The Atlas Network of influence The Democracy Project and mainstream media refuse to acknowledge

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The Democracy Project and the mainstream media refuse to acknowledge the influence of the Atlas Network while overseas journalists keep publishing damning insights into Atlas and its influence on NZ and global politics…

A grim atlas guides NZ’s right-wing politics

The coalition that took power in New Zealand late in 2023, after a campaign centred on attacking the country’s founding Waitangi Treaty, has been exposed as hosting considerable Atlas Network infiltration.

One of the key researchers into the Atlas Network, Lee Fang, observed that it has “reshaped political power in country after country.” In America, every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has begun office with a Roadmap provided by the Heritage Foundation, primary Atlas Network partner. The “Mandate” for 2025 puts America on a hard path to fascism should a Republican win in November. Britain’s economy and standing have been savaged by Atlas partners’ impacts on the Tories. In New Zealand, the recently-elected rightwing coalition government is aping the new “Atlas president” of Argentina, aiming to privatise national assets, but is increasingly also imitating Atlas strategies recently seen in Australia, inflaming racial tensions and harming the wellbeing of Māori people.

Dr Jeremy Walker called Australia’s attention to the local Atlas partner organisations’ impact on the Voice to Parliament referendum and is now helping draw together the focus on the New Zealand partners’ very similar distortion of their national debate. There is a deep racism at the heart of this ultra-free market ideology that has licensed the international right to exploit resources and people around the globe untrammelled, largely in American corporate interest, but more broadly for any corporation or allied sector big enough to be a contender. (They do not, by contrast, fight for the renewable energy sector’s interests, as a competitor to their dominant fossil fuel donors; this shapes their climate crisis denial and delay, and colours their loathing of First People’s capacity to interfere with their profits by environment-driven protest. A sense of Western Civilisation as the apex of human existence and deep disdain for non-Western cultures also pervade the network.)

The coalition that took power in NZ late in 2023, after a campaign centred on attacking the country’s founding Waitangi Treaty, has considerable Atlas infiltration. There is concern about Atlas fossil fuel and associated tobacco interestsperverting policy in parliament. The government has promised to repeal Jacinda Ardern’s ban on offshore gas and fuel exploration, plans to sell water to private interests, not to mention planning to enable the selling off of “sensitive” NZ land and assets to foreign corporations, just as Argentinian Milei is intending.

One of the government members, the Act Party, began its existence as an Atlas partner thinktank and continues that close connection. It was founded by former parliamentarian Denis Quigley with two members of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Atlas Network’s inner sanctum. One, Roger Douglas, was responsible for Rogernomics in NZ which has been described as a “right wing coup” that worked to “dismantle the welfare state.” The other, Alan Gibbs, who has been characterised as the godfather of the party, and a major funder, argued Act ought to campaign for government to privatise “all the schools, all the hospitals and all the roads.” This may not be surprising since he made much of his fortune out of the privatisation of NZ’s telecommunications.

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The Act Party is currently led by David Seymour who functions as a co-deputy prime minister in the government. He has worked almost his entire adult life within Atlas partner bodies in Canada and boasts a (micro) MBA dispensed by the Network. In Seymour’s 2021 Waitangi Day speech, he acknowledged his “old friends at the Atlas Network.” In light of that, his recent disdainful and absolute dismissal of the party’s connection to Atlas in an interview was telling: he clearly felt the association was damaging enough to lie outright.

Seymour is also deeply antagonistic to policies dedicated to repairing the disadvantage suffered by Māori people, disingenuously describing provisions that work cooperatively with Māori people as the “dismantling of democracy.” He appears antagonistic to Māori culture.

Another Atlas partner that has been key to distorting debate in NZ is the Taxpayer Union (TPU) which is emblematic of the production of metastasising bodies central to the Atlas strategy. Its co-founder and executive director is anothergraduate of the Atlas (micro) MBA program. Jordan Williams (currently “capo di tutti capi” of the Atlas global alliance of anti-tax junktanks) laughably depicts Atlas as a benign “club of like-minded think tanks.” He created, however, a body called the Campaign Company which helped radicalise the established farmer power base in NZ politics, planting sponsored material in the media. Williams claimed to grant the farmers “world-class campaign tools and digital strategies.” He also co-founded the Free Speech Union (FSU), which is unsurprisingly fighting regulation of the damaging impact of internet disinformation as well as fostering culture war battles.

A further spin-off of the bodies illustrates the increasing ugliness of the populist strategies. A former Act Party MP has founded the New Zealand Centre for Political Research which is fomenting civic division against Māori interests, including placing hate-mongering advertisements in the media.

The Act Party (alongside the populist New Zealand First party) is at the heart of the coalition government’s intention to destroy NZ’s admirable efforts to promote Māori interests for the betterment of the commonwealth, including the co-governance innovation. Efforts to undo disadvantage and programs that have promoted the distinctive NZ democratic experiment are set to be dismantled. A “massive unravelling” of Māori rights is at stake.

Lord Hannan (one of Boris Johnson’s elevations to the peerage, and a junktank creature) recently spoke in NZ, welcoming “all the coalition partners around this table” to hear his oration. There he celebrated the small percentage of GDP that NZ’s government spends on its people, cheering on the TPU’s power. He also disdained the “tribalism” that has dictated recognition of First Peoples’ suffering. There is grand (but unsurprising) irony in a graduate of three of Britain’s preeminent educational institutions dictating that humanity’s essential equality is all that can be considered when devising policy, particularly in settler-colonial nations.

Amusingly the weightier debunking of the Atlas connections has come from: Chris Trotter, formerly centre left, now a council member of Williams’ FSU; Eric Crampton, chief economist of the New Zealand Initiative, NZ’s leading Atlas partner and Sean Plunkett whose “anti-woke” vanity media platform, Platform, is plutocrat funded and regularly platforms the NZI talking heads.

While Atlas’s system largely functions to connect and train operatives, as well as acting as an extension of American foreign policy, this modest-seeming program must not be ignored. We have a handful of years to achieve a monumental shift from fossil fuel towards renewable energy: Atlas partners aim to ensure this does not take place.

And Atlas partners will push us at each other’s throats while we procrastinate.

…THIS is where you see the true influence and power of the Atlas Network…

$2m surge in election campaign spending by third-party groups

Third-party groups poured $2 million into the election campaign, new data reveals.

Most of the record spend went on campaigners pushing for policies favoured by the centre right, and is 13 times more than was spent on the 2020 general election.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission show that of the 31 registered third-party promoters, seven spent more than $100,000 in the lead-up to voting. Only groups that spend more than $100,000 are required to share their expenses.

…it’s funny that The Democracy Project are concerned with 3rd Party influence but not the dark money from the Atlas Network that is influencing so many of those 3rd Party Donors.

According to The Democracy Project’ this new hard right racist climate denying beneficiary bashing government is actually moderate and The Atlas Networks radical billionaire and dark corporate money has no influence in NZ politics.

The truth is that this Dark Money has influence washed 3rd Party Groups and is providing each other insights as to what culture war buttons to push and use to inspire angry right voter turn out.

There is a fucking difference between a Left Wing Think Tank getting funding from Unions that wants to make workers rights stronger and Right Wing Think tanks funded by far right Billionaires, Tobacco, Oil and Coal using spite politics to ensure their interests and profit margins are expanded at the cost of the climate, the people and the entire fucking planet!

Monbiot makes this point…

And who, in turn, are the junktanks? Many refuse to divulge who funds them, but as information has trickled out we have discovered that the Atlas Network itself and many of its members have taken money from funding networks set up by the Koch brothers and other rightwing billionaires, and from oil, coal and tobacco companiesand other life-defying interests. The junktanks are merely the intermediaries. They go into battle on behalf of their donors, in the class war waged by the rich against the poor. When a government responds to the demands of the network, it responds, in reality, to the money that funds it.

…Oil, coal, tobacco, right wing billionaires, the fucking Koch brothers, dark money influencing our political system so much so that we see the exact same agenda being rolled out here!

The Atlas (shrugged) Network is funded by petrol oligarchs and climate change polluters who find the social media pressure points the way the old Cambridge Analytics did. They can micro target and mine resentment better than anyone else in the game, and they pass those findings along allowing for local think tanks to plot legislative change welded to the culture war pressure points and allow hate algorithms to do the rest.

This is happening right as Gerry Brownlee cloaks these lobbyists in secrecy, right when legislation allowing mining on conservation land is being cooked up alongside fast track powers to push them through alongside an attempt to dismantle the Treaty Principles so that Māori don’t need to be consutled when these Trans National’s start up.

As the push for more privatisation, steeper austerity and race baiting policy collides with extreme weather events, destabilising geopolitics and increasingly desperate first time home buyers bled out from rising mortgage rates and beneficiaries and state tenants kicked off welfare and out of homes, the only winner will be private prisons and the bloody Atlas Network!

The Right Wing Hate Bots in NZ seem to have multiplied recently and are everywhere spreading lies and falsehoods.

Interestingly

…gosh wouldn’t an army of Hate Bots help twist perception for Atlas?

 

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22 COMMENTS

  1. I am still astounded that nobody in the media seems to be going after Brownlie and demanding the identities of the secret lobbyists be made public. How is it legal that they are kept secret?

    • Anyone who took the time to seriously follow beltway politics had known about the Mont Pèlerin Society and the Atlas Network since the 1970’s (including the protesters outside the M.P.S. international conference at Christchurch Town Hall in 1989).

      However, an unofficial press blackout had more or less existed for most of that time, thanks to the press barons. Suddenly in ’24, a few unpopular Third Way liberals want to loudly denounce them — but they aren’t renouncing their own ideology.

      And how did that ideology infiltrate and take over the labour movement in the first place? The Atlas Network were directly lobbying the Lange and Hawke-Keating administrations. The rest of the network that would come to be called ‘Clintonism/Blairism’ was a creation of the D.L.C., started during the Regan years by the milieu around Scoop Jackson. In August of 2000, Newsweek revealed who was paying the bills: Chevron, Du Pont, Koch Industries, Merck, Microsoft and Philip Morris.

    • Corruption needs that secrecy …..

      Dirty Politics is back ,,, Bigger, Badder and far more Bent ,,,, unfortunatly we aint seen/seeing nothing yet …….

  2. If I’d told you all this a month ago I’d be labelled a “conspiracy theorist”. Like pretty much everything called a conspiracy theory the evidence has been in plain sight for so long.

  3. just found this blog after looking uo Atlas network…thanks for this. I think its time ALL political donations need to be public ..no hiding behind third parties etc. Would be a start. Pity we dont have a true public broadcaster here also with balls that could show these connections [ and it’s important to show these are ‘real’ connections’ not just another nebulous links ]. cheers

  4. The Atlas Network seems scarcely believable, like something Dr Evil would run… Cambridge Analytica was freaky enough but seems they have been absorbed into this frightening underbelly organisation. Hard to grasp this is a real thing – an organisation influencing governments around the world with their dark money and antilife policies. But they are out in the open here with Nationals stark evil policies unrolling at pace with barely a figleaf to excuse the mendacity of what they are doing.

  5. I acknowledge much goes on that only a few know about but what is the difference between the Qanon idiots and those that believe in this Atlas bad boy conspiracy.

      • The U.K. is the most broken and bankrupt now for a very long time. They never wanted any of you making money of your own. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with an honourable life working and building and maintaining this great nation but you need at least two forms of income and superannuation is supposed to be that for the working class and these woke-tards don’t want that for you.

    • Well let’s see Trevor. No one has mentioned pizza or satanic child sex rings, so that’s a good start.

      I have no idea about anything relating to Atlas.

      What is very obvious is Shane Jones is openly corrupt and there is no evidence base to support most of Costellos bullshit around tobacco. In fact it makes no sense that she is prepared to take an absolute hammering over repealing all of the smoke free legislation. You can argue about black markets ( though that looks rather weak) but why repeal nicotine reduction? As an associate health minister???

  6. I recently challenged an article on Chris Trotter site where he wrote a typical anti-maori hit piece about an interview of Maori reporter Mihingarangi Forbes had with ACT leader David Seymour. He used dismissive language to characterize her reporting about the Atlas Network and used fake talking point that the left had created ‘Qanon’. Unlike the Chinese that don’t allow big corporation to influence and run their govt the west is continuing regurgitating european colonial exploitation as domestic & foreign policies to fuck ova anyone that gets in their way.

    • No one believes in war. Not even when the bombs have been falling for days because us men made the infrastructure of this planet to good. Even now you can find people in Ukraine going to dinners and partying. It’s delusion to believe someone like Luxon could produce a peace dividend.

  7. So true. Without the help of the Atlas Foundation, the NZ public couldn’t possibly have noticed what a godawful mess the previous government were making.

  8. So Union cash good, non left wing cash bad. That is the basis of your argument
    Reality is you are losing the fight for the peoples support and you’re just left with the elites No one believes any more
    Welcome to Brexit and the other populist revolutions

  9. Funnily enough, none of this Right shite bothers me a jot personally. My main worry is all the ideas-idiots out there who can be reached and turned for the rich now.

    In the 30s the Left were the ones who propagandized better. The mass movement is gone so the Left parties must above all deliver for the people or be pushed aside by this bullshit. I am as certain as death that ‘Chippy’ doesn’t understand that. Following on from Grant and Jacinda.

  10. all commenters from think tanks should have to state their funders EVERY TIME THEY APPEAR IN ANY MEDIA

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