Rebirth of Reason


PI Editorial, Tues, May 7
by Lindsay Perigo

In two respects at least, New Zealand is currently providing object lessons for the rest of the world & comic relief for those few of its own citizens whose gray matter is habitually active.

Its present Labour/Alliance Coalition Government recently shelled out $70 million of taxpayer money to set up a Maori television network, Maori Television Services, to promote a specifically Maori version of witch-doctory, ancestor-worship & other types of mystic mumbo-jumbo. It was hoped that this network would not founder on the rock of corruption that wrecked the previous National/New Zealand First Coalition Government's similar exercise in apartheid, Aotearoa Televsion. AT's directors distinguished themselves by going on shopping sprees with taxpayer money & stocking up on exotic underpants. MTS assured us its operation would be scandal-free. It appointed a Canadian, John Davy, to the position of CEO, on the ground that he was the best applicant for the position. Laudable & unusual - except, he wasn't. Journalists' inquiries revealed that Mr Davy's CV was a crock. His degree didn't exist, the university at which he claimed to have acquired it didn't exist, the television station for which he claimed to have worked had never heard of him, etc.. Even his hockey-refereeing credentials were bogus. MTS Chairman, Derek Fox, a Maori activist from way back, initially dismissed Mr Davy's critics as "Maori-bashers" but finally bowed to the inevitable & sacked the fraudster. An inauspicious start for MTS.

Object lesson #1 - start up a gravy-train & of course fraudsters & con-men will jump on it. The real problem here is not Mr Davy; it is the existence of a coercively-funded, separatist television network in the first place. If Maori want to set up racist television with their own money, let them do so. Innocent bystanders shouldn't be forced to fund it. Therein lies the fundamental corruption.

While all this was going on, the Alliance political party was imploding, to salutary effect.

The Alliance party is the junior & more left-wing of the two parties that make up the present government. By dint of being its leader, Jim Anderton is Deputy Prime Minister. Some weeks ago, in the wake of bitter infighting among Alliance members, Mr Anderton announced he was going to leave the party & form a new one. Recent legislation in which Mr Anderton himself was instrumental means a Member of Parliament who leaves the party for which he was elected must resign from Parliament. Mr Anderton doesn't want to do that, so he said he wouldn't act on his intentions until Parliament rose & this year's general election campaign began. His opponents within the Alliance then took the initiative & expelled him & other MPs who support him from their party. They elected one of their own, MP Laila Harre (also a Cabinet minister), as the new leader. But since neither Mr Anderton nor Ms Harre wants to precipitate an early election, neither has informed Parliament's Speaker of the changed arrangements. Therefore, inside Parliament, on a daily basis, Mr Anderton maintains the fiction of being the leader of a party of which he is not even a member, aided & abetted by the real leader of that party, while the Speaker says he can't do anything to end this charade because no one's formally notified him that it IS a charade.

Object lesson #2 - in pursuit of power, rival power-lusters will close ranks if the very basis of their power is challenged, regardless of the verbal & ethical contortions such a closing of ranks requires, regardless of how ridiculous they make themselves seem, regardless of any constitutional havoc they may wreak.

The object lesson of both these object lessons - for New Zealand & the rest of the world - is to implement a constitution that provides no scope for fraudsters & power-lusters to indulge their evil urges.

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