KRIS FAAFOI’S DEPARTURE from Parliament has left the Immigration, Justice and Broadcasting portfolios in need of new ministers.
In the case of Immigration the Prime Minister’s choice of Michael Wood to replace Faafoi is a sound one. The issues of employment, migration, and workplace relations are closely related, so entrusting the portfolios of Labour and Immigration to a single, highly capable, politician makes a lot of sense.
When it comes to the Justice and Broadcasting portfolios, however, matters are nowhere near so cut and dried. Between now and the General Election issues with considerable potential for creating serious political division are likely to test the skills of the new ministers to their limits.
Before examining those issues in more detail, however, it is important to establish what the Prime Minister has, and hasn’t, done.
The opportunity existed for her to make good her error in assigning Justice to Faafoi. Although acknowledged on both sides of the House as a man of great integrity and good-will, Faafoi was clearly out of his depth in the Justice portfolio. Unusually, given the requirements of the job, he was not a lawyer. Nor did he appear to have a very firm grasp of the foundational principles of this country’s legal system.
Nowhere was this more clearly manifested than in the fraught subject of “Hate Speech”. Faafoi floundered shockingly when questioned on scope and implications of the Government’s proposed legislation. The experience rendered him gun-shy for the rest of his stint as minister. At a time when the Government needed a person of demonstrable intellectual subtlety to explore with the public the full ramifications of controlling Hate Speech, it was saddled with a Justice Minister who, in spite of his background in broadcasting, seemed inordinately wary of the news media.
To be fair to Faafoi, he did not seek out the portfolio assigned to him by the Prime Minister. Indeed, he had told her back in 2020 that he wished to step down from Parliament altogether. Ardern would have been kinder, both to Faafoi, and her Government, if she had granted his wish.
The Prime Minister’s choice of the qualified lawyer, Kiritapu Allan, may, however, make matters worse. Faafoi’s bumbling, by pushing the Hate Speech issue onto the back burner, was almost certainly a godsend politically. Should Allan take up the cause with her characteristic élan, the chances are good that she will ignite a full-scale culture war between the Government and the defenders of Free Speech.
Ardern could have opted to further settle the feathers of the free speakers by appointing a Justice Minister singularly deficient in “woke” credentials – the Attorney-General, David Parker, perhaps? That she has, instead, opted to advance a feisty member of Labour’s Māori caucus: a woman lionised by Labour’s “progressives”; has sent the New Zealand electorate a message of admirable (if not entirely sagacious) clarity.
By allocating the Broadcasting portfolio to the irrepressible, occasionally truculent, leader of Labour’s Māori caucus, Willie Jackson, the Prime Minister has, at the very least, confirmed that her appointment of Allan was no one-off. There are many words that could be used to describe Ardern’s placement of two tough political fighters in Justice and Broadcasting, but “conciliatory” isn’t one of them.
If Allan presses forward with Hate Speech legislation, and Willie Jackson delivers to the people of New Zealand a state broadcaster that is te Tiriti-driven, committed to advancing the cause of “partnership”, and completely unabashed in its promotion of “co-governance”, the result will be a synergy of political enablement practically guaranteed to raise the hackles of at least half the nation’s voters.
An exaggeration? Not at all. The material made available to those seeking financial support from the Public Interest Journalism Fund (overseen by New Zealand on Air) makes it crystal clear that no state funding will be made available to journalists who do not adhere to te Tiriti, the doctrine of partnership, and co-governance. The advisory documents spelling out what that means in practice are of an historical and ideological inflexibility that would make even the most zealous of Stalin’s commissars blanche.
That the new state broadcasting entity will adhere to these revolutionary stipulations in every respect may be taken as a given. Likewise the temptation for both the Justice and Broadcasting ministers to characterise the inevitable chorus of opposition as Hate Speech.
This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 17 June 2022.
Finally, a journalist points to the elephants in. the room=- Promoting extremists to attack free speech and hobble What remains of a free media, Jackson is a dangerous choice and shows how much Ardern is scared of Maori caucus..
I'm not sure that Kiwiland is ready for the application of Treaty principles to the operations of our public broadcasting system, but it's no surprise that Labour is willing to put the voters to this test. The time is right.
Similarly the time is right for a full public debate on hate speech. My guess is that hate speech can be, and will be, a vote winner but the same can't be said about the broadcasting plans.
Jacinda's appointment of Spoonely and Kidman is a harbinger.
This is how Spoonley starts his thesis:
The politics of nostalgia : the petty-bourgeoisie and the extreme right in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University Paul Spoonley 1986
From the early 1970s, extreme right-wing groups began to proliferate in New Zealand and to contribute to public debate. These groups represent one response to the growing politicisation of racial and gender issues, a discontent at the trends in modern capitalism and a nostalgia for the unity and certainty that is seen as epitomising the immediate post-war period. Poulantzas identifies these groups as primarily petty-bourgeois in origin and this class link constitutes a central focus of this thesis.
hard to know which of those invented the other
From the early 1970s, one response to the growing politicisation of racial and gender issues (Race Marxism) has been the mischaracterization of reactions as extreme. These groups represent , a discontent at the trends in globalisation and a (justified) nostalgia for the unity and certainty that is seen as epitomising the immediate post-war period.
Im very disappointed in Faafoi - Ive been desperate for the hate speech laws to come into force.
Yesterday a couple of commentators (one from the maori party and one from Labour) wailied on about Luxon sitting on a desk at a school.
Even though Maori never had tables these two twits still complained that Luxon was sitting on a table and that was against maori culture (remember Maori never had tables in their culture).
As far as Im concerned this sort of carry on by these two is hate speech and I just cant wait for the new rules to come into force.
You are our crystal ball Chris - seeing into the future both near and far with your long experience in the swirling miasma of politicking good and bad/ Thanks for this run down on Justice and Broadcasting. Progressives have a difficulty I think, they quest diligently for the end of the rainbow (old meaning) but fail to realise that the nature of humankind is that someone is never satisfied, and if perfection was reached, yhat someone would want something else. Also there would be unavoidable changes in the system somewhere requiring flexibility and lacking that - deterioration. Flexibility and openness with controls and decent early socialisation of children, with love, firm guidance, and good role modelling in society would be sufficient without stern enforcement measures.
But no, it appears that the only time we can be truly relaxed without woke stasi at our neck, if we allow progressives and obsessives their way, will be when we die. May we also bring in euthanasia with all proper controls, but at our own wish, very soon. Life is becoming burdensome as I see us going forward inexorably to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World thinking. I haven't read the sequel to see if he facilitated his characters to something better or left them to stew in their own 'juice'.
Two utterly disastrous appointments for Labour. Is Ardern in control of her government or is the Maori caucus calling the shots?
I'm not worried about Willy J as Broacasting Minister. I just want a new TV1 ad free like the admirable ABC in Australia.Surely such an institution is the mark of a civilised nation. Did it die with Currans demise?
I do not think by any stretch of standard management judgement could Michael wood be described as capable. He might be better than the rest, but he has not demonstrated any skills. Remember the abortive Auckland Harbour cycle crossing? How many hip replacements could that have done?
Chris: "an historical and ideological inflexibility that would make even the most zealous of Stalin’s commissars blanche."
Well said Chis. It's scarcely believable, for those of us that see the necessity of an independent and critical fourth estate, what is being done.
"A copy of the standard funding agreement is available on the NZ On Air website. Upon reading the documentation we were struck by two significant things:
The funding agreements are set up like loans.
In the first section of ‘General Eligibility Criteria’ a document is provided as a ‘resource’ called Te Tiriti Framework for News Media which references He Puapua as an authoritative document.
Those with mortgages will understand what a default event is and know that it ultimately can result in one losing their home That is essentially how the Public Interest Journalism Fund is set up - like a loan. Not only do applicants have to thoroughly explain how they will adhere to the particular co-governance model of understanding the Treaty in order to get the funding in the first place, they have to agree that should they deviate from presenting this perspective NZ On Air can say that they have defaulted on the agreement and demand the funding be repaid.
Additionally, the agreement stipulates that in the event of a default:
“You indemnify us against all liability we may have to any third party as a result…”
Oh, and they can “takeover'' the project too. In which case they would demand all of your resources be at their disposal and/or get another company to complete the project - adhering to the correct narrative of course. In the situation of a “takeover”, the agreement states:
“You hereby irrevocably constitute and appoint us as your attorney-in-fact with full power and authority…”
This is about as bad as it gets; a covertly introduced negation of our democratic principles and a compliant, bought and paid for media shutting down debate. What can you say, beyond disgusted barely covers it.
What is happening in New Zealand?
Where voicing an opinion can be shouted down by those who don't agree with it, and now it is OK to attack others with dismissive and derogatory words if what others say is not what you think!
I am old enough to remember a nation far more civilized and tolerant of others opinions and beliefs. And people resilient enough to shrug criticism off as the price of diversity.
What I see now is a nation trying to collectively be offended for whatever diversity you are.
I think it is called Critical Race Theory where there has to be an oppressor and a victim.
This sort of ideology (in my opinion) is very divisive and extremely flawed.
God help us!
Not sure if giving the explanation would be wasted on you Bazza, but I will try.
Polynesian oncology is binary between the sacred (tapu) and profane (noa). There is need to manage these states and maintain a balance.
Matauranga (knowledge) and Kai (food) are tapu. Not surprisingly, the bum is profane, noa.
To place your arse on a table which is used for reading, learning, books and other knowledge forms, or for food, is a transgression against that which is tapu. Luxon showed cultural disrespect.
It may surprise you Baz, but Maori is a living culture which continues long after the introduction of tables.
In my opinion these changes will be another nail in the coffin for this labour government, it is almost as though jacinda has had enough of New Zealand and it’s politics and wants out. Don’t be at all surprised if she doesn’t abdicate prior to the next elections so she won’t carry the mantel of a losing leader
The Barron: "Luxon showed cultural disrespect"
Maybe, or perhaps he simply wasn't aware of the "transgression". The real question is; how far do you go, in a pluralistic society, in insisting on observance of the various religious and cultural beliefs. Are we all obliged to adhere to each others beliefs, how could that possibly work.
There are obviously some that insist Maori beliefs should prevail, even for those from other cultures. Good luck with that.
Baron. I suspect you mean ontology rather than oncology?
"I am old enough to remember a nation far more civilized and tolerant of others opinions and beliefs. And people resilient enough to shrug criticism off as the price of diversity."
I don't know how old you are anonymous, but I'm old enough to remember in New Zealand where anything other than a old, white, male, opinion was discarded as frivolous and of no importance. Either you missed a hell of a lot, or you were living in a different NZ to me.
I am often a victim of autocorrect
It would be unusual to get to his age and position without knowledge of the custom. That he hasn't naturalised it in his behavior may be testiment to his social, economic and cultural circles.
How far do you go in a pluralist society? It is dependent upon the respect you want to show towards others and accommodate in your behavior in situations and places.
Parliament, the Courts, Churches, Vice Regal....we are surrounded by cultural practice. Some we must follow, other practice is about respect. If Luxon puts himself up to lead a pluralist society then he will be seen as to the respect or transgression displayed.
Hi there, thank you for letting us comment on your blog. It's no longer something to take for granted.
The media should stop feigning powerlessness. Not only did they fully understand what they were agreeing to when they signed (suggesting they agreed with the premise), they appear to relish their task of promoting co-governance if that wall of side to side coverage is anything to go by.
If they wanted they could run fewer stories, place them next to distracting stories, make the stories boring and repetitive, use headlines that didn't attract attention, or place the articles further down the page in the less read sections.
The best thing we as a public can do is note the culprits and don't read their shit. Plenty of other options now with less hysteria and considerably more ethics.
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