West absolutely committed to a rational, secular and liberal economic and social system and its armies ranged up against the comprehensive moral absolutism of Islam." .  To read more archived material from last century click here

The Oath of Allegiance   At the opening of the 49th New Zealand Parliament all elected members were required to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, and her heirs and successors according to law.    As has been the case with previous parliaments, some of the new members of New Zealand’s purportedly “democratic” legislature baulked at being required to swear allegiance to the hereditary monarch of a foreign state...  The Oath of Allegiance - click here to read more ....

The property fetish and other forms of deviant economic behavior.  In 2008 the price of residential property in New Zealand began to decline after having risen sharply for nearly a decade.   The change in fortunes will be seen as a vindication for successive governors of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand who have moralised about New Zealand’s  “poor savings record” while deploring New Zealanders’ enthusiasm for investment in residential property.   The objection to residential property investment is a valid one.  Housing is not a productive form of capital, in the manner of farms and factories.  ...  The Property Fetish - click here to read more...

John Key and the Maori Party  National Party leader John Key's invitation to the Maori Party to join a National Party government has been seen as an act of political grace and wisdom.   The Maori Party's acceptance of his offer, on the other hand, has provoked surprise and criticism from the left, apparently based on the mistaken premise that the Maori Party is a party of ideology, which it is not. John Key and the Maori Party - click here to read more...

Race problem?  What Race Problem?  Three months ago the Chinese community in Auckland staged a mass demonstration  in implicit support of China's right to rule over Tibet.    A month back they demonstrated in even larger numbers under the auspices of the Asian Anti-Crime Group against a perceived crime wave directed against the Asian community.    These unprecedented, but entirely predictable, demonstrations of Asian discontent, have roots which go deeper than the immediate and stated causes.   Race Problem? click here to read more...

On Freedom and the Nanny State  Fashions change within the political institutions and propaganda organs of the regime, but, as the saying goes, the more things change the more they remain the same.    A year or two past, the stock political epithet was "politically correct".   Such a term can not withstand close analysis, and while the regime has its ways of obstructing or avoiding serious political analysis, as time passes, like water dripping on to stone, reason tends to prevail over silliness....    On freedom and the nanny state - click here to read more

Why buy New Zealand made?  “Economic nationalism” is the idea that the citizens of a nation, either individually or collectively, should own and manage its economic assets.   It is normally an adjunct of political nationalism, which assumes that all who dwell within a defined geographic area share a common interest, and are subject to political institutions which are unique to, and make exclusive claims over, the particular territory.  By this definition, political nationalism in New Zealand is compromised ....   Why Buy New Zealand Made? click here to read more ...

A Presidential Election? In a rather presumptuous political stunt the Republican Movement of Aotearoa is running an “electoral process to select a suitable President for a New Zealand Republic”.   Lewis Holden, Chair of the RMA, announced the five top candidates for the presidency (in alphabetical order) as: Professor James Belich, Jim Bolger, Dr Claudia Orange, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Sir Wilson Whineray..... A Presidential Election - click here to read more...

Winston Peters: A Political Obituary. "Peters the political outsider".....  "New Zealand First a socially conservative and nationalist party"  ......   "It’s not about Asia. It’s about Australia".....  "the progress that Winston Peters has made towards improving relations with the United States has only exacerbated the anger of the pro-American Australian-owned mass media"..... Winston Peters: A political obituary... click here to read full text

Herald Columnist Offers his Life for Our Freedoms. New Zealand Herald columnist Paul Thomas suggests that society should measure a person’s worth according to whether “they accept Voltaire’s formula: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.   This proposal will be well received by the considerable number of bloggers and political poseurs who proclaim Voltaire’s supposed dictum  as their guiding principle in life... Herald Columnist - click here to read more

The Green Party and the Emissions Trading Scheme.  Before the 1999 parliamentary election I asked a Green Party candidate why she wanted to be a Member of Parliament.   Her answer (“Because I’m tired of being poor and I’m tired of being powerless”) revealed her fundamental misapprehensions about the nature of poverty and power....
The Green Party and the Emissions Trading Scheme - click here to read more

"You can't have it both ways" says Greg O'Connor of the Police Association, the man who has the unenviable job of justifying every questionable killing, every brutal assault and every case of misconduct by the New Zealand Police.    O'Connor was trying to make the point on Radio New Zealand that you can't have a New Zealand Police that refrains from using violence New Zealand Police - click here to read more

Media pap.  Four articles in last week's New Zealand Listener which provided nothing of substance never-the-less combined to show what is wrong with the Listener, what is wrong with the APN media empire, and, from a broader perspective, what is wrong with New Zealand.  The Listener's cover story was about a young man with dual New Zealand citizenship who died fighting for the armed forces of a foreign state.... Media pap - click here to read more

Democracy under threat is the slogan under which the APN media empire, publishers of the New Zealand Heraldand New Zealand Listener have campaigned against the New Zealand government's Electoral Finance Act, and, implicitly, against the New Zealand Labour Party's attempt to secure a fourth term on the Treasury benches. Democracy under threat - click here to read more

Correction and apology: [14 June 2008]:   Lewis Holden, Chairperson of the Republican Movement of Aotearoa, states that contrary to what I wrote in my article on the RMA he is not a salaried state servant   The reference to his being "financially dependent" on the New Zealand state is therefore also incorrect.   I therefore withdraw and apologize to Lewis.

“Tribute 08" was one of those extraordinary occasions when all elements of the regime come together in a common cause - in this case by “honoring” the New Zealand government’s Vietnam war veterans.   One dissenting voice was that of Chris Trotter who argued bravely, and forcefully, on Radio New Zealand National that the Vietnam war was unjustified and that the veterans should be held morally accountable for their role in the conflict... Tribute 08 - click here to read more

Ploughshares action at Waihopai  The Ploughshares activists who launched a courageous and well-executed assault upon the Waihopai spy base deserve to be congratulated on their efforts.    Nothing can change the fact that the Waihopai facility has been constructed and is operated for purely evil purposes.    The base is there to collect information on any threat to Anglo-American hegemony, and the information so-gathered is used to identify those who will be targets for punitive action by the imperial regime. Ploughshares at Waihopai - click here to read more

Chinese imperialism versus British colonialism Last week's demonstration in support of their homeland by thousands of Chinese New Zealanders seems to have come as a rude shock to the regime.   It should not have.   The only explanation for the surprise was that the government and the media had fallen victim to their own propaganda. Chinese imperialism - click here to read more

Anzac Day  Notwithstanding the adolescent handwringing by New Zealand journalists and politicians over the "quest for a national identity" there are two days in the calendar which they solemnly promote as celebrating the supposed basis of that "national identity" which they are otherwise at a loss to define.   Those days areFebruary 6, the anniversary of the day on which there was an act of cession of sovereignty to the British crown (Waitangi Day) and April 25, the anniversary of the day on which, in concert with Australian and British forces, New Zealand colonial troops invaded the territory of a people living on the other side of the world  who had never by the wildest stretch of imagination constituted a threat to New Zealand's security or legitimate national interests.... Anzac Day - click here to read more

The Oaths Modernisation Bill For more years than I can remember, the New Zealand Parliament has imposed an oath of allegiance to the British crown as a test of fitness for citizenship, election to political office, service in the judiciary, the police force, the legal profession and the education system.   This oath consisted of the words "I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, her heirs and successors according to law.."  The Oaths Modernisation Bill - click here to read more

The Republican Movement of Aotearoa  The "Republican Movement of Aotearoa" claims to be the only genuine republican political organisation within New Zealand.   Perhaps surprisingly, it seems to draw a certain measure of support from Members of Parliament who do not take their oath of allegiance to the crown all that seriously.   But the support of Parliamentarians comes at a price, as I discovered when at the suggestion of RMA Chairperson Lewis Holden I wrote a piece for the RMA Newsletter on the Oaths Modernisation Bill...  The Republican Movement of Aotearoa- click here to read more

Why do I oppose the Crown?  I am opposed to the Crown not just because it is anachronism, or because it is an alien, intrinsically racist, sexist and sectarian institution.   It may be all of these things.   But there is a much more fundamental reason for my opposition to the Crown.   I am opposed to the crown because it is the model for a culture of moral irresponsibility that has had an insidious influence within New Zealand society...  Why do I oppose the Crown? - click here to read more

Can "eminent persons" really "manage the process of change" in New Zealand? One-time New Zealand Prime Minister  and former World Trade Organisation head Mike Moore has publicly raised the banner for a "managed" process of constitutional change in the country.    Both National Party leader John Key  and Labour Party Prime Minister Helen Clark say that New Zealand will "inevitably" make the transition from a realm of the British monarchy to independent republic "at some stage".    But it is a change which neither of the leading political parties are willing to champion or in any way to encourage...
Can "eminent persons" really "manage the process of change" in New Zealand? click here to read more

Moore political knavery  Former New Zealand Prime Minister and ex-World Trade Organisation boss Mike Moore, who now enjoys the dubious honor of being a regular New Zealand Herald political columnist, has plumbed the depths of political hypocrisy with an article in praise of "political dissent". ... Moore political knavery - click here to read more

Who has the right to bear arms? Everyone has the right to take measures to defend themselves, their families and their community against external threats, aggression, or oppression.    That right of self-defence extends to the right to bear arms.  On that basis, the people of Aotearoa, whether Maori or Pakeha, have a natural right to possess and bear arms....
Who has the right to bear arms?- click here to read more

The Ruatoki Raid In the uproar that has been generated over "military style training camps" in the northern Urewera, the first point to be made is that Ruatoki based Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has not assembled any kind of serious para-military force.   Ruatoki, at the end of a long "dead end" road from Taneatua lined either side by the homes and villagers of Tuhoe loyalists, could have been relatively easily defended by any reasonably well armed militia..   The Ruatoki Raid - click here to read more

A Solemn Oath  (from October 1996)   This year a change took place in the requirements for the naturalisation process which transforms an immigrant into a "New Zealand citizen".    It had nothing to do with the "points" system which ranks prospective citizens by their wealth, existing family connections in New Zealand, occupational skills, state of health and so on.    And from the government's point of view, it was not a change at all, but rather a correction of an "anomaly" which had existed for as long as New Zealand has been under the authority of the British crown.    A Solemn Oath - click here to read more

On Democracy  (republished from the Islamist website RevertsAloud  2006)  An article by David Warren, which first appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, February 01, 2006 rhetorically asks "Can Islam and democracy co-exist?".    Warren believes that coexistence between Islam and democracy is not possible because in his view,  “Democracy is not just voting. Democracy is a whole bourgeois way of life, and a method for resolving disputes peacefully. It is not essentially compatible with millenarian religious schemes.” .... On Democracy - click here to read more



The case against pragmatism   Click here

The purpose of  the republican website is to provide a forum for serious analysis and discussion of New Zealand political economy.   I welcome comment or criticism, and invite submissions from readers.   Should I decline to publish a submitted article, I will publish a brief note explaining why publication was declined.

"The New Zealander leads a two-fold life: the sporting life in which he considers himself to be a patriotic being, and the economic life, in which he acts as a private individual, regards other New Zealanders as a means, degrades himself into a means, and becomes a plaything of alien powers..." Karl Marx "On the New Zealand Question"   : )