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.