“Tax, borrow, spend and hope” has been the traditional NZ Labour Party strategy in times of economic trouble (often in normal times too) and it’s much the same with its counterpart in Australia although the party’s spending plans announced if it wins the election tomorrow are more modest than the recklessness of the Jacinda regime.
Labor Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Shadow Finance Minister Katy Gallagher announced the final costings of Labor’s intentions in Canberra, following which leader Anthony Albanese (Albo) was pressed on how spending $8.4 billion more than the Liberal/National Coalition reflected responsible economic management as the nation approaches $1 trillion in debt.
“What we will do is get rid of the waste and the rorts from the budget,” he said. Hmm. That’s not what Labour or Labor as they spell their name in Oz is noted for, and in NZ they are one of the things that has characterised the Jacinda regime along with its racism, incompetence and authoritarianism.
Mr Chalmers was asked whether he really believed “a couple of billion dollars” over the forward estimates wasn’t a big deal – in reference to a comment he made in previous days. “I believe it is absolutely crucial to growing the economy the right way,” he said. “We don’t take these decisions lightly.”
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo) disagreed. “I think Australians think $7.4 billion is a lot of money, I really do,” he told reporters. “What does all that do? Labor borrowing more, spending more, it puts pressure on interest rates, it puts pressure on inflation, it drives up the cost of living.”
Actually, in the Australian economy that isn’t much and it’s chicken feed compared to the $100 billion the Jacinda government has wasted in the last two years on Covidiocy.
Contrary to what the opinion polls predicted, the last Federal election in May 2019 saw the Coalition achieve a small victory, winning 77 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, a three-seat majority, against 68 seats for Labor.
Although the House is composed of single member constituencies, the preferential voting system means it’s not too hard for minor parties to win seats when they are in second place. In 2019 six seats were won by others; one each to the Greens, Centre Alliance, Katter’s Australian Party and the remaining three by independents.
In the 76-seat Senate it’s even easier for any party to win seats. In 2019 the Coalition made modest gains in most states and increased their seats to 35 while Labor kept 26. The Greens kept 9, One Nation and Centre Alliance went down to 2 each, and Jacqui Lambie and Cory Bernardi’s minor parties with 1 seat each. This meant the Coalition needed four additional votes to pass legislation.
Unlike in NZ where both the NZ Herald and Stuff are strongly pro-Labour, Australian media is mixed: for example, Nine Entertainment supports Labor while Newscorp supports the Coalition so voters get a reasonably balanced analysis of the implications of policies unlike in Jacindaland.
The most recent opinion poll shows Labor and the Coalition level on 35% each, so a fair chunk of the electorate is unenthusiastic about either. Greenies (as wacky as they are in NZ) have 13%, One Nation and United Australia Party 6% and 4% respectively. Others represent 7%.
The two-party preferred vote, however, shows a big advantage for Labor.
As voting is compulsory in Australia, turnouts are usually 95%+, but it’s likely many will consider it like Simon and Garfunkel in the song “Mrs Robinson”:
Going to the candidates debate Laugh about it, shout about it When you’ve got to choose Every way you look at this, you lose
The decision to not support or fund hybrid commuter trains is bitterly disappointing for our local community. Sadly, it’s also not surprising.
Labour’s broken-promise of electric rail north of Waikanae was a last-minute, ad hoc election ploy, announced after National promised to double-track and electrify commuter rail to Otaki. Like so many other announcements (a new primary school in Waikanae, progress on O2NL, supporting our local medical services, and nation-wide announcements like light rail in Auckland and Kiwibuild), it’s another broken promise; all talk and no delivery. Every local resident I talk to is sick of being talked-down to from a podium but seeing little progress on the ground.
At a time when the cost of living is high and the government’s climate action agenda is forefront, it’s truly bizarre to see no action on commuter rail, but subsidies for petrol for your car. Its symptomatic of a populist reactionary government trying to maintain their popularity but with no clear plan for our future.
Our community deserve a government and local representatives who will actually stand-up and fight for them.
(media release from the Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils)
Budget Absence of new trains Surprises and Disappoints Regional Councils
The Budget’s failure to contribute funding for a fleet of hybrid electric trains in the lower North Island has surprised and disappointed Greater Wellington and Horizons regional councils.
The trains, which are battery powered on non-electrified track, were proposed by the councils in a business case paid for by Waka Kotahi.
Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter and Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell said the government’s decision was, “Like the lights being turned off”.
“It’s especially disappointing for commuters and surprising for our councils. But we’re not giving up,” Cr Ponter said.
“When enacted, our business case will significantly reduce transport emissions while providing for population growth and the replacement of aged rolling stock.”
Supported by Manawatū-Whanganui’s seven mayors, as well as the eight mayors of the Wellington region, the business case recommends a $762 million dollar investment in a fleet of 22 four-car, tri-mode trains, and associated infrastructure.
With funding commitments from Waka Kotahi, Horizons and Greater Wellington, $360 million was needed from the Budget to enable the full investment.
The business case estimates every dollar spent will yield $1.83.
It predicts the trains will quadruple peak-time services between Palmerston North and Wellington on the Manawatū line and double them between Masterton and the capital on the Wairarapa line.
Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell said the government had turned its back on commuter wellbeing by not supporting New Zealand’s first low-emission long-distance rail services.
“Given this is a health and climate budget, it’s incomprehensible that these trains are not being funded,” Cr Keedwell said.
Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith and Horowhenua mayor Bernie Wanden agreed, calling the decision, “Incredibly disappointing” and, “A blind spot” of the budget.
Greater Wellington deputy chair and Wairarapa councillor Adrienne Staples said the government, “Is holding back livelihoods” in her community and delaying development.
“Commuters who work and do business in Wellington and Hutt cities desperately need better service from our regional rail network,” Cr Staples said.
“Off-peak services are almost non-existent. Half-price public transport fares are welcome, but they fly in the face of our current fleet of 50-year-old trains at the end of their working life.
”Her sentiments were shared by Kāpiti Coast councillor and Environment Committee chair Penny Gaylor, who said hybrid electric trains were, “An elegant solution to a dirty problem the government knows needs fixing”.
“A reliable, low-emissions rail service is the missing link for the increasing number of commuters living in Kāpiti, Horowhenua and Manawatū. “Their access to employment in Wellington, Porirua and Palmerston North is being stymied by ancient trains that won’t last another five years. Businesses are being stifled by talk not turned into action.
While recent funding to upgrade Kiwirail’s Capital Connection carriages was encouraging, Cr Ponter said the hybrid electric trains should have been part of the budget’s suite of initiatives to reduce emissions.
“These trains will enable the Wellington region to grow around our transport hubs in a way that protects the climate,” Cr Ponter said.
“We will continue to work with the government to unlock existing funding for the purchase of these trains. We need to get the tender process under way in the coming financial year to prevent commuters from being squashed in like sardines in five years’ time.”
(media release from KCDC Cr Gwynn Compton)
Lack of commuter rail funding for Kāpiti and Horowhenua derails Budget 2022
Commuter rail campaigner and Kāpiti Coast District councillor Gwynn Compton has slated Budget 2022 as a failure for its lack of any investment in extending Wellington’s metropolitan commuter rail network north of Waikanae.
“The Government has talked up Budget 2022 as building a high wage, low emissions economy, yet they’ve failed to invest in the very public transport infrastructure — extending commuter rail services throughout Kāpiti and Horowhenua — that is critical for achieving those aims,” says Mr Compton.
“With transport being one of Aotearoa’s fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern having both called climate change our generations’ “nuclear free” moment and declared a climate emergency, the Government’s lack of funding for commuter rail in Budget 2022 is simply inexcusable.”
Mr Compton also highlighted that the flow on effects from failing to fund the extension of commuter rail will go well beyond climate change.
“For communities such as Ōtaki and Levin, access to fast, frequent, and reliable public transport via commuter rail connections to Wellington and Palmerston North would play a pivotal role in helping address many of the social and economic challenges they face through providing easy access to health, education, and employment opportunities.
“Likewise, the very urban intensification in Ōtaki and Levin that’s needed to help fix the housing crisis is dependent on having mass rapid transit services provided by commuter rail to support it. The Government’s failure to invest in this now risks derailing attempts to address the housing crisis too.”
Gwynn Compton has been campaigning for the extension of commuter rail services north of Waikanae since 2019, and in 2020 launched the Kāpiti-Horowhenua Commuter Rail Campaign to further this week. The opinions detailed here are his personal views and are not necessarily those of the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
This relates to the absurd statements from the Prime Minister’s Department’s Disinformation Division report referred to in the Guy Hatchard article.
It’s effectively an admission that people are increasingly getting tired and distrustful of what Jacinda, her ministers and her department churn out and dutifully reported in the bought and paid for Mainstream Media which includes the Herald.
As the old adage says, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
Environmental artist Birgit Moffatt has captured the tranquility of the forest, using leaves and natural materials to create an installation of eco-dyed papers, in her exhibition Safe Space, which has opened at MAHARA iti in Waikanae.
‘In Safe Space, Birgit invites the viewer to pause and experience a sense of calmness and peace, which contrasts with the uncertain and stressful world in which we live,’ says MAHARA Gallery Director, Janet Bayly.
‘She has a considerable following for her thoughtful and meditative workshops in eco-dying, weaving and experiencing the natural world from a creative perspective.’
Safe Space was originally shown at Whirinaki Whare Taonga. But, because of Covid, Janet Bayly thought that Kāpiti people who follow textile arts would appreciate the opportunity to view it in MAHARA’s new temporary gallery, MAHARA iti.
Janet Bayly says that since Birgit moved to New Zealand, in 2011, she has become immersed in te ao Māori and closely connected to te taiao (the interconnection between people and nature).
Born in East Berlin, she now lives in rural Ōtaki.
Moffatt graduated from Whitireia with a Bachelor of Applied Arts majoring in textiles in 2017. Since then her art practice has extended into creating larger sculptural forms, while mostly working with natural materials.
She has received several awards recently for her work in national exhibitions, including the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award, Changing Threads Awards and the upcoming RT Nelson Sculpture Award.
‘My rural surroundings reflect in my work through earthy colour palettes, rich textures and the use of natural components,’ says Birgit.
‘As far as possible, I prefer to create my own materials in their purest form. I am a keen explorer of natural dyes, using plant parts and other natural elements to achieve sophisticated results that are often unexpected and serendipitous.
‘My work process involves experimental combinations of various elements to test how they might express ideas around belonging and cultural identity.’
There is an opporunity to hear her discuss her philosophy and demonstrate her working methods during her Floortalk at MAHARA iti on Thursday 26 May, 3–4pm. (RSVPs required for numbers: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Safe Space is on at MAHARA iti until 15 July 2022, Mon–Fri | 10am – 4pm
The New Zealand government relies upon a science body known as Te Punaha Matatini (Centre for Science in Society) whose work is funded directly by the office of the Prime Minister and cabinet.
Yesterday, Te Punaha Matatini published a 21-page document entitled “The Murmuration of Information Disorders” (see attached release from the Science Media Centre) designating those opposed to the government’s pandemic policies as violent right wing insurrectionists planning the weaponised storming of parliament and the execution of public servants, academics, journalists, politicians, and healthcare workers.
This is an utterly false characterisation worthy of the worst excesses of historical propaganda.
This 21-page document, represented to the public as a scientific paper, contains not a single discussion of the scientific concerns being raised in opposition to government pandemic policy.
It omits for example analyses of the government’s own official figures which show that the vaccinated are more vulnerable to infection, hospitalisation, and death than the unvaccinated, a fact that has been deliberately hidden from the public.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced yesterday’s Te Punaha Matatini report with the words:
“One day it will be our job to try and understand how a group of people could succumb to such wild and dangerous mis- and disinformation. And while many of us have seen that disinformation and dismissed it as conspiracy theory, a small portion of our society have not only believed it, they have acted upon it in an extreme and violent way that cannot stand. We have a difficult journey in front of us to address the underlying cause.”
Since when do reasonable scientifically-based questions asked of the government in good faith constitute violent insurrection?
I am tempted to think that Ardern could just as well be talking about her own government. The Prime Minister and the social scientists(?) working at Te Punaha Matatini might do well to read the New York Times, (although they probably don’t do so because the official policy of the New Zealand government is to discourage any information that is not sanctioned and edited by themselves).
“Emergent BioSolutions, a longtime government contractor hired to produce hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses, hid evidence of quality control problems from Food and Drug Administration inspectors in February 2021 — six weeks before it alerted federal officials that 15 million doses had been contaminated.”
A reasonable observer might conclude that early (and later) concerns being voiced about vaccine safety were justified, but the New Zealand government is far from reasonable.
A succession of scientific papers published in reputable journals during recent weeks (which we and many others have reported extensively and communicated directly to the government) have in fact fully justified concerns about safety and efficacy, but unbelievably our government is in denial and still moving ahead with propaganda advertising of their mRNA vaccination agenda for all ages and, as today’s Te Punaha Matatini report shows, labelling any opposition as a conspiracy with violent aims.
How Did the Transformation of the NZ Government Come About?
New Zealand has a small population of 5 million, but it has been used to trial new products in order to gauge what the public reaction and acceptance might be in bigger markets overseas.Never more so than during the pandemic. Take up of the Pfizer mRNA Covid vaccination has reached up to 95% of the eligible population.
This has been achieved through a transformation in the style of government, media control, science funding, intellectual standards, and international relations unprecedented in the western world, along with the coercion of draconian employment mandates and the pursuit of dissenters through compliant courts.
This has been engineered under the leadership of a person with a bachelor’s degree in communication who grew up in a strict rural Mormon household and cut her political teeth under the Blair administration in London. In keeping with her upbringing and education, Ardern is a leader who is sure she is right and is prepared to enforce her orthodoxy against all opposition and reason.
Her international perspective is one of unquestioning acceptance of the authority and right to rule of global institutions. Her top confidant and mentor Helen Clark, former NZ Labour Prime Minister, is closely associated with this outlook. Ardern recounts that she begins her day with a discussion with Clark over breakfast.
Like Ardern, Clark is renowned for her iron fist management style. She ruffled feathers at the United Nations Development Programme, which she led from 2009 to 2017, reportedly undermining human rights and supporting China’s Belt and Road initiative.
On 9 July 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed Clark as co-chair of a panel reviewing the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of governments to the outbreak. The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) examined how the outbreak occurred and how future pandemics can be prevented.
Nothing says more about the overt global agenda of Ardern and Clark than this 11 May 2022 statement of the New Zealand government:
“The establishment of a pandemic treaty/instrument was a key recommendation of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and is one of New Zealand’s foremost global health priorities”
Like China, New Zealand’s fading international reputation for successful management of the pandemic was actually built on a single policy—control the borders, restrict entry, and impose lengthy quarantine.
The Current Situation in New Zealand is Deeply Concerning
Ardern controls the media and the science dialogue through a mixture of government funding and exclusion of dissent. The government has spent big on saturation advertising advising complete safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, and continues to do so.
It has instituted funding of cultural groups, GPs, and commercial organisations who promote vaccination. The level of funding is so generous that it has distorted prior long standing economic and political relationships.
So far the government has spent on the order of $100 billion on the pandemic in addition to normal expenditure. To put this in stark perspective, that is equal to the total annual government budget prior to the pandemic—more than $20,000 for every man, woman, and child. This is borrowed money which will have to be repaid through increased taxation of an already struggling population.
We Have No Constitution in New Zealand, the Power of the Government Is Absolute.
The control that Ardern’s government exercises over the courts, government agencies, parliament, media, independent regulators, and over the vast majority of the population is staggering and rigidly enforced. Dissenting medical professionals are excluded from practicing and in some cases prosecuted also. They are also mercilessly hounded and vilified by bought mainstream media.
In an atmosphere of strict government control, more worrying aspects of information control have emerged. In some cases noted by my scientific colleagues, policy and pronouncements that they have demonstrated are in conflict with published research have disappeared from the public record.
Even rare court rulings in favour of caution have been rapidly bypassed by simply passing new laws without debate. Court rulings about mandates have also been openly flouted, as happened when the military vaccine mandate was ruled illegal. With the support of the government, the military said the courts had no jurisdiction over its operation and went ahead anyway.
Ardern has introduced her policies in such a dedicated, persuasive, secretive, and complete way that almost the whole population of New Zealand has complied. They have accepted limitations on medical choice, judicial protections, human rights, press freedom, freedom of information, privacy, employment conditions and opportunities, standard of living, and social interaction.
Ardern’s successful efforts to persuade the population that government should be your only source of truth, have all but negated any of the longstanding mechanisms of government accountability. A majority of the population have all but concurred with Ardern that the unvaccinated may be safely blamed for every government failing and omission; and for all Covid case loads, hospitalisations, and deaths contrary to all evidence.
The opposition parties have apparently accepted that they will in future go about their business using the same Ardern doctrines and techniques. Accordingly they have failed to sound the alarm, investigate Covid science publishing deeply, or oppose draconian legislation. They have joined Ardern in labelling peaceful protest as unacceptable and illegal.
Ardern on the Global Stage
Ardern is about to deploy her international political capital to promote the globalisation of her policies and outlook. Her public persona can be deceptively mesmerising. You should be worried.
The world’s economy also has no constitution. So far Ardern appears to be happy to allow it to be controlled by global economic predators. Pfizer has been uncritically promoted by her, and the notion of WHO control over New Zealand’s sovereign rights is being welcomed with open arms. It fits with her strict hierarchical perspective.
Ardern may be viewed by naive foreign governments as a pandemic success story unfairly criticised in her own country. Stop for a moment and consider that she is about to lend her support to the promotion of a new world order on the global stage using her trademark persuasive techniques of propaganda, coercion, and control of information.