Trump in Paradise, Calif.
The recipients of this newsletter are NZ activist groups that are reliant on multilateral cooperation if they are to achieve their aims. The main aim of the newsletter therefore, is to spread information about global developments. New Zealand’s interaction with such matters is largely dependent on whichever government is in power. Given the imminence of a general election and change in government, I ask to be indulged in my commentary on the matter.
The run-up to New Zealand’s coming election is rather more edifying than November’s equivalent in the USA. At least in NZ there is no question but that the candidates will accept whatever numbers the throw of the electoral propaganda machines reveal. In NZ, no disappointed candidate will argue that the vote was rigged. Likewise, there is zero chance of an incumbent NZ administration, desperate to distract the electorate from domestic woes, wagging the dog with a military adventure overseas. Nevertheless, the current hustings in New Zealand quite clearly demonstrate the disadvantage, among others, of a constitution dependent on, changing the whole composition of a parliament in one job lot, at three yearly intervals.
Parties, with eyes fixed on stealing an advantage over other parties, make promises of tax-payer benefits designed to appeal and catch the votes of individual segments of the electorate, irrespective of what would seem in the best interest of society as a whole. Reforms, generally held to be beneficial to society as a whole, are pre-emptively ruled out for the duration of a next government’s term, lest the opposition makes use of such proposals to reduce the party’s chances of winning that term. Media events, in which candidates air their party positions, are held like gladiator contests. The entertainment provided by the public spectacle of party point-scoring, maximises social disunity and minimises the room for future parliamentary compromise and cooperation.
Compared to many countries, New Zealand, under Jacinda’s coalition, is doing pretty well, but looking at today’s hustings, there is still no room for complacency. In the near future, NZ, like the rest of the world, is headed for an unprecedented avalanche of crises; climatic, pandemic, economic and military. If we are to survive, we need to maximise society’s resilience and the ability of our constitution to come up with the optimum solutions. In this optimisation, as has been so well demonstrated by Jacinda’s successful team of five million, social solidarity is going to be a key element in developing that critical resilience.
Naturally, the Labour Party, wishes to maximise its seats in the next government and is therefore anxious to avoid giving ammunition to its personal-wealth fixated opposition. The impression taken from the hustings to-date, is that it will not be taking any serious initiative to rectify the loser/winner dichotomy that three decades of neo-liberal ascendancy have inflicted on a formerly egalitarian and reasonably united society. The limitations of NZ’s unwritten constitution are apparent. There remains urgent need of a constitutional convention with an outcome that permits ‘radical’ polices, adapted to the coming dangers, to be properly debated and have a fair chance of being adopted.
Better Futures Forum 3 minute read
As far as NZ’s domestic arrangements go, the Better Futures Forum is worthy of serious attention from every reader of this newsletter.
Poverty Elimination China taking the UN development goals seriously: a robust approach to poverty. 10 minute read
The Rules Based System The real ‘rules based system’: the slippery slope on which NZ’s defence policy is built. 4 minute read.
Human rights around the globe Human Rights Council report. Welcome to planet Earth! 5 minute read.
Trusting Western news balance The pot calling the kettle: Uighurs through different eyes. 5 minute read
Peace & Conflict Resolution
NZ joins Star Wars US-owned Rocket Lab seems intent on dragging NZ further into participation in the militarisation of space and the danger of becoming embroiled in a hot war between East and West. 4 minute read.
Avoiding electoral defeat? The Chinese will see this as a move aimed more at China than the Iranians. Such a threat to the sea-lanes through which pass a large percentage of the oil on which China’s economy depends cannot be ignored. If Pompeo doesn’t act first, expect tensions to ratchet up as Chinese naval units visit Iranian ports in a demonstration of solidarity with Belt & Road subscribers. 3 minute read.
Environment & Climate Change
Fooled You. Climate change is real. Interpreting recent weather events. 4 minute read.
Green hydrogen Analysis of potential competitiveness of green hydrogen as a replacement for fossil fuel energy. 4 minute read.
The Trump factor in global heating Trump’s climate legacy. A lose cannon causing havoc on board planet earth. 7 minute read.