GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House

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Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and undermine MPs’ commitment to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The Parliamentary opening also celebrates violence, as it involves soldiers and medals, guns, and war planes in the sky. It includes Supreme Court Judges in horsehair wigs. A black rod and a golden mace preside.

It is hard to find the sense of being a Pacific country but when Te Atiawa kuia start the karanga and the whānau perform waiata, then everything comes alive.

The Maiden Speeches are also happening and what a mixed bag they are. Some MPs who look young enough to be my grand babies are making sad enthusiastic speeches about Margaret Thatcher as the role model for their political careers. I have heard new MPs from National and ACT espouse the absolute primacy of the individual with no recognition of how we are social animals who are utterly interdependent. They don’t seem to realise they are the product of many lives and processes, not to mention the taxes of everyone who built the roads, schools, hospitals and institutions where they have gained educational qualifications and privilege.

You would expect these young people to have some modern heroes, but so often its Margaret Thatcher and Roger Douglas who get celebrated. It’s was chilling to see the line-up of older, male Pākehā  former members at the front of Parliament, including Roger Douglas and Don Brash, the architects of the current trickle down disaster. They were sitting watching their young prodigies get up and espouse their individual and property rights obsessions as our world becomes increasingly unequal.

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Then there are some new Māori and Pacific MPs who are a breath of fresh air in the Labour ranks, and I am looking forward to hearing James Shaw’s Maiden speech because he has a strong articulate vision of sustainability and will help us set a positive agenda for the term.

But it’s not a lot of fun here at the moment. The Government is edging Aotearoa new Zealand towards a war footing based on the American world view. The failure of American foreign policy to create peace in the Middle East is undeniable, but like lemmings we are heading for that dangerous cliff.

The very first Bill of the Parliamentary Term was debated Wednesday night and it is an unadulterated attack on workers’ rights. It’s an attack on collective bargaining and meal breaks amongst many other nasty little clauses that set us back to the 19th century. We debate with passion because people deserve so much better and we stand for a fairer world.

Thanks to 10 percent of New Zealanders, the Green Party stands here unbeaten, united, and in good voice.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. “but like lemmings we are heading for that dangerous cliff”

    So take responsibility for your actions and stop supporting the system which makes it happen. The commander in chief of the NZ state is from a family with a seriously dark history regarding their conduct towards people of other beliefs and cultures, and National losing their majority to a coalition of the left isn’t going to change that.

  2. Good Post @ Catherine Delahunty . Chilling , deeply depressing and filling me with a rageful fury . A good Post indeed . Just the thing for a cold Southland spring morning where I see truck loads of weather killed animals heading off to the skinning plant down the road .
    I have an image of douglas , pig farmer , his greedy traitorous little swine eyes casting about at his handy work as his brainwashing skills show themselves . don ‘ the gimp ‘ brash . The salivating freak show , his pockets stuffed with our money .
    That fool in Canada got the wrong Parliament ( In bad taste I admit but it is how I feel . )
    A friend of mine said yesterday ” Who the fuck does Labour represent ? All the workers are on wages contracts . ” It suddenly hit me that Labour really is the second Right wing on the moulting old chicken that is our politics and douglas is the ferret in the coop . We normal human beings are in desperate trouble . We creative , artistic , imaginative human beings the world over actually ; we’re in deep , deep trouble .

    I see terrible times ahead unless we remove the enemy’s oxygen . Their money .
    All foreign banks out of NZ / Aotearoa ! Now ! Today !
    Re Nationalise our assets .
    Write off all mortgage debt .
    Default on foreign loans .
    Conduct an inquiry into the relationships between our past and present politicians and Big Business then charge , arrest , imprison and asset strip accordingly .
    We’re at war whether we like it or not and the battle front is in the Bank foyers . Their weapons are media advertising leaning against low wages leaning against increasing costs of basic services ; those same services and public assets that douglas sold .
    But we all know this anyway . I’m preaching to the converted . What to do about it ? Not one of our highly paid politicians seems to have a fucking clue . I think it might be that they’re just cowards . Lazy , over-paid cowards .

  3. Thank you Catherine for your word picture of the opening day of the parliament. As always you have captured the silliness and sadness of such an important day, there will be no change

  4. Well .
    Look at what I found over at boingboing.net just now . In todays fresh boingboing offerings .

    Talk about validation .

    Lets hear it for Costas Lapavitsas
    What’s financialism, and how is it destroying your life?

    http://boingboing.net/2014/10/23/whats-financialism-and-how.html

    As businesses start retaining and investing larger cash-reserves, they’re turning into banks. Banks, meanwhile, need to find another line of work: they become asset traders. Meanwhile, your wages have been stagnant for decades, which means that in order to survive, you must become a debtor.

    An interview with Costas Lapavitsas from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies sets out a good explanation of “financialization” and how it’s colonized every corner of our world.

  5. NZ Parliament: Archaic, Odd, Sad, Chilling, not much fun, and with some War thrown in, too.

    Cripes, any wonder people don’t vote? I can’t decide whether it would be more humane to prescribe not voting, to set these tired professional people free in the outside world for a bit, or vote with renewed vigour to at least give them a safe place to rest. Just take away all powers of legislation first.

    And Golly, war. Is it wrong that I’m not scared of the Muzzie threat? They have WMD now? Yawn. It’s like reruns of Greatest American Hero. Even if they blew up my house with me in it. I’d still think (just before I exploded, or maybe during) , “Oh well, Just one bad apple out of a few billion perfectly normal others.” The power of John Key’s people concerns me more than a phantom Muslim terrorist, and he and his friends are already established in NZ. Even then, well, a guy has to die of something, no?

    Who or which now long dead German said that War was domestic policy turned overseas and that a government that did not act to strike first was guilty of treason? Von Klaus-somebody… got most of the western world thinking about ways to get into the First World War. Usually smart people, Germans, but not always. Pity NZ government still signs up to obsolete thinking. Was he German? Prussian maybe. Quite the difference I’m told.

    On the other hand, the Ancient Chinese said that immature courage does not seek to fight. That war should be fought and won on the strategy table before an army was even woken from sleep or (an arrow) shot fired. Far from being cowards, they would rather retreat a mile than advance an inch, they considered the social and political effect on the local population, and the thought of rapid victory without gaining long lasting peace was anathema. Oil and resources, curiously, did not figure at the top of their calculations. When those guys couldn’t avoid fighting, it was brutal stuff, yet their civilisation was considerably advanced at the same time that European tribes were still picking themselves out of a bog.

    • That should read “mature courage does not seek to fight.”. Their argument was that being gungho was immature in a spiritual and human sense.

  6. Catherine Delahunty walks the talk at Mangatangi.

    Pacific Islanders blockade Aussie coal port

    As desperate Pacific Islanders trying to save their nations from being destroyed by climate change battle Australian coal ships, Catherine Delahunty has been on the front lines of the battle against coal in this country.

    Stand With the Pacific Climate Warriors

    Follow the example set by Catherine Delahunty come to Mangatangi this Labour Weekend Monday at 2pm to protest Fonterra’s planned new coal mine development.

  7. I don’t understand what you mean by the “failure of American foreign policy to create peace in the Middle East”. What makes you think peace in the ME is the responsibility of the US? Or even the intent? I would have thought the reasons we should be resisting ISIS was obvious.

    • It’s the responsibility of the Americans to clean up Iraq because they are the ones who made it a mess by forcibly overthrowing Iraqi leadership in the second gulf war – if you can’t fix it, don’t break it.

      It may not be their intent to have peace in Iraq but then it would break all the tenants the USA holds dear and seriously undermine it’s reputation through out the world.

      ISIS is not NZs fight. It’s an American fight – let them spend their own money and their own blood to fix up their mess. Because in the end it’s a bottomless pit – there is so much oil funds supplying all sides, and the great prize for the winner, that it’s going to be a continuing battle for years to come. And the Chinese and Russians will be quite happy to supply arms while there is profit to be had and a way to suck the American economy dry.

  8. Well..its a shame these neo liberals seem historically illiterate….examples abound of what happens when the people say enough is enough…the French revolution , Cuba ,….too bad they dont have an analytical enough brain to realise what happens sooner or later when autocratic leaders continue to piss the populace off…

    It is also too bad they do not have the wisdom to learn from the very people they wish to fight, ….as they are plan to drag us into a war with the people of the Middle East alongside the Americans …

    You know theres a reason why theres so many pissed off people in the Middle East these days…

    And too bad they forget the American saying….’it is not the people who should fear the government , but the government should fear the people’.

    And another …in the American constitution…it is included ‘ALL Americans shall have the right to bear arms’…..

    Why?….so they could have a violent country to live in?….NO!!!!!!!….because that was included as a precaution against an autocratic , dictatorial regime coming to power that uses force, media black out..and imprisonment as a means to enslave the common people….a bit like the old Europe they left behind and didnt want in their new land of adoption.

    Media black outs….Nicky Hager anyone?…..muting the media?…dirty politics?…political corruption?…police oversatepping laws to act on behalf of the incumbent govt?….smear campaigns by the media?…

    You know …..we really are not that far from the very conditions that the American constittuion warned and provided for ….and still they do not heed the warnings…and day by day the poverty grows,…day by day more and more scandalous corruption and biased reporting,…day by day….the population is subjected to more and more loss of civil rights/ freedoms….under the guise of their ‘war’….and their ‘ TTPA ‘. their ‘TISA’…thei ‘Five Eyes spy network’…..

    Their bid for world domination.

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