New Zealanders must 'speak out' about omitted rights or be reduced to 'numbers'.
New Zealand has been taken over by a 'bicultural' tribal elite, largely by virtue of birth, under the Treaty of Waitangi and manipulating human rights in their favor. The human rights omissions kill people and leave many with lives barely worth living. They have an anti-human rights philosophy, 'discriminatory collectivism', which aims to destroy individual and collective potential and any bottom-up challenge yet human rights regards the individual as a person (and spiritually, I believe, God regards the individual has having a 'name'). But there is still hope.
New Zealanders must ‘speak out’ about omitted human rights or be reduced to mere ‘numbers’.
Anthony George Ravlich,
Human Rights Council Inc. (2001, New Zealand)
10D/15 City Rd.
Ph: (0064) (09) 940.9658
***Also reader, I need some help as this submission is ‘too hot to handle in NZ’ - could you please circulate it. I would like as many New Zealanders as possible to read it including the about one in five New Zealanders now residing overseas many of whom had to escape***.
This is the submission of the Human Rights Council Inc. (New Zealand) to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for New Zealand’s review on May 23.
(Also provided to the above committee was a ‘Request by New Zealand Human Rights outsider to appear before UN committee’, http://www.indymedia.org.nz/article/79554/request-new-zealand-human-righ... Noam Chomsky, who has been my major supporter over the years, commented on this request: “Sad reading. So different from the image. Glad to see there are glimmers of hope” (personal email, 24 April, 2011).
As New Zealand chooses which human rights to include in human rights law the image portrayed lacks balance – it is hoped the following redresses this imbalance).
PS. There was no reply to my request to the United Nations for return ticket to address the UN Committee.
New Zealanders need to ‘speak out’ about the omitted human rights or they will be completely engulfed by the extremely negative, ‘evil’, philosophy of ‘discriminatory collectivism’ where you will be nothing but a ‘number’.
It was a devious and deceitful manipulation of human rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990 (BORA) which led to the human rights omissions but generally New Zealanders are oblivious to its enormous impact over society.
The aim of the philosophy of ‘discriminatory collectivism’ is to protect a ‘bicultural’ tribal elite partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi from any ‘bottom-up’ challenge.
It is the view that, apart from the social status of the group ‘the collective is everything and the individual is merely a number’. The bi-cultural emphasis is also racist because it is a multicultural society.
But in human rights terms the individual is a ‘person’, and, I believe, for God individuals have a ‘name’, they are not a mere number. Human rights, well done, also includes holistic development which includes the spiritual dimension (see ‘Human Rights as a Way of Life’ below).
The UN Human Rights Committee has told New Zealand on three occasions since 1993 to include the omitted rights from the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 but our governments have ignored them.
Such ‘discriminatory collectivism’ aims to ensure no ‘bottom-up’ challenge, to destroy individual and collective potential. It purged the nation of its potential leaders, the ‘best and brightest’, and ‘crushed and isolated’ those at the bottom (see the New Zealand Tragedy below) so they could never support any ‘bottom-up’ challenge.
And many children suffering ‘staggering levels’ of child maltreatment and high poverty levels would also have their emotional growth severely curtailed (even most ‘so-called criminals’ have a ‘code of honor’ when it comes to children).
The human rights omissions in the BORA has privileged this ‘bicultural’ elite and is designed to create a ‘tribal New Zealand’ in their interests. ‘Discriminatory collectivism’ arose from global changes whereby sexist, racist societies were to be replaced by a class-based society dominated by, in New Zealand, a ‘bicultural’ tribal elite.
My book, ‘Freedom from our social prisons: the rise of economic, social and cultural rights’ (Lexington Books, 2008) is recommended on the United Nations website http://hrbaportal.org/?page_id=3180 provides the basis of the ethical approach to human rights, development, and globalization more fully described in latter articles which shows (although more work is still required) that human rights ‘trade-offs’ are not necessary. In New Zealand it has just served the purpose of a ‘bicultural’ elite (see a brief description of this ethical approach towards the end of this submission).
These bureaucratic elites lead the collectives, including a left tribal middle class, and academia who were major beneficiaries of the omissions. This truth of the omissions now mean they have lost any moral legitimacy and should now pose little trouble to a determined government wishing to include the omitted rights and address the very high levels of needless suffering, including the children.
A number of people are killed by these human rights omissions which also results in large numbers living lives barely worth living [Reader: before continuing you might like to take a look at the social statistics below to see the dimensions of the problem being faced, also remembering that New Zealand was once regarded as one of the most egalitarian countries in the world].
Collectives were ranked according to social status and in collusion with the Corporations discriminated against the independent peoples on the grounds of social class.
For instance, two omitted rights in the bill of rights which privileged the ‘bicultural elites’ on the basis of descent rather than ability, were non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin (social status by descent) and birth (also involves descent, family lineage or Whakapapa) are required under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. ). These forms of non-discrimination will simply be called social class discrimination in this submission.
Also, New Zealanders had no way of knowing about the omissions because the New Zealand Human Rights Commission have stated that while they are required to educate people in human rights under Section 5(a) of the Human Rights Act 1993 successive governments have not funded it. Consequently people also had no understanding of the profound effects of this bill on New Zealand society.
But New Zealanders seem to be in a state of paralysis perhaps still in shock at the brutal changes to society in the past twenty years and having being delivered a constant barrage of ‘false hope’.
So even the simple human rights truth of the omissions, which can be easily verified by comparing the rights in the bill with the rights in the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights upon which it is based, means extremely little to New Zealanders who have become so cynical of any possible hope, preferring to focus on their own survival.
Human rights have become relative to the individual and the collective i.e. they are only concerned with the human rights which affect them – universal truth and human rights which affect all is rarely of any concern to them.
It is true human rights are a bit like ‘rocket science’, extremely complex, but the universal declaration of human rights can be understood by nearly all and it does not take a genius to realize that one’s increasingly lower lifestyle could well be attributed to discrimination against your group – and, in fact, it is.
Of course, New Zealanders, like Maori, can choose slavery by ignoring the human rights omissions but would they have the courage to tell this to their children. ‘True warriors’ do not give into ‘evil’.
Consequently, one must be very concerned about the future of human rights and the people of this country. The people do not understand the ‘discriminatory collectivism’ that has descended upon them. In fact, it is times like these that the national anthem, ‘God Defend New Zealand’, is all about. New Zealander’s ancestors had obviously been there.
However, the NZ Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International in NZ have recognized the danger (see below) and positive moves have been made by the Key government to address the terrible treatment of children but it may not be enough to prevent a complete take over by this pervasive ‘evil’ which is now in the process of taking over the Corporations.
The methods of this anti-human rights philosophy proved very effective in eliminating any ‘bottom-up’ challenge:
This was done by ridding the country of its best thinkers, potential leaders and economic and social entrepreneurs who are best capable of addressing high levels of needless suffering (this is similar to getting rid of all the medical doctors and leaving it to people who only know first-aid). It also despicably ‘crushed and isolated’ those at the bottom of the social scale who might support any ‘bottom-up’ challenge (see The New Zealand Tragedy below).
Last June 2010 I appeared in the Auckland High Court after making a stand on principle. I described the New Zealand Tragedy and High Court Justice, Lyn Stevens (now on the Court of Appeal), believed my first-hand account of what happened at the bottom of the social scale. On viewing the terrible social statistics he asked me why I had not informed society earlier (see my submission, ‘Freedom is not an impossible dream’, to the Auckland High Court, also see our website, www.hrc2001.org.nz and also the above ‘Request by New Zealand Human Rights outsider to appear before UN committee’, http://www.indymedia.org.nz/article/79554/request-new-zealand-human-righ... ).
I am concerned to see that those children suffering much child abuse at the bottom of the social scale are informed, when they get older, of what the State put their parents through. I am also concerned to see that those who were put through this get compensation. As a start, affirmative action should be applied where it is meant to be applied, to the most disadvantaged and those small economic and social entrepreneurs, treated just as badly, who can best help them.
I am convinced no witness with their sanity intact and able to articulate what happened was meant to pull through the extreme negativity and social class discrimination (i.e. an outpouring of utter hate virtually non-stop over 20 years which social isolated people and pushed them down) – I was lucky. Some people say I am lucky to be a human rights activist in New Zealand because elsewhere I would be shot – to which I reply, only if you are lucky enough to survive what happened to people at the bottom. But I now have no illusions about what society is up against because I know the extent to which they will go to achieve their ends.
Those at the bottom were reduced to criminality, mental illness, serious drug addiction, prostitution, high levels of suicide, and ill health and an early death for the poor while the police had to further arm themselves to deal with increasing violence. In addition there were ‘staggering’ levels of child maltreatment and shocking child health statistics. Devalued in a ‘tribal New Zealand’ going nowhere their emotional development and potential would be severely curtailed.
This ensured those at the bottom were unable to engage in such political uprisings as seen in other parts of the world where people had not been treated as badly. I also strongly suspect other States engage in such extremely despicable methods.
For such elites, who do not care about universal human rights, it is just a power game – so high levels of needless suffering, including the children, which their left sector created by the human right omissions, are largely ignored.
Also, to them it is also just a perverse numbers game. For example, ensuring equal numbers, sex, race etc. at the top bringing others up to the same level but at the bottom it is the diametric opposite - it is a matter of reducing all to achieve ‘equal numbers’ with the lowest common denominator – in New Zealand this means Pakeha reduced to the same terrible social outcomes as ‘tribal’ Maori. At least two New Zealands has been created now where people only see the person’s ‘social conditions’ and not the person.
But these elites only concerned to ‘look good’ achieve acceptability by excluding those human rights from human rights law which they do not wish to be assessed on.
But the New Zealand Human Rights Commission is alert to the danger New Zealand faces and is recommending the inclusion of three of the omitted rights – children’s rights, equal rights and non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin (social status by descent) (Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, http://www.hrc.co.nz/human-rights-environment/human-rights-in-new-zealan....
In my view, the commission became more seriously concerned with the onset of the financial crisis and the realization that human rights (just as was the case with the money) were not going to ‘trickle down’.
This is already leading to a greater focus on children and an awareness amongst a number in the left ‘tribal’ middle classes of its necessity. A Press Release from the Child Poverty Action Group commends the extra Government funding for the early weeks of life (Dr Nikki Turner, 6 May 2011).
And the removal of social class discrimination promises to pave the way for a more balanced approach to development as well as other major positive changes (see below).
While equal rights could see a greater emphasis on ensuring those at the bottom of the social scale have their human rights. There has to be a bottom line for human rights past which people cannot be pushed (see the ethical approach below).
Having mixed with the poor for very many years and experiencing the same social isolation and human rights violations, I can say without a doubt that ‘discriminatory collectivism’ will not be satisfied until it has total control of New Zealand leaving the people in a state of abject obedience to the ‘bicultural’ elite.. But these elites exist by virtue of descent not merit – they simply do not know what they are doing – the human rights omissions from the covenant were not necessary especially because the West has long supported these rights.
But it takes a long time for the reality to ‘trickle up’ especially when there is a serious social disconnect between the middle classes (the left in particular), the mainstream and the beneficiary/underclass – but it is time New Zealand simply does not have.
Also concerned about New Zealand’s human rights situation is Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, who from my experience is reluctant to criticize the State it is based in: in a recent Press Release on 13 May 2011 Paul Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ stated:
“The Government has failed to formally safeguard human rights for
all New Zealanders by continuing to refuse to legally entrench the New
Zealand Bill of Rights Act, allowing for the possible enactment of
legislation that could be inconsistent with its provisions. The Act also
fails to give legal recognition to economic, social and cultural rights”.
Also as terrible as the Christchurch earthquakes were the rebuilding (also the ‘leaky homes’) promises a refocus on the individual and collective potential which is anathema to ‘top-down’ tribalism dominated by elites who prefer to do nothing about needless suffering rather than have their ‘sacred cow’ status threatened.
Also, there is a plan for the future: an ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization (see below) which promises to emphasis what really matters – the worst, most prevalent violations – and also enable a radical ideas-driven independent ‘bottom-up’ development to ensure needless suffering is dealt with seriously. Simple improvements to the ‘old ideas’ of the Corporations will not be enough, in my view. This radical approach is needed because of the very high levels of needless suffering domestically and globally. The ethical approach will ensure human rights for all not just elites.
Also, globally there is support for such a human rights ‘bottom-up’ challenge in New Zealand - uprisings across parts of Europe, particularly the Middle East as well as earthquakes have unleashed the positive, ‘bottom-up’ forces in the world needed if the very high levels of needless suffering and the crushing of human potential, as also seen in New Zealand, are to be addressed. In fact, in my view, we better get our act together otherwise other parts of the world will leave us in their wake.
But many New Zealanders seem to be pretending that nothing has happened and its life in New Zealand as usual. While those at the bottom are convinced decline it inevitable and hold no hope for the country. The latter is, I consider, is a consequence of the extreme negativity, humiliation and ‘false hope’ of the past twenty years. Consequently they have become very cynical. However, the Republic of New Zealand Party and the Human Rights Party now have this ethical approach as a basis of their political platform. Otherwise I would suggest New Zealanders give the smaller parties a chance in the November election or simply do not vote at all. Passive resistance is a good approach under these circumstances.
I consider the main purpose of the BORA was to cement the hegemony of these ‘bi-cultural’ bureaucratic elites over New Zealand before the increasing multicultural reality had to be faced. Effective ‘divide and rule’ leads to blaming the Corporations for social ills and hides the hegemony of the ‘bicultural elite’ and the human rights omissions (see below). These bureaucratic elites are supported by like-minded elites at the UN and supported by successive New Zealand governments (see ch 5 of my book). And there is also a concern to what extent ‘discriminatory collectivism’ has taken over the UN bureaucracy (see below).
The ethnic composition of New Zealand as at 2006 and projected figures for 2016 and 2026 in brackets indicates an increasingly multicultural society: European or Other (including ‘New Zealander’), 77% (73%, 70%); Maori, 15% (16%, 16%); Asian, 10% (13%, 16%); Pacific peoples, 7% (13%, 16%); Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, 0.9%. (2010 The Social Report, Ministry of Social development, http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/people/ethnic-composition-population... ).
The BORA’s temporary nature is indicated by the comments of New Zealand’s delegate, Mr Keating, to the UN Human Rights Committee who were reviewing New Zealand’s human rights. He stated: “The characteristics of the Bill of Rights should be seen in the appropriate historical context, and the reasons for its enactment were part of a domestic political process” (Mr Keating (New Zealand), Summary Record of 1393rd meeting: New Zealand 04/07/95, Section 53).
In addition, Mr Keating said that there had been considerable scepticism on the part of the public as to the desirability of concretizing human rights in law. A desire for flexibility had led to overt reluctance to the permanent entrenchment of a set of principles devised by a particular set of people at a particular time and reflecting a particular set of cultural values (Mr Keating, Summary record of the 1394th meeting, 23 March 1995).
However Mr Keating’s statements are contrary to the view presented in the1985 White Paper “A Bill of Rights for New Zealand” tabled in the House of Representatives by the then Minister of Justice, Geoffrey Palmer (the “White Paper”) which proposed entrenchment of the bill (Ministry of Justice, http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/t/the-guidel... ). This suggests a bill for all time which would be, in my view, a terrible legacy to bequeath the children i.e. no prospect of ever following one’s dreams and reaching one’s full potential unless one leaves the country. Although education is provided to primarily benefit the globalized world not New Zealand.
The bill of rights is a ‘road map’ for public agencies: “All agencies of the Government were required to act in accordance with the BORA”(Mr Caughley (New Zealand), Human Rights Committee, seventy-fifth session, summary record of the First part (Public) of the 2016th meeting, 10 July 2002). And the omissions mean that the human rights of many are ignored.
And a major reason why ‘speaking out’ is so very difficult in New Zealand is because the omissions are designed to prevent dissent and deter ‘bottom-up’ economic and social development – in fact any ‘bottom-up’ challenge, which cannot be control, is feared by the elites. But often isolated individuals need to be able to appeal to higher law.
Sir Geoffrey Palmer was made Prime Minister for two years, from August 1989 until September 1990, primarily to enact the bill of rights.
Geoffrey Palmer, in his foreword to the White Paper, concluded that:
“5. In practical terms the Bill of Rights is a most important set of messages to the
machinery of Government itself. It points to the fact that certain sorts of laws
should not be passed, that certain actions should not be engaged in. In that
way a Bill of Rights provides a set of navigation lights for the whole process
of Government to observe” (15 Years of the NZ Bill of Rights: Time to celebrate, Time to Reflect, Time to Work., Petra Butler, p2, (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/40709134/RS%C2%A0OF%C2%A0THE%C2%A0NZ%C2%A0BI...).
Under section 7 of the bill of rights the Attorney-General is ‘to report to Parliament where Bill appears to be inconsistent’ with the bill of rights so where there are human rights omissions legislation which violates these omitted rights can be passed without question.
In addition, consideration of the Treaty was built into the law-making process in New Zealand. “All Ministers seeking approval to introduce bills into Parliament must indicate whether they were consistent with the principles of the Treaty. The Treaty was also incorporated into a range of domestic legislation. Regardless of whether a particular Act referred to the Treaty, the Courts had interpreted relevant legislation in a manner consistent with the Treaty whenever possible” (Human Rights Committee
Ninety-eighth session, Summary record of the 2697th meeting, para.14, 16 March 2010 )
Sometimes the New Zealand delegates at the UN Human Rights Committee justified human rights exclusions because it was the public will (see below). However, my book ( see above, pp52-55) describes how the bill was very little understood by New Zealanders e.g. Paul Rishworth states: The White Paper debates had shown that that the bill of rights was largely irrelevant to the concerns of ordinary working people” ( Rights and Freedoms ed Grant Huscroft and Paul Rishworth, Brooker’s Ltd 1995, p23).
In my view, their argument was only credible to the extent that the public would have been concerned about the number of rights to protect criminals e.g. there are 7 sections (search, arrest and detention) out of a total of 20 sections. The New Zealand delegate, Mr Keating, told the UN Human Rights Committee: “ Most of the early jurisprudence since the adoption of the Bill of Rights had related to criminal procedural issues, and had caused considerable public alarm, for the Bill of Rights was perceived as having created more loopholes for defendants in criminal cases” (Human Rights Committee, fifty-third session, Summary record of the 1394th Meeting, CCPR/C/SR.1394, 23rd March 1995).
However, given the ‘tribal’ nature of the bill of rights high crimes rates (as with ‘tribal’ Maori) would have been anticipated, in my view, so the extra rights protections would have been needed to limit rates of imprisonment (and so ‘look good’).
It was not until three years later that human rights education was required under Section(5a) of the NZ Human Rights Act 1993 but according to the NZ Human Rights Commission this has never been funded but such a proactive approach was particularly important when an underclass was created following the severe benefit cuts in April 1991.
The beneficiaries/underclass needed to know their human rights and be encouraged to make complaints especially when faced with a hostile State and a bureaucracy and society with a ‘budgeting’ mentality (a former commissioner at the NZ Human Rights Commission told me that ‘the poor stay away in droves’ and our council’s attempts, despite having the statistical research expertise, to gain funding to research the human rights of those low on the social scale were rejected ).
To further explain the New Zealand Tragedy and the difference between real hardship and real cruelty: the residents of Christchurch following the earthquakes and ongoing tremors will be facing real hardship but there is a huge difference between real hardship and real cruelty. What happened to those at the bottom of the social scale in New Zealand was real cruelty because social class discrimination (i.e. an outpouring of utter hate directed at them) virtually non-stop over about 20 years ensured their isolation from society and their inability to help themselves or reach their full potential. Many of those socially isolated lower on the social scale found themselves facing the mental health system on the one hand and/or the criminal justice system on the other. And they wonder why this ‘sub class’ has so little respect for authority!!!
However the victims in the Christchurch earthquake are supported by the State, not discriminated against (apart from Mother Nature) and share the hardship together. The State used common-sense in addressing the first earthquake helping victims but also helping those, e.g. small business, who would best help others. And the Key government had the support of all the MPs in parliament.
But such commonsense, which is reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human rights, is not reflected in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act (and is also very lacking in United Nations, see below) because of its omissions such as its narrow definition of the right to liberty, the exclusion of the right of ‘peoples’ to pursue their economic and social development and other self-help rights. Often only material deprivation is seen as problem but the social isolation and the denial of opportunities induced by social class discrimination is far worse, in my view. Such social isolation is one of the most powerful means of social control by the State, and, likely to be so in other countries as well (see further discussion below).
I began my human rights journey in 1991 but it was preceded by eight years seeking truth until I eventually found my human rights purpose. Spirituality has always been a part of this journey. I have kept in touch with my inner being and the universal truth or the soul where God resides by sticking (no compromise) to my ethical approach to human rights which ensures human rights for all not just some. And like most believers I am prepared to die for what I believe in.
While this has meant my social isolation and living in poverty but it is here I discovered the existence, as do a number of the poor and oppressed, of other inner resources.
I do not know the mind of God but I firmly believe, based on personal experience, God views everyone as having a name. They are not nothing or a mere number. So from this spiritual perspective this ‘discriminatory collectivism’, which kills a number of people by omission or results in many with lives barely worth living, is ‘evil’.
Also, from my personal understanding, God gives people a choice in what path they take in life – good or evil. So New Zealanders have a choice whether or not to allow this ‘discriminatory collectivism’ to continue its destructive path. It is often said that ‘evil only prevails when good people say nothing’.
Personally, if it was not for human rights I would consider those responsible for the human rights omissions as not worthy of a life on this planet. But I do believe spiritual redemption is possible. And, in my view, New Zealand can also redeem itself in terms of human rights despite losing its human rights innocence.
Also, a people can choose to live in slavery but can also change their minds. And a good start is to listen to other human rights truths apart from your own.
A major NGO, the People’s Movement for Human Rights Education, is promoting Human Rights as a Way of Life. It is a holistic vision which includes spirituality (see website, www.pdhre.org ).
In human rights, individuals are ‘persons’ capable of reaching the ‘free and full development of his/her personality’ (Article 29(1), UDHR) and ‘realizing’ higher levels of economic, social and cultural rights (Article 22, UDHR) i.e. they are at different stages of development and ability with gifts and talents which they can use for the benefit of human kind as can natural resources. They are holistic beings.
‘Discriminatory collectivism’ as practiced in neo liberal states, including New Zealand, does not involve direct violence in the suppression of ‘bottom-up’ challenges rather it kills by human rights omissions and leads to many with lives barely worth living.
Also, the NZ Human Rights Commission has given the Churches an opening to more freely debate these issues. In a NZ Herald article entitled ‘Church forces 'secular NZ' retreat’ it stated: “The Human Rights Commission has bowed to Catholic Church objections to a statement that New Zealand was a secular state and that religion was only for the "private sphere"”.
The Herald article added: “The statement, contained in a draft update of the commission's 2004 report on Human Rights in New Zealand Today, drew fire this week from the country's Catholic bishops.
"To suggest that matters of religion and belief belong only in the private sphere undermines the right of churches to seek to influence public opinion and political decision making," the bishops said. The evangelical Vision Network agreed, saying "no major religion sees itself as a privatized matter" (Simon Collins, NZ Herald, July 14, 2010).
According to Professor Jonathan Turley, a national legal scholar, the New Zealand bishops argued from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the NZ Bill of Rights. They considered the UDHR protects freedom of religion. (Human Rights Commission To Remove Language Referring to New Zealand as Secular State Under Pressure From the Catholic Church, http://jonathanturley.org/2010/07/14/human-rights-commission-to-remove-l... ).
While ‘tribalism’ is content to live with needless suffering I consider we have a duty to address it, if it is within our capacity to do so, especially when we have created most of it ourselves. Article 29 (1) states: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible”.
The following is a list of some social statistics which show the huge damage done to this society. They reflect the effects of ‘tribalism’, ‘discriminatory collectivism’ and social class discrimination determined to undermine the individual at every turn. There is a direct relationship between these social problems and the BORA’s human rights omissions (see further down for list of omissions):
The following social statistics also indicates, in a number of cases, the extremes New Zealand went to compared to other similar countries.
Tribal systems offer no future so the poor and their children as well as ‘tall poppies’ are of little relevance.
Committee expert Maria Herczog, UN rapporteur for New Zealand on children's rights, said that infant and child mortality rates remained "staggering"…. that twenty percent of New Zealand children lived in poverty, and the high rate of Maori and Pacific poverty was of particular concern….that New Zealand lacked "an overarching comprehensive child policy" that integrated the Convention on the Rights of the Child into legislation and strategy frameworks ( Infant and child mortality rates remained "staggering" despite policies to tackle the issue, NZPA, Fri, 28 Jan 2011).
From 2004 to 2008, the reported number of substantiated child maltreatment findings for children 16 and younger had risen from 8,500 to 16,000. During that time, the total number of children in that age range remained at about 1 million (Human Rights Committee Concludes Consideration of New Zealand’s Fifth Report HR/CT/721 16 March 2010). Barnardos advocacy manager Deborah Morris-Travers “New Zealand doesn’t rate well compared with our OECD counterparts. We have the worst child death by maltreatment rate in the world” (‘New report reveals hidden costs’, Grahame Armstrong, Sunday Star Times, 23 August 2009, http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/2779210/New-report-reveals-hidden-...
The Child poverty Action Group state there are 150,000 (26% of children) in significant or severe hardship (2004, no official data available for 2007).
This means the individual potential of many of the children largely from the beneficiary/under class sector is crushed at an early stage. This is very likely to take many years to overcome if they survive the mental health and criminal justice systems.
Professor Innes Asher, who has spent 30 years as a paediatrician and who works at the Starship Hospital, in The Porritt Lecture, Whanganui, on 3rd November 2010 (http://www.cpag.org.nz/assets/Health/MIAsherPorrittLecture3Nov2010.pdf), gave the following statistics:
UNICEF (2007): New Zealand rated 24th out of 25 countries in terms of Children’s Health and safety (infant deaths, immunization rates, deaths from injuries)
OECD (2009): highest rates of suicide among the 15-19 year age group; child mortality is higher than average; and immunization rates are poor especially for measles and pertussis;
Professor Innes Asher’s research compared NZ with other OECD countries where data is available for these diseases:
She states: “Rheumatic fever remains our worse indicator of our child health with our rates 14 times higher the rates of other comparable countries on a par with places like India; serious skin infections are double, whooping cough 5 to 10 times, pneumonia 5 to 10 times and bronchiectasis 8 to 9 times the rates in other OECD countries”
Professor Innes Asher’s research also looked at inequalities within New Zealand. The risk of disease in the most wealthy household areas in New Zealand compared with the most deprived 10% of household areas in New Zealand. She states: “…in the most deprived there are higher rates, but look at how high they are compared to the least deprived: meningococcal disease 5 times, rhematic fever 28 times ( a shocking figure), tuberculosis 5 times, gastroenteritis twice, bronchiolitis 6 times, partussis is nearly 4 times, pneumonia 4 times, bronchiectasis 15 times and asthma 3 times higher. These inequalities are in a supposedly egalitarian country. These differences show there are two New Zealands – one which is healthy and one which is not”.
What is happening to the children in New Zealand makes clear the utterly fraudulent nature of the globalization being pursued. This can be seen from the comments of such individuals like Mike Moore, former New Zealand Prime Minister and former Head of the World Trade Organization when he supported globalization by pointing out that China had succeeded in lifting many millions out of extreme poverty (October 2009, Newstalk ZB, interviewed by Leighton Smith). However, in my view, you cannot destroy the lives of New Zealand children – which also must also be lives worth living – even if it does help the children of the very poor in China. Human rights protects minorities so the ends do not justify the means even if one imagines this as being legitimized by a presently fictitious global democracy and one world government. It is a utilitarian approach of the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ used by psychopathic leadership throughout history to justify violating the human rights of minorities. And also, of course, globalization cannot be justified when it requires many New Zealanders to being so severely discriminated against on the grounds of social class.
Tribal systems demand ‘unquestioning obedience’ and want to suppress any ‘bottom-up’ challenge.
The aim of the ‘tribal’ system is to crush individual and collective economic and social development. People with independent minds seeking truth, with leadership potential, can pose a ‘bottom-up’ challenge to the elites exposing their hegemony and human rights omissions in their favor.
There was mass exodus of New Zealanders. Estimates vary as to the numbers of New Zealanders who now reside outside New Zealand. It is variously given as between 700,000 and one million out of a population of 4.3 million (this included 100,000 Maori estimated in 2008 as residing overseas despite the Maori renaissance, ‘Maori overseas’, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand). While, as described in the New Zealand tragedy, those at the bottom were terribly crushed and isolated and unless permitted to ‘speak out’ will just go elsewhere. The establishment employs numerous security guards to ensure people stay quiet.
According to the Australian Government department of immigration and citizenship as at 30 June 2009 an estimated 548,256 New Zealand citizens were present in Australia (www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/17nz.htm ). Although there are also significant numbers of New Zealanders living in the UK, the US and Canada (Statistics New Zealand based on 2001 data).
Kea New Zealand estimates there are one million New Zealanders living overseas. It has launched a global ‘census’ of expatriate New Zealanders, Every Kiwi Counts, aimed at connecting their estimate of one million Kiwis living overseas.
“New Zealanders living outside the country are some of our most talented people, and already make a big contribution to the country’s future development,” says Sue Watson, Global Chief Executive of Kea New Zealand, which has 29,000 members around the world, states: “The OECD says New Zealand is the developed country with the highest proportion of its educated population living overseas. So connecting these people with home is arguably more important to New Zealand’s society and economy than any country of our type” (18 April 2011).
She was referring to research by Jean-Christophe Dumont (OECD) and Georges Lemaître, Counting Immigrants and Expatriates in OECD Countries: A New Perspective, OECD, Social, Employment and Migration Working papers, summary published 2005. This study found that among developed countries New Zealand has the highest proportion (24%) of its skilled workforce living outside the country, and that New Zealand is second among developed countries for expats holding tertiary degrees. Now New Zealand discarding ‘tall poppies’ and destroying the lives of many who were marginalized in society now seems to want them back.
Tribal systems deny independent ‘bottom-up’ economic and social development and consequently people are unable to aspire above criminality and drug taking in times of unemployment:
In 1998 there were two clandestine drug laboratories throughout the country. In 2006 there were 211 labs discovered. New Zealand, now has one of the highest addiction rates to methamphetamine in the world and methamphetamine is now the world’s worst drug problem, considered to be pandemic across the globe (MethCon Group Ltd www.methcon.co.nz.).
According to the annual crime statistics violent crime increased by 9.2% in 2009 and disorder offending by 8% (Radio New Zealand News, 1 April 2010). Maori make up 51 per cent of the total prison population (Summary Record of the 2696 th meeting, Human Rights Committee, para 28, 15 March 2010).
In November 2009 the Ombudsman's office revealed New Zealand children had the second-highest reported incidence of bullying in nearly 40 countries surveyed in a study.
The study investigated year 5 pupils, including 5000 New Zealanders. The New Zealand children were reporting bullying incidents at double the international average, it found. (Child abuse remains unchecked, December 9, 2009, NZPA).
Assault mortality, New Zealand is amongst the worst performers in the OECD, behind only Mexico, and the US, Finland and Hungary; life expectancy, 14th out of 31 countries; inequality, 23rd equal out of 30 countries (more youth in hardship than any other group) (nzahead, the New Zealand Institute, http://www.nzinstitute.org/index.php/nzahead/measures/assault_mortality1/) ;
Police recorded 86,545 family violence incidents and offences in 2008; Police estimate that only 18% of family violence incidents are reported; half of all violent crime in New Zealand is family violence (Family violence is not OK, http://www.areuouok.org.nz/statistics.php ). No international comparisons could be found.
Tribal systems use social isolation as its major form of social control and this is particularly associated with mental illness:
The Ministry of Health interviewed nearly 13,000 people for its in-depth Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey, released in September 2006. It found that 46 per cent of New Zealanders will meet the criteria for having a mental disorder at some time in their life. Some 20 per cent had a disorder in the last 12 months. It found that 16% of New Zealanders have thought seriously about suicide (Controller and Auditor-General, Ministry of Social Development, http:// www.oag.govt.nz/2009/social-development/ ).
New Zealand now has 106, 910 more individuals are ‘too sick to work’ and in receipt of sickness and invalids benefits since 1985 (according to Broken Welfare, North&South, May 2000 the number was 31,090). In June 2009 the total number who are classed either as sick or as invalids is 138,000 (Controller and Auditor-General, Ministry of Social Development, www.oag.govt.nz/2009/social-development/ ).
Tribal systems are ‘top-down’ and strongly privilege higher social classes i.e. the focus of economic and social development of the State was on the middle classes and the Corporations:
New Zealand remains a low wage economy, according to figures produced nationally and internationally. Statistics NZ’s last Census shows that around two thirds of New Zealand salary and income earners earn less than $35, 000 a year, says Business New Zealand employment relations policy manager Paul Mackay. This is evidence that wage inequality is growing: In 2000 a CEO could expect to earn eight times as much as the pay of the average worker. By 2006, the average CEO pay-packet was 19 times the average wage, according to a Sunday Times survey. (New Zealand as a low wage economy, 16 April 2007, http://www.neon.org.nz/newsarchive/nzlwe/ ).
On 1 April the adult minimum wage increased to $13 an hour, and for the training and new entrants (aged 16, 17) the rate is $10.40 (Department of Labour New Zealand, http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/pay/minimumwage/ ). It can be seen that given this low waged economy young people have little chance of owning their own home (so why not just have a good time and forget about the future!). The average sale price of a house in New Zealand was $371, 555 in May (For people leaving the UK, June 11th, 2009, http://www.byebyeblighty.com/1/new-zealand-average-property-price-145600/ ). Homeownership rates are declining and private renting is growing. Census data reveals that between 1991 and 2001 the rate of homeownership in New Zealand fell from 74% to 68%. Rates have fallen for all levels of income, across all ethnic groups and most dramatically for the twenty and thirty-year-old age groups. There were 57,600 fewer owner-occupiers in those age groups in 2001 than in 1991. If these trends persist, the homeownership rate could possibly fall below 65% by 2011.This would mean that 80,000 fewer households would be homeowners than if the 2001 rate of homeownership applied. (Housing New Zealand, Area 3-Homeownership, The Changing Face of Homeownership http://www.hnzc.co.nz/hnzc/web/research-&-policy/strategy-publications/n... ).
Proper figures on homelessness and food bank use, which are good social indicators, are hard to find. However, the Auckland City Mission estimates there are between 100 to 150 rough sleepers in Auckland (Auckland City Mission http://www.aucklandcitymission.org.nz/homelessness_site_info.html?mID=29). But this does not take into account the numbers living in their cars, garages, low standard boarding houses and living off the largess of friends and caring people.
Also there are no estimates available for the many beggars on the streets of Auckland. It also appears food bank numbers are up: For the April–June quarter, the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) food bank has provided 164 more food parcels than for the same period last year.
DCM Community Project Worker, David Manuel says, “We have given out 715 food parcels to 238 people in the last three months. This is up from 551 parcels for the same period last year - a massive 30% increase.” (Press Release: Downtown Community Ministry, Foodbank Numbers Up, 4 August 2010,
There seems now to be an entrenched underclass which could be called New Zealand’s ‘untouchables’. In my view, while these people are kept alive they often have lives really not worth living.
Many visitors would notice that Auckland city, the biggest city in New Zealand, now resembles more of a retirement village.
The Human Rights Omissions
The above social statistics directly reflect these omissions.
Social Class Discrimination
Social class, unlike in Britain, is not recognized in New Zealand. The ‘equality myth’, despite the visible existence of an underclass on the streets of New Zealand, is perpetuated by the establishment and mainstream media - the following is from the New Zealand Immigration Service website: “Social values: New Zealanders have a very similar way of life and share values common to most Western countries, but there are some special features. We are passionate about sport, and have a firm belief in social equality. The social welfare system prevents extreme poverty, and the nation has neither a strong class system nor major social tensions. Differences between high and low-income people are not pronounced (The New Zealand Immigration Service, 17 Dec 2006)”.
Consequently non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin and birth are required under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but were omitted from the bill of rights.
But New Zealanders, including Maori (Article The Third, The Treaty of Waitangi gives them equal rights to British subjects), were not given a choice in the matter. This is evidenced by the terrible lack of understanding of human rights by New Zealanders at the time when submissions on the BORA were made (see above).
And despite the present Key government implementing a Constitutional Review, including bill of rights issues (but not Republican issues) to take place over three years there is no indication as yet that it will fulfill a virtual promise made to the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2010 when it headed one of its reports: “Delegation: “We are Determined, as a Country, to Make Human Rights Relevant in the Daily Lives of New Zealanders and of Citizens around the World”.
Non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin is described as ‘inherited social status’ (Non-discrimination with respect to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No.20, 24) and non-discrimination on the grounds of birth, includes descent i.e. family lineage or Whakapapa (see General Comment 20(2) following).
General Comment 20 (2) states: “The prohibited ground of birth also includes descent, especially on the basis of caste and analogous systems of inherited status. States parties should take steps, for instance, to prevent, prohibit and eliminate discriminatory practices directed against members of descent-based communities and act against dissemination of ideas of superiority and inferiority on the basis of descent”.
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission submission on the Infrastructure Bill on 18 September 2009 in Section 4.4 quoted a report for the Department of Justice in Ireland (2004), which indicates such social class discrimination is pervasive and often of a covert nature and so difficult to detect. The Irish report states: “In most countries overt discrimination on the basis of social origin or socio-economic status is rare” (also see the Irish report quoted below)..
Based on my experience (and also the experience of others in the bureaucracy) in the Justice Department, Auckland, in the early 1980s, the ‘old boys and girls network’ were chosen covertly largely on this ground of such discrimination (and most likely a ‘bi-cultural’ preference under affirmative action) to circumvent the merit requirements in the State Sector Act 1988 (Sections, 60 and 77G). But the results of ‘not knowing what you are doing’ and ‘unquestioning obedience’ is evidenced by the above social statistics.
Non-discrimination on the grounds of birth applies particularly to Maori: “In te ao Mäori, whakapapa underpins the whole social system. Classification by whakapapa establishes eligibility in tribal matters. It legitimises participation in hapü affairs and opens doors to kinship privileges and to iwi assets (Mead, H.M., Tikanga Maori, Wellington, Huia Publishers, 2003, p43)”.
For example, discrimination on the grounds of birth, Whakapapa, seems to be found when registering as a beneficiary of the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board thereby allowing the Board to ‘Identify and access those registered people who are entitled to benefit from distribution, scholarship, and other assistance’. Yet ‘almost 20% of Mäori were unable to name their iwi at the last census’ (New Zealand Herald, 18 May 2004, Section A, p.4).
The failure to include non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin was raised by the UN Human Rights Committee during New Zealand’s review in March 2010. As this was the first time it was mentioned in the summary records it certainly appears that this was in response to our council’s submission which described the effects of such discrimination (Freedom from our social prisons requires a rights revolution, Infoshop News, March 16, 2010 http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20100316105307747)
Committee member Ms Zonke Majodina (who on 14/3/2011 was elected as the new Chair of the Committee) raised the non-inclusion of discrimination on the grounds of social origin: “On the specific question of whether New Zealand law currently prohibited discrimination on the full range of Covenant grounds, the written replies seem to concede that discrimination on the basis of social origin [my underline] and property was still not expressly prohibited (Human Rights Committee ninety-eighth session, Summary record of the 2697th meeting, 16 March 2010, 33).
The NZ Human Rights Commission now considers non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin a matter of concern (Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, http://www.hrc.co.nz/human-rights-environment/human-rights-in-new-zealan...)
Some other areas of social class discrimination are as follows:
(1) Apart from ensuring the ‘bi-cultural’ elites hegemony by removing any ‘bottom-up’ challenge, another purpose of the bill was to reduce the ‘discrepancies’ between the two races (and this could also apply to the sexes):
Mr Caughley (New Zealand) stated that the fourth periodic report to the UN Human Rights Committee ‘highlighted a number of significant developments……in particular, in the process of settling claims under the Treaty of Waitangi and the elimination of disparities between Maori and non-Maori (Human Rights Committee, Seventy-fifth session, Summary Record of the 2015th Meeting, para 3, 9 July 2002).
Affirmative action for Maori and women also provides a good example of how ‘the elimination of disparities between Maori and non-Maori’ were to be addressed. Section 19(2) of the bill of rights allowed for this affirmative action. It states: “Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part II of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination”. But because the prohibited grounds of social class was excluded in the bill of rights it allowed affirmative action to be applied to only those higher on the social scale although in much less need of it than those at the bottom. This cannot be in ‘good faith’ in my view.
At the higher levels affirmative action reduced ‘disparities’ between white Pakeha males, females and Maori in the bureaucracy and parliament by a cynical manipulation of the numbers very largely disregarding individual ability (I consider affirmative action should only apply to the most disadvantaged, see below). But what Mr Caughley did not say was that at the lower levels the reduction in the discrepancies involved reducing Pakeha to the level of Maori in terms of terrible social outcomes by the creation of ‘tribal New Zealand’.
While the spirit of the UDHR considers there is more in common between peoples than what is different (although the right to self-determination does allow for irreconcilable differences) this was not comparing ‘like with like’. Maori had been engaged in a low level struggle for social justice for many years and have lacked the ability in times of high unemployment to aspire above criminality and drug taking because of the lack of encouragement of ‘bottom-up’ development by tribal Maori. It could, perhaps, be likened to 16th Century Britain before individual ‘freedom of thought, conscience, expression and belief’ took root to enable ‘bottom-up’ development and Maori may well have to go through such a revolution before any self-determination can be taken seriously.
According to Te Puni Kokeri self-employment rates for Maori are approximately half those of most other ethnic groups (Our Publication – Fact Sheets, Te Puni Kokiri, February 2007, http://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/in-print/our-publications/fact-sheets/small-to... ). However, I am very surprised it is this high because it certainly not evident in the shopping centres..
It is also my view many Maori at the bottom of the social scale were severely crushed by social class discrimination by both their own people and Pakeha. And this also affects the individual and collective potential of a number of Maori, in my view.
But the Pakeha, who were socially isolated, their potential and inner being crushed, and reduced in dignity and lifestyle were completely innocent victims, in my view.
The effects of social class discrimination can also be seen in the findings of the above-mentioned Irish report, quoted by the NZ Human Rights Commission, which further stated: “…discrimination on the basis of socio-economic status/social origin is linked with, and underpins, discrimination on the more widely covered grounds such as disability and race … [many of these groups] also experience a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion’” (Section 4.4., of the NZ Human Rights Commission submission of the infrastructure bill, see above).
Claims by those higher on the social scale that if they were helped they would ensure the poor would benefit ended up with the poor being simply used to improve the situation of these groups i.e. to justify greater funding (a reason why their statistics should also be regarded with caution).
Helping those at the bottom could not happen because the human rights omissions ignored the rights of many and in fact the reverse occurred. At the bottom Maori unemployment and those on the Domestic Purposes Benefit were at very high levels. Maori unemployment was at 16% for about 21 years. Those on the DPB increased from 56,548 in 1984 to 93, 090 in 2006. At present Maori unemployment is at 16.1% (Employers blamed for Maori unemployment, May 6, 2011). And in February 2010 there were 97,000 New Zealanders on DPB. Maori make up 38% on the DPB and Pacific Islanders 8% (NZ Ministry of Social development, http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/newsroom/factsheets/future... ).
In my view, affirmative action should only apply to the most disadvantaged and those similarly marginalized small economic and social entrepreneurs, treated just as badly, who could best help the former. At the higher levels only the best should be chosen –those most likely ‘to know what they are doing’.
(2) The exclusion of the above grounds of non-discrimination also allowed the mainstream media to exclude the poor from having a voice of their own in the mainstream media so they can influence the democratic majority. A classic example of this which cannot be denied is when I made a stand on principle which led to my appearance in the Auckland High Court in June 2010. The principle was: that the poor should have a voice of their own in the mainstream media so they could influence the democratic majority. At the court I described the New Zealand Tragedy at the bottom of the social scale (see my submission, ‘Freedom is not an impossible dream’, www.hrc2001.org.nz). High Court Justice Lyn Stevens (now on the Court of Appeal) concerned at the terrible social statistics believed my account and asked me why I had not informed New Zealand society earlier. I explained that I had spent many years ringing talkback at least three times per week, wrote many articles on the internet and a book which is now recommended on the UN website (see above) however I could not get it into the mainstream media. True to form the mainstream media present at the court case, reporters from NZPA and Fairfax Media, made no mention of this tragedy and their articles were only posted on the internet (see their articles at the end of my submission, ‘Freedom is not an impossible dream’, www.hrc2001.org.nz).
Also failing to include social class discrimination means the not infrequent prejudice towards the most disadvantaged, including the so-called ‘criminal class’, in the mainstream media goes unchallenged. And after all these people were very largely innocent often entitled best seen as having very diminished responsibility – any choices are usually between bad and worse in a society which treats them as ‘robots’ rather than human beings.
(3) The effects of social class discrimination in New Zealand court system is indicated in the following email sent to Rosslyn Noonan, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, and Simon Power, Minister of Justice which describes a recent court case (Wedding prosecution ‘sends strong message’, Christchurch Court News, February 01, 2011,
http://www.courtnews.co.nz/story.php?id=3358 ). The following could also apply to non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin (social status at birth) with respect to Pakeha in the court system:
“As you may well be aware non-discrimination on the grounds of birth which includes descent i.e. family lineage or Whakapapa, has been left out of the NZ Bill of Rights 1990.
In the following article Judge Farish was reported as stating that ‘a conviction also had serious consequences in the Maori community for someone like G… who was appointed upoko – the spiritual and cultural repository of knowledge, handpicked from birth’.
While certainly understanding and spiritual awareness is very important such a comment can leave one with the impression that the court may treat people unequally especially as the above ground of non-discrimination has been omitted. It is important that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done i.e. justice on earth.
Human thought develops over history. For example, in the 17th Century the rule of law (based on reason) took precedence over the divine rights of Kings. I understand Maori use ‘spiritual injunctions’ to prevent such discrimination to be investigated. I have a real concern about that. Although I should add that the Pakeha elite has done the same with more finesse – leaving out non-discrimination on the grounds of social origin (social status at birth), making human rights elitist plus a very high degree of complexity (and fudging) with economic, social and cultural rights dealt with at the UN.
My present work will show that such omissions are due primarily to a lower stage of human rights development which should now reflect Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
Social class discrimination applied in the State’s focus on the economic and social development on the middle classes and the Corporations (see the right to development below). It led to indirect social class discrimination against the independent peoples (see right to development below).
Also I consider that such social class discrimination applied when the children of beneficiaries were prevented from receiving the same in-work tax credit of about $60 per week as the children of working families (see the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) website who state about 200,000 children are affected, (www.cpag.org.nz ). In 2007 the State implemented a working for families in-work tax credit. The Human Rights tribunal in 2008 found this constitutes real and substantive discrimination against children.
The CPAG states: “CPAG has been involved in a long running case against the Government regarding the discriminatory nature of the in-work tax credit. The Tribunal found that the in-work tax credit is discriminatory because it is available to working families but not beneficiary families and this disadvantages children in beneficiary families. However, the Tribunal also found that the Government has proved this discrimination was justified. CPAG has appealed this justification and the case will be heard in September 2011”.
The CPAG considered that this is discrimination on the basis of parental work status, which is prohibited under the Human Rights Act. However, if the prohibited ground of social class were available I do not think this would have been seen to be justified by the Tribunal as children should not be discriminated against because of descent, social status at birth or their social class as they are not responsible for who their parents are.
Social class discrimination led to the severe benefit cuts in April 1991 less than one year after the BORA was enacted (also the Employment Contracts Act in the same year saw trade union membership more than halved by the end of the 1990s (see p57 of my book). The failure to implement a proactive human rights education meant the created underclass did not have the information or support to access their civil and political rights as they preferred to avoid the hostile State and bureaucracy with a ‘budgeting mentality’ (one former commissioner told me ‘the poor stay away in droves’). The paranoia of those at the bottom was justified. Again it was social class discrimination which meant they were overlooked.
The Right to Development
Another human rights omission is article 1(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.
In addition the right to liberty is very narrowly defined. Section 22 of the BORA states: “Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained”. It should, in my view, complement the above which deals with ‘peoples’ and the right to liberty should be based on the individual as it is the individual’s ideas, gifts, talents, abilities, capacity, hard work, inner being and dreams and imagination from which development derives.
I recommend the following inclusion: “Individuals have the right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. Both individual and collective potential are very important – without this there is no progress and the essential importance in today’s world of addressing high levels of needless suffering, especially the children. Imagine the enormous time saved humanity with the invention of the washing machine, aeroplanes and the computer. Under the ‘tribal’ mentality there is just ‘budget cutbacks’, redistribution of the wealth or, in some countries, reducing States to dependency on aid’.
The necessity of focusing on the individual is also the view of the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986). Article 2(1) states: “The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of the right to development”.
Taken together given the above human rights omissions the State can disregard the individual and collective potential of the country. However, in terms of policy the State was able to exercise social class discrimination and focus economic, social and cultural development at the level of the middle class, professionals and the Corporations but with the promise of ‘trickle down’ so all ‘peoples’ would benefit. However, instead of ‘trickling down’ the market determined that it should ‘trickle across’ so many bureaucrats were seen to receive very high salaries paralleling the CEOs in the Corporations. Consequently, the bureaucratic, middle classes had their own independent source of income apart from the public purse allowing them to more fully serve and gain support from a global culture rather than New Zealanders.
By contrast small business was suppressed and this became clearly evident in the first Christchurch earthquake in September 2010 which required the government to assume greater executive power, using ‘orders in council’, to cut though the red tape (involving 22 statutes) in order to assist small business (see the Canterbury Earthquake Response and recovery Act 2010, Section 6, 14 September 2010). But the Key government failed to take the opportunity of extending this to small business throughout the country but still could.
In addition, with much production now taking place in China (and now India) the major ‘raison d’etre’ for individual ‘freedom of thought, conscience, expression and belief’ and consequently the individual pursuit of truth by independent minds was undermined, most particularly in the social sciences. As all collectives were ranked in descending order according to social status and all had to abide by human rights as determined by the State these individual freedoms were reinvented as collective freedoms with the mainstream media their mouthpiece.
Consequently there is rarely ever any public dissent by individuals in these collectives. While the mainstream media leave ‘unsafe truths’ for the internet etc. But the latter does not reach the democratic majority. Which means many important truths are kept within elite circles with very detrimental consequences for democracy with voters kept ignorant of these important truths. Consequently even the democratic process, with very few exceptions, very largely only operates within the human rights as interpreted by the State.
Also excluded was article 24(1): “Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State”. (2): “Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name” and (3): Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.
The exclusion of children’s rights reflects the low priority accorded them in a ‘tribal New Zealand’ with no real future.
Previously quoted Committee expert Maria Herczog, UN rapporteur for New Zealand on children's rights, explained that New Zealand lacked "an overarching comprehensive child policy" that integrated the Convention on the Rights of the Child into legislation and strategy frameworks (Infant and child mortality rates remained "staggering" despite policies to tackle the issue, NZPA, 28 Jan 2011).
Also, UNICEF NZ said that of concern to the Committee [on children’s rights] was that no National Action Plan to guide policy on children’s issues had been implemented and matters that impacted on children lacked co-ordination. There was no single department or Ministry that took responsibility for children’s issues. “The Committee noted that children are fairly invisible in legislation” says Barbara Lambourn, UNICEF NZ’s Advocacy Manager.
She added: “There is no one batting for children at the Cabinet table. We have Ministerial portfolios for the elderly, for veterans, for disabled people, for women and even for the Rugby World Cup and for racehorses, but no Minister for Children. What does that say about the value we place on children and the matters that impact on them?” (UNICEF NZ supports better recognition of children’s issues
Wellington, 7 February 2011, Scoop). However, this is changing.
The New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission now recommends the inclusion of children’s rights in the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990 as one of its thirty priorities (Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, http://www.hrc.co.nz/human-rights-environment/human-rights-in-new-zealan...)
(3) Also excluded was article 3: “the equal rights of men and women”.
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission states that apart from Article 3 of the Treaty of Waitangi… “ there is no specific reference in New Zealand law to the right to equality, a fact that the United Nations Committee on Human Rights has consistently criticized in assessing New Zealand’s compliance with international standards on equality and freedom from discrimination” (Human Rights Commission, Human Rights in New Zealand Today, September 2004, p41).
The Human Rights Commission now recommend as one of its thirty priorities to: “Incorporating a specific reference to equality in the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act” (Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, http://www.hrc.co.nz/human-rights-environment/human-rights-in-new-zealan...).
The problem with the exclusion of ‘equal rights’ means there were no limits to the extent social class discrimination can create ‘unequal rights’ i.e. there was no bottom line for human rights.
I consider that an ethical approach to human rights should be adopted: no one should be reduced below the equivalent of their core minimum obligations with respect to both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. Self-help rights e.g. right to development, human rights education, a voice of their own for the poor in the mainstream, should also be regarded as core minimum obligations to ensure the individual can reach their maximum potential. Non-retrogression should also be included to ensure any major backward human rights step should require a high democratic standard i.e. States differ with respect to their stage of human rights development.
While the NZ Human Rights Commission in their NZ Plan of Action for Human Rights also includes economic, social and cultural rights and recognizes the core minimum obligations of the State I am concerned that the latter only seems to be seen as to be progressively achieved – but the desperation of people require it to be addressed within an ‘immediate timeframe’.
Also excluded are family rights. Article 23(1) of the UN Covenant of Civil and Political Rights states: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. And also Article 23(2) which states: “The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized”.
This exclusion appears to allow for extended families or Whanau found in Maori culture. A report commissioned by the Ministry of Education states that Whanau can also be related to descent: “Whākapapa-based whānau are a diffuse unit based on a common Whākapapa, descent from a shared ancestor or ancestors, and within which certain responsibilities and obligations are maintained. Customary concepts of Whānau are founded on a set of underlying principles which together compromise a whānau model”, (Analysis of the Characteristics of Whanau in New Zealand, Chris Cunningham et al, May 2005, http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/maori-education/33489/33490 ).
According to Statistics New Zealand Mäori are more likely than non-Mäori to live in extended families, indicating the continued importance of traditional living arrangements. But smaller nuclear families have also become more prevalent among the Mäori population as it has become more urbanised. In 1996, 20.0 percent of Mäori living in private dwellings were living in an extended family, compared with 7.7 percent of non-Mäori. Over half of Mäori in extended families (56.8 percent) were in three-generation extended families, the most common of which comprised a couple with children and grandchildren. (Statistics NZ Extended Families, http://www2.stats.govt.nz/domino/external/web/nzstories.nsf/fb471f7feb8c... )
In my view, the family unit, important for the individual pursuit of economic and social development, represents a ‘bottom-up’ challenge to elites who cannot be sure of their loyalty whereas with extended families this would be less so. Also, in terms of child maltreatment, which is a major problem in New Zealand, research needs to be conducted to assess whether such maltreatment is higher if the child is bought up by extended family members rather than the natural parents.
In my view, the severe benefit cuts of April 1991 were calculated to ensure people could just survive but minus any pleasures in life including personal relationships thereby severely affecting the right to marriage.
Again it was ‘discriminatory collectivism’ at work wanting to deprive the individual of all choices.
Social isolation, permitted by the human rights omissions, and only a ‘survival’ benefit meant personal relationships and the prospect of marriage, children and a home is seen as impossible dream for many. So it becomes a matter of living for today leading to increased smoking, drinking, obesity, which can sometimes require living on the streets to pay for these pleasures. Such drugs often help keep people (and their anger) subdued and, for some, it allows them to engage in creative work which can mean going against the flow which also results in isolation, very difficult in a country where there is such overwhelming conformity to human rights as determined by the State and enormous intolerance towards those with a different point of view.
In the later 1980s new drugs were used to allow the State to release many of the mentally ill into the community. Now (considerable controls and publicity are used to get people to give up their pleasures) they want to use the same drugs to subdue the unemployed with doctors and the health system more involved. This diminishes individual choices – again ‘discriminatory collectivism’ at work. People are seen as robots - not even human.
But the massive rebuilding now required will see, in my view, more people in work – less time to smoke, drink and the exercise will see them take of weight. In other words it was the removal of individual right to liberty/development and the social class discrimination which allowed the State to severely cut back on the productive sector and opportunities i.e. excessive smoking etc was a consequence of the human rights omissions. In my view, it is very hypocritical of a State to use social isolation as a major form of social control and then deny people their means of coping with it apart from medication which can have socially undesirable side-effects.
The left, particularly in terms of social status and income to match, benefited considerably from the human rights omissions and social class discrimination which deprived people at the bottom of opportunities, lowered their lifestyles, minimized their pleasures and choices and even for many the prospect of a family. So having deprived them of a life worth living they then portray themselves as kinder to the poor than the right wing and so ensure the poor’s political loyalty and dependency on the State. Using such desperate people in this way who are naturally appreciative of any very small assistance given, is unbelievably two-faced. Although many of the middle classes are kept in ignorant of the omissions (they are very rarely talked about) and the worst social consequences (any dissent must be avoided to maintain group harmony and purpose). But is it any wonder that some who know or are aware suffer from high levels of guilt.
But the right wing was also complicit. New Zealand is generally viewed as left-liberal e.g. the anti-nuclear stance and opposing State direct violence to suppress uprisings. So former New Zealand Prime Ministers over the past twenty years sometimes get high positions on international bodies so effective is the human rights image they have been able to portray without any visible major discontent.
I hope this present submission redresses any imbalance in the image portrayed of New Zealand because, as stated, the State is selective as to the human rights it includes in human rights law, and to a very large extent this is all that it is judged on.
New Zealand has three official languages, English, Maori and Sign Language which essentially reflects the languages of the ‘bicultural’ tribal elites privileged in the BORA.
Non-discrimination with respect to language was also excluded which was of considerable concern to the UN Human Rights Committee. In the summary records of the UN Human Rights Committee since 1993 the New Zealand delegation were frequently questioned regarding the failure of the BORA to include non-discrimination on the grounds of language. For example,
“The Committee regrets that the operation of the new prohibited grounds of discrimination, contained in section 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993, is postponed until the year 2000. It also notes with concern that the prohibited grounds of discrimination do not include all the grounds in the Covenant and, in particular, that language is not mentioned as a prohibited ground of discrimination (Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: New Zealand., CCPR/C/79/Add.47; A/50/40, para. 178, 10/03/1995)”
However this ignores the increasing multicultural reality (see above). The NZ delegation claimed that equality with respect to language lacked public support. However, as stated above New Zealanders have extremely little understanding of human rights or the BORA. Mr Keating (New Zealand) stated:
“Language had not been included among the potential areas of discrimination because to have done so would have established the equality of all of the many languages spoken in this country, a step which would not have received adequate public support (Human Rights Committee, fifty-third session , Summary Record CCPR/C/SR.1394, para 10, 7th April 1995, ).
Other races are very likely affected by the exclusion of the above right. The Coalition of Leo Pacific in NZ/Aotearoa states: “The Ministry of Education along with several other Government Departments has blocked the acceptance of the Human Right Commission proposals for the National Languages Policy and inclusion of bilingualism and bilingual Education in the Pacific Languages Strategy being developed by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs” (National Languages Policy – Update, email from the Coalition, www.bilingualaotearoa.wikispaces.com )
It may be that it was considered the inclusion non-discrimination on the grounds of language may undermine Maori’s ‘special status’ in New Zealand. However, in human rights only children have ‘special status’.
The Right to Property and Non-discrimination on the grounds of property
The failure of the BORA to include the right to property was raised at New Zealand’s human rights review by the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2010.
Committee member, Ms Zonke Majodina (who was elected as the new Chair of the Human Rights Committee on 14/3/2011) stated:
“On the specific question of whether New Zealand law currently prohibited discrimination on the full range of Covenant grounds, the written replies seemed to concede that discrimination on the basis of social origin and property [my underline]was still not expressly prohibited. In that connection, more information on progress made towards a review of the grounds of discrimination, proposed in the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights, would be welcome (Human Rights Committee ninety-eighth session, Summary record of the 2697th meeting, para 33, 16 March 2010)”.
I need to do more research in this area but the following are some thoughts:
I am concerned that given the omission of the prohibited ground of social class the right to property may be interpreted differently depending on which social class one belongs to;
What is of particular concern is that it is planned to apply affirmative action to have more women on the boards of business organizations (a greater ethnic composition has also been mentioned as likely). Already it is a common view amongst the public that it is ‘not what you know but who you know’ that counts. It leads to what a famous sociologist T.H. Marshall describes as ‘closed group monopolies’. They are ‘one into which no man can force his way by his own efforts; admission is at the pleasure of the existing members of the group’ (see p33 of my book). As I have stated I consider affirmative action as only appropriate for the most disadvantaged and those small economic and social entrepreneurs, treated just as badly, who can best help both themselves and the former.
Not only will this affirmative action ‘numbers game’ ‘dumb down’ the private sector it tramples on the dreams of children who should be able to aspire to the stars, in my view. Already the class nature of this society poses an enormously severe, if not impossible, hurdle for them.
With respect to affirmative action Mr Power (New Zealand) addressing the Human Rights Committee in March, 2010, stated:
“Turning to the matter of targets for the recruitment of women, he said that in 2009, the Prime Minister, John Key, had launched a new initiative, in partnership with the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Business New Zealand — the country’s largest business organization — and the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. Its aim was to present the case for women on boards from a business perspective and it actively advocated for more women in corporate governance. In another private sector initiative, a group of prominent New Zealand businesswomen, including the former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, had been established to push the case for female directors, provide governance, training and mentorship. It was not strictly correct to say that there were no targets for the employment of women: the former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley had announced in 1995 a target of 50 per cent women appointed to Government statutory boards by 2005. The target had been extended to 2010 by the then Minister of Women’s Affairs and had informed the recent work of the current Minister. Speaking as the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, he could confirm that the Minister of Women’s Affairs was actively pursuing the issue. The Cabinet also actively considered the representation of women during the appointment process for a range of Government bodies. (Human Rights Committee, ninety-eighth session, Summary Record of the 2697th meeting, para.17, 16 March, 2010)
Again it is all about ‘numbers’ not respect for the dignity of the individual and different levels of development and ability. Knowing what you are doing should be what is most important. It is ‘discriminatory collectivism’ trying to take over the private sector.
Also there seems to be an enormous lack of understanding amongst the left ‘tribal’ middle classes, Maori and even mainstream New Zealand of what it takes to arrive at, say, the intellectual property of a cure for diabetes, cell phones etc. In my view, they do not really think Corporations are necessary, for example, the Maori elite never use to have Corporations in their past and seem to have done little to encourage ‘bottom-up’ development with future Corporations in mind. The elites do not consider they really need the Corporations because by excluding the above rights they can simply expropriate existing property and resources owned by the people e.g. increasing rates to such an extent people are forced to sell.
As stated before presently such Corporations provide an independent source of income for the bureaucratic elites so they can gain support globally from like-minded bureaucratic elites i.e. political globalization, while the Corporations also benefit by extending their Corporations around the world i.e. economic globalization.
So the elites are able to on one hand benefit from their reluctant collusion with the Corporations while on the other hand using their political wing, various academics and NGOs (which always get publicity) and even trade unions to some extent (but in the end they are reliant on the Corporations for jobs) they can blame the Corporations for many of the social ills of society and so deflect any social discontent and hide the ‘bicultural’ elite hegemony and the human rights omissions.
Such groups, in my experience, refuse to debate ‘unsafe truths’ . For instance, the Corporations may be very rich but they have no armies or police force whereas the State is able to arrest anyone who breaks the law and it is not the Corporations who omit human rights from human rights law. The fact is our human rights omissions allow the exploitation of people e.g. the creation of an underclass, the focus of economic and social development on the middle classes thereby depriving the rest and it is the State that determines the basic wage. But it is the case the Corporations colluded with the bureaucrats in their own interests but so did, in my experience, nearly every other powerful group in this society although not making as much money.
Also, what is rarely ever said is that in the early years of the UDHR the right to property was not included in the two covenants which reflect the rights in the declaration instead it was put in the hands of the specialized agencies now called the IMF and the World Bank and it was their structural adjustment programs which allowed the Corporations to act in a socially irresponsible manner. The major reason for the removal of the right to property from international human rights law was, in my view, to reflect the tradition liberal separation between the public and the private (see pp 146-147 of my book).
( d) The exclusion of the above rights may also prevent urban Maori from making claims regarding the treaty settlements.
I would be very wary about including the above rights without first including all the omitted human rights. Otherwise the ‘bi-cultural’ elites are very likely to spread their anti-human rights philosophy throughout the private sector – it certainly seems to be what is happening and it does not surprise me.
But even if others are of a different opinion to mine regarding the true cause of social problems i.e. bureaucrats, the Corporations, or immigration, perhaps we can agree that the human rights omitted should be included.
Also excluded were Articles 5 (1) and 5 (2) which require that the State not cut back on existing levels of human rights. Article 5(1) states: ‘Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant’. And Article (5)2 states: ‘There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the fundamental human rights recognized or existing in any State Party to the present Covenant pursuant to law, conventions, regulations or custom on the pretext that the present Covenant does not recognize such rights or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent’.
Again, this requires more research on my part. But the deliberate, blatant manipulation of human rights for elites rather than all, and attempts to change people to fit into a tribal society would certainly be a breach of these articles. Instead, it is the system that should be changed rather than people.
I consider the creation of a beneficiary/underclass sector resulted in mass denials of their liberal rights which they were unable to access. This has been my experience having lived in poverty mixing with the poor since I began promoting human rights in 1991 (also a former commissioner from the human rights commission told me ‘the poor stay away in droves’). Also having trained, as well as having some experience, as a Statistical Researcher in the Social Sciences I attempted on a number of occasions, involving much work on my part, to get funding to research the human rights of the poor but was not successful. In fact, since promoting human rights for over twenty years I have never seen such research, at least, defined in human rights terms.
However, I do consider that the Corporations and America have a wrong perspective on economic, social and cultural rights. I consider the latter properly interpreted would have prevented ‘discriminatory collectivism’ from taking over by ensuring there would be no human rights ‘trade-offs’ which allows this perverse social malaise to take over. Put simply, arrested development is not the natural state of the human being but the ‘bicultural’ elites are doing their utmost to create a New Zealand in their own image.
Economic, social and cultural rights require a wider duty to society, especially when there is high levels of needless suffering, but mainly only necessary as a protection from ‘discriminatory collectivism’ when there is full employment. It ensures society do not deprive any individuals or group of their core minimum obligations, including self-help rights. There has to be limits to unequal rights. This is necessary because the plain fact is that at the level of core minimum obligations there are paltry choices. Unless this is addressed increases in unequal rights and bigger gaps between rich and poor, the powerful and powerless, should be put on hold until this terrible injustice is addressed. Freedom entails social responsibility.
The other important omissions include economic, social and cultural rights which, in my view, require a decision of the people to be included in human rights law after a sufficient period of human rights education. Also, given my experience of the Optional protocol to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights I have no trust in the ability of the United Nations to properly interpret these rights i.e. I distrust any top-down interpretations.
Also Article 29(1) of the UDHR should be included. It states: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible”.
But you cannot exercise a duty to the community if you have insufficient choices. However, all associations and individuals should exercise duties to the community. This has been discussed else where such as telling and listening to important truths necessary for people to know in a democracy. In my view, present confidentiality requirements really refer to elite confidences, hiding important truths in elite interests.
Further background, including the United Nations.
Replacing racism with a class-based society began to develop in the late 1970s. Professor Keith Sinclair describing that period stated in his book ‘A History of New Zealand’: “Kirk saw clearly that while fear of communism was a declining element in international politics, racism was becoming a central issue” (Pelican Books 1991, p311).
New Zealand ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination with respect to Race in 1972 and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination with respect to Women in 1984.
The communists had been the major champions of economic, social and cultural rights at the United Nations and, in view, kept the West honest ensuring the people were treated well for fear they might turn communist. However, the fall of communism in 1989 meant that social class and equal rights become much less an issue and this is reflected in the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990 (BORA) one year after the collapse of communism e.g. the exclusion of ‘equal rights’ and social class discrimination. Consequently economic, social and cultural rights were not included in the bill of rights.
In 1997 former Prime Minister David Lange describing why economic, social and cultural rights were not included in the New Zealand Bill of Rights 1990 stated: “ The reason why economic, social and cultural rights aren’t included in the bill of rights is that people will start claiming them. That would have been too much for Geoffrey [Geoffrey Palmer, see below]. I can’t see any way of amending the bill other than by using the political process to create a climate for change, which isn’t an encouraging prospect, given the temper of the present parliament and the relative strength of the parties. What you are talking about, as you know, would need a fundamental alteration in the thinking of our political establishment. It may come in time, but it won’t come easily, which means I can’t offer you any answer other than the long hard grind of political activism” (Personal letter, dated 4 March 1997).
Although some progress has been made at the UN with respect to non-discrimination with respect to descent e.g.this ground of non-discrimination is stated in Part 1, Article 1(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and further explained in General Recommendation XXIX, No.29 of the Convention on 11/01/2002 – Article 1, paragraph 1, Descent. Section 2 – which states: “Consider the incorporation of an explicit prohibition of descent-based discrimination in the national constitution” while Section 3 states: “Review and enact or amend legislation in order to outlaw all forms of discrimination based on descent in accordance with the Convention”. However this has not been enough to translate such grounds of non-discrimination into domestic human rights.
The lack of progress with respect to discrimination on the grounds of descent at the United Nations is described by Minister Verhagen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, speaking at Gelegenheid at the 13th session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, on 3 March 2010 stated:
“In terms of issues, I think the Council’s agenda does not yet reflect all the substantive issues that need to be addressed. Discrimination on the basis of descent or work, for example, is still missing from the non-discrimination agenda. There are approximately 260 million people in the world that suffer such discrimination. For these men and women, it is impossible to escape grinding poverty because the society they grew up in does not allow them to take their fate into their own hands and improve themselves. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Pillay, recently wrote: ‘Caste is the very negation of the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination’, and I couldn’t agree more. The Netherlands supports the efforts being made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to come up with a set of principles and guidelines on this issue. We would like to see the Human Rights Council tackle this form of discrimination more fervently, for example by facilitating an exchange of best practices”.
The above Irish report quoted by the NZ Human Rights Commission stated: “A concern to prohibit discrimination on the basis of social origin/socio-economic status is evident in many international legal instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the ILO Convention No.111, Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958.
However, it added: “This concern recognizes that discrimination on the basis of social origin/socio-economic status is pervasive and operates as a constraint on an individual’s social mobility. However, despite the widespread recognition that individuals face discrimination on the basis of their social and economic backgrounds, little has developed in the way of an effective legal remedy”
However, lack of jurisprudence (the same was said for economic, social and cultural rights but there is now a complaints procedure for it, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) should not pose a problem if human rights education takes place. Such elites, chosen by virtue of descent rather than merit, rely on having the human rights ‘moral high ground’ (and their inherited social status) and if people are educated that in human rights terms such discrimination is wrong then the elite will know themselves and the people will be watching. So even if detection of often covert discrimination is too hard it should be included as prohibited grounds of discrimination in New Zealand Human Rights law and the people educated. In my view, while legal remedies and human rights law are certainly necessary, I consider human rights education is more important (and that is why States rarely do it, see Ch 1 of the above book). However, in New Zealand it is required by law so should be funded.
In addition the emphasis at the United Nations is on material deprivation - a concern for survival rights e.g. freedom from hunger, homelessness etc (the core minimum obligations see General Comment No.3 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). These are essential – but ignores self-help rights, and consequently individual and collective potential. But as the above Christchurch earthquake example shows helping people and helping those, e.g. small businesses, who can also best help people is just common sense. Also the effects of social isolation caused by social class discrimination which, in my view, is one of the main forms of social control in developed nations, is also overlooked. Yet social isolation is associated with many major social problems, particularly mental illness but also criminal violence and illegal drug taking.
As with the core minimum obligations the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) do not include self-help rights such as: a voice of their own for the poor in the mainstream media so they can influence the (democratic) majority or being able to use their gifts, talents and hard work to help themselves and others. So I consider the right to development, the right to individual liberty (broadly defined) and human rights education should all be made core minimum obligations and so not to be ignored by States (see my book). This will send a message to States opting for ‘tribalism’ that it is not acceptable to keep people in a state of dependency and crush their potential to ensure no ‘bottom-up’ challenge – people should be able to help themselves and reach their full individual potential, if they wish. And the State should not use social class discrimination to deny them opportunities e.g. simply focusing economic and social development on the middle classes and the Corporations.
The MDGs (which are similar to the core minimum obligations addressing the worst, most prevalent violations) too narrowly, in my view, focuses on the most materially deprived regions of the world and ignores the effects of extreme social isolation (described above) often a powerful form of social control in developed countries. There was the opportunity with the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to include the core minimum obligations of the State including self-help rights as grounds of complaint but it was left out (see chapter 5 of my book). For a start, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have stated that without such core minimum obligations the covenant would lose its ‘raison d’etre’ so should have, in my view, resigned ‘en mass’ when it was excluded. If they had have been included they would have come under international human rights law and would have very likely been more effective than the MDGs which States do not appear to be very motivated to achieve.
Since the drafting of the Optional Protocol (OP) to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights began about 6 years ago, apart from my book (also, see article Global Systematic Discrimination against the Poor, www.hrc2001.org.nz ) there was a remarkable complete absence of dissent, at least aired in public, apart from my own. This very strongly indicates that both the domestic and international political/human rights establishment operate by way of consensus, hiding the omitted rights and important truths, presenting a united front with no public dissent permitted unless necessary. Now some fifteen months after my book appeared on the UN website some intellectuals are coming out in support of my point of view. This, in itself, shows the importance of an independent mind which seeks the truth and which liberal rights are meant to protect – not possible with collective thought, collective conscience, collective expression and collective belief.
Arne Vandenbogaerde (Human Rights Consultant) and Wouter Vandenhole (Professor of Human Rights Law, UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights, University of Antwerp Law Research School state in the abstract to their article: “In this article it is submitted that the text of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as finally adopted on 10 December 2008, is to be seen as the outcome of a drafting process that was dominated by ideological prejudices rather than concerns with potential effectiveness of rights…… At times an absolutist search for consensus seems to have been the driving force behind weakening the text”. The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: an Ex Ante Assessment of its Effectiveness in Light of the Drafting Process, Human Rights Law Review (2010) doi: 10.1093/hrlr/ngq004 First published online: May 13, 2010. Ten ratifications are required before the OP comes into force.
Now about 2 ½ years later only three of the 36 signatories have ratified the OP – Ecuador, Mongolia and Spain.
The Ethical Approach to Human Rights, Development and Globalization (in brief)
Essentially, I consider the present political approaches to human rights which emphasize the interests of elites and/or majorities as being not in the spirit of the UDHR. For example, concerns about equal pay, achieving equal numbers of males and females in the establishment, the anti-smacking concerns etc. although important really are far less important in human rights terms than, say, homelessness, a voice for the poor, social class discrimination, the failure to ensure self-help rights when people are in a state of desperation etc.
The ethical approach reflects the spirit of the UDHR and retains its dream of human rights for all not just elites. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that if the core minimum obligations of the State such as freedom from hunger, homelessness, serious ill health etc with respect to economic, social and cultural rights then the covenant on these rights would lose its ‘raison d’etre’. But, for the reasons given in this submission, I consider the self-help rights to development (including holistic development), the right to human rights education and non-retrogression (to protect levels of rights already achieved by a particular State) should also be regard as core minimum obligations. Similarly with respect to civil and political rights if people do not have their core minimum of these rights then the covenant on these rights would also lose its ‘raison d’etre’. So the UN Human Rights Committee should extend the concept to include civil and political rights to ensure what is really important is emphasized e.g. a voice for the poor, the liberty of the individual to achieve his/her full economic and social development etc..
Such self-help rights leads to a more balanced approach to development e.g both big business (old ideas) and small business (new ideas). I consider it is necessary to emphasize small/medium business because radically new ideas are needed if the high levels of needless suffering around the world is to be addressed. The right to development under the umbrella of both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, with an emphasis on the core minimum obligations will permit the maximization of such ideas. A more balanced approach to development provides opportunities for all sectors of society allowing them to be less dependent on the State and the Corporations.
It also results in an ethical globalization because the State first addresses the core minimum obligations in their own country and then helps, where necessary, other countries achieve theirs but not if it is just to keep people in a state of dependency – their needs to be a basic level of ‘food and freedom’ So, for example, with respect to North Korea and the nuclear threat the ethical approach would require them to be helped to ensure their core minimum obligations however this would require the North Koreans to provide some individual freedoms to enable ‘bottom-up’ development – not to keep their people in a state of dependency against their will.
This is not implausible especially if the West replaces its political human rights ‘elitism’ (which can be internally disruptive to many States) and adopt an ethical rather than political approach. And also both Cuba and China seem to be, at least, gradually adopting some more freedoms – see ‘Cuba offers Glimmers of Market Freedom’ (Brian Hibbert, April 19, 2011) and ‘China gives press more freedom – for food safety’ (Alexa Olesen, Associated Press, 16 May 2011). And New Zealand will also be affected: the newsletter dated April 12, 2011, by a ‘Global Day of Action on Military Spending’ (see website: http://demilitarize.org/ ) describes how the North Korean nuclear threat is giving rise to rising military tensions in East Asia propelling governments in the region – Japan, China, South Korea – to boost military spending (although this may not be in the case of Japan now since the earthquake etc). And New Zealand and Australia are to be part of the proposed East Asian bloc.
Because the emphasis is on the least powerful and the core minimums whether a State is controlled by a liberal, neo liberal, socialist, communist, a Bolivarian State or religious elite is less relevant. The emphasis is on what really matters. In my view this would lead to a decrease in internal and international conflict as elite and majority concerns are less relevant. The emphasis on the core minimum obligations would give people hope and terrorists groups would be less likely to gain recruits and support. I consider this approach would result in huge saving in military spending best spent elsewhere. The following are some statistics:
A Press Release by the United Nations on 1 September 2010 was headed: “ Millennium Development Goals Moral Imperative, but Largely Off-track for Poorest, Least Politically Powerful People, Says Declaration at DPI/NGO Conference - Achieving Millennium Development Goals Would Cost Less Than One Tenth of Annual Global Military Spending, Round Table Told [their underline]” ( Press Release, Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York, NGO/708, PI/1958, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/ngo708.doc.htm ).
Also the World Bank estimates that for less than 4 percent of global military spending, poverty and hunger could be halved. But instead military spending grows, 5.9 percent in 2009’ ( cited in Can we Disarm to Develop? Disarmament Times Fall 2010, http://disarm.igc.org/images/PDF/dt.2010.3.mdgs.pdf ).
In addition, in ‘Global Day of Action on Military Spending’ on ‘Military Spending vs. Millennium Development Goals’ states: …‘all eight MDGs combined cost less than a fifth of yearly military spending’ ( website, November 18th 2010, http://demilitarize.org/military-spending/military-spending-vs-millenniu...).
On the 2 January 2011 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in ‘Recent trends in military expenditure’ state: “ World military expenditure is estimated to have been $1531 billion in 2009—a real-terms increase of 6 per cent over 2008 and of 49 per cent since 2000”. It added that American military spending accounted for 43 per cent of the world total in 2009 and that the ‘global financial crisis and economic recession that saw world output fall by 1.1 per cent in 2009 had little effect on world military spending. Two-thirds of countries for whom data was available increased military spending, including 14 of the top 15 spenders’ (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex/resultoutput/trends/recent... ).
Furthermore, I consider an ethical globalization rather than political globalization would allow Corporations, less constrained by regional blocs, to maximize their markets concerned to help countries address their high levels of needless suffering (the core minimum obligations, widely defined). New Zealand could also benefit because States will want to ensure freedom from hunger (a core minimum obligation) given the very high levels of global hunger and New Zealand as a major food producer can help.
As states adopt a more balanced approach to development and ensure the core minimum obligations (including self-help rights) there is less likelihood of exploitation by the Corporations as workers will have greater choices. This will also help ensure more fair global competition. Also goods made with exploited labor, especially the children, should be made known to the public, including the labeling of goods.
Conclusion – ‘We are born free’ to choose
In my strong view many New Zealanders live lives of abject obedience to ‘discriminatory collectivism’, but they can choose not to be slaves to such an extremely negative, and in my belief ‘evil’, philosophy. I believe no one, male or female, really want to be slaves – ‘we were born free’. Now the opportunity presents itself for individuals to choose freedom – ‘discriminatory collectivism’ must be stopped or it will permeate throughout the whole of society and there will be no respect for human dignity or the inner being from which the creative force derives.
I hope my ethical approach to human rights shows that it is not necessary to be political – to ‘play the game’. And also that violence is not the path to a better world. Rather this truth, including the omitted rights, which virtually anyone can verify, will set us free from this ‘discriminatory collectivism’. And hopefully my work will make the path of much needed human rights ‘trouble-makers’ in the cause of freedom, far easier.
In my view, the Key government rather than being the enemy of the left is more protecting them. Because if these human rights omissions reached the mainstream they would not only completely undermine the moral high ground of the left but also expose the complicity of the Corporations in discriminating against the independent peoples on the grounds of social class. Both left and right benefited considerably at the expense of many New Zealanders at the bottom. In my view, John Key could almost immediately pursue the progressive path that he promises with little opposition, if he had the political will to do so.
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission highlights Article One of the UDHR, which states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. And I believe this represents humanity’s best efforts, from many thousands of years of experience, to reflect the eternal universal truth of God.
(see Article One in Human Rights in New Zealand 2010, New Zealand Human Rights Commission, http://www.hrc.co.nz/human-rights-environment/human-rights-in-new-zealan...)