November 28th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Are we about to create another Stolen Generation?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: National sorrow over plight of forgotten Australians

EDITORIAL: ETS: Rudd's one-way ticket to hell

POLITICS: Whither the Liberal Party?

COVER STORY: Brian Mullins (1925-2009): a true Australian hero

CANBERRA OBSERVED: National sorrow over plight of forgotten Australians

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Are we about to create another Stolen Generation?

FINANCIAL CRISIS: Splitting the megabanks for financial stability

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Afghanistan: Obama's no-win rhetoric

WAR ON TERROR: Grim lessons of the Fort Hood massacre

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Rudd's 'Indonesia solution' has been in place since 2007

HEALTH CARE: Labor unleashes class war on doctors

NEW ZEALAND: John Key sells New Zealand short

COLD WAR: The year the Berlin Wall fell

UNITED STATES: Obamacare: the ego has landed

ABORTION: An abortion-provider changes her mind

Statesmanship needed (letter)

American health cover (letter)

Some orphanage carers were admirable (letter)

BOOK REVIEW: THE VOCATION OF BUSINESS: Social Justice in the Marketplace, by John C. M├ędaille

BOOK REVIEW: THE THIRTY-SIX: A story of a boy's miraculous survival in wartime Poland, by Siegmund Siegreich

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John Key sells New Zealand short

by Amy Brooke

News Weekly, November 28, 2009
Many New Zealanders expected a decisive shift from the left-wing policies of former Prime Minister, Helen Clark, when John Key led the National Party to victory just a year ago.

Since then, Key has accommodated himself to Helen Clark's agenda, even promoting Clark to head the UN Development
Program, and endorsing Labour's Emissions Trading Scheme ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit. Amy Brooke reports from New Zealand.

There is no way the National Party can claim to be serious about improving the outcome for New Zealanders in economic terms, and improving productivity, when it buys into this utterly fraudulent scam of carbon credits and emissions trading, and cynically plans to saddle every man, woman and child in this country with huge personal debt - all because of some agenda being kept from New Zealanders. And no, this isn't a conspiracy theory; it's established fact.

Nick Smith, the Nationals Minister for Climate Change Issues, is so ignorant that he apparently hasn't even read the agenda of the Copenhagen treaty deal and has no idea that the aim of an all-controlling world government is explicitly stated there. Not a good look ...

Who would have thought we'd see National turn into a party of yes-men with a happy-chappie Prime Minister apparently having the time of his life playing king - at a majority of New Zealanders' expense?

The National MPs are an utter disgrace, collectively, with apparently not one honest man or woman prepared to stand up on behalf of New Zealanders to this all-controlling, out-of-touch, immensely wealthy autocrat at the top, who seems to have no idea of the reality of constrained lives for so many New Zealanders, now, and who sees himself not as a democratic representative of the people, but as John Key, CEO-Manager of NZ.

And we all know how much damage the cult of managerialism has done to this country.

If National really don't know that we're now into a cyclical, global cooling period, they're unforgivably ignorant. And their ignorance is costing us too much.

If they do know, we're being betrayed - and certainly this applies with regard to the constant deal-making with the Maori Party only - which doesn't even represent majority Maori. They have bought into ethnic favouritism, with all its social and political divisiveness.

What are we to make of all this? Is it sheer crookedness or venality? Or is it incompetence and stupidity? Whatever it is, it is not democracy.

Not to exaggerate, nor put too fine a point on it, this party under John Key is betraying New Zealanders. Shame on them.

It was one of the greatest writers, G.K. Chesterton, who pointed out that a tired democracy becomes a dictatorship. And the danger is that a disappointed country, fed up with the broken promises, evasive excuses and self-serving compromises of the politicians it no longer trusts - or simply despises - sinks into a kind of angry apathy.

National seems to have forgotten that, far from it being enthusiastically voted in by New Zealanders, it sailed into power because of how resoundingly the Clark-Cullen Labour government was rejected by the electorate.

So, too, was the kind of autocratic leadership which Clark represented - but Prime Minister John Key has obligingly stepped into his predecessor's shoes, showing himself just as capable of unilaterally imposing his will on the National Party and on the country. Any puzzlement as to why this charming and immensely wealthy self-made individual should apparently have been known in Australia as the smiling assassin should by now be dissipating a little.

One of the present Prime Minister's first acts was to dump Gerry Brownlee as a prospective deputy; Brownlee, who had lent his considerable weight against his then leader Don Brash, having himself formerly persuaded Brash to dump his own elected deputy leader, Nick Smith, in his absence - in favour of Brownlee himself. Did anyone call politics a dirty business?

And now National have apparently been cowed into operating like a collective of yes-men obliged to shelve their individual consciences when the Prime Minister snaps his fingers. National Party members almost to a man and woman were against the unholy coalition of Sue Bradford's and Helen Clark's foisting of the anti-family, anti-smacking legislation on the public - but were ordered to do as they were told. Grown men and women were essentially treated like children with no conscience votes allowed, whipped into line by a new leader suddenly running with an agenda of his own. Many of National's members must now be totally dismayed by Key's extraordinary cuddling up to their mortal enemy in philosophical terms, the autocratic and dominating Helen Clark.

This was followed by promoting the wasp-tongued former Finance Minister Michael Cullen to the board of New Zealand Post, and his subsequent promotion to become the board's deputy when Ken Douglas' appointment expired in October. Dr Cullen's mishandling of the economy is high on the list of the reasons so many New Zealanders are facing economic hardship - including the scores who have left New Zealand for better opportunities in Australia.

The public's disillusion with the political scene has not been helped by yet another Prime Minister apparently feeling called upon to run the country like his private fiefdom. The mainstream media, as out of touch as it usually is, waffles on about the electorate's honeymoon with National not yet being over. However, the public's understanding is that National's campaign pledges were underpinned by its philosophical commitment to treat all New Zealanders as one people - with no special rights, privileges or funding directed toward one sector only.

We can forget that for a start.

A quite different John Key is emerging from the folksy Mr Nice Guy campaigning against an increasingly fascist Labour Government. Let's put aside for the moment the extraordinary cronyism shown by the Prime Minister in bestowing unwarranted and richly undeserved acclamations and support upon both Helen Clark and Michael Cullen whom the country booted out - but not before Labour had wreaked enormous damage on almost every area over which they had control.

The signs of yet another autocratic controller at the helm of what was represented as a mainstream political party were already emerging from underground shenanigans in the National Party control headquarters well before the election.

In the light of day, no sooner was our present Prime Minister home and dry than he took it upon himself to welsh on a long promised National Party undertaking - the well overdue abolition of the now strikingly racist Maori seats - one of the prime reasons why support swung so strongly to National under its former leader, Don Brash.

Under Don Brash's principled stand, epitomised in his Orewa speech, calling for one New Zealand for all its citizens (and for which he was demonised by a hysterical media singularly failing to quote even one objectionable claim made in it), the tide began to turn for National. The public reaction was overwhelming.

The likelihood of National under his leadership again being chosen by the electorate was such that under Helen Clark (an account of whose dubious activities are chronicled in Absolute Power, Ian Wishart's highly revealing book about her, a book almost completely ignored by our left-wing media - and, obviously, by John Key), Labour embarked on gross over-spending of the legal limit on election spending in the 2005 election campaign.

Had Labour not done that, National would very probably have won the 2005 election. It was well ahead in the polls going into the final week, but it was accepted that what tipped the vote back in favour of Labour was a very aggressive campaign of full-page ads in major dailies on the Wednesday of that week, with the caption, "Don't put it all at risk."

Moreover, Clark utterly failed to deliver on her promise to raise NZ's living standards into the top half of the OECD over 10 years, and indeed reportedly tried to pretend she had never made any such commitment.

To the informed public's consternation, however, John Key rhapsodised about Clark's qualifications for a top UN job. More pertinently, on the issue of selling out the country by continual Maori preferment, the Prime Minister has ignored the fact that the Maori Party itself gained not even 3 per cent of the electoral vote.

Prime Minister Key's unilaterally disregarding of National's long overdue undertaking to get rid of the Maori seats, has let the public down. While in opposition, it was scathing of the ridiculous claims of mumbo-jumbo in the form of annoyed taniwha (a monster in Maori mythology) objecting to road developments; of strange noises, flickering lights and unexplained running water as claimed breaches of tapu (Maori tradition). Moreover, after years of this party's undertaking to free the Resource Management Act of references to the Treaty of Waitangi and its cultural values, it is reneging on this undertaking, too.

Watch this spot, as this present National Government has given no sign to date that it any longer genuinely represents a majority of New Zealanders regardless of the fact that well-meaning, if naïve commentators invoke him as "a prime minister of style we have not seen before: relaxed, open and congenial - as with many sunny optimists people find him hard to dislike - Key's willingness to break the mould is refreshing" (Karl du Fresne, Nelson Mail, February 4, 2009).

No doubt the gay lobby at the Big Gay Out found our Prime Minister's dancing on stage with two drag queens equally "refreshing". However, judging a politician on the basis of his personal charisma is one of the most disastrous common mistakes of history.

Amy Brooke is a New Zealand writer, commentator, critic and poet.

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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