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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dirty v normal politics

I find something a bit disingenuous about Nicky Hager's style of breathless, wide-eyed pleading - and that tends to get in the way of the facts in his book and what they mean.  Holding out some imagined purity of conscience as a standard in politics - as Hager does to exaggerate the significance of his research - seems a bit strained when he's spent the last decade of his professional life working on nothing but machinations of Tory 'sleaze'.  The email trail is damaging enough without the embellishment of a tut-tutting that only a saint could deliver.  Is he the only adult in the country not to have been inoculated for what are the common maladies of politics?

To argue points - as Hager does - with hacked emails in one hand and his finger wagging with the other is not the highest moral ground either. Hager's attempt to occupy a lofty position in the heavens somewhere - when he only covers one half of the hell of the underworld below that is politics and bloggers: National and the right - is undeniably partisan.  The Hollow Men followed the same pattern.  Focus on the right, a free pass for the left.

The context of the exercise wasn't about the relationship between politicians, their staff, the media and bloggers - it is about National and National-aligned bloggers only.  It is an exposé of the political right - not of politics as such. No wonder Key was pushing this line this afternoon - it's just about the only one he can safely mention that does have some credibility.  Key's response has been belligerent and curt; but while Hager is not the best advocate for his material, his beatific repose is becoming just as annoying as Key's whiny defence.

Politics is by implication - if not by definition - a dirty game, always has been, always will be.  We call it 'playing politics' as if it were a low game.  The skills of statecraft are not different from ancient times: spies, conspiring underlings, deniability, internal battles within the administration, manipulating messages, wealthy patrons gone rogue... Ok, so now we have 'blogsters' and twitter; but essentially the game and the methods remain the same.

What Hager's would-be  readers are looking for, as are all punters, is not the unethical lapses - the tawdry grubbiness of a blogger for hire, comms staff bragging and Judith Collins being mean behind people's backs - they want to know what offences have been committed and who and how many will be arrested.  How many will go to the slammer?  After five days the answer is still zero.  No smoking guns, but some smouldering emails and a couple of warm tweets. 

Not even any resignations.  Judith Collins has gotten away with more brazen behaviour before without reprimand - as has Paula Bennett who leaked/authorised private information from beneficiaries without any consequence.  Consistency with Key's previously loose code of conduct means basically anything goes.  It is difficult to dismiss anyone with those precedents established.  The dynamics of being 32 days out from a general election means Key will be reluctant to throw any of his crew to the dogs no matter what the level of transgression.

Key is now looking like the lame duck as he takes a hit for the collective failings of his wayward team.  Key still has personal headroom as none of the dots so far join directly to him - they end down a corridor wherever Mr Ede and his masked ISP is located - but Key's own handling of the scandal is now what the focus is on.

Espiner interviewing John Key on RNZ yesterday was a moment.  Key's answer to whether or not he saw the Official Information Act request to the SIS that Slater had reverse-ordered via Ede and which was released immediately was convoluted to the point he laughed at how he didn't know what was going on.  This was nonsense.  How could he not know? Key's defence of a National staff member digital dumpster-diving into the Labour Party computer server is a poorly considered position that paints him like Nixon.

If the text of Hager's book does not contain evidence of an offence, the reactions to it from John Key could prove just as damaging all the same.  Hager has let us all see under the rock and what crawls out.

UPDATE: We expect a slater to scuttle out, it is the rest of the critters that are of real interest. It's probably obvious that I haven't read the book yet. I look forward to reading it and realise my reactions would be a lot stronger had I done so. At the moment, however loathsome, Slater et al have merely met my expectations rather than exceeded them.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

China's NZ land policy

It must be a full-on barn-burner for John Key to have to call talk back radio hosts to try to put out the land sales fire.  The PM does not ring up to have a chat about education policy, or welfare initiatives, or the situation in Gaza - the PM rings up only in reaction to a crisis that can only be put out by the PM.  Have a word, sort it out, everyone back on script.

That was yesterday on Radio Live when Sean Plunket had evidently gone off the blue script due to the callers' overwhelming rejection of the foreign purchase of land.  Key's relaxed routine was pushed into pantomime and ended with his rising tone pitching higher and higher trying to allay the fears.  It was rather queer. Like the kid who thinks he's clever and duped the adults when everyone knows what he's done and the suspension of belief is because his punishment is being formulated.  

The best he could do was that if the amount of land sales was too much in the future he might limit it somehow, but in doing so he had conceded the point: something had to be done.  Key asked people to trust him on his judgement on what was too much and what was not enough.  But what answer would you expect from an international finance man who owns houses in Hawaii and so on.  

Peeling productive farmland off to Chinese front companies at 10,000 hectares a time so they can build their own various primary industry and extractive empires and cut NZ out of the equation is far beyond most people's tolerance threshold.

The PM is in a cleft stick.  Key is caught between where National's neo-liberal free trade ideology and National's conservative, bigoted, provincial base and public opinion sit - on the one prong - and the Chinese people, companies and government on the other.  

It is the China-NZ 'free' trade agreement that is casting the shadow over land sales - not the Treaty of Waitangi.  The Maori view that the land be vested back to the actual original owners - the Tangata Whenua - is not a question a Pakeha would usually entertain no matter how large it looms.  It is the concern that China will interpret NZ as having broken the FTA if land sales are prohibited.  It is a potential trade risk across all trade 'partners', but it is China that holds a FTA and high expectations of future investment and return from buying the land. 

Key can't move with populist reaction against foreign buyers without provoking diplomatic and commercial pressure from China.  There would be huge pressure internally from within the National caucus and Auckland membership to keep foreign buyers, because there would be huge pressure from their Chinese cash cows that they will close their wallets if their fellow Chinese were kept out of the property game.  The FTA was negotiated with the understanding these conditions would continue to prevail.

It is the state policy of China for their companies to buy land here - lots of it - and they have access to cheap Chinese state credit to do it.  The Chinese can afford to pay a premium to be the highest bidders - more than any NZ bidder could, or any other foreign buyer.  The Chinese are buying strategically and for the long-term.  They will start sending their people over to staff these facilities too - the Chinese insisted on labour and visa rights for their workers in the FTA.  Most people are 
aware of this general scenario that is unfolding and are opposed to it.

There is only so long a political leader can dismiss the concern.  It is clearly not in NZ interests to be run by absentee Chinese landlords.  You can hear the percentages falling off the Tories every day it is in the news - it is directly related to how high-pitched John Key's voice gets.  Pretty soon only dogs will be able to hear him.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

WW1: a century later NZ none the wiser

The NZDF commemorate the outbreak of the First World War with 100 gun salute in Wellington.  How inappropriate for that imperialist mass slaughter.  A hundred crosses, or a hundred candles, or a hundred doves, a hundred seconds of sirens, 99+1 luftballoons, or a hundred anything other than weaponry/explosions would have been fine.  But no, the creative genius of government and military demand one hundred shots from the artillery regiment.  Ghastly.

I remember my Great Uncle Snow, but he never told us any tales and his medals can't speak.

I remember interviewing old Norm around the corner for a school project: Paschendale, battles as "stunts", death, madness, quivering flesh in the gas-filled crater, the worst scenes imaginable.  I scribbled away, hiding my mortification.  I stuck to the questions, I asked about bayonets, guns, tanks, gas, combat.  And so the horror proceeded.  A no-man's land of crater upon crater, the ocean of mud, duckboards, the big push, over the top, the barbed wire, gas masks on all the time, gas in every shell, mates torn to pieces, wholesale carnage, bombardments, the most awful conditions, wounded, a hospital of jabbering shell-shocked, cripples.  And then shipped back home to NZ with the compliments of the Empire.  I will never forget that encounter and the impression he left me with: when the war ended it had been so traumatic that they truly believed that it was the last war and that peace would be permanent, that the expectation - not just hope - would be that a rational system of sorting out disputes between powers would prevail - there would be no more war.  It was the war to end all wars - they believed that then.  The day the war ended was the happiest day ever.  A war more awful than this had never occurred or could be allowed to happen gain.  This is what I learnt from Norm.

Today NZ has its military at the disposal of the Americans, not the British, but the roll call of imperialist occupation is the same as it was a century or more ago: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine.

The Chief of Army was on RNZ this weekend talking about 'evil' people in Afghanistan needing a military treatment and how teaching the occupied peoples English and spreading Western values was part of the NZDF mission.  Army engineers would help build things, he said, and described what was some sort of armed development agency. Letting his troops be used as an act of colonisation in a NATO drama was apparently in our interests.  Afghanistan was apparently in our neighbourhood.  There were lots of good reasons for NZ forces to be in there he said, but I never heard any from him that made any sense.  He was proud to come from a long line of soldiers which may account for what a prize fool that man was.  

In a constitutional sense only is NZ better suited to avoid a general conflagration than it was when the Premiere and the Governor rubber stamped the declaration of war from Britain a hundred years ago today; but the NZ entity of this era seems just as embroiled and beholden to the same forces of imperialism as a century ago which led to such a calamitous folly. 

I think of all the thousands of names down the halls of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and how they were sacrificed for greater European interests.  I think how conned they were to have enlisted.  Their grotesque, moronic enthusiasm.  How wrong they were to be conscripted.  How right it was for those Waikato and others who resisted that conscription.  How right the seditionists were to preach peace and neutrality despite the hostility from the warmongers.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

UN/US cease-fire deal designed to fail

Of all the appalling things caused by the Jewish state's latest Gaza incursion it is easy to overlook the compromised role of the UN and how they have been used by US/Israel to promote a cease-fire agreement that was impossible to maintain, thus giving Israel an excuse to wage another round of attacks.

From yesterday in the Washington Post:
--
 Israel and Hamas began observing an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian truce Friday morning [...]
In a joint statement, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said both sides in the conflict are sending delegations to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a lasting cease-fire.
During the 72-hour respite [...] Israel will not withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, a demand Hamas had previously made as a prerequisite to peace talks.
[...] 
“As a response to the United Nations’ request and in consideration of our people’s situation, the Palestinian resistance factions have agreed to a humanitarian and mutual calm for 72 hours, starting from 8 a.m. tomorrow, as long as the other party is committed to it,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “All the Palestinian factions have a unified attitude toward the issue in this regard.”
Earlier Thursday, Abu Zuhri had said that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, would head to Cairo as early as Friday for peace talks if the Israelis agreed to a cease-fire.
[...] Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. undersecretary general for political affairs, said that although Israel had made no initial public statement on the cease-fire, “we have received assurances from all parties” that they will respect the pause. It was his understanding, Feltman told CNN, that “Israeli forces will stay where they are. What we want to see happen is for all fighting between the two sides to stop” to allow humanitarian aid deliveries, the gathering and burying of bodies, and a cessation of Palestinian shelling in Israel.
Kerry said both sides had agreed that during the pause, “neither side will advance beyond its current locations.”
[...] Kerry stressed Thursday that Israel may continue what he called defensive destruction of tunnels over the next three days.
[...] Underscoring the obstacles to ending the war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed before the truce announcement to destroy the tunnel networks “with or without a cease-fire” as the Israeli military called up 16,000 more reservists to bolster its offensive in Gaza.

“I won’t agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to complete this important task for the sake of Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.
--
Do you see the inherent problem with this ceasefire agreement? And why it cannot possibly work?

While both sides are not to advance beyond their positions the fact is Palestinians have forces in tunnels underneath and behind Israeli lines and the Israelis say they will not stop destroying the tunnels.  Israel going into tunnels or destroying tunnels is advancing from their present positions and is a violation of the cease-fire... Except that John Kerry (according to the Washington Post above) reckons that is OK. It's not OK, it is a contradiction.

What happens when the IDF attacks a tunnel during this so-called cease-fire? As Bibi has vowed to do. The Hamas forces would have every right to defend themselves wouldn't they. Under John Kerry's logic the Israelis are free to attack the tunnels during the cease-fire but if the Hamas forces in the tunnels fight back they are breaking the cease-fire. You see what a sick joke this agreement is and why it is impossible to observe. It is an American deal, an Israeli-American deal. The UN is sanctioning a faulty agreement which demonstrates how faulty and compromised the UN is.

So I was not really surprised to wake up to this news... NY Times:
--
[...] two Israeli soldiers were killed and the militants apparently escaped with a third.
[...]
Israel said the attack, from under a house near the southern border town of Rafah, took place at 9:20 a.m., soon after the 8 a.m. onset of the temporary truce secured by the Obama administration and the United Nations, whose leaders squarely blamed the breakdown on Hamas.

Hamas’s account was confused. One leader was quoted claiming credit for the abduction, then backtracked. Others contended that the clash unfolded at 7 a.m., before the cease-fire, although Palestinian reports of fighting near Rafah came three hours later. And one said that in any case, the Hamas gunmen acted only to counter “Zionist incursions.”
[...]
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said the Givati force had been working to decommission a tunnel under a home inside Gaza more than an hour into the cease-fire when at least two Palestinians emerged from another shaft. “One came out shooting after the other one blew himself up,” Colonel Lerner said.
[...]
Israel sent text messages to area residents to remain in their homes as forces rushed farther into Rafah, bombarding it from the ground and air to block the captors’ escape.

Safa, a Gaza-based news agency that has run a live blog during the war, first reported artillery fire in Rafah at 9:55 a.m. The Health Ministry spokesman announced new fatalities there at 10:10 a.m. The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, issued a statement hours later, denying that the clash occurred after the cease-fire.
[...]
The escalation was strong and sustained, with reports in Rafah of airstrikes and heavy artillery shelling past midnight, as Israel’s top ministers met for hours to consider next steps. Colonel Lerner said the operation “now has three components, not two: it’s rockets, tunnels and an abduction now.”
--


The NY Times report is just so virrulently pro-Zionist I had to take chunks of propaganda out of those quotes. But what the IDF is saying is that they were in an operation against tunnelling at the time. And not surprisingly the group in the tunnel (which could have become cut-off) were only left with two options given they were under attack: either they defend themselves, or they attempt to surrender (which would have been dangerous). The terms of the cease-fire are just ridiculous. Trying to blame Hamas for this inevitable "violation" is spurious. And yet that is what John Kerry and his Korean side-kick are doing: using the impossible and contradictory terms of an American deal as the standard to which they hold the Palestinians.

NY Times:
--
Both Mr. Kerry and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, demanded an immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli officer. Mr. Ban described the attack as “a grave violation of the cease-fire” that called “into question the credibility of Hamas’s assurances to the United Nations.”
--

On the contrary, Mr Ban, the agreement itself calls into question the credibility of the United Nations. To see the UN collude like this with the Americans so that Israel can scorch-earth a refugee camp and kill hundreds more civilians is disgraceful.

So the UN is all about negotiation until it comes to an Israeli POW in which case there is no negotiation at all! Hamas is supposed to surrender their prisoner immediately and unconditionally. When the negotiated release of a single Israeli POW (Gilad Shalit) was able to be traded for a thousand Palestinian POWs such a proposition is fanciful. The UN is not neutral in this conflict, they are behaving as agents for the US and Israel.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Have they got to 2000 yet?

The last time Israel invaded Gaza (it isn't a "war" in any traditional sense - it is a ghetto liquidation with consequent resistance) was between the American presidencies of Bush and Obama.  The Israelis wiped out over a thousand Palestinians that time before Obama could be sworn in.  The IDF used phosphorus shells on UN schools in that rampage with barely a murmur.  

During that former outrage Foreign Minister McCully was on holiday and didn't offer an acknowledgement of the crisis until the Greens provoked him.  The Israelis for all their slaughter were invited by National to open an embassy in Wellington!  Now the killing has long surpassed a thousand what perverse welcome mat will the National government be rolling out on this occasion?

National has offered nothing but a few words of bi-partisan rhetoric in condemnation when any independent government would have expelled the Israeli embassy for the bastion of Apatheid that it is.  There is an expectation that a Labour-led government would do this very swiftly after taking office - there would be disappointment if they did not.  Israel use and abuse their allies - after the Mosad passport spies were uncovered the Israeli diplomats should never have been let in.

Now in 2014 Israel has sensed Obama's weakness as a last term President.  Israel is particularly threatened by the Hamas-PLO alliance.  Israel is lashing out, again.  Just like Bibi, I didn't blink - or blog - until the death toll ticks over a thousand.  That is sad.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Koretake Paki

What reason is there for the Crown Law to be appealing a discharge without conviction for a drink driving offence and a theft from a car?

--
NZ Herald:

Korotangi Paki, 19, was let off charges of burglary, theft and drink driving by Judge Philippa Cunningham after his defence counsel successfully argued a conviction would ruin his chances of succeeding to the throne.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to all the charges, which related to two separate incidents dating from March this year and October 2013.
In a statement, media advisor for Crown Law Jan Fulstow said an appeal had been made.
"Crown Law does a very careful and thorough review of cases such as this before a decision is made.
"Having now completed a review of this case Crown Law has today filed an application in the High Court to appeal the matter.

--

But what has this to do with Crown Law?  Who told them to commence a review?  If the only reason for the review was because Mr Paki is the son of Kingi Tuheitia then there is a problem here.  Maybe it was the police prosecutor who made the request?
--
However, police prosecutor F. Gul Qaisrani, opposed a discharge without conviction, saying it would send the wrong message to society.
--
How often do Crown Law step in to appeal what are quite minor offences such as these?  How many times a year would this happen - is this routine?  Was the police prosecutor unable to appeal on their own for some reason?  I pose these questions because to an outside observer it would appear the NZ Government was trying to disinherit/disqualify a successor to an authority that rivals it's own.  Why else would the Crown be doing this?   What pressure has gone on here?

Which look is worse: letting a 19 year old off a conviction because it would disqualify them from holding a responsible office to which they were expected to succeed; or having the talkback/talkhate radio of braying, ranting, racist red necks determine prosecution strategy and the merits of appeal?  The District Court decision doesn't appear unreasonable or unjust - it's a line call.

If Crown Law are appealing just because he is the King' son then they are making an error of disproportionate and special treatment - the same thing they say the District Court judge has done.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Immigration NZ/NZSIS no interest in NZP/FBI 'joint op'

To all the disingenuous half-wits on talk-back/talk-hate radio who say 'if Kim Dotcom has done nothing wrong then he should be happy to go to America to face the charges and prove his innocence' the question must be put to them:
Q. Why are the Americans not prosecuting Kim in NZ, under NZ law, for his supposed copyright infringements?  Why do the need to drag him off to a Hollywood court?
A. Kim has committed no offence under NZ law.  There is no NZ victim here.  There is no case to answer, but in the USA where the corporate lobbyists have purchased politicians and own the law.

Copyright should essentially be a civil matter - a trade dispute with commercial remedies.  To justify their claim - as Hollywood does - that their production costs and marketing expenses relate to the popularity of artists and content is one stretch, that this infers the right of the middle-men to get rich from it by an over-priced and exclusionary licensing scheme is another, and that it should be at the cost of government agencies and involve the imprisonment of the opposing party in the copyright dispute is yet quite another and no less extraordinary. And no less wrong.  The extra-territorial concessions obtained through treaties secured by the Imperial powers over weaker nations (often by naval force or threats of naval force, invasion, annexation and colonisation) in the period to the last war were no less ambitious.

The hypothesised and exaggerated losses attributed to file hosting/sharing websites such as Mega and that supposedly undermines the artist's right to a fair wage for the likes of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke seem an unconvincing ploy by the moguls.  Would Pharrell be otherwise any less happy as he purports to be?  Undermining the maximum potential yield of on-sold territorial royalties from re-runs of the likes of Friends does not seem a convincing concern for a government other than the one owned by Hollywood. Unfortunately NZ it seems - under National - is owned by Hollywood too (certainly after John Key changed the labour laws to suit Warner Bros following a visit by a delegation of them to his house this has been so).

Kim was arrested at his home and him and his family and household were given the Ruatoki treatment because he is being extradited under a treaty with America which has been ratified into NZ law - but Kim is not being prosecuted under NZ law for anything.  As I understand the situation no legal proceedings - criminal at least - are underway by the Crown or the Americans or a "McCready's friend" or anyone else against Kim and his Mega cohorts.  It's only an American offence.  It's not a real crime, it's a Hollywood crime.  A Hollywood crime involving a Hollywood bust searching for a Hollywood ending.

So it is with little amazement, and with much anticipation, that documents have now been released proving that Kim Dotcom was set-up by the NZ government - the security and intelligence apparatus and the Immigration Service conspired to have Kim's residency approved for the purposes of the Americans extradited him to the US.  The NZ Herald has the documents from the SIS stating "political pressure" was being exerted from Immigration NZ.  The Immigration CEO knew the FBI and NZ Police were going to do "a joint op" on Kim from this RNZ News article.  And yet all this is kosher?  Rotten Wellington.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Volkner execution

The Whakatohea rangatira, Mokomoko, was given a full restorative pardon by the NZ government for his wrongful conviction for murder at the Auckland Supreme Court in 1866 and subsequent execution and interring at Mt Eden prison.  This was made law in a unique Act of the NZ Parliament last year which is recorded in text of both English and Te Reo Maori.  From the Preamble:
--
(1)
In 1866, Te Whakatōhea Rangatira Mokomoko was tried and executed for the murder of Carl Sylvius Volkner. Following conviction, two of the co-accused of Mokomoko admitted their guilt. Those persons have since been pardoned. Throughout the trial Mokomoko maintained his innocence.
--
My input to the Bill here.  I see last month Kereopa has been pardoned too for his conviction in the case.
--
The rare statutory pardon for Kereopa Te Rau, included in a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with a Rotorua iwi, has passed into law without fanfare.
A result of careful research and a tribe's unshakeable belief, the pardon effectively means Kereopa is no longer guilty of the murder in March 1865 of German-born Carl Sylvius Volkner, an Anglican missionary who was hanged from a willow tree and then beheaded beside a wooden church near Opotiki.
Kereopa was among several Maori convicted of Volkner's murder, a crime which one historian maintains set back race relations by 100 years.
--

So, as far as I can determine all the defendants for this matter - the prosecuted 'murder' - have now been pardoned in one way or another by the Crown; indeed it seems to be NZ government policy for some decades to do so.  The NZ government is doing so regardless of the level of involvement, or what their individual defences were to the Crown charge of murder.  It follows then that it is NZ government policy to acknowledge that all the convictions, at least, were wrongful. But why were they wrongful? what makes it wrongful? especially when confessions were forthcoming according to the Crown?  It isn't a case of mistaken identity on which this turns, but the status of what occurred.

Is it the NZ government's practice of English law in its courts that are at fault? -  that it was a faulty prosecution, faulty jury, faulty judge, faulty law? - is that the reason for these pardons?  The pardons flow because they are given for more than that.  The act of killing and how that came about is not deemed murder by the Crown anymore, that is what follows from what the Crown is doing.  The killing of Volkner was not murder, but rather something else.

That something else is an execution - a lawful killing.  The time for the Crown to complete this circle and embrace the corollary of its own logic is close.

Volkner is the case of the German Anglican missionary who returned - against warnings - to his native parish in time of war when his denomination was aligned to the Governor, the NZ government and the British who had in the previous year invaded their relations further along the bay.  Volkner was involved in other districts and accused of assisting the British military.  He came with Grace - another Anglican Missionary - wittingly or not as agent provocateurs of the Governor.  

Volkner was identified as an offender on arrival and promptly arrested along with Grace.  He was put under house detention after he was made to understand the charges and had answered questions put to him. Interestingly all accounts I have seen say that Volkner accepted and submitted to the proceedings. Did Volkner and Grace accept the legality, the validity, of the proceedings? I think Volkner probably did as Tino Rangatiratanga and tikanga Maori was a fact, not just an assertion, and Maori authority was a day-to-day reality in the 1860s and it had always been so up to that point.  A hui began of the people from outside who laid down the Aukati, and the local rangatira, which sat all night before a sentence of hanging was determined the following day and the execution was carried out that day.  This was done, let us be clear, by Maori authority on charges of trespassing an Aukati and espionage to abet the enemy (being the NZ government in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed Opotiki 27-28 May 1840).

What Kereopa did next with the deceased, after the execution, was literally eye-popping but was the sort of ritual desecration not incomparable with Victorian era barbarities performed by some British authorities (which is all putting it politely).  The Governor, Grey, had declared war on the Kingites when he crossed the Mangatawhiri in 1863 and he declared war against all tribes when he pre-emptively put a night-time curfew on all Maori shipping in the Waitemata. Every day since has been a backward step for Maori and a step forward for the settlers. Which is why the Crown's reversed position on Volkner is hopeful. A decent settlement becomes possible with the Crown's acknowledgment. If that Maori authority was lawful back then, then when did it ever stop being lawful? All the way up to capital offences. If it can be practised in those circumstances why can't it be practiced now?

Friday, July 04, 2014

MFAT: everything rotten and wrong with Wellington

A foreign diplomat is up on attempted rape charges in Wellington in May and the Chief Executive of MFAT says he knew nothing about it until last Friday...

--
Key expressed confidence in McCully, and McCully expressed confidence in Allen, despite wide acknowledgment that Mfat's communications both internally and with the Beehive failed.

McCully admitted that while he was briefed on the situation on the day Rizalman was arrested, that was the last time it was raised with him, until the media began questioning him on Friday, more than a month after the accused and his family fled.
Allen himself was told nothing about the incident until last Friday, which he said was created by Mfat's strategy of "compartmentalising’’ information to limit its spread. He said he should have been told and that Mfat's communications policy would form part of an independent review.
Allen may face further scrutiny after he failed to follow up a warning from the Malaysians that the messages given by New Zealand were less clear than Key and McCully claimed.
The Malaysian high commissioner Rosmidah Zahid was called into a meeting with Allen on Monday night, during which she raised the fact that her officials had taken away a different message from Mfat about New Zealand's preference for where Rizalman should face justice.
[...]
"We didn't at that stage know there was in fact a foundation for what appeared to be the ambiguity that had been raised with me by the high commissioner,'' Allen said.
--

In other words Allen doesn't know what the fuck is going on in his own department - as per his policies.  But it's quite alright, because he is now reviewing these policies! Uh-ha - and this is supposed to be sufficient considering all the shit he has got his boss into? No, that won't do.  These people are in an over-funded little world of their own and it is about time they came crashing back down to Earth.  Allen really needs to be sacked, and really soon.  

To accept this head of department's gross mismanagement on so many levels - political, administrative, legal, not to mention diplomatic - would speak gigabytes of the unaccountability of the Wellington public service.  MFAT has always thought itself above other departments (coasting along on the self-serving, delusional, mythic mistruth that the New Zealand government exercises an 'independent' foreign policy which the record shows it clearly does not) and this wretched, unwarranted arrogance is the very core of this scandal.  That is what must be dealt with.  A clear signal must be sent for once, something unambiguous.  Allen, for a start, must go.  It's either him or McCully - Key must see this.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Tuhoe deal courts disagreement

Video of the Upokorehe demonstration at Maraetotara, Ohope from April this year.  They won their court case, but that won't stop the legislation rolling over the top of neighbouring Iwi interests and over the top of internal Tuhoe Hapu interests if the government and Tamati Kruger have their way. 

The Bill is bad because Tuhoe interests clash with other Iwi who have not settled with the NZ government - the sort of first-in-first-served scenario which suits the interests of the Crown and brings conflicts with their whanaunga in other Hapu.  It is also bad - as all these settlements are - because the settlement is fundamentally unfair:  being a diktat of the colonial regime to ensure its continuation and not an avenue for self-determination.  Tuhoe is unique because the Bill also represents another possibility dismissed.  The terms are only a fraction, a shadow, of what their 1896 legislation guaranteed - full local autonomy and the Crown restricted to limited public works purchases of land within the Urewera.

The Tuhoe settlement entity has already built its headquarters at Taneatua, and one does wonder if this has been paid for by a NZ government inducement (or bribe) to ensure they go along with the legislated agreement set up with Kruger et al.  By handing out a small bit of lolly the government hopes it can buy the outcome.  Contrary to the official lines that everything is fine, there 
is disease within Tuhoe from what I understand - and there is certainly disquiet amongst the neighbours if you hear the remarks at the end of the video from Big Jim!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mixed media: what is better broadcasting?

Who could disagree with the objectives of a lobby group like the Coalition for Better Broadcasting?
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In 2013, some of the people behind Save RNZ and Save TVNZ 7 joined together, along with media, legal and government-relations experts, to form the Coalition for Better Broadcasting Trust. The CBB aims to grow into a well-established and vocal supporter of public service broadcasting and media for many years to come. [...] The aim is the long-term education, enrichment and entertainment of all New Zealanders (not just Household Shoppers aged 18-49).
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And who could disagree with the first point of their ten point plan? A public service television channel.
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Such a channel could be similar to the hugely popular TVNZ 7. It could include elements of Maori TV, Open University, Parliament TV or access television like Triangle/Stratos. It could follow the SBS model, a BBC2 model, or it could simply be TV One without advertising.
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Could be any format, so it draws no objection.  Who doesn't want a public service - ie. ad-free - TV channel paid for by other people?  I have advocated for much the same thing in principle in several blogs here and over at The Daily Blog.


Apart from a logo like a collapsed neon sign, who could disagree with anything in CBB Chief Executive Myles Thomas puts forward in his post at The Daily Blog:
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1.         Defrost Radio NZ funding
2.         Establish a non-commercial television channel
3.         Fund these with a small levy on SkyTV and other commercial broadcasters, and on ISPs/Telcos
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But.  Why is funding the issue with RNZ? RNZ is a white's-only Europhilic diversity fail. RNZ meets the CBB's own definition of 'what isn't better broadcasting': "limits contributions based on age, race, religion, politics, wealth, dress-sense or hairstyle."

I have demonstrated and quantified the racial exclusivity of RNZ in several posts on The Daily Blog.  Any additional funding would be to fill the pockets of white people in an organisation that does not employ or permit non-white people to contribute in any meaningful way.  RNZ is a Pakeha institution for and by Pakeha: they are the audience, the voice, the editors, the management, the staff.  No equivalent Maori radio network exists.

While RNZ broadcasts everything in English and under-delivers on its pathetic target of sub-one hour per day average Maori content (most of which is in English), Maori TV is 51/49 Reo/English.  Which is better? Which is more representative of the nation?  It's like black and white on the discrimination metric.  RNZ is bad broadcasting.

As for point 2. MTS and Maori TV have been here for 10 years as a public service broadcaster - a Maori broadcaster, for everyone. The equivalent state Pakeha TV channels are TVNZ One and 2 - which is the rub - they are not commercial-free and never have been.  Basically the CBB want a white version of Maori TV from what I can work out through the Pakeha jungle of nomenclature: 'Kiwis' and 'New Zealand' being the controlling concepts.  What the ambitious lobby group of elderly production staff, academics, government types and people wanting to pay to be on the Roll of Honour don't seem to appreciate in any of their website statements is the cultural binary.  

By government convention in its public service budget allocations all of radio goes to RNZ and all of TV goes to MTS.  Each get about $32m pa in direct funding by the government.  And TVNZ sits there beaming out vulgar populism in between ads and gives that profit to the government.  That's broadcasting policy under National and was no different under Labour before them when MTS was set up to satisfy the language obligations flowing from Waitangi Tribunal litigation.  

In part the CBB is overlooking Maori TV as qualifying as public service broadcasting, or worse.  Maori TV has minimal advertising - of which most is public service notices anyway - it is difficult to maintain it is not essentially (if not technically) public service broadcasting in its current state.  But CBB is born from Save RNZ and Save TVNZ7 campaigns dominated by the self-interested white middle class insiders who want to establish a permanent lobby outfit for their conservative/orthodox vision.  Such a group have little comprehension or interest in recognising Maori or any Treaty obligation, let alone anyone else outside the Anglosphere given Diversity is at No.9 on the ten point plan and their definition of minorities is always subsets of Pakeha. Those are my observations from what they have put out.

So Radio NZ gets the same amount as MTS in direct funding - that is how the government splits its public service broadcast funding - straight down the middle.  But MTS doesn't have a radio mandate or radio channel, and RNZ doesn't have a TV mandate or TV channel.  It's an asymetrical split - and a product of legacy and inertia and not of design or consistent policy.  It is fair to ask why things are the way they are and then suggest how things could be rationalised or realised.  But I am not sure the CBB are asking these questions and whether they represent the status quo or reform.  

How can a combined cheer squad of RNZ and TVNZ7 fans be pro-reform?  Just about nigh on impossible.  They are institutional and pro-establishment.  They are fighting defensively on the basis of status quo ante being progress.  They are a creation of the reaction inside a government system of policy, lobbyists, lawyers and the overlap of professional careers, ie. high wank in Wellington.  The CBB say they stand for all the audience, but from available data they are composed of a narrow segment of audience that most people would describe as grumpy old farts in their cardis, on a committee, writing grumpy letters to the editor.

The nation's basis - according to the government at least - is applied to broadcasting.  One Treaty partner is a proud and noble warrior-conqueror people living in a state of war with their neighbouring tribes before they found their way by ingenius navigation to settle in Aotearoa many generations ago.  They are represented by RNZ operating the National and Concert radio networks.  The other partner is the indigenous people, the Tangata Whenua, represented by the Maori Television Service operating the Maori TV and Reo channels on Freeview.  That is the binary. This is the dynamic.

Public service broadcasting - by which we mean no f***ing ads and nothing moronic - is a big umbrella in the shit storm of commercial TV under which shelters very strange company.  I recall discussions from Act members back in the day when formulating broadcasting policy: many Pakeha people who were willing to sell every state asset imaginable fought like Devils for their precious RNZ and the NZSO.

Why make those peculiar exceptions when they are prepared to sacrifice every other form of cultural subsidy?  To them those institutions are the agency of European heritage vital to maintain a sense of their identity.  **everyone elses's identity.  These organs, like the Universities, are crucial to the Pakeha infrastructure of self-belief and status.  It is an elite concern.  It is a government concern.

From what it appears, the CBB is another manifestation of this Eurocentric mentality of the Pakeha, clinging to foreign content and notions in a far away land from their origin and pretending this is national self-expression.  It is thoughtless colonialism.  The CBB refer to the European Union definition, they do things like refer to Mexico, Ghana and Fiji as 'third world'.  NZ with its National and Concert programmes and its symphony orchestra is therefore supposedly... first world?  A first world thoughtless colony.