By Fiona Mackenzie

Can we change the course of history? Many say we can’t; we should just accept what’s happening and go with the flow. Others feel they simply must do something, make an effort so our descendants won’t pay the price of our apathy. Hence the formation of 1Law4All and our grassroots attempts to inform fellow New Zealanders of just what the trends will mean.

Professor James Allan is another who has spoken out in his book, “Democracy in Decline”. A Canadian who has also lived Down Under, he writes about the forces currently undermining the democracies of the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

True democracy, where every adult has one equal vote and the most votes wins, is not a perfect system. We don’t always get what we want but hey, we do win occasionally. And majorities are usually reasonably fair to all. Proof of democracy’s value lies in the indisputable fact that the 5 countries described have been among the most stable, prosperous and evolving nations on earth. So many emigrants or refugees from all of the poorer, ruthless or soul-destroying regimes around the world have dreamed of winning a safe haven in one of them.

So while we’ve observed disturbing happenings here at home, Prof Allan has finally articulated the methodology by which the power-hungry and misguided are undermining one of the fairest, most inclusive and enjoyable little countries in the world:

  1. 1.         Judges (i.e. ex-lawyers)
  2. 2.         International law
  3. 3.         Multinational organisations or agreements
  4. 4.         Undemocratic elites

A take out of what he wrote follows.

The Judiciary

Now, why oh why, do we believe these ex-lawyers have a higher moral calling than the plumber or nurse living next door? Yet we do. And they have extraordinary power, despite lawyers being ranked well down the list of the most trusted professions in 2013 (at 37th, they are admittedly above politicians at 46th).

No longer do these ex-lawyers simply apply what Parliament has decreed to the cases before them. Increasingly, activist judges have taken it into their own hands to decide what legislation should mean, often intervening in ways not at all intended by the elected lawmakers.

Our most classic example is Sir Robin Cooke’s radical interpretation of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. The tribal chiefs ceding of sovereignty to Queen Victoria (in return for the rights of British citizens and protection) was suddenly reinterpreted as “a partnership” between the Crown and iwi, with the Crown obligated by the undefined “whatever iwi want them to mean” principles.

The motives behind the appallingly written Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 have become clear. Such loose, vague and undefined legislation provides little restraint on politicians and judges deciding to transfer public coastline to private iwi interests, or to manage it for their personal benefit.

And as suspected, the Maori Party-instigated Constitutional Review aimed to take power from the people and their elected representatives, to put it in the hands of unchallengeable, activist ex-lawyers, again for the benefit of private iwi interests. No doubt, this threat hasn’t gone away.

International Law & Multi-country Trade Agreements

The democracies of the world have been losing their sovereignty. Judges and bureaucrats have been increasingly looking beyond their borders to international arrangements and decrees when making decisions, thereby taking power away from the people and their elected representatives. Our sovereignties are progressively being challenged by the bureaucratic will of the likes of the United Nations, the European Union and trade agreements.

So despite New Zealand leading the world in universal suffrage (of men and women of all races), we seem to accept with no questions asked that the despots in the United Nations have a right to tell us how to run our country and that we should hand over governing power to unelected, self-serving, feudalistic/tribal leaders.

Even Australia has been struggling to enforce plain cigarette packaging within its borders.

Undemocratic Elites

Thanks to the judges, the bureaucrats, the UN and less than principled politicians, self-appointed tribal leaders have gained unchallengeable power in New Zealand.

We see the results in the propaganda and revisionist history being taught in schools and tertiary institutes; what has been a public coastline is now subject to numerous tribal claims and closed door negotiations; there’s the underhand “fire sale” or gift of public assets to tribal leaders; the transfer of control over cities and environmental resources (national parks, lakes, rivers and the Hauraki Gulf) from elected politicians and councillors to unelected, racially-biased private interests.

In Auckland, the Council has facilitated the imposition of undefined tribal processes and unlimited tribal fees on private land owners seeking resource consents (to build a shed or a deck or to chop a tree); even scattering the ashes of recently departed loved ones is to be subject to iwi approval and fees; and more recently there’s the cancellation of council permits to hold running events in Auckland’s public parks in order to appease tribal demands.

Allan describes how such elites are successfully imposing their preference or sentiment on countries without bothering to convince a majority of us that it is the best course in the circumstances. These groups are no different from any corrupt corporate bully, gang or mafia. We Kiwis even pay them handsomely from hard-earned taxes, yet we have no say on who they are or the limits of their power.

Why Don’t the People Notice?

No doubt you’ve noticed some of the tactics being used:

  • •People ignore the message while denigrating the messenger. This has been very successful, especially when the people being attacked and undermined are straightforward, honest folk who don’t have the means or street smarts to outwit devious political games. The fact that our tabloid media love a stoush, and have no wish to investigate or report actual facts doesn’t help.
  •  •They highlight democracy’s failings, while ignoring its strengths. A common mantra by tribal politicians these days is “Democracy doesn’t work for Maori; it’s tyranny of the majority.”

Well none of us win all the time, but the best long-term lifestyles and outcomes for the people tend to come from democracies, not feudalistic societies.

Maori certainly weren’t doing too well under tribalism in pre-settlement New Zealand. Now living in the South Pacific’s most prosperous nation, Maori have privileged status with more than equal access to health, education and welfare than the citizens of our undemocratic neighbours.

World history has demonstrated time and again that ruthless minorities do tyranny far better than majorities ever do. The quest of many modern tribal leaders is all about securing unchallengeable power and control over New Zealanders and their cash. And currently, they are doing a fine job of achieving it.

  • •They redefine democracy so we don’t realise our vote no longer counts. MMP and its coalitions have certainly muddied the waters with some small parties making gains totally out of proportion to votes won. Now our elected Councillors are falling over themselves to create “partnerships” with self-appointed, unchallengeable and taxpayer-funded tribal leaders. This includes the ability to create racially-biased legislation such as Auckland’s Unitary Plan.

If such deals weren’t with Maori, there’d be a considerable uproar. But so many of us have been indoctrinated to believe Maori are entitled to more, including authority over and above our democratically elected representatives.

Take Action Now

Reading Prof Allan’s book confirms that we have been accurately reading the signs. What’s happening in New Zealand is part of a trend in all complacent, tolerant and prosperous democracies. It can only result in unrest, resentment and strife.

The big question is – will we let the selfish, the appeasers or ignorantly oblivious facilitate the destruction of our democracy? And will we be strong enough to turn the tide?


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