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On The Right: More Arrogant Than Dennis Conner!

On The Right - A Regular Scoop Column
by Mike Heine of Prebble's Rebels

The people of this country have always been told that we can do anything. That we have the ability to not only match the achievements of the rest of the world but beat them. We are a country whose abilities are way larger than our tiny landmass.

Sooner or later, it was bound to go to someone's head.

The new Government has, since it's arrival, displayed an arrogance that hasn't been seen since Dennis Conner… well, since Dennis Conner. They have declared war on their own State-Owned Enterprises, and why? Because they are doing what the previous Labour Government ordered them to do - make a profit.

Upon its election, the Government made it clear what its attitude towards profit was. The introduction of the West Coast Abolishment Bill was designed to deal with the twin evils of this administration - sustainable logging and the West Coast workforce.

Despite proof from Timberlands that the logging poses minimum damage to the Coast's ecosystem, the Government decided that the scheme still posed an unacceptable risk. To the continued support of its law-breaking, tree-hugging members. And beware, they're not all confined to the Green Party.

While working for ACT at the Oamaru A and P Show, I visited the Labour tent where I was asked to sign a petition to end the logging. Upon my refusal, the shocked woman posed the perplexing question: "But where will we be able to go for tramps?"
This prompted my own question which, out of fear to my safety, I have saved until now: how out of touch can one person be? If I ever want a tramp, I will visit one of our several beautiful and very large National Parks. Or alternatively, give a few more months of this Government, I will be able to find one on almost every street corner.

Labour and the Alliance have now also hinted at stopping the logging of rimu, on the basis that rimu logging also poses a serious risk. To the plans for the abolishment of the West Coast. It is now also unacceptable for people to speak out about this in a private capacity, as Kit Richards found out. Apparently it is wrong to voice disapproval of a Government policy, no matter how disastrous it may be. Helen Clark and Marion Hobbs are scared stiff of having "the heat" put on them, as if they haven't heard worse. Well as I'm not an employee of Timberlands, and as there will be no Timberlands in a few months, I can tell people to "put the heat" on the Government without fear. What are they going to do to me, make me resign from being a student???

And when I say "put the heat" on them, let me make it perfectly clear what that means, so Cabinet don't wet their beds every night. It doesn't mean turning up at Clark's house holding an elephant gun. Nor does it mean forcing Hobbs to roll naked in broken glass and then making her bathe in after-shave. Basically, it means to point out in a diplomatic fashion to this Government that the West Coast is an important part of this country and does not deserve to be scrapped. Or if that fails, show them a map of the country and tell them that the West Coast is the part that isn't Auckland. You never know - seeming as their knowledge of New Zealand geography stops at the Bombay Hills, they may decide to scrap the policy if it affects enough people adversely.

Of course, seeing how they're handling the TVNZ fiasco, they probably won't. True, John Hawkesby seems to be getting paid an awful lot of dosh. True, Hobbs deserves to know just how much dosh is being forked out. However, that is where her involvement begins and ends.

TVNZ is, like Timberlands, an SOE. This means of course that it is supposed to run independently of Government interference and return a profit. Like Timberlands, this Government is hounding it because it is doing what it is supposed to do. Strange huh? It appears that Hobbs and Clark are upset because TVNZ is not supplying the 120 hours of arts and cultural programmes per week that they crave so much.

This is against everything that a democratic nation should stand for. A government is actually telling the national television network what it should and should not be playing. While I have to admit that TV is at the moment less stimulating for the brain than glue sniffing, that is not for the Government to fix. If they tried to change things, we would end up stuck with programmes like 'The Marion Hobbs Guide to Paper Mache' or 'MacBeth - As Performed by the Helen Clark Players'. The best way to change what's on telly is simple - vote with the remote. Change the channel already! But don't let the Government tell us what to watch, that is definitely NOT their role.

I would write more, but I would much rather go and watch one of the only decent programmes left - 'Yes Minister'. It's brilliant how the public service manage to stop every government initiative, because hey - someone has to!

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