Over the last 30 years there has been a slow but deliberate erosion of New Zealand sovereignty. Both National and Labour led Governments can be blamed for this behaviour as both parties have committed acts that have sought to reduce the rights of New Zealanders as a people and New Zealand as a nation on the world stage.
It has been said that if one puts a frog in water and slowly turns the heat up, it will stay there until the heat kills it. However, if one puts a frog in hot water it will jump out straight away. In the context of losing its sovereignty, the changes have been covertly managed, with a clever smokescreen laid down by wealthy media interests who have collaborated with successive Governments to avoid causing undue alarm. A good example of the smokescreen at work is the persistent refusal by all major media agencies to do any investigative journalism regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Another example is the creep of infotainment, the merging of hard news such as what is happening in Iraq and Syria, with entertainment and human interest stories that seem ridiculously ordinary.
But in recent years, perhaps scenting the long awaited corporate victory, the changes have started to become more overt. The current National-led Government has for example shown little regard for the democratic processes in New Zealand or the transparency that New Zealanders have come to expect of Parliament, perhaps best evidenced by the flagrantly pro-National bias of the Speaker of the House. Another example has been the deliberate bypassing of Parliamentary Select Committees and the excessive use of Parliamentary urgency to pass legislation, thereby ensuring it cannot be debated properly.
But National are not the only ones to blame. Attorney General Margaret Wilson, a friend of former Prime Minister Helen Clark introduced legislation for the formation of a Supreme Court in 2002, without first asking New Zealanders what their thoughts about a new highest court in the country would be. National and A.C.T. at the time pressed for a referendum on the subject, but were declined. And Labour, although it has to be said, this was in response to a change in the international security environment following 11 September 2001, also introduced the contentious Terrorism Suppression Act 2002. Because of the controversial nature of what New Zealand has been asked to do by nations such as the United States in order to wage the successful prosecution of the “War on Terror”, the appropriateness of this legislation is in question.
But now a signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement will occur at Auckland on 04 February 2016. This is the signing of a trade deal that Prime Minister John Key promised Parliament would be able to scrutinize and debate. However it is being deliberately signed whilst Parliament is still in summer recess so that by the time it convenes it will be too late for a debate or any scrutiny. The T.P.P.A. is a highly contentious trade deal because it was negotiated in considerable secrecy. It has not been checked in any way by Parliament to see if it is compliant with New Zealand’s international obligations, or with the legislation that makes up our constitutional framework.
How long will it be before the frog realizes what is happening and jumps out?