Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Gordon Campbell on Criminalising Protest, and Cathedrals

Gordon Campbell on Criminalising Protest, and Christchurch Cathedral Options

The Tauranga MP Simon Bridges – he’s also the Labour Minister and the Minister of Energy and Resources - is carving out quite a niche for himself, on the gratuitously petty side of Tory politics. First, we had his brushing aside of official advice to raise the minimum wage more substantially, and now we have his attempt to criminalise freedom of expression by restricting protests at sea.

Thanks to Bridges’ belated amendement to the Crown Minerals Bill, those protesters who get within 500 metres of seismic measuring vessels or mining operations can be jailed and fined significantly, and so can the organisation to which they belong, up to the level of $100,000. These draconian measures have been brought in to fix a non-existent problem – can Bridges point to an instance of oil or mining exploration at sea that was scrapped primarily because of protest action ?

The Brazilian oil giant Petrobras for instance, pulled out of its East Cape exploration because of its own internal financing problems, not because of protest action. Which example of protest action can Bridges point to in order to justify this outlandish law – which is being pushed through without select committee scrutiny ?

The prominent New Zealanders – including Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Dame Anne Salmond – who have banded together to oppose this legislation should be applauded. As Peter Williams QC pointed out on RNZ this morning the measures being contemplated are entirely to do with restricting the rights and the behaviour of protesters, with no balancing measures with respect to the obligations of oil and mining companies – who, as Williams says, could criminalise the protesters merely by sailing or flying close to them, as was done by the French during the anti-nuclear protests at Mururoa.

This is the kind of thing the Key government has done before. Over the Hobbit dispute as well, the current government was willing to infringe the rights of New Zealanders, in order to send an air kiss to foreign multinationals. Unfortunately, there seems to be no-one within the government ranks willing to challenge Bridges over this selling out of the democratic freedoms of expression. Isn’t the centre-right supposed to be the chmapion of such freedoms – or is it only interested in freedom that comes with a corporate cost/benefit analysis attached? Once the Act Party emerges from mourning over the death of Baroness Thatcher, perhaps it could turn its mind to honouring its supposed belief in individual liberties.

***

Cathedral Options

One of the really odd aspects of the unveiling of the three Cathedral replacement options in Christchurch last week was that there seemed to be only one “contemporary” design up for consideration. Ever since the earthquakes took their toll, we have been told how iconic the Cathedral is, and how symbolic it is of the city’s recovery. Therefore, shouldn’t there be at least some attempt – i.e. an architectural competition – to find the best contemporary design, rather than merely treating a single off-the-shelf design as the only contemporary design that deemed to be relevant ?

So far, a large chunk of the Christchurch public have shown – in their responses to a number of unscientific polls – that they’re quite willing to consider a contemporary design. Predictably, the architectetctural critics here and overseas have been divided in their response to the contemporary design on offer, from Warren and Mahoney. Obviously, it is up to Christchurch people to decide whether they want an architectural competition to elicit further options. To that end, it may be helpful to see what other cities have considered, when building contemporary Cathedrals.

1. First, here’s the Warren and Mahoney design.

2. Those critics who have labelled the Warren and Mahoney design as "derivative" may well have had in mind the ( much-praised in architectural circles) Catholic Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California. Here are some images of that building, outside and inside. The similarity is fairly obvious:

3. For a daring and quite different example – and one best considered in relation to the new town hall built beside it – here is the Cathedral/Town Hall complex in Evry, France. Note the trees on the roof and the use of the space in front of the town/hall cathedral:

4. For a stunningly different design (exteriors and cross section here) we have the – as yet unbuilt – Axis Mundi suggested design for a new Cathedral in Strasbourg:

5. This cathedral in Houston Texas is an example of a very traditional design in modern guise:

6. And going back a bit to the 1920s, the Grundtvig church in Copenhagen offers a very, very distinctive re-interpretation of Gothic and neo-Gothic tradition:

7. The St Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco is a more modern, but still reasonably conservative option:

8. This interesting seven-towered example – the Santo Volto from Turin, Italy – is also worthy of note. Challenging on the outside, but with quite beautiful interiors, bathed in natural light from the distinctive skylights:

9. And finally, here is an example of how NOT to do it. Here’s the universally loathed new Liverpool Cathedral, a genuine monstrosity:

********

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Myopia Of The Business News

Listening to the business news is a bit like eavesdropping on the radio transmissions from space aliens. There is no discernible connection between the concerns of the captains of these space ships – the bank economists and the finance house spokesmen – and the concerns of ordinary listeners back on Planet Earth. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Clinton, Sanders, Trump And Cruz

Come November, the world will have a new US president-elect and the least unlikely winner still looks to be Hillary Clinton. Right now though, the polls are showing a rocky stretch ahead for her in the immediate future. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Sean Penn And El Chapo - Vanity, Hollywood And Reportage

Leaving aside Sean Penn’s personal history with drug use, let alone alleged efforts to get a slice of celebrity in portraying a drug lord, the furore surrounding his interview with El Chapo is instructive in a few respects. One is worth noting: the blind rage it has provoked with some US political figures and advocates who show how utterly lacking in understanding they are of their own liberal market system... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Podemos, And Spain’s Election Stalemate

By hard grassroots effort, it convincingly rejected the fragmented, individualising forces that had shaped political life for the past few decades – instead, it organized its supporters on the basis of their common, communal experience via collective decision-making aimed at rolling back (a) the austerity-driven cutbacks in public services and (b) the home evictions of those unable to meet their mortgage payments. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Merkel, Refugees And The Cologne Attacks

Huge pressure was already on Angela Merkel’s shoulders prior to the New Year celebrations. When it came in its waves of chaos on the eve, the security services in Cologne were found wanting. The police document from Cologne, leaked to Der Spiegel, speaks of chaos and lack of control. More>>

NZ Media In 2015: ‘Digital First’ Strategies Put Journalists Last

Journalism in New Zealand is threatened by the constant culling of editorial jobs and current affairs programmes… Additionally, journalists investigating issues which are in public interest have become under scrutiny as seen most clearly in the cases of Nicky Hager and Heather Du-Plessis Allen. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news