In a little-publicised piece on the Otago Daily Times, we get just a little reveal of the scale of rage against Prime Minister Ardern and against policies favouring the Treaty of Waitangi.
Two nights ago there was a public meeting in the South Otago Town and Country Club, attended by over 150 people on a full-deep-snow night.
“As the meeting was about to begin, Groundswell New Zealand co-founder Bryce McKenzie delivered a 300-signature petition against the reforms to Mr Cadogan, saying Groundswell believed the council had not acted in ratepayers’ best interests during the legislative process. He called on the council to arrange a public meeting to discuss what he said were widespread concerns regarding the reforms and the role of Local Government NZ in the process.
“That appeared to signal a stream of interruptions, including occasional foul-mouthed abuse, directed at speakers by audience members. (…)
During his presentation, DIA acting Three Waters policy stewardship director Michael Mills said the reforms were not about transferring ownership of assets to Maori interests. In response to loud heckling, Mr Mills explained the Government would meet its Treaty of Waitangi obligations in the incoming reforms.”
This time last year, Groundswell dropped Ross Townshend as a spokesman after a direct and racist tirade on Facebook against Minister Mahuta. He was also fired as Director on Tatua Dairy Company. I’m not going to repeat it here. Instead what they did a year ago was organise a protest of thousands of tractors to intentionally bring all New Zealand’s cities to a standstill – a clear show of force far greater than anything our marches against climate change have ever done.
In May last year in a large Tauranga public meeting, a woman was jeered at by the crowd for starting off her speech in Te Reo.
Racist mail was also delivered in Tauranga suburbs in April this year.
Hate is growing in New Zealand. It is not only directed against Maori. It is also directed against Asians. Last year in a large survey more than 41% of New Zealanders believed that racism had increased in the last year.
This aligned with the 2021 survey by the Human Rights Commission which found that 4 in 10 of the 1,904 respondents had experienced discrimination since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In April 29th this year, the Department of Internal Affairs released a report into online extremism within New Zealand for 2021. It concluded that online white supremacy accounted for the largest amount of content that they had investigated.
The anti-vaccination protests at Wellington four months ago have also seen a rise in threats by extremists against the media and against our politicians.
The SIS threat assessment about terror in New Zealand growing from hate-fuelled groups was not alarming in itself:
While some individuals are groups have lawfully advocated for significant change to current political and social systems, there continues to be little indication of any serious intent to engage in violence to achieve that change.”
But then there’s the big caveat:
The situation in New Zealand over the next 12 months is likely to remain dynamic. There is a realistic possibility further restrictions or potential vaccination programmes […] could be triggers for New Zealand-based violent extremists to conduct an act of terrorist violence.”
Prior to the Christchurch massacre the SIS hadn’t mentioned the hard right for a decade.
In 2021 the UK’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue did a study for our DIA. It looked at 300 extremist accounts and 600,000 posts. It’s blunt and confronting reading.
When it came to NZ-origin far-right Facebook pages, there were 750 followers per 100,000 internet users, compared with 399 in Australia, 252 in Canada and 233 in the USA. We were worse in our racism per 100,000 users than Australia, Canada, or the United States.
That shows we have a far, far deeper problem than we might admit.
To just one consequence: threats to life. It is the Prime Minister herself that is the direct target of significantly increasing threat. New data released to Newshub shows that police recorded 18 threats in 2919, 32 the next year, and 50 in 2021.
Researcher Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa said that this year the team had captured “the most significant increase in violent, vulgar, vicious, venomous commentary against the PM since the start of our study in mid-August 2021”.
“The vocabulary … has migrated from implicit and elusive references to her murder, assassination and rape now to explicit calls for it.”
The most significant increase had been in 2021-2022, he said, suggesting that the upward trend captured by police data would continue.”
Threats against our politicians from extremists had been tracked for some time.
It is cold comfort to realise that your policies are directly attacking the deepest sources of power in New Zealand so much that the hard right must threaten ones’ life.
Of course I am probably just being silly identifying rapidly increasing racism.
Too supportive of Maori.
Too much worrying about side issues like women.