Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This week in New Zealand

GULED MIRE continues to foul the nest that New Zealand provided for him and his family after they fled a country torn apart by warfare and crippled by corruption.

In a characteristically noxious opinion piece published on Newsroom this week, Mire waded into the furore over the proposed film They Are Us – which, if reports are to be believed, will take Jacinda Ardern another step closer to secular canonisation for her role in the days following the March 15 mosque massacres.

I entirely understand and sympathise with reported misgivings expressed by some Christchurch Muslims  about the proposed movie, which they say comes too soon after the atrocity and promises to focus attention on Ardern (to her discomfort, I would guess) rather than on the victims and the bereaved.

Against that, we must weigh the right to freedom of speech. In an open society, the film’s backers should be free to pursue the project. It’s an uncomfortable clash of values that would be neatly and definitively resolved if the film was completed and no one went to see it.

In the meantime it seems we must put up with more poisonous mischief from Mire, who has spewed up a bucketload of verbal vomitus in which he attacks the film using incendiary terms such as “white saviourism”.

Mire says the movie seeks to “whitewash” the murder of 51 Muslims (Really? How would he know? Has he seen the script?) and says: “It’s clear the film has gone too far and needs to shut down immediately.” Well, there you go. We can plainly see what a richly diverse marketplace of ideas New Zealand would become if zealots like Mire had their way.

“What we do not need,” he declaims, “is for Hollywood to appropriate, rewrite and shove another white saviour narrative down our throats. At the very worst, the film represents torture porn.”

“White saviour narrative”? Mire apparently thinks, then, that Ardern’s demonstration of empathy and support for the massacre victims (and by extension, that of the whole country) was just a marginally less malevolent flip-side of white supremacy.

You can’t win against that sort of deranged thinking. It’s the product of a mind warped by neo-Marxist critical race theory and locked into a sense of victimism.

It’s worth contrasting Mire’s overheated rhetoric with the typically more restrained reaction of other Christchurch Muslims when they heard about the film, but it would be too much to expect that he might note their more nuanced response and take his cue from it. I suspect his ego gets a buzz out of being a provocateur.

Here’s what I think about Mire. It’s my opinion that he has arguably done more than any other individual in the public eye to ramp up racial tension in New Zealand and undermine social cohesion. Under the pretext of speaking up for New Zealand Muslims, he’s magnifying ethnic and religious differences. Worse than that, he’s pushing a message that Muslims have no hope of equality in an irredeemably racist country.

It shouldn’t need to be spelled out that if anything is going to give oxygen to the tiny minority of pathetic white extremists in New Zealand, it’s the polarising rhetoric of activists like Mire. They enable white supremacists to say to the feeble-minded and impressionable among us: see what happens when we let these outsiders in? They turn against us!

And it’s worth noting one crucial difference between Mire and the white supremacists. While they skulk in the dark shadows of the Internet, he’s given a platform by sympathetic mainstream news organisations.

His relentless promotion of a sense of “otherness” strikes a jarringly discordant note, playing directly against the obvious desire of most New Zealand Muslims to live quietly and peaceably in a tolerant society where their right to practise their religion is honoured and respected. I’ll go further and say he’s the worst possible advertisement for Islam in New Zealand, and a liability to his co-religionists.

ON A related note, I heard Andrew Little describe a remark made by Juliet Moses at an anti-terrorism hui in Christchurch (sorry, Otautahi) as “provocative”.

Moses, who was representing the NZ Jewish Council in a panel discussion, was quoted as saying: “We need to hear leaders condemn all support of terrorism and all terrorism equally, whatever the source, target and circumstances, and even when it is not politically expedient to do so.  

“Hezbollah and Hamas … their military wings are proscribed terror organisations in New Zealand, but we saw a rally in support of Hezbollah on Queen Street in 2018.”

Moses was stating a bald fact, but it prompted some members of the audience to walk out and others to shout “Free Palestine”.

Well, that’s okay. Moses was asserting her right to free speech and the dissenting audience members responded by exercising their right to walk out in protest. No problem.

But it’s odd that Little thought Moses’s statement “provocative” when she was simply highlighting an obvious, if rather inconvenient, anomaly in politically fashionable thinking.

Many countries, including New Zealand’s closest allies, designate Hezbollah and the military wing of Hamas as terrorist organisations – even, in the former case, most member countries in the Arab League. Both organisations are implacably hostile to Israel. Why does a senior cabinet minister think it provocative to draw attention to that fact?

All terrorism against racial or religious groups is despicable, but how easily we forget that Jews have been the victims of the most vile and relentless persecution in human history. Moses was right to remind us of that.

And how odd, too, that Little and other government politicians don’t seem to find the inflammatory invective of stirrers like Mire similarly “provocative”. It would be nice to see him called out, but I’m not holding my breath.

DRIVING home from Martinborough the other day, I turned on the car radio to hear Jesse Mulligan introduce RNZ National’s resident TV critic, Guy Williams.

That’s right, the same irritatingly self-satisfied Guy Williams who pops up endlessly in ratepayer-funded television shows.  I presume he’s a mate of Mulligan’s, given that they’re frequently together on Newshub’s The Project.

This is jobs for the boys, 21st century style. There’s a distinct odour of incestuousness in the way members of the same chummy circle constantly recycle themselves. We can only conclude that NZ on Air smiles on them. 

Needless to say, there’s a certain sameness in their political stances. Here’s a tiny clue to the nature of that happy homogeneity: Williams is the partner of Golriz Ghahraman.

Even Jane Bowron of Stuff, who’s not one to frown on vogueish leftishness, was moved several years ago to protest at the overwhelming aura of chatty clubbishness on The Project, with only Mark Richardson being called in occasionally to give the illusion of balance (and be mocked as if he were some sort of Neanderthal curiosity, brought on for comic relief).

The common factor among these people is that they all seem exceptionally pleased with themselves. They laugh gaily at each other’s jokes and generally bathe in each other’s admiration. Moreover, they stick to forums where they can be confident their smug certainties won’t be challenged – such as The Project, obviously, but also RNZ, which is a cosy nest of like-thinking lefties (some of whom are old friends of mine and won’t be surprised in the slightest by my description).

I’m not sure what Williams’ talents are supposed to be. He’s described as a comedian, but the most striking thing about him in his role as a TV critic is the speed at which the words tumble out of his mouth, like water gushing from a fire hydrant. He talks as if he’s terrified that if he pauses even for a moment, people might realise he has nothing to say.  

Another characteristic of such people is that they suffer from the delusion that they’re daringly edgy and radical, constantly pushing the boundaries. Actually, they’re not. They are the new Establishment.

If the term “the Establishment” means those who hold power in society and whose ideas dominate the public conversation, then what we thought of as the conservative Establishment in the latter part of the 20th century has long been extinct. We’ve done a 180-degree flip, to the point where what was then considered radical has become mainstream. But just like the old Establishment, the new one is oppressively conformist, authoritarian and intolerant of different ideas and different ways of doing things. That’s the nature of Establishments.

This idea was explored a couple of years ago in an insightful Stuff column by Damien Grant, who now appears to be that company’s sole surviving unapologetic voice of the Right. In that column, Grant explored what it meant to wear the “radical” tag these days (basically, nothing) and concluded: “Being part of a baying mob … isn’t brave and nor is it radical. Standing up to them is.”


Ricardo said...

I am actually delighted with the pace and scope of the government's changes and proposals.

As an administration populated by people convinced of the correctness and inevitability of their cause, and imbued with the moral purity and righteous luminescence of their efforts, they are hurtling towards the future with almost no restraint and in full battle cry.

This is a good thing as the sheer size of their ambition will reflect the size of the failures as they slowly and surely pile up. My hope is that even the docile and reluctant to offend NZ public will see the unfolding folly and do what democratic societies do when their leaders mess up.

So far we have seen central control failure (kiwibuild, transport infrastructure, poverty relief, housing) masked by quakes and pandemic.

Let's wait and see how people react to high cost destructive social engineering, under the guise of climate emissions control, wreaking havoc with their lives, preferences and livelihoods.

The taxes continue to pile up while borrowing moves away from the most benefit for the greatest number, to helping the few whose lifestyles meet with approval.

I am not sure the NZ population can be convinced that we are all born with the original sin of colonisation and should spend our lives in pitiful expiation while being re-educated by rewritten histories from a new commissar class.

I am hopeful for the future because the government is making the real choices quite clear.

Unknown said...

I'm having a wee smile at your comments on The Project Karl. It resonates. Back in 2019 during my first year in the Mediaworks empire, I was for a time a sort of regular third panelist on the programme. I think I appeared three times over three months.
To be honest, it didn't excite me all that much as I had to travel from Tauranga to appear and then overnight in Auckland, but it was regarded as a sort of useful cross promotion for my radio show.
What turned out to be my final appearance was at the start of the Ihumatao occupation, and the increased police presence there.
As there had been numerous court cases to that stage suggesting the occupation was illegal and that Fletchers had the right to develop the land, I had the temerity to suggest on air that the protestors should obey the law and allow the planned development to go ahead. As you can imagine, I was a minority of one on the show with that view.
Funnily enough, I was never invited back and don't expect to be. But not much sleep has been lost as a consequence!

Kiwiwit said...

Fortunately I have no idea who are these various characters you write about because I have long since stopped consuming the New Zealand mainstream media. I get all my news about New Zealand from foreign sources, which provide more balanced and informative coverage of the major issues (although they do tend to focus on the bizarre and quirky stories from this country, but that just adds to the entertainment value).

Bush Apologist said...

The irony with Mr. Williams as he used to refer to himself as a comedian. Now, as all typical joyless leftists attempt, he's cancelled his history and no longer recalls the time when he tried to bring joy and happiness into people's lives.

If you view to his own website "", it has been peeled back to a minimalist shell and he now simply refers to himself as "volunteer journalist"! Another victim of toxic femininity.

Phil said...

I googled Guy Williams and read he has a degree in political science. He may play the clown but obviously a very politically motivated person.

Hilary Taylor said...

Another great column thanks Karl. Agree 100%. Mire..odious trouble-maker, and thus almost guaranteed a Greens list pozzy. Williams's story is pathetic really...lashed to the Ghahraman stake & probably a 'kept man', he's prostrating himself before the new clerisy & dependent on tidbits from similarly woke RNZ/TV3 mates. Ugh..The Project. I admire MOses, unafraid to wave the flag for our small Jewish community & it's not hard, apparently, to step on the toes of the stridently confident post-massacre muslim community here....ssssshh don't mention those inconvenient terrorist organs Hamas & Hezbollah, or else. (Enjoyed Ricardo's post above...gonna borrow that 'original sin' sentence, cheers...)

hughvane said...

Way to go Kiwiwit!

Ricardo said...

To Hilary

You are welcome Hilary. As RC, resting catholic, I am used to living with guilt.

Phil said...

Kiwiwit, thanks to Karl's articles going in the Australian Spectator I have discovered Amy Brooke and her regular updates on NZ.

rivoniaboy said...

Your defence of Juliet Moses was admirable Karl and I salute you. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks exhorted non-Jews to speak out against Jewish prejudice and reminded us that the victim cannot cure the crime.

Odysseus said...

According to He Ao Kotahi, colonisation involves "dehumanising indigenous peoples and the misappropriation of power and resources to the newcomers". I fear we are being colonised by Mr Mire and others who have come from abroad and who wish to tear our society apart with perbicious dogma like "white privilege". There is nothing more dehumanising than telling people they are innately and irretrievably evil because of the colour of their skin. And I feel pretty damned indigenous having "occurred naturally" in this country in the maternity ward of one of its public hospitals a few years ago. Beware the new colonisers!

hughvane said...

"The common factor among these people is that they all seem exceptionally pleased with themselves."

You left out ego, Karl. Size of a house doesn't do justice, gargantuan more like.

"Pleased"? Yes, and impressed, just ask them.

Speed of verbosity is directly related to anxiety about interjection that might put them on the spot.

Andy Espersen said...

Odysseus – You are so right. The “white privilege” concept is imported straight from the United States where it most certainly existed. Fact is, we never had it in New Zealand!! It can logically apply only in America where slavery early in the 17th century set the stage. Our Maori problems (too many in prisons, poor social conditions, poor health, etc.) simply have not had enough time to be caused by white privilege. Maori were never slaves. As Michael King emphasises in his great history book, Maori only began to move into our industrialised cities in the 1950-60s – and only since then have we (for example) had inordinate numbers of Maori prisoners.

Maori lived out in the country in their own communities for 125 years after colonisation. For all that time they were as law-abiding and healthy as everybody else!! The white privilege accusation, now introduced into our society by ignorant, woke activists, is quite erroneous – and only serving to divide New Zealand along racial lines. The policies initiated by the Labour-Greens are pure racist.