English meets Merkel

Bill English has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the last engagement on his European trip.

NZ Herald: PM homeward bound after crucial Merkel meeting

English’s first trip as Prime Minister saw him undertake a precarious balancing act of trying to keeping onside with both the EU and the UK – without taking sides to ensure New Zealand was not trampled underfoot by either in the ensuing melee of Brexit.

English had described Germany as the “de facto leader of Europe” and Merkel’s influence is such that her say so will be critical if the New Zealand free trade agreement is to be signed in anything even close to the 2-3 year timeframe European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has estimated.

As with most trade deals New Zealand is unlikely to be a priority for much bigger partners.

Merkel has a lot to deal with in Germany, including an election this year, and also the very contentious immigration issues Europe and Germany are having to deal with.

The other big issue English was interested in talking to Merkel about was the migration issues in Europe – including coping with refugees which Merkel is now facing criticism over, including from US President-elect Donald Trump.

That could see Merkel seeking more help in dealing with the Syrian refugees from English – although English has previously said New Zealand was doing enough.

Although English diligently avoided criticising either the UK or the EU over Brexit, he did make it clear that the free trade deal with the EU was the priority for New Zealand’s interests – not only because it is likely to happen sooner but also because it is much larger.

English said New Zealand’s decision to follow the EU’s lead on Russia was paying off in terms of the agreement with the EU.

“If we can get a trade deal, get up and going with it and get it done in the kind of time that the Europeans are talking about, I think that would be partly because of the relationship we have built up and some of the common stance we have taken around issues like dealing with Russia.”

This illustrates what a balancing act international relations can be. New Zealand wants trade deals with all of the European Union, the UK and Russia but also needs to walk a fine line supporting or opposing other issues between the three.

I presume this trip had been arranged while John Key was still in charge, but English has dived into the deep end on his first big international trip as Prime Minister.

Japan, Australia still backing TPP

After an official meeting the leaders of Japan and Australia have said they were committed to proceeding with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

RNZ: Japan, Australia both back TPP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement after their official meeting as part of Mr Abe’s four-country trip to boost Japan’s trade and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

In his first visit to Australia since Mr Turnbull became Prime Minister, he said both leaders were committed to ensuring the 12-country TPP trade deal would come into effect.

“On the economic front we agreed that we should demonstrate anew the importance of free trade,” he said.

“We confirmed that we would coordinate toward the early entry into force of the TPP and the prompt conclusion of the RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership].”

There is still a major problem though – Donald Trump has said made a priority of taking the US out of the TPP.

The commitment came despite United States President-elect Donald Trump criticising the TPP as a “potential disaster” for the US and vowing to prioritise withdrawing from the pact.

Mr Abe, who had previously said the TPP would be meaningless without the US, said the countries also agreed to maintain “solid cooperation” with the Trump administration.

NZ Herald report that Bill English says a rethink on the TPP may be necessary in Bill English optimistic about Donald Trump US presidency

One of Trump’s first acts will affect New Zealand’s interests – Trump has pledged to initiate the US withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership on his first day in office.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and Japan PM Shinzo Abe met recently to discuss how to salvage the TPP and English said he was not ready to give up altogether either.

“I wouldn’t say it is futile, but I think along with those countries, we need to rethink our approach. It could be as soon as next week that the US executes its position and that means we need to rethink it.”

“I would hope there would be a way of keeping the US engaged in the Asia Pacific and the TPP certainly would have done that. There may have to be some adaptation or some other way of doing that.”

‘Rethink’ may mean trying to do a TPP without the US, unless Trump makes a major reversal on his stance.

When should NZ speak out against terrorism?

Yesterday SB posted at Whale Oil: We need to talk about our government’s attitude towards terrorism

The Bill English led National government I am very sad to say, does not speak out against terrorism if it is terrorism against Jews.

SB refers to a single attack that occurred when most of the Government was on holiday at it’s quietest time of year.

She quotes a blog post from Shalom Kiwi – New Zealand has an issue with terrorism

When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Nice last July, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke out against the terror attack. When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Berlin last December, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English spoke out against the terror attack. An Islamist has just driven a truck into a crowd in Jerusalem and the New Zealand government is silent.

While Kiwi politicians are yet to make comment on the terror attack, there was condemnation from around the rest of the Western world following the tragedy that claimed 4 young lives and injured 16 others.

Has the New Zealand government been deliberately selective in which terrorist attacks they condemn, and in particular do they not denounce terrorism if it’s against Jews?

Perhaps it’s a matter of scale – the Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 434, the Berlin attack killed 12 people and injured 56.

But it’s not just the one terrorist attack in Jerusalem that the Government has not denounced.

Terrorist attacks so far this year that have resulted in multiple deaths:

  • Shooting in Istanbul, Turkey – 39 dead, 70 injured
  • Bombing in Najaf, Iraq – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 56 dead, 122 injured
  • Car bombing in Magadishu, Somalia – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Samarra, Iraq – 7 dead
  • Shooting in Abyan, Yemen – 3 dead, 10 injured
  • Shooting in Badhakshan, Afghanistan – 4 dead
  • Shooting in Bria, Central African Republic – 2 dead (UN peacekeepers), 2 injured
  • Shooting in Quetta, Pakistan – 2 dead
  • Shooting in Kunduz, Afghanistan – 2 dead (US service members)
  • Car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq – 28 dead, 57 injured
  • Car bombing in Jableh, Syria – 16+ dead, 30 injured
  • Car bombing in Izmir, Turkey – 2 dead, 10 injured
  • Car bombing in Ad-Dawr, Iraq – 4 dead, 12 injured
  • Shooting in Tala wa Barfak, Afghanistan – 9+ dead, 3 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Abyan, Yemen – 6 dead (British soldiers), 20 injured
  • Car bombing in Azaz, Syria – 60+ dead, 50 injured
  • Attack in Yobe State, Nigeria – 5 dead
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 20 dead, 50+ injured
  • Vehicular attack in Jerusalem – 4 dead, 17 injured
  • Shooting in Jourian, India – 3 dead
  • Car bombing in Arish, Egypt – 8 dead, 15 injured
  • Car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan – 38 dead, 70+ injured
  • Bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan – 11 dead, dozens injured

There were also 18 terrorist attacks with 1 or 0 deaths.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_January_2017

I understand that Shalom Kiwi would have a focus on Israel, but why is SB and Whale Oil, which sometimes promotes itself as much better media, ignoring all these other terrorist attacks?  They could pad out a lot of posts with various terrorist attacks if they wanted to be balanced.

What should our Government’s attitude be to terrorism? Denouncing every terrorist attack is obviously impractical.

Should terrorism denouncements be based on the number of attacks? If so what would be a practical and reasonable threshold be?

Should we only care about terrorism in certain countries, or regions of the world? There’s obviously a lot of terrorism in the Middle East – but if we ruled out there that would also rule out Israel.

I’m fairly sure our Government would denounce all terrorism generally. In fact our Foreign Minister Murray McCully says that UN resolution 2334, voted on just before Christmas, does just that:

Resolution 2334 condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two state solution: incitement and acts of violence and terror against civilians of all sides, and the ongoing settlements programme which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

It would be impractical to denounce every terrorist act.

From New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade:  Counter terrorism


New Zealand is committed to regional and international counter-terrorism cooperation.

Ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) have changed the international security landscape, where terrorism is now a significant threat. While the risk of a terror attack here is thought to be low, we need to be vigilant, and play a part in countering terrorism abroad.

MFAT’s role

We build networks with other countries and international organisations so we can keep informed of terrorist threats, share information, and improve our capacity to respond.MFAT represents New Zealand at international forums that deal with terrorism.

What we’re doing globally

New Zealand works with several international partners to improve global counter-terrorism capability. We do this through policy, legislation and practical initiatives that help prevent terrorist financing, violent extremism, radicalisation and recruitment.

We support the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (external link). We’ve co-sponsored a number of terrorist designations and follow a national process to make sure New Zealand complies with the UN Security Council’s terrorist sanctions against these entities.

Read more about our list of designated terrorist entities and our UN obligations (external link) (which includes the military wing of Hamas)

More on UN Security Council sanctions

Groups and initiatives New Zealand works with include:

  • UN al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees – UN committees that impose measures to limit the capabilities of these specific terrorist groups. This committee also deals with ISIL and its affiliates.
  • International Coalition to Counter ISIL – New Zealand has deployed a military training mission to Iraq as part of our overall contribution to the international coalition against ISIL. This is a non-combat mission, aimed at building the capability and capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIL and promote peace and security.
  • UN Alliance of Civilisations – works to address the root causes of extremism through improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities.
  • Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) – a group of around 30 countries that work together to find ways to prevent, combat and prosecute terrorist acts, and to promote the UN’s Counter Terrorism Strategy.
  • Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) – an initiative of the GCTF that supports local efforts to prevent violent extremism.
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – helps countries put in place laws and regulations that prevent the financing of terrorist organisations.

Bill English on UN Israel vote

Prime Minister Bill English has commented in support of the New Zealand position on the United Nations vote that condemned Israeli settlements.

NZ Herald reports:

Speaking today before he flew out to Europe for an official visit, Prime Minister Bill English said the issues surrounding the resolution were highly politicised in Israel.

“But the position of the New Zealand Government should have been well understood … we have got a realistic understanding of the pressures in the Middle East. That’s why in our time on the Security Council we wanted to see some advancement on the Middle East peace process. And the resolution in that sense is pretty balanced.

That sounds much the same as Murray McCully has said.

“New Zealand has been a long time friend of Israel, we have a range of connections, trade, increasingly technology and innovation. And it would be a shame if us expressing a view that might not line up exactly with the Israeli Government was seen as somehow being unfriendly or changing that relationship.”

Some advancement on the Middle East peace process would be a good thing, but the prospects don’t look good at the moment.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have to want a lasting solution, and it’s doubtful either do.

More Breitbart ‘fake news’

The Breitbart news site has been accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about an alleged Muslim attack on a church in Germany. This has been debunked by multiple sources.

This raises concerns for a number of reasons:

  • The ex CEO of Bretibart, Steve Barron, will soon become Trump’s chief strategist in the White House.
  • Breitbart plans to set up a German language site (and also a French site).
  • Germany is having elections this year.
  • Whale Oil wants to imitate Breitbart  in New Zealand.

Guardian: German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities.

The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

The justice minister of Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, said that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”.

Tens of thousands clicked and shared the Breitbart.com story with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

It said the men had “chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), launched fireworks at police and set fire to a historic church”, while also massing “around the flag of al-Qaida and Islamic State collaborators the Free Syrian Army.”

The local newspaper said Breitbart had combined and exaggerated unconnected incidents to create a picture of chaos and of foreigners promoting terrorism.

Dortmund police on Thursday said its officers had handled 185 missions that night, sharply down from 421 the previous year. The force’s leader judged the night as “rather average to quiet”, in part thanks to a large police presence.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily said Breitbart had used exaggerations and factual errors to create “an image of chaotic civil war-like conditions in Germany, caused by Islamist aggressors”.

Breitbart is unlikely to be deterred by belated debunking of their slanted and misleading campaigns.

Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily, also predicted trouble ahead – pointing to the fact that Breitbart’s former editor Steve Bannon had been appointed as US president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

It warned that Breitbart – which plans to launch German and French language sites – could seek to “aggravate the tense political climate in Germany”.

Meanwhile in New Zealand Whale Oil is trying to revive it’s imitation of Breitbart – and already has a history of anti-Muslim posts.

How Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart

Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart if the subscription numbers continue to grow. We will use the extra income to hire more staff and we will train interns. Given the appropriate resources, we will expand services which may possibly include news aggregation from sources you can trust.

When you subscribe to Whaleoil you become part of our plan to once again imitate what works overseas and to replicate its success here in New Zealand.

Sources you can trust? Breitbartising Whale Oil might appeal to those who want to be told what they believe, but the trust levels here are already very low.

Because of this Whale Oil rarely gets traction in social and mainstream media for any of the campaigns they try to run – they have been complaining about the lack of media interest in their daily barrage of pro-Israel anti-NZ Government posts.

Any ‘news’ posted by Whale Oil should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism, whether it is from their own ‘tip line’ or unnamed sources, or from ‘trusted sources’ like Breitbart. Both have records of political skulduggery and dirt – and Whale Oil has been promising to get dirtier this year.

Rob Roy track

The Rob Roy track is a great walk in a fantastic part of New Zealand. It has just been listed as a ‘must-do’ by the Automobile Association.

You need an automobile to get there – drive straight through Wanaka (which I remember as a quite village a few decades ago but is very busy these days) and head up the Matukituki Valley, and hang a left up the west branch to the Raspberry Hut car park. It’s well sign posted.

robroymap

There’s quite a bit of uphill but not too hard, about 10 km return. DOC says 3-4 hours return but allow for plenty time at the top to sit back and soak in the scenery.

It’s about 320 km from Dunedin so you can get there in half a a day easily enough, but you really need to stay a night or two in the Wanaka/Cromwell/Queenstown area to make the most of it.

ODT: Glacier track hike hailed a ‘must-do’

A half-day hike near Wanaka which has been described as one of the best in New Zealand has been given a publicity boost after it was included in a list of the top sights in the country.

The Rob Roy Glacier track in the west Matukituki valley area of the Mt Aspiring National Park has been included in the Automobile Association’s updated 101 Must-Do’s for Kiwis.

“What we were looking for was those inspiring places  that were slightly off the beaten track but were accessible to most people right now.”

DOC: Rob Roy Track (includes map and brochure)

This track offers an easy route (achievable by older children) into a dramatic alpine landscape that includes snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls.

There’s other great walks in the area.

I’ve been up the Rob Roy in Spring, when there was fresh snow on the ground up the top half of the track, and there was only two of us on the track. It was magic.It will usually be quite busy now.

Here’s some photos from a few years ago:

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River crossing at the start of the Rob Roy track.

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A break in the bush walk

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Up the creek

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A glimpse through the bush

robroytop

It is mostly a bush walk but opens out at the top of the track

I have lain back on the grass in silent stillness, watching the effects of strong winds at the snowy top of the mountain.

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This doesn’t do the glacier view justice, you have to be there to experienced it.
In late spring and summer you may get to hear and see small avalanches.

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Quite a few creeks and waterfalls

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The Rob Roy is one of my favourite walks, and the views and atmosphere at the top are terrific.

Experiences like this are a great way to unwind from normal life. You walk from the edge of Otago into the West Coast (but remain quite a way from the Tasman Sea).

 

Over reaction to Israel’s response

Israel sounded tough  about New Zealand’s involvement in the Security Council vote against Israeli settlements and recalled their ambassador to New Zealand, but appears to have backed off from other treats of retaliation.

Janfrie Wakim, a campaigner for human rights in Palestine, suggests actions and retaliations against Israel.

She gives her version of the situation in Israel and the settlement areas in New Zealand must show Israel cost of staying its course:

The UN General Assembly divided Palestine in 1947, giving the minority Jewish immigrant population the majority of Palestine’s land to form Israel. For the Israeli leaders this was but the first step.

In 1948 the Israeli military expanded well into the land designated for the Arab state and expelled more than 700,000 Palestinians from Palestine. Jordan shared the spoils by taking over East Jerusalem and the West Bank and took in most of the refugees, who now number about six million, the largest permanent refugee population in the world.

Israel’s greatest diplomatic success in the Camp David Accords was removing consideration of these refugees from the peace process. That, however, has only halved Israel’s demographic nightmare.

While about 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are not Jewish, the Israeli Government can usually manage to live with that minority.

The Israeli electoral franchise extends to Jewish settlers in the occupied territories but there is no vote for the nearly three million Palestinians in those territories. If Israel annexed East Jerusalem and the West Bank it would have to give everyone the vote. It has used an endlessly prolonged peace process to save itself from having to do this.

While some laud Israel for it’s democracy in the Middle East, in contrast to adjacent countries, many Palestinians don’t get to vote.

Wakim details options for Israel.

  • It can annex the occupied territories, extend the franchise to everyone and accept that Jews are a minority.
  • Or it can withdraw to a more modest and legally less suspect geographical area within the limits set by the UN in 1947.
  • Or it can continue to ignore world opinion and international law, steal land to build settlements, characterise all criticism and disagreement as anti-Semitic, systematically destroy Palestinian homes, livelihoods and farmland, periodically bomb Gaza or South Lebanon and basically muddle on until it hopes the Palestinians will give up.

She then says that New Zealand should take action  against option 3 and suggests:

  • We can refuse to accept imports or Israeli visitors from the occupied territories.
  • We can pull out of the recent NZ-Israel Film Co-operation Agreement which lacks any distinction between activities in Israel and in the occupied territories.
  • We can put a stop to a range of economic and academic collaboration between Israel and New Zealand.
  • Our Government should tell the NZ Superannuation Fund to divest in Israeli banks which fund West Bank settlements.
  • Murray McCully can tell Netanyahu we don’t like countries declaring war on New Zealand for pointing out what international law is.
  • He could tell him Netanyahu doesn’t need to send his recalled ambassador back to New Zealand until Israel behaves.

No one seriously believes that Netanyahu’s rhetoric was a declaration of war on New Zealand.

And I don’t think there is any serious chance of most and probably all those other suggestions happening.

New Zealand getting involved in a tit for tat spat is unlikely to make any difference to Palestinians.

McCully on UN vote on Israel

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has surfaced and has spoken about the Security Council vote on Israeli settlements.

NZ Herald: Murray McCully on backlash to UN Security Council resolution: ‘We are not anti-Israel’

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says it is “regrettable” his electorate office was vandalised by people opposed to New Zealand’s sponsorship of a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And while he understood some people felt strongly about it, there was nothing new in New Zealand’s position.

“Obviously we have had a significant number of communications from people who are concerned about the issue,” he told the Herald today.

“But it is very difficult to get past the fact that it is long-standing New Zealand policy to support the two-state solution, to condemn incitement and violence, and to call for a halt to the settlements process.

“These are not new New Zealand policies.”

“We have a longstanding friendship with Israel and our foreign policy positions have been very balanced and fair on these matters.”

“It is simply incorrect to assert that we are anti-Israel in any shape or form.

“The fact is that there was a particular resolution before the council that our longstanding policy positions support, and so we supported it.”

“We hope that a normal friendly relationship with Israel will resume soon.”

There is nothing much new in that but McCully may have felt it necessary to address some of the criticisms aimed at him and the Government.

‘Neoliberalism’ versus New Zealand reality

Deborah Russell has circulated one attempt to describe neoliberalism, which shows how far from this New Zealand is, and hardly moving closer:

That’s quite different to reality in New Zealand

  1. Private enterprise is far from free of any Government restrictions here.
    There are a lot of regulatory, tax, safety and procedural restrictions – New Zealand is rated as a relatively easy place to do do business but try asking any property valuer how difficult and time consuming and costly it can be to work with the resource Management Act.
  2. Public expenditure in general continues to increase.
    There is some claims of real term cuts due to not keeping pace with inflation but the Government keeps spending more and more money.
  3. There have been some attempts to reduce regulations to help businesses provide goods and services and jobs and export earnings 9and make profits) but they have been far from comprehensive. The RMA has gradually become harder to work with, not easier.
  4. There was quite a bit of privatisation in the 80s and 90s but that has slowed right down.
    The current government in their last term sold minority shares only in a small number of power companies. There are a small number of partnership schools but most are run by trusts rather than profit seeking companies. There is some moving of state housing to social housing providers but again they are non-profit organisations.
  5. ‘Public good’ is far from eliminated, with beneficiaries having been recently given their first real increase in forty years. There have been recent increases in health subsidies (free up to age 13), and education, particularly through early childhood education subsidies.

While there may have been significant moves towards some neoliberalism, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, this has slowed down markedly and New Zealand is far from these descriptions of ‘neoliberalism’.

 

‘One Nation’ wants to kick New Zealand

The Aussies have been a bit negative about the Security Council vote by Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Venezuela (and not vetoed by the Unites States) against Israeli settlements and supporting a two state solution.

None more so than One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts who wants Australia to clamp down on New Zealand immigration and immigrants in response to the vote. Crazy.

Last week Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop implied they would  have gone against the position held by New Zealand, the United States and the 13 other countries, but they can say that because they weren’t there, it doesn’t mean they would have voted against Resolution 2334.

Liberal senator Eric Abetz is reported to have been critical of New Zealand when he released his own statement condemning the resolution, but all I can find is United Nations vote on Israel:

The Foreign Minister is absolutely right to stand with Israel over the United Nations’ ill-founded and poorly considered motion in relation to Israel.

While Australia did not have a vote on the Security Council, it is concerning that the Obama Administration effectively cheered on this silly act. This kind of behaviour is exactly why the American people embraced Donald Trump and the British people embraced Brexit.

We should be unashamed in our support of Israel – the most free and democratic nation in the middle east which shares the Judeo Christian ethics shared by the Western world.

The unelected United Nations bureaucrats should take a serious look in the mirror over these latest actions which come following a long list of actions which seem to indicate it wants to be a left-wing thinktank rather than a bringer of peace and good to the world.

That doesn’t name New Zealand, it just takes a swipe at President Obama’s administration.

Now a One Nation’s Roberts has more than taken a direct swipe at New Zealand, he wants to cut New Zealand immigration and benefits.

Australia’s One Nation party says Kiwi migrants should be punished over Israel

Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said he was “appalled” by the Security Council resolution, which called for an immediate end to any and all settlement activities in disputed zones, including East Jerusalem, which he said “have contained Jewish settlements since biblical times”.

But Roberts went further, accusing New Zealand of “stabbing our ally in the front”, while criticising the Turnbull government for not putting enough pressure on New Zealand to stop it.

“2017 marks the centenary of the ANZACs’ brave actions to free the Palestinian territory – now Israel – from Ottoman oppression of Christians, Jews and other groups,” he said.

“It would never have been possible for those brave ANZACs, charging as part of the Light Horse Brigade, to have ever thought that events 100 years later would go full circle and future generations would betray the very people they were about to liberate.

Accusing New Zealand of a “hostile attitude” towards Israel, Roberts suggested Australia take a stronger stance against New Zealand “settlements”.

“At the very least, we should look at further cutting benefits for New Zealanders living in Australia,” he said.

“Perhaps a tougher immigration policy aimed towards New Zealand would stop Kiwis from establishing settlements in Australia.”

That’s ridiculous.

Roberts’ statement presents a marked turnaround in One Nation policy, with the party previously calling for changes to make to make it easier for New Zealanders to apply for citizenship and social security.

“We have opened our borders and our hearts to people from all over the world offering them the opportunity to become Australian citizens, but not to our closest neighbours, our allies and our ANZAC mates,” the One Nation policy says.

“They are working, paying their taxes, and raising families, but when hardship hits they cannot apply to receive help from our social security system. Many New Zealanders are then left homeless, destitute and desperate.

“We believe Australians would open their hearts to our neighbours. Therefore, we are calling on the government to change the current laws.”

One Nation (or at least Roberts) sounds very flakey.

Threatening punitive measures against one country involved in a unanimous UN vote is pathetic.

There is no way Australia would do any of what Roberts has suggested, but it shows they have crazies in their Parliament too.

Not all Aussies are anti. Bob Carr, ex foreign minister and a patron of Australian Labor Friends of Palestine, wrote on the resolution – The genius of the UN’s resolution on Israeli settlements:

Both Labor and Likud governments have funded settlers, many religious extremists, and gifted them the best land.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are denied building approval for homes, even a chicken coop. If in Area C they throw up a granny flat it’s promptly demolished by army bulldozers.

If Israel is really open to giving the land back in a peace deal why allow settlements in the first place? That’s the question, if I’d been sharper, I would have put to my interlocutor. And settlements not just along the border. Thirty-five per cent are now being approved deep in the territory everyone sees as an ultimate Palestinian state.

This is the essence of the boiling US frustration that resulted in America refusing to veto Friday’s Security Council resolution.

Two former prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, have warned their country risks getting saddled with apartheid, proving again that searching argument and criticism are among Israel’s most resilient features.

Donald Trump can tweet and bluster. But the resolution stands as international law, to be taken seriously by cabinets and bind the International Criminal Court. After years of provocation by Israeli hawks that’s the genius of what Obama and Kerry have pulled off.

Abetz and Roberts can bluster all they like too. Australia weren’t on the Security Council.

And Carr posits:

In the meantime consider the following motion, an elegantly simple one: “Given that Israel continues to defy the 2016 resolution of the Security Council and spreads settlements so that a Palestinian state is no longer possible we move that every resident of Greater Israel be afforded equal rights. This includes the right to vote in national elections.”