Debate debased

On the Herald website yesterday morning, I noticed a headine “As an immigrant, I’m terrified of Winston Peters”.    I ignored it, as clickbait.  But it was still there last night, so out of curiosity I opened the story.   The Herald is, after all, one of the main media outlets in the country, sometimes still approximating a serious newspaper, and immigration policy is one of the issues that, in a New Zealand context, I’ve given a lot of thought to.

With such a florid, emotionally overwrought, headline, I had low expectations of the article.  But I still wasn’t prepared for what I found.    The author, Ben Mack, is described as a “lifestyle columnist” for the Herald.   His previous columns include a, borderline offensive, piece on “18 reasons why New Zealand is like North Korea”.

He’s an American citizen, and despite the headline isn’t really an immigrant at all.   He is apparently here on a temporary work visa, having previously been here on a student visa.   Quite how the economic prospects of New Zealanders would have been impaired by an apparent shortage of New Zeaaland “lifestyle columnists” isn’t clear, but set that to one side for the moment.   Apparently he has hopes of eventually being granted New Zealand residency and staying on.  Many do, but it isn’t an entitlement.  When you go to a country to work on a temporary visa, you might well have to go home again –  I know, I’ve done it three times.   It is up to New Zealanders, and the New Zealand government, to decide how many people, and who, it allows to settle permanently among us.  That’s not unusual.  It is how pretty much every country in the world operates.  I suspect Barack Obama might have been too conservative to Mr Mack’s tastes and preferences, but under the Obama Administration –  as under the present US government –  the United States grants one-third as many residence visas, per capita, as New Zealand does.

But, as a temporary resident in New Zealand, Mr Mack is apparently “terrified” by Winston Peters – a long-serving democratically elected member of a long-established Parliament.   Why?  Well, that isn’t really clear.

His article begins

Winston Peters is gaslighting the entire country. Sound extreme? If anything, I think it’s an understatement, actually.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “gaslighting” as to “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.”

That’s exactly what Mr Peters is doing. And it’s long past time we did something about it.

I’m glad he provided a dictionary definition because I’d never heard of “gaslighting” myself.   I still can’t say I recognise the phenomenon,   And as for “it’s long past time we did something about it”, surely (a) it is called democracy, freedom of expression etc etc –  all that stuff they don’t have in North Korea, and (b) the relevant “we” here is New Zealand citizens and voters (the latter category, even under our unusually liberal law, not including people on temporary work visas).

I get that Winston Peters isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (he isn’t really mine).  In fact, only 7.2 per cent of voters opted for his party.  92.8 per cent didn’t.  That’s almost as many as the 93.7 per cent of voters who didn’t opt for the Green Party.   But, you know, it is democracy.  I’m sure MMP is a strange concept to visiting Americans –  and I’m not a fan of it myself – but it was the freely chosen system adopted by New Zealand voters. If you get 5 per cent of the vote, your party gets seats in Parliament.  Personally, I think the threshold should be lower, but again the rules are the rules and one shouldn’t tamper with them lightly.  New Zealand First has now been around for almost 25 years, and the high point of its electoral support was 1996, when the party got 13.4 per cent of the vote.  And in a proportional representation system –  and such systems are pretty common –  it is rare for a single party to win a majority of seats in Parliament, and in the absence of a taste for “grand coalitions” –  arrangements that undermine the potency of political opposition, a vital part of a parliamentary democracy – that means that at times smallish parties that could readily work with either main party can get to exercise quite a bit of clout.

But –  and here is where a bit of perspective and experience of New Zealand might have come in handy to Mr Mack – not usually that much at all.   New Zealand First was in coalition with National in the mid 1990s –  Winston Peters as Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer –  and it was in partnership with Labour for a few years from 2005 –  Winston Peters serving a Foreign Minister, and generally accepted as having done a reasonable job.   And what changed?  1996 is a while ago now, but I can recall:

  • a small increase in the inflation target, never subsequently reversed,
  • free doctor’s visits for kids under six, never subsequently reversed, and
  • a referendum on reform of New Zealand Superannuation, in which the cause Peters was advocating lost decisively.

Oh, and I think there was a Population Conference.

The 2005 to 2008 term was even less memorable, unless you were a Ministry of Foreign Affairs bureaucrat: their Minister secured them a great deal of additional money and the prospect of various new embassies.

I’m sure there was other stuff, but none of it was transformative.

Whether New Zealand First never made much difference because of Peters’ own limitation as a government politician or because he was always a minority party and legislation actually requires 61 votes, or some combination of the two, or other reasons altogether is an interesting question.  But even if the opposition bark was in some way genuinely “terrifying”, the track record in office has been such as to not leave much trace.

Mack continues

Let me get this out of the way: I have zero respect for a man who, for decades, has made populist xenophobia his stock-and-trade, and who seems to delight in causing misery for entire groups of people (his abuse of the press – people simply doing their jobs like everyone else – is unacceptable enough).

I’m sure in journalism school they do – or did –  encourage people to use words carefully.   And when young journalists didn’t, grizzled sub-editors did it for them.  But perhaps that discipline no longer exists?    The Oxford dictionary –  Mack’s own source –  defines “xenophobia” as a ‘deep-rooted fear of foreigners’.    Perhaps Peters does have that fear –  I’ve never met the man –  but I doubt Mack could produce any serious evidence for it.  Instead, as with many pro-immigration people –  be it the Greens, or the New Zealand Initiative –  “xenophobia” has become a substitute for “thinking that, just possibly, one of the highest rates of immigration in the world might not always be benefiting New Zealanders”.

And I can’t say I have much time for how Peters handles the media but… is a free country.

Mack continues

What’s worse is his red herring that he’s “looking out for New Zealanders”, trotting out all kinds of nonsense about how us immigrants are supposedly pushing this great nation to breaking point.

He’s ignoring that it’s immigrants who have helped build this country. It’s thanks to immigrants New Zealand punches far above its weight on the international stage than a nation with fewer people than most big cities has a right to.

Actually, I suspect “breaking point” is Mack putting words in Peters’ mouth.   But I really hope that all the politicians we elect –  and those who sought office but missed out –  could comfortably put their hand on their heart (although I guess that is more of an American idiom) and declare that they are, first and foremost, “looking out for New Zealanders”.   A pretty basic expectation surely?  Reasonable –  and unreasonable –  people might differ on what is in our best interests.  That’s the stuff of politics.  But I’m only interested in voting for parties that are interested in pursuing our best interests.   I suspect all of them fit that bill, even if none align very well with what I personally think of as our best interests.

As for the second paragraph in that little excerpt, I have no idea what he’s talking about.  I’m sure that some of those who’ve immigrated to New Zealand in the last 25 years or so –  the current wave of large scale non-citizen migration –  have made a great contribution.  Most will have done well for themselves (if they hadn’t presumably they’d have gone home again), but in what way does Mr Mack think we now “punch above our weight” more than we were doing in 1990 (say)?  In economic terms, we’ve slipped a bit further down the international league tables in that time.  Hundreds of thousands more New Zealanders have left for the better opportunities they find abroad.  Are our universities better ranked internationally? Our media more influential?   Mostly, what has happened is that our population has grown rapidly and that, compounded with our crazy land use laws, have made housing ever more unaffordable.  And New Zealand firms have found it ever harder to compete internationally.

It’s absolutely gaslighting when you look around and have no idea who is infected with New Zealand First’s noxious anti-immigrant extremism: Co-workers, classmates, friends, family, fellow shoppers at the supermarket, the clerk at the post office, the teller at the bank, the bus driver, the usher at the movie theatre …

Oh, no…..ordinary New Zealanders might share some unease about the rate of immigration in New Zealand.  How unacceptable.  Some economists do too.  And here I’m not just talking about myself.  Gareth Morgan-  who seemed to draw his votes mostly from pretty left-liberal places and professional people –  was expressing some unease too.

When you’re an immigrant like I am, you start to get a bit paranoid, wondering who might secretly want to see you forcibly removed from the country you now call home. Believe me, always having to be suspicious is incredibly damaging to your health and quality of life.

When you come on a temporary visa, you have no entitlement to stay. I quite get that worrying that the rules might change could be unsettling.  But elections are like that, not just in respect of immigration but, for example, pension ages, water rights, taxation of capital assets and so on.  Countries –  their citizens and voters –  get to make choices, and every choice has people on the other side of it.

And then the rhetoric rises to new levels of absurdity

It’s even more frightening when people with influence – like Duncan Garner recently – spout the same extremist views as Peters, then bizarrely claim it’s not xenophobic to say things like “immigration is great, but I’m not sure our traditional standard of living is enhanced by it”.

Yeah, nah bro. That’s dog-whistle politics 101. It’s the same kind of thing Hitler and the Nazis said during their rise to power. It’s the same thing the likes of Richard Spencer, Marine Le Pen, Alternative für Deutschland, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and others spout with sickening regularity. It’s the kind of hateful rhetoric that has caused real harm.

It’s the kind of hate speech that can get people killed because it can inspire folks to physically attack immigrants.

Lets just state it simply: to prefer a low rate of immigration is not an illegitimate position.  You might think, as I do, that a high rate of immigration to New Zealand has been quite economically damaging to New Zealanders.   You might prefer social cohesion rather than ever-increasing cultural diversity.  You might just prefer to live in a small, sparsely-settled country.  Or you might just fear that politicians will never sort out of the housing market and the only way your kids will get a foothold, under say age 60, is if the population pressures (all policy-induced) are ended.   They are all arguable views –  some about evidence, some just about preferences.  They are conversations societies need to be able to have among themselves, in a mutally respectful way.    As a reminder, there is only one OECD country that actively aspires to take more immigrants than New Zealand does –  and that is Israel, where the door is open to all (but only those) who share the Jewish faith and ancestry.  The New Zealand status quo is exceptional, not normal.  Perhaps it benefits most New Zealanders –  I doubt it –  but that is the issue that should be able to be debated.

Mack continues

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating again: many immigrants sacrifice literally everything to come to New Zealand for a better life. I am one of them. In coming here, I gave up a well-paying job with serious potential for career advancement at one of the largest news organisations in Europe (an organisation which took a chance on hiring me when I had a woefully skint resume and didn’t speak a word of German at the time).

I had a nice apartment in Berlin, enjoyed the luxuries of living on a continent where I could take a one-hour flight for as little as $30 to experience a completely new culture, and had close friendships with people I’ll never forget (all the more important when you’re like me and struggle with making friends).

To which my reaction is mostly “And……?”     Yes, moving continents on a temporary work visas is a risk.  Plenty of things in life are.  And if you find it difficult to make new friends, sometimes staying at home makes sense.  Recall, that Mack comes from a far richer country than New Zealand, and if by some chance he doesn’t end up getting residence –  something he has no entitlement to –  it isn’t clear why that is our problem.

What truly makes my blood run cold is now Peters has power. Make no mistake: Peters being “kingmaker” is the worst thing to happen to this country in modern times.

I am not exaggerating.

Yes you are.  See 1996 and 2008.    (And personally, I worry a lot more about politicians of all parties who for 25 years, after each election, have done nothing to reverse our slow relative economic decline.)

And he ends – after rants at the unfitness of office of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition

A change in mindset is well overdue. When we watched the 2016 US presidential election with open-mouthed shock, many felt that such a thing could never happen here, that at least a dangerous figure like Trump could never gain power in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Guess what: it’s happened.

We need to galvanise our outrage and fear into action. As much as we might like to, we can’t ignore someone like Peters. His Trumpian style of bigoted nationalism is here, now. Instead, he must be repudiated at every turn. On panels. At press conferences. At political gatherings. At workplaces. At schools. Around dinner tables. Online. Everywhere.

If New Zealand wants to have a prosperous, less hateful future, it’s time to step up, now.

The lives of thousands of people truly depend on it.

The question is: what side of history do you want to be on?

I guess he’s new to the country, a temporary resident at this stage, but has he encountered the difference between a single decision-maker system (all executive authority in the US is vested in the President) and a system of Cabinet government?  In whichever government emerges in the next week or so, members of the National Party or the Labour Party will hold either a majority of the positions, or all the positions.  Perhaps Mr Mack could devote his political energies to securing change in his own country, where he is presumably entitled to vote.

What isn’t clear in any of this is what, specifically, in New Zealand First immigration policy Mr Mack objects to.   I’ve written about it previously, drawing attention to the lack of any real specificity, and the lack of any real change to immigration policy when New Zealand First was part of government.  Personally, I count that as a flaw, but it might be a reason for Mr Mack to consider toning down his hyperventilated rhetoric.   At best –  from the perspective of someone who thinks our immigration policy is much too liberal, whether the immigrants come from Ontario, Oregon, Bangalore, Beijing, Buenos Aires or Birmingham –  we might end up with a system that reduced the average inflow to around the per capita rates Barack Obama was presiding over, in turn more liberal than the systems of many other advanced countries.  But I doubt anything like that will happen, and New Zealand will continue its slow relative decline.  Probably it will always be a nice place to live –  if very remote.  And while I’m not a fan of “what side of history do you want to be on” arguments, I’d prefer to vote for someone –  if there were such a candidate –  who was going to offer a serious prospect of reversing 70 years of relative economic decline for New Zealanders, and on building on the strengths that once made New Zealand one of the very richest and most successful nations on earth.

You might wonder why I bothered devoting so much space to Mr Mack.  His views aren’t, in themselves, very important or, apparently, grounded in much understanding of New Zealand economic history or cross-country comparative experiences.    But his column was published by one of our leading media outlets –  supposedly more than just a portal for any view anyone wants to express.  And it is inconceivable that the same outlet would publish anything so overwrought from someone on the other side of the issue  (  and nor would I encourage them to do so).  It is just the sort of contribution the New Zealand debate doesn’t need.  But, of course, the strong suggestion in Mr Mack’s column is that he isn’t interested in debate, or dialogue…..instead disagreement, in his view, should invite ostracism.

There was a much better piece on The Spinoff last week from Jess Berentson-Shaw of the Morgan Foundation, encouraging serious debate and dialogue on immigration policy issues.   I don’t agree with all of what she has to say – indeed, I suspect that when we got to the details of specific policies we might not agree on much at all –  but it is a much more constructive, eirenic, approach to thinking about how a civilised society can grapple with complex and multi-dimensional issues, in this case immigration.  She was prompted  by the faux furore over Duncan Garner’s recent column

Discussing what we value and what matters in immigration will help. Having a decent framework for the issues that matter is a really good start, so let’s continue along this constructive track. I want to buy my undercrackers in a tolerant society that can talk more reasonably about this stuff.

I might come back to some of his specifics, and her links to a brief paper by Peter Wilson and Julie Fry on a possible framework for evaluating immigration policy.

And finally, when I was responding to David Hall last week –  who objected to any suggestion immigration policy and emissions reduction policy should be linked in New Zealand –  I went back to read his introduction in the BWB Texts book Fair Borders.    Having read that introduction several times, I’m still not quite clear what specific immigration policy he would favour for New Zealand.  But I was struck by this brief comment

To echo an argument by migration scholar Alan Gamlen, if we cannot justify our migration policy while looking into the eyes of those it affects, we need to think again.

And, actually, I agree totally.  But I wonder who doesn’t?  (And actually the same comment could be made for all areas of policy.)   There are many people who are at least emotionally sympathetic to an open borders approach who seem unable to conceive that there might be reasoned, moral, and defensible arguments for –  following the practice of all states –  and putting limits on who might come and settle among us.  But I also suspect that in Hall’s quite “the eyes of those it affects” doesn’t include the New Zealanders who are already here.  Economic prosperity and stable ordered societies aren’t mostly a matter of luck, but of consistent discipline and hard work over centuries.  Successful societies need to guard what they’ve built –  not in some in insular sense, closed to outside ideas, or even in some sense of “our wealth is at the expense of your poverty” (it just isn’t) – but because what is hard- and painstakingly built can be too easily corroded, put at risk, and eventually destroyed.    They are particularly important economic considerations for an extremely remote nation with few obvious economic opportunities, which has already been in relative economic decline for 70 years.




35 thoughts on “Debate debased

  1. When moving to another country I found out very quickly by first hand experience to keep your mouth shut about how much better things were done where I came from. It got kicked out of me pretty quick. Ockers are not slow in letting you know inviting you to leave straight away

    I took instant umbrage at Mack’s article

    Mr Mack arrived in NZ in 2015. Only been here 2 years. Found that out by challenging him as to what rights he had to utter what can only be described as second-hand nonsense. He assured us that he had spoken to people of his own personal acquaintance who had been here in NZ for decades and therefore it must be correct. Asked him if he was aware there is great anger among our auckland based first-nations

    The article got a pasting on newstalkZB in the early hours of this morning

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mind him having a view or expressing it – altho a column in the Herald when he is a lifestyle writer does seem a bit OTT by the Herald – and I have to remember that in two of my overseas stints I served as a senior official in the countries concerned, and had a great deal more influence on policy in those roles than all but a handful of locals did. But of course, the locals got to elect the MPs, who in turn could have amended any of the legislation we were working under. And my advice was mostly in quite narrow areas somewhat related to my professional technical expertise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That did not apply to Rockwell NZ when we pretty much took the lead role in adopting many NZ practices, processes and IT throughout standardisation of the entire regions computer and logistics functions including Japan, India, China, Singapore, Hong Kong etc


  2. There is a great deal of hostility towards Winston Peters that is evident among immigrants who have been in New Zealand for 10 years or less. Where do they get that hostility from? I have seen this materialise on being offered in written records of their views. Where do they get it from?

    I have just started reading the book “The Paradise Conspiracy II” about the Winebox affair which seems to be the beginning of Peters travails. I know little of it as I wasn’t here at the time to absorb the minutiae and form my own opinion. After 3 or 4 chapters the main theme has begun to emerge of the cone-of-silence and the power of the Establishment and the Pedigreed and the Aristocracy particularly the compliance of the judiciary

    Then recently I was doing some research about Justice Dame Judith Potter, which led me to Justice Helen Winkelman who specialises in financial legal issues and came across this article which is a contemporary echo on the theme of the book about the Winebox and an apparent lack of independence between the governing and the judgmental and ones willingness to defer to the wishes of the other

    At first it appeared to be defamatory – but then it is still sloshing around in the public domain – the fact it has survived therein supports its veracity

    I know there is a serious subtext to all of this but read it and ponder

    I was in AU when Pauline Hansen rose to prominence and John Howard attacked and did a Winston Peters on her, Vilification, Derision, and Ridicule. She never survived the scorn heaped on her by the media as the media did Howard’s bidding. When Howard retired he admitted he had done the wrong thing and regretted it

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you have 20 minutes you should have a watch and listen to Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in 1996

      It has all the ingredients of Winston Peters, and she goes to town on the Aristocrats and Fat-Cats

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read Ben Mack’s article yesterday; well started and then abandoned it. I was wondering why you would take it seriously. An equivalent article from the opposite end of the spectrum would be a “send the wogs home” affair. I assume the Herald takes the view that Mr Mack’s article will merely stimulate lively discussion whereas the opposite has the potential to trigger violence against visible immigrants (an issue we experience with violent robberies in small shops in Auckland).

    There is a need for calm editors; I’m sure a rational and stimulating pro-immigration argument can be made and the Herald could have dragged it out of Ben Mack. I remember skimming Duncan Garner’s article and agreeing with it but later read the response from Susan Devoy and could see her point: Mr Garner could have expressed the same opinions without indicating his sensitivities to specific ethnicities. A mistake for a professional journalist but much the same could and is said by non-journalists. Still it did all seem a storm in a teacup.

    I was tempted to find an email address for Ben Mack and tell him of intelligent immigrants who voted for Winston – maybe influenced by the fact that each new low waged immigrant is making life harder for the previous generation of immigrants; harder to find work and inexpensive accommodation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “”pro-immigration people – be it the Greens”” well maybe they haven’t updated their published policy [ ] but it contains along with many feel good points:
    . Effects of population growth on the environment, economy and infrastructure need to be actively managed and planned for.
    . Tighten up the process for the investor visa category
    . Closely monitor the labour market impact of skilled migrant workers
    . Take an evidence-based approach to regularly reviewing the government’s immigration policy.

    Admittedly Mr Shaw did change is stance on the last point claiming that ‘values’ trump ‘ ‘evidence-based’ however the policy does not appear to have been changed.


      • Immigrants: the issue is what can they do that is best for New Zealand.
        Refugees: the issue is what can we do that is most charitable to the refugees.

        The two issues barely interact and you can be for and against each independently.

        Sometimes the best action with a refugee is bring them here and sometimes we would be better spending the money in the camps or selecting fewer but more expensive sick refugees who cannot be treated in the refugee camps. If we do take in 5,000 refugees per year it would be generous on our part but unlike our immigration rate not exceptionally so. Compare to Bangladesh taking in Rohingya or Lebanon taking in Syrians or even Germany taking in a million (they are hovering up most of the skilled graduate Syrians so not entirely an act of charity).

        Certainly not worthwhile bringing refugees as a signal of virtue; especially if they then are then rejected by the people they end up living among (the age old upper class deciding what is best for the working class).


  5. It was important to engage with this article and what is behind it. As with all of this type of nonfactual, emotional nonsense written/spoken by uniformed usually left wing individuals begins this way; with an outrageous article. Then little by little it becomes accepted. This drip/repetitive method has been used to undermine most of our culture and institutions since the 1960’s.

    The facts are extremely easy to grasp. If NZ brings in immigrants from Muslim countries we will have the same issues as Sweden (rape country of Europe), Belgium, Spain and Holland (large muslim sharia run enclaves) France, UK, Netherlands and Germany of regular (daily) jihad attacks. If bringing in large numbers of Indians and Chinese (through governments liaisons) they will generally do business within their own communities as they have done for 2-3 generations in Canada and the UK, which of course they are entitled to do but it does not predominately help NZ (e.g. tax, environment or integration). Large (above 10,000) immigration of any persons at this time cannot be helpful owing to the reasons reiterated many times in this blog.

    The agenda behind this article is the same as found in the US, Canada and Europe: protecting your way of life is met by childish name calling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rather a generalisation. Muslims seem to be as varied as Christians – from Calvin to the Pope via numerous very odd sects. Did Muslims cause much trouble in Yugoslavia before it fell apart? 1st generation Bengali in Spitalfields were decidedly peaceful; far more so than the average East Ender and they told me quite opposite to the Somalis who had just started arriving.

      In the UK Indians (as apposed to Bengalis and Kasmiris) have created many successful businesses and now employ over a million Brits.

      The point made in David Goodhart’s “the British Dream” was that when surveyed the average UK citizen said they got on with the local immigrants but they couldn’t understand why they hadn’t been consulted before they arrived. It also said according to social surveys the lower the current rate on immigration the better accepted the immigrants.


      • It is this drive for export markets that is driving the need for migrants. Simple cause and effect. When we want access to their markets it is rather difficult to look into the mirror each morning and tell yourself you are not a racist when you want them foreigners to buy your products but them foreigners cannot come and live in NZ.


      • Met a Chinese shop attendant working in The Tokyo Solamachi Sky Tree Tower on a student visa and working part time. I was told she would get residency based on de facto relationship or marriage to a Japanese but her aim is to work for 5 years and then be eligible to apply for residency. Her brother is in NZ but has become a illegal migrant after failing his course and his dad refused to fund his education any further.


      • It does seem to me our NZ education fees are much higher with this lady still in a legitimate job and working for her 5 years in a low skilled job to gain Japanese residency which is impossible in NZ?? Are we already very tough on potential migrants? In many cases we have crossed the line in terms of basic human rights in our demands on potential migrant candidates. Borderline inhumane treatment would be the correct term rather than the association with North Korea.


      • GGS: how do countries as successful at exporting as Japan and China and Taiwan and South Koreaand Switzerland manage with minimal immigrants?

        Do the Chinese have mirrors or do they avoid them in the morning?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bob, so you think that a US$12 trillion economic powerhouse should comply and kowtow to our massive NZ$250billion super economy?? Are we trying to get into their spending power or we so big that they must bend to our rules? Perhaps when we were a essential part of the British Empire but these days we are a cork that floats where the current brings us.


      • Generalisations, the usual non argument.

        Probably the best working scientific theory for explaining the world we live in is general systems theory. As the name suggests it makes generalisations between economic, biological and any system by determining similar principles. Statistical theory which underpins modern science uses generalisations. Normally distributed data shows the majority of observations (68%) are around one standard deviation from the mean.

        A simple analogy shows the failure of the generalisation argument. If you were about to enter a dark alley but were able to see three young men walking towards you, would you enter the alleyway? Almost everyone would not, for fear of being attacked. However, it should be obvious that you would not think that all young men would attack you in an alleyway.

        If you allow muslims into your country there will be terror attacks when their numbers reach what they call the defensive jihad stage, generally around 2-10% of the population (the first stage is stealth jihad where NZ is at under 2%). These are confirmed facts over 1400 hundred years and form the basis of their ideology written in their key texts.

        Your other confusion is different sects in Islam vary. One often cited mis-understanding is Sufism is a peaceful sect. However, al-Ghazali, taught jijad, and Sufis have been at the vanguard of the Chechen jihad. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, which birthed Hamas and Al-Qaeda, was strongly influenced by Sufism. Islam’s main and highest goal whether Shiite or Sunni is jihad.

        My point was generally … so some UK, Hindu and Sikh Indians (not Pakistanis Muslims) have integrated in the third – fourth generation. It is their prerogative to do as they please within the law, but their general lack of business interaction does not aid the host country.


  6. Yes an offensive article exhibiting a total lack of understanding of the country he has lived in apparently for two years or so, and extremist views. He even runs foul of Godwin’s law in his ludicrous assertions. Shame on the editor of the Herald.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The editor of the Herald has no shame Trevor. The paper and most of the mainstream media have become tools of agenda driven left wing extremists and this rubbish from Mack is hardly unusual. There was one by Jack Tame applauding a witch hunt by social media aimed at creating personal harm to right wing protesters. Mob rule, the vilification of folk with opposing views, boycotting of their employer or product; all of these things and worse are now common place. History is clear; an open democratic free society cannot function without free dialogue, it’s not possible, the society will break down. That is what these cultural Marxists intend:
      And this is what it leads to:


  7. Its very sad to watch the NZ Herald plumb new depths.

    It used to be the case that a newspaper had pages of articles carefully researched to provide people with facts. What happened, where, how. The “why” was always contained in the Op-Ed pages and in the Editorials and they presented the house view and the views of people who the house respected – not always the same views – while readers were able to contribute via letters to the editor.

    Today, the NZ Herald appears to have completely abandoned that model, instead we see a series of articles where the lines between the personal views of the authors and the ‘facts’ have been blurred beyond all recognition, where the headlines are often inflammatory or sensational and where if they can, they spice it up with some titivation about sex or drugs.

    Is it any wonder that more and more people are getting their news from Facebook (frightening as that is)?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m used to a newspaper having an opinion – in the UK there have always been right wing and left wing newspapers. Readers use their judgement – many Labour supporters read the right wing Telegraph because of its sport pages and so on. I’m not that concerned about NZ Herald (I’m a subscriber) holding the opinion that every extra immigrant must be good of all of us; readers are not stupid and will come to their own opinion.

      My strong objection to the Herald is its failure to report news. This is what I wrote to them on August 9th
      “” … today I am searching in the Herald for any reference to the most important issue of the day and it is missing. I refer you to
      Clearly if untrue then it must be demolished before race relations in NZ are harmed. If true it needs journalists to investigate it, keep the public informed and get the government to act. Either way it is critical that the Herald reports on it…
      On the face of it there is corruption that must be in the realms of hundreds of millions of dollars (worthy of your business news) and judging by similar articles published four years ago and also the major report in the NZ Herald mid-December 2016 it is an ongoing concern. I would recommend the Herald gets Dr Stringer of Auckland Uni and Prof Paul Spoonley to write articles (the Herald has published them before) and of course for your investigative journalists to do their job. Simply because it was reported first by RadioNZ is absolutely no reason to be silent on an issue of right and wrong.””

      The same situation has occurred since then with the radio news starting with a report detailing corruption and worker exploitation and the Herald simply ignoring the story. If the same exploitation occurred to Kiwis in some foreign country it would be on the front page.


  8. Beside the point about the Herald’s judgment on running this column, what’s interesting is there is no reflection on the fact that Trump’s success is due in part to the hysterical denunciation by US ‘liberals” of anyone who reasonably tries to discuss things like immigration. The reasonable conservative voices against migration (particularly in the US context) were hounded from the public sphere by types like this Ben Mack – this left a vacuum which of course gets filled by a narcissist and outsider like Trump, who has enough money to not care about diplomatic language or political considerations. Post Trump’s election there has at least been some show of contrition by the Democrat side that their abandonment and abuse of many voters drove them to Trump – and yet here this Mr Mack trying the same thing in NZ.

    I don’t particular like Winston either, chiefly because he hasn’t been very effective over the years on these policy points (which I suspect because he’s not serious about them and only about getting into office). However he is a proper and respected politician and if he cannot run his kind of campaign, without this divisive and emotive response, then what hope is there for anyone in the Nats or Labour to proposes policies that would restrict immigration? And if Winston is gone from the scene, who will lead this issue? A NZ Trump? I hope not.


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