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Worzels World - Losing Democracy


In Hong Kong a pro-democracy movement has tried to stand up against the might of non-democratic China, sometimes at great cost to the individuals involved. Meanwhile over here in New Zealand we sit in characteristic apathy while our own democracy is gradually undermined in favour of increased centralisation and greater State control.

That a single unitary authority has been proposed for Northland and is being seriously considered shows how easily duped we are. I would challenge anyone to give me an example in this country where greater centralisation has improved the lot of those governed. Go and talk to some ‘Super City’ dwellers in Wellsford and see what they reckon.

As a response to its own failure to monitor Kaipara District Council in 2012, the state completely removed our local democracy.

Louise Upston has now announced that the Key government’s pledge to restore democracy to Kaipara in September 2015 would join their ever-lengthening list of broken promises. She cited widespread support throughout the district for the Commissioners’ retention. But like a remnant of butter left on the wrapper, it may be widespread but it is extremely thin.

Central Government dressed as a benevolent father has in fact been the assassin of functional council’s nationwide. Clark's Labour government repealed much useful law and replaced it with The Local Government Act and the Local Government Rating Act. The redefinitions of Councils as Corporations, along with the many costly compliance requirements of these Acts have hamstrung Councils throughout the land. Kaipara is merely the worst of a very bad bunch.

Long-standing and functioning democratic processes in New Zealand have been gradually undermined. Government has justified undemocratic behaviour by telling us ‘this will make things better’. More stringent and expensive gun licensing requirements will reduce the incidence of shootings, it has not; amendments to the anti-smacking laws will reduce child abuse, it has not; dog micro chipping, free market reforms, privatisation and corporatisation of public assets, longer prison sentences – none of these has improved the lot of the average Kiwi.

Rodney Hyde, the sole representative of a now defunct one horse party, rode roughshod not only over his own constituents, but over a great many more besides. Without democratic process local Council’s representing their friends and neighbours were abolished then absorbed into the megalithic, failed and still failing Auckland City Council.

Despite widespread opposition to such moves no consensus was sought, there was no effort to democratically discern the will of the people affected by these changes. Council administered, community owned assets were taken by Central Government edict.

In these and in many other proscriptive measures the will of the people was ignored and our individual and national sovereignty lessened. These measures have improved nothing. Instead, the various problems and New Zealand as a whole have become obviously and demonstrably worse off.

The inevitable conclusion is that intentionally or not we were lied to. And as more and more ill-considered anti-democratic law is added to an already burdensome load, so too do the costs rise. They are then foisted upon the shoulders of a supposedly free people. A government in deficit who has not only frittered away what we have already given them but has borrowed on forecasts of what we are expected to give them in the future.

Local democracy or indeed democracy at all is not in the interests of exploitative corporations or governments. Our free trade partners China have thousands of years of literature about it.

At least though when democracy fails, much of the blame must rest on the electorate. The old adage applies: People get the government they deserve. The impetus behind the signing of the Magna Carta 800 years ago and American War of Independence was summed up by lawyer James Otis who said ‘Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

When tyrants rule it is the individuals involved who must be held accountable. Regrettably our

anti-treason laws, like much other good law, have been repealed.

What should we expect from a government that signed a free trade agreement with China, one of the least democratic nations with one of the worst human rights records in the world, yet imposed sanctions on poor little Fiji after a minor stoush in the village. Hypocrisy?

We have now gone to war (again) in the Middle East with our politicians pointing fingers and saying in serious tones, ‘they are not serving their people, they have no democracy’.

There is now a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal currently on the table, which is rumoured to have serious consequences in regard to our national sovereignty. This is only rumoured as we the people who must live and work under the constraints of this deal are not allowed to read it. In truly despotic fashion it has been kept secret from those who it will affect.

What’s happening here? Is this democracy? Is it government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people?’ Can't see it myself.

n prof_worzel@hotmail.com


The redefinitions of Councils as Corporations, along with the many costly compliance requirements… have hamstrung Councils throughout the land. Kaipara is merely the worst of a very bad bunch.

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