THE CRISIS OF STATE OVERREACH
By Dr Muriel Newman
I was listening to an interview on the radio with a white supremacist expert last week. He described the people at the occupation of Parliament's grounds as a mix of white supremacists and far-right extremists. What utter rubbish, yet the interviewer did not challenge this statement. Such is the parlous state of the 4th Estate these days.
I've reproduced Dr Newman's article in full because it outlines the issues before us today where we face increasing government overreach that looks more like a Soviet-style takeover each day. I woke up this morning to hear that Democracy NZ founder and leader, Matt King, has been trespassed from Parliament. You do not have to support Matt King to understand that trespassing him is an affront to democracy. Where will this end if we allow this to continue? Will we own nothing and have no say? While this may sound preposterous, if we do nothing, that's where we are heading, folks!
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“There is a threat posed to human freedom by the enormous power of the modern state. History teaches the dangers of government that overreaches - political control taking precedence over free economic growth, mindless bureaucracy, all combining to stifle individual excellence and personal freedom.”
– President Ronald Reagan, Address to Members of the British Parliament, 1982.
“Chaotic scenes erupted as hundreds of police descended, armed with riot shields, and shoving protesters out of the way. Protesters could be heard crying in pain after being pepper sprayed and police were lined several people deep to move them on… a police helicopter circled above...”
This was notreportingRussian authorities clearing demonstrators against President Putin’s attack on the Ukraine, nor French Police breaking up a violent protest after President Emmanuel Macron won re-election. It was New Zealand’s Police moving in on the men, women, and children peacefully camped on Parliament grounds on March 2nd.
Instead of talking to the anti-mandate leaders - as they had requested - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern looked down from her 9th floor Beehive office as Police used rubber bullets, pepper spray and batons to crush the protest.
The police tactics resulted in significant damage to property, multiple arrests, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of complaints of Police brutality - exactly what Police Commissioner Andrew Coster had warnedagainst just eleven days earlier. At that time, he totally rejected the use of force against the protesters, saying that the level required “wouldn’t be acceptable to most New Zealanders.”
So, what changed? Why was official force used that morning after the Police Chief had ruled it out?
With public supportfor the protesters growing, some say Labour’s falling poll ratings were a factor.
What is incontrovertible is the contrast between the kid glove tactics used by Jacinda Ardern during the Ihumatao protest, where she went out of her way to end it peacefully, and the heavy-handed approach employed against those whose lives she had destroyed with her totalitarian vaccine mandates – mandates she had assured the ‘team of five million’ would not be imposed.
Our Prime Minister, who claims to be the only source of truth, not only made a complete mockery of her “be kind to each other” mantra, but after Justice Francis Cooke disclosed in his February High Court rulingon vaccine mandates, that the Ministry of Health had advised the PM last October that vaccine mandates were unnecessary, she has revealed herself to be untrustworthy and untruthful.
The February High Court decision that vaccine mandates for Police and Defence Force staff “could not be justified in a free and democratic society” confirmed the protesters’ cause was legitimate. New Zealanders had been deceived into thinking the mandates were imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19, when in fact, the Vaccine Order stated it was to “ensure continuity” of essential services. But even that did not stack up, as the actual numbers of unvaccinated staff – 164 Police out of a workforce of 15,000, and 115 Defence workers out of 15,500 – were too small to justify such punitive measures.
In reality, the mandates had nothing to do with health nor the maintenance of public services and were instead weapons of coercion, to force compliance with the Government’s vaccine strategy.
This raises an Important question – since vaccination is no longer ‘required’, why are mandates still in force for many public sector workers including doctors and medical staff? Are they being used vindictively by the Ardern Government to continue punishing those who did not comply? Or is it simply so politicians can save face?
It was a similar story with MIQ - the Government's border quarantine system, that many described as a “cruel lottery from hell”. Last November the Ministry of Health advisedthe Prime Minister that there was no longer any health justification for continuing the system. As a result, stranded Kiwis from all over the world could have come home for Christmas.
But the advice was ignored.
In her High Court rulingin favour of Grounded Kiwis - a group established to advocate for Kiwis wanting to come home - Justice Jillian Mallon found that the right of New Zealanders to return had been infringed “in a manner that was not demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
Given such actions by the Ardern administration, it’s puzzling why New Zealanders remain so trusting of the Government – especially as the Prime Minister’s promised “transformation” has turned out to be Soviet-style divide and rule, with a gross denial of the fundamental freedoms that we, in a ‘free and democratic society’, take for granted.
Former Labour MP and Maori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia has been an outspoken criticof Jacinda Ardern’s dictatorial approach. Referring to the PM’s former role as president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, Dame Tariana, said, “I have no confidence in her. I've seen a video of her a while ago where she was doing almost the 'Heil Hitler' salute as a young socialist. I certainly believe she's a socialist.”
Dame Tariana says the way the government dealt with the protesters was an abuse of power – and that everyone has a right to be heard: “That's our right as New Zealanders - as those who have put these people into power. I think that anyone behaving like the Government is right now is abusing power... I think that we trust people to do what they know to be best for themselves. I don't think they've got any right ever to dictate to the people… We have a right to say yes or no to whatever is happening in politics, and people have guarded that religiously… I think they've overstepped their mark. I've never, ever seen the Crown behave like that before. It's tantamount to bullying.”
It is bullying. Socialists have no respect for those with contrary views, and they use force to impose their will. To them every problem must be regulated, because with regulation comes the power of enforcement.
And that’s what makes the Ardern Government so dangerous.
Their authoritarian approach can even be seen in something as simple as requiring official government communications to be clear and easily understood. Instead of taking the common sense approach of informing agency bosses of this objective and requiring them to progress it throughout their organisations, a new law is being passed to force compliance.
Theexplanatorynote of the Plain Language Bill that is presently in front of a Select Committee explains its purpose: “This Bill promotes the use of plain English in official documents and websites. Comprehensible information from government organisations is a basic democratic right. Plain English must become the standard for all official public and private communication in New Zealand.”
Once the Bill is passed, government agencies will be required to appoint one or more Plain Language Officers to train staff, deal with complaints, and provide regular compliance reports to the Public Service Commissioner, who will then report the findings to a Minister.
This will invariably lead to more nonsense jobs, further expanding the government bureaucracy - which has already grown 30 percent in the year to June 30, from 47,352in 2017 when Labour took office, to 61,097in 2021.
While most people would welcome government communications being provided in simple English that’s easy to understand, the key problem that exists nowadays is caused by the inclusion of Maori language words into English communications without the courtesy of a translation - often rendering the meaning incomprehensible.
Unfortunately, this problem is unlikely to be addressed by this Bill, since Clause 11 states, “Nothing in this Act affects the Maori Language Act2016”, and a key objective of that Act is to “support the revitalisation of the Maori language, including by promoting an increase in the number of people speaking the Maori language and improving their fluency in that language.”
In hisarticleoutlining the situation, lawyer Dennis Gates explains, “The Prime Minister of Singapore, addressing the nation on its 50th anniversary, drew attention to that country’s achievements but also castigated his fellow countrymen for the use of what he called ‘Singlish’ - a mix of English and several Asian languages. The equivalent is happening in New Zealand, but driven from the top down, not evolving from the bottom up. We are in danger of creating our own form of Singlish, namely what I call Manglish.”
The answer, surely, is for the Plain Language Bill to require that when words of another language – including Maori – are inserted into any official communication in English, they must be accompanied by the English translation.
This requirement should also apply to spoken communications - including by taxpayer funded TVNZ and RadioNZ – so that every time the announcers use Maori words, they will be required by law to provide an English translation.
Anyone keen to see such a development might like to contact members of the Governance and Administration Select Committee that’s dealing with this Bill – see HERE- to suggest that an amendment along those lines should be inserted into the Bill. All MP address can be found on the NZCPR website HERE. Furthermore, we have created a Plain English Petition to help raise awareness of this issue and to promote a potential solution to a growing problem in New Zealand. To sign the petition and help spread awareness please click HERE.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, former Judge and Law Lecturer Anthony Willy, who is also extremely concerned about the relentless increase in State control and the damage created by government overreach, has provided a comprehensive paper outlining the importance of the free market economy to a well-functioning democracy:
“We in the anglosphere have become so used to conducting our business affairs in a ‘marketplace’ that we take it for granted and if we give it any thought at all we ignore how fundamental it is to our way of life, preservation of our liberties, and to the health of our democracy. It is no accident that those who seek to destroy those liberties and democracy must first destroy the market economy.”
He warns that while historical attempts have been made to replace free markets with communism and Marxism, under Jacinda Ardern, the attack is through tribalism - and unless stopped, it could lead to the “the destruction of democracy and rendering the market economy unworkable”.
Meanwhile, in this present environment of increasing State control, the European Union has used the crisis in the Ukraine as a cover to pass a new law to regulatesocial media and end the era of self-regulation.
The Digital Services Act, which critics believe will give the European Commission extensive powers without appropriate checks and balances, will require social media companies to police their platforms even more aggressively to combat “misinformation” and “divisive” content, or risk incurring fines that could reach as high as 6 percent of global turnover.
For Elon Musk, who has now received approval from Twitter’s Board to buy the social media giant for US$44 billion, the challenges that lie ahead to retain free speech in an increasingly regulated world are now even greater.
Is regulating Big Tech the next step for Jacinda Ardern’s authoritarian government? Will they attempt to control social media now that they have captured mainstream media through their $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund?
With New Zealanders becoming increasingly aware of what it’s like living under socialist authoritarian rule, surely freedom must become the defining issue of our next election.
It’s time Kiwis found their voice and defined the line between personal freedom and state control. Do we want an authoritarian regime that believes every problem can be solved through regulation - or do we want a government that will enable us to do the very best we can for ourselves and our families?
If we don’t take a stand and define the line between freedom and authoritarianism, then socialists like Jacinda Ardern and her comrade colleagues will do it for us.