We live in disquieting times when even some books of the marvellous children’s author and perceptive political cartoonist, the late Dr Seuss are being deplatformed. This is in keeping with a trend throughout the Western World to restrict or manipulate the flow of information, commentary and opinion. This movement now includes historical facts, perceptions and historical context.
The intent seems to be to create a new world order by promoting a radical, anti-Western, anti-democracy ideology. This is being facilitated by the internet’s global reach and behaviours of international bureaucrats, the mass media, large corporates, law firms and those lacking critical thinking skills. Here in New Zealand, organisations enjoying government or council largesse are particularly prone to looking the other way – and their numbers are growing by the year.
Many individuals are well intentioned, seeking to be “inclusive” and “kind”. But unintended consequences abound where there’s no open debate accompanied by no understanding of basic human psychology, or what it takes to keep humans productively working together as one.
A classic absurdity is the celebration of women’s rights while simultaneously forcing them to compete against male-muscled transwomen in sports. This cripples those women’s chances of ever winning coveted titles. Meanwhile the authorities obstruct open discussion about this inconsistency for fear that the trans community will be offended. So women are once again being subjugated and that’s OK?
This shutting down of debate appears to have a cheerleader in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. In keeping with authoritarian customs, she has announced that she will only appear on selected media when she can call the shots about what is to be discussed or announced. Her pandemic-inspired domination of the media worked brilliantly for her in election year, so why would she want to start being challenged and asked for explanations in the media now?
Not only is the Prime Minister breaking a decades-old tradition of Monday morning breakfast interviews on Newstalk ZB, she is denying voters the right to have their questions answered. It just may be that the Prime Minister is beginning to show her darker side, Comrades.
Unfortunately, Newstalk’s parent is the media conglomerate NZME. This outfit hasn’t a leg to stand on should they wish to challenge the Prime Minister’s decision. They have increasingly embraced the propaganda, ignoring topical issues and deplatforming commentators committed to facts, let alone freedom of speech and opinion.
NZME’s latest victim is the renowned historian, Dr Michael Bassett. Despite his outstanding achievements and experience in academia, politics, justice and the media, NZME chose to support a single reader’s attack on Dr Bassett. At issue was his article “New Zealand’s Modern Cultural Cringe” which was published in the Northland Age and on the NZ Herald website earlier this month.
NZME’s managing editor Shayne Currie claimed the article was “unacceptable” and commentary from the former cabinet minister and historian “will no longer appear on our platforms.”
Professor Bassett’s supposed crime was calling out the absurdities and racism behind the “bizarre craze” that we “embrace all things Maori”, while setting aside “all things derived from Europe, except our creature comforts”. (I presume that includes the cowboy hat affixed to the head of the Maori Party MP Rawiri Waititi; he’s the one who refuses to wear a tie – sorry, a “colonial noose” – in Parliament).
Bassett’s article references some of the fabricated “things Maori” that are being imposed upon us without discussion, debate or referendum. The use of Aotearoa is a prime example. The fact is that the many, separate Maori tribes never had a name for the whole country until the ‘white man’ created Nu Tireni/Nu Tirani for the 1835 Declaration of Independence and 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.
The absurdities include the cost of churning out newly created te reo for the renaming of government departments, their policies and our streets, resulting in ongoing confusion to all ethnicities – even those raised in Maori speaking households.
The most destructive of such fabrications has to be the “partnership” lie that has been used to attack our democracy in recent decades. No one has ever found any reference to ‘partnership’ in the Treaty of Waitangi. The over 500 tribal chiefs who had been at each other’s throats for 3 decades prior to 1840 certainly didn’t form any sort of united governing body with which Queen Victoria could do such a deal with − even if the Crown entering into a partnership with any of its subjects was constitutionally possible!
But instead of celebrating the citizen equality promised by the Treaty and working as one people to achieve a prosperous and peaceful nation, recent governments have been passing legislation that allocates governing power and revenue to random people with some Maori ancestry. These self-appointed elite are the new aristocracy. Their new status tends to have no limits, no accountability, and no way to be challenged. That leads me to another myth – that of no corruption in New Zealand.
So what can we all do about the demise of our democracy and the growing authoritarianism in New Zealand? Firstly, never rely on TV, radio or newspapers for full and factual disclosure. The mass media have well and truly lost their once highly regarded status as sources of truth or even both sides of an issue. Seek the truth out for yourself - from reading actual legislation or from the several private groups trying against all odds to defend our one law for all democracy. Then be brave and challenge those promoting propaganda and the cancel culture. They do us no favours and will destroy all that is good about our country in the long term.Geoff Parker is a passionate advocate for equal rights and a colour blind society.