Advance party to where?

The Advance Party may be the opposite of an advance in New Zealand politics. Their main aim seems to be to advance as many crazy conspiracy theories as possible.

But they have attracted thousands of followers, as evidenced by an anti-Covid rally in Auckland yesterday, which defied the level 2.5 restrictions currently in place in Auckland.

RNZ: Advance Party and crowd rallies against Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns

A crowd of a few thousand packed in Auckland’s Aotea Square this afternoon, at the “National Rally for Freedom”, organised by Advance Party co-leaders, Jami Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika.

There was little social distancing and few people in the crowd wearing masks.

When the rally was finished, the large group continued its protest down Auckland’s Queen Street before returning to Aotea Square.

There were a number of police present at the rally; they refused to comment when approached by RNZ and asked whether there were any concerns about social distancing given the size of the crowd.

In a statement to RNZ later, police said with today’s event it was “possible that attempts to enforce Alert Level restrictions would have caused tension in an otherwise peaceful protest, without being effective in managing physical distancing of participants”.

That pretty much gives any protesters a green light to do what they like regardless of lockdown laws and rules.

It is disgraceful that a current Member of Parliament be blatantly behind breaking the law, but Ross has disgraced himself a number of times already so this is just another step downwards for him. His chances of being re-elected in Botany are miniscule so he seems to be hoping Te Kahika’s popularity will get him back into Parliament.

But how popular? Several thousand at a rally is a significant number, and there will be more supporters around the country, but they would need somewhere around 150,000 votes to make the 5% threshold (last election ACT got 13,075 votes for just 0.5% and Greens got 162,443 votes for 6.27%).

Even if they made history and the threshold, their influence in Parliament would likely be small. Labour would be extremely unlikely to do a coalition or confidence and supply deal with Advance NZ, and Advance NZ would be hugely hypocritical to even attempt to work with Labour.

Somme of their prominent COVID-19 Response Policy but it is laced with highly questionable claims. Their opening paragraph:

The COVID-19 virus has led nations around the world to take radical action to prevent its spread. In New Zealand, the Labour government has adopted an approach of eradication at any cost. That strategy has failed.

They are basically saying that “nations around the world” are wrong and they are right with untested claims.

The approach here hasn’t been “at any cost”, and it has been relatively successful both health-wise and economically so far.

In the false hope of eradicating the virus, we now face Labour’s Second Wave of Lockdowns. There is no end in sight for the current lockdown or for ending COVID-19 restrictions at lower levels. Labour’s plan is for years of rolling lockdowns.

I haven’t seen Labour state anything like that. Most countries including New Zealand are hoping that a vaccine will be available in the next year or so.

As new information is learned about COVID-19, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the fatality rate of the virus is considerably lower than first predicted. In the early stages of COVID-19 entering New Zealand, fear spread with many believing mass deaths would take place.

First predictions were widely variable based on limited information and based on a range of approaches.

Predictions where that doing nothing to limit Covid, as Advance NZ seem to be promoting, would likely

Initial predictions of death have not materialised around the world, and COVID-19’s  case fatality rate is not unlike that of seasonal influenza. Flu or colds have never been eradicated, and attempts to do so have proved futile. The WHO and GAVI are predicting a similar situation for COVID-19, and it looks like we will have to learn to live with it and find ways to protect our most vulnerable without shutting down society.  (https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/could-covid-19-ever-be-eradicated)

That’s an odd claim considering what is prominent on the gavi.org home page:

#VaccinesWork

Vaccines are one of the most successful and cost-effective health investments in history with wider benefits that accrue across a lifetime.

Keep informed about the latest topics in global health, including top stories related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Also from Gavi: How COVID–19 is leading to famine and a ‘hunger pandemic’

COVID-19 has infected more than 27 million people, killing nearly 900,000 of them. As well as this devastating impact on people’s lives and health, there has been significant collateral damage from the pandemic – especially hunger and malnutrition, putting the lives of millions more at risk.

10 September 2020

That seems to be the opposite of what Advance NZ claim and promote. They also claim:

The reasonable question to ask now is – what long -term economic, social, and health costs will New Zealanders face…

That is a reasonable question to ask….

…in a futile effort to eradicate COVID-19 – a virus we now know we can manage as a nation without losing considerable freedoms?

…but it is followed by a claim that they can’t know. They don’t cite any examples anywhere in the world where Covid has been managed without losing any freedoms.

From their Policy in Brief:

Implement a risk-based approach where vulnerable citizens are protected and supported, but all others are free to continue daily life.

By segregating ‘vulnerable citizens’ from ‘all others’? That doesn’t sound like freedom for either group.

Their website tries to sound reasonable and considered but is littered with highly questionable claims and has major flaws in thinking.

Advance NZ is unlikely to make the MMP cut, and even if they did they would unlikely have much if any influence on policy.

But by promoting defiance of lockdown rules they are actually putting the rest of us at risk of more spread of Covid, and more lockdowns.

Anti and anti-anti-racism protests in London, Paris

While anti-racism protesters clashed with French police in Paris it was far right activists causing problems in London.

BBC – French police clash with anti-racism activists in Paris

French police have clashed with activists protesting in Paris against racism and alleged police brutality.

About 15,000 anti-racism protesters gathered on the Place de la République in central Paris early on Saturday afternoon.

They chanted slogans such as “No justice, no peace”. Some climbed on the the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.

Police used tear gas against stone-throwing protesters who tried to hold a march that was banned.

The rally is part is a worldwide movement inspired by America’s Black Lives Matter protests.

It was organised under the banner “Justice for Adama”, after Adama Traoré, a young black man who died in French police custody in 2016.

BBC – London protests: Demonstrators clash with police

Groups including some far-right activists congregated in the capital, claiming they were protecting statues from anti-racism activists.

Some anti-racism protests also took place in London and across the UK.

Various groups from around the country, including some far-right activists, said they had come to London to protect symbols of British history.

Hundreds of mostly white men gathered around the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall and the boarded-up statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.

There were a number of clashes with police in riot gear as crowds – chanting “England” and raising their arms – surged towards lines of officers.

CNN: Europeans forced to re-examine their colonial histories

The police killing of George Floyd in the US last month has galvanized a global anti-racism movement. Now it is forcing Europeans to re-examine their colonial histories and even question their national identities.
Few Europeans will explicitly defend their country’s historical use of slavery, yet challenging the celebration of the very leaders and merchants who profited from slavery and the horrors of colonialism is proving a less comfortable conversation.

And in the US protests continue.

Fox News:  Seattle police chief and mayor at loggerheads over how to handle zone seized by demonstrators

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and police chief Carmen Best are at odds over the city’s handling of the self-declared autonomous zone set up by protesters spanning several blocks surrounding a police precinct.

Best has accused the mayor of shirking her responsibilities as an elected official and allowing protesters to oust police officers from a precinct located inside the 6-block radius now deemed a “cop free zone.”

Demonstraters inside the perimeter of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” – or “CHAZ” – have battened down for almost a week decrying police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and are demanding the city abolish the Seattle Police Department.

CNN: These are the confederate statues coming down

The death of George Floyd is leading to the removal — by protesters in some cases and city leaders in others — of contentious statues that have riled some residents for decades, if not longer.

Controversial monuments, especially Confederate monuments, have been the subject of nationwide debate, particularly since Dylann Roof killed nine African Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015 in an effort to “start a race war.”
And it flared up again after white nationalists marched in 2017 to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed amid violent clashes between demonstrators.
Some say they mark history and honor heritage. Others argue they are racist symbols of America’s dark legacy of slavery. While some cities have already made efforts to remove them, others have passed laws to protect them.

It looks like an issue that is going to linger.

Meanwhile Donald Trump has backed off what was seen as provocative rally: Trump Reschedules Rally After Criticism of Juneteenth Overlap

The rally would have fallen on Juneteenth, a day that memorializes the end of slavery. The site of the rally, Tulsa, was home to a notorious instance of racial violence in which hundreds of black people were massacred 99 years ago.

“Tulsa was the site of the worst racist violence in American history. The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is a message to every Black American: more of the same,” Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) tweeted.

Trump and his allies defended the timing of the rally. The president told Fox News the date was not intentional.

“Think about it as a celebration. They’re always a celebration,” Trump said. “In the history of politics, I think I can say there’s never been any group or any person that’s had rallies like I do.”

But:

The Federalist: Trump Addresses Protests And Riots: ‘Toughness Sometimes Is The Most Compassionate’

“Toughness sometimes is the most compassionate,” Trump said when asked if he intends to be both a law and order leader and a consoler. “When you look at the damage, and the travesties, and the small businesses, and the death. When you act soft and weak you end up not being compassionate.”

Trump and compassion usually appear to be as divided as the US is divided over race and politics.

Alt-right slight might

The ‘alt right’ organised protests in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch yesterday – see ‘NZ Sovereignty’ rallies against immigration.

Someone tweeted about someone at one of the protests having a swastika tattoo on his head…

Sad and a little shocked to see neo-Nazis out and proud. In Wellington, New Zealand. In 2019.

…but otherwise things seemed quiet and low key.

Another view of ‘good turnout’ from Greg Presland:

The rally was underwhelming.  There were maybe 30 yellow jackets there with perhaps another 30 supporters.

Whale Oil had been promoting the protests, including yesterday – Rallies against the UN Migration Pact TODAY 4PM.

They report A tale of two very different rallies: Christchurch & Wellington

Our Whaleoil citizen journalist reports that around 100 people turned out for the Christchurch rally against the UN Global compact on migration. There were no hecklers and no drama. There were no representatives from the National party at all but the New Conservative party fronted and “put on a good performance.”

Our reporter chatted with David Moffett afterwards and was impressed with both him and his speech.

Moffett has been generally quite unimpressive on Twitter. May he has learned from his mistakes.

The Wellington rally was quite different. Owen Llewellyn from the blog RightMinds writes that Leftist bullies disrespected the National anthem and tried to intimidate the female speaker.

SB makes this claim:

If you watch the video you will see the same tired techniques being used to try to smear and silence the message. A man with a swastika tattooed on his head was targeted as being supposedly representative of the rally. I would not be surprised at all if he was a plant by leftists as that is a common tactic to enable them to smear those who are pro-free speech as Nazis.

If they were a plant were they a Greenie? A silly joke i know, but that’s what a conspiracy theory like this deserves. It is a common tactic of leftists and rightists to make ridiculous assertions about the other extremity.

Also from Whale Oil: Humour at the Auckland rally: ‘ Want to smoke some weed?’

Was that the highlight? Whale Oil keeps promoting Elliot Ikilei from the New Conservatives. They are toxic to everyone else.

Presland (mickysavage) has a report of the Auckland rally at The Standard – Auckland’s yellow jacket protest, and concludes:

To repeat one question which I heard asked a number of times yesterday, where has multiculturalism ever worked?

We were in Aotea Square.  There were young Chinese and Indian, Pacifica, a mother and daughter wearing a hijab, all peacefully coexisting.  Across the road there is this wonderful Turkish kebab shop.  There are no less than two Sushi shops within 100 metres of where we were. Queen Street is littered with businesses owned and run by different nationalities showing the really good side of globalisation.

Within the city there are plans to celebrate Waitangi day, Chinese New Year and the Festival of colours all within the next month or so. People from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences all happily living together.

I am cautiously confident that New Zealand is showing that multiculturalism is working fine and that the Yellow Jackets will not gain traction. Time will tell if I am right.

It looks like the rallies had as much impact as the TPPA protests after Labour and Greens got in to Government.

At this stage the alt-right seems to have very slight might.

 

Destiny Church demands access to prisons, Ministers respond

Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church had a rally at Parliament demanding access to prisons with two programmes they have developed, but Tamaki has been told to go through the normal channels and make a formal application, and Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis has made pointed response.

RNZ: Destiny Church rallies at Parliament for access to prisons

An estimated 2000 Destiny Church supporters rallied at Parliament this afternoon demanding access to prisons for their rehabilitation programmes, and millions of dollars in funding.

The leader of the church, Brian Tamaki, says his Man Up and Legacy programmes have helped hundreds of people turn their lives around, many of whom have spent years in the criminal justice system.

Man Up’s website describes the 15-week programme as a link to a ‘brotherhood’, which helps men identify and understand issues in their lives, and work through them for a more stable future.

The Corrections Department said it had never received a formal application from Destiny Church to deliver Man Up or Legacy in prisons.

The Justice Minister Andrew Little said the church had also never applied for funding.

“I’m not trying to point the finger of blame here, let’s just understand what it is that the issues are for [Mr Tamaki] and his Man Up programme and let’s see if we can pull something together which helps the government achieve its objectives which is reducing family violence and reducing the number of folks going to prison.”

The Employment Minister Willie Jackson said if the Destiny Church went through the proper channels then they could be able to get into prisons and get the funding they needed.

“I think that’s the problem here is that they actually haven’t gone through a formal process in terms of applications, so let’s see what they come up with.”

Brian Tamaki however appeared unwilling to play ball.

“Go through the channels? Well how come the Prime Minister can assign $30 million without even consulting to the Papua New Guinean Government and they misused it, and they have billions of dollars for pine trees and I’m talking about just a little bit of money for people.”

“I’ve been waiting for 20 years and I’m doing the business without taxpayers’ money.”

I guess tithing is different to taxing.

Kelvin Davis responded:

Tamaki says that not allowing his programmes to be used in prisons is a breach of human rights and a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. He insists he has applied to have them be used.

 

TPPA protests struggle without party promotions

In February 2016 there were large anti-TPPA protests around the country. Green and Labour MPs were prominently involved. One of the organisers was Barry Coates, who became a Green MP when he replaced Kevin Hague as next on the party list.

With the revised CPTPP without the USA about to be signed in Chile there are protests around the country. Coates is still involved in organising – at 10 on the Green list he lost his place in parliament last year after Green support slipped significantly.

But the protests are struggling to get exposure and support. Labour and the Greens are far less interested or involved.

A protest rally was held in Nelson yesterday, and more will be held around the country today and next week. They are promoting along similar lines as TPPA – It’s Our Future! Don’t Sign! Auckland Rally

Speakers and performers include; Moana Maniapoto, Bryan Bruce, Laila Harre, Jane Kelsey, Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiiard, Mikey Brenndorfer, and Peter Whitmore.

Our government is set to sign the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) along with 10 other nations in Chile on the 8th March.

Following the collapse of the TPPA in the wake of the US withdrawal, the election of the new Government put a spring in the step of many. The Labour Party, New Zealand First and the Green Party had all said they would not support ratification of the TPPA. During the parliamentary examination of the text, Labour cited concerns about sovereignty, secrecy and inadequate economic modelling leading to uncertainty in projected outcomes; the Greens added that the TPPA is “inimical to the imperative of sustainability”; and New Zealand First focused on the anticipated dangers of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

What on earth happened? Labour has done a full U-turn, New Zealand First has joined in on the spin, and the Greens are very lukewarm in their disagreement.

What’s different?
Let’s be crystal clear. The “new” text is exactly the same, the only change being that 22 of the 1,000-plus original provisions have been suspended. These 22 provisions – mainly concerning intellectual property – have not been removed so that they can be revived if and when the United States comes back on board, as the Trump administration has indicated it is willing to do. When pushed on this point, the Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said that New Zealand could veto any attempt by the United States to join if that would compromise the Labour Party’sfive bottom lines. That, of course, would not stop a different government from giving up important aspects of New Zealand’s sovereignty simply to reduce tariffs for a trifling increase in GDP. And what was the Minister’s response to that serious concern? “Time will tell.”

Even now, in fact, Labour’s bottom lines have not been met. The so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) contains all of the core investor protections that are predicted to restrict the ability of Parliament to make laws in the interests of New Zealanders. As far as we know, has been no health impact assessment or analysis of the economic costs and benefits, as the governing parties called for when they were in opposition. The Crown has not discussed how it intends to strengthen protections for Māori, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal. And it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to call climate change her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”, but that sort of rhetoric would be undercut by signing up to an agreement that prevents action on environmental concerns by empowering foreign investors to sue, for example, if the Government sought to close coal mines and roll back permits to prospect for offshore petroleum.

The TPPA contains the wrong rules for New Zealand’s future. It threatens to place a frightening price tag on pursuing the policies we need to get out of last century’s fossil-fuelled economy, while at the same time preventing public oversight of this century’s data – driven economy by empowering the private corporations that control intellectual property and the global tech infrastructure while avoiding their fair share of tax. All at the expense of the worker and the patient and the taxpayer and the environment.

Since the TPPA is still not the deal that we want for our country, we are encouraging everyone to show strong opposition to our government signing the TPPA. We will be holding a Nationwide Day of Action on Sunday the 4th of March, please tell your family, friends and colleagues, get together and head along to your closest family friendly action, to send a strong message to the government not to sign the TPPA!.

On Thursday the 8th of March (signing day), we invite you to join us outside of Parliament at lunchtime to send a strong resounding message to the government that we do not want the TPPA or any similar trade deals in the future. It’s our future – the future of our children, we want truly progressive trade deals!

Links to events around the country;

Whangarei: https://www.facebook.com/events/571225906585646/

Auckland:
https://www.facebook.com/events/805505526324341/

Waihi:
https://www.facebook.com/events/155211191848613/

New Plymouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1804674232898957/

Wellington:
https://www.facebook.com/events/161873691200281/

Nelson:
https://www.facebook.com/events/143815816431911/

Christchurch:
https://www.facebook.com/events/218094512072247/

Dunedin:
https://www.facebook.com/events/577900969251483/

The numbers signed up as attending on Facebook are quite low:

  • Nelson 18 went (yesterday), 26 interested
  • Auckland 98 going, 247 interested
  • New Plymouth 22 going, 37 interested
  • Dunedin 18 going, 35 interested
  • Christchurch 8 going, 32 interested
  • Wellington (Thursday) 60 going, 125 interested

The Standard and The Daily Blog seem to have virtually given up on protesting the TPPA.

Metiria Turei: ‘system broken’

At a modest ‘poverty’ rally yesterday Metiria Turei said that the welfare system was broken. But before the Greens fix it do they have to fix themselves? The Green bubble appears to be broken.

A fairly green Standard posted Rally Against Poverty – join Metiria Turei and Marama Davidson yesterday morning…

Saturday 16 Sept 2.30pm, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland. Let’s all come together to rally for our communities that have been at the forefront on the fight to end poverty.

…that prompted a very lukewarm 11 comments (to date).

Carolyn_nth commented after the event:

It was great to be at the rally, and hear from people dealing with those who are homeless and on benefits.

A tweet from a guy I don’t know with some images from the event.

And the event was a corrective for anyone still thinking the Green Party is solely of and for white middle class folk.

When I arrived at Otara Town Centre, there was a group of young brown women with Green Party, and “I stand with Metiria” placards, out on the corner of the main road.

There was an array of speakers, poets and a singer or two.

Metiria sounded like she hasn’t missed a beat since standing down from GP leadership. She got a strong positive and loud response. And talks like she will be keeping up the struggle to end poverty for a very long time.

RNZ reports: Turei tells Green’s poverty rally welfare system broken

About 150 people gathered at the Otara Town Centre to hear from the Green Party about eliminating poverty in the country.

That’s a very modest number at a rally.

Green Party list candidate Marama Davidson said the party would raise benefits by 20 percent – including student allowances and all core living payments – if elected.

Ms Davidson said that alone would raise every family above the poverty line within a year.

“We are sending a clear, clear message that we will not accept poverty anymore and that we will do everything we can to end it,” she said.

“The voices of people who are on the front line and experiencing poverty need to be heard and need to be supported.”

The opportunity of being heard at a Green political rally doesn’t seem to have inspired many people.

Metiria Turei, who resigned as co-leader of the Green Party last month after admitting she committed benefit fraud, also spoke.

She thanked supporters for their compassion and kindness towards her when she confessed to lying to WINZ about her circumstances so she could receive more money for herself and her young daughter.

“We have a welfare system in this country that is broken … and it punishes people simply because they need some help,” Mrs Turei said.

And she said the Green Party was the only party which was taking poverty seriously.

Unfortunately for the Greens, far less seriously since Turei tried to justify her benefit fraud.

There’s certainly flaws with our welfare system, and there are significant problems with ‘poverty’, with people struggling, with people living in genuine deprivation, with kids getting a poor start to life.

But ‘eliminating poverty’ is a vague ideal. Simply giving a lot of people a lot more money, and giving them a nice house for life – and probably increasing the country’s debt levels significantly – are not solutions to complex societal problems.

There isn’t a magic bullet for ‘fixing’ our welfare system, nor is there green bullet for eliminating financial hardship.

The collapse in Green support in the polls, and the very modest amount of support for a political rally featuring Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei, suggests that the Greens have to do some soul searching to find a way of promoting their reforms.

Davidson became an MP only two years ago (November 2015), and has been lauded as a social justice warrior, and has been fast tracked up the Green pecking order to number 2 on their current list.

She looks like replacing Turei as their social policy champion, as Turei seems destined to drop out of Parliament after her poverty power play turned to custard.

Remember that a genuine battler for the battlers in our society, Sue Bradford, resigned from Parliament when Turei beat her in a leadership contest in 2009.

Turei managed the transition from Jeannette Fitzsimon’s leadership very well, and should be credited with playing a part in Green growth for the 2011 election.

But there were warning signs when Green optimism in 2014 was dashed by a slight drop in their percentage support.

The following year a jaded and disillusioned Russel Norman, a strong advocate for environmental issues and financial credibility, gave up his parliamentary fight, to be replaced by Davidson.

In July Turei led a major gamble in revealing her benefit fraud. This initially seemed to be successful, with a surge in Green support evident in the polls. But the story fell apart, as did Green support, with a double whammy when a Jacinda Ardern led resurgence of Labour (precipitated by the Green rise before they fell).

Turei has been noticeably knocked by what happened, and what will happen to her political career. She promised to continue her fight against poverty and against am awful welfare system. Davidson was promoted to number 2 and given a senior role as anti poverty advocate.

That both Davidson and Turei could only attract a modest crowd a week before the election suggest that the Green welfare campaign system is broken.

They have allowed themselves to be fooled in their self made self righteous bubble.

Before the Greens can fix the welfare system and before they can fix poverty – if either are actually possible – they need to fix their own systems of understanding.

They effectively want a socialist society where the state equalises everyone’s money. This is supposed to equalise standards of living. It has never been a successful political approach for a country in the modern world.

They say that to fix the environment you first have to fix poverty, fix society. That’s bollocks.

Rising standards of living tends to lead to rising levels of consumption and rising urbanisation and rising consumerisation. This has raised the problems with pollution, not reduced them.

Turei may come back into politics, but when she has a break maybe she can reassess what is required to transform our society so that most people do have a decent chance of having a decent life.

In the 21st century socialist revolution has been sidelined on the fanatical fringe. If the Greens continue to put too much emphasis on state imposed equality they risk becoming a fanatical fringe party.

It appears that Turei may have always been too tinged with fanatical fringe to lead them to their first real election victory.

It appears that the Green system is breaking apart.

Can Turei change? Can the Greens change? Or are they destined to never actually change our society much?