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We must save Epsom from the extreme right


Labour Candidate for Epsom
Media Statement

15 November 1999

We must save Epsom from the extreme right

Labour candidate for Epsom David Jacobs today called upon the voters of Epsom to resist the lure of Act and its populist right-wing candidate Rodney Hide.

“It is time we faced up to the fact that the extreme right is gaining ground in New Zealand. Act is our equivalent of a fascist party. Its supporters may wear suits and ties rather than brownshirts and jackboots but their tactics are reminiscent of fascist tactics in the 1930s.”

“In the media they preach ‘values not politics’ but their political values are on show at public meetings in Epsom, which they disrupt with constant streams of abusive heckling. Their objective is to intimidate their opponents and to discredit democracy.”

“Like fascist parties in the 1930s, Act has proved itself to be a brilliant exploiter of popular fear and resentments. It has excelled in dressing up socially divisive policies in fine-sounding phrases.”

“As a Jew, whose people became scapegoats of fascism in the 1930s, I cannot remain silent about this kind of evil. Here in New Zealand the extreme right has targeted Maori as scapegoats with language which has unsettling echoes of European fascism. The ‘full and final settlements’ slogan evokes inescapable echoes of ‘a final solution’.

“And like the fascists of the 1930s Act is doing its dirty work in New Zealand with the complicity of the centre-right. Like Hitler’s Nazis they don’t need to win an election, they just need to be helped to power by the conservative establishment.”

“Jenny Shipley has already shown her tacit support for Act’s attack on the Treaty settlement process. If National and Act share the reins of power after the election we can expect blood on the streets.”

“At the end of a century which has been scarred by fascist atrocities, it is quite alarming to see the extreme right so close to power here. My father fought Mosley’s fascists on the streets of London. Sixty years later I now find that I have to stand up to fascism as a parliamentary candidate.”

“Perhaps as a Jew I am sensitive to the extreme right’s bullying and suppression of free speech. I certainly feel a sense of responsibility to speak out when I see fascism at work undermining democracy and picking on scapegoats. I must bear witness to the danger I see confronting us.

“Act has singled out the Epsom electorate as its ‘insurance policy’ in case Richard Prebble loses Wellington Central to Marian Hobbs. Although Rodney Hide is not letting it be known too widely, he is actually ahead in this electorate. He doesn’t want Epsom people to know he is winning because that may encourage people to vote tactically against him.”

“I cannot keep silent about the fact that Rodney Hide currently looks like winning Epsom. I am willing to take the risk that Epsom voters may choose my National opponent instead of me as the candidate to defeat him. I am determined that the voters of Epsom understand the clear moral choice confronting them.”

“I hope that Epsom voters will choose me rather than my National opponent as the candidate to defeat Rodney Hide since National is the party which proposes to go into coalition with Act.”

“There are many decent National supporters who do not like what Act stands for. I ask them this time to vote for a moderate, common-sense Labour-led government in preference to the horrific prospect of extreme right influence in an Act-National coalition.”

“Evil flourishes when good people do nothing. I hope the good people of Epsom will in fact take some responsibility for keeping the extreme right out of government in New Zealand. If they think instead that they can control it, like the German establishment thought it could control Hitler, then we are all in for a very rough ride.”

“There is only one way that the voters of Epsom can be sure of defeating both Rodney Hide and the evil policies he stands for. That way is to elect a Labour MP in a moderate, progressive Labour-led government. Two ticks for Labour will save Epsom from extremism.”

Contact: David Jacobs (09) 631 5151 or (021) 631 151

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