The Culture War Coalition

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 29th, 2024 - 53 comments
Categories: act, Christopher Luxon, Culture wars, david seymour, national, nz first, paul goldsmith, politicans, same old national, winston peters - Tags:

We have just had yet another week of the Government manufacturing culture wars and picking fights. It really makes you wonder why they are there. Did National Act and NZ First MPs really get into politics to be grumpy and divisive and manufacture dissent? Or is this a cover so they can complete the real reason they became involved in politics and this was to enrich their already wealthy backers?

In no particular order we have recently seen:

  • Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Paul Goldsmith telling Te Papa to take down the defaced Treaty of Waitangi display even though he has no power to direct the Museum on what it should display. Christopher Luxon apparently had no idea that this was happening.
  • Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announcing the end of work on establishing a Sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands a proposal that actually started with John Key. According to Jones “[t]here’s far too much misinformation, and I’ve had to put up with green muckery over this issue. There is already a host of protective measures there.”
  • The announcement of brutal cuts to the Ministry of Pacific People which may see the numbers working there being slashed by 40%. This is way more than a 6.5% cut in funding. It really makes you wonder what the Government has against Pacific people. I guess this is not surprising when you remember that before the election David Seymour threatened to blow the ministry up.
  • Having an absolute melt down on the fact that Auckland University has a space for Māori and Pacific students. Winston Peters claimed rather bizarrely that having the spaces was comparable to the Klu Klux Klan. Not to be out done David Seymour claimed that the spaces were segregationist.
  • And Simeon Brown extending his tacky little culture war on cycleways by extending the attack to public transport with proposals that will increase the cost of living for all users of public transport.

Perhaps the most bizarre culture battle involved attacks on Hectors dolphins. This involved Russell Coutts, whose loyalty to the country was displayed when he left the Team New Zealand sailing franchise so that he could sail for the Swiss competitor Alinghi. He was then dumped from Alinghi after repeated violations of his duties which included refusing to helm Alinghi when requested to as well as his undisclosed involvement in the planning and development of a new race series.

He then set up the SailGP race series and elected to host a race in Lyttleton Harbour in the middle of a Hector’s Dolphin sanctuary. The presence of dolphins forced the cancellation of a race after the marine mammal management plan that SailGP had developed itself was applied. Coutts then publicly railed against the plan which he said had been “forced upon us” and said that he found “it astonishing the amount of influence iwi have over the authorities here in New Zealand”. He then questioned the expertise of Otago professor Liz Slooten and had a crack at the local harbourmaster.

David Williams in Newsroom has provided this perceptive comment:

[Williams] made the analogy about people not being allowed to drive because there’s a chance of being killed on the roads. “Inherently, as a society we accept an element of risk in our daily lives.”

The comparison is a weak one – even before you realise roads have traffic lights and speed limits to protect people. 

SailGP is operating, with a fragile social licence, in a marine mammal sanctuary. A better analogy would be allowing Formula One cars to race within a national park, near kiwi.

But this did not deter our leaders from having a rant about the subject. David Seymour repeated the weird analogy that sailing through the sanctuary was like driving a car. Christopher Luxon chipped in and said there was way too much red tape. And Winston Peters complained about power-drunk Government Departments.

Winston has also been busy with his breaching copyright and picking fights with UK musicians. He is clearly one who thinks that you should never let the chance of a culture battle go by.

But the most damaging recent incident raises questions about how solid the coalition is.

Both the Act and NZ First coalition agreements promise to “[r]estore the right to local referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Māori wards”.

This was recently considered by cabinet with two options, either proceed with the policy or delay it.

Cabinet decided to delay.

A clearly disappointed David Seymour responded by saying that the policy was on track and that he would not engage with leakers. Christopher Luxon tried to blame the public service while at the same time said it was not a biggie. Makie Sherman confirmed that the leak did not come from the public service.

If the policy is not advanced quickly then one aspect, the holding of referenda for Māori seats established under the last Government’s reign will not be able to occur in time for the referenda to happen with the next Local Government elections due in 2025. I bet that Seymour and Peters would prefer that it happened even earlier than that so that elections for these seats in 2025 do not have to be held.

You have to wonder who leaked the news. It is a policy both NZ First and Act support. One wonders if Tama Potaka who must be worried at the damage being caused to Government Māori relations by this sort of redneck posturing may have been involved.

But the past week highlights how obsessed the Government is with petty culture battles while ignoring the big issues. Like dealing with climate change, child poverty and homelessness.

53 comments on “The Culture War Coalition ”

  1. aj 1

    while ignoring the big issues

    They are not ignoring the class war, wealthy vs everybody else.

    Everything else is just a smokescreen.

    • Grey Area 1.1

      Exactly. This is all planned. Of course they are ignoring the big issues. They don't care about them.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Agree with Micky’s piece, little need to add to much of it.

    But one more thing…the attack on EVs really ticks me off, so it was great to discover this organisation, largely funded by benefactors, that says NZ is now at the tipping point of a massive move to electrification of the country.
    https://www.rewiring.nz

    A nicely researched and detailed report by Rewiring NZ here…
    https://storage.googleapis.com/downloadswebsite/Electric%20Homes%20-%20Rewiring%20Aotearoa%20-%20March%202024.pdf

  3. joe90 3

    And Simeon Brown extending his tacky little culture war

    Where he's going.

    @Culture_Crit

    Why did America destroy its own cities? A thread…

    https://twitter.com/Culture_Crit/status/1773061503194653136

  4. Mike the Lefty 4

    The reason for all this should be obvious, but so many ignore it.

    Simply, the political right don't have any answers to the major problems such as child poverty, homelessness and addressing climate change. And what's more they don't care.

    So they divert attention away from their inadequacies by inventing fake wars and promoting cultural division.

    Divide and conquer has always been National's strategy. It continues today. The problem today is that they also brought along the conspiracy theory lobby for the ride and now don't know how to get rid of them now they have become a burden.

    • Anne 4.1

      Add to that power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      Its gone to their heads and now their real agendas are being exposed.

  5. observer 5

    From OP:

    You have to wonder who leaked the news. It is a policy both NZ First and Act support. One wonders if Tama Potaka who must be worried at the damage being caused to Government Māori relations by this sort of redneck posturing may have been involved.

    It's very sad to see him on nodding duty, standing behind Luxon while his boss casually throws out insults at the very same groups Potaka was proud to be part of (like Maori students' groups at university, where he was a leading light).

    It's also pretty feeble that reporters can't be bothered to ask the very obvious follow-up Qs. There is literally a Minister standing behind Luxon who has previously called for – indeed, worked for – the things that the coalition now slams.

  6. Michael P 6

    This isn't the government being obsessed with petty culture battles. Surely there are people on the left (for lack of a better phrase) who can see this stuff for what it is. The government is just doing smart politics. They clearly understand how the vast majority of their voters as well as many others feel about these sorts of issues and are using that knowledge.

    I'm going to jot a few notes on how the Government and also the people who voted for the government might see some of these issues.

    In regards to the Treaty vandalism – Who supports the vandals? – A tiny minority of NZ voters. Seymour and Peters are simply letting their voters know that they have the same thoughts on these matters. As for Paul Goldsmith, the majority of people won't care less about the nuances in language around whether he is trying to tell the museum what to do, etc, they will just agree with him on this matter. This is obvious surely???

    Shane Jones clearly states one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) for this decision is due to the fact that in 1992 the government granted fishery property rights to all tribes that had valid claims on the Kermadecs. He states that if this marine reserve had gone ahead then the Iwi involved would have taken major legal action to protect their property rights. He also states that there are plenty and adequate environmental protection laws already in place for the Kermadecs. Who will care about the government canning this policy – Green Party and voters, Some of the Labor party and some of their voters. Who will support this action – the affected Iwi and everyone else.

    In regards to he Ministry for Pacific Peoples. – Spending over $40,000 just for the CEO's leaving party. I remember when our CFO left the company I worked for around 25 years ago. (I won't name the company but was / is one of our biggest. He got a morning tea put on for him with a nice cake and a card. Probably cost less then $250. Many voters will remember these morning teas for staff leaving the company and will be pretty riled up hearing about the $40,000. Then there's the other $50,000+ for 4 breakfasts! This is bread and butter stuff for National and partners and they know their voters care about these things. There are 160 or so employees and the average salary works out to around $125,000. This is twice the median for all New Zealanders and way more than the average. Surely the ministry's work force isn't made up entirely of very high paying senior roles? Sorry but it's just not a good look and easy points with their voters for the Government.

    In regards to the segregated space at Auckland University. I would say (and it's just an opinion of course) that a large majority of voters would be furious at this sort of thing being rolled out at universities in NZ. So again, easy stuff for the government parties to get support from their voters. Regardless of the politics on this one, I'd really like to hear a convincing argument from anyone at all outlining why segregating groups based on race like this (Just like how things used to be…) is a good idea. Further to that does anyone possibly know why whichever staff member or group at AKL university decided to do this thought now would be a good time?!

    in regards to the clean car discount. This was an unpopular policy with many voters, especially those on low incomes who are stuck with their "gas guzzlers". These are the voters the Labor Party takes for granted. They'd love a brand new EV but will never be able to afford to buy a new car full stop. What they see is their hard earned tax dollars going to give rich people thousands of dollars in discounts on their flash new cars. It simply seems very unfair to them. (and it is isn't it..)

    In the climate change stuff – If Labor is smart it will have a set of policies based on the science. What it shouldn’t do, IMO, is try and score points against the Government in regards to climate change. They should let the Green Party be vocal in attacking the Government in this area. Voters who are really passionate about climate change and view it as the number one issues in the world, etc probably mostly already vote for the Green Party. The Labor Party isn’t going to gain old voters back or new voters to switch from the Government because of this issue.

    From the Government's perspective none of this stuff is about being grumpy and divisive and fighting culture wars. It's just smart politicking for them, making easy political points with much of this stuff being handed to them on a plate for them to communicate to their voters.(as well as many who may not have voted for them maybe too.)

    I wish the Labor party was capable of smart politics but at the moment they don't seem to be able to read the room to save themselves.. They need to get some advisors on board quick smart that aren't all from the academic world and may not have all of the so called necessary university qualifications, but can read the room. Labor need a drastic change in tactics if they want to come close to gaining office next election (IMO)

    I do agree 100% with the author though when it comes to little cry baby Russell threatening to take his toys and go and play somewhere else. The guy's a big dosser!

    • Bearded Git 6.1

      "In the climate change stuff – If Labor is smart it will have a set of policies based on the science. What it shouldn’t do, IMO, is try and score points against the Government in regards to climate change. They should let the Green Party be vocal in attacking the Government in this area."

      This is complete bollocks Michael, consistent with most of your rant.

      Labour (notice the spelling) should and in fact MUST be fully involved in the debate on CC. This is not a matter of "scoring points". National, ACT, NZF, TPM and the Greens should ALL be involved in this debate and there should be a consensus on how to reduce emissions. This is an issue that cuts across party politics-the planet is burning up.

      If the Culture War Coalition is being so smart, as you claim, why is it fairing poorly in the polls-surely the shortest honeymoon on record. We are looking at a one-term government.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        'This is complete bollocks Michael, consistent with most of your rant."

        Thanks BG. Saves me saying it except that I will;

        A load of bullshit. Labour along with the Greens have always based their CC policies on the science. Its the other crowd that don't, and that's because much of it is more than their shriveled brains can absorb.

        I saw the mis-spelling of Labour too. Doesn't give me confidence in the author's post.

    • Rose 6.2

      A well put together and considered response to the Op-ed. Like it or not, this is what the left is up against. Generically, the biggest difference between the left and the right at the moment is the right are listening to what the people want, the left still insist on telling us what we need.

    • observer 6.3

      "A large majority of voters would be furious at this sort of thing being rolled out at universities in NZ. … Further to that does anyone possibly know why whichever staff member or group at AKL university decided to do this thought now would be a good time?!"

      It's not being rolled out now, it's been there since the 1990s. It has been part of student life for many prominent Kiwis, including Efeso Collins and Tama Potaka, amongst many others. Anyone could dress something up as being "separatist" for headlines, as long as they don't actually bother looking beyond the slogans. Anything from Whanau Ora to the Maori battalion, if we want to be dicks about it. Which sadly, they do.

      • You_Fool 6.3.1

        This! I read the OP and then Michael's response and thought… this isn't a new thing. I went to uni late 90s / early 2000s and there were pasifika and Maori clubs and spaces… pretty sure there was a specific student union too (or at least division of the student union). There was an Asian union and club too. Pretty sure this was all when David Seymour was at uni too… can't remember that being a problem. In fact i remember the concept being a plus to the libertarians during the universal vs voluntary student union membership debate

        so why is it a big deal now?

    • observer 6.4

      Also to Michael P:

      If this is "smart politics", as you claim, why is it opposed by National's Education Minister in Luxon's cabinet? Isn't the more obvious explanation that it is 10% politics for ACT and NZF, but very bad politics for National, who are losing their own MPs

      Auckland University Māori and Pasifika area: Education Minister Erica Stanford disagrees with Deputy PM Winston Peters' stance | Newshub

      • Dolomedes III 6.4.1

        Erica Stanford's disagreement with Seymour and Peters means the Nats are "losing their own MPs"? That claim is almost as OTT as Seymour's KKK comparison. Stanford is a well-known social liberal, she will disagree with Peters about lots of things.

        And Michael P's post is hardly a rant – its possibly the least ranty post in this thread. People are just shooting the messenger.

        • observer 6.4.1.1

          She disagrees with the PM. From the same party.

          Seymour and Peters will do what they can get away with, but the price for Luxon will be high. If you don't believe that then just wait, we can discuss it after National MPs have had enough. Watch.

    • Mike the Lefty 6.5

      Hi Michael P.

      Another reminder that you haven't replied to my challenge of your claim that the Hurricane Poua rugby team are taxpayer funded.

      Unless, as I suspect, it is a hot air claim that you cannot substantiate, like a lot of your claims on this site.

    • mickysavage 6.6

      Good attempt.

      You miss the point about Goldsmith. He has no power to do what he tried to do. And he must know it, he is Minister of Justice.

      Good to see that on the one hand you want us to respect the treaty and on the other hand you want us to accept a version of the treaty that has been almost universally panned by anyone who knows anything about it.

      You seem to be very upset about the Ministry for Pacific Peoples employees being paid reasonably well. It was set up in the 1980s and continued under both shades of Government.

      As for the segregated space at Auckland it appears this was started under a National government. And a National Minister has come out and said that they are being silly.

      I did not mention the clean car discount. But it was outstandingly successful. And it increased the uptake of electric vehicles into the fleet and the numbers have since plunged. Using resentment to stop a policy that was working is the height of stupidity especially given the size of the problem we are facing.

      In the climate change stuff Labour should have policies based on the science. Which it has. Any scientific analysis of this Government's policies shows that they do not. Saying it should "follow the science" and then not detailing how it is not suggests that you are blowing smoke.

      From the Government's perspective none of this stuff is about being grumpy and divisive and fighting culture wars. It's just smart politicking for them, making easy political points with much of this stuff being handed to them on a plate for them to communicate to their voters.(as well as many who may not have voted for them maybe too.)

      Don't you have a problem with this? Don't you think that the Government should be acting in the national interest and not playing these games?

      And your idea of "smart politics" appears to be what is popular and not what is right.

      Finally I agree with you about Russell. Kia kaha.

      • You_Fool 6.6.1

        Micheal is right that the current government is playing politics… and they are playing the game smart. What they are doing is not moral, but it is keeping the debate on topics they might be able to win. If the debate was on the actual issues of our society they would lose (as was shown during their lacknof honeymoon)

        Right now it is all smoke and misdirection to try and settle stuff leading up to the budget…

    • SPC 6.7

      In regards to the segregated space at Auckland University. I would say (and it's just an opinion of course) that a large majority of voters would be furious at this sort of thing being rolled out at universities in NZ. So again, easy stuff for the government parties to get support from their voters. Regardless of the politics on this one, I'd really like to hear a convincing argument from anyone at all outlining why segregating groups based on race like this (Just like how things used to be…) is a good idea. Further to that does anyone possibly know why whichever staff member or group at AKL university decided to do this thought now would be a good time?!

      It's been the practice there for decades and while the media has mentioned this a few times in the past few days you still have no idea.

      A classic case of those barely informed about an issue sounding forth on it.

  7. Phillip ure 7

    Note to moderator:

    I was wondering why I am unable to bring up the cursor..on the general thread..?

  8. Michael 8

    Of course but Labour played into the Right's hands with its fixation on identity politics. It lost any capacity to rally people together through notions of solidarity. An atomised, individualist world is one where the right triumphs. And here we are.

  9. Adrian 9

    Wrong Michael P on the EV rebate, people who cannot afford a new EV WILL be able to afford one when the ones bought under the scheme come on to the second hand market. You may not know this as it appears from a lot of your other silly comments that you may be a little slow, but people who cannot afford new ICE cars now do however buy them on the secondary market. Well, fuck me dead, who would have thought that.

    • Rose 9.1

      Take your point but not exactly helpful when, for example, last year my wife's $3000 Damio breaks down and we struggle to afford a replacement while my boss on over $200000 buys at Tesla significantly subsidised on the tax payer dime. I think that is the point Michael P is making.

      • weka 9.1.1

        so the car you can afford is the same price it would be with or without the subsidy, and the subsidy is to shift NZ to EVs via getting rich people to buy the early ones that are expensive, as part of the global effort to prevent collapse os the biosphere that we are dependent upon.

        What's the problem exactly?

        • Rose 9.1.1.1

          No problem. My boss said there are some very nice but expensive accessories you can get for a Tesla. He showed me a video of the techno coloured light scheme you can get for the thing. Very impressive. He certainly appreciated the tax payer subsidy.

        • You_Fool 9.1.1.2

          The problem is what the right play into… someone got something I didn't… humans are not very good at long term thinking or planning sometimes..

          The good thing is that people did support the idea when it wasn't being used as a political trash can by the right… once they decided to use it to score points it stopped being a supported policy and people started being sulky likenthe right wanted… almost like if something gets repeated enough it becomes fact…

          • weka 9.1.1.2.1

            probably true. I think it's also a tool in resisting climate action and they're playing into that as well.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    So far as the dolphins and the yachting are concerned, I have only seen emotional and idealogical arguments raised in that respect.

    I haven't seen any analysis of what risk the dolphins are actually exposed to due to the yachting, and how that compares to the day to day risk they deal with in terms of lots of boats on the water, many with choppy propellers etc.

    Given the size of the course, and only the small surface area of the foils tends to be in contact with the water, the chance of yachts colliding with anything inert that is dolphin-sized, a floating log for instance, is probably vanishingly small. Then taking into account the fact that dolphins are able to move out of the way, the chance of a dolphin fatality may be negligible.

    There are around 15000 Hectors dolphins over 1 year old, so they aren't anywhere near as endangered as the Maui dolphins.

    So, if say the risk of a dolphin fatality was one every 10 years, would that be acceptable to allow the racing to go ahead unhindered?

    • joe90 10.1

      , I have only seen emotional and idealogical arguments raised in that respect.

      There is no argument.

      SailGP signed a contract. Coutts had a sook because SailGP was obliged to comply with one of the terms of the contract.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        That is true. But, I am looking ahead in terms of whether the SailGP event can or should be held at Lyttleton again. And, I think that is where the risk analysis is done before contracts are drawn up and signed.

        And the contract might specify the acceptable risk. For instance, less than five dolphins spotted, the racing continues. Larger than that the racing stops.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.1.1

          Larger than that the racing stops.

          I'd prefer an outcome-based penalty – kill a dolphin with your boat, lose the boat. Howzat for adding a new dimension to this high-tech sport.

          After all, the chance of a fatality "is probably vanishingly small" – "negligible" even – and they're only dolphins. What are they even doing in our water anyway?

          And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

          Pretty sure God was including dolphins in "fish".

          • tsmithfield 10.1.1.1.1

            The fact is that we are interacting with the marine life in Lyttelton Harbour all the time in day to day marine activities anyway. So, there is a degree of risk to the dolphins that is accepted by default. And unlike the boat races that last two days, the harbour is used constantly by a wide variety of ships and boats on a day to day basis.

            So, the concept of managing and mitigating risk is something that should be applied in the case of future boat races.

            Firstly, what is the statistical risk to dolphins, and how does that compare to daily risk they are exposed to from human activity in the harbour. Secondly, is the risk acceptable within an environmental perspective while still allowing for a viable racing schedule. And finally, what can be done to mitigate the risk that is there to ensure that dolphins subjected to as little risk as is practicably possible.

            That could include ensuring that races don't take place when large groups of dolphins are present. Or, live monitoring of the ocean while racing is taking place and warning sailors of dolphins in their immediate vicinity.

          • Macro 10.1.1.1.2

            And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,

            I've been studying this biblical verse for a while now as I believe that humanity – in particular western civilisations particularly in the recent past have used this for the justification of resource exploitation, particularly over the past 200 – 300 years following the begging of Capitalism and the Industrial revolution. By giving humans dominion over the land and animals, God is giving humanity the right to control and have power over all other living beings.

            When God gave humans dominion over the land, he gave them responsibility too. Humans were created to be stewards of the land, ie:

            • to use it
            • to look after it
            • to protect it

            Dominion means humanity’s right to control and have power over the land and all other living beings. Stewardship refers to the responsibilities to the land that come with the right and power.

            If we look at all the Modern Christian Translations of the Bible we would find that without exception every one of the translations follow the common teaching that the word yiredu comes from the root word radah which means dominion, or to subdue, to rule over, to tread upon like in a winepress. However how does this fit with the 2nd chapter of Genesis where God tasks humans with the care of the Garden? Perhaps there is another interpretation of the old Hebrew word which gives a different meaning? There are in fact 2 or three different meanings or interpretations of the original word and perhaps the root word is really yarad.

            If we look at the history of the theology of creation perhaps the the fault lies with the Masoretes.

            The Masoretes were groups of Jewish scribe scholars who worked from around the end of the 5th through 10th centuries. Each group compiled a system of pronunciation and grammatical guides on the external form of the biblical text in an attempt to standardize the pronunciation, paragraph and verse divisions, of the Hebrew Bible for the worldwide Jewish community. Had they put a tsere (two dots) under the Resh they would have the root word yarad which means to come down or lower oneself. The original had no dots. Perhaps it is more correct to use root word yarad (to lower oneself) rather than radah (to rule over). In the original Hebrew the word starts with a Yod which is a picture of a heavenly messenger or yarad which means to lower oneself and not a Resh which means to rule over.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.1.1.2.1

              yes Thanks for taking the time to provide that background – very educational.

            • Traveller 10.1.1.1.2.2

              The original words and language are important, but so also is context. The words just before the ones you quote say this:

              "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: "

              There are two things here:

              1. We only have 'dominion' over the natural world because that 'dominion' is God's to give and He gave it to us.

              2. We are to use that 'dominion' as God would use it.

              The idea behind the word translated 'dominion' is about the natural order of things – that humanity is the pinnacle of God's creation; we are here as God's representatives, to exercise dominion as He would. Of course we've failed, as we have in so many ways. But then we come to Easter…

            • SPC 10.1.1.1.2.3

              This is a vast topic.

              One aspect is this – when humanity stopped living within the natural environment as hunter gatherers, they began to form permanent settlements – grow crops and domestic flocks (the Cain and Abel metaphor).

              This was the dominion on earth of humanity – especially as this impacted on other species, reducing the area they had for their natural habitat on the planet.

              Another is that humanity will develop the awareness that it can build a better "civilisation" for future generations. And while doing this ultimately become cognisant that the planet is a finite resource.

              Thus building a better civilisation will lead to a society that operates within its natural constraints. This means greater planning and less exploitation for profit – the capitalist model is not optimum.

              • Macro

                This is a vast topic.

                Totally agree, I do think however that human separation from the natural world exacerbated dramatically in the past few centuries, particularly in England. Robologic alluded to the modern world view as distinct from the ancient world view here

                I think Traveller in his comment above exemplifies the current contextual reading of that ancient text. ie humans have dominion over creation

                There are in fact two creation stories in Genesis written about 400 years apart. The first known in theological circles as the P story was probably written in the 500s BCE after the Israeli excise in Babylon. The second (beginning at Gen 2:4) but much earlier story was probably written in the 900s BCE this is known as the J story. The two are quite different. What both stories affirm however is that whilst there is something different about humans, yet we remain part of creation.

                Thus building a better civilisation will lead to a society that operates within its natural constraints. This means greater planning and less exploitation for profit – the capitalist model is not optimum.

                The Capitalist Model has replaced the God of Creation with the God of the Market. Take for instance:

                Every species of animals naturally multiplies in proportion to the means of their subsistence…among the inferior ranks of people the scantiness of subsistence sets limits….[which] it can do in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children"

                Adam Smith "Wages of Labour"

                Perhaps the signature moment in the move from an wholistic view of humanity in accordance with the rest of creation was John Locke's "Second Treatise on Government" 1690 where the grounding principle of human right and freedom in private property was espoused. One cannot have a market at all unless individual agents first privately own what they buy and sell.

                Locke bases his central argument for the right of private property on a number of unquestioned premises. The first is that "God has given the earth to mankind in common" ( a communist premise which has strangely eluded free market theorists since). It is a premise implying that no other species except human beings has any rights at all to the earth. The second premise is that "God has given mankind reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience". Locke assumes without reason that this is "private and individual". This second premise goes against all the reliable evidence that we now possess. However that has not deterred free market believers from their certitudes of doctrine.

                Since "every man has a property in his own person" argues Locke, "the labour of his body and the work of his hands are properly his" So Locke argues, whatever the individual "removes out of nature and has mixed with his labour is his own and therefore his property".

                From there on, it has been all down hill.

          • AB 10.1.1.1.3

            Does "dominion over … every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" mean we have the right to tell Russell Coutts to eff off? Seems so to me.

    • mickysavage 10.2

      There are around 15000 Hectors dolphins over 1 year old, so they aren't anywhere near as endangered as the Maui dolphins.

      Someone probably said something similar about Maui's dolphins 50 years ago. Which emphasises the need to act now and not wait.

  11. georgecom 11

    ACT wanting to require councils to hold referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Māori wards. So if a council HAS maori wards they would need to hold referendum for the wards to continue. Referedum that could cost up to $100,000 a time. What a complete and absolute waste of money. Once again the power drunk ACT party putting in more silly red tape and bureaucracy and costing rate payers more money when there is a cost of living rates crisis.

  12. Dolomedes III 12

    Calling this government a "culture war coalition" is a bit rich, considering the previous government was primarily a culture war government. Examples of their culture war policies: 3/5 Waters the new (biased) history curriculum, absurdly decreeing maatauranga "co-equal" with so-called "Western" science, conversion therapy legislation, gender self-ID.

    As for the outcry about the cuts to the Pacific ministry, I'd love know what essential services are provided by said ministry.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    Two observations on the Auckland university Maori/Pasifiki space confected "controversy". First, the way ACT consistently targets Polynesians – you never see a picture of the Chinese student society sign in Chinese with ACT being outraged it isn't in English as well, or the Indian cultural club meeting being targeted with an innuendo loaded comment. It is pure racism aimed at Maori/PI students.

    Second, ACT would have hawked the image around on SM and then used that to launder it to the MSM to see if it would be picked up. And of course it was, because the desperate desire to survive has seen a complete collapse of basic standards, integrity and commitment to truth in our MSM in favour of anything that'll generate clicks.

    • observer 13.1

      Sadly, Sanctuary is right.

      You only need to compare the coverage of this event, which was quite literally a celebration of a nasty religious conflict in India. The Ministers and media might not have known that initially, but did they want to know? Not much, judging by their own words here:

      Why government ministers’ presence at a Hindu nationalist rally is causing concern | The Spinoff

      None of this headline-hunting is any kind of principled objection to racism, they simply know what plays well with their base, and with their funders. They also know that most of the NZ media have no interest in doing any homework.

      • SPC 13.1.1

        ACT supports majoritarian rule. This is the popular authoritarian adjunct to its neo-liberalism.

        Whether Hindu vs Moslem minority and secular democratic society in India (including Kashmir now under direct rule) or the non Polynesian settler majority here.

        This is how it imbibes the culture war import from the USA.

        • AB 13.1.1.1

          Yes. There is a simple and effective way to destroy an historical agreement made between a majority (or an incipient majority that became one after 1840) and a minority. You subject it to a majoritarian veto 180 years later. I though ACT were law and order guys, so it’s curious (really it’s not) that they are so keen to tear up a contract that is potentially inconvenient for them.

      • Obtrectator 13.1.2

        Another example of thoughtlessly uttering a politically and culturally loaded phrase, without understanding the context. (C/f recent uses of "from the river to the sea".)

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