Thursday 21 May 2015

A week's events in New Zealand politics and society

New Zealand's transition to fascism


Today I have to take a break from chronicling the collapse of human industrial society and the headlong rush of a collectively-insane humanity towards self-destruction and ecocide to reflect on what is happeniĐ°ing in my own country.

We have had such fast-moving events in the last few weeks and months - in short since the last election - that it is hard to keep up.

I wrote about this at the time of the election, warning that by re-electing the Key government despite the revelations of deep corruption, cronyism and dirty politics would mean that New Zealanders were sleepwalking into fascism.  Nothing that has happened since has led me to revise that conclusion in any way In fact, events have only reinforced what I felt back in November.

We are witnessing the continuance of democratic institutions in name only, and the rapid erosion of any form of democratic oversight or holding an extreme government beholden to its Wall St and Washington overlords.

We have seen rapid changes in these areas:
  • Parliament and democratic procedures of governance
  • The independence of the judiciary
  • The media
Just in the past few days I have been to a farcical "consultation" fronted by public service officials who were left by the Minister who should have turned up, to take the heat and face the anger and distress of people of people cognisant of the dangers of climate change.

This was a clear example of the erosion of participatory democracy in this country, The last time this government "consulted" prior to NZ helping the rich nations throw climate change action under the bus and opt for non-action, the then minister, Nick Smith turned up to the meeting.

The attitude after six years of National Party government has turned to arrogance and disdain for any opinions or advice that counters their right-wing agenda of "drill baby, drill!" and playing the game of pretend and negotiating to avoid any sort of responsibility.

For more on this individual see the following:

New Zealand is a laughing stock on the international stage yet again with revelations Tim Groser’s unbecoming and undiplomatic language has led to a new term, ‘Grossing

Just yesterday we saw an example in parliament as to how those in power taunt and laugh as the very partial Speaker, David Carter, throw out Labour MP, Grant Robertson from the chamber for his insistence that the Minister of Finance answer some very relevant questions on the state of the nation's finances while, all the while turning a blind eye to the taunting antics of the government side of the chamber.

For those that don't already know, Question Time in parliament is the chance for the opposition benches (and by extension, the public).

But ministers in this government are using all tactics at their disposal to avoid any questions, whether it be by MP's or the media, unless it is to their advantage.

Judith Collins addresses media after being cleared of any wrongdoing. Photo / Mark Mitchell

In the area of the judiciary we have seen that initial court decisions in favour of Kim Dotcom or convicting fraudster (and ex-government minister) John Banks have all gone the government's way on Appeal. Likewise, an inquiry by the government set up in the wake of the Dirty Politics revelations cleared minister of Justice, Judith Collins of any collusion with right-wing blogger, slimeball, Cameron Slater.

Nicky Hager. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Coincidentally, the only person to  have had their case investigated by the police in the wake of the Dirty Politics revelations was Slater himself, which led to a police raid on investigative journalist Nicky Hager who still has his court case to get his computer and materials back from the police in front of him.

Last June then ACT Party leader and government minister John Banks was found guilty of filing a false electoral return (in anyone's language, fraud). John Banks, despite the clear-cut evidence against him, was exonerated and found not guilty on appeal, based, as I understand it, on a technicality of the Crown withholding some evidence.

I am not familiar with what goes on behind the doors of power and so can't make any provable allegations of corruption in the judiciary system, but I can say that judges are chosen (unless I am mistaken) by the Attorney General (at present, Chris Đ“indlayson).

While I would have accepted that previous Attorneys General have made politically- neutral decisions in the past, I have no such confidence that the present incumbent, Chris Findlayson (now also the minister in charge of the GCSB, the spy bureau) would do so.

Recently the ex-pat blog site, Lauda Finem revealed that :

"retiring Supreme Court judge Sir John McGrath spoke of his concerns for the rule of Law in New Zealand. – that the National party government had been playing with the statutes to such an extent and in particular the governments proposed removal of democratic safeguards, that he held very real fears for the rule of law."

McGrath’s full speech can be read here.

In recent weeks the popular TV3 current affairs program,Campbell Live has had the axe held over it based allegedly on low ratings and a desire of TV3 to move away from current affairs. In recent years John Campbell has been the last bastion of decent investigative ('left-wing') reporting that held Power to account, not only on television but increasingly, across the media.

The news has come in the last few hours that Campbell Live is dead and has been axed.

On this my thoughts are best reflected by these Facebook comments by Razalin Silvera

"As each new day passes, New Zealand under John Key is turning more and more into a fascist dictatorship. 

"With John Campbell gone, the National party will now, more or less, have free reign over the media. 

3 News is basically the last major (left-wing) media outlet left. 

If 3 News goes, then New Zealand will officially become a dictatorship."
Now the last vestiges of socially responsible (not to say, empathetic) journalism have gone.  I don't believe for a moment that this is purely a corporate decision. It means now that the Right rules the roost. The likes of Mike Hosking on TV1 and Sean Plunket and the rest of them - are all, at present, obnoxious Right Wing presenters singing from the government's song sheet.

At the moment this government can rule by bullying, lying and manipulations (not to say refusing to respond to any criticisms or attempts to hold them to account) as well as continuing to be elected through manipulation happily repeated by a compliant media (and even, arguably some electoral fraud)

With a complete economic breakdown or crisis caused by a panic when people finally realise what is facing them in terms of abrupt climate change, all the pretence is likely, in my opinion, to be dropped, the key turned and New Zealand will become a fascist tyranny.

In those circumstances the obnoxious right-wing current affairs presenters will be there to develop the government's Orwellian message.

For now, listen to a sample from Mike Hosking (here denying there is a housing bubble).  

This is the Brave New World that awaits us without any competition to hold fascist politicians to account

Last year the other great right-winger, Sean Plunkett told our best living author, Eleanor Catton "an ungrateful hua" and a "traitor".  Imagine what we've got to look forward to!
Fascist broadcaster, Sean Plunkett

Hear Plunkett's comments HERE

Oh, and by the way we just had a Budget that took away with one hand what it gave with the other to the poor and disadvantaged and also kept alive the myth of growth in the economy without any acknowlegement of the very real problems.

A slightly more realistic assessment from the Washington Post:

1 comment:

  1. I must have missed it but when did "Honourable" change to meaning "lying sack of shit" ?


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