In a recent posting,
I wrote the following:
‘New Zealand, after six years of Key, has been corrupted by the sleaze and dirty tricks to a different kind of New Zealand. Behind the glossy image promoted by Team Key is Sleaze Key which has been instrumental in constructing a secret network for controlling New Zealand with the corruption of state services, departmental authoritarianism, a creeping control of media, hard-line appointments to key positions, corrupted numbers, heavily laden hidden-agenda policies, sinisterly composed advisory groups, the undermining of academic independence, state sponsored lying and distortion, the structural indoctrination of children, the isolation of individuals and groups for bullying, restructured institutions for control, contracted obedience … and fear.’
I don’t resile one word from that paragraph; similar to many others I have written over the Key years; and similar to many more if this current regime isn’t removed from office and a different way of thinking about government isn’t adopted.
But things could be on the move.
Who do you think wrote (NZ Herald, 26 August) the following a few days after the above quote?
‘Over the past 10 years there has been an insidious shift in the way the government works, with increasingly autocratic, arrogant ministers taking away the levers of power from citizens and civil servants.’
It was Dame Anne Salmond, distinguished professor of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland, last year’s New Zealander of the Year.
‘The independence’, she said, ‘of the civil service has been eroded … Parliament had been used to pass a succession of acts that strip away rights, freedoms and protections from citizens, in breach of the Bill of Rights. Ministerial accountability had become a farce.’
‘It is this steady erosion of democratic checks and balances in New Zealand that makes politicians feel above the law and contemptuous of those they represent. As the old adage goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’
Anne Salmond then goes on to express her disgust at how the Prime Minister’s office … ‘colluded with a muck-raking blogger to vilify people who disagree with the ruling party’. She goes on to say that ‘this is reprehensible, and a constitutional disgrace.’
She calls for a ‘Royal commission of inquiry … to clean up New Zealand’s dirty politics.’
One of the difficulties, though, in trying to clean up contemporary politics is that they are inherent in the neoliberal philosophy presently underpinning the justification for the actions of power elites (especially for those, but not exclusively, on the right) in Western countries. One of the tenets is the need to avoid provider capture, which, conveniently for power elites, means power is taken away from those most directly involved and self-allocated to those promoting the tenet. At a fundamental level, neoliberalism is about rewarding the elite, meaning a strategy has had to be devised to gain an acceptance of certain policies that in different circumstances would be rejected.
The strategy devised is described in my paragraph above and Anne Salmond’s statements.
Summed up, a grinning money man fronting a government of manipulation, infringement of rights, state sponsored propaganda, scapegoating, corruption, empty distractions, and fear – also bucket loads of sleaze.
And it’s happening now – note Key starting to union-bash over NZEI rejection of IES and threatening to impose the policy.
And it’s happening as set out below.
OrgName: Navy Network Information Center (NNIC)
Address: 2465 GUADALCANAL ROAD
Address: BLDG 1265
City: VIRGINIA BEACH
– – –
A false e-mail was sent by Cameron Slater to my website to compromise me and a person who had contributed to the Comments section of a posting.
The initial e-mail was a trial then the intention was to write a comment, probably with a Nazi reference.
A computer expert tracked the e-mail back to this false IP address – yes to the naval spy centre in Virginia.
This terrible story began with a hit list of principals compiled in Anne Tolley’s office when she was minister of education – persecution of those principals and others added to it, continues to this day. All sorts of dirty tricks have been played and bureaucratic cruelties inflicted on certain principals to engender a climate of fear. Dirty tricks ranging from setting local news media onto principals; to the education review office picking up implicit messages to harass; to using the statutory manager process to punish; to ending up on Slater’s hate list.
This kind of governance has become endemic to New Zealand government structures. Take the way Christchurch post-earthquake has been isolated and given the full dirty tricks treatment. There has been misuse of the Official Information Act, a minister utterly unwilling to accept accountability, authoritarian changes to local-body politics, smear campaigns, shadowy consultants, state sponsored propaganda, and corrupted statistics.
For twenty-five years I have fought for a better kind of education system in a better kind of New Zealand. Are we on the cusp? Certainly the kind of education programmes set out in Labour, Greens, Internet-Mana, and NZ First manifestos promise considerably better – and with the revelations of Dirty Tricks and the growing appreciation that something is very wrong in our political structures and behaviours, perhaps we are.
Are you doing your best to spread the word?