It’s a question on the lips of very, very few people: should New Zealand replace Queen Elizabeth II with Winston Peters as our Head of State?
Many people are talking about the day when New Zealand finally casts off the last vestiges of British cultural dominance. For some reason, the obvious thing to do when this day comes is widely considered to be to become a republic. A man no less knowledgeable than David Lange said that New Zealand will inevitably become a republic.
There’s a problem with this cozy narrative, though: most republics around the world are shit.
Indeed, if you say “The Republic” to a New Zealander they will probably think immediately of South Africa, which is hardly a country New Zealand wants to emulate. By almost every measure: wealth, crime, education, corruption, healthcare, justice, race relations – New Zealand is a much better country than South Africa.
As Plato could have told us, the basic problem with a democracy is that when the head of state represents the mob, you inevitably end up with a tyranny, as the cruder elements of human nature, left unchecked, express themselves in abusive government.
This is why the Roman Republic ended up with the assassination of Caesar and civil war, why the Weimar Republic gave us Hitler, and why the death throes of the American Republic has presented us with a choice between the buffoonish Donald Trump and the execrable Hillary Clinton.
Not only do republics run a serious risk of being shit, but constitutional monarchies (as New Zealand is) fill most of the list of the decent countries in the world. Almost every decent country in Europe – Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Monaco and Liechtenstein – is a constitutional monarchy, as is Canada, Australia, Japan and Thailand.
Constitutional monarchies, in which the head of state is a monarch whose powers are laid out in the form of a constitution, have some massive advantages over Presidential systems. The foremost, as mentioned above, is that they can avoid putting all power in the hands of a representative of the lowest common denominator.
Another is that, because monarchs have no term limits, the monarch (and their various consorts, princes, dukes etc.) will remain engaged with the government over the course of many decades. The British Government benefits immensely from the wisdom offered by Queen Elizabeth II, who, in the natural course of her business as Queen, has had the opportunity to meet an unprecedented number of influential people.
In this way, the monarch offers a link to the past that allows for a higher, more detached perspective. This is only possible because the monarch does not sully themselves with an undertaking as filthy as politics in the first place. Would any group of American intellectuals call upon the wisdom of George W Bush?
If the argument for a constitutional monarchy is accepted, why Winston Peters?
First and foremost, Winston Peters is actually a Kiwi. He is not a German who lives in England. All other things being equal, this makes him vastly more qualified than Queen Elizabeth II, for whom New Zealand might as well be on the Moon.
Peters is also both Maori and Pakeha, and therefore better represents the blood whose vital energies founded and gave rise to the nation than any foreign monarch could. Not only that, but also more than any Kiwi who was not themselves both Maori and Pakeha. Even better is that he does not identify solely with either group, having previously made a big deal about ending the “grievance industry” beloved of black magicians among Maori elites.
Aside from his crude racial qualities, Peters is of auspicious family: two of his brothers have also been MPs.
Despite that, Peters is far from an upper-middle class twit. He was previously captain of the Auckland Maori rugby side and played in trials for the New Zealand Maori. This makes him a man for all people, from the rugged colonial who hewed the country out of rock and kauri to the gentle statesmen of modern Wellington.
That is not the only way he represents what is innately good about the Shaky Isles. He is also an explorer, like everyone who immigrated to here over the years. He has been to North Korea to meet their leaders when he represented the nation as Foreign Minister in the Clark Government. This is something that can be said of no other Kiwi, and probably few of us would have the gumption to travel to North Korea as a representative of the nation.
His wisdom has been demonstrated by the Winebox inquiry, being right about the need to switch to a Western European pension system, and by being right about the effects of mass immigration on social cohesion. Since most of the impetus behind letting so many immigrants in is to make quick money as soon as possible, Peters’s attitude represents the kind of long-sighted calmness everyone needs in a king.
And his commitment to the nation is unquestioned. Even losing his Parliamentary seat in the General Election of 2008 was not enough to cause him to give up. In this regard he is equalled only by people like Richie McCaw and Edmund Hillary.
Crucially, none of these things necessarily qualify him for a place in Parliament, which is, of course, a nest of scum-sucking, lying, parasitic whores, and never more so than right now under a John Key Government.
This proposal raises obvious questions regarding whether the position be hereditary or not (it could be ceremonial), and the precise limits to monarchic power.
It seems that the time has come for New Zealand to stand on its own two feet and make Winston Peters the King of the constitutional monarchy of Aotearoa.
Adam Holland is the only one of the 18 Auckland mayoral candidates whose candidacy doesn’t have some kind of gross defect. If the mayoral campaigns were embryos, most of them would be terminated by the mother after the doctor made clear that there was no chance of viable offspring. Holland stands out from this rabble in a number of ways.
The first is that he is the only one interested in using his position as mayor to enrich Auckland, instead of just enriching himself. Holland has promised to “donate every last penny of my salary to various charities as suggested to me by the people of Auckland“. Considering that the salary of the Auckland mayor is NZD250,000+, this represents a considerable sum of money that charities need.
Coupled to this is the likelihood that the mayor would make it fashionable to donate salary money to charity, which is what this ever more unequal society needs. Considering how shallow and trend-conscious Aucklanders are, magnanimity on the order of Holland’s gesture might be worth tens of millions to the various charities of New Zealand.
Many politicians are fanatically devoted to an ideology and are happy to destroy everything in their path in order to force that ideology upon everyone else. Holland is the opposite of this – his suspension of judgment is so strong that he doesn’t know if he is representing Not A Party or Legalise Cannabis Auckland. Perhaps it is both, or even neither.
Holland is the only candidate with genuine philosopher-king credentials. He says “I won’t do a single thing as mayor just as I haven’t done a single thing for the past seven years of my retirement. Decisions shall be left up to the people, not an elected official in a farcical ‘democratic’ ceremony.”
Here Holland is referencing Book VIII of Plato’s Republic, in particular the passage that covers the five forms of government. For those who have not read The Republic, the belief of Plato was that government begins as an aristocracy and degrades over time, passing through the less perfect stages of timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and eventually tyranny.
The astute listener would interpret Holland’s words here as a warning to us about the further deterioration of our society, especially in this age of greed. Once democracy degrades further, it becomes tyranny. It’s possible to read Holland’s words here as a warning against the darker side of human nature, one that has almost surfaced thanks to the short sighted mismanagement of the Key Government.
Auckland is fortunate to have such an extraordinarily educated individual run for mayor.
If the above is somehow not convincing enough, consider the state of the field that Holland is running against. Each candidate was offered a free shot of publicity here, and all of them bar Holland disqualified themselves with their responses.
Mario Alupis – professional wrestler. Attached photo suggests a large number of serious knocks to the head. Can’t be trusted to remember what he’s doing.
Aileen Austin – probably too old to survive the term as mayor. Also, Auckland would never vote for a hippie – this isn’t Nelson, dear.
Penny Bright – “Crooked” Penny Bright is running for mayor to distract the public from her impending imprisonment for dodging her rates bill. Auckland doesn’t need a mayor that shifts their debts onto the public.
Patrick Brown – Couldn’t be bothered supplying a photo. Also a communist.
Tricia Cheel – Another old hippie. Will split Aileen Austin’s votes and vice-versa, meaning that a vote for either is a waste.
Victoria Crone – has claimed to “bring 20 years’ experience running major New Zealand companies to the Auckland mayoralty.” What this means is that Auckland will be sold to the Chinese and everyone working in Auckland will be paid $5 per hour.
Phil Goff – no good unless he has Helen Clark telling him what to do.
David Hay – yet another old hippie, Hay is a former Green and thus probably a communist.
Alezix Heneti – serial failure. Eccentric name sure-fire sign of a rampant narcissist.
Stan Martin – couldn’t get it together enough to supply a photo, clearly not up to being mayor.
Bin Thanh Nguyen – couldn’t get it together enough to supply a photo, clearly not up to being mayor. Almost literally nothing is even known about this guy.
Phil O’Connor – Bible-thumper. Hates women. Vote for this guy and you can kiss goodbye to being allowed to buy alcohol on Sundays in Auckland.
John Palino – American, thus disqualified on the ground that we need a Kiwi to be the mayor of our biggest city.
Tyrone Raumati – couldn’t get it together enough to supply a photo or to respond to social media advances, clearly not up to being mayor.
Chloe Swarbrick – probably the next most sensible choice apart from Holland, wants to use the mayoralty as a platform to reshape the world in her image though and therefore cannot be trusted.
Mark Thomas – a plastic candidate in the John Key/Aldo Miccio mold. Soulless.
Wayne Young – basically a complete bum who would have been euthanised in a less tolerant society.
Many, many people have been saying that these reasons make Adam John Holland the sensible choice for Auckland mayor on 09 OCT.
Every day, someone is pointing a finger at someone else to blame them for the unaffordability of New Zealand housing. Many fingers are pointing in many directions: at John Key, at Chinese investors, at developers, at Auckland Councils, at greedy speculators and at the world economy.
What the media isn’t willing to admit is that the housing crisis is a natural consequence of the culture of New Zealanders. What we have to accept is that we’re not actually a very nice people.
This country was essentially founded by the sort of person who sells other people’s land out from under their feet, and the sort of person who buys the land anyway. Some parts of Wellington were ‘sold’ by people who didn’t even live there. We’re still like this – when we sell a house, we don’t give a fuck who is moving into our old neighbourhood, as long as they bring the cash.
Our current record immigration levels are also a natural consequence of our culture. The land-owners are in power, so if we open the floodgates to everyone demand for housing will increase, which means the value of the land-owners’ assets increase, which means they can sell them for the highest price.
We’re a pack of whores in this country. Let’s just accept it so that we can make sense of what’s happening.
Nowhere is the short-sighted, greed-crazed mentality that defines the New Zealander of 2016 more evident than in Auckland. The “Auckland housing crisis” (as it is dubbed by the Auckland-based media) is an outgrowth of that same mentality that South Islanders refer to when they say that Auckland has no soul.
Because it doesn’t. It’s just a bunch of whores trying to get rich at each other’s expense. Auckland is like Los Angeles: a superficial, shallow plasticland of hustlers, grifters and straight out bullshitters. No-one there trusts anyone else, and neither should they. Pull out a bunch of cash in either city, though, and you can have someone sucking your dick within seconds.
New Zealanders are whores because we treat each other like whores.
We don’t build decent houses because that costs more money, so we let our kids get asthma instead.
We don’t have a capital gains tax because that would inhibit our ability to get rich from property speculation, so we have empty houses owned by foreigners while our young people live in cars.
We close down rape crisis centres and slash mental health funding because we’d rather have tax cuts.
If we take an honest look at our own culture, we have to accept that there is no real housing crisis in Auckland – it’s merely another great chance for some of us to get rich at the expense of other New Zealanders. If we are honest we have to accept that we want it that way because it gives us profitable avenues through which we can exploit our countrymen.
With the Black Caps to begin their South Africa leg of their tour of Africa with the first Test on 19 AUG, attention turns to the composition of the team ahead of the main challenge of this tour.
Three of the positions in the batting order are as certain as they have ever been. There is no doubt about Tom Latham opening, about Kane Williamson at 3 and Ross Taylor at 4.
With the bowlers there is no doubt about Tim Southee and Trent Boult, and the middle order is certain to feature both Mitchell Santner and wicketkeeper BJ Watling.
Regarding the second opener’s position, Martin Guptill probably did enough to retain his incumbency as an opener, and is therefore expected to start over Jeet Raval. The 27-year old Raval, who is yet to play a Test, has a first-class average of 44 and is probably the strongest first-class opener yet to play Test cricket since Mark Richardson.
Henry Nicholls will probably continue to bat at 5, with New Zealand unlikely to put Luke Ronchi in the position. Nicholls might have the most tenuous claim to a place in the team, but the Black Caps management seem willing to give him a decent run in the side because he is only 24.
Regarding the bowling options, New Zealand might find itself in a good position to gamble on a four man pace battery, on account of that the spin doesn’t look threatening enough to help take 20 South African wickets.
Ish Sodhi took eight wickets at 25 on the Zimbabwe leg of the tour but was far from convincing. Although he occasionally bowled a dangerous ball, he put down a haul of full tosses and long hops that even Zimbabwe’s batsmen could easily put away. His economy rate of 3.29, compared to Mitchell Santner’s 2.15, is evidence that he does not yet have the control to tie down an end.
Santner, for his part, seems to be improving as a bowler. His economy rate reflects that his bowling was tight against Zimbabwe, rarely straying away from an off stump line, even if the spin was gentle.
Given that Santner will almost certainly be chosen for his all-round value, and that Martin Guptill has shown himself capable of tidy spin bowling should the need arise, it may be that Sodhi is deemed to have very little value to the team for the South Africa leg.
Neil Wagner has become indispensable as the Black Caps’ third seamer. His Test bowling average has come down to 30.43, which is lower than that of Tim Southee. Wagner also has the quality of being able to pose a threat with the old ball, which gives him value in the same conditions that Southee and Boult are less dangerous in.
This leaves a fourth seamer spot open for either Matt Henry or Doug Bracewell. This column believes that Bracewell is unlikely to possess the application to develop much further as either a bowler or a batsman, and that neither is true of Henry. Although Henry is yet to impress in his four Test career, he has 51 ODI wickets at a world-class average of 22.17, and so his potential appears much higher.
If Guptill is capable of bowling in the case we need two spinners, and if Santner is capable of bowling a large number of tidy overs as he did against Zimbabwe, the best team choice for the Black Caps might be to drop Sodhi and go with a four man pace attack.
This would give us a Black Caps side of:
1. Martin Guptill (6)
2. Tom Latham
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Henry Nicholls
6. Mitchell Santner (5)
7. BJ Watling (wk)
8. Matt Henry (3)
9. Neil Wagner (4)
10. Trent Boult (1)
11. Tim Southee (2)
– DAN McGLASHAN
The title of this article is the truth, whether it’s admitted or not. The mental health system of New Zealand is the way it is as it’s a cheap short-term solution that we voted for because, as a people, we love cheap short-term solutions.
There’s simply no way around the basic equation. People don’t work for free. If you don’t want to pay people to take care of the mentally ill, then cheaper ways have to be found. Currently our system works like this: if you report with a problem, you’re given sedatives until you stop complaining. Everything else, like spending time with an actual person who can help you solve your problems, is off the table because it’s too expensive.
The average national per capita funding for mental health services in New Zealand is $243 per year. This amounts to probably one hour with a psychiatrist (and associated clerical duties), per New Zealander, per year. Because of this tight funding, mental health care has to be denied to as many people as possible unless absolutely necessary.
I was once told that I was capable of taking 30mg of Olanzapine per night (a dosage which caused me to sleep for 12 hours a day), of working full-time and of completing a Ph.D., all at the same time. The sort of clown that can tell a mental health patient something this stupid is the sort of person that gets hired by a system trying to do everything on the cheap, because if you pay poor wages you get the dregs of the labour market.
Other ways of saving money include a policy of treating everyone who needs an invalid’s benefit as if they were malingering, lying, thieving scum first, and then maybe later as a fellow human being in need of help. Presumably the logic is that by treating everyone who comes to the mental health services as a probable benefit fraudster, many people with marginal cases are discouraged from seeking further help, which saves money.
If the mental health services are cut far enough, savings will be achieved when the most desperate kill themselves. Don’t think for a moment that this calculation is too cold-blooded for the Government – it isn’t. Every 25-year old mentally ill beneficiary that kills themselves saves the country about half a million in benefits over the course of their lives.
Consider that a study sponsored by the Academy of Finland found that “Well-developed community mental-health services are associated with lower suicide rates than are services oriented towards inpatient treatment provision” – in other words, paying to do mental health properly, rather than just putting an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, results in fewer people killing themselves.
This article from February describes how mental health services are being cut in Canterbury due to a lack of funding. If one takes into account that suicide is the second most common way for young people to die in New Zealand, it becomes apparent that recent efforts to save money by cutting mental health funding results directly in deaths by suicide.
Maybe New Zealand, as a nation, does not wish for anything else, as New Zealanders consistently vote for a political party that has a policy of underfunding mental health services.
Our mental health system may be a disgrace, but it’s one that we want to be a disgrace because it’s cheaper that way.
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