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Letters To NZine - Bob Bargh
- 11/6/99 -

Readers have asked for a section where they can air their views on sundry New Zealand topics, so here it is. Address your letters to:

What does it mean to be a New Zealander in 1999?
Bob Bargh is saddened by what he sees as a downward slide.

Now it's 1999 I ask myself - what does it mean to be a New Zealander?

Well, in material terms I don't collectively own much any more. I no longer have a bank; I no longer have a stake in the nation's means of communication, or most of the rest of the national infrastructure. My post office, that used to be in the nearby town, has long gone. The town's bank, and its mates, went when the Australian owners decided that it was no longer efficient.

The local councils have been shoved together and have contracted out their services so that my involvement with them has been alienated and diminished. The government no longer represents my needs, nor is it accountable to me with respect to my education or health. All local representation in these areas either disappeared or, in the case of schools, their representatives have been forced to consider money before students.

I have lost touch with many fellow New Zealanders who made the supreme sacrifice by being thrown out of their work for the sake of efficiency and are now derided as no-hopers who don't want to, and won't work; regardless of the fact that there is no work available. Poverty is endemic throughout the nation, soup kitchens have become an acceptable way of life and charitable institutions are an integral part of the government's social policy.

The highly paid All Blacks lost five games in a row and are coached and managed by people preoccupied with branding and profit. The Black Caps, their coach and NZ Cricket are more interested in life style and status than the game. Anyway I can't watch sport because I will not buy into Sky. Advertisements, posh sports and crap culture either from, or derived from, other nations pollute our television.

In New Zealand, so they tell us, an economic miracle has been performed and a dream world has been created which is the envy of the entire globe. But after fifteen years of anticipating Nirvana we cannot balance the current account and our overseas debt is almost one hundred billion dollars. My week-end and holidays are no longer sacrosanct but if I have the money and time I can now shop 'till I drop.

Twenty-five per cent of young New Zealanders emerge from their schooldays without being able to read, write or do elementary arithmetic. What does that mean for the democratic system? Governments are elected by voters who are influenced by image rather than substance. In fact democracy just does not work in New Zealand because the politicians feel no responsibility to carry out party and personal policies which they have expounded to gather votes. New Zealand politicians chop and change parties and policies to service their own ends.

Last, yet first, a wonderfully dedicated public service has been totally disestablished and been replaced by organizations which have the dollar as their central incentive. The major infrastructure of the country has been sold and put in the hands of the materialists, many of whom come from overseas.

All this in a wonderfully fertile country inhabited by only a few people. No wonder the indigenous people now want to opt out. So would I, if I could. In the not too distant future we will not be concerned with what it means to be a New Zealander, we'll be Australian having become one of their states. It will be ever so much more efficient and we will be told, by big brother, that there was just no other alternative.

Cry for our beloved country.

Bob Bargh

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