Prince Charles likely to be New Zealand’s next Head of State


Early yesterday it was announced that Prince Charles would be most likely to become New Zealand’s next head of state. The result, based on a unanimous vote of the Heads of State and Heads of Government assembled at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting  was endorsed by Her Majesty the Queen of England. The Prince, father of William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, has been widely viewed as the next successor. But if Charles, Prince of Wales becomes King of England, how will a man viewed as stuffy and pedantic in some quarters be received?

I will be honest now that I support a Republic and a New Zealand Head of State. I do not believe that foreign states should be ruled by a hereditary sovereign, from thousands of kilometres away. Never have and never will.

Much has been written by so called researchers and authors about Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. His marriage and relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, subsequent marriage and her gaining of what sounds like a rather begrudging title, appears to have been accepted by Her Majesty rather coolly. Maintaining the tradition and protocol of the Royal  Family, one might have expected Prince Charles to stay loyal to Diana. Make what one will of Diana and Dodi al Fayed, but perhaps with her marriage to Prince Charles collapsing, the resulting affair should not have been surprising.

It is William and Harry that I feel sorry for. But now grown men, the former with two children and the latter about to be married, the endless media scrutiny, rumour and innuendo fuelled by money hungry grubs in the womens magazines shall be used to it by now.

As for how this will affect a Republic of New Zealand? Prince William is widely viewed as a better choice. His maturity, down to earth persona coupled with the graceful way his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge conducts herself and their children mike him a hit with many. Maybe his time is still coming but many would prefer him to reign.

Subsequently I expect a spike in support for a Republic. The argument for a Republic oof New Zealand has been laid out in other articles. But this is the first time that I have attempted to argue against having Prince Charles as a Head of State. This is further backed up knowledge that Australians favour a Republic, but are more waiting for the Queen to pass on and have a second referendum. Their 1999 referendum asked whether an Australian should be Head of State, but its failure to provide the right to an ELECTED Head of State meant it failed.

 

Chinese plan for a military base in Vanuatu dangerous for region


On Stuff yesterday, there was a report about China reportedly seeking to build or otherwise have a military installation in the Republic of Vanuatu. The purported move comes as concern grows about the militarisation of the Pacific by various nations.

To be fair Britain, France, the United States have all had military testing grounds for nuclear weapons in the Pacific. France and Britain, whilst no longer testing nuclear weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Test Ban treaty, have a number of non-nuclear military installations around the world. The United States operates a large number of military bases around the world – thought to be 900 in all. China has military bases outside of its sovereign territory, including the naval air station built on a man-made island in the South Pacific.

However this is a first for China, or any other military power to be establishing a military base in a south Pacific nation other than New Zealand or Australia. The location suggests a desire to expand its influence around the world. China, in much the same way America did when a neo-conservative think tank called “Project for a New American Century” formed in 1997, has a road map for global influence. The P.N.A.C. has a road map for achieving total global domination, and largely through military strength and using it as a force of influence.

Politicians in both National and Labour are expressing concern about the militarization of the Pacific. So is New Zealand First, whose leader and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters has acknowledged that the news is creating strategic unease. It will be interesting to see what happens because New Zealand needs to tread carefully between the interests of America, but also the growing influence and reach of China.

Position’s on international influence in the South Pacific vary and can be split into several groups:

  1. The first is staunchly pro-American/A.N.Z.U.S. and perhaps harks for the bygone era of a three nation A.N.Z.U.S. alliance – the people in this group generally have no problem with the U.S. nuclear umbrella, are reluctant to criticize American foreign policy mistakes and support increased defence spending.
  2. The second group is more likely to be Labour/Green supporters who find much wrong – and there is – with American foreign policy, but don’t always acknowledge the mistakes of others. They are not supporters of A.N.Z.U.S., do not believe in the need for more defence spending.
  3. The pro-China lobby. This no doubt exists somewhere. Mainly in political circles and trade – it might or might not be directed by Beijing or it could be Chinese New Zealanders who believe they are acting in Beijing’s interests. They oppose American influence for different reasons, but would be reluctant to criticize Beijing, despite the latter having scant regard for international law, committing appalling human rights abuses and suppressing its own citizenry.
  4. The third way – I think this group is a bit bigger than a figment of my imagination. It has little time for foreign power geopolitics, and believes most of New Zealand’s foreign policy and aid effort should be focussed on the South Pacific. Their view is that New Zealand Defence Force should be built around an understanding it might need to deploy in the South Pacific on its own with no back up from Australia, either to protect these nations from a foreign power or to stop local conflicts from spilling over.

I think I identify best with the fourth stance. Australia appears to not be thinking much about the influence of China around the world. More and more it has disassociated itself from South Pacific affairs. In the past it would have lead international efforts at disaster relief in the region. Their response to disasters in Tonga, Papua New Guinea and other places; denial of the humanitarian situation on Nauru and Manus Islands suggest a lack of empathy.

Will brave little New Zealand make a stand like we did on Rainbow Warrior, or will, like Australia, we meekly roll over?

Why N.Z. should not trust Peter Dutton on refugees


New Zealand and Australia have a close relationship. Thousands of New Zealanders live there and thousands of Australians live here. The relationship is in many ways one of the most beautiful between two sovereign nations where each others citizens enjoy rights in the other country that other nationalities can only dream of unless they apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

Immigration between the two countries has for years been a largely N.Z.>>Australia drift as many New Zealanders have gone over to enjoy the economic benefits of living in a country with a larger and more diverse economy.

In recent years concerns have arisen among Australian politicians about New Zealand being a potential back door to the “Lucky Country”. Concerns have been particularly loud about refugees and asylum seekers, which for reasons unknown Australia – whilst being well known as a conservative country – has an almost infantile fear of. This is all the more striking for a country that took thousands of refugees from Europe during World War 2.

Its Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton, a former policeman, has led the charge with a zeal that has been in some respects his own undoing on the world stage. Once recognized as a Minister of Immigration, his reputation has nose dived with attack after attack on refugees and asylum seekers, claiming they are out take Australian jobs, are terrorists, rapists and wealthy queue jumpers.

Mr Dutton has been caught lying red handed. This is not the first and probably not the last time that the Minister for Immigration and Border Control has been caught being economic with the truth. A few examples are below:

In 2015 Mr Dutton claimed weapons were used in a stand off with Manus Island guards. Papua New Guinea police said no such thing happened.

Mr Dutton claims the asylum seekers are wealthy. This could not be further from the truth as many sacrificed everything to get away from the wars, dictatorships and persecution that made their past lives abject misery and outright dangerous.

When a shooting rampage occurred, Mr Dutton claimed that the incident started a result of asylum seekers taking a young boy to the centre. Papua New Guinea police said that this was not the case.

The Reverend Tim Costello visited Manus Island recently and found that the facilities on the island that the Australian Government are – contrary to Mr Dutton’s continued assertions – not completed and that in many respects still look like a construction site.

The number of times that this man, a Minister of the Government of our nearest and dearest neighbour, has grown his nose can only suggest that he is a compulsive liar who has no regard for the truth. How can the New Zealand Government work with him and his colleagues, many of whom are thoroughly discredited in their own portfolio’s, when they so determinedly lie, lie and lie some more?

At the end of the day we have look past what Mr Dutton is doing. It is not for us to tell Australia how to govern itself – we can only hope that in making the necessary choices for Australia that it comes to realize it is going to have to do much better on refugees and asylum seekers. It is going to have to respect the fact that New Zealand actually made meaningful gains from having asylum seekers from the Norwegian freighter, the Tampa. We stand to make further gains from the asylum seekers that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has volunteered to take.

And although Australia took a leap forward with same sex marriage, in terms of social equality, I am not sure that you can call Australia the “Lucky Country” any more.

Ardern meets Australian Prime Minister


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has met with Malcolm Turnbull. The meeting, which took place in Canberra was the first between the new New Zealand Prime Minister and her Australian counterpart.

The meeting involved Ms Ardern raising the prospect that New Zealand will exclude Australian students from accessing free education as a result of Australian moves to hike fees against New Zealanders studying in Australia.

This would be a break with tradition according to Tracy Watkins. Normally New Zealand has moved to accommodate Australia’s wishes because it does not want to upset the arrangements to allow Australians to live, study and work in New Zealand

However, I consider after years of New Zealanders watching their rights in Australia slowly being eroded while other nations progress, this to be a welcome attempt to balance the ledger. It is not an attempt to attack Australians or Australia at large, because for that to happen the probable actions would have to be on a much broader scale and more radical than what is being proposed.

There appears to be mutual respect from Australia for the likely New Zealand decision. Whereas commentator Tracy Watkins asserted that this might be risky in that it could cause Australia to further cut into New Zealands special arrangements, Mr Turnbull has indicated he understands New Zealand’s right to manage its own affairs as we do theirs. This should come as a relief, because it means the relationship can survive any ructions that result from this.

Ms Ardern also pressed the case for New Zealand taking up to 150 refugees from the Manus Island Detention Centre. Mr Turnbull declined, but Ms Ardern has said that the offer remains on the table.

Apparently Mr Turnbull is keen for Australia to give some of the refugees to the United States. This is an attempt to foist a monumental mess created by an equally monumental failure of a Government on a friendly Government and nation that has no idea about the stink this is raising – and quite possibly (probably?)do not care.

Ms Ardern should keep the offer on the table. Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters should talk behind the scenes about the negative impact the treatment of the detainees on Manus and Nauru Islands is having on the perceptions of Australia on the world stage. As a New Zealand citizen and as an Amnesty International volunteer, I believe we will become complicit in the abomination that is this sad situation if we meekly accept what the Australian Government wishes to do.

Change in Australian Government good for New Zealand


The (disgusting) comic strip that is the Australian Government of Malcolm Turnbull took another turn today. With the High Court announcement that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Senators Larissa Waters, Malcolm Roberts, Scott Ludlam and Fiona Nash are dual citizens, the seats of five elected Australian representatives – all from the Liberal and National parties – became vacant. The vacancies ensure that the Government of Mr Turnbull is now in grave danger of falling, having lost its majority.

Let me be clear now. The Australian Government has not collapsed. It is however holding an extremely tenuous grasp on power. With multiple Senators having been found ineligible to be in an elected office by the High Court, the immediate well being of the Liberal-National coalition is in grave jeopardy. Just a single seat change would deprive them of a majority. This would have one of two potential outcomes. The first option would be to hold a confidence vote, in which Labor tries to topple the Government. The second would be to see if the Court can force the resignations of the ineligible Senators.

I have no sympathy for this extremely dysfunctional, completely inept, arrogant and compassion less Government. Held hostage by fear mongers and money grubbing thieves, the Government of Malcolm Turnbull has put on show not a display of efficiency or legislative brilliance, but one of supreme ineptitude. When the ruling was released today, Mr Turnbull had no answers ready for the Australian people. He had no apology for its conduct and only took one question before scampering out of sight.

As a New Zealander, I see no gains for this country from Australia continuing with the shambles that exists. Far better would be to dissolve Parliament and call a snap election that clears up what the people of Australia think – or don’t think – about the Government from the get go. The Turnbull Government has done much to undermine its small Pacific Island neighbours. It has failed to acknowledge, much to Australia’s growing environmental and economic cost, the threat of climate change.

During the time of this Government New Zealanders have wound up in the monstrosities called the Nauru and Manus Island Detention Centres. New Zealanders are finding themselves being shut out of Australia by the failure to address a lack of common route to Australian citizenship for expats.

The truly incredible thing is that no vetting was done to determine all of this before they even stood for Parliament in the first place. If they had, this Government could have been quite different.

In particular I would like to make mention of Anthony (Tony) Abbott, M.P. for Warringah. When a Government permits an immortal kamikaze M.P. to go randomly crashing into whatever he wishes, getting up and immediately doing it again what does that tell you about him? Mr Abbott is an attack machine.  He single handedly destroyed former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, through a combination of misogynistic attacks and exploiting her feud with her predecessor Kevin Rudd. Mr Abbott then became Prime Minister of Australia in the 2013 election. But before his first term was even over, the Liberal Party of Australia had lost its lead in the polls. An attack dog Mr Abbott might have been, he was no leader. Mr Abbott had been deposed by Malcolm Turnbull because he was in danger of leading the Liberal Party to its first ever first-term defeat. When Mr Abbott, a staunch Catholic conservative took power, he had four priorities:

  • Deny climate change
  • Lower taxes
  • Increase defence spending, especially on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project
  • Turn the refugee boats around and make sure they never come back

Australia began to slide backwards. He began to chip away at the support building for same sex marriage. His Treasurer Scott Morrison unveiled a package of tax cuts aimed at the wealthy and proposed cuts to tertiary education, health and the environment to fund it the cuts.

Current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted Mr Abbott in a desperate attempt to stop the Labor Party gaining a lethal grip on the proverbial throat of the government. The Liberal Party of Australia won the 2016 General Election, but only just, losing all but one of their majority.

Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton declared war on asylum seekers – they take your jobs, cost taxes and commit crimes he said. Mr Dutton went on to say refugees are a menace and they don’t know how to look after their children. They won’t settle in Australian society and mistreat their women, said Mr Dutton. Quite forgetting of course that Australia is not so hot on this (but that’s another story). The extent to which Mr Dutton has gone to war has caught the attention of media such as the Guardian, caused condemnation at the United Nations and made himself and his Government a target of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch activism. The war continues.

Another issue on which an active war is being fought – though hopefully not for much longer – is the campaign for same sex marriage. Australia has an opportunity to join the ranks of New Zealand and ther countries who have legalized same sex marriage. Whilst many are enthusiastic, there has unfortunately been a clique who have waged active war trying to stop it. They do not want same sex marriage and to many its all about Adam and Eve, as opposed to Anna and Eve or Adam and Steve, but when asked for facts to back up their claims, no one can – or will.

But it does not need to.

Just like the idiot who started it. And the illegitimate, contemptuous, vacuous waste of space that calls itself the Government of Australia. Australia and New Zealand, like the rest of the world would be better off.