Why we must act against terrorists
Thank you for providing a response to my criticism last week of Gordon Campbell on ISIS terrorism and the risk of retaliation should New Zealand become involved, and thanks to Mr Campbell too for such a thoughtful and well-informed response.
I had not picked up from his original column that his point was ‘‘spreading the risk of retaliation’’ by securing United Nations endorsement, and I greatly respect that argument.
But this argument does cut both ways – a United Nations endorsement would, of course, imply well over 100 countries ‘‘attracting retaliation’’; but it does not reflect well on New Zealand if the United Nations’ moral compass is broken or deactivated by vested interests on the part of veto-holding nations like Russia and France; a ‘‘coalition of the willing’’ is formed of nations that still have a moral compass, and New Zealand deliberately chickens out even though we are insulated from retaliation by our very remoteness and by the fact that 30-plus far more significant nations are more likely targets.
Shame on us if Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Colombia, Honduras, the Solomon Islands and Tonga (among a few dozen total) are prepared to sign up and we are not.
Have all these been hit with retaliation from Islamist terrorists yet? How long will it take them to work their way down the list to Tonga? strangers, which could relate to many races in New Zealand today.
He then goes on to rant about the evils of white people, and the totally incorrect view that only whites can be racist.
Maybe Mr Borrie should reserve these sorts of mad rants for his neo-communist pulpit.
Many people today find the term Pakeha outdated, and more than likely offensive. We are all New Zealanders, and should stop looking to use any terms of reference for other races that further an ‘‘us and them’’ mentality.
Maori choose to be called Maori; I choose not to be called Pakeha, as do many New Zealanders.
Citing Salvation Army workers in provincial cities, he suggested that ‘‘Tolley’s statistics (showing a 10,000 drop in benefit numbers) could merely reflect that recent welfare reforms have tightened the eligibility criteria and placed many on lower payment levels before they drop off the welfare radar entirely’’.
The fact is there has been no change to the eligibility criteria for benefits. There has been no change to benefit rates.
Benefit cancellations to take up work is at its highest for years. In the past year, 38 per cent of all benefit cancellations were to take up work, compared to 33 per cent in 2009-10.
Every week people come on and off benefit as their circumstances change – between June 2013 and June 2014 there were 84,477 cancellations off benefit and into work – which is 1600 a week.
The Government’s welfare reforms have placed more obligations on beneficiaries, but these are not onerous and many of the new ones are about kids.
They include things like wellchild checks, and ensuring your child is enrolled with a GP and enrolled at school. If people don’t meet their obligations they are being sanctioned, but that doesn’t mean their benefit has been cut. Sanctions are in the most part warnings.
It is easy for people to re-comply and most do so without any impact on their benefit. While sanctions have increased since 2010-11, there has been a 34 per cent reduction in the number of suspensions and cancellations of benefits during that period.
Gordon Campbell claims it is all spin. He’s wrong. He may not the like the fact that welfare reforms are working, but that is the reality.