ISSUE 2. JUNE/July 2019
Warm welcome to NewNZ members!
The New NZ Party is growing by the day as more and more Kiwis are getting fed-up with politics as usual. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her comrades are continuing to look amateurish. Not only are we paying too much tax – especially at the lowest end of the pay-scale, but apparently according to the IRD, nearly a million of us overpaid last year but we won’t get any of it back (Newshub 19/06/2019). After promising no new taxes, an extra excise on petrol is being added; tourist tax is being mooted; online shopping tax; all the things we don’t need – especially when the economy is slowing. Well-being budget? For who exactly? Ardern and her acolytes love to talk about compassion but what they are really doing is advocating dependency that the rest of us pay for, and that they can feel good about. Trouble is, their solutions become the next set of problems society needs to deal with.
We can no longer afford politics as usual. We need a change that puts us, the taxpaying public, back in charge. That’s why we need to reign in government and ensure MP’s are subject to the consequences of their own policies the way all Kiwis are. Some of these intended policies are:
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How to pick a successful party candidate
or… why New Zealand is run by C grade politicians
Is it really the case that voters want a sham they can believe in? What many New Zealanders would regard as a basically insulting belief seems to be the prevailing wisdom from those whose job it is to run political parties.
The traditional candidate selection process itself gives an extraordinary window into the machinations of those further up the food chain. The process – in theory - works like this: members of an electorate committee interview and filter prospective MP’s until they find the top five. They, in turn, spend much time trying to convince current electorate members to vote for them in a series of forums at which they are given the opportunity to speak. The best prospective MP is then voted in to contest the election and everyone’s happy. It all seems democratic - until you peel away the veneer of inscrutability and realize too late that mostly it’s a charade which simply gives members the impression they’ve had a real say over who might represent them.
In truth, what tends to happen is that a local board member or Regional Chair lets it be known (discretely of course), for his or her own usually concealed reasons, whom they want to see as the candidate. And, being in a pivotal position to ‘encourage’ an outcome, they inevitably get their own way.
This has usually nothing to do with talent but everything to do with a combination of anticipated favors (board positions, anyone?); reciprocated good turns for financial donations; and so on. With winks and nudges not dissimilar to the egregiousness exemplified by Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister, the ‘right’ candidates get picked under a simulated democratic process.
There are several examples where the selection process is ‘orchestrated’ for someone else’s benefit. Moreover, the MMP system has inadvertently made matters worse, and played into the hands of those who have for years turned parliamentary membership into their own power game. Having MP’s loyal to them for having championed them in the first place gives a certain mana, both socially, and more often, financially. For some reason being ‘close’ to the corridors of power makes such political brokers feel better about themselves. It seems like the political equivalent of getting a bright red sports car or a dose of social Viagra. However, what is often overlooked is that the List system aids and abets the parties in their shady maneuverings. How else can we explain ministers in control of enormous taxpayer funded bureaucracies being invested with such authority - without any of those taxpayers having voted for them?
But worse… we pay for a minimum of 120 MP’s (more if there’s an overhang). But not all MP’s are created equal. You see… before becoming a candidate you are interviewed. And there is one question for which the incorrect answer will shut down your political career before it even begins. And it’s this: in the event of a conflict between your constituents’ views, or that of your own, with the party’s policy position, how will you vote? Any reply other than ‘vote with the party’ finishes you. Never mind that your paymaster is the taxpaying constituents - your loyalty to the party must be paramount. The point is, as an MP it is expected that your priority is to represent your party diktats - not the electorate from whom you draw a salary. And it’s very, very wrong.
There is also another even more mischievous implication which is that while we pay for at least 120 MP’s, we only get the ‘deliberations’ of the few elites who, via the caucus, impose their ideas as a matter of obligation on the others. Therefore, we now have ‘cookie cutter’ MP’s who regurgitate party policy much like a pamphlet – often defending the indefensible.
Original thought is anathema to the political party machine which frequently over-rides MPs’ common sense in favor of the heady mix of speculative dogma, focus groups and spin merchants working in unison to send out a common message. It is inherently anti-individual and therefore also, I suggest, anti- democratic. One personal experience highlights the point.
As an author and researcher on law and order issues, I have from time to time put pen to paper on issues I have some knowledge of. I was astonished, therefore, that when I was a candidate in the past, I was expressly forbidden to have these published. One note passed on to me from a party board member (but which originated from party head office) states as follows: “I have had time to read it and simply, it cannot be published.” So… a gag order. But then, as far as I’m concerned, much worse was suggested. It was suggested I should “use the general communications pieces circulated regularly by the Communications Unit…. as long as he uses them verbatim and does not ad to them or alter them.”
In other words (as I understood it) the injunction was to use their propaganda as if my own and attach my name to it. I refused to do that. Firstly, I do not ever want to put my name on something I didn’t write. Put another way, if only a few MPs make policy – and the rest are simply there to make up the numbers – they are surplus to requirements. We don’t need them.
Secondly, what came from party headquarters were nothing more than insipid pap pieces that were embarrassingly poorly written and in language that talked down to the public. It’s extraordinary that our politicians and their cadre of sycophants have such a demeaning attitude to the public they pretend to serve. The serving is, instead, self-serving
My third reason for refusal to submitting to these ‘requests’, is that I believe the public should know whom they are voting for. Using someone else’s script is, in my opinion corrupt, if used to create a false impression by which to elicit votes. It’s like trying to sell Big Mac’s by showing a Burger King product. It is simply wrong.
My real point is that our democracy is as precious as it is fragile. Right now, we talk as if we have a democracy – the idea that we, the people, are in control of our nation’s destiny. But despite its outward appearances, its inner workings are far from democratic.
FINAL WORD – Income inequality isn’t a bad thing
The best way to spread wealth is to leave it in the hands of the people who earned theirs, some of whom, because of the risk they take...the innovations they create...the effort they put into their business, result in better living standards and opportunities for others. Yes, they make a profit and good on them. Let’s remember that those in the top percentile of wealth absorbs only a small portion of their money in lifestyle whilst the remainder is invested using the skill that earned it.
When someone earns more, it is because they have created new value for others who willingly exchange their labour (through paying with a portion of their income). The greater the new value...the greater the reward. Income inequality is actually a healthy sign that the different gifts of talent we all have can be recognised according to their usefulness and contribution to what society values.
The envy of the left, often given voice and articulated by confiscatory government policy, is simply the expressed frustration of people who ‘want the economic manifestations of success’ without either having the skills or the discipline to go out and earn it. When I see a financially successful person I feel good about their success, and that’s the difference between me and a leftist who thinks they deserve more but aren’t willing to do anything for it. It is they who are the truly greedy ones.
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