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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Foreshore & Seabed Act repeal - Maori Party optimistic

The Maori Party hope to repeal the Act. I hope they can get it drawn out of the private members ballot and I hope the opposition parties and United Future support a change. At that point they could do what I have always recommended - split the bill into two: The Foreshore and Seabed (Rights of Public Access) Act and the Foreshore and Seabed (Maori Land Confiscation) Act.

The first will give rights to people to access on foot the foreshore and seabed (everywhere below high water mark) if unenclosed or unfenced regardless of what title the property was on (similar to the anomalous navigation provisions in the current Act). It would also clean up the sloppy draftsmanship that leaves things like "recreational activity" as a totally undefined right (4WD? Shooting?) The second is self-explanatory and will force the parties' real intent out since if they vote for the first there is no question of public access being an issue. If title is given to Maori in the area they would have to comply with RMA and district plans as everyone else does which may limit what fencing or enclosures or other works are permitted in that area. The Crown or local government may enclose certain areas - but there are procedures for that too - often the same ones as everyone else.

If calling the residue untitled area of forehore and seabed the "public domain" instead of "Crown estate" must occur to ease the semantic sensibilities of Peter bloody Dunne, then so be it. A small price to pay.

You want to know what stealing Maori Land looks like? You don't have to go to the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 to find an example - that's too blatant. Just as the Act gave them an excuse to confiscate the Te Whaanga Lagoon on the Chatham Islands despite it not meeting even their own definition so other Acts of the past mask other general land-grabs. Search for it the most obscure places:


5.Similar Orders in Council declared valid—
No Order in Council heretofore made under section ninety of the Public Works Act 1908, or under the corresponding provisions of any former Act relating to the compulsory acquisition of [Maori] land, shall, in any proceedings or in any Court, be questioned or held invalid on the ground that the land purporting to be thereby taken was not [Maori] land within the meaning of the Act under which the Order in Council was made; and every such Order in Council shall take effect and be deemed at all times to have taken effect according to its tenor, notwithstanding any error, defect, or irregularity whatsoever in the procedure by which the land was so taken.

Just, you know, if it was dodge back then but the government did it anyway, now it's all legal - end of story. Most of the really dodgy stuff however like the NZ Settlements Act 1863 (which was the primary instrument allowing wholesale confiscation) have expired leaving everything changed but with no dirty fingerprints because the legislation is no longer "in force" as such - despite the current state of affairs being obviously the direct result of the law.

That is the fear and the hope: that if all of the legislative provisions still in existence that validated all of the dodgy dealings and presumptions and transgressions of the Crown can be repealed then the way is clear for judicial action to recover what was lost.

The Treasury have told the government that working out the value of what they have confiscated last year is going to be difficult - but they haven't ruled it out.


A Privy Council ruling undermined the NZ Government's dodgy theft of Maori land by criticising the 1877 "Treaty as a nullity" decision in 1901. So the government began trying to legislatively curtail the implications of it. Speaking of dodgy 1909 laws I found this:

Chief Justice Prendergast also held that customary title could not be recognised by the Courts in the absence of statutory recognition, and that "native proprietary rights" could be disposed of by the Crown whenever it chose by simply acquiring the land, with no need for a sale, or for extinguishing legislation. The Wi Parata decision was followed by New Zealand Courts for many decades. The Privy Council, however, took a different view on a number of occasions.


In the case of Nireaha Tamaki v Baker (1901)the Privy Council disagreed with parts of the Courts findings in the Wi Parata case, holding that Mäori customary title to land was recognised by both common law and statute, and that executive action such as a Crown grant could not by itself extinguish native title to land. The Privy Council, commenting on the finding in Wi Parata that unextinguished customary title could not be recognised by a Court, noted that: "this argument goes too far, and ... it is rather late in the day for such an argument to be addressed to a New Zealand Courts."

The New Zealand Courts, however, disregarded the Councils findings, and continued to apply the principles expressed by Chief Justice Prendergast in the Wi Parata case.

In a second case several years later, Wallis v Solicitor-General (1903), the Privy Council again asserted the existence of Maori customary rights to land as part of the common law of New Zealand. The Judges of the colonial Courts responded to the case with outrage, and after much heated discussion the colonial government enacted section 84 of the Native Land Act 1909, barring the enforcement of customary title to land against the Crown. This bar survives today via Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 as an amendment to the Limitations Act 1950, with the effect that claims for the recovery of customary rights to land are only valid if asserted against the Crown within 12 years of the breach. This effectively bars most potential claims dating back to 1840


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wong II: The mutilation continues

News of Pansy Wong being mimiced in parliament yesterday caused a stir. Tau Henare gave a good defence ("the most absolutely shocking display of what somebody could call racist behaviour, mocking behaviour.") of the Chinglish-speaking Wong. But I heard the whole thing and was relieved when Wong had finished speaking because it's so painful to listen. The simple fact is she speaks shocking English and ridicule might be the last remaining tool to get her to lift her game. If you want to know what the English language sounds like when it's being murdered it's not Murray Mexted - it's Pansy Wong.

She was no worse than usual. "Foreign Affairs" was rendered "Foreign Affair" etc. and all in her sing-song Cantonese style. I would say anyone with a thick accent (especially after being here since 1974!) would get a hard time in the debating chamber. Could you imagine the Pythonesque moments with Cullen if there was a Tory in there who had a German accent!?

But she is much worse than the Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres makes her appear: "I think it's inappropriate to mock someone's accent in the context of a parliamentary debate. "The fact of the matter is a lot of New Zealanders speak perfect English with different accents." NO, NO, NO, you stooge, she dosen't speak "perfect" English at all. It's not just her accent - it is that she doesn't indicate plurals, she can't pronounce common English language sounds, she leaves words out etc. That goes way beyond accent. She has not MASTERED the language - and yet there she is in parliament, where the primary method of communication is speech, hurting people's ears.

The worst part was when, after Henare defended her, she got up and continued in that nails across the blackboard mutilation - it was very sonically distressing - she acted as though she had no idea what people were talking about and was just prolonging her speaking to irritate people. She succeeded. She is the worst role model one could think of for Asians speaking English, or translated to WongChinglish® v1.0: "She da worse role model one could think for Asian speaking English". I'm not even sure about whether ing would be there.

Wong's point was that people can understand her. My point is that it's all under great sufferance on the part of everyone else. We have to devote extra attention when she speaks so she doesn't have to devote extra attention to learning the English language. I've heard her in person and she comes across slightly better when you can physically see her - rather than on the radio. For someone five years out of deepest, darkest Hubei then fair enough, but a Hong Konger here as long as I've been alive!. C'mon! Make a fucking effort.

The problem is that in person you can't just say "Hey, you lazy, dumb bitch, learn to speak properly" because that would be rude. She meets people, they strain to understand, and she goes on without realising how awful it is. She's never been pulled up about it to her face I suspect. Like the person with bad BO people will be highly reluctant to say anything out of a British sort of politeness - it makes it worse when they hang out with others who have BO too. I think the analogy is valid.

UPDATE: Her press release says: “If anything, the media reports about the incident should be applauded only if they draw attention to an issue that many Asian Kiwis face every day – where their accent is used as an excuse to deny employment or promotion. “I am very proud of my tri-lingual ability – I speak Mandarin with a Cantonese accent, and Cantonese with a Shanghai-ese accent, and I make no apologies about my unique ‘Pansy-speak’,” says Mrs Wong" - No apologies eh. She is asking everyone else to accept a shocking level of English and then insinuates that it is racist people who use a person's accent as a reason not to hire or promote?! Yes, of course, the fact they have sub-standard spoken English has nothing to do with them not getting a job at a call centre. Please.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Man you should of heard the interview between Matt McCarten and a Starbucks representative on Linda Clark's programme this morning!

This Starbucks witch kept calling the people they hire for $10 an hour "partners"? In what? There own servitude? They ain't no partner in ownership, lady.

Bragging about a 73% staff turn-over. And then that her "partners" could get a free beverage as "partner [and I think the term was] privileges" scheme. At this point Matt was just laughing - as was I. Unbelievable.

And what did she say..."I wonder who the masters are with the leases we have to pay..." !!! Yes that's right, I heard her correctly: "MASTERS" was her word. You poor bastards. Sickening.

A nasty exploitatative introduction to the work force is all they offer. I don't personally like the sickly, sugary milky pap from that coffee-milk bar cafe. I prefer to get a better, real brew at the real, cheaper, proper cafe down the road that has had the same staff for more than 9 months. If I want an over-priced child's milkshake, in an American venue with foreign teenagers and a stupid back-to-front self-service system, then I won't even go to Starbucks after hearing that interview.

Sell your Restaurant Brands shares - they don't deserve your assistance and their attitude and understanding doesn't entitle them to succeed in rewarding their management. Their system must fail. They are arseholes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Websites not to visit No.1

Don't get bored one night and type in www.deathtoamerica.org because it will give you the biggest fright of your life - at least it did to me! I've never had that happen before and I found it highly alarming. Sort of like the feeling you would get if you had just realised you were about to crash the entire internet. It could be destroying the hard drive as we speak. I hit restart immediately but we just don't know until a cackling, nude Osama or Bush appears in the middle of my correspondence... You've been warned.

The Great War

News of the last WWI vet in this country, West Coaster Victor "Bob" Rudd, having passed away is an event worth marking.

Having reegularly visited my great uncle Snow at Pt Chevalier as a child I did not know that it wasn't just old age that prevented Great War veterans from talking about their experiences. It was after he died that I interviewed a veteran of that war who lived on the corner of our street for a school project. (I was a finalist for a prize for that - but I recall the student who later became the Dux won it). He arrived in Europe just in time for Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres, 1917).

The two things I will remember distinctly from our interview:

The utter horror of that war. He said the Germans put in gas with every shell. If you didn't have your gas mask on you would die and it would settle at the bottom of the craters and trenches. He described the front as one crater on top of another and of another - something I didn't really appreciate until I saw photos like these:

These aerial photos are often used to illustrate the point:



It was a living hell. He described the quivering flesh torn open by a shell - of a man, not yet dead - of which he could do nothing to help, inside his gas mask, in the mud. It was all too graphic. He referred to military action as "stunts." Such was the derision they held for such futile charges and attacks. It was one crazed stunt after another. He was wounded and sent back on a hospital ship from what I recall.

The other crucial thing was that this was the war to end all war. It wasn't just a hope or an ideal it was a reality - another war was simply unthinkable, impossible. There would be no way that a war could be allowed to occur because of the immense gravity, cruelty and monstrous losses of the Great War. How could anyone living through that and seeing the memorials erected in every town and district in the country and the thousands of names etched into the wall possibly think otherwise?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Canada v. NZ

Canada could be a model for our bilingualism, I have been thinking recently, as they have a genuine commitment to it. Having two languages sitting equally side by side on documents, notices etc. seems a natural, non-threatening, normal reality to an English-speaker (such as myself)... but on persusing the official government sites the aesthetic sensibilities gave way to more concrete and banal matters: Canada seems to be in a bit of a state. Maybe that's just what the Federal position is? Or maybe it's worse if the Provinces are included?

Canada has aboooot 30 million souls and a C$189b (NZ$230b)federal budget - a whopping 19% of which goes on interest payments on their C$500b (NZ$610b) debt! Ouch. NZ has NZ$35b govt. debt and it takes only 5% of our budget last time I looked.) So, their federal debt on a population basis, is twice ours. Something that Cullen can be smug over next time he meets any delegation from Canada.

The other interesting thing, one of many (eg. Quebec amongst other things it insists on doing independently is it collects federal income tax by it's own tax dept!), but the one that stood out to me was the treatment of the natives compared to us, especially in view of the specious 'Maori are privileged' blah blah blah carping one so often encounters.

The important thing is the Canadian recognition of what we would variously call mana whenua and rangatiratanga ie, jurisdiction and territoriality. The US has always had a fully formed understanding and application of self-rule by Indian tribes which fits in well with the US republican tradition of a fairly radical (by our standards) de-centralised, intensively democratic, autonomous status of communities. Canada has moved in the same direction. NZ of course continues the colonial integration model of suppression and central control. The US after destroying traditional Indian authority in a land grab/ethnic clensing still had the principle of recognising their rights of self-determination and jurisdiction, customary law etc. despite their confiscations and Treaty violations. Colonial/immigrant paranoid control-freak reactionaries in this country can't even permit Maori to have that dignity such is their avarice and cultural insecurity.

The Labour government's tokenistic, Pakeha-ised, notion of allowing local councils to establish Maori wards could be seen as a half-arsed step towards self-government; but it is exactly the opposite. It is designed to fail, designed to keep Pakeha at Maori throats and Maori at each others. By lumping all Maori, regardless of their status in an area, as one exclusive group upon Pakeha (govt. determined) boundaries it undermines any real Maori sense of self-determination and rohe. It's an old theory: smash "tribalism," (bonds of kinship, group property, customary practices etc.) and you create brown Pakeha willing to assist in the wholesale despoilation of the land. By giving Maori with no land, historical or family interests in an area the same rights as Tangata Whenua it is another weapon against "tribalism." It is a Pakeha solution to a Pakeha "problem" (the problem of finding themselves generic mascots) with a trail of opportunistic Maori willing to go along with it for their own self-interest and the ignorant. It was never going to work - and nor should it.

In the context of the above rights of self-government, putting dollar figures is secondary, but Canada spends C$9b of it's federal budget for "Aboriginal and First Nations Peoples" as they are defined. That's 5% of the total budget (for 2% of the population). Now this doesn't mean anything by itself. It could be they lump all services to these people together rather than through mainstream services, it could be patronising and ineffective, controlled by corrupt local officials, controlled and sapped in the capital by non-Aboriginal bureaucrats and so forth. It could be that the position of natives in Canada is so bad that they need more, or that there is an irrelevant segregation of funding, or it could be that the Provinces give less or more proportionately than the federal govt. I find it interesting only because of the situation here.

Keeping in mind the Crown's firm figure of $1b as the total, final, maximum quantum for all "historic" Treaty of Waitangi land settlements (it must be up around half that by now), we have Canada's annual federal budget of equivalent NZ$1.5b. TPK/Vote: Maori Affairs is $170m last year. That's quite a gap even if it may be comparing apples with oranges.

That's the problem with the Crown consistently offering 1-2% compensation every two or three generations or so. It isn't fucking acceptable! That's why the "problem" isn't going away and is not "historic" but live. Can't the Crown pretend they're white and pay 100% and not have any more problems? - sort of why there isn't large class action Pakeha greviences - they get sorted out properly and speedily. Even with huge budget surpluses they have not offered anything more. If they had a $5,000b surplus they would still be insisting Maori deserve 1 or 2% while someone who is white, or foreigners are entitled to 100% plus costs, interest etc. Isn't that right? The presumption is that that is how white people want it - the trade off being bitching at each other forever and the govt. or the party who wants to be the govt. being able to use the race card to win elections by scaremongering.

At some point Pakeha are going to ask themselves the logical question about the Holy Myths (of the type ranted in Brash's Orewa I speech) of:-
1. "We can't let the Maoris get high expectations," and
2. "We can only attempt to try to offer some symbolically, token gift in lieu of redress".

1 really is "We Pakeha can't afford..." And not just that a bigot doesn't want 1 cent going to someone that isn't white, but that his massacring, looting, raping, ethnic clensing, land-grabbing ancestors are being besmerched or that that sort of person is who the immigrant appreciates. And even further, that by being nice in any way, by showing in real terms any measure of sympathy or understanding will lead to a revolutionary Maori radical uprising or coup d'état!

2 really is the mechanism of implementing 1. It acknowledges the wrong but only on condition that it in effect stays wrong. Many "liberal" people who may think of themselves as pro-Maori may fall into this category. Whereas 1 could be painted as a bigot, 2. could be merely patronising. On the anti-confiscation Hikoi I recall vividly over-hearing a middle class, Pakeha, female lawyer saying "Well even if it isn't their's it's how they feel about it." Part of me wanted to slap the little bitch of course, but that would have been rather out of keeping with the spirit of the event. How they feel about it! That was her level of understanding - no analysis of the actual legal issues or historical issues - no, it's just a "feeling" - how utterly patronising. And it is that sort of patronising "feeling" in that class of people that leads them to think that an equally patronising solution is possible: You feel your land was stolen and you feel half your family was wiped out, here's a tiki I made out of recycled plastic to make you feel better and an apology from the nice man from the government will make you feel better too - that's enough isn't it?

The logic probably has to be stated clearly since we are still in Rhodesia mode and it still hasn't dawned on everyone yet that people should be treated equally.

If those Maori expectations are only as high as Pakeha expectations, and Pakeha expectations deserve to be met, and Pakeha acknowledge and uphold the principle of racial equality of justice and fairness and that this should not just be attempted or be symbolic but should be real and meanigful and concrete to be durable and honourable and mutually respected, then it follows that Maori should be treated equally, and equally = 100%; not 0.1% or 1% or 2% but 100%. Pakeha would not, and should not expect less than 100%, and should expect Maori support to achieve 100%. It's all very simple, but it is not we have in this country today.

I don't know the answer to "how much" is 100% either. But I believe any settlement should be a more comprehensive package than just a monetary allocation and could even be the way toward a republic.

Friday, November 18, 2005

18 November - Confiscation Day

This is the anniversary of the passing by Parliament of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

I was not the only person, by any means, who protested against it - but to this day I am the only person to be arrested, charged and set to stand trial (June next year) in relation to actions in opposition to this Act. More a reflection on the pathetic, degraded nature of every single other person in New Zealand than it is of any radicalism on my part. If you let them they will take it - that is the nature of governments as it is the nature of men.

No need to emphasise that when I know something is unjust and of a significant magnitude I will endeavour to help rectify the problem. After participating and then being marginalised from the select committee process and watching the Government make a terrible mistake for all the wrong reasons and impotently witnessing the Parliament choose the evil version of history over right it became apparent that some sort of warning had to be issued. Being nice doesn't get you anywhere when you are up against a racist bully. Those sorts of people rely on getting their way through lies and intimidation - and usually the apathetic public will acquiesce because they want to believe the lie or are convinced it has nothing to do with them. This Act is an assault against the rights of New Zealanders and I'm thankful that many people have enough wits to understand that just because it is against a minority of which they may not be part, it is nevertheless an assault against the rights of us all. After viewing blogs, comments etc. over the past year there are a great deal of people who remain in affectionate attachment to the distortions, fallacies and out-right lies peddled by the current government - it is these ignorant people in whose name the government has acted. (Why here's a "Maori privilege" one already.)

The documents regarded as seditious by the Crown are available elsewhere, but it is appropriate to recall the petition I dispatched to as many people as I could email in a last ditch effort to stop it being enacted immediately after the 18th.

Many people understood the issues and in solidarity, as New Zealanders, emailed and faxed it to Government House. I thank them for taking the time to do that. Alas, I later learned that the Governor-General was on holiday and signed the Act after having it in her hands for less than one hour. I take it she did not read it even though her Official Secretary informed me she was aware of many petitions coming in pleading for her not to sign it. Such is our wholly inadequate system. Those interested in the Head of State and our constitution should note the course of action that is recommended to the G-G as an option instead of just refusing to sign.

This petition is the only one I believe I have ever made to central government. It's long, but it could not be more clear. Note the quotes in the Cabinet manual from Sir Kenneth Keith who last week was appointed to the International Court and note also the United Nations Special Rapporteur for ending racial discrimination is also visiting this country to investigate the issue. And let me say just once more: that "law" is contrary to our constitution and is invalid, inoperative and should be resisted.


FAX: 04 389 5536
EMAIL Stefan.Wolf@govthouse.govt.nz

Would the Official Secretary or other servant urgently print out this email onto large-sized paper and dispatch this petition forthwith to Her Excellency, The Governor-General, praying that it be read by her.

From: The Citizen(s) whose email address is at the head of this page and who can be contacted at that email address for our full details if so desired.

The Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief, Her Excellency Dame Silvia Cartwright PCNZM, DBE, The Representative of our Head of State, Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand.
Government House, Wellington

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned have the grim duty to cause this, our petition, to be presented to you for your perusal, consideration and action.

This is an urgent matter regarding the Foreshore and Seabed Bill that is being rushed to you for your assent. Before signing the Bill we implore you to please read this petition.

We hereby request the following three things.


That you fully read the entire Bill before exercising your prerogative Reserve Powers to decline assent, or, having read it and satisfied yourself that this petition is without merit, assenting to it.


That you fully appraise yourself of the extraordinary circumstances by which someone would petition you to use your royal powers by making (under XVI of your Letters Patent, 1983) a request for your Ministers to properly furnish yourself with information that would satisfy you that your assent is appropriate, or not, as the case may be. Your options to warn or counsel Ministers after assent, we fear, will be ineffective.


That you decline assent to the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. We note that such an action has no New Zealand precedent, but also note that such an overt and discriminatory confiscation outside of war-time also has no such precedent and is contrary to the common law doctrine of confiscation at the very least. The power to decline assent is implied in sections 4 and 16 of the Constitution Act 1986; part IV of your Letters Patent, 1983; is accepted as part of the common law by our constitutional conventions and made explicit in other constitutional documents, inter alia the Preamble and 1.10 of the Cabinet Manual.

Indeed the term assent itself comes from the Latin sentio: to think. Declining to assent would cause a constitutional crisis if the Prime Minister insisted upon it. We would not be pleased should you be forced to resign, or should you feel the need to offer your resignation - we would rather the Prime Minister resign in that case. However you may consider the following option:

It may be possible for you to request permission of your advisors to formally decline assent, giving your grounds for doing so in writing, and then awaiting whether that permission has been granted or not - as a token of your concern, and our distress. If your advisors then direct you, similarly in writing, not to use your prerogative to decline, then you could act on their advice and then sign the Bill. That alone may be enough to both signal the necessary gravity of the situation to your advisors and yet (by not actually finally declining to assent) you would not reasonably be causing any constitutional crisis as far as the Government or the public was concerned. This method of requesting to decline assent, if publicised, should also ensure you were not targeted as any part of civil disorder, and would enhance your mana in the role of a diligent national symbol of unity.

On the First matter:

The public needs assurance, the aggrieved parties need the knowledge, the Members of Parliament who did not give their consent to the Bill would benefit, and those unhappy elements in the community ready to initiate violent action may be dissuaded: that if Her Excellency made every effort available to ensure she gave her assent (if she is to give it) on the basis of a wide range of relevant information then that assent will be more properly and satisfactorily legitimised. A full reading of the Bill and its constitutional import may be considered a minimum requirement under the circumstances.

On the Second matter:

As Part XVI of your Letters Patent require you and your Ministers to be "fully informed" so Part XVII requires us, members of the public, to "aid and assist our Governor-General in the performance of the functions of the office of Governor-General." It is in that capacity and under those duties incumbent upon us that we here offer our aid and assistance to you in the form of this petition.

The Bill is injurious to the public welfare, peace and good order of the nation. In exercising your duty of care to the peace and good order of the Realm we note that the Bill, already divisive, has begun to result in acts of civil disorder, threats of escalating violent disorder, the sworn non-acceptance of the Bill by many people and general scepticism that any good will come of it. In short, this Bill is not in the best interests of the nation.

The public have not had an adequate input into the Bill. Passage of this Bill was marked at every turn by haste and the curtailing of public input. For your information: 94% of the almost 6000 submissions by the public to the select committee were against the Bill, less than 10% of submissioners were ever heard in person, the committee only visited three locations and cut their planned hearings short, and the choice of who was heard was decided by an advisor to the committee and not even by an M.P. Then the Bill was put through in urgency last week at which point the Government put in a 65 page amendment brokered in a "back-room deal" at the last minute which no other M.Ps had read.

We therefore wish to note the procedural problems with the Bill and also wish that you do not similarly rush to assent or decline the Bill without first making yourself aware of all the ramifications of so doing.

Without the need to recall the harrowing trauma of our recent past and its on-going effects, confiscation of Maori land rights without compensation is contrary to the Treaty (Second and Third Articles) and is generally regarded as an injustice.

Governors of New Zealand signing instruments of confiscation ought to be a colonial anathema not something you are contemplating having to do.

On the Third matter:

We draw to your attention the following laws and conventions pertinent to this petition and your authority:

Regarding the Treaty of Waitangi:
"Article the Second
Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Pre-emption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf."

Regarding the Constitution Act 1986:
"16. A Bill passed by the House of Representatives shall become law when the Sovereign or the Governor-General assents to it and signs it in token of such assent."

Regarding the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor-General of New Zealand, 1983:
"XVI. Our Ministers of the Crown* shall furnish Our Governor-General with such information as he may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the Government of Our said Realm."
"XVII. Our Ministers of the Crown and other Officers, civil and military, and all other inhabitants of Our Realm of New Zealand, shall obey, aid, and assist Our Governor-General in the performance of the functions of the office of Governor-General."

Regarding the Cabinet Manual (latest edition, 2001):
"The New Zealand constitution* increasingly reflects the fact that the Treaty of Waitangi is regarded as a founding document of government in New Zealand...
"The prerogative powers of the Governor-General are part of the common law. They exist independently of statutes...
"The Treaty of Waitangi, which may indicate limits in our polity on majority decision making. The law may sometimes accord a special recognition to Maori rights and interests such as those covered by Article 2 of the Treaty. And in many other cases the law and its processes should be determined by the general recognition in Article 3 of the Treaty that Maori belong, as citizens, to the whole community...
"Policy and procedure in this area is still evolving...
"Governor-General may assent - or not - to Bills passed through the House...
"The Letters Patent indicate that the role includes being informed and consulted, and advising and warning Ministers. The office has central symbolic, unifying, and representative roles...
"There is for instance much emphasis in law and in practice on those exercising public power giving fair hearings to and consulting those affected by the exercise of that power...
"A balance has to be struck between majority power and minority right, between the sovereignty of the people exercised through Parliament and the rule of the law, and between the right of elected governments to have their policies enacted into law and the protection of fundamental social and constitutional values. The answer cannot always lie with simple majority decision making. Indeed, those with the authority to make majority decisions often themselves recognise that their authority is limited by understandings of what is basic in our society, by convention, by the Treaty of Waitangi, by international obligations and by ideas of fairness and justice..."
"1.10 Only in a very few cases may the Governor-General exercise a degree of personal discretion, under what are known as the "reserve powers."


Upon reading the Bill, examining your conscience and weighing the facts of the nature, implications and consequences of the Bill we hope that you will look favourably upon this petition as the options laid out in it constitute our last peaceful, legal recourse in this matter.

We are, for the time being, your loyal servants,

Name, address etc. of petitioner(s) to be supplied upon request at
the email of the sender.


I wish I could tell you I was on the way to destroy something precious to the government and by the time you read this it would have been done. But I'm tired. Very tired.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Public Service Announcement. Re: art

Your whakapapa/ancestral migration story is wanted for an international art competition. Zane explains:

"We're doing a text thing and need stories of how different people or their ancestors arrived in New Zealand and from where. It's up to your interpretation what or how much you write but a paragraph or two from a lot of people would help. Obviously what we're getting at is showing the cultural diversity that makes up New Zealand and the fact that some of us are of European decent and yet have been here for many generations and some of us are recent arrivals and so on."

I suppose the contributions could be anonymous also. I don't want to mention what the competition is in case the concept is plagiarised!

Although any attempted intrusion/supervision of the project by me will be utterly thwarted, I trust Paula and Zane will do justice to your stories, and on behalf of them I thank you in advance.

Email: zed@pacificdesign.co.nz


Ahh, 1:48am and the neighbours are having a right barny at full volume - sounds like it's being conducted on the street. Not the first time. I take it no-one will ring the cops until something breaks or there's a direct call for public intervention. Which is why we're so civilised! - giving people space to work their shit out and knowing the appropriate boundaries. Litigating family matters in the wee small hours isn't seemly but nor does it warrant a Police reaction.

I believe a second level of police - a para-constabulary - should be established to deal with minor issues like this (if it went to a higher level) and traffic and infringement offences. A community-mandated and funded organisation, with national codes of conduct, uniform etc. in each community. Maori Wardens with more stick. Such measures have been mooted lately instead of boosting the police numbers up forever. These para-constabularies would have the added credibility of being subject to police scrutiny and action as opposed to the police themselves who can get away with murder at present. As such they may be more respected. The Police (as in some jurisdictions like France) could focus on criminal detection, investigation, serious offences, complex or inter-jurisdictional crimes etc. and efforts that need a lot of resources and expertise. As such they may be more respected.

This community force and other community-based organisations could use the telephone number 999 which at present has Dougal Stevenson telling us we've dialled the wrong number for 111.

The para-constabulary, dealing with more intimate situations may also have social worker officers or speciality units like the old system of municipal traffic forces that existed prior to 1989. Such decentralisation flies in the face of the centralised authoritarian instincts that have been steadily bred into the people by 130 years of relentless governmental encroachment. Like Michael Laws on the radio yesterday insisting that places with less than 10,000 people had no right to run their own affairs we live in an age where it is assumed, as axiomatic, that a merger into a super-outfit will always yield superior services and lower costs. Not so. The mistakes are bigger and costlier and well run runts are pillaged by inefficient bohemoths. It is a fact that Auckland's motorway system was devised and executed more proficiently when there was about 26 councils in the area than now when there are only 6 (RMA notwithstanding). Locals in one area may have a completely different agenda, needs and aspirations from another area in the same council - at present they are largely powerless and prone to council officialdom and plans made by others and their agendas.

After looking at the somewhat overly-decentralised US scheme and our own history it might be wise to have a super-council at the Regional level replacing the current city and district and regional councils with a tier of communities that operate independently and together constitute the council (rather than the other way round at present where the council and the Local Govt. Commission can move around community boards and boundaries at will). With recognition of Maori communities and their rohe as communities with exactly the same status I think this mechanism can overcome a great deal of Treaty related angst and be an acknowledgement of mana whenua and an avenue of self-determination that Maori have been systematically deprived of for so long.

My thoughts on this matter are highly detailed and advanced... unfortunately they are either in a computer in police custody or in about 100 pieces of paper filed randomly in random draws.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

NZ Herald premiumfree content activated

Paying the Australian Provincial Newspaper group to access NZ Herald "premium" content is now completely redundant.


As NRT points out it will probably be shut down by the APN lawyers at some point in the near future. Long may that day be postponed.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Constitutional void

Parliament being sworn in - live on the radio. That's one of the things I approve of in our democracy.

One after another our political representatives have sworn allegience to Queen Elizabeth II "under law". This isn't the only peculiar thing about these events.

The Speaker, Wilson, was appointed by the jack-up coalition-that-isn't using their majority to lever her into the office in a trade-off with the deputy position from what I heard. She somewhat proudly reminded us that we are one of only three countries not to have a formal unitary written constitution. That's the result of expediency, inattention and complacency bordering on the inept by members of parliament and the people who elect them. That is a New Zealand paradigm in need of a solid thrashing.

She then told us what a great tradition of select committees and hearing submissions and participatory democracy we have. Yes - for stuff that isn't important or the government doesn't know what it's doing, then they go through that process - properly. But if the government wants to do something bad then it just cuts all that short and rams it through. So, really, when the time comes to actually use those procedures and when they are most in need they are suspended by the government. So that sort of talk about how the parliamentary system works is just a load of shit, isn't it. I recall when they told me my select committee submission on a the confiscation bill could not be heard because they were in a hurry. Mr Fairbrother, the mug who lost Labour the safe Napier seat, was in charge of that but was no doubt "just following orders." I just hope they will only have to live to regret that decision on my terms.

The other odd thing is that I am listening to the swearing in of the MPs and yet the Ministers which form the government supposedly from the ranks of the MPs have already been sworn in - a few weeks ago. According to the Constitution Act 1986 (which is an ultra-minimal, ultra-vague statute that doesn't even mention the existence of the Supreme Court!) any candidate in the election can be sworn in as a minister and that will continue for some time (30 or 60 days?) until they can be confirmed as winning their seats -or not. So, as I read it, the PM could appoint people who may have come last on the list, or a crack-pot who might not even had scored a single vote and they can be sworn in as a minister. We do legally have a full government of ministers and not one of them has yet been confimed/sworn as an MP (as it was until a few hours ago) or even a set of ministers who were candidates but were unsuccessful. What a great constitution-that-isn't. The government is far more important than the House of Representatives in our system because we are still operating a colonial-type constitution that has heavily centralised administrative and political power. The fact of their proper election to the House is just a formality as far as governance is concerned. It must be the other way around: MPs are sworn in and a vote taken on the government and then, after that the Ministers are sworn in. (Any contributions to the Constitutional Convention.)

Finally, a minute silence for Rod Donald. Thought about without him we might not have MMP. How he changed the entire format and rules of the game although he couldn't quite get to the top table to achieve the big policy goals that would have allowed. Any constitutional change in this country is quite some accomplishment, the move to a proportional representation democracy was a great feat.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Calling passenger B E Smith on flight QA22: you have HIV...

An American company looks as though they have an oral swab HIV test that takes only 20 minutes!:

Orasure's kit would allow a person to take a swab of saliva and insert it into a small bottle, providing the results while the patient waits at home.

Company officials said its HIV test had been proven effective, but they would conduct more studies on how well average people can interpret it on their own. Michels had no comment on when Orasure would file for approval, but said the studies would have to be done first.

The company has not said how it would charge consumers, but the professional version costs between US$12 and US$17.

Now I know the privacy brigade will see the liberal outrage in the post below on Australian fascism as an akward juxtaposition with the idea of universal preventive screening, but I don't think so - so here goes:

If there is a cheap non-invasive (ie. non blood) method of screening for diseases that are communicable and may result in death and/or severe illness and/or lengthy impairment then the state has an obligation to use these methods to detect people with those diseases before they enter the country or at the border post: at that point a risk assessment may be done and in some cases permission to enter the country denied. Entire catagories of diseased people (not being citizens of the country) may be denied access automatically.

If they had a type of x-ray that would be even better - but a mouth swab seems pretty innocuous to me. Could we eventually eliminate some diseases through the imobilisation of people who carry the disease? It has contained leperosy - but in places that let lepers live outside of colonies, eg. Brazil, it is still a problem. (A recent TV documentary I saw made it clear they still don't know how leperosy is transmitted).

With Internal Affairs halving the time a NZ passport is valid and doubling the price (ie. quadrupling the cost) to fit micro chips in it to appease the USA in a wrong-headed theory that it will somehow discourage terrorists (it won't it will mean they will be complacent with anyone with a new passport who could be a terrorist) I think they should be looking at implementing universal passenger screening as a real way to protect the health of the nation.

Also: wouldn't passengers like to be informed that they have a disease - or that they haven't got a disease?

Hey Aussie, get yourself a bill of rights before it's too late.

-------UPDATE FRI-04/11/2005-------

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock


News that the Senate will take three and not one week to look at the bill and other MPs are getting some concessions from the crazed:
The Attorney-General's Department also agreed to re-examine the sedition provisions early next year and the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, promised, after last-minute talks with Coalition MPs, a higher test for prosecuting suspected members of proscribed terrorist organisations and people inciting terrorist acts.
Where previously a person only had to praise a terrorist act to fall foul of the law, now there will have to be a risk that their words will incite someone to emulate a terrorist act...
The original bill, leaked by the ACT Chief Minister, said only one parent of a 16- to 18-year-old detainee could be brought in to support their child. However, they could spend just two hours with the child, unless granted an extension by police, and would not be specifically allowed to tell their partner of the detention.
- They want to change that too. Small mercies, eh?


NRT has all the good oil on John Howard's emergency legislation to give more powers to the Australian security services to combat terrorism/bogeymen etc.

The conservative PM has taken advice from the organisations who will benefit most from the legislation and who presumably lobbied for it that they need it right now because of a vague possible threat that although not important enough to do anything about in any other way is about to happen and they need the new laws to thwart it. Now that all sounds preposterous enough. But the opposition leader Kim Beazley (is it his third go as ALP leader? fourth?) is dumb enough to believe Howard. The whole thing is a case study in spin, hysteria, manipulation, paranoia and stupidity. We need to pass the law now because a foreigner has burnt down the Reichstag might blow up Uluru or the Jo Bejelkie-Peterson Memorial Cane Toad Laboratory. Whatever.

If only the big newspaper barons gave a fig. Looking around the News Ltd papers and Fairfax stables they are either ignoring it or towing the government line and dutifully reporting every drawl of Howard as if it were gospel. From The Australian:

FEARS terrorists are moving closer to an attack on Sydney and Melbourne have forced the Howard Government to rush through an emergency law to make it easier for police to arrest suspects.
John Howard said the Government had received "specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat".
The Australian has learned the intelligence relates to home-grown terror suspects in the country's two biggest cities who are believed to be building the capability to mount an attack.
The Prime Minister refused to divulge any details, stressing he could not talk about operational matters.

Notice how they say "forced" the government: yeah they had to there was no other way was there. It was "fears" that "forced" them?! Pathetic. And:

The serious nature of the threat allowed Mr Howard to secure backing from the states and federal Opposition for the swift law changes. The Senate will be recalled today to pass the amendment, which Mr Howard said would "strengthen the capacity" of police to respond to the threat.

So without this manufactured threat it could not have got through. So who wanted it through? - The security services. Who invented the "threat" - the security services. And:

Yesterday's move followed months of intensive operations by Australia's top spy agency, ASIO, and the Australian Federal Police.

So they've had their sweet time to do it too. And:

Despite yesterday's warning, ASIO did not change Australia's official threat assessment, which remains at medium. The level would increase if there was credible information of an imminent strike against Australian citizens on Australian soil.?

Hang on! I thought there was a "threat" and yet somehow there is no "imminent strike" and no change in the "threat assessment" which is only "medium". This just gets more phoney by the second. But wait, there's more this measure is just a last minute amendment to the main anti-terrorism/pro-fascism bill:

The effect of the amendment will allow law enforcement agencies to prosecute even if a specific terrorist act is not identified. "It will be sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the particular conduct was related to a terrorist act," Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

Law enforcement agencies have been seeking this legislative amendment for at least 18 months, amid concerns the existing law is too restrictive.

The AFP and other agencies have been engaged in systematic monitoring of several terror suspects in recent months, but under the current law they cannot arrest and charge suspects without firm knowledge of a specific planned attack.

Yesterday's amendment would allow police to apprehend "suspects who are building the capability for an attack", a senior government source said...

Several MPs and senators last night questioned the Government's motive in rushing the amendment into parliament, but Mr Howard denied security services and police were "doing the Government's bidding".

Yesterday's decision came as the Government was expected to reach agreement with the states on the main counter-terrorism package, which will see the introduction of preventive detention and tough control orders on terror suspects.

While some Coalition and Labor MPs continue to question the severity of the laws, Mr Howard said the Government was close to a final agreement.

They introduce this security stuff the same time as controversial industrial relations legislation that they know will preoccupy the opposition parties and all on Melbourne Cup day! Brilliant - brilliantly evil.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Driving us crazy II

Now I know some bus drivers have chips on their shoulders and I know that the words "Wellington" and "service" have never gone together but this just sounds the limit:

Stagecoach is investigating an incident on one of its buses where a blind 14-year-old boy was assaulted following a dispute with the driver.
He presented the driver with a card for the visually impaired when he boarded the bus in Wellington's Island Bay.
The driver did not accept the card belonged to the boy and asked him to get off the bus.
While the matter was being discussed, another passenger punched the boy and dragged him onto the pavement.
Police say it appears the driver did not intervene and drove on after the incident.

My previous tales of woe as an Auckland bus patron don't really compare with this incident (if true). The passengers are supposed to help attack the driver - not each other. What's wrong with Wellington?