I think it would be fair to say that if most Kiwis were asked about the state of our nation’s democracy, they would claim we are one of the most democratic and uncorrupted countries in the world. Perhaps this was once true… but I fear it’s time to reassess.
Yes, we have free and safe elections, but just who is really running the country behind closed doors? Revelations over the last few weeks make it blatantly clear that our elected politicians (from our Prime Minister down – and, sadly, not even exclusive of our new Governor General) have a far different agenda to the one they were supposedly voted in to support. And it’s clear now they are not above corruption to see it through.
Despite our belief that a government should protect the freedom, livelihoods and well-being of our country’s citizens, behind closed doors secret deals are being struck that benefit no-one other than a small elite of businessmen and corporations — while at the same time stealthily eroding the common person’s rights and welfare.
We don’t have to look far for an increasing number of examples:
- The Sky City/Pokie scam, disgraceful on so many levels;
- the propping up of overseas banks and finance companies;
- the appalling prospect of our state assets being lost;
- the cynical and short-sighted Crafar farm deal, with its underlying issues about sovereignty and the environment;
- the backroom games with Warner Brothers, undermining local contractors and unions;
- the grim determination to open up our environment to mining and oil exploration, despite peak oil and climate change;
- the hugely dangerous and secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will make a mockery of any attempts to control pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol companies, and undermine our local producers;
- the Food Bill, which criminalises any community efforts to freely share seeds and produce;
- the push towards Super-cities, as a way to both undermine local democratic representation and lead to corporatisation of our essential services;
- the fiscally irresponsible and environmentally disastrous drive to pour billions into unnecessary roads to appease the trucking and business lobbies;
- the undermining of any steps towards real and significant efforts to reduce or mitigate climate change;
- the steady removal of funding from the wonderful grass-roots organisations and NGOs who are the backbone of community support and welfare in this country.
These examples, and others, are not based on an agenda of public good – rather they are solely for the aggrandisement and wealth accumulation of a very powerful few.
The decision to stop TVNZ7 is another of these canaries down the democratic mineshaft. Other than Maori TV (which I have grave fears will be next on the hit list), this is the only free to air channel that actually provides unbiased, non-commercial intelligent discussion about what is going on in our country. Little wonder then that National wants to close it down! A population fed a diet of junk-food-equivalent TV in the form of reality TV and cop shows (the prevalence of which makes me wonder if they’re not designed to keep the populace in a state of heightened fear) will become ever weaker and more compliant – the perfect constituency for a government who know they may only have another two years to loot us before they could be kicked out. And they’re going for it – boy, oh boy, are they going for it.
We need more informed public discussion about issues – and the excellent fare on TVNZ7 has shown us that we can produce it. Please sign the petition at http://issues.co.nz/savetvnz7/Sign+The+Petition We need to retain this vehicle for free, democratic debate – and then our next priority should be to get the content shown on TVOne as well!