Monday, 29 June 2009

Why we fight...

...A personal memoir...In 1986, New Zealand was totally preoccupied with all things nuclear. Soviet and American nuclear weapons were armed, aimed and poised to destroy humanity, and according to the green left, all forms of nuclear power in all guises represented unimaginable pollution - condemning the planet to freakish mutations, early cancer, an abhorrent and insurmountable nuclear waste problem, and eventual widespread species extinction. In the cold war 1980's, all nations had to decide which side of the ideological and nuclear fence they sat on, and in New Zealand the ANZUS (Australia, NZ and the United States) pact cemented the bonds forged in WW2, where US troops (largely stationed in NZ) and the Aussies on the Kokoda Trail halted the Japanese advance into the south Pacific.

To assess the feelings of all NZ'ers about defence, and in an attempt to justify withdrawal from the ANZUS pact, the Labour Government of 1986, headed by David Lange, instituted a Defence Review Committee. The Committee was chaired by a retired Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Jack Corner, and included a confirmed anti-nuclear "peace" advocate and Quaker, Dr Kevin Clements. The Committee sat, collected over 4800 submissions, and in due course reported its findings back to the Lange government. Among them was a clear unequivocal statement from Dr Clements that "it was neither realistic or rational to continue the anti-nuclear struggle from outside of the (ANZUS) alliance." With those courageous words Kevin Clements summarily executed the NZ "peace" movement, and in effect obliterated the Labour pretence that its anti-nuclear stance was apolitical. Furthermore, the committee's full findings severely embarrassed the Lange government in that it endorsed and emphasised the importance of the ANZUS pact to genuine peace and regional stability.

With this public rebuttal to their anti-American and anti-nuclear foreign policy stance, the Lange government had to pretend that NZ existed in a "benign strategic environment". However, to their dismay, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev publically emphasised the importance of a Soviet presence in the south Pacific. However, the Lange government persisted and withdrew from ANZUS amidst great bitterness and rancour, and the eventual ousting of Lange as Prime Minister was guaranteed. In this climate, with a radical anti-US foreign policy stance clearly at odds with the wishes of the majority of the electorate, the movement to help develop true participatory democracy via Citizens Initiated Referendums (CIR) was born.

CIR was the main plank of the groups Freedom and Individual Responsibility (FAIR), National Reform, and The One New Zealand Foundation. Of those groups, the in house National Party splinter group National Reform succeeded in pushing for the adoption of referendum on demand to be included in the election manifesto of the opposition National Party. Since that time numerous referendums have been held (and ignored, largely under the last 9 years of Helen Clark's Labour rule), and we have now come to the point where the general public of NZ will soon vote via a postal referendum on the weighty matter of whether a parental smack to an errant child should or should not be, a criminal offence. Marxist list Labour MP Sue Bradford of course insists it should, and parental instinct and reaction throughout the country will deliver her via the referendum a short two word, two syllable rebuttal. F*** off.

The point of all this ? With rejection of the "anti-smacking" law, Sue Bradford and other domestic champions of state control via UN statute have had to adopt the platform of a strategic managed retreat; that is to emphasise the cost of the referendum and its non-binding nature. The dead rat that they have had to swallow in the process however, is that thanks to C.I.R. their authority over the electorate is limited to election time, and that given a chance, voters will show their disdain for them and their political bullying via referendums on demand on contentious issues.

To put this referendum and issue in context, the anti-smacking legislation of 2009 is the equivalent of the anti-nuclear, anti-US posturing of 1986. This time however, NZ'ers can speak with a clear and direct voice ...

2 comments:

MK said...

Thanks for sharing that, i hope you folks are listened to, but from what i've seen from John Key, even he is prepared to ignore the will of the people.

Ayrdale said...

Yes I agree, and know that a politician of any conviction can and occaisonally should follow principle rather than popularity. On the other hand referendums allow the public to decide (and occasionally err)that's the nature of them. And taking the example of Switzerland, virtually run by referendum they don'r err too often.