Has NZ become a dictatorship?


fdr-democracyIt probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, is often an autocratic leader who has very little concern for acquiring a consensus from the people he rules over. More often than not his decisions are subject to neither egalitarian principles nor any real legal restraint whatsoever. Isn’t that consequently the antithesis of a true democracy, in other words a dictatorship?

I don’t use the term lightly, as there are clear implications to being labeled a dictator. After all, dictators are often overthrown in bloody revolutions that sometimes leave the country in a worse state. It’s not likely to come to that here in Aotearoa though. We do, after all, have the vestiges of a democracy left to us in the form of voting every three years for whatever party we dislike the least.

Despite the fact that between 63 to 80 per cent of Kiwis surveyed are against asset sales National somehow managed to form a government in 2011. That’s because elections aren’t held on any single issue and people were led to believe, via polls and the media, National would easily win. They did not bother voting on the basis the result was a done deal. National think winning the last election gives them a mandate to push ahead with partial privatisation of our most profitable assets. They believe attaining power gives them the ultimate right to use it however they wish, never mind how the majority feel.

A dictatorship is basically defined as power to govern without consent of those being governed. While the National led government might have the power to govern in general terms, they do not have the consent of the people to sell assets. With a clear majority of the public against the scheme, a citizen-initiated referendum will show there is no public consent for the asset sales agenda to go ahead. Unfortunately Key has already ruled out delaying the fire sale or abiding by the referendum’s result. The Prime Minister is in effect acting like a dictator.

It’s not the only case of authoritarianism being displayed by our current right wing government. Take for instance their controversial mining policies that have been rammed through without any proper consultation process. Even though they previously backed away from their foolish plans to mine national parks, in the face of widespread protests, National is opening up almost our entire conservation estate for both mineral and petroleum exploration.

This environmentally unfriendly government are hell bent on risking everything we hold dear to please their corporate buddies. Following on from the Anadarko Amendment, which attempts to prohibit peaceful protest at sea, National plans to increase oil exploration in our coastal waters and at depths more than twice that of the Deepwater Horizon. What’s worse is they will not even notify the public about such dangerous activities. Like the previous law introduced under urgency, the new law won’t go through a normal select committee process either, meaning there will be no opportunity for the public to make submissions; not that the government listens to people’s submissions anyway.

Another recent example of National’s dictatorship is the GCSB amendment bill, recently passed through parliament by the slimmest of majorities. Despite overwhelming public sentiment and the majority of submissions being against the government increasing the GCSB’s spying powers, they went ahead with the law change anyway.

Once again our so-called representatives weren’t concerned with public opinion, with up to 89 per cent of those polled being against the new spying legislation. When the Human Rights Commission came out strongly against the law change, Key arrogantly threatened to cut their funding. If that’s not dictatorial behavior, I don’t know what is.

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While the mainstream media and blogosphere was exploding with anti-spying articles, finding any argument in favour of the law change from anyone but the government and their propagandists was difficult. None of that mattered to Key and his cronies though. They totally lost the debate but passed the GCSB amendment bill anyway, just as they will pass the equally contentious Telco Intercept Bill into law as well…without a mandate from the people they govern.

Governing to the will of the people is the fundamental principle in a democracy. With National riding roughshod over the wishes of the majority on a raft of various issues, we do in fact have a dictatorship. Thankfully we have an opportunity to overthrow this despot of a Prime Minister and his cohorts next year. Let’s start by encouraging everyone we know to exercise their democratic right and vote National out in 2014.


  1. This is a tragedy that has crept upon us and I think most people who don’t vote as a protest of disapproval have not only let themselves down, but everyone else who cares to some degree. Mind you, many of those who think they care to braindead from alcohol and Prozac to actually see what’s going on around them.

    How do we wake people up, how do we revive democracy and how do we restore our own sovereignty?

      • Which part of our body of laws are you basing this recall election on? You might as well erect a giant snapper statue and sacrifice small animals to it, for all the good your petition will do. Political actions need to be based on reality, not on something that you’ve seen on Facebook about some American city that operates under totally different laws.

        • Dude, NZ has no laws, youtube Mark McMurtrie. The people are the law, the sovereignty rests with the people. Always. If it’s not working for us, it’s up to us to change it. Who else?

    • Why vote for a milquetoast Labour Party that won’t really do anything to ameliorate National’s changes, and will just keep time until the next extreme right wing government starts doing it again?

      I won’t be boiled slowly just to avoid being boiled quickly.

      If Labour wants my vote, they can start by electing Cunliffe as leader, and he can then start by sticking to the things he’s been saying. If he does, I won’t only vote for him, but I will probably offer to knock on doors for him.

  2. I have seen a few PMs come and go in the half century since Holyoake but this is the first one I’ve thought someone might put a bullet through.

  3. The disdain for democracy as evidenced by the opinion of the author of this post us quite disturbing. Sometimes the party in power is one you disagree with. That does not make the country a dictatorship.Get used to it.

    • Actually, Mr Gosman, one could make a case that it does – disagreement with the party in power might very well place that party in ‘dictatorship’ mode.

      There is a concept of the ‘tyranny of the majority’ in which the rights of a minority are over-ridden by the rights of the majority. As a rule this doesn’t matter a whole lot, as it often simply be the case of which way to go on a certain issue. But there are times when the tyranny is real.

      Consider the case of enforced property acquisition. There is solid ground to call this theft, even if the majority will benefit from the individual being robbed.

      Even a right-wing commentator like Fritz Hayek allowed that all modern democracies amounted to were dictatorships by temporary majorities. To call them ‘majorities’ I thought was more than a little generous.

      For a democracy to function, the citizenry must be informed, and keep itself informed. The Government has no business keeping from its constituency – its citizens – information concerning its policies and the means by which it intends to carry them out. The Government has no business carrying out a policy to which the majority of (informed – bearing in mind my first sentence in this paragraph) citizens disagree.

      At that, the popular vote is not a mandate for the governing Party to do as it pleases. It is simply a mandate to govern – to occupy the Treasury benches in the H of R – no more. John Key lies when he says his administration has a mandate to privatize assets, to take away its citizens’ democratic rights, and to sign away New Zealand’s sovereignty.

      Indeed, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe the National Party is sailing very close to the winds of treason. Yes, it is that serious.

      • This is the exact problem with this argument! You can not be governed constantly by ‘the will of the people’ and at the same time anything other than a tyranny of the majority. Sadly some (The Jackal included, I think) try to have it both ways – when the government is defending a policy I disagree with then the government must be ruled by the people. If it is a policy I approve of, then the people are too misinformed to have an opinion and the government should act to protect the minority.

        Say Labour and the Greens run on a policy of extending treaty settlements from 2014 to 2020 (I understand at least one of the leadership candidates have offered this?). Labour and Greens (reasonably) want to introduce this after their victory. But, thanks to a – shall we say – aggressive campaign by opposition groups (probably with a social media campaign run by John Ansell) opinion polls indicate the public are opposed to this policy. Does Labour have to give up this policy? Or does their election give them the right to overrule the desires of the majority in order to better serve this particular minority group?

        Unfortunately, you cannot have both.

        • You’re relying on the pretext that the public are misinformed. The public aren’t misinformed about asset sales or the GCSB legislation for that matter by anybody but National and their flunkies. A majority of people opposing such policy is because the policy is fundamentally wrong!

          Sure, media campaigns and propaganda can influence people’s opinions, but this doesn’t generally mean that the concept of a democracy is defunct! In fact giving a majority of the people the right to choose what direction New Zealand goes in is the best system available. History has shown that every other system has failed!

          As for your comments regarding Labour having the right to implement policy that doesn’t have majority support from the public just because they are elected, I have to disagree. Every policy should have the support of the people, because only then can we ensure that such policy is in the people’s best interest.

    • Get used to what, exactly?

      We, the voters, are ‘used to’ seeing our preferred candidate/s not elected. You know that.

      And yet again we have politicians who’ve taken liberties with the authority we grant them. They’re the ones who need reining in – and that abuse of privilege is something we had better NOT get used to.

      The price of freedom is eternal vigilance… Think about it, before you ‘get used to’ not having the freedoms you thought you had.

  4. Gossman – is the old mandate complaint again?

    1) national didnt win the election. We arent a FPP system

    2) elections arent single issue decisions – can you prove that each and every person who voted national was in support of asset sales? – the stats say otherwise

    3) The coalition, not the most successful party, is the victor, and the only mandate any coalition has is to form the govt and attempt to govern. We arent a 3 year dictatorship and each and every policy still has to go through the democratic process. The ruling COALITION (not the party that got the most votes) only has a mandate to attempt to enact their policy platform. The public and the opposition have every right to attempt to influence, block, alter any policy as they see fit.

    4) the ruling coalition isnt the sole point of policy proposals during a govt term – if the opposition got a bill though that countered the ruling coalitions policy platform and it passed – that would be democracy as well as the biggest party breaking a promise. What do you, in your infinite wisdom suggest happens then? The will of the people via their representatives gets ignored because the campaigning pointed to a different outcome?

    So where is the disdain for democracy your complaining about gossman? Can you please point out where the author is saying they dont like democracy? Are your advocating that we vote then shut the hell up for 3 years?

    Your talking crap

      • none you dunce – jesus, its like you didnt even read the comment. Your question is answered in full right there

        The only mandate a coalition has is to form the govt and govern. They have a mandate to attempt to implement the policy platform they campaigned on. – that doesnt mean we have to sit back and shut up

        No govt gets a free pass for 3 years – anything they wish to do still has to go through the democratic process. Why on earth would we even bother with parties voting on policy if the ruling coalition just got to play mandate bingo?

        And before you pull the oh so predictable “well that makes all other previous govts lacking a mandate” line, the mandate for a policy comes from winning the argument and all subsequent challenges – not from forming a coalition at some point within the last 36 mnths

        So where is the disdain for democracy your complaining about gossman? Can you please point out where the author is saying they dont like democracy? Are your advocating that we vote then shut the hell up for 3 years?

        answer the questions

      • Oh Goosy, I know I shouldn’t throw you any bread, but I can’t resist: it’d be hard to identify any National ‘ policy’ apart from wish-listing doubled dairying and trebled everything else. Um rma wrecking coz environment is all bout money doncha know, and eca restoration, so our serfs can compete with their serfs…. nah, in general, they’re bereft in the policy stakes. Um um… a cycleway and some rns north of Auckland?

        Anyway, what’s YOUR opinion of the amount of legislation passed under urgency, and sometimes, with crown law advice regarding legality under prevailing law redacted? Even the MP’s voting weren’t allowed to know. So that’s democratic enough for you?

        And as for the interpretation of (gasp) ‘leftist thinking’ (aka ‘appreciation of what democracy and human rights are’) that you expressed below: ‘Translation – ” Why don’t people think like me? I know let’s educate them to think like me” ‘

        Can I offer you my enthusiastic congratulations,young man, you’ve got it in one, what an admirable and succinct encapsulation of the manifold postings you imposed on me and other readers right across the blogsphere.

        Like Henry Ford and Johnkey you’ve discovered that history is bunk. We don’t need no uducashun!!!! Long live pig ignorance!!!

        • Shame they’ve done the exact opposite. And in fact, they’re leading the way in doing the complete opposite, through things like discouraging minimum wage increases and “restructuring” many public sector departments (aka sacking a whole lot of public servants).

          If “government doesn’t create jobs”, then why did they promise to create 170,000 jobs in the last election?

  5. I think, perhaps the significance of democracy is lost on the general public. Without an historical appreciation of what democracy and human rights are, and the struggle to get to this fortunate place it is easy to see why people don’t care that much about it. They don’t understand how important it is, and what life without it is like. They don’t understand that how JK is acting is wrong. And so they won’t fight or argue about what is going on.

    This kind of “forgetting” happens through out history… which is exactly what the current government likes.

    • Translation – ” Why don’t people think like me? I know let’s educate them to think like me”

      That view is why I will always fight leftist thinking. If anything is anti-democratic it is that. It is the sort of view that led to the “re-education” camps in the Soviet bloc.

      • utterly and predictably wrong gossman

        the issue satisfaction is describing is the lack of knowledge of how ours and other democracies function, what our and our representatives rights and responsibilities are, why govts do things in certain ways and why they shouldnt make the rules up as they go, and the history of how we got here from right back at civilisations like the greeks, egyptians and romans

        Its civics – not partisan politics

      • Why are you righties so scared of the left’s thinking?

        It’s the right’s lack of thought that is doing all the damage to our country.

      • In other words, you want them to think like you, eh? That’s OK, huh?

        What would you know about ‘leftist thinking’ anyway, Mr Gosman? If you think ‘leftist thinking’ is anti-democratic (by definition) then you clearly know nothing about it. I will admit I know of anti-democratic leftists; but then I’m at least as familiar with anti-democratic rightists and anti-democratic centrists, withal.

        That you are free to express your ‘rightist thinking’ is fine by me, for two reasons. First, I like ‘rightist thinking’ to be out there, displaying its stupidity for all to see. Unfortunately there are a lot of stupid people around. Second, ‘rightist thinking’ does help me clarify my own thinking (which, I do not doubt, you would consider ‘leftist’ as it does not coincide with your own … erm … thinking). It provides a kind of benchmark, something at least to measure one’s own thinking against.

        For that, I thank you.

      • Before you ‘fight leftist thinking’ – think. How would you react to anyone who ‘fights rightist thinking’?

        There’s no need to ‘fight’. Simply take the short step out of the rut and allow yourself to see the merits of all the shades and grades of political thinking.

        And remember – beliefs trump ‘logic’ every time. Ask any martyr…;-)

  6. Bourgeois democracy is already a dictatorship, disguised by the faux democracy where consent is ‘manufactured’ and even more fundamentally all rights are subordinated to capitalist property rights.

    What we are experiencing is the revelation that bourgeois democracy is a mask over the capitalist dictatorship that slips inevitably the more capitalist property rights come under challenge in a time of global recession and instability.

    In NZ this is evident when the capitalist class responds to crisis by becoming more directly involved in controlled the Executive, reducing or neutralising the delegated power of the Bureaucracy and the Judiciary.

    So what appears to be the arbitrary rule of Key, his coterie, and crony capitalism, is the result of the deeper crisis facing the global capitalist system, where NZ as a semi-colony is torn between its need to trade with China to sell its commodities, and its dependency on US dominated finance capital.

  7. “After all, dictators are often overthrown in bloody revolutions that sometimes leave the country in a worse state. It’s not likely to come to that here in Aotearoa though.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that? Among some people, the fuse is getting short…………

    perhaps that is part of the reason for the GCSB bill being rammed through regardless……….they are starting to fear the people.

  8. The other question is – does New Zealand now have a population that supports Fascism. There is the assumption that the Government is going against the will of the New Zealand public but in fact, around half of voting New Zealanders support it. Prior to World War II, around half of the populations of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and many other countries in Europe supported Right Wing parties.The other half supported a collection of Socialist and Communist parties. World War II in Italy, for example, was actually very close to being a Civil War. The last 30 years of Rogernomics/Post Rogernomics has engendered a population ripe for Fascism. This Government could easily be in power for another three years, because so many New Zealanders support it. The most disturbing question is, is this Government a true representation of contemporary New Zealand society.

  9. Great Post ‘ The Jackal ‘ .

    ( Sorry in advance for this Post . It’s a lot longer than I’d planned . )

    And that’s why we need compulsory voting .

    I saw a woman being interviewed on the street in Australia on Tee Vee last evening re their general elections . She was saying that she wouldn’t vote if she didn’t have to because she felt that neither party was up to the job of governing Australia to her satisfaction .

    So , not voting was her way of resolving that issue . Not getting involved thus perhaps augmenting change to her satisfaction . Instead , she’s just not giving a fuck , and that not-fuck-giving will become an institutionalized mind-set in Australia just as it has done in New Zealand and Australians should be hugely worried about that . ” The price of freedom is eternal vigilance ”

    That attitude is exactly why us Kiwis are having to now try and deal with jonky and jonky is very happy that we Kiwis are so casual about our responsibility to maintain our democratic process . Those of you with little kids will know that when they’re most quiet , they’re most likely to be up to mischief .

    In New Zealand however , our neo-colonizers understand the threat to their agenda so they keep us busy trying to survive generally in a land of plenty by gouging us on the things that should be all but free to every NZ citizen .

    For example ;

    House prices .
    House prices are so high that those house prices are now in the realm of utter madness . To say that an average house price is to be countenanced at over $600 k in Auckland is an aberration of reality . That people place themselves in such debt AND UNDER SUCH CONTROL of the banks is worthy of close psychological scrutiny . Where’s Nigel Latta when you need him ? Oh , that’s right . He’s covertly pushing jonky’s fascist agenda on tha tee vee isn’t he ?

    Supermarket prices .
    Go into a supermarket at your peril . The very first thing you’ll experience is to have your brain tinkered with . Every colour , every item , every display is designed to turn you into their product . You think you’re there to buy oatmeal and broccoli . Well think again. You’re there for their profits and pay the share dividends they pay out to their off-shore investors . Then when you check-out your small fortunes worth of processed food in flashy packaging and you swipe your loyalty card , you get added to a data base so as they can hone their head-fuck skills to take better advantage of you next time . Is that why ‘ food safety ‘ hysteria forced Farmers Markets to under go radical changes and seeds are now a controlled substance with a few scant exceptions ? And where are the fish ? And I know from bitter experience that the reason for a piece of animal flesh being worth more than a small Korean car isn’t because the farmer’s driving a gold plated tractor , it’s because you’re being gouged by every kind of post-farm-gate , money lending parasite that can wriggle into the supply line and feed off you and I . Wanky little , bank savvy jonky will better explain that process .

    Fuel prices ? ( Speaking broadly )
    LPG . Hello ? We have quite a bit of it so why is it so expensive ? No , seriously ? Do you know why LPG is so expensive ? You don’t ? Why not ? You can’t be bothered asking , like you can’t be bothered voting ? Righto then .

    Electricity prices ?
    Read as above .

    Public transportation ?
    The Southerner was a great old train . I could get on that train and travel in elegant luxury from Christchurch to Invercargill and eat a pie , drink a beer and smoke a cigarette while reading a book as I watched my beautiful country roll past the window while being gently rolled around like a baby in a bassinet on those big , blue plastic seats . Very nice staff would care for my needs and I will always remember the excitement of traveling into Dunedin particularly , around the cliffs and through the tunnels . The fact that we have no public train service should be an indication of how shamefully neglectful we’ve become of each other and of our rights . Now , that journey has to be done by car and out there , on the main roads are those other tired , angry , frightened people hemorrhaging money just to go from one town to another past a cadre of cops , speed cameras and dreary little shops all selling the same shit at inflated prices while enjoying near-death experiences with trucks , more road-going , high-rise apartment buildings being driven by young men/woman more than likely on P ( I’m fucking serious . ) All along those Mad Max highways you’re terrorized by huge placards reminding us of how soft and jelly-like our meat is if it’s subjected to being impacted with by another motorist who criminally talks on the phone or dares to challenge their very existence by eating a sandwich while driving . ‘ The faster you go , the bigger the mess ‘ . I see that as ‘ The more afraid we can make you , the more pliable you become . ‘ I see a massive hoarding going into Dunedin . It reads ‘ ICE ! SLOW ! ‘ . My cars outside temperature gauge read 21 c . I thought , that’s tough fuckin’ Otago ice for ya . Won’t thaw for anything .’ Of course , you can take a bus . The operator pays RUC’s and it uses a lot of fuel to carry bugger all people so perfect . And they are comfortable so long as you don’t have a bladder or a bowel . If you have a colostomy bag or are catheterized . Then you can just chuck your bags of effluvium into a bin outside the one stop between Dunedin and Christchurch . And that’s a six hour drive old man and old woman . But don’t worry , the taxes you paid , for the train jim bolger sold to them yanks for a tax break for them , and millions of dollars to the scum who brokered the deal are better spent by them . So just sit there and piss yourself knowing you did your bit for your country .

    Local Government ?
    Let me start by saying ; Hahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaa …. ! Wait , wait ? I can’t breath , I can’t breath . Hahahahahhahahaahahahahahahahaha aa a aa … !
    Once in , you’re sweet as .
    I own a house that is quite big and fancy albeit old . Old thus worthless . Like our Old People . My old house and land , hand made of bricks and ancient native timbers has a QV of $57,000.00 . I pay $2166.82 a year in rates . I live in a town with 820 people and about 600 rate-able homes . We pay and we pay and we pay . And what do we get ? We get blow jobs and free champagne . We get sent on fact-finding holidays to the Gold Coast with our families . We drive the very latest 4×4’s and we need them to negotiate the speed bumps outside the supermarket , not to mention the pub and now and then we need them to run down the hitchhikers trudging back from the dole office 11 km away . They clutter up the rubbish strewn road because there’s no public transport servicing my town with the larger town next door . There’s also the unspoken fact that outrageously high rates in small towns leaning against low capital values keeps them there city folk from going ” fuck this ! We’re outa here . Lets move to Smalltown and grow us some of them there vegetables and yes ! You can have a chicken and a dog too and no ! Sorry kids but you can’t bring your gang banger , product of a drunken fuck or P addict peer group friends along . They’re done . They’re damaged beyond repair .
    ” Gee thanks Paula Bennett ? You’re just a swell Gal . Hekia Parata deprives kids of a useful education which leads them into an idle , unemployable malaise then paula bennett starves them into crime and despair then judith collins locks them up in private prisons but I digress .
    Who’s the Minister of Local Government again ?? Oh yeah . Here he is . I’ve never heard of the bugger and yet he has a vital portfolio . http://www.christremain.co.nz/ Write to him and ask him WTF because I am .
    When I think about it . Now , is as good a time as any for a fascist dictator jonky take-over . Thirty years have passed from when roger douglas and his cronies started the colonization process . A whole new , working , voting ( or not ) population of people now run the show that is New Zealand . Most of them will never have experienced the New Zealand I knew and miss so much now . I never appreciated the luxury of what it was like to leave the house unlocked , to never worry about money , to never worry about much of anything to be honest .
    But even then , while we were not worrying . There were those few who were scheming to sell us out to further their self interests . They’d just not yet developed the confidence to expose themselves as boldly as they do today .
    The only thing jonky and his masters fear is if all of us Kiwis stand together and just say No . No to him . No to them and No to this . It’ my view that the very most important thing to do is to get people to engage in their political responsibilities and that will take a brave leader who will have to challenge some deep seated myths and lies about New Zealand which will alert and unsettle some very , very dangerous and very , very rich corporate individuals .
    Take a look at Syria ? Frankly , it’s hard not to .
    Sure , it’s a war of ideals and tribes and grudges but most sinisterly , it’s a war of Corporations . The Syrian uprising is a Corporate war . A war for oil which also sells munitions and associate technologies . The technologies used in those weapons were designed and manufactured by the same companies that make cell phones and computer parts . They’re found in the car you drive and the TV you watch . The camera you use to take pictures of your kids and pets . And you think we’re immune to that ? Us Kiwis ? Well away from that ? You’d be right . We are , and that’s why They’re here . That’s why they’re coming .

    The curious thing about New Zealand could be that , in order to forcibly take over our country , They’d need an excuse for sending in the troops to quell the unrest they will undoubtedly create . Much the same difficulty exists for Obama who’s trying to convince the Russians and the Chinese to missile strike the innocent in order to save them .
    What could They do here to legitimize a drone strike ( Both real and metaphorical ) on us Kiwis ? Gay versus Straight ? Brown versus White ? North versus South ? Freckly versus Tanned ? Or perhaps Rich versus Poor ? Rich versus poor is a good one because we already have many , many poor people . Just make them poorer then take the piss . That’d work . Actually , it is working ! That’s it ! That’d be the justification for military action . A civil war . Driven by poverty versus greed ! OMG ! I’ve just had a revelation ! We’re being set up ! We’re being groomed for social unrest and we’re being shepherded into a conflict with each other so that our ‘ saviors ‘ can legitimately become our Masters ! Fuck ! Please tell me I’m wrong ? It’s classic Art of War stuff and if we don’t watch ourselves well end up like Iraq . I could never get to grips with the illogically ill treatment of our most at risk . The same can be said for policies that create the dysfunctional at-risk . Policies that defy logic ? Divide then conquer . I can’t believe I took so long to figure that out ?

    • @Countryboy > Hahaha. Mate, you’re not wrong. Ever thought of doing a blog of your own? Or better still – entering politics?

    • @Countryboy – I couldn’t agree more.. you have literally said what I have been thinking for a long time now… ah yes, I remember the days of the Southerner, trips from Dunedin to Invercargill… in fact I can remember travelling on the old steam express from Invercargill to Dunedin as a child, also the old steam trains going through the Clutha gorge between Clyde and Cromwell, running alongside the highway with only a low rock wall between the railway tracks and the road… There has been so much change in this country in my lifetime that it is mind boggling and I can’t say that it has been all for the better…
      As for governments, both national and local, the power holders will do what they intend to do regardless of what the people want… We had a public referendum here in the Clutha district several years ago with regard to the impending introduction of fluoride to the water supply… I was just one of many people who voted against the idea but we ended up having it foisted onto us anyway… For me, that is a blatant abuse of my civil rights as a citizen of this country to not be experimented on scientifically or medically without my consent! We do not need this poison in our water supply…
      With regard to John Key… he doesn’t give a damn about the citizens of this country… oh he goes through the motions of pretending to care when it serves his purpose but one would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see through his false facade… He has spent enough time on Wall Street to know how to manipulate fortunes to help big business corporations and the bankers…
      I can see this country very rapidly going the same way as the US has under the Obama regime and to be honest, it scares the living crap out of me! I am what would be considered a ‘useless eater’ due to my age and ongoing health problems stemming from a childhood illness over 50 years ago… I didn’t choose to have to live my later years this way but every few weeks the reality of it hits home to remind me when I have to fill out paperwork for Winz to basically justify why I need a government handout to survive! It sucks…

    • I wonder what would happen if we had a voting choice ‘None of the above’ – and it got the majority of votes. Particularly for those ticket-clipping parasites in local government.

      If, was it Belgium?, could run for months without a parliament, surely we could, too?

      (In reply to your delicious rant about high rates and pathetic services. Know exactly what you mean!)

  10. While NZ is not a dictatorship, certainly not in the “traditional” sense, it is most certainly one of the most manipulated societies there are. With a one chamber Parliament, enabling a government to push through any kinds of laws it sees fit with just a 1 vote majority, it is a system that lacks sufficient checks and balances. Select Committee hearings have become a farce, as governments ignore most submissions, if not all, and push law through at times under urgency.

    There are also the very powerful business and big business lobbies, even churches and the likes, who have more influence on political process than should be allowed, and they influence the public opinion by pushing for laws, regulations and standards that favour them and indoctrinate public thinking to suit their needs.

    The dismantling of public broadcasting, the corporatisation of media, the power of the advertising business, all this has corrupted this country’s “democracy”, or what is left of it, to degrees that are dangerous.

    Misinformation, poor information, outright lies and bending of the truth and rules, that has become standard practice, especially under this government. Special deals are struck with certain big business operators, while rights and entitlements of the common people have been cut back and are being denied more and more.

    People are left to work, pay taxes, caused to be divisive, to compete, to undersell themselves, and otherwise shut up, and only allowed to “vote” once every 3 years, on policies that are again just shallow and inconsistent, as ultimately the already mentioned lobby powers will come into play, and dictate what can and will be allowed to be passed into law.

    This is not the same country it was 20 or 30 years ago, a small upper class, supported by an upper middle class get more wealth, while the rest struggle to make ends meet and survive.

    Such developments do not favour true representation, they favour injustices, dis-empowerment and marginalisation of various groups. When a Prime Minister considers a referendum is a waste of money, he prepares us for even more authoritarian, strong arm rule by the elite, ridiculing basic democratic rights by making such a cost issue.

    We should all be very alert, mindful and worried.

  11. Most people rest on the belief that having elections/ voting system alone proves that we live in a democracy. In fact this is a childish belief.

  12. (PS Countryboy you’re surely mah twin..Whats your address there ? Gotta pardner?..(Never mind) Ahm comin down..! PM me)

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