When the government offers to help – run!

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By Dr Muriel Newman, NZCPR

US President Ronald Reagan’s famous expression “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help’,” used to bring a chuckle from New Zealanders, who traditionally regarded ‘The Government’ as benign.

Not any more.

One of the first warning signs of Jacinda Ardern’s totalitarian tendencies came after the Christchurch Mosque attacks, when the rights of law-abiding firearm owners were abolished without warning or consultation.

Then, in March last year, in an unprecedented response to the global pandemic, the whole country was forced into a lockdown. For the first time in our history, those fundamental democratic freedoms protected by the New Zealand Bill of Rights – including our freedom of association and movement – were suspended.

In an articleWhat Price Liberty and the Virus, written at the time, former Judge and law lecturer Anthony Willy expressed his concerns: “In a sinister twist loss of these rights is backed by an apparently highly popular government encouraged scheme of dobbing in one’s neighbour for possible infractions.

“At the time of the fall of the Berlin wall it was estimated that the membership of the Stasi was about 80,000 but that many times this number were unpaid informants assisting the Stasi to protect the state from infection with the very ideas and principles the government has suspended.”

We now have new vaccine mandates for teachers and health workers. That mandate renders meaningless clause 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights, which says: “Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment”.

The mandate also represents a total reversal of the pledge the Prime Minister made before the 2020 election. When asked by AM Show host Duncan Garner whether penalties would be used to force vaccines onto New Zealanders, the PM said, “No, and we haven’t for any vaccination in New Zealand applied penalties in that way… I see no reason to have penalties.”

Jacinda Ardern’s broken promise was largely unreported by the mainstream media. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any “free world” country having a more compliant, pro-government media than New Zealand has at the present time…

The situation New Zealand is now in represents a real test for our Prime Minister. Will she continue the authoritarian divide and rule approach that Ronald Regan warned about, or will she finally realise that in a democracy true leadership involves protecting rights, not trampling them into the ground.

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