Aotearoa, letter Joelgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
Your plans sound very interesting Joel although I dont understand all the details. I am generally suspicious of any group that want to dispense with central government as I usually find that what they really want is some sort of local power reinforced by arms, 'warlordism' one might call it. They also tend to want to exclude folks on race, religion or what-have-you. That does not mean that I believe a satisfactory society based on local power is unobtainable just that I think it would be so very hard to attain as to make it practically impossible.
The smallest self governing 'state' I have ever lived in has a population of about 3,000 (that's right three thousand). They have their own laws, justice system and two or three police. It works for them but what a price. Anything more serious than a cut finger requires evacuation to another country, there was only one midwife, a couple of doctors and a very basic hospital. Only one place to get my Land Rover fixed and just a couple of shops to buy groceries. The demand for water, sewerage, building, roads, telephones, electricity even motor repairs are each insufficient to make private business viable so just about everything (including the local liquor supply) is run by the government. Is the scale of society you have in mind?
I will leave you to decide if your federal government is a good thing or not but I can certainly accept that you might get along quite well without it!
Just imagine if the present USA was to break into 50 or so sovereign states. Many of them would still be significant countries among the list of 400 that would then exist worldwide in fact most, maybe all, would be bigger (population wise) than New Zealand. Considering that NZ is not part of any confederation and that we are one, I believe, of only six democracies to survive throughout the 20th century it becomes quite obvious that most of those individual states likely could exist comfortably without central government.
However if I look at Europe I see a number of countries of varied economic clout and separated by language and often bitter history but what are they doing? They appear to be headed towards the "United States Of Europe", if this makes good sense to them despite their difficulities is it any wonder I am dubious as to why the USA would want to go the other way?
The governmental system of NZ is an elected parliament based on the Westminister system. Unlike Australia and Canada we do not have government at state or province levels. There is the one house parliament in Wellington with local government in towns and cities. Local government set by-laws relating to the operation of the town or city, building permits, property taxes, parking and traffic control and other civil type matters.
The central government has about 100 members elected per constituency or from a party 'list'. The list members are a recent development for us. If I were to found a 'Mad Hatters' Tea Party' and campaign in my local electorate it is unlikely that I would get a majority and hence a member for the parliament, however if I were to campaign nationwide and get past the magic threshold (which I think is 5%) I would be able to put a member into parliament selected from my party 'list'.
It is quite feasible for any determined person to stand for election and have a good chance of entering parliament although it is more difficult for other than the two major parties to get a majority in parliament and hence form the government.
The two major parties are 'Labour' and 'National', blue and red, left and right respectively. Labour are the current encumbants.
Our politicians are not extra-highly paid and I doubt that any are in there for the money.
In the last couple of years I have written to members of parliament and the prime minister a few times, I had a response within a day or so and in one instance (which involved visas for highly contentious visitors to the country) I was able to open a direct line to the minister to concerned. I can correspond directly and maybe even speak to my member of parliament, you can't get much more direct than that.
Women have a high profile in NZ, the Prime Minister (Ms Helen Clark) is a keen outdoors person and quite an acompolished mountaineer, I think she will be appearing in one of a series of TV articles about NZ to be shown on morning TV in the USA about now, it might be the Discovery channel and I think the present of the show is named Keogh. The Chief Justice, the former Prime Minister and the CEO of our biggest corporation are (or very recently were) all posts held by women.
NZ is a member of the British Commonwealth and we keep Betty Windsor (aka Queen Elizabeth) on the books so that we can put a live person's image on our currency. The queen is represented in NZ by the Governor General, another women.
Oh, I almost forgot Georgina, she is a member of parliament and was once known as George!
NZ claims to be the first country to give voting rights to women, Australia occasionally disputes this, just like they dispute the origin of the pavlova, but a large section of the Australian population did not get the vote until the 1960s.
When I was a child NZ figured among the top three countries of the world in just about every measure of living standard, now we are probably about 7th on those lists. This does not mean we have slipped back rather that others have come forward with one exception and that is crime which is much more prevalent than it once was.
There have been a few changes in recent years that you may be interested in. Practically all controls on imports have been abolished so NZ is now as cheap a place as any to buy US, Japanese or European consumer goods but we are also cursed by a flood of used inports especially cars from Japan. A number of public service (i.e. government) enterprises have been privatised or sold off, this has seen a very significant cut in the public payroll but also the loss of many once thought essential services, few small towns have a post office or bank, our railway system is just a shadow of what it once was having been replaced by jugganauts on our narrow and lightly build roading system. Taxation, I once paid almost 60% in tax, it is now something less than 30% but offset somewhat by the introduction of a 12.5% consumption tax, the consumption tax (GST) is a fixed percentage collected by the vendor from the final user of and goods or service, it is a simple system with little room for cheating and has been highly effective. We dont pay any other point of sale sales or state taxes. Agriculture, we once concentrated on sheep and dairy, dairy is still a big one (the world's biggest cheese factory is in NZ) but where we once had more than 20 sheep per head of population it is much lower now, diversification is the name of the game, we have big troubles with countries that practice "asymmetric free trade", I will leave you to guess which particular one I have in mind.
Guns, I know you want to hear about this one! I expect just about every farm house has a firearm or two. There are a large number of rifles and shot guns legally held and registered and no doubt a few un-registered owners too. There are practically no pistols in our society and not even the police are armed at all times on patrol. We do occasionally have mass murders even involving military type firearms but getting shot does not figure among the daily risks I face, getting hit by a meteorite is about the same level of hazard. We are not anti-gun, we just don't need any more than we have thank you very much! Do a web search for the Great Alexandra Easter Bunny Shoot if you want to learn more about guns, women and rabbits in NZ.
As for riots etc in NZ, I think the last serious riot in NZ was started by US troops in Manners Street in Wellington during WWII, reputedly race based as the visitors did not like the way NZ troops of all races played, drank, fought and died together. There may have been comparable events during a waterfront strike in 1952, of course the anti-apertheid demonstrations of the 70's and 80's got very tense at times. You are forgiven if you don't remember those world-shaking events.
Some people are more fortunate than others but you won't see the poverty of Africa or Central Asia.
We have some minor terrorist incidents, letter bombs, poison in the mail etc but it is usually imported trouble involving an attack on someone visiting. There was a minor incident when Tiger Woods visited earlier this year. The most significant terrorist incident occured in the 80's when agents were sent to blow up a ship about 100 yards from the post office of our major city. Not even the best of the French DGSE (or whatever they call themselves) were a match for our local police who arrested a couple of them, that's right, they were caught by the people who write speeding tickets and attend domestic disturbances.
NZ had a defence alliance with Australia and the USA but some years ago NZ decided that we would not allow nuclear powered or nuclear armed war ships in our harbours. The US Navy got right pissed off at that and made all sorts of threats including (as recently reported) trying to enlist the Australians to 'liquidate' our Prime Minister. We still don't allow nuclear powered or armed warships in our harbours.
If you don't see news about NZ I suggest it is not our press that is controlled, I watch DW (German TV) most mornings and occasionally see mention of this country, most recently our troops engaged in operation 'Anaconda', you probably thought there were only US troops dealing to the Taleban?
OK Joel, if you have read all that you now know more about NZ than I might ever know about Virginia.
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 2002
I found that to be a terrific explanation of a society that I knew absolutely nothing about. I'm finding I admire it and I'm saving the page for future references. I have decided that I like New Zealand. Just one question--farmers have to know--what length is the growing season ? I also have seen previews of an eco-challenge race in New Zealand that will air this week on the Discovery network. The terrain looked volcanic ?
Craig county Virginia has a population of less than 6000 people. We do have a doctor that practices here and several more that reside here but work 30 miles away. I would say that 30% of the women are nurses of one type or another. One dentist, one grocery, 3 local sheriffs deputies, one sheriff(my friend) and your occassional State Trooper. We also must leave the county to find work outside the timber industry. We do have several car repair shops and one junkyard. Most men and many women excel in car repair. You have to be mechanically inclined to live here or go broke paying other people to do it for you.
Warlords and excluding people ? I suppose I would be considered a warlord by certain groups but I have never allowed myself to exert military type force on anyone to achieve my goals. I/we do tend to make it difficult on anyone that wishes to locate here. It is not based on race, ethnic, or religion. We have all seen the damage a human being does to a planet and we just intend on stopping them from doing it here. If you are a human than we would rather you just enjoy or scenery and move along. Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. There is nothing here for you and no reason for anyone to stay. Your only asking for trouble if you attempt it. I will keep the locals from hurting you but I advise the strangers to keep moving.
We do have one federal officer that resides here. I don't like him and he doesn't like me but our local sheriff controls him so that I won't have to. Nearly 80% of our county is national forest so we have many federal employees in forestry and fish and game.
I guess you could say that the only similarity that I have to domesticated is that I live in a house. It may not be the right way but it is my way and it works well. I'm getting a little age on me now and I'm much too slow to engage troops in firefights any longer. I even know that without a revolution my way of life will step by step be over run. This is why I teach the younger men the theory of separatism. I explain the value of God and the value of an AK-47 and why you should never leave the house without both. I agreed with New Zealands policy or mindset on handguns. I do not like hand guns and I do not respect the authorities that fluant them. I used to have several and sold them all. Handguns have only one purpose and that purpose is to kill and conceal.
If I had one wish granted to me before I die it would be to see Virginia secede and to stand alone as a free republic. With the help of an Almighty God we just may be able to pull it off !
Thank you for taking the time to write about New Zealand ! I enjoyed it very much !
-- Joel Rosen (JoelnBecky@webtv.net), April 14, 2002.
Much of the North Island of NZ is volcanic dominated by three prominent peaks, one more-or-less continuously active and another some distance apart and hopefully extinct. If you look at a map the lake in the middle of the North Island is Lake Taupo one of the biggest volcanoes in the world, it is thought to have a cycle of about 5000 years with 4000 (hopefully) to go. The South Island is high alpine with alluvial planes to the east and lowland beech rain forests to the west. Incidently, Auckland, the major population centre, has a number of dormant volcanic cones including one or two down town!
You might also notice from a map that the country extends over several latitudes, sub tropical to cool temperate in the south. With corresponding growing seasons of course, practically continuous in the north and less so in the south but even there grass still grows in winter. Very little of the country ever sees snow lying at low levels and the entire country is under the influence of ocean temperatures so La Ninja and El Nino have significant effect. The climate is such that most farm animals live outdoors in fact many people probably see confining grazing animals to barns (which we would call 'sheds') as slightly barbaric. We have dry arid areas and areas with rainfall of 300 inches.
Oh yeah, we have plenty of junkyards, especially with all those used cars being imported.
-- john hill (email@example.com), April 14, 2002.
A voice of wisdom in the cacophany of left, right, me, them, ours and mine.
I am so disgusted with the separation between right and left in the US today. The repugnicans do their best to divide everyone against everyone so better to further their cause, going to the point of commiting adultry against the constitution by bedding the religious right. The damnocrats can't keep their dick in their pants. A pale image of the hopes and dreams of the 60's.
Just what are the immigration requirements of NZ? My family was one of the last of the Dutch immigrants to the what is now the US in 1655. Later, we were neighbors of Daniel Boone. Some of these LOUD people who have been here for one or two generations think patriotism means division and seperatism from the rest of the country. If that goes to it's logical conclusion we'll be burning witches and queers again. I think we're finding that the US is becomming more and more ignorant, simple, dogmatic and generally uncaring.
I have a goat dairy in Arkansas. Small one. I live close to the earth. I was a banker for 23 years and know that corporations are founded to take money out of your pocket and insert the currenty into the pockets of the shareholders. My family also were tax preparers from 1968 to 1999. We saw the rich get richer and the poor get poorer under the Reagan and Bush admistration. Now, don't get me wrong, I was not happy with the giveaways of the democrats before then and I even voted for Reagan! But if I'd had any idea how the average person in the United States was going to suffer, I would have gnawed my arm off before pulling that voting lever.
I used to be optomistic about this country in the 60's and 70's. But the ignorance of how the country works, how the world works, the "us against them" strategy of the repugnicans taking over to the point that people think states can be soverign entities within the framework of the constitution, while the soverign native treaties are being ignored to the point that world entities are suspious of supreme court rulings.
The religious zealots think they have a right to dissolve the separation between church and state? It's depressing. If the Constitution doesn't protect the minority against the whims and witch burnings of the majority then what's to protect the lawful landowners of an individual state against the KKK or Black Panthers?
The Enyart family has done it's best in the last three hundred years or so of our participation in the formation of the United States. We've served in state and federal roles. We are also of Native blood. Cherokee to be specific in my case. And we see things with two prospectives. The problem is that I see even my own staunch independent family dissipating into fools that wouldn't recognize an original thought if it bit them in the ass. They just suck up either the right or the left dogma without any research, any thought! I asked my niece what she thought about Martin Luther. Hmmm. She said she enjoyed the holiday. Get my drift? Had no idea whatsoever about the reformation of the church. Thought I was talking about Martin Luther King. MLK she knows about, but her mother, my sister, didn't tell her that her ancestors held slaves in the south. She also didn't tell her that there were Enyart's on the underground railroad. IGNORANCE People either don't have any sense of history or they're stupid. And stupidity breeds what my mother would call "aginners". They aren't for ANTHING, just against EVERYTHING. Change, at any risk, cannot be tolerated. Reminds me of the current repugnican administration. Divide and conquer.
Soooo, does NZ need a former (1650's) Flemish, USA family member of the Revolution, Spanish American War, Loving husband of a Cherokee wife, who followed her on the Trail of Tears, when her lands were taken from her in North Carolina and they were "removed" to Oklahoma at gunpoint? Former 23 year banker, tax preparer, mechanic, A+ computer tech, and tech support for any Allied Tellsyn LAN product that they'll tell you about.
What about it? Think Joe and I can get into NZ and start a new generation?
Thanks for listening to my frustrations!
-- Dennis Enyart (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 16, 2002.
Oh, by the way I'm queer.
-- Dennis (email@example.com), April 16, 2002.
Ok guys immigration to NZ is controlled by a system of qualifying 'points'.
Take a look at http://www.immigration.govt.nz/ or just do a search for "NZ immgration" and you will find sites that explain it all. You will also turn up a few 'consultants' and the like but I doubt you need their services as the government site has enough for you to determine if you would qualify. If you don't qualify you would not live long enough to argue your way in!
I am not sure what 'queer' is Dennis, is that like you have three eyes or something? If you mean what we used to call a faggot then do a search on "Georgina Beyer Wairarapa" and read up on her.
Leave your guns at home, don't try to introduce or promote any funny practices like tipping, learn to drink real beer, be aware that Jack Daniels never made whisky but Johnny Walker does and whatever else you do don't come here and open another %^&&*y Starbucks!
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 16, 2002.
Queer as in "eccenric" as well as in homosexual. Do they still let us in there? I can build your dairy barn, wire it, plumb it, do your profit projections, and cuss your solicitor. I'm just sick of it here. It's not my country anymore and I'm not sure who's country it is anyhmore.
Surely you have need of my talents in NZ. Finally tell'em why their LAN pinouts won't support 100 mz LAN's. It's supposed to be a secret, but I'll tell! IF We can only get the fuck out of this country.1'!!!!
-- Dennis (email@example.com), April 16, 2002.
It's fall there now. Just now spring here. Dogwood trees blombing. Taking care of my baliwic. It's mine in this 3.6 acres to do.
You, where are you?
-- Dennis (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 16, 2002.
I'm near Wellington. That's another thing too Dennis, it is never 'fall' here but we do have 'autumn'.
I think my LAN works just fine thanks, dairy barns and milking parlours are big business my brother does those. All those other jobs, well you gotta understand this is a 'do it yourself' country.
Still there is always room for one more so take a look at the web site and calculate your chances.
-- john hill (email@example.com), April 16, 2002.
Yipee, I qualified. I'm not going to move there but I might take me a vacation there. Thanks again John for all the information.
-- Joel Rosen (JoelnBecky@webtv.net), April 17, 2002.
Heavens to Betsy! There must be a loop-hole somewhere, nobody is supposed to actually qualify! :-)
-- john hill (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2002.