In her Herald on Sunday column this week Heather Du Plessis-Allan suggested some silly people came along to last Thursday’s anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) protests and ruined everything, and now the country will never want to talk about free trade ever again – because, well – bad protesters. I imagine a ‘good protester’ to Du Plessis-Allan is someone who quietly marches waving an inoffensive placard, in an inoffensive way, accompanied by an inoffensive chant, asking to have an inoffensive conversation, with some inoffensive people – someone, who even Mike Hosking’s so-called “regular New Zealanders” could give their inoffensive nod of approval too.
Guess what guys, the revolution was never meant to be inoffensive, nor something easily slotted in between a pedicure and picking the kids up at three. Protesting, by its nature, is an inconvenience. If it doesn’t make the viewer uncomfortable it is not doing its job. Also protesting, or the right to protest, is a democratic right in our country – we literally go to war in other countries to afford their peoples the same rights. Let that sink in for a minute. While the boys and girls of our Fourth Estate reduce serious issues to ‘silly protesters’ and ‘traffic inconveniences’ – we send men and women to potentially die in foreign lands to give or to restore to a foreign citizen, their right to protest and inconvenience their governments. The very same rights it would seem that some people here would rather we didn’t have.
I don’t want to watch, or read, or hear another talking head whine about protesting “riff-raff” and “rent-a-crowd”. I want to watch, read, and hear them instead discuss the issues being protested, for, or against. Let’s not forget some media personalities are paid very well to do this, so why are they still struggling with the fundamentals of our democracy and getting away with it? Let alone being paid for that struggle? If Hosking for example can’t figure it out, please someone dear god explain it to him, and please let that someone not be Toni Street. Every time we allow important conversations to be derailed by lowest common denominator sound bites churned out to even lower common denominator audiences, we do New Zealand a disservice. We do our kids a disservice.
Not just content with sticking the knife into ‘bad protesters’ for giving protesting a bad image and turning people off talking about the TPPA, Du Plessis-Allan claims their actions single-handedly sent “ordinary people” – which I can only assume is Du Plessis-Allan ‘speak’ for Hosking’s “regular New Zealanders” – into the moderate and welcoming arms of the TPPA proponents. Really? Do we have evidence of this? Or is this something Du Plessis-Allan made up because she had a 500 word limit to fulfil? If so-called “ordinary” New Zealanders don’t understand the TPPA as she alleges and a bunch of protesters can scare them off, then that’s not the fault of the protester, that’s her fault, she is the journalist after all.
What has she done the past eight years to elucidate the masses? She derides and ridicules protesters for their ignorance in the face of a knowledge vacuum, but lets her so-called “ordinary people” and Hosking’s “real New Zealanders” off the hook, despite their own very obvious ignorance due to the same information void. The TPPA came out of the last decade when the United States wished to join the four country Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP) – so it has literally been a thing since January 2008. Why are we so ignorant to this agreement eight years on? Why are people fearful of not just it but many of its clauses? Can our broadcasters really say they’ve done their very best to give people not just credible, but also the factual information they would need to have to take a well-rounded position on it? I don’t think so.
It seems a major goal in the TPPA debate for some time now has being to avoid pushing for answers on contentious provisions in the agreement from the negotiating Executive, and instead drill non-negotiating opposition parties on their stance. Demanding to know if they are anti-free trade for example, because they, inexplicably it seems to some media, dare to question parts of the agreement while supporting others. For some, it’s like the media are fighting the fire in the letterbox while behind them the house burns. No wonder people are scared and effectively screaming at their screens, and now screaming into our screens, at the journalistic equivalent of the horror movie victim not heeding our warnings to ‘look behind’ them. If people for, against and everything between, are still ignorant of this agreement this late in the game, some feeling anxious, desperate and fearful, then someone’s not doing their job – or someone else is doing their job too a little too well.
On Radio New Zealand last week, ex Labour Party politician and Speaker of the House, Margaret Wilson, now Professor of Law and Public Policy at University of Waikato said this of the protesters and their perceived ignorance,
“Why they’re bothering is that somehow or another people feel they have to express to their government their feelings about both [the] process [of the TPPA], and [the] content in many ways as well, because they haven’t had any other opportunity to do so. In New Zealand’s constitutional arrangement, [protest] is the way in which the people, the only way really, substantially, [that people can] communicate directly [with the Executive].”
Du Plessis-Allan though bless her, hopes middle New Zealand will stay strong in the face of inconvenient protests and inner city traffic jams, and no matter how tedious, carry on the apparently newly started, but nevertheless important TPPA conversation. It’s almost like Du Plessis-Allan has only just realised the importance of it, let alone known that some of us have being desperately screaming out for us to have this conversation for some time. See what I did there Heather?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
Like it or not dear reader, the thousands of protesters who turned up last Thursday, and the many people who wish they could have, are not the people who need their actions questioned right now.
Viva la revolution.
I do not care that there is currently no legislation that could stop a second flag referendum, it’s an entirely moot and lazy point – up until last week there was no legislation for a fifth flag option either. It is disappointing the reporter who wrote this piece for Radio New Zealand Megan Whelan does not include that information. Fact is legislation can be modified on the fly and under urgency and constantly is, to pretend legislation is somehow static and unchanging is bad form and lends no integrity to the report.
The whole reasoning for informal votes is the hope that sheer volumes of numbers would be enough to put pressure on the government and wider community for support to stop what would by then clearly be a pointless second referendum. People still have power. Am sick of journalists and media organisations hiding their balls and telling us we don’t.
I for one will be making an informal vote first time around.
I wrote yesterday about how well documented it is that Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key worked with currency trader Andrew Krieger while they were both at Bankers Trust in the mid 1980s.
A week before the 2008 election, a 1991 statement Key gave to the then new established Serious Fraud Office surfaced. In it we learned Key had told investigators he could recall a date crucial to the investigation because it was the same date as his last day with Elders Merchant Finance – he was going to Auckland to take a position with Bankers Trust – this is supposedly the time when he started with Krieger. Except this timeframe is an impossibility. Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust some six months before the date in question.
Key has either lied to media when they were doing background bios on him in 2008 about working with Krieger, or, and more likely, Key conspired to lie to the Serious Fraud Office to assist his ex Elders colleague Paul Richards who was facing fraud charges.
Gavin Walker who was Key’s boss at Bankers Trust, talked at length with media in 2008 about the relationship Key had with Krieger, going so far as to say managing that relationship was more or less in Key’s job description. Walker is now Chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Super Fund. Did he lie to media about Key working with Krieger? Because lying and misleading is the implication if Key maintains his SFO statement is true and correct – as he did in the lead up to the 2008 General Election.
As for Richards, he soon followed Key to Bankers Trust and may or may not have been still working there when he was first interviewed by the SFO in November 1990. If he was, did he and Key conspire to the mislead the SFO investigators? Constructing an elaborate back story of a ‘farewell lunch’ that never took place? The date of this lunch conflicted with the recollections of Richard’s co-accused. Richards is now head of UBS Head of FX Distribution in the US. He is a regular finance and foreign exchange commentator on television and news in the US and is a current and past (2012) member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve.
For the record, the investigation all those years ago was into the failed high flying company Equiticorp. Over 55,000 shareholders were defrauded of over $400 million, of which the would be New Zealand PM was willing to lie to investigators to protect his friend and colleague who had helped commit $67 million of that fraud.
A week before the 2008 election Key was asked about his statement and assured Radio New Zealand listens he did not lie to the SFO, maintaining his statement was 100% true and correct and claimed any talk of the contrary was nothing but left wing smears, attack politics from desperate opponents.
Today opposition leader, Labour’s Andrew Little called Key a liar over the PM’s knowledge of ex-Northland MP Mike Sabin’s police investigation – add another lie to Key’s growing pile of untruths and obfuscations but I think Key’s 1991 SFO statement may be his longest standing and most damaging lie yet.
We are receiving unconfirmed reports popular TV3 host Duncan Garner is fighting for his life after a 50 ft Front Bum stormed the set of The Nation this morning and attacked the prolific tv host live on air.
We cross live now to our Man Dan on the scene.
“Man Dan are you there? Can you confirm a Front Bum has indeed attacked the panel?”
“You heard it right folks, Duncan Garner has been attacked by a 50ft Front Bum and is trapped on set along with regular “Having a Bear with Duncan” panel members Big Ted and Jemima.”
Duncan’s running mate for Most Prolific Presenter of the Year award Guyon “Dunkin my mate” Espiner said he was shocked, “as the other voice of the nation, I am shocked.”
Sargent Henry Wright of Auckland Police says that while the Police believe this to be an isolated incident they can not rule out that Front Bums are revolting and is advising all #canthemanban sympathises to remain in doors.
Economist Gareth Morgan say this is further proof Front Bums are nothing more than environmental terrorists, once again are showing what little regard they have for the native politicalhackohglorious in it’s natural habit. Morgan hopes to eradicate Front Bums from New Zealand by 2017.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has offered the use of an asylum should the New Zealand Government seek to contain an outbreak of Front Bums outside it’s borders.
IN BREAKING NEWS: NZ public to put forward remit seeking equal representation for Quality Reporting in journalism in nation’s media; press gallery say quota not fair, will oppose it.