It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Monday, August 25, 2008

Black Watch

My friend Allen is excited by a new book soon to be released about the last days of the Black Watch in Canada. The world in 1951 was frightened enough about the Soviets to re muster the Regiment from five highland militia units. Although they only took the parade ground for less than 20 years it was the last gasp of military pageantry before the onset of unification and the army of 'little green managers' that formed Canada's military in the 70's and 80's.
Allen served in the Black Watch and I remember a story he told me about how it all ended. He was with the Regiment in Germany when word came down that the colours were to be struck and the unit made a part of the androgynous new Canadian Army. Describing the mood on that day as dark, the Black Watch were determined to go out with style, and organized a proper Change of Colours parade, complete with band and unit turned out. They waited and waited. Finally, a jeep rolled up and a little green man from Administration opened his briefcase and handed over the colours. It was the perfect metaphor for the attitude-of-the-day regarding all things military.

The Final Word on Winston

Winston Peters breezed into the Grey Power meeting in Kaitaia last week. The audience was as you would expect, old. His performance was too. He addressed all the issues that appeal to the geritol set; crime, superannuation, the conspiracy against him... all very predictable.
He was charming and wore a nice suit. Besides the donation made to him, I doubt that he walked away having gained or lost anything. I expect the same result from inquiries by the House Privileges Committee, or from the SFO. The former lack the subpoena powers to get facts and the latter, winding up their activities, will not want to go out on a controversial note. This leaves the media.
The media are waiting for someone else to do the investigative work. They lack the resources or expertise to do an investigative story that goes deeper than the clues provided by the whistle-blowers who sent the cancelled cheques to various members of the press some two years ago. In that time they have added nothing to the story. So, it will probably die a slow death. I expect New Zealand First will do badly in the next election. Winston is unlikely to win his seat in Tauranga, but will likely get enough second votes to get a seat on the list. A small part of me is frustrated at the injustice of it all. In the end, I expect regular kiwis don't care very much about the story. Like me, they figure that political life is a hell of a lot more interesting with him than without him.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Letter to the Editor will see light.

Apologies to Northland Age Editor Peter Jackson. He assures me that the letter will indeed be published, the omission was due to a plethora of LOTE over the past two editions. Today I am attending the Grey Power meeting in Kaitaia where Winston Peters will address northland for 30 minutes. I considered laying a 'Citizen's Arrest' on him, but realized that I am not a citizen - per se.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kaitaia Airport is the key.

Some time ago, Carrington Resort commissioned a study to find the most appropriate place to build an international airport in the Far North. The study identified Kaitaia as the only place where an international would be feasible. The Kaitaia Airport is held in Trust by the Crown and leased to Far North Holdings and the lease expired last year. Far North Holdings has been trying to get a 35 year lease on the airport but has been stalled because of Treaty Negotiations with the Iwi who lay claim to the land.

There are a group of people interested in a huge Far North development scheme for the pristine stretch of coastline called '90 Mile Beach. The Airport is the Key.

This is very deep indeed. And there is so much more to come....

Winston Peters visits Northland

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters is coming to Kaitaia this Thursday and I plan to be there. I am going to ask him why he won't come clean on donations to New Zealand First and I plan to ask him how much money is in the Spencer Trust. It's a Grey Power meeting so I will probably get thrashed with canes and rammed by the motorized walkers of his core supporters but I plan to be there anyway. I'm going to try and get someone to hold a camera as well so maybe there will be some pictures.

Letter to the Editor that was rejected.

Letter to the Editor, The Northland Age:

Te Houtaewa should be looking over his shoulder as Iwi in the Far North wrap up treaty negotiations, because attention will now be fixed on the jewel in the Far North crown - Te Oneroa A Tohe and the forests.

No doubt there is a prospectus winding its way through China, as this is being read, urging investors to get in early. Incumbent on the plan is the consolidation of political and Maori interests. It is timely that Mayor Brown seeks to eliminate the Regional Council in favour of a District Council - with the power to fast-track development, but this alone will not provide the political infrastructure necessary to create another Maui, or Surfers' Paradise along 90 Mile Beach.

The real work, of course, is how to get the buy-in of the six northern Iwi. Someone will have to take a leadership role; someone with enough mana to organise and deliver Maori co-operation in the venture. That person (or group of persons) will also need the necessary business acumen, as well as a background in economics.

By my reckoning three things will have to happen: Te Runanga O Muriwhenua will become the 'next big thing' in Maoridom; this to negotiate the sale and disposition of tribal lands in the Aupouri Peninsula. I say "sale" because the Chinese are never interested in rents and leases - only ownership. Of course, Kaitaia Airport will have to become an international, because nobody will want to drive from Auckland International to get here. Lastly, something will have to be done to pacify the locals who are affected, both pakeha and Maori, given our record for tourist crime.

The benefits to the community will be significant. Thousands of jobs will be created in the hospitality and service sectors. Local developers will certainly benefit from the building boom. In the short term, all those consultants who have been working on treaty negotiations will be able to retain their travel allowances and per diems, helping to get things started.

That's what makes this upcoming election so important. Because:
E kore e mau i koe, he wae kai pakiaka
(A foot accustomed to running over roots makes the speediest runner)

Doug Graves,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Big Game in the Far North

-Welcome Winston to the world of blogging. Never mind that this medium is foreign-owned too; I look forward to your blogs because it only adds to your hippocracy - and when the truth comes out, your legacy as a political buffoon will be legend.
-Michael Cullen gets full marks for getting involved in treaty negotiations with Maori. He has the clout to move efforts past the front line of government mandarins and pooh-bahs who keep the dialogue on an endless loop of discussion. With Agreements in Principle in place among many of the Iwi in the Far North, it is interesting to watch the squirmings of the many 'professional negotiators' making a five-star living from the process. All Iwi negotiators cannot be tarred with this brush, but there are a handfull sprinkled about who garnered big reputations by photocopying and plagiarising the work of others - under their guise as capacity-building consultants. And of course, just as Runanga budgets are depleted, they have resurrected muriwhenua to begin a new round of plane trips, hotel rooms and cabernet.
-And then you have Shane Jones returning to the Far North. His new best friend is Wayne Brown, Far North Mayor. These self-styled 'masters of the universe' are working together to build 'Las Vegas with a beach' along 90 Mile Beach. While Wayne pitches the idea to Chinese property developers and wrestles power from Northland Regional Council, Mr. Jones is taking care of the Maori side of things by resurrecting muriwhenua and assuring there is enough money to go around to fund the retirements of 'white wine Maori' everywhere. The only honest far north parliamentarian is Hone Harawira, a man who cannot be bought at any price.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PM defends Peters in Parliament

It just goes on and on and on.

The Unauthorized History of New Zealand

Corporate Cosmology

This is a prophetic glimpse into what we are today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rest in Peace Michael

My friend Michael S. passed away, last weekend, after a battle with cancer. I will always remember him for his wit, and his intelligence. Michael said things we were all thinking, usually better than we could have said it ourselves. That he loved his children, Sid and Ella, there is no doubt. I wished I could have had that afternoon at an outdoor cafe to talk and laugh, but it was not meant to be. A difficult guy to get close to, he was never a part of the 'in crowd'. The last communication I had with him was a joke he sent me - too ribald to post. His funeral is today and I may write more about him later on.