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Monday, 12 February 2018

Three very undemocratic (and uncool) things happening right now in NZ

Despite being busy saving the heart and soul of the National party in the last few weeks (no that’s ok, no thanks needed) three other things caught my attention which I am not down with.

First up is the proposed Waka-jumping bill which is currently slithering its way through parliament.

Despite newly minted Attorney-General, David Parker, saying it will have a “chilling effect” on MPs this extremely anti-democratic piece of legislation may actually make it through the house and be passed into law, although not with National or Green support by the look of things.

And it’s clear that this is one of the prices Labour has had to pay for getting Winston to support them but it’s a pretty high price.

In effect the means for a political party to remove a MP from their seat completely destroys the link between the MP and their electorate because under MMP an electorate votes for the party via the party vote and the MP via the electorate vote.

So if a MP is earnestly representing their constituents but that position happens to disagree with the party line then the party would have the means to remove them and keep the seat while inserting a more compliant individual and bugger what the constituents think.

As pointed out in the Spinoff, this shows “how far our political parties in Parliament have wandered away from us, the voters” and it’s pretty hypocritical coming from Winston himself given that had this law been in effect when he jumped ship from national in 1995 his political career would have ended there as National could have stripped him of his then seat in Tauranga.

One of the key ideas of Democracy is that of representation, our MPs represent us in parliament and if that ability is threatened or removed then an essential democratic link is destroyed.

And if you think that is not an issue think about the last time you spoke to your MP, they are the human link, your voice in parliament, imagine if you and your electorate wanted your MP to act on an issue important to you but the MP could/would act not due to the threat of being removed from their seat by their party if they did so.

Not cool, very, very not cool.

Also not cool is that NZME and Fairfax are appealing the High Court’s decision against their planned merger of the only two mainstream media outlets in NZ into one entity.

And again having all mainstream print and electronic media in NZ under one roof is bad for democracy as it’s hard to imagine a free and independent media when it’s all coming from one source.

The argument from NZME and Fairfax that this will be a good thing, and no one will lose their jobs is hard to imagine. Also hard to imagine is this merger doing anything positive for diversity of political reportage in mainstream media when the mainstream media is all one blobulus entity desperately relying on advertiser dollar to keep afloat and an age of declining MSM media revenue.

Add to the fact that one centralized media outlet is the hallmark of dictatorships and one party states around the world and you can see why this merger is only good for shareholders and not, in any way shape or form, the public, free speech or democracy.

Thank goodness that the blogsphere has picked up on this as not only myself previously but others like Pablo over at Kiwipolitico can see a major problem with this and its deeply ironic that bloggers  would be championing a diverse media landscape more than those MSM organisations themselves.

Or maybe it isn't but either way, very uncool.

However what is cool is the current petition to strip “sir” Bob Jones of his knighthood for his racist outburst in the NBR.

Jones always was a dinosaur and a good example of why giving rich businessmen a public platform, just because they are rich businessmen, is not a good idea, as Jones represents the same kind of people I noted in my post about Don Brash, Colin Craig and JonKey a year ago; the kind of people who desperately want a time machine to get back to the 1950s when Maori, minorities and anyone not a clone of them were silent and their desperately narrow set of (undemocratic) norms and values ruled.

And while the two other issues in this post are clear threats to democracy so too is giving people like Bob Jones a mouthpiece purely on the basis of his wealth, as just like Trump and Oprah in the US, the idea of the rich and wealthy being any good at leadership or running a democracy or having any desire for the country to be democratic is dangerous to the extreme, just as the very basis of their wealth has now become the very cancer eating away at democracy around the world.

The fact that Jones has sought to sue the organizer of the petition shows exactly the same mentality as Colin Craig, and the afore mentioned others, when their precious wealth and privilege are threatened and while we can’t take away his wealth (yet) we could take away his title and that would be just deserts for a man who once wrote a book called “NZ the way I want it” where the way he wants it would be would be us all kowtowing to scaly lizards like Bob Jones.

And the petition has been extremely successful so far so it’s clear that again Jones, like others of his kind, has lost touch with reality and has retreated into that soft, safe, reality distorting, bubble that extreme wealth wraps around a person when the rest of the world disagree with their vile opinions.

Find and sign the petition to remove his title here.

All of these three things are highly undemocratic and attack directly the idea of free speech and democracy in NZ and people always worry about dictators taking over and NZ losing its freedoms as one large grand actions (ala some takeover or coup like Smiths Dream) when instead its creeping moves like these above that eat away at democracy and leave us exposed to the predators.

If you value free speech and democracy overall, oppose all three.

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