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Grow up New Zealand

It’s time for us to grow up and move on as a country. That is why I support changing our flag and becoming a republic.

Nobody else in the world is doing us any favours anymore. Australia is treating many long-time residents there who were born in New Zealand as human trash, imprisoning them in ‘detention centres’ while torturous appeal and deportation processes grind along, then shipping them back here where some have no family, no home, no job, and no prospects. They are ripe for recruitment into criminal gangs. The Australian welfare and education systems, even their armed forces, treat descendants from here like foreign aliens, denying them services, benefits, or membership. What happened to the ANZAC spirit? It’s dead mate.

Things are just as bad in Mother England. Our kids can only get crap jobs there - (PHD geniuses and Rhodes scholars excepted) – pouring drinks or nannying. Whereas this country, especially the public sector, seems to have a permanent welcome mat out for UK, USA or Canadian degree holders, many of which are running away from failed lives and stagnant careers, while bringing their problems with them here. Where is the quid pro quo?

If we as a nation constantly give overseas applicants priority over kiwis for government jobs then we won’t have to face the truth about upskilling our own people. When is the last time you met a Maori doctor, nurse, engineer or dentist? At the other end of the job spectrum we are importing Filipino bus drivers, nurses and telecom techs, and Indian and PI fruit pickers and packers because local businesses won’t set wages and conditions that kiwis will work for. This is the reality of a globalised economy based on neo-conservative tenets. Off-shoring of manufacturing and other skilled jobs to China or India, bringing in cheap labour from overseas to do the non-transferable jobs here. Drive down wages and conditions for locals, de-unionize to reduce viable opposition, and when the imported workers are no longer needed, get rid of as many as you can back to where they came from.

I propose that New Zealand should reserve public sector government jobs for kiwis. There is nothing anti-immigrant about this, we are all descended from immigrants, and it only takes five years of residence and some paperwork to get citizenship. If they can make it in the private sector for that long, then they are welcome to apply to be a nurse or teacher or public servant, but until they have demonstrated their commitment to this country, they shouldn’t be getting the plum jobs.

Finally, what about a republic, with our own, independent head of state? Say what you like about our current system but we don’t have complete control over our own affairs. The ‘Crown’ and the Queen’s image are everywhere. Have you looked at MSD’s logo or the signs outside court buildings? I’m not interested in waiting for anyone’s lifetime, or any particular Sovereign to die. We would still be a part of the British Commonwealth but it is time to grow up. The first step is to create a Select Committee for Constitutional Affairs. The UK, EU, Australia and Canada have this as part of their Parliamentary systems and so should we. Once we have a forum for a discussion of our nation’s future the process of creating a republic can happen.

I propose a new flag like the design at the top of this story – keeping most of the old elements but changing and updating it. In the same way I propose that we keep the Office of the Governor-General but make it independent of the British monarchy. We could have a system where, at the expiry of the previous incumbent’s term, the most senior member of the Order of New Zealand is appointed G-G for the usual five-year term. At present that person is Dame Miriam Dell. No President with the subsequent messy election. The minimum of destabilising change. Keep the baby but throw out the bathwater.

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