Winston Peters speech in Norway on international relations

New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has just given a speech to the Norwegian Institute of International Relations:


Takk og Velkommen (Greetings)

For many of you living here in Norway it must seem New Zealand is a country at the very end of the earth.  Having made the flight here, we can confirm that you’re absolutely right!

While New Zealand is about as far from Norway as you can travel, this is just a geographic separation.  Despite distance we are close partners. We share a great number of similar values and experiences; but there is much potential for Norway and New Zealand to be closer partners still.

Sadly, the terrorist attack that took place in Christchurch recently means that we also share the experience of a horrific attack on our home soil.  It is no exaggeration to say that something of New Zealand’s innocence was lost that day.  We endured an utterly callous act of terrorism, perpetrated by a coward against people at prayer in their mosques.

We know that Norway has suffered a similar, brutal act of terrorism, with the 22 July 2011 attack.  We are deeply grateful for the messages of sympathy, support and solidarity we received from Norway, including from His Majesty King Harald V and Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Following the attack in Christchurch, we are grateful that Norway also offered its very practical support, and to share the lessons learned following your own experience eight years ago.  We will visit the memorial today in Oslo and lay a wreath in remembrance of those lives that were lost.

Friendships such as ours assume even greater significance in these difficult times.

Many have asked whether New Zealand’s foreign policy settings have shifted in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.  The answer is that while the act of terrorism disrupted our national life, for a time, New Zealand’s foreign policy continuity is not disturbed because its foundations are deeply rooted in our national values and experience.  The values that drive us remain strong:

  • Equality, tolerance and fairness;
  • Democracy – New Zealand is one of only nine countries with an uninterrupted sequence of democratic elections since 1854;
  • Freedom, from fear, and from want;
  • Human rights, as set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration;
  • Guardianship for our environment;

Our foreign policy has, and will always be driven by clear-eyed assessment of New Zealand interests and these bedrock New Zealand values.

But we recognise that achieving solutions that advance our interests and align with our values, depends on the ability to work with other countries.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said in her first major foreign policy speech: “we speak up for what we believe in, stand up when our values are challenged, and work tirelessly to draw in partners with shared views.”

There are few places in the world that are as close to us in terms of values and how they see the world as Norway and your Nordic neighbours.

Domestically, we both enjoy high standards of governance, consistently taking out the top spots in international surveys reflecting transparency and the absence of corruption.

Norway and New Zealand lead the world in most global measures of equality, peacefulness, personal freedom and respect for human rights.

We also share a record of being trailblazers in terms of social justice.

You may know that New Zealand was the first country in the world where women achieved the vote – in 1893.

Nordic countries have also been global leaders on gender empowerment.  Given the leadership Nordic nations have shown in providing for the poor and vulnerable in their societies, it may interest you to know that New Zealand created the first comprehensive welfare state in the 1930s.

Our countries have also applied this value-driven approach on the global stage, often in partnership with each other.

We share similar world views on global issues. These include trade, the environment, human rights, disarmament, peace and security – as evidenced by our close collaboration when New Zealand recently served on the UN Security Council – and adherence to the international rules based system.

We are instinctive and active multilateralists who are unafraid to stand up for what we believe in. Within the United Nations, Norway and New Zealand collaborate pragmatically and effectively within a small like-minded grouping of States, appropriately known as “the Mountains”.

New Zealand and Norway are both active contributors to international peace and security, including as mediators and regular contributors to peace operations.  We both have strong histories working as principled, independent and constructive partners in the Middle East.

In South Sudan, where Norway likewise has a deep and proud history of engagement in the pursuit of peace, New Zealand personnel for a number of years have also added real value to the UN peacekeeping mission. And a former Parliamentarian colleague, David Shearer, is doing a seriously important job as the head of that UN mission.

Given our close alignment of values and perspectives, it is only natural that we should do more together, both bilaterally and on the global stage.

To take this important work forward, New Zealand has strengthened our presence in the Nordic region. The re-opening of the New Zealand Embassy in Stockholm, with accreditations to Norway and our other Nordic friends, will allow us to engage more effectively and achieve more.

In times of global uncertainty New Zealand and Norway need to be working more closely together.

States like us have much to lose from global instability and the disregard of rules.

In times like these, when multilateralism is under threat, when our values of fairness, equality, and respect for human rights are being increasingly challenged, and when formerly open trading nations are increasingly turning to protectionism, we need to be prepared to fight for our values.

And we need to deepen our cooperation with friends who share these values.

We would like to highlight a number of areas where we need to cooperate more closely in asserting our values and tackling key issues on the global stage.

Foremost amongst these is the critical issue of climate change and environmental sustainability.

Norway and New Zealand are countries whose histories and national identities are informed by our deep connection to the ocean and environment.  Climate change calls for global unified action and that’s why the New Zealand government has made climate change policy a priority.

Norway and New Zealand work closely together in climate change negotiations at the UN as well as through various coalitions, including the Carbon Neutrality Coalition and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform.

Both Norway and New Zealand have set ambitious targets in achieving carbon neutrality, and there is much to learn from each other as we work toward these, and encourage others to play their part.

We are also natural partners on polar issues.  As original signatories, we work together in the Antarctic Treaty System to protect Antarctica’s pristine environment and manage the pressures of tourism.

Norway made a significant contribution to the negotiations when a New Zealand and United States proposal to establish the world’s largest Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea region in Antarctic got over the line in 2016.  It is critical that we continue to work together to see more of the proposed marine protected areas in Antarctica gain agreement.

New Zealand welcomes Norway’s focus on ocean issues, particularly as they relate to Pacific Small Island Developing States.  We share common interests in supporting these countries to realise the full potential of their blue economy in a sustainable way.

Our own region – the Pacific – matters deeply to New Zealand; our prosperity and security are intertwined.  We appreciate Norway’s interest in the Pacific, both in its role as a principled partner and as a potential champion for the Pacific, and other Small Island Developing States, within the multilateral system.

There is much we can do together in championing open, rules based trade, both in the WTO and bilaterally.  This is more important than ever, given the serious threat posed to the WTO.

At the same time, we want to promote trade policies which ensure trade benefits are shared among all members in our societies, and that support our broader social and environmental goals – for example, by imposing disciplines on harmful fossil fuel subsidies.

We are also reliable friends and partners to each other in our respective regions.

New Zealand values Norway’s knowledge of Europe, and the unique perspective it has as a European Union neighbour.

In turn New Zealand has much to share from its knowledge of East Asia and experience in the Pacific.

The Pacific may seem distant, but it is a strategically important and increasingly contested space. And it is a region that welcomes the positive and constructive contribution made by European partners.

But it is in our bilateral cooperation where the greatest potential lies.

Given our close alignment of values and perspectives, there is considerable scope for mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue on domestic policy issues.

New Zealand believes there is much we can learn from each other in areas such as social policy, climate change, and innovation. That is why we are here, to learn from Norway’s success in marrying economic policy with environmental stewardship.

We especially admire your prudence in using your oil and gas wealth, with the ‘Government Pension Fund Global’ now valued at over $1 trillion, to shift from being a petro-state to an investor one.

We admire, too, Norway’s sustainable fisheries management regime.

New Zealand is therefore keen to learn from Norwegian successes as a way of furthering our national interests.

And we are barely scratching the surface of the potential in our trade and investment relationships.

Two-way trade in goods and services between New Zealand and the Nordic countries amounted to USD$848 million for the year ending June 2018.  Services trade was slightly more, at around USD$660 million.

New Zealand imported NZ$139 million in goods from Norway in the year ending June 2018, up 80% on the previous year due largely to the New Zealand Defence Force’s purchase of a second-hand Norwegian hydrographic vessel. New Zealand’s goods exports to Norway for the same period totalled NZ$46 million.

But this isn’t just about lifting trade volumes; it is about forging mutually beneficial partnerships, tapping into expertise, and drawing on our respective strengths.

Nordic countries are amongst the most innovative and technologically advanced countries in the world.  As a region, you represent one of the largest investors in industrial research and development.

We are enthusiastic partners with you in these endeavours.  Technology is New Zealand’s fastest-growing sector and our highest earning industry per capita.

New Zealand boasts one of the best business environments in the world, having been consistently ranked number one in the world for ease of doing business by the World Bank, as well as second in the annual prosperity index and third in the economic freedom index.

New Zealand is ranked second in the world for lack of public sector corruption by Transparency International.

New Zealand also offers opportunities in the fast-growing economies of the Asia-Pacific.

We were the first developed country in the world to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China in 2008 and the only country with trade agreements with China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The recently adopted Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement also provides access to eleven of the region’s most dynamic and prosperous economies.

It is of course the links between people that lie at the heart of any strong relationship. Despite our geographic distance, New Zealand and the Nordic countries are not strangers. Indeed travellers from the Nordic region were amongst the first Europeans to reach our shores.

Nordic whalers graced our shores in the early nineteenth century. Later that century, in the 1870s, a large cohort of Scandinavians immigrated to New Zealand, including 365 Norwegians, alongside Danes and Swedes. They established communities called Norsewood and Dannevirke that still thrive today.

The Premier of New Zealand at the time, Julius Vogel, ordered a study into how well the Scandinavians migrants had settled in New Zealand. Norwegians were rated the most successful of the Scandinavian migrant groups, which will come as no surprise to today’s audience.

There was another wave of Nordic migration after World War II, so while relatively small, our historic people to people links remain strong. Today, for instance, I have with me Jon Johansson, my Chief of Staff, whose father was one of those Danes who immigrated with his family as part of the post-War Scandinavian diaspora.

My Senior Private Secretary, Helen Lahtinen, is also here this afternoon. Helen is Swedish born of Finnish parents. My Chief Press Secretary’s family are of Norwegian origin. My office, therefore, embodies New-Zealand-Nordic relations about as well as is possible.

Today, New Zealand continues to be a popular destination for Norwegians.  Nearly 5,000 Norwegians visited New Zealand in 2017.

An uncapped working holiday scheme has also been in place since July 2005, enabling young Norwegian and New Zealand nationals to work for up to a year in our respective countries.

In conclusion, we have a solid and warm foundation for our bi-lateral relations. We are here to build upon that foundation because as small democracies with so many shared values we can learn much from each other to the benefit of both Norwegian and New Zealand interests.

The past five years have been the warmest on record

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA say that 2018 was 4th hottest year on record for the globe, just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest). A super optimist might claim that there is a slight cooling trend since 2016, but this suggests that predictions of global warming had some credence.

20 of the last 22 years have been the warmest on record.

In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organizationoffsite link also reached the same heat ranking.

And other news recently provide examples of other climate concerns.

Stuff: ‘Dangerous’ Antarctic glacier has massive hole, scientists warn

A large cavity has formed under what has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers, and could contribute to a significant bump in global sea levels, said Nasa scientists.

A study led by the agency revealed a cavity about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and roughly 304 metres tall is growing under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

The cavity is large enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted within the last three years, say researchers.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Thwaites has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers because its demise could lead to rapid changes in global sea levels.

JPL said the glacier, about the size of Florida, holds enough ice to raise ocean levels another 60 centimetres if it completely melts.

It also backstops other glaciers capable to raising sea levels another 2.4m.

Until recently Antarctica was thought to be bucking warming trends, but new research appears to be uncovering more melt than had been realised.

Reuters:  Norway’s Arctic islands at risk of ‘devastating’ warming: report

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Many other parts of the Arctic, especially its islands, are also warming far quicker than the world average as the retreat of snow and sea ice exposes darker water and ground that soaks up ever more of the sun’s heat.

LiveScience: The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting at Astonishing Rate

Last week, a cauldron of concerning news articles made two things very clear: The ocean is warming and Antarctica’s ice is melting.

Now, a new study shows how much global warming is pounding another area: Greenland.

Greenland’s ice sheet is not only melting, but it’s melting faster than ever because the area has become more sensitive to natural climate fluctuations, particularly an atmospheric cycle, a group of scientists reported today (Jan. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the ice is vanishing four times faster than it was in 2003 — and a good chunk of that acceleration is happening in southwest Greenland.

RNZ:  2018 was NZ’s warmest year on record – climate scientist

Veteran climate scientist Jim Salinger has calculated the mean annual land surface temperature in 2018 was 13.5 degrees Celsius, which was 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

This was “a smidgeon” hotter than the previous warmest year on record, 2016, which was 0.84C above normal.

The richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced country in the world

This is likely to be ignored by the doom and gloom merchants.

The London based Legatum Institute has released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index.

From the Independent: The 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world

The organisation compared 104 variables to come up with its list. These variables include traditional indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and the number of people in full-time work, but also more interesting figures such as the number of secure internet servers a country has, and how well-rested people feel on a day-to-day basis.

The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.

They are listed from 25 to 1 but here are the top 6.

6. Australia — Famous for its laid-back lifestyle and good weather, it is no wonder Australia came second overall in the social capital sub-index, helping it climb one place overall from 7th in 2015.

5. Canada — America’s neighbour to the north is substantially more prosperous according to the Legatum Institute, finishing 3rd for social capital and business environment, and 2nd for personal freedom.

4. Switzerland — Switzerland frequently features at the top of lists like the Prosperity Index, thanks to fantastic education (1st overall), and great healthcare. It was 3rd in the health sub-index.

3. Finland — Finns may not class themselves as Scandinavian, but they can’t deny being a seriously prosperous northern European state. Finland has the best governance in the world, according to the Legatum Institute.

2. Norway — For seven consecutive years Norway had been ranked as the most prosperous country on earth by the Legatum Institute, but this year it loses its crown, with a highest ranking of 3rd in the governance sub-index.

1. New Zealand — Officially the most prosperous country on earth, according to the Legatum Institute, New Zealand ranked top of both the social capital and economic quality sub-indexes, and 2nd for business environment and governance.

We face some difficult issues and problems, and some people have it tough, but relative to the rest of the world, and regardless of Legatum’s ranking, New Zealand is a pretty damn good country to live in.

US ‘flawed democracy’

The Economist Intelligence Unit has finally acknowledged that the US has a flawed democracy.

Declining trust in government is denting democracy

AMERICA, which has long defined itself as a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a “flawed democracy” according to the taxonomy used in the annual Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company. Although its score did not fall by much—from 8.05 in 2015 to 7.98 in 2016—it was enough for it to slip just below the 8.00 threshold for a “full democracy”.

The downgrade was not a consequence of Donald Trump, states the report. Rather, it was caused by the same factors that led Mr Trump to the White House: a continued erosion of trust in government and elected officials, which the index measures using data from global surveys.

Trump’s presidency is a consequence of their flawed democracy, not a cause.

It joins France, Greece and Japan in the second-highest tier of the index.

democracyindex

USA was already near the flawed threshold before slipping under it:

  • 2006 – 8.22
  • 2008 – 8.22
  • 2010- 8.18
  • 2011 – 8.11
  • 2012 – 8.11
  • 2013 – 8.11
  • 2014 – 8.11
  • 2015 – 8.05
  • 2016 – 7.98

Top of the ‘full democracy scale’:

  • Norway – 9.93
  • Iceland – 9.50
  • Sweden – 9.39
  • New Zealand – 9.26
  • Canada and Ireland – 9.15
  • Australia has slipped a bit to 9.01

All democracies are flawed, but they are less flawed than the alternatives.

Electric vehicle advantage

Not surprisingly the Greens want a large increase in the use of electric vehicles in New Zealand.

In NZ only 1/4 of 1% of new vehicle sales are electric. Compared to around 10% in some European countries such as Norway.

“Such as Norway” is a bit selective, Norway has the largest per capita fleet of plug in electric vehicles in the world (although electric vehicles are still only at 3% of total vehicles).

Why so many comparatively in Norway? Financial incentives.

From Electric Car Sales Surge In Norway During 2015:

There’s no mystery why electric cars are so popular in Norway. To paraphrase an old saying, “It’s the incentives, stupid!”

Norway exempts most plug-in hybrid and electric cars from sales tax and registration fees. That makes them price competitive with conventional cars. It also gives EV drivers access to commuter lanes, free parking in most cites, and exempts them from most ferry and bridge tolls.

Incentives make a huge difference. In  Sweden, which shares the same peninsular with Norway, the government is much less interested in promoting electric cars. As a result, sales of plug-ins and electric cars in Sweden are a small fraction of what they are in Norway.

 So Norway isn’t a representative example of European countries, it’s an extreme example.

More detail from Wikipedia:

Among the existing incentives, all-electric cars and utility vans are exempt in Norway from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, which are extremely high for ordinary cars, and 25% VAT on purchase, together making electric car purchase price competitive with conventional cars.

Electric vehicles are also exempt from the annual road tax, all public parking fees, and toll payments, as well as being able to use bus lanes. These incentives are in effect until the end of 2017 or until the 50,000 EV target is achieved.

That still isn’t a high proportion of vehicles.

Oldest known living tree

The oldest living tree (sort of), a spruce called “Old Tjikko”,  has been identified in Norway.

The lifespan of the trunk of Norwegian spruces is only about 600 years but they can regrow from the roots. The root system of this tree has been carbon dated at about 9,500 years.

NorwaySpruce

From a 2008 National Geographic article Oldest Living Tree Found in Sweden:

The world’s oldest known living tree, a conifer that first took root at the end of the last Ice Age, has been discovered in Sweden, researchers say.

The visible portion of the 13-foot-tall (4-meter-tall) “Christmas tree” isn’t ancient, but its root system has been growing for 9,550 years, according to a team led by Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University’s department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden.

The tree’s incredible longevity is largely due to its ability to clone itself, Kullman said.

The spruce’s stems or trunks have a lifespan of around 600 years, “but as soon as a stem dies, a new one emerges from the same root stock,” Kullman explained. “So the tree has a very long life expectancy.”

Trees that are thousands of years old are also found elsewhere:

The study team also identified other ancient spruces in Sweden that were between 5,000 and 6,000 years old.

Bristlecone pines in the western United States are generally recognized as the world’s oldest continuously standing trees.

The most ancient recorded, from California‘s White Mountains, is dated to around 5,000 years ago.

Other tree clones may have an even more ancient lineage than the Swedish spruces, he added.

Research suggests that stands of Huon pines on the Australian island of Tasmania possibly date back more than 10,000 years.

Bristlecones are the oldest known individual trees:

A new record holder was recently recognized, a Pinus longaeva growing in the White Mountains of eastern California. The date on this tree was reported to me by Tom Harlan. Tom worked up the core only recently, and knows which tree it is. The tree is still alive, and the age given below, 5062, is the tree’s age as of the growing season of 2012.

http://www.rmtrr.org/oldlist.htm

Prometheus Wheeler.jpg

 Great Basin Bristlecone Pine grove

The Oldlist includes many trees from around the world but doesn’t include any kauri. Tāne Mahuta is estimated to be 1,250 to 2,500 years old.

h11

If Tāne Mahuta is anywhere in that age range it is close to or more than twice as old as human habitation in New Zealand (700-800 years).

 

Crusader cowards

The Norway mass murders were acts of extreme cowardice, the bombing and killing of  innocent people, and particularly despicable was the  methodical killing of unarmed, defenseless  young people with no easy way of escaping their brutal execution. That’s about as despicable and gutless as you can get.

One apparent aim was to become a hero of the extreme right and a catalyst for cataclysm.

The Norwegian murderer has support on this side of the world. It’s not surprising,  small groups have been posting online of the hope for something like this to happen  – like minded people online may well have encouraged what happened in Norway –  and the mass killing  seems to meet with their approval. They are openly hopeful it is the beginning of the mass uprising they have been wishing for.

 The End is Nigh!
Nemesis:
The time for talking and making friendly peace gestures is finished! Let the start of the ending begin!

It won’t happen.

Most of these gutless cretins  try to post up mayhem in the hope that someone else will do their dirty work for them – that’s why they applaud what happened in Norway.

They want mass murder in New Zealand – of anyone they oppose. They are so extreme they label almost everyone else as socialist enemies. But these are people that are almost universally rejected as too nuts and too extreme, even from places like Kiwiblog. They wouldn’t get the numbers to put together a lifestyle block flock of sheep.

There has been argument about how Christian the Norwegian killer was. What seems clear is he was strongly anti Islam, and strongly anti anyone deemed to be socialist, which in warped minds like his means anyone they don’t like.

That anti-ness is shared by the cluster of cowards in New Zealand (and posting from Australia trying to stir things up here). With some at least their own religious claims appear to be stronger,  they fool themselves they are  Christian – but they display hate and intolerance completely at odds with the concept of Christ. Herodic hypocrites.

Extracts from recent Crusader Rabbit posts are below. I’m going to post there expressing my disgust at their aims of mayhem and murder in New Zealand. They will censor and delete the posts, but the more people that stand up and make opposition to their hate for and opposition to  our democratic way of life known the more they will get the message they have no wider support.

The End is Nigh!

Kris K:
Rather than the pot slowing coming to the boil, and all the ‘frogs’ simply thinking they’re in a nice warm spa, by turning up the heat from luke-warm instantaneously to 100°C perhaps some of the ‘frogs’ will jump out, realising they’re being cooked alive, and will scream blue-bloody-murder to all the other dumbass ‘frogs’ about their common predicament, some of whom may consequently turn on those applying the heat.

There appears to be definite method to his [Breivik] “sanity” …

Katie:
What we have witnessed is the first round in a war to rid Europe of the colonizers, elitists and nannies.

Nemesis:
Obviously Katie, you get the message!

WAKE UP:
Brievik’s action is but a small, overdue response to the cultural murder that has been done daily by Western Leftists for decades now. It won’t be the last.

Oswald Bastable:
One can start to sympathize with shooting snot-nosed loud-mouthed socialist oiks…

KG:
One can.

Nemesis:
Some were kids, most were adults hmm.  If given the opportunity would you take a trip back down the time tunnel to kill Hitler, Stalin, Himmler, Ribbentropp, Hess, Bormann, Trotsky, Lenin or Marx when it would be easy, like when they were kids or young adults?

The Delusional Left and the Norway Massacre

Nemesiss:
As you say Kris, once you lose sight of God’s love than anything becomes possible and the more distance one stays from the light the darker the thought and the deeds become.

Kris K:
Spot on, Keith – and perhaps suitable motivation for someone who was aware of the above truths to take radical actions like we’ve just seen occur in Norway.

From Seneca, a guest post:

WAKE UP:
– so, I also repeat: there is no vitriol dark enough for these quislings and traitors; they have pushed us to where a bullet is now thw answer. Enter Brievik. He won’t be the last.

Kris K:
I agree, Seneca – it is more a case of the “middle class” who are either blind to, or refuse to acknowledge the evil agenda of the Socialist ‘elite’. These, in the main, are the real useful idiots, rather than your average “blue collar” worker.

When the uprising occurs it will consist primarily of blue collar workers and those others who have their eyes open to the truth.

KG:
Yes indeed. And the middle classes will look on in horror and disapproval while others do the fighting for them.

Our political and social revile

The horrible acts of terrorism in Norway have stirred up political emotions in New Zealand. That has highlighted some things that are common here, especially noticeable on blogs – the degree of violence and vitriol in posts and comments. Norway was an extreme example, but the political discourse in New Zealand is often terrible.

Extreme blogs and extreme comments on blogs are far more prevalent in right wing forums, there’s no doubt about that. This includes proposals of violence, some of it extreme violence, and also abusive and intimidating language. When it occurs it should be confronted and questioned – this is not trying to shut down free speech as some people claim, those who confront violence speech have as much right to speak as the abusers.

Violent speech is one symptom of our often abrasive and divisive political landscape, where the normal reaction is far too often to oppose, shout down  and to try and marginalise any comments deemed to be critical or at odds with one’s own ideology.

The left don’t use obvious violence anywhere near as much – but they can be just as divisive and antagonistic in their own more subtle ways. They are fooling themselves if they think it is a right wing problem – one of the left’s biggest faults is to blame everything on the right and to deny their own faults.

Blaming “the right” for political violence is as bad as blaming “the Muslims” for world terrorism. Blanket smears will do nothing to resolve problems, it’s lazy politics at best, and often deliberately provocative.

Violence in politics is part of our far too violent society in New Zealand. And violence is not a right wing problem.

Maori are over represented in our violence statistics. Maori are not considered to be “right wing”.

Violence is prevalent on TV and movies. The media and Hollywood are not considered to be “right wing”.

Most violence is not political, it’s just bad behaviour from people who don’t know how to resolve problems and frustrations any other way – and despite the Hollywood message violence is most often a very poor way of resolving anything.

Violent, antagonistic, inflammatory, divisive  speech and behaviour is prevalent across the political spectrum in New Zealand. If we learnt to behave better towards each other then we are more likely to work better with each other to make New Zealand a better and less violent place to live.

Rather than revile we should learn to reconcile. We are much more alike than different, we should act that way.