Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The silence of the public square

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  • Chris Waugh, in reply to ,

    Mr Barnes, you are on the money.

    I dunno. See, Steve's comment I interpreted as taking people and their muttering of "Nazi" every time Kim Dotcom, who is German, as so many people are so unwilling to let us forget, does something likely to cause even a minor ripple in the status quo, and pushing them a little further. If it's ok to mutter "Nazi" when that German - y'know, the large man with the silly-sounding surname - acts out, then let's take the World War 2 thing a little further and call attention to the Prime Minister's heritage and then - hey, won't this be fun? A faux Hollywood showdown between the German and the Jew? Uh, yeah, not so much... Even if my initial interpretation was correct and Steve was taking the piss, then it's the kind of humour that is going to piss a lot of people off, and rightly so, because slinging mud at people based on their ethnic or national origins is absurd, and offensively so.

    And now we have this photo of yours, a photo of somebody who looks like John Key doing something presumably Jewish, based on his headgear and the caption. And that caption - "Jewish Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Phillip Key." Now, what's all that about? John Key is actually New Zealand's third Prime Minister of Jewish descent, and according to Wikipedia he "attends church frequently but is agnostic" so it would seem a little odd to be drawing attention to him being a Jew - especially considering how early in NZ's history Julius Vogel and Francis Bell served, and that Vogel was actually a practicing Jew.

    So how's about everybody calms down. No more of this "Jewish Prime Minister" talk, and no more muttering "Nazi" every time Kim Dotcom farts. Let's please get back to talking sensibly about things that actually matter.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    As someone with a Jewish wife and kids I occasionally point out that he's Jewish, mostly because to me it's a point of pride that NZ will elect a Jewish PM without it being an issue, much less a 3rd PM ... elsewhere it might be an issue, but not a bid deal here ....might be time for a Maori PM though ....

    Mind you we do have a minority to whom having a Jewish PM probably is an issue, ironically those people are likely to be on the right, supporters of National or their support parties .....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to ,

    Mr Barnes, you are on the money.

    Steven, the picture is unverified and it’s from the website of an anti-semitic group called the Anti Zionist League. I realise you probably posted it without realising that, but I’ve deleted it and you are not to try and post it again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    So how’s about everybody calms down. No more of this “Jewish Prime Minister” talk, and no more muttering “Nazi” every time Kim Dotcom farts. Let’s please get back to talking sensibly about things that actually matter.

    I cannot endorse this strongly enough. This is an irrelevant line of discussion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    As someone with a Jewish wife and kids I occasionally point out that he's Jewish, mostly because to me it's a point of pride that NZ will elect a Jewish PM without it being an issue, much less a 3rd PM ... elsewhere it might be an issue, but not a bid deal here ....might be time for a Maori PM though ....

    There was Julius Vogel many moons ago, and as far I know, his Jewishness wasn't used against him. Same goes for Dove-Myer Robinson and Mark Blumsky for the AKL & WLG mayoralties respectively.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I am Steve(n) too...
    Any fool knows John Key's religion is Mammon!!
    all else is posturing, and playing to the crowd.
    ...or is he just putting the 'Ham' in Abrahamic....

    His sanctioning of the collateral death of a New Zealand citizen at the hands of an American 'terrorist prosecution' by missile, shows he has no interest in the Mosaic Laws that underpin the Jewish faith, let alone humanity in general...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to ,

    No, I did not realize that, and I am not ten years old.

    Fair enough: "please don't post that here" might have been better. But I am responsible for what's published here and that conversation was going nowhere good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    His sanctioning of the collateral death of a New Zealand citizen at the hands of an American ‘terrorist prosecution’ by missile, shows he has no interest in the Mosaic Laws that underpin the Jewish faith, let alone humanity in general…

    Least we forget... a hundred years ago Peter Fraser opposed conscription (and New Zealand's participation in an "imperialist war"), was imprisoned for sedition in 1916 and yet did a complete turn around as Prime Minister in 1939 -- a move that was *cough* not uncontroversial within the Labour Party.

    You can draw whatever conclusions you like about Fraser's view that WW2 was a "just war" in ways the First was not, but what that says about his "interest in the Mosaic Laws that underpin the Jewish faith, let alone humanity in general" escape me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    he has no interest in { . . .} humanity in general…

    Mmm, that seems like quite a broad brush , but that particular characteristic may be more common amongst the political class than we are prepared to acknowledge.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Just to change tack...why do so many people assume Dotcom is "using" Harre and Harawira, and not the other way around? If I was a lifelong activist for the Left, and a naive-but-rich person offered to help fund my campaign to get into Parliament, I'm going to at least consider an 'ends justify the means' strategy. Personally, I think they've been bloody clever.

    If they make it in, he's not paying there salaries anymore, and his money becomes less relevant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 264 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I sympathise with your frustration, but not voting is self-defeating: it just ensures that nobody in the next government will feel any need to listen to you either.
    (Meanwhile, with great timing, PAS provides another pro-voting argument here. )
    Please vote.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1941 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And Penny Bright manages to bully her way onto the stage, taking her cue from Mr Craig.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Sacha,

    I think if you are going to have a candidates debate, it should be for candidates, not just candidates who aren't barking mad.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mark Easterbrook,

    Personally, I think they’ve been bloody clever.

    Mana negotiated three of its candidates in the top four of the joint list, which I think actually hurts the Internet Party's appeal to the youth. That's a bunch of old people -- Hone, Laila, Annette Sykes, John Minto -- before you get to a plausibly young candidate in Chris Yong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Mark Easterbrook,

    why do so many people assume Dotcom is “using” Harre and Harawira, and not the other way around?

    This bemuses me too. I can't see anything Mana have given up - anything they stand for, or any policy position, or compromise, or promise. There's a huge chorus of 'sellout' but no one asking the choristers what exactly has been sold.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    There’s a huge chorus of ‘sellout’ but no one asking the choristers what exactly has been sold.

    Aside from Sue Bradford who's 'sticking to her principles', most of those who cry 'sellout' appear to be the ones who seem to think that only people who read The Fountainhead or Statecraft are allowed to be loaded, and don't like the idea of 'champagne socialists' challenging their monopoly on big donations.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    There have only ever been two politicians who I would consider to be worthy of voting for...those with intelligence AND integrity, commitment and humility.

    Marylin Waring....not standing...pity.

    Catherine Delahunty...not in my electorate.

    Catherine Delahunty depends entirely on Green party votes to return to parliament. You have a party vote.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Why don't you have a vote? Very good policy - wonder who wrote it. But it doesn't specifically mention the repeal of the NZPHDA Amendment Act.

    Curious mismatch with the education policy, which is very light on inclusion, and talks about meeting the learning needs of disabled children in "well resourced learning environments" - which I fear might be code for special units.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Catherine Delahunty depends entirely on Green party votes to return to parliament. You have a party vote.

    This, and very much this. Catherine Delahunty has at least a chance of winning Coromandel, since the Greens did manage to win it in 1999, but it’s been National every election since then, so it’s not exactly a safe seat for her. Catherine is no.6 on the Green Party list, which means that if you want her in parliament…

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    I despair of my friends who don't vote because this party or that candidate is not quite up to scratch on this policy or that aspirational value. Its a cop out, clever, safe, impressive even, but really ineffective.

    The politicians are all imperfect, just like us, but how can we alter the overall composition of parliament so the policies and decisions are at least worked through a real process of debate, discussion and dialogue. Even if that dialogue becomes stalled. I would just love a Parliament that occasional said "look we can't all agree so we are not going to do that thing, maybe later".
    We really do need the right of proxy votes on behalf of the non voters.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Richard Aston,

    I despair of my friends who don’t vote because this party or that candidate is not quite up to scratch on this policy or that aspirational value.

    And what would your suggestion be when none of the parties on offer come anywhere close to aligning with one's personal values, across more or less their full spectrum?

    I appreciate that this isn't nearly so much of an issue in NZ, with list votes and minor parties, but it's a big issue for FPTP systems like the one in use in the UK.

    I don't mean to be chippy, but I get a bit annoyed at being harrangued into voting as if it were some sort of sacred duty, usually by the sort of people who stick a mark on a piece of paper every 3 years and think that's enough - who have never signed a petition, written to a minister or MP, gone to a protest, etc, etc. There are other ways of making my voice heard, and I'm beginning to think they often more effective.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Richard Aston,

    I despair of my friends who don’t vote because this party or that candidate is not quite up to scratch on this policy or that aspirational value. Its a cop out, clever, safe, impressive even, but really ineffective.

    To be honest, I do a bit too but can really see how that can come across as enormously patronizing and more than a little bit privileged. Remember, what's just an "aspirational value" to you, could actually have a real impact on other people's lives. It's all very nice to say "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good", but if (say) you're a woman in the United States where both the Republican and Democratic candidates on the ballot paper are anti-choice and that's a really big fucking deal to you that has a hollow ring.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    find something to vote for rather than against

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I think as we're encouraging people to vote, we need to remember that abstention can also be a perfectly valid exercise of one's democratic rights. Not abstention out of apathy or laziness or because some parties are ok but not good enough (they ain't gonna get better unless people take part). But Craig's given one example of all the options being too bad, and there are plenty more. Sometimes it's better to stand up and say, "No, I have no confidence in any of the options, I refuse to take part".

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Sacha,

    find something to vote for rather than against

    "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"

    For the record, I vote nearly* every time, but it seems a rather pointless exercise when one is in one of the safer tory seats in the UK.

    *I didn't bother casting a vote for my local police commissioner when given the opportunity to do so. The difference this has made to anything is not measurable with current scientific instrumentation.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

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