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Kia ora Joe,
We just had our elections here in New Zealand, and re-elected a very right wing government whose agenda is wholly set upon the conservative notion of always pointing the finger downwards, blaming beneficiaries and the poor for their own plight, tax breaks for the rich and corporates, refusal to recognize indigenous peoples as even relevant,(remembering here in NZ The Treaty of Waitangi, or the agreement between Maori and the British Queen was the cornerstone founding document of our country - now viewed by many as an irrelevant old piece of parchment past its use by date, while at the same time holding up western documents, the Magna Carta, the Constitution, ect., as unassailable bastions of western culture, thought, and democracy). Sorry I digress. But also a government whose agenda is to let the world know New Zealand is "Open for Business", our state assets for sale, our national parks, state forests, and pristines seas open for mining and oil exploration. All in the name of perpetuating the current system, which highly benefits the current haves over the have nots. Not to mention sustaining the ultimately unsustainable view of the earth and what we leave to our tamariki.
My point is here in NZ, the first western democracy to give the vote to women, the country which in the past has had one of the highest voter turnouts in the world, this election had 48% of eligible voters whom did NOT vote. We have a marginalized class of poor, mainly brown, who worry more about staying alive than voting, and a media which beat us up from day 1 about the foregone conclusion that the National government would be swept into power, thus a large percentage of smaller party voters in our MMP system whom did not even bother voting. Shameful and appalling silence indeed. My apologies in advance if this is too far off the subject, but the roaring silence of good people is still loud in my ears. Kia kaha e hoa - and safe and healthy Yuletide wishes to you and yours.

Joe McCarthy

Robb: thanks, as always, for sharing your perspective, and for making connections between recent developments in the US and developments in NZ.

I have admired the way you have voiced your views on the prioritization of the indigenous people and the natural resources of NZ on your blog, and hope that you will continue to instigate other voices - and votes - and succeed in promoting greater appreciation for natural - vs. financial - wealth.

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