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Scoop Feedback: Kiwi Bashing Shows Frustration

In This Edition: Kiwi Bashing Shows Frustration - Quick (one-question) Political Scholastic Aptitude Test - Its Official: We're Mates With US Again


Kiwi Bashing Shows Frustration

Keith Rankin ( Keith Rankin: The Australian view of New Zealand - Scoop, 18 Oct 2001) concludes “Australia is a neighbour; that’s all”. He explains kiwi bashing over Ansett’s collapse reflects Australian insecurities, not a kiwi cultural trait of business incompetence. He is wrong.

Australians are direct. The Black Stump is a black stump, Shark Bay has sharks. When Aussies claim Kiwis are incompetent businessmen they mean exactly that.

Given synchronous collapses at Pasminco, HIH and OneTel, why bash Kiwis over Ansett? The answer is differing expectations of partnership.

Holmes (10 Oct 2001) quoted dialogue between Gary Toomey (ex-CEO, Air New Zealand) and the Australian Government:

[GT] If you don’t help us, Ansett will collapse.

[AG] We don’t give a s*** about Ansett.

Why would the Australian Government accept 16,000 job losses before an election? Virgin Blue and Ansett 2 refute insecurity about a low-cost competitor. Could it be fear? After all, “the New Zealand way is to out-compete the opposition, ruthlessly if necessary” (Rankin). Fair go!

Australians see Kiwi businessmen as having the capitalist dream: light-handed regulation, benign consumers, weak unions and cheap labour. Aussies operate with the exact opposite.

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If business is a horse race, Aussie jockeys lose weight in New Zealand and Kiwi jockeys gain weight in Australia. Buying Ansett entered Air New Zealand into the Melbourne Cup. Crying ‘protectionism’ after the race questions the stewards’ rules — incompetence by Australian standards.

Australia is more than a neighbour. Australia is New Zealand’s biggest customer, largest foreign investor and military shield. Bashing kiwis expressed frustration for perceived abuse of this friendship. Saving Ansett would throw good money after bad.

Dayalan R. Pillay is an Australian strategy consultant.


Quick (one-question) Political Scholastic Aptitude Test

Here's a list of the countries that the U.S. has bombed since the end of World War II through 1999, compiled by historian William Blum.

China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Aghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

In how many of these instances did a democratic government, respectful of Human rights, occur as a direct result? (chose one)

(a) 0
(b) zero
(c) none
(d) not a one
(e) a whole number between -1 and +1



Its Official: We're Mates With US Again

Dear Editor,

Following her return to New Zealand, the Prime Minister has loudly trumpeted the fact "We're mates with the US again" (23 Oct).

Citing the Secretary of State Colin Powell's reiteration of "their (the US) gratitude for the offer of New Zealand's SAS troops" and President Bush's comment that "out of evil comes good", (which, by the way, was not directed solely at the Prime Minister and New Zealand, but at the leaders' retreat in general), hardly amounts to much.

When I see the US referring to New Zealand as one of their "formal Allies", as is the case with Australia, and not just "a good friend", then I will know we are indeed "mates" with the US again.

While we are on the subject, the Prime Minister has also said on several occasions there will be no confirmation of what, where, when, how or if at all our SAS forces will be deployed.

Yet in the same release mentioned above she now informs the New Zealand public that the offer was one "the public should assume is being taken up." What sort of double-speak is this.

On the one hand the New Zealand government would not accept the US stance of "neither confirm or deny", the possibility their vessels were nuclear capable yet, on the other, we have our Government now telling the New Zealand public the very same thing in respect of the deployment of our SAS.

Who will ever know and who is there to check? Not good enough and I remain unconvinced.

Mirek Marcanik


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