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Fat little lapdog

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, July 13th, 2010 - 123 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, Conservation, john key, national, spin - Tags: ,

New Zealand hero Pete Bethune isn’t one for mincing his words – now that he’s free to speak them. He’s described the New Zealand Government as a “fat little lapdog” to Japan, eager to roll over and submit to the bullying of any power, no matter how unprincipled its actions, just as long as there’s a promise of a bone somewhere down the track. Bethune also said “I remain disgusted with the way Murray McCully has treated us from day one” in reference to McCully’s initial statements after the Shonan Maru II’s attack on the Ady Gil that implied people who protest deserve everything they get (attempted murder included) and that acts of attempted murder against New Zealand citizens and NZ flagged vessels were no responsibility of the NZ government.

If you’ve been following this story at all, there’s really nothing controversial in Bethune’s summary of the New Zealand Government’s performance. It has been an unmitigated, irresponsible, slovenly disgrace.

Which is why John Key has attempted to spin his way out of the mess. After all when the truth is against you, spin is the last resort in a country where you can’t just lock-up your detractors. So Key has described Bethune as “darnright ungrateful” (which our media have kindly re-interpreted as “downright ungrateful”), saying very carefully that NZ’s Japanese embassy staff have done everything they could for Bethune. I’m sure it’s true that embassy staff did what they could, but it’s not the point.

The point was, and where Bethune’s disgust is aimed, is not anything to do with the embassy staff. It’s to do with both the utterly spineless way the NZ Government has sought to appease Japan with pro-whaling proposals, and the manner in which Key and Co had abandoned one of its own citizens, a citizen risking his life to stand-up for a principle against powerful financial interests and turned a blind eye to the completely bogus nature of the Japanese arrest.

Key knows his Government’s actions were an indefensible disgrace, which is why he’s so desperate to switch and bait with the “darnright ungrateful” meme.

And really, what should Bethune be grateful to the NZ government for! Being attacked and slandered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for being sold out in favour of corporate trade interests, or should he be grateful for being abandoned to false imprisonment for trying to hold an attempted murderer to account?

Good on you Pete for speaking the unvarnished truth – you’re one of the few people in this country at the moment who commands airtime and has the balls to speak the truth. The current Government’s cowardice a disgrace to the proud history of New Zealanders who have risked life and limb to protest against injustice (anti nukes, women’s suffrage and anti apartheid no name just a few), and allowing an imperial power like Japan to roam the oceans doing whatever it likes is just plain dangerous.

Time the lapdogs were sent for a run.

123 comments on “Fat little lapdog ”

  1. Tigger 1

    The “ungrateful” tag is one that only someone of privilege could dish out. Key’s retort, as you point out, was a purposeful repositioning of targets. And I agree, there is no doubt that Bethune spoke the truth. McCully did leave Bethune to hang. And NZ has become a lapdog (how many times have you apologised to the Chinese now Mr Key?).

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I think a valid point here is that Bethune has the benefit of being able to take an anti-whaling stance without having to worry about preserving a positive relationship with the Japanese at the same time.

    The NZ Government has to consider other important issues for NZ, such as the fact that Japan is an important trading partner for NZ. Thus, it is always going to have to wear two hats in respect to whaling and other strategic interests. Bethune doesn’t have this problem.

    So far as his argument goes about NZ joining Australia in court action against Japan, it has already been pointed out via a number of sources that there are huge problems if the case is lost. The whaling issue is a very thorny one, and does depend on voluntary compliance by Japan et al. If they simply decide to walk away from voluntary compliance then there is not much anyone can do.

    • The NZ Government has to consider other important issues for NZ, such as the fact that Japan is an important trading partner for NZ

      So trade considerations are more important than protesting the deliberate ramming and sinking of a New Zealand boat and what effectively was the attempted murder of New Zealand citizens?

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        And the link to the official maritime report that supports the contention that the sinking was deliberate is where?

        • schrodigerscat

          Part of the problem I think, there was no credible official investigation.

          • tsmithfield

            Right…. No actual evidence to support the contention then.

            • schrodigerscat

              Well if the contention is that the govt failed in its duty there is plenty just there.

              They did nothing except smile at the Japanese.

            • mickysavage


              You could look at the three youtube videos that are avalable and make your mind up. Or wait until there is an “official investigation” and until then keep denying that it happened.

              I wish there was an official investigation. The Government could have an inquiry or refer it to the International Court of Justice, but wait, they have decided not to do it. Maritime NZ have not come out with anything.

              So you refuse to believe because the Government you support refuses to inquire.

              This is an interesting logic trap but surely you could open your eyes and make your mind up.

              • Andrew

                i have looked at all 3 and the only thing i can take from them is that he ignored the first rule of the sea, to give way to larger vessels under power. It was he that put the boat in harms way, no-one else. He is at fault, he should have been nowhere near the Japanese ship in open waters.

                • You mean the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea?

                  Located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Regulations_for_Preventing_Collisions_at_Sea

                  Clause 15 is interesting. IT says “When two power-driven vessels are crossing, the vessel which has the other on the starboard side must give way.”

                  Ady Gil was clearly on the Japanese boat’s starboard side when the collision happened.

                  There is no requirement for a smaller boat to give way to a larger boat. There are a number of requirements for a moving boat not to run down a stationary boat however.

                  • Andrew

                    yes, there are also a bunch of sub-clauses regarding larger vessels, vessels engaged in fishing, etc. I dare you to pilot your little runabout on the starboard site of an ocean liner and expect it to give way to you.

                    i will say it once again … the Ady Gil should NEVER have even been that close in the first place. The Ady Gil was a much faster, much more manoeuvrable vessel.

                    They were clearly there with the intention of stopping the Japanese from whaling, they got too close, collision. end of story.

                    • BS

                      The Ady Gil was run down. The Japanese boat changed course and ran it down.

                      If you believe the Japanese were innocent I have this wonderful bridge I would like you to have a look at with the intention of selling it to you.

                    • Andrew

                      for goodness sake, there is no way the Japanese could have “run down” the Ady Gil even if they wanted to. The Ady Gil was a much faster and more manoeuvrable boat.

                      The Ady Gil was put into harms way and the collision was the result.

                      I don’t like wailing any more than you do, but there are other ways of going about ending it than a bunch of wannabe pirates harassing the high seas like they own the place.

                • tsmithfield

                  Judging by the links I have pointed to in my post above, Mickey, perhaps Bethune might not come out too well if there was an enquiry.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Except that it was fairly obvious that the larger Japanese ship turned to hit him.

                  • tsmithfield

                    “11.the Ady A must not interfere with vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet in ways that may entail risk of collision or other consequence that might result in marine pollution and with it risk of more than a minor or transitory effect on the Antarctic environment, as well as risk to human safety.”

                    I think deliberately stalling his boat in the approximate path of the Japanese ship in an obvious game of “chicken” would be considered a fairly clear breach of this rule.

                    • I think deliberately stalling his boat in the approximate path of the Japanese ship in an obvious game of “chicken’ would be considered a fairly clear breach of this rule

                      Another fabrication constructed in the unusual place that is TS’s mind.

                      Do you have the slightest shred of evidence that the AG was deliberately stalled?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Do you have the slightest bit of evidence that there was any other reason for stopping?

                    • You could look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SqXc2fragw&feature=related

                      It looks like they (Ady Gil’s crew) had stopped for the day and were ready to pack it in.

                      Besides you are the one who said that the Ady Gil was deliberately stalled. Now you come up with a proposition that it was deliberately stalled because I do not have proof to the contrary.

                      My head hurts …

                    • tsmithfield

                      Well, I am sure if they had a legitimate reason for stopping (e.g. a breakdown or something) they would have milked it for all it was worth in the media etc to give further justification for their cause. The fact they haven’t suggests it was deliberate.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      He stopped to the side of the ship, the ship turned to hit him, he tried to move, ship hit him. It’s fairly obvious but you seem to be on the side of the attempted murderers and don’t want your delusion questioned.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Nah. People are so besotted with Bethune here that someone has to take the other side of the argument. I actually quite admire the guy for his courage and principles. Although I think he was a total idiot in this situation.

                    • felix

                      Nah. People are so besotted with Bethune here that someone has to take the other side of the argument.

                      That explains why you’re always over at kiwiblog sticking up for Bethune I suppose.

      • J Mex 2.1.2

        I think there should be a maritime investigation on this. However, I think the chances of them finding the larger boat at fault, as opposed to the much smaller boat that had spent days trying to position itself in front of the other boat, is slim.

        On another note, I am wondering whether any of the Standard authors is going to tackle to U.N for not admonishing (at the very least) North Korea for murdering North Korean sailors.

        • mickysavage

          BS J Mex

          There is no proof that the Ady Gil positioned itself in front of the Japanese boat before the collision. If you look at the videos it is clear that the Ady Gil was stationery and was run down.

          Good attempted diversion with the North Koreans however. FFS

          • Andrew

            FFS, take your blinders off … the boat was nowhere near stationary. There was a clear wake from the back of the boat, not a plaining one though, hinting that the boat was running at about 5 – 10 knots along side the Japanese.

            • the sprout

              rubbish. what’s clear from the footage taken aboard the Japanese boat is that the Shonan Maru II turns into the Ady Gil, at a very high rate of turn, then turns away at an equally high rate.
              this is a very boring relitigation of the obvious but no matter, the international maritime court will make a ruling soon enough.
              i suppose you think the SM’s high pressure hosing of the stricken vessel was a form of rendering assistance on the high seas too, right?

              • Andrew

                I don’t know if you have ever piloted a ship that big, but they don’t just “turn into the Ady Gil, at a very high rate of turn”. Ships that large just can’t turn that fast.

                Looking at the way the front of the ship was pounding up and down i would say that it was rather rough day with a large swell and that what was moving the front of the ship like that.

                anyway, regardless, as i have already said, the Ady Gil should NEVER have even been that close in the first place. The Ady Gil was a much faster, much more manoeuvrable vessel. The fault of the collision rests with those piloting the smaller more manoeuvrable vessel.

                • rubbish again. it’s a very nimble ship capable of a very high turn rate.
                  the rates of turn evident in the video also show swell was not a factor in its lateral rotation.
                  i suppose you think the SM’s high pressure hosing of the stricken vessel was a form of rendering assistance on the high seas too, right?

                  • Andrew

                    “i suppose you think the SM’s high pressure hosing of the stricken vessel was a form of rendering assistance on the high seas too, right?”

                    I would imagine that the high pressure hosing was a continuation of trying to repel the crew of the Ady Gil from throwing rancid butter and what ever else they had on board.

                    Once again for those hard of hearing, including you, the pilot of the Ady Gil was the person responsible for this collision. He didn’t have to be that close. They could still have made their protest from a safe distance.

                    • I would imagine that the high pressure hosing was a continuation of trying to repel the crew of the Ady Gil from throwing rancid butter and what ever else they had on board.

                      😆 priceless, you’ve earnt your fee today!

                    • Andrew

                      what are you taking about, the hosing started long before the collision. most likely to try and get the Ady Gil to move away. you amuse far to easily.

            • mickysavage

              FFS, take your blinders off the boat was nowhere near stationary. There was a clear wake from the back of the boat

              Have a look at http://waitakerenews.blogspot.com/2010/01/earthraces-wake.html

              There is a photo there of Ady Gil under speed. It throws out a wake of about 50 metres.

              It was idling when it was hit and it was run down deliberately.

              You are wasting words by trying to say otherwise.

              • Andrew

                i never said it was going fast, i said it was most likely doing about 5 knots cruising alongside the Japanese.

                • So it was travelling very slowly but maneuvered so that the Japanese ship could not avoid colliding with it.

                  Good try.

                  I bet you think the earth is flat as well.

                  • J Mex

                    Mickey, the wake you show at 30-40 knots is irrelevant. Your logic is so faulty is painful to argue against.

                    Your photos show that Earthrace wasn’t doing 30 or 40 knots…

                    It is apparent that Earthrace was moving forwards, IMHO about 5 to 10 knots. That is walking to moderate jogging speed. Why the hell would you sit alongside a larger boat and move slowly into their path?

                • Armchair Critic

                  You wrote some of these, didn’t you.

  3. Emp 3

    Bethune is a cock. He signed a letter saying he didn’t want to leave the boat and that he wanted to go to japan. Then he expects the government to bail him out. Self serving lying publicity freak. Send him back to a japanese jail if he doesn’t like the government helping him. Norman and the greens want to support him, good on you freaks for doing it.

    • schrodigerscat 3.1

      So emp, I didn’t see any sign of him expecting the govt to bail him out, more the wanting the govt to stand up for its citizens on the high seas.

      Key and McCully are just spin doctoring, what else have they ever done?

      • Emp 3.1.1

        ummm, key and mccully wopn an election 18 months ago, that’s pretty big. They won the right to govern the country and represent the government overseas and advance national interest, not to sabotage trade relations with one of our biggest trading partners. They won the right to represent new zealand on the world stage, on issues like whaling. By the look of the polls the public seem pretty happy with how they’re doing. Where’s the sign of a groundswell of support for pete bethune? Oh yes three people turned up at the airport to welcome him home.

        • Tigger

          Governing isn’t all about power – it’s about responsibility. Did McCully fail in adequately supporting one of our citizens overseas? Yes.

        • prism

          Emp ‘They won the right to govern the country’ – sounds like they won Lotto! When you do that it’s your personal property, (though there might be tax to pay on it?). When a party wins an election it is meant to try and run the country competently and ethically. Comprendez?

    • Shane 3.2

      So you have no decent argument so you call Bethune and the Greens names? Pathetic. My grandfather told me that if you cannot say anything intelligent, stay quiet. I suggest you take that advice.

      The NACT government is a total lapdog to any corporate or imperial interests and have shamed the country. Bethune stood up for what for what he believed in and he and his crew put their lives on the line for it. There are a lot of armchair warriors around who like shouting abuse on internet forums but do not have the guts to do what the people on the Sea Shepherd ships do – or the many other activists around the world who put their lives on the line for the good of humanity and the planet. For that alone he deserves to be treated with respect.

      • TightyRighty 3.2.1

        shouldn’t you take your grandmothers own advice? seeing as you are so free with handing it out.

        “NACT” “Lapdogs” “corporate imperialism”

        dog whistle rubbish

  4. coolas 4

    Pete risked his life defending one of the most majestic animals on the planet.

    He’s a hero.

    McCully on the other hand is a Master of the dark arts of Politics, cunning, devious and spineless.

    He’s a coward

    • Emp 4.1

      and you’re a dick

      sprout: use your big boy words emp

      • schrodigerscat 4.1.1

        With such powerful arguments I think you don’t need to make them!

        • Bored

          Mr/s Cat, it would appear that you are being savaged by a slug, or a minor but very blubbery marine mammal. Its way beyond feline dignity. maybe a “moderator” might smooth your fine pelt and banish the offending drab stuff outdoors.

      • Shane 4.1.2

        Such a devastating intellect – I am sure we all stand cowed with your rhetorical genius.

  5. ieuan 5

    Is it possible for the Japanese to take Bethune back and shut him away for 2 years so we don’t have to listen to his undignified drivel?

    • Anne 5.1

      Is it possible to arrange for the Vietnamese government to shut Key in a prison for 2 years so that we can be spared his snake in the grass predilections?

      anti-spam: kill
      err… that might be going a bit far. 😯

  6. Jane F 6

    Pete Bethune is a hero.
    The New Zealand governments actions on the other hand are a shameful disgrace.

  7. peter 7

    These NACTS must go down as the most dreadful batch ever elected to run NZ.

  8. infused 8

    A hero? He’s a fucking moron. Glad the govt didn’t help him. Our trade is more important than this tosser jumping on to other nations boats. He knew what he was doing. No one forced him to do it. He should live with the consequences of his actions.

  9. tank 9

    The guy makes me sick. I think it interesting that only 3 people turned out so see you ‘hero’ (he sure as hell isnt mine) at the airport – hell, my nana had more than that and she was only away for 3 weeks.

    He broke the law and should be responsible for his actions. Although I know personal responsibility is a dirty phrase for the left.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      “He broke the law and should be responsible for his actions.”

      Yeah , it was shocking the way he resisted arrest and carried on during the court proceedings and escaped from prison and shit. Oh nah.

      I guess, being a law and order sort, you would be supporting his contention that the NZ govt isn’t doing enough about investigating possible law breaking by the Japanese whalers then?

      • the sprout 9.1.1

        you might start with purposely running down a vessel, or if you think that’s contentious…
        how about failing to render assistance on the high seas to a vessel in distress (hint: that one’s not contestable and spraying said vessel with a high powered water hose doesn’t count as assistance).

  10. infused (tea-he)
    ” He knew what he was doing. No one forced him to do it. He should live with the consequences of his actions.”
    I think you’ll find that he did, no one did and he is.

    • schrodigerscat 10.1

      Meanwhile if you don’t like the principles of the government, I am sure they could quickly come up with some others.

  11. michaeljsavage 11

    Bethune is a hero – of the first order.

    I dont think he is just referring to NZ becoming a fat lapdog just with the Japanese either. We are a fat lapdog with China as well – over issues like Tibet. Now we have even a labour Politician (unelected) expressing opinions and lies with a distinct ‘ring’ to them of rampant chinese nationalism. Question is – who do these people get paid by – the NZ Taxpayer – or the chinese lobby?

    Pete Bethune – you are a hero to many NZ’ers and good on you for dealing to Mccully and the rest of the lickspittles and capitalist running dogs – Join the ranks of others like Russel Norman – instead of endorsing prostitution of values for supposed two way trade opportunities.

  12. michaeljsavage 12

    And good on Phil Goff for censuring Raymond Huo. The labour movement wont become a lapdog it appears.

    • Emp 12.1

      labour los tthe few chinese votes it had with coming down hard on huo. that’s the problem when you play both sides of the fence and hope they don’t talk, labours conservative ethnic supporters are way out of step with labours left wingers so there will always be conflict

      • the sprout 12.1.1

        For one that’s not true, especially for the old NZ-chinese community, and for another votes at the expense of principle are very fleeting votes indeed.
        Huo’s post was preposterous, he deserved to be slapped for it.

        • DM

          Funny, I read the same post and don’t think your hyperbole is at all deserved.

  13. michaeljsavage 13

    You could well be right Emp … i dont honestly know for sure on that score. Phil Goff didnt come down hard on Huo i think – but he did do the right thing and he didnt do the “lapdog” thing by rolling over and tickling a lobbies belly for votes. The Huo issue wasnt left or right wing in nature – neither is the bethune issue either – or at least – thats how i see it. But you raise some interesting questions Emp …

  14. Pete 14

    The Australian legal option carries a significant risk of a higher number of whale deaths. Has anyone on the far left weighed the cost/benefits of this particular course of action?

    Bethune is clearly grandstanding against National. Three people? Ohhhh….almost as popular as Russel Norman, then!

    • Puddleglum 14.1

      Pete, when abolition (of the slave trade) was being endlessly debated in Britain the argument was often made that if Britain stopped trading slaves then other European powers would simply take over and – being so less civilized than the Brits – many more slaves would be much worse off, live shorter lives, etc.. Thinking solely of the slaves’ welfare – so the argument ran – clearly the costs of abolition far outweighed the rather self-indulgent moral benefits. Don’t they? (Spot the flaw in utilitarian logic – if you can.)

      There’s also the small matter that the overwhelming majority of slaves wanted to be free and wanted the trade abolished (I wonder what the whales think?).

      Cost/benefit analyses are just SO useful when it comes to moral issues such as how we treat fellow beings (human or otherwise) – aren’t they? Well, they’re useful for those who don’t want anything to change – and who like to go “tut, tut, tut … look at the unintended consequences (aka disregarded ‘costs’!), won’t you?” (shakes head in rational exasperation…).

      • Armchair Critic 14.1.1

        No one seems to have mentioned, as yet, that we export less to Japan than we import from there.

  15. michaeljsavage 15

    Less like grandstanding – but more like really really really p….ed off that his Nations Government didnt even begin to assist or grow cojones. I think a few folk might be surprised at how many now have high regard for Russel Norman – who normally wouldnt have given him the time of day previously. People tend to do that when individuals and groups stand up and exercise free speech against totalitarian liars, thieves and bullys.

    John Key – Neville Chamberlain/Stanley Baldwin …. Key even looks like Chamberlain.

    Never let an ex merchant banker and a dancing superstar run a country. You get Scrooge Mcduck crossed with Paul Mercurio suntan solutions.

  16. michaeljsavage 16

    I do realise Japan is a democracy and supposedly not totalitarian – but old cultural habits and mores die hard – or sometimes never at all …. wasnt so long ago they called the Koreans “dogs”

  17. Pete 17

    It think the polls have shown for some time the level of support Norman/Greens have, and the level of support Key/National has. The people clearly want a balanced, moderate approach, not a radical activist one.

    It’s not even close. The Greens remain marginally more popular than New Zealand First, but with less chance of holding political power.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      The people clearly want a balanced, moderate approach, not a radical activist one.

      What they want may not be what they need. In fact, I’m reasonably sure of it as the present capitalist model can’t go on for much longer.

  18. prism 18

    NZ has for some time seemed slow in supporting our nationals overseas. I remember someone in difficulties arriving back here and saying that the government had done very little, from lack of concern from the consul to when the person arrived back traumatised. I seem to remember the comment that there was more help from the Australian government than ours.

    I think the guy who was held in prison in Poland for about a year because the roof of the business property he was using collapsed under snow. Our government did not seem interested in pleading his case or applying pressure. And when it comes to speaking up to foreign regimes on sensitive matters of principle as in Bethune’s case, we have become like cooked spaghetti.

    • loota 18.1

      Indeed. I’ve suggested to a friend of mine travelling through Asia that if any **** goes down and she needs to be airlifted, needs a lawyer or some such, that she should contact the nearest Australian consulate, not the NZ one. (She’s holds both passports).

  19. michaeljsavage 19

    I dont have the data in front of me Pete – you may well be right. Just speaking for myself and people i have contact with … who are not rabid activists but average Kiwis … i think the pollsters may need a better or bigger sampling (the ‘market’ is fickle at present and mercurial) – and the Government is reading the signs wrong as well.

    Why do I think that? Well some of it is the usual hard to prove gut feeling … some of it is based on the fact that the full effects of Nationals policies is soon to be felt – hard and fast – particularly in the back pocket of NZers and businesses. They (National and Act) are probably helping Labour to make certain they dont badly misread the electorate again. The Maori party have got it wrong with who they are supporting – and that will become more evident over time im sure.

    People cant live out there at the moment – local Retailer i know in an affluent suburb said to me that he is seeing people (family adults – not kids) making (around or about) $5.00 purchases on credit cards that are being declined … with frightening regularity. Frankly – god help anyone with Kids at present. I think its actually a very unstable environment out there and families and individuals are walking a tightrope and the slightest breeze could topple them off. Its a house of cards – and we are all now down the rabbithole with Alice and the Mad Hatter …

    Pete Bethune and Russel Norman – Radical approaches … Pete i respect your views and you make good points … but to me if ever there was a time for radical approaches to Government and Society it is now – before we sell ourselves off to the highest bidder and become a country with no soul

    • TightyRighty 19.1

      “People cant live out there at the moment local Retailer i know in an affluent suburb said to me that he is seeing people (family adults not kids) making (around or about) $5.00 purchases on credit cards that are being declined with frightening regularity”

      Got a source for that?

      • Draco T Bastard 19.1.1

        He mentioned the source TR. Hell, it’s even in the bit that you quoted.

        • TightyRighty

          massively accurate source that one draco, i’m sure there is only one retailer in the only affluent suburb in this fine country of ours. you could probably base the whole current theory of global warming on a source of that accuracy. only people who don’t agree with you have to be accurate huh? you guys can make up anything you like.

          • michaeljsavage

            TightyRighty … do you suggest i name and geographically identify said person … to become fodder for the media and any other body lacking any scruples etc etc.

            By your tone and virtual demeanour you indicate that you would then chop that person up and serve them back to the viewing public for dinner. You would destroy them online – or at least thats the ‘feel’ of your comments.

            Am i wrong – or right …

            Anything i or others post can only be termed opinion – unless some other source is identified that is able to be verified.

            This is the reason average kiwis dont stand up these days and be counted … there are too many people out there who will make capital out of it. Decades of the labour movements advances on behalf of the working class were negated by such behaviours.

            Who wants to be identified – when some online defamer will rip them up for bum paper and insist on their pound of flesh.

            • The Voice of Reason

              Spot on, MJS. The righties love using ‘everyone knows …’ when it suits them, but if their worldview is challenged, it quickly reverts to ‘name the names’. And it’s not just online defamers and TR style trolls that are the threat. We live in a country where the right sees no problem in a Minister of the Crown publicly releasing the personal details of the least powerful people in our society in order to quell dissent.

              BTW, about your name. Don’t we already have a Mickey Savage on the books?

              • michaeljsavage

                Yes you do have a mickey savage – i am different to that commenter … can you ever have enough M J Savages?

  20. Pete 20

    I think you see what you want to see, MJS.

    Personally, I put more faith in the poll results over time, including the poll of all polls – the election. I realise many on the the left see it as a rogue poll, but they’re fooling themselves. The fact is that National almost won in 2005 and have maintained considerable popularity, during tough economic times, since the last election. This can only happen if Zealanders are generally happy with Nationals stance. That stance is conservative and moderate, not radical.

    In contrast, the Greens vote has barely moved in years. This is is especially surprising given the high profile of green concerns, such as AGW.

    Whilst activists may mourn the passing of New Zealands anti-nuke “spirit”, I think it suffers the same fate as Rogernomics. Kiwis just aren’t radicals. They are moderates. They have been since ALL the changes in the 1980s (anti-nuke, rogernomics, etc). Their position now is, in many ways, a reaction against extremism of any kind.

    If we were extremist, the smaller parties on the far left and right would do a lot better than they do. Douglas and leftist activists are really flip-sides of the same coin – they represent bold, radical change.

    New Zealanders don’t support it. And that’s the way they vote.

    • Puddleglum 20.1

      I think you’re right in one sense but not in another. Yes, New Zealanders (as a gross generalisation) do tend to stick with what they see as the status quo, the way things are, etc. and there’s this positive valuation of not doing anything too different from that. My personal experience is that NZ is unusually conformist.

      But, ironically, this can end up supporting a very radical status quo once that gets established. In conventional, historical ‘left-right’ terms (over the past 100 years), New Zealand’s current economic management is radical, and radical to the ‘right’ (economic ‘liberalism’). But now that the huge radical transformation of the NZ economy has happened, everyone falls in line on the basis of not wanting to be ‘radical’ 9i.e., question the way things are).

      Once the centre shifts, being moderate’ is what, by any objective measure, amounts to being radical.

      I think this is part of the reason why NZ has always been a ‘radical’ society propped up by an overwhelming urge to conform to the norm (whichever norm happens to have been thrust upon NZ).

      A revealing anecdote I recall was from my time – decades ago – doing an OE in England working on a hop farm. It was mostly Kiwis but with one older home counties English guy doing the ‘intellectual transient’ thing. One evening we all went for a pint at a country pub.

      Part way through the evening a young North Island farm boy, a bit the worse for a few pints, blurted out to the Englishman, “You know, there’s one thing I can’t stand about Pommy land” (The Englishman raised his eyebrow quizzically inviting further elaboration). The young Kiwi continued: “All this class stuff, it’s f***ing stupid.” Then, for me, one of the most insightful comments I’ve ever heard about the so-called NZ character or identity came forth from this babe’s mouth:

      “Back home in New Zealand, you can act any way you like and be anything you like … [Pause] … so long as you’re an ordinary bloke!”

      Says it all, really. There was another quizzical raising of the eyebrows, this time directed at me. I nodded back to the Englishman a silent “yes, you heard right”.

  21. michaeljsavage 21

    And if it appears that i am flip flopping between environmental issues and activism in support of Tibetan Sovereignty …. and then trying to tenuously link it to our trainwreck economy … im not… what i am suggesting is that values drive everything – either to success – or into the ground and destruction.

    Its only my opinion – but i think that a values based society is better – NOT a Politically Correct Society … because that is the nonsense that people like Raymond Huo and Pansy Wrong trade on and attempt to manipulate to their ‘clicque” advantage – thats how some people get into NZ when they should be turned away.

    The economy should serve the people. Ideologies including the Green Movement should serve the people – not just scare the horses by making it seem that we wont be able to foot the household bills next month. Kiwis are like rip van winkle or dare i suggest it “sleeping beauty” awaiting the kiss from the liberating prince (iple) – to quote the good book “awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead”

    When Kiwis wake up – it will indeed be a sight to behold. Russel Norman gave us a glimpse – and so did Pete Bethune.

    Wake up New Zealand – thieves are stealing your heritage and livelihood while you sleep.

  22. michaeljsavage 22

    Pete you may prove to be right – and prove me wrong.

    Lets see what next year brings.

    More power, light and life to you …

  23. michaeljsavage 23

    New Zealanders have a streak of radicalism in them Pete – its tied up in the number 8 wire approach – and it just requires the right triggers to activate it.

    Those triggers may well be on their way. National have traded on the populace being so punchdrunk from all the change etc – the world is changing – vastly so that it doesnt represent the conditions of the 1980’s – that means that New Zealanders cant be wrongly labelled as erring on the side of conservatism. I reckon our politics are evolving – when farmers feel threatened by Government policies and rumblings .. watch out.

    NZers werent happy with National at the last election – Helen and her fellows misread the Electorate – and they paid the price.

    However Pete – you may well be right in the matter – i honestly hope and pray you arent.

  24. Pete 24

    People are looking for a safe harbour.

    It’s a time to get the big, simple things right, and that means ensuring people have a job, food and shelter. Activist concerns – like whaling and Tibet – take a back seat. I suspect people don’t trust extremists – on either side of the house – to get the basics right.

    I agree with you about the number 8 fencing wire mentality, and the kiwi battler/streak of radicalism, but would argue that this doesn’t tend to show up in voting patterns. It’s like when you ask someone on the street about their buying habits vs what they actually buy. It sounds “good and proper” to say “I buy New Zealand made”, so people say it, but when it comes to paying over their own cash, this is barely a consideration.

    What people do, in New Zealand, tends to be moderate. They sometimes talk a harder line, because it’s in keeping with what they perceive to be our national character.

    There’s a bit of a disconnect, however. I think we have identity issues.

  25. michaeljsavage 25

    Pete – you may be right … i venture this thought …. what people do to Whales and around the issues of others views on whaling …. and what people do to Tibet (which involves people and sovereignty) .. does this have any correlation to what they then might feel free to do to you or me? Disagree with me and i will violate your rights – imprison you – crush your economy – threaten your sovereignty …. sound familiar ….??

    I remember seeing on TV news, cctv footage of 2 youths in the sleepy hamlet of huntly (middle NZ) pouring lighter fluid over a couple of cats in cages in a carpark and then setting them alight to burn with accompanying death screams. Was it Schiller (or someone) who said “when they burn books its only a short step till they burn people” – books … people …. hey if we have a trade deal – bugger them – show me the money…!!!

    Our national character is up for sale – like some obscene parody of who we once thought we were.

    Pete – you are right – there is a disconnect – we do have identity issues.

    Pete – may the voters have the scales fall from their eyes.

    I dont want this type of NZ that we are facing. But i may face being in the minority…

  26. Tracey 26

    Yes, Key and McCully stay out of all overseas criminal matters, as of course. key would never interfere or speak for a criminal overseas…

    “New Zealand consular staff in China will meet New Zealand businessman Danny Cancian tomorrow to discuss the concerns over his treatment in a Chinese prison but no immediate relief is on the horizon.

    Cancian, who suffers from asthma but has to share a cell with smokers, is 18 months into a five-year jail sentence for killing a man after a fight at a south China restaurant in 2008.

    Key, who left China yesterday, previously said he would raise the issue with New Zealand’s ambassador while he was in the country.

    Today, Key told reporters there would be another meeting between embassy staff and officials tomorrow.

    “I think it’s fair to say from a consular level we’ve been providing a lot of support.”

    The meeting tomorrow would be the 13th.

    “We’re going to try and work our way through and see if there’s another solution. It’s not easy to find a non-smoking prison in China.”

    It was also important Cancian was aware of the consequences of moving prisons, such as loosing credits awarded for good behaviour, Key said.

    Cancian’s family had hoped Key would be able to get results.

    “I don’t think it’s at a significant enough level for me to take that up on a one-on-one basis with the premier of China,” Key said.

    “The fact that a prisoner wants to move from a smoking cell to a non-smoking cell, someone that got a five-year sentence for killing someone in a bar fight, probably isn’t at the level where we would take it up directly with the premier.”

    Cancian was attacked in a south China restaurant while having dinner in 2008 and while his attackers admitted starting the fight, the judge ruled again him.

    His family have said his health was extremely poor and he had to go to hospital twice a month for treatment for his asthma.”

    That’s many more words on this fellow than he gave on Bethune, who stands for a principle shared by many NZers.

  27. Pete 27

    I think there is almost no support for whaling in New Zealand. But people don’t want to be identified with extremist activists. I suspect Bethune has done his cause a lot more harm than good, in this respect, if people think of him when they think of whaling. Contrast this with how they may think of Jeanette Fitzsimmonds fronting the whaling cause. Now, she may not be a moderate, but that is how she is widely perceived.

    By a nation of moderates.

    I suspect that when most people see Norman wrangling with the Chinese, they don’t link it to issues of free speech, particularly their own. That card was overplayed by Norman. Instead, they see a leader acting like an activist. Then they see moderate Mr Key, in response. The hardcore Green vote love it, of course, but what about the suburban housewife worried about the kids future? Where will the tick go on election day?

    As Clinton once said “it’s the economy, stupid”

    I think that’s the REAL problem the left faces in New Zealand today. If they are to regain power, they need to focus on the basics. The steady. The moderate. This is the way of the world when times are tough.

    I don’t think the activists are doing you any good.

  28. michaeljsavage 28

    Frankly Tracey – i wouldnt want John key on my side or otherwise. He is a merchant banker – possibly just like Fay and Richwhite after he has sucked everything he can out of Kiwiland he and Ron Brierly might march hand in hand with dorothy down the yellow brick road of the voting publics stupidity – to his hideaway on Hawaii to join other famous NZ leeches in Hawaii.

    What about acknowledging that the country in question has no democratic tradition and certainly has no tendency toward recognising human rights in any way shape or form.

    I hope John and his privileged family – get to have first hand experience of state chinese hospitality themselves. Without the protection of being a political entity.

    How can a man of his wealth identify with most of the NZ population.

  29. Pete 29

    >>How can a man of his wealth identify with most of the NZ population.

    That’s like saying “How can a woman of her wealth, and sexuality, and who is childless identify with most of the NZ population”?

    It’s nonsense, of course. Such a woman can. John Key can also, regardless of his prior job or personal wealth. What is required is empathy, intelligence and the ability to execute positive change.

    Was Clinton poor? How about Obama? Blair?

    • Daveosaurus 29.1

      ” “How can a woman of her wealth, and sexuality, and who is childless identify with most of the NZ population’? ”

      I can’t honestly see why a woman would be any less able to identify with most of the NZ population just because she’s heterosexual. Would you care to explain your reasoning?

  30. michaeljsavage 30

    Pete – i honestly hope you are wrong.

    I think of the isolationism of the USA when i read your words …. in the 1930’s .. the moderate – the conservative – the rationalist elite ….

    National will steadily and moderately see us overtaxed, restructured and sold off. And moderate sensible NZ’ers will buy it (i hope this isnt so) until its all over rover … all gone

  31. tank 31

    Its so funny of the left to complain about this – but are quite happy not to raise a fuss when they help ruin lives – with people who have had international issues thrust upon them (unlike PB who was a master of his own misfortune).

    Helen and Winston could have done so, so much to fix this – but chose not to. Its sobering reading. This is the kind of person that we should be helping – not a media whore like buffoon.

    A father giving all to get his son back – Hes a real hero.


  32. michaeljsavage 32

    Its all about perceptions pete … clinton had staining problems with clothing and general denial issues … obama got the nobel prize for doing nothing and i have no dirt on tony blair that i can indiscriminately use at this point in time but im certain someone will oblige. This is my current status on these listed issues.

    I dont understand the references to women, sexuality and childlessness.

    Pete – if you were a multi millionare lets say – for some years now … do you think that this is an aid to understanding the vast unwashed … that was my point. Commonsense is the order of the day. Am i going to totally respect the view of any person never married on marriage – or a childless person on bringing up children – or a mega wealthy person on how to budget for a household “im just calling from my patio in hawaii and sipping a manhattan … you lower income people should cut back on bread purchases …”

    Extreme and silly examples i know – but for some – a disturbing reality.

    Pete you have a very incisive viewpoint … it is welcomed

  33. Pete 33

    MJS, I am a multi-millionaire 🙂

    I was bought up working class, and my grandparents were penniless immigrants who couldn’t speak English. I’ve met people who are poor who don’t perceive much about their surroundings, and I’ve met rich people who are likewise.

    It depends on the individual. I suspect it has more to do with empathy, intellect and connections as opposed to the politics of identity. The right were down on Clark for her academic background, and the fact she didn’t have kids, but this does not mean she couldn’t understand the concerns of business people, or people with children.

    National remains popular because they aren’t extreme. Key does well because he really is a nice guy. He’s average in his “New Zealander-ish-ness”. The wealth issue, for most, really is beside the point.

    • loota 33.1

      Pete you’ve raised a lot of good points, cheers.

      Seems like NZ’ers don’t mind not jumping outside of the conformist pot even if the temperature is racing up.

      This anti-extremist moderation at any cost is just another aspect of ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ IMO.

    • Anne 33.2

      @ Pete
      “Key does well because he really is a nice guy.”
      Start watching ‘question time’ in the House Pete. You will see the other side of Key which I can assure you is far from nice. What’s more, I believe it’s the dominant side too. He just knows how to play the nice guy very well.

  34. Sookie 34

    In a nation of petty, inward thinking political lapdogs, right wing psychos, bogans, rapacious farmers and dimwit rugby players, there’s Pete Bethune, a righteous, yet slightly too zealous dude, ready to put himself in a deeply unpleasant situation for a very good cause. He makes me proud to be a Kiwi for a change, and I am mighty glad he got off relatively lightly.

  35. michaeljsavage 35

    Pete – good on you for being a self made man – i envy you (in the most positive manner) and your achievement. I cannot personally lay claim to such distinction or achievement – very average person here. I greatly admire people who have made their way.

    My observation – we are getting a certain type of person in the ruling classes – who have forgotten what they came from … or what affects those who are less fortunate – which now steadily includes the middle classes

    Helen Clark – i personally think she showed little understanding for people with families and children – but that is only personal opinion. I never liked her – i think she over reached herself and in the end proved some of her critics correct.

    John Key – i dont know him the way you obviously do – but he doesnt present as people or family friendly at all to many including myself. He actually is starting to show himself as being apparently quite nieve – on the international stage.

    Now …. Pete … can i have a loan ….

  36. Pete 36

    >>we are getting a certain type of person in the ruling classes who have forgotten what they came from

    I suspect you may be correct. I also know many aren’t intelligent, empathetic, or connected with New Zealanders. How can that be changed, do you think?

    I don’t think Key falls into that definition.

    A loan? It depends on the quality of your proposal, Sir 🙂

  37. MrSmith 37

    I think Roosevelt said it best .

    It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat

  38. michaeljsavage 38

    Pete – joking about the loan – but thanks for the intro though!

    How do you change people? – god i dont know – i thought i did – but it gets worse as time goes by (exacerbated by me growing older and grumpier).

    I think M J Savage or someone said once “mean streets breed even meaner people” – just having economic interventions and economically driven interventions is a bit like balancing a chequebook for a group of drug addicts.

    I believe in a distribution of wealth – not by giving what isnt earned or deserved – but by making opportunity available. Pete – it isnt fair and equitable at the moment. Society needs a safety net for those who arent able to aspire for a lot of reasons … the quality of a nation often rests on how it treats its less able i think.

    Great Wealth (seems) to generate a distance – a marie antoinette syndrome … “let them eat cake” and as we know – she lost her head over that miscalculation. Goodness and kindness have to have some place in government and beauracracy.

    Honestly Pete – i think that a series of targetted pre-advertised non political referenda would help for a start, on key issues – then social and fiscal policy could be drafted around that. Im a political babe in the woods – i just know that things arent right at present – and we are chasing the next big “hit” like a problem gambler without any clear strategy.

    Thats my twopence worth.

  39. Pete 39

    Life isn’t fair or equitable.

    Rather than seek such an unattainable utopia, I feel we should focus on a safety net, and giving everyone a reasonable opportunity to better their lives. If forced redistribution of wealth achieved utopia, we would have done it, but it doesn’t. Some people squander time, money and resources. It matters not if they are rich, poor or somewhere in the middle.

    I don’t subscribe to the idea that great wealth creates a distance. A distance can happen for any number of reasons, and it’s usually to do with how engaged one is with their community. For example, many people who are on the dole are distanced from society because they are not engaged in the lives of others on a daily basis.

    I would like to see more emphasis on civics in education. I think everything starts with engagement and a sense of belonging. I also think rights should be coupled to responsibilities.
    Things may not be right – they never are – but they could be a lot worse. We do many things well enough.

    My two cents.

    • jimmy 39.1

      “I feel we should focus on a safety net, and giving everyone a reasonable opportunity to better their lives. If forced redistribution of wealth achieved utopia, we would have done it, but it doesn’t”

      Things were different back then but 1960’s NZ seems like utopia when you compare it to today. I respect you being a self made man and all but that also gives you the responsibility of making sure that those same opportunities are there for future generations and thats where some people need to be forced to redistribute (its an ugly term, i know).

      The rate this country is going I think mine will be the last generation that will have even the slightest hint of equal opportunity. My thanks for the reasonably subsidised university education, I have a good job and I hope one day I can contribute to someone elses education as much as you have.

      • Bill 39.1.1

        With all due respect to this idea of ‘redistribution’…important though it is, it’s only important within certain parameters of understanding… very narrow and merely contemporary parameters of understanding at that.

        Linking back to here, the point might be that GDP drops through the cellar floor and the severe market contraction sees the market disappear up its own arse…while we; people…. and all teh irrelevancy that we are, wind up being…well, better off.

        No redistribution necessary. Just smash the market place…or render it obsolete.

  40. loota 40

    Pete, although I agree with many of your points with regards to this: “If forced redistribution of wealth achieved utopia, we would have done it, but it doesn’t.” consider for a moment –

    1) This redistribution is currently happening, and has been happening seriously in NZ for about 25 years.

    2) The direction of this redistribution is not from the wealthy to the less wealthy.

    3) One reason we have not implemented a forced redistribution from the wealthy to the less wealthy is that the wealthy hold the levers of power and (naturally) are not in favour of such a strategy.

  41. michaeljsavage 41

    Pete – i think my post needs to be read more carefully. Among many things too numerous to mention … i didnt talk about a re-distribution of wealth – i carefully used the term distribution for instance.

    I have to be honest and admit that i dont actually follow much of the line of your reasoning in your post Pete – but i will re-read later on and see what happens!

    I dont think what i suggest is an unattainable utopia …. i just dont see that its ever been tried out properly.

    Great Wealth and distance – i think the disadvantaged are very engaged with their community – a lot of the middle class who arguably form the ‘economic engine’ of this country are not only engaged with their community – but are fast becoming the new “poor”. Its not evident – but if you worked for a trading bank and looked at the credit card bills you might change your mind.

    The real unattainable utopia Pete – is the new rightwing, freemarket promise of shangri la that the high priests of economic freedom promised – the scripture of this faith is found in the credit cards and credit positions of average Kiwi households. The Baal many bowed down to – is now the god exacting many peoples very life blood. It is a house of cards waiting to tumble.

    Loota is right in his post … my belief is that for currency (of any sort) to have value – it must circulate and bring its benefit on a broad basis. Prosperity in degrees at all levels of society has an effect that is wholly positive and requires a change in mindset.

    China will face this – and i predict that it will lead to civil unrest and instability.

    The unfortunate thing is any safety net isnt for the lowest rung of society any more … its up round the middle class region – much like an elderly man having to hoist his trousers up to cope with a thinning and wizening figure and waistline. And that middle class line includes people on reasonable incomes – with kids.

    Great wealth does cause a distance Pete – and playing the cosmic chess game of government down in Wellington in airconditioned offices or jetsetting around the globe causes a distance. But for the average joe and josephine in a modest home, kids needing shoes, car needs servicing, odour of cheap cooking oil permeating the kitchen – power bills through the roof … its a long way removed from the Mandarins that govern them and also judge them.

  42. Rharn 42

    Keys comments only add further to his ‘historical’ resume of lies, deciepts, half truths and blatent deceptions since his entry into public life. He clearly has no concept of history or how it will judge him.

  43. michaeljsavage 43

    And yes – life isnt fair or equitable – but thats what Government is there for. It is almost an obscenity when the very rich and powerful – some of whom became so because they may have been in the right place at the right time – not through being any smarter etc …. make such statements (that is not directed at you Pete) – as if the rest of the populace are somehow lacking the goods to make it to the extent of themselves.

    “what ho my lord” to quote edmund blackadder …. the archetypal disdainful self seeking aristocrat!

  44. If the New Zealand and Australian governments actually did what they are in fact, legally permitted to do, under the IWC Whaling Moratorium – by seizing vessels that are in breach*, then Pete Bethune and Sea Shepherd would not have to act.

    *Vessels whose [whalemeat] cargo ultimately ends up for non-scientific purposes.

    Japan cannot afford to threaten a trade war, as it will ultimately lose. Over 80% of its trading is with countries opposed to whaling, whereas only a much smaller percentage of our (and Australia’s) trade is with Japan – however fall out from a trade war is always mutually harmful. Having said that we should not be indulging Japan’s lunatic neo-fascist fringe by continuing with the policy of “appeasemeat“.

  45. john 45

    It’s true : New Zealand is a “fat little lap dog” sniffing around the feet of the economic giant Japan. We are a willing vassal state to the US-Japan economic, military security alliance. Some weeks ago I saw a photo in the Dom Post of 4 Warships exercising together : 2 were Japanese, 1 was US and the 4th? an NZ Frigate! If another World war breaks out Kiwis may well be fighting shoulder to shoulder with Japanese and US allies!! But as respected allies we should be in a much more stronger position to be the tail that wags the dog! We must and should call the Japanese to account for the criminal sinking of the Ady Gil and their treaty breaking violations of the protected Antarctic by commercial whaling.

    Nowadays people look down on real people of principle and action, that’s a measure of our corruption to comfort and money, Peter Bethune is a real hero, that so many disagree shows our subservient mind set is deeply ingrained. we are already occupied by foreign powers mainly financial, How much of this country do Kiwis still own? We also sucked on the Privatization, Corporatization rubbish that’s come from the failed state of the US. We have plenty of pollys here ready to continue selling us out.

    NZ should join Sea Shepherd and make it plain any Whalers down here are not welcome.

    John Key is a marketing dream, but a very dangerous man he will continue to sell us out until this country is nothing more than outpost of asia and Us interests. Is that want you want?

  46. prism 46

    Thinking of belief in standards and pride among people for their high levels of achievement and standards, I am just reading an old book about the Hungarian uprising against the Russion invaders by James Michener. The group of young men, mostly, who took on the Russians came together spontaneously fired by the ideal of their country and its lack of freedom and fairness under this foreign invasion. I have just read how they defended also attacked Russian tanks using petrol b…..s. Won’t use the word, it might be picked up by those keeping a watching brief over our technological correspondence. Bravely the Hungarian boys got close enough to the tanks to drop the items into the only vulnerable points. They were fired on by their own Russian-paid guards as well as tanks.. I’m reading on in fascination.

    A lot of NZ people can’t think beyond the contents of the sunday magazines, the latest clothes, cars, technological devices, decor, holidays, gardens, titillating story of celebrity, self-survival eco-living, money juggling, and the latest story spiced with pleasurable disdain about the underclass, for superiority and a touch of the grotesque.
    Also shouldn’t forget, the tipple to be promoted along with the fine food and not forgetting the personal appearance industry, cosmetics and hair and pouting models on display. A little about the creative world and what fine minds are trying to achieve in abstract form.

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