Sucking Up and Kicking Down: The NZ Media Covers the Queenstown Summit.

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THE NEW ZEALAND NEWS MEDIA’S coverage of the regular get-together of the Australian and New Zealand prime ministers was appalling. Like their reporting of New Zealand politics generally, most of the journalists’ effort was devoted to seeking-out story-lines with which to embarrass the Labour Government of Jacinda Ardern. In many cases, this involved openly talking-up the Australians’ book at their own country’s expense. Confirmed, yet again, is the unhealthily large number of “suck-up, kick-down” personalities currently at large in New Zealand’s Fourth Estate.

So many contemporary journalists appear to be in the job for trophies. Not the sort of trophies one displays on the mantelpiece (although they like them too) but the sort of trophies big-game hunters hang on their walls. The current Press Gallery’s definition of a good political journalist would appear to be based on how many politician’s they have “bagged”. As if stuffing someone’s career is something to be proud of.

Never has the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin’s (1867-1947) crushing condemnation of the news media been more apt: “What [it] is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”

After the vicious attack on New Zealand’s foreign policy broadcast on Channel Nine’s “60 Minutes” programme, during which this country was accused of selling its soul and abandoning its Australian “mate” for a mess of Chinese pottage, most Kiwis would have greeted the Aussie media pack with hackles raised and teeth bared. Not our journalists, or, at least, not where anyone could see them.

Rather than respond in kind to the “60 Minutes” onslaught, with questions about the Australian Defence Minister courting Armageddon over Taiwan and the South China Sea, our scribes were more keen to know how fast Jacinda planned to skulk back, like a whipped puppy, to her kennel in Canberra’s back yard.

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Certainly there was no one there in Queenstown with the wit to object, when Scott Morrison blathered on about not letting hostile forces divide the Anzac partners, that since the man in charge of Channel Nine was his old mate and Liberal Party colleague, Peter Costello, he might like to pick up the phone and ask him to stop calling New Zealand a Chinese puppet.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it. The hacks and hackettes of the New Zealand Press Gallery just don’t know stuff like that. All they know is what the smooth operators at the Australian High Commission, the British High Commission and the American Embassy whisper in their shell-like ears at receptions and cocktail parties arranged for just such a purpose.

One is reminded of the famous scene in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when the “orator” on the platform is handed a note informing him that Oceania is no longer at war with Eurasia, it is now at war with Eastasia:

“The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous interlude while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prodigies of activity in clambering over the rooftops and cutting the streamers that fluttered from the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it was all over. The orator, still gripping the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward, his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his speech. One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.”

For nearly 40 years, New Zealand’s diplomatic stance has reflected its location in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Its relationships with other nations are based on the indisputable reality of New Zealand being a small, economically vulnerable, trading nation situated in the south of the South Pacific. It’s a stance that has the merit of being both expedient and ethical. Other nations know exactly where we stand and what we want – which is, essentially, to be everybody’s friend and trading partner. For decades now, New Zealand diplomacy has possessed the added advantage of in no way contradicting the general strategic posture of the region’s major military actors – the USA and Australia. We were focused on the Asia-Pacific. They were focused on the Asia-Pacific.

Except, they’re not – not any longer. The USA’s and Australia’s strategic perspective has shifted abruptly from the Asia-Pacific theatre to the Indo-Pacific theatre. From an essentially defensive stance, aimed at preserving the regional status-quo, New Zealand’s former ANZUS allies (with Japan and India in tow) have adopted a clearly aggressive posture aimed at containing, weakening, and ultimately breaking, the Peoples Republic of China. (In exactly the same way the USA and Nato contained, weakened and ultimately broke the Soviet Union.) And New Zealand, like the orator in Orwell’s novel, is supposed to accept the change without missing a beat. “Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.”

Significantly, the Press Gallery – bless their hawkish little hearts – has fallen into line without a murmur. China is New Zealand’s enemy. China hasalways been New Zealand’s enemy. Canberra says so. Washington says so. Even London says so. (Although what business it is of theirs God alone knows!)

Never mind that, by putting our export earnings at risk, the demands of our “allies” pose a direct threat to our national security and wellbeing. Never mind that, like the Soviet Union, China is a nuclear power, which, if cornered, has the power to blow up the world. None of this matters. As far as this country’s senior political journalists are concerned, New Zealand is out of step with the big boys. Ergo, New Zealand must get in step with the big boys. Jacinda needs to hold hands with “ScoMo” and “Sleepy Joe”, and quickly – or run the risk of being “bagged” and having her head hung on the Press Gallery wall.

Unless, of course, our “friends” decide that Oceania is no longer at war with Eastasia. That Oceania has never been at war with Eastasia.

 

37 COMMENTS

  1. Especially here Jacindas restraint and patience is obvious. Calm, well mannered, someone who manauvers around conversations. Can placate with flattery or insert a neutral position how ever service and bureaucracy is not nearly enough to service the goals of wormobgerers.

    In order to service the goals of Australia and The US, New Zealand will have to collaborate with its allies against China. Through this espionage kiwis would come to admire the man known as Scomo.

    I mean fuck off. Just fuck off. This is all bullshit. I can’t keep up my English accent. Scomo is just fucked and I don’t believe I have to know every little detail. It’s just obvious to everyone who pays a little bit of attention that Scomo can’t even play checkers.

    Known to the Rest of Oceania as Scomo, this is the one put forward by the rules based order to spy on China.

    It’s all so stupid. Scomo can’t even use fighting wards let alone get into a real fight. SMH

  2. Switzerland is a geographically small nation. At 41,000 square klm, is smaller than Ireland. By rough approximation, it’s a little over a quarter of the size our NZ South Island, which is 150,400 sq klm.

    Yet somehow they maintained military neutrality and survived two ferocious, world-engulfing wars which swept all around them. And they prospered.

    Perhaps we could learn from them?

    • Kheala Switzerland was said to hold bank accounts belonging to Hitler during WW2. We all know that was money looted from Jews. Easy being neutral at someone else’s expense. Maybe not the best example to use.

        • Good point, certainly gangs are already in possession of many semi auto firearms and rapidly increasing their troop numbers all encouraged by Labour Green policy.

          You may have stumbled on this governments secret plan to build a standing army – it’s surely the only explanation for giving violent crims with illegal guns home detention (but 2 years jail for licensed owners who forget to update address details) and giving them access to tens of thousands of grey market guns with the buy back failure.
          Soft on crims with a sad family history is a sure way to further incentivize this gang army, ranks have swelled by 50% under this government.
          Genius

            • ACT , I’d say as a long time firearms safety officer Nicole McKee would be encouraging them to do the right thing and disarm, as a member of a libertarian party likely she would be concerned for our safety, theirs and also threats to everyone’s freedom of association if gangs have to be broken.

              Greens? I’d say Davidson would be discussing her shared view with them how colonisation and white supremacy should give gangs free reign and no consequences for their violence. Perhaps defunding the police or other such BLM shared ground, I’m sure gangs would keen on that, they are sure multiplying well with the woke hair shirt policing and legitimising like running roadblocks over covid lockdown.

      • Graham, the weapons of the future (and of the present for that matter) will be quite different from those clumsy, heavy, antiquated mechanisms that are being bombed out in the ME. They’ll include things like biowarfare… In a way, we’re in one of those wars now, and so far we’ve survived it incredibly well.

        Big Tech will feature majorly, and the whole Space weaponry scene – and here we are, preparing for a second rocket-launch pad near CHCH. Not that it will be “ours” – the pentagon will end up owning it probably..

        There’s our ability to defend against cyber attacks – that one gets a BIG FAIL mark, – what happened to our DHBs. Hopefully we’ll get on top of that for the future, as there will be more of those, and potentially more damaging.

        But the greatest self-defence will be in our ability to survive the massive enviro changes that have already begun – the droughts, floods, bush fires etc. The more we’re prepared for those, the safer we will be in the future.

      • Only coz of lack of will. Bring back National Service, more funding by gov to Defence/Territorials. Establish a Legion in every major city and/or province. Automatic induction into armed forces for any/every able bodied 18-36 year old still on dole after 6 months.

        • Kheala is on the mark again Kevin.

          Obviously, some didn’t learn from mind-numbing waste of time and space that was known as Compulsory Military Training, which was followed by three years of ‘Territorials’. During the 60’s and early 70’s, this was at least in the shadow of a real war, albeit one perpetrated on the basis of US Gulf of Tonkin lies and the laughable ‘Domino Theory’. Even then, trainees would have been useless in the case of an attack. Most only learned to lie, cheat, gamble, tell dirty yarns and get leglessly pissed on cheap Government subsidised booze. In practice, ‘great powers’ are been routinely defeated by rag-tag patriotic citizen militias that have adapted according to the presenting threats.

          If defensively necessary, it probably makes more sense to look at the Iranian concept of small, locally manufactured attack boats manned by regular Kiwi weekend boaties. We even have the Mahia Mob to develop a cost effective missile system as well if necessary.

          In the meantime, a seriously independent foreign policy, development of cyber protection and a humanitarian peace-keeping force would pay greater benefits.

  3. It would be a nice dream to be a kind of ‘Switzerland ‘ of the Pacific,… with a truly independent set of foreign policy’s , which includes trading with the Russians for example, but , sadly , that would include a gross expenditure in armaments esp our Navy…its a difficult one to get that sort initiative in this country… we just don’t think that way.

  4. NATO didn’t weaken the USSR. It weakened and ultimately broke itself through its own socialist philosophy.

    As for our relationship with Australia – with hindsight maybe Jacinda’s grandstanding over their illegal immigrant policy wasn’t such a good idea?

  5. “New Zealand’s former ANZUS allies (with Japan and India in tow) have adopted a clearly aggressive posture aimed at containing, weakening, and ultimately breaking, the Peoples Republic of China”

    Imagine how unstable Asia and the world would become if this was to happen

  6. So well said. One does not need to be servile to China to take appropriate calm, and even at times critical, positions. The really dangerous actors in the world are the US and Britain, with occasional assistance from France/EU and puppets like Australia. Just look at the hundreds of military bases the US and Britain maintain worldwide.

    History shows that China has never been an international aggressor. What they do do is aggressively try to maintain what they see as their territory – vis. Tibet and Taiwan – and avoid ceding other territories. Of course Taiwan is truly part of China, but perhaps, sensibly, they should give this claim away and just adopt a friendly alliance with Taiwan. But then can you name any/many nations that adopt that approach.

    • While the west flex’s its collective muscles at China, China quietly carries on its economic expansion throughout Africa, the pacific and Asia.

      China doesn’t need to invade anyone because they already basically own countries by cleverly sneaking in through the back door

      China are on the ascendency, the west is going down.

      • China doesn’t need to invade anyone because they already basically own countries by cleverly sneaking in through the back door

        Agree.

    • Taiwan is not part of China, just like NZ is not part of “Great” Britain. Like us, northern Ireland, Palestine etc it is a colonised/occupied territory. Chinese invaded the island in in 1661, defeated the western colonists in south & north & a local native kingdom that was beginning to grow. Only about 100, 000 natives (including a few thousand or so western colonists), suddenly found themselves with 30, 000-50, 000 Chinese …Ming Loyalists led by Kozinga who had fled defeat by the Qing. They, just like the British here, claimed land, conned & stole, killed, diseased, raped the locals & just about bred them out. During the 20 years or so of Ming Chinese control in Taiwain they were joined first by another 7, 000-10, 000 …last of Ming loyalist soldiers still fighting under Koxinga’s son and then by thousands of new colonists. Later after the Ming loyalists of Taiwan surrendered a flod of further Qing-directed migration took place …then history repeats & defeated Chiang Kai Shek evacuates a large chunk of the remaining KMT forces to Taiwan …about 1.5-2.5million. Britain/Scotland has no territorial right to Nth Ireland nor to NZ. NZ is unique in that Treaty of partnership established but not so for the natives of Taiwan. They just got absorbed or pushed to edges, into poorest soil montain areas. Trotter is just a big fat stale pale white male whose history of anti-US imperialsm/colonialism has made him all “the enemy of enemy is my friend”, it’s made him blind (like many so-called ostensible leftists) to the imperialism/colonialism & misdoings of their puppets …those like Assad. Once quick to condemn any Dictator supported by the USA, but slow to criticise people like Assad, Gaddafi, Castro, Chavez etc. Guilty the same as Right that put boot into any “leftist” Dictator but kept quiet about Pinochet etc

    • You’re on drugs …never an international aggressor? Well Tibet you mention was an act of international aggression, 3 million troops in Korea to try & overthrow the democratic south & oppose the UN, Chinese intervention in Cambodia supporting the Khmer as a fuck you piece of revenge to Vietnamese who bloodied their nose so long ago & who had the gall to follow an idependent Left Nationalist line under Ho Chi Minh & his successors refusing to kowrtow to Mao & his successors edicts. Their international intervention in Malaya to foment a pretty much Chinese-only CPM in Malaysia to fight an “insurgency”, it’s manipulations in Indonesia during times of Sukarno where once again a Chinese-dominated CPI caused trouble directed from China, same again in the Philippines. Using Veto in security council to support Dictators it likes etc. China has been highly internationally interventionist with military-industrial espionage in USA etc, with assassinations, with the United Front propaganda campaign to control Chinese Media in the diaspora & to thereby exercise control of Chinese diaspora ppoulations in the west & in Africa eg Sth Africa now has over 500, 000 Chinese colonists since 1994.. The CCP/China thinks all Chinese belong to them & most Chinese seem to concur …and a lot of failed Leftists acting as “useful idiots” have swallowed their shit with a grin.

    • The only problem with that scenario Kheala is that NZ seems to be trying to play the humanitarian role to the sycophantic Sheriff of the Pacific whose enthusiasm for the role overlooks the fact that the endless US wars they support were the cause the refugee problem in the first place.
      More infuriating is the fact that the Government appointed a forward thinking Minister of Foreign Affairs who the PM constantly undermines by tacitly supporting Scomo’s bullshit platitudes and reframings. Who else would play a supportive role to a fuckwit that went overboard compromised his country financially because his hypocricy was exposed in a simple graphic. One has to wonder how many more shit-cakes Nanaia Mahuta will have to dodge before telling the PM where to get off.

      • AOM, Surely you are not saying that it would be better if we didn’t take the refugees/ asylum seekers??

        (Sorry, got a bit lost in your reasoning…)

        • Not saying that we shouldn’t take refugees or asylum seekers – my view is quite the contrary! The theoretical point is that we may not need to if the Australians weren’t unconscionably helping to create them by sucking up to the US and helped call them to account. As a related matter, it would appear that historically, the first thing a large proportion of refugees want when ‘insurgent’ armies disappear is to go home.

          The other issue is that our PM seems to be way short of holding the independent line that her minister was enunciating in the face of Scomo’s ANZAC/ANZUS/brotherhood BS.

          Hope this clears the confusion.

  7. I agree with your comment Chris, 100%.
    Any state that does not agree with Washington and its cabal of allies are either economically blacklisted, sanctioned or can suffer US backed regime change.
    In our part of the world the US has let the Aussies off the leash and with the support of a compliant media they are doing and saying whatever is laid out in front of them.
    China’s BRI is the final piece in “The end of the US hegemony puzzle”.
    FYI WW
    British military bases overseas, 145 in 42 countries.
    US military bases overseas, almost 800 in more than 70 countries.
    China has 1 naval base in Djibouti.
    The empire is desperate and instinctively will respond aggressively.
    Unfettered propaganda has and will be difficult for China to control.
    But China is not Russia.
    Strategically they are masters of the modern high wire of geopolitics and they will need to be, to negotiate the tidal wave of anti China rhetoric in the future.

  8. I think this quote has become anachronistic: ‘Never has the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin’s (1867-1947) crushing condemnation of the news media been more apt: “What [it] is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”’ Harlots and those who play at that game for free can get beaten up and murdered. Not very powerful is a harlot. I think the word ‘oligarchy’ should replace it; what is happening throughout the world indicates that amended statement.

  9. It’s all black comedy now.

    I must admit, Adern and Morrison are putting on a good act.

    Meetings of premiers, ‘travel bubbles’, strategies to ‘contain’ China and Russia, a bridge to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross that inconvenient inlet between the Auckland CBD and Takapuna etc. , so-called plans to fix the crumbling infrastructure of practically the entire country via egregious money-printing and conversion of fossil fuels into pollutants….

    However, the game is very nearly over!

    It’s a bit like the last stage of a game of Monopoly, in which most of the players have only enough money to last another circuit or two of the board, and one player has almost all of the money. Only it’s all fake money with no actual value.

    What a shame about all the ‘development’, and the population overshoot facilitated by cheap oil.

    Daily CO2 (CO2.earth)
    Jun. 2, 2021 = 420.44 ppm
    Jun. 2, 2020 = 417.7 ppm

    I believe Las Vegas will be the first major conurbation to become uninhabitable…perhaps later this year:

    http://graphs.water-data.com/lakemead/

    Lowest ever water level and falling at an unprecedented rate.

    I’m not sure how the Americans and their Aussie lapdogs are going to handle collapse of the US economy, followed by collapse of the Australian economy, which is the inevitable consequence of ‘development’ and kicking cans down the road for decades.

  10. I’m easier amid idealistic politics. Economics breaks me out in hives, whatever they are. Just know economics is the main thing. Idealism is a figment of post WW ll, reinforced by the great people’s movements of the late 19th century on. But being brought up on it and valuing it still, I’d like us to go our death holding onto our best idea of reality and virtue.

  11. You’ve got an idee fixe in your brain, Chris, like my brother can’t be separated from anti-vax despite the efforts of his most rational relatives. Changing science, evidence justifies the most human of actions, changing your mind.

    We got ‘lovable’ out of the silly arse nearest dictator. Sure , we know our allies spouted ideals and did the opposite, but at least we could hold them to account to an extent.

    I hate the ‘1984’ totalitarianism of China, and I’m sure you do.

  12. The US Strategy may be the same, to throttle China the way they tried against Russia, but China is no Russia? Russia was never a Economic Giant & Superpower that China is & America is not as powerful, nowadays as it was after WW2, its decline is quite noticeable! Obama pivoted the US away from the Middle East to concentrate on the hopeless task of trying to contain the rise of China but its to late now, it can’t be stopped! NZ shouldn’t be hitching its wagon to Australia or America? America is a dying Empire, heading for Economic collapse, its going to happen within the next 10 yrs & Australia will find itself without a Master to suck up to! NZ needs to maintain its integrity & neutrality in these Geopolitical games being played by the duplicitous American’s & the foolish Australians!

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