Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Piled in bins like summer fruit

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  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    yet he's managed to apply sanctions to Fiji, so there must be some sort of rankings going on.

    NZ did have the backing of other Pacific forum nations. I suspect that was encouragement for sanctions .Also the NZ High commissioner was evicted from Fiji which probably pushed a few buttons over here . I suppose a military takeover claiming corruption in the democratically elected government would have looked better if Bainimarana had carried out new elections instead of installing a dictatorial leadership.Our santions with Fiji are still considerate of human rights issues,which is a good thing.Lets hope(thats all there ever is) that the FTA allows for better dialogue with China regarding Human rights and with that , education.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Bernard Hickey says that's 2018 ...

    Oh well f#ck that then, I'm cashing out now...

    Heh heh - I'm reminded of the popular wisdom from financial pundits re the sharemarket. Yes, they say, we may be in negative territory now but investors should hold on for the long term. History shows that shares always rebound and do well in the long term.

    What they're really saying is that if you're 6'2" and wake up one morning to find you're only 5'4" hang in there because you'll grow tall again eventually.

    And what they're not saying is Don't sell your shares now because that will create panic selling and I want to unload my portfolio quietly first.

    Dead cat bounce

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    NZ did have the backing of other Pacific forum nations. I suspect that was encouragement for sanctions .

    Fiji was also suspended from the Commonwealth. But we do still trade with them, largely, I suspect, because a trade ban would hurt the wrong people.

    Lets hope(thats all there ever is) that the FTA allows for better dialogue with China regarding Human rights and with that , education.

    China has actually backed off capital punishment a lot in the past few years, and has made official noises about abolition. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't actually have the highest rate of execution -- Singapore does, then Iran. OTOH, the range of offences for which the death penalty can apply is scary.

    So yeah, I do have hope for China, which is probably the main reason I don't buy the comparison with apartheid South Africa, which was fundamentally and irrevocably evil.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Which is a third option: "if it has no practical impact upon them, what's the point of having principles?" Surely that's the easiest time.

    Which is why the parties with "principles" remain small. They can afford principles , some of which are considered extreme, (Greens, Maori ,NZ First etc) Winston Peters is a perfect example of this yesterday with their decision to not back the FTA. It wont effect the outcome of this but will appeal to those who are agin' it.Principled good politics, but I dont think he will be the next PM. Middle of the road centre left/right wins every time.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Which is why the parties with "principles" remain small. They can afford principles , some of which are considered extreme,

    Actually I think the reverse is true. Green isn't exactly a scary brand these days, if the Green party was willing to adopt a few less principles, they'd be pushing a lot more popular support. A green party positioned near the centre would probably do pretty well.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Actually I think the reverse is true. Green isn't exactly a scary brand these days, if the Green party was willing to adopt a few less principles, they'd be pushing a lot more popular support. A green party positioned near the centre would probably do pretty well.

    I agree with you Kyle but you said it yourself, IF.... they could grow.Less principles, more centered. At least MMP allows for the personal choice.The nice thing about the smaller parties is they keep the larger in check. The arguments are flying in Parliament right now. I 'm off to have a laugh

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So yeah, I do have hope for China, which is probably the main reason I don't buy the comparison with apartheid South Africa, which was fundamentally and irrevocably evil.

    But wait a mo', Russell, as I once heard Helen Suzman point out (and I think it's fair to say her perspective was more intimate than most) the true evil of apartheid-era South Africa is that every piece of morally repugnant legislation was duly debated and passed by a duly elected legislature -- mostly with overwhelming majorities. Just squint past the small technicality that the non-white majority were totally disenfranchised, and you had a prosperous and functional democracy.

    And I don't think anti-apartheid activists here were overly sympathetic towards examples of apartheid laws being weakened or effectively unenforced, or declines in the numbers of folks who mysteriously 'committed suicide' in custody in a physically impossible manner.

    But since I invoked Suzman, it's only fair to point out that she wasn't exactly a proponent of trade sanctions or boycotts because she believed that the people who would suffer first -- and most -- were black workers whose lot was bad enough without being unemployed to boot.

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

  • tussock,

    Kyle, Greens that compromise on principles internationally have been decimated at the polls every time. Green voters are voting against the middle-of-the-road crap, and those that are OK with it already have Helen, John, Peter, and Winston to tag onto.

    The Green vote is largely from people who don't vote at all if there's no principled party to vote for. At least, that's the way it is internationally, and one might suggest the dissolution of the Alliance showed much the same for their voters.

    A lot of people stay home if their party doesn't act like it's expected to. See also Labour and tax cuts, they'll have to be quite tricky with that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Green voters are voting against the middle-of-the-road crap, and those that are OK with it already have Helen, John, Peter, and Winston to tag onto.

    I'm not sure that's quite right, either. I've picked up a fascinating schizo cleavage in Green supporter -- there's hardcore true believer 'dark' Green (hat-tip I/S), and the more pastel shades who will shop at Commonsense Organics, take their groceries home in hemp totes and feel kind of icky about the thought of Jacinta bringing home a three-eyed Frankenfish straight out of The Simpsons. You could call it Coromandel vs. Grey Lynn (or Aro Valley vs. Mount Victoria) if you want to be simplistic about it, but I think the Greens better get used to the fact that a big chunk of their support are more 'MOR crap' that conventional wisdom would have us believe.

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

  • Russell Brown,

    Just squint past the small technicality that the non-white majority were totally disenfranchised, and you had a prosperous and functional democracy.

    But one constituted on an irrevocably evil basis, which is how the whole world eventually came to see it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But one constituted on an irrevocably evil basis, which is how the whole world eventually came to see it.

    Yes, the problem with SA under Apartheid was they were so open about their racism. Everywhere else gets away with it by being a lot cleverer. You don't make a color bar, you make a language bar, or something else similarly devious. We prefer our racism thinly veiled, thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I've gotta say Russell, you do paint a more accurate and even handed picture of China than some on this thread.

    The single greatest 'human rights' issue in China is that of family obligation, filial responsibility and lack of personal autonomy, not so much within the state, but within the family. Most of the 'anti' here, don't even seem to know what issue they're trying to address.

    an example

    What is the population of China?

    It's a trick question. Noone can answer this. The one child policy fines/d? families roughly $10,000. Until recently a son was the preferred child. So there are tens of millions of unregistered daughters, with no birth certificate, who will not be 'human' until they register at the time of marriage.

    It's easy to say that the one child policy is a violation of human rights, and the cause of this, but on another level, it can be argued that the OCP is socially responsible, for China and for the Earth. When i see situations like this, I conveniently look past the gov' policy and i see citizens' responses to gov policy and I see a group larger than New Zealand willing to deny their children any human rights whatsoever for the sake of a son.

    With these kinds of observations in mind i'm also drawn to consider the NZ police gangbangs, (Surely not human rights abuse by the New Zealand Government). Yet that's the context in which alot of people seem to argue for human rights. Arguing against administrations on cases far beyond their control in the realm of individual choice to treat fellow country women as less than human.
    It happens.

    On the topic of India, I think one important factor is religion, that glitch of the human imagination suffered in the hallucinatory nations whereby people are tripping out on 'money is the source of all evil' etc. India has that. China in its favour has no significant religious movements and when you meet them here, they seem 666% more crazy than back home where there's that make-believe environment.

    Money drives everything in China. Hence the need for stricter controls on the money grab, because you can bank on there not being 100 million Chinese meditating on a mat praying to Vishnu; Those folks would be all on their way to the cities to make money. it's not best-practise policy to allow that.

    The comparison to India is best answered by comparing the economic and infrastructural developments of the two countries now and 30 years ago.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Remove the one child policy and you're still gonna be dealing with the same problems, family members telling family members what major to study, who to marry, what job to take, extorting money as a familial obligation, and latently, the effect this has on the way people treat nonfamily. (the popular human rights cliques more favoured topics)

    As i posted just now, i opened a friends' email, New Zealand born, talking about her father's pressure on her since teenagehood to be the 'dutiful daughter' -and the subsequent use of medication to cope with this kind of stress. Basically the putting of one's dreams on the wayside for do for the family what modern western capitalism would prefer a nurse was paid for, or a wife was requisitioned for,

    Now under the western ideological human rights manifest, how is writing about foreign Government policy, going to ensure the rights of New Zealanders aren't gradually eroded?

    The Chinese can and do share media pretty much unperturbed. This is a human right. The right to share.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    extorting money as a familial obligation

    I recall last century a PI friend of mine had to sell his cherished Jeep so his father could send the most money back to the Island to pay for the Matai's funeral ...

    My friend was gutted, but had no choice. You can imagine what change was left over after selling the vehicle poste haste to a dealer, and paying off the car loan. It made no sense, but all his father cared about was sending back the fattest envelope.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    know what you're saying Mark. The hypocracy of democracy saddens me also.I am sure many here will agree with you. One thing I observed after listening to the Dalai Lama in Auckland was the overwhelming blanket of peace he was delivering. I think the average joe here (or anywhere) can aspire to peace. With that he has gained a great reputation for Tibet.So without knowing alot about China, people cannot accept he would be harmful.Hence we question why cant we all just get along. I believe our PM is fundamentally good and with patience knows that countries do benefit each other. My experience with chinese people (weekly) is/has always been brilliant.Couldn't wish to deal with nicer people. We talk often of politics. NZ and Chinese . I know they care for both countries . They often quiz me about the lack of logic western politics seem to have. I do agree.One thing though,we communicate honestly, and I thoroughly enjoy their company.
    I think ignorance breeds fear so it becomes easy to find faults,Just as you could with NZ however lets hope this FTA is fantastic for everyone (including Tibetans) and I will join you for humble pie.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Mark,

    why is being able to vote touted as such a godsend?

    To paraphrase Winston (no, the other one): Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

    Until recently a son was the preferred child.

    Has this finally changed?
    If so, why do you think it has done so?

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    the thing is Sofie, I'm not particularly saddened. just saying what i see.
    I see people sexually relieving their dogs in the company of others. A different cultural attitude to dog's rights or human rights or whatever or whoever's rights people want to stand up for.
    impossible to get the head around
    fundamental differences on the definition of what it is to be human.

    Generalized media driven foreign assumptions don't have wind, to cross that abyss, primarily because the 'free media' can't write about such things without revealing it's own moral bias, and subsequent lack of objectivity. The objectivity which should be (and many assume is,) the very essence of a free mainstream media.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    husband's family pays for the house.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    South Africa was constituted on a fundamentally evil basis, in service of a ruling racial minority. It was globally recognised as such. I don't think the same can be said of modern China

    It's better if the ruling minority is the same race/colour as the oppressed majority, then?

    Incidentally, I've come to an understanding of why there are always lots of Chinese kids willing to demonstrate in favour of their government. Imagine if NZ was run as a dictatorship by ACT. Imagine also, that a tiny minority (less than 1%) had all the money and could afford goodies like overseas education. Wouldn't all the kids off doing degrees overseas be dead keen on ACT? - because they'd be part of the elite.

    That's broadly how China works.

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

  • Neil Morrison,

    It's better if the ruling minority is the same race/colour as the oppressed majority, then?

    I think many people in the West considered the Apartheid regime to be a product of Western colonialism which gave that issue a particular resonance. There was a greater responsibilty felt for the white regime.

    In NZ the white SA society of the time was seen to be a distorted mirror image of white society here in NZ - especially with the shared rugby tradition.

    That's not necessarily a reason not to impose equivalent sanctions against China but things were a bit different.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Rich, you're saying that if ACT were a dictatorship, and set up an economic system where the job market was so competitive, 1/500 people had to throw money that could be used for something better, to send kids away from their families and homes, overseas to get foreign qualifications in order to get the smallest edge over the locally educated, just to get a half decent job, that they would celebrate ACT? Would you? You must think these people are super clever.

    The ones who are part of the elite, don't need education.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Incidentally, I've come to an understanding of why there are always lots of Chinese kids willing to demonstrate in favour of their government........That's broadly how China works.

    Having spent the best part of a week here in Guangdong province, Rich, it's certainly not the place I've seen.

    The economic miracle here is simply gobsmaking in both its momentum and scope and in the way it seems to be pulling vast swathes of the population with it, at least in this corner of the country which holds about 5% of the population and is admittedly the richest province.

    I'm sure there are gaps but it's hard to overstate what I've seen here and I'm pretty sure that there would be little wide enthusiasm for any 'revolution' or such.

    The demonstrations and fervour in support of China simply, I would hazard, indicate a fairly broad level of popular support for the road that this country is taking. In this province many people are doing very well and this city has a level of infrastructure and maintenance of that infrastructure that any city I've been to the west can only dream of. It's simply astounding. Today I travelled the from the top of Guangzhou, a city of 12 million, to the bottom on the spotlessly clean subway in about 15 minutes for about 30 cents. Part of our taxi ride back was like The Jetsons as we swerved between tower blocks at about floor level on an elevated roadway which veered off to ground level here and there. That cost about $2. The poverty one sees doesn't come close to NYC or even Redfern or Kings Cross.

    I'd say for the average young Chinese person, and they seem to well educated, there seems to be plenty to demonstrate in favour of.

    As an aside, I was talking to a young guy at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial and he showed me a picture of Helen Clark on his phone..he'd been looking BBC China on it. The FTA has been very big news at least in this corner of the nation.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In the same week that the European Parliament urges a boycott of the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing, Brussels gets a show pavilion in Turkmenistan.

    It's all part of the Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia, which takes in Uzbekistan, where forced child labour seems to be both endemic and a matter of government policy, along with religious persecution. (Lots of it Turkmenistan too.)

    It just seems a bit rich. Oil rich, that is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    It just seems a bit rich.

    Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan aren't hosting the Olympic games. It might not bad to have China see European leaders come under pressure over this. I expect Bush to go to Beijing but pressure on him not to go by the three possible next presidents won't go unnoticed by the Chinese leadership.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __It just seems a bit rich.__

    Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan aren't hosting the Olympic games. It might not bad to have China see European leaders come under pressure over this.

    It still seems rich to me to be calling for a boycott of one ceremony while you're holding another one in a plutocratic state that is worse than China in many ways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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