New Zealand is not for sale – Murray Horton Public Meeting

NEW ZEALAND IS NOT FOR SALE – Public meeting this coming Sunday

Are you worried about who owns and controls New Zealand’s assets?  Maybe you should be.  Remember how our waste and recycling services contract was taken off our community-owned company and an Australian company took over?

Murray Horton, from the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aeoteroa, (CAFCA) will be including Waiheke in his NZ Speaking Tour. We are obviously a place not to be missed. The Waiheke Greens will be hosting Murrary at Surfdale Hall, 3rd April at 2:00. He will join us to speak to, and discuss, the urgent issues of the day.    Hopefully he’ll manage to join us for a  cup-of tea before he has to be back to Auckland on the 4:00 Ferry.

Murray will cover:

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the dangers it poses to the NZ economy and to our very democracy
  • Privatisation of our public assets
  • The relentless takeover of NZ businesses and land by transnational coporations.

He is positing that a change of government in the November 26th Election will not, in itself be enough to change the disastrous course on which this country is set. Murray will be giving us the background of information and the means to meet the most important challenge as he sees it  “how the New Zealand people can fight back; it’s too important to be left up to the politicians”.

Make this whistle stop worthwhile, by coming along to the Surfdale Hall on the 3rd, and giving Murray the benefit of a lively Waiheke discussion.

For more information contact Carol Weizel <carolweitzel at hotmail dot com>

GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN MORE GUILTY

Now look here everybody, you have to stop all this nonsense about feeling sorry for silly politicians who get caught with their kippers under the grill. You can’t click on any news server of facebook chat right now without having to listen to this stuff and it simply won’t do.

Boo hoo…Poor little Darren Hughes fell foul of the very same system that put him where he was and that’s just the way it goes. Never mind all this bleating about being ‘Innocent until proven guilty’. Hughes can trot that line out all he likes but that concept applies to private citizens who are facing criminal charges, not members of parliament caught out in egregious displays of public weirdness.

First of all, try this question on for size; Which of you can honestly put their hand up and say they could have identified Darren Hughes from a lineup of ten pictures of other list MPs this time last week eh? Even I needed to check which one he was when the news broke and I follow this stuff quite closely.

Secondly, would any of you feel as sorry for the little wretch if his wrongdoing had involved drunk driving or a drug fueled assault charge? I doubt it.

The point is that it DOESN’T MATTER what he did. The fact that he is under investigation by the rozzers means his career is over. And this is right and proper. Members of parliament earn grotesque salaries that increase hugely every year while your miserable pittance stays where it is. They sit in privileged luxury atop a festering mountain of mean spirited rules, regulations, taxes and levies all of which keep the rest of us ground into the dirt. Try defaulting on your taxes or ignoring a traffic fine and see how much sympathy the system has for YOU.

MPs may enter politics with a head full of bright and shiny ideals. But then they find that none of that matters and their souls take on the grimy layer required to succeed in the Beehive. As they rise to ministerial level they acquire the power to destroy livelihoods, reputations and careers with the stroke of a pen. They become, quite simply, SWINE. Left, right or centre, it’s all the same.

The only up side to all this is that they walk a tightrope with no safety net. One slip and its all over. They fall a long way and burst open like bags of dirty water, splashing bits all over the place. To take joy in this spectacle is good and healthy. Save your sympathy for those who actually deserve it, and like me, learn to love the smell of a burning political career in the morning.

Land of Plenty

On a Sunday stroll down our street, we met one of our neighbors whose house had been robbed the previous night while the 7 inhabitants slept. No one was harmed, and no one even awoke during the intruder’s visit. The burglar took only a wallet and even at that left the wallet and most of the contents on the property. They found the wallet later in the day in a clump of bushes, along with a wallet belonging to someone they did not know, also with most of the contents inside.

The above incident says to me that we are coming into harder times and some people are in grave trouble around here. The homeowner was dismayed at the intrusion, as he was used to leaving his doors unlocked, the Waiheke way. When I remarked that the crime suggested to me someone who was in need, just targeting cash and leaving the rest, the swift reply was that, “Those people get lots of money”. I left it at that because it was obvious the person was upset, but it has been haunting me, this illusion that just because I myself might not be in want right now, that everyone else must doing so well. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, ‘those people’ do not have enough to live on, whether they are on a benefit or working to get by. And ‘those people’ include, for me at least, some of my dearest friends and relatives.

My step son Ben is 20 years old, just starting out, and making his own way in this world. He has had a good public education, in England and New Zealand, he is intelligent and well read, and widely respected among his peers and wider community for his integrity. He has willingly worked at jobs that were not ideal, and even so, he was unable to find enough work. Part time and on-demand labour with no security or benefits is the order of the day for young people. Although this young man proved himself reliable and in every way a good employee, he was not given the increased hours he asked for. He was also denied advancement in the various companies he worked for, no matter how long he worked for them, through no fault of his own. He cannot make enough money to live in what most people would call ‘normal circumstances’, no matter how hard he has tried.

What do young people do when faced with these realities? Many more are staying in tertiary education, where they can receive some support while they work on gaining more skills. In Ben’s case he has made a political statement of the injustice. This is a societal problem and he deals with it creatively by working in Community Gardens and many other cooperative ventures.

These days there is no way to get ahead by simply showing up to work and following the rules as we’ve all been taught. If you are not already ahead of the wave then you are likely getting caught in the undertow. Ben has been a Fregan and has various methods for obtaining food for free. The minute I wrote that statement I felt compelled to add, “but he does it legally”. The notion that Ben is free to starve disturbs me greatly. This is really at the heart of it- no free education- no free lunch- no free anything. These are the cornerstones of our current political climate. I guess this seems fair to most people, but it is not just. The story people tell of having made it on their own is a fairy tale. I never made it on my own. I had a LOT of help, and I made mistakes which would have eliminated all hope for my future, had I not received assistance at those times.

The story that Anyone Can Make It, and If You’re Not Doing Well It’s Your Own Fault , are favorite bedtime fables for members of the silver democracy, of which I am a reluctant member. The Silver Democracy are the people in their 50’s and above for whom the policies in this and other countries are geared to serve best. A Silver Democracy is a democracy by and for the older generation, brought about by the decades of voting for those policies which serve their own interests at the expense of other generations. The men in Parliament right now, some of whom are advocating cutting benefits and increasing education fees, were the recipients of all of those benefits themselves. Free education and public assistance were the order of the day when they were starting out.

New Zealand is failing its youth and vulnerable populations, so now is the time for compassion, not recrimination. It would be to our benefit on Waiheke to aggressively pursue an alternate story line- food and shelter for people, not for profit. Lets get back to the attitude of previous generations of looking out for everyone, because when we don’t, it only hurts our own community. Deal with it now in a positive way, or we will surely be dealing with it later more dramatically, as the cycle of crime and punishment increases.