This week: Christchurch and Cuba – Moving In Different Directions
1. The report, in the CHRISTCHURCH PRESS - “Recovery law cuts red tape” – “Emergency legislation rushed through Parliament has given the Government extraordinary powers to rebuild Christchurch. Faced with a massive damage bill and an uncertain future for many home and business owners, the Government says it needs the powers to get the city back on its feet as soon as possible.”
The reality: The government awards itself massive unbridled powers; places itself above laws such as the RMA and District Plans enforced by ferret-faced council bureaucrats, under which our freedom to act is crushed on a daily basis; exempts itself from scrutiny, accountability and liability for its actions; and blocks even our courts from challenging any of its decisions, under the guise of rebuilding Christchurch.
The problem: This is a draconian power grab, which will strengthen the power of the state at the expense of our liberty. This is an over-the-top reaction to a natural disaster, an opportunity for the government to seize for itself the power to impose its will on the people of NZ. The country is not at war; we are not under threat from foreign invaders or an armed insurrection from the populace. Yet our freedoms have been eroded; and this law may never be repealed. The government has decided it can ignore crap laws such as the RMA, Public Works Act, Local Government Act, and Building Act. But hang on - weren’t these laws necessary for our protection? Suddenly the government decides they weren’t that necessary after all. Why not get ditch these laws then, instead of having one rule for politicians and another for the rest of us peasants?
Bouquet: To the Greens, for questioning the effect these emergency laws will have on our civil liberties, and whether such a concentration of power in the hands of a few is a good thing. But then why the hell did they end up voting for it?
Brickbat: To ACT – where was the “liberal” party while the government were rushing this legislation through in the middle of the night? Marching lockstep with their National masters, that’s where, like the faithful lapdogs they have become.
2. The report, in the NZ HERALD – “Cuba Cuts 500,000 State Jobs” – “Cuba has announced it will cast off at least half a million state workers by early next year and reduce restrictions on private enterprise to help them find new jobs - the most dramatic step yet in President Raul Castro's push to radically remake employment on the communist-run island. Because unemployment is anathema in a communist society, state businesses have been forced to carry many people who do almost nothing. The labour overhaul comes less than a week after Fidel Castro caused a stir around the globe when he was quoted by visiting American magazine writer Jeffrey Goldberg as saying Cuba's communist economy no longer works.”
My reaction: – After fifty years of oppression, this could be the beginning of the end for the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, the Carribean equivalent of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. It will be interesting to see whether the Castro government will allow the sort of privatisation and freeing up of trade that has seen China become the world’s fastest growing economy. Watch this space.
Bouquet (partial): To Raul Castro, for facing reality. He should be encouraged to push further and hold free elections in Cuba.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.
- attributed to Thomas Jefferson