Jacinda Ardern – an agenda-driven autocrat?

It’s hard to keep up with our adroit Prime Minister who apparently doesn’t like answering questions, such as the one about where does life begin, put to her when she was enthusiastic about making abortion more readily available. We are still waiting. 

And now, a not unexpected sequel to the extraordinary tractor protest, organised by Groundswell New Zealand, which saw thousands of farm vehicles travelling the length and breadth of the country. Through 55 towns and cities, farmers protested at ongoing interference from our hard-left government, including unworkable regulations and unjustified costs.  

These protests took place in July from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North, crossing through Auckland, from Southland to Kaitaia. The leader of the Green Party, James Shaw, disgracefully dismissed this extraordinary event at the time as ‘a group of Pakeha farmers down south.’ Yet an estimated 60,000 people were involved, hardly what Shaw dishonestly claimed. And why the disparaging ‘Pakeha’, long objected to by many New Zealanders? 

We are used to politicians not telling the truth — which no doubt contributes to their being among the least respected sectors of the population. But any blatant misrepresentation of a fact rather gives the show away, bringing home to us how little we should trust those making  statements they must know are untruthful, particularly if they do not want to face up to what is actually happening, or when their extremist policies are being challenged. 

More slippery are the politicians who manage to simply avoid answering a question if they don’t think the answer will reflect well on them — or don’t want to acknowledge its implications. Ardern has shown herself adroit at such evasion, refusing to release information in relation to the farmer protest group.  A complaint has now been made to the Office of the Ombudsman about her decision to withhold this information.  Groundswell NZ’s co-founder, Bryce McKenzie, said the group has not heard from Ardern before or since the protests, but had requested a meeting with her while members were in Wellington to address the environment select committee. 

‘We got an email back from her office saying she was busy,’ he said. “We have not heard from any Government ministers, only opposition MPs. It is disappointing, because we think an estimated 60,000 people deserve a response from the Government about the things they are concerned about.’  

How extraordinary that Ardern, constantly preaching to New Zealanders to be kind to one another, is delivering such a snub to representatives of the farming community nationwide.  She is too busy to listen to them — basically an insulting answer, given that she is apparently never too busy to listen to the small minority of dissident part-Maoris pushing for constitutional change to achieve not just co-governance, but a veto over decision-making by the majority of the country – as with the now signed-off health legislation. He Puapua, the document planning for this apartheid policy, had to be prised out of her government’s hands, originally heavily redacted. But then, our elusive PM claimed she had not read it – although her cabinet ministers were reportedly working to see how its provisions could be implemented. 

Our determined Prime Minister must know very well New Zealanders don’t support racial separatism. It did not stop her passing legislation to implement two health systems — one for part-Maori New Zealanders — and one for all other New Zealanders. In spite of the definition of who can legitimately call themselves Maori conveniently removed some time back, the Maori Health Authority now has a veto over any decisions of the parallel health system representing the majority of New Zealanders. 

She is also too seemingly too busy to explain why she inaccurately claims that the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi established a partnership between Maori and the Crown — which she uses to justify the divisive racist policies she is implementing.  He Puapua shows Labour’s plan to establish two governments in New Zealand by 2040. By this time the hierarchies – i.e. the governing bodies of our most powerful and wealthy neo-tribes (as a result of the never-ending hundreds of millions of dollars diverted to them from taxpayers these recent decades) will preside over all aspects of New Zealand’s policy-making. 

On Ardern goes, her coalition pushing her Three Waters Plan to confiscate water assets from local communities, and hand over all water management to four mega-authorities under joint council and neo-tribal control. While she is far too busy to meet with representatives of our farmers, there have been 60 consultation meetings with Maori groups over this Three Waters Plan – but little or no consultation with everybody else, in spite of provisions in the Local Government Act requiring councils to consult widely with all members of the public, not just part-Maoris -– (intermarriage was so successful that there are no longer full-blooded Maori).  Needless to say, each of the proposed four new entities of would have a tribal veto hanging over their heads. Yet 40 of New Zealand’s 67 councils are against, or undecided about, this $120 billion plan. So taxpayers are now paying for infantilised cartoons on television to be persuaded it would be an excellent idea for local councils to be robbed of their assets. 

I am reminded of Taki’s observation in a recent Spectator of how successful a country Switzerland is. Its people speak four different languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh, ‘with no animosity towards one another’ – and ‘that the tribalism that exacerbates and fuels mistrust in other countries does not exist here.’ He goes to the heart of the matter, when he points out that this is because the Swiss practise direct democracy, having no intention of being governed by agenda-driven autocrats. 

Such a description can arguably be applied to Ardern, when her ministers have now been told to avoid answering questions about dumped Covid-19 documents. A leaked email, sent to Beehive staff, has directed them to issue only ‘brief written statements’ in response to media queries about the documents. ‘Do not put minister (sic) up for any interviews on this,’ it instructed. The directive stated that the Government, because of its overwhelming public support, has no need to respond, and should instead ‘lead the changing conversation’. The Prime Minister’s office has directed all ministers not to give interviews on this Covid-19 document dump, saying there is ‘no real need to defend’ themselves. So much for a government answerable to the people of the country.  

What we are undergoing is a revolution by stealth. The Swiss would never tolerate an Ardern ordering her ministers to do as she says. Well aware that power corrupts, they would not have allowed her to preside for longer than one year, virtually ruling the country.  

On the contrary, the President of the Swiss Confederation, elected for that year of office by the United Federal Assembly, is ‘primus inter pares’ – first among equals. Chairing the Federal Council meetings, and mediating in the case of disputes. in urgent situations, he/she can order precautionary measures.  

Thanks to the damage that our dominating Prime Minister is inflicting upon New Zealand, including the shocking imposition of an apartheid system of racial preference, New Zealanders are perturbed about what is happening, including very probably the majority of part-Maori, no more supportive of racist agenda than the rest of the country. 

Given a largely lacklustre National opposition led by an unpopular leader who shows no sign of stepping down for the sake of the party, but with dubious contenders ready to challenge, our outlook is bleak.  

Without adopting the very successful controls that the Swiss people fought for, to determine their own directions – see www.100days.co.nz – we have very little hope of winning back this country. With them, it is an entirely different matter, as the most successful democracy in the world shows us. 

The essay that defeated New Zealand’s army

We’ve been following the events of the NZ Army’s decision to pull one of the winners of its essay competition from its “KEA” website. We approached NZDF earlier in the week and received the apologetic response (no, not apologizing for the de-platforming, but for publishing it in the first place! 🤦) on behalf of NZDF. We’ve copied it at the end of this post.

Your humble Free Speech Union is republishing the article so you can judge for yourself.  If the NZ’s armed forces won’t defend our human rights, we need to! We hope you’ll support us – and invite members of our armed forces to exercise their rights and sign up as a supporter.

New Zealand Chief of Army Writing Competition Winner of the New Zealand Defence Force Private Writing Category May 2021.

Can the Army Afford to go Woke, Benign Social Progress or National Security Threat

By Mr N. Dell

I write this essay fully aware of the backlash and, at times, real world consequences afforded to the authors of similar documents in the current socio-political climate. Nevertheless, I would invoke the NZ Army ethos ‘3CI’ – particularly ‘Courage’ and ‘Integrity’ – in defence of the opinion I will express herein. The open discussion of any issue must be possible without fear of repercussions on both sides of the debate if the best outcome is ever to be reached. That is the fundamental value of free speech that permits the free enquiry, self-reflection, self-criticism and peer review that underpin our scientific and academic edifices and, in fact, our entire civilisation.

I will argue that the NZ Army cannot reconcile a more diverse and inclusive workforce with the maintenance of a warrior ethos and war-fighting culture or at least, it should not try. Further it should redirect as little energy as possible toward creating a more ‘inclusive’ culture in the way that this kind of language is understood in the politically-charged parlance of the present day. On the contrary, I will argue that, if anything, the Army should instead endeavour to become more exclusive.

I was only made aware of this writing competition by my chain of command today, the final day for submissions, so my essay will not contain any academic citations or supporting material but will instead be my own opinion based on my own observations and experience. This opinion may be unpopular, especially with that vocal minority in the civilian world who have become so enamoured with so-called ‘Woke’ culture. However, I suspect that many of the arguments I put forward will resonate with the quiet majority, especially in the military.

The Right Kind of Diversity:

In the present discourse ‘diversity’ is generally read as diversity of race, gender and sexual orientation – that is diversity based on ‘identity’ (I will demarcate this conception of ‘Diversity’ henceforth with a capital ‘D’). Ironically, I believe the Army has actually done a good job in terms of racial inclusivity with Maori over-represented, relative to the population (according to a quick Google search). During basic training we are taught that the cultural foundation of the Army is built upon a proud tradition of Maori warrior culture being interwoven with regimental British military doctrine. This is further expressed in the iconography and ceremony of the Army with Haka performed alongside traditional British-style military drill, as one example. This synergy of cultures is one of the unique features of the NZ Army that I am sure has contributed to its reputation for ‘punching above its weight’ in theatres of war across the globe.

This may seem like a ‘slam-dunk’ against my argument. However, increasing focus on these identity-based notions of Diversity only sews greater division and dischord in society and would, I fear, within the Army too. This is not meant to diminish the value of the fusion of cultures, the merits of which I just laid out. Rather, I argue that a deliberate effort to engineer diversity will do more harm than good. In fact, to focus on identity goes against the well-known Army maxim of colour-blindness: ‘we are all green’.

The trend over the past five to six years to increasingly focus on race, gender and sexual orientation feels like a return to a pre-social revolution era where these arbitrary features of a person were given so much more weight than they deserve. Their return to the spotlight has been undeniably corrosive to society and the political sphere, which appears to have grown to encompass everything. Instead, the kinds of diversity that should matter to an organisation like the Army are diversity of opinion, experience, attitude, class and background. Again, in my experience, the Army already excels in this area. 

The Threat from ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’:

The ‘Woke’ culture that has led to the popular preoccupation with Diversity and inclusion is antithetical to the Army’s ethos and values. It is built on the notion that feelings are more important than facts. It asserts that everyone is the same while promoting the merits of Diversity. It shuns notions of excellence and meritocracy. It diminishes personal responsibility and erodes resilience, even rejecting the notion that resilience is a virtue. Social media has been the vector for this intellectual contagion and evidence has even surfaced that this has been cynically aided and abetted by belligerent foreign governments with the explicit goal of weakening western democracy. We must not capitulate to our enemies’ efforts.

The primary threat of any effort to be more ‘Diverse’ and ‘inclusive’ is opportunity cost. Put simply, every resource that we divert toward programmes aimed at improving Diversity and Inclusion is a resource that is not available to be used for the Army’s only responsibility: to protect New Zealand. Whether that is in preparing for wars or fighting them (or civil defence).  Every man-hour that is spent on ‘cultural awareness training’ or similar programmes is a man-hour that is not spent training for combat or monitoring our enemies. How are they spending their man-hours?

The second key area where Diversity and Inclusion could harm our effectiveness is in recruitment. Recruiting based on a concerted effort to increase Diversity necessarily comes at the expense of recruiting the best candidates. If the current policy of (presumably) recruiting the best candidates for their roles does not produce the desired Diversity outcomes, then the conflict is self-evident.

While these considerations are at the discretion of private companies and individuals in the civilian world, there is no room for them in the military where performance is, by definition, a matter of life and death. As the Defence Force we have sworn an oath to defend New Zealand and compromising our ability to do so, to any degree, is a violation of that responsibility. We must not be lulled into a false sense of security by the relative peace which we enjoy and succumb to the luxury of being able to concern ourselves with these issues. A peace which was bought with blood by those men and officers that went before us. In fact, it is our duty not to.

Where the Army should be more inclusive:

Despite what I have written so far, there are some areas where I believe that the Army could be more inclusive so as to better uphold its duty to the nation. The first is to relax or eliminate some of the somewhat arbitrary ‘defects’ that disqualify a prospective recruit from joining, in spite of the net balance of qualities that that candidate may bring to the Army. For example, certain medical or mental health conditions or even histories may be automatically disqualifying. Especially as medical technology and understanding improves, it would seem that many of these conditions may no longer effect a soldier or officer’s ability to perform their duties and could go the way of ‘flat feet’.

Though the role of the Army has never changed, many of the roles within the Army are changing. Especially with the advent of cyber warfare and increased reliance on technology in general. Thus, the soldier of the future is not only the fighting soldier – for whom strength and endurance of body and will are paramount – but also the computer technician. There is also a role for civilians employed by the Army to play in this. As roles continue to expand and evolve, a different culture will evolve alongside them. This must be a culture that is hospitable to the kinds of people that will be needed to fill roles behind computer terminals rather than behind guns. However, the still-present maxim of ‘soldier first’ necessitates that everyone who wears the beret must also be prepared and able to fight the enemy in the traditional sense. Therefore, the standards must never be lowered to accommodate inclusion, ‘the lives of the people to your left and right’ depend on it. The Army will never be for everyone and that is not a bad thing.

 Where the Army could be more exclusive:

As the use of technology increasingly comes to dominate the battlefield, required numbers of personnel may decline. A commensurate improvement in the quality of those personnel may be desirable. Rather than being more inclusive, standards should be raised to maintain effectiveness with this smaller force. Budgetary constraints may also play a role as capital replaces labour. Personnel capable of operating the technology being deployed will be required and it could be an opportunity to double down on the small, elite nature of the NZ Army.  Special operations forces have consistently shown that a small number of highly trained, highly motivated and well-equipped soldiers can have a disproportionate impact on the battlefield. Additionally, with fewer numbers, higher pay could be offered to attract ‘higher quality’ recruits. This could make the Army a career that young New Zealanders aspire to, rather than resort to.

Reputation:

I appreciate that if this piece were to win the writing competition, the optics may not be as desirable as one expressing the opposing viewpoint. I also understand that attracting recruits, public opinion and therefore, potentially, funding may depend on those optics. These considerations may in themselves necessitate the adoption of Diversity and Inclusion policies. However, I challenge the NZ Army to draw on its ‘3CI’ values and to continue to have the courage to do the thankless work of defending a nation that often may not appreciate the security it provides. To allow itself to become embroiled in these ‘culture wars’ would be an embarrassment, especially to the older generation of veterans and to the memory of those who paid the ultimate price. The Army should stick to fighting real wars.

***

Response to our request for comment and explanation of the take-down:

Please attribute the following statement to the Chief of Army, Major General John Boswell.

Soon after announcing the winners of the Chief of Army’s Writing Competition, I asked that this essay be taken down from the KEA website. I made this decision when it became clear that publishing it was being seen as endorsement of the views contained within it, which could not be further from the truth.

The New Zealand Army is one that strives to be inclusive and values diversity. The views that were expressed in the essay are not compatible with the Army’s values and the culture we are building, and I unreservedly apologise to anyone who saw publication of the essay as endorsement of the views that were contained within it.

There were two entries in the Private Soldiers’ category. All entries are considered by a panel and a recommendation was made to me for which essay should be awarded winner in each category. The final decision however, was mine.  I made that decision solely because I believed it the better written of the submissions received within that category, exclusive of the subject matter.  I accept the error in that determination.

Watch List: Only Stargate Atlantis’ Key Episodes

Racist stats. LOL

It turns out numbers can be racist. Not just people. Or laws. But numbers.

That’s now the size of the racism hammer. Racism explains everything. It justifies anything. It shuts down debate. It drives policy.

“Oh that’s racist,” clinches any argument.

Racism is everywhere. It’s not just people who are racist but institutions too. For example, “the justice system is racist”. The judges mightn’t be. The police mightn’t be. But the system sure is.

Racism also exists underground and undetected through “unconscious racism”. Trained professionals must be deployed to detect your racism and, indeed, to correct your thinking and behaviour.

Numbers too are racist as in, “The very existence of disparities is racist.”

That slice of insight is from Press Gallery journalist Rukuwai Tīpene-Allen.

She clearly hasn’t given her writing much thought. I suspect, like her colleagues, she is more practiced and skilled in indignant outrage than critical thought. Her response to my critique will no doubt be further outrage.

For the record, disparities are a statistical observation: they don’t think or act. They can’t themselves be racist. They are a fact. They can no more be racist than a rock or the sun. Disparities could well be the result of racism but that’s not what Ms Tīpene-Allen is saying. She is saying the disparities themselves are racist.

“The very existence of disparities is racist,” she opines.

Maori men on average are 5.3 cm taller than asian men. That’s a disparity. But it’s not racist. I don’t know what causes that disparity but it’s difficult to believe that it could be racism.

(I wonder if Ms Tīpene-Allen’s racism would still exist if governments stopped collecting data by ethnicity. The difference would still be there but not noted.)

Disparities are everywhere. Maori women have nearly twice as many babies as European women.

Twenty-nine percent of Maori adults smoke. Ten percent of adult Europeans smoke.

Forty-eight percent of adult Maori are obese. Sixteen percent of Asians are. Everything measured differs on average from group to group. It would be odd if it didn’t.

But the difference now is racism. It doesn’t require anyone past or present to have done anything racist. It requires averages only to differ.

It’s difficult to know what to do about racist numbers. Would racism be reduced if I took up smoking? Or got fatter?

Of course, Ms Tīpene-Allen knows exactly what is needed: separatism.

Her specific examples are health disparities which demand “more money and energy put into Māori health… [and] … a health system created and managed by Māori”.

Her answer to her made-up racism is actual racism. Who gets what, and who gets treated by which health system, should be determined by their race.

It’s easy to despair when daily such incendiary nonsense is dished up by news reporters.

But we should take comfort in another racist disparity: Maori women are more likely to be married or partnered to a non-Maori than a Maori. The same is true for Maori men. We are not just brothers and sisters but husbands and wives raising children together, living together, working together.

The government and the media are running a separatist agenda. It appears they are making a good play as they make up the daily news. But they are not. That’s because the rest of us are just getting on with our lives. Together.