About robglennie000

Kia Ora This blog is my vent for releasing my frustrations with the state of New Zealand, the New Zealand Government and things going on in New Zealand society, as well as around the world. I post daily at 0900 New Zealand time. Please feel free to leave comments. Please also feel free to follow my blog. Best Regards, Rob

Neoliberalism: The dam containing New Zealand’s potential

Neoliberalism is like a dam. It is a dam impounding a huge reservoir of potential. The potential being impounded is the potential for New Zealand to be better than it is. And that is just the way the owners of Neoliberal Dam like it.

The trickle down economic theory flows into the top of Lake Neoliberal. And there, it stops, forever trying to fill an endless reservoir. The wealth stays impounded behind the dam, far below the intakes it is never meant to reach and start flowing down the penstocks to the turbines of the power station.

The power station is idling. The flow is just strong enough to allow the turbines to idle, without actually being engaged to drive the shaft between the turbine and the generator. The tail race which drains the turbines is surprisingly

It have been like this for decades. The power station operators at Neoliberal Dam talk about how they want it to recognize its potential, but the operators are beholden to the owners who just want to hoard the potential. They do not want to generate meaningful output because that would require their business plans to significantly change; it would require them to invest in projects that would suck up some of their ill gotten gains.

The communities downstream from Neoliberal Dam know that there is something wrong with it. The spill way has never been used in all the time it has existed. The outflow level never fluctuates seriously. However they do not have the time, the money or the know how to take on its owners and get them to see things from the locals perspective. Nor do the owners of Neoliberal Dam want to meet the locals. The elected representatives of the local communities are beholden to Corporate Power Company and are reluctant to speak ill of the deals being done behind closed doors.

But in a sign of a changing climate, protests about the mismanagement of Neoliberal Dam are beginning to occur with increasing frequency. Overseas the 98% living downstream of Neoliberal’s sister dams are starting to display signs of displeasure. How long before that displeasure reaches New Zealand remains to be seen in a country where the prevailing attitude still largely seems to be “She’ll be right mate”.

But to this observer, wondering what it would take for the turbines to start to work, the answer is clear. The only way to deal with the Neoliberal Dam, is to either change the owners and completely overhaul the dam or blow it up and start again.



Challenges facing New Zealand broadcasting

Last week’s announcement that MediaWorks are going to sell their television business left New Zealand media reeling. Three, the station established in 1989 as a private entity to provide alternative viewing to TV1 and TV2, was rumoured to be at risk of being simply shut down if it did not get sold. And it left Minister of Broadcasting Kris Faafoi with a massive ministerial headache.

Whilst much of what New Zealanders view these days comes from Netflix, and various online sites such as Facebook and Google, maintaining local media and local content is essential. For all the many criticisms of Mediaworks over the years, News Hub, and the 3 News programme prior to it, personalities like Mike McRoberts and Samantha Hayes have become key parts of the “scene”.

However I doubt many people would be sorry if Married at First Sight was cancelled. A show that has earned ridicule and justifiable criticism alike from commentators across the board, it has an ethics problem that I believe makes it unfit for New Zealand television. I asked the Broadcasting Standards Authority if they believed M.A.F.S. to be unfit for television. The B.S.A. said it could not comment on that, but noted I was not the only one to have asked.

What I think Three needs in terms of decent programming is a current affairs programme along the lines of the very successful Sunday programme on TV One. It needs a high profile presenter to match Miriama Kamo and to work out how to attract correspondents of the calibre of Janet McIntyre. But how to attract such talent and under what business model should the content they deliver be created?

No one will deny that the operating environment of media is tough. It is challenging, expensive work to create top notch content week in week out, especially for a relatively small market where only one or two competitors really have a chance. But how does one transition away from dumbed down content to one where democracy is served by a healthy honest news stream; from content that is not simply about filling in gaps – though some of that is inevitable – to quality content that has people coming back because they have meaningfully gained from it.

MediaWorks which owns Three has been pushing the Government to make T.V.N.Z. a serious public broadcaster, a move about which I am in two minds. A public broadcaster is something New Zealand has been lacking, which spare us the commercials, but which would be propped up with government dollars that Mr Faafoi would find very hard to justify spending. Yet at the same time, the political right would be keen to sell T.V.N.Z. as well and force both to return to making a profit.

Mr Faafoi cannot really be blamed for having to think about this, as there are certainly much worse issues in New Zealand than the state of the media – most would agree housing, health, crime and so forth are bigger priorities. But a decision paper which is expected to be released in December will state Mr Faafoi’s decision.

The fourth estate of New Zealand might very well be entering the new decade in a level of uncertainty as the world around it.

The United Nations is in a critical state and it affects New Zealand

It has been revealed that the United Nations is facing a dire funding shortage brought about by nations failing to pay their annual dues. And if those dues are not paid soon, some of the basic functions of the United Nations will soon be crippled. But how and why has this come about?

The bad state of the United Nations is in part borne from design faults that have never been corrected. Perhaps the biggest failure in that respect is not keeping up with the changing distribution of geopolitical power on the United Nations Security Council. Designed in an era when the United States and Russia were the only two super powers, it has failed to reflect the growth of nations such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia; Brazil and Chile in Latin America or Singapore.

Perhaps the biggest failing though is the abuse of the veto by the Permanent 5 members. At some time or another all of them have used it to block a resolution condemning them or requiring them to carry out one sort of act or another. France last used it in 1989 along with Britain and the U.S. to block condemnation of the U.S. invasion of Panama; the United States blocks resolutions condemning Israel; China and Russia have blocked resolutions condemning Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for atrocities and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria. But getting rid of it might be the one thing that unites all five of them in blocking.

As international distrust has grown, so has the inability of the United Nations to address festering wounds such as Syria; to ping countries like China committing grave human rights abuses in Xinjiang or act as the intermediary in African conflicts. And as the distrust has grown, criticism of the United Nations by the very powers owing the monies that make its work possible in the first place has likewise grown.

The matter of who and how the United Nations is funded causes great division in the U.S. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power said that the world supplies 78% of the funding for the United Nations, and nearly 100% of the 100,000 soldiers and police being used to maintain law and order in the most dysfunctional places around the world. Some in the U.S. believe that it is an act contrary to the U.S. Constitution for the U.S. to be a United Nations member and that it should be asked to vacate its New York premises. Others believe it is a globalist body with an anti-American agenda that is being made worse by American taxpayer dollars being spent on it

But the United States is not the only nation that has short changed in the United Nations in terms of dues currently owed. 59 other nations have also failed to pay in full – New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Sweden plus 30 others paid on time in the 30 day allowance period up to 31 January 2019. Another 100 nations followed, but late (i.e. after 31 January). And some of the nations that have not paid in full are some of the bigger contributors including Brazil

For a country like New Zealand which relies on a rules based international community, this trend is disturbing. Without a functional United Nations we cannot so easily advocate our view of the world, stand up for the Pacific Island nations or push for conflict resolution. Next month if the other nations do not pay up by then, United Nations staff are going to start going unpaid – specialist staff such as interpreters might have their hours cut short; non-essential travel will be stopped; some posts will not have staff.

It also hurts our small island neighbours who otherwise do not have a voice on the global stage. It was this lack of a voice for small nations that was one of the driving factors behind the original United Nations in 1945. A loss of their voice on the world stage is likely to harm New Zealand as well.

Young New Zealand First right to promote drug testing at festivals

Back in the 1960’s major music festivals such as Glastonbury, Woodstock – among others – were as much known for the drug scene that happened around the music as they were for the bands and the music that they played. One does not have to look hard on Youtube to find videos of such scenes – opium, mushrooms, cannabis, cocaine were just a few of the drugs used to get high.

50 years later delegates at the New Zealand First Convention in the weekend just ended were in a heated debate about the suitability of drug testing at music festivals. Some Members of Parliament including Darroch Ball, Mark Patterson and Clayton Mitchell stated their opposition to the idea, which was floated by Young New Zealand First  – the party youth wing – as a policy remit.

Messrs Patterson, Ball and Mitchell said that they were concerned that this essentially amounted to condoning the use of drugs. They were concerned about the messages that would be sent by supporting such a measure.

I support it totally. It is not that I support drug use by any means, but at music festivals, just as at Woodstock and Glastonbury, it is inevitable that drugs get slipped in. There is an equally high probability that strangers in pursuit of that hit that will make them high seek it from people who are otherwise no more than strangers. And further to the point it is far better those that are using them are given the opportunity to ascertain what exactly they are using, lest it be something with a potentially lethal active ingredient. Y.N.Z.F. member Robert Gore, who was quoted suggesting that young people on it should be allowed to repent, suggested lives could be saved and harm from the usage of drugs could be reduced by permitting this policy.

So, I welcome this move by Young New Zealand First to address this issue so that we can all remember the lazy days in the sun singing along to cool tunes for all the right reasons. I hope that the Caucus have another look at how they proceed with this and understand this is about saving lives as Mr Gore said, and not about condoning illicit use of drugs.

The Minor Parties Tour: the biggest NON Parliamentary Parties

They range across the spectrum. Libertarian, separatist, Christian and progressive are just a few of the labels being appropriated by these new parties.

Some of them face basic problems.

I looked for websites on Google for the parties and found several did not have one. A check of both 1 New Zealand and One New Zealand, which both have Facebook pages showed both have no functional website. The domain name for at least one of the two appears to have lapsed. The two separate Facebook pages for these parties which I think are meant to be one and the same (eventually!), have 1,300 and 1,400 likes respectively.

Another problem from experience on Facebook is that the moderators of various fledgling parties are inconsistent. That signals to me that their social media policy is still in development, but that the trigger levels for censoring content are not in place – after a couple of posts on the old Conservative Party Facebook page, including one asking what their policy on the R.M.A. was, I was blocked, when they could have for example just said “we don’t have one”.

Meet the New Conservative Party of New Zealand, born to replace the disgraced Colin Craig formed-and-destroyed Conservative Party. Unlike many of the other parties not in Parliament it has a website. Not surprisingly it has no time for abortion, euthanasia or same sex marriages; tighter criminal sentencing, no to the decriminalization of cannabis. Its environmental policy avoids mention of the Resource Management Act, but promotes withdrawing from all treatises. Notably it has an Israel policy which basically condones the destruction of Palestine.

Another party outside of Parliament is the Maori Party. It formed in 2004 when Tariana Turia walked away from the Labour Party over the foreshore and seabed legislation that was being pushed through Parliament. Mrs Turia and Dr Pita Sharples sought to bring the disparate voices of Maoridom together through one Party. Ultimately it failed to address the many social issues afflicting Maori, such as crime, education, health, social welfare and employment. Although  some believe the party will revive it has to win a electorate seat or get 5% of the party vote to enter Parliament.

A South Island Independence Movement for those in the South Island who are turned off by the politics of the parties who have made it to Parliament is another one that has grown on Facebook. It espouses forming a separate nation, viewed as the Switzerland of the South Pacific in terms of neutrality. No more “globalist” trade agreements, memberships of global bodies is its foreign policy and citizen only ownership of property  At 12,175 members it is one of the larger Facebook sites for non-Parliament based parties. However with no website for those who are not on Facebook, it is likely to be constrained in terms of social media.

A wad of other parties have been listed on Wikipedia, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Better New Zealand, run by Daniel McCaffrey which promotes legalization of cannabis and lower tax
  • Climate Party, run by a Peter Whitmore, which focuses on climate issues
  • National Front – the far right, ultranationalist and ultra-white wing of the global “National Front”
  • New New Zealand Party, run by one time United Future M.P. and former New Zealand First member Marc Alexander

Realistically, if the Maori Party could find a charismatic leader, it might have a chance of getting a Maori seat which would prove to be a springboard for getting into Parliament. It could also gain from the ending of its conflict with former member and leader of Mana, Hone Harawira. The pooling of their combined resources may prove to be the difference between a seat in Parliament or being consigned to the history books.