Clark not Muldoon, she's a Chavez

Where is the public anger over the Electoral Finance Bill? – Opinion: views on the news on

[quote]Do you remember when former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon attempted to rewrite the electoral finance laws, how furious we all were ? how the breast of every freedom-loving New Zealander swelled in indignant fury at the blatant attempt to rig the result of future general elections? Do you remember the marches, the huge, angry demonstrations and the blood on the streets?

No, you do not remember this, because it never happened. Muldoon never attempted such a thing. He was probably never even tempted to try, but if he had been, he would have known that any attempt would, indeed, have led to blood on the streets.

Had he attempted a fraction of what former finance minister Sir Roger Douglas’s government did after 1987, however necessary much of that might have been, there would have been blood. Politics is not fair.

So why are all those freedom-loving New Zealanders not angrily protesting against the current Electoral Finance Bill? Why is a proposal acceptable when a Labour Government proposes it, but unacceptable if proposed by a National prime minister, even one, as we now see in retrospect, of comparatively socialist tendencies?

Even the Human Rights Commission, which I often despise for its Left-wing tendencies, has, to its great credit, denounced this bill very firmly. So where are the street marches?

In lists of the commonest lies, the prime candidates are usually promises of love, that the cheque is in the mail, and that a lady’s fundament does not look large. I would add the statement attributed to Voltaire: “I disagree with what you say, but will fight to the death for your right to say it”.

If you doubt me, say something politically incorrect about the Treaty of Waitangi and see what tolerance is offered by the apostles of freedom.

Historically, the Left ? can we dignify the present Government with that label? ? has had no monopoly on intolerance. Equally, the Left is not immune. Intolerant tendencies arise from a moralistic worldview.

“Error has no rights” a Catholic cardinal is alleged to have said, and if you see your political grouping as doing God’s work and your opponents as the sable-hued minions of Satan, then it is unthinkable that your enemies should have the same rights that you do.

Of course, you believe in human rights, but that cannot apply to the patently wicked. Human rights are only for those who deserve them. That just happens to mean people like us.

In our own age, the Left tends more to this doctrinaire approach. They forget freedom has to mean the freedom to say things some people may not want to hear. (At least, they use that argument when arguing for further outrages to public decency by a degenerate television programme or art work, but refuse to accept its greater validity in political debate.)

The Left is right; everyone else is wrong. Intolerance is therefore justified. One can be a good freedom-loving person and refuse to respect the freedom of one’s political opponents, who are also enemies of the public good.

Read Nicky Hager’s The Hollow Men and you will see that the National Party’s chief crime, in the author’s eyes, was simply to exist.

I tell a lie when I say that no- one is protesting against the bill. In Christchurch, about 200 people demonstrated last Wednesday. It was a quiet and civilised protest. Too quiet, perhaps. Decency can be a disadvantage. To overcome our enemies ? this is life’s tragedy ? we must become like them.

At times one has to admire the energy of French farmers pelting ministers with potatoes and dumping truckloads of dung outside government buildings. They get their point across.

True, some demonstrators were members of the National and ACT New Zealand parties. The Prime Minister dismissed the protests for this reason.

Hitherto, people of other political opinions also had rights. Hitherto, our electoral finance laws, like other parts of our basic constitutional arrangements, enjoyed general cross-party support. Hitherto, democracy meant ongoing popular engagement in the issues, not just casting a vote on election day after a year of comparative silence on all political issues from all but the incumbent government.

Our present Prime Minister ceased to resemble Muldoon some time ago. She now more resembles Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, gerrymandering his country’s constitution to guarantee his own hold on power indefinitely. Both strut on the world stage. Helen Clark professes concern for human rights in Zimbabwe and Fiji. Why not here? The similarities extend even to a common tendency to insult monarchs.

As many dictators have learnt, when constitutional means for replacing a government are not available, only unconstitutional means are left. That is not good for a country.[/quote]

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