Af­front to democracy

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

New Con­ser­va­tive stands with State Ser­vices Com­mis­sioner Peter Hughes in his con­dem­na­tion of MBIE con­tract­ing out sur­veil­lance on New Zealand cit­i­zens.

The num­ber one rule of gov­ern­ment is to pro­tect its bor­ders and de­fend the peo­ple’s safety and free­dom.

Mr Hughes has re­cently called the move by MBIE to spy on peo­ple us­ing ad­vanced social me­dia tech­niques, in­clud­ing us­ing false per­sonas, as an af­front to democracy. New Con­ser­va­tive agrees with Mr Hughes, and calls for his voice to be heeded.

This move is out­ra­geous, and is a clear move to­wards com­mu­nism by the Labour-led gov­ern­ment.

China has for many years spied on its peo­ple, us­ing social me­dia as a ma­jor weapon, and in­deed gone fur­ther by block­ing many global in­ter­net ser­vices for fear of its peo­ple know­ing too much and shar­ing too much in­for­ma­tion.

The ques­tion New Con­ser­va­tive asks is, When will that hap­pen in New Zealand? This is the tip of the ice­berg, and any­one can see that this leads even­tu­ally to ISP-based pow­ers and the in­evitable fil­ter­ing of all in­ter­net ac­tiv­ity.

This is the op­po­site to pro­tect­ing our peo­ple’s free­dom. New Con­ser­va­tive calls on the gov­ern­ment to stop these fur­ther in­cur­sions into our democracy and de­mand that MBIE not spy on the peo­ple of New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern and senior min­is­ters must go fur­ther, and en­sure all pub­lic ser­vants re­mem­ber that the free­dom of the peo­ple they serve is para­mount.

New Con­ser­va­tive stands for free speech and the free­dom of peo­ple to openly share per­sonal in­for­ma­tion with­out fear of hav­ing this col­lected, kept, and used against them by pub­lic ser­vants.

LEIGHTON BAKER Leader, New Con­ser­va­tive

Martin Han­son at­tempts to den­i­grate his op­po­nents by call­ing into ques­tion their mo­ti­va­tions (The golden rule, let­ters Jan­uary 10).

And as usual his tar­get is mem­bers of the Catholic Church, whom he calls masochists, com­pletely miss­ing the irony of his quot­ing Mother Teresa, whose whole life was ded­i­cated to self­lessly re­liev­ing the suf­fer­ings of oth­ers.

But Han­son is on a self­ap­pointed cru­sade, and he never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

In­stead of crit­i­cis­ing those with dif­fer­ent views he should con­cen­trate on what is ac­tu­ally in the End of Life Choice Bill, which should be read care­fully by all New Zealan­ders.

There is no need for ‘scare­mon­ger­ing,’ be­cause the re­al­ity is fright­en­ing enough. Key terms like ‘griev­ous and

ir­re­me­di­a­ble med­i­cal con­di­tion’ are com­pletely un­de­fined, mean­ing that the widest in­ter­pre­ta­tions are pos­si­ble. The ‘at­tend­ing doc­tor’ may be one who has never pre­vi­ously met the pa­tient.

The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s re­port is an­other must read. The clear im­pli­ca­tion is that over time eu­thana­sia would in­evitably be ex­tended to chil­dren.

Would Han­son ac­cept this? Not many other Ki­wis would.

MPs should re­ject this dan­ger­ous Bill.



supreme law-maker, the courts’ role is to in­ter­pret and ap­ply the law.Un­der the Bill of Rights Act, judges are obliged, wher­ever pos­si­ble, to in­ter­pret other statutes in a way that is con­sis­tent with the pro­tec­tion of rights and free­doms. This would ap­ply to the End of Life Choice Bill, and in­cludes free­dom from dis­crim­i­na­tion.

We al­ready have the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s re­port

that the Sey­mour Bill dis­crim­i­nates on the ba­sis of age, and it is prob­a­ble that the courts would sub­sti­tute an age re­quire­ment of 16 years.

The com­mon law then pro­vides for un­der-16s who are deemed suf­fi­ciently ‘ma­ture’ to qual­ify. This is the Gil­lick con­cept, recog­nised in both UK and New Zealand case law.

The age spec­i­fied in the Bill is only the be­gin­ning of the story.

It took only six months af­ter le­gal­i­sa­tion for Canada to ex­plore the is­sue of ex­tend­ing eu­thana­sia to ‘ma­ture mi­nors’ (chil­dren), and this now seems likely to go ahead.

Canada (with the ex­cep­tion of Que­bec) is a com­mon law ju­ris­dic­tion, like New Zealand.

The prospect of this ex­ten­sion is un­for­tu­nately a le­gal re­al­ity. D J SCOTT

Auck­land tem­per­a­ture drop of 0.56 de­grees Cel­sius be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2016 to Fe­bru­ary 2018. Ob­vi­ously this is not true.

In sharp con­trast to this, ac­cord­ing to Nasa and other of­fi­cial sources, 2016 was the hottest year on record since global es­ti­mates be­came fea­si­ble in 1880. 2017 was slightly be­hind in be­ing the sec­ond hottest. Earth’s four hottest years on record have now oc­curred since 2014. All of the 20 warm­est years have been since 1995.

It is ir­rel­e­vant if there has been a slight drop in tem­per­a­ture over a short pe­riod. What is more im­por­tant is the over­all trend, which con­tin­ues its up­ward climb since the late 1970s.

Alan Jones’ source of in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing cli­mate change is not only un­re­li­able. The mo­tive ap­pears to be the need to de­ceive and mis­lead to pro­tect their in­ter­ests. To claim the great­est twoyear cool­ing event just took place, if re­fer­ring to the global tem­per­a­ture, is a bla­tant lie. RAY PATER­SON

Kaimau­mau let­ters Jan­uary 10) about ex­otic and nox­ious trees and plants on our road­side re­serves and sur­round­ing land — pub­lic and pri­vate. Sar­casm with a se­ri­ous edge.

What a mas­sive in­dus­try all this of­fen­sive green­ery could be.

Due to its bulk and rapid growth, Arundo donax, the gi­ant bam­boo grass rapidly creep­ing its way across the Far North, is the EU’s num­ber one pre­ferred source of biomass for the pro­duc­tion of biodiesel. Wild­ing pine, privet, pam­pas, gin­ger, to­bacco weed and many other ob­nox­ious for­eign plants can also be used in bio­fuel pro­duc­tion, large-scale and small at a district, ward or even lo­cal com­mu­nity level.

By-prod­ucts of biodiesel pro­duc­tion are valu­able or­ganic acids like glyc­erin. Bush green­ery can also be con­verted via sim­i­lar pro­cesses into high-value health in­dus­try prod­ucts like chloro­phyll.

There’s more. Large, tall, old and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous road­side pines, gum, privet, wil­low and to­tara can be felled at the same time, and, fol­low­ing the prin­ci­ple of ‘re­plant a na­tive’, indige­nous trees, shrubs, bushes and/or flaxes planted wher­ever an ex­otic is re­moved. Na­tive ri­par­ian zones to re­tain land near the sea, of­ten below roads.

To ame­lio­rate kauri dieback, threat­ened kauri might be greatly in­creased in num­bers and spread, while manuka is si­mul­ta­ne­ously planted for honey pro­duc­tion, en­er­gis­ing na­tive nurs­ery busi­nesses.

Imag­ine the vis­ual added-value for tourism — not to men­tion safety ben­e­fits — if trav­el­ling on more Far North high­ways was like driv­ing through Waipoua For­est.

Pine, privet, gum, wil­low and to­tara would yield ex­cel­lent fire­wood mix as an­other rev­enue stream, with larger privet on steep hill­sides be­ing cop­piced to re­tain root struc­ture and pro­vide fu­ture yield un­til na­tives are re-es­tab­lished.

Se­lec­tive man­grove re­moval might be un­der­taken in some places as well, for ex­am­ple to re­open strate­gic views around Hokianga Har­bour.

That’s not all. Such re­me­dial, safety, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, stabilisation, har­vest­ing, fuel-pro­duc­tion and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion work un­der­taken by pri­vate com­pa­nies or social en­ter­prises in part­ner­ship with FNDC, NRC and their cor­po­rate sub­sidiaries Far North Hold­ings Ltd and North­land Inc, would al­most cer­tainly at­tract Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund sup­port and pos­si­bly ‘Bil­lion Trees’ fund­ing as well.

But wait, there’s more. Com­pre­hen­sive road re­serve man­age­ment schemes like I’m de­scrib­ing will pro­vide both em­ploy­ment and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties — at­tract­ing yet more gov­ern­ment fund­ing — es­pe­cially be­ing fairly labour-in­ten­sive, and will help re­vive some of what North­land MP Matt King calls North­land’s “de­prived com­mu­ni­ties” — ap­par­ently full of “no hop­ers” — with­out re­mov­ing the young peo­ple from them.

Peo­ple could re­ceive tu­ition, learn and at­tain qual­i­fi­ca­tions in ev­ery­thing from traf­fic man­age­ment through forestry/ ar­bo­real skills to re­tail (fore­court) sales, HT driv­ing and ma­chine op­er­a­tion to land­scap­ing, de­sign, project man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing and busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion while they work and earn. Much of the work would be out­doors and healthy, and all of it would boost the sus­tain­abil­ity of lo­cal economies.

I haven’t quite fin­ished. Privet and pine Man­grove re­moval to re­open strate­gic views around ar­eas such as Hokianga Har­bour could dou­ble as a form of ben­e­fi­cial em­ploy­ment, Wally Hicks writes.

pollen are ma­jor causal agen­cies in up­per res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion and trig­gers of asthma at­tacks, with griev­ous health reper­cus­sions and costs. While plan­ta­tion pine won’t be stopped un­til we even­tu­ally come to our senses, at least some of this scourge can be re­duced. This might at­tract Health Depart­ment fund­ing.

Fi­nally, road­side lit­ter ap­proach­ing towns in the Far North is an ab­so­lute pub­lic dis­grace. Our ver­sa­tile Road­side Restora­tion Teams can take care of this too, per­haps en­list­ing lo­cal school stu­dents and/or com­mu­nity vol­un­teers, while also en­sur­ing their safety.

That’s my free busi­ness/com­mu­nity en­ter­prise idea for some­one. Any tak­ers? I’ll be sur­prised if it doesn’t fly.


Ko­hukohu Re­cently a Ja­panese man, Kiyoshi Kimura, bought a 278kg (612lb) bluefin tuna for the top price ever, at about $5000 a pound, or $9000 a kilo, which makes Wagyu steaks seem cheap.

Although this was done more for pub­lic­ity that a po­ten­tial restau­rant profit, there may have been bet­ter ways to spend the money. The like­li­hood of any­one pay­ing the full cost price when they dine out is al­most zero.

There is also the con­sid­er­a­tion that the bluefin tuna are an en­dan­gered species and shouldn’t be har­vested at all.

Per­haps Mr Kimura, who may al­ready be a gen­er­ous per­son, could have helped to es­tab­lish some soup kitchens or food re­dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres so that many other peo­ple could have got sim­ple food that would keep them alive.

This amount of money would have helped many who would have been very ap­pre­cia­tive of his do­na­tion.

The world should con­cen­trate on mak­ing sure all peo­ple have an ad­e­quate food sup­ply be­fore there is a need for su­per-ex­pen­sive foods for a small num­ber of peo­ple. DEN­NIS FITZGER­ALD


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