Posts Tagged ‘ corruption ’

Zuma chips away at democracy in South Africa

In democratic countries we tend to focus a lot on elections as being the yardstick of being ‘truely’ democratic. Nothing wrong with this as after all, the ability of a society to go through the process of examination of politicians without trying to stifle debate and hide unpalatable stuff is a measure of the maturity of a democratic society.

Election processes and their free and fairness does not alone make a democracy. The other side to this is the Iindependence of freedom form political interference of the courts to carry out and enforce the laws of the land that have been put in place by the democratically elected government.

The moment politicians start to mess around with judges independence and alter and bend laws to ensure that people cannot be brought to account for crimes, and use ‘popular protest’ as a means of circumventing the law, then voting just becomes a sham.

Venezuela being an example. Chavez finds some mayors are elected he doesn’t like, fine, he just gets a bunch of thugs to occupy the town halls calling it ‘popular protest’, he then sets about changing the laws to render officials and the courts inoperable. Sure, there was an ‘election’ but it’s what happens after that’s the problem.

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The cheque's in the mail.

All countries have this issue to varying degrees, in New Zealand you could argue that the Electoral Finance Act was an attempt to curb speech in a way that favours the Government of the day.

The imminent election of Jacob Zuma as president is possibly another erosion of the rule of law in South Africa. There’s no doubt he is popular and that his political opponents have tried to be rid of him. But he has made it clear he is going ‘reform’ parts of the law and these apply directly to the charges against him that were thrown out in less than transparent fashion. 

The fact that Zuma has managed to avoid being held to account for a string of very dubious charges while those associated with them got slapped on the wrist and let off, should be worrying for all South African’s. One of South Africa’s greatest strengths in Africa is that it’s legal system functions properly through the courts which do not have the corruption obvious in other African states. If Zuma messes with judicial independence then South Africa’s competitive advantage will crumble – not to mention the gradual corruption that will permeate the system leading to a huge backward step.

Optimists might say that Zuma will be different when elected and a bit more gracious, but personally doubt it. Power corrupts, and if there’s already corruption there, then the power Zuma is about to get will corrupt him even more.

A vote for NZ First a vote for Labour

I blogged about this last month, my personal feeling being that Key had a lot to gain by ruling out a coalition with NZ First (read Winston First), and nothing much to lose.

Now Key has come out and effectively ruled out any coalition with NZ First – unless National get a proper explanation from Winston about what the hell’s been going on. The chance of this are nil, Winston is living in his own fantasy world where he is the most stunningly intelligent gifted politician in the universe, and the rest of us a thick, naive, brain dead morons who believe everything he says.

Winston has become so deluded that I think he actually believes himself, which is not surprising really, you would need to suspend belief to believe him, so for him to sound so convincing he has had to do the same thing.

The whole Winston saga, way back before any of the latest rubbish came to light, has always had a strong whiff of hypocrisy about it. Anyone who has taken more than a passing interest in his political career would know that most of his positions were untenable, and that as a populist he just pressed whatever buttons got a surge in his rating and to hell with principals or logic.

Sooner of later this was all going to bite him in the arse.

Well, finally, this may be happening.

If Key sticks to his word, he will go down as the first party leader to show some principals and guts when it came to NZ First. Oh, and sticking to your word doesn’t mean performing the same gymnastics that Clark pulls, it means you’ll not have anything to do with NZ First until we’re all completely clear about what’s going on, not you having some quiet meeting and being ‘personally’ satisfied with his explanation. All NZders deserve to know what has been going on because we foot the bill for this crap, and clearly some pretty fast and loose stuff has been going on that some might think looked a lot like corruption.

This position from Key has put him way up in my estimation. Politically it is a big call and possibly this indicates that in fact Key is someone who can make such decisions and will prove to be an effective and decisive leader.

Here’s a photo of Winston not attending the Bloodstock Auctions at Karaka in 2006… glad we got that cleared up!

Lawyer Speak – Winston First

There is a fascinating transcript of an interview NBR did with Brian Henry about how Winston financed, or did not finance, his legal bill, well actually it’s not a bill (yet) for the Electoral Petition last election (That Winston lost,).

It’s well worth reading because it shows you just the level of moral chicanery that these guy’s are up too.

I’ve seen this sort of thing before. It’s the same convoluted arguments and justifications and legalese, it’s something people in countries like China, Tonga, Pakistan, Russia would be used to hearing. Coincidentally all these countries are right down bottom of Transparceny International’s list rating corruption in countries internationally.

Fortunately we are still number one, but this sort of thing makes you wonder how long we can hold that spot, because I think it’s a slippery slope we are on!

Here’s the link to NBR’s interview... ‘enjoy’!

New Start, New Opportunities… uh, right…

Well it was probably long overdue. Having had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with the Immigration Department on a number of occasions my experience was not pleasant – and I’m a ‘native’ New Zealander.

I suspect one of the problems with the Immigration Department is that the people it ‘serves’ are not tax paying residents. This seems to mean that any pretense at customer service that you would find at any other tax payer funded service, got discarded years ago.

The corruption allegations are not at all surprising, it’s surprising that it has taken so long. I raised this issue with the department in the 90’s, it was around Chinese Nationals being able to pay for visitors visa’s (USD2000 at the time). The only problem was that the department wouldn’t give ‘immunity’ to the Chinese immigrants who had paid for their visa’s, so of course, it never went any further. I got the distinct impression they knew what was going on, but had little interest in stamping it out.

The Immigration department is a national disgrace. No tax payer would accept the rude obstructive behaviour of officers, who may well have taken training in China as some of the bizarre advice and decisions could only emanate from a truly horrifying bureaucratic tradition that is alive and well in China and other communist countries.

This is the first experience new immigrants to NZ have of the country, and I have yet to find a single person who found it helpful or enjoyable. We are competing for quality immigrants globally, and it simply is not good enough to treat potential New Zealanders in such an off-hand way.

You come away from the experience wondering if in fact the goal is to discourage immigrants, because although the web site and literature provided makes it look like we want immigrants, the attitude a of officers is the opposite, often downright rude, convoluted and illogical service all combine to make one wish they could just pay a couple of grand to the officer as a back hander, just to get it over and done with.

Maybe the service needs to be privatised; given a mission statement, a target number and allow some companies to provide a proper service, rather than the corrupt sham we currently subject immigrants too. It surely couldn’t be any worse than what is currently on offer!