Democracy’s Dunne in New Zealand
There have been a lot of disturbing developments during this parliamentary session but the latest one more blatantly exposes the rotten core of our democracy than any of its predecessors.
The decision by Speaker of the House, David Carthorse to endorse the receipt of $100,000 of extra funding for the defunct (Dis) United Future Party is just the tip of an enormous iceberg of corruption in this Government.
These days none of us are surprised when parties are elected to parliament expounding a particular policy and then when they take office they either recant entirely or we find the hidden subtext to their pronouncements that was cloaked in PR hype during the campaign. Sadly we have come to accept this as being par for the course and it is therefore no surprise politicians are held in such low esteem.
However the sheer arrogance and contempt with which the current NZ Government appears to hold its citizens eclipses anything we have seen previously including the Muldoon era and the Roger Douglas influenced Labour terms.
Here are some examples:
- They made a mockery of the 2011 general election by endorsing John Banks for the Epsom seat in the hopes he would not only win the seat but also coat-tail in a load of others from the (Method) Actors Party to provide them with a strong coalition partner. There was also a subtext to this one because they wanted to get rid of Dong Brash as the inept leader of the party because they were still upset he had lost them an election before jumping wakas. Of course history now shows they bungled this one and ended up with Banks the only one of the thespians to make the cut due to their pathetic showing in the party votes.
- They have allowed the GCSB to illegally infringe the privacy of NZ residents and then when it all blew up in their face instead of sin-binning the offenders they simply moved the touchline so they were still in play.
- When an investigation was launched into Bank’s election expenses he denied knowing one of his major benefactors, who coincidentally was at that time having his rights infringed by the GCSB. Eventually the truth came out, yet the internally conducted ‘investigation’ decided he had no case to answer. Of course if John Archibald (Archibald???) Banks was chucked out the Government would lose their majority so a clean bill of health was always going to be the outcome. Fortunately a private citizen who will probably be made bankrupt and driven mad has mounted a civil case, but let’s not hold our breath for the outcome. Blue is a nice colour on a wall, a flower or a nice shirt but it is most unbecoming on a face.
- Then there was the referendum question in the 2011 election where Kiwis were asked if they wanted any changes to the electoral system. Despite an overwhelming majority who did vote for changes the Government decided to change nothing while the system still favours them.
- The asset sales programme has been pushed through in the face of overwhelming opposition and the Natsis have claimed they ‘had a mandate’ based on the fact that they only just managed to crawl over the try-line in 2011 with the assistance of the aforementioned Archie Bunker, I mean Banks and Peter Dung and with a lot of pushing and shoving from the woefully inept Maori Party who can’t even manage to figure out how to elect a leader or get rid of one who is well past his sell-buy date.
- They changed the legal aid system by limiting further the access those on lower incomes have to assistance, changing the remuneration for lawyers, and keeping a register of ‘approved’ lawyers who are the only ones that can qualify for such work. The Court of Appeal found these changes to be unlawful and held that the Legal Services Commissioner responsible for granting legal aid was unable to function independently of the Government. Despite this finding the Ministry of Justice is choosing to ignore the law and follow the instructions of their Minister instead.
- They shoulder tapped a mate of the PM’s to head up the GCSB rather than consider applications from candidates who were indisputably better qualified
- They shoulder tapped Dame Susan Devoid (of any skills) to take over the role of Race Relations Conciliator based it would seem upon no better qualification than the vote she doubtless cast at the General Election and once again ignored any candidates who might have actually had some sort of expertise in the field.
- They have appointed Jackie (true) Blue from their current bench to the role of Equal Opportunities Commissioner after another shoulder tapping and nose touching arrangement.
I am sure there are many more examples I could point to which have been trampled underfoot by the stampede of abuses of our democracy this Government has visited upon us.
That being the case we should not be surprised that once it was discovered that their significant other coalition partner Peter Dung’s one man show had imploded, they would move heaven and earth and the touchline (again) so he could continue to get funding to which he was not entitled.
I commend the members of NZ First and Trevor Mallard for walking out of Parliament over the matter and ask why the remainder of the opposition didn’t do the same thing. For the Speaker of the House to make a ruling that has no basis in law in order to protect his own party is surely corruption of the worst kind. He should be expelled from the House and a snap election should be called. If nothing is done the abuses of our admittedly weak constitution will continue and Kiwis will be disenfranchised even further.
Unfortunately it would seem the majority of our politicians like the majority of our population lack the gonads to stand up for what they believe.
A stand needs to be made now while there it is still possible to do this without getting automatically locked up.... or has it come to that already? This morning I see a man who made a flippant comment out of frustration to ACC has been convicted of using a telephone device for the purpose of disturbing by maliciously transmitting communications.
I hear they are thinking of changing the name of Wellington to Harare.