by Alan Simmons, President and co-leader of the NZ Outdoors Party.
It’s been a long day, and I reflect drowsily as I lay back in my seat on the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry. I think about the last 18 months of China virus madness and what lies ahead for us all. I have 4 hours to think as I head back to the North Island. This was the first day of Level 2 after enduring another lockdown which encompassed both the South and North Island even though there was no infections in the South Island. I had managed to quickly score a booking on the Interislander ferry, having spent a month locked down in Nelson.
We had been in Christchurch meeting with party members and other various groups and had raced back to Nelson as lockdown was announced. Christchurch was wonderful, a vibrant new city since the earthquake, full of evening functions, restaurants and even the New Brighton hotpools where we enjoyed a soak with hundreds of others. Life had returned to normal for most. Even business were beginning to feel confident they could rise to the challenges of the future.
But the government changed all that in one announcement: all that hope and longing for a normal life as enjoyed in the past was erased in a few minutes. Overnight they effectively used the police to stomp out any opposition, resulting next day in a number of activists being jailed, an absolutely draconian reaction and not the ‘appropriate’ action promised in the legislation.
You couldn’t wish for a better place to be locked down than Nelson but what you can do during lockdown is pretty limited. I did go fishing during Level 4 because I read the law and it said you could, so long as it was from the shore. Scrutinized and scorned by passers-by who seem to have a different understanding of the law brought about by their blind belief that everything printed in the paper is correct. Just like the police telling people they must only recreate locally and by walking only, even though it clearly says in the hurriedly passed regulations that you can drive to your recreation. Many people these days don’t dare speak out, for alternative beliefs and truths are disregarded and discredited, and the present government is working away on that with their new ‘hate speech’ laws. From what I read of that proposed bill, just feeling aggrieved or insulted is enough to trigger the new law. Many people just keep their head down and I don’t blame them. They have mortgages and families to worry about, I appreciate it is a lot easier when you are retired or independent.
This whole China virus thing and the overreaction to it has destroyed our wonderful country and I contemplate what we need to do now to allow us to move forward. I don’t believe it could ever be as it was again. My age has allowed me to live 72 years in peace and prosperity, but what does the future hold for the next generation and for our country. As the leader of a small, largely ignored, political party my whole being is turned towards answering the question. What next?
Who would have ever thought a Labour Government would lead our country into a wasteland of hopelessness, destroying our very way of life? They have locked us into a succession of rules and orders that are increasingly unpopular such as mask wearing, tracking our movements, snitching on our fellow countrymen, water reforms, even stopping us from collecting rainwater without a permit, confiscating regional water supplies paid for by local rates, confiscating our firearms, confiscation of land under Significant Natural Area legislation. I could go on with many other issues seen as invasive and divisive to do with youth and families or such dramatic chances as the He Puapua proposals. This government has become extremely unpopular as they move away from government for the people and towards their agenda of authoritarian and undemocratic rule.
While we run around in a pickle like headless chooks trying to react to a barrage of legislative proposals that keep coming one after another, our society is failing on many fronts. People are homeless and hungry, people feel helpless as jobs disappear and small businesses fail, and it becomes harder to pay the mortgage on the house or the farm. All of this because a ‘novel infectious agent’ and a panicked government, forcing us into lockdowns and MIQs. They refused to listen to other views or opinions and there were plenty of experts who did not agree with the Government’s direction. Opposing advice to the government narrative was not just ignored, it was attacked. The Labour Government’s arrogance and attitude to anyone with an opposing view is appalling and never seen in this country before.
How on earth do we move on and how can the NZ Outdoors Party contribute to restoring our caring egalitarian society? What can a small party do? Well, at least we can put forward another plan, laying out our vision. At least we can be constructive and open about what we want to do.
Firstly we need a prime minister who brings the people along on the journey with them to rebuild and reunite the country. We need a leader who looks after NZ and its people first; and assigns Globalism to the history books. We would still want to be good world citizens, but we need to concentrate on us for a change as we can’t be good global citizens if we are “unwell” as a country.
The first thing I would do is make our co-leader Sue Grey, Prime Minster. She is extremely popular and has the skills and ability to bring people together for the common good. She has no global ambitions of grandeur or fame, she simply loves her country and way of life. We also need a team of everyday people who understand people and their responsibility to the people they represent — and we have that team coming forward every day offering help and expertise. We have innovative policies and initiatives to bring the process of re-creating a country that we all are proud of and can live in without poverty.
We in the NZ Outdoors Party see localism as part of the solution, as communities take back the local initiative from central Government and begin to look after themselves. Responding to local issues from within the community where we have the brains and practical experience of life to solve local problems. At present we have top-down authoritarian rule which has characterized the current Labour government. We need less central government of the sort we have now, full of career politicians who have never experienced the realities of life outside of parliament and are protected by its cocoon of income, security, perks and fame.
So, how do we achieve this when we have large political parties who rort the system to ensure their own survival? They suck huge sums of money from the public purse while small parties like ours get nothing. They use the privilege of parliament to send out newsletters to all their constituents, they use parliamentary money to buy Facebook and Google ads, they use that same money to broadcast radio and TV ads and, in the case of Labour, just pump tens of millions of dollars into the Media on the proviso they will not challenge the party line.
We, and many others, see the Labour Party as finished at the next election. We hear the voice of the people because we are not surrounded by a cocoon of political advisers, all telling the government what it wants to hear. I believe we hear the voice of the people. It is angry and tired and desperately in need of change. I am reminded of the words of that great song from Les Miserables ” Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums. There is a life about to start. When tomorrow comes!“
So when tomorrow comes, what do we do? Does the opposition have the solution? The word emanating from the noise of the crowd is that they are just one and the same and will not provide the essential changes needed to put this country on a calm, safe course.
I believe the only people with a solution is the NZ Outdoors Party and not because we have all the answers, because we don’t, but we have a wealth of ordinary people with a passion to do right by their fellow countrymen. That’s a pretty good start. We need to peel back so much of governments intrusion into our daily lives. Unity and freedom; we must combine both to enrich our lives.
Even though we present on the ballot papers each election most voters have never heard of us. Our only source of publicity is strangled. The media ignore us, the polls ignore us and even social media ban our advertising. Our only hope is for people to spread the word for us as the media will not do it.
If every person who believes our message tells another ten people, then we can start to make an impact. We can all make an effort and be determined not to be swayed by the lies and deceit that is born of the election process. The promises and bribes. That cartoon could never be truer where the young girl asks “do all fairy tales begin with ‘once upon a time’?” and her brother answers, “No, every three years they begin with ‘if elected I promise…’”
Let’s not be swayed by the startups that come along at the last minute having done no yards on the track. They are sent out like attack dogs by the incumbent parties to disrupt and scupper any small party that is gaining traction. It is all about self-preservation and nothing to do with what is right for the people or the country.
Please join with us and be part of the change. If you want to help please make yourself known. We are thin on the ground as we don’t accept corporate funding, so everyone is doing this for the love of our country and our families. Go to www.outdoorsparty.co.nz