Monday, October 4, 2010

"I don't think Paul Henry looks or sounds like a real New Zealander"

I must confess that I don't watch Breakfast. This is mostly due to circumstance - I, like most students, am asleep at that ungodly hour - but that aside, I consider Paul Henry an excellent reason to change the channel. Other commentators have over the past year devoted quite a bit of attention to the man's many gaffes, sparing us the effort of detailing them here.

Usually, these have been attacks upon individuals laced with spurious adjectives and calculated to cause offence. However, his recent remarks about our Governor General are, to my mind, rather broader in application. Rather than simply attempting to racialise and 'foreignise' an individual, it seems to me like Henry has in fact put forward his own skewed definition for who does or does not look like a New Zealander.

It is a short step from there to providing a rather exclusive definition for who is and is not a Kiwi on the basis of race. With this in mind, one wonders how Henry would have reacted to any of the slew of previous Governor Generals of English extraction cosmetically indistinguishable from a Caucasian Kiwi, but ten thousand kilometres away in terms of culture and loyalty.

Let us be clear: Sir Anand Satyanand is one of us. An attack upon him and his place in this Nation is an attack upon all of us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NZ Soldier dead

A New Zealand Soldier lies dead, killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. And while that will no doubt sharpen public debate about New Zealand's mission there, for now I simply want to say our thoughts are with the family of the fallen man, whose identity as of yet has not been released.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Rule of Law

"Local Farmers have claimed that imports from New Zealand will affect their business". Yes. Generally, when someone exports a product as basic as milk to another country, this means local producers of milk will have to compete with the imported product.

Now it may be difficult for the Indian farmers to compete with ours. One imagines they are organised far less efficently, in small farms, with much less modern equipment and work practices. But perhaps the people who organised these violent attacks should ask themselves if it is worth destroying the trading relationship with New Zealand over this? How many more Indians are employed making goods that New Zealanders buy?

One hopes the Indian Government takes a strong stand against such criminals. Protest is one thing, but to actively attack and threaten legitimate trade is theft, vandalism and even terrorism.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Registering All Guns in New Zealand

This story has two interesting proposals; A) that very powerful Air Guns should require a licence to purchase and B) a recommendation by Keith Locke that ALL firearms be registered.

I agree with A). If a weapon has clearly lethal powers, and is known to be a weapon of choice amongst scumbag career criminals such as methamphetamine producers, FOR the fact that it is easier to obtain legally than a firearm that uses conventional bullets, it makes sense to close that loophole.

But B) is an attempt by Mr Locke to piggyback his own distaste for weapons onto that debate, in an attempt to make gun ownership that little bit more arduous, that little bit more bureaucratic. And more than that, it is difficult to see this measure have any impact on the ability of police to do their job, or reduce crime in any way. Scumbag criminals don't get licences now and exist in a state outside the law, and are not going to go through the process of registering firearms they are already not legally allowed to carry.

Lets keep NZ just that bit freer, and trust in law-abiding citizens to be responsible for their actions - and clamp down ever harder on those for whom the law is an inconvenience to sneak around, while selling poison and wreaking general havoc.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Course Passed

Ok so we have been rather slack - for myself, in the time since I last posted I've moved to Masterton and passed a Level 3 Professional Cooking Course at the Wairarapa Campus of UCOL. But we're back baby and better than ever.

I'm just going to note in passing that the debate about arming Police Officers is on again - it seems to come about every time an Officer is shot. How about we end it quickly before the next time to mourn a situation where if the Officers had been armed the confrontation with criminal elements would have gone quite differently or not taken place at all.

I'll assume that almost no one is watching this blog as it has been dormant the last few months, but we're definitely going to work on building a readership again over the next wee while.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


When I read this my reaction was the same as the title of this post. If someone is insulted by you doing your own thing, clearly not offering any insult, then it really isn't worth knowing them. And really, I don't think the Japanese would be insulted to any degree that would influence how they percieve us or engage with us, any more than Western diplomats are insulted when African representatives conduct talks dressed in traditional dress, or when Muslim representatives request that no alcohol be served at a reception.

Good international relations are based on give and take between the two parties, underpinned by a sense of mutual respect. Clearly Len Brown is stuck on give mode, and he is not afraid to take from the ratepayers to do it.

I don't intend to talk much about the supercity elections, but if this is the caliber of the frontrunner, Auckland has much to be afraid of, as does the National party who will have to wear the blame for a rushed process - not to mention the thouroughly undemocratic transition set up by Rodney Hide. Supporters of this Government should ask themselves, exactly when did it become acceptable for a Government minister to set up a shadow council of good citizens to determine things for everyone else?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I note 'Not PC' has been criticising the so called "step-change" the National Government promised on tax.

I really can't see why: I think the metaphore perfectly conveys the actions the National Government are taking. While Wikitionary does define the phrase "step change" the image it conjured for me was of two things: rugby players making a side-step or sudden break, or a solider marching out of time with the rest of his company and making the small shuffle that gets you back in time.

Either way, you are still playing for the same team, wearing the same uniform and going for the same goal. Now consider that John Key's budget is a "step change" from Labours. Thats right, same team, same goal, just hoping to do it a little better.

In any event, English had better have a few grenades left on his belt if he is going to get any bang for his buck come budget day, with even National super-blogger David Farrar giving him just a B.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should New Zealand ban the 'burqa' in public places?

The 'burqa' is a style of dress that covers the wearer head to toe, completely obscuring them from sight.

While this particular dress is unique to countries with large Muslim populations, many would claim that its origins are to be found in Arabian culture, as opposed to the tenets of the Islamic religion.

Several European nations have taken stands against the dress, which is controversial, given that women are often said to be coerced to wear it upon threat of violence. Jack Straw, a prominent Government Minister in the UK, declared he would only allow constituents into his electorate office if their face was uncovered. France banned all signs of religious affiliation, which included the burqa.

In western nations, covering the entire face has long been an unacceptable practice in the public sphere. One cannot walk into a bank with a motorcylce helmet on, for example. Not only is this offending the mores of society, it poses a danger - it is much easier to get away with robbing a bank if your face cannot be seen by security cameras.

So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that if you allow a certain section of society the special privilige to ignore this rule, that someone would try to exploit it. And in France, two bank robbers have done exactly that.

I don't believe the people acting through the state has the right to enforce a ban on what you wear in private situations. But the people do have a right to manage their safety in public spaces - one cannot walk down main street with a loaded gun for example. And the problem with the burqa is that it destroys the safety of public space - without the ability to identify the person under the burqa, it creates an opening that can be exploited.

New Zealand should take steps against just such an event, by banning the full concealment of the face in public areas (banks, Government offices etc) by any type of clothing.