All posts by Putatara

I got a Google Home for Christmas

A personal journey in technology.

Google Home:

  • I can tell the thing to play whatever music I want to listen to, streamed from Spotify, and even tell it to play it through my home theatre sound system.
  • I can ask it how old Lorde is.
  • Or whether the nearest supermarket or café is open.
  • Or where I can buy a new smartphone of a particular make and model.
  • And loads of other shit.

My son told me about these things a few months ago when he was thinking of getting one. But I looked at it and asked myself why I needed something like that, unless I get senile and can’t do all those things for myself, like doing a Google search on the computer, or tablet, or phone.

I was also concerned in this age of the Internet-of-Things about new technology that might be able to be hacked and used to eavesdrop. I wasn’t going to buy one. But now I’ve got one.

We’ve come a long way.

I was born in 1943 and for the first five years of my life we lived on a farm in the coastal hills of Hawkes Bay, miles from civilisation. We didn’t have electricity, or any of the things that ran on electricity, like electric light. But we did have a valve radio that ran off a 12V car battery. We didn’t have a telephone, or a car. None of the workers on the station had a car. My dad had a horse. On summer weekends all the families would pile onto the only motor vehicle, the farm truck, and head off to the beach for swimming and a picnic. That was fun.

When I was five I went to live with my grandparents who lived only a couple of miles from a school, just a short walk away for a five year old. I lived with them for about fifteen months. They were only about six or seven miles from both Napier and Hastings but they didn’t have electricity either. Or a radio. Or a telephone. Or a car. My grandfather had a bicycle and he was well known for biking for hours to get to where he was going. He biked four miles to work every day, eight miles a day. My grandmother was a power walker who would storm off two or three miles down the road to catch a bus to get to where she wanted to go.

My parents must have missed me because they moved into civilisation, or near enough, still out in the country. We were country people through and through. But we were just a couple of hundred yards from a country school. We still had a horse paddock at the school because half the kids rode to school. We didn’t have a school bus. Not even for the Pakeha kids.

And we had electricity and a telephone. But the phone was on a party line and you could guarantee that all the kids in a five or six mile radius would be listening to your conversations. We had electric light and electric hot water and the old radio now ran on electricity. But we didn’t have any other appliances like a washing machine or vacuum cleaner. The washing machine and vacuum cleaner came later, much later. Our mother did all of her cooking on the big old coal range until she finally got a small electric stove in the pantry to do some of her baking. The small stuff. Rather than firing up the big old coal range. And we got a car, an old 1937 Chevrolet coupe. We were technologically advanced at last. Nearly.

Mum didn’t need a vacuum cleaner. She just banned all cats and dogs from the house, and banned all boots and shoes. She banned all the men she didn’t like too. Standard country stuff. Mind you she loved her vacuum cleaner when she got one years later. We upgraded the car to an old Chevrolet sedan quite a few years later when the family outgrew the coupe.

But I was proficient in using country technology. My grandfather taught me to use a scythe and a sickle and a crosscut saw. He’d been a bushman in his younger days and even in his seventies could still cut down and cut up trees faster than men half his age, before the invention of the chainsaw. My father made sure I was proficient with a spade, shovel, rake, lawn mower, hedge clippers, hammer, saw, and all that stuff. Including the fence building and shearing shed stuff. Country technology included the all-purpose knife we all carried, the shotgun and the rifle. Ducks and rabbits and possums, and deer and pigs, you know.

That was it until I left home to join the Army when I left school. That brought on a technology revolution in my life. Well, I’d already used rifles and machine guns and wireless sets in the school cadet unit, but this was full on weapons and technology. I did that stuff for twenty years.

I did my training for a few years in Australia. That meant my first flight. I think it was the first flight anyone in my whanau and hapu had taken. When I got there in 1962 I discovered TV. They had TV in the barracks – black and white – we few New Zealanders were mesmerised by it.

Anyway, I became proficient in the use of HF and VHF wireless/radio and how to erect aerials to get communications out of out-of-the-way places, like deep in a South East Asian jungle. I think the main technology in the jungle was the boots, pack and rifle, and the radio. Carrying the heavy spare radio batteries was a pain. The world was moving on and in 1968 I did my first computer programming course as part of an Army mobilisation plan we were aiming to shift onto a mainframe computer at a university. About the same time I bought a very expensive state of the art electronic calculator. Wonderful new technology. It cut a lot of time and effort out of some work. Today much more calculating capability is a small part of every phone.

In 1970 I went back on attachment to Australia for a few years and got to work with a mainframe computer. Not me personally, but to use it to make short work of a lot of what we were doing. With its card readers and storage and printers and other peripherals it filled the basement. Today much more than that basement full of computing power is in my pocket.

By the late 1970s my technology had grown. Whereas in the mid to late 1960s I had one or two radio operators carrying my radios, I now had two, three and sometimes four radio operators carrying my radios through the jungle. But they were the same radios we had used in the mid to late 1960s.

It wasn’t until 1980 that the Army got a facsimile machine. We had one at our HQ in Wellington, but only the operator was allowed to use it. It was a big old, clunky old thing too. Well brand new actually. But clunky.

So I left the Army and in 1982 got a desktop computer. In my last few years in the Army I hung out for desktop computers to seriously cut back on the paper work we had to do, but they didn’t get them before I left. After I left the Army I taught myself to use a PC and computerised the management and finances at a place I worked for a couple of years. I’ve had a computer on my home desk ever since 1982. I remember when I bought an 8Mb RAM card to upgrade the memory on my first desktop, and when I got 64Mb of hard disk. This laptop is running 4Gb of RAM and 500Gb of hard disk storage. There’s another 14Tb of storage on the desk. And it’s an old laptop.

Back in the day we had Chief Clerks and hoards of filing clerks to keep track of the paper, and we had typists’ pools to create all that paper. The head typiste was the gatekeeper to happiness and if you displeased her your work got pushed to the bottom of the pile and you got into trouble for not meeting your deadlines. True happiness was doing your own typing, and keeping only electronic files. Your electronic messages were handwritten, then passed to the Communications Centre where they typed up your message and sent it electronically on the Telex. SMS is great. Depending on the classification of those messages they might be encrypted by the operators before they were sent. Messages sent by WhatsApp, Signal, Wikr, Telegraph and Facebook Messenger are all encrypted these days. Straight off your phone.

!n 1986 Sir Wira Gardiner and I were contracted to the Board of Maori Affairs working alongside the Department of Maori Affairs and running a new programme. I had the only desktop computer in Maori Affairs. It caused a bit of a stir. They had a mainframe computer but you had to be one of the IT elite to use it; never for mundane day-to-day stuff. Then we decided we needed a fax machine. Maori Affairs didn’t have one. They communicated by telephone mostly, and by letter and telegram.

Remember the telegram?

We asked Maori Affairs for a fax. They said no. So off we went and leased one from the Post Office, and put it onto the Maori Affairs telephone account. They spent a fortune on telephone calls so we figured no-one would notice fax hire and fax calls. They never did. But we had no-one to send faxes to. So we started sending faxes to Maori Trust Boards and heaps of other organisations via the Post Office Bureaufax service. The fax would say “please ring so-and-so on such-and-such a number and ask him or her to call and pick up a fax”. We sent them far and wide. And very soon they all started buying their own fax machines. We sent faxes to all the Maori Affairs districts and they started asking Head Office if they could have fax machines. Head Office said “absolutely not” so the districts went out and bought them anyway. Soon Head Office was the only office in the Department without a fax. So we started getting faxes for Head Office on our machine. We’d read them of course and take a copy of the interesting ones before passing them across the road. Then Head Office staff started coming across the road to send their faxes. We’d read them of course and take a copy of the interesting ones. Some of the so-called “Maori Loans Affair” scandal of December 1968 passed across our fax machine.

Well, soon I got a call from the private secretary to the Minister for Maori Affairs, Koro Wetere. He said the minister wants a fax machine. I said ask Parliamentary Services or Maori Affairs. He’d asked them and they both said absolutely not. So off I went and leased one from the Post Office and booked it up to Maori Affairs. They never noticed that one either. Then I told everyone what Koro’s fax number was so the whole of Te Ao Maori could fax him direct. And they did.

Remember the fax machine?

Then the Board of Maori Affairs asked me to oversee the installation of a PC network, in one of the sections of Maori Affairs Head Office. The opposition from the IT department and from senior management was huge. But we got in the experts and built the first PC network in Maori affairs. It was magic.

A couple or more years later Wira Gardiner became CEO of the Iwi Transition Agency (Te Tira Ahu Iwi). I’d long since stopped working alongside or with Maori Affairs. Anyway in his first week on the job he rang me from his office (the old Maori Affairs) on a Sunday. He said how do I get into this PC network. I said I’m no longer authorised. He said you built it, how do I get in. So I relented and he was logged in in no time at all.

It must have been in the late 1980s or 1990 when I got my first cellphone, a Motorola Brick. It cost a fortune, had a short talk-time and took forever to charge. But it was magic. I was on the road a lot and my kids could call me wherever I was, and I would never miss a call from a business client. It was clunky though and I carried it in a small kete one of our whanaunga had woven for me.

The Brick

That’s twenty seven years ago. I’ve had dozens of mobile phones in that time, including a lot of Blackberries. I got a Blackberry as soon as they came on the market in New Zealand. Now into Android though, and interestingly, the current phone is a Motorola Moto G, the same make as my very first phone. That computer and communications device in my pocket has more computing power than a 1970 mainframe, and more communications power than I ever had in the military, which functions on communications networks.

The Internet came on stream. I hooked up to the Net about 1994 or 95. Got into email, and chat rooms. We chatted in chat rooms or on bulletin boards, or in the Use Groups. Remember those? Course you don’t.

The World Wide Web had been invented but it took the development of the browser to make it available to the ordinary user. I used the Web without a browser and was glad when Netscape arrived to make browsing easy. Then I noticed that there were hardly any Maori online, and that Maori stories and news were being appropriated and told through a Pakeha lens. That pissed me off.

So I went on a crusade to challenge all of those purporting to tell Maori stories, and built the first Maori website at www.maaori.com . It’s still there although I haven’t written any new stuff for ages. And I started Te Whanau Ipurangi / Maori Internet Society and built a few other websites and started a few other online initiatives.

Me and my small group of Maori Netizens were the first Maori into a lot of the social media, just having an ihu, watching as more and more Maori came online and subscribed to the various offerings.

Now in 2018 the Internet is old hat, email is old hat (none of my mokopuna use it), the World Wide Web is old hat, hardly anyone builds their own websites any more, social media stuff is getting to be old hat. President Trump governs via Twitter and the media sucks it up.

We’ve got solar panels on the roof, broadband to the home, we check what’s happening on the roof over the Internet; we’ve got wifi, satnav built into the car, a phone and tablet full of apps, online shopping, electric cars, portable bluetooth speakers, smart TVs, Fitbit things, VOIP telephones, VPNs, and all the rest. Coming at you is the Internet-of-Things; fridges and stoves and dishwashers and light bulbs and home security systems and teddy bears, all connected to the Internet. All with lousy security and easily hackable.

We’ve got mass surveillance by governments and corporations, and breaches of privacy, and identity theft, and online scams and fraud, and cyber-bullying, and a whole lot more besides.

But I wouldn’t be without my technology. And I do use the secure Tor browser, end-to-end secure cloud storage, end-to-end encrypted email, and end-to-end encrypted messaging and voice.

Now I’ve got Google Home waiting for me to say “Hey Google, stop eavesdropping”.

Operation 8: The NZ Police Intelligence “Analysts”

The two NZ Police officers at the centre of the Operation 8 intelligence gathering and analysis were Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good

Bruce Good retired in April 2016 after leading the Auckland Metro Crime & Operational Services (AMCOS) in Auckland, that became the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ), and is now the National Organised Crime Group. Good spent forty years in the Police, the last sixteen in orgqanised crime units.

Former Police Association President Greg O’Connor wrote this about Good’s retirement on 11th April 2016:

“Bruce is one of four long-serving, high-ranking detectives who will leave in the next couple of months. Those departures would appear to signal a change in the traditional investigative approach. History will judge the wisdom of the new direction.”

Hinting perhaps that Good was moved along for one reason or another.

In his role at AMCOS good oversaw the work of Aaron Pascoe in the Auckland Special Intelligence Group (SIG).

Detective Sergeant Phil Le Compte also worked for him at AMCOS. Le Compte was obliquely involved in Operation 8.

Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe

Aaron Pascoe was the lead “analyst” for Operation 8. He has since been promoted to Detective Inspector and has drawn some adverse comment about his activities.

Sergeant Phil Le Compte, formerly Detective Sergeant

Phil Le Compte features in the Operation 8 series. Shortly after Operation 8 he was moved back into uniform and sent to the Far North.

Read the complete Operation 8 series

 

On Ignorance

“One kind of ignorance is willful stupidity; worse than simple stupidity, it is a callow indifference to facts or logic. It shows itself as a stubborn devotion to uninformed opinions, ignoring (same root) contrary ideas, opinions, or data. The ignorant are unaware, unenlightened, uninformed, and surprisingly often occupy elected offices. We can all agree that none of this is good”.

Firestein, Stuart. Ignorance: How It Drives Science (Kindle Locations 119-121). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The US Election: Looking Back, Looking Forward in New Zealand

“Keep me from the man who says, ‘I am a candle to light the people on their way’; but to the one who seeks to make his way through the light of the people, bring me nearer.  – Kahlil Gibran

The reactionary authoritarian movement culminating in the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States, preceded by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, and the rise of authoritarian right wing political parties across Europe and elsewhere, had its genesis in the 1980’s.

It was then that the business and political elites of the Western world overturned the post-WW2 social, political and economic consensus, seized for themselves (again) the reins of power from the people, their organisations and their representatives, and set out to erode the democratic process itself. Neoliberal economic ideology provided the rationale and the vehicle for them to trickle up the wealth of nations from the people into their own hands, all the while extolling the benefits of their ideology through their trickle down propaganda.

Perhaps, despite the enormous potential danger of a Trump presidency, their hubris has finally bitten them on the arse, and perhaps out of the ashes of this catastrophe, the people might regain their place in the democracy. But not of course under Donald Trump. The next few presidencies perhaps. It took over thirty years to get into this mess. It will take quite a few years to climb out of it. And they will be years of turmoil.

The danger is that the political hijackers will take us in an entirely different direction. Into something resembling fascism, in which the business elites will prosper even more at the expense of the people, and democracy will die a faster death than it has been doing under the neoliberal social, political and economic paradigm.

I’ve been waiting for over thirty years for something like this to happen. And yet I haven’t a clue what is happening. I can only watch and document it as it happens.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s I chronicled some of it as it affected Maori. It has been an interesting few hours looking back over what I wrote at the time. It might be worth reflecting on how we got to this point. In a book review on 10 October 1988 we see how the authoritarian right was always there, sheltering behind the libertarian right, poised to take over the reins of power if and when the opportunity arose.

In the United States and United Kingdom, as it is in New Zealand. Perhaps in New Zealand we will be sheltered from the worst of it by our MMP electoral system. Perhaps not.

One thing is certain. Change is upon us, once again.

Looking back.

19 September 1988

Pakeha Networks

The networks of Maoridom are well understood by Maori people, and are totally impervious to the eyes of most Pakeha.

The networks of the Pakeha centre and left (including unions, Labour Party, peace movement, women’s movements) are also well known. Indeed many Maori people are involved in these Pakeha networks. Maoridom is also well acquainted with sporting networks (at the players’ level rather than the power level).

The networks of the Pakeha Right are not so well known these days.

As a boy I grew up under the benign influence of the old Right. In Ngati Kahungunu we were colonised by such families as Williams and Ormond. They bought the land, converted it into the very image of rural England, populated it with their subjects (white and woolly, but four-legged), and set themselves up as a colonial version of the English aristocracy.

They became the Sheepocracy.

Ngati Kahungunu was the labour force which kept the sheepocracy in the manner they aspired to. Which was not all bad. Maori contractors cleared the land, built the fences, and stripped the wool from the sheep. Good times for the sheepocracy meant good times for Ngati Kahungunu.

The Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa sheepocracy, and others like them all over the country, spread their networks deep into the business world. They dominated the boards of the meat and wool industry, and the rest of the business sector, which existed primarily to serve their interests.

Through the National Party they controlled the political life of the country for most of the last fifty years.

With the destruction of the meat industry, and the decline of the wool sector, they have finally lost the almost total grip they had on New Zealand.

I used to dream of the day it would happen; of the day when their power would be broken.

But they have been replaced by a powerful city-based elite, the libertarian Right.

The sheepocracy never ever considered sharing power with Maoridom, but they acknowledged our existence, and until recent years depended on our labour for their own lifestyle.

The libertarian Right has no use for us whatsoever. We are no longer needed to fuel the farms and the factories of the sheepocracy. The new elite don’t need us in their kingdom at all; in the finance sector.

What is the libertarian Right?

They are the very people who have been idolised in the Pakeha media for the last five years. They are the swashbucklers of the money markets, the corporate raiders, the property spectaculators, the take-over buccaneers, the Americas Cup admirals.

Their organisations are the Business Roundtable, and the NZ Centre for Independent Studies (a think-tank). An Australian think tank, the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University, does work for both Treasury and the Business Roundtable. These think tanks are tools of the libertarian Right.

They read the National Business Review. They no longer owe allegiance to the National Party. They will support whomsoever will support them – like Roger Douglas.

Much of their impetus comes from the Chicago School of economists, from Milton Freidman and others of the “monetarist” persuasion. They are advocates of the free market. They are dedicated to the cult of individualism, and to the belief that what is good for them is good for the country.

Their central belief is totally opposed to the value system and cultural community that is Maoridom.

For instance the NZ Centre for Independent Studies, in conjunction with the National Business Review, has brought to New Zealand a Dr Thomas Sowell for a series of seminars. Dr Tom is an American Black who has a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.

He is a strong opponent of positive discrimination and affirmative action in favour of racial minorities. He has been brought to New Zealand to speak [against] positive discrimination in favour of racial minorities in employment, and the economy as a whole.

To my knowledge this is the first overt foray into racial issues by the libertarian Right. It brings into the open their stance on these issues, cloaked in economic terms.

The theories of the libertarian Right have penetrated the very bastions of the State, to Treasury and the Reserve Bank. They are being adopted by the whole of the State Sector as practitioners of the libertarian Right spread their networks into powerful and influential places.

Who are they?

The libertarian Right is a network of likeminded people. In listing the following people “Te Putatara” does not wish to convey the impression of a conspiracy. The aim is simply to show the extent of the network.

They are listed in no particular order.

(Sir?) Alan Gibbs of Gibbs Securities, friend of Roger Douglas, chairman of the Forestry Corporation, author of the Gibbs Report on the health services, member of the Business Roundtable, and responsible for bringing the Centre for Independent Studies from Australia to New Zealand.

Professor Richard Manning of Canterbury University where many Treasury staffers have been educated, and who is involved in the Centre for Independent Studies.

Professor David Emanuel of Auckland University and the Centre for Independent Studies.

Max Bradford, formerly of Treasury, then the Bankers Association, and currently secretary-general of the National Party. Involved with the Centre for Independent Studies.

Rob Cameron, formerly a senior member of Treasury (co-authored briefing papers to the incoming Labour Government in 1984), and now an executive of the Centre for Independent Studies.

Ian Douglas of Renoufs and formerly a chairman of the NZ Planning Council.

Roger Kerr, ex-Treasury (another author of the 1984 briefing papers), now executive director of the Business Roundtable. An important link between the business sector and the mandarins of the new public sector.

Sir Ron Trotter, chairman of the Business Roundtable etc.

Allan Hawkins (Equiticorp), David Richwhite (Fay Richwhite), Peter Francis (Chase Corporation), Doug Meyers (Lion), and Robson (Independent Newspapers) are all involved with the Business Roundtable.

Rod Deane formerly deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, then Chairman of the State Services Commission and now Chief Executive of the Electricity Corporation. Also a trustee of the Centre for Independent Studies.

Graham Scott, another co-author of the 1984 Treasury briefing papers, and now Secretary of Treasury.

Sir Ron Brierly, chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, etc.

Jaz McKenzie, Secretary for Labour.

John Fernyhough of the Lion Foundation, colleague of Douglas Meyers, chairman of the Electricity Corporation, deputy chairman of the Forestry Corporation, and long time associate of Alan Gibbs. Reported to have participated in the Centre for Independent Studies. Studied at Chicago University.

Professor Bruce Ross of the Economic Development Commission.

Bryce Wilkinson who co-authored with Graham Scott, Rob Cameron and Roger Kerr the 1984 Treasury briefing papers.

Patrick Duignan who with Rob Cameron wrote another Treasury paper on state-owned enterprises. Doug Andrews who was Roger Douglas’ link with Treasury when Labour was in opposition.

Dr Don Brash, former National Party candidate, and recently appointed as Governor of the Reserve Bank. Prominent as an advocate of the free market and monetarism.

(Sir?) Brian Picot, director of Progressive Enterprises, chairman of Phillips NZ, chairman of Pacific Venture, director of NZI, and author of the Picot Report on education.

Derek Quigley, an early National Party member of the libertarian Right network. Ousted from Cabinet by Sir Robert Muldoon.

Ruth Richardson, Opposition spokesperson on finance.

Simon Upton, National MP for Raglan. One of the few who can argue his position from an intellectual and philosophical base rather than from economic prejudice.

Roger Douglas who has given his name and his political clout, along with that of Richard Prebble, to the work of the libertarian Right network.

*****

Te Putatara wishes to acknowledge its debt to Bruce Jesson, political columnist with “Metro”, author of “Behind the Mirror Glass”, and editor of “The Republican” magazine, for his research on the libertarian Right.

Readers wishing to study the subject in more detail should read “Behind the Mirror Glass”, Bruce Jesson, Penguin, 1987. “The Republican” is available on subscription ($15 for six issues) from P.O.Box 22-263, Otahuhu, Auckland 6.

*****

Much of what has been done to restructure the economy and the state in the last five years certainly needed to be done. Few would deny that.

However, the paucity of social experience and social conscience in Treasury, coupled with extreme right wing zeal, has turned the process into an absolute nightmare.

The restructuring of the rest of the state sector has been justified by Treasury on the grounds of efficiency and effectiveness. There is an even more compelling reason to restructure the treasury system – Democracy.

10 October 1988

BOOK REVIEW: A Study in Right Wing Politics – A Must for Maoridom

“Revival of the Right. New Zealand Politics in the 1980s”, A new book by Bruce Jesson, Allanah Ryan and Paul Spoonley. Heinemann Reed, Auckland, 1988. $19.95.

The September issue of Te Putatara drew heavily on the work of Bruce Jesson and his analysis of the libertarian right. Coincidentally a new book by Jesson and two members of Massey University’s Department of Sociology has just been published.

In this book the three authors combine to describe the right wing in New Zealand, both the libertarian right and the authoritarian (moral) right. These two strands are loosely linked as the new right. The authors collectively describe the philosophical and political origins of right wing belief in the western world, then in a chapter each they provide more detail.

Jesson gives a history of the libertarian right in New Zealand, outlines its rise to pre-eminence in the intellectual, political and economic life of the country, and updates its progress to the present. I believe that it is important for Maori leaders at local, regional, and national levels to understand the libertarian right and its ideology. This chapter is a must.

The chapters by Ryan and Spoonley which cover areas we are probably more aware of, are equally informative.

Ryan gives an overall view of the authoritarian right and its preoccupation with feminism, abortion, sex education, pornography, and homosexuality. She also discusses the politics of the authoritarian right, its new found enthusiasm for the economics of the libertarian right, and its links with fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity.

Spoonley, who has previously written on racism and ethnicity, looks closely at four other issues of the authoritarian right; anti-communism, pro-contact with South Africa, anti-peace movements, and anti-biculturalism. The most significant issue raised by Spoonley is the growing racism of Pakehas.

In New Zealand overt racism has in the past been largely confined to the authoritarian right, and to extremist groups such as the League of Rights. [Incidentally Bob Martin, Welsh activist, retired fisherperson, and grandfather of two lovely part-Pakeha children, is the patron of one such group called the One New Zealand Foundation.]

However there is now a newer and more publicly acceptable form of racism. It includes the belief that when different races and cultures come into contact there is competition for resources. This is seen to generate suspicions which are entirely “natural”, and just part of human nature [see the Treasury definition of discrimination in Issue No.9/88].

With these and other justifications being developed by the libertarian right, “racial prejudice” can therefore be denied. The sophisticated racism of the libertarian right also provides a subtle vehicle for the extremists of the authoritarian right.

Spoonley states: “…the arguments will focus on the need to encourage a national will as a basis for economic growth and prosperity.”

“Biculturalism will be defined as subverting free-market capitalism, as undermining the competitive and academic elements of education, and as dividing New Zealand by emphasizing minority, rather than majority interests.”

“Already, libertarian right activists such as Bob Jones and Winston Peters, along with publications such as Metro and More, have expressed these arguments.”

“A new racism has emerged.”

On this issue the two strands of the right have a common cause. Pakeha racism is therefore becoming more entrenched and is settling in for the long term.

[For Maori people this development has long term implications. Governments come and go, but the libertatrian right has installed itself in the highest levels of the public service, and will be there for two generations at least. It is already generating justifications such as “mainstreaming” for the new face of racism, and it has a long way to go. Never mind what the politicians meant in “He Tirohanga Rangapu”; watch how the Mandarins of the libertarian right implement it in the years ahead].

The final chapter, “Reclaiming the Debate”, contains the “separate reflections” of the three authors. They suggest “new ways to recast current debates about the form and future of New Zealand society.”

The reflections are informative but contain no suggestions for Maoridom to reclaim the heights. We shall have to develop those strategies for ourselves.

A good book to have.

To those more attuned to the cut and thrust of intellectual debate on the marae it may at first seem too Pakeha to be bothered with. I suppose those educated only in the Pakeha university tradition have the same problem within the Maori intellectual framework.

However the book is worth getting into. The advantage in being Maori is in understanding both intellectual traditions.

 22 January 1989

Look in the bed, not under it!

This article is written by a retired NZ Army officer who served Queen and Country diligently and honourably for twenty years at peace and at war; an officer and a gentleman (mostly), a pillar of the establishment (Still, I tell you! Still!).

For all of those twenty years the official “enemies” of the state were the communists, and other less than loyal fellow travellers of the left. We were as a nation urged to beware of the red menace (Reds under the Bed) and the yellow peril. At various times these took the form of Russians, Chinese, and Vietnamese. At home we were warned of the evil Ken Douglas and arch-commo Bill Anderson of the Socialist Unity Party, and of the Communist Party of New Zealand.

The preoccupation with the “enemies of the left” reached its heights in the prosecution/persecution of Dr William Sutch by the government of the day for his alleged collaboration with the Russians. A former senior public servant, Sutch was presumed to have left his protégés buried deep in the public service, and after his public denunciation the Government went to great lengths to root out his influence.

Sir Robert Muldoon made an art form of commie-bashing (along with academic bashing, economist bashing, journalist bashing, union bashing, anti-tour activist bashing, and Maori activist bashing). Unionist turned capitalist Rob Campbell was consigned by public condemnation to surreptitious membership of the Socialist Unity Party for daring to stand up to Muldoon.

Well? After all those years of vigilance did New Zealand survive the holocaust?

After three decades of disastrous economic management, by both National and Labour, the social cohesion of the country is close to destruction.

Ironically the coup de grace was delivered not by our traditional enemies on the extreme left, but by our “friends” in the extreme centre and on the extreme right.

Close to 200,000 will soon be unemployed, the farming sector all but collapsed, the manufacturing sector is reeling, the share market has crashed, untold thousands of small investors have lost their life’s savings, some of the largest companies in the country have collapsed or lost millions of other people’s money, and there is more to come. [As the final edit is being done Equitycorp crashes]. The nation’s capital assets have been stripped. Muldoon’s “ordinary blokes” and their families are hurting – deeply.

Maoridom again bears the brunt of it, and the Pakeha politician drags up his trustworthy “race relations” drum to beat. It takes people’s minds off the real issues.

Dr Bill Sutch was robbed of his reputation, and eventually his will to live. His followers were hounded from the public service. Even if he was guilty as Muldoon has avowed, history will record that he did little real long term harm to the nation.

Senior public servant Dr Graham Scott and senior quasi-public servant Dr Rodney Deane of the libertarian right are still at large, both hugely rewarded for their contributions to the state of the nation today. The grapevine reports that with salary and perquisites they are both close to $250,000 per annum. No wonder they keep their salaries secret!

Sir Robert Muldoon, Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble and Trevor de Cleene have all fallen from grace, but their many supporters on both sides of the House remain in power.

Let those who would find a new enemy in the guise of Maoridom beware. Beware, for the real enemy is closer to home. Look in the bed as well as under it. That is the lesson of the last thirty years for Pakeha New Zealand#

20 February 1989

Prime Minister Pokes Treasury

Predictably, the Treasury opposed a proposal for women to get equal pay for work of equal value on the grounds that it would not be good for the economy.

The Right Honourable Mr David R. Lange stated that Treasury would have been opposed to the abolition of slavery. He’s right. Treasury IS opposed to the full recognition of the Treaty.

20 May 1989

Parliament – What a Hard Case!

Just in case you don’t know what’s going on down here. There are something like six, or maybe sixteen, or even 97 parties in Parliament.

There’s the Government which is the Tired Old Labour Party, the Jim Anderton Leadership Crusade which is the New Old Labour Party, and Roger Douglas’ Funnybone Club which is the Funny New Labour Party. Some people belong to all three parties.

On the other side there’s Jim Bolger’s Sad Old National Party, the Peters & Muldoon Charade which is the Sad & Lame Old National Party, and Ruth Richardson’s Radicals who are the Funny Old New National Party. Some people belong to none of them.

On our side of the House there’s the Cyclone Koro Party which is sometimes a tuturu Maori party, sometimes a Tired Old Labour Party, sometimes a New Old Labour Party, and sometimes a Funny New Labour Party. Good strategy Koro. Keep yourself guessing.

There’s also the Ratana Party with Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan which is certainly tuturu Maori. At the moment I think the Ratana Party will be having difficulty working out which Labour Party it had a deal with. E Whetu, I think that was Te Old Old Labour Party.

The Bruce Gregory Labour Party which is also tuturu Maori (and definitely Labour) gets upset with all the Labour Parties from time to time because they don’t take any notice of him, so it must be counted as a Labour party on its own.

Finally we have the Peter Tapsell Party which tends to be a bit to the right so it could be part of the Funny New Labour Party, but then again it could be part of the Funny New National Party. On the other hand it’s pretty conservative so it could be part of the Tired Old Labour Party, or the New Old Labour Party, the Sad Old National Party, or the Sad & Lame Old National Party. Or perhaps the Old Old Labour Party too.

Outside the House we have the Mana Motuhake Party which is a tuturu Maori party but wants to do a deal with the New Old Labour Party. You should have learned your lesson by now Matiu; they only want your votes, not your kaupapa.

Then we have the Socialist Unity Party which is telling everyone to stay in the Tired Old Labour Party, and the NZ Democrats Party which is telling everyone to join the Gary Knapp Self-Admiration Party. Bruce Beetham, who was the one who changed the Social Credit Political League into the NZ Democrats Party, is now back in the Social Credit Party: or is it the Bruce Beetham Nostalgia Party?

E hoa ma, you can’t blame all these MPs for voting for themselves to be leader. There’s so many parties they can all be leader if they want to! I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with more Pakeha political parties than Maori tribes. That would be a real rabble wouldn’t it? They do a lot more fighting than the iwi eh.

All the sensible people I know have joined the Don’t Know Don’t Care Party. All the porangi ones are joining me in the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

 

20 July 1989

The War of the Blowfly

Paul Holmes ran a show about gun-running and landing craft in Tai Tokerau. E hoa ma, I think there really ARE things like that going on up there. But it’s not Ngati Whatua, Ngapuhi, or even those shady Aupouri. It’s the Pakeha himself.

True, e hoa ma, the kumara vine has secret intelligence that the South Island has declared war on the North Island!

Long, long ago during the reign of Sir Robert the Great (Muldoon silly, not Jones), those South Islanders started to get real hoha because the North Island was pinching all their electricity and not giving anything in return. Their economy got so bad all the people were leaving for Queensland, and they were in grave danger of being overrun by sheep and blowflies.

Those wily Ngai Tahu strategists saw this happening and began to organise a takeover. The situation was dangerous. So the South Island devised a strategy to conquer the North, using the North’s own weaknesses to destroy itself.

This strategy is known as the War of the Blowfly, so called because it is the tiny blowfly that would defeat the mighty sheep.

First, they trained heaps of economic saboteurs at the University of Canterbury, and then they started to infiltrate the Treasury and Reserve Bank. Their plan was to use the Freemarket to seduce the greedy business and financial sectors of the North (particularly Auckland), and to induce them to destroy themselves. Some of them got alongside Roger Douglas when he was in opposition and convinced him that he was the Messiah. Then they filled his head with their subversive ideas.

As luck would have it, on a worse than usual night in June 1984, Sir Robert the Great handed the whole country over to them. It caught them unawares but they immediately launched a small invasion on NZ Railways landing craft. E hoa ma, some of you call them ferries. In a single night in June they brought in all their economic shock troops and captured many vital installations in the economy.

I heard their chilling war-cry: “To market, to market, to buy a fat pig!”

After that, their agents in the Labour Caucus got down to some serious brainwashing, and before the month was over they had converted a mildly socialist government into an extreme capitalist enclave. Such was the power of their principal weapon; Treasury-Speak. This was their crowning victory. The takeover was complete.

Those South Islanders didn’t bargain on the resilience of the iwi though. It was Maoridom that used their own “Rule of Law” against them and blunted their attack in the courts.

So they had their propagandists launch rumours and misinformation in the North Island about Maori revolutionaries and about gun-running. This strategy used another of the great weaknesses of Pakeha North Island; their fear of the tangata whenua. Commercial fishermen and dopey farmers have fallen for it and are now armed to the gums.

Every now and then the South sends a real landing craft up to Tai Tokerau. Just to keep the pot boiling. See.

15 July 2000

Our own coup d’etat in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“What I have described ….. is a civilization — our civilization — locked in the grip of an ideology — corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of the individual as the citizen in a democracy.” – John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization, Penguin, 1997.

While the government has been pontificating on the coup d’etat in Fiji, and promoting the cause of democracy, that same government has been quietly brought to its knees by the anti-democratic forces at work in this country. There are no hostages, except that the whole country has been held hostage. The government has surrendered without a fight, and without negotiation.

This quiet coup in which democracy has been denied for at least another three years has been conducted by the business elites. The “business confidence” propaganda carried by the media controlled by those business elites has been the visible weapon they have used to defeat this government. Behind the scenes they have conducted a guerrilla war of muted threats and coercion to force the government to change almost any policy that will bring to an end the 16 year anti-democratic revolution that has taken power from the citizen and delivered it to the corporates, and their political allies.

Since the minority Labour / Alliance government came to power late last year it has spun the fable that it is the mandated government of the people, and that it is intent on closing gaps, promoting regional recovery, and building capacity. But it has all been political dissembling, cloaking reality in propaganda and rhetoric. What has actually happened is that they have given in to the business elites after six months of skirmishing, in the interests of holding on to the illusion of power. Power comes first, and democracy a poor last.

They have proclaimed themselves a policy driven government, and proclaimed their policy making prowess. When put to the test to prove their commitment to their own policy, they failed, and the policy became mere propaganda and rhetoric.

 

General Elections 2017

Anybody’s guess.

Why Whole Food Plant Based?

I’ve been on a serious health kick now (2016) for nearly thirty five years. It has been a mostly private exploration and experiment of one. I don’t proselytise or evangelize about health. But I’m often asked about my health regime by those seeking a better lifestyle, or the curious. It all boils down to a few simple ideas about diet and nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Mostly they ask about what I don’t eat. Mostly I tell them about what I do eat.

I’ve been vegetarian for 30+ years, eating no meat or fish. I considered myself vegan for about the last 15 or so years, eating no animal products at all. A Maori, war veteran vegan who grew up on farms. Strange you might think. Well, I might be a bit strange but being vegan wasn’t the reason.

I wasn’t a political vegan, an activist vegan, an animal rights vegan or an environmentalist vegan. I was just a health nut vegan. And I don’t really care whether you eat meat or not. I don’t. After all, I grew up hunting and fishing, and killing and butchering for the table.

The Vegan Society of Aotearoa New Zealand defines vegans as people who, “do not eat meat (fish, shellfish, livestock or poultry) eggs, dairy products, honey, gelatine or use leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics or soaps derived from animal products”.

So by their definition I wasn’t just a dietary vegan, not the whole hog politically correct vegan. Maybe not even a vegan. Because I wear leather shoes and a leather jacket, I’ve got a couple of silk scarves, and my preferred winter fibre is most definitely wool. I’m a fan of fine merino wool garments, including my suits. Nothing like two or three layers of wool to keep the winter chill from getting into the core of this aging body. I don’t use cosmetics by the way. I’d be interested to know what sort of vegan the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy is.

But many vegans also eat refined sugars and flours, and processed foods, and perhaps too much plant oil. You can be a vegan and still eat unhealthily.

I was always an omnivore up to the age of about 40 (33 years ago), through a 20 year career in the NZ Army. But I was becoming increasingly choosy about the flesh I did eat.

Growing up, we killed some of our own meat. My mother would let me know when she wanted chicken for the table and it was my job to kill and dress the chook. We raised orphan lambs for the table. My job again to slaughter and butcher. That’s why we never named the “pet” lambs . They weren’t pets. They were food.

Out at the shearing shed it was my job to butcher the sheep the farmers would leave in the slaughter house for us.

We hardly ever bought fish because we could catch it ourselves, or the fishermen in the whanau would share with us. In fact the only fish we ever bought was battered and wrapped in newspaper with chips. That was a special treat about once a month if we were lucky.

A big pot of pork bones and puha was the extra special treat, about once a fortnight.

While I was still in the Army I attended a New Zealand Day function at the residence of the NZ Ambassador to Indonesia. The main course was BBQ fillet steak. He had flown in a whole NZ fillet from Singapore, and it was the most tender and fresh fillet you could imagine. Export quality. The sort of meat you can rarely find in the butcher shops in New Zealand. Unless the butcher raises and kills his own meat, like the butcher in Waipawa did. It reminded me of when I worked in the Tomoana Freezing Works in the boning room. The best meat was always packed for the export market. The Gold Cut was boned and packed for export to the USA. They probably turned our best cuts into hamburger.

By comparison the stuff in the butchers’ shops was low quality.

I never bought fish except for the occasional fish and chips. Or sometimes at a restaurant. For I could catch it myself wherever we were posted. And I was very careful about where I went fishing, knowing full well that a lot of fish in the marketplace are a bit dodgy. Sometimes contaminated by toxic minerals or chemicals.

After leaving the Army I took up cross country, road and track running just to keep fit.  Fit and healthy runners were good company too.

It was the running that caused me to stop eating meat and fish. During the Winter cross country season, in the Harrier Club we would train hard all week and race hard at club or inter-club meets on Saturday. During the week I would schedule one long hard training run of about 30km, usually on the Wednesday.

As we Masters runners got older we had to be careful about the amount of stress we put on the body, and about what we ate. Some of us found that the meat we were eating caused unusual stress. We would have to stop during a run for a bowel break. Meat takes about three to four days to digest and pass through the body. A hard race or a long training run can speed up the passage. It could be embarrassing.

So that meant that if I stopped eating meat three days before a race or a hard training run I could eat meat one day a week. So I decided to give it away for the season.

And I immediately noticed the difference. I felt better. People asked me why I was looking so good. Those close to me remarked that I had become a calmer person. I gave up eating flesh for good.

And for the last 30 years or so I have never had a problem with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract; the digesive system. No indigestion, no heartburn, no stomach aches, no constipation, no diarrhea, no nausea or vomiting. None, except for two short bouts of diarrhea caused by contaminated food.

I also gave up alcohol and tobacco at about the same time as I became vegetarian. That had a big effect of course.

About 16 years ago I was doing some work for Te Kohanga Reo National Trust. One of the main projects at the time was grommet operations for the mokopuna. There was so much ear infection in the Kohanga movement that we had a number of ear, nose and throat specialists on contract to fit grommets. They did literally thousands of operations on the mokopuna.

It was well known that Maori kids were prone to ear infections, and growing up it always seemed that Maori kids were the ones with the snotty noses. I’d noticed that most of the kaikorero on the paepae were forever clearing their throats of phlegm. I wondered why and went looking for answers.

It was the milk. Human milk is designed by nature to grow babies into toddlers, then they are weaned, sometime before the age of 4, then we feed them cow’s milk for the rest of their lives. Cow’s milk is designed by nature to turn calves into cows, and they are weaned off it when it is no longer the right food for them. So I sort of reasoned that cow’s milk was not designed by nature to feed Maori babies, let alone the toddlers, or the adults, who from time immemorial had been weaned off milk at an early age. And I came across some research that indicated that it could cause ear infections, snotty noses and excess phlegm in adults.

No one was interested of course. New Zealand is the Saudi Arabia of milk, and it is touted as one of the healthiest foods we should all be consuming. It’s not for Polynesians though.

Since the mapping of the human genome scientists have identified the milk gene. It was first discovered in Denmark. It has now been established that when the child is weaned off human milk the milk gene is switched off, and the body is no longer able to properly digest milk.

Except in those populations that have been consuming animal milks for thousands of years, for instance in Northern Europe and in Africa.  In those populations the milk gene stays switched on and they have no problems digesting cow’s milk, cheese, ice cream and the rest. The rest of us are prone to have problems digesting dairy products. The undigested or partially disgested stuff gathers in the ears, nose and throat and causes the problems.

No one is interested of course.

Anyway, before I came across the genetic science I decided, as I often do, to experiment on myself and to stop consuming dairy products. The effect was almost instantaneous. No more snot and phlegm. And it’s been that way for the past 15 years because I haven’t touched the stuff since. No more snot and phlegm, except when I catch a cold, usually on an aircraft, about once every two or three years.

So there I was, 15 years ago, a vegetarian for 15 years and now off dairy as well. So I went the whole hog and cut all animal products from  my diet. In the last few years I realised I was eating too much bread and pasta. I’ve eliminated most refined and processed food as well, hence the Whole Food Plant Based diet (see here also).

And I’ve never looked back. I’m certain that my nutrition and regular exercise are keeping me healthy. I feel good always, and I have not had any illness for the last 30 years (and for many years before that too). Touch wood.

When I was five years old my grandmother taught me that good health was the key to a good life. 68 years later I can vouch that she was right.

 

Asparagus & Sweetcorn Soup

This is a really delicious, simple Whole Food Plant Based soup. Just asparagus and corn.

Ingredients

About 1 kg fresh asparagus
4 or 5 cobs of sweetcorn

Preparation

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus spears. Set aside and reserve.
Snap off the tender tips of the asparagus spears. Set aside and reserve.
Strip the corn kernels off the cob. Set aside and reserve about 1 cup.

Boil the woody ends of the spears to make a stock. Strain and discard the asparagus ends.

Put the asparagus spears (the middle bit) and the corn kernels into the stock. Top up and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Puree with a hand blender.

Crush the reserved corn kernels and put them with the reserved asparagus tips into the soup. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender.

There you have it. One of the most delicious soups you’ll ever taste.

 

 

 

All Purpose Dressing

I eat a lot of salads. For most salads I will just use olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing. light and tasty.

But this is my favourite dressing, used in a potato salad, or just poured over steamed vegetables.

Equal measures of olive oil and lemon juice.
Couple of teaspoons of Dijon mustard.
Handful of fresh basil leaves.

Whizz, blend, pour.

Brussel Sprouts

I hated brussel sprouts. Well, hate might be a bit over the top, but I didn’t eat them for about 60 years after the age of 6. I lived with my Pakeha grandparents for just over a year when I first started school. We didn’t have a school where we lived.

My grandmother was English, brought home after WW1. Her cooking was standard working class English; meat and two veg. And they didn’t have electricity or refrigeration of course in those days. So we ate fresh caught fish, fresh meat occasionally, and a lot of corned beef or corned mutton, mostly corned beef. Didn’t need refrigeration to keep corned meat. We had a big vegetable garden and I don’t know why but it seemed to me to be mostly brussel sprouts, and cabbages.

Anyway we ate a lot of corned beef and brussel sprouts, and corned beef and cabbage, boiled.

I was chatting with my last surviving aunt a few months ago, over lunch, and mentioned that I hadn’t touched brussel sprouts from the age of 6 to a few years ago. At the time she, being the youngest, was still at home. She told me she hadn’t ever eaten corned beef since she left home.

A few years ago I was idly watching the Graham Norton Show on the TV. Gwyneth Paltrow was a guest. She’s a bit wierd but also a bit of a foodie. For some wierd reason she started talking about brussel sprouts, and how she cooks them. I thought to myself, “Maybe they’ll taste OK cooked like that”. So I tried it, and I’ve been cooking and eating them regularly ever since. Healthy kai.

Cut the base off the sprouts and cut a cross into the base.
Steam them until they’re half cooked.
Saute them in olive oil in a frying pan.
When they’re nearly done, add a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, or caramelised balsamic vinegar if you have it.
Continue cooking until the vinegar has reduced to almost nothing.

Serve.

Vegetable, Fruit & Nut Tagine

This is a no meat version of an original North African dish. Best cooked in a tagine, the distinctive North African cookware.

Ingredients

1 Onion (sliced)
Garlic
Chilli
Ginger
Flaxseed Meal
Ras el Hanout North African spice mix
Coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

1 handful pistachio nuts (try peanuts for a different taste)
4 dried apricots (sliced)
4 dried figs (sliced)
4 dates (sliced)
1 preserved or fresh lemon (sliced)
1 apple (sliced)
1 can white beans (or 2 cups pre-soaked dried white beans)
1 or 2 handfuls shredded coconut

Zucchini
Eggplant
Broccoli
Tomatoes
Green beans
Peas
Other vegetables

Saute the onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, flaxseed meal and Ras El Hanout in the cooking oil, in the tagine. Add the nuts, fruit, beans and shredded coconut, one or two tomatoes, and water. Bring to the boil on the hob, turn the heat down very low, and simmer for at least 60 minutes. Slice whatever vegetables you’ve decided to use, including another one or two tomatoes, add them (and more water if needed) about 30 minutes before serving, bring to the boil again, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.

Try not to lift the lid more than you have to. The steam and juices are trapped inside the lid, and run back down into the dish, trapping all of the many flavours.

Serve over rice or quinoa and garnish with herbs or chopped apricot.

Delicious.

Heaven and Hell

Onions and Apples

This is an easy, different, and tasty dish. Whole Food Plant Based of course.

Ingredients

2 onions
2 Granny Smith apples
1 large potato
1 large kumara
Frozen peas
Beans
2 Cinnamon sticks
Mixed herbs (handful)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
Water

Thinly slice the onions, apples, potato and kumara.

Layer the onions on the bottom of a casserole or similar oven dish with a reasonably heavy lid (I use a cast iron dish), and layer the apples over the onion. Layer the potato and kumara over that, with more layers of onion and apple if you have any left over. Throw in the peas, beans or any other vegetable in between the layers.

Place the cinnamon sticks in the middle somewhere, season with the herbs, salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over it, and add about a half a cup of water.

Put the lid on and place in the oven at 200 degrees, cook for 95 minutes. By then the onions and apple will have caramelised. Serve on its own or with another vegetable.

Feeds two.

Enjoy.