In a true democracy every man and woman is taught to think for himself or herself.
— Mahatma Gandhi
By Mary Hobbs
Some weeks ago, I watched footage of a “reporter” — and that description is used loosely —banging on the front door of a house in Christchurch and shouting at the resident through the letter-flap. She didn’t have an appointment, but was zealous in her attempt to talk to a woman who had shown the courage to step up and represent her community in the local body elections. The reporter was sent out to interview/interrogate the candidate, as it was understood that she was connected with Voices for Freedom, a very successful national group set up by three power-house young women to help bring Kiwis together, keep them informed with factual interviews from international experts, and to help locals connect, become more resilient and self-sufficient and make their communities stronger. They have an additional website (www.rebuildfree.com) with helpful information here.
It was of concern that this reporter, and presumably her employer, considered this type of bullying and intimidation acceptable, especially when seemingly ignoring the affiliations other candidates may have to various groups and main political parties, particularly Labour, as it is understood that their candidates are apparently required to vote for Labour ideologies even if in direct opposition to the wishes of the local voters they purport to represent. (Three Waters is one example). It has apparently been this way for some time. Reference: (NZCPR) the NZ Centre for Political Research, here. (This site also gives links to the Labour site that list their backed candidates.) Further detail on the process that voters may be unaware was highlighted well by Chris Milne, a lawyer, businessman and Hutt City councillor.
A Voices for Freedom editorial enlarged on this, as did Dr Muriel Newman, for the NZCPR, on 3 September, 2022 who suggests that perhaps it is time an Editor’s Code was introduced into NZ, in a similar way to how it operates in the UK.
The government-sponsored funding of mainstream media should stop, as it has been difficult for many to find genuinely unbiased journalism on key issues since that circus began. Letters to the editor that don’t mirror the views of the current government are dropped, dissenting voices are silenced, ridiculed or slandered, and the public is left with paid shills and a cancel culture.
Some weeks later, mainstream media gleefully reported lists of candidates, by region, who were affiliated with Voices for Freedom.
This was unexpectedly helpful, for it gave the voter an easy guide to find those standing in local body elections who would be likely to know that their first duty is to their voters and they are there to represent them, champion freedom of choice, the NZ Bill of Rights, and are keen on practical ideas of how to bring people together and help make local areas more self-sufficient. It is of course up to the voter to do their own research and sound this out with those they are considering voting for, but it is a good list with which to start.
In these strange times, it seems anyone affiliated with VFF, or “unapproved” groups, who speak out, or dare to stand for council, are hunted down by mainstream media and harassed. They (the “press”) seem to be just one step away from frenzied fund-raisers for a local pond in town centres, complete with ducking-stool.
Democracy is when the people keep a government in check.
— Aung San Suu Kyi
More recently, I watched footage of another meeting in Christchurch where the moderator asked aspirants at a local “meet the candidates” gathering to stand up if they had been “vaccinated”. Rightfully, there was a howl of protest from the crowd. Not taking the hint, the moderator plunged ever-deeper into the cess-pool of discrimination and proceeded to ask those who hadn’t been injected to stand. Those candidates were roundly cheered.
Those standing for local body elections are there to represent the people, not the local branch of big Pharma. What next? A full medical history? A tick box on cultural roots and questionnaires on religious beliefs or “climate change”?
Would they also request Labour candidates standing for local elections declare what they receive from the Party? Are Labour candidates, and others affiliated with major parties, required to disclose what is required of them if they receive monetary backing from a political party or campaign with a Labour logo? If successful would they be required to vote on local issues according to the wishes of that party? Labour is one example where this is apparently so.
Does it mean they have to vote ‘yes’ to the current government ramming in the mostly despised Three Waters where they propose to steal the local infrastructure from ratepayers, and put four extra layers of “management” in to run it while possibly selling off the irreplaceable assets — built up and paid for by many generations of ratepayers — to offshore interests and condemning ratepayers to lives of servitude paying for water that is already paid for in the current exorbitant rating system? (Nor has any rates decrease been permitted if this were to go ahead) Would they also have to vote ‘yes’ to ridiculous costly, detrimental policies on the much-touted ‘climate change’, and yes to anything else the government and their off-shore masters dream up?
What about individuals standing for council affiliated to other groups? Do candidates have to declare their affiliations with any such membership? Their religion? Their blood type? If voters are informed which candidates may be VFF members then surely it should apply to candidate affiliation with all groups and political parties?
It would be good to know.
Regardless, wouldn’t it be wonderful for the candidates to stand up and ASK the ratepayers what they need and want and deliver that? You know, things like good basic services such as; no sewerage froth washing up onto our beaches depending upon which way the wind blows; clean, pure drinking water, free from poisons (like fluoride that has been factually proven to lower IQ and cause health issues); good lighting, without surveillance cameras every 200 metres on every lamp-post; less ghastly cell-phone towers; less endless roadworks; good drainage, tidy gardens and parks, more leafy trees in the cities, local libraries and swimming pools, and reduced rates by providing the basics rather than endless add-ons. Perhaps more balance between bus-lanes, cycleways and planting that consistently impedes drivers in the city. Consideration of voters who need to drive as they may be elderly, handicapped, or need to pick up supplies that are too heavy for bus or bike. There are also tradespeople with their gear, delivery trucks and mothers with young children, ferrying them from school, sports and other extra-curricular activities like music and dance.
Imagine that! Being asked what we, who pay for everything, want.
Local Government Act 2002, section 10 (1) states that local government is there: To enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities in the present and in the future.
It is not there for political parties to infiltrate by financing candidates to stand (and that has been going on for many years) or by creating Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) who charge councils a hefty yearly fee and seem to try to then advocate for what government wants rather than the local voter. The Timaru Council was so concerned it withdrew from LGNZ.
A council with courage.
Council should not be there for political parties, big pharma, the WEF, the UN, or any other international body disguised as “government” who has some monstrous idea to turn cities into A.I. control and surveillance under the banner of a “super-city” — one that has to follow set designs and implementations that have not been approved by the voters. It should be there for those who reside in local areas and to represent what they want.
Surely that is what democracy is all about?
It seems that for too long there has been infiltration into local body politics by political parties who have no business meddling in local party politics. Candidates who are beholden in any way to political parties, no matter how genuine they are personally, are surely vulnerable if they are assisted with their campaign? There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Keith Bennett, for the Upper Hutt City Council is a candidate who seems to really let voters know what is going on, so there are genuine Kiwis standing to represent their local communities, without obligations to anyone other than their local area, for all the right reasons.
Recently, on a trip to Christchurch, I read an article reporting on a debate hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce “in partnership with the NZ Herald”. It said, “the two top-polling candidates were each given the chance to make their case for why they should get the city’s top job”.
The two-page article on the two candidates featured provided little information. Phrases like, “putting the city on the map”, “best place to live, work, play and invest in NZ”, “reclaim Christchurch being the country’s second biggest city and gateway to the south”, “. . .pushed for development”, “sporting and events capital”, “on the edge of greatness” were bandied about. True, it could have just been a less-than-ideal report of the meeting and it was probably necessary to be at the debate to get answers to key questions, but it seems the meeting wasn’t open for all to attend. It would be difficult to make a decision based on what was reported. It felt empty.
The two main contenders for mayor have their faces on buses and billboards and are wrapped around newspapers with liberal articles from mainstream media. It would be good to know who, if anyone, is sponsoring the advertising. Is there political backing from others? And does that mean they will be duty-bound to push through the agenda of those who backed them? Shouldn’t all funding be disclosed? Perhaps it has been and it is clear to Christchurch residents, but it wasn’t in the two-page article. In these strange times it is important to know, as the trust in mainstream media is at an all-time low.
Ironically, in the same paper there was a modest advertisement for mayor by a man called Carl Bromley. In this small space, Carl told prospective voters more than the reporter did in a two-page spread about the two main candidates. It was a humble, yet it felt honest and because of that it was quite powerful
Carl wanted a three year rate freeze, a residents referenda on major issues, weekly “face to face” public consultation, rejection of Three Waters, and the halting of unethical housing intensification. This gave an immediate idea of where he stood on some of the key issues. Substance. He provided his email and cell-phone number so that voters in the area could directly talk to him. It seems clear that he is genuinely for the people and demonstrates this by making himself accessible. Further research would be needed, but the advertisement details make that easy. Ask him. You decide. He may or may not be the right man for the job but the point is that he is telling the voters what he stands for rather than these broad brush-stroke goals that don’t explain the basics voters need to know, such as; who they represent and where they stand on key issues such as Three Waters and Free Speech and will they bludgeon voters with “the sky is falling” climate change rhetoric and the inevitable resulting costs and incursions on liberty that appear to be subsequently planned? There have been negative mainstream media reports on Carl, but after the experience of the past two years, this seems like another point in his favour. One can surely no longer believe any slurs by sponsored-by-government media. Better by far to ask the man himself. It is clear that Carl Bromley is concerned for his community and his city and is brave enough to stand up to try to put things right and to represent the people.
He was recently knocked off his motorbike in the city and suffered from five fractured ribs and a lacerated kidney and is still in the race. “Five broken ribs won’t stop me from giving my all to serve the people of Christchurch if elected,” he told a journalist for Stuff via text, while still in hospital. That is impressive.
It’s a busy life for most voters, and it has been an ongoing challenge to find full independent information about where candidates stand on key concerns, but VFF helpfully stepped in with survey results of where the candidates stand on issues that concern voters. Some candidates were conspicuous by their absence in the survey. Others fronted up. It’s always heartening to see candidates speak up, when asked. The results were last updated on 1 October 2022.
For a healthy council we need as many genuinely independent courageous candidates as possible — those who are up-front on the important issues, and want to represent their community, to defend our right to make our own decisions locally without interference, to retain our assets and infrastructure, to encourage our self-sufficiency and resilience, and who are free of IOU’s to national political parties, as it seems that the majority of our problems today can be traced back to governments and political parties who increasingly represent global organisations that don’t have the best interests of our people or our country at heart.
We need our local representatives easy to contact and answerable to voters.
It seems that the reason the majority of New Zealanders don’t vote in local body elections is they have long since given up on seeing their vote create any positive change. If New Zealanders are disenfranchised from effecting any positive change in their councils, they won’t vote. Why would you?
Rates go up at ever-increasing levels along with the salaries of the bureaucrats, yet basics we do want are not provided. Instead, superfluous, overpriced items we don’t want are forced upon us through escalating charges. The mayor and councillors are meant to be there to represent their local voters.
It seems that the fastest way of sorting the wheat from the chaff is to take a look at the list of candidates in each region that mainstream-media are warning you about, check out their authenticity and who they answer to and what they stand for, and if it seems that they genuinely stand to represent the wishes of those in your region and they don’t have any connection to major political parties who could call in favours in a way that would be of disadvantage to local voters, then they would seem like a good choice.
Some may choose not to vote as a protest for what the system has become, for it is repugnant to them. That is also an option, as if everyone did that then the voters could create a new system with the changes they really want. The other way is to vote for who resonates with you, the voter — regardless of any other rhetoric. Who speaks with integrity and who talks about representing the voters?
Our democracy has always been hard-won. Today is no different. Keep informed through sources other than government-sponsored mainstream media. Keep public representatives accountable. Find out where they are on major issues. If they can’t tell you, well there is your answer.
Vote wisely. Vote well.
Bless all of you out there who are defending and standing for our basic human rights and freedoms.
We stand together.
Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
– President Abraham Lincoln