Toxic drinking water, petrol price gouging, slave students, climate change and public health meltdown – welcome to your unregulated nightmare you sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind

By   /   December 7, 2017  /   16 Comments

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Some noddy at stuff wrote a column this year criticising my use of the term ‘Sleepy Hobbits’. 

For me the term sums us up perfectly as a nation.

The Sleepy Hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind with their king

Some noddy at stuff wrote a column this year criticising my use of the term ‘Sleepy Hobbits’.

For me the term sums us up perfectly as a nation.

In its most benign form it paints us out as an inward looking nation of dimwitted simple folk who can’t comprehend the bigger picture, in its darkest version, it illuminates the aggressively deep anti-intellectual fascism that violently destroys out of wilful insecurity.

This week has really reminded us just what a nation of sleepy hobbits we are.

Toxic drinking water,  foreign students effectively slaves, petrol price gouging, climate change rapidly getting out of hand and news that National underfunded public health so badly that it has gone into meltdown are all indicative of one thing – the legacy of our free market neoliberal experiment that deregulated every inch of our society.

That 700 000 NZers can get sick from their drinking water has occurred because there isn’t enough bloody regulation or enforcement of our water!

Petrol companies price gouge us because there is no means or will to force them not to.

Foreign students are being abused and used like slaves because no one bothers to regulate the student visa or student employment market.

We face a climate change nightmare because no one is brave enough to stand up to the Dairy industry and regulate them.

And National underfunded public health so badly for 9 years it is now in meltdown because no one challenged National’s free market mantra that saw public money going to prop up right wing experiments.

Normally one would feel a certain schadenfreude towards the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind for the clusterfuck they have brought upon themselves, but such shameful glee in the misfortune of others is only gleeful if the target understands their own hand in their predicament, the sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind don’t have the intellectual ability to comprehend how they have brought this upon themselves and if you attempted to explain it is the deregulated market they’ve unthinkingly voted for they would ask what ‘deregulated’, ‘market’ and ‘unthinkingly’ meant.

We are our own worst enemies.

I’ll leave the final word to Chris Trotter on NZ being a nation of ‘sleepy hobbits’…

Tolkien’s fantasy is much more realistic. His Shire is not overthrown by rampaging Orcs, but by the fear and greed of its own inhabitants. As the steadfast Farmer Cotton explains to Frodo:

“It all began with Pimple, as we call him … and it began as soon as you’d gone off, Mr Frodo. He’d funny ideas, had Pimple. Seems he wanted to own everything himself, and then order other folk about. It soon came out that he already did own a sight more than was good for him; and he was always grabbing more, though where he got the money was a mystery: mills and malt-houses and inns, and farms, and leaf-plantations. He’d already bought Sandyman’s mill before he came to Bag End, seemingly.”

If that doesn’t remind New Zealanders of the fate of their own beautiful country, then Martyn’s right, we really have become “Sleepy Hobbits”! Or, maybe, something even worse. Could it be that we, too, have fallen victim to our own Pimples, our own Ted Sandymans? That far too many of us have allowed ourselves to be ordered around by the Shirrifs? The Boss? By Sharkey?

We must hope not. Because in our own case – in our own Shire – we cannot rely upon four returning heroes to put things right. “Raising the Shire” is something we will have to do on our own. Forging our own swords. Stringing our own bows. Summoning our own neighbours. Only when we have fashioned our own horns and bugles will we, like Tolkien’s Hobbits in revolt, be able to send their clarion blasts echoing across New Zealand’s fields, towns and cities:

Awake! Awake! Fear, Fire, Foes! Awake!
Fire, Foes! Awake!

 

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16 Comments

  1. Johnnybg says:

    There’s a mighty crunch a coming, so sharpen up your survival skills. Or on a more positive note, get in behind the visionary Ayvangard project which aims too establish; a sustainable, model, post-globalisation confederacy right here in Zealandia.

  2. Priss says:

    Depressing.

    And oh so accurate.

    The number of people I’ve heard complain about the slashing of our health services and polluted rivers, who then admit to voting for National because they seemed like “good at running the country” made me want to grab them and scream at them; WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

    You’re right, Martyn, no one did this to us. A million New Zealanders voted for the crappy state of affairs we’re now having to put up with.

    Meanwhile those Tory hypocrites are complaining that the coalition isn’t acting “fast enough” to address rising petrol prices! https://player.fm/series/rnz-morning-report/govt-too-slow-on-petrol-prices-national

    Damnable hypocrites!!

  3. Siobhan says:

    Good news for the Hobbits on RNZ this morning..Judge Becroft reports the first victory of the Trickle Down Theory…”And it’s the first time we’re probably seeing the flow through of general economic growth.”..this in regard to the supposed drop in child poverty rates.
    When questioned further on RNZ how this was achieved given these figures cover the period before any increase in benefit rates he admitted that it was a result of a number of fairly vague things including ‘Charity initiatives.”
    In other words there are charities helping to ‘Tick off’ the items on the ‘Measurable Poverty List’, like shoes…and this means the children, and, I presume, their parents are no longer in the grip of poverty.’
    Ha.
    I suspect its more a case of finding a garage to live in, or moving the family in with the Grandparents, and therefore having more money for food.

    http://childpoverty.co.nz/flow-infographics/household-survey-2016

  4. Castro says:

    Welcome to a third world colony of the Chinese dictatorship; buckle up for civil war https://croakingcassandra.com/2017/12/06/shameless-and-shameful/

  5. XRAY says:

    National was slick. The motivation was always enriching the already well off, nothing more.

    Cutting taxes for the well-off simply meant not enough to spend on public services and that would mean resistance and loss of vote. So do things like spend a fortune on the front entrance to hospitals, make the ED’s look flash and modern but cut back behind the scenes. Repeat with mental health except don’t even waste money on the facade. Repeat with Police, repeat with Justice, Education and social welfare. And if someone noticed then divert, smear, bury and or LIE!

    But pouring money into motorways, the few got very wealthy from that spend up. Pour money into convention centres to placate the gambling industry.

    Set up tax havens and using NZ’s once good name to hide behind benefitted the rich and the criminals alike and it is very difficult to separate the two to be fair.

    Sell off revenue earning necessary government assets to, you guessed it, the wealthy (the mum and dad investor myth was so cute of Key)

    Never ever do anything to upset the banks that are creaming the debt pile that is the dairy industry.

    And never ever do anything to upset the banks that are creaming the debt pile that is housing speculation. Was it because our government MP’s were making on this too?

    From late 2008 NZ was run by a greedy self-serving merchant banker and his wannabe hangers-on, working to what appears to be a carefully crafted agenda. So it is no wonder we are where we are now. Key and his ilk were a disaster for this country but even now the narrative is we should miss their dishonest brand.

    The new government needs to expose this, over and over and over.

  6. esoteric pineapples says:

    New Zealand is important because it is far enough away from the world not to automatically get sucked into the malstrom. If the shite really hits the fan then New Zealand will be hugely important for continuing on human existence. Even if it doesn’t, New Zealand has the luxury of (potentially) steering an independent path that other countries don’t have. It has to do better than be just a home for a self-satisfied, ignorant population

    • Johnnybg says:

      Been banging on about this for yonks, nobody gets it, all too obsessed with moaning when dreaming up solutions, taking risks & practical action is sorely needed, very demoralising – check out the ‘Ayvangard’ website.

    • AB says:

      Oh crap! A country that produced John Key is going to make a significant contribution to the gene pool of all future humanity. Poor them!

  7. Brian F says:

    … NOT forgetting the extra $50 billion ($50 billion more than Labour left them way back when) debt the Nats left for the new government; or the 72% increase in demand for social housing; or the appalling lack of qualified secondary school teachers, especially in the regions; or the mess that Kiwirail is in and the cost to the government to get it back on track… you rightly stick it to the Nats for their appalling management of the health system to the extent it’s increasingly failing (and the MoH CEO does a runner) and now drinking water quality is going down the drain… No doubt there will be more disasters uncovered in the weeks to come as the new government uncover the incompetencies of the previous government. And to think they almost got a fourth term! What a bunch of mindless, selfish hobbits are the 44% of the voting public that voted for this deceitful, arrogant, lying (now) Opposition. Long may they stay wallowing there.

  8. G.A.P. says:

    Don’t worry E.P. if as you say the shite really does hit the fan, the american war machine and elites can move to nzild to bring us democracy.

  9. G.A.P. says:

    Don’t worry E.P. if as you say the shite really does hit the fan, the american war machine and elites can move to nzild to bring us democracy.
    4th attempt.

  10. Muttonbird says:

    Don’t forget housing. National’s 9 years of encouraging a teenage party atmosphere in housing speculation will have damaged the country socially for a generation.

    Don’t let them do it again, because you know they will.

  11. Marc says:

    “Some noddy at stuff wrote a column this year criticising my use of the term ‘Sleepy Hobbits’.

    For me the term sums us up perfectly as a nation.

    In its most benign form it paints us out as an inward looking nation of dimwitted simple folk who can’t comprehend the bigger picture, in its darkest version, it illuminates the aggressively deep anti-intellectual fascism that violently destroys out of wilful insecurity.”

    Sums it up perfectly for me, I must say, with disappointment and regret at the situation that surrounds me daily. Sleepwalking zombies may be another ‘benign’ description.

  12. Marc says:

    More about the mess left behind by National and its three terms in government:
    http://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/who-we-are/our-publications/briefings-to-incoming-ministers/2017-BIMs

    http://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/who-we-are/our-publications/briefings-to-incoming-ministers/2017-bims/housing-urban-development.pdf

    “Affordability
    22. MBIE defines housing affordability as being able to meet housing costs (either of owning or renting) out of income without adversely impacting on the ability to afford the basic requirements for living
    and prospering in New Zealand society.
    23. MBIE is concerned about affordability for both home owners and renters because it impacts on people’s ability to enjoy adequate living standards, and on their ability to achieve good lifetime outcomes. Where housing is unaffordable, other broader social outcomes such as health, education, employment and social capital more generally are negatively affected.
    24. However, whether households own or rent also currently correlates with social and economic outcomes in New Zealand. Rental tenure (particularly renting over the longer term) is associated with poorer outcomes on average.”

    http://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/who-we-are/our-publications/briefings-to-incoming-ministers/2017-bims/building-construction.pdf

    And more, check it out, a MESS.

  13. CLEANGREEN says:

    Martyn,

    We all knew that the National Party rort would lead to this as they were engaging in severe cotting to make their figures look good for the election!!!!

    And did not care about the carnage they left behind, should they loose so this was bound to come about.

    I am disgusted to the National Party for their attitude today in parliament looking like they are the only party that was “fiscaly responsible” when now they are trying to show labour won’t be as they were ????

    “morally corrupt’ National are we say.

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