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Dame Anne Salmond: Erosion of democratic rights

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, January 14th, 2015 - 27 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democracy under attack, Media - Tags: , ,

An excellent piece by Dame Anne Salmond in the Dominion Post yesterday (Tracey mentioned this in a post yesterday but it is worth further attention!):

Erosion of democratic rights

In the wake of the shooting of cartoonists and journalists in Paris, political leaders in New Zealand have expressed shock and horror, and their support for those who uphold freedom of expression in other countries.

What about freedom of speech and thought at home, however?

Over the past decade or so, politicians seeking to uphold their own power have abused democratic freedoms in New Zealand. Journalists including Jon Stephenson (for reporting on New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan), Andrea Vance (over a suspected leak of a report about the GCSB spy agency), and Nicky Hager (for exposing scurrilous relationships between senior politicians and muck-raking bloggers) have been intimidated and attacked.

See also Bradley Ambrose, Mike Joy, and others.

While our leaders do not shoot people, they work with others to try to ruin the lives and careers of those who disagree with them. The means may be different, but the intent is the same. One way or another, their critics (however valid their points of view might be) must be silenced.

This is a pattern of behaviour for Key dating right back to 2008.

Salmond goes on to cover attacks on “The independence of the judiciary and the rule of law”, “Independent statutory bodies”, “Freedom of thought and inquiry in universities and Crown Research Institutes” and “Radical extensions of the powers of the SIS and the GCSB”.

In France, many have declared “Je suis Charlie”, identifying themselves with the cartoonists and journalists who were shot in the terrorist attacks, and promising that they did not die in vain. They have vowed to defend freedom of expression in their own country.

We should do the same.

It’s an excellent article, and a depressing summary of the state of NZ.

27 comments on “Dame Anne Salmond: Erosion of democratic rights ”

  1. Sable 1

    My personal view is this is not happening in isolation. The attacks on freedom of speech and press are taking place across the world and I believe are driven by a cabal of global corporations and wealthy individuals who want to bring back the notion of empire on their terms.

    Sound like I’m wearing a tin foil hat? Well do some research and read what is happening in the UK,US, Australia and in other places. It very much mirrors what is happening here.

  2. disturbed 2

    Anthony, Thanks for alerting us to Dame Anne Salmon’s article it was a great exposé.

    “While our leaders do not shoot people, they work with others to try to ruin the lives and careers of those who disagree with them. The means may be different, but the intent is the same. One way or another, their critics (however valid their points of view might be) must be silenced.”

    This is a pattern of behaviour for Key dating right back to 2008 you say, and we agree, but Key and Co NZ Inc. are paid to terrorise the population into submission by fear, but by whom?

    This was carried out in other countries with striking resemblance also in the past.

    Germany most notably was covered in the global press in past history, but there are much more recent examples.

    Key is a puppet for the global elite working from their secret Groups such as Bilderberg group which J. Key has attended back in 2011 and we should be very worried that he was there as NZ Prime minister on our tax account, at the most secretive society of Global elite strategists since the Nazi era.

    J Key was attached to the attendance list of 2011 as Prime Minister of NZ.

    Read the Bilderberg Group’s agenda, and watch the video on this website, it leaves the reader with a chilling affect.


  3. Those of us who have warned of the NZ state’s shift towards a Bonapartist regime where ‘democracy’ is a charade, also point out that this process is inevitable so long as the crisis ridden capitalist system continues in its destructive path towards human extinction.
    Our defence of democracy is necessary not because we can save it under capitalism, but because in the process we prove that the ruling class cannot afford it, so that we have not choice but to overthrow the system that can no longer hide behind the emperor’s clothes of democratic ‘legitimacy’.
    This is not tinfoil hat stuff where a few elitists conspire to pull our strings, it is class war between the working masses and the ruling classes who live off our labour.
    It is not that capitalism has been hijacked by such elites who wilfully abuse us, but that to survive they must destroy us.
    For the workers and the natural world to survive capitalism must die.

  4. Heather Grimwood 4

    Thank you for drawing attention to Anne Salmond’s insightful and timely article.
    I understand the French people’s righteous compassion for the targetted journalists, but I feel great concern over the strong patriotism aroused. For real freedom, prevailing attitudes must be of a maturity well above that of ‘eye-for-eye tooth-for-tooth’ level so prevalent.
    I wonder how the French press of the time reported the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ murder. They certainly would not have known of cancer victims sent too late from Tahiti to Auckland… doomed from French nuclear tests in Mururoa, nor of their compassionate surgeon with tears in his eyes as I saw.
    Compassion, awareness, openness yes, retaliation no, and the three former must be constantly upheld.

  5. Heather Grimwood 5

    Thank you for drawing attention to Anne Salmond’s insightful and timely article.
    I understand the French people’s righteous compassion for the targetted journalists, but I feel great concern over the strong patriotism aroused. For real freedom, prevailing attitudes must be of a maturity well above that of ‘eye-for-eye tooth-for-tooth’ level so prevalent.
    I wonder how the French press of the time reported the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ murder. They certainly would not have known of cancer victims sent too late from Tahiti to Auckland… doomed from French nuclear tests in Mururoa, nor of their compassionate surgeon with tears in his eyes as I saw.
    Compassion, awareness, openness yes, retaliation no, and the three former must be constantly upheld.

  6. disturbed 6

    Good stuff Dave,

    Capitalism can only survive by exploitation of the masses.

    And now we see the end result of years of exploiting the poor, now where the pool of purchasing power has shrunk to such low levels that the whole global economy is screeching to a halt.

    This is shown as the stock markets around the globe this year 2015 are showing a loss of interest in stocks as those with money are running for Government bonds hoping for safety of their funds.

    We are heading into dire shit with this stupid National Government hell-bent on wrecking any future we all may have had.

    We need a massive re Distribution of wealth from the 1% to the 99% to get started again with any hope and a return to worker co-operatives and a return of our assets sold by those fools wrecking our country.

  7. Agent orange 7

    Right on Disturbed. We need the government to control the distribution of food in this country. It is too important to be left to the two supermarket chains, one 100% foreign owned. Also now that petrol is cheap the oil companies should be state owned so that the rip off prices are never repeated, notice how the world price has dropped significantly but the price at the pump has not matched the fall in world prices. Notice how our banks which are foreign owned charge exorbitant interest rates when overseas Japan and USA for instance it is less than 2% . The state should control all these and more so that the workers are not being ripped off and the profits going overseas!

    • Truth Will Out 7.1

      I couldn’t think of a faster way for the CIA to start actively interfering with our political system to get rid of any politician who dares to try what you are suggesting.

  8. Sigh. There’s nothing anti-democratic about what National is doing. It’s just a different form of democracy. This kind says that whoever wins the election gets to do whatever they can get away with. You would be surprised at how many NZers think that this is what democracy means. This government has a mandate to deal with “troublemakers”.

    Don’t blame the government. Blame the voters.

  9. greywarshark 9

    @ Tom Jackson
    Right I blame you. I’m not responsible for the brouhaha that is going on. So what are you going to do about it? And drat such a poxy system – this mandate is something they have learned about in casinos and such houses of fast money.

    We need a better system, where they state exactly what they will do and who is getting paid off for doing so. And we give points to the Party that has the best ideas for the country.

  10. Ross 10

    There are conspicuous and baffling voices missing in this story. If you just look at the comments on the three current posts on this matter, the responses are pathetic. Any Open Mike or post about what a scumbag Key (or, today, his son) is will garner 200 to 300 responses. The three posts relating specifically to this issue of the trashing of our press freedoms have incited 31, 61 and so far, 10 responses. And where are the media themselves? Why aren’t these matters being shouted in banner headlines, page 1, every day until it is resolved? It just seems that we, collectively, don’t care any more.

    Anthony, these are great posts but I am beginning to suspect that they are wasted. Maybe we don’t have the energy any more to do anything other than drag ourselves off to our jobs, or recover from them. Parallel with the erosion in media freedom has been a relentless attack on working people, their conditions and wages/salaries. For the past 30 YEARS (man, I just realised as I wrote that: 30 effing years) everything got turned into a business. The definition of business is take more than you give. That strategy is now thrashing about in it’s death throws and everyone is just plain exhausted by it. The feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that comes through is palpable. Under such conditions issues like press freedom can wait. You become totally preoccupied with feeding your kids or paying the mortgage (if you’re lucky); keeping your place in the food bank queue or bedding down in the backseat of the car (if you’re not). If there’s any energy left you can spend it shouting what a scumbag Key is.

    • Tracey 10.1

      Ross, you need to draw a distinction between what people comment on and what they read. In the new year a post was made showing the most commented posts for the 2014 period, and the most viewed. The lists were largely of different posts.

      Also, you will notice the posts with larger comment trails are often a small number of people and involve RW nay sayers, troleing, distracting or repeating the same stuff…

      Dame Anne Salmond’s article was in the Dominion Post, it therefore made the MSM, that is an important achievement for those trying to speak Truth to Power these days.

      • Ross 10.1.1

        Granted Tracey. But there are some things worth reading and others worth commenting on(?). I get what you’re saying about Open Mike which is why I have rarely bothered to comment there. It seems that the trolls are well trained, and so have the commenters become by responding with gusto. Today, for example, I find it interesting that there is a well known character accusing the left of being nasty commenters. This is coming at approximately one focus groups timing away from our own post on the difference between the right and left over the Charlie Hebdo murders. A cynic would wonder whether the right had formulated a strategy to have us running around like chooks, commenting on froth, while a serious issue like press freedom gathers dust in the archives. If so, hats off to them. They succeeded.

        • Sacha

          Disruptive commenters are tolerated here and threads degenerate as too many of us take the bait. Again and again. The quality of conversation and influence that results is unsurprisingly poor.

        • JanM

          They do -depressing, isn’t it!

    • disturbed 10.2

      100% Ross,

      Kiwis have been savagely attacked by this Government on every level while our erosion of our Human rights are firmly extinguished at the same time.
      The word “COMPLIANCE” has become their whipping tool to cower us into submission.

      National is playing a divide and rule policy with all of us now, and we are heading for a dictatorship fast.

      No wonder why Key wants a control of the intelligence data of all of us so he can swiftly deal to the rising dissention.

      As for Toms comments that “This kind says that whoever wins the election gets to do whatever they can get away with. You would be surprised at how many NZers think that this is what democracy means. This government has a mandate to deal with “troublemakers”.

      Now we see why France holds fast to Liberty & freedom as it was they who had this type of so called “different type of Democracy” when ruled in 1700’s by a similar dictator King Louis XVI who plundered similarly the country until it drove the average Frenchman into desperation through crippling high taxes and absolute starvation and the death of many.

      Over 17,000 people were officially tried and executed during the Reign of Terror, and an unknown number of others died in prison or without trial.till the Revolution come along in 1789 and changed Democracy as it will here in NZ one day.

      Read all about it here “The French revolution”

    • lprent 10.3

      Don’t be so shallow and pessimistic about human behaviour. They are better than you think…

      Comments and page views are two distinctly different things. You are inferring quite incorrectly that there is a relationship between them. You are also inferring that a post is time limited to the day and possibly the day afterwards in the tradition of the vacant news cycle – also incorrect.

      Dame Salmond’s post got about 65% of the page views of OpenMike today. If it follows the usual cycle for that type of post (like Mandy Hager’s post on Hebdo or many others) it will still be getting significiant page views 4+ days later. In the case of some posts it will still be getting 20-100 page views a day a year or many years later. Our most read posts are typically the ones that keep getting read and linked to for years.

      Whereas the news cycle posts and OpenMike typically get lots of comments and drop off peoples reading a day after they are posted.

      Needless to say you need both types of post to make the site interesting.

  11. Ad 11

    Perhaps New Zealand struggles to get excited about occasional incursions onto press “freedoms” because journalists are almost universally proven to be assholes.

    We don’t march in defence of BORA or the UN Charter because compared to every other country on earth our civil rights are fantastic and well guarded.

    We are not ungrateful: whatever ANZAC means to the hard left, it means “thanks for those who sacrificed for our way of life” to most.

    Dame Salmon stretching from Paris to New Zealand is in full over-reach.

    • jmaik 11.1

      “Perhaps New Zealand struggles to get excited about occasional incursions onto press “freedoms” because journalists are almost universally proven to be assholes.”

      You say “occasional” incursions, quote the word “freedoms”, then state that “journalists are almost universally proven to be assholes”. I don’t think you fully grasp just how many “occasional” incursions have happened over the course of the past couple of years. I also don’t think you understand what “freedom” means (perhaps that’s why you quoted it?). I would ask you to justify your final statement, but that would be an exercise in futility- such claims are spurious and completely subjective- and have no purpose in intelligent discourse- except perhaps to attempt to justify the acts of the Powers That Be.

      “We don’t march in defence of BORA or the UN Charter because compared to every other country on earth our civil rights are fantastic and well guarded.”

      What? You’re joking right? The BORA is- pardon my French- a flimsy piece of shitty legislation. It’s not even the slightest bit comparable with the American constitutional rights.

      You sir, are most certainly a troll.

  12. saveNZ 12

    Totally right. Great some academics speaking out. One of the many ways to keep people silenced is the government to constantly ‘restructure’ hence a way to keep those receiving state i.e. taxpayer funding, in a constant state of uncertainty about their jobs. As well as these restructures it also affords ways to replace people speaking out with compliant politically, appointees or appointees with little experience of their role or just cronies i.e.
    i.e. Susan Devoy – human rights,
    Ian Fletcher (friend of John Key), GCSB
    Katherine Rich Health Promotion Agency Establishment Board, Health Promotion Agency,
    Catherine Issac Act president and list candidate former wife Roger Kerr, appointed Welfare working group, Charter School working group (zero experience of either), Belinda Milnes, board of the Families Commission, Former National Party chief of staff
    Richard Long, appointed to the board of TVNZ,
    Wayne Mapp to the Law Commission,
    Penny Webster Former Act member – Appointed to RMA Technical Advisory Group,
    Wyatt Creech, Appointed to RMA Technical Advisory Group to reform of the Resource Management Act, December, 2008, Chairperson of New Zealand Fire Service Commission, appointed October 2009, Commissioned by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Local Government to head a review of the performance of Environment Canterbury, 2009 – 2010
    Aaron Bhatnagar, Friend Judith Collins, Board member of REAA

  13. Rolf 13

    The solution to this is quite simple. Fight fire with FIRE. Everyone has heard of the Pirate Bay. The US copyright mafia and the US government has tried for years to close it down, and failed. Follow the same principle. Publish the dirty news, including names and ignore defense and secrecy action like suppression orders from judges, but do not publish from a known address, but the editorial office is in the cloud, the internet cloud and nobody must know who they are and how to reach and attack them. Preferably publish overseas, but reachable from anywhere in New Zealand.

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