Some time back I learned a valuable lesson. At one of our annual Summer Sounds Symposiums, bringing together individuals from across the political spectrum, Dr Gerrit van der Lingen was a keynote speaker. A world authority in his area, he gave an excellent, well-informed analysis of global warming theorising, the recent cyclical period of warming, and the fallacies of the hockey stick graph. Already the media were derelict in not highlighting the fact that many scientists, including other eminent New Zealanders such as Dr Chris de Freitas and Dr Vincent Gray, also supplying input to the IPCC, were dissociating themselves from its findings, pointing out it was dominated by political interests, including NGOs and media activists.
It was an excellent address, but the striking thing afterwards was a politician present then winningly saying something to the effect of “Aw shucks…I listen to you, but then I listen to a speaker giving an opposing point of view and I can never make up my mind. So I just have to vote the way my party wants me to. I’m a party man after all.” He apparently found this admission unexceptionable.
What was equally striking was the degree of undeserved sympathy he encountered along the lines of ”Yes, poor man… we understand”.It took one recent university graduate to say that this was simply not good enough; that as a former high-profile lawyer, he should be equipped to weigh up the pros and cons of an issue, as one does in debate when a claim is made. By this rigorous process, there is a fair chance of arriving at the truth of an issue.
This reminder did not go down well, any more than it does with the media. So shocking has been their complicity in refusing to present any actual evidence refuting the climate alarmism agenda that one of our two major main print media, the blandly named Stuff, has pledged to not publish any material challenging it.
The media once strongly led the charge against censorship, highlighting its dangers for a free press, and for democracy. How things have changed, with today’s endorsing of government spin. Receiving funding to do so, it can, to its shame, be relied upon to virtually reproduce what our Ardern-led government wants it to.
The other interesting point was the admission from this politician that he had handed over his brain to his party. Whatever happened to the question of individual responsibility and integrity?
Party politics has been disastrous for New Zealand. Formerly, at election time, the question was which of the two major parties, National or Labour, was going to be voted into parliament using a first past the post system which ensured government by a majority of the population. In this most democratic method of electing candidates, widely used throughout the world, the electorate candidate with the most votes won. Whichever party then won the greatest number of electoral seats won the election, largely a result of the winning party achieving endorsement for its manifesto, laid before the country. It was then obliged to honour its pledges.
Having changed to the mixed-member proportional representation system, we now have both those elected to parliament and those chosen from a party list — each party’s number of seats determined by its share of the party vote nationwide. With the abandoning of FPP, and the introduction of these extra list candidates, the most important vote at election time is for the number of list MPs a party can gain, to take it over the 50% threshold.
As the fine Australian commentator Paul Collits reminds us, party list candidates now count more than local electoral candidates voted in by the people in a district. These list candidates, chosen by the political party hierarchy, have no allegiance to local constituents — or New Zealand’s actual voters. Their allegiance is to the party leader — and powerbrokers behind the scenes.
We also now have minor parties siphoning off votes, gaining only a small proportion of the total, but preventing either of the two main parties from winning an outright majority. Since no party can now get this, the two major parties, making trade-offs to form a winning coalition in parliament, use this excuse to renege on electoral pledges.
Such a coalition can even defeat the party with most of the country’s votes — producing the worst outcome of all. And although Jacinda Ardern’s, ever-smiling, ever-concerned, virtually daily exposure on the back of the Coronavirus caused Labour to romp ahead of the other political parties last time around, it still did not win an outright majority. Its subsequent forming of a problematic coalition with minor parties is inflicting legislation on the country against the wishes of the majority – endorsing Green party fanaticism and the Maori party’s obsession with racial identity.
Even more problematic, list candidates for whom nobody ever voted, many of whom did not and would never win an electoral seat in parliament, have become ministers ruling over their own portfolios, virtually controlling government policy with no accountability to any voters. The results can be disastrous, as with a succession of ignorant ministers of education, led by the nose by our Marxist ministry, ratifying policies overseeing the attack on academic standards, including New Zealand’s now disgraceful placing in international assessments of our children’s mathematical and literacy skills. It has substituted propaganda, rejecting our young acquiring actual knowledge in favour of indoctrination in areas such as the distortions and downright fabrications contained in the newly proposed history syllabus – misrepresenting our colonial history.
An outstanding example of so much power handed to a list-only candidate is lawyer Chris Finlayson, who became the National Party’s Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, although unsuccessful in winning election to parliament. This non-elected, sharp-tongued MP, not averse to calling opponents “nutters”, subsequently became Attorney-General, appointing two-thirds of New Zealand’s judges and anointing himself as a QC. In positions of great power, he was rightly or wrongly perceived by many as preferentially inclined towards iwi (today’s corporatized pseudo-tribes) in their never-ending claims against the Crown – even to the extent of suggesting they bypass the courts and directly approach his department
Previously representing Ngai Tahu in their highly controversial claim, which on historical evidence should arguably never have been granted (and was turned down by a previous Maori Affairs Select Committee) Finlayson won against the Crown lawyers contesting the claim. Basically lacking competence at the time, the latter admitted they had no one with any historical knowledge of the issues involved (later citing degrees held in geography and French) and incredibly enough, relied upon Ngai Tahu’s highly inventive versions of their past history and claims.
The outcome was described as a swindle against the taxpayer. Even though this may appear a somewhat extravagant assessment, there is little doubt in the minds of many who did the historical research, including that in Alan Everton’s compelling analysis in the Free Radical publication of the time, that Ngai Tahu’s claim was not justified.
It is not uncommon for lawyers to wish to defeat opposing lawyers, and Finlayson later claimed this was one of the victories which gave him the most satisfaction. However, to defeat under-performing, opposing lawyers with no historical knowledge of what they were confronted with seems a rather minor victory. That the relevant government minister at the time also told the Maori Affairs Select Committee to ignore the approximately 400 submissions on the Ngai Tahu claim, the majority of which would probably have been contesting any settlement, was also highly questionable-
Moreover, it was former Prime Minister John Key and then Minister Chris Finlayson who recently decided that no longer should New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed remain in the hands of the Crown, that is, belong to all New Zealanders. If groups of part-Maori descent could mount a claim to continual occupation of some specific area since the signing of the Treaty they could gain ownership not only of this coastline, but also its fishing and mineral rights. The country was assured this was a highly unlikely outcome, given that uninterrupted possession would be almost impossible to prove.
The result? Maori rights of ownership have now been claimed for the whole New Zealand coastline, in some places contested by more than one Maori group. Furthermore, it is New Zealand taxpayers who are required to pay for these claims against the Crown – i.e. against all New Zealanders. Those against whom claims have been mounted are required to themselves pay to fight back.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of these issues, there is little doubt that with List MPs who were never even voted into Parliament able to wield such power, New Zealand has little claim to any longer be called a democracy.
The way ahead to claim back this country does not lie in forming yet another political party which would inevitably, human nature being what it is, be subject to the inevitable power struggles and deal-brokering behind-the-scenes.
The only practical and possible way of winning back this country is to fight for that one provision which the Swiss people fought for — and won — enabling them, and not their politicians, to rule their own country. Check it out at www.100days.co.nz.
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