I don’t know if there are any tweets about it because I haven’t looked, but a story in the Washington Post is causing a bit of a furore here. A USian living in NZ, Ben Mack, wrote a story for them called ‘How the far right is poisoning New Zealand‘. It’s incredibly ill-informed and quite maddening.

The “far right” he’s talking about is Winston Peters, who I’ve railed against several times in my homilies. Now personally, I have no time for Peters or his party, NZ First. When I saw the result of our election and the realization hit me that whoever lead our government, Peters was going to be a part of it, I was extremely unhappy. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy for him to be smeared in the international press.

Peters is not far-right. He’s a populist. He’s our version of Donald Trump. He treats the media like crap. He says outrageous things that he knows will appeal to certain segment of society. He’s anti-Asian immigration. He wants our immigration numbers slashed by tens of thousands. And there’s legislation already before parliament to prevent foreigners buying existing (not building new) houses here.

However, that’s pretty much where the similarities to Trump end. Unlike Trump, Peters is an extremely talented politician. (Even his greatest enemies will admit that if they’re honest.) He’s mostly honest. He doesn’t pander to the religious right. And, he actually has some genuine policy achievements under his belt from past stints in government.

Mack says that Peters is:

Appealing to ethnically homogenous, overwhelmingly cisgender male voters with limited education and economic prospects who feel they’re being left behind in a changing world is nothing new for the far right.

But there aren’t actually that many of those in New Zealand, and most of them vote for Labour anyway. The people Peters appeals to most is the Grey vote, and though the demographics aren’t yet available I suspect a slight majority of his supporters are women. The general profile of the NZ First voter is older people who are uncomfortable with the increasing diversity of New Zealand society. They are happy with a bi-cultural New Zealand, but not a multi-cultural one. They call themselves New Zealanders and feel the term applies to anyone born here – most of whom are of British, Irish, or Maori descent. They’re okay with Asians who were born here too on the whole, but they don’t like anyone whose first language isn’t English, especially if their skin isn’t white.

By appealing to those people, Peters has a solid base, but he only got seven percent of the vote. Most people eschew his message. This isn’t the US where a combination of “deplorables” and a two-party system got Trump into the White House. If Peters tries to push his luck here he will be punished at the ballot box, and he knows it. He tried it before and his support fell below the five percent threshold for getting into parliament. We may have to put up with Peters for three years. But unlike Trump, he isn’t actually incompetent and he’s also pragmatic. And if he screws up, no one will vote for him. That’s the beauty of the MMP electoral system and an educated electorate.

And apart from New Zealand First, the other two parties in the three-party governing coalition are Labour and the Greens. We have babies in the house now. Yesterday the speaker had to hold one of the babies while his mother was making a speech. Maternity leave is about to be increased to 26 weeks. The minimum wage is going up faster than before; by 1 April 2021 it will be $20 per hour. There’s a lot more along those lines too. We have a progressive government that is making so many promises I worry that we can’t pay for them. Whatever it is, this government is NOT “right wing”.


Political Tweets

I think there might be a backlash against the ignorance perpetrated by the US president. His ghastly rhetoric is making more people aware of issues such as these, and the majority are realizing that, for example, transgender is nothing to be afraid of.


BTW, just so you know.


I understand how the women in this feel. It would be a huge thrill to meet former president Obama!


When you’re a Republican, it appears it’s only bad to commit sexual harassment when the victim is male.


This is really good news! (And not the sort of thing a “right wing” government would do, by the way!)


Mueller Time Tweets

This is very good!

Gun Safety Tweets

The rules aren’t quite as stringent in New Zealand, but they are similar. We don’t have many gun deaths either.
(Via “Archie Debunker”.)


Isn’t it time more was done to stop gun deaths?
(Via “Archie Debunker”.)


Healthcare Tweets

WTF is wrong with the USA? How could the hospital even consider denying surgery for this reason? Effing unbelievable!


Human Rights Tweets

A woman shouldn’t have to go through this to make sure her attacker can’t victimize someone else.


Religion Tweets

This guy is state auditor of Alabama FFS! As many others on Twitter are saying, I thought there was nothing left that could surprise me about the US far right.
(Via Ann German.)


Believe it or not, that was Louis Fer’s defence of Roy Moore’s shenanigans!

History Tweets

There were people who stood up to Hitler. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of them.


Science Tweets

Science is fun!


Environment Tweets

It’s amazing the change in such a short time.
(Via “Archie Debunker”)


New Zealand is a bit behind Europe when it comes to recycling, and we need to step up our game. This Auckland company is a great example of some of those that are doing their best to improve things here.


This is effing unbelievable!


Art Twets

Now that’s a phone case!


What an amazing studio! I’d like it for a bedroom!


Laughing at death.


Entertainment Tweets

It apparently tastes the same, but would it really be as satisfying?


I can relate!


Scenic Tweets

This is very cool!


Enjoy this wonderful 10 minute video tour of the Bystock Nature Reserve in Devon.


What a cool place!


Freshwater Tweets

How cool is this?!


Marine Tweets

From the YouTube description: “Never before have humans journeyed to the Antarctic deep sea. Scientist Dr Jon Copley reveals what it’s like to travel 1000m beneath the ice.”

What are they talking about?


Great white shark versus camera!


Insect Tweets

Insect tweets includes all creepy crawlies, like spiders …


There is no such thing as a cute cockroach. They are all evil, disgusting creatures!!!!!!!!!


Once I know what they are, they lose all their appeal!!!!!!!!!


Spiders are pretty bloodthirsty critters, but much nicer than the insects in the two above tweets somehow.


Very cool! A grasshopper that looks like the stones around it!


How’s this for mimicry?!

I’m not even sure I’ve put this in the right section! WTF is it?


Other Animals Tweets

Oh wow! A baby sloth! Extreme cuteness!

New Zealand has only one native mammal – and it’s a bat.


Bird Tweets

A kakapo peeking out at the camera from it’s nest in a hollow tree.

Kiwi chicks are so cute and fluffy!

The whio is a NZ native duck – and here’s a paddling of them for you to enjoy!

I missed this cool tweet when the Kea won the Bird of the Year competition.


Dog Tweets

Learning to dog paddle!


Dr Andrew Digby uses especially trained dogs to find takahe nests.




Cat Tweets

We have a lovely new Simon’s Cat video today! As always, it’s lots of fun.


Another good t-shirt message.

How cute!

How to react?


What a cool dude!


The linings of some of my curtains look like this due to the cat of a prior occupant!

Get out and smell the daisies?

Gourgeousness of the day!


I hope it’s on the way to my place!



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