Resurfacing

I’m back from New Zealand and I can inform you that it was very green – and very neat. In fact, my partner, Lance, observed that the lush, manicured verdure through which we were driving looked like it was mown and rolled on a daily basis. The cows and sheep are also sparkling clean but I suspect that it’s more the rain that’s responsible and less some celestial landscape architect with a Rousseau complex. And it did rain. Pretty much continuously. Where’s the sort of innovative Alan Jones thinking that would have NZ towed adjacent to NSW and have all the rivers piped into the Wide Brown Land, I wondered?

Still, NZ is an energetic, happening little nation state these days with it’s own 5 billion dollar surplus declared only a few days after Treasurer Costello delivered Australia’s. They’re also embarked upon significant constitutional change – without the boring old obstructionism inherent in a bicameral legislature, a written constitution or even a Senator Brian Harradine.

The government has determined to replace appeals to the Privy Council with a new two tier Supreme Court above the current Court of Appeal. The 5 judges to be appointed will all of course be in the current government’s gift – an unprecedented (and unlikely to be repeated) opportunity to get the Right Stuff (or maybe vaguely left of centreish stuff) in place. Not surprisingly the opposition is crying foul and is calling for a national referendum on the matter given that the minority Labour government is reliant on a handful of Green votes to get the legislation up. Needless to say, they won’t be getting a referendum anytime soon.

As a signal indication of the gravity of the situation, the Fairfax-owned NZ Herald called on the government to cease and desist from it’s tyrannical course in a front page editorial last week. They even suggested that consideration be given to using (gasp!) Australian judges to ensure political impartiality. Things can’t get more desperate than that!

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Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Totally off topic but I’ve installed the anti-spam plug in on the Ubersportingpundit domain so hopefully this alarming trend of porn being advertised in comments won’t spread here.

I can’t do anything about what the posters do, though.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Back on topic- welcome back mate. You was missed.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Gled yer beck, Jiff!

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Thought you might need some time to readjust your inner ear. The great vowel shift can be a little disorienting.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I must say – the great theft of the NZ vowel is an ever-jarring constant of NZ life. It began when we flew to Wellington on Air NZ and were threatened with an announced “Buvridge Servus” by the cabin crew. It turned out to be a drink, fortunately.

meika
2022 years ago

I am still trying to figure out why NZ farmers prune their radiate pine tree wind break into 10m plus hedges, it looks seriously weird…

i’ve also noticed that the landscape is either native or european, with very little middle ground, like here in the country you get scraggly gullies full of weeds and native gums and some understory plants, there it is either wild west coast beech forests or a huge neo-european parkland

never got use to it
(only been to south island)

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

That’s an amazing surplus, Geoff. Equivalent to an Australian surplus of 35 billion. Surely something is seriously out of balance here. Of course that fact that are mendicant towards Australia in matters of defence and security may have a little to do with it.

New Zealand’s relationship to Australia in these matters is very similar to the relationship of Canada to the USA. NZ doesn’t need to plan its own defence as it knows very well that in the unlikely event of it being attacked (other than by France a la Rainbow Warrior of course) Australia would consider it an attack on itself. Just as the USA wouldn’t tolerate an attack on Canada. Both countries are parasites, using their virtual immunities without any sense of responsibility whatsoever.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Oops, I meant 25 million, not 35.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Ron – I understand that the NZ budget surplus projection for 2002-03 was forecast at 2.28 billion, so the windfall was indeed impressive.

You’re certainly right about the paucity of NZ defence spending. The resultant warm inner glow of self-aware ‘goodness’ is only matched by the intoxicating headiness that the proximity of Australia inevitably offers :)

mark
2022 years ago

C’mon, Ron, New Zealand forms a valuable role. If we didn’t have someone pretty much the same as us — but weaker — to look down upon, we’d have to spend all our time looking down upon the Americans. And life’s too short to spend all our time indulging in Tall Poppy Syndrome…

Patrick
2022 years ago

We could just look down on England. In most respects except for those where sheer size matters (such as military strength) Australia can convince itself it is ahead of the Poms.

Patrick
2022 years ago

We could just look down on England. In most respects except for those where sheer size matters (such as military strength) Australia can convince itself it is ahead of the Poms.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Mark, NZ is such a non-event (except for its marvellous scenery) that there’s really no satisfaction at all in looking down at them. It’s like feeing some satisfaction at beating Zimbabwe at cricket – totally pointless.

mark
2022 years ago

Point, Ron.

(And that’s why I won’t be watching the Rugby…)

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Rugby? What’s that?

mark
2022 years ago

That’s the spirit! At this rate, those unmentioned ones will never bother us again…

John
John
2022 years ago

“The warm inner glow that proximity to Australia offers”

How so? The only plausible argument is that a potential invader of NZ would want to use Australia as a base, and that our armed forces would stop them from doing this. But on that argument NZ would be equally secure if Australia did not exist.

The fact is that there is no country (except the US and maybe Australia) capable of invading NZ even if they wanted to, and so no reason for them to spend a lot of money on defence.

Complaining about this fact of geography has about the same realism as complaining about the fact that the Kiwis are getting the rain we would like to have.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

The warm inner glow is generated by considerably more than just strategic considerations John. Australia acts as “defence” for NZ on a multiplicity of levels – not least of which is acting as the population-absorbing metroplitan presence for New Zealanders.

But on the defence question specifically: the issue for NZ to resolve is to what extent – and in what capacity – it maintains an armed forces capability? There’s at least a sense of trying to have it both ways at present. To which many NZ defence people will attest.