NZ Children Can’t Read or Write, and Don’t Know What Gender They Are, So Let Them Vote

The New Zealand Supreme Court has ruled in favour of lowering the voting age to 16.

‘Justice France told the court it was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights to not allow 16-year-olds to vote, and the decision of the Court of Appeal was overturned.’

Jacinda Ardern announced the same day, 21 November, that the Cabinet had decided ‘to draft a piece of legislation with a proposal to lower the age to 16 for the whole of Parliament to consider’.   While the required 75% majority makes its success unlikely, Labour’s present majority means this may be its best chance for a long time, and if the Bill does gets through, it will be very difficult to reverse.  However it comes at an interesting time:

Education standards are plummeting

Nearly two-thirds of students failed the writing standard in the latest NCEA literacy and numeracy pilot, released in October.  The highest pass rate was the reading standard, with 64% of students scoring an achieved or higher.  That was followed by numeracy at 56% and writing at 34%.  Those pass rates were even lower than the results in 2021, which themselves were a matter of concern for educators.

At the same time, truancy is skyrocketing. Earlier this month Education Review Office warned that NZ has worse school attendance than other English-speaking countries and many parents don’t care if their children miss classes.  Children failing in the 3Rs, and their reluctance to attend school, can in part be put down to the destructive pandemic measures, ranging from disruption to schooling to enforced mask wearing.  Another factor could be:

NZ education consists of wall to wall indoctrination, manipulation and abuse

The New Zealand school curriculum exposes children to every kind of damaging wokery, including:

  •  Critical race theory, whereby children have imposed upon them colonial guilt if of European descent, and victimhood and inferiority if Maori.  The capacity for bullying in the classroom of racial minorities of Maori or European descent is huge.
  • Conscious grooming for gender transition (leading to counselling, puberty blockers, mutilation, sterility, and more counselling);
  • Endless lies about ‘climate change’, with children consciously indoctrinated to become activists for the pseudoscience ‘climate change’ narrative, and no room for critical thinking.

This last is especially significant, as it is expected that giving children the vote will ensure support for the climate change agenda and indeed it is often cited as a good reason: it is assumed that because they are most effected (they’ll live longer), therefore they care the most, so they will make the right decisions.  Make It 16, who took the case to the Supreme Court, argue that:

  • Climate change poses an existential threat to young people and our future generations.

Next year is election year, and Labour is set to lose

Polls show that support for Labour is evaporating (the Newshub Reid Research Poll for November being particularly unfavourable), and there is a good chance that after the 2023 election National will be able to form a government with the support of ACT and maybe NZ First.  Having 100,000 or so children voting as instructed by their teachers could only benefit the Hard Left, if not this election then future ones.

There is huge opposition

The public is adamantly opposed to lowering the voting age.   As Bryce Edwards points out: ‘Poll after poll shows that about three-quarters of the public is not yet convinced that it’s a good idea.  In recent years there have been several polls on lowering the voting age, in 2020 at least three showing 70%, 85% and 88% respectively in favour of the status quo. The online community group Neighbourly ran a poll finishing today (23 November), with the final figures being 79.2 against the change.

Of the current opposition parties, Chris Luxon says the National Party does not see a need for change, confirmed by Justice spokesman Paul Goldsmith, in a press release which typically shifted the focus to other priorities (also typical is Deputy Nicola Willis continuing to post on social media about inflation rates while ignoring the issue of the voting age).  ACT leader David Seymour is more forthright:

‘ACT rejects calls to lower the voting age to 16 following the Supreme Court’s ruling. […] “We don’t want 120,000 more voters who pay no tax voting for lots more spending. The Supreme Court needs to stick to its knitting and quit the judicial activism.’

Who wants it?

The case was taken to the Supreme Court by a group called Make It 16, formed in September 2019 as ‘a non-partisan youth-led campaign advocating for the vote to be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds in Aotearoa’.  The group is the likely  stimulus for all the polls in 2020 onward.   In April 2022 the group was granted leave for its case to be heard in the Supreme Court after it failed in the High Court and Court of Appeal in 2020 and 2021.

Lowering the voting age is official Green policy, and Make It 16’s launching event in 2020 was hosted by Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick.  Coincidentally, or not, the Greens have the most to gain, with a generation of brainwashed school kids, convinced that they will be failing if they don’t convince the government to act NOW on climate change, and encouraged to vote by their (very often) equally brainwashed teachers.  Labour has had no explicit policy, though Ohariu MP Greg O’Connor also spoke at Make It 16’s launch.  Jacinda Ardern, who appears to be in lockstep with Green policy on every other issue, has signified support for the change.

The Maori Party / Te Pāti Māori have also expressed support.

Last election a National MP fed me the line that it was ‘good to let young people vote, as it gets them in the habit’.  Given the Labour /  Greens’ huge majority, it will only take a few Nats to think the same way to get it through.

So why now?

Only Parliament can decide if the law will change, 75% support in the House is needed and the opposition from National and ACT should be enough:  90 out of 120 seats are required, and  Labour /Greens / Maori Party currently have 77.  Ardern has indicated support for a conscious vote: ‘I accept different politicians will have different views.  Mine is one of 120’.  She may be hoping that enough National voters will cross the floor and support the change (like turkeys voting for Christmas) and indeed one National MP (now former) expressed support to me last election for lowering the vote because ‘it would get them in the habit of voting’.  However, she has said that the legislation will not be passed before the coming election.

Given the huge level of opposition to the proposal, and the unlikelihood that any change will affect the next, crucial, election, the decision to go ahead now seems hard to justify.  Whether or not it is passed, it will almost certainly damage Labour’s election chances.  One would have expected Labour to wait until safely after the coming election, as they did with gender self-identification,.

Bryce Edwards has confirmed that: ‘The general convention – which Jacinda Ardern reiterated yesterday – is for the implementation of significant electoral law changes to only take place for the election after the next one’.  He doesn’t say that it is law, however.  Some likely reasons for the decision to plough ahead:

  • In October 2021 Jacinda Ardern introduced mandatory vaccinations, accepting (rather gleefully) the  creation of a two tier society, despite having on numerous occasions denied that was the intention, even claiming that the idea was a conspiracy theory.  Her stated intentions cannot therefore be considered reliable. In the context of lowering the voting age, I will stick my neck out and say that there is a strong possibility that, given her penchant for fast tracking legislation, with few complaints from the public, Ardern is not necessarily committed to this conventional delay, and may be hoping to push through the change in voting age in time for it to be in effect for the 2023 election.
  • If Jacinda does manage to get the Bill through, it will be almost impossible to reverse by subsequent governments, so Labour and the Greens will reap the benefit in subsequent elections.
  • In any case, the idea will grow: already opponents are being vilified as ‘right-wing’ or ‘selfish old people’.

Given that Labour is on track to being voted out this election, maybe the punt is not so silly after all.

STOP PRESS:  Last night the NZ Parliament went into urgency to last to Friday or maybe Saturday.  This was 22 November, the day after the ruling from the Supreme Court on the the voting age and Jacinda Ardern’s announcement that legislation would be drafted to give effect to the ruling.   According to Simon O’Connor, in a piece to camera they are hoping to action 29 pieces of legislation, including the controversial Water Services Entities Bill.

See also:

Guy Hatchard, The Five Deadly Lies of Jacinda Ardern and Her Government

and

NZ Greens: Nazi Party or Simply Nasty Party?

Intimidation, expropriation of private property, turning greenery into a liability, dismantling democracy, forced medical interventions,  persecution of minorities, disempowerment of humanity on every possible front: what’s not to love?

Intimidation as conscious political tactic

In August 2022 Wellington mayoral candidate Tory Whanau, along with other Green and Labour candidates and sitting councillors, attended a counter-demonstration organised by the Wellington section of Antifa, a world wide organisation known for its chosen strategy of intimidation in order to achieve its ends.  It hardly seems a coincidence that the toxic NZ Green Party subsequently fought a toxic local election campaign in Wellington.  Wellington Antifa self-describes as opposing ‘fascism and anti-vax ideology’ thus correlating the two, and in line with Antifa philosophy the Greens insisted on a vaccine election, demonised the unvaccinated and made great use of intimidatory tactics.  This achieved two things: it successfully ‘othered’ rival candidates while frightening candidates who might have been more nuanced on the issue of Covid mandates, and it also reinforced the government’s message.

The media outlet NZ Stuff also provided inspiration for the Green campaign when Stuff seized on an odd reference by a leader of one anti-mandate group to making the country ungovernable, to create a sensationalist documentary called Fire and Fury, critiqued here. The documentary suggested that everyone within five degrees of separation from the anti-mandate protest was involved in planning violent insurrection, even though it was supported by former MPs from three parties and Dame Tariana Turia (‘ungovernable’ seems to be all about growing your own vegetables.)

The group that followed Tory Whanau round the election meetings actively set out to undermine, disempower and intimidate candidates.  Tactics included loaded questions, jeering at candidates, screaming ‘she’s an antivaxxer’, and whooping for their own candidate while not clapping for any other. The manipulative questions made it hard for candidates to actually clarify their position, let alone justify their views.  I was jeered at for denying that I was ‘affiliated with a group that wants to make the country ungovernable’, and for saying that I was opposed to any policies, including the move towards co-governance, that cause division. Others were treated similarly for opposing Wellington’s aggressive cycle network plan or the voting age being lowered to 16 years (lowering the voting age is an important Green policy – I wonder why?)

There were micro-aggressions and reinforcement of the message in the form of announcing vaccination status on introduction.  This practice was followed by at least two candidates, official Green candidate Tamatha Paul, and ‘independent’ but bright green Ellen Blake: ‘I am so and so and I’m triple vaccinated’.  Similarly the twitter bio of successful mayoral candidate Tory Whanau’s proudly affirmed that that she was ‘fully vaccinated and a proud mask wearer’.

When supporters of other candidates decided to push back and heckle too, the Greens cried rape, with the full support of the corporate media who had somehow missed the antics of Whanau’s supporters.

At this last meeting in Hataitai, local residents decided they’d had enough of the Greens’ ‘relentless positivity’, and told Whanau’s whoopers to either shut up or go home.

Green Policy: It’s All About Disempowerment

Was there ever a narrative promoted by trillionaire nutjobs and restricting the rights of citizens that the Greens haven’t backed to the hilt?

Making New Zealand unlivable on the back of junk science

During the evolutionary burst of life forms that was the Cambrian Explosion, both global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 were far higher than they are today.  Both have been in a trough, but as CO2 has crawled upwards recently, there had been a greening of the planet, with retreating deserts and higher crop yields.  ‘Can’t have that’, says the Green Party.  So they have reformulated the theory of the carbon cycle whereby while CO2 is brilliant when rebreathed by small masked children, it is otherwise harmful for the planet.  No matter that there is no science whatsoever to back up their claims of dangerous warming caused by CO2, to be exact the 4% or so produced by humanity (the NZ Climate Commission, when asked to provide proof of their claims, could only hum and haw and admit that they were relying on the nonexistent ‘consensus).

Regardless, the Green Party, along with the Labour Party, are determined to use the nonsense narrative of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming to make New Zealand unlivable by, eg:

  • Confiscating private property for the purposes of rewilding (when the fake biodiversity line is exposed, we can always claim emission offsetting);
  • Numerous measures to make farming nonviable and encourage its replacement with monoculture pine. This has serious implications for the food supply, export income and the environment (NB: in 2019 Green MP and Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage  gave a free pass to Japanese company PanPac to buy up to 20,000 hectares of productive farmland);
  • Rezoning coastal property;
  • Making cities like Wellington hostile to cars by putting in cycleways everywhere, impeding traffic flow and removing car parks with huge inconvenience to residents and negative impact on businesses;
  • Imposing apartment living to replace our house and garden lifestyle which, with its flowers, vege gardens and composts heaps, is now deemed ‘unsustainable’, along with houses that have withstood earthquakes for 100 years.

Wellington’s own ‘Wildland’s’ project

The American Wildlands Project, now termed the Wildlands Network, proposes the designation of more than 50% of the United States as core wilderness areas with little or no human use, while humanity is forced into high density living.  Exposure of the Wildlands Project was responsible for the United States not ratifying the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994.

Bizarrely, the Labour/Green faction of Wellington City Council decided to apply this scheme to our capital city, expanding the city’s reserves at the expense of private property.  In 2022 WCC applied its ‘Significant Natural Areas’ policy to a substantial amount of land formerly zoned rural within the city boundaries, mostly gorse and scrub, and thereby taking the land out of the housing equation.  The scheme has no legal basis, turns native bush into a liability and is fraudulent, as it is applied to land of no special value at all, at best regenerating bush, but also garden shrubbery, agapanthus, pine, lawn etc.  Now that the election is over, it is almost inevitable that it will be applied to the 1500 or so residential properties, and presumably many more later on.

Eliminating democracy in favour of rule by tribal elites

At a Wellington election meeting, Green mayoral candidate Tory Whanau and Labour’s Paul Eagle affirmed that they supported 50:50 cogovernance with iwi.  This is the policy of both parties, and the Green Party manifesto is full of references to ‘tino rangitiratanga’, ie Maori sovereignty.  The concept is based on a modern interpretation of the Treaty Of Waitangi which asserts that the Crown agreed, not to democracy and equal right for all, but to an equal partnership between the Crown and Maori elites, in perpetuity.

In 2018 there was leaked and then released a report called He Puapua, which sets out how co-governance in every sphere of NZ life could be achieved.  Needless to say, the Greens fully support the aims of the He Puapua report, whose intent has been described as:

‘[…] a coup designed to dismantle our democracy and the Rule of Law and replace it with the worst form of tribalism coupled with the greed of those who want what they have not earned.’ (Anthony Willy, former Judge and Law Lecturer)

The Mandates

As with ‘climate’ so with ‘Covid’, with the Green Party even more gung ho than Labour when it came to restricting people’s liberty.  When the PM announced the end of the COVID-19 Protection Framework in September, the Greens accused the government of ‘giving up’.

The visible symbol of subjection which is enforced masking is especially dear to the hearts of the Green Party.  After the government removed most mask mandates, the Green MPs turned up at Parliament masked in protest.  Mask wearing was a Green Party badge during the local election campaign on the part of both candidates and supporters, with meetings well attended by Greens a sea of masked faces, even after the mandates were eased.  Green MP Julie Anne Genter came to one meeting with a mask and a scarf wrapped round her face, making a performance of unwinding her scarf when people complained they couldn’t hear her question.

War and mass migration

Green parties everywhere are big supporters of mass migration, including into heavily populated countries like the UK, regardless of the impact on the environment and social fabric of target countries.  This includes NZ, where the Greens have a policy of taking 5,000 refugees (or econonic migrants) per annum, and wishes to grant visa waiver status to all Pacific countries, which will inevitably lead to a huge increase in immigration and population, and have environmental impact.

The Greens claim humanitarianism, which apparently trumps environmental concerns in this one context.  However a major factor in migration is war, and the Greens attitude to the West’s immoral warmongering is at best ambiguous.  In 2017 I asked candidates at an election meeting about their stance on NZ sponsoring the most vicious ISIS-aligned group in Syria, ie the child murdering Al Zinki gang, via their front group the White Helmets.   The Green candidate declared that his party saw them (ie ISIS-aligned gangs) as the modern day equivalent of the International Brigades who fought Franco.  It wasn’t certain that the candidate could find Syria on a map; rather it seemed to be a message that was passed down from on high.

The intervention in Libya with the approval of a ‘no-fly zone’ by the UN on the questionable grounds of ‘responsibility to protect’ was an absolute disaster, leading to the destruction of Africa’s most successful country and the ruin of millions of lives.  The Greens’ Global Policy, however, asserts that  ‘Aotearoa New Zealand should promote the “responsibility to protect” in cases of genocide or gross and systematic violations of human rights’ (thus endorsing the destruction of Libya), when we all know that ‘violations’ tend to be in the eye of the beholder.  Former MP Kennedy Graham was a strong proponent of removing the Security Council veto, citing Russia’s use of the veto to prevent the West doing a Libya on Syria.  Likewise, a glance at the social media posts of present leader James Shaw shows that he has often wrung his hands about the failure to ‘act’ in (destroy) Syria.

Conclusion

One could be forgiven for attributing to the Greens a philosophy of ‘I love not Man the less, but Nature more’,  and certainly their grass roots will believe it.    Except that it doesn’t wash, as many of the measures they support have negative consequences for the environment and biodiversity: making greenery a liability; getting rid of home gardens along with flowers, bees and butterflies and replacing them with NZ ‘s most common natives; covering the landscape with pinus radiata, the penchant for the most toxic energy renewable systems such as batteries, not to mention the obsessive support for the mass movement of people.  The Greens exist to serve anti-people agendas imposed by overseas interests.  It’s not about loving the environment: it’s all about people, just not in a good way.

Continue reading “NZ Greens: Nazi Party or Simply Nasty Party?”

The Confessions of Barbara McKenzie

The Victoria University of Wellington Students Association (VUWSA) recently issued a defamatory press statement to the effect that they were ‘uninviting’ me from their mayoral debate, due to my ‘racist and transphobic views’, while also being concerned about the danger of students being infected with Covid scepticism (or any scepticism, one suspects). 

‘The views that Barbara McKenzie brings encroach upon the safety of all of our students and staff here on campus. Her spread of misinformation, disinformation and mal-information around COVID-19 and vaccinations, as well as her racist and transphobic comments, are dangerous and harmful.’

No evidence was provided of ‘racist and transphobic comments’, and VUWSA has not replied to my inquiry for details, but it is apparent that such charges are based solely on my political views, not on any offensive wording.

Clearly the statement from VUWSA, and subsequent attention from the media, will make me the target of hate from ideologues, the disaffected and the bored; in short the world has become a more dangerous place.  The issue is therefore relevant to the mayoral campaign.   In the interest of transparency:

I confess to the following

I confess to a reluctance to speak on any issue without studying it carefully.

I confess that I adamantly oppose NZ’s abusive school programme, which bullies small children into feeling insecure about their gender (Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that your gender has changed), seeks to create racial hatred through critical race theory, and lies about the demographic status of polar bears.

I confess that I oppose allowing men who’ve declared that they’re women to ruin women’s sport.

I confess to being disgusted by the spiteful shaming by Wellington City Council of a pro-women’s group, by lighting up in rainbow colours the venue where they were holding a public meeting.

I confess that I oppose WCC’s undemocratic policy of progressing towards co-governance without input from voters.

As someone with knowledge of many languages and who has travelled widely, I confess to being totally mystified by the policy, unique to New Zealand, of promoting the Maori language by consciously and artificially hybridising English.

On 29 March 2020 Ashleigh Bloomfield told a press conference that ‘As we have seen around the world, Covid-19 CAN be a deadly disease – particularly for older people, and those with underlying pre-existing health issues’, a description echoed by Jacinda Ardern and others.  I confess to scepticism that such a disease justifies measures that impact severely and in multiple ways on the economy, jobs and businesses, the health system, human rights and children’s welfare, or justifies the ostracism of vaccine refusers.

In 2010 Glaxo Smith Kline pulled its Swine Flu Vaccine after a few month because of the injuries.   I confess to agreeing with GSK, many health professionals, and the facts of science, that vaccines are not always safe, effective and justified, and thus are open to scrutiny.  I maintain that denial of this fact is anti-intellectual cultism.

I confess to being gobsmacked by the wacky conspiracy theory, developed by Stuff and promoted by other media, that the bunch of women who ruled the Freedom Village at Parliament with a rod of iron and kept it immaculate, are somehow involved in plotting violent revolution.

I confess to opposing NZ and Wellington’s Zero Carbon by 2050 policy, given that: costs for NZ are estimated to exceed $550 billion, and assume huge sacrifices in terms of our economy, environment and quality of life; it will achieve nothing in view of the coal-fired power stations being built in Asia and elsewhere, and global activity generally; and Rod Carr has admitted that the Climate Commission has no convincing evidence that CO2 causes dangerous global warming other than a touching faith in the (debunked) ‘consensus of climate scientists’.

I confess to believing that WCC’s Significant Natural Area policy of expanding the city’s reserves at the expense of private land (regardless of significance) signifies an intention to expand the city’s reserves at the expense of private land.

I confess to be deeply concerned at the division and hatred created by pandering to the demands of the extremist elements of minority groups.  While minorities may benefit from measures that favour them, overall it makes the world a less safe place for them.  Virtue-signalers love the division; I hate it.

I confess to a suspicion that what VUWSA and other players find dangerous is dissent backed by facts and rational argument.

It will be up to courts, and the voters, to decide whether any of these sins amount to racism or transphobia.

See also:

VUWSA’s statement was smartly picked up Wellington Scoop, where it has attracted much comment. VUWSA excludes mayoral candidate from election debate

Wellington City Councillors Attend Antifa Counter-Demonstration

The attendance of Wellington City Councillors at an Antifa counter-demonstration, ostensibly to protest fascism, invoked the question, who exactly are the fascists here?

On Tuesday a ‘Freedom’ demonstration took place in Wellington.  Although the protest was against the covid vaccine mandates in particular, and for some the government in general, opposition seized on the fact that it was organised by Brian Tamaki, also the founder of a conservative church which opposed gay marriage.  Thus the protest was to some extent tainted by association.  As well as this discouraging some protesters, politicians and media are allowing the association to empower fascist hate groups such as Antifa.   

The Wellington Antifa organisation, Pōneke Anti-Fascist Coalition promotes a parallel between fascism and ‘anti-vaxx ideology’, and indeed all ‘conspiracies’ (i.e. dissent).

‘We are a group of people based in Pōneke/Wellington who are standing up against fascism, anti-vaxx ideology, conspiracy theories and bigotry in all its forms. Love community, hate fascism!’

Pōneke Anti-Fascist Coalition organised a counter-demonstration to Tamaki’s Freedom protest. Wellington City Councillors Fleur Fitzsimons and Rebecca Matthews, and a few other local election candidates attended the demonstration posing under Antifa insignia and the Antifa slogans ‘Love Community Hate Fascism’ and ‘Fascist Trash’. 

Response to the boastful tweets of the councillors was furious.

There is indeed much about Wellington City Council culture that is redolent of fascism. Two common definitions of fascism that are relevant:

1) Authoritarianism.

The Councillors’ desire to suppress free speech, well demonstrated by their hostility both to this protest and to February’s ‘Freedom Village’, is just one expression of what is now WCC culture.  The Council is imposing on the city a deeply unpopular cycle network – because they can.  The Council approves in principle the expansion of Wellington’s (ample) reserves at the expense of private property, overturning traditional rights and causing huge angst and material loss – because they can.  The Council is pushing towards co-governance, without referendum  – because they can.

2)  Achieving political ends through bullying, intimidation, through to violence.   Intimidation was a strategy of the Italian Fascists in the 1930, and is now an Antifa hallmark.

There is, of course, a sliding scale, when it comes to bullying.  At one end: at Onslow-Western local election meetings of 2019, a recurring theme of candidates was that the people who should decide every issue from climate change to town planning were school children, because they were going to live longer.  Every time a member of the audience queried the Council’s vision of a city of apartment buildings, up would bounce Rebecca Matthews and inform the sea of grey heads that ‘there is an age divide here.  Younger people …’.

As Matthews started, with disenfranchising the elderly, so she has continued.  Venom is directed at all opponents. Anyone who loves Wellington as it is, is a ‘f….. NIMBY’.  And not just by Matthews. Anyone who opposes democracy being replaced by co-governance is deemed racist by a body of councillors .  The sniping and whinging at Council meetings in order to cow opposition has to be heard to be believed.   Take, for example, the Council’s meeting to  approve the Proposed District Plan.  Every councillor had the chance to speak, but this did not stop Fleur Fitzsimons and others wasting everyone’s time at the end by complaining about how people voted.  Those chairing the meetings clearly feel it is not in their best interests to rein in this behaviour.

Matthews and co. may have established for themselves a reputation as bullies, however it is quite a step to attending what was essentially an Antifa rally. 

The protest passed off peacefully, and and there is no evidence that violence was planned, or is planned in the future, by Poneke Antifa.  I am certainly not accusing Wellington councillors of planning riots.  But the fact remains that Poneke Antifa is a nasty hate group that works to suppress dissent by equating it with fascism: a gobsmacking example of projectionism.   By attending an Antifa rally, by standing under Antifa slogans and insignia, by joining with them in accusing all anti-mandate protesters of fascism and hate, Wellington councillors, like the media, are empowering the Antifa movement – and fascism.

See also:

Wellington Scoop: Hundreds of anti-protest demonstrators watch arrival of “Freedom” marchers, via the lens of twitter.

A recent poll showed that satisfaction with Wellington City Council’s decision-making process is down to 12%. From Benoi Pette,12%:

‘This report was presented by officers to the Mayor and the Councillors on the 28th of June. The video of the meeting is available online and lasts one hour and a half. The section about satisfaction starts at the 46th minute.

‘In this presentation, the officers never mention, ever, the actual figure of 12%, as if it was too shameful, too dirty to dare say it. They list what Wellingtonians said were the three main reasons for this, let’s try, “low” level of satisfaction:

  • Not listening to the public (someone, somewhere suggested it some time ago);
  • Political issues (the in-fighting);
  • Lack of transparency in decision-making.

‘Then an officer offers his own analysis. Yes, the rating is not great, but it is also relatively stable. I’ll be guessing here you always have to see the positive in things.

NZ Stuff / DomPost Conspiracy Theories Empower Hate Groups

NZ Stuff and Wellington’s Dominion Post are peddling baseless and irresponsible conspiracy theories which are in turn inspiring and empowering hate groups such as Antifa.

At first it seemed a joke ….

Back in February a convoy opposed to the NZ government’s covid vaccine mandates arrived at Parliament in Wellington and set up camp. The Freedom Village was ruled with a rod of iron by a bunch of women.  The grounds were immaculate.  If the campers included homeless or unemployed, they were a credit to New Zealand.

Wellington City Council could have turned the whole affair into a tourist attraction, but chose not to.  Politicians in Wellington lied their heads off about the protest (‘bottom feeders’ and ‘a river of filth’), and MPs from both the government and the National opposition petulantly refused to meet with the protesters, thereby ensuring its continuation.  The protest came to an end when the police moved in aggressively and a violent altercation quickly developed between them and a group of unknowns.

Wellington’s Dominion Post has now been promoting a conspiracy theory linking the Freedom Village with a plot to use violence to overthrow the government, targeting especially the group Voices for Freedom, but anyone associated (however loosely) with the group or the anti-mandate movement .  VFF is well organised and publishes material about the vaccine mandates and related issues.   None of the material on its website seems to be subversive in a traditional sense, unless you count its opposition to the government’s covid policies.

My first response was to laugh my head off: the idea of the women leading Voices for Freedom  planning a violent insurrection was ridiculous in the extreme.
Former MPS such as Rodney Hyde, Winston Peters and Matt King all spoke and hung out at the protest.  ACT leader David Seymour also visited.   Wellington Mayor Andy Foster incurred the wrath of his Labour/Green council by meeting with protest representatives:

‘Foster said he came out of the Backbencher meeting hopeful that a peaceful solution could be found.’

and

‘A police spokesperson said representatives from NZ Police met a broad range of people with a view to finding a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the unlawful occupation on Parliament grounds.’

There is no sense that either Andy Foster or the police were expecting a violent insurrection.  There is no sense that former MPs such as Peters, Hyde etc, suspected that the protest might be a precursor to armed revolution.  The idea that all these experienced politicians could be associated with violence or condone violence is ridiculous.

Having created their conspiracy theory, the DomPost is using it to smear independent candidates such as myself, i.e. those opposed to Council policies.  Despite the malevolent intention to harm me, it was hard to take seriously.   After all, while I was out canvassing voter feedback continued to focus on the issues of the neglected stormwater problem, the aggressive and unpopular cycleway project, the skyrocketing rates and ‘the whole council’.

All humour has now gone from the situation.  Stuff has created a documentary named ‘Fire and Fury’ which, while being managing to be essentially content-free, relies on a powerful and dramatic presentation to convince the viewer a threat of impending violence from anti-mandate groups, or indeed all mandate sceptics.  The documentary is a telling acknowledgement that NZ Stuff has abandoned all pretense at being a news outlet.

The Dominion Post and NZ Stuff are applying Jacinda Ardern’s deeply unpleasant tactic of marginalising ‘antivaxers’, ignoring the fact that polls suggest that around 30% of NZers supported the protest, and a similar figure oppose the mandates.  (VFF has reported that its membership has quadrupled since ‘Fire and Fury’ came out.

The DomPost is promoting the video to reinforce its campaign against candidates who threaten the Council’s Labour/Green majority.  However it’s worse than that.

The material is being shared by and empowering hate groups such as the Pōneke Anti-Fascist Coalition (Poneke Antifa) , which stands against ‘fascism, anti-vaxx ideology, conspiracy theories and bigotry in all its forms’ (thus conflating them).  It’s clear from both titles and insignia that Poneke Antifa and its sister group in Auckland, Tāmaki Anti-Fascist Action, align themselves with the international Antifascist Action (Antifa) movement.  Antifa as a movement can be described as fascist, if your definition is people who use violence and intimidation for political ends (such as the original Fascists of ’30s Italy).

Whether or not the FBI did actually classify Antifa activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence’ (and the source is no more reliable than the DomPost), Antifa are known for their riots causing damage to property and life, and their tactic of organising violent counter protests to shutdown of free speech.

Social media of both the Wellington and Auckland Antifa groups shows that that they are obsessed with any opposition to mandates or vaccines, correlating that opposition with fascism and hate.  Building on the allegations from NZ Stuff, they have designated Voices for Freedom as ‘ the largest, most well funded and dangerous far-right group in Aotearoa’.

The Freedom and Rights Coalition (TFRC), founded by Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki, has organised another anti-mandate protest march, intending to arrive in Wellington today, Tuesday. The police press release states that based on ‘similar protests’ (i.e. also by TFRC? Not clear): ‘Our expectation of these protesters is that their protest will remain lawful at all times’.

However Poneke Antifa has declared its intention to organise a counter protest.   According to a facebook post of 17 August, ‘The organisers of the protest on Tuesday will, to the best of our ability, ensure that our counter-protest is a peaceful one’.  However, their presence increases the chance of conflict, and worst case scenarios for this and other protests are scary. 

See also:

Graham Adams, who has managed to keep his sense of humour, has critiqued Stuff’s documentary: Stuff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ is often funny — unintentionally.

Continue reading “NZ Stuff / DomPost Conspiracy Theories Empower Hate Groups”

A Council Out of Control: Letter to Wellington City Councillors

Dear Councillors

In case you didn’t see my letter published in the Dominion Post this morning:

It is absolutely unconscionable that Councillors are seeking to fast-track the whole of the District Plan, thus erasing democratic rights including appeal to the Environmental Court.  This will include the Council’s illegitimate Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) initiative, by which the Council is claiming rights over private land on the grounds that regenerating bush, scrub, garden shrubbery, toxic weeds and lawn constitute ‘indigenous biodiversity of national importance’.

Councillors and council officers know full well that expropriating private land in the absence of exceptional circumstances is and always has been unlawful, as evidenced by:

Legislative Guidelines (adopted by Cabinet 2021) recognise ‘respect for property’ as a fundamental constitutional principle: ‘New legislation should respect property rights.  People are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their property.’

The Resource Management Act underlines the importance of property rights and makes it very clear that while all measures should be taken to protect the natural environment, and especially indigenous flora of significance, the welfare of people and communities comes first.

The Biodiversity Strategy 2000, in force when the SNAs were rolled out in 2019, emphasises, ‘Securing the willing and active participation of landowners is therefore pivotal to sustaining indigenous biodiversity on private land’.

As well as ignoring basic principles of property rights and the loss of value to land owners, the Council knows that the policy is counter-effective, as it punishes rather than rewards residents who care about native plants.  The Council is weaponising biodiversity, not encouraging it.

SNAs will also have the effect of reducing land for housing.

The aims of the project can only be to normalise expropriation of private land without justification, and to further the Council’s anti-people vision of Wellington as a city of apartments with humanity cut off from nature, with no gardens, none of the exotic flowers and trees loved by our birds and bugs: just concrete and kawakawa; Gondwanaland with tower blocks.

It won’t, of course, be Gondwanaland – Wellington’s fastest growing natives will not replace the biodiversity of either pre-human times or our mix of bush and exotics.

The Council has done its best to keep the SNA policy quiet, with little or no attempt to inform the public as a whole.  However it received a large number of submissions to the Draft District Plan, either demanding that the whole project be canned, or asking that private property be exempt.  This latest response shows that the Council is doubling down, quite oblivious to questions of democracy, traditional values, and human welfare.  Certainly there is no intention of allowing Wellingtonians the ‘peaceful enjoyment of their property’.

The Council is clearly out of control, bulldozing through a policy patently unlawful and anathema to almost all who know about it, while  showing throughout the project a total contempt for democracy.

Barbara McKenzie
Wellington SNA Committee

Note: ‘Wellington City Councillors will be asked next Thursday [31/03/2022] to support a staff proposal to seek government approval to fast-track the entire District plan’ (Fast-tracking the District Plan – and removing any right of appeal).  The Dominion Post has reported (28/03/2022) that some councillors have already expressed support for the proposal, including Rebecca Matthews, Fleur Fitzsimmons, Tamatha Paul and Teri O’Neill.

Concrete and Kawakawa: Wellington City Council’s War on Biodiversity and Sustainability

In July last year, Wellington Mayor Andy Foster addressed a meeting on the city’s Significant Natural Areas policy.  Foster had one reply to every question and comment:

  • The policy is unlawful  – ‘ah, but biodiversity’
  • The policy is an attack on property rights, an essential New Zealand value – ‘ah, but biodiversity’
  • Home owners are being punished for nurturing bush – ‘ah, but biodiversity’
  • Turning native bush into a liability will have a negative outcome – ‘ah, but biodiversity’

In fact, Council policy is nothing to do with nurturing biodiversity.

‘Significant Natural Areas’

Every morning the tuis wake up in Zealandia, yawn, stretch and say to each other, ‘Whose garden are we going to plunder today?’  And off they go, to find a flowering cherry, laburnum or banksia to gorge themselves on.  ‘We’ll show those tuis’, thinks Wellington City Council.   So Council has decided to get rid of home gardens and replace them with concrete and New Zealand’s six most common natives.

To this end it has set in train a policy of giving reserve status to private property, mostly suburban back gardens presently covered in bush regrowth, garden shrubbery, tradescantia, pine, lawn or even outbuildings.  Such land is the seed for the Council’s vision to return Wellington to native bush, while forcing humanity into high density apartment living.  So far almost 1700 properties are affected, but there will certainly be many, many more in the years to come.

Andy Foster may yearn to recreate Gondwanaland, but it will take hundreds of years for the bush regenerating on former farmland to regain the quality of virgin forest.  The Council’s SNA policy means Wellington residents will be forbidden from doing anything to speed up the process.  Want to dig out one of those kawakawa and put in something a little less common, like an orchid, rare fern, or totara?  You’ll need a resource consent.  Want to transplant a little taupata or pittosporum to somewhere more suitable?  Again, a resource consent will be required.  Want to create a new area of native bush in your back yard?  Get started, then the Council will come in and take it off you.

Want to replace that field of tradescantia and mahoe (designated by council officers as significant indigenous biodiversity of national importance) with a flower garden, shed or new dwelling?  Not a chance.

The fate of flower-loving bees or monarch butterflies, of low status because not indigenous, is not looking good. And nobody is asking our native birds what they think.

Let’s not be fooled by Wellington City Council’s talk about ‘protecting biodiversity’.  Biodiversity is simply a weapon – they can’t understand (they can’t stand) people who love the natural environment.  Hence the vision the council has of our future lifestyle: no home gardens, high rise apartments, and separation of people from nature.

‘Zero Carbon’

The Council’s junk science climate change policy is another example of ideology over ideals.  The evolutionary burst of life forms called the Cambrian Explosion occurred when atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were both (coincidentally) far higher than they are today.  The briefest glance at geological history indicates that Planet Earth has been in a trough in terms of both CO2 and temperature.

Although the earth doesn’t seem to be warming, unfortunately for both biodiversity and Wellington residents, the small increase in carbon dioxide in recent years has had a beneficial effect.  In 2016 NASA reported increased greening globally because of CO2.   Africa’s deserts are now in spectacular retreat.

WCC’s response?  We can’t risk another explosion of biodiversity – must declare a climate crisis.

Let’s destroy the environment to save the planet

WCC loves batteries – to show its commitment, it converted all its trolley buses to battery power.  Never mind that:

‘Resilience’ and ‘Sustainability’

There is nothing more sustainable than a home garden, growing vegetables and fruit trees, maybe keeping chickens, providing recreational opportunities for everyone from toddlers to pensioners, and easy to get in and out of in an earthquake.  Not, of course, in the Council’s warped mindset.  Far, far better to have residents totally dependent on the supermarket duopoly, vulnerable not just to price gouging but to shortages caused by world trade moods, wars, passing viruses etc.  I can’t wait to be in a jerry-built tower block signed off by WCC when the big one hits, or when the government finds an asymptomatic case of influenza and puts the whole of my apartment building into lockdown.

Councillors are desperate to get rid of solid housing stock which has withstood earthquakes for a hundred or more years, in favour of  homes designed to last 50 years.  Given that the fittings of these new buildings will be rubbish (my experience of a rebuild suggests that the life of a new fitting is somewhere between a week and five years), a sizeable part of Wellington will have to be reserved for landfill.

High rise buildings and surrounding streets will be a disaster zone when there is a big earthquake.  Just look at what happened to the central city after the last minor shake from Kaikoura.

Replacing homes with apartments and paving will have repercussions for infrastructure.  Services managed by the Council such as roads, transport and 3-waters are already failing.  Slips in Wellington’s hillier suburbs have increased in recent years because of infill, and the problem is set to blow out.  Councillors aren’t worried – they can always blame the problem on ‘climate change’.

Nobody except Wellington’s councillors would try to suggest that their vision for the future is ‘resilient’ or ‘sustainable’, or serves either biodiversity or humanity.

The Wellington SNA Committee has been trying to create awareness about Wellington’s unlawful SNA initiative, despite the Council’s determination to keep the public in ignorance until it is a fait accompli – to this day very few Wellingtonians not directly affected are aware of this attack on property rights.  You can sign the petition against WCC’s SNA policy here.

NZ Labour MP Rebrands Peaceful Protesters as ‘Anti-Vax, Anti-Mask, Anti-Everything Mob’

On 6 January 2021 thousands poured into Washington DC to protest (peacefully) to protest the conduct of the 2020 presidential election.  However at some point an over-enthusiastic protester, or agent provocateur, led a few people into the Capitol building where they filed past the complacent security guards, took some selfies, and did little or no damage.  This little prank enabled the corporate media to rebrand the whole protest as an attempted coup.  (The same media treated far more kindly the BLM/Antifa riots of 2020 in which people were murdered, property vandalised and goods pillaged).

A similar thing is happening with the protest now taking place in Wellington.  There is no evidence that the protest is intended to be anything but peaceful, with speeches, music and hanging out.  The only aggression has come from the police, who on Thursday decided to resolve the matter by force, arresting 22 people, often with unnecessary violence (see also Appendix, below).  The following day, Friday, the police backed off – TV One News reported: ‘it’s been a comparatively quiet day without the flurry of arrests that we saw yesterday’.  A different story, however, is being peddled by the media and the politicians.

In an email sent yesterday to constituents, Ohariu MP Greg O’Connor, described the overwhelmingly peaceful protest in Wellington as ‘one of New Zealand’s worst cases of disorder and mass law breaking’.  Protesters are compared with ‘the mob [who] invaded the Capital [sic] in order to overthrow a legitimately elected President’, and to armed insurgents in Somalia. The word ‘mob’ features six times in O’Connor’s email.

O’Connor also refers, rather oddly, to Timor-Leste.  On 1st September 2020, the Timor-Leste Defence Forces commander threatened to arrest the leaders of a newly formed movement which had planned a peaceful march to call for the resignation of President Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo after he refused to swear in several members of the largest party in the 2018 elections.   Is O’Connor suggesting that organisers of peaceful protest be arrested?

Earlier reports from media and politicians initially labelled protesters as anti-vaxers.  There of course, protesters who are especially focused on the vaccine mandate.  I spoke to a woman from the Philippines who hates Pfizer with a passion, because of children who died in the Philippines after being given the Pfizer dengue vaccine.

However many protestors are opposed to the establishment of what seems to be a permanent state of emergency and a permanent suspension of civil rights, with little or no justification, and not just the specific manifestations of vaccine and mask mandates.  An alleged disease which has governments around the world padding out statistics by recording deaths ‘with the virus’ is NOT a pandemic.  A disease repeatedly described by Bloomfield, Ardern and co. as ‘CAN be serious, especially if you’re old or sick’ (#savegrandma) is NOT a pandemic.  In any case, as former ACT Party leader and Minister in the National-ACT Government from 2008 to 2011, Rodney Hide has said:

I don’t agree with you that my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are extinguished by a government declaring a pandemic. To me those rights are absolute.  (I support the protest 100%)

When the overseas press inconveniently revealed that the issues are broader than some knee-jerk anti-vax position, the message had to be changed.  O’Connor dishonestly describes protesters as the ‘anti-vax, anti- mask, and the anti-everything mob’ – anti everything good, he means – thus camouflaging the more specific issue of government overreach.

‘Kia ora All,

‘I’m sitting in the debating chamber in Parliament on a Thursday afternoon, while  my ex Police colleagues are out the front of Parliament dealing with one of New Zealand’s worst cases of disorder and mass law breaking for many years.  I speak of course of the anti-vax, anti- mask, and the anti-everything mob who have taken over the area and streets around Parliament.
‘As I have watched my old mates putting up with abuse and assault while they step up on New Zealanders behalf, I feel an anger and concern within myself that these people are prepared to leverage the goodwill and decency of our democracy in an incredible act of selfishness and self-entitlement that has impacted on businesses, workers and everyday citizens here in Wellington.

‘Mob rule is where those who operate outside the agreed rules and mores of society overwhelm those who are tasked with upholding those rules, our authorities.  Recent examples are Somalia, Timor-Leste and others where the ability of the state to keep its citizens safe and structured society operating for the good of the majority was overwhelmed by groups and individuals who, by force, put their own interests ahead of everyone else.

‘The leaders of such disorder use their ability to attract and organise the angry and disaffected to swell their ranks sufficiently to make policing them difficult, especially when those tasked with policing them rightly operate under and obey the rules that same society has imposed.  The ability to demonstrate against and criticise government decisions and strategy is a healthy part of our democracy.

‘Destabilising that same democracy is not.  We haven’t quite got to the stage the United States got to in January last year when a mob, not dissimilar to the one out the front of parliament, invaded the Capital in order to overthrow a legitimately elected President.  However, but for good policing, it could have happened a couple of times here.  We are actually a pretty caring society, which is why the response to the mob at parliament has been measured.  The presence of children, and a determination to prevent injury or worse inevitably governs the response of the Police.

‘The abuse those on the front line endure without responding is a tribute to their professionalism, and shows why those who make up these mobs should never get the power they are demanding.  If the gathering becomes the super-spreader event it is feared it will become, those same officers are incredibly vulnerable.

‘The lesson to be learned is we are only able to enjoy the democratic and economic freedoms we do because we accept that we must follow the agreed legal framework which enables society to function.  Overwhelming or ignoring that framework puts it all at risk.   Some media commentators who use their platforms to daily destabilise public confidence in those elected to operate and uphold that framework, combined with an ungoverned internet, contribute significantly as well. […] ‘

In other news:

‘My committee […] had Maritime New Zealand, Transpower, and Auckland City Rail Link in by Zoom to essentially explain how they have spent their money, as they are Taxpayer owned.

‘That is how democracy works, not through mob rule.

Appendix

Interview with the young 14YO brutalized by NZ Police yesterday (it seems he might be 17, not 14, still to be clarified).

New Zealand’s Shame:  Account of protester Jeanette Wilson:

‘This is me- front line – before I was assaulted by WPC. You can see the gathering was peaceful, good-humoured.

‘The WPC initially had her elbow on my windpipe -I told her she was hurting me – she moved her elbow then to my sternum – and I again told her very clearly you are hurting me – she said get your hands off me – I was linking arms with the people either side of me and told her this- she increased the pressure and the pain was unbearable. I felt something “break” in my sternum. I started to collapse, I felt faint and my legs just went under me – the people either side of me were holding me up and then agony as more police dived in pulling up my arms and injuring me further ignoring my screams that they were hurting me- I was already at a 10 for pain (!)( – unbelieveable -I was left on concrete on my hands and knees not able to breathe properly and in agony for about an hour before they called for an ambulance – the ambulance said they were there within 25 mins of the call – and you can see from this footage I was attacked around 1:30 pm.

‘I got to hospital around 3pm. Photographs have been taken of my injuries and I will be pressing charges against the WPC concerned. I am still in HUGE pain not able to talk / breathe deeply without extreme pain and breaking down in tears at this violent assault by another woman, who, along with her colleague is supposed to UPHOLD THE PEACE. […]’

NZ’s Child Mask Mandates Are Breathtakingly Immoral

‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.’ (Nelson Mandela)

Masking children is not indicated and a huge threat to child well-being, while masking anyone against a virus is of doubtful efficacy.  In a move of gobsmacking immorality, the New Zealand government has mandated masks for children from Year Four upwards while ‘the red traffic-light setting’ is in place.  This means that children from as young as seven or eight will be forced to wear masks for hours on end in the classroom, and also on publicly funded school trips.

Not indicated

There’s absolutely no justification for forcing children to wear masks: they are not at risk from Covid-19, nor do they spread it.  Early reports from Wuhan indicating that severe COVID-19 disease was rare in children, have only been confirmed by subsequent data.  German physician-scientists reported in December 2021 that not a single healthy child between the ages of 5 and 18 died of Covid in Germany in the first 15 months of the epidemic.

Nor are adults at risk from children: there has not been a single case of a child under 10 infecting an adult with COVID-19, according to a large medical review of paediatric evidence.  Furthermore, a major post-lockdown study in Wuhan China involving almost 10 million people, found zero cases of asymptomatic transmission in adults or children.

Inevitably harmful

Key risks to masks for children (from the World Council for Health, Face masks – the risks vs benefits for children): 

  • ‘Breathing problems – hypoxia (inadequate oxygen) and hypercapnia (elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood): Normal open air has approximately 0.04% carbon dioxide by volume (400 parts per million) and the German Federal Environmental Office states that the limit for closed rooms is 0.2% (2,000 ppm), with anything higher being unacceptable. However, evidence shows that carbon dioxide levels inside children’s masks build up very quickly. After as little as three minutes, carbon dioxide in children’s masks have been measured to be in the region of 13,000 ppm, more than six times the maximum carbon dioxide exposure. Younger children tend to have the highest values. Significantly lowered levels of oxygen have also been found in the air under masks. These levels are associated with conditions including headaches, drowsiness, poor concentration, nausea and increased heart rate.  [See also Margarite Griesz-Brisson, top European neurologist: ‘Oxygen deprivation damages every single organ’.]

  • Bacterial, viral and fungal infections such as bacterial pneumonia: Studies have found that germs (bacteria, fungi and viruses) accumulate on the outside and inside of the masks, in a warm and moist environment. Inhaling these germs can cause fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

  • Cognitive difficulties: Wearing of masks is associated with problems such as fatigue, exhaustion, lack of concentration, impaired communication and impaired field of vision (especially affecting the ground and obstacles on the ground) as well as headaches, disorientation, brain fog and confusion.

  • Psychological effects: Research refers to psychological deterioration as a result of wearing masks, including anxiety, distraction, stress, panic and depressive feelings. Feelings of deprivation of freedom and loss of autonomy, increased psychosomatic illnesses and suppressed anger have also been reported.

  • Dermatological effects: Unlike garments worn over closed skins, masks cover body areas involved in respiration (ie the nose and mouth). This leads to temperature and humidity rises which changes the natural skin conditions considerably, leading to rashes, acne, itchiness and other skin irritation.

  • Dental effects: Dentists have described a condition known as ‘mask mouth,’ associated with problems such as gum and mouth inflammation, bad breath and fungal infections. Reduced saliva flow and increased plaque and tooth decay are also linked to excessive and inappropriate mask wearing.

  • Micro- and nano-sized particles – inhalation risks: Most people are aware of the damage done to many workers’ lungs, including cancers and other lung diseases, as a result of routine work carried out using asbestos-containing materials during the 1960, 70s and 80s around the world. Similarly, heavy and prolonged exposure to silica dust as a result of work with stone and sand can cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases as a result of inhaling tiny particles. Research has shown that face masks readily release micro- and nano-sized particles and the risk is these may be inhaled by children who are mandated to wear these for many hours during the school day. In March 2021, news reports (1, 2) highlighted the recall of millions of masks in Canada after analysis found evidence of graphene nanoparticles being shed by the face coverings.

  • Individual needs of children: Masks have been universally mandated across schools, usually without individual risk assessments being conducted – in contravention of good occupational safety and health practice. As a result, little to no account has been taken of children’s varied predispositions, or even of their underlying health conditions such as asthma and epilepsy. Doctors have emphasised the importance of considering such health conditions. For example, neurologists from Israel, the UK and the USA have stated that a mask is unsuitable for people with epilepsy because it can trigger hyperventilation.

  • Long-term ill health: In the context of occupational safety and health, a single, brief and light exposure to a hazard may sometimes carry little risk. However, prolonged and heavy exposures can be highly risky. Some mask-induced adverse effects appear relatively minor at first glance, but repeated exposure over longer periods in accordance with pathogenetic principles is relevant. Researchers have warned that long-term diseases, such as heart disease and neurological diseases, as a consequence of mask wearing, are to be expected.

  • Hygiene issues: Masks, when used by the general public, are considered by scientists to pose a risk of infection because the standardized hygiene rules of hospitals cannot be followed outside of the that setting. This effect will no doubt be particularly pronounced in a large class of young children managed by a single teacher.

Not effective

Given that masking children, not being at risk and not presenting a risk to others, is completely unwarranted, the efficacy of masks is a side issue.  However there is abundant evidence that Masks Don’t Work.  Extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.  Masks cannot work as the main transmission path is aerosol particles (< 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked.

Worn by fidgety children masks are even less likely to offer any protection.

And the next step: masking two-year olds

Last year a court in Weimar, Germany, prohibited mask-wearing, distancing measures and rapid testing in schools:

‘The children are damaged physically, psychologically and educationally and their rights are violated, without any benefit for the children themselves or for third parties.’

New Zealand, however, is digging in.  The next step will be masking pre-schoolers. The NZ Herald asks, ‘Should we be masking 2-year-olds?’, quoting Professor Michael Baker, always a strong advocate of masking:

‘At the moment, we’ve got a giant hole in our protection in New Zealand – and that is for pre-school children. I don’t know any reason why we’re not looking at masks in those age groups.
Given the manifest lack of will on the part of New Zealand politicians to stand up for the rights and well-being of children, this next level of abuse looks to be inevitable.

Wellington City Council Draft District Plan: Submission on SNAs

[Final]

The Wellington City Council’s Draft District Plan presents the details of its Significant Natural Areas policy, including SNA designations on both private and public land, in the Section on ‘Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity’.

It is a matter of deep concern that this initiative, which has huge implications for the rights of all Wellington property owners and residents, has remained under the radar – to this day very few members of the public are aware of it.

The Council claims authority from the Resource Management Act, Section 6, which provides that appropriate authorities:

‘shall recognise and provide for the following matters of national importance: […] (c)  the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna’.

However there is no relation between the provisions of the RMA to protect valuable fauna and habitats and the Council’s Significant Natural Area programme, rolled out in 2019 in the name of satisfying the requirements of 6(c).  The policy will not even satisfy the claimed objectives of that section of the DDP.

I therefore totally oppose the Council’s SNA policy as detailed in the Draft District Plan and ask that the whole of the section on ‘Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity’ be removed.

TRADITIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

‘Nobody owns land’ (former Deputy Mayor Jill Day, 2019)

The Council has designated some 160 SNAs, which include part or the whole of 1693 private properties, often but not always adjacent to existing reserves.  Once the District Plan has been finalised, homeowners:

  • Lose the right to use and enjoy their property as they wish
  • Suffer dramatic loss to the value of their property

The stated purpose of the RMA Act is to:

‘promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources [which] means managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being and for their health and safety while […] mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.’ (section 5).

The only references to private land in the RMA are in relation to heritage orders and serve to underline the importance of property rights, e.g.

‘However, a heritage protection authority that is a body corporate approved under section 188 must not give notice of a requirement for a heritage order in respect of any place or area of land that is private land’.

The RMA, then, makes it very clear that while all measures should be taken to protect the natural environment, and especially indigenous flora of significance, the welfare of people and communities comes first.

Central government’s Biodiversity Strategy 2000, in force in 2019, emphasises, ‘Securing the willing and active participation of landowners is therefore pivotal to sustaining indigenous biodiversity on private land’ (p. 38)

The Legislation Guidelines (2021 edition), which have been adopted by Cabinet as the government’s key point of reference for assessing whether draft legislation is consistent with accepted legal and constitutional principles, recognise ‘respect for property’ as a fundamental constitutional principle:

‘New legislation should respect property rights. People are entitled to the peaceful
enjoyment of their property […] The Government should not take a person’s property
without good justification. A rigorously fair procedure is required and compensation
should generally be paid’.

Wellington City Council, however, has launched an aggressive assault on traditional property rights, contrary to the spirit and letter of the RMA and other guidelines.  Furthermore the Council has indicated that it will not be paying compensation.

‘SIGNIFICANT’

According to Forest & Bird, SNAs are ‘New Zealand’s most important remnants of native habitat – places where rare or threatened plants or animals are still found’.  Except that they’re not – at least not as designated in Wellington.  It is questionable whether there is anything significant or ‘of national importance’ on any of the private land affected, of a quality to justify  trampling on traditional rights. If there is anything special, it almost certainly has a covenant already.  At best the cover is regrowth on former farmland, some very recent as old, soilrobbing pines are removed. Some of it is well-established and a pleasure to its owners.  On the other hand, much is very low grade – the Council website repeatedly refers to ‘bush and scrub’.  However the Council officer I spoke to at a walk-in session in Ngaio was adamant that regenerating bush constitutes ‘indigenous biodiversity of national importance’.

Many of the SNAs, furthermore, incorporate or consist of cover that has not the remotest claim to be of significance: garden shrubbery, toxic weeds, pine trees, agapanthus, lawn.

The piece of my land designated as SNA consists in its entirety of: a mix of common natives and exotics along the roadside; woodshed, lawn, and a bank of tradescantia dotted sparsely with wild cherries and an extremely common native.  The designation puts paid to long-term plans to put in a drive, maybe double garage, granny flat or separate dwelling, and of course wipes several hundred thousand dollars off the value of the property.

‘PROTECT’

The Council policy is designed in such a way that it will inevitably have poor outcomes:

  1. The Council does not differentiate between virgin forest and scrub that self-seeded a couple of years ago – this is hardly the best way to ensure protection of flora that is rare and special.
  2. Loss of good will: The Greater Wellington Regional Policy Statement states: ‘The restoration of ecosystems relies upon the good will and actions of landowners’.  Rather than working to engender good will and cooperation with landowners, by imposing restrictions on property without consent, the Council’s programme serves to alienate them.

The Council is punishing people for loving nature – property owners are being conditioned to seeing native plants as a threat to their rights. In Porirua, which has a programme serving a similar ideology, one landowner with several hectares of bush has reluctantly cleared two of them, and is contemplating clearing the rest.  I myself hoped to allow bush to regenerate on a piece of land which suddenly became fertile after the removal of a large macrocarpa.  Obviously I won’t be doing that now, but no matter – the Council will probably take the land anyway.

When SNAs are seen in conjunction with the Urban Development Act, Wellington residents with anything bigger than a golfer’s section – any who love the natural environment – are vulnerable to having their land taken from them, in the name of either biodiversity or development.

Claims that the Council is prepared to be accommodating are discredited – almost all o  those who have contacted me have found council officers intractable. At least one property owner has spent $25,000 on an ecological report showing that his land did not constitute ‘significant indigenous biodiversity’, which was summarily dismissed by Council officers.

PUBLIC LAND

The programme also has undesirable implications for the management of public land, incorporating much-loved parks and open spaces.  It took months for Council officers to agree to remove the SNA designation from Queens Park, Thorndon, after the local residents association contested it.  There is under consideration a proposal to extend the Southern Landfill – on land that is now designated an SNA.  A very popular grassy area on Kaukau has been disappeared into the SNA – planting has already started (see photo below, Khandallah from Kaukau).

LAND IN FOREIGN OWNERSHIP

The policy is in breach of trade agreements with regard to assets in foreign ownership.  Does the Singapore Embassy know that most of its site has been designated an SNA?

LACK OF DEMOCRACY

The Council rolled out its SNA initiative during the election campaign of 2019, with a feelgood letter on pretty paper in a pretty envelope, offering to help people with their ‘biodiversity’.  The fleeting reference to the need for a resource consent to make use of the land went unnoticed by the vast majority of affected landowners.  Most people who attended a public meeting in Khandallah in July this year were unaware of the policy.  It was not until the Council sent another letter spelling out the implications of the policy, two years after the initial rollout and just weeks before submissions on the Draft District Plan closed, that affected property owners throughout the city woke up to it.  There has been absolutely no effort to advise the general public of the Council’s policy on property rights – there should have been full-page advertisements in the Dominion Post.

No sitting candidate referred to the policy during the general election.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

The function of Wellington City Council’s SNA programme is clearly NOT to identify and protect indigenous biodiversity of national importance as required by the RMA.  Rather, it is to normalise land expropriation and compulsorily rewild the city at the expense of property owners and residents.

COUNCIL IS EXPOSING ITSELF TO LEGAL ACTION

The Council is irresponsibly laying itself, ie the ratepayer, open to the lawsuits that will inevitably follow, from individuals or as a class action. The Council will be asked to either desist altogether in imposing reserve status on private property on bogus grounds, or to pay compensation which will entail the payments of many millions of the ratepayers money.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Wellington City Council’s Significant Natural Area policy is wrong in law and wrong in principle. It is a worrying example of council overreach, while at the same time failing in its objectives of protecting significant biodiversity of national importance. The criteria applied by Wildlands Consultants in its SNA designations are completely inappropriate – the designated SNAs do not constitute ‘significant biodiversity of national importance’.

The Council should, therefore:

  1. Reject the report of Wildlands Consultants in its entirety, rescind its SNA policy, and remove all SNA designations from public and private land from the District Plan.  If the Council believe existing reserves and protections are inadequate then they need to start again with a view to properly, honestly and fairly implementing the requirements of the Resource Management Act.
  2. Apologise to affected landowners for the angst caused by this policy.
  3. Reimburse affected landowners for any expense incurred in contesting the designations.

Barbara McKenzie
Wellington SNA Committee

(Submissions on the Draft District Plan close Tuesday, 14 November.)