As New Zealand hurtles towards the 2020 General Election, it has become clear to me that the truly extraordinary year of 2020 has extended to the New Zealand political spectrum. From an increasingly desperate National Party wanting to build roads, roads and more roads to New Zealand First and the Green Party hovering near the exit; from the sky high Labour Party to the conspiracy theorists who are the subject of this article the range of parties this year is impressive. But not as impressively disturbing as what they are espousing, and what it might mean for New Zealand.
To claim COVID19 is a scam is to deny the medical catastrophe unfolding in the United States which has killed over 145,000 people there; to deny the fact that 15 million people have been infected around the world have been infected with it and that several countries have lost control of pandemic. The mother of a former colleague of mine now living in America was very nearly taken by COVID19. And yet, there are people in New Zealand who believe COVID19 is a scam and that people as diverse as politicians, epidemiologists and other officials are in some kind of giant conspiracy. More over they believe that long time philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates are planning to inflict.
Many of the COVID19 denialists go much further than this though. Some go so far as to believe it is a Government agenda to take away their rights, all because when long existing provisions that can only be enabled in a Civil Defence Emergency, were triggered by the declaration of a pandemic . Trying to tell the conspiracy theorists behind this idea about the sequence of legal steps that had to be taken to enable the triggering of the emergency provisions is usually met with a stony silence.
In the last four months several parties have been born out of frustration by fringe elements with the direction that New Zealand society is moving in. Some of their supporters are disgruntled with the legislation banning certain types of firearms in the wake of the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and think that the Labour-led Government is out to confiscate the firearms of all law abiding citizens. These elements might well have the support of the toxic National Rifle Association of America who tried to apply pressure on the Government to not change the law, and whose intervention even National Party Members of Parliament such as Judith Collins and Chris Bishop were angered by. The Real New Zealand Party will repeal the firearms laws that were passed following the terrorist attack. They will also commit us to rejoining A.N.Z.U.S., which I will take to mean repealing the nuclear legislation and binding us to silly American wars that have nothing to do with New Zealand.
Some think that the United Nations is bent on global take over, and that soon there will be a United Nations New World Order in place. These people point to Agenda 21, which is a non-binding action plan to promote sustainable development, and was born out of the Rio de Janeiro 1992 conference called Earth Summit. This could not further from the truth, based on the schism’s that currently dominate the United Nations Security Council. United States President Donald Trump’s confrontational approach to international affairs, the worsening tensions with China and Russia’s continuing support for the backward Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad have seen many United Nations Security Council resolutions shot down.
Given that Agenda 21 was part of the inspiration for the Resource Management Act 1991 and the fact that the world is in an increasingly parlous state ecologically, I honestly find it incredible such a well intentioned plan could be so deliberately misconstrued. But it has been. At least this is what Bill Te Kahika’s New Zealand Public Party (who merged with the Advance New Zealand Party of ex-National M.P. Jami-Lee Ross) have done.
It is a damning thing when A.C.T., a party many believe to be a fringe party is suddenly made to look rather sane – admittedly its leader David Seymour has contributed to two good Bills of Parliament – because the true fringe of New Zealand politics is further out in whack field than we thought. But here we are in 2020 and that is precisely the case.