Eaqub on nationalism

I guess one views, and experiences, a country differently when one is an immigrant, even one who came involuntarily as a child.   And since all of us are either immigrants or –  mostly –  not (with perhaps a few shades of grey for people who think they have come somewhere temporarily, but year succeeds year and they never actually go/come home) it can be hard for any of us to see the perspective of the other person.

That was my initial reaction when I read Shamubeel Eaqub’s latest column, headed (online, although not in the hard copy version),  Forces of nationalism a spoke in the wheels of trade.   It was, probably, a slightly unfair reaction, as there are staunch globalists (from strands of both the left and the right), almost embarrassed by the particularities and heritage of our own culture, among those whose ancestors have been here for generations.  But it is probably an easier stance to adopt when you have few or no roots in a particular country.   And many of the staunchest opponents of anything resembling nationalism seem to be immigrants themselves.  For them it seems to mean no more to move from one country to another than to move from, say, Hamilton to Tauranga.    Most people, across most pairs of countries, simply don’t see it that way.   Many, perhaps, feel an attachment even more specific: to a town or region where they may have spent all, or most, of their lives.   It is how most people live.  And the pride they often take in place, and the people of that place, is often what helps build strong functioning communities.   There is a sense of identity, shared destiny, and shared assumptions about how things are done.   It isn’t that, at least in any serious sense, one’s own community is in some objective sense “better” than the others, but it is mine, and a bit different (for good and ill) from other places.

Eaqub begins his column lamenting the rise of “nationalistic fervour”.  It isn’t abundantly clear what he means by that phrase, but in his book whatever it is counts as a bad thing.   It isn’t, he says, “just” Donald Trump or Brexit –  as if the two phenomena (two narrow victories) really have much in common.   But it isn’t clear what it is.  And he seems to have no sense that people tend to become more vocal, and intense, in defence of what they value when they perceive that someone is threatening to take it away.   There is nothing in the column that suggests he sees any value in communities (town, regions, countries –  perhaps even families) nurturing their own heritage, and what it is that makes them what they are.  Perhaps he hasn’t noticed the trend, over perhaps 100 years now, for a greater number of independent states to emerge.   It seems unlikely that that trend has exhausted itself.  And the world seems a better place for the Czechs and Slovaks to be able to have their own countries, or the Slovenes and the Croats, or the Poles – unhappily suppressed for 120 years –  or the Dutch, the Finns, the Estonians, Lithuanians or Latvians. Or at least the inhabitants of those countries seem to think so.

Instead, we get this sort of empty stuff.

Nationalism by definition prizes nationhood and pits nations against each other. It makes cooperation between countries harder, and tensions more likely. Nationalists have much in common, but even they cannot get on with each other.

Of the first half of that paragraph, he seems to have things almost completely the wrong way round.  It is no more true than to claim that because I prioritise my own house and family over those in the rest of the street that I either think badly of, or wish ill to, the rest of residents.  I don’t, I imagine Eaqub doesn’t, and I suppose only a very few people do.   At a national level, England/Britain and France both have strong national traditions, and it has been more than 200 years since those two countries were at war with each other.  Do New Zealanders resent Australians because they are a different country/nation?  It seems unlikely.

And “makes cooperation harder”?   Well, again I doubt it, except perhaps in some trivial sense that were there a single world government, its regulatory reach would cover the entire world, and none of us would have any choice, any exit options.  It doesn’t sound remotely appealing to me (and in my culture, has resonances of the Tower of Babel, which didn’t end well).   We managed to fight World War Two, beating such aggressive determined powers as Germany and Japan, without losing sight of the fact that the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, South Africa, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada were all independent states, with a shared commitment to a common goal, as well as individual national interests.

And what of “nationalists have much in common, but even they cannot get on with each other”, well since the phrase is used so broadly, in such an ill-defined sense, no doubt is true –  I doubt Michael Gove and Vladimir Zhirinovsky have almost anything in common, but one could define another side almost as broadly, and meaninglessly, and make almost exactly the same observation.  Close to home, for example, and within a single professional discipline, I doubt Eric Cramption and Shamubeel Eaqub – who would probably both accept a non-pejorative descriptions of “globalist” – have a great deal in common.

Eaqub goes on

The nationalist agenda seems to converge across three main areas: anti-immigration; protectionist economic policies; and a distrust of global institutions.   Anti-immigration and nationalism go hand in hand. At the core of nationalism is the nation state and the right to belong to it.

I’m not sure that this is necessarily true, but it is particularly unhelpful because Eaqub makes no effort to distinguish between legal and illegal migration.  Most of the debate in the United States, for example, seems to stem from the substantial stock of illegal migrants, and the renewed salience of the issue in much of Europe also seems to substantially reflect the wave of illegal migration.   That –  not the high legal numbers –  was also what has given the issue salience at times in Australia as well.

But then we are straight back to casting nonsensical aspersions, with little or no historical foundation

Being a citizen is the critical element, and easily leads to demands for tougher controls on who can come in.

It is then a small step to conflate citizens’ culture and racial makeup as different and better than those looking to come in. Language we have seen previously in precursors to discrimination, war and genocide become easier: like pests, lock-em-up and exterminate.

He simply seems to have no concept that in the same way that I don’t think badly about my neighbour, but I don’t wanting them occupying my house, people might simply value what they have, and the culture – in all its dimensions (about trust, and the way things are done, as well as arts, cuisine, religion, literature, language and so on) –  they and their ancestors have built and fostered, and be uneasy about things which threaten it. I suspect many citizens of Invercargill would be uneasy if 100000 Aucklanders moved south, and they are citizens of one country.   Arguably, it is those mass movements of people –  especially those of quite different cultures –  which sow the seeds of future tensions, and perhaps worse.    Whatever economic gains there may have been to Maori from large scale immigration since 1840, it sowed seeds of tensions that are likely to be with us for generations.  It wouldn’t have been unreasonable –  although it might have been infeasible, given the technological imbalances –  for Maori in 1840 to have said, “no, we prefer to kept these islands predominantly Maori –  we don’t think poorly of you English, and indeed we are happy to trade with you –  but we think we’ll be better, our heritage will better sustained, if we stay here and you stay there (or just in Australia)”.   By what criteria does Eaqub say they would have been wrong to have done so?

I’m not sure if I really qualify as a “nationalist”.  Even though my ancestors have been here since 1850, I feel a strong affinity for the UK and for Australia –  in many respects shared cultures, and common histories – and I count myself fortunate that the interests of those three countries haven’t collided very much, very materially, in my lifetime (let alone the century prior to that).   There are things we do differently and distinctively here,  and memories/experiences/reference points that are specific to individual countries (or regions, or cities) but I suspect I share considerably more in common with middle-aged co-religionists in Australia and the UK (perhaps even the US to some extent) than with my own mayor or Prime Minister.  My views about New Zealand immigration policy –  too many migrants, but it doesn’t much matter for those purposes whether they come from Birmingham, Banglalore, Brisbane, Beijing, or Buenos Aires –  are about the economic interests of a group called New Zealanders, and thus “nationalistic” to that extent.  If that is “nationalism”, then I’d happily sign up.

And that should be uncontroversial (even if views differs as to how best to advance the economic interests of New Zealanders).   In raising my kids, I look primarily to their interest  –  not exclusively so, not seeking harm or wishing ill on anyone else’s kids, and even feeling some attentuated responsibility (through the political system among other avenues) for those of others.  I’d lay my life on the line for my kids. I can’t automatically say the same for others, and probably no one can.   And those rare people who perhaps profess an equal interest in everyone, often in practice end up neglecting those for whom they have a particular responsibility.  Dickens treated such people in the form of Mrs Jellyby.

So I do think policy should be made at as low a level as it feasibly can, primarily with the end in view of benefiting the group those governing are responsible for.   Had I been British I’d almost certainly have voted for Brexit, and been among the many who did so (so the exit polls tell us) simply on the grounds of wanting to make our own laws.  In that vein, I think it was right that New Zealand should have its own government –  not still be part of an empire administered from London (as it was for a very short period).

And I am “suspicious” (well, more like generally disapproving, and favouring the winding of many of them) of global institutions, regarding many of them as primarily serving the interests of those who staff them (I sat on the board of one of them for a couple of years).  And if some of the more prominent ones are ever effective, it is often in constraining the future (legitimate) choices of individual countries’ citizens, in ways we simply wouldn’t accept within a single country.  So probably in Eaqub’s terms I count as a nationalist.  If so, I’ll wear the badge happily –  I even found a Guardian columnist a few weeks ago noting, perhaps reluctantly, the possibilities of a good nationalism, based around the things –  in many cases the very considerable achievements –  we’ve built together.

And, if I count as a “nationalist”, I’m a free trade and open markets one. Nationalism isn’t and never was, at least in our Anglo tradition, primarily mercantilist  The bit I liked best –  perhaps the only bit –  in Eaqub’s column was his praise of trade (his focus is external but I presume he means internal as well) –  not exports, but trade, exchange, specialisation and so on.  But for all his attempts to write about some very broad-brush “nationalism”, it isn’t obvious that he is even generally right about economic protectionism.  Perhaps I’ve missed something, but last time I looked Michael Gove was pretty keen on something approaching free trade, and whatever the concerns of governments or prominent parties in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland or Slovakia, there doesn’t seem to be much of those parties wanting to take a protectionist path.  No doubt, the gains from international trade are too little appreciated –  and thus New Zealand still has tariffs in place, disadvantaging New Zealanders –  but the push for increased use of tariffs seems to be a distinctly Trumpian theme, rather than one appearing more generally.  What, perhaps, there will be –  and rightly so in my view –  is resistance to preferential trade deals (often at best orthogonal to free trade) attempting to tie the hands of future national governments on domestic regulatory issues.  Our own government –  and its predecessor –  seem too keen on such deals (even if now, no longer on removing disputes from the jurisdiction of domestic courts).

Eaqub, by contrast, seems rather keen on such deals, and rules, and structures, and institutions.

This is why global rules on trade, travel, finance and standards have developed over time. To make it easier to connect with each other and to also use a rules-based system to deal with bad behaviour by countries.  As nationalists pull away from these global institutions, there seems little realisation that these greased the wheels of global trade, which helped their exporters and domestic producers too.

To the extent, he is specifically referring to the Trump administration approach to the WTO, I share his view.     But mostly trade has grown because of the opportunities it offered (both parties), and those opportunities aren’t going away.

Eaqub has long been a fan of immigration in New Zealand, and he returns to that theme in his columm

The global environment for migration is becoming more hostile. New Zealand can follow on a similar path, or be more organised in nabbing the best and brightest.

Being open in a closed world can be a boon. We need to actively consider our inward migration policy.

New Zealanders who have long been used to leaving for other countries, mainly for economic opportunities, will find their choices becoming more limited.

We should think about what to do with the many bright and hard working locals who will no longer leave.

It could delay the provincial decay of recent decades, which has been hastened by young people leaving.

Which seems wrong on every count.  There is no –  repeat, no –  evidence that our large scale immigration policy has been of economic benefit to New Zealanders as a whole.  There is little reason to believe that we could attract many of the “best and brightest” even if we set out to –  short of the early days of some Neville Shute On the Beach scenario, we are remote and not that wealthy, and it isn’t obvious why anyone (well, many of them) with the sort of drive, creativity and determination that might really make a difference somewhere would choose this “where”.   And as for New Zealanders leaving, perhaps the Australians will make it even harder for New Zealanders (and Australia is overwhelmingly the destination of New Zealanders that leave), but if they can’t go to Australia, I doubt it makes them much more likely to stay in Taihape.   People will flow to where the best opportunities are, whether elsewhere in New Zealand or abroad (and contra Eaqub, I’m not that worried about individual towns rising or –  in most cases –  modestly falling).

Eaqub ends with a call for New Zealand to join some group of countries with liberal views.

As nationalistic tendencies rise in many countries, we can expect a grouping of countries with liberal political and economic views.

New Zealand has an opportunity to be a strong player in this grouping. We have a strong track record in leading multilateral trade negotiations and championing liberal ideals.

We should get our house in order on migration and imports, then lead a charm offensive to place ourselves firmly in the liberal team in a divided world.

I’m not quite sure where he expects to find these countries, given how broadly he cast his “nationalistic” aspersions.  Nor is it likely to be, consistently, in the interests of New Zealanders to do align with them if they are found.  People will, perhaps annoyingly, insist on governing themselves, and form and maintain distinctive communities, and those who attempt to trade away that freedom risk creating in time backlashes, which are typically more unsavoury than a realistic regard for human nature, and the sense of place, or community, and culture that most people value in some form or other.

You’ll have noticed the sly attempt in Eaqub’s article to suggest that any scepticism about immigration is “racist”.  Perhaps because I’m still annoyed at the way Eaqub attacked me as “racist” several years ago for my arguments around immigration and New Zealand economic performance (remember, doesn’t matter: Birmingham, Bangalore or Buenos Aires) I thought I’d draw attention to a chart I saw over the weekend that perhaps captured quite starkly the differences on such issues, at least in the US context.   It was from a New York Times article, in turn reporting some work done a year or so ago by a leading UK-based political scientist Eric Kaufmann

Kaufman chart

I was stunned by the differences.  I’d not have been a Trump or a Clinton voter, and my views on New Zealand immigration (as economic instrument) apply as much to British immigrants as any others, but it reinforced a sense that the word is one that should be retired, as all but useless for any purpose other than abuse.  Debate the substance of the policy by all means –  in a New Zealand context, for Maori to oppose all further immigration to safeguard their position in New Zealand seems a reasonable option (not necessarily one I –  non-Maori –  would welcome) and not in any meaningful, ie pejorative, sense “racist” –  but drop the descriptor.

29 thoughts on “Eaqub on nationalism

  1. Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity.

    You have to wonder if when members of ethnic minorities (Eaqub; Abdel Mageed; Taika) accuse majority groups of being racist; they aren’t themselves —– Raciiiiist!! (hold invidious attitudes).?


    • It is true. Most asians do exhibit racist attitudes towards other races. In fact asians in India still do practice caste discimination and also many discriminate against women as equals. It is definitely not a white problem alone.


  2. The term “racist” is used to shut up people who want to discuss Immigration and social cohesion, when their views are not the current “PC” views.


    • The word racist is just a general word of abuse and has no significant meaning. Or alternatively a meaning so broad that it ranges from subconcious racial microaggressions to herding Jews into gas ovens.

      Pinker’s “Better Angel’s” points out that the need to identify with a group is so basic that having split a set of typical students into those who prefer Klint to Kandinsky and vice versa they will behave more generously when sharing money with a stranger if told the other person shares their art preference.

      Similarly the measured instinctive reflex to hold onto your wallet when an African American which is used to prove unconcious racism exists stops working if the white boy is wearing a hoodie or the black boy looks like Denzel Washington.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think these days it is more “herding 2 million palestinian people behind barbed wire and military towers. Israel treated the violence of shooting unarmed protestors as a jailer might a prison riot: a tragic fault of the inmates.”


      • GGS: best to judge each situation on its merits. The unnecessary death of a single person (or several thousand Palestinians) is equally evil as 6 million. It is no justification of shooting unarmed people but Hitler’s final solution meant there was no difference whether you protested or not nor at the extreme even if you didn’t realise you were Jewish until bureaucrats identified you via a parents school record from before WW1. My point being labelling an issue racist does not help progress; it is so easy to accuse Isreal govt of racism just as Peter Dunne says INZ is racist. Judge by actions not labels.


  3. I received an email from “Super Seniors ” about a need for a big discussion about “seniors”. It came in a big carton full of polystyrene. It has a forward by Tracy Martin.

    Increasing cultural diversity
    Life expectancy for Māori and Pacific peoples is increasing but remains lower than average.
    While the older population in New Zealand will continue to be mainly New Zealand European, other ethnic groups will increase the diversity of older people in the next 20 years. By 2038 the number of older Asian New Zealanders will outnumber older Māori.

    You might wonder why and the answer might be: “”cos” or “George says so”. Is as though NZ is a hen that lays eggs – these things just happen?


  4. Eaqub railed against rising Auckland house prices for years… even wrote a book on it. Then he capitulated and bought a house in late 2016. Since then, Auckland property prices have fallen.

    Is that someone whose judgement is worth valuing?


    • But he does get more coverage, and prominent media space, than any other NZ economist.

      (and having done much the same thing – well not write a book about it – re housing in the late 80s, I won’t hold forecast errors – arising as much from personal circumstances changing – against him too much )


  5. What he describes a “nationalism”, should perhaps instead read “populism” and with reference to “globalism” he needs to distinguish between its two main variants: “market globalism” and “imperial globalism”. It’s actually spooky just how prescient this political science theorist is with respect to the emergence of the imperial globalist political ideology in the US post- 9/11 environment – have a read of this and remember it was written in 2005… well before anyone foresaw Trump on the horizon;

    Click to access gs97wp2i82aj1.pdf

    It is also very worthwhile in terms of thinking on globalists use of ‘soft’ vs ‘hard’ power tactics.

    I think any writers in MSM, such as Eaqub, do us a real disservice in attempting to conflate issues of ethnicity and immigration with those of political ideology – given the extreme importance that a sound understanding of political ideology is to social cohesion and the exercise of democratic rights and citizenship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting article thanks Katharine, altho in a way what struck me was how little of what concerns us today was in focus then. At the time, for example, the EU/euro was in the ascendancy, as in many respects was the US: these days the EU/euro is endlessly embattled, and the US (for good and ill) is no longer some clarion voice of leadership. Striking too that there was, i think, no mention at all of immigration (or China for that matter).


      • Yes, I think his writing/research focuses on political ideologies as opposed to geopolitics per se. I have been keeping an eye out for an article by him discussing Trump’s presidency, in particular, but nothing yet. Here is the accompanying background 2005 piece to the one previously linked;

        Click to access JPI%20Ideologies%20of%20globalization%20%20final.pdf

        Your point is a good one – geopolitical issues now (2018) v then (2005) are strikingly different – which is interesting given it’s only a decade and a bit down the track now. That 6th claim of globalist ideology (i.e., that globalisation requires there to be a “War on Terror”) is likely central to the reason we now have an acute refugee/illegal migrant crisis.

        I also find it interesting how there is now such criticism of Trump regarding his administrations stance on multilateral trade/WTO – when not long ago it was the ‘fashion’ for social justice groups and NGOs to actively protest the WTO and associated global trade organisations;



  6. What on earth is Eaqub talking about?
    I Googled the meaning of “nationalist agenda”
    What was the kernel of his article?
    Seemed to boil down to “immigration is good”
    Immigration dressed up as “nationalist agenda” hogwash


  7. I haven’t read Mr Eaqub’s article and I am not likely to do so but “”… be more organised in nabbing the best and brightest”” and “”We should get our house in order on migration”” both get my approval.
    Maybe you are being a Cassandra about probable failure in attracting the best; it would be good to give it a try. It is hard to define ‘best and brightest’ but I would put one benchmark as earning equal or more than Mr Eaqub.

    Peter Dunne’s recent article accusing INZ of racism irritated me. No racism at INZ but the inevitable bureaucracy caused by confused policy is the curse of INZ. Interestingly Mr Dunne interprets the freezing of the parental reunion visa category (mid-2016) as racism whereas I suspect it was mainly used by my UK ex-compatriots so would be anti-English but he fails to mention the health test for resident visas which is clear and deliberate discrimination against those handicapped by bad health.

    By the way your phrase about family “”I prioritise my own house and family over..”” is a fair analogy; to pursue it we do bring new people into a family and make them welcome but it is usually done infrequently and with care.


  8. Has anyone asked Mr Equab his opinion of the founding of Bangladesh in 1971? Does he consider it was an example of nationalism and they ought to remerge with Pakistan?


    • The media defines ‘populist’ as ‘although most voters disagree with me it is their fault that they are too dumb or evil to understand my righteousness’. Like the words ‘racist’ and ‘nationalist’ usually a waste of time in a discussion since there is no common agreement on the meaning. Better to target specific examples so for an example that has little emotional impact in NZ: was India correct in builing a wall to prevent Bengali immigrants settling in NE India? Any discussion will be all the better for leaving out the emotive words ‘Populist, Racist, Nationalist’.


  9. Excellent Mike.
    Couldn’t agree with you more.
    We seem to be hearing from more and more economists in recent times that appear to be recent arrivals and it makes me bristle listening to some of the comments I have heard them make about NZ.

    The current high immigration levels risk changing this country in to something I do not want.


  10. Kim Hill
    Not many tears shed for Steve Bannon generally speaking around the world because he seemed to be quite frank, a particularly unpleasant person, what do you think? “Well he certainly held anti-globalist, nationalist views, populist views, he was driving the populist agenda that is at the heart  of Donald Trumps administration. And I think a lot of people in the white house would be happy to see the back of him as well.

    I made a formal complaint about that. Didn’t succeed (as usual).

    I heard Kathryn Ryan say that globalisation is inevitable.

    Paul Spoonley
    The thing which really annoys me at the moment is the way immigration is framed as a problem.It goes to Alis point [the arguments against immigration are unsustainable] It’s a very simple and inaccurate response to what’s happening in the world. We are globalising; we are part of a new era of globalisation and this country is actually transitioned into that, particularly with it’s connections to the Pacific and Asia in a way that is quite impressive in many, many ways but at the same time we really need to reframe what is happening or provide an understanding and that’s what frustrates me at the moment.
    But in a sense there’s economic reasons why immigration is so important to it, but there’s also sort of personal and national reasons and I think what has been invoked in part of this election campaign is that sort of angst over, you know, what this country is becoming. It’s as though politicians are wanting to stand up and say “this is not what we thought this country would look like in 2017”

    Like the National Party they are still National Radio (Funded by NZ on Air)


  11. I think it might be helpful to this discourse, to consider George Orwell notes on nationalism and patriotism. From his essay “Notes on Nationalism”

    “By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly–and this is much more important–I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”


    • It is a worthwhile attempt to distinguish, and to make some of the same points I was trying to make, altho I’m not sure that either label is quite right. To me “patriotism” often has connotations that seem a little too John-Bull-like: excellent and useful in the case of a (just) war, but not something I strongly relate to otherwise. I suppose nationalism to me still has connotations deriving from where I first encountered the term, in sixth form history, where it related to a desire for peoples united by a common language, common culture etc to govern themselves. That isn’t about aggrandisement, but about a place for one’s own – as the English, the French, the Portugese and so on had had for centuries.

      Interesting new poll from the US on patriotism


      • The significance of the nation, of national identity, can more properly be considered in evolutionary terms or in the light of recent history. E.O.Wilson sees nationalism as a natural extension of tribalism, which, in turn, is a product of kin selection; nation connotes a group of people who believe they are ancestrally related and connotes identification with and loyalty to one’s nation as just defined. It endows the members of a national population with an identity which is thought to be unique and distinct from other population groups, thought to be a relatively homogeneous entity. Nationalism holds the nation and the state together. The resurgence of nationalism over the last few years is hardly surprising: ‘national identity’ makes it possible to locate oneself in the world. A “native nation” is a people of common heritage, language, geography, culture, political system, and desire for common association; there are relatively few nation-states, less than two hundred, but many “native nations”, more than three thousand. The scope for ethnic friction is obvious; only ten per cent of states in the United Nations consist mainly of one ethnic group; in Europe the desire for a national identity has re-asserted itself as a key features of collective human nature; long suppressed European nations have suddenly reappeared, a movement directly opposed to the supranational ambitions of European Union. The new emphasis on the nation is in part a reaction against pressures towards homogenisation, the reduction of national differences, and particularly globalisation.

        I first encountered nationalism at school being cited as one of the factors leading to WW1. But a homogenous nation can also be a good world citizen as NZ was before it’s Marxist academics fomented revolution – critiqued it to death. [See Recalling Aotearoa Spoonley/Fleras] Norway and Sweden would (have been) other examples. Low populations, trading their way; relatively content: no need to go to war. In the In the interests of social justice we must now take the products of societies which had no culture of restraint. We are now ungovernable; we are already in a tight spot doing flip-flops between bad choices. The virulence of National Radio and government generally (messages to seniors include Te Reo) is a sign that the government is no longer “us”.


  12. NZ also is pushing towards more protectionism through its already draconian bio security regulations. The 500 pages of nonsense spouted by our High Court judge making the government liable for the losses suffered by the Kiwifruit industry clearly is a biased study to institutionalise border security. Bio security should not be the sole responsibility of government. We should just close down MPI on any border security.

    This is just a subsidised activity on behalf of the agricultural industry that pays less than 10% of the taxes but expect 95% subsidy from the government.


    • Correction: An industry that pays less than 5% of the taxes but expects 95% subsidy from the government.


    • INteresting point. I haven’t read that judgement yet, but the news reports left me troubled about the way in which this new duty of care will lead to even more restrictions and hyper-cautious bureaucrats. We’ve seen it before in too many areas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Certainly we have seen the impact to housing affordability as Councils have been made to be liable for the leaky homes saga and builders lack of care. Inspections and CCC are now a nightmare process with Council duplicating all the work already performed by third party professionals. Every Council inspection has to have stand up to the legal rigours as demanded by the idiotic NZ courts.

        Liked by 1 person

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