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Scoop Feedback: Sweet & Sour Poll Tax

In This Edition: Sweet & Sour Poll Tax - Re: Jeremy Rose On The National Anthem In Schools - No-man’s land for Veterans

Sweet & Sour Poll Tax

Prime Minister Helen Clark has formally apologised to the Chinese people for being forced to pay a poll tax from 1881 until 1944.

“Forced to pay” ? Was an apology necessary, or is this just another example of present day political correctness and collective guilt/responsibility? Is there now an obligation to to pay compensation - by whom, to whom? How far back do we delve into our collective dark ancestries to uncover victims needing justice, compensation and apologies? Will future Prime Ministers feel the need to apologise for todays practices that were once considered appropriate?

Presumedly these migrants, or any migrants to this country, come here voluntarily i.e. none are ever forced to migrate to NZ. Sometimes people are forced out of their country of birth by despicable regimes, but this makes them refugees not migrants. This country, or its citizens, don’t go abroad on press gang expeditions kidnapping potential migrants. In other words, people come here voluntary and must accept, as part of our entry/residency conditions, our rules and laws.

Either they accept our laws upon entry to this country, or they don’t come in. The Chinese migrants were not forced to pay a poll tax because they were not forced to come here in the first place. They chose to come here, they accept our taxes - iniquitous or otherwise.

Basically, the poll tax was a crude and irrational message to the Chinese that they were not wanted here. This of course is stupid and wrong, and must seem like heresy to todays politically correct, but should be judged in historical context. At least it’s not as bad as the Americans throwing all their Japanese citizens in jail during WW2. Race based legislation is abhorrent and immoral, no matter the justification or the vote.

If a poll tax (a flat tax on an individual person) is unfair and unjust, especially if it based on race, then surely a tax on an individual person based upon productive output is just as bad. If a poll tax based on race is immoral, then surely income tax based on coercion is immoral, as there is no choice involved in either race or coercion.

In effect, all productive individuals in this country pay a poll tax, it’s just a proportionate poll tax, and more productive you are the more you pay. If you actually choose to Œlive’ in this country, then society demands you pay a price to those that merely choose to Œexist’ off others. Yes, a poll tax is wrong, not necessarily for the poll, but certainly for the tax.

Barry Cole


Re: Jeremy Rose On The National Anthem In Schools

Dear Editor

Jeremy Rose is 'distressed' that his six year-old daughter now has to sing the national anthem at school assembly. His is an interesting perspective but not one I share.

My seven year-old son also recently started to sing the national anthem at school assembly. I wasn't aware of this until I heard him trying to pick out the melody on the piano. With a little help, he succeeded. Then, unbeknownst to me, he decided to play it for his piano teacher. Coincidentally his next lesson was on Waitangi Day and his simple but earnest rendition had his teacher purposefully shuffling papers in an effort to divert attention from the tears in her eyes. It was a precious moment. Call it sentimental indulgence but Jeremy will probably recognize the parental over-emotion that grips us once in a while.

What I do find interesting is that my son can't sing the national anthem in English. This is because the pupils generally sing it in Maori at his state school. I suspect that this practice is common, which casts into doubt the 'chauvinistic nationalism' Jeremy claims anthem-singing infers. It also means it was the melody my son responded to, rather than the words. If 'whinging exhortations to God' are irrelevant to non- believers, what are we to make of the relevancy of singing words the vast majority of us, my son included, do not comprehend?

Jeremy calls our national anthem a 'bloody awful song'. Hey, anything that positively inspires my child is okay with me.

Lindsay Mitchell Ph/fx 04 562 7944 e-mail


No-man’s land for Veterans


Go forth and do thy duty. We love you for it.
Come home (if you are lucky) and we welcome you.
Die and we remember you fondly for what you did.
Get old and homeless and who cares.
Certainly not the government.

Mirek marcanik

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