The shock invasion of the Ukraine serves as a grim reminder of the fragility of freedom and democracy in the face of powerful totalitarian aggressors.
The leadership shown by the President of the Ukraine, the former actor Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the bravery of the Ukrainian people, who have taken up arms to defend their country, stands in sharp contrast to the seeming impotence of the West. While supplies of weapons to support the ‘people’s army’ and sanctions against Vladimir Putin and Russia are all-important, as the aggressor unleashes its military might, the Ukrainians are effectively standing alone.
Many lessons are emerging from this deadly conflict.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, British journalist Melanie Phillips, explains how the West’s embrace of Green extremism has contributed to the problem:
“Through their ‘unhinged obsession with climate change’, America, Britain and Europe have handed Putin his greatest weapon against them. In their determination to reduce carbon emissions by turning against fossil fuels and having put so many of their eggs in the basket of renewables which are desperately unreliable as national sources of energy, they have made themselves overly dependent on gas sold to them by Russia.
“While Biden’s been working on this Green New Deal which is a joke and ridiculous and terrible, Russia’s become the second-largest natural gas supplier in the world, the third-largest oil exporter.
“So now Putin, with his hand on gas spigots which he can open or shut at will, has the power to restrict gas supplies, send the price of gas shooting up and inflict on western nations both power outages and eye-watering increases in their cost of living. Western countries are already paying dearly for their supreme green folly…
“This gas weapon is all the more ludicrous given that both America and Britain have the natural resources to be energy-independent. Yet they have utterly squandered this resilience through their unfounded fixation that carbon emissions will destroy the planet.”
The irony is that a year ago, low energy prices had left the Russian economy struggling, but the doubling of prices has topped up their war chest – in effect, the invasion of the Ukraine is being financed by Western nations that have sacrificed energy security for the United Nations’ zero-carbon economic suicide pact.
As Time reports:
“The countries of Europe, cower in fear as their dependency on Russian gas renders them impotent to fight back against Russia’s invasion… Germany especially will suffer if Russian gas imports are blocked; Europe imports 40% of its natural gas from Russia, but for Germany it is up to 50%, on top of 45% dependency on Russian coal and 34% on Russian oil. Meanwhile, Germany is continuing to phase out nuclear, making it more reliant on Russian energy imports.”
And that’s the underlying scandal – the suppression of fossil fuels in Western countries to comply with the UN’s foolish Climate Accord is having a deadly impact on global security.
Surely this is also a lesson for New Zealand, since those dictating our policy have an “unhinged obsession with climate change” – namely a Minister, who is the co-leader of the fanatical Greens and a Prime Minister who claims it is her “nuclear free moment”.
As a result, New Zealand’s energy security has been undermined – our coal mines, oil and gas industry, and oil refinery all effectively closed, leaving us reliant on exports and exposed.
In 2020, Prime Minister Ardern declared a “climate emergency”, describing the threat to the planet from New Zealand’s miniscule contribution to global carbon emissions – which comes largely from cows and sheep – a matter of life or death.
It now turns out that it is indeed a matter of life or death – but for the opposite reasons: the slavish acceptance of UN climate scaremongering has not only destabilised Western economies, it has emboldened geopolitical adversaries who now pose a major risk to world security.
There are many other lessons for New Zealand.
Primary among those is the critical importance of freedom and the need to stand against tyranny.
To many Kiwis that means restoring the sort of society we had before Jacinda Ardern launched her radical socialist agenda onto New Zealand, including – without any mandate from voters – her He Puapua plan for the iwi elite to take over control of the country.
Then there’s the crucial importance of media independence.
In Russia, the State [now] controls the media and the narrative, enabling the endless spread of propaganda.
With our Prime Minister funding the media through her $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund, is that what we now have in New Zealand?
Over recent months the mainstream media has indeed been acting as Government agents, mindlessly promoting vaccines, boosters, and mandates, while seemingly disregarding the legitimate concerns being raised by medical professionals and others over the safety of fast-tracked genetic vaccines, the lack of focus on early Covid treatment options, and the breach of human rights that accompanied the introduction of compulsory vaccination by a Prime Minister who promised she would not do so.
Media bias became even more evident during the anti-mandate protest at Parliament – as former journalist Mike Butler explains:
“Three weeks of smear stories in our mainstream media have been used to blame protesters. Compromised by the Public Interest Journalism Fund that encourages reporters to advocate for causes sanctioned by the Government, many now filter news as part of a ubiquitous wall of propaganda only avoided by turning off devices.”
While the mainstream media and – to their eternal shame – our Members of Parliament painted the protesters as dangerous radicals, the reality was very different. Many were teachers, nurses, Police, members of Armed Services – dedicated professionals who had never protested in their lives before – but, having believed Jacinda Ardern’s assurance of no vaccine mandates if she was re-elected, they felt they had run out of options.
As Mike Butler again explains:
“Most (55 percent) of the protesters camped at Parliament were women, 45 percent had voted for a Labour-Green Government in the 2020 election, and 27 percent were Maori. Many had been forced out of work and had lost their homes because they refused to submit to forced vaccination. Ardern hurt her supporters then shunned them.”
Instead of listening to the concerns of the protesters, Jacinda Ardern – along with the rest of our political elite – abused them in a way that was reminiscent of the 2016 US Presidential Primary, when Hilary Clinton described grassroot Americans as “deplorables”.
Then, last Wednesday the Police descended on the protest with force using shields, pepper spray, tear gas, water hoses, fire extinguishers, and foam bullets – in spite of the Police Commissioner stating that foam bullets are too dangerous to use in crowds.
Mike Butler describes the situation as it unfolded:
“There was no violent disturbance by the crowd of protesters before the police descended in riot gear. The Police brought the riot. I’ve seen footage of protesters with their backs to police as they were being pushed out of the area. It was only later, after hours of harassment, that a bonfire was lit and pavers were thrown.”
Were there radicals among the protesters? Of course there were. Anarchists are attracted to protests like moths to light. They were certainly present on that last day, creating mayhem while hiding behind masks and balaclavas – in contrast to genuine demonstrators, who wore no face coverings as a symbol of their protest.
Who organised the anarchists is not known, but the Prime Minister used their actions to take the high ground, denigrating the protest to end illegal vaccine mandates.
And illegal they are. Just days earlier the High Court ruled the mandates imposed on the Police and the Armed Forces were unlawful.
Justice Cooke found the vaccination order had breached two sections of New Zealand’s Bill of Rights: section 11, “Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment”, and section 15, “Every person has the right to manifest that person’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.”
As political commentator Frank Newman explains, “This decision is very significant – if the rights of the police and defence force workers have been breached because of the mandates, then so too have the rights of everyone else.
“The High Court decision poses a major problem for the government. If they appeal, they will be seen to be heavy-handed and authoritarian (which they are). If they say the decision only applies to the police and armed services, then they will be seen to be duplicitous (which they are). If they remove all mandates, then even the mainstream media will not be able to deny the government has been defeated by the protesters.”
Furthermore, while the PM argued mandates were needed to keep everyone safe, the Judge revealed that was not the case – their purpose was “to ensure the continuity of the public services, and to promote public confidence in those services, rather than to stop the spread of Covid-19. Indeed health advice provided to the government was that further mandates were not required to restrict the spread of Covid-19…
“Covid-19 clearly involves a threat to the continuity of police and NZDF services. But that threat exists for both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff. I am not satisfied that the order makes a material difference.”
That decision justified the protest demand to remove all mandates.
With the Government’s Covid rules and restrictions collapsing around us as Omicron sweeps through the country, the PM knows that the days of compulsory mandates are numbered.
Isn’t the real reason they haven’t already been removed – so that urgently needed staff can return to work – that the Prime Minister felt it would damage her poll ratings if she was seen to be giving in to protesters? Is that why the Police were called in to crush the protest?
These events are in sharp contrast to the two-year occupation at Ihumatao. There, Labour MPs met with protest leaders and negotiated a peaceful end to the protest, ensuring it disbanded without the violent clashes we saw last week.
Why was the Prime Minister, who on election night promised to govern for all New Zealanders, not as accommodating to those occupying our country’s front lawn as she was to that group in Auckland? And why has she attempted to turn the nation against them, when they were vindicated by the High Court’s ruling that her mandates were not required for medical reasons and are illegal.
Have we ever seen such arrogance before? Demanding to be heard is a fundamental right in a democracy and nothing to be feared. What should be feared is an authoritarian government that refuses to listen and represses those who protest.
The question now being asked is whether the Prime Minister intends using her claims that those who do not agree with her are under ‘foreign influence’ and spreading ‘misinformation’ to further restrict our freedom of expression.
We see that Russia has just cracked down on “foreign misinformation” through laws that will jail anyone spreading information that contradicts the Government for 15-years! And teachers will also be forced to “train” children to identify ‘misinformation’ and unite against it.
Is this what our Prime Minister is planning for New Zealand? If so, will the media, who, before government funding, were traditionally staunch advocates of free expression, condemn State censorship or support it?
These are big issues and disturbing questions. But if we have learnt anything from the current unrest, it’s that we need a government that genuinely represents all New Zealanders and is prepared to listen to all concerns – including from those who have contrary views.
In such troubling times the letter we wrote in October last year, “We don’t love you anymore Jacinda” – see HERE – in which we called for her resignation, seems more relevant now than ever!
Paul Scott said:
A real mish mash. The writer knows nothing about the Ukraine or the NATO history of aggression obviously
Waikanae watchers said:
True, although she may well have been drawing ironic comparisons between Putin and Comrade Leader of Jacindaland’s use of violence.
Totally agree Paul Scott. Why doesn’t the writer stick to the subject she knows something about, namely the current crisis in NZ. Can’t see what opinion from The Times correspondent Phillips and Time journal contribute to the Ukraine conflict.
Additionally NZ has imposed censorship on its citizens with the banning of the RT network: such an action confirms that they just consider New Zealanders to be farm animals and can’t discern propaganda from truth.
You are on the number, Paul ……………….
Paul Scott said:
Here is how the West and NATO made the Ukraine invasion necessary . john Mearsheimer
Would seem they have been overturned by another judge….
Police and Defence Force mandate overturned – Yardley v Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety  NZHC 291