Newsletter No.15.

Thanks to such resolute action by our Prime Minister, we should soon have the opportunity to burst our friends’ bubbles. We have fared so much better than other countries, but, though the sum of bereavements has been kept so low, there will still be a huge economic reckoning for our society to deal with.

I recently saw a cartoon (I cannot recall where) which summarised the outcome of several decades  of neo-liberal policies. There was a person labelled ‘Loser.’  Another, labelled ’winner,’ was sitting on the loser’s shoulders. The loser, unbalanced, was teetering on the edge of a cliff down which, both could plunge at any minute.

A stronger and more resilient community would have all its members standing side by side and no winner’s living on the backs of losers. Of the multiple problems to be addressed by the post-Covid NZ economy, the most important is probably the extent to which NZ should strengthen our national community by reversing the inequalities engendered by neo-liberalism. We will need strong social bonds to face together the drop in national prosperity that now seems inevitable.

Other pressing questions to be answered include such as, what proportion of the national budget should be devoted to reducing NZ’s exposure to international disruption – to stockpiling and to autarchy? What proportion of the defence budget should be devoted to strengthening NZ’s diplomatic outreach to better avoid war, rather than to armaments to better participate in it? What sacrifices are we prepared to make to save the planet for future generations – and, seeing we cannot do it on our own, to persuade other nations to do the same?

Now is the time for those, who care about such things to make their voices heard.

Each fortnight I send out this newsletter to about fifty recipients. So far, I have only received one un-subscription, which in itself, is some sort of feedback, but hardly a satisfactory basis for editorial policy. It could well be that no one has opened the mailing to see how to unsubscribe!

I have thought of sending out a questionnaire but, at this stage, that seems overkill and probably a burden you could well do without.  However, I would be most grateful, if any of you do have time to pen me your views on the relevance of the newsletter’s contents and whether there are improvements to be made.   

Peace & Conflict resolution.

NZ Defence Budget Our constitutional arrangements have let us all down by giving Labour little choice but to hand over NZ’s defence policy and budget to Ron Mark, an ex-army officer, apparently unable to think beyond an unquestioningly subservience to the USA’s reinvigorated cold-war doctrine.   3 minute read.

RIMPAC RIMPAC: Ron Mark joins the USA in preparing for war with China. 1 minute read.

Environment  & Climate Change.

Vegetarianism The decision to cease to be a carnivore is no great burden for the individual. My wife and I have been vegetarians for several years. With a small vegetable garden  Jamie Oliver’s and a Crank’s vegetarian cook-books, we eat wondrously well and cheaply. Perhaps all NZ’s ecology oriented groups should combine to mount a national campaign for a gradual national conversion to vegetarianism over the coming decade. 4 minute read.

Think A plea to adjust your mind-set. 5 minute watch.

Guterres Guterres requests a post-Covid green change of economic emphasis. 3 minute read.

Human Rights & justice.

Racism The USA’s deadly racial discrimination. 3 minute read.

Open Letter An open letter to the Prime Minister, which is still open for signatures.  “We need a “new normal” in our economy which focuses on strengthening and empowering local communities to work towards a more sustainable future. It can start with post-pandemic government spending.” 2 minute read.

Global Governance.

Universal Basic Income. Useful briefing on the Universal Basic Income. 4 minute read.

US Democracy How Wall Street keeps the hoi pollei in their place. “Freedom and democracy are best secured when banking secrecy and tax havens exist,” 4 minute read.

Three end games Three end-games The three end-games for humanity that we so unhappily ignore – Pestilence pandemics, nuclear  War and climate change Famine – (the fourth rider of the apocalypse is Death. But by then, we will be past caring!) 4 minute read.

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2 thoughts on “Newsletter No.15.

  1. Peter Nichols says:

    Hi Hugh. I object to your comments re Ron Mark:
    NZ Defence Budget Our constitutional arrangements have let us all down by giving Labour little choice but to hand over NZ’s defence policy and budget to Ron Mark, an ex-army officer, apparently unable to think beyond an unquestioningly subservience to the USA’s reinvigorated cold-war doctrine.
    Ron is a highly principled gentleman acting in our best strategic security interests. Your implication that he is an ex Army officer and therefore somehow tainted or a lesser being is an insult to all those fine citizens who gave, and continue to give, their all against tyranny and injustice. To further suggest he is unable to think beyond an unquestioningly subservience to the USA is totally inaccurate and reflects your ignorance. I for one, am not let down by his actions, but rather reassured by his robust actions to ensure we at least have some defence against future uncertainties.
    If anything positive from this, it may be that at least on person reads your articles!
    Best wishes. Peter N

  2. Hugh says:

    Hi Peter,
    Being myself (and like you) an ex-army officer, I do not regard that condition as being in any way derogatory. Nor do I have any doubt that Ron Mark is acting in what he perceives as being in our country’s best interests. My argument is with his perception of those best interests. What I would hope, and would expect from a Minister of Defence, who has the advantage of having experienced military service, is that he should have an understanding of the implications of a military involvement with a USA hell-bent on aggression against New Zealand’s main trading partner. Sadly, there is every indication that he, like several of his predecessors, does not. I would recommend he reads Machiavelli on the folly of minor states allying themselves to those much larger than themselves .

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