A Week of It: Liberal values, Liberated Algerians
A Week of It: Liberal values, Liberated Algerians
In This Edition:
Future of Institute For Liberal Values (Slightly) Uncertain
Alleged Security Risk Enjoys Cable Car Ride
Sorry Old Chap, No Can Do, Chatham House Rules!
McCully accuses Dominion Post of Left Wing Bias!?
Market Forces Comfort ACT MP In Times of Trouble
This week the founder of the Institute for Liberal Values, Mr Jim Peron, ran into a spot of bother with the New Zealand Immigration Service.
Immigration Minister Paul Swain asked the NZIS to look into Jim Peron's business visa after allegations were first made against Mr Peron in Parliament.
Mr Swain instructed the NZIS to look into the matter again after the Chief Censor of Film and Literature classified the publication "Unbound Volume 1, Number 4", which Mr Peron was closely linked to, as objectionable.
Mr Peron, who had been in Germany, discovered last week that the NZIS was in the process of cancelling his business visa on the basis of character requirements.
The process undertaken by the NZIS provides Mr Peron with 21 days to provide any comments or information which, if he chooses to do so, will be carefully considered before a final decision is made on the cancellation of his visa.
If no response is received by 18 July 2005, his visa will be permanently cancelled from that day.
In the meantime, Mr Peron will not be permitted to board any flight for travel to New Zealand.
A Week of It contacted the Institute For Liberal Values Research Fellow, Lindsay Mitchell, to enquire whether the Institute would carry on with its work should Mr Peron be unable to ever return to New Zealand. Ms Mitchell who is a campaigner for a review of social welfare will fortunately not have to receive any state support payments should the Institute fold. Ms Mitchell pointed out that she is not actually a staff member but that she does write a lot for the Institute.
Ms Mitchell considered that the fate of the Institute was "up in the air" as it was run from Jim Peron's Auckland bookshop.
Mr Peron was slightly more positive about the future of the Institute and informed A Week of It by email that the ideas put forward by the Institute would continue despite his current Immigration hassles.
"We are an ideas based organisation and will continue to push for social tolerance which, no doubt, will irk Winston Peters and the bigots who support him."
The website is still active and I will do my best to increase the amount of material I write and produce to promote liberal values of a free and tolerant society where the rights of all people are respected," wrote Mr Peron.
The last time Mr Peron had difficulty with the NZIS, over 70 people wrote to the Immigration Service on his behalf, including ACT Party Leader and current Institute board member Rodney Hide. This time around Mr Peron may need the same level of support if the Institute for Liberal Values is to remain based in New Zealand.
This week New Zealand's most famous refugee Ahmed Zaoui dropped into Wellington to deliver a lecture and also had time to sign a few books. While here, Mr Zaoui drank a few cups of coffee, chatted to a number of elderly well-wishers and rode the cable car.
The lecture Mr Zaoui gave was related to the dangers of extremism. A Week of It was there for most of the day capturing the action. Interspersed with the pictures of Mr Zaoui are some of the statements made by Opposition politicians shortly before Mr Zaoui was released from two years in prison - 10 months of which was spent in solitary confinement.
Dail Jones, NZ First: "He should never have been allowed to stay here and Parliament has a duty to close any legal loophole that might free him into our midst." December 2004.
Stephen Franks, ACT Party "The saga has reinforced the message to militants the world over that we are a soft touch, first shown when we volunteered to take the Tampa refugee queue jumpers." December 2004.
Tony Ryall, National Party: "We are now facing the extraordinary situation where someone who may pose a serious threat to national security could be roaming the streets within weeks." November 2004.
Last week an exciting-looking Official Information Act response came back from the New Zealand Immigration Service to Scoop Media's headquarters. Sadly the response was upon close study rather less exciting - mainly because there was hardly any actual information in the response. Among the excuses for not revealing any information was a citing of the Chatham House Rules.
Details of the comment are withheld in reliance on section 9 (2) (g) (I) of the OIA. This relates to the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinion. The comment at issue was made in a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule. Department of Labour 30 June 2005
Considering Chatham House Rules relate to the identity of speakers A Week of It is absolutely mystified as to how the Department of Labour thinks it can cite this particularly convention to withhold information. Needless to say it looks like more work for the already overworked offices of the Ombudsman.
A DomPost reader discovers their publication is actually the Socialist Worker in disguise.
This week Murray McCully strayed well into the realms of fiction with his weekly column McCully.co.nz. Mr McCully seemed to imply that the fine journalistic organ the Dominion Post is some sort of closet lefty publication and had conspired to keep the latest National Party policy hidden from the public:
Readers of the DomPost (who will be rapidly dwindling in number on the strength of this performance) should therefore be aware that the DomPost story was written by a recent refugee from the Sisterhood: one Deborah Diaz - until recently Press Secretary to former Attorney-General Margaret Wilson. How very, very interesting.
Fortunately for Mr McCully, A Week of It managed to find some excerpts from a recent Dominion Post editorial that looked like it had been cribbed straight from Mr McCully's own weekly column.
Finance Minister Michael Cullen's attempt to restore the situation, by pushing the line that there is no fat in the system is too little too late, and lacks credibility coming from a Government that has squandered public funds on, among other things, hip-hop tours, the Wananga and the out-of- control extravagant "jobs machine".
How very, very interesting indeed.
As the world reacted with shock and outrage to yesterdays bomb attacks in London it was good to be reminded that thanks to market forces today's communications tools are 'quick, cheap and efficient'.
"Calls to cellphones wouldn't go through (of course) and texts remained unanswered. This morning my eldest daughter reassured me with her typical common sense - "Mum, they wouldn't be out of bed at that time of the morning anyway." (Turns out they've been in Prague anyway.) "
"But thank God for today's communications tools - quick, cheap and efficient, even in the midst of disaster. I can remember when overseas calls had to be booked weeks in advance - and that was just at Christmas time. Lord knows how long it would take to get through in the event of an emergency such as London has just experienced, if the rest of the world had left us behind in the days of the state-owned NZ Post Office," wrote Deborah Coddington in todays edition of Liberty Belle.
A Week of It didn’t immediately think of this angle upon discovering London had been attacked but I guess it’s yet another example of just how good that fourth Labour Government (and Ruth Richardson) really was for New Zealand - Cheers Roger!