A very strong piece by Andrew Geddis last week, especially for the extensive and damning quotes from Key.
Guts, guts, got no guts
New Zealand is a country that stands up for its values – unless it involves the inconvenience of bringing a few more desperate people into New Zealand for a new life.
When it comes to sending other people to fight:
Back in February of this year, the House debated a Prime Ministerial statement on New Zealand’s contribution of some 143 military personnel to help combat ISIS in Iraq. … John Key justified the National Government’s decision in this way:
New Zealand is a country that stands up for its values. We stand up for what is right. We have an obligation to support stability and the rule of law internationally. We do not shy away from taking our share of the burden when the international rules-based system is threatened, as it is today.
Gerry Brownlee was dismissive of those who questioned the likely effectiveness of New Zealand’s contribution, emphasising that no matter how small it may be it remains our moral duty to act:
People over there can say: “What difference does it make?”, yet I know that in other circumstances, they will come in here and talk, in all number of other cases, about how one person can make a difference. Well, what we are doing here is simply sticking our hand up and saying: “We want to get rid of this. We do not see it as being legitimate.”
… John Key returned to have the last word in the discussion by using words that have become somewhat well known.
I will not—will not—stand by while Jordanian pilots are burnt to death, when kids execute soldiers, and when people are out there being beheaded. I am sorry, but this is the time to stand up and be counted. Get some guts and join the right side.
Fine words indeed, acknowledging an obligation to act despite our small size. But when it comes to refugees:
So where is our moral leadership now? Apparently buried deep beneath an abundance of risk-averse caution. John Key told Radio NZ:
Everyone accepts the enormity of the challenge of what’s taking place, but New Zealand can pride itself on the fact that it’s one of the countries that’s consistently taken refugees for a long period of time. There are quite a few countries that don’t take refugees.
If we were ever going to increase that number, I’d have to be convinced that we can make sure we can give the same level of service. Because I think you do a disservice to people if you just bring them in and literally just half dump them on the street.
We will have a review in 2016. We will assess our capacity and capability and whether we think it’s right to keep it at 750 or change it, and we will make the call.
To which I really have only one thing to say. Get some guts and join the right side.
Thank you Andrew Geddis. Go read the whole piece on Pundit.