The big yellow taxi effect

Beware the big yellow taxi - you never know what it might take away
Beware the big yellow taxi - you never know what it might take away | Source

I have really enjoyed the last few weeks of this election campaign. On the one hand it is disappointing that the focus has been taken away from policy due to the sideshows that have sprung up involving dirty tactics and spying. But having said that, I feel that this is stuff we desperately needed to know about.

It has become abundantly clear from the revelations – and they are revelations and not just rumours – that we have been lied to on a scale hitherto only suspected.

Jianqi has had so many brain-fades and re-positionings over almost every allegation that has been levelled at him, I find it very scary that so many of our people still think this is all part of a massive left-wing beat up. WAKE UP KIWIS FFS!

I began by saying I have really enjoyed the last few weeks of this campaign. To elaborate upon that, what I mean is that I have enjoyed all the witty takes on what has been going on by so many Kiwis and I have enjoyed debating the issues with so many more. It has been enlightening, frustrating, and sometimes annoying; but never dull. And, fellow New Zealanders, that is something precious to hold onto.

We have been able to have these discussions because we still have a semblance of freedom in New Zealand and that is one of the most precious things we can have. However if the current practices by this Government and those carried out by many before it are allowed to continue, then this could be one of the last elections during which we have such freedom.

I hope I can express to the doubters just how serious this really is. However my mental jury will be out for at least another few days before I know whether enough people have got that point. Unfortunately New Zealanders so often suffer from a naivety that suggests we are still mentally back in the Aotearoa of the 1950s. That sort of innocence was understandable before the Internet opened up the world at the click of a mouse to those of us in the South Pacific. But in the 21st Century it suggests we have a severe case of arrested development.

For many decades we have seen abuses of human rights being carried out in other countries and we have grimaced in that black singlet kind of way, patted ourselves on the back smugly and told each other that it couldn’t happen here in Godzone. We have repeated that mantra for so long that we have come to believe it implicitly and because it is such a noble concept, we have held onto it like grim death long after the veil has been removed and we began to find that all was not as well as we thought in our own back yard.

We need to lose the staunch pose, take off the blinkers and accept that we have now entered the big bad global world fully with all the good and bad things that contains. The reality is that the people you thought were in charge and representing your interests actually aren’t. They aren’t really in charge and they certainly are not representing your best interests. The apparent leaders are for the most part doing the bidding of big business interests and splitting their efforts between representing those interests and their own.

It scares me to think that our Prime Minister and so many of his cabinet could have been caught out lying more than once over the last six years and yet, apart from the odd sacrificial lamb they have jettisoned like excess cargo along the way, they are still in situ and drawing fat salaries that we are funding. If your average wage earner in New Zealand is ever caught lying to his boss, he is pretty soon chucked out of his job, and yet these people seem to be able to do it with impunity.

But the lying is one thing and the spying is another altogether. In response to this we have heard from the National Party and its supporters, the old refrain of, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” This was a sentiment often expressed by Senator Joseph McCarthy during the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigations into people he accused of being traitors or looking at him in a funny way during the Cold War period.

This is complete nonsense unless you are so bloody naive you actually think the Government and the Police only ever go after the bad guys. The Police go after whomever their bosses tell them to go after and the Government goes after anyone they see as a threat – and I mean any kind of threat and not just those who pose a threat to national security. This lot has been more concerned with National security (with an upper case “N”) than national security.

And in any case there is far too much use made of the argument about national security and terrorists. While it is true we have to be aware that there are certain threats out there, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that rumours and exaggerations about such threats offer Governments an all too easy opportunity to pass repressive laws that remove our freedoms under the guise of national security. A nation in fear about the threat of jihadists infiltrating them will allow such measures because they think they are being enacted for their own good.

Nek minute you turn around and find that we all have to have a Jianqi haircut and say “shtrong”, and “New Zillund ” or face being sent to a gulag.

Every totalitarian regime apart from those that seize power with a gun begins with this sort of dysfunctional creep (that’s rather like functional creep only much creepier). If we allow our politicians to get away with this sort of stuff they won’t simply stop at the sorts of things they are doing now. They will become emboldened and see our silence as a mandate. Look at how Jianqi who just scraped in by the skin of his teeth in 2011 took that as a mandate to implement every single policy item he had raised during the campaign. As the referendum showed even a large number of his own supporters did not agree with selling off those state assets, but that still didn’t stop him going ahead anyway.

And then there is the matter of the TPPA which Jianqi is hell-bent on adopting. Ask yourself, why we would want our Government signing what is called a ‘trade agreement’ with other Pacific Nations that we are not allowed to know the contents of? What the fuck could threaten our security in a simple trade agreement which is what it is being promoted as? There is a huge disconnect here, Kiwis and you have to wonder what it is that he doesn’t want us to see in this agreement. Logic tells us that if it was all good for us there would be no need for such secrecy. He won’t even let the opposition parties know what is in it and yet he expects them all to support him in voting for it. The only possible reason for this is that he knows that once the opposition parties or the voters see what is really in this agreement they will, not want it signed under any circumstances. It is clearly going to take something away from us and that is most likely a large chunk of our freedom as a nation.

I am not naive enough to think that previous Labour Governments have been squeaky clean and I believe they have been just as dodgy when it comes to the Spy vs Spy nonsense and their rather equivocal stance about the TPPA is certainly a worry. But this election offers us a chance to draw a very clear line in the sand. The current regime needs to be sent an unambiguous message that their behaviour has been completely unacceptable and that they are being tossed out because of it.

The consequences of that would be a Government that is led, if that is the word here, by David Cunliffe. Now I am the first to admit that Cunliffe is not my ideal of a Prime Minister and the party he heads is pretty shambolic at the moment. They have been involved in many freedom snatching activities of their own in the past, but at present they will have to do. If the Nats get a seriously bloody nose at this election that should put up a warning flag to Labour about what will happen to them if they try taking the same road as their predecessors and if we can get enough representation from some of the other parties in Parliament there could be a chance to get some measures in place to change the style of Government and begin an environment that respects our freedoms more and will fight to retain them rather than fighting to erode them.

I realise this is a huge leap of faith to think that a new batch of politicians will do any better regarding putting our interests ahead of their own, but short of a major revolution I don’t see what other choice we have at this time.

But if we as a nation re-elect the National Government then we risk losing our sovereignty, our freedom, the remainder of our assets, and it will by then be already too late to save our minds

So this weekend, make sure you send a message to them all by punishing the incumbents severely. If you don’t, then the lyrics of that great Joni Mitchell song will haunt you forever, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” And believe me once they’ve paved this paradise the parking lot will be owned by a large multi-national who will charge you like a wounded bull for your parking spot.

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