Home' The Wellingtonian : September 8th 2011 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, SEPTEMBER 8, 2011
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We love New Zealand!
Hager puts focus on foreign policy
The latest book by
Nicky Hager captured a lot
of attention on the political
landscape last week.
The headline claims were about
the collusion between American
intelligence agencies and New
Zealand troops engaged in aid and
development work in Afghanistan,
but they were not an essential
part of the book s core argument.
During the past 15 years, a suc-
cession of publications by Hager
have all had a common theme.
Each book has examined vari-
ous ways in which the country s
autonomy is being eroded by
processes largely concealed from
the general public.
This absence of genuine demo-
cratic participation and debate
has been Hager s recurring theme
-- regardless of whether the lack of
transparency has been the by-
product of our military and intel-
ligence alliances, or fostered by
our own politicians and
bureaucrats and their public
Other People's Wars is no
Hager s subject this time is the
inner workings of the defence
establishment post-September 11,
and its alleged efforts to subvert
the quasi-independent foreign
policy of the Clark Government.
Predictably, the current Gov-
ernment has chosen to ignore the
contents of the book, and trusted
that most New Zealanders will not
bother to read it.
Likewise, the defence bureauc-
racy has maintained it has always
complied with the defence policies
of the government of the day.
This is despite reports in the
book of the military s own con-
cerns about the blurring of lines
between our intelligence gather-
ing and aid efforts in Afghanistan,
and to the covert assistance being
given to the American military
effort in Iraq, despite Government
policy to the contrary.
For many readers, the lasting
value of the book will be its docu-
mentation of a fascinating chapter
in our recent history.
By the late 1990s, the New Zea-
land defence hierarchy was being
yanked, kicking and screaming,
out of its Cold War mindset, and
from its automatic deference to
the priorities of our traditional
allies in Canberra, London and
Washington. At the same time,
our armed forces also faced major
Governments had been happy to
take advantage of the Soviet
Union s collapse to run down our
armed forces -- as was illustrated
by some embarrassing equipment
failures during New Zealand s
deployment in Bosnia.
Thus, the incoming Clark Gov-
ernment had to devise a fresh pol-
icy framework, and find an
affordable way of re-equipping the
armed forces for this new role.
The answers Clark came up
with? In future, any armed forces
deployment would require an
explicit United Nations resol-
ution, and be relatively indepen-
dent of our traditional allies.
Such a role would be affordable
only if our armed forces became
army-focused, with the air force
and navy reduced mainly to
That vision was met with fierce
opposition from both the residue
of Cold War thinkers within the
defence hierarchy, and its recently
retired former leadership.
That tension is well captured by
Hager s book, which gives chapter
and verse on the brief period --
punctuated by the September 11
attacks -- when New Zealand
briefly tried to put distance
between itself and the neo-
colonial tendencies of our tra-
In some ways, we can feel grate-
ful. Elsewhere, when soldiers
decide their political masters are
being misguided, they take more
Hager has shown that even
within the New Zealand context,
such tendencies have not been
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He cannot pay his best staff
competitive salaries and the
university is at its capacity of
At a time like this, something
has to give, and Mr Walsh and his
council have elected to trim course
programmes, cut some staff and
delay work around the university.
I don t think there was much
If the finger of blame needs to
be pointed somewhere, it should
be at successive governments
which have let down New
Zealand s universities by not
funding them adequately, despite
repeated and increasingly loud
complaints from various vice-
chancellors. The students have
taken the easy way out in
targeting Mr Walsh.
It was bad enough when brothels,
strip clubs and other unsavoury
establishments were confined to
But at least then it was easy to
know which part of Wellington to
Now there is an establishment
in Courtenay Place and, as you
note (September 1), another in
Those defending the situation
will point out that prostitution in
New Zealand is legal and that
therefore such businesses have
every right to be placed anywhere.
It is undeniable, however, that
the sorts of signs that you
illustrated your story with send a
What a pity Wellington has
gone this way.ELIZABETH JEFFERIES
FROM THE WEB
Brothel in spotlight
Bill: It s tacky, not very clever and
certainly not very funny (it s a
familiar and hackneyed pun). But
so what? It s not lewd, and it is
after all signalling the entrance to
a perfectly legitimate brothel, the
clients of which no doubt need all
the help they can get.
Observer: If you don t want to
see this, then perhaps prostitution
should be made illegal again.
Otherwise, these are legal
businesses with a right to
advertise their location with
attention-grabbing signs, the
same right as any other legal
Phil (Dunedin): In bad taste?
Yes. His right to downgrade his
brothel s level of appeal from
somewhat classy to trashy? Yes.
Needless to say, if I was in
Wellington I d be doing a ninja job
on the sign with black spray
C'mon: It s mildly funny but,
urgh...sooo tacky, sounds like a
14-year-old boy came up with that
Bullyboy: Funny how all these
brothels are opening or re-opening
just in time for hordes of slightly
tipsy rugby fans hitting the
streets after supporting their
national teams. A nice Kiwi
Emily: It s awesome to walk
down the high street in
Wellington with my six-year-old
daughter and be confronted with
brothel and strip club windows
full of images of half-naked
women bent over in porno poses,
and now language to match it, too.
Kids are like sponges at her age,
especially impressionable to the
images, symbols and language
that adults decide to educate them
FM: Yeah, but obviously his
tastes are in his pants...Of
course it s tacky, offensive, and
inappropriate. But, hey, I guess
anything goes in a free market.
Mike: This is just another sign
(pun intended) of the decline of
New Zealand society. This, along
with the lonely soul who died in
Newtown Park flats, is a symptom
that we have lost our way. This
sign is offensive and tacky.
Ross: Everyone knows what
upstairs is. If anyone objects to it,
I d just say it s in text language
form. But we know now that it s
not text language because he
basically admitted it isn t.
Call for resignation
Gwynn: How ridiculous to limit
international relations research to
the Asia-Pacific region. While the
region is certainly the future
economic powerhouse, it still
operates in a paradigm that was
crafted by, and will be led for a
considerable time more, by
Western powers -- namely the
Lisa: WOW! Again, people have
pulled this waaaay out of
proportion! I m someone who had
to verify and accept these
changes. VUW is about five years
behind. We need to make these
changes to be with the other
universities. Hiding under a rock,
not accepting change, does not
bring VUW, let alone NZ, up with
the rest of the world.
Lexi: I m no fan of Pat Welsh,
but do you really think he made
all these changes by himself? It s
the whole VUW council that needs
a good shake-up...Sack the
VUW council, that s a campaign
I d get behind!
Student Job Search
Tui ad: Why can t students have
both an online system and a local
service with regional staff who
can provide a local service, rather
than replacing local staff with call
centre staff in Wellington...
because that s the plan, is it not?
Dan: Removing the face-to-face
aspect of the interview process
will result in much poorer service.
A large percentage of the
customers (employers) are elderly
and require students who are
perfectly suitable for certain jobs.
Gemma: Agree with your
editorial. Just wish his loan had
come through and he could sort
the bills out and sign some more
brilliant players for the Nix.
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