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Robson-On-Politics: 10 June 2008

Authorised by Phil Clearwater 5 Sherwood Lane Christchurch


10 June 2008

John Key gets ready for the Hollow Men Volume 2

Unknown Backbench MPs can be pesky creatures. They have a habit of sinking (leader)ships with loose lips. In the latest case of this Kate(who?) Wilkinson answered a question from the audience at the aptly named Backbencher’s Pub that National in government would have none of making employers contribute to KiwiSaver schemes. The trouble was that although this is probably good coin inside the National caucus and with the Business Roundtable , National’s spin doctors don’t want the hoi polloi knowing about it. So John Key was wheeled out smartly to give the official denial. John being in denial is a common thing these days. We’ve had him denying assets sales ( in the first term!), raising doctors’ charges , abolishing the interest on student loans and – the list goes on! So watch out for the release of the Hollow Men Volume 2 in your bookstore soon.

And Dr Brash comments on Volume 1 of the Hollow Men.

Recently Dr. Brash was commenting on his portrayal in the Hollow Men- both the book and the play. He preferred the book as it showed him, he thought, in a better light than Dean Parker’s play in which he was given the character of a goofball. In his musings he stated that it was probably Lockwood Smith who promised the United States that the nuclear policy would be gone by lunchtime. Moreover, although he was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq he went along with National’s vote for it thinking that he could change that stance later – or so he said. It is quite something to ponder that politicians like Lockwood Smith, Bill English, Tony Ryall and yes John Key who actually support these policies, along with selling Kiwibank and other public assets and cutting social services , could be in government after November! Time to do something about that methinks.

Vietnam- time well overdue for an apology at home and in Vietnam

It was right for Helen Clark to issue an apology to the New Zealand veterans of the American War against the people of Vietnam and Indochina. The people of New Zealand, eventually, along with the majority of the world’s population denounced this vile imperialist war at the time and since. Our soldiers who went were scapegoats for the sordid National Party politicians who contributed to the misery and suffering of peoples who fought for decades to rid their countries of French colonialism and then found themselves saddled with puppet governments installed by the United States. The apologists for the American war who point to Pol Pot’s horrific rule in Cambodia leave out one vital fact- he was backed by the United States and its allies including, to our shame, both Labour and National governments as he renewed the war against Vietnam and turned his country into the Killing Fields. Our returned soldiers were dumped and have only now had sufficient attention paid to the fact that they suffered from the chemical war unleashed on Indochina by the United States. As a consequence of that chemical war Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos became environmental disasters and lead the world in cancers caused by chemical poisoning. Tariana Turia was right to call not just for an apology to our soldiers but to the people of Indochina for New Zealand’s part in the brutal war that was unleashed upon them by the mightiest military power on the planet.

Greens have a conference- I think!

To open the recent conference of the Green Party a candle was lit. Then it was time for an invocation of spirits past including the summoning up of their dead leader Ron Donald. Columnist John Armstrong had this observation:

Any party which begins its conference by lighting candles so it can be guided by the “symbolic gesture of a flame” while “calling in the spirits” of Ron Donald, The Treaty, the sun, and just about everything else bar the kitchen sink would seem to be in fruitcake territory , as in nutty as.

I think that to have people take them seriously when they attack Labour for being disgusting ( co-Leader Norman) on emissions trading and supporters of profiteering by not ordering Fonterra to reduce the price of milk ( co-leader Fitzsimons) the Greens will need to offer policies and critiques that are based on hard evidence and not the entrails of chickens.

Massey Academic Finds that Pacific Islanders are the cause of all Problems- Martians Land!

I wouldn’t recommend reading the well-reported document (Growing Pains: The Valuation and Cost of Human Capital) on Pacific migrants by Massey University Business School Lecturer Greg Clydesdale. That is if you want to be informed. Pacific Islanders, he claims, are an unwelcome underclass and New Zealand shouldn’t take any more . Apparently Mr. Clydesdale is going to make his mark with this at a conference in Brazil. Perhaps he could research there how the descendants of black slaves are an underclass dragging Brazil down and recommend that no more black slaves be imported. I am all for research but let’s actually have all the facts on the very diverse Pacific migrants and their descendants who populate New Zealand before there is call to stop all migration from the Pacific. Tapu Misa in a hard-hitting Herald gave him all barrels with a shotgun full of facts:

His snapshot of the Pacific community is out of focus , a cross- sectional slice frozen in time , which fails dismally to capture the dynamism and diversity of Pacific people two –thirds of whom , by the way , were born her…On other points , Clydesdale is simply wrong. Rates of convictions and prosecutions can say as much about the ability of people to defend themselves as about the number of crimes being committed( and this lawyer and former Minister of Corrections says aye ,aye to that! – MR) Pacific people make up 7 percent of the population and 8 percent of those convicted in 2006 , which is an understandable over-representation given the correlation between poverty and crime but certainly not the highest rate. And contrary to Clydesdale’s picture of “enduring disadvantage” , Ministry of Social Development statistics for 2007 show improvement across a broad range of social indicators… Of course ,it is easier to build a case against Pacific migrants if you ignore recent evidence , social context, labour market shortages, and the history of New Zealand-Pacific relations.

Blogging Progressive Style

Now at last – instead of emailing comments to me alone you can paste the for all to see and wonder at on:



For those in Auckland and surrounds the Hon Jim Anderton and Hon Matt Robson invite you to join us at:

Chaska Restaurant 380 Manukau Road Epsom on Saturday July 5 at 7p.m.

An evening of good food, song and of course progressive politics. $25 a ticket

Help build the Progressive Party Vote in 2008. RSVP m.robson[at]paradise.net.nz



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